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
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11/01/2002 - 11/30/2002
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01/01/2017 - 31/01/2017
01/02/2017 - 28/02/2017

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Ye gods, no. 87 has its Yule tree up and decorated...
Ken's been working on two little books over the last couple of years, and the deadline for the first is tomorrow. Way back when he was living in Dartmouth and running Carmina, his first small press, he wrote Paranormal Dertemouthe, a little volume of the haunted places in the area. He's now re-written it as Ghosts of Dartmouth, using anecdotes from local people, and it's going to be published by Obelisk Publishing, an Exeter-based press, next Spring. The other project is another slim volume, Brislington Ghosts and Legends, something he's wanted to do for a while (some of his material has just appeared in Haunted Bristol, now on sale on Amazon UK as well as local bookshops).
Current status of the new book - the intro is written and I'm half way through the first chapter: all in first draft at the moment. There are nine chapters in total, not including the intro, each of six two-page spreads, and given the wordage constraints (no more than 500 words per spread) it has to be very succinct.
It's been a busy day and the hands are aching - I'm taking the evening off!




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[sighsnuffle] Kai's brought another virus home with him...
He's home from school today - not really what I would call poorly, but Ken saw a news item on TV, some medical study that indicates that people who struggle into work with colds, 'flu and other assorted bugs not only put their co-workers at risk but are at risk themselves from heart disease in later years. [rolls eyes] That's me due to kick the bucket in about - oh, six years time, then...
[bemused and slightly soppy grin] I wouldn't normally share, but thought this was rather nice...
Ken's card 2004I had to get into town to the bank yesterday, so shopped while I was there [shudder - Broadmead four weeks before Yule, bleurgh...], and picked up my Yule card for Ken (see left). I usually buy simple, understated cards if I can, and definitely without naff verses: this one just has four words inside it. It's a little early for exchanging cards, but I thought, since I had it... I left it by the bed so he would find it when he went up at 10 pm (Ken's always needed more sleep than me and the medication leaves him exhausted).

Joules' card 2004When I went up to bed, at 5 am, I found an envelope on my bedside cabinet - with this inside. Same card manufacturer, same style, almost the same words! He tells me he bought it at least six weeks ago...

... [glowers at Lutra] OK, so I'll admit that that's a little bit romantic, but it doesn't mean that I am. Or that Ken is. And I do not get sniffly over greeting cards.
Ever.
Nor could I ever be described as cute. But you knew that already...
The search for a Yule pressie for my mother has so far been a dismal failure. Of the two things I'm looking for I've found precisely none, dammit. Luckily we have a cunning Plan C....

Right. Back to the book, before the editor starts shouting for first drafts...




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Sunday, November 28, 2004

So that was Troy...
What a perfect candidate for MSTing!
And in fact Kai did...
Priam to Achilles: "How many sons have you killed? How many brothers, fathers [etc etc, can't remember the exact words]...?" Kai (in quiet voice, behind me): "Twenty seven."
What can I say? I'll ignore the historical/mythological inaccuracies - didn't expect the film to be terribly accurate anyway. Dreadful acting, with the old hands overacting and the (relative) newbies looking like amdrams by contrast. Uniformly unlikeable characters (though I suppose that was pretty much in keeping with the original story). Nice eye candy - pretty Orlando Bloom - and a handful of reasonable performances - Peter O'Toole, Sean Bean, Eric Bana - but the rest... And I had no idea Brad Pitt was so ugly...
I'll admit to a grudging admiration for the attempt to make the film in the first place, though. It's a complex story, less black and white than is usual for big-budget films, and the political shenanigans were quite well depicted.
But it won't be going on the list of DVDs to buy.




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Friday, November 26, 2004

It appears that school dinners haven't improved much since I was a sprog... Kai was describing his school's custard to me on the way home - thick, with a horrible skin on it, and full of powdery lumps. I told him that sounded just like my mother's custard. (My mother's custard is the reason I can't stand the stuff even now - and had the interesting side effect of putting me off bananas for donkey's years, too, an aversion I only recently overcame).
He had to find out three facts about Vivaldi as his homework for the weekend, so we listened to my Four Seasons CD while we checked the 'net (actually quicker and easier than hunting through our Musical Companion, though I sometimes wonder if I should insist on him looking things up in print as well as using the 'net...) The school does give interesting homework: I don't remember ever being given anything like that.
We've rented Troy on DVD to watch with the folks tomorrow. It'll be amusing to see if it's as bad as the reviews say...
Many thanks for the good wishes and sympathy, everyone. I don't know whether it's the NHS, Briz, or just me being jinxed but we seem to have had nothing but hassle with hospitals all our lives. It becomes wearying after a while.
... back to it...




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Thursday, November 25, 2004

[head in hands] F***ing unbelievable.
The hospital have lost Ken's test results.
We now won't know until December 23rd. Assuming they don't lose them again, that is.
You know, it's just as well I'm looking forward to my hair going completely silver, 'cause it's happening faster than I'd anticipated.
[deep breath] OK... in other news... Kai seems to have had a good day (I've taken some photos, Carol) but only got to quote once ("Why are you asking me all these questions? I just want my parents back!"). However, he did spend the walk home from school telling me how much he didn't like being in the future, how much wanted to return to the past (the story is set sometime in the 1970s)... Throws himself into his imagination, my bratling, just like his mum...
Butbutbut... Sue has been in touch with the seller of the Helm's Deep set and she's willing to ship to the UK! [GLOMPS Sue!!] Thank you! (I don't have and don't want an e-bay account, you see - far too dangerous a thing for me to open...) So that's my birthday present from Kai and Ken for next year. (Heh, yeah, like it'll last that long unopened!)
Simon has fixed the bug in the Remind Me Please programme and it now works perfectly. Will add a link to it in my left-hand infopane.
My parents are coming up for the weekend (Sat am to Sun lunchtime) for the first phase of the Yule-org Manoeuvre . They'll bring up everything they want for Yule, and take back the presents for Ken's folks and brother/sister-in-law. Then they'll visit Ken's parents to drop off those and pick up anything that needs to come up for Yule - then bring it with them when they come up on the 23rd December. Yes, it's really Ken's parents' turn to stay, but as Xmas and Boxing Day fall on Saturday and Sunday this year it causes horrendous problems with public transport. They'll come up next year.
And for anyone who doesn't read Lutra's blog but would like to meet Tilda, a.k.a. Kittenkong, I've uploaded the first movie here. At least, I hope I have, I've never tried uploading a movie before! It's in avi format, so should play OK in Windows Media Player, and it's just over 3 megabytes. You may need to right-click and 'save target as'. If it doesn't work, let me know and I'll see if I can sort it out...
Right. Back to it...




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Wednesday, November 24, 2004

[head in hands] last week Kai's school newsletter said it was "Dress-up-as-a-character-from-your-favourite-book" day on the 25th. Kai said he didn't want to dress up. Tonight, as we came out of the school's book fair (with a copy of Goosebumps: Welcome to Camp Nightmare: he's into Black Hole High, Goosebumps and Fosters Home for Imaginary Friends at the moment...) he announced that he has to dress up tomorrow. [shakes head] Well, of course he does...
Luckily, he wants to dress up as Rob from the first Sapphire and Steel adventure (and before anyone says it's a TV series not a book, Peter Hammond did actually write and publish a novel of the first mission. I have a copy. I gather it's quite rare now...) That means I haven't had to get out the sewing machine, at least: he has pale beige trousers (no, he doesn't wear them often, I'm not daft enough to put a young boy in pale coloured clothes!), and a hideous 70's style cardigan (present from a family member a little while back, if I remember rightly. Apparently high fashion, regardless of what I think of it...) He doesn't have the right coloured check (or patterned) shirt, but he does have a pale beige shirt in that soft, slightly suede-like man-made fibre - microfibre? I can't remember the name - which works just fine with the rest. And his hair is pretty much right, since I haven't trimmed it for a couple of weeks.
So that's him sorted, then!
Anyone else catch that Tory Party broadcast on the Queen's Speech? Pissed me right off - apparently they're trying that 'culture of fear' thing that Australia and the US used in their elections, trying to scare people into voting for them to reverse the security problems here. Like it being dangerous to walk alone at night. [blink] Y'what? It's been like that since I was twelve - nothing new there. And the last bout of Tory misrule only made the situation worse! I'd like to think the majority of the population are sufficiently clued up not to listen to Tory crap - or Labour crap, come to that, overhearing sensible political conversations amongst the regular workers in the local Sainsbugs was very heartening - but no doubt we'll find out soon enough.
Ken has his consultants' appointment at the BRI tomorrow. We think this is finally the three-month one where we find out if the medication is going to work or not. It would be good to know. And perhaps then I'd be able to concentrate.
Back to the book.




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... Oh GODS [trying to catch breath]...
Lutra found figurines of the Argonath on e-bay (that's those two ruddy great statues that guard the entrance to Gondor in FotR), something she'd really like to have. Not really my sort of thing, but I had a quick look for a Haldir figure while I was there. Found a rather nice Helm's Deep set with Haldir, only 35 dollars, and no bids so far, but only 2 hours to go and they'll only ship to the States, so that's a no-go. Dammit.
ANYway - I also found a Barbie and Ken set - with Barbie done up as Galadriel and Ken done up as Legolas... [blasphemy! sacrilege! MAIM! KILL!!!]
[Lutra] [TWITCH] [Joules] [whimper] take it away..... [whimper] thank you for sharing... scratch out my eyes... omigod they're official merchandise... [shudder] (Hey, that rhymes!) .................... nope, can't bear to look anymore... [blink] and I've done quite enough looking. I just read two separate entries as a legosaurus... ROFL!! >8-} The prettiest dinosaur of all!! [rolling around laughing]
[still chortling]




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Tuesday, November 23, 2004

... Ho hum...
Ploughing on...
Kai's been watching Sapphire and Steel again. The last video worries him - he feels that their adventures shouldn't end there, there needs to be a follow-up (heh, takes after his mother!) So we discussed fanfiction on the way home from school, and thought about how we could continue the story. Narrowed it down to three options: 1) They could do nothing. Very unsatisfactory, Kai thought, and also not at all in character. 2) They could get themselves out. A nice idea, but as I pointed out, and Kai agreed with me, their abilities aren't really that useful in the diner. If they'd had Silver with them it would have been different... 3) Their fellow elements could mount a rescue mission. After all, they'd be missed!
So I think Kai is pondering a final adventure for them, using the most unlikely scenario he can get away with (his idea) while still making it believable (my suggestion). We'll see what transpires.
We recently tried Sainsbug's microwavable chocolate puddings. Absolutely delicious - but rather worryingly they glow green in ultra-violet light (we bought Kai a little UV torch and he's been experimenting with it. Just so's you know we're not normally in the habit of subjecting our food to radiation...) Probably just as well I have a cast-iron stomach...
Lutra has posted a link to this site on her blog. It's hysterically funny, but what non-Britons might not know is it's a piss take of an actual booklet that was sent to every household in the country (ours is somewhere here - not sure exactly where its been filed, Ken probably does...) at an enormous cost to the taxpayer. It made a lot of people very angry, and really isn't that useful, it's all pretty much common sense stuff. (Then again, how much of the population of any given country can be said to have any common sense...?)
The spoof is fun, though...
On a different note, I've recently downloaded Remind Me Please, a thoroughly nifty bit of kit from Spacejock Software by Simon Haynes (yup, the author of the Hal Spacejock novels). Easy to use, sits neatly on the desktop, flashes up reminder screen on bootup for all the things I'm supposed to do each day. It's great! No more forgetting to remove out-of-date events from the websites I manage, no more forgetting birthdays (well, once I've finally got round to adding them to the database, anyway!). So far it hasn't conflicted with anything (which is a bloody miracle given some of the weird stuff I have on my machine), even XP. The only minor glitch at the moment is that to diary ahead I have to 'push' events manually forwards, but to be honest it's such a minor bug, and Simon does update the programme every now and then with small upgrades, that I can easily live with it until it's fixed.
There's some great Spacejock Software there - take a look around the site!




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Sunday, November 21, 2004

[gazes forlornly at swarms of haddock winging their way southwards for the winter]
I'm losing days again. Still, the run-up to Yule does tend to play havoc with my less-than-perfect timesense. And I've had to shop these last two days, and you probably know by now how much I loathe shopping. Forget road rage, my manifestation of trolley rage is a far more frightening phenomenon. But all the presents are bought except for my mother's [sigh. She managed to kill last year's bonsai...] and the freezer is beginning to fill with food for the season - which as you should know by now in this house starts the night before the Solstice and ends on Jan 2nd...
WAAAIIII!!
A parcel arrived this morning, from Hong Kong (what pretty stamps!): four Wolf's Rain DVDs from onna!! [GLOMPS onna!] The artwork looks gorgeous, and given it was created by the team responsible for Cowboy Bebop and Escaflowne (OK, I wasn't overly keen on the latter because of the mecha, but it was pretty...) I anticipate enjoying it. Though it's going to be a wee while before I can wrestle a haddock into submission to sit and watch it. My birthday, perhaps. Something to look forward to!
I have emails to answer and Purgatory and AC to write and I don't feel like doing any of it. But if I don't, I'll only have to do it later. So I suppose getting it done now is a good idea...
Oh, forgot to mention: Trial - the sort-of-follow-up to Waiting - is now going to become part of Lutra's Little Birds as a joint story. Which, she tells me, was what we decided in the first place. [sigh - rubs forehead] My memory has obviously flown south with the haddock. Anyway, so far my part is seven pages long, hers is eight, and we're probably not even half way through yet. But it's all good stuff!
... back to... something...




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Thursday, November 18, 2004

OK - new chair ordered: don't know when it will arrive though, they're having problems with deliveries... (Have we heard that before anywhere?) A bit extravagant, but we figured I'm going to be sitting on it 8-18 hours a day until it falls to pieces, may as well get something decent. It's very comfortable.
And my reviews are finished and sent off. I'll send you the link to them when it's posted, if you like onna. Generally speaking I think both books are a lot better than Bored of the Rings, because of the way they've been written. They're not just parodies: the author has evolved his own worldframe/histories/backstories for the characters that occasionally parallels but more often veers off at tangents from the original. And yet it's perfectly convincing in context, and you know it's a Tolkien parody, it simply couldn't be anything else. They're brilliant, and I am very impressed with the author's skill!
Back to Trial...




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... and suddenly I'm in great demand to revise websites and forward info and actually speak to people on the phone and all I really want to do is either sleep or ficwrite...
This is the Diwali poster Kai coloured for me...

Kai's Happy Diwali poster

OK, so, amongst everything else tomorrow I have to finish my reviews of The Soddit and The Sellamillion. Illustration from The Soddit by A Roberts. Pic used without permission but in the cause of a review/promotion of the book Yes, both Hobbit/LotR parodies. Very very funny ones too, full of clever jokes and puns and the most hysterical footnotes - I was in stitches through The Soddit. This pic (posted without express permission but calling on the reviewer's privilege to use up to 10% of the reviewed material in support of the review) is one of the illustrations - a Coward(ly) Elf and a Wild(e) Elf. (That's Noël Coward and Oscar Wilde to you and me.) Lord Elsqare (and it took me bloody days to twig that joke. If you haven't got it, add a 'u' as the 5th letter to both Elsqare and Elrond...) is a Wild Elf: his partner is "the beautiful Olthfunov", a male Coward Elf [smirks at slashers]. As Gandef (yes, Gandef and for a very good reason) says, "The Wild Elves are often truly wild. I have known a Wild Elf wear bright purple breeches with a lime-green and orange-checked tunic. No Coward Elf would have the courage for such attire. Tweed is about as courageous as they can be."
And as for the bizarre relationship between dwarfs and wizards and dragons, well... [shakes head]
Loads of fun, but it helps immensely if you've read The Hobbit first!
And I have a present! For some unknown reason setting up a Twinfic fan with a password was causing great problems last night: I finally got it working and she (I assume it's a she) drew me the most gorgeous Twinpic as a thank you! Below is a tiny version of it: I'll be posting a larger version (though not the full size - keeping that for myself) in the Vault's open Twinfic page on the site later this week. [GLOMPS Kat-Z]
A gift for me!





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Wednesday, November 17, 2004

It's Wednesday already? Where'd Tuesday go? And Monday come to that....
Shopping went well, Yule presents now mostly bought. Potential problem at school averted (hopefully). The rest has just been ploughing on, and on, and on...
So, much as normal then.
[growl] Why, when I reply to a comment, is Haloscan not registering it here?
Tomorrow I go chair-hunting...




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Monday, November 15, 2004

[growl] it's a bit much when I can't find the haddock to update every day...!
The weekend in brief - and very fast...
Ken and Kai walked to Dundry on Saturday [peace! quiet! space to work without the constant, "mum, what's (insert topic/query)?"] and arrived back very very cold. Cue biscuits and mugs of hot chocolate. But they seem to have had a good time - Kai enjoyed it anyway, and arrived back with a couple of fossils he found at Maes Knoll.
Caught a French and Sanders (Saunders? I can't remember) episode on TV. Is this supposed to be funny? Gross, crass and tasteless, I would have said. Unfortunately like far too much so-called British comedy these days.
I do like the new Cadbury ads! We sat for a few minutes tonight after seeing the latest one and wondered what our 'happiness' would be. Snake or lizard for me, perhaps...
Terminator 3 was on Channel 5 tonight. Yawn.
Waiting - the Hidden Hero sequel - coming along nicely. Makes a change to write in this style, I'm rather enjoying myself. Considerations of immortality make for interesting Haadri comparisons too.
Party plots, plans and pairings also trundling along well...
Town tomorrow, bank and a few more Yule presents, hopefully.
Then back to the book...




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Friday, November 12, 2004

Right, let's see what's been happening...
... Can I actually remember what's been happening? Well, last night was parent/teacher evening: got to meet and chat with Kai's new teacher. Nice woman, very pragmatic and down-to-earth. Said Kai's doing very well - reading and science well above average, and she's very happy to have him in the class, he's bright and interesting. Yes, there are still the occasional mini-tantrums - perhaps tantrum is too strong a word for it - but he's learning not to let the other children wind him up. Overall a very satisfactory meeting.
I've dug out the old mouse that came with this computer - it has a laser instead of a ball on the bottom and simply plugs in. Not as good as a trackball but there's no installation software (hence no conflicts) and I can simply unplug it when Ken/Kai have finished. So my tablet is safe except from me.... I'll think about getting another trackball later, it's no longer high priority. After all, I don't use it (except to right-click), and Ken and Kai are both fine using a normal mouse (unlike me, as Carol will attest).
We've had the countersigned book contract back, so that's all go now.
My order(s) from play.com have been trickling in. As well as the LotR and Matrix self indulgencies, we've bought my father's birthday and Yule presents, a couple of HPs for Kai - and The Calcium Kid for me...
I can't stand boxing. But I love British comedies, and this looks delightfully funny. And it'll be interesting to see Orlando Bloom in something other than big-budget roles...
[head in hands] I made the mistake of commenting, idly, in passing, to Lutra, that I should write a Yuletide story this year. Cue everyone I've written over the past year clamouring for a party. Ye gods, can you imagine throwing together the Cybercops, the AC cast, the Dystopia bunch, the characters of YnM, the Ultimate Muscle crew, the Flaming Prince and the Matrix Twins in a room with a handful of elves, lots of alcohol, minimal party food, loud music and a Yule tree and leaving them to get on with it? Unfortunately I can...
I made the further mistake of commenting, in public, on Lutra's blog, that despite the fact that a sequel to Hidden Hero should be impossible, I could always write some ghost-smut. (Alternatively I could bring Haldir back. After all, there's precedent - that appears to be what Tolkien intended for Glorfindel...)
I don't 'alf drop myself in it sometimes...
Back to work.
Later addition - it's Craig Parker's birthday according to the IMDb! [sends virtual birthday wishes...]




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Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Oh just wonderful. [growl] Between them, Ken and Kai have managed to break my trackball mouse. And yes, it has to be them, I only use it to right click (my tablet pen won't do that properly). I'm not surprised, they're both so heavy-bloody-handed with the thing. Doesn't affect me, but now Ken has to use my pen to use my computer, and I don't want that damaged too... Soddit, have to buy a new one just for them. And trackballs ain't cheap.
Hidden Hero posted last night - see the Updates Blog for details - and Lutra commented on it:
Hmph. It was sposed to be a PWP, not a sad, beautiful, compelling glimpse into a world I really didn't want anything to do with. I should be annoyed with you...
[beatific grin] So that worked OK then...
OK, proposed names so far for the Rhino are Grumpy, Dopey and Droopy. Any advances? He's not a Bashful or a Doc, that much is obvious...
Back to the book.




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Tuesday, November 09, 2004

[growl] So Ken woke me up at 8 am after about 3 hours sleep, which gave me just enough time to get up and ready for the hospital transport at 8.20 (yeah, I know, I'm really speedy when I have to be...). 8.20 came and went, no transport. 8.50 came and Ken rang the hospital, was given the number for transport. Engaged. Continued being engaged for the next half an hour. 9.20 - our appointment time - came and went. Phone still engaged. I rang the hospital, who were very apologetic and said they couldn't get through either, but not to worry, as long as we could get there before mid-day Kai could still be seen...
Finally got through to transport at 9.50, who took the number and said they'd find out what was happening and ring us back. Rang back 5 minutes later to say the transport would be with us in 10 minutes - which it was...
We finally got to the hospital at 10.30 - after going up to the Children's Centre to find that our appointment was actually at the Children's Hospital: it looks like the sprog-psychology department is moving down there permanently (which is no bad thing, it's bright and modern and friendly and a damn sight easier to get to.) We finally saw the consultant at just before 11...
Now, I don't blame the hospital, and I don't really blame transport: our driver had been drafted in from Bath to drive today (I didn't ask why, but I assume it was because of either staff-shortages or the regular ambulance drivers being too busy.) What does annoy me is that if someone had rung to tell us, we could have bloody bussed there and been seen at the right time. As it was, Ken was three hours late taking his medication (he didn't take it before we went as it would have left him with the usual pounding headache and feeling like shit, and he wanted to be in a reasonable mental state to talk to the doctor), I was knackered before we were seen, and we were all stressed.
[growl] But anyway, it was a fair session, and Dr A has come up with some suggestions as to ways to maybe help get Kai into John Cabot. Actually I think it was partly his way of suggesting ways to help me take more control of what's happening in our lives, since so much is out of my control and fairly obviously causing stress. I'm not a control freak as such, but I really hate feeling helpless... But anything that helps Kai obviously also helps us, and the suggestions were good ones...
Dr A's going to spend a little time in Kai's class, to get a view of the problems at school with an eye to suggesting strategies for coping, which I'm pleased about. Will report back as to outcomes as and when.
It was gone 12 when we left the hospital, and since there was no way Kai could get to school for the afternoon even if we'd arranged it, I bought us day bus tickets and we went up the Gloucester Rd to explore the second-hand shops. Kai didn't do too badly, but it was a bit disappointing for me. However, it was nice to see what had changed, and good to have a really good scour.
I was dropping by the time we got back though - went straight up for a sleep while Ken took over dinner etc for Kai. I'm still tired, but tomorrow we're back to what passes for normal in this family. And I have to continue writing the book.
In the meantime, Lutra suggested I scan a grumpy rhino. So here you go - these are what's on my big baggy top. ([frown] Actually, he looks more dopey than grumpy, perhaps...)
grumpy rhino





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Monday, November 08, 2004

Came downstairs after my shower, to have Kai look up and say, "Aww, mum feels like a rhino..."
[grin] To explain - I have a great big baggy top-thing, sort of a cross between a shirt and a sweat-shirt, grey, in a weird sort of fleecy-corduroy-cross material. With a big, widely-spaced pattern of grumpy looking cartoon rhinos - and fish skeletons. Why? Haven't a clue. But it's a favourite top, and I once joked to Kai that I only wore it when I felt either like a grumpy rhino or a dead fish...
... I think most people reading this know how much I loathe and detest mpreg. Actually, I don't just loathe and detest it, I actively hate it.
So why have I just laughed myself SICK reading a Glorfindel/Erestor mpreg?
That was one of the funniest things I think I've ever read, and beautifully written as well. Gods, my stomach hurts from laughing... And since the site is slash, I can't post the link here, dammit. But I'll add it to the bottom of Hidden Hero once that's posted...
My computer was kidnapped this morning [translation; Ken needed it for a client], but Kim rang to see if we wanted a riverside walk, since it wasn't raining. We drove over to Hanham, with all the sprogs this time - Kai and Joe seemed to get on very well, despite the three year and interests difference (Joe is twelve and a sport-loving boy) and Kim and I had a good natter. Sarah didn't enjoy it so much: it was very muddy, and she's something of a young lady...
Most of autumn's colours have faded or fallen by now, but it was still fun. We don't often get over to the other side of the river, it's a bus-ride then a longish walk, or else a ferry ride, but the ferry is erratic and doesn't run all that often.
Kai has the day off tomorrow for our appointment at the Children's Centre. I'm not worried. The older Kai gets the more convinced I am there's nothing wrong with him except a very active imagination and a considerable IQ, both of which we can help him deal with...




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Saturday, November 06, 2004

[happy sigh] Nappa's back. And with a new and more carefully selected playlist - including Tatu's All the things she said, the single I was raving about a while back. Ken found it for 50p in the local charity shop, in perfect nick... The sound quality on this little machine is stunning, as good as that from my computer speakers.
Re-installing the software caused minor conflicts with Firefox - a number of bits of software do that, I've noticed. Not that it's a major problem: at worst, a reboot of the system clears it. I'd still use Firefox in preference to any other browser. (I don't use IE at all now, especially since the 'work offline' option keeps disappearing...)
Lutra and I have started the next AC; hoping to have that posted by the end of the weekend.




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Friday, November 05, 2004

Busy busy...
Into town today, to bank - and to the walk-in heath centre (yes, Lutra, I finally gave in to the nagging...) where I spoke at some length with the wonderfully knowledgeable and reassuring nurse. Pretty much as I thought, there's nothing really that can be done medically for my back. It could be caused by a number of things but the one thing that sounds most plausible to me is a tiny misplacement of the discs at the base of my spine due to that old fall, exacerbated by a change of posture. She's suggested self-administered anti-inflammatory painkillers (Ibuprofen, in other words), 400mg 3 times a day with food, for a week, to see if that helps - the effect is cumulative. OK, I really hate taking drugs but given that the pain is making it difficult to work, I'll give in this once. Since it came on literally overnight (eight weeks ago) it may go the same way - fingers crossed. If the 'prufen doesn't work, I should go to see my own doctor - might need to see an osteopath or chiropractor (which we can't afford at the moment). And I should make sure I get plenty of calcium (with my love of cheeses that's no problem) and try fish-oil supplements to ease joint pain - good ol' cod liver oil capsules, in fact! Which is fine, I don't have a problem with natural supplements.
The good news is that the problem with my left arm is related to the tenosynovitis, and the 'prufen should fix that as well (well, it sure beats steroid injections into the elbow joint, which is the other way it can be treated!) Oh, and I have to get a new work chair, a really good one with arms. But we were going to do that anyway with the advance. We both need new chairs; it's now top priority.
And more good news! The guy at Special Reserve (loved the hair!) fixed Nappa for me! Apparently one of the tracks on my playlist was an mp3 pro, rather than a simple mp3, and corrupted the memory chip, which made the whole thing non-functional. Which I can believe, as two of the new tracks were encoded via my Fraunhofer software instead of Music Match - higher quality ripping... I need to reinstall the software before I can check he's working properly; will do that tomorrow. If I still have a problem, I'll take him back again on Monday: we have an appointment with Kai at the Children's Centre so will be on that side of the river.
Unfortunately they couldn't help me with the other mp3 player - I'll have to return that to them by post for a refund, since they didn't have anything in the shop that I wanted as a replacement. Will sort that out next week.
Contracts for the new book now signed and off to our agent, and we've started the writing. But I'm taking tonight - and possibly tomorrow - off: I'd like to get Hidden Hero (Lutra's 'elf-smut', though it's not turning out to be terribly smutty) finished, and the next AC 'l&L chapter at least started.
Guy Fawkes night. It's noisy already, and given it's Friday we'll probably have this all bloody weekend...




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Thursday, November 04, 2004

So I start writing an Elf/Rohirrim PWP just to annoy Lutra. Well, sort of, though it's a challenge in itself to see if I can write something she likes, given how much she loathes elves. The subsequent ICQ conversation went:
[Joules] Heh, I'll have to make a new passworded sub directory for stray lemons... [Lutra] LOL! Stray lemons! I like that! Stray lemons... roaming the streets, frightening old ladies... That's rogue lemons. Stray lemons sit in hedges looking cute and begging you to take them home and feed them.... ROFL!! [gasping]
[shakes head] It's a wonder I ever get anything done...
Wendy, I used some of your organic home-grown apples to make a rather nice sauce to go with our pork chops tonight. Wonderful! Many thanks!
Ken measured my hair (the long part) earlier. It's now thirty-eight and a quarter inches long. And not at all easy for me to plait by myself.

... and America loses what little vestige of credibility it had left. It's sad to watch a once-great nation slide into a new Dark Age...

For those of you who, like us, don't wish to support the Bush administration, take a look here. It's an extremely useful site, listing products and services to avoid. One I found surprising was Walker's Crisps. (Not that we like Walker's anyway, and I can't stand their ads.) Now that would be an easy target for most people. How many millions of packets of Walker's are sold every day - and how quickly would they get the message if even a fraction of their customers stopped buying their products? (Anyone looking for an alternative should try Real Crisps. Absolutely delicious, hand-cooked and unblanched so they keep their real taste. If your local supermarket/shop doesn't stock them, nag 'em 'til they do!)
Plenty of other ideas here too, many of which we put into operation four years ago. And of course we do our damnedest to buy local - UK, or European - at all times. Tastier, better quality, healthier, and considerably less draining on energy resources...
Heh - time to get back to Lothlórien...




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Monday, November 01, 2004



"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..."

Autumn...
Beech at Eastwood Farm, photograph by Joules, 1993 or thereabouts...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...



Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead; Tom Stoppard; Act 2.
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