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 ::

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

... I'd write my autobiography, but no-one would believe it....

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.

Adventures in Orchids

Apparently I am now collecting them...

There's room for one - or maybe two, at a pinch - more on that bedroom windowsill (the only one in the house that's ideal for them). Let's see what I find. Well, that didn't last long...

EO - Everlasting orchid. Phalaenopsis. I've had this orchid since 2007 and it just keeps flowering...

AO - Alien face orchid. Phalaenopsis . Bought 2018 - lovely little flowers, all different patterns!

RO - Rescued orchid photo to come when it flowers. Phalaenopsis. Rescued from a bin up the road in 2019. Classic!

TO - Tiny orchid. Phalaenopsis. Bought at Tesco 21.8.20. It just begged to come home with me. How could I say no?

CO - Crimson orchid. Cambria. Another Tesco find. This one may be going to live in Ken's room once we've redecorated and put up the new shelving; it prefers a cooler, less sunny windowsill. If so, I'll need to find another cambrian to keep it company.

GO - Golden orchid. Phalaenopsis. Saw this one when I bought CO and left it behind - then immediately regretted it as soon as I got home. Never seen one like it before. Ken, bless him, went back over to Tesco in the rain and bought it for me...

DO - Dendrobium Orchid. Smells of wisteria, so beautiful...

RO2 - Rescued orchid no 2. Phalaenopsis. This is the one I rescued from the wall along the road middle of 2021.

PO. Pink orchid. Phalaenopsis. This is the one I bought at Cabury Garden Centre on special, late 2021. It's much happier here!

TWO. Teeny weeny orchid, Phalaenopsis. Rescued from Tesco end 2021 (I think).

My IMDb ep summaries

Arthur of the Britons
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
Jupiter Moon
Transformers: Beast Wars (part: seasons 2 and 3)
Transformers: Beast Machines (part)
Vampire Princess Miyu
Nathan Barley
No Heroics
Undermind (3 eps)
Will Shakespeare (Tim Curry version)
12 Kingdoms
Trigun (ep 8)
Hyperdrive (season 2 ep 3)
The Café

For later:

Missing Earthian ep
Missing Haibane Renme eps)
(And possibly Marine Boy...)

Silver birch at Eastwood 


"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)


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:
Transformers - IDW, Prime, Animated, Rescue Bots.

Currently reading:
Various Transformers books and graphic novels.

Currently working on:

Currently chuffed with:
My garden

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

Currently maintaining:

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 


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



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...

Albino Alsatian Benten (c) MEBird 


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

Radittsu, an oekaki for my birthday 04 



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

The Zone Plant from
The Zone 



OrganicHTML (which alas no longer seems to exist...)
[::..My Regular Reads..::]
:: Astronomical Pic of the Day [>]
:: What is Space... [>]
:: Dark Roasted Blend [>]
:: BLDG [>]
:: Watchismo Times [>]
[::..Fun Places..::]
::PALEOMAP Project
Absolutely fascinating.
:: Skymap
Check out the night sky where you are!
[::..Useful Sites..::]
:: GreenNet
First stop for environmental matters
:: The Forest of Avon
Our local community forest and places to visit
:: The Guardian
Online Guardian Newspaper.
:: 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...

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...)

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

   Dj: June Special
   CD: Ambivalence

Cyber City Oedo 808

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

From Eroica with Love

   Manga Vols 1, 9, 11

Mirage of Blaze

   DVD Vol 1 (eps 1-4)

R.G. Veda

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

Twelve Kingdoms

   Anime Vol 1-12: complete

Under the Glass Moon

   Manga Vol 1, 2
Vol 3 needed

Vampire Hunter D - Bloodlust


   Vampire Hunter D Book 1

New Vampire Miyu

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

Yami no Matsuei

   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.

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

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

(Thanks, Lutra, for the quote!)

07/01/2002 - 07/31/2002
08/01/2002 - 08/31/2002
09/01/2002 - 09/30/2002
10/01/2002 - 10/31/2002
11/01/2002 - 11/30/2002
12/01/2002 - 12/31/2002
01/01/2003 - 01/31/2003
02/01/2003 - 02/28/2003
03/01/2003 - 03/31/2003
04/01/2003 - 04/30/2003
05/01/2003 - 05/31/2003
06/01/2003 - 06/30/2003
07/01/2003 - 07/31/2003
08/01/2003 - 08/31/2003
09/01/2003 - 09/30/2003
10/01/2003 - 10/31/2003
11/01/2003 - 11/30/2003
12/01/2003 - 12/31/2003
01/01/2004 - 01/31/2004
02/01/2004 - 02/29/2004
03/01/2004 - 03/31/2004
04/01/2004 - 04/30/2004
05/01/2004 - 05/31/2004
06/01/2004 - 06/30/2004
07/01/2004 - 07/31/2004
08/01/2004 - 08/31/2004
09/01/2004 - 09/30/2004
10/01/2004 - 10/31/2004
11/01/2004 - 11/30/2004
12/01/2004 - 12/31/2004
01/01/2005 - 01/31/2005
02/01/2005 - 02/28/2005
03/01/2005 - 03/31/2005
04/01/2005 - 04/30/2005
05/01/2005 - 05/31/2005
06/01/2005 - 06/30/2005
07/01/2005 - 07/31/2005
08/01/2005 - 08/31/2005
09/01/2005 - 09/30/2005
10/01/2005 - 10/31/2005
11/01/2005 - 11/30/2005
12/01/2005 - 12/31/2005
01/01/2006 - 01/31/2006
02/01/2006 - 02/28/2006
03/01/2006 - 03/31/2006
04/01/2006 - 04/30/2006
05/01/2006 - 05/31/2006
06/01/2006 - 06/30/2006
07/01/2006 - 07/31/2006
08/01/2006 - 08/31/2006
09/01/2006 - 09/30/2006
10/01/2006 - 10/31/2006
11/01/2006 - 11/30/2006
12/01/2006 - 12/31/2006
01/01/2007 - 01/31/2007
02/01/2007 - 02/28/2007
03/01/2007 - 03/31/2007
04/01/2007 - 04/30/2007
05/01/2007 - 05/31/2007
06/01/2007 - 06/30/2007
07/01/2007 - 07/31/2007
08/01/2007 - 08/31/2007
09/01/2007 - 09/30/2007
10/01/2007 - 10/31/2007
11/01/2007 - 11/30/2007
12/01/2007 - 12/31/2007
01/01/2008 - 31/01/2008
01/02/2008 - 29/02/2008
03/01/2008 - 31/03/2008
01/04/2008 - 04/30/2008
01/05/2008 - 31/05/2008
01/06/2008 - 30/06/2008
01/07/2008 - 31/07/2008
01/08/2008 - 31/08/2008
01/09/2008 - 30/09/2008
01/10/2008 - 31/10/2008
01/11/2008 - 31/11/2008
01/12/2008 - 31/12/2008
01/12/2008 - 31/12/2008
01/01/2009 - 31/01/2009
01/02/2009 - 28/02/2009
01/03/2009 - 31/03/2009
01/04/2009 - 30/04/2009
01/05/2009 - 31/05/2009
01/06/2009 - 30/06/2009
01/07/2009 - 31/07/2009
01/08/2009 - 31/08/2009
01/09/2009 - 30/09/2009
01/10/2009 - 31/10/2009
01/11/2009 - 30/11/2009
01/12/2009 - 31/12/2009
01/01/2010 - 31/01/2010
01/02/2010 - 28/02/2010
01/03/2010 - 31/03/2010
01/04/2010 - 30/04/2010
01/05/2010 - 31/05/2010
01/06/2010 - 30/06/2010
01/07/2010 - 31/07/2010
01/08/2010 - 31/08/2010
01/09/2010 - 30/09/2010
01/10/2010 - 31/10/2010
01/11/2010 - 31/11/2010
01/12/2010 - 31/12/2010
01/01/2011 - 31/01/2011
01/02/2011 - 28/02/2011
01/03/2011 - 31/03/2011
01/04/2011 - 30/04/2011
01/05/2011 - 31/05/2011
01/06/2011 - 30/06/2011
01/07/2011 - 31/07/2011
01/08/2011 - 31/08/2011
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01/11/2011 - 30/11/2011
01/12/2011 - 31/12/2011
01/01/2012 - 31/01/2012
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01/09/2012 - 30/09/2012
01/10/2012 - 31/10/2012
01/11/2012 - 30/11/2012
01/12/2012 - 31/12/2012
01/01/2013 - 31/01/2013
01/02/2013 - 28/02/2013
01/03/2013 - 31/03/2013
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01/06/2013 - 31/06/2013
01/07/2013 - 31/07/2013
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01/10/2013 - 31/10/2013
01/11/2013 - 30/11/2013
01/12/2013 - 31/12/2013
01/01/2014 - 31/01/2014
01/02/2014 - 28/02/2014
01/03/2014 - 31/03/2014
01/04/2014 - 30/04/2014
01/05/2014 - 31/05/2014
01/06/2014 - 31/06/2014
01/07/2014 - 31/07/2014
01/08/2014 - 31/08/2014
01/09/2014 - 31/09/2014
01/10/2014 - 31/10/2014
01/11/2014 - 30/11/2014
01/12/2014 - 31/12/2014
01/01/2015 - 31/01/2015
01/02/2015 - 28/02/2015
01/03/2015 - 31/03/2015
01/04/2015 - 30/04/2015
01/05/2015 - 31/05/2015
01/06/2015 - 30/06/2015
01/07/2015 - 31/07/2015
01/08/2015 - 31/08/2015
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01/10/2015 - 31/10/2015
01/11/2015 - 31/11/2015
01/12/2015 - 31/12/2015
01/01/2016 - 31/01/2016
01/022016 - 28/02/2016
01/03/2016 - 31/03/2016
01/04/2016 - 31/04/2016
01/05/2016 - 31/05/2016
01/06/2016 - 30/06/2016
01/07/2016 - 31/07/2016
01/08/2016 - 31/08/2016
01/09/2016 - 31/09/2016
01/10/2016 - 31/10/2016
01/11/2016 - 31/11/2016
01/12/2016 - 31/12/2016
01/01/2017 - 31/01/2017
01/02/2017 - 28/02/2017
01/03/2017 - 31/03/2017
01/04/2017 - 30/04/2017
01/05/2017 - 31/05/2017
01/06/2017 - 30/06/2017
01/07/2017 - 31/07/2017
01/08/2017 - 31/08/2017
01/09/2017 - 30/09/2017
01/10/2017 - 31/10/2017
01/11/2017 - 30/11/2017
01/12/2017 - 31/12/2017
01/01/2018 - 31/01/2018
01/02/2018 - 28/02/2018
01/03/2018 - 31/03/2018
01/04/2018 - 30/04/2018
01/05/2018 - 31/05/2018
01/06/2018 - 30/06/2018
01/07/2018 - 31/07/2018
01/08/2018 - 31/08/2018
01/09/2018 - 30/09/2018
01/10/2018 - 31/10/2018
01/11/2018 - 30/11/2018
01/12/2018 - 31/12/2018
01/01/2019 - 31/01/2019
01/02/2019 - 28/02/2019
01/03/2019 - 31/03/2019
01/04/2019 - 30/04/2019
01/05/2019 - 31/05/2019
01/06/2019 - 30/06/2019
01/07/2019 - 31/07/2019
01/08/2019 - 31/08/2019
01/09/2019 - 30/09/2019
01/10/2019 - 31/10/2019
01/11/2019 - 30/11/2019
01/12/2019 - 31/12/2019
01/01/2020 - 31/01/2020
01/02/2020 - 29/02/2020
01/03/2020 - 31/03/2020
01/04/2020 - 31/04/2020
01/05/2020 - 31/05/2020
01/06/2020 - 31/06/2020
01/07/2020 - 31/07/2020
01/08/2020 - 31/08/2020
01/09/2020 - 30/09/2020
01/10/2020 - 31/10/2020
01/11/2020 - 30/11/2020
01/12/2020 - 31/12/2020
01/01/2021 - 31/01/2021
01/02/2021 - 28/02/2021
01/03/2021 - 31/03/2021
01/04/2021 - 30/04/2021
01/05/2021 - 31/05/2021
01/06/2021 - 30/06/2021
01/07/2021 - 31/07/2021
01/08/2021 - 31/08/2021
01/09/2021 - 30/09/2021
01/10/2021 - 31/10/2021
01/11/2021 - 30/11/2021
01/12/2021 - 31/12/2021
01/01/2022 - 31/01/2022
01/02/2022 - 28/02/2022
01/03/2022 - 31/03/2022
01/04/2022 - 30/04/2022
01/05/2022 - 30/05/2022
01/06/2022 - 31/06/2022
01/07/2022 - 31/07/2022
01/08/2022 - 31/08/2022
01/09/2022 - 30/09/2022
01/10/2022 - 31/10/2022
01/11/2021 - 31/11/2021
01/12/2022 - 31/12/2022
01/01/2023 - 31/01/2023
01/02/2023 - 28/02/2023
01/03/2023 - 31/03/2023
01/04/2023 - 30/04/2023
01/08/2023 - 31/08/2023
01/11/2023 - 31/11/2023

Thursday, March 31, 2005

"It's ten past ten," said Ken, pulling back the curtains as I forced opened bleary, only-just-managed-four-hours-sleep eyes, "and the carpenter's at the gate..."
I can move fast when I have to, even if half asleep. Just hit the 'auto-pilot' button...
But my shelving is now up, and the orchids are on display, and I'm dead chuffed with it! It's cost us £13.05 in materials and 50 spans, a span being the BRISTAL LETS unit of 'currency': that's ten hours worth of a qualified, traditional craftsman's time for a beautiful custom-made piece of carpentry. And the carpenter - he's retired now but does small jobs like this to keep his hand in, I think - is coming back in the summer to make us a properly-fitting door for the airing cupboard. He's a real treasure.
It's another horrible, horrible day, weather wise, cold and damp and misty. Kai's making transistors, and I'm working on the fourth part of the Haadri backstory that started as Lutra's giftfic: going to take another look at F04 later, after I've had a nap. ([growl] I can't believe that one chapter can give me so much trouble!)


Post a Comment

... where was I...? Oh yes.
Kai's Certificate of Achievement We opted not to go up the Gloucester Rd Tuesday - it pissed down all day, horrible weather. Instead I spent the afternoon sitting on the floor with Kai while we both drew maps of our dreamscapes. (Has anyone else ever done this? It's really only feasible if you re-visit the same 'places' in your dreams more than once: both Kai and I seem to go back to the same places over and over again - though of course my 'scape is a lot bigger and broader since I've had an awful lot more years to dream!) It was a lot of fun - been years since I tried it. I had to draw mine as an island to try to fit in all the different sorts of beach/coastline; I seem to spend a lot of dreamtime at the seaside. I also have a lot of extremely steep hills, especially in the cities... Kai's had mazes of streets, rivers and streams, several patches of boggy ground, a tall clock-tower and a ridge/hill with lots of trees - and he gave me a guided tour through it, warning me of all the dangers and areas to avoid!
What intrigued us, though, was the fact that we instinctively drew our maps with south at the top. Anyone with any knowledge of feng shui will know that that's the way feng shui maps are drawn (Ken thinks all Chinese maps are made this way) - even though everyone knows that this is upside down. Turning our maps the other way up, so that south was at the bottom, and trying to continue felt so wrong we really couldn't do it.
I'm wondering why. Could it perhaps be that we instinctively turn towards the sun as the main source of natural heat and light, and therefore it's natural to draw it as looking towards us? (Heh, does that make sense?) Has anyone else found this happening, or is it just us? I'd be intrigued to know!
I decided it was time to have something Kai had never seen on TV while we drew - so we ended up watching Forbidden Planet. Kai was fascinated, by Robby the Robot initially, but then he really got into the film as a whole. He was interested in the sfx, ancient as they are: I explained the film was made in 1956, before Ken and I were born - Kai's comment? "Ah, the good old days..." Cheeky brat! I pointed out that one day he'd be calling these his own 'good old days' (he agreed, laughing) And he enjoyed the film, enjoyed the challenge of having to focus on a film with meaning as opposed to the shallow shoot-'em-ups that pass for sci-fi these days. I did have to explain the concept of 'monsters from the id' to him, but he grasped the idea very quickly. I love the questions he asks, they're so searching, they test my own knowledge and ability to explain in a way he can understand, and his comprehension of the progression of history (as regards technology, particularly) is a damn sight better than mine was until recently! He was less sure about the interpersonal relationships and Altaira, but appreciates there are elements of human behaviour he just doesn't have enough experience to understand yet. It'll come, in time...Kai's Super Speller's Certificate
I made us warmed wholemeal pitta bread stuffed with wafer-thin ham, sliced tomatoes and cucumber for lunch, quite a favourite for the whole family. Dinner was spaghetti bolognaise - and on that note I'll stop noting down the food. You've a good idea now of the winter menus: the only meals I haven't detailed are cottage pie (sautéed mince, onions and mushrooms cooked in a rich wine gravy covered with creamed potato and finished in the oven for half an hour, served with mixed veg) and courgette provençale (sautéed courgettes and onions cooked in a tomato, garlic and cheese sauce and finished off in the oven for 45 mins or so - one of my favourites but only made if I can get organic courgettes cheap!)
Today was fantastic. We were a few minutes late reaching the Keynsham park (arrived 11.15), and the weather was decidedly chilly, but the rain held off, and the sprogs had a great time, and Ruth and I talked. It was gone 2 p.m. before we headed off to the house, and everyone was ready to get out of the wind. The two boys shot straight upstairs to the Meccano and Lego, while we stayed downstairs and talked. And talked. And talked. I have a sore throat...
Dinner was delicious, ham and cheese filled crèpes, broccoli/peas/green beans and the tastiest roast potatoes I've ever had, parboiled, thick sliced and roasted in very hot olive oil with garlic and a sprig of rosemary. Fabulous! Going to try it myself for Ken and I: Kai didn't like them. He loved everything else though - never seen him eat so fast! I suppose I'll have to learn to make crèpes. Heh, if my pancakes set off the smoke alarm, I dread to think what crèpes will do...
Pudding was apple crumble (oatmeal and brown sugar topping, never tried that before but it was very good) with Cornish ice-cream - wonderful. We didn't get home until 8.30 p.m.: Kai is now sound asleep, bless 'im. The family will be coming over to us after the Eostre holidays, and we're hoping to make a regular thing of it. Will see how we go!
Our shelving unit is finished and being delivered tomorrow at 10 a.m. Fingers crossed the water feature arrives tomorrow as well - then the room is all but finished.
This link, from Blue Witch's blog, sets out the so-called promises of our three main political parties if they win the (distinctly under-played) upcoming election. Personally I don't trust any of them - they're all liars and hypocrites as far as I'm concerned. But I will NOT be voting for Poodle Blair, I can say that much! His playing the 'sincere religious' card was just one ploy too many.
In response to the previous post's comments: I agree, Carol, I think 'anorak' as a pejorative term originally came from train-spotters - obsessive train-spotters at that, British otaku, essentially, sad nerds whose lives revolved around cold, draughty train-station platforms. Now it just means someone who knows far more than is healthy about their chosen (dull, boring) subject and insists on talking about it to the exclusion of everything else... Fair description?


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Monday, March 28, 2005

Where did yesterday go?
[growl] Doesn't help that it's that time of year again and they changed the bloody clocks. Now, do I change my settings here or just try to remember to add an hour to the post time...? Given my memory I'll change the settings...
So - Dr Who number 9 (if you count Paul McGann, which I do: I think he'd have made the most gorgeous 'romantic' Dr but there you go) arrived on Saturday. Christopher Eccleston. Who's Christopher Eccleston? I don't know the name at all. Not that it matters, I thought he was great. (And the opening was scary! But then again, I've never liked anything doll-like, even when they were forced on me as a child...) Understand I'm not exactly a Who fan - I'll watch it if it's on but it's not a must-see for me and never has been. But the new series looks like it's going to be fun. Kai's been looking forward to it all week, and he loved it, which is the main thing, so it's bookmarked for regular viewing.
I spent a fair bit of yesterday re-drawing my Haadri map, with Kai working out distances for me - then covered it with sticky-backed plastic (hah! Try your tricks now, you muddy-pawed kits!) while we all watched The Day of the Triffids. That's one film that might benefit from being remade, I think. The rest of the day was a Local Heroes marathon. [groan] Much as I like and admire Adam Hart-Davis a whole day of him is a bit much. Kai enjoyed it though - complained loudly when I switched over to catch Crusade, which he says he can't stand. No idea why...
We had another cat sneak through the kit-flip last night, the prettiest little fluffy ginger thing with a white face and a black beauty spot on its lip. Poor thing was scrabbling to get out, terribly frightened when it wouldn't open. I shooed it out then switched the flap to both-ways closed, think we'll have to make a habit of that from now on.
Food. Yesterday morning: nowt - I didn't wake up 'til gone noon... This morning: pot of jasmine tea and a glass of grapefruit juice, and a banana.
Yesterday afternoon: some of the chocolate buttons in Kai's Eostre egg (he's a very sharing child), two crispbread with slices of Cheddar and port and cranberry sauce. And a banana.
Yesterday dinner: stewing steak casserole (as last Sunday), low-cal chocolate mousse. Today I'm making stir fry - diced pork, a packet of Amoy Thai-style stir-fry veg and shitake mushrooms in teriyaki sauce with added cooking sake (yes, I know, a bit of a hodge podge but it's tasty!) on organic long grain white rice. Yesterday evening: slices of Cheddar and Edam with more port and cranberry sauce. And a banana. Ken bought a lot of organic bananas on special...
Today Kai is tidying up his corner. It's an all-day job.
Ken is preparing a synopsis of the Dartmouth book for a potential new publisher - crossing fingers...
And I'm going back to Haadri. Last chance to write during the day this week - Kai and I will be out and about for most of the rest of it.


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Saturday, March 26, 2005

Right, let's see... spent from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. sewing, yesterday, with breaks for snacks, hanging out washing, etc. (Aching hands/arms/shoulders!) But the organza sections are finished; today I tacked them to the battens and between us Ken and I got them screwed into the ceiling.
They look gorgeous.
Ken's described them as "whimsical" and "vaguely mediæval", which I suppose they are to some extent. They still suggest orchid petals to me. Kai just stood with his mouth open and said wow.
The mirror is now on the wall as well, and I took some time to tackle a few finishing touches, like the window curtain tie-backs, and the ivy leaves to hide the velcro that despite all my efforts could still be seen on the cushion backrests. Now all that's left to do is put up the shelving unit - which won't be ready, alas, until after the Eostre break. Oh, and wait for the arrival of the water feature - E464 at the top of the page; looks like it'll match the wind-chime! (I was delighted that my favourite on this site was also the one on the best special offer - I suppose not that many people like the design. Just keeping fingers crossed the pump isn't too loud...)
Food. Morning: Friday - last of the raspberry and elderberry yoghurt, banana, glass of grapefruit juice. Today - Cajun Spicy Veg soup, couple of crispbreads with slices of Cheddar and port and cranberry sauce.
Afternoon: Friday - Highlights chocolate fudge low-cal drink and three chocolate chip cookies. Today - um... didn't bother.
Dinner: Friday - pizza and chips, Tesco's Toffee Temptation dessert. Today - nuked chicken (cooked and grilled in microwave) with chicken noodles and family mixed veg. Low-cal chocolate mousse for dessert.
Evening: Friday - another Cajun Spicy Veg soup and slices of Cheddar and Edam cheeses. Today - going to have crispbread with Cheddar and port and cranberry sauce a little later. And white wine. Mustn't forget the white wine...
Ruth (from Keynsham) rang yesterday - we're meeting them in Keynsham park Wednesday morning, to have a picnic lunch, then we're invited back for dinner! Really looking forward to it.
Right - Haadri...


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This really appeals to the bitch in me. I gaped, grinned, chuckled, and in a couple of cases guffawed outright. Heh, these make me look like the paragon of high fashion! [smirk]


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Thursday, March 24, 2005

If you read this blog (semi-)regularly, you'll probably have noticed that numbers don't like me. Anything to do with numbers, in fact - dates, ages, birthdays, historical dates, statistics, time, distance - they hate me. Or perhaps it's more a sniggering contempt. Look, they whisper amongst themselves, pointing in my direction. She's trying to work something out again! Let's go scramble her brain...
Today was a good example. Something about the times/distances in FirstLight ch. 9 was bugging me, and when I sat down with map, list of distances I've already worked out, plus the times in the book, I realised that I'd miscalculated. Cue about an hour's frantic activity while I cudgelled my brain (and Lutra's - thanks for the maths, tenshi!) to get it right. Thank Babbage for calculators! The text is now correct, and I've started a document with the distances between the inhabited planets - but I need to draw a new, definitive map of the galaxy. Heh, that'll be fun! However, Kai's agreed to help me calculate the distances and times of travel, so with luck I'll have that done by the end of his Eostre break.
Yup, he's now on holiday until April 11th. We have a list of things to do/places to go, and it looks like I'm not going to get a lot of time to myself. Blaise Castle, Museum and Brandon Hill, Cotham Park (and all the second-hand shops down the Gloucester Rd), a local train trip out to Aust, the cinema (Robots is on at the Showcase, so will probably watch that. I'd much rather see Constantine, but that will probably have to wait until it's out to rent), and I suggested we go swimming too. Haven't been in ages and I miss it. We're also hoping the weather is good: the garden needs a lot of work...
He had me laughing on the walk home from school - he's really turning into quite a comedian. And he brought home the slippers he made! They're great, and I would have taken a photo but I appear to have buggered up his camera: trying to download the last lot of shots I took I got a 'corrupt .exe' message, and the camera, although now empty, flashes up 'FULL' when I try to take a photo. (Any suggestions, Carol?) Damn gremlins... Looks like our first trip next week might be to Maplins. Or perhaps the Special Reserve shop - after all, they fixed Nappa for me...
Ken had his monthly checkup at the hospital: no change (except for the better, he's further from being anaemic now than last time, so all the iron-rich green stuff I've been feeding him has obviously had some effect).
Food. Morning: bowl of yoghurt, banana. Dinner: jalfrezi (hot curry) of diced turkey, red and yellow peppers and organic onion, on organic rice, with organic plain yoghurt and coriander and garlic naan bread. I shall finish the rest of it later.
I've now cut the gold-beaded gold organza - and what fun that was! You ever want a laugh, come and watch me struggling to cut to size yards of fine material that wouldn't be out of place on a traditional Indian bride's outfit! But if I sew it tonight, we can probably get the whole thing finished and put up tomorrow.
Not that I can take any photos until I sort out the camera... [grump]
Haadri later.


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Wednesday, March 23, 2005

[sigh] I should have anticipated it really, knowing how voile handles a needle and thread... I've finished the bronze main window organza section, only instead of hanging straight down in smooth talan-like arches, as I'd intended, the edges are all ruffled - looks a little like a cattleya's frilly petals, actually. Rather nice. Very fitting. Now if I can just get the gold-beaded pale gold organza to do the same thing...
It's taken me most of the day though. Puxxi didn't want to co-operate at first, and then half way through I suddenly lost the tension, resulting in a horrible mess that I had to unpick. But never mind, it'll be worth it.
Haven't managed much else. Planning more Haadri tonight.
Food Morning: small bowl of raspberry and elderberry yoghurt, pot of jasmine green tea.
Afternoon: mug of Cajun Spicy Veg low-cal soup, couple of crispbread, one incredibly hard and tasteless pear (Red Bartlett organic, never tried them before. Perhaps they need to ripen a bit...) and a small banana.
Dinner: pork chops, family mixed veg with added diced swede, small serving of cooked marrow (Kai had noodles as well). Low-cal chocolate mousse for dessert.
Evening: mug of Highlights low-cal chocolate fudge drink made with boiling water. And probably another banana later. We're about at the end of my winter food repertoire: I'll finish noting it down soon.
Mantra of the Day - too old to be boring, to busy to be bored!


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Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Hm. Having trouble getting into the right frame of mind to work on the fiddly organza bits - not surprising since although I know how I want it to look, I don't have much of an idea of how to do it. Will have another try tomorrow.
Front coverThe blad - the mock up of the book that went to the London Book Fair - arrived last week, and I have permission to post scans of it here. Please bear in mind that this is not necessarily how the actual book will look when it's published.
This is the front cover


The contents page.

The rooms

The Nine Rooms spread.

The bathroom

The bathroom spread.

back cover

The back cover.

We're very pleased with the overall design - it's cool and soothing and sophisticated, and those elements will carry over to the end result.

Food. Morning: up early after very little sleep - had a small bowl of Rachael's Organic yoghurt, a new variety, raspberry and elderberry (they seem to have stopped making my favourite maple syrup variety) - and a glass of organic grapefruit juice before taking Kai to school. Heh, I can tell when spring is coming, I get a hankering for fruit!
Lunch: Cajun Spicy Vegetable low-cal soup, then treated myself to a big bowl of Spanish strawberries - 74p reduced from £2.49, nowt wrong with them, they were just at the sell-by date - with low-cal sweetener (there's something almost erotic about the luminous red of strawberry flesh...)
Dinner: spaghetti bolognaise, and a low-cal Chocolate Brownie dessert - delicious!
Evening: another Cajun Spicy soup, couple of crispbread, and a banana.
Kai didn't want to go to school again this morning, complaining of sore stomach, then hurting legs half way down the road, then something wrong with his eye: I asked him if there was something that happens on Tuesday that he doesn't like. He said no - but I dropped in to speak to the school anyway. I don't fuss, but the fact that this is happening every Tuesday makes me think there's something up. They said they weren't aware of anything, but will keep an eye out now that I've mentioned it.
I don't usually post these - I rarely take them - but this one is a lot more thoughtful, and thought-provoking, than most. I was also intrigued by the accuracy (well, apart from the hair colour, that is!).
You have turquoise hair. You are very creative and
free-spirited. You are incredibly unique, and
never seem to like the same thing as the next
person. You often spot new trends before anyone
else does, but whether or not you follow is
entirely up to you.
What is your inner anime hair colour?
brought to you by Quizilla

Interestingly enough, that tallies with the last cookie...
Remember you are a unique person... just a bit more unique than everybody else.
Add a fortune to your website or blog,
click here.
Back to Haadri...


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Monday, March 21, 2005

[flump] That was hectic...
Does anyone else have a love/hate relationship with the Post Office? Since ours was closed down [snarl, bloody government] we've had to use the PO in Sandy Park Rd. No further away, but since it's now the only PO for miles around, it's busy, all the time. The queue was out of the door this morning. And they don't hold US currency, you have to order it. The main PO in The Galleries in town would have some though, so since I was going into town anyway I thought I'd use them instead...
Heh. The queue at the main counter was about 30 people long, but all the windows were open so it was moving very quickly. The queue at the bureau de change window was three people long when I joined it...
Alas, they all wanted complicated things done with large amounts of currency - it took me fifteen minutes to be served, just for a $10 note. Why did I want a $10 note? Long story, won't bore you here...
new wind chimesHowever, Evolution had some new wind chimes, including this one (held by Kai: sorry I missed the bottom off!) which I fell in love with. The chimes are those little inverted domes, and they make a lovely quiet mellow sound. It's now hanging in the bedroom window and looks fantastic. (And only £4.50!)
Oh, and the Evolution branch that used to be up the Gloucester Rd closed down. Just in case anyone was wondering.
Also bought another set of orchid-matching bedding from Wilkinsons, and while I was there had a look at their fabric flowers - and found silk cattleyas, a pair set in clear resin in a glass vase. Cream white rather than the orange I was hoping for, but very pretty. Now I'm hunting for a fabric paphiopedilum (though I think I'll be very lucky to find one!) It would be wonderful to find fabric versions of some of the more unusual orchids too (oh for a stanhopea!). I'll keep looking though - you never know...
Found a great book in the Leaping Lemming at St Nick's Market - Once Upon a More Enlightened Time (subtitled 'more politically correct bedtime stories'). With titles like The Little Mer-persun and Sleeping Persun of Better-than average Attractiveness I think it's going to be fun.
I also found a copy of Rocky Horror - From Concept to Cult, which looks interesting, and The Gaia Peace Atlas, excellent research material. Didn't cost me a penny, either: we had a vicious prune of our own bookshelves a little while ago and ended up with substantial credit notes from the place.
Arrived back as Ken was leaving to collect Kai, emptied rucksack and tanked over to Tesco. There are times I don't like shopping, legs are still aching...
Food Morning: couple of slices of organic rye crispbread with (delicious) cold roast pork from our local butcher and a pot of organic Clearspring sencha [sigh - only have one teabag left and Sainsbug's doesn't stock it any more...] in my new teapot. (From the hospice charity shop in Sandy Park Rd: I think it's Indian - small, hexagonal, thick blue and white china with a peacock decoration and a brass handle. Also found three beautiful little Chinese (I think) bowls and matching spoons: white with delicate cherry blossom branches on them. Couldn't resist...)
Dinner: bowl of salad (organic lettuce/tomatoes/cucumber/spring onions - I forgot the beetroot, blast it) with a dollop of tinned pink salmon on top (Ken had his with a baked potato, Kai had noodles) mixed with the usual organic seafood dressing. Individual low(er)-cal toffee cheesecakes for dessert.
Evening: there's some cold roast pork and roast beef left over - going to have that with another couple of crispbread and a mug of low-cal soup (Tesco is doing a 'buy one get one free' on Batchelor's low cal soups at the moment.)
On the subject of food, I dropped into Revolution - the Russian bar-restaurant close to St Nick's Market - to see if I could get a menu to take home, since I didn't discover the website until just now (and the menu's in pdf anyway, which I loathe). It all sounds wonderful, and the prices are very reasonable:
        'Small plates' like Pan-fried Mushrooms on garlic flatbread with blue-cheese topping, or Roasted Chicken Wings with lemon peri-peri dipping sauce, both £4.45, or Salt and Pepper Squid with sweet chili sauce £4.50.         Main meals like Scottish Rump Steak (with a vodka glaze!), potatoes/chips and fresh veg/salad £7.95, Wild Mushroom Pie (with asparagus in a cream sauce) £6.95, The Dragon's Tail (chicken and pork escalope rolled with paprika, with braised red cabbage, potato rosti and apple cream sauce - that'll do me!) £7.65.         And the desserts! Hot cinnamon waffle with fresh strawberries, raspberry sauce and vanilla ice cream (£2.95), Double Chocolate Torte (£3.25)...
Hungry yet? [grin] I was wondering, if/when you come over this summer Carol, you'd like to go there one evening for a meal (and possibly some vodka cocktails!)...
The penultimate cookie...
Reduce to a minimum what is necessary in your fish bowl.

[eyes up the Tetra of Immortality. Yes, the damn thing is still alive. I suppose that's what immortality is all about.]
Please tell me I'm not the only person who wants to take an elephant gun to Sweetie the bloody Chick...


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Sunday, March 20, 2005

Kai's class have been putting together an anthology of their favourite poems! Kai chose Beware of the Sheep, and had me chortling on Friday evening as we walked home from school...
Beware of the Sheep...
One sheep, two sheep, three sheep, four, Won't jump over the gate anymore. They dance the tango, roll on the floor, Bang on the drums and climb up the door
[chorus] Beware of the sheep, beware of the sheep Don't try counting them when you can't sleep!
Two sheep, three sheep, four sheep, five, Every one of them's on the skive, Show them a gate and they'll contrive To backflip, somersault or take a dive...
It goes on like that, up to ten...
Seven sheep, eight sheep, nine sheep, ten, Let's just try this once again... Wait for it! I'll say when, You miserable 'orrible specimen!
[chorus] Beware of the sheep, beware of the sheep Count something else when you want to get to sleep!
Well, the main curtains are hung, and the shelf above the door is in place (Destiny and Power are now standing there, up out of harm's way, along with the silk oncidium, sitting in a low pot and splayed against the green wall. Looks great!) The rest of the afternoon I spent re-organising our room's bookshelves. (And cleaning them: can't remember when I last dusted...) Should be able to cut and sew the organza sections for the pelmets tomorrow - then there's very little left to do, mostly involving drilling (the batons holding the organza need to be screwed into the ceiling, the mirror needs to go up on the wall, and I'm hoping our display shelving will be ready soon).
Then I can take photographs!
Ken's room and the hall/stairwell/landing also need redecorating - as does the kitchen, which is a disgrace. However, we really need a new fitted sink unit and some major work done on the plumbing, which we can't afford at the moment, so any changes I make will be cosmetic. Still, that would help. And I have half a tin of purple and a fair bit of the pale blue paints left over, which I'll use for Ken's study: he's not too fussed about the colours in there, and we don't like wasting anything. It'll be a great excuse to clear and re-organise the room, too. But I need a break first.
Food Morning: Danish blue cheese and cucumber sandwich in the last of the pumpkin and sunflower seed bread.
Dinner: my 'famous' (infamous?) casserole - stewing steak, strips of red and green pepper and sliced onions and mushrooms, sautéed, then covered with red wine, a tiny dash of Lea and Perrins Worcestershire sauce, a squoosh of shoyu, a large teaspoon of organic coarse whole-grain mustard and thickened with beef gravy granules: brought up to the boil then poured into a casserole and cooked in the oven for at least two and a half hours at Gas Mark 4.5. Served with organic long grain white rice. Kai loves it - he finished first!
Mint Vienetta for dessert. Kai's favourite - not mine or Ken's, we prefer Forest Fruits or Chocolate Brownie - but it was OK.
Today's cookie...
Ignore previous cookie.

Hmmmm. I can live with that. Reality is subjective, like haddock, and age.
Right, back to Haadri...


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Saturday, March 19, 2005

ouchouchouch... hands... arms... shoulders...
But the wardrobe curtains are finished and in place, and the window curtains ready to be bottom hemmed tomorrow, after I've hung and pinned them to get them even. Kai helped a little - he's fascinated by my sewing machine, an ancient hand-crank Singer 99K (first produced in 1928, the production model number changed early to mid 1930's I think. The decoration on mine is art deco. Heh, I'm sewing on an antique!) I can't remember where I got it, whether I bought it cheap from a friend in Edinburgh or whether my mother gave it to me when she bought an electric machine, but it's still going strong. The only things wrong are that the cover is missing (always was), and the spool-winder doesn't work: the wheel doesn't make contact with the drive-wheel, and I can't adjust it myself. (Suppose I ought to get it serviced - if I can find anyone to do it!) It's a bloody pain in the arse hand-winding, but at least it works OK.
And it has a gremlin! She introduced herself, finally - she's a funny looking little thing, all long nose, long fingers and toes with little needle-like claws on the end. Her name is Puxxi. And she'd prefer it if I used the machine more often, thank you very much!
Ken mowed the lawn while I was struggling with yards of slippery faux silk: it was so warm today both he and Kai wore shorts and T-shirts. Warm enough to put up the rotary dryer and outdoor-dry the washing!
Food. Morning: forgot to eat. Drank a lot of diet coke though! Afternoon: Ham and port and cranberry sauce sandwich (organic sunflower and pumpkin seed wholemeal loaf, very tasty!). Dinner: pork chops, family mixed veg, (plus organic cabbage for Ken), chow mein noodles. We didn't get around to having the mint Vienetta Kai chose for dessert; will have tomorrow instead.
I'm fancying a Danish blue cheese and cucumber sandwich. And for once I have the ingredients! Will make shortly - then finish yesterday's wine.
Today's cookie...
Welcome to the real world.


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Friday, March 18, 2005

Kitsch but cute way to disguise a cable...... hands hurt... I loathe sewing Velcro...
Still, the cushion backrests are now functional, and I came up with a somewhat kitsch but nevertheless cute way to disguise the reading-light power cables - attach (silk) ivy strands to them! Looks quite good, I think, and is nicely in keeping with the talan-inspired theme of the room. The bedding looks redder than it actually is, here, it's much more terracotta/orange/dark-gold in reality.
Kai had a great day at school today - 100% in his spelling, and he finished 99 maths questions in four minutes fifty-five seconds! He'll be getting his 'Super Speller' and 'third improvement in a row' certificates next Thursday.
As a reward he had two chocolate ring doughnuts for his pudding - and we rented Hellboy for the weekend. The film, that is, not the actual demon. Though he'd have been useful, mind you, Ken wants to get some work done in the garden while I sew curtains...
Hm. Can we say "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh Wgah'nagl fhtagn"? Started off very well - then somehow... it seemed to go off track. At least, I found it didn't hold my attention as much as I'd thought it would: I started drifting off halfway through. Yes, reasonable acting, most of it, great makeup and special effects, the story was so-so but OK, I suppose... I found it disappointing. Predictable. Not exciting enough. Too familiar - too many ideas/images/scenarios that I've seen in other films. A pity - I'd been looking forward to it.
Food Morning: um... my last pink grapefruit cereal bar. Mug of Broccoli and Cauliflower low-cal soup, two slices toast, one with organic strawberry jam.
Dinner: I tried making Tuna Cats, à la Thorne. Well, Tuna Kittens, actually: I left out the cheese, slivered almonds and the spices I didn't have (celery salt, bay leaf - I do have a bay tree in the garden, but no dried leaves at the moment - dry mustard, cardamom). I added a dash of white wine. And I didn't mash it: thinking about what it would look like was offputting! We enjoyed it - I'll make it again with the full ingredients next time. Toffee ring doughnut for dessert!
Evening: Going to make a bowl of noodles shortly, then open a bottle of wine.
Today's cookie...
Follow the white rabbit.
[blink] Um... another hint, perhaps?


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Right, JAT is now more or less viable - at any rate, I've coded up the JAT Designs pages and done a little more tidying up (i.e. converting to CSS), and found myself re-reading the Beauday and Doyaal centaur stories. Forgotten how much I enjoyed writing them - and I never did get around to writing the sequel(s) did I? Can still remember the plots of the first two I planned... [sigh] Nope, can't even think about it. Still have at least one Matrix Twins fic to finish (Dare is partly written), the Mary-Sue Avenger strip to draw, and the Leander Pryne stories to get on with - over and above everything else I have to do, of course.
Beginning to wonder if it might be worthwhile posting a page of 'unfinished stories' so (other) Zone members can at least see what I had planned...
Food Morning: Mug of B&C soup, two slices multi-seed toast with a couple of slices of wafer-thin ham and a few thin slices of Cheddar.
Dinner: baked stuffed marrow. A favourite of mine, this, though we don't have it very often, not with marrows currently costing £1.69 each. I know Lutra wants the recipe, at least, so... (serves 4)
      Cut your marrow in half lengthways, then in half crossways (I allow a quarter marrow (a small marrow, that is) per person), scoop out and discard the seeds and cook the marrow in boiling water for a few minutes - until a blunt knife goes into the flesh easily. Drain and place cut side down on kitchen paper towel to dry a little. For the filling:
1lb diced pork 4-5 rashers bacon (cheapest, streaky is good) cut into little strips one large onion, sliced
      Sautée together in a dollop of melted butter and a squoosh of olive oil. When more or less cooked but not overdone, add:
crushed garlic clove (and stir for about 30 seconds) tin chopped tomatoes 1 (or more if you like it) teaspoon creamed horseradish (sorry, wasabi won't do!) a goodly squirt of lemon juice ground black pepper nutmeg and/or ground mace to taste
       Simmer together for 5-10 minutes (I don't time it, can tell by the lovely smell when it's done!) then add wholemeal breadcrumbs to thicken (it should be moist but not runny). A minute before spooning it into the marrow quarters, add several torn Basil leaves and stir thoroughly. Put filled marrow quarters into pre-heated oven at gas Mark 5 (don't know the 'lectric numbers, sorry...) for about 20 minutes. Serve. Place knife and fork in hands. Eat. But not the marrow skin unless you really want to...
It's quite an unusual flavour (for the UK, anyway) but I love it. Kai doesn't, of course. Served it with organic swede mashed with butter and black pepper, family mixed veg and broccoli. Last of the low-cal lemon mousses for dessert (don't think I'll buy them again, they weren't that nice). Evening: mug of low-cal Chicken and Mushroom soup, two slices multi-seed toast with ham and port and cranberry sauce. Think I'm going to try the Tuna Cats recipe tomorrow!
Today's cookie...
It only seems kinky the first time.



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Thursday, March 17, 2005

To answer Wendy (see yesterday's comments), I haven't watched the Jamie Oliver programme - I tend not to watch programmes about cooking anyway, and I'm not fond of JO - though I've seen comments about it, most of which horrified me. Personally, I'd have thought not feeding your children properly counts as neglect. It's not like healthy eating is some obscure, esoteric discipline, we're bombarded with ads and info every-bloody-where...
In fact, the whole idea of noting down what we eat over a week or two came from a conversation Lutra and I had on ICQ a while back. Can't remember the exact words, but I was ranting about a bimbo with three or four kids who'd been on TV that evening complaining that she couldn't afford to feed her kids properly, they could only afford things like fish and chips...
'Only afford fish and chips'! Who's she trying to kid? Last time we had fish and chips it cost us £5 EACH. For ONE meal. Fifteen quid for a three-single-portions take-out meal! For f**ks sake, I can feed the three of us properly and healthily - and on primarily organic food too! - for two whole days for that, three meals a day!! [snarl] So don't anyone dare to try to tell me that's all they can afford. It's sheer bloody laziness and willing ignorance. And the poor kids are the ones who suffer for it!
Makes my blood boil.
[takes deep breath...]
ANYway... Food, since we're on the subject... Morning: as already noted, a chicken and mushroom slice - junk food but very tasty all the same, and half price as at sell-by date.
Dinner: I've managed to end up with a lot of pork this week, so it'll be mainly pork dinners over the next few days - which is fine, we like pork, and my butcher's local meat is very tasty. I was tired tonight (went back over to The Range to pick up the mirror for our room - good timing, it was reduced to £13.99 today), so made jalfrezi (curry) again, with diced pork, green pepper, organic onion and family mixed veg thrown in since we didn't have any yesterday, on organic rice (Kai had chicken drumsticks with noodles, lettuce, cucumber and tomato. Yes, he likes salad. He likes broccoli too. I'm very pleased about this!). Low-cal lemon mousse for dessert.
Tonight: I had a wafer-thin ham sandwich (organic wholemeal loaf) with Country Delights port and cranberry sauce. Our butcher stocks it and it's gorgeous. Finished off with another pink grapefruit cereal bar.
Today's cookie...
When both feet are planted firmly, you will have trouble getting out of the ground.

[blink] Who, me? Nah...


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Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Brief update while lunch heats up in the oven (Ken picked up a pack of chicken and mushroom slices going cheap on the way back from taking Kai to school...)
Food seems to be on the blogging menu in several places at the moment. As Lutra says, we were talking about swedes and turnips last night (I've always had trouble remembering which is which - or even if they're different vegetables, since in Scotland, where I spent a lot of time at Uni and afterwards, "neeps" are actually swedes... I've promised to make haggis, neeps and tatties when she comes to visit). We also discussed meat - I can't bear offal, the thought of eating something that's helped another animal digest its own food is... bleurgh (with the notable exception of haggis, and even there if I think too hard about what goes in it it puts me right off), she can't abide brains and pigs trotters (no argument there!)
Then today we find that Diamond Geezer has been reminiscing about school meals and drafted a suggested fortnightly school menu... It brought back such horrible memories! So many things there I remember from my school days... I've made a suggestion for the missing day's dinner, beef olives with prunes and custard for pudding. I had prunes and custard on my FIRST DAY EVER at school (think that counts as a "cruel and unusual punishment"?) and prunes - even the very faintest whiff of the smell of them - have made me violently nauseous ever since. Though I remember it causing some amusement when I went home and told my mother I'd had prawns and custard...
Blue Witch has an interesting 'Moon Phases' thingie on her blog, which I rather liked: now have my own posted above my weather pixies in the left hand infopane.
She also talks about eggs today. We buy free range (organic when we can afford it) and have done for almost as long as they've been available - but it hadn't twigged that of course shop-bought products containing eggs will be made with eggs from battery hens... I can be slow on the uptake sometimes. Going to have to be more careful when shopping in future.
Lunch ready - more later.


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Kai was home with another stomach upset today - though not ill enough to escape doing lessons with us. Ken put the Teacher's Zone channel on the TV, all about formulae this morning, and took Kai through a maths problem (we've put some algae-killing stuff in our pond, but as it's been dry the water level is low: between them - with Kai doing most of the work - they figured out the volume of water needed to fill it and the amount of algae stuff to add). Then he settled down to do a little of his class Design project (to design and make a pair of slippers), and after that wrote and sent an email (counts as literacy and IT I suppose!) He's well enough to go back to school tomorrow, I think.
Having him home is always distracting. Nevertheless I managed to get a little of Escape done (that's the follow-up to the giftfic I wrote for Lutra, that can't be read yet), redid the curtaining around Kai's den, organised Ken's cushion side of the headboard in our room (that'll make sense when I take the photos), and cleared up some client site bits and pieces.
Food Morning (late): Mug of the usual with two slices toast and 3-4 thin slices of Cheddar and Gouda, and a Sainsbug's low-cal pink grapefruit cereal bar (I'm practically addicted to these. Have to hide them from myself). Then Ken made garlic mushrooms on toast - yumm!
Dinner: chili con carne (extra-lean mince, green pepper, organic onion and tinned tomatoes and kidney beans, on organic rice). I have to make it fairly tame (mild chili powder) for Ken , but it's still a favourite: used to make my own cornbread to go with it but don't have the haddock any more... Choc ice-cream for dessert: Kai had the last of the choc mousses. (He also had pizza, noodles and a tomato and cucumber salad instead of chili - not keen on spicy stuff. Yet!)
Evening: finished off the half bowl of chili that was left, with a slice of bread and butter. And four of Ken's chocolate-coated Brazil nuts. [frown] I'm eating too much bread. Must cut back.
Today's cookie...
Someone is speaking well of your tree.
Which one, I wonder....?


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Tuesday, March 15, 2005

... so I thought I'd try Firefox' companion email suite, Thunderbird, as it promises free spam-junking (you have to pay for Eudora's) and I'm thoroughly pissed off with getting oriental spam... Downloaded and installed, struggled with it for an hour and gave up in disgust. Don't know whether it's my setup here, or Butch, or a bug in the programme, but I could not get it to work. I only wanted half my email accounts on Thunderbird - the client ones - but after importing all the accounts and removing the ones I only want on Eudora, then rebooting Thunderbird, I found it had only retained half the accounts I wanted: the rest had disappeared... These days I set a restore point before making any changes, luckily...
So then I thought I'd update Eudora... [sigh] downloaded and installed, only to find one of the dlls is missing, and hitting 'new' brings up three little error windows before I can get to the compose message screen. I may not like XP, but there are times I am extremely grateful for its 'system restore' facility.
Bought the faux silk for the bedroom curtains - all nine metres of it - and the bronze and gold-spangled gold organzas this afternoon on the way back from collecting Kai: lot of sewing this weekend. Cheaper than I expected, too: the faux silk had £3.99 on the label, but they sold it at £2.99 a metre instead - quite a saving.
Food... Morning: ... um... couple of slices of Gouda, I think. And a cup of coffee with two choc-chip biscuits!
Dinner: organic baked potato with tinned pink salmon and organic seafood sauce, with a salad of baby spinach, radishes and tomatoes (all we actually had in the salad line!). Low-cal choc mousse and choc ice-cream for dessert.
Night: going to have a broccoli and cauliflower soup with a slice or two of toast shortly, with a little cheddar and Gouda, to warm up (it's cold again).
Today's cookie...

Love is evil spelled backwards. Well, almost.

Uh, riiiiiight...
Thorne, there are comments on your last entry but Haloscan doesn't appear to be showing them on your page...


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Monday, March 14, 2005

Heh, tired...
My new Tesco reward card arrived on Saturday - along with the £13-worth of instore vouchers I was expecting in April. [resigned sigh] Heh, more useful now, at any rate.
I've thoroughly enjoyed the Fake manga and can't wait for the two missing volumes! Promised myself I'm going to take an hour and sit and read them in order once I have the lot. It's only seven volumes, after all.
Sunday's Food [blink] did I eat anything in the morning? I don't think I did... (I know Kai and Ken had cereal for breakfast and Kai had pasta and parmesan for lunch: Ken probably made himself a sandwich, he usually does...) I had a Ripple bar on the way back from a Tesco shop in the afternoon, then made a proper dinner - chicken quarters cooked and grilled in the microwave, with family mixed veg (see last Wednesday's post), broccoli, chicken noodles for Kai and Tesco's own mushroom couscous for us. Well, me, actually, as it's my favourite and Ken isn't all that fond of it. Low-cal choc mousse and choc ice-cream for dessert. Then later I had a sudden fancy for chips, so cooked a small plate-worth in the oven.
You can tell weekends are a little on the unstructured side, food-wise, can't you? [grin]
The Taste Buds shop in Keynsham I mentioned yesterday has a website - check it out here!
Today's cookie...

You will be hungry soon, order takeout.

... Obviously a new advertising ploy...

We've had a setback with the Dartmouth book, due to be released by a local small press at Eostre: the proprietor died at the end of February. The project is therefore on hiatus - and our respects and sympathy go out to Chips' family and friends.


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Sunday, March 13, 2005

... OK, think I've recovered...
That was extraordinary. And I can't talk about it without giving spoilers... oh well. Suffice it to say I've never cried like that over an anime, not even the end of Trigun. It's powerfully moving stuff. Be interesting to see if it has the same effect on Lutra!
(Actually, I think I may write a small piece/critique about the series, for later publication either here or on one of my sites... will think about that...)
Going to wait a while now before watching the OAV. Don't want to spoil the effect.
So - yesterday...
We had a fantastic day, and it was all down to synchronicity... Interesting bus trip: the driver's English was very poor (we seem to have quite a few asylum seekers/refugees in Briz, I think he was one of those) and although I asked quite clearly for an adult return and a child return, he kept saying "single" (i.e. one-way)... it didn't twig until we'd sat down that he was probably trying to ask if the two young lads who got on behind us also belonged to me, rather than the single bratling who'd tanked up to the back of the bus and was bouncing with excitement. Ah well...
Kai in pocketwatch wearing clothesKai wanted to go back to a jewellers where he'd seen a skeleton pocketwatch (that's one with a transparent case so you can see the innards working). We found one jewellers, but they disclaimed all knowledge of ever having carried such a timepiece. So we wandered up the High St (sounds grand but Keynsham is a tiny place: the High Street is the main street and only takes ten minutes to saunter down!) checking out the numerous second hand shops. I found a Japanese cookbook and a New Zealand pictorial yearbook crammed with photographs of the country (for more, go check out the photos Valkyrie took on her recent holiday - fabulous...), and Kai bought himself another watch (tiny mechanism) and some Geomag - his latest thing and bloody expensive stuff!
Then he wanted to go to the park. Not that he was really dressed for running and climbing and sliding, since he'd wanted to wear his 'pocketwatch wearing' clothes, but what the hell, the weather was nice, very cold but sunny... After 15 minutes or so he asked to go climbing a tree (there's one close to the play area just made for climbing): at first I said no, but he pleaded... he's good at that...

heading for the climbing treeThere were two other children in the tree, and they all started talking and climbing together. I took myself off to the nearby bench (cold - metal) to wait.
The other children's mum was there. She made a comment about it being so nice to see them playing together, I replied, and eventually (because I'd only planned to let Kai have about 10 minutes and I'm not a great one for striking up conversations with strangers) we started talking - first about children and the environment they grow up in these days, and then the conversation broadened...
Heh... She's lived in Japan for 13 years, married a Japanese and only came back home a year and a half ago (mainly, I think, so the children, 11 year old boy and 9 year old girl, can have a British education). And she's an anime fan...
Over an hour and a half later, absolutely frozen and with numb backsides from the metal bench, we finally, reluctantly, decided we ought to gather up the kids and go our separate ways, but not before exchanging phone numbers. Turns out her son is a Lego and Meccano fanatic too - and obviously took a real shine to Kai, as both boys were pleading to be allowed to visit each other's homes...
So we're planning to meet up at the park again in a week or so, and likely exchange visits. We want to stay in touch - it was great to see the boys having such fun. They're a wonderful family!
Oh, and we did find the other jewellers, but they'd sold the watch. They should be getting more in in a couple of months, though. (That particular timepiece was £145: Kai had managed to not notice the number 1 in front of the 45...)

(Yesterday's) Food... Morning: bowl of orange and grapefruit pieces.
Afternoon: got so cold and hungry at the park I bought a (very!) hot and extremely tasty Cornish pasty from Taste Buds. (Kai had a huge piece of cake - rice crispies covered with chocolate and full of little marshmallows!)
Dinner: spaghetti bolognaise. I make mine with onion, red pepper, chestnut mushrooms, chopped tinned tomatoes and extra-lean mince, cooked in red cooking wine with a dash of Lea and Perrins Worcestershire sauce - a quick and easy meal after a long and tiring day. And I finished off the white wine while watching Wolf's Rain.
Today's cookie...

WARNING: Do not eat fortune.

Ack - too late!!


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... oh...
... Wolf's Rain has just finished... that's the perfect, perfect ending...
I have a lot to say about today, but it'll have to wait until I've regained my composure - and stopped bawling my eyes out...


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Saturday, March 12, 2005

(continued from previous post) CH is now sent, the emailed version to the commissioning editor, the hard copy and a CD with versions in both Word and RTF to the London office. Nice feeling. And four days ahead of the deadline too...
Had an interesting afternoon... Sometimes it's good to belong to a Neighbourhood Watch scheme - and nice to be able to participate. Ken was about to dive out to collect Kai when a knock came on the door. He answered - apparently it was three scruffy-looking youths with what appeared to be fake IDs (fingers over the relevant bits are suspicious at the best of times!) with some cock-and-bull story about house inspectors being in the area and needing to inspect all the houses as they were built around the time of the war.
[blink] You what? Our house was built in the 1950s, all the others are Georgian (or Edwardian - you know me and figures/history!)
They were apparently working their way up the road, knocking on all the doors with the same story. Ken sent them on their way, saying he was leaving the house and didn't have time for this... being me and both suspicious and paranoid I rang our Neighbourhood Watch co-ordinator (several doors down from us) who gave me the number of our local Crime Prevention Officer. Gave her all the details I could (since I didn't actually answer the door I couldn't give descriptions) and she said she'd alert the local squad...
Next thing I knew a very nice, very young policeman (NO jokes, thank you!!) knocked on the door. Rang Ken on the mobile for as detailed a description as he could give, which I relayed to the officer, who said they'd check out the area. That's probably as much as we'll ever hear about it. But I was impressed with the speed of the response, and the general attitude. There's been a fair bit of crime in the Brislington area just recently (mainly car-related so it normally doesn't apply to us, though we still keep an eye out) and the police tend to take this sort of thing seriously. Though I admit I'm cynical enough to suspect that if we lived in a less affluent, less 'genteel' area I'm not wholly confident that the reaction would be quite as speedy...
[shock horror] I went up for a nap earlier, I was so tired - and even though Ken tried to wake me after one cycle I ended up sleeping for four hours! Unheard of! Very welcome though... I've spent tonight writing Lutra a fic for her birthday - she requested a slavefic crossover between Jaeger (of Ultimate Muscle) and one of my Haadri characters, which means of course that it's not for public consumption, although - as Lutra herself suggested - it could easily be adapted for a Haadri short story, later... Y'know, I rather like writing requestfics for presents - they're fun, and challenging, and inspiring. Perhaps I should do more of them.
FOOD! It's Friday: that means junk food day (Kai's favourite). I actually forgot to eat in the morning - though I was tempted, in town, by the aroma from the Hot Sausage Company's hot dog stall outside St Nick's market: real sausages, the best hot dogs I've ever tasted... but I resisted... at 3.20 pm, after Ken had left to collect Kai, I started making Broccoli and Cauli soup and toast, but got interrupted by the young policeman... And then my nap/sleep kind of happened during usual dinnertime - so I ended up throwing a chicken and mushroom pie and a handful of chips in the oven at about 10.30 pm. And then bolted it - and burned my tongue - because Lutra's giftfic leapt fully-fledged into my head and just had to be written...
Oh, and I've had white wine again tonight - but I usually do on a Friday. (Hangover from my Lexx days.)
Today's cookie...

Your love life will be yours.

Oh good. Nice to know it won't be someone else's...
Off to Keynsham with bratling tomorrow - er, later this morning, I mean...


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Friday, March 11, 2005

Well that was fun - I think...
Took Kai to school then leapt on a bus into town. Last time I was there I checked out a nice little shop in The Galleries - Evolution (can't find a website), which sells ethnic gift stuff and some very nice mobiles (your pink one came from there, Lutra). They had the most gorgeous wind-chime: a 3-D bird outline in copper with glass nuggets and marbles, the wings springed so they moved, and copper piping for the chimes themselves. It was quite large and chunky, and I can't find an illustration of anything like it to link to... Anyway, I loved it, and knew it would be perfect for the 'new' bedroom, but didn't have the money to buy it then. Planned to pick it up today instead.
They'd sold out.
They don't think they'll be getting any more in.
Pissed off? Oh yes. That's the second time this has happened: the first was just before Yule, when I'd started planning the new décor and found a string of beautiful maple leaf lights in one of my online catalogues. Went back to order them after Yule: they'd changed to their 'summer' stock (in January?), didn't have any in, weren't getting anymore (it's all pink hearts and roses or black and white footballs this year [shudder]) and didn't know where I could find some.
Evolution did have a different wind-chime in a similar style - three dragonflies one above the other - and I might have been tempted had the staff been a little more customer-service orientated. As it was I left without buying anything... There is/was another Evolution shop, but it's waaaaaay up the Gloucester Rd and a four-bus trip there and back. I might try ringing on Monday, and getting a FirstBus ticket if they have any. Otherwise - I suppose I'll just have to keep an eye out elsewhere...
On the plus side, Kathie's Comics had my Fake 4 & 5, and Les Bijoux 3 (which Ken has put away with vol 5 for me until I can get the rest). And I managed to find some bedding - not absolutely perfect but much better than the blue: a rich deep ginger/terracotta duvet cover and pillowslips, ivory Egyptian cotton sheet and pillowslips for the second (under) pillows. It wasn't until I got home that I realised it all matches my phalaenopsis spray. [bemused] I wonder if anyone else buys bedding to match their orchids?
Bought it from Wilkinsons, and I was lucky to find it. Traipsed all round Broadmead - ye gods, even tried Debenhams and BHS!! Normally I wouldn't be seen dead in such places! - but this year's colours seem to be all insipid pallid pastel greens and mauves. Unless you want to fork out £99 for a duvet cover and two pillowslips....
I also dived into Robert Dyas to see if they had any duct tape (many thanks for the explanations, Thorne and Lutra!) Nothing actually called duct tape, though they do stock Duck tape. Duck, apparently, is the name of the brand (they do various sorts of tape, carpet grippers, etc) and I assume it's a cheeky take-off of duct tape. Anyway, it was waterproof, silver-grey on one side and black on the other as far as I could see, so I guess it's the UK equivalent. (Well, I wanted to know! Thorough, not obsessive...)
More later. For now I'm knackered...
Oh, Thorne - that recipe sounds very nice! May very well give it a go - though I'd need to tweak some of the ingredients (Ken can't stand parmesan, and I don't know what Old Bay is...)


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[stares at Saiyuki Perfect Collection, dropped through letter box this morning] Onna, thank you: it's wonderful and you are altogether too generous. [GLOMP] I shall finishing watching Wolf's Rain then move straight on to the other quartet of bishies...
Spent most of the day going through the CH drafts, revising, correcting, tweaking and making sure the text and the illustration suggestions tally: it's ready to go to the publisher now. It's a relief to have the bulk of the work done.
Then made and hung the other voile inner curtain (had enough light today, Carol) Heh, my life isn't exactly terrifically entertaining at the moment - but I'm taking advantage of the peace and quiet, it never lasts long...
On bootup yesterday morning Avgris reported a bloody Trojan downloader had snuck through. I got shot of it, but was concerned that something else might have got through the defences, so while watching the DVDs I shut off System Restore and ran a complete scan of the whole system, anti-virus, ad-aware and spybot S&D. Was quite pleased to discover just two tracking cookies (both from Keenspace, I think) and nothing else.
Food. Morning: mug of Broccoli and Cauliflower soup and two slices of multi-seed toast with wafer thin ham. After collecting Kai, several slices of sesame seed baguette with organic strawberry jam (needed the sugar!) and a hunk of Leerdammer cheese.
Dinner: dupiaza (spicy, fairly hot curry) made with diced turkey, peppers and onion and Tesco's own dupiaza sauce, on organic white long grain rice with organic natural yoghurt (mostly for Ken: I like hot curry, he prefers his less spicy and the yoghurt takes out some of the heat). I used to make my own curry mixes, but I don't have the time any more - and to be honest, the bought ones taste better! We should be eating brown rice, I know, but I'm not fond of the taste, though it's OK cold in a salad with chopped apple and peanuts... Low-cal chocolate mousse with soft-scoop chocolate ice-cream for dessert.
Evening: a little more cheese and several glasses of white wine while watching Wolf's Rain eps 12-18. Beautiful as ever, but I really could have lived without the interminable flashbacks. And I've obviously missed something somewhere - who the hell is Gicara (or whatever his name is)? And the end of 18 is a little worrying, though since I know that isn't the last episode...
Today's cookie...

To achieve a great goal, one must bring along duct tape.

Reminds me of a joke I once read - "the Force is like duct tape, it has a light side and a dark side and it holds the universe together." (I still don't know what duct tape actually is, though...)
This had me chuckling aloud. Read it, then click on the link on the left for the Cavalcade of Bad Nativities - they're an absolute scream!


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Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Well, Kai's had a great day. School was good, and he wanted to rent I, Robot (for the third time - he loves that film, think we'd better buy a copy) and Van Helsing (we've all decided Hugh Jackman would have made a better Aragorn than did Viggo Mortensen!) He had lots of Lego, and the most amazing pocket watch from his Uncle Arfs and Aunt Chrissie - it has a massive 'garnet' in the centre of the front cover, with a silver and gold dragon wrapped around it: the dragon's head makes the winder and the back of the case has embossed dragon's wings. I'll try to get a photo of it tomorrow (it's gone up to bed with him tonight). Thanks for the presents and cards, everyone: he'll email his own thanks tomorrow...
I've finished the bulk of the painting and one of the inner voile curtains (will do the other tomorrow, I ran out of light). I've also found the material I want for the curtains, both window and wardrobes, a darkish old gold faux silk that looks and feels like real raw silk, quite beautiful and very luxurious (and incredibly cheap at only £3.99 a metre - which is just as well, as I need about 7 metres of it. Though that'll only cost as much as a pair of ready-to-hang curtains, which isn't bad.) It'll be a fair bit of work making them, but it'll be worth it. And the last time I checked my ancient sewing machine was still functioning, which will please Kai, as he wants to examine it...
Have to buy new bedding first though, dark green or gold. The blue looks horrible against the green wall. Will check in town, and Keynsham on Saturday.
Today's cookie...

There is a great temptation in store for you dealing with cheese.

Mmmm, cheese... like cheese...
From Lutra's blog, because she says it so well...
Joules thought it could be interesting to see how/what other people eat. So, daily for the next week or so we'll be listing on our blogs things wot we've eaten that day. (<blink> Did that sentence make any sense at all? Eh. It's late, I don't really care... Anyway, back to the fun...)
I drink diet coke, all the time, and with meals. We have a Sodastream fizzy drink maker and I order the diet coke syrup direct from the company as nowhere in Briz seems to stock it any more - three dozen bottles at a time. Yes, I drink far too much of it. I'm a caffeine addict. (I used to drink too much coffee but went off it when I was carrying Kai: now I drink maybe 4-5 mugs a year.) I'm allowed, it's not as though I have many vices or an expensive lifestyle. Well, apart from anime. Heh, anime - more expensive than drugs. And twice as addictive.
Morning: I don't normally bother with breakfast (unless I'm on holiday) - my body wakes up even more slowly than I do. But I keep a bowl of organic orange and grapefruit pieces in juice in the fridge and force myself to eat a portion every day or so, with some calorie-free sweetener and a sprinkling of cinnamon. Usually I have a mug of low-cal soup (Batchelor's Broccoli and Cauliflower has been the favourite for over 6 months now) and a couple of slices of multi-seeded wholemeal toast at around 11am; keeps me going 'til dinner time. Today, however, I had battered cook in the oven calamari with garlic mayonnaise dip, half price from Sainsbug's as it was at sell-by date - something I like but haven't had in ages. It wasn't very nice at all, unfortunately...
Dinner: Today, bone-in pork chops (local, but not organic: organic meat is still too expensive except when on special offer or for an extra-special treat), mixed veg, noodles (and no veg today) for Kai. It's probably worth saying here that the family's standard mixed veg = sliced fresh carrots, fine green beans, sweetcorn kernels and peas (all organic, the latter three frozen) cooked together in the same pan. Four portions of veg in one! Saves energy and makes the process of getting veg - albeit a small amount - into Kai relatively painless. Pudding today was a small rich chocolate 'birthday' cake: Kai also had the strawberries he requested!
Evening: I've just had a mug of soup and two slices of toast, with sweet pickle and wafer thin ham - to warm up as much as anything, I'm really cold. (I think that may be because I'm knackered. Must be getting old; three hours sleep, and no nap, isn't enough for me anymore. Early night tonight, perhaps...)
Anyone else want to add their menus? [grin]


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Kai's birthday. Ye gods, he's ten years old...
He wants pork chops and noodles - without any vegetables, please, mum!! - and strawberries (or failing that, a mint Vienetta) for his tea-time treat, and then to watch DVDs all night (well, 'til bedtime anyway!) Then on Saturday I'm taking him to Keynsham to spend his birthday money. I know, it doesn't sound terribly exciting, but it's what he wants. He's not much for parties - takes after me that way - and has had most of the things he wants (new room, den, clocks and barometers) already, so it'll be a quiet celebration.
Chatting on ICQ last night, Lutra mentioned she'd love the mp3 of the Wolf's Rain closing theme Gravity. Being me, I immediately hunted it down for her (I swear, if I wasn't a growly ogre I'd be a helpful little pixie [grinning, can hear Carol and Sue spluttering!]) here. Has loads of anime themes at a very high quality. I grabbed all the Saiyuki, the Akira opening theme, a handful of Cowboy Bebop - and all the Wolf's Rain.
The music really is gorgeous... The background track to one of the scenes in ep 6 sounded very familiar to me, and luckily it was one of those on the site - Strangers. It sounds very similar to Maria Wong's song in Yami no Matsuei, the tune, anyway. If/when I have more time I need to check who wrote them.
The site has the full version of Gravity, which is lovely, but I found myself preferring Tell Me What the Rain Knows, which brought a lump to my throat - until I checked the lyrics, at which point I found myself in tears...
Tell me what the rain knows O are these the Tears of Ages That wash away the Wolf's Way And leave not a trace of the day? Tell me what the rain knows O is this the flood of fortune That pours itself upon me? O see how I drown in this sea Hark, hear the howl that eats the moon alive Your fur is on fire The smoke turns the whole sky raven black And the world upon your back will crack Where will you go Now you've no home? Let the rain wash away your last days
I'm being very careful not to read any spoilers for Wolf's Rain, so I've no idea of the resolution - but I can't see it having a happy ending. In a way I hope it doesn't: the poetic, if grim, realism (excuse the use of the term to refer to a fantasy) of the anime would be spoiled by a such a thing...
I've reached ep 12 now - and I have to say that the translation of the second CD is dreadful: I'm having to try to interpret the subtitles as I go along. I should have been forewarned when 'gravity' was translated as 'centrifugal force'. Still, it's a damn sight better than nothing, and not too great a burden. The overall beauty of the artwork - and the depth of the story - makes up for just about everything. (So far anyway.)
All the signs are in Russian - well, Cyrillic anyway. Is the story supposed to be set in Russia? The weather and much of the scenery suggests so - though that's hardly conclusive... Just an observation.
The anime mp3 site doesn't, alas, have the Robotech track I've been hunting - sung by Lancer (Yellow Dancer): I don't know the title but the words go:
Another winter day Another grey reminder that what used to be Has gone away. It's really hard to see How long we have to live with our insanity. We have to pay for all we use, We never think before we light the fuse. Look up! Look up! Look up! The sky is falling. Look up! There's something that You have to do. Before you try to go outside To take in the view, Look up because the sky Could fall on you...
If anyone can let me have the mp3 of it, please let me know. I've hunted for it everywhere I can think of: it was on an OST CD at one point but it looks as though the CD has been deleted...
Today's cookie...

One day, you will understand this fortune.

Um, OK...


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Tuesday, March 08, 2005

[happy sigh] Oh, that's better. Wolf's Rain is a lot more fun when you can read what they're all saying. Thanks onna! (Now caught up with the English subbed version, watched ep 6 and looking forward to 7. It's not only beautifully made, it's exciting too!)
Well, dabbling what was left of the green paint did cover the patchy bits, so I don't have to buy another pot. Painted windowsill and window frame - and put my phalaenopsis spray on my bedside cabinet: looks as good as I thought it would. (Photos when the room is finished.) I've also found the indoor water feature I want. Hoping to order it in the next few days.
Today's cookie...

Don't deal with turtles while wearing waistcoats.

Is that the turtles wearing the waistcoats, or me?
I can't remember when I took the quiz - must have been at least a year ago - but this was the result. I didn't have a clue who he was - or what Saiyuki was! - at the time, but I do rather like the character, now.

(I do like the way the outer corners of demons' eyes are drawn in this manga/anime!) Planning to make time to watch Saiyuki Requiem this weekend...


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Monday, March 07, 2005

Just watched the first 5 eps of Wolf's Rain. It's amazing: fantastic animation, gorgeous characters, a wonderfully realised, realistic - if grim - worldframe, and the most beautiful soundtrack. And I couldn't understand a word of it: my version is in Japanese with Chinese subtitles.
Still, I found a site that has an episode-by-episode synopsis, so at least I know what's going on. And you never know, I might actually learn some more Japanese. It's annoying me, though - Kiba reminds me of someone, but I can't remember who.
[proud grin] Kai brought me breakfast in bed for Mother's Day - and he told me proudly he'd made most of it himself, too! Scrambled eggs, and garlic mushrooms, on toast, my favourites.
[head in hands] Focus' own brand was the only paint I could find that did the deep rich green I wanted for the joining wall - never again. The stuff covers horribly, even after two coats it's as patchy as hell and I don't have much left. Will see if I can get it corrected tomorrow: really don't want to buy another tin... Have to admit I like the colour though. Was a little worried as I was painting - it looked like mushy peas - but it's dried much darker. Unfortunately I forgot to put plasters on my fingers, so I now have blisters...
Music meme from onna's blog. Heh, well, with jeans instead of the skirt this isn't actually too far off me way back at Uni discos - though the hair wasn't quite this long...
Dance the night away by karchan85
What you Look like
The MusicJ-Pop
Quiz created with MemeGen!

Today's cookie...

Beware of humans with sporks

... is this trying to tell me something...?


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Sunday, March 06, 2005

Today's cookie...

Don't let friends force you to moo like a bird.

[folded arms, mulish expression] I won't, so don't bother trying!


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Hm. Took some time out to watch another couple of DVDs - Arc the Lad and Soul Hunter (well, first 3 eps anyway). Arc the Lad is based on a game, apparently. Not my plate of sushi: it's messy, pretty much incomprehensible, and the animation is primitive. Soul Hunter, on the other hand...
I've never seen anything quite like it. It's... bizarre. Pretty, and the animation isn't at all bad, but...
Story goes, the Chinese Emperor Zhou has been entranced by the demon Dakki, and now panders to her every whim. Dakki has given top jobs to all her fellow demon immortals. The people are starving and the land falling into ruin, as taxes go to support the Court's extravagant lifestyle.
A disciple of the Immortal World - I can't remember the name, all the important people have Chinese and Japanese names with 3+ syllables and I have enough trouble remembering English names with 2 - a young man who'd rather sleep and eat than study and train (shades of Tenshi Muyo) is given the job of hunting down the 365 demon immortals now working in the mortal world (shades of Brimstone?) To help him on his way he's given a spiritual beast (they can all fly and have disproportionately large heads) that's supposed to be a hippo, I think, though it looks more like a Moomin. Its name is Sibuxiang, which I can remember as it's usually shortened to Sibu. No, I don't understand the logic behind that, either...
ShinkohyoThe narrator is himself a demon immortal ... sod this, where's the DVD case, that has the important names on it... Ah, right... Shinkohyo (pic to right), whom I thought was either a clown or a doll to start with. His spiritual beast is a ruddy great white cat, Kokutenko. [shakes head] There's a good synopsis here, for anyone who's interested.
It's very strange indeed, but quite compulsive for all that. There's enough quirky humour to offset the wierdness - for those who find wierdness offputting - and enough pretty bishies - for those like me who can't resist them - to make it worth a look. Not sure if I want to collect it, though: in 3 eps Taikoubou only manages to catch one soul, which suggests that the series might be quite long...
The walls of our room are now clear, and I've bought the green paint for the joining wall; hoping to make a start on the room tomorrow. This is what the room looks like before redecorating.


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Saturday, March 05, 2005

I've just done something really silly.
I knew I shouldn't have, knew I should have gone with first instincts and left it 'til last, but after the work I've put in this last month, and the week I've just put up with, I decided I'd indulge myself...
I've just watched (watched? Heh, couldn't drag myself away!) the first volume of Get Backers...
Gods, what can I say? MINE Ban, for a start!...
OK. The basic premise is two very cute guys who operate a 'recovery service' - their motto, "if it was taken, we'll get it back." (I'll rephrase that. One cute guy - Ginji, who generates a huge amount of electricity in his body that he can manifest as lightning bolts: once known as the Lightning Emperor and leader of the Shinjuku gang The Volts - and one absolutely gorgeous guy - Ban, possessor of a/the (I'm still not clear on the provenance of this mysterious ability/mystical accoutrement) Jagan, allowing him to create illusions in the minds of those whose eyes he catches (but only 3 times in one day). He also has a grip of 200 kgs, in his right hand - not yet sure if the left is the same.) They operate out of a car - Miss Ladybug, which looks to me vaguely like a 2CV, but not being a car aficionado I'll not swear to it - and, although they are apparently autonomous, seem to report to the owner of the Honky Tonk pizza house (at any rate, they call him Master, which seems to be half affectionate, half respectful. Though the fact they owe him a lot for food probably has something to do with it...)
They both have backstory. We see a little of Ginji's in this first 5 eps, but Ban's is only hinted at (dammit...). The first 2 eps are 'scene setting', character and environment establishing, fun but fairly light. But in ep 3 the story starts getting more serious, commencing a plot arc that continues through eps 4 and 5. (Fortunately 5 doesn't end on a cliffhanger, or I'd be tearing my hair out.)
Heh, it's difficult to know how much of a spoiler to give! How about if I just say that with wonderfully vibrant female characters (with nicknames like Lady Hevn and Lady Poison - love 'em!) and a truly luscious villain, the deliciously effete Akabane (a.k.a. Doctor Jackal - dresses like D, looks like Oriya (though with purple eyes), moves like Quicksilver, can pull weapons from his body (a little like Wolverine's claws but these are detachable)... yummmm... heh, where did that sentence start? Oh yes...
I love it. It's immediately accessible: you really don't need to know anything about anime to be able to enjoy it. It's going on the list right now, and up at the top of anime to buy, just below Saiyuki. Heartily recommended - it's funny, touching, action-packed and perfectly paced, with really quite astoundingly realistic characters. Ye gods, even the little schoolgirl who opens the first ep is a 'real' person, not just a plot device!
I'm impressed. Very very impressed.
SirenSong - the new AU Jade/Benten fluffy PWP ficlet - now posted, the adult-rated version in the (other) Zone, the mild, non-graphic version at JAT in the Flight and Fancy pages of the fiction directory.
[touching wood, almost afraid to say in case I jinx it] I turned the fridge setting back down to 3.5, which is what it should be at this time of year, several hours ago and it's been sitting at a very healthy 4 degrees for the last couple of hours. Fingers crossed folks...
Today's cookie...

The current year will bring you many lightbulbs.

Um... OK, I can deal with that...


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Friday, March 04, 2005

Left hand, right hand...
Hoover Candy engineer (the original one) has been and gone. Didn't know about the engineer who came last week and didn't seem overly impressed with the advice we were given. He's 're-gassed' the appliance and it's now on the 'super' setting to frost it up speedily. We'll see. I'm not hopeful...
You know, the amount this must be costing them in engineer visits and overtime, they might just as well have given us a new fridge by now. Problem is, I really, really like the size and capacity of this model...
We had an email from the commissioning editor at Godsfield, about CH. I don't think she'll mind me quoting a little bit of it.
"... I'm very happy with the tone, content, and sophisticated style of the text... Thanks for your professionalism and excellent work. I have enjoyed working with you on this project and look forward to more mutual projects in the future.
Rather pleased about that!
The work isn't completely finished, of course: now the manuscript goes to the in-house editor, who'll get back to us with any queries and revisions that need to be addressed. We're looking forward to seeing the blad (that's a mock-up of the cover and a few pages that will be going to the London Book Fair next week): with a little luck I'll be able to scan and post it here afterwards.
I've done a little tidying up at JAT (the website design page isn't done yet), and plan to spend this evening working on the fiction section (not all the pages are CSS yet) - after I've coded SirenSong, that is.
Hope you have a fantastic holiday, Valkyrie - you deserve it!
Today's cookie...

You have unusually magnetic bagels.

[bemusedly waits to see if Carol misreads it...]


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Thursday, March 03, 2005

Understand that, for Kai's sake, I'm happy that we live in a somewhat more health and safety minded world these days - but nevertheless this (which arrived in one of Ken's emails, and which I've amended slightly) made me feel positively WAFFy: as suggested, I'm sharing it...
TO ALL THE KIDS WHO SURVIVED the 1940's, 50's, 60's and 70's...
       First, we survived being born to mothers who smoked and/or drank while they carried us. They took aspirin, ate blue cheese, didn't take folic acid supplement and didn't get tested for diabetes (or anything else much!)        Then after that trauma, our cots were covered with brightly-coloured lead-based paints. We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, doors or cabinets and when we rode our bikes, we had no helmets - not to mention the risks we took hitchhiking.        As children, we would ride in cars with no seat belts or air bags. We drank water from the garden hose, not from a bottle. We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle and NO ONE actually died from it.        We ate cakes, bread and butter and drank pop with sugar in it, but we weren't overweight because WE WERE ALWAYS OUTSIDE PLAYING! We could leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on. No one was able to reach us all day. And we were O.K.       We would spend hours building go-carts out of scraps and then ride down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem.        We did not have Playstations, Nintendos, X-boxes, no video games at all, no 99 channels on cable, no video or dvd, no surroundsound, no mobile phones, no personal computers, no Internet or Internet chat rooms... WE HAD FRIENDS and we went outside and played with them!        We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth and there were no lawsuits from these accidents. We made up games with sticks and tennis balls and ate worms and although we were told it would happen, we did not put out very many eyes, nor did the worms live in us forever.        We rode bikes or walked to a friend's house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just walked in and talked to them.        The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law!        This generation has produced some of the best risk-takers, problem solvers and inventors ever. It produced an explosion of innovation and new ideas. We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned HOW TO DEAL WITH IT ALL!        And YOU are one of them! CONGRATULATIONS!        You might want to share this with others who have had the luck to grow up as kids, before the lawyers and the government regulated our lives for our own good.
       Kind of makes you want to run through the house with scissors, doesn't it?!
As of ten minutes ago CH is now finished - two weeks before the deadline. Not bad, ne?
Today's cookie...

In order to win you must have a forklift, a grocery cart wheel and a muffin tin.

I don't have any of those. That would explain a lot...
... why is the TV programming suddenly full of adverts for the Army, the RAF, and the TA?...


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Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Found in an old Mensa magazine while turning out (no, I'm not a member anymore):
10 Ways to Get Traffic off Our Roads
Clive Whichelow
1. Make petrol £30 per gallon and the speed limit 2 miles per hour. 2. Make all motorway cafés vegan. 3. Syndicate Terry Wogan's breakfast show on all radio stations. 4. Put road humps on motorways. 5. Move all the major towns closer together. 6. Put Swampy in charge of the DoT. (OK, that one is a bit obscure for non-Brits...) 7. Make furry dice compulsory. 8. Ban smoking (of exhaust pipes) in public places. 9. Put double yellow lines around all schools. 10. Raise the minimum driving age to 47.
Two and a half CH spreads left to write.
Today's fortune cookie...

Yes, they are staring at you.


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Tuesday, March 01, 2005

I've always argued that correct spelling and grammar are important. That you need to know the rules before you can successfully break or bend them. But finding a cogent argument as to why hasn't been too easy. (In my case it's simply because I love language, communication, so much. The sound and shape of words in speech, on the page... Heh, you've heard it all before...)
So it was good to find a blog - Entry Points - which expresses it rather neatly.
   A thoughtful teacher may have an answer which is legitimate. She may say, "Learning the parts of speech gives you a handle on language and with that handle you can improve all facets of your grammar." Unfortunately, true as this may be, it often doesn't really connect with the student. He may take us another level deep with, "But why do I need good grammar? My dad has bad grammar and he makes more than you do."    Of course, good teachers have a lot of good answers to that question, but there are times when none seem to work. That's when I pull out the following: I say, "Why does a professional football player lift weights? He never lifts weights during a game. The same applies to this concept I'm making you learn. In itself it may not have any obvious practical value, but it strengthens your mind and let me assure you: you will need to use your mind in any job you do and in every other area of your 'real' life as well."    This works, I believe, because it is absolutely true. The latest brain research indicates that any mental activity a person does increases the brain's acuity. While I would never want anyone to think that I only teach things for the sake of 'neurobics' (as one author has coined it), it is certainly a valid rationale for the teaching of anything.
'Neurobics'. I like that. And the quote expresses exactly what I believe, in a neatly accessible way.
Small version of my birthday card from Valkyrie, Benten and Jade Yin-Yang Moon. (c) Marie Bird 2005I forgot to mention in my last post that Valkyrie made me the most gorgeous birthday card. This is a thumbnail - there's a larger version at the bottom of the CCO808 fic Haven in the Oedo section of the (other) Zone, and an even larger version at the CCO808 lj (but you need to be a member to see it). Valkyrie has also done an illustration for the Joules/Lutra joint story Band 2 (tch', why didn't we come up with a more inspiring title, Lutra?) - a picture of Sengoku in that raunchy cowboy outfit (the one with the thong and crop top and fringed chaps...) which is now posted in the story in the (other) Zone. And there's the same pic of Sengoku but without the thong, top and chaps on Valkyrie's artworks page, also in the (other) Zone...
[GLOMPS Valkyrie]
And Lutra thought that Benten and Jade would make beautiful merbois, and I agreed, and said I'd write the story.. [grins] Sorry, Valkyrie. Didn't mean to make more work for you, but a Benten/Jade merboi fluffy pwp is such a lovely idea...
... four more CH spreads and the book is finished...
Today's fortune cookie...

A modest glow-in-the-dark star never talks to itself.

[blink] It doesn't? I could have sworn I heard them all murmuring to themselves... I learn something new every day...

I really do not like that awful clenched stomach, knife-edge, slightly dizzy feeling that signals a bout of depression. And I don't like crying - it leaves my eyelids swollen almost shut and my eyes horribly red and sore, and my sinuses clogged so I can't breathe. I do my damnedest to avoid it these days.
Heh, if I should disappear for a few days, that'll be why.


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