Zone Doubt, a.k.a. 'Surreal Я Us'...
Joules, trusted by... dozens... to make a drama out of your crisis...
:: JAT :: WaveWrights :: Publications :: Joules... on writing [on hiatus] ::
I live to write. It's not wise to get in my way.
August 2011: the earlier posts in this blog are a mess, the result of me changing the format some time ago. I'm working to edit the entire blog from the beginning, but with over 4K posts and sodall time for such luxuries it's going to take a while... [02/09/16 - Now reached 09/10/2004][20/03/2019 - giving up. I don't have enough time to update the blog atm, let alone edit old entries!]
If you come across any words you don't recognise in this blog, take a look at the Taylorspeke Glossary in the left-hand infopane, you'll usually find a definition there.
First, a recommendation. Dive over to The Jonathan Day Fiction Site and try some of the stories. I love this author's writing - it's funny, bitingly witty, dryly incisive, chilling, and deliciously subversive by turns. Absolutely well worth a look!
Thursday, April 28, 2005
OK, today, let's see...
Quyn is fine (little perisher snuck up the stairs to sleep beside our bed last night - first time he's been able to manage the steps since last week, so I wasn't about to complain, even if I did nearly trip over him...) The vet is pretty sure he does have arthritis in his hips and knees, so has given me two week's-worth of Rimadyl (anti-inflammatory pills) to see how he gets on, then I have another appointment for him. I don't like the thought of him being on medication for the rest of his life, but if it makes him more comfortable...
Ken's been over providing moral support for the 'haunted' family - behind the cameras, he confirmed - since about 6pm. We'll have to find out when/if it's shown and record it!
Time for a whinge...
1. Other people's smoke. I'm an ex-smoker - Ken and I gave up together April 1st 1991 - and as you probably know, ex-smokers are the most vociferous when it comes to protesting about other people's smoke!Right, that's quite enough whinging for one week! In other news...
The R.G. Veda manga is great, much more comprehensible than the anime, which only deals with the middle part of the story if I've understood Helen McCarthy rightly. The artwork is very pretty. This -> is Bishamonten, god of war, warriors and the North, and a real bishie. I have this urge to pair him with the main baddie, Taishakuten...
Definitely going on my 'to collect' list!
St George Community Centre site is now up: there'll be more there later, I've just been sent some info.
And I keep forgetting to say - we all watched the first few eps of Red Dwarf and Kai loves it - particularly the Cat.
Kai found a working grandfather clock jigsaw in the cat's charity shop, on the walk home from school yesterday. It's about half as tall as he is and 777 pieces: he's spent three hours on it so far and it's coming along well, although we can't see much of his bedroom floor right now. I just hope there aren't any pieces missing!
The copy of this year's Writer's Handbook that I ordered from Amazon.co.uk the day before yesterday arrived this afternoon. Now I've no excuse not to send FirstLight off as soon as I've finished proof-reading it...
Does anyone else think that those little 'hair monsters' in the Sunsilk ads are just too cute for words? Why would anyone want to wash them down the drain...?
Wednesday, April 27, 2005
[growl] It's like bloody Piccadilly Circus here this morning, what with failed faxes, business emails flying back and forth, my computer being repeatedly hijacked for various print jobs, and discussing Ken's possible trip to Dartmouth re: the Ghosts of Dartmouth book...
Oh yes - I haven't updated on that project, have I? After Chips Barber's untimely death, the future of his small press is doubtful, so Ken formally withdrew his offer of the manuscript and looked elsewhere. He's found a possible outlet with a local Dartmouth publisher and is currently negotiating a contract. Thing is, the original was going to be a booklet of about 12,000 words, while the new will be a fully illustrated book of 40,000 words and include the villages around Dartmouth as well as the seaport itself (it's to be the definitive version with a looooooong shelf life). While this is most excellent news, it does mean that Ken will need to go down to stay for about a week, to research the area - and Ken can't drive, so he'd need to organise some sort of transport too. Fortunately he's approaching the end of the course of medication, so that won't be so much of a problem (which is just as well, because the deadline is fairly tight - heh, when are they ever not?). Actually just from a health point of view it would be good for him to get out of Briz, and the house, for a while, and Dartmouth is beautiful. We'll see how it all goes - more as it happens.
On a similar subject, the BBC have been planning a programme on hauntings, and their researcher found Ken's page about his Brislington Ghosts and Legends project and got in touch... Upshot is they're filming a 'psychic cleansing' at the house of one of the project's contributors tomorrow evening, and Ken's off to visit them tonight (to talk them through the visit) and tomorrow (to be there for the filming) - though I don't think Ken will actually be in the programme itself. Might help the book's progress, though!
Me, I don't believe in ghosts - despite the fact that I've met several...
Waiting to hear back about the dreams book, though apparently the project has been given the go-ahead and the commissioning editor is just waiting for the details of length, format etc. before getting back to me. Keeping fingers crossed, as I don't assume I have the commission until I have the signed contract in my hands! (I'm rather wondering if they might also be interested in the book of magical plants I planned a few years back. I'll have to contact our agent.)
It's all go, innit? [grin]
Tuesday, April 26, 2005
I don't know what it is about KLF's Justified and Ancient that I like so much. The bouncy beat? The twangy guitars? The funny little spoken bits (that probably mean something if you're a musician - which I'm not)? The completely incomprehensible lyrics? The mention of ice-cream? Or just the title, which echoes how I feel a lot of the time. Well, the 'ancient' bit, anyway...
Yup, Lutra whapped me over another couple of mp3s, this and Living on a Prayer (Bon Jovi) [my ears and my brain say 'Thank You' Lutra!]. There can't be that many tracks on my list now left to find. Though I've lost the list. Tch'. That'll teach me to not transfer hand-scrawled notes to a .doc file...
Justified and Ancient is a great, if temporary, reviver after a busy day, and today has been busy. Up early after... um... two?... hours sleep, Kai to school, shopping on the way back, several hours of FirstLight, then a cycle's nap because I couldn't keep my eyes open, then off to St George's Community Centre this evening to discuss their website requirements with the committee (domain and webspace now ordered - site to follow). It's a nice little commission for something clean, simple and user-friendly like the BCP site, and their colours are emerald green and white. Quite looking forward to it!
It rained while I was there. Well, when I say rain, I don't mean that nice refreshing wet stuff, I mean it hammered down for a good 45 minutes. Luckily it had almost stopped by the time I headed back to the bus stop, but the roads were awash (and given that the Centre is actually some distance up Two Mile Hill that was quite a sight!)
[bemused] I was going to scan/post Kai's illustration of his TARDIS, but he pointed out, quite rightly, that he hasn't copyrighted it yet and he doesn't want anyone else pinching the idea - so I'm not allowed to. Well, if nothing else it goes to show he takes in what we talk about, and properly understands the concepts. (Which reminds me, Sue, he says 'yes' re: the TARDIS ride - once he's built it...)
This is new; their flyer, menu and money-off vouchers were posted through the door - along with bumf from UKIP, Respect, the LibDems, Pizza Hut and AA loans: snail spam - earlier today. It all sounds very tasty...
... I'm wittering (you can tell I'm tired, can't you?) I was going to toss around some thoughts on what is 'normal' and who the hell decides it anyway, but I think I'm too glaikit tonight. Maybe tomorrow.
And they say that a hero could save us - I'm not gonna stand here and wait...
Monday, April 25, 2005
?? Which Of The Greek Gods Are You ??
brought to you by Quizilla
Pretty picture... Tch' - I'm procrastinating. Back to work!
Sunday, April 24, 2005
I treated myself...
For months, each time I've popped in to The Range, I've been pulling out this little 26x26 centimetre £2.99 Werner Eick poster, gazing at it for a moment or two, then reluctantly putting it back at the rear of the rack. I'm running out of wall space in this room, and we don't have a frame that'll fit, so it'll actually cost more than £2.99... and I don't need it, I've been self-indulgent enough with the silk orchids...
But it looks so much like a place in a later Haadri book...
I gave in. Will hunt for a frame this week.
I'm so pissed off with deleting spam... You'd think, wouldn't you, that the morons who spam would have twigged by now that if they have to break up/misspell the words in the crap they send out in order to bypass spam-blocking software, it's pretty obvious that people don't want it. Obviously too thick for that to sink in. Or are there really enough gullible idiots around actually stupid enough to make it worth their while?
Every now and then, when I need a break from real work, I check through a section of my favourites list, weeding out any bookmarks that no longer go anywhere, and occasionally taking a look at some of the older sites. Today I dropped in to TV Cream - always good for a laugh - and clicked on the 'best before' link, where I found this.
DR PEPPER (1981 - ) Anyone remember the taste of Benylin, that horrible cough medicine? Well carbonate it and you have Dr Pepper. Disgusting, somehow survives in America, but over here has risen no higher in popular folk myth than "that can of stuff that's the last to go at a local village fete bottle stall because someone won it, decided they didn't want it and surreptitiously put it back on the bench" status. Constant ad campaigns of the "try it! You might like it!" variety have fooled sod all people.Wasn't there recently a Dr Pepper ad campaign with the tagline "How bad can it be?" accompanied by little personal disaster scenarios? I wondered at the time what they were trying to imply... (For the record I can't stand Dr Pepper. That description is just perfect.)
Harriet Jones for Prime Minister, eh? I'd vote for her!
From Ken: Quyn is a wolf in sheep-dog's clothing...
Saturday, April 23, 2005
We've had a fine time: Ruth, Jun and Yumi came over from Keynsham for the day! The boys disappeared upstairs for Lego and Meccano, Yumi, who loves animals, spent the day happily petting Quyn and whichever cat was closest to hand, and Ruth and I talked and talked...
Before the sprogs went out to rampage in the garden, Ruth produced a bei-goma for Kai. This site had this to say about bei-goma in 2001...
Beyblades are modeled after a similar type of top, called beigoma, that was popular as a children's toy beginning in the seventeenth century. Beigoma were originally made by filling spiral seashells with sand and melted lead, but at the beginning of the twentieth century they came to be made out of cast iron. They gradually lost their popularity, however, as various new toys and games began to appear after World War II. Today there is only one factory in all of Japan that still makes these tops.There are some good illustrations here (scroll down a little).
They're amazing things, small - not quite three centimetres across - and heavy for their size. Not at all easy to use either: there's quite a bit of skill involved in a) winding the cord correctly and b) the tricky flick/whip action that sets the bei-goma spinning. Kai managed the cord first try (took me a few goes) and managed to get his spinning fairly soon. We now have one each (Kai's has a K on it, mine an M - for Mum, I suggested!) and need to practise, in the kitchen first before I try making a proper playing area. It would be nice to be able to play properly - Jun and Yumi have won competitions, and are very impressive!
Ruth brought over the most gorgeous dessert - crunchy home-made almond meringue top and bottom, strawberries and cream in the middle, and coffee icing on the top (yes, coffee: I was dubious when Ruth said but it tasted fantastic!)
Quyn thoroughly enjoyed himself too - he's now up to trotting a short distance in the garden, and only moving stiffly after he's been lying still for a while. He's well on the mend.
Jun has his SATS at the beginning of May, so we aren't planning a get together until after that. Then it'll be my turn to provide a course - wonder if I can still make my legendary raspberry Pavlova...
Friday, April 22, 2005
[bemused] I don't know, you wait years for potential book commissions to appear and then three come along all at once...
There's a possibility - only that at the moment - that I may be commissioned to write a book on dreams and dreaming, something I'd really enjoy. I've written on the subject before (in Dreams and Magic back in 2000) and always wished I'd had the wordage available to explore further into the subject. With luck now I will! It's a flat fee (one-off advance), no royalties, not the best ever deal but I've written them before and don't have a problem with them. Keeping fingers crossed.
Regarding the school nurse: she wasn't really able to offer any advice, except to suggest simply speaking to John Cabot CTC in person, explaining the situation, and also asking the consultant for a letter to include with the application form. Heh. Be nice, first, if we could just get a diagnosis...
Quyn is a lot better - eating and (to my relief) now drinking. It's a lot easier for him to stand up today (was a slow painful procedure yesterday) and he's moving much more comfortably. Despite his age (12) he bounces back well - must run in the family! I think he'll be fine. We'll manage any arthritis as and when it's confirmed.
Oh, and I got it wrong: it wasn't a car that hit Quyn, it was a sort of small truck (cab with what I think is called a 'flatbed' behind it). The driver called yesterday to check that Quyn was OK: he lives down the road from us and has a dog of his own. Lovely thing to do, I thought! And Ken tells me that Dave next door also asked after the pooch, even though he wasn't here and didn't see anything: apparently an acquaintance up the road (who also has a dog) told Dave what had happened - though how she found out I don't know. It does rather illustrate the little community in our road though: we may not speak much to each other, other than say hello, anyway, but news spreads organically here.
Or perhaps we're just memorable. Well, us or our animals. I have had people who are complete strangers to me ask if the cats are alright, they haven't been out recently... (which is quite true, they too are getting old and tend to prefer to snooze indoors except when they can snooze outdoors in the sun). It's kind of comforting in a way, to know people care.
Kai apparently spent some time yesterday (in his school playtimes, I trust!) working out how to make his own functioning TARDIS. He has the mechanics figured out - using a combination of wormholes and string theory - and it actually sounds quite feasible... if we could overcome the glaringly obvious problems of access and control! He hasn't worked out how to make the inside bigger than the outside yet, though he thought my idea of a tesseract was feasible. He came up with an intriguing theory as to how it works, however. What if, he said, the inside of the TARDIS was actually stationary, on another planet or dimension or alternate universe, so when you went through the door you were entering a completely different space? Sounds good to me, I replied, so it's actually only the portal (the outer guise) that moves? Yes, he said, that's the part that opens onto different times and spaces, the inside just stays where it is.
Bright lad, my bratling. I'll set him to work on devising my method of 'skimmer propulsion next... [grin]
Thursday, April 21, 2005
What the hell is the matter with blogger tonight?! It's taken me three Firefox reboots and one complete cookie-cache clearout to get here!
[grumble] ANYway... Quyn's a little happier: thank you, everyone, for all the good wishes. The first dose of painkiller has worn off now, but he's moving a little more easily (though the reproachful looks I get as I coax him up and down the garden would melt a softer heart than mine and beautifully illustrate "hangdog expression"). I've had two cycles sleep, and am much relieved, so I feel better too. And it's been a gorgeous sunny day, really warm, so much so I've put through four washing machine loads, cleared the washbasket and done the towels - we all have huge bathsheets so it's a fairly big job - and it's all dried outdoors in no time, so as Thursdays go it's not been too bad, all told.
Best of all has been the music. Lutra posted her current playlist on her blog, and I read it (as you do) - and zeroed in on Some Velvet Morning. Way back in prehistoric times when I was a child, I heard a song - just once - on the radio, and it's haunted me ever since. The opening line is "Some velvet morning when I'm straight," (yup, even hearing it just once in my life, decades ago, I remember all the words, that's how strong an effect it had on me. The name of one of the FirstLight characters is taken from it, though spelt differently) and I wondered if it was the same song. Lutra emailed over hers (Primal Scream featuring Kate Moss, obviously not the version I remember!) and yes, it was the song - but I didn't like this version. So - [GLOMPS Lutra] - she then hunted Morpheus for me... and found the original! And emailed it!!
The original version was by Lee Hazlewood and Nancy Sinatra, from 1968. Adrian, and hence Carol, might know it - don't think I've come across a song Adrian doesn't know! - but no-one else I've ever mentioned it to has ever had a clue what I'm on about. Finding that Lutra did, and liked it, is just extraordinary...
[happy sigh] It still gives me goose-pimples after all this time...
Flowers are the things we know Secrets are the things we grow Learn from us very much Look at us but do not touch Phaedra is my nameThen Lutra found the mp3 of Bring Me To Life (Evanescance), and emailed that.
Then Hero (Nickelback and Saliva).
And just to make the day complete, Carol emailed Beautiful Day (the U2 song that inspired the Matrix Twins fanfic) over too.
Musekick - can't live without musekick. Certainly can't write without it. Big thank-you [GLOMPS] all round!
The orchid display completed (for now!)
<sarcasm> Well that was fun...</sarcasm>
Quyn couldn't move last night, so I slept down here with him (sofa cushions on the floor, oh joy) - not exactly feeling at my best this morning. Got an urgent appointment with the vet - then had to try to arrange transport.
Heh. The Pet Taxi no longer exists. Vet reception gave me a couple of numbers of normal taxis that are willing to carry animals. Tried the first - most of their drivers wouldn't take dogs. Not because of their cars, but because they're Muslims. Which did not endear patriarchal monotheisms to me to any greater extent than I already loathe them. (Did that make sense? Soddit - I'm knackered and aching like hell after a night on the floor. You get the gist.) However, they were able to send us one car, actually one similar to the car than hit Quyn in the first place. Nice driver too - folded up the back two seats so Quyn could lie down comfortably.
Got to see the vet very quickly, at just before 10 a.m. She checked him over thoroughly, found a nasty cut high up on his flank that I'd missed (due to his fur, though I'm annoyed I didn't spot it) that had scabbed over: she left it since it seems to be healing up, just told me to bathe that and the raw graze on his inner thigh with warm salty water twice a day. (No problem there, had to do that before when Argent's arm and shoulder was stitched after being torn open. Animals - 'oo'd 'ave 'em, eh?) But there were no fractures or internal injuries, his heart and lungs are fine and healthy, the only thing that might be of concern is she thinks he might be slightly arthritic (which, to be honest, I'd wondered myself and was going to ask about when he gets his yearly booster beginning of next month: he's started limping when he arrives back from walks). So he's had analgesic and antibiotic injections, I have courses of the same in tablet form to give him, and they'll see him again for a check-up - and to discuss the arthritis - next Thursday.
We didn't have to take a taxi home, though. She said to keep him walking, every couple of hours or so, to make sure he doesn't stiffen up, so we walked back, very slowly. He's much brighter now he's out of pain, currently lying out in the sun in the garden.
Fingers crossed he'll be fine now.
In other news: The Range didn't have any lolly-making kits, but they did have the wooden bread bin and biscuit tin I wanted (to replace our going-rusty metal ones) and also sprays of speckled amethyst-coloured silk odontoglossum (I think - they look similar enough anyway). Bought two, and they're now on the top shelf, arching outwards. (Photo later.) So the shelf-unit is basically finished - which won't stop me picking up more orchids if I find ones I want!
I need a nap, but it'll have to wait until after I've picked up Kai. I have an appointment with the school nurse - to ask about the possible impact of Asperger's on his chances of getting into John Cabot (yes, I've finally got around to organising it. Only taken me almost a year...) - at 3 p.m. More about that later...
Wednesday, April 20, 2005
Is gross negligence grounds for divorce? Or justifiable homicide?
Ken was standing at the front door talking to our carpenter. Our front gate was open. Ken let Quyn wander out through the gate.
Quyn was hit by a passing car.
First I knew was when I heard the raised voices and went through to find Quyn in the hall, shivering with shock. Luckily (I think) the car was one of those people carriers that ride high off the road, and wasn't going too fast. The driver was shaking himself though - Quyn had disappeared under the car...
I've checked him over thoroughly: no broken bones, no abdominal swelling, his gums are normal pink instead of pale, and he's eating (treats admittedly, but that's good enough after that sort of shock.) He can walk, though he's very shaky and limping heavily: the car caught him on the thigh, rather than anywhere more vulnerable, fortunately. I'll see how he is in the morning, and if I'm worried I'll get him round to the vet. Somehow. Gods know how, without transport: it'll have to be the Pet Taxi again, I suppose.
Angry? I'm bloody furious. Medication be damned, there's no excuse for this. I don't need the extra stress, and Quyn sure as hell does not need the pain and distress.
Tuesday, April 19, 2005
[very proud grin] Kai's passed his junior first aider course and got his Young Lifesaver's Award. Apparently the St John's Ambulance teacher took him aside (just him, I think) and said how impressed they were - and might he think about training as a paramedic when he's older! Well, it's a little too early for him to make that sort of decision just yet, I think, but there are advanced courses available (there's a St John's Ambulance not far from us) so we'll see if he's interested in continuing. If so, he could become a Cadet, "the youth division of St. John Ambulance... aged 10-18 years. They are given the chance to develop by learning skills that are helpful in later life. As well as first aid they learn communication skills, sports, administration and they can attend public duties providing essential first aid cover at events around the country." (from the Student Notes) Sounds nifty to me!
CH follow-up proposal went off today. More when we hear back.
Humphrey (yes, I know, odd name for a fish. Not my fault. He chose it.) in his new home - suspended under my ceropegia in front of the bathroom window. (I've taken off the chimes.) He looks good there, surprisingly natural. His eyes are glass and catch the light beautifully, and he has a cheerful face. He fits well in the room amongst the dolphins, mermaids and other oceanic creatures that cavort there!
My new golden-orange orchid now 'potted' and sitting in place on the top shelf: -
Monday, April 18, 2005
Quickly before I go for a sleep and while I remember -
We rather enjoyed House - though I have to admit it wasn't the best ep to see after having pork for dinner! It's a strange programme, I can't quite decide if it's trying to be a cross between Medical Investigation and CSI:Whichever or what. I mean, there's so much medical drama around I suppose new series' have to be a little off the wall and OTT just to be different, but... Well, we like the character, like his team, and will definitely watch a few more eps before making up our minds. Thanks for the recommendation, Valkyrie!
Oh, and we think, after further deliberation, we can write the new book. More as it happens. Or not!
This 'not being able to sleep' lark has gone past a joke...
Took Kai to school then went into town. Found a spray of golden-orange silk aurantiaca orchids at The Pier - just what I've been looking for for the top shelf! - R.G. Veda Vol 1 at Kathie's Comics (horrible dub notwithstanding, I've loved the video for years: it'll be great to read the manga), and, of all things, a volitans wind chime at Evolution! (The chimes aren't much cop but the fish is great: its fins are on springs so they move.)
Oh, and they also had a fridge magnet, a magnificent octopus with its arms on springs...
Tired now. Going to have a nap when my mane has dried (in about another three hours...)
[grin] I do like having access to a digicam.
Sunday, April 17, 2005
A strangely unsettled weekend...
Ken mowed yesterday, while I helped Kai plant up the manhole-cover-cover into his own little mini-garden, with speedwell, native and garden forget-me-nots, white violets, two mint plants, bluebell and pink-bell, and a fuschia in the middle. Next time we go to Wyevale we'll see what small plants or herbs he'd like added.
But my apple tree is going to have to go. We've been fighting off some sort of unpleasant lurgy for years now, lopping branches back as they've died, but whatever it is has now reached the trunk and the tree's days are numbered. We're going to let it flower (I love the scent of apple blossom) and fruit (to see if I can save some of the pips, and maybe germinate a seedling or two) then cut it down and dig it up. Terribly sad - we think the tree has been here since before the house was built, maybe since it was in the grounds of Kensington House - but we don't have a lot of choice. Now we're pondering what to plant to replace it. Something native, or at least naturalised...
It's rained all day today. While I made dinner - roast pork - and beefburgers for freezing, Ken and Kai played Monopoly - ably assisted by Ryme (photographs by Kai) - until Time Team came on, at which point Kai stopped to build his own crannog out of jenga blocks. He's also been making ice lollies this weekend. Well, fruit juice squares on toothpicks, actually, freezing them in an ice-cube tray. He likes them a lot: I'll have to pick up a proper lolly-making kit next time I'm over at The Range.
On the subject of cats... The cat and dog treats are kept in the bottom 'drawer' of the veg basket tower, and they all know it. Ryme tries hooking them out with a paw, while Raptor has a new trick. She meeps until you follow her into the kitchen then goes round and round in circles very fast if you bend down by the veg - very funny to watch. Argent - well, Argent's still Argent, scared of anything bigger than a worm while thinking he rules the house. He tries to bully the other two into giving him theirs...
They were intrigued by my waterball. Raptor tried drinking from it, Ryme watched for a minute then decided it wasn't interesting enough, and Argent's... wary of it. (Quyn hasn't commented yet.)
House, starring Hugh Laurie as Dr Gregory House, "pretty much the most caustic-tongued medic you could ever wish to meet", is on at 9 p.m. We're planning to catch it: the trailers look pretty good, and it'll be interesting to see Laurie in a serious rôle for a change.
I haven't managed to write very much this weekend, which is frustrating. A couple of paragraphs of the Haadri short, half a page of the first Leander Pryne chapter, and another paragraph of Hostage. We're also having serious doubts about the CH follow-up: without descending to the level of the 'crystal mystics' we try to debunk, I can't see us having enough material for a creditable book.
We don't have very long to come to a decision...
Saturday, April 16, 2005
This blog has me in stitches - make sure you check the comments, they're great...
I'm not a ghoul. I don't stop to watch the scene of traffic accidents or house fires, and I prefer not to see what's being done if I have to have any kind of medical treatment - like having blood taken, or being stitched after tearing while giving birth. I'm not squeamish, I just prefer not to watch.
So why am I sitting here half-watching All New Cosmetic Surgery Live?
There's something horribly compelling about the things people pay to have done to their bodies. Liposuction while awake and standing up so you can dictate where you want the fat sucked out, anyone? (It was the sight of the surgeon shoving the canula back and forth under the skin - and the gooey chunks of yellow fat squidging through the pipes - that put me off, I think.) Or having strips of skin snipped off your eyelids to get rid of droopy eyes, perhaps? Rib removal for an hourglass figure? And I can't imagine what benefit a meatotomy can provide... (No I'm not going to describe it. If you want to know, google it. It's hellishly ugly.)
I think the most disturbing programme I saw, however, was about a year ago, a 16 year old girl in the States who wanted breast implants. Her surgeon was a white-haired, bearded, grandfatherly figure who should, in my opinion, be struck off. Her mother was all for the procedure. She'd had surgery herself, from an early age...
The mother was probably the ugliest woman - uglier even than Jocelyn - I've ever seen, with a face like a scrotum, orange blotchy skin sagging all over her body and thin, orange hair. The best advert against body modification you could ever wish to see.
Well, the op went ahead. At the end of it the girl was obviously not happy with what had been done. But what pissed me off more than anything was the bloody surgeon patting her on the shoulder saying - "there you go - you're cured." Cured of what? Being herself?
Of course, surgery after accident or illness is a completely different handful of crickets: it's the sort that panders to human vanity (and makes the surgeons very rich) that disturbs me. It's probably the accompanying mind-set that believes that money can solve everything, that no-one needs to actually work to achieve their goals. (I know, bit of a sweeping statement there, I don't feel strongly enough about the subject to spare haddock presenting a detailed argument.) It does tend to make me wonder if I'd ever consider it, though.
I prefer the real. The only dye I've ever used on my hair is henna (the real, gungy stuff that stains everything) and then only for three years at Uni. I won't dye it now, or even consider a perm, because in my experience dyed and permed hair never looks natural (sorry Valkyie - I'm a hairdresser's nightmare!) and I prefer to be my natural self rather than how some so-called 'beauty expert' (tch', what are they called these days? Are fashionistas just concerned with clothing or do they cover the overall look? Eh, whatever...) decrees I should look. So by rights I shouldn't even consider the idea. But...
As I get older, I find it increasingly hard to lose weight/maintain a decent level of fitness. Spending so much time sitting in front of the computer doesn't help, of course, though there's not a hell of a lot I can do about that - well, not until someone comes up with a strap-on portable computer/keyboard/heads-up display that I can use while walking or exercising, anyway. So yes, I can imagine myself having liposuction, offputtingness notwithstanding, if only to get rid of excess baggage on stomach, backside and thighs: once gone, it should be easier to keep it off. And the females in my family are 'jowly' and double-chinned, and my face is going the same way. I don't like it, and would like to have it gone.
I'd also like breast reduction (yes, reduction. They've served their purpose and now just get in the way!) If money were no object - which of course it is - I would consider surgery for those areas. Not to make myself feel more attractive - I don't need other people's admiration to boost my ego, gods know it's big enough by itself! - but I'd feel physically more comfortable. Does that make me a hypocrite? Personally I don't think so: if I could achieve the desired result without surgery then I'd go for it (and already am where the weight/exercise is concerned)... [grin]
OK - given the response to my question re: the Mary-Sue Avenger, I'm going to assume a general lack of interest and drop the idea.
Right, back to work!
Friday, April 15, 2005
[sigh] Couldn't sleep (hence now knackered). Kai complaining of sore throat and earache as I took him in to school. Staggered back from Tesco to find Ken had forgotten to go to Dr's for blood test yesterday, so had to go to hospital for it today. 45 minutes after he'd left, school rang: Kai was asking to come home...
Going to be one of those days, isn't it?
Advised the school we don't want Kai to miss any more lessons than he has to, so to see if he could soldier on until going home time. If necessary I'll go pick him up, but since Ken's not here to do it it'll take me at least 45 minutes to close down, change, lock up and set the alarms, by which time it'll be nearly going home time anyway. See what happens after lunch.
I have an aspidistra - a very old aspidistra (heh, sounds like a line from a song!) that has been on the verge of giving up the ghost for years, with one solitary, feeble leaf struggling to survive in the middle of the plantpot. Then I put my yucca beside the cabinet it sits on and it suddenly decided to revive. In competition, perhaps? It's now up to four fresh green leaves with more coming. Talk about companion planting! What the hell - it's working.
I've posted a small version of my SP character in my infobar (below the anime collection list) - along with Lutra's comment!
And on the subject of comments... On VH1 yesterday - this cracked me up. Not a joke, apparently it really happened.
1980's - Guy at the counter in a record shop: "Copy of 'Fruity Bacon' please." Assistant behind counter: "Uh, what?" Shopper: "Fruity bacon. You know, the Sex Pistols - 'We're so fruity, oh so fruity - we're bacon!'"
They then showed the video of 'Pretty Vacant' - and you know, it does sound like they're singing 'fruity bacon'... That's my mental image of them as 'ard cases right out the window!!
[blink] Look!! Cat gremlin! See, they do exist!! (Make sure you have your speakers on...)
Thursday, April 14, 2005
Spent the day brainstorming the (possible) new book. Brain 'urts. Need to do more tomorrow. Nice, brightly sunny afternoon though - took Quyn with me to collect Kai and came back through the park, where sprog rushed off into the kid's playground while dog rushed off to play with the other dogs. He walked to heel all the way home, too (Quyn, I mean, not Kai), which is gratifying: I haven't tried to do that in a very long time. (Ken daren't, he's wary of even letting Quyn off the lead at the park. Quyn won't do a thing he says. Heh, my dog. He knows who's alpha in this family.)
Kai's been learning first aid at school - and has had homework on it, spent a bit of yesterday evening getting Ken into the recovery position. On the way home from school today I had him tell me how to deal with burns, asthma and fractures. (He likes the 'stop, drop, wrap and roll' if someone is "going up in flames", as he put it: says it sounds like a kind of music...) I'm particularly pleased that he understands the reason behind everything he's being taught, as well: that makes it much easier to remember.
[blink] Uh, right...
is a silvery-white, hard, transition metal. Scheele discovered it in 1778. It was often confused with graphite and lead ore. Molybdenum is used in alloys, electrodes and catalysts. The World War 2 German artillery piece called "Big Bertha" contains molybdenum as an essential component of its steel.OK, so, am I an orbital laser with molybdenum components? [grin] You notice its atomic number is 42...
This is just silly. Fun, but daft...
Sore throat, prickling sinuses - [growl] no, I do not have a bug...
Going to try for an early night anyway. (Sorry, Lutra - see you later.)
Wednesday, April 13, 2005
HAPPY BIRTHDAY CAROL!
[sigh] Found this on a link from a blog I surfed randomly. (Actually on Stupid Evil Bastard. Whether the blog lives up to the name I don't know, not having perused it yet...)
This does not bode well. Looks like they've removed just about everything that made Hitchikers Guide to the Galaxy funny in the first place...
And people wonder why I don't like 'Hollywood'. It should have gone to Peter Jackson - at least he knows how to make a good, quirkily funny, sensitively directed film...
Tuesday, April 12, 2005
Tch - and then I forgot to post the important bit...
I tried making a start on the 'Mary-Sue Avenger' comic strip last night. It was a complete disaster: I seem to have lost what little drawing ability I ever had. So, here's the question: do people want me to wait and hope someone brings it back, in which case we may be waiting a loooooong time - or shall I write the story/ies instead? Perhaps with little illos of bits of it, if I can manage those? Preferences, please?
Sandy Park Rd, a ten minute walk from the house. This is a photo from (almost) the top, with Bristol in the background (as you can see, the weather isn't exactly cheerful here at the moment). The shops are at the bottom end. This little shopping area has everything: our wonderful butcher, Post Office, two Indian-run mini-marts (with off-licenses), a chemist/pharmacy, a bakery, news agents, pet supplies shop, video and DVD rental store, the Flower Basket, Bargain Hut (fun place with lots of useless but cute bits and pieces), hairdressers, beauty salon (fairly new, that one. They're charging £7 for eyelash tinting: might treat myself in the summer), my favourite St Pete's Hospice second-hand shop (plus another charity shop for an obscure childhood disease: you can sometimes pick up strange and unusual things from there), and the carpet shop from which most of our flooring has been bought. There's also a sports shop, betting shop, Chinese health and acupuncturist place I haven't yet investigated, a café, two estate agents, an undertakers, a pub, an electrical store - TVs and things of that ilk, I think, never checked it out - and a Singer sewing shop... (I forgot about that one - I'll have to ask about getting my machine serviced.) But we don't use them much. Well, ever, actually. You can't see Sainsbury's from here, but it's down the hill and off to the right.
There used to be a record shop, greengrocer's and a motor accessories shop as well, but they've all closed down. The mini-marts sell basic veg, and Sainsbug's sells the more unusual and organic, of course.
As you can tell, we're incredibly well provided for in this area, which is why I don't go into town very often - we don't need to.
Our house, in the middle of our street... I once remarked to Lutra that the three 1950's semi-detached houses (that's six houses in all, of which ours is at one end) looked a little like a tumble of mongrels in the middle of a line of Irish Wolfhounds: the rest are hugely expensive 4-bedroomed Edwardian terrace houses...
My cherry tree is just coming into flower now. It didn't start out in the front garden: when we bought the house the cherry next door had run a sucker into our back garden, and there were three little trunks growing up out of it. I wanted something in the front to screen the lounge window, so we moved it, sucker, roots, three trunks and all. Ken keeps asking to prune it right back (I think he'd prefer it if it was gone altogether) but I won't have that. It's beautiful, and it produces deep crimson cherries that the birds love...
Right, Carol and Sue... You haven't posted your jihad names yet, so I went and tried them for you. You get a choice:
Sue: Sister Whip of Warm Equanimity, or Sister Hydrogen Bomb of Compassion. Carol: Sister Divine Boomerang of Joy, or Sister Inspired ICBM of Truth.
I like the latter names, personally. Or you could always do it yourself! [grin] (Oh, and you can substitute Sibling for Sister if you like...)
Monday, April 11, 2005
And my waterball (finally) arrives!
Mind you, it was worth waiting for. It's quite fascinating: the base and the supports are a type of ceramic, I think - but look like a metal-wood hybrid (yes, that's fanciful, I know it's only the way it's been made. Indulge me. It adds to the alienesque feel of the thing.) It's beautiful, smooth and cool to touch and the trickling water incredibly soothing. And the pump is almost silent, which is damn near perfect (although the company are German, so I'd expect high quality - I'm sure I've mentioned my deep admiration for German engineering elsewhere on this blog...)
Overall I'm delighted with it!
I'm in the mood for photos. I'll take Kai's digicam with me when I collect him...
Joules: ROFL!! (read comments) Lutra: ??? ... oh! you read the comments, not was directing me to read them... alles est clair, jetzt... [blink] oh, polyglot now are we? [scrabbling for dictionary] Ah right [grin] Perhaps a polyglot-ish? a few words in several languages, nothing actually useful for making myself understood to native speakers... OK - a minipolyglot. LOL miniglot? Aaargh! where have all my bloody pens gone?! They've made their way through a wormhole to a planet where they can enjoy a uniquely biroid way of life.... [scowl] Traitors! I know. Dreaful innit. [blink] Dreaful Innit - a new form of martial art? Or a name? Shocking. D Adams deserved a kick up the bum for giving them ideas... ROFL!! Dreaful - title like 'master', Innit - death-dealing martial art...[grin]So when you see Dreaful Innit appear in one of our stories, you'll know where it came from.
Better get some work done...
Sunday, April 10, 2005
The moles were in crisis and the mountains dramatic, and clouds gathered over the teacup of despair... As the washing machine cycled through its normal wash I went to the shed to dig out the rotary airer and pegbag, only to find foul-smelling suspiciously-brown water pumping out of the drain and flooding the pathway 'twixt house and outbuilding...
Yup, blocked drain. Ken and Kai lifted the manhole-cover-cover (used to grow mint) from the manhole-cover outside the kitchen to reveal a drain almost overflowing with... well, I really don't want to think what, all the pipes from the house drain into it and the smell made me nauseous... As I hung washing at the top of the garden Ken and Kai poked and poked around with a big stick: suddenly there was an obscene and long-winded gurgle-belch-glugluglug that I heard from 70 feet away and Ken gave me a thumbs up. Whatever it was, they'd unclogged it...
Cue half an hour of flushing the system with water and good ol' Jeyes Fluid [hangs head in shame - so environmentally-unfriendly] and everything was back to how it should be. But at least we now know the configuration of the house's drains, in case anything like this happens again. Also saved about £100 or thereabouts, I'd guess - how much do plumbers/Dynarod charge these days?
All the CP revisions have been sent off, and tomorrow we'll start noting ideas for the next book. But I'm taking tonight off: it's been hectic.
I couldn't resist. I really couldn't. Check out the Unitarian Jihad link - it's hysterical...
My Unitarian Jihad Name is:
Sibling Honourable Orbital Laser of Tranquility.
So that'll be SHOLoT for short, then...
(Link found on the Pharyngula blog.)
[glaikit...] My computer was hijacked at 5.30 and I only grabbed back control at quarter past midnight. [growl] Still, Kai watched three eps of Saiyuki with me before Dr Who - then Dr Who Confidential, then Casualty (though why we're still watching it I have no idea) then CSI:NY. Then it was Kai's bedtime and I carried on watching Saiyuki (your 50-ep version, onna. It's wonderful! And I do like the clothing designs. Well, except for Gojyo's. Stupid trousers...) Kai enjoyed it, though some of the subtitles went by too fast for him to follow the story, so the first couple of eps were a bit 'pause/back/explain'. But he laughed at the funny bits, loved Goku and Gojyo fighting all the time, and would like to see more. This is a good sign.
Remember last summer's datura -> ? Remember I tried pollinating it with a feather and one of the flowers produced seed? I tried scattering some of the seeds on a pot of soil last Thursday and now have lots of little seedlings coming up... lots of little seedlings... Don't know what I'm going to do with them all...
Too tired and befuddled to get to grips with anything sensible tonight.
[small edit] I forgot to add this link to LotR fanfic clichés and Mary-Sue-doms. (Example, just one amongst many such shudder-worthy gemlets...)
87. Is your character the bearer of a hitherto unknown 'extra' ring? (You know, 'Three for the Elven Kind beneath the open Sky, Seven for the Dwarf Lords in their Halls of Stone, Nine for Mortal Men Born to Die, One for the Dark Lord on his Dark Throne, and one left over for Willow Foxblade, half-elven princess of Gondor with ankle-length auburn hair and a spitfire personality'?).The page had me in stitches. So true, alas, so terribly terribly true....
Saturday, April 09, 2005
Right - where was I? Oh yes...
Any other mums find school holidays wholly disorientating? Yesterday felt like Saturday... um, today's Saturday, isn't it? Heh, and we didn't ring my folks last Sunday (one of the few rituals we have, to ring the grandparents every Sunday so they can talk to Kai) Must do it today.
Our editor rang a couple of days ago, to check we received the emailed list of CP queries and weren't too horrified (offended?) by them. As I pointed out, this is our twelfth book, we're used to it by now. She did say that Sunday would be fine to get the replies to her, though, which is great because some of her questions require a little re-writing of the text - by both of us - and it takes Ken longer to get his head around that than it does me (damn medication. It affects bloody everything. I shall be glad when the course is over.) We're about half way through, with a couple of trickier ones still to tackle. The good thing is that if we get it right at this stage, there'll be less to do later.
It was probably just as well I didn't do much to the BCP site, as I've been emailed a whole new load of info on one of the items to be added. Good not to have wasted time! It'll still have to wait until after we've completed the CP stuff though.
The last few days haven't been very interesting for Kai, but he's been great, happily working on his clocks and watching favourite videos. We put on Warlock yesterday evening, which he thoroughly enjoyed (gruesome child!). Mind you, so did I - Richard E Grant in long hair and leather, nice... Need to replace the video with the DVD, though, it was second hand when I bought it years ago and is now definitely past its sell-by date! My computer is going to be kidnapped for a while later: I asked Kai how he'd feel about watching some Saiyuki - in Japanese with English subtitles - and he thinks it's a fine idea, so we'll see how we get on...
The Haadri 5-part backstory is now finished and posted in preparation for later, and I've started on another... why am I mentioning this here? It belongs on the Haadri blog. Will update there this evening. (Updated the Updates Blog last night.)
... back to CP. Let's see if I can get the Sanctuary revision finished...
Friday, April 08, 2005
[growl] Just wonderful...
From blogger's status page, 7th April:
This afternoon we pushed into production a number of performance enhancements which have improved the responsiveness of the site. Additionally, we have eliminated an automated spam problem which was negatively impacting publish success rates.Improved the responsiveness of the site? For whom? I haven't been able to edit since yesterday evening - hell, I haven't even been able to bloody log out since yesterday evening, I have to close Firefox down completely to escape! - and hitting [Publish post] results in the page going nowhere. And if, as they suggest today - If you are experiencing problems loading Blogger.com, please try clearing the cookies in your browser - I do clear the cookies, I end up back at the login screen...
[several hours later] OK, that now seems to be working again. But I wish they'd leave the damn thing alone!
Kai's got his new clock working, by the way. It sounds lovely.
Wednesday, April 06, 2005
Thanks for all the comments about the redecoration!
Wars, being in... I turned awkwardly while making dinner yesterday, and it felt like something tore across the top of my right foot, leaving me limping. And it seems I overcompensated with my left foot and when I woke up my knee was hurting like hell. Probably just as well I spend most of the day sitting down, as walking is a little problematic at the moment. Ah well, it'll be OK in a couple of days, no doubt..
But yesterday and today, despite being messy, have been pretty successful - managed to get all the finicky odds and sods done. Even managed to ring Living Designs to ask when my waterball should arrive - only to be told it had been despatched by courier over a week ago. [growl] They're chasing up what happened and will get back to me as soon as they can.
Watching the news... is it just me or is Michael Howard thoroughly creepy? I always feel like I want a shower after watching him speak... And what's with this queuing up to see the Pope's body? I mean, he's no longer wearing it - it's just slowly rotting flesh now. I find the whole idea positively ghoulish...
From ICQ earlier, actually talking about crystals...
Joules: I'm no consultant. Lutra: No, but you're level-headed and widely read. And perceptive. [grin] What a nice obituary that would make. "Here lies JAT, level-headed and widely read - and perceptive, she knew you were going to say that!" [rolling around] Oh gods!!When I die, stick me in a cardboard box in the ground as quickly as possible and plant a tree - native please, preferably juniper, rowan or hawthorn - on top. I don't want a funeral - I'd much rather be remembered for my life than have my death celebrated. After all, I won't be here to join in!
Tuesday, April 05, 2005
Update on previous post - I managed to snag a spare haddock (it bit me, but I'm used to that...)
Bedroom before redecoration.
Bedroom after redecoration.
I like the room now - being in it is a real pleasure...
... so there I was, up to my ears in perhaps my least favourite occupation - invoicing clients for their website maintenance (least fave because it involves playing around with MS Excel, which hates me...) - when an email came through from our non-fic agent, saying our Godsfield commissioning editor would like to know if we'd consider putting together a proposal/chapter summary for a follow up book to Crystal Power for them (apparently the blad went down very well at the London Book Fair and they're keen to work with us again): as ever I can't give any spoilers but it involves crystals (heh, I feel typecast!) but in a different way than before. It sounds as though it would be interesting to write, so we're going to brainstorm later.
We've also had an email from the editor for Crystal Power with a whole list of queries that need to be addressed by Friday - haven't done more than skim that yet, but it looks good and thoughtful and shouldn't take too long (she says, crossing fingers in the hope that doesn't sound too much like 'famous last words').
And now I've had an email from Weiser Books (the US publishers of our Clairvoyance book) to ask if we'd read and endorse a forthcoming book for them!
[whimper] I haven't even had a chance to look at the revisions for the BCP site yet (there's a cgi form that needs to be coded and loaded), nor made the handful of necessary phonecalls I have to make today...
Just as well Kai decided he wanted to go with Ken to Hurrans to pick up some weed for our pool (our newts are hunting places to lay eggs, I think) instead of going to the cinema...
Oh, and the camera is working fine, and I've taken a whole load of photos of our redecorated room. Now I just have to entice enough haddock to me to code and upload a page of them...
Can I go home yet?
Monday, April 04, 2005
I woke up early. Why do I keep waking up early? It's not as though I'm going to bed any earlier (well, OK, last night I did, sort of - I must have eaten something that thoroughly disagreed with me yesterday... Luckily the others were OK... And I was a lot better today.) Still, today the early rising was useful: we had a lot to do.
And it was all rather successful. First, I found a pair of chunky-elegant water goblets (plain glass) in the St Peter's Hospice charity shop in Sandy Park Road - I've been looking for a pair for our bedroom, to go with the chunky-elegant decanter that's now up there holding Ken's filtered water (the medication makes him almost constantly thirsty, and I like to have a glass of water by the bed too, I'm forever getting a tickle in my throat and waking up coughing. I think the air is very dry - that's one of the reasons I want the indoor water feature in the room.) Looks a lot more sophisticated than the mismatched tumblers and plastic SodaStream bottle we have been using...
At St Nick's Market Kai bought a miniature grandmother clock - a literal miniature; it's actually for a doll's house - which he'd seen when out with his dad and wanted. (£8.50 though - not cheap!)
Then we leapt on another bus - so grateful for FirstDay tickets, even if they have gone up since I last bought one - and made the trek up to the Special Reserve shop to see about Kai's digicam...
And they fixed it. Well, I think they have. The guy put the media card into a card reader and did arcane things with his mouse, then put it back into the camera and it was taking photos just fine. I haven't tried taking and downloading any yet - too tired tonight, more on that in a mo - but I asked if there was anything else in the software line that could go wrong with it and he assured me that no, the card controlled the whole thing (I know very little about the mechanics of digicams. I'm learning all the time.) So hopefully, and I'll check it properly tomorrow, the camera is now functional again.
I love the guys at Special Reserve!
Kai was a little disappointed, he'd wanted the card to be replaced so he could examine the old one - but not for long. On the other side of the road a little way down he spotted a clock in a shop window (actually a furniture shop, but they had all sorts of interesting and unusual things there) and went in to have a look. We didn't buy the clock, but there was a great poster on the wall, a variety of different pendulum clocks showing their workings, which he drooled over. I asked if we could buy it, the owner said he had several new/clean ones in his drawer in one of his other shops and could we come back tomorrow; when I said we couldn't, he took the one off the wall and gave it to bratling! Happy Kai...
Even happier when at one of the first few second-hand shops - another St Pete's Hospice, in fact - he found a magnificent clockwork clock with chimes. It strikes the hours and the quarter hours, a lovely mellow sound exactly like my grandmother's clock. (I wonder what happened to that clock...?) It had been overwound, so wasn't actually working, but Kai was sure he could fix it... £15 [wince] but... you can always tell when Kai really really really wants something, and it's not like it happens very often... And he's going to pay for it, bit by bit... 'course, muggins 'ere had to lug the damn thing all the way down the Gloucester Road in my rucksack - it's heavy! Wood, and looks like early art deco to me. Will check a little more over the next few days.
We carried on, diving in and out of charity shops but not finding anything else much - although Kai was bouncing with joy and excitement and didn't actually want to find anything else - until we'd nearly reached our bus-stop. I can't remember which shop it was now, but at the back I found a resin fée hiding on a shelf.
I can't really call her a fairy, she's more an elemental spirit - all long gangly arms and legs, with big hands and big feet, pale green skin, dark purple and blue swirling hair, wearing a skirt and minimalistic sort-of-bra-top that look like they're made of dark purple and green feathers, and she has dark purple dragonfly wings (with four tiny crystals on each) tucked down her back. But it's the face that got me, a little face, with a pointed little nose, a tiny mouth and little wistful black eyes... She's not pretty, but she's not ugly either... Anyway, she stood there, looking at me, asking to come home. Not begging, just quietly asking. I couldn't say no.
[sigh] So much for my ogre image... I'll try to take a photo, but I can't get very close with Kai's camera. Perhaps with my own.
We arrived back at 10 to 6, and I had a BCP meeting at 7. Made it with 2 minutes to spare. It was only supposed to last an hour: didn't get out until 9 pm... I'm knackered, my feet and legs and back are throbbing and my hands hurt as well (though I'm not sure why, haven't done much with them today...)
I'm having a lie-in in the morning - heh, if I don't wake up early, anyway! - then taking Kai to see Robots in the afternoon.
Tonight? A little more of the fifth and last part of the Haadri backstory, I think...
Sunday, April 03, 2005
Tch', I'm supposed to be working, but I keep finding interesting quizzes... Ah soddit, I'm allowed a few hours off every now and then!
From Valkyrie first, animal totems and another tie breaker. I'd agree with this result - though I'm almost tempted to go back and see what it says about Crow...
I found this one on the Philosphy, et cetera blog...
Saturday, April 02, 2005
Trains. I like trains. I don't get to ride in them very often - they're more expensive than buses, generally speaking. Though given that the bus for us both to Clifton Triangle (about 2.5 miles?) yesterday cost £4.20, and the train to Severn Beach (about 12 miles, I think) was £4.80, that might no longer be true...
It was such fun! And fascinating seeing Bristol from a different perspective. Montpelier Station is so much prettier than when I lived in the area - and on the side of a pink-painted house up at Clifton Down there's a whackin' great matching pink nose! The train goes through the mile-long tunnel underneath Clifton - didn't enjoy that at all - and comes out half way down the Avon Gorge, stops at Sea Mills and then picks up speed, which Kai loved. Under the bridge at Avonmouth (I've driven over that bridge several times on my way down to Devon - I like heights but it nearly gave me vertigo...) then along the river to Severn Beach.
It's a tiny place, and so quiet! We meandered along the beach (there is one, though it's perhaps not exactly what most people would call a beach, it's mostly mud and gravel with lots of rocks that help form the sea wall. Kai had a fantastic time, leaping from rock to rock avoiding the mud - only about ankle deep, but it's best to be careful anyway, there are patches of quicksand along that coast) all the way to the Severn Bridges Visitor Centre (where we stopped for tubs of Marshfield ice cream, Succulent Strawberry for Kai, Toffee Fudge Fiasco for me).
The new bridge is beautiful, a graceful, shallow reverse-S curve in dove grey and turquoise skimming the river between England and Wales. (This pic is a scan of the nicest of the four postcards available: I took some photos but I'm right at the beginning of the reel of film so it'll be a while before I can post them.) The view of the old bridge through the arches of the new is quite something...
It's breezy along the top of the sea wall, but a sun-trap on the beach itself, where I sat on the 'steps' while Kai played 'explorer' for an hour on the rocks. We've both caught the sun - it was hot today - but look good for it!
Kai's knackered now (heh, fairly tired myself!) but loved it, and wants to do it again. So do I, actually; there's something about the place, a sense of space, of tranquility, that's quite enchanting.
"Blow things up. Blow them up again. Blow the hell out stuff. Blow the hell out of it some more..." We like the advert for Mercenaries: Playground of Destruction. It's one of those incredibly rare, completely honest ads that doesn't claim to do or be anything other than exactly what it is.
If we played computer games we'd probably buy it on the strength of that alone!
This had me laughing aloud in places.
"OK... Just for the sake of argument, why is there a vampire under my bed?"
[grin] I really hope the writer continues the story...
Friday, April 01, 2005
Well we shot the line, we went for broke With a thousand screamin' trucks And eleven long haired Friends of Jesus In a Chartreuse microbus.I'd forgotten how chuckle-worthy Convoy is. And how silly Starship Trooper is. Not to mention Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band's Canyons of Your Mind..."Yeah Rubber Duck to Sod Buster C'mon there... yeah Ten-Four Sod Buster - Listen, you wanna put that microbus in behind that suicide jockey?" "Yeah, he's haulin' dynamite and he needs all the help he can get..."
Through the canyons of your mind, I will wander through your brain, To the ventricles of your heart, my dear, I'm in love with you again...(Can you tell I've been playing the 'ancient singles' CD Adrian burned for me...? [grin])
I find it interesting that I have a small number of absolute favourite songs, songs I can't live without. I can tell which they are, they're the ones that are always the first few on Nappa's - and Winamp's - playlist. The opening theme to Yami no Matsuei, then Nightwish Phantom of the Opera: Travis' Side, Manic Street Preachers' Design for Life, Tatu's Everything She Said, Gary Moore's Over the Hills and Far Away, Babylon Zoo's Spaceman, Old Souls (from Phantom of the Paradise, thanks onna!), and Bonnie Tyler's Holding Out for a Hero follow (though not necessarily always in that order). Eclectic, I think. Loud, definitely...
Brandon Hill today, where Kai exhausted himself: first found a young girl (and her little sister and father) to play hide and seek with, then a couple of boys to climb trees with. I'm so glad he finds it easier to socialise these days! We popped into the museum on the way back - Kai wanted to check out the shop - where I found I had an unwanted hitch-hiker, a fabulous iridescent green beetle that must have climbed onto my back while I was sitting on the rocks in the park. (No, it didn't come home with us: I popped it onto a bush at the student residences down the road.)
It's supposed to be hot and sunny tomorrow, and we're planning to get the local train to Severn Beach (not Aust, the train doesn't go there.) If I remember correctly - and it's quite possible I don't, given my memory - there's a very pleasant walk along the canal a little further up the coast. But whether we make it depends on how we both feel: Kai was saying he's aching all over, and I'm still horribly tired. (Can't seem to shake it, no matter how much sleep I get...)
Paid a quick visit to The Flower Basket in Sandy Park Rd when we got off the bus - a favourite shop of mine, they sell pot plants, silk plants and gift things as well as cut flowers and foliage. I picked up a new pot of jasmine for the bedroom (mine has finally died, poor thing - at about 12 years old, mind you - though I'll plant it out in the garden; you never can tell) and while I was there asked about silk orchids. The guy I spoke to says to give him a list (with illos if I have them. Heh, no problem there!) of the types and colours I'm looking for and he'll check for me next time they go the Birmingham supplier (huge place apparently, with lots of unusual items). So fingers crossed, I might get my paphiopedilum yet. I'll add a vanda and brassia (any type!) to the list, and a small oncidium - and possibly odontoglossum, they're pretty too - to sit on the top shelf of my display. (I'll also note down the more unusual types - just in case.)
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