Zone Doubt, a.k.a. 'Surreal Я Us'...

Joules, trusted by... dozens... to make a drama out of your crisis...

Other sites:

:: JAT :: WaveWrights :: Publications :: Joules... on writing [on hiatus] ::

I live to write. It's not wise to get in my way.

August 2011: the earlier posts in this blog are a mess, the result of me changing the format some time ago. I'm working to edit the entire blog from the beginning, but with over 4K posts and sodall time for such luxuries it's going to take a while... [02/09/16 - Now reached 09/10/2004]

If you come across any words you don't recognise in this blog, take a look at the Taylorspeke Glossary in the left-hand infopane, you'll usually find a definition there.

The Poppy Tales

(Transformers fanfiction!)

Transformers mini-comics here.











I'm a Member of 

UK Veg Gardeners!


My IMDb ep summaries

(completed)
Arthur of the Britons
Sky
Star Maidens
The Starlost
Space Rangers
The Sentinel (part: seasons 2 and 3)
Swamp Thing (part: season 3)
Gravedale High
Transformers: Armada
Transformers: Energon
Transformers: Cybertron (part)
Misfits of Science (four eps)
Zoo Gang
Zodiac
Jupiter Moon
Transformers: Beast Wars (part: seasons 2 and 3)
Transformers: Beast Machines (part)
Vampire Princess Miyu
Starhyke
Nathan Barley
No Heroics
Undermind (3 eps)
Will Shakespeare (Tim Curry version)
Nightwalker
12 Kingdoms
Trigun (ep 8)
Rayearth
Hyperdrive (season 2 ep 3)

For later:

Earthian
Dragonball Z (season 2, part)
(Someone else beat me to it!)
Robotech (s2 ep14 Triumvirate)
BBC Lion, witch and wardrobe
BBC Caspian and Dawn Treader
BBC Silver Chair
Beauty and the Beast (part)
(Missing Excel Saga eps)
(Missing Haibane Renme eps)
(And possibly Marine Boy...)


Silver birch at Eastwood 

Farm

"Autumnal - nothing to do with leaves. It is to do with a certain brownness at the edges of the day... Brown is creeping up on us, take my word for it... Russets and tangerine shades of old gold flushing the very outside edge of the senses... deep shining ochres, burnt umber and parchments of baked earth - reflecting on itself and through itself, filtering the light. At such times, perhaps, coincidentally, the leaves might fall, somewhere..."

(Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead Act 2: Tom Stoppard)

Autumn...

I love this time of year. I love the colours, the sharp slant of sunlight on the trees, mosaics of acid-yellow and harts- blood, velvet and darkness and a haze of mist-grey over the hills. I love its immanence, its mellowness, the tang of frost just around the corner of the year...

Watching the little birds in the goat-willow in my garden, I realised something more.

I love this land with a fierce, possessive love, deep-rooted in two thousand years of history. From the frosted beaches and cloud-brushing peaks of the north to the wind-haunted meanderings of the rivers of the east, from the sensuous rolling patchworked hills of the south to the demanding dark moors of the west, this land seeps into bone and blood and synapse, mother of motley nobility, culture, individual freedoms. It can be known. It can be understood. It can be felt deep inside.

I love its effortless eccentricities, its vigour and vibrancy, its flawed perfections, its silent strength and tenacious resilience, its hard-won tolerances and intense and variable beauty, the profound energy in its sacred mythical landscape.

Home and more-than-home, the forces that shape and protect and bind, in me, as I am in the land. Love returning love in the stillness for those who'll only take the time to listen...

(Joules, Autumn 2004)


All photographs taken by Joules unless otherwise specified. All photographs © Joules A Taylor or other specified individual.


In Memoriam

17.03.09 - Argent

25.07.08 - Raptor

18.12.07 - Quyn

02.12.06 - Ryme


Currently enjoying:
Muse
Transformers - IDW, Prime, Animated, Rescue Bots.

Currently reading:
Various Transformers books and graphic novels.



Currently working on:
Heart, The Poppy Tales

Currently chuffed with:
My garden

Currently miffed at:
Nestlé, Nonpres Tinyhands Fart, Toadface Farage

Currently maintaining:
BCHS
BCP


Blog Pics
I've gathered some of my pages of photos together: the page of links is here. I'll be adding more as time goes by!




Evil Squid
A Little Glossary of Taylorspeke
(in no particular order)

plit popints - n. Typo for 'plot points' typed on a keyboard with more than half the characters worn off...

[PING] (alt [ping]) - n. A brainwave. The text equivalent of a lightbulb going on blindingly over someone's head. Usually mine. And usually at the most inconvenient of times. [sigh]

TPTB - The Powers That Be.

wulmet - n. A person of little or no talent who somehow inveigles himself into a position where he is in power over other, far more talented people and uses his position to downplay them in order to try to make himself feel superior.

biteable - referring to an anatomical part vb, tasty.

Flatterfed - vb. 27.02.08: my typo for flattered, but since it's so cutely apt I thought it would fit nicely here. Lutra defined it as "the lovely warm feeling of satisfaction resulting from enthusiastic reviews..." (which I've been getting for my MB fics).

Composted - vb, 'compos mentis', mentally capable of working. Contrast with uncomposted or non- composted, not 'compos mentis', not capable of working, hungover...

Cumbles - n, cucumbers.

Kewp - how Ken says 'thank you'. We rather like Lutra's 'nanx', too...

Musekick - noun, music, without which I cannot work.

'feinne - noun, caffeine, essential for correct mental functioning, especially first thing in the morning. I prefer mine in the form of SodaStream Diet Coke. And on that subject...

Skoosh - verb, noun. To skoosh - to add CO2 to a sodastream bottle filled with water to make it fizzy, prior to adding Diet Coke syrup (or just drinking as sparkling water). A skoosh - a bottle of water that has been skooshed. Skooshy - something that has been skooshed, water, or that whipped cream that comes in tins you have to shake then upend and press the nozzle...

Shoogle - verb. To shake gently, for example, of roast potatoes in a roasting tin to ensure they're covered with oil. I have vague memories of this being a real Scottish colloquialism...

Stegasaurus - n, spider of the genus tegenaria. Why? No idea. I just find it easier, that's all...
Edit 08.09.07: Lutra thinks that Brian is a good name for a mini-stegasaurus. From now on, any 'Brian's in the posts may be assumed to be a tegenaria. Except where otherwise specified.

Viterals - noun, vitamins + minerals. Also a pun on victuals.

Splish - verb. A combination of slosh and splash.

Parrots - noun, paracetemol (from the old joke "Why are there no aspirin tablets in the jungle? Because the parrots eat 'em all...")

Maggles - noun, magpies. As opposed to non-magical people.

Flamewings - noun. Swifts. So called because the first time we became aware of them was an early summer evening when they were flying high, the light from the setting sun seemingly turning their wings to flames. Lovely little birds. We always know summer's arrived when we hear their high-pitched squeeing.

Murfs - noun, moths.

Peasant cut - noun, roughly cut up into big chunks, e.g. vegetables chopped in a hurry for a hearty stew or soup. By extension, anything prepared in a hurry - haircut, material, even a first draft of a story...

Giraffe - noun, a carafe (of wine, coffee or water, for example).

Shrumps - noun, mushrooms.

Splings - noun, Kai's spelling homework: by extension, any spelling.

Tyops - noun, typos. var toyps, typso, psyto, psoyt, etc. Usual result of a dose of the fingerials (see next entry).

Fingerials - (pr. fin GEEE ree yalls) noun, fingers that will not type what you want them to.

Haddock - noun, time, of which I never have enough. (Origin of this term here.)

Sleep - noun? vb? a.k.a. sheeeeeeeeep.... I used to know what this word meant...


The Updates Blog

The place to stay notified of WaveWrights' Fiction updates: Zone, Darkside, DarkRealm, Matrix, Vault, Safehouse 13...




my computer gremlin Butch. click the pic to see the larger image

Butch, my computer gremlin. Click the pic for larger version, and read his adventures here...

Butch by the talented 

Sylverthorne

A gift for me! Butch by the very talented Sylverthorne. Click pic for larger image.

Joules' 

Haddock

This is MY haddock. It was caught exclusively for me by Talon. No, you can't have any. I need all the haddock I can get!!



A'lestrel by 

Valkyrie.

A'lestrel - a gift for me from Valkyrie...



Kood, my new mp3 

player.

Soundwave! (Kood's still moving in...)


Albino Alsatian Benten (c) MEBird 

2004

Another gorgeous Valkyrie gift for me - Benten the Albino Alsatian! Click thumbnail for larger image.

Radittsu, an oekaki for my birthday 04 

by 

Onna

Oekai by Bakayaro Onna - Radittsu at his sexiest...



I now have an Amazon wish list - find it here. But please be warned most of the things on it are yaoi. If you don't like yaoi, or don't know what it is, you probably won't want to take a look.




The Zone Plant from
The Zone 

blog 

plant

OrganicHTML (which alas no longer seems to exist...)
[::..My Regular Reads..::]
:: Astronomical Pic of the Day [>]
:: What is Space... [>]
:: Dark Roasted Blend [>]
:: BLDG [>]
:: Pruned [>]
:: Watchismo Times [>]
:: Fundies say the darnedest things [>]
(Warning. This site is likely to have you screaming with laughter, shaking your head in sheer disbelief, or weeping for the future of your species. Often all three at the same time. I disclaim any responsiblity for any harm suffered by anyone who visits...)
[::..Fun Places..::]
::HubbleSite
Stunning...
::PALEOMAP Project
Absolutely fascinating.
::The Hacker Dictionary
Hackers with Humour!
:: Carol's Place
My GoodTwin's Homepage!
:: Skymap
Check out the night sky where you are!
[::..Useful Sites..::]
:: GreenNet
First stop for environmental matters
:: MailWasher
Excellent anti-spam software
:: About Bristol
The essential guide - and beautifully user-friendly too!
:: The Forest of Avon
Our local community forest and places to visit
:: The Guardian
Online Guardian Newspaper.
:: ZSPC Colour Chart
Check how your text and background colours look together before releasing them on the world!
:: Symbols
Exactly what it says
:: World Timeserver
For checking the current time around this world
:: Universal Currency Converter
Actually it's just a terran-global currency converter, not universal, but it's still useful...
:: Union of Concerned Scientists
Exactly what it says. Fascinating - and worrying...

So what is it with the haddock? Am I some kind of fish freak?

I'll leave that to others to decide.

The tale (or tail if you prefer) harks back to October 2000, when my GoodTwin and I, ably assisted by Sue, ran the first UK Professionals convention...
It's common knowledge that I never have enough time, and I was determined not to bewail the fact that weekend: hence I promised not to use the 'T' word...
Of course, that didn't really work (if nothing else I had to let the trainees know what times things were supposed to be happening!) so we decided a substitute word would be employed instead. There were several suggestions. Banana came very close to being chosen. However, I eventually decided that 'haddock' fitted the bill nicely. Ever since, haddock=time. Hence the title of my forthcoming autobiography,
My Half-Life in the Haddock Space Continuum....


Normally I wouldn't, but these were just irresistible...

How could I resist?

Just too adorable...

and to complete the rainbow...

These Too-Kawaii Kitties
were adopted from
Ghost's Anime Page (which appears to have disappeared, alas...)

[::..Anime/Manga..::]
Useful sites:

Yamato -
Fabulous anime figures

Anime Lyrics
A huge selection... evil popups

Anime still needed to complete series' I'm collecting... Many thanks to everyone who has helped me acquire the collection!
Ai no Kusabi

Owned:
   DVD
   Dj: June Special
   CD: Ambivalence

Cyber City Oedo 808

Owned:
   DVD
   All 3 eps on Video, dubbed
   Dj: Cyberage 1-3
   Illustrated Book 2 (Benten's) in Japanese

From Eroica with Love

Owned:
   Manga Vols 1, 9, 11

Mirage of Blaze

Owned:
   DVD Vol 1 (eps 1-4)

R.G. Veda

Owned:
   English Manga: Vol 1
   Japanese Manga: Vol 1-7 complete
   Tarot Pack
   R.G.Veda video

Twelve Kingdoms

Owned:
   Anime Vol 1-12: complete

Under the Glass Moon

Owned:
   Manga Vol 1, 2
Vol 3 needed

Vampire Hunter D - Bloodlust

Owned:
   DVD

   Vampire Hunter D Book 1



New Vampire Miyu

Owned:
   (Studio Ironcat) Manga Vols 1 -5 (complete)


Yami no Matsuei

Owned:
   Viz Manga: English translation, Vols 1 - 11 (complete: I believe vol 12 is only available online)
   Japanese 3-DVD set
   Central Park Media: Descendants of Darkness Vol. 1, English/Japanese subbed.
   Sketchbook


[::..Joules SPfied..::]


... this is Terra? How the hell'd I end up here...?

(Thanks, Lutra, for the quote!)

[::..archive..::]
07/01/2002 - 07/31/2002
08/01/2002 - 08/31/2002
09/01/2002 - 09/30/2002
10/01/2002 - 10/31/2002
11/01/2002 - 11/30/2002
12/01/2002 - 12/31/2002
01/01/2003 - 01/31/2003
02/01/2003 - 02/28/2003
03/01/2003 - 03/31/2003
04/01/2003 - 04/30/2003
05/01/2003 - 05/31/2003
06/01/2003 - 06/30/2003
07/01/2003 - 07/31/2003
08/01/2003 - 08/31/2003
09/01/2003 - 09/30/2003
10/01/2003 - 10/31/2003
11/01/2003 - 11/30/2003
12/01/2003 - 12/31/2003
01/01/2004 - 01/31/2004
02/01/2004 - 02/29/2004
03/01/2004 - 03/31/2004
04/01/2004 - 04/30/2004
05/01/2004 - 05/31/2004
06/01/2004 - 06/30/2004
07/01/2004 - 07/31/2004
08/01/2004 - 08/31/2004
09/01/2004 - 09/30/2004
10/01/2004 - 10/31/2004
11/01/2004 - 11/30/2004
12/01/2004 - 12/31/2004
01/01/2005 - 01/31/2005
02/01/2005 - 02/28/2005
03/01/2005 - 03/31/2005
04/01/2005 - 04/30/2005
05/01/2005 - 05/31/2005
06/01/2005 - 06/30/2005
07/01/2005 - 07/31/2005
08/01/2005 - 08/31/2005
09/01/2005 - 09/30/2005
10/01/2005 - 10/31/2005
11/01/2005 - 11/30/2005
12/01/2005 - 12/31/2005
01/01/2006 - 01/31/2006
02/01/2006 - 02/28/2006
03/01/2006 - 03/31/2006
04/01/2006 - 04/30/2006
05/01/2006 - 05/31/2006
06/01/2006 - 06/30/2006
07/01/2006 - 07/31/2006
08/01/2006 - 08/31/2006
09/01/2006 - 09/30/2006
10/01/2006 - 10/31/2006
11/01/2006 - 11/30/2006
12/01/2006 - 12/31/2006
01/01/2007 - 01/31/2007
02/01/2007 - 02/28/2007
03/01/2007 - 03/31/2007
04/01/2007 - 04/30/2007
05/01/2007 - 05/31/2007
06/01/2007 - 06/30/2007
07/01/2007 - 07/31/2007
08/01/2007 - 08/31/2007
09/01/2007 - 09/30/2007
10/01/2007 - 10/31/2007
11/01/2007 - 11/30/2007
12/01/2007 - 12/31/2007
01/01/2008 - 31/01/2008
01/02/2008 - 29/02/2008
03/01/2008 - 31/03/2008
01/04/2008 - 04/30/2008
01/05/2008 - 31/05/2008
01/06/2008 - 30/06/2008
01/07/2008 - 31/07/2008
01/08/2008 - 31/08/2008
01/09/2008 - 30/09/2008
01/10/2008 - 31/10/2008
01/11/2008 - 31/11/2008
01/12/2008 - 31/12/2008
01/12/2008 - 31/12/2008
01/01/2009 - 31/01/2009
01/02/2009 - 28/02/2009
01/03/2009 - 31/03/2009
01/04/2009 - 30/04/2009
01/05/2009 - 31/05/2009
01/06/2009 - 30/06/2009
01/07/2009 - 31/07/2009
01/08/2009 - 31/08/2009
01/09/2009 - 30/09/2009
01/10/2009 - 31/10/2009
01/11/2009 - 30/11/2009
01/12/2009 - 31/12/2009
01/01/2010 - 31/01/2010
01/02/2010 - 28/02/2010
01/03/2010 - 31/03/2010
01/04/2010 - 30/04/2010
01/05/2010 - 31/05/2010
01/06/2010 - 30/06/2010
01/07/2010 - 31/07/2010
01/08/2010 - 31/08/2010
01/09/2010 - 30/09/2010
01/10/2010 - 31/10/2010
01/11/2010 - 31/11/2010
01/12/2010 - 31/12/2010
01/01/2011 - 31/01/2011
01/02/2011 - 28/02/2011
01/03/2011 - 31/03/2011
01/04/2011 - 30/04/2011
01/05/2011 - 31/05/2011
01/06/2011 - 30/06/2011
01/07/2011 - 31/07/2011
01/08/2011 - 31/08/2011
01/09/2011 - 30/09/2011
01/10/2011 - 31/10/2011
01/11/2011 - 30/11/2011
01/12/2011 - 31/12/2011
01/01/2012 - 31/01/2012
01/02/2012 - 28/02/2012
01/03/2012 - 31/03/2012
01/04/2012 - 30/04/2012
01/05/2012 - 31/05/2012
01/06/2012 - 30/06/2012
01/07/2012 - 31/07/2012
01/08/2012 - 31/08/2012
01/09/2012 - 30/09/2012
01/10/2012 - 31/10/2012
01/11/2012 - 30/11/2012
01/12/2012 - 31/12/2012
01/01/2013 - 31/01/2013
01/02/2013 - 28/02/2013
01/03/2013 - 31/03/2013
01/04/2013 - 30/04/2013
01/05/2013 - 31/05/2013
01/06/2013 - 31/06/2013
01/07/2013 - 31/07/2013
01/08/2013 - 31/08/2013
01/09/2013 - 30/09/2013
01/10/2013 - 31/10/2013
01/11/2013 - 30/11/2013
01/12/2013 - 31/12/2013
01/01/2014 - 31/01/2014
01/02/2014 - 28/02/2014
01/03/2014 - 31/03/2014
01/04/2014 - 30/04/2014
01/05/2014 - 31/05/2014
01/06/2014 - 31/06/2014
01/07/2014 - 31/07/2014
01/08/2014 - 31/08/2014
01/09/2014 - 31/09/2014
01/10/2014 - 31/10/2014
01/11/2014 - 30/11/2014
01/12/2014 - 31/12/2014
01/01/2015 - 31/01/2015
01/02/2015 - 28/02/2015
01/03/2015 - 31/03/2015
01/04/2015 - 30/04/2015
01/05/2015 - 31/05/2015
01/06/2015 - 30/06/2015
01/07/2015 - 31/07/2015
01/08/2015 - 31/08/2015
01/09/2015 - 30/09/2015
01/10/2015 - 31/10/2015
01/11/2015 - 31/11/2015
01/12/2015 - 31/12/2015
01/01/2016 - 31/01/2016
01/022016 - 28/02/2016
01/03/2016 - 31/03/2016
01/04/2016 - 31/04/2016
01/05/2016 - 31/05/2016
01/06/2016 - 30/06/2016
01/07/2016 - 31/07/2016
01/08/2016 - 31/08/2016
01/09/2016 - 31/09/2016
01/10/2016 - 31/10/2016
01/11/2016 - 31/11/2016
01/12/2016 - 31/12/2016
01/01/2017 - 31/01/2017
01/02/2017 - 28/02/2017
01/03/2017 - 31/03/2017
01/04/2017 - 30/03/2017
01/05/2017 - 31/04/2017
01/06/2017 - 30/06/2017

Sunday, August 31, 2003

[growl] Finished the picture (had a go at the animation I wanted to do but couldn't make it work well, so decided to go with a static pic instead until I can net enough haddock to a) learn Flash and/or b) become more experienced in PhotoShop) and went to check the submission details on the site, only to find the closing date's been extended to October 15th... Ah well, I suppose if I do have any brainwaves about the animation I now have time to try them!

We've just watched The Avengers - the film, that is, it was the only thing on TV even remotely worth considering. Actually, watched isn't quite the right term; it was abysmal, a truly awful effort, badly cast, poorly acted, with a wholly nonsensical plot. Personally I think it was a dreadful mistake to attempt it in the first place. I can't imagine anyone who could replace the original Steed and Mrs Peel...

I don't care what my weatherpixie says, it's suddenly gone cold here. Almost as if She looked up, saw it was almost September and decided that was our lot, we've had summer, now it's time to get ready for autumn. (Doesn't help that Ken and Kai are watching Ray Mears' Extreme Survival - Alaska in winter... [shiver])

Well, since I'm ahead of myself, I suppose I'd better take another look at the next AC...





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[eyeing AK picture critically] It's not too bad, I think. Won't win any prizes, but my aim was to see if I could express... tch'. Something that's already written for the penultimate chapter of the AC. Sorry - you'll have to wait to read it until we get there, and the way this monster keeps expanding that could be some time...

Interesting conversation we had earlier, when I was measuring the height of Kai's tarantula. I said aloud that it was about seven inches, adding that the "one metre five" that Kai told me was its length was about 3 and half feet... I caught a tiny flash of that wonderful "neanderthal alert" expression that I know I'm still guilty of occasionally (though these days I'm better at hiding it...)

So I thought an explanation might be a good idea...

Kai's school - all schools here, I think - uses metric measurements. Which is all fine and good and in line with the rest of Europe. But as I pointed out to him, my mind doesn't work well with numbers unless I have a visual referrant. I know how long a foot is, I can see it in my head. The fact that a metre is three-and-a-bit feet (close to a yard) is a bit hit and miss, but serves me well enough. I know that a kilo is a bit over two pounds, which is the weight of an old bag of sugar. I definitely know how heavy a bag of sugar is! I know how far a mile is (though I need a calculator and a conversion chart to change that into kilometres. [growl] I don't like kilometres. Weak name for a measurement of distance. Give me the strong and ancient 'mile' any time! Comes from the Roman 'thousand steps', I believe...)

Explaining this to Kai seemed to be something of a revelation for the bratling - but [grinning proudly] he seemed to understand what I was on about.

Wierd mix, ne? I have no problem with astronomical distances, timescales on other planets, and instinctively calculate what time of day it is where my friends are on this one, once I know which timezone they're in. But can I remember birthdays or work out the household accounts? Can I f**k!

It annoys me somewhat.

I'm so incredibly grateful that Ken is good with numbers...





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Saturday, August 30, 2003

Ye gods I took 24 hours off! Indulged myself reading some Sentinel fic, drooling over a little LotR fanart, and this afternoon watched the film again (blame Okapiprincess for reminding me how much I like elves [smirks at Lutra]). I confess I did finish my drawing for the Amazing Kiss competition while LotR was on, and I have started the next AC chapter, so I refuse to feel too guilty... Need to get the pic coloured/animated now - entry date is the 1st September.

Ken measured Kai's tarantula: with the legs stretched out, it's three and a half feet long, and about 7 inches high. Quite large, in fact...
From ICQ conversation with Lutra, earlier:

[Flare] "Always thought Severin was a gorgeous name..."
[Lutra] "It is : ) I've always been fond of Toby...
.... [blinkblink].... you're specialising in non sequiturs atm... who's Toby?
"my next door neighbour in England : ) can't remember what he looks like but he was my best friend when I was six... we used to play Indians amongst the gooseberry bushes...
.....[sinks head in hands, speechless]....





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Friday, August 29, 2003

... ouch... ouch... ouchouchouch...

Actually it really wasn't that bad. Hurt like hell when the needle went through, but afterwards it was pretty much painless. Stings a little if I move suddenly, and is rather tender (hardly surprising!) but certainly easily bearable: less painful than having my ears pierced. And I have the cutest little steel-blue titanium ring! I'll probably change it for something a little larger later - or maybe a barbel, see what appeals.

Sensation? Well, there's something there already. Will be able to tell better later...

[grins] Another little long-term ambition achieved!

Ken took Kai into town while I was out, to let him buy a cuddly tarantula. No, not a real one: this is a soft, heavy, rubbery, pretty accurate model at least two feet in diameter that he's been saving his pocket/gift money for for months (at £25 I think it's a ripoff, but he really really wanted it and I remember how that feels...) Now he's trying to think of a name for it...

Dinner with the Sentinel and then I'll code/upload Interloper pt 1...





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Thursday, August 28, 2003

... I need a holiday...

Yesterday was fun - Hengrove Park again (I do like that park) with Kai and Kim and Jo and Sarah (Kai and Sarah playing pirates on the play ship there). Lovely to sit and talk, even if we do have to keep an eye on the sprogs - it's a popular place and does get quite busy.

Ken's folks arrived at 5: treated us to excellent fish 'n' chips from the 'under-new-management' place in Sandy Park Rd, watched The Sentinel, then watched MiB2... Hn... Well, it was sort of fun, in a slightly manic way, and Kai loved it (thought it was better than the first film), and Ken's folks enjoyed it, so that was OK.

They took Kai to explore@bristol today: I went too to show them where it was, then went looking for Yule presents. Yes, really! Didn't find any, but did have a drool over the anime and manga at Forbidden Planet...

Onna, good luck and keep plugging away!

Hoping to finish my latest Dystopia (Interloper) tonight - then tomorrow, barring domestic crises, I'm off to Body Art... A'lestrel's smile...





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Tuesday, August 26, 2003

Waiiii! Pirate Chic!!

OOOOH that was good! Wonderful escapism and a gloriously camp (and very tasty) Johnny Depp as the definitely... um... eccentric's not quite the right word... Captain Jack Sparrow [proof that males can be shiny and sparkly, Lutra!]. Orlando Bloom's not bad here, either, and Keira Knightley is terrific as Elizabeth. Great special effects and a good plot: this is one to add to our DVD wants list.

Going by its trailer, Underworld looks as though it might be fun too! Though not perhaps for Kai, just yet...

Kai wants to celebrate Airy having his first meal. On the way to the Showcase he asked me what happened when very famous people had birthdays; on my saying that everyone might get a day off, or the person be in the news, or have special commemorative things on sale, he decided that none of that was quite appropriate. So I suggested we have popcorn at the film (not something we do every time given the bloody outrageous cost!) which went down well - as did the popcorn, even if I did insist I was NOT going to buy a (more expensive again) medium bag simply because they'd 'run out' of child sized bags (yes, I did suggest they put a child-sized portion in a medium-sized bag but was told they weren't allowed to do that)... Eventually they piled it into a giant sized drink beaker, which is about the same volume. I can be such a pain in the arse at times... [smirk]

Hn, nearly time for The Sentinel - better get organised... [wanders off in search of Adam Ant LP, singing "unplug the jukebox, and do us all a favour..." under breath]

The only mildly niggly thing I noted was the Interceptor's flag - I swear it was blowing backwards. It should be blowing forwards on a sailing ship... But that's me just being picky... Back





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Monday, August 25, 2003

Wildwalk is amazing. It's all about biodiversity, essentially a history of the planet from the appearance of single celled organisms right up to the current day. All interactive, with 3-D displays, touch-screens everywhere, and of course the live exhibits (fish, insects, arachnids, poison arrow tree frogs - beautiful things! - and a couple of mice) and the two adjoining 'forests', the prehistoric (ferns, mosses, cycads) and tropical (which had butterflies and birds in it too). We both liked those - a sprinkler system sprayed out a fine cool mist every 30 seconds or so, and the contrast between the ambient warm humidity and the cooler spray was wonderfully sensuous. But the main delight for Kai, of course, was the bird-eating tarantula. It was half-hiding to start with, but we kept going back, and managed to be there when the keeper opened the tank to spray the foliage and sand with cool water. He had to lift the moss to do so, and that made the spider move - then he nudged it gently with the nozzle and it came out into full view, facing us. Kai was delighted! And I have to say it didn't bother me - heh, the thing is bigger than my hand, it's not a spider, it's a furry creature! (Rather wondering what it would feel like to hold one... No, we're not getting one. Well, not yet anyway.)

They had a bug show for the sprogs during the afternoon, bringing out a praying mantis, hissing cockroaches and a forest floor scorpion for us to view. (I'm fascinated by scorpions, absolutely fascinated.) That's view, not hold, although anyone who wanted could gently touch the cockroaches. They left the scorpion in its tank - apparently it was too grumpy to be handled! (For anyone who's interested and doesn't already know, scorpions with big pincers aren't really poisonous, though it would still hurt if they stung. It's the ones with the tiny pincers you have to worry about: they use their stings to catch their prey and are venomous.)
We were there for three hours following the trail (one way only, once you come out you can't go back in, so we made sure not to miss anything) and are now both knackered: my legs are aching. But it was worth it!

[clipped from onna's tree]

Interesting about the tetra of immortality, Joules. I had a White Cloud Mountain Fish that lasted for too long. [snip] White Clouds are a lot like tetras. The one I had was bigger than the new ones I would get for it for company and it would bully the smaller ones, eating their fins, until the poor little things would die. Of course, no evidence of the bodies were ever found. I think it was part piranha. My favorite fish are Siamese Fighting Fish, or bettas. I've had two, one after the other, basically the same colour. My favorite colour is the irredescent blue-green with red and purple touches. See the third fish on this page for the colouration and the second fish for length of their fins.

What gorgeous fish! Love the colour of that third one, onna. And the new graphic is beautiful!

Airy is doing well - Kai came down and interrupted tonight's Sentinel with the important news that it had caught some prey and was eating... He's keeping the light on for a while so he can watch what it does without having to disturb it with the torch. [sigh] Ah well, he's happy with it!

Kai's spider for mum
Kai drew me a spider sitting on a leaf!

Off to see Pirates of the Caribbean tomorrow - then Ken's folks are coming up to visit Wed-Thurs (planning to take Kai to Explore@bristol), though we're still hoping to go out with Kim on Wed. See how we go.

Off to take a look at the returned F06...





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Well this is a pain... bought too much at Tesco, very heavy to carry back, hurt my hand again, and now it's shaking, has no strength, and I can't hold my tablet pen.

Perhaps I should take this as a sign to get to bed. I'm taking Kai to Wildwalk tomorrow (yes, I'm voluntarily going to traipse through an indoor tropical rainforest, under glass, in the middle of summer, so Kai can see some tarantulas. Dedicated or what!?) so I should be able to rest my hands at any rate...





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Sunday, August 24, 2003

[grins] There's a big silk-wrapped spider-shaped lump in the corner of the air-spid's web...

The next AC is now finished - I've changed the title to Leavings - and I'll code/upload shortly.





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Heh, six very slow pages of Ructions done tonight... It took off in a direction completely other to what I'd planned, but that's OK, it works rather well, especially after the last few chapters... need to have Lutra check it, and finish off the last little bit, then I can post tomorrow.

I seem to have a thing about dragons at the moment. Devon is dragon hunting in Purgatory, the cute little golden dragon in the deepest cave is about to make an entrance in the RPG in Talon's chatbox, and the next part of Flight and Fancy is nagging again. Haddock's all I need... Hn, intriguing thought. Traditionally, goldfish (small koi) are supposed to be baby dragons. What, then, might haddock be? Baby Gryphons? (Tries to bend brain around the concept of a haddock being something mythical... I don't recall there being anything mythical that mucks around with time, but then again I'm tired right now....)

Interesting arachnid battle taking shape in the bathroom. The mummy-longlegs spider (mother to Airy and the fifty or so other spids that she produced and which have mostly not survived) was out of her corner earlier and checking out the boundaries. Now there's a quite large garden spider (a little too big for me to be prepared to pick up bare-handed) sitting along the wall from her territory... it's a decent size, would keep her going for weeks... [smirk] I bet she catches it!

Carol, I think Himeko is really quite appropriate! And YAY!! the new monitor...





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Saturday, August 23, 2003

[long-suffering sigh] Ken and Kai have spent the whole day cleaning and preparing Kai's old aquarium tank. For what? A pet spider. Not, I hasten to add, the tarantula he really wants, just a little air spider. Ah, yes, sorry - that's what we call them, since they appear to live on air; their common name is the daddy-longlegs spider. I rather like them, especially since they catch and eat the big house spiders I dislike so much... Anyway, this little spider (Airy - yes, it has a name) is now living in an arachnid des. res. in Kai's bedroom. So far he's caught it a small fly and a little clothes-moth. [shakes head] It's fun being a parent...





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Ah, right - that's Monica Bellucci...

Doesn't look anything like A'lestrel...





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Glad to see that was all a bit of a non-starter! [grin]

Hand's a lot better, still swollen but it doesn't hurt anything like as much. Obviously I didn't do anything serious to it.

This was very silly...
Alsmile

My LiveJournal Sitcom
Bringing Up Hamsters (NBC, 7:00): alestrel (Monica Bellucci) and mebird (Don Rickles) find a lost snake at the Empire State Building. In the next town over, talonsage (Chevy Chase) makes fun of miraculous_m (Eric McCormack) for enjoying cross-stitch. That weekend, luckykitty (Tom Green) breaks bakayaro_onna (Anna Paquin)'s old 100-meter-dash record, but nobody sees it happen. (Part 2 of 2.)
What's Your LiveJournal Sitcom? (by rfreebern)

Who's Monica Bellucci?

Ructions going well: hopefully have it posted by the end of the weekend!





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Friday, August 22, 2003

[snarl] Well, the BBC news service has said that the second wave of Sobig F is due at 8pm our time, less than an hour away. If (and of course it's always a big if) they're right, intenet service may well be significantly disrupted for some time. And since I'm a firm believer in being prepared for the worst, I'm updating quickly here, and then will take Eudora off automatic email download and check our WordWrights email at the server for the next 12 hours or so: that way I can delete crap without it ever reaching my machine. Anyone emailing me tonight probably won't get an answer for several hours (or possibly never depending on how overloaded the server becomes...)! I'll see how ICQ behaves, but if that's disrupted too I'll close it down.

Been a good day, all told. Have almost now sorted out Jude's website, and the first draft of F06 is off to be critiqued, and tonight I'm planning the next AC chapter, tentatively called Ructions. Don't know how far I'll get with it though, my hand's actually swollen. Blasted - and painful - nuisance.

Catch you all later!





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Thursday, August 21, 2003

[growl] Why the hell did the Sentinel creators bring in that dreadful Wells woman? She's awful! If this was fic it would be the worst sort of Mary Sue (which isn't to say there's any good sort...) I loathe Mary Sues. Please tell me the woman dies or something...





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[sigh] Haddock... I really don't have a handle, even a broken one, on earthly haddock. Off we trotted to the swimming pool - I'll rephrase that: we slogged up Talbot Hill to the pool - only to find we were an hour early because I'd got the time wrong...

So we went round the second-hand shops at Broadwalk (very nice bronze coloured man's leather jacket that would have fitted Ken, I think, only it was £14.99 which is a bit beyond the budget at the moment) and then spent half an hour in Redcatch Park at Kai's request - where I rather stupidly managed to wrench my left shoulder and my right wrist pushing the roundabout for him. As you can imagine, swimming was fun <insert sarcastic tone> and it hurts to type, dammit!

[gazes bemusedly at onna's rat's new blog] I'm A'lestrel's carrot? Hn. Interesting...

[gazes even more bemusedly at Ken pouring filtered water into Kai's unwashed-up cereal bowl]

[Me] Um, what are you doing?
[Ken] Watering Kai's bowl.
... Why?
Not enough people do...

Uh, yeah, right, OK then....

Surreal 'r' Us





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The diamond light of the sun and moon reflected in a northern lake

The Diamond Light of the Sun and Moon Reflected in a Northern Lake. Well, it's something of a pretentious title but the design itself is intriguing. It's not the most restful of gardens: there's a strange tension between the curved and flowing lines of the blue glass and the rigid straight lines of the metal obelisks - until the sun hits them, at which point everything shimmers and the reflections in the pool add the strangest sensation of depth... maybe it's not so pretentious after all.

I loved it. And so did the dragonflies.
Speaking of fauna, I don't think I've mentioned that I have the Tetra of Immortality living in my kitchen, have I? 'tis true, I tell you! Forget Shenron, this little fish is the last of a shoal of six neon tetras I had in a small tank Ken bought me as a present years ago: essentially I'm waiting for this last fish to die so I can pack the tank away (I really don't have room for it any more, and the next time I have a tank it'll be a huge professionally installed and stocked one... with volitans... ye gods I love volitans... there's a tank of about 7 or 8 of them at our local garden centre: I can stand and watch them for hours... completely fascinated by the way they don't seem to care which way up they are, and how beautiful they look from all angles... [shakes head] where was I? Oh, yes...) And it will not die. Tetras are only supposed to live for about two years - this thing has to be at least four years and more likely five years old... I won't actually kill it, tempting as it sometimes is, but honestly! I swear I can hear it cackling evilly from here....

On a brighter note, not a bad night's effort - five pages of F06, radically different from the original and still needing work, but since the whole thing is improving all the time I'm not going to complain. I've updated a lot of notes for the project as I've gone along, as well, which is very good.
But for now I'm knackered and away to my bed. I get a bit of a lie in tomorrow, before I take Kai swimming.





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Wednesday, August 20, 2003

Had a great day! Kim drove us all to Glastonbury - which was a lot less packed and a lot cooler than when we went last year, Carol - and we had a look around the shops. Kai's now the owner of a haematite ring and a fossil fang! We then moved on to Hengrove Park to let the sprogs run off some energy while we chatted. All highly enjoyable! We're planning to meet up next Wednesday as well, to go somewhere outside if the weather's fine, or the favourite soft-play area if it's wet (the meteorologists keep saying there are storms on the way but they obviously keep missing us...)

And it looks as though I got the timing wrong: Kai only has one more week of holiday and is back to school on the 2nd of September - only five weeks in total! [grumble] We haven't had enough haddock to do everything we wanted this holiday...

Chatting to Lutra on ICQ last night: she asked a question which has led to a full-blown R/'l ficlet plot... Expect to see that later in the 'l&L stories.
18 virused emails today. [snarl]

On to F06...





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Tree of Life with Kai

Neil Wilkins entry for 2003 - Tree of Life. [swoony sigh] Go take a look at his work. If only I were rich...

Very tired and my eyes are stinging and bloodshot. I've finished and emailed off the review, now pondering [gasp!] an early night [looks around nervously...]
Kim's coming over tomorrow and we're taking the bratlings out to one of the bigger parks, Hengrove or Blaise Castle. Looking forwards to it!





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Tuesday, August 19, 2003

Kai and kestrel at Avon Valley Country Park There's a companion pic to this of Carol with the kestrel over on her blog (Pixie and Dixie's Mouse Hole). I also have one of me with the little hawk that isn't going to be posted here...

So, Sinbad... Very nice animation. Liked the use of colour. Liked the cg special effects. Plot was OK. Characters pretty much stereotyped, though nice to see more strong females. Overall... I would have liked it better had it not ripped off - sorry, borrowed - ideas from Eric the Viking (the 'dragon of the North Sea' and the 'sailing off the edge of the world' scenarios). Of course, I could be wrong - perhaps these are accepted motifs in film... But to have Sinbad talk of retiring to Fiji? And using present-day colloquialisms? [shudder] Yes, I know, it's a kid's fantasy cartoon, not aimed at people like me, but nevertheless...

Still, Kai enjoyed it, that's the main thing.

[snarl] The Sobig virus is doing the rounds again. Generally speaking this doesn't bother me personally: I update my AV software at least once a day and my firewall is never lowered. However, it seems that the virus has infected the machine of someone who has the info@bristal address in their address book... I had four emails with the virus try to come through in half an hour, but far worse was the bounceback from a defunct addy - with the bristal address in the 'from' field... I've had to waste two bloody hours - when I should have been writing - putting our attachment/anti-spam policy statement on the BRISTAL site and emailing LETS to warn them not to open anything purporting to come from us.

I don't understand the mindset of people who create these things, but I'd love to get them all together in a sealed room with a flask of ebola and see how they like being infected...





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Heh, so much for me hoping to get the review to Geoff before the reminder arrived... never mind, I'm halfway through writing it and hopefully will have it ready to email by the end of the day...

The photos below are clickable to their respective pages on the Westonbirt site, though how long they'll remain so I can't say.

Screen 4 - click the pic to visit the site

Screen 4, one of my favourite garden designs. Below is The Split, another intriguing creation.

The Split - click the pic to visit the site

And you remember I mentioned the concrete garden? I found the designer's website - see it here.

Today has not been very productive, which is very annoying. F06 is not co-operating either, which is even more so. Ah well. It happens...

Taking Kai to see Sinbad tomorrow, and then he wants to have a go at posting something on his blog. Most probably the photographs of the second largest spider that used to live outside the kitchen until Ken and Kai moved all the stones (and assorted living creatures) up to the general area of the compost bins. I've told him that once there's something actually on the blog, I'll post a link to it. [sigh] I think he only wants it so he can have his name come up on Google, like mum and dad's do...

Oh, and Sylverthorne? Kai much prefers your version of Butch to mine! He says the colours are better, and he likes the pose, and he loves the mane! [grin] You have a new fan!





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Monday, August 18, 2003

This is Kai, sausage roll in hand, beside the main pool on Brandon Hill, July 2003.

Kai, July 03, posted with his permission

Slash now posted in the Darkside - will send the update later.

I meant to mention this site a day or so ago - it's excellent. (Lutra actually found it when searching for info about an error message that kept popping up on her screen.) The webmaster has investigated stealthware of all varieties and posted instructions for getting it off your hard-drive! Not only that, but when you visit the site will alert you as to whether you currently have anything installed: turned out I had the Searchit Toolbar (which luckily was very easy to kill, didn't have to touch the registry at all). Well worth a visit!

Off to code Bob...





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the back of Joules' head...

The holiday photos came back this morning! I've chosen a handful to post here, bit by bit...

Here's the first, cropped to just show the important bit. Lutra asked to see my plait, so Carol took this while she was over here.

For anyone who's interested, that's the real colour and texture: I stopped henna-ing my hair fifteen or so years ago and I've never had it permed. The long bit - yes, it is long enough to sit on, the band you can see is a good 4 inches below my waist - hasn't been cut for nearly eight years (except to trim split ends). I suppose it constitutes something between a quarter and a third of my hair. This is a fairly loose plait, done by Ken for speed - it takes me five minutes to do it, Lutra timed me!

The shorter hair is very thick and fluffs up and out - makes my head look huge from the back!

Time to code/upload Slash. I'm now wondering about doing a companion Okami torture fic...

I'm also going to host the Bob the Builder/Professionals cross-over story Lutra mentioned. The fic was written in 2001, and her style has changed and improved since then, but it's still wonderfully funny!





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ROFLMAO!!!

Have to share this....

On ICQ with Lutra...

Flare: do you think prodders can be called muses?
Lutra : um... I spose it's how you look at them... I think I'd rather be called a prodder than a muse, though [eg] - more pro-active
Flare : this is true!! And I really can't see you wandering around in flowing white robes, hand to forehead.....
Lutra : oh I can... but only until I fall over laughing.. : )
Flare : whereas I CAN see you with evil grin, wielding pitchfork!
Lutra : ROFL! ooh! mmm... interesting image...





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And I ended up finishing Slash, the Shinju and Okami short for the Darkside, based on the other postcard pic. I'll code/upload tomorrow - my hands are sore now...





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Sunday, August 17, 2003

Busy!!

Yes, I know that goes without saying, but this weekend was more so than usual - along with general domestic and bratling-type occupations was coding/uploading/updating the Zone and the Darkside (there's another new chapter there now, Lutra's Interchange!) and finishing F05, and I also ended up proof-reading/editing 50 pages of Purgatory - and posting it to the Purg writers' list in 9 parts... Must count as one of the biggest postings yet!

What to do tonight? My next Dystopia chapter is bubbling, as is the next AC. I've finished reading the latest review book - be nice to write and email the review before Geoff sends me the reminder, for once. I need to take a look at F06 even if I don't actually work on it, that's a high priority. I've started a short for the Haadri website too - Seven - which needs continuing. And the next Arislan Senki fic is nagging too! (Not to mention the unfinished Shinju and Okami short...) Then there's still the second part of Rat Pack.

Haddock. I need haddock...

But I need to make dinner first. Pork chops, lemon and coriander couscous (came as a real surprise to find out Kai likes couscous! And it's cheaper than new season organic potatoes at the moment), chestnut mushrooms, and carrots/peas/sweetcorn mixed together. Colourful! Tasty! Who wants to come to dinner? Smile!





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Friday, August 15, 2003

Wheeeee!!

It's been a while since I've had quite such a productive day - it's probably the backlash from all the hassles of the last few! Anyway, Lutra's next Dystopia chapter - Visit - is finished and beta-ed and awaiting code/upload (will do after dinner) and I've finished the next AC chapter Revival (8 pages in a total of eight hours! Staggered myself!), will upload that at the same time. Faxed Jude's letter to the Support Managers at her server, as well, and cleared down a couple of other outstanding bits and pieces. Now all I have left of my backlog is the beta of the second part of Rat Pack, Valkyrie! Will try to get to it this weekend.

Not bad going since I've only been up for seven hours, ne?

[clipped from onna's tree]

Joules, those night glow pics of Carol's are really lovely, almost magical! Maybe something to bring to the A/C or Haadri universe?

Beautiful aren't they? Carol and Adrian are both very accomplished and talented photographers. As for importing it - interesting idea. I'll ponder that one for a while, it's certainly something that could slot into the Haadri continuum...

I've started the drawing for the Amazing Kiss competition. Fingers crossed it works how I want it to! (And thanks for your comments, onna...)
Pizza and chips for dinner, with The Sentinel - then back to F05 tonight...





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KNEW something screwed up when I had all those problems with the template, but with the holiday, and the hassles with the Haadri blog, and everything else, I haven't had the time to work out what it was until now...

Sylverthorne's wonderful picture of Butch, of course! When the most up to date template went for a Burton I had to resurrect the whole blog from an earlier version, before I posted the pic here.

Zarbon, by LittleSaru - a gift to meWell, I've now put that right. And what jogged my memory? This wonderful pic of Zarbon, a pressie to me from LittleSaru!

I'm wholly gobsmacked by how you manage to achieve that amazing pearlescent skin tone, 'Saru! It's beautiful! (You can see it more clearly on the large version, of course. Which I will probably post in the Zone at some point, when I've drooled long enough...) And I love your style - it's fascinating to watch it evolve. Highly distinctive and very attractive! Many thanks! [GLOMP]

I also forgot to mention a couple of other things from Lutra's parcel: a Raditz Medallion (nice pic!), and a gorgeous Erté card, Pearls and Diamonds. (Did you guess how much I adore Erté's work, or did you read my mind?)

Oh, and I should mention that the Yowie chocolate figures had tiny click-together dinosaurs in them (like Kinder eggs but much more fun - nicer chocolate too)! Make of that what you will...





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Thursday, August 14, 2003

Carol's emailed over some of her photos from the holiday - I particularly liked these nightglow pics! Thanks Carol!

Kai just wanted to go to the park today, so I took along my big blue Haadri notes 'n' info four-ring binder and a notebook and did some work in the sun... Not sure what we're doing tomorrow, but there are three films Kai wants to see - Sinbad, Spy Kids 3-D (well, at least it has Alan Cumming in it...) and Pirates of the Caribbean, so over the next 3 Tuesdays we'll be trotting off to the Showcase. We're also planning to go to the WildWalk @bristol, and possibly get the bus to Weston-super-Mare one day...

Ye gods, his holiday's almost half way through! Next month I'll have to take him shopping for winter school shoes, trainers and school trousers...







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Wednesday, August 13, 2003

Oooh we enjoyed that! And now we're both knackered....





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[clipped from onna's other tree]

Both Lutra and Joules found mistakes we had all missed the first time. Ugh, makes me want to stop writing....

[BAP] Don't be daft! Even the most accomplished of writers still make mistakes (heh, I find loads of 'em in the books I get to review, and we're talking names like C J Cherryh and Kevin Anderson here!) This is why writers need betas: it's damn nigh impossible to pick up every little thing yourself.

I'm just annoyed I didn't spot the ones Lutra found!!
Taking Kai swimming today. Our local pool is open for children (and parents if they want) from 1.45 to 2.45 this afternoon - should be a lot of fun. It's been quite a while since I've been swimming. Going to try to make it a regular thing once or twice a week over the holidays: Kai loves it!
Oh, and Lutra? The film is off to be developed. If the 'hair' photos come out OK (plural: Carol took one of the front as well as the back) I'll post them here!
Moonlight pt 2, the latest 'l&L chapter, is mostly finished (needs a little tweaking) and should be posted tonight, hopefully along with Lutra's next Dystopia chapter. [sigh] It feels like ages since the Zone was updated, but with a bit of luck that will now improve. I've given up on the pic a day idea though, there's no way I can do it. Though I'd still like to get a little animated pic done for the Amazing Kiss competition - not because I think I stand the least chance of winning, but because of these words:

Looking for words our brainwaves
Found a way to communicate
Secret sounds that you and I monopolize
The moon reflected on the waves
Moving in time reverberates
Drifting ashore to you deep into your eyes...

Beautiful... I can see what I want to draw for it. Whether I can actually commit it to paper is another matter!

I also need to colour and post the pic I did of Choichan some months ago and keep forgetting about, plus the 'l&L family portrait, and I'd also like to try Shinju and Okami (Lutra's characters from the Dystopia continuum). But that might have to be it - anything else will be a bonus.

Better organise a light lunch before we head off to the pool!





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Monday, August 11, 2003

Zone member 350 has just joined... So, folks, who should I include in the 'l&L Family Portrait? I'm taking requests....





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Sunday, August 10, 2003

[shakes head despairingly] For several days now I've been wondering what onna meant by her 'creative blog' - tonight I finally found it... well, I have been a little busy...

The last of the Purgatory chapters I had have now been beta-ed and sent back, and the next stage of one of my outstanding email commitments has been cleared - but I think that's all I can cope with tonight. I keep zoning out, and forgetting what I was thinking a couple of minutes ago. Doesn't help that it's still bloody hot! Temperature reached 38 degrees at Heathrow today, and while we're a long way from there, nevertheless it's been enervating in Briz.

Carol tells me that Spooks has been bought by one (or possibly more) of the American networks, only it's been renamed - to MI5 we think. Well worth a look if it's on in your area!

Talon - fascinating dreams! Though 'lestrel would never laze around spongeing off friends - just not in his nature... I should be covering the small matters of Zha'zhasaan's gemstones, Ry and 'raadiin, and Kiraz' comeuppance, in the next AC chapter.

Congrats on the new sitespace Valkyrie! It looks much better without the banner. And I haven't forgotten the followup to Addiction, honest!!

'lestrel smiley





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I should be in bed. I know it, you know it. But I thought I'd update quickly before crawling upstairs...

Today was amazing. We left just gone 5pm to head off to Ashton Court for the Balloon Fiesta Night Glow - only to find the traffic had ground to a standstill along Coronation Rd. Yes, I know, I should have foreseen it, but I haven't owned a car in ten years, I forget how truly awful Briz traffic can be... Anyway, we detoured and finally got there nearly one and a half hours after we'd left home (the trip should take 20-30 minutes) The bottom car park was full: Carol drove us to the top one (ack, a good 3-4 miles further on!)

But we got there. To find what was probably the biggest and definitely one of the best funfairs I've ever seen! A Samurai clone, the Wild Mouse rollercoaster, Typhoon, Twister (Carol went on that with Kai - same as the one at Clevedon), one of those upward-catapaulting thingies (y'know the sort, you're strapped into a ball-shaped metal frame and launched upwards on what looks like stretched elastic...), dodgems, Stargate (a new one on me!), Skyfire, loads of rides for kids...

It was an hour before we moved onto the main arena to watch the mass launch, Kai happily munching on bi-coloured candy-floss. We found a reasonable place (unfortunately on the side of the arena with all the food stalls [cue watering mouth]) and settled down: the launch was fun, although there weren't as many balloons as the last time we went - though that might have been because this was the last day. There was a pink gibbous moon that changed to gold as it rose...
The Night Glow was late starting (should have been 9.30 pm, ended up starting at 10), but oh, it was worth it! They played an assortment of music (It's Raining Men probably got the most enthusiastic reception!) with the 14 tethered ballons lighting up from within in time to the music. Quite quite beautiful. And the fireworks at the end...! [shakes head] Best I've ever seen. Soft and fluffy gold and silver ones for Carol, green and purple cascades of stars for Kai, and vast fizzing starbursts for me, with explosions so deep and loud you could feel them. Fabulous!

Well, we traipsed back to the car, to see that the queues to get out of the estate were just ridiculous, so we sat in the car, windows open, high above Bristol with GWR playing quietly on the radio, to let things quieten a little before trying to drive home. And that was fun! HUGE queues... Luckily I know the area reasonably well, so we dived off the main road towards the Clifton Suspension Bridge (heh, to find that although they'd opened it specially for the festival, the toll is now 30p and they won't accept 5p pieces. Which was all we had... Sensibly, there was a man with a bag of change monitoring the gates...)
Driving through Briz on a Saturday night is a little hair-raising, though at just after midnight the mood was boisterous rather than worrying, and there were plenty of police around! Kai, bless him, fell asleep in the car (and will probably be horribly grumpy tomorrow!) But we finally parked up at about half past midnight...
Carol goes home tomorrow, alas. But it's been a fantastic week - even if we're all completely shattered and needing a holiday to recover! So thank you, GoodTwin! We've loved it! [GLOMPS]

I haven't managed to do any drawing at all - it's been too hot. But I have had several insights into some Haadri awkwardnesses that have been annoying me, beta-ed onna's Kokigami and six Purgatory chapters (rest to follow shortly, TR) as well as writing some more Devon with Reshenna. I still have to answer a few emails (Wendy, I'm sorry - will get back to you asap! You too, Talon) and sort out some niggling internet-related annoyances before I can get back to writing, but hopefully I can have everything cleared by Tuesday. Then I can tweak F04 a little more, carry on with F05, and make a start on Moonlight pt 2 and the next AC chapter. AND (grits teeth) one of the Professionals eps we watched has kick-started a plot-spider. (Please don't get your hopes up, Sue, it's an AU comedy in the vein of the MMCIfiles, and whether I can ever net enough haddock to get it written is a matter of considerable conjecture...)

Ah well. Better think about closing down, I suppose....





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Saturday, August 09, 2003

[happy - if hot - sigh] ... I love Brean Down. And I mean that literally: walking barefoot on firm cropped turf along a high ridge with the sea to either side far below sends a thrill of joy spiralling upwards through me. I've only been there - two? three? - times but it always feels like coming home. I want to go back at Yule, alone, to sit and feel... There's a *journey* I need to take and this would be the ideal place for it. Assuming I can get everything organised, that is. We'll see.

We walked about 3 - 3.5 miles today, up and down fairly steep hills (after the 45 degree climb up a long, long, long flight of steps), me with 4 litres of bottled water in my rucksack, Carol with her camera and lenses etc in a shoulder bag. There was a slight breeze, but it was intermittent. No idea what the temperature was, but driving home the car was registering 30 degrees as we were travelling along...

Revivified and altogether mellower this evening. Ken had taped Sentinel for me/us: it was the basketball episode (hastens to add I have absolutely no interest in the game whatsoever, but it was so cute seeing Blair take off on his own!!) But the game reminded me of one of my favourite programmes - Misfits of Science [grins at the puzzled expressions]. I inflicted the pilot ep on Carol, who fortunately rather liked it! It is fun, and I'd recommend anyone reading this to see if you can watch an ep or two, just for the hell of it. Daft, but the charas are lovely...

I'm tired, and melting as I type (we only have opened windows for air-conditioning and there's NO wind this evening). I have emails from onna, Lutra, Valkyrie, Jude, Zone members - not to mention list-things - that need answering, but I just can't cope with them tonight. I'm sorry, folks. I'll get back to you as soon as I can tomorrow....

Image missing... Well, there's a surprise! [smirks] Don't like small furry animals (except to eat)... Big furry animals, however, are a completely different nest of monkeys...





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Thursday, August 07, 2003

Hot again - around 32 degrees when we got to Berkeley. Gorgeous place, and so venerable! The grounds are lovely too, though we couldn't get to the lily pond (once a swimming pool): fenced off with danger signs around it.

There's a Berkeley Hunt too - which once started in Berkeley and would hunt all the way to London, moving from place to place across the country. And that reminded me... Most Brits will probably know the origin of the term "berk" (pronounced burk) to refer to an idiot (or baka), but I'm not sure about anyone outside the country. It's actually rhyming slang: the full phrase is "Berkshire Hunt" - c**t...

[clipped from onna's tree]

Joules, your blog has been sounding like a travelogue, like you are on vacation and seeing the sights. Love it! Your city has so many fascinating places to see and things to do!

Effectively it is a travelogue! It's good for Kai to learn a little of the history and geography of his home, and Carol knows a lot of it - more than me: I'll research it if I can use it in my own writing, but otherwise... We looked up the Richardson website, and compared it to Winchester (which is similar, population size, to your home, 107,222 according to the 2001 census) and Bristol (which is a lot bigger at 380,615), and you're right, we do have a lot more happening here - but then again, both cities are ancient. Give it another thousand years and no doubt Richardson will also have a rich history!





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Onna, how the hell do you cope with a daytime temperature of 43 degrees? That's 109 degrees F, for gods' sake....

I thought our 37 degrees on Monday was bad enough - anything higher and I'd die of heat exhaustion. Remind me to visit you in spring or autumn...





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Wednesday, August 06, 2003

Oh yes - forgot to say...

I've started tidying up the first 49 pages of the little RPG story that's been going on in Talon's chatbox, and will post it as a text file to the Lemon Tree Notice Board when I've found the haddock to finish it. (There are four files so far, getting on for 200 pages.) I'd originally intended to turn it into a story (or two) but I can't see that happening in the foreseeable future...

Lutra - oh no! Not the puppy eyes! Please, anything but the puppy eyes....





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.... knackered....

Thunderstorms were forecast for yesterday, so instead of risking Brean Down we went to Keynsham: had a browse in the second-hand and charity shops then let Kai run riot in Memorial Park while we sat and chatted about writing and the joys of moderating lists...

Forecast was for mist and cloud along the north coast today, so we went to Avon Valley Country Park instead. Wonderful place, so much to do (and we ended up doing most of it!) I loved the falconry display (short because the birds were moulting) and at the end the falconer let anyone who wanted put on the glove and hold the kestrel for a few seconds (if the photos come out I'll post them here). A lovely day, but a tiring one!

Carol says I'm allowed to say she caught the sun (she has a red nose!) Then again, I'm a little on the pinkish side too. It was very hot... Ignore my weather pixie, she's broken.

Quote of the day: Driving through a countryside 'fragrant' with cow manure, we suggested Kai might like to close his window. His reply? "No, I'll just stop breathing instead..."





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Monday, August 04, 2003

AYA!!!

Parcel arrived this morning, from Lutra!! A package of wonderful goodies: a little metallic blue lizard, the Clash tape, three Radittsu crazybones and a Shenron, and lots and lots of treats! We shared the strawberry wagonwheels at Westonbirt (they were delicious!) and are going to try the Twisties and teriyaki-flavoured Beef Jerky later on. As for the chocolate yowies.... [grin] We'll risk them tomorrow! Thank you!!

Westonbirt was wonderful. I loved The Diamond Light of the Sun and Moon Reflected in a Northern Lake (complete with two incidental red dragonflies and a beautiful big green and blue one that reminded me of Carli - it wouldn't stay still long enough for Carol to photograph it...), Screen 4 and The Split: The Witness was quite special too. And The Concrete Garden (not listed on the website) took us rather by surprise: from a distance it looked - weird - but close up it was really rather attractive. If the photos come out I'll post a pic here.

[clipped from onna's tree]

Now, how was Kai's amphora made? It looks like a slab of terracotta with paint and texture added. Am I being fooled and it's just construction paper? I like it! The black animal shape, a winged lion? really adds to the piece.

Thank you! Actually it's just paper: the sprogs traced round their chosen shape of vessel and cut it out, then cut out the other shape (it is a lion, but with a man's head coming out of its back - odd...) in contrasting paper. It was Kai's own idea to do the partial leaf shapes to make it look as though it was 3-D!

Lutra, I am with you when it comes to wanting to see the Uffington Horse! And Colchester Castle would be great to visit, what a parcel of history in one place! *sigh* What a blast it would be for everyone to gather together in England and just experience the place!

Avebury! Let's all meet up in Avebury! I love it there! Back before Ken and I got together again I went on a day trip: the post office/gift shop was for sale at the time - right inside the stone circle! Oh, I wanted to buy it so much... Completely impractical, of course. And Ken and I have stood on the back of the Uffington white horse. It's a gorgeous area - and the village lovely too.

[netted in Lutra's pond]

I've never actually dressed as anything other than what came out of my imagination. It's fun, and yes, it's partly about the attention but there is also something intensely satisfying about creating these costumes, doing the research, plotting how the damn thing will go together, hunting for fabrics and suitable trims...

[response to onna and Lutra] Now that's quite different! Those are original costumes for original characters (or real historical people) - and as you say, it's acting... Still not really my thing, but makes a lot more sense to me than dressing up as an anime or manga character (and I've yet to see a human who can carry off an anime chara: the bodies aren't the right shape!)...

[sigh] I somehow volunteered to beta ten chapters of Purgatory, as well as carrying on the current section with Reshenna of our joint 'addie' (which needs to be completed very soon): F05 will probably have to wait until next week.

Onna, will get back to you re: the story as soon as I ever can...





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Bristol Harbour Festival was fun, if very hot and very very crowded. But Kai got to go on the dodgems with Carol, and on his very first 'grown up' fairground ride, Freddie's Revenge (again with Carol, who'd mentioned a wee while back that she fancied a go on one of the more adventurous rides....)

Aiming to get to Westonbirt for the designer gardens tomorrow. Supposed to be a very hot day again (heh, we're having a heatwave!) so will try to spend some time in the arboretum itself, under the beautiful trees...





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Sunday, August 03, 2003

Chill-out day today.

Carol came with me to our membership advisor's to help prepare the food to celebrate the first anniversary of BRISTAL's existence - a picnic in the park, which went down very well! Afterwards (very full) we wandered back and I inflicted more Sentinel on my longsuffering GoodTwin - fortunately she rather likes the programme, though I somehow doubt Jim and Blair will ever replace Bodie and Doyle in her heart...

Onna, thanks for the cosplay pics... No, I'll rephrase that. Thanks for the lovely example of what the PS6 automated feature will do! Now I've seen it I can envisage how I want the Zone Gallery to look.

[shakes head] But I simply don't understand why anyone would want to embarrass themselves by dressing up like this. I admit I've never enjoyed dressing up - always seemed terribly false to me. Why would you want to pretend to be someone other than who you are? [grins - OK, I've really no right to object. Every character I've ever written exemplifies a particular element of me, and how could I possibly find one costume that encapsulates them all...?]

Lutra - please please please bear with Trigun. It's all a little odd and slapdash - almost as though trying to put off the casual viewer - until you reach ep 6...





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Friday, August 01, 2003

A more laid back day today - the sprogs recapped yesterday's exercises, then had a show-and-tell: Henry took in the first Harry Potter video, Kai took in his Twisted Tales tape (a documentary on spiders videoed from the National Geographic channel) and his optical glasses (made from the flexible layer behind the screen of a laptop - does very strange things to the vision!)

The individual chat afterwards was useful - feedback from the mums about the course, and where we go from here. The team will report back to the original therapist, who'll organise some kind of follow-up for us (more courses and support groups were suggested): it was agreed that while a more detailed analysis would be necessary to confirm Asperger's (or Beefburger's Syndrome, as Kai immediately dubbed it!) he definitely does need some long term help in learning to cope with social interactions. There'll be a report back to the school as well, which should help ease the situation (and hopefully stop what Kai calls the bullying he's been subjected to: may need to address that separately once the new term starts).

So, a very constructive, if absolutely knackering, week all told...

Carol's on her way...!





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[happy grin] And F04 finally co-operated, is revised and off!

Talon, forgot to say - great that you stuck firm with Ripley! I know all too well how horribly embarrassing that sort of behaviour can be, but it's so important to be consistent and ensure sprog realises when behaviour is unacceptable. Kids, especially young kids, need boundaries (so they can try pushing them, if nothing else!) - boundaries give structure and stability to their lives.

As to the toilet-training - not much help there I'm afraid. Kai simply hated being wet and smelly and more or less trained himself, going almost straight from nappies to a child-seat on the loo (never liked potties much) with a little stool so he could step up to it. A system of rewards might help - don't let her wear the panties she likes until she's been accident-free for 3 days, for example... Just a thought.

Off to look at F05...





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