Zone Doubt, a.k.a. 'Surreal Я Us'...
Joules, trusted by... dozens... to make a drama out of your crisis...
:: 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.
First, a recommendation. Dive over to The Jonathan Day Fiction Site and try some of the stories. I love this author's writing - it's funny, bitingly witty, dryly incisive, chilling, and deliciously subversive by turns. Absolutely well worth a look!
Monday, February 28, 2005
Yesterday was fun - and I did get to eat my birthday dinner, even if it was a day late and I had to cook it myself. Adrian had a good time at the audio exhibition, and Carol and I chatted, all nicely relaxing. And I now have the Saiyuki manga Vol 5! [GLOMPS Carol] It's great - I love the artwork.
Four more spreads of CH to write and the book is finished. Those four are both the most fun and the most difficult, especially given how I'm feeling at the moment...
Oh - update on the fridge... Engineer (a different one) arrived during the 30 minutes I was out of the house on Saturday. Well he would, wouldn't he? He thought there was maybe a blockage in one of the pipes, and advised us to switch the thing off for 24 hours to defrost. Yeah, right, with a freezer full of food? His answer to that was to run the freezer down. That'll take at least two weeks, and in the meantime I still have no working fridge for milk etc. And if defrosting doesn't work, they may have to cut into the pipes and flush them through with some kind of high-pressure hose, then resolder them. Which can cause problems in itself.
He was gone by the time I got home - luckily for him. THIS FRIDGE FREEZER ISN'T YET SIX MONTHS OLD!!!
I'm now waiting for a response from EmpireDirect before I get back to Trading Standards. I think I'll contact Watchdog as well. Does anyone know of any other way I can spread the word about this company (Hoover Candy, not EmpireDirect), their shoddy merchandise and appalling 'service'?
Today's fortune cookie:
Saturday, February 26, 2005
Well, I think I can safely say that this has been the worst birthday since when I was married to Broom. Let's just forget it ever happened, shall we?
Carol and Adrian are coming over for the day tomorrow - at least that'll be fun.
But thanks anyway, folks, for all the cards and good wishes.
Today's fortune cookie...
Well, I had planned to be able to stop work at around midnight and watch an episode or two of Wolf's Rain, but thanks to being sidetracked (no, not my fault, I had to put right someone else's completely uneccessary cock-up that took hours to rectify) I'm still trying to get CH chapter 9 finished at nearly three in the morning. I'm tired, cold and bloody pissed off, not the way I wanted to start my birthday.
Today's (second) fortune cookie.
[note to self: must stop buying silk orchids... sometime soon.]
Friday, February 25, 2005
<rant> [snarl] I've been making the best use I can of Tesco's various 'extra points' vouchers since we received our last Rewards, and last time I looked on the till receipt we'd acquired around 1,400 points (which equals £14 in Reward vouchers to spend in store, extremely useful since as you know Tesco is my main and preferred supermarket).
This quarter's Reward vouchers arrived in the post this morning.
A grand total of £2.50.
Plus the usual 'extra points for buying specific items' vouchers, which are tailored to the things we usually buy.
Not this time, they were for non-organic stuff I'd never touch.
First thought - an administration cock-up. The card number quoted (hereinafter referred to as S) bore no relation to either my card (hereinafter referred to as J) nor Ken's (hereinafter referred to as K). Although the names and the address were correct.
Tanked over to Tesco (had to pick up some shopping anyway) and queried with Customer Service, who were apologetic but said I had to ring the Club Card freephone line. Walked back (in the snow again) and rang up...
After playing musical numberpads for a minute I got a message in a Scottish accent saying that due to adverse weather conditions there may be a delay with the call being answered - but actually it was picked up almost immediately. I explained what had happened.
Then it got complicated...
Card J was showing on their system as existing, but a skeleton entry.
Apparently Card J - which I've been using perfectly happily since Yule 2003 after reporting my original card lost, and which happily accrued Reward points all last year - was never properly registered. Therefore, although there's £13 worth of vouchers sitting in my 'skeleton' account, they hadn't been sent this quarter. Because my card wasn't registered.
To further confuse the issue, Card S, far from being someone else's card, appears to be the card I lost. Which is still lost, as far as I'm aware. And I can't see anyone else being daft enough to use it and let someone else get the points... Unless these points have accrued from Card K...
[shakes head] ANYway - upshot is I will get my Reward vouchers - but not til April. And in the meantime they're going to register my card and send me a new one (no, I don't understand why!) with a couple of keyfob mini-versions... what do you bet there's problems with that card too?
My fortune cookie for today was going to be the same as Thorne's, so here's tomorrow's instead...
That's nice to know...
Thursday, February 24, 2005
Parcel arrived - Saiyuki Requiem!
It looks wonderful - but I can't watch it 'til Saturday (Ken's hidden the DVD...) So I shall see if I can get some sushi for lunch and settle down with it in the afternoon...
[points to Lutra's Pond] You'll find a snippet of one of Lutra's early sections of the Leander Pryne stories here (Feb 24th post)... Hm. I don't know what to call the project. Study in Bronze was off the top of my head and refers to the overall colour scheme in Leander's study (supposed to be a play on words, you see, between that and the Sherlock Holmes case A Study in Scarlet). But it's not really apposite. We'll need to think of something.
More CH done... Just keep saying "it's finite..." Actually I had to re-read what we've done so far as I suspected I was about to repeat myself in a spread (I was: it's now re-written), and it's not bad at all, as such books go. We're quite pleased with it.
Found on Okapi Princess' Lj... It's a fortune cookie...
Heh, that'll be interesting...
Wednesday, February 23, 2005
Heh, the end is in site for CH - we have just a chapter and five spreads left to write. This is good. Today's been a very productive day, and I should be able to finish a third spread before I close down.
I've found a tall, elegant glass vase to hold my phalaenopsis spray, £3.99 at The Range. With plain glass nuggets in the bottom it looks beautiful. Need to take the 'before' photos soon.
I'd like to comment on Bush' visit, but I'm so digusted by his arrogance and self-delusion I risk high blood-pressure if I think too much about it. How dare he think he can come over here and try to tell us how to behave? With his record?
Then again, why should a man who professes to believe god speaks to him feel concerned about what anyone else thinks?
... hang on. Isn't hearing voices an early sign of mental illness?
Tuesday, February 22, 2005
[sigh - see previous post] You know how it goes - a new project leaps into your consciousness and you just have to make a small start... Here's a taster, a snippet of the intro to the stories.
© 2005 Feb 22 Joules Taylor
There won't be any more until CH is finished and FL is sent off, I'm afraid, but that shouldn't be too long. And it'll probably be posted in the fiction section of joulestaylor.com: it certainly won't be as graphically adult as the Zone and Darkside material!
... Thank FirstBus for FirstDay bus tickets...
The max/min marker thermometer broke over the weekend. We need it to prove how not-cold is the fridge (10 degrees), and how too-cold is the freezer (below -40 degrees). Ken and Kai trundled off to B&Q yesterday to buy a replacement (£4 in their sale).
It didn't work.
Yes, I know that sounds odd - after all, what can go wrong with a thermometer? But the reset dials simply turned without having any effect. So this morning - early - I leapt on a Bath bus, leapt off again at the bouncing hamster (um, sorry, I mean PetSmart or whatever they've called themselves these days) and took it back to swap it for one that did work.
It was the last one.
They gave me a refund, and I walked to Wyevale garden centre (wasn't worth hopping on another bus, the stop was halfway to the place.) They had a max/min marker thermometer, exactly what we wanted - for £11.49. [wince] Had to buy it. Picked up a cheap little hydrometer for Kai as well (I think that's his collection of weather-measuring instruments complete. Oh, no, he needs one of those little solar-powered twirly things inside a lightbulb...) And drooled over the orchids and bonsai. Then jumped on another bus home via Tesco. In the snow. Not enough to settle, just enough to make me cold and wet by the time I arrived back.
Then into town - throw money at bank, Athena to pick up Kai's Hidden Depths poster, and bought myself fabric orchids at The Pier. Have I mentioned I love orchids, but since I can't provide real ones with the right growing conditions, I'm looking for good fake ones for our bedroom? Now I have a huge, beautiful spray of cream-coloured phalaenopsis and a slightly smaller spray of white, dark-purple-flecked oncidium as well as the ones in the photo. Dead chuffed!
Tired now though.
And it's still bloody cold.
And Kai's back to school tomorrow, so it's back to the grind for us.
Hoover Candy engineer coming Saturday.
Anyone remember me mentioning Leander Pryne, the psychic detective I dreamed ages ago? I haven't managed to find the notes I wrote, but tonight Lutra mentioned a dream she had last night, and it would fit very nicely in a series of horror/supernatural stories I've been pondering based around the character. Looks like we might have the next project bubbling already. Well, we need something for light relief while working on the 'magnificent octopusses' (as Baldrick would have it). I can't start anything new until CH is finished, however - watch this space. Well, obviously not this space, we'll be on a different day by then...
Monday, February 21, 2005
'Bitty' days can be annoying (and yes, I refuse to give up a word I've used forever just because the tasteless crap that is Little Britain has given it a new definition. Gods I loathe that programme...) - but they can also be useful. Translation: I got a lot done, none of it anything resembling what I was actually supposed to be doing.
But the bin's full again, and I can find things in here...
Took a little time to surf, following GoodTwin's example (and yes, by all means blame me Carol! It's my fault. It's all my fault [grin]...) Found CAUCE, the European Coalition Against Unsolicited Commercial Email. A useful resource. (There are CAUCE sites in Australia, Canada, India and America too.) I handle 21 email accounts, both our own and the client sites I manage: you can imagine the amount and 'quality' of rubbish I receive. I think it's time to start complaining to the providers again...
And I chanced upon a great blog - Respectful Insolence (a.k.a. "Orac Knows"), added to my infobar. There are some beautiful photos of The Gates there.
Busy day tomorrow...
Sunday, February 20, 2005
Hm. Odd dreams again... In the first one I was walking home after dark with someone, and was halfway down our road when two suspicious looking characters ran past us - closely followed by a policeman (undercover) waving a gun... we flattened ourselves against the low wall to stay out of the way and seconds later the policeman fired his gun. I think one of the fleeing men was hit, but Quyn did the usual and woke me up.
In the second one, I was at a small, half-deserted indoor market (like the one near the Speaking Tree in Winchester, Carol) where a friend of ours (the same one Kai did the sweeping job for) had a small jewellery stall. She was showing me some of her own antique brooches and rings (not for sale) when two people came into the small space, a young teenaged girl (snub nose, hamster cheeks, thin hair pulled back in a scruffy ponytail - looked a bit like a pig) with what I assume was her father. She snatched one of the rings and put it on, then tried to make a run for it. I grabbed her hair then wrapped an arm around her neck, my other hand yanking her hand back so our friend could retrieve the ring. (We were both shouting for security at that point: a man walking by came to help, and the father scarpered...) The girl was struggling, and tried to bite me, whereupon I smashed her face down on the edge of the stall counter - feeling great satisfaction as bone crunched and considering how I could claim 'self-defence'...
Perhaps fortunately Quyn woke me up again at that point, barking at the engineer's knock on the door.
... I seem to be getting more violently-inclined in my old age. (Either that or I've watched too much Eastenders.) Tch', it's hormonal, I'm sure.
The engineer fitted the new fridge door. Has it solved the problem? Of course not: the fridge temperature is still at 10 degrees fourteen hours later. So we have to start all over again on Monday.
Saturday, February 19, 2005
[happy sigh] The CD is wonderful.
I'd forgotten how much I like Epitaph, and how powerful it is, but as soon as that first swelling chord hit I found myself singing along - I knew the words after all this time... Not sure whether the band were being prophetic or simply had a firmly realistic view of human nature, but the words are even more apt today than they were when the album was first recorded in 1969...
The wall on which the prophets wrote Is cracking at the seams. Upon the instruments of death The sunlight brightly gleams. When every man is torn apart With nightmares and with dreams, Will no one lay the laurel wreath When silence drowns the screams.I've uploaded my mp3 of this song here - it's 8.25 megs in size and took me 10 minutes 15 seconds at 133Kbps to ftp, so if you don't have broadband it will take a while to download. I think it's worth it; it's a fabulous track.
I will be deleting it in about a week.
... thinking about human nature... Dune is set in the year 10 thousand something-something-something (can't remember the exact date). Isn't it depressing that the author envisaged no improvement in the nature of 'his' humankind from where the species is today...
Friday, February 18, 2005
Well, that was quite a day!
I thought we were going to have a day putting up Kai's pictures/mirror/large clock on his walls, but Ken commented he'd talked about the possibility of going up the Gloucester Rd with Kai to check out the charity shops, and since today started off really sunny (if cold) and it's going to be cold/rainy over the weekend...
I bought FirstDay (hop on hop off) bus tickets for Kai and I and we set off at about 10.45 - and didn't get back until nearly 5. Mind you, we did divert to Cotham Park half way through - Kai enjoyed a run and a climb. We didn't find anything much for him to buy, but I did pick up a blow-up punchbag (the sort that you fill with air and put sand or water in the base to hold it steady), something Kai asked for a while back for him to hit when he feels stressed. Going to be fun blowing the damn thing up!
Before we leapt on the bus back to Broadmead, we checked out Plastic Wax record shop - where I found the King Crimson CD I was looking for! (Also picked up cheap DVDs of Dune (I can't see anything missing from it, Lutra) and Lost Boys to replace our old videos). Could have spent hours in there, but Kai didn't like the music (Pink Floyd's The Wall, great stuff!), the daft child, so I made it quick. Have to go back sometime for a longer look, though, the place is jam-packed with goodies...
We dived into Athena on the way back to look for posters, and found four Kai really liked. Ended up buying this one: it'll be going on the wall above the head of the bed. (Might get him the iceberg one - his second favourite - for his birthday.) After all, you can't have a kid's bedroom without posters, can you? [grin]
Arrived back knackered. I AM going to have a rest tomorrow - Ken can deal with the Hoover Candy engineer coming to fit the new fridge door...
Something readers might like to consider. If you leave a comment with your email address, you'll notice a little blue square appears in the top right hand corner. The Blue Witch blog has this to say about them:
Checking the 'properties' of said blue boxes shows that they are being 'provided' by gravatar.com, who claim they are gravators: -You all know how much I dislike such things - thought I'd bring it to your attention.
Thursday, February 17, 2005
[flop] Still knackered. Had a fantastic day though - always great to catch up. It was very nice to sit and chat - "do nothing with somebody", as Wendy calls it. We watched The Calcium Kid: thoroughly enjoyed it, the second time through you notice little things you missed first time. And we've hardly seen Kai today, he spent most of the day in his room (in the 'den' I think)!
Planning an early night...
[GLOMPS Wendy - thank you, it was terrific!]
Wednesday, February 16, 2005
But we have a blissfully happy bratling positively luxuriating in his 'new' room. I'm very happy with the way it's all come together - it looks gorgeous - and Kai is delighted with his 'den' under the bed. (I'll take a couple more photos in daylight, the colours look a little different, because Kai wanted a blue 'craft' bulb to go with that amazing crinkly-shimmer lampshade...) I haven't painted the ceiling: there are literally hundreds of 'glow-in-the-dark' stars there and taking them off/replacing them was just too much work. It looks fine as it is, a very pale grey that reflects the pale blue of the walls.
The bed took surprisingly little time to assemble, and is incredibly solidly made: sturdy pine, massive brass screws and bolts, and about 14 slats to hold the mattress. We tried to make it wobble and couldn't. Very pleased with the quality! Kai has been an enormous help right the way through the process, clearing and tidying, fetching and carrying, painting half the long wall for me, getting rid of a load of things, and today starting off the screws and tightening them while Ken and I held the bed sections in place (fiddly but it worked). He's been fantastic!
You can't see the real effect of the voile curtains in that top right photo here, but they're stunning. When the sun shines through them they're the most fiery salmon red, like a magnificent sunset: otherwise they're ice-blue with a haze of purple. (The fabric also had the slightly disconcerting effect of seeming to 'bleed' where the needle pierced it - was only the way the light hit the purple strands but it was decidedly offputting!)
We still have the finishing touches to do - there's a whole load of things to go on the walls etc - but he's sleeping there tonight (yay, we get our bedroom to ourselves again!) and I can see him wanting to spend quite some time there over the next few days. One thing we're going to do, when I start redecorating our bedroom, is to give him our little Amstrad mini-system. It's fairly old now but still works well, and his current portable radio/tape/cd player is distinctly ropey.
And Kai did another job (and got 'paid'!) today: an older friend of ours who's recently had problems with her back wanted her yard and the side of the house swept... Kai hadn't realised it would be such hard work, but he did a very good job!
Last week Rosa did one of her now-rare walks up the front of the tank, and I managed to grab Kai's digicam and get these two photos before she went back to the rear wall again. To give you some idea of scale, from the bottom of the tank to the bottom edge of the blue lid is ten inches (just over 25 centimetres). Big spid, Rosa...
And last night I wrote and emailed two reviews... Yes, two, and a day and half early! Ye gods, it's the end of the world as we know it...
Wendy's coming up for the day tomorrow! I'll be able to sit down. (I've spent most of the last five days on my feet and my legs and back are aching horribly. And as for my poor hands...) Looking forward to it - it'll be great to chat!
The site I was laughing about yesterday did seem to be having intermittent server problems. For anyone who couldn't get to the pic, the main site index is here. It's very, very funny. Glad you liked it, Sue and Carol! (Now I must go find the daleks cartoon...)
Tuesday, February 15, 2005
... the whole site is a scream...
Monday, February 14, 2005
Ken had Kai design a Valentine's card for me! He used grape-scented gel pen since he didn't have any rose... It's gorgeous!
Update on the fridge while I remember. Ken rang them Friday to be told that they don't take orders as the engineer had told us: they contact us when they have the part ready. But they didn't have an order for a replacement door... They put the order through and said we'd be advised when one was allocated. Ken told them about his medication and asked about compensation: they said we'd have to contact Customer Services... We've emailed Empire Direct, who are taking up the case for us. I'll go back to Trading Standards if I have to. More as it happens.
I'm knackered, back and legs are aching and my left hand's swollen again. But the room looks wonderful! I had to get to Timsbury (near Bath) to sort out a client website this morning, but finished the painting when I got back, then took Kai over to The Range to pick up bits and pieces - purple and royal blue bedding, new curtains, new lightshade - to finish off the room. (Heh, got a cheery "Hello - back again?" from one of the staff. Another shop where they know me...) We're all set, hopefully, to finish off tomorrow: all that's left to do is put up a shelf over the door to store games, assemble the bed, put up another shelf at the side of the bed to hold Kai's water beaker, lamp and alarm clock, and for me to sew and hang the voile inner curtains. Shouldn't take more than a few hours.
Kai can't wait!
He's been terrific too - sorted through all his... uh... 'treasures' and threw out a load of stuff, so it all now fits into three storage crates (well, OK, there are a few computer components in the bottom of his chest of drawers, too, but after the clearing out of his wardrobe we can spare the space). I promised him a furry mat if he did a good job, so I'm now on the lookout for a cheap, deep purple or royal blue sheepskin rug. I'll take some photos tomorrow when we're done.
Have I mentioned that the latest joint Dystopia chapter, Finale is now posted in the Darkside? Heh, have now.
I can have a lie in tomorrow!
Saturday, February 12, 2005
...spooky... Ran a complete scan of my machine today - anti-virus, spybot, ad-aware (only found 6 tracking cookies, not bad) - while Ken and Kai were clearing bratling's room ready for redecoration... found there's a file in C:WINDOWS/system32 called oobe...
(Out Of Body Experience for anyone who doesn't know what it stands for.)
And the recent clear-up/archiving has made a difference: instead of over 380,000 files, I'm down to 232,318. Will [gulp] defrag tomorrow, if I have the nerve...
Photos of Kai's room before redecoration here. They aren't wonderful - having windows in two adjoining walls causes problems with the light - but they're good enough to give a rough idea of what it was like. I've finished the purple wall (the colour is amazing, deep and rich, positively Imperial) and made a start on the blue walls, but that paint isn't one coat so will take more work to cover the 'mountains'. It looks good already though, and Kai loves it.
More tomorrow. Dystopia now...
[grin] This is great fun! Click the nuts and try the quiz...
Then check out Simon 'Hal Spacejock' Haynes' blog.
Friday, February 11, 2005
I allowed myself to be cajoled into vacating my computer for a few hours this evening, as Ken needed to net-search some info for a client (Butch absolutely hates it when that happens, which it has frequently over the last few days, and has made his displeasure known by only letting me see the old WordWrights favicon in the address bar, not the new WaveWrights one. At least, that's all I've so far found that he's done...), and decided to watch one of the Yule DVDs...
Opted for Saiyuki 1, subtitled, of course. (For non-otaku readers, this is Monkey done in anime. I always rather enjoyed Monkey, so much so that many moons ago I bought the translation of Journey to the West. Heh, the TV series was more fun...)
For the first few minutes I really thought I wasn't going to like it - this version of Goku (the Monkey King) is on first meeting even more obnoxious than the DBZ Goku. But I liked Sanzo's voice - not surprising, his seiyuu also voiced Watari (YnM) and Legato (Trigun: at the moment I only have the dubbed videos, but I've heard a tiny snippet of the original on a site that no longer exists) - and I liked the artwork very much, and I like to give all and any anime a fair chance...
And by the end of the first ep I was hooked! Fabulous characterisation, wholly adorable characters (yes, even Goku, dammit, once you get past the initial irritation), wonderful interaction... The animation is pretty good, not the very best I've ever seen, but frankly I don't care, the story and characters more than make up for any shortcomings. (Put it this way - Ken was shattered tonight, but still sat and watched a couple of eps with me before eventually having to drag himself away, unwillingly because he was enjoying it. There's something that doesn't happen very often!) And it's so funny! Gorgeous comic bits balanced by poignant introspection, and a refreshingly non-judgemental overall perspective. And there are such intriguing flashbacks and hints into the histories of the characters... I love it! I want the rest of the series! I want the rest of the series NOW - I want to know what happens next!
It's impossible to resist comparing Saiyuki and Monkey, at least to start with, and the differences are pretty glaring. Where Tripitaka was feeble and meek and a wimp, Sanzo is foul-tempered, violent and about as un-monk-like as you can get. Sandy and Pigsy seem to have swapped characters, with Gojyo (heh, whoever heard of a water-demon who can't swim?!) a lecherous, alcohol-swigging chain-smoker and Hakkai a calm, gentle and really rather sweet ki-user (who tries new attacks in the middle of battle as they occur to him...) Instead of the Horse there's Hakkai's little white dragon - which can turn into a jeep. Yes, really. They ride in it for parts of the journey. [shakes head bemusedly] It's a cute little thing too. Then again, so was the Horse... Goku's the only character who hasn't changed substantially, and that's pretty much in keeping with what I understand of the legendary Monkey King.
[happy grin] It's terrific. And if nothing else, there's something very appealing about an anime where a demon baddie runs to attack the heroes screaming, "Surprise Attack!" at the top of his voice...
Nabbed from onna's blog:...
[glower] And I will disembowel the first (second, third...) person who calls me 'cute and fluffy'...
Thursday, February 10, 2005
I was going to complain about the new Knorr adverts, which have a panda eating meat. I thought pandas are herbivores. However, when I checked I found this on the WWF China site:
Pandas have the digestive system of a carnivore and will eat meat if available, but adapted a long time ago to a vegetarian diet. Unlike their omnivorous bear cousins, pandas depend almost exclusively on bamboo as a food source. Unfortunately their digestive system doesn't seem to have kept pace with the vegetarian adaptation. Not designed to process plant matter, the panda's digestive system cannot easily break down cellulose, so pandas must eat enormous amounts of bamboo daily.So much as I dislike the ads, they aren't actually inaccurate. For once.
There are times when chatting on ICQ can be positively dangerous...
Lutra: I must be a masochist... I'm actually attempting to read the ms text for that bizarre quiz thing [see Lutra's Pond Feb 8th for details] ... my eyes are watering, and it's not just the language... Joules: [bap] Thank you... had to be written by a 14 year old... Uhuh... that old, you think? I read the first two lines and gave up. I mean - it's not a quiz. She simply hasn't grasped the basic notion of 'quiz'. [smirk] No, it's not. I think it was hijacked by someone... Why would anyone want to hijack it? ... given the added comments in the answers... To poke fun at a particularly bad Mary-Sue? [blink] ... you mean... this was actually... put forward... as a story...? [solemn] I believe so. [dies] [fanning] No one could write this badly deliberately. [chokes, gasps, flops about a bit, dies again] [fans some more] One would hope not, anyway... No, no good, too dead. But I'll come back as the Mary-Sue Avenger and smite all terrible Mary-Sues... ROFL!! Ooh yes! Can I design your costume? [falls off chair laughing] That would be the first thing you think of! NO PINK!! [offended] Like I'd consider pink for you! ... not where you'd notice it, anyway... LOL! [curious] Go on then - what would you do? Black of course. Really like the idea of a long, black leather coat. And dark glasses so no one could see your eyes... trousers and top would be black, too. and very nice boots... [suspicious] ... sounds like Neo.... Tch, oh please. You can be menacing in black without looking like a Matrix chara. [grin] OK - what else? You'd need more? The black and your presence should do it... Though a sparkly 'Death to Mary-Sues' on the t-shirt would be a nice touch... of course, you'd need a side-kick... Oh of course. ... not in pink, please..... [pout] I s'pose I could stretch to purple... butbutbut! Think of the distraction value of pink! Then you could mysteriously appear right in front of them! [head in hands] ... oh gods.... [manic giggle] I can see the pink neko ears... oh wow... AAARRGGHHH [reaches for the handcuffs, gag and valium...] For you or me? [dodges] [thwaps with patented Mary-Sue swatter] [yip!glare] Ow! Behave, or I'll dock your wages... or perks... or... something.... ... I get perks? neat! I'll be good... ish... I'll believe that when I see it.... Mind you, setting a rabid pink-clad sidekick on the Mary-Sues means I could just stand around looking vaguely threatening without having to do much... ROFL! Very efficient use of energy [smirk] [lofty expression, raised eyebrow] But of course! ... I can see this as a comic strip.... [smirk] Yes, boss... .. she'd be called Poppy, I think. uh oh... [ping] [sigh, rubs hand over forehead...] ... what now...? [smirk] Poppy and the Fearsome MS Avenger. Who used to work alone. Blissfully, quietly alone... [very quietly] ... oh no......... It would work so well as a comic! Yes, it would.... draft out some plot and I'll give it a go. Squeee! Need to know what you want to look like. Can I suggest Poppy changes her outfit every mission? ROFL! gods that'd get annoying [smirk] Oh yes.... especially if she gets tangled up in her cape or something every now and then.... Get some ideas down and I'll have a go. Been ages since I drew. Style will be that 'me Twin' pic I did a while back (with chibi Lutra on leg). [grin] That's what I was thinking of. I can hear the voiceover... "In the world of fanfic, there are levels of excellence... [blah blah blah] ... and at the very lowest, the dregs of writerdom... there are... the Mary-Sues..." [rolling around] Perfect!! "But fortunately there are forces to combat this evil. Forces of good, decency... correct spelling..." [grin] Can have lots of fun with this...We'll see how things go...
... the fridge-freezer engineer didn't turn up with the new fridge door, of course. Ken's had to take his medication up to our doctor's surgery to store it at the correct temperature, which means a slog up Talbot Hill every time he needs an injection. Decidely miffed, we are.
But I've bought the paint for Kai's bedroom. Hopefully start painting on Saturday!
Wednesday, February 09, 2005
But the week continues well. Yesterday we ordered a handful of DVDs from play.com - we're working on replacing some of our old favourite videos and they have some great special deals at the moment: three for £20, £17.99 buy one get one free (the 2 disc Rocky Horror Picture Show is in that list, we'll order it later along with - probably - The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen), plus a whole load of cheap DVDs of old films. The Unnamable/The Unnamable Returns for me - the only Lovecraftian films I've ever really liked, and I have no idea why, they're really not very good at all, although it's fun to see John Rhys-Davies bring some weight [pun deliberate] to such a light plot, but at £12.99 for the two it was irresistible (plus the videos were ex-rental and in a terrible state now!). We've also ordered Rawhead Rex - very early Clive Barker - for Ken. Birthday presents for each other!
More CH was written.
And it was Kai's parent/teacher evening... Relatively painless although his teacher isn't happy with his fidgeting and being distracted all the time. I think that might be partly due to the situation at home - it has been a little stressful here over the last four months. Seems the school admin hadn't actually told the teacher about the medical problems... Anyway, we had a chat about it on the way home and Kai's going to work on his concentration.
I had to get into town to throw money at the bank today, so took advantage of the trip to do a little shopping. Actually managed to find what I was looking for for Carol's birthday present! Also checked out the two city centre comic shops for manga...
Forbidden Planet seems to have gone terribly mainstream these days, avoiding anything that could be seen as at all adventurous/shonen-ai in the genre (= they didn't have any of the titles I was looking for. Well, except for Demon Ororon 3, which I grabbed, and Les Bijoux 5, which I've given to Ken to hide until I can get the other 4 vols (of which more in a moment). The art is beautiful, and the story sounds most intriguing: shades of Ai no Kusabi, perhaps? I think I shall enjoy it...)
Then I went back to Kathie's Comics (there's still a problem with some of the pages on the site, alas. I'll try to remember to let them know next time I visit.) I've mentioned this place before; it's quite a favourite shop. Had a chat with the guy at the counter (who certainly knows his manga!) and found that they're more than happy to order the titles I want - and lay them by for me to pick up when I can afford them (heh, first lay-by I've found here, Lutra!) So...
They're sending Fake 4 & 5 to Briz from their Plymouth shop for me, and I've ordered volumes 3 & 7. And Under the Glass Moon 2, Immortal Rain 2 and Les Bijoux 1-4. Then I'll start on Gravitation and possibly Fruits Basket. There were some other most interesting looking titles in their catalogue too. Then come April they'll be able to order Viz titles, so later in the year I'll be able to get my paws on Descendants of Darkness, Hikaru No Go and the couple of UM volumes I'd like. After that... well, I'll see what's new: they have manga 'samplers' in the shop for customers to drool over...
I'm dead chuffed. I'd much rather give my money to an independent in any case, and this sort of service is great! So I've updated my infobar accordingly. (Yes, I still want the complete Trigun manga, and Cowboy Bebop, but those are relatively easy to get hold of.)
And Ken went to the BRISTAL meeting tonight instead of me.
[blink] Kai has bought a Red Nose and customised it. At least he didn't argue when I told him no, he couldn't try out the red hair gel (for him, not the nose, that is).
Ororon 3 is gripping...
Tuesday, February 08, 2005
[bemused blink] Well, this has been a pretty good day...
Took Kai to school, back via The Range and a few more bits for the redecoration (they have some beautiful mirrors over there...), then a Tesco shop. One and a half Crystal Home spreads, the possibility of having my shelving design (for our room) made on LETS by a carpenter, and my Professionals Capri is going to a good home! [grins at Carol].
And it's only Monday!
Tonight's been fun too. The Top 50 Outrageous TV Moments - I absolutely adore Brian Sewell, he sounds so utterly upper-crust and conservative, yet he has the most wicked sense of humour and is so deliciously broad-minded... That's SO Last Week was fun too - nice to see it's living up to its initial promise. And Going Down in the Valley - all about the San Fernando porn industry: tonight's ep is called Gay for Pay - is on next; it's usually interesting (and this one was! Included an interview with Jeff Stryker. What a big lad...) [grin]
Speaking of sex-related matters, the new KY TV advert is - startling. 'Warms on contact' indeed...
LittleSaru's updated her Lj, Introversions. It's a pity you don't have the time to do it very often, 'Saru, I love reading about your Japan adventures - and the fun bits!
We went to all the obligatory spots, got attacked by the demon deer – watch out for those deer, they are evil and mean and attack your handbags to see if they can eat them. I swear they’re goats in disguise. That’s it, they’re just pretending to be deer so that people will think they are cute and feed them. It’s all part of an evil plot to take over the world by looking cute while harbouring demonic souls of the undead.That reminds me... Over at Tesco they're selling a South African red wine called Goats do Roam (In Villages). Nice to see a sense of humour in the frequently pretentious world of wine!
Monday, February 07, 2005
Deponent and Free now posted in the Darkside.
[waves to 'Saru] Glad you're still here!
Sunday, February 06, 2005
It seems to have been a busy couple of weeks. Been a lot of fun though. And a few things resurfaced while I was 'spring cleaning' (=turfing out my intrays)...
I found this - Ken scribbled it in 1993 (In case you can't read it, it says, in my scrawl: Joules - arrow pointing up to pic - "What's that?" Ken - "It's a starship, what do you think it is?") I showed it to him this evening and we had the same conversation, but in reverse (K: "What's that?" J: "It's a starship, what do you think it is?" K: "Do you think it'll fly...?")
Then there was this - scrawled back when we were at the Totterdown flat before we bought the house...
On Lammas Eve we headed out - Burgers and beans Blankets and beers Acoustic guitars Some cider in jars - To party in the field where the magic mushrooms grow.As far as I remember it was originally going to be a song, sort of. (There actually is a field where magic mushrooms grow, not far from us.)
Then there were the quotes from the journeys to and from the Professionals con. Carol's were best!
Joules is hallucinating double-glazed spiders. (No, sorry, I can't remember what that was all about!) Oooh - I've never been this wrong way before!And another from Ken:
Is the opposite of a metaphor a metagainst?Then there were the notes for a short story I'd obviously been planning, in which the lines, "Sorry I killed you off..." "S'OK, I can live with it." figured largely. Hm. Might use that somewhere, one day.
The publisher has OKed us saying what the new book is about, so Ken's prepared a page for Crystal Home on the website. No cover pic yet, but it gives a rough idea of the content.
We originally started writing this sort of book to counter the 'crystal mystics' who make the most outrageous claims for crystals with no more evidence than 'chanelling' or intuition (their imagination, in other words). Let me be quite clear about this - I'm not saying that crystals don't have innate energy and abilities, just that there is currently no proof that they do, and until I am satisfied that such is the case, I won't reinforce other people's spurious assertions. Indeed, some of these books are positively hazardous to your health: I've seen one recently where the author gives no warning whatsoever for cinnabar, which is the primary ore of mercury and potentially extremely toxic, and only warns about not taking galena internally (galena is 86% lead and poisonous), while insisting that malachite (a minor ore of copper, safely used in jewellery and carvings for centuries) is highly toxic and should be handled with care. It annoys me when people don't bother to get their facts right.
The way we suggest using crystals is talismanic - many minerals, as we point out, have been used in this way for millennia - and draws on the individual's own willpower and energy to operate (humans being what they are, able to convince themselves to believe anything, especially if they think it will be beneficial to them!) I use them talismanically: it wasn't until I started wearing jade about ten years ago that I was able to be disciplined enough to finish projects (any project in any field, that is!) - but that's because to me, and not because of any innate power, jade is a grounding mineral, helping to stop my mind from haring off after the 'shiny sparklies' as Lutra puts it. (OK, so I am still distracted, quite often, but I do still complete most of the projects I start! And the distractions might be due to my also, these days, wearing facetted peridot as well as jade: it's a bright, witty, sparkling crystal that I find very inspirational.)
And that's quite enough wittering from me. I've finished Free, my next Dystopia chapter: it's uploaded but not available to read yet, as chronologically Lutra's next chapter comes first. She's nearly finished it - hopefully I can code and upload in the next few hours.
Saturday, February 05, 2005
We've been playing with Kai's new camera...
My computer/desk. I swapped the positions of Twin 2 and Haldir (the elf kind of got in the way of my plugging in my headphones..) The figurines are beautifully made and amazingly detailed - and I love the way Twin 1 stands on top of the monitor!
I think I also now have a handle on how to tackle the dichotomy between my continuum and the Matrix, so should be able to finish the next fic soon. Next in line after Dystopia, which is hurtling along at the moment. Really shouldn't be long before the main story's finished. And I've decided to import Alexei and Trey into the Haadri continuum - they'll be right at home there...
We've also put up another shelf for my manga and anime (this isn't all of it: my Akira, Bubblegum Crisis and TN Trigun manga are too big to fit on the rearranged shelves so are in a different bookcase, unfortunately). The LotR figures are there temporarily: I'll find somewhere else for them when I have more to fill the shelves, but for the moment they look pretty good. Chuffed with them! Thanks Sue!
The new series CSI:NY started tonight. It was... grim. Partly because of the palette - black and white, grey and sepia, with the occasional bright accent. It's OK, I suppose, and definitely a change from the bright colours of CSI and CSI:Miami, but not exactly appealing, visually. Interesting though - we'll give it time and see how it grabs. They're all nifty research, whatever happens.
[snarl] I finally got completely pissed off with the 419 scams arriving in my inbox, especially those purporting to be from god-fearing folk, and prepared the following 'standard letter' to send to any others I get:
We have forwarded your scam to Magister Lucifer at the Church of His Most Satanic Majesty, who will, no doubt, despatch the Demon Blisargon to rip out your liver.(Blisargon, in case you don't know, is the demon who leads thieves to damnation.)
Please feel free to borrow the idea and do something similar, if you feel so inclined!
Friday, February 04, 2005
Mm. I should really be trying to get some sleep, but though I'm very tired, I'm not sleepy...
Have a pounding headache, still - started about ten hours ago and just doesn't want to go. Relief, I think. You never really realise how much stress you've been operating under until it lessens a little.
At least Kai is sleeping properly. His sleep's been a little disturbed over the last... it must be at least a year. We've never tried to keep Ken's condition from him; for one thing he'd never forgive us if we lied to him about something so serious, for another he is - like most kids - sensitive to currents and undercurrents in the family: not knowing what they meant would have made him even more distressed. (I vividly remember it happening to me, and still haven't forgiven. Promised myself then I'd never lie to any children I might have...)
He stood in the rain with his face averted, listening to me speaking to Ken, and as I put the phone back in my pocket turned to me and said, "it's working?" When I said yes, he grinned and jumped in the air, quietly shouting 'YAY!'. When we got back to the house, he went upstairs to change out of school clothes, then lay for a wee while on his bed, just taking it all in I think - charging downstairs when Ken arrived back and grabbing his dad around the waist, hugging tightly. (Heh, so did I, with Kai in between us. Been a while since I've seen Ken look so bemused...)
There's still a way to go, of course (until the end of June this year), and no guarantees that this course of treatment will be successful in the end, but this is very hopeful.
Thursday, February 03, 2005
Update 4.10 pm...
Ken rang when we were at the bottom of Bloomfield Rd (very wet, it's drizzling copiously): the consultants say with their usual caution that they're sufficiently satisfied with Ken's progress that they'll persevere with the medication.
So that's a hopeful yes, possibly, then!
We're celebrating tonight.
Briefly before I collect Kai...
Hoover engineer came, says we need a new fridge door, and has ordered it. Will be here next Thursday, can't get one before. In the meantime, if we press the door firmly shut each time, and open it as little as possible, the temporary fix should mean we can use it safely.
Ken at hospital. Maybe this time we'll get a result. Realised that his medication is supposed to be stored at not more than 8 degrees and not less than 2, so having the fridge working is essential. Temperature in the salad crisper is currently 9 degrees, on the shelf above it's 8, so we may be OK. Ken will check with the consultant.
[head in hands] After ringing to change the delivery date to 10th March, MFI delivered Kai's bed a couple of hours ago... [sigh] We can't afford paint until next week. Luckily the package doesn't take up much room in the hall.
What do you bet they try to deliver another on the 10th?
But CH is more than half written, and Chelsey has emailed saying the publisher is looking for authors to write another book, similar to Early Heaven. Ken's thinking about it...
And I'm obviously in casual torture mode: after writing Export for Dystopia I took a break last night and finished a Haadri short, to be posted in the passworded short stories section later. It's... um... well, I had fun writing it, and it demonstrates typical behaviour for one particular group of central characters...
... can I go home yet...?
Tuesday, February 01, 2005
Hm. I had two odd dreams last night - this morning, rather...
The first involved something somewhat like a game. Or a hunt, perhaps. No, definitely a sort of hunt, one person chasing another around a multi-dimensional 'course' (a tesseract, I think) in order to kill them to stop them winning (by reaching a specified 'area'). Spectators (me) watched from above. The players started on opposite sides of something that looked like a glass maze, lit in shades of light blue, and made their way towards the centre. But after a little while, the maze started changing, becoming three dimensional, then four, then five, the paths twisting back on themselves, the players making no distinction between floor, walls and ceiling as they moved (a bit like an Escher picture), the quarry trying to keep well ahead of the hunter as both attempted to reach the goal.
As the match became more complex - as the number of dimensions increased - they both had to resort to plans and maps in order to proceed safely: these looked like sheets of transparent plastic etched with lines and symbols that unfolded and curved around themselves and fitted into pale blue jewel-cases. There were dozens of them for both players, and they had to be used really quickly before the maze's configuration (and the maps themselves) changed...
The thing that startled me was that Legolas (the Elf, not Orlando Bloom playing him, if that makes sense) was the quarry. (The hunter was an unfamiliar shadowy figure in a dark cloak.)
The match was moving into the endgame, with hunter gaining on quarry, when Quyn howled at the post arriving and woke me up, dammit...
I went back to sleep, and dreamed that a couple of friends, Ken, and I met up to see a film at a cinema I've dreamed before. The place is more like a small mall than a cinema, with a cafe, several coffee shops, a small museum and gift shops as well as a number of screens. There are a lot of smallish screens and several large boxes (like opera boxes) for people who prefer to watch the films in privacy. Some of them have mini-bars. There are carpeted steps and slopes everywhere, and the doors into the various rooms are opened by a number code which is printed on your tickets for whichever film/screen you wished to see.
The two friends and I made our way to our screen and got seats while Ken went to get the tickets. Yes, I know, we got into the room before we knew the codes - I don't know why, this sort of dream is usually logical... Then again, I don't usually get lost in dreams, either. I did in this one. Ken was taking a long time, and I went to find him, but he wasn't at the ticket office, and I couldn't find my way back to our screen (and I couldn't remember the number code on the door, so couldn't even ask for directions!)
Five minutes before the film started all the doors were locked, and were only able to be opened from the inside. I was about to follow a late arrival into what I thought was the correct room when something woke me up.
[grumble] I never even found out what film it was we were supposed to see...
Wonder what all that was about, then...
Sue sent over a wonderfully funny email this morning...
Washington Post Style Invitational asks readers to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting, or changing one letter, and supply a new definition...Newly posted in the Darkside - the next Dystopia chapter, possibly a little squicky but Jackson deserves everything he gets. I think I've been quite restrained, personally...
[sigh] Remember the fun and games we had with Candy and the new non-functioning fridge-freezer last year? Remember they replaced the faulty item with that lovely huge Hoover fridge-freezer? Well, before Yule the 'frost-free' light at the top kept flashing. Ken rang them: they suggested it might have been a power surge and to switch the thing off for 20 minutes then back on. Which we did, and it worked, but only temporarily. So we arranged to have an engineer come to check it...
He told us the door wasn't fitting properly, which was overworking the refrigeration unit. He fixed it, or so he said. The following day the light started flashing again - so we rang them to arrange for another engineer to come (booked for Thursday this week).
We now have a fridge whose temperature won't drop below 13 degrees (our milk goes off after a day) and a freezer whose temperature is below minus 30 degrees - my fingers stick to everything I take out, and I pull off a thin layer of skin when trying to 'unstick' them. (No, not any more, I use a glove.)
I will never, ever, ever buy anything from Candy/Hoover again, and I would suggest you think twice before doing so as well.
I think at the very least this now requires a letter to the Ethical Consumer, detailing the problems we've had and asking them to take it into consideration when making their recommendations in future (we used them when deciding to buy from the company in the first place). Whether we take it further depends on what happens on Thursday.