Zone Doubt, a.k.a. 'Surreal Я Us'...
Joules, trusted by... dozens... to make a drama out of your crisis...
:: JAT :: WaveWrights :: Publications :: Joules... on writing [on hiatus] ::
I live to write. It's not wise to get in my way.
August 2011: the earlier posts in this blog are a mess, the result of me changing the format some time ago. I'm working to edit the entire blog from the beginning, but with over 4K posts and sodall time for such luxuries it's going to take a while... [02/09/16 - Now reached 09/10/2004]
If you come across any words you don't recognise in this blog, take a look at the Taylorspeke Glossary in the left-hand infopane, you'll usually find a definition there.
Thursday, June 30, 2005
... And yet another edit...
Right, found out how to change bg/text/link colour at source and remove the resizing, which solves part of the problem. The .gifs still look awful though (even those with non-transparent backgrounds), and I'll need to code them and the animations separately. And add the captions and bg tiles manually (assuming I use them). Feasible, but still a long job. Eh well, I've started so I'll finish...
I want it done by yesterday though. Anyone got a TARDIS I can borrow? Kai hasn't built his yet.
(Lutra will confirm I do this on ICQ too - witter while I work, that is...)
Later edit: [snarl] the resizing is a bloody mess and the .gifs look dreadful: going to have to recode half of them manually. And I'm going to have to go into 90 (that's ninety) individual pages of illustrations to code in background tiles, change the bg colour, and add captions. And that's just the basic gallery - I still have the adult pages and the guest art to do...
It would have been quicker to do this by hand.
Wednesday, June 29, 2005
Adventures in Gallery Creation...
Hm. Well, PS's 'automate web gallery' application works. Works very well actually - apart from ignoring sub directories, taking out all the transparent backgrounds, splitting diced images into their component parts and showing each slice as a separate page, and only being able to show the first frame of any animation. It does at least save a lot of time in dealing with the straightforward images, and as long as I can tweak the basic page it'll be fine. Been a long time since I've tried this though!
[sigh] OK - let's start again.
Tuesday, June 28, 2005
My voice is slowly coming back, which makes life marginally easier. I also seem to have got used to walking the four miles a day to and from school (even if it is too hot to really enjoy it) and have volunteered to continue until Kai breaks up for the summer (July 21st. Well, it's great exercise and gives me a good 45 minutes a day alone away from the computer to plot and plan...
I keep forgetting to rave about the Lush products I bought. I'm dead chuffed with everything. The shampoo bar is amazing, you get your hair completely wet, rub the bar three times (and that's enough even for my mane!) around your head then lather. And WHAT a lather! Thick, rich, and kind of fizzy: cleans hair without stripping out all the oils or leaving a residue (and I haven't needed to use conditioner afterwards yet). It's gentle too, soothing on the scalp. Angels on Bare Skin leaves my face feeling completely clean (no so-called 'creamy' - which to me just feels oily - residue) and my skin doesn't feel greasy again for hours afterwards. The Aqua Marina does the same, but without the mild exfoliant. Incredible value for money too, as you only use a tiny tiny amount of everything. All in all I'm delighted, and will be changing the family over to all Lush as the current toiletries run out. (Except for soap. I'm going to pick up a block of Sea Vegetable next time I'm in town...)
Following on from Lutra's comment about revising the Alliance Chronicles as a sci-fi series: this is perfectly feasible. Obviously the recognisable names will have to change, as will the lunar effect, the ouzaru state, and some of the 'powers'. And the sex will have to be toned down a little. But the AC was AU anyway, so this will require less work than you'd think (we've already solved the lunar problem so we can still keep MoonYear, took us about three minutes the night before last on ICQ...) And it means a seven book series with detailed and complex plot plus a host of memorable characters already written and ready for the printer (well, OK, maybe not quite at that advanced stage just yet!) But Haadri (FL, anyway) and SFSG must come first. Which doesn't mean we can't make notes as we go along...
After I'd listed my anime attractive characters (in the comments for yesterday) Valkyrie said:
If you think The Rock is a fab Radittsu, who would make the rest of the cast for the DBZ team - well, just the main cast at any rate??Oooh! What a challenge! Well, off the top of my head I'd say Orlando Bloom for Gohan [smirks at Lutra] and Jim Carrey for Frieza. (Yes, I know Gohan was only a child when Radittsu and Frieza were around but when has sticking to the original plot bothered the film industry?) Sean Connery as Kame? (He can do lecherous as well as the next man and a damn sight better than some!) Michael Dorn for Piccolo?
[big grin] Suggestions, anyone?
As you can tell, I'm feeling a lot better, and should have shaken the damn cold off by Thursday. I hope.
Monday, June 27, 2005
In an idle moment...
Wrested from Valkyrie's Lj:
Directions: List 10 celebrities that you find attractive, then don't tag any of your friends.
I ummed and ahhed a bit about this, but it piqued my interest and I thought I'd give it a go. (Like Valkyrie not including anime characters - that would be a much longer list.) But I can't actually think of ten at the moment...
1) Alan Rickman. A damn fine and very versatile actor. Lovely eyes. And that voice, oh the voice... 2) Angelina Jolie. Simply stunning, one of the most beautiful women around at the moment. I like what I've seen of her acting as well! 3) Paul Merton. I love the twinkle in his eyes and the cheeky grin. Funniest man on TV: he has me in stitches. 4) Zoe Wannamaker. Cute and quirky, fascinating face, talented too! 5) Richard E Grant. Good actor, good writer, quintessentially British. 6) Hugo Weaving. Yumm! (Really must remember to type up the dream he was in...) 7) Dwayne Johnson (The Rock). Real life Radittsu... [shiver] 8) Michael Flatley. I don't care what anyone else says, I think he's fabulous. 9) Michael Praed (when younger. I like him best in Nightflyers). The eyes. The hair. The overall deliciousness...My list of dislikes would be far, far longer, and include Brad 'the ugly' Pitt, the Beckhams, Graham Norton, Jim Carrey, Madonna, Julian Clary, Anne Robinson...
[grumble] It's taken three days but I feel a little better. Only I've completely lost my voice, can't speak above a whisper, which is a real pain - and my ribs hurt from coughing. Eh well, it's finite.
Ryme asleep on the sofa. Yes, that is one of her back legs she's hugging...
She's still pretty supple, even if she does walk a little stiffly these days. Lots of white in her fur too, though you can't see it here. She's really getting quite old for a kit.
But this pic is a real favourite! Definitely a "soddoff, I've had a haaard day" sort of a picture...
On Saturday I took Kai to Keynsham to visit Jun and Yumi: Ruth guided us on a walk along the river a short way outside the town. Very pretty - dragonflies, swifts, swallows, and some bullocks with attitude. Strictly speaking I should have stayed home, but I didn't want to disappoint the sprogs. We had to leave earlier than anyone really wanted - I just felt too ill to carry on - but Kai thoroughly enjoyed himself, and it is a pleasant walk. We'll have to do it again when I'm not dead on my feet.
I've not done a lot today except sleep (well, had to get over to Tesco to pick up the photos: there are a few that Ken wants for the Bris Ghosts book) but it was much needed. Ken's back is a little better, but not enough for him to get to the school and back. I'm dreading it tomorrow, only have to walk a few yards and I start coughing...
Tch, I'm whinging. I'll stop now.
Sci-fi Channel have had an Alien Nation weekend, showing all the films (including one - The Udara Legacy - I hadn't managed to catch before) which has been fun. One of these years I might even manage to re-watch my tapes of the series before they all turn to rust.
I finally managed to get a decent photo of the window draperies!
Oh - I now have a gravatar. See the comments box...
Friday, June 24, 2005
Wet. Very, very wet. Woke up at 6.30 to a thunderstorm and belting rain, which eased for Kai and I leaving the house at 8.15, then started up again when we turned the corner into Bloomfield Rd. Not so heavy, luckily, but it went on and on and on. I had to get into town to pick up Ken's last week's worth of meds - he can still hardly move - but it wasn't actually too bad, as the rain was persistent but not heavy. Humid though, only wore a tee-shirt and I was far too hot (temperature's about 15 degrees today). Dived into Tesco on the way back to get a little shopping, and luckily it had stopped again when I got out, as I didn't have a hand free for my brolly. Which in any case has now broken. And the thunder and heavy rain has started up again, so I shall have to wear the dreaded pumpkin when I collect Kai (the pumpkin is the freebie bright orange plastic poncho raincover that Orange were giving out at the firework display we went to a few years back: it's hot and sticky but I kept mine as it rolls up small and fits into my rucksack pocket. I've made Kai wear it on occasion when he's forgotten his plastic mac - he hates it!)
But it's the people at the Glastonbury Festival I feel sorry for. At the moment they're dancing in a foot of water...
ANYway... I was told to treat myself to something in town, for going in despite how tired and lousy I feel (it is a cold, bloody miserable thing), so I investigated the Lush shop. Had a very useful and helpful chat with Jenna, and came away with an Aqua Marina cleansing roll and an Angels on Bare Skin gentle exfoliator for my face, and a Seanik shampoo bar. Will be interesting to see if they make any improvement (let's face it, they can't make my skin any worse...)
[sigh] Blogger have been playing again, haven't they? When did that 'upload image' button appear? And the entries page looks different too...
Thursday, June 23, 2005
bluergh. Kai's still the only one feeling OK. But I've organised and renamed the AC illustrations : need to resize a handful of the early, large ones. I'm still not convinced they're really worth it but they represent such an enormous investment in time and energy...
The best way to do this would be to make clickable thumbnails, but that's more than double the work. Alternatively I could just place 4 to 6 pics in tables and have them load a page at a time - that'd be quicker and easier (and about the only thing I'm capable of at the moment, I can't do nothing and don't need a brain to code up pages).
Soddit, I have to open PS anyway to resize pics, I'll make thumbnails. Going to have to create a separate page for the adult-rated pics though: can't decide whether to post that with a warning, or leave it in the passworded section. I'll worry about it later.
[growl] rain - pour. Ken was feeling a little better - until he moved a little too awkwardly and his back went again. And although the stomach upset has gone (found out it wasn't just us, a 24 hour bug has been doing the rounds locally. Actually a relief, as the thought that something I'd made foodwise had caused the problem wasn't exactly cause for chuffedness) I now have a raw sore throat and stinging sinuses. I will not be happy if I have a summer cold.
The only one who's OK at the moment is Kai - which is, at least, cause for happiness.
Just posted Heroes 3, the last part of the DT fic, at AFF. Going to bed now...
Tuesday, June 21, 2005
[sigh] So between Kai waking up at 3am feeling ill, my own upset stomach, and Ken sprawling over a good two thirds of the bed (and stealing all the downie - not that that was too big a nuisance since it was still warm last night) I managed about 2 hours sleep: got up at 7.30, fed and organised everyone, then Kai announced he was still feeling ill...
Since I was too, and we seemed to have the same stomach problems, I let him have the day off school. He curled up with the documentary channels this am, then watched some Harry Potter before Teen Titans, which has become unmissable for him: Ken lay flat in bed reading HP1 most of the day. Later I went up for a couple of cycles' nap while Ken got some bits of the book done at my machine (he can sit reasonably comfortably in my chair - after all, we bought it for my back problems - and thinks we'd better order one for him as well.) And he rang the nurse at the BRI, who told him he can take 'prufen with his medication, so that's a relief (in both senses of the word).
I still don't feel right (I think it must have been something we ate - though we all had the same and Ken's OK...) but Kai is fine again, so back to school tomorrow.
Ken says many thanks for all the good wishes.
Remember ages ago I was talking about putting all the Alliance Chronicles illustrations into a gallery on the WaveWrights site? Thinking about it again. Sort of. Problem is there are so many of them, all in different sub-directories: to do this properly I need to put them all into one big file, rename them in order (a mammoth task in itself), then go through every single chapter recoding the img src code. (Yes, I could do it the other way round and just link the gallery to the chapters, but that'll bypass the password protection and I don't want that.) Alternatively I could just copy the pics into a new sub-directory and rename them, and use that. It would mean duplicating every pic, and several megs worth of space, but as a temporary solution it might be worth it (since I cleared out my access and error logs, and uploaded the robots.txt file to the site, I've clawed back over 30 megs worth of webspace, so for the moment I can spare the memory). Then I can go through and recode the chapters at my leisure.
It might be worth it. Then again, do I think my pics are actually worth all the effort? I don't know. I'll have a ponder...
This was fun!
It's the Solstice. And it's Full Moon. I'd hoped to be up to see the sun rise - 4.58 am - but since I'm now going to be taking Kai into school as well as picking him up until Ken's back eases (and it now looks as though it might be a slipped disc after all, and the 'prufen has a warning on the leaflet to check with the pharmacist if you have liver problems, so he's worried about taking anything...) and since I slept very badly last night, I need to try for an early night.
Wish we could be here...
Monday, June 20, 2005
[sigh] Remembered to swap the heavy winter downie (duvet) for the thin summer one yesterday: washed the winter one in the bath, rinsed and left it to drain a bit overnight ready to drape over the dryer today. This morning Ken brought it downstairs in the laundry basket, dropped in on the floor while I hurried to unlock the patio doors - and put his back out trying to pick it up again.
We think it's a pulled muscle rather than a disc - he can move and almost straighten, although it's painful. (It had only just stopped hurting from the last time he did it, too...)
So he's in pain, and so am I after struggling to lift and drape a sodden double downie over a forehead-high rotary dryer: my shoulders are burning, and the teno's flared up in both hands/wrists and my left elbow again. And I'm out of 'prufen 'til I hit Sainsbug's on the way back from collecting Kai. It's going to be a fun week, I can tell...
As predicted, Kai thoroughly enjoyed AvP, though he wasn't glued to the screen like me. He's intrigued by the pyramid though, and wants to see Predator now. I managed to mostly avoid Unfortunate Events, though what I caught served only to make me loathe Jim Carrey more, something I hadn't thought possible.
... I'm trying to decide how I feel about the Dr Who finale, hampered by my inability to find the daleks threatening (heh, floating pepperpots!) Liked the overall idea, loved the acting, thought Rose's rôle was amazing, but... There's a sentence I've read somewhere (in HHGTTG the book, I thought, but a quick look didn't find it) - "This is getting needlessly messianic" - which probably expresses it adequately... Be interesting to see how the new Dr (nice eyes!) measure up to Eccleston's. Bit unfair to make us wait til next year, though.
Cropped from Thorne's blog. Normally I wouldn't - I mean honestly, would I want to associate myself with the sickly saccharine tweeness that is My Little Pony? Would I hell! - but this tickled me, simply because it is...
You are systematic and secretive. Sometimes even very calculating. Most everyone trusts you but they have no idea what really goes on in your head. You are capable of being nice or mean, whatever a situation calls for. You look out for #1.
Saturday, June 18, 2005
I can tell a film has had a strong effect on me when I dream about it... Can't remember any of the details, unfortunately, just know they were Predator related.
The temperature hit 29 degrees today - far too hot for June (far too hot for me any month). Ken took Kai out to get a few more photos for the Brislington Ghosts book: I took the opportunity to watch Vampire Princess Miyu vol 1. Loved it, it's beautiful and eerily dark: must get the whole set, 6 volumes in all. Helps that it features one of my favourite bishies (Lava) voiced by my absolute favourite seiyuu, Shiozawa Kaneto (Benten, Narsus, Iason, Bundoru, D...)
Also watched the first part of Ceres, Celestial Legend. Hm. Odd. I think I need to watch the rest of the DVD before deciding whether I like it or not.
Going to try to get some work done, but it's still 22 degrees and I can't open the patio doors as the cats are in for the night. Better get used to it though, the forecast is for pretty much the same for the rest of the week. Except for the thunderstorms tomorrow. At least I've now ordered some shorts from my Oxendales catalogue...
[happy sigh] Well that was fun.
First, Ken's had a good day, I think. He's taken it easy, got some work on the books done, we had steak/mushrooms/mixed veg and the chocolate cake I bought for his birthday. Then we watched DVDs (of which more in a mo). He says thanks to everyone for the good wishes and cards (laughed at the candles, Carol, and loved the Celtic card, onna).
I've finished OotP (well, actually I finished it at 3.30 am yesterday) - it's fantastic. Wonderfully detailed, densely layered - Rowling's just getting better and better. Can't wait for the next one!
OK, films... Ken said he fancied something mindless, sci-fi-ish, with plenty of gratuitous violence. Most unusual for him, but I like that on occasion too. So off Kai and I toddled to the rental shop (finally got the name, Phoenix - probably because it's had at least three different incarnations as a video/DVD rental place!) to see what they had, and came back with A Series of Unfortunate Events and Alien versus Predator. I went up for a nap after dinner, while Kai and Ken watched Unfortunate Events: I simply cannot abide Jim Carrey, as far as I'm concerned he's the most unfunny 'actor' in the world, marginally ahead of Julian Clary. Then after Kai had gone to bed, Ken and I settled down to watch AvP.
Now, Aliens [argh! later edit - Alien I mean!!] is perhaps the scariest film I've ever seen - dated and sfx-primitive as it is it still raises shivers up my back. I also thoroughly enjoyed Predator, though I always wished the eponymous hero had managed to kill Schwartzenegger (however you spell it, I can't be bothered to check), another so-called 'actor' I don't like. But I had no illusions that putting the two together was likely to be complete crap.
So it thoroughly startled me when I found myself really enjoying the film! Yes, the basic premise is plain daft, the film borrows heavily from The Cube (one of the nastiest films I've seen, in both its versions), but... The acting's pretty good, (Lance Henriksen, Bishop in the Alien series, is one of my favourite actors. He was also in The Terminator, of course), the cg excellent, the setting fun - and I absolutely loved the ending. Ken's not sure he wants Kai to see it, but I think sprog will really like it - what do you bet he sees the incredibly positive cross-species cooperation and respect that had me grinning happily and which Ken completely missed?
It's one I want to get to keep. I'm not going to recommend it to everyone because it won't be to a lot of people's tastes, and it is very violent (though in a very comic-book way), but for what I expected to be a mindless bit of fluff - um... yeah, what the hell, I'll use the term here, I think it's fitting - it's surprisingly engaging. And I really want there to be a sequel, and how often do I say that?
... wonder how much a hunter tattoo would cost...?
Thursday, June 16, 2005
Ken's results are clear. In other words, his viral RNA test came back negative, which is the most positive news you can get at this stage: it means that either the virus has gone completely or there is too little of it left in his body for the test to register. (If the latter is the case, it may still come back, hence the further blood tests, one in the new year, another a year later.) Meds finish on June 30th: should be finally cleared from his system by the end of September.
From July we need to work on getting his immune system back up to par - it's taken a hammering from the interferon, and he's still borderline anaemic, but with our reasonable diet and the summer coming on (lots of fresh fruit and raw veg) that shouldn't prove too much of a problem.
But for now, everything's great. It's his birthday tomorrow - we're having a double celebration.
Wednesday, June 15, 2005
Actually had something of a day off today. No, don't faint, it wasn't all my choice: Ken needs to hijack my computer over the next week or so to scan/tweak photos and review/revise the mss for Brislington Ghosts (I have the better and more powerful machine, with PS and online - hence email - access, not to mention the better printer), so I'm going to be forced to not sit at my desk. [sigh] I've been told I deserve and need a break anyway, I'm looking tired... for Ken to notice I must look like death warmed up...[mock-suspicious frown] I wonder why the sudden concern...? No, I'm being unfair, he often says I need to rest. I just always have too much to do.
[grin] So I read in bed when I woke up at 10.30 this morning. (Yes, I know most people read in bed before they go to sleep. Your point is?) Came down at midday, cleared emails, sorted a little business, collected Kai from school, repotted the jasmine while cooking dinner - then went back up at 9.30 to read a bit more while Ken used my computer again. (Interestingly, Butch isn't objecting. I think he likes the Ghosts book too - at any rate, he's letting Ken use every application needed without crashing or otherwise playing silly buggers...) I started The Order of the Phoenix this morning and am now on page 372 (of 766). Great book. Hard to put down.
And tonight I'm going to plot my chapter summary for Palingenesis. A lot of it is already written, of course, but there's a lot I need to add, and I found organising FL like this was extremely helpful. (On the subject of FL, I won't be updating until I actually have a contract, so please don't expect to hear much for a wee while.)
Tuesday, June 14, 2005
... so that was SW3: Revenge of the Sith...
Hm. Well, for the first hour I sat there thinking, ho-hum, hum-ho. Then it got a little more interesting - maybe because I saw parallels between what's happening on this world. I have to agree with Lutra on this one: the scenery is fabulous, the action extremely well done, but Yoda is by far the most sympathetic character. The others... [frown] it felt like watching a cartoon (cartoon, not anime). As though the characters were cardboard cutouts. OK, that may be a bit harsh, but they didn't convince me. And Dooku? What sort of a name is Dooku? It sounds like the noise something small and furry would make!
It really would have helped, too, if they'd put just a little note at the bottom of the screen to say which of the many planets visited we were looking at, who was there and why: I'm sure that was done in 4, 5 and 6. And the plot seemed forced and choppy, as though trying to join the dots in a hurry. Mind you, it didn't help that I really can't remember what happened in SW2...
It was pretty, though. We decided that when it's out to rent, we're going to have a Star Wars-fest and watch them all back to back, more or less - then it might all make sense.
But I didn't notice whatever it is I was supposed to notice about Kenobi. You'll have to tell me, Lutra.
We caught the trailer for The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe: it looks wonderful. Definitely on the list to see, The Chronicles of Narnia has been one of my favourite series since I was a child (I've always ignored the 'Xtian parable' aspect and focussed on the fabulous archetypal elements, easy enough to do!)
I finished proof-reading Brislington Ghosts - it's good. I'm not fond of Ken's style, it can be too florid for my tastes, but here it suits the subject matter perfectly. It's a fascinating read, non-judgemental, wide-ranging, succinct enough to hold the interest of the casual reader and detailed enough to be an invaluable resource for the serious. And this from me who doesn't even believe in ghosts...
This came via Sue from a friend of hers this morning: don't know the origin, but it rather tickled me!
One morning the husband returns after several hours of fishing and decides to take a nap. Although not familiar with the lake, the wife decides to take the boat out. She motors out a short distance, anchors and begins to read her book. Along comes a game warden in his boat. He pulls up alongside the woman and says, "Good morning, Ma'am. What are you doing?" "Reading a book," she replies (thinking, isn't it obvious?) "You're in a restricted fishing area", he informs her. "I'm sorry officer, but I'm not fishing, I'm reading." "Yes, but you have all the equipment. For all I know you could start at any moment. I'll have to take you in and write you up." "If you do that, I'll have to charge you with sexual assault," says the woman. "But I haven't even touched you!" says the game warden. "That's true, but you have all the equipment. For all I know you could start at any moment." "... have a nice day Ma'am," he said as he left. MORAL of this STORY Never argue with a woman who reads. She can probably also think.Thanks, everyone, for the good wishes and congrats for Kai! He's had a great day today - tells me that he feels much happier and less stressed now he doesn't have to worry about it...
Sue: yes please on pricing the daleks at your Forbidden Planet, glad the tape arrived in good time, and I simply can't remember what the spoiler was for Order of the Phoenix!
Monday, June 13, 2005
OK - that's one less thing to worry about: Dr A confirmed our belief that Kai does not have Aspergers. That is, he'd have expected to see Kai become more isolated and obsessive instead of growing and developing over the last few years (you know how difficult it is to pin health experts, especially mental health experts, down to a definite opinion!) and while Kai has some behavioural issues, the belief is that he doesn't have anything seriously wrong with him.
The relief is amazing. Kai couldn't stop grinning and almost babbling as I took him around town to look for a dalek (he wants a small 'action figure' of one. Or a TARDIS failing that) - it's been stressful for him too. Dr A says he's going to write to both John Cabot and Broadlands School as a kind of closure, effectively saying that Kai is bright, academically inclined, and suited to their school, and will thrive in their environment (bearing in mind that Kai's records, including this assessment for Aspergers, will follow him through his academic life, this is over and above just 'signing off' his case, even though it probably won't affect his application to either place).
Overall I think the whole procedure has been helpful: we've all learned ways to deal with Kai's behaviour and difficulties in dealing with his peer group - and with us! - and of course the end result is very reassuring. Though I've come to the conclusion that there's no such thing as 'normal'. How does one define 'normal', anyway?
Now we can concentrate on preparing him for the next year and a half. Dr A suggested that we get Kai's application to John Cabot in now, in advance of the Open Day in September; I'll take a look at it tomorrow, see if there's any reason why we can't apply early. Kai himself asked if he could take a look at some IQ tests (from what the Headmaster was saying, the aptitude tests that are part of the selection process are similar), so I need to see about that as well.
We were unsuccessful in our search for a dalek - well, Forbidden Planet had a dalek cookie jar (at £39.99 or thereabouts) and an inflatable dalek (at £29.99, if I remember aright), not what we were looking for, quite! Given the popularity of the series I'm rather surprised the merchandise isn't yet available, but we'll keep looking. We did pick up a copy of The Order of the Phoenix, and two scented pencils (the latest thing at school, along with flexible rulers, I'm told!) with the gift voucher Arfs and Chrissie gave Kai for Yule. [grin] I've been allowed to borrow the book to read first... We also bought crickets for one very hungry spider; we ran out last Wednesday. So Rosa's now happy too.
Ken declared he fancied Chinese tonight (instead of the baked potato with salmon I had planned) so we splurged and had a carry-out to celebrate; spring rolls for us, chicken satay sticks for Kai, then egg fried rice, duck with beansprouts, pork and mushrooms, and king prawn with water chestnuts and bamboo shoots. First time Kai's had Chinese (I don't count my attempts at stir-fry!) and he rather enjoyed it - loved the pork, liked the water chestnuts and bamboo shoots (rather to my surprise) and was intrigued by the prawns. (He didn't like the duck, but I think that was more the rich sauce it was in than the meat itself, as he always wolfs down the duck I cook.)
Oh, I got it wrong: Ken wasn't picking up his meds, he had a blood test today. Will find out the results on Thursday. (Unless they lose them again...)
Tomorrow I'm taking a break from Haadri and planning to proof-read Ken's Brislington Ghosts manuscript - and take Kai to see SW3: Revenge of the Sith after school. Bit of a treat, but he's decided he'd like to see it after all (actually I think he's just humouring me, because I want to see it on the big screen!)
Heh, not only does the blogger spellcheck not recognise blog, it also doesn't recognise prawn...
Emails 9.30-ish Sunday morning...
Carol: <checks time and falls off chair in surprise...> Me: [grin] I've been awake since half eight. Taking Kai out to Wyevale - I need a pole... ............. I studied that for several minutes, looking for the hidden meaning. Then concluded that perhaps that's exactly what you mean... <G> A pole for what?Actually it wasn't for anything terribly exciting: I decided my jasmine needs repotting and something to support it. I don't like wire arches or plastic 'trellis' things, so thought a moss-filled pole would look prettier. Bought a chunky terracotta pot and saucer for it at the same time - and checked out the silk flowers, but their orchids weren't anything special. Walked there and back; both quite tired when we got home.
We have Kai's latest appointment with Dr A at the Children's Hospital tomorrow. Shall be glad to get it over with, and hoping it might be the last we need to have. While we're there, Ken will pick up his last lot of medication: he finishes the course on the 30th. That's not the end of it, though. They told him at his last appointment that he'll have a blood test at the end of June, then another one six months later, then another one a year later (I think that's the schedule) and the implication is that until that last test is clear they won't be able to say whether the virus has gone for good. So we still won't know for another 18 months, though of course if the next test is clear there's a good chance the rest will be. We think. Hope. The bloody virus can lie dormant for years, as we've found out... Eh well, reports as they happen.
I have to drag myself to the doctor too, some time soon. Being nagged to get a check up.
More later. Back to 62...
Sunday, June 12, 2005
[bemused] ... Jack in black leather, eh? [shiver] And was the Doctor actually jealous there for a moment? Sounded like it to me...
[sigh] But I'm sorry - I've never been able to take the Daleks seriously, not even as a child. I just don't find ambulatory flashing pepper-pots scary. I'd probably still be laughing at them as they exterminated me...
A great episode though - beautifully biting, I thought, and I can't wait til next week's. I'm really going to miss Eccleston's Doctor and don't understand why he gave up after such a short stint.
Tired. Going to fall over. FL revision nearly finished...
Saturday, June 11, 2005
Ken agreed that upgrading Haloscan to premium membership was a legitmate business expense, so I checked it out. It's an annual donation - minimum $12 currently - and while the only thing you'll notice at the moment is the lack of ads in the comments box, from my end it's great! Access to the template so it can be customised, bulk comments export to the C:drive, banning of individual IP addresses (or whole ranges if need be)... Heh, at 50pence a month, it's an absolute bargain.
Heartily recommended. Thanks, Blue Witch, for bringing it to my attention!
So much for a restful day. But I managed to do everything I'd planned: the butcher had everything I wanted, and I found a Terrence Conran planter (£1.99 reduced from £3) at Sainsbug's, so didn't have to trek over to The Range (not that I mind trekking over to The Range, as you've probably noticed by now, but my legs were aching today, as were my shoulders after lugging a rucksack full of raw meat back from Sandy Park Rd). Put through two machine loads of washing, and picked up the paint and finished the door as well. Even fitted in a nap!
And 'potted' the new orchid, and moved the cream phalaenopsis to the mirror ->. It looks elegant there, I think.
The thing reflected in the mirror is a tall candelabra I found at the St Pete's Hospice shop; wanted one when they first came on the market but wasn't prepared to pay the full price. £1.75 is a different matter, though! The candle's a plain cream coloured altar one from Tesco, with beaded earrings pushed into the wax - pretty but I've never worn them since I bought them and am not likely to. At least they serve a decorative purpose like this...
The new orchid looks fantastic on the cabinet. When I saw the planter it reminded me of my description of Stephan's quarters in Dystopia ("...one perfect deep purple orchid in a snowy ceramic pot..." chapter 34 Interloper) and the shape echoes the waterball's base. The top of the oasis is covered with plain glass nuggets temporarily, until I can get some water-polished stones. And that's a square of bronze organza, with amber-coloured beads sewn to the corners to hold it in place, over my water goblet. Since Ken has the decanter on his side, I fill my glass before switching off the light - but if I don't cover it, the cats drink it (yes, even with the waterball bubbling away beside it, and them preferring the taste of moving water...). Animals, ne?
The room really is beginning to look like an orchid house (or maybe a jungle...) I bought some delicately orchid-scented fragrancer oil, and between that dropped onto the glass nuggets in the phalaenopsis vase, hints of the honeysuckle oil on the candles, and the flowering jasmine, the room smells wonderful too.
Thursday, June 09, 2005
[blink] afk - Away From Keyboard. That's really old, I thought everyone knew it...
We've had a great day. The trains all ran to time so we made all the connections (though it was a bit of a rush at Newton Abbott). It's been bright and hot all day. The hotel was fantastic, the champagne punch extremely nice, the wine good, the food delicious (home-made cream of mushroom soup, choice of roast pork or lamb - we went for the pork - with all the trimmings, then trifle or fresh fruit salad - apple, orange, pineapple, red and white grapes, raspberries, melon and kiwi fruit, lovely!). We sat on the terrace while everyone arrived: there were cooing doves and roses in bloom, all very pleasant. The pic is a photo of the Queen's Telegram congratulating them on their anniversary. (I did try to take a photo of the words inside but the damned digicam card was full...)
Afterwards we all moved next door for the dance... It's at times like this that I remember how much I used to enjoy it. Wish I could persuade Ken to learn. The sequence dancing in particular looked such fun: there were some dances I didn't recognise (including what m-i-l tells me is called the Balmoral Blues, which is very pretty).
Kai was very good, but he'd had cream, and sugar, and a chocolate mint, and the sugar rush hit fairly soon, so I took him over the road to the beach for an hour
A small stream is culverted under the road, and comes out half way down the seawall, where it makes a veritable waterfall and cuts a broad, shallow 'river delta' through the sand on its way to the sea a few yards away. Kai had great fun breaking down the banks/digging ditches/building dams: in fact he created a whole new channel, only a hand's-span wide at first and a little trickle, but after a few minutes it had widened and deepened. Like watching earth-shaping in miniature! It was wonderfully peaceful: there weren't many people there (though there were a couple of dogs. Eating seaweed. Yes, really. But only the yellowy-brown variety...).
After the dance had finished, we had sandwiches and cake back at Ken's folks' place (and wished Ken's brother Arfs and his wife Chrissie happy 25th Anniversary) but we couldn't stay long, unfortunately. Nevertheless it was a happy occasion, and good to see everyone again.
Mum Taylor gave all the women one of these lovely little 'moonstone and diamond' brooches (bigger than life size, here) - beautiful things, and not too pretty-pretty even for me. I need to find somewhere to have it on display though, since I don't often wear things that can take brooches...
The trip back was a little noisy but OK. Everything in the house was fine, and needless to say the animals were pleased to have us back. And I took advantage of the computer being off all day to clean/dust inside it before booting up, as it's been running hot the last few days. Erk. Couldn't actually see the fan for gunk, and large areas of the guts were indistinguishable under the dust. It's a lot better now!
Taking tonight off - I'm tired and think I've caught the sun on my arms and shoulders from the beach, feels a little uncomfortable. I have a heavy shopping day tomorrow: found out on Tuesday that my butcher is shut for two weeks from the 13th and my freezer is practically empty. (I did try to stock up yesterday but forgot he closes early on a Wednesday...) Hope he actually still has things in stock! Need to get to The Range, too, and pick up some more paint for the new airing cupboard door (our carpenter has been ill so the door's not hung yet - probably just as well since I haven't finished painting!)
Busy Friday. Oh joy.
Ooooh, that was good! Tight, incisive, effective, very nicely done indeed.
I'm now afk until tonight (Thursday night, as opposed to very early Thursday morning, that is). Unless something catastrophic happens in the meantime.
I hope not. I'd like to finish Haadri first.
Wednesday, June 08, 2005
[bemused - again] Just watched Inferno, an apparently little-known Jean-Claude Van Damme sort-of Western (little-known in that it's not listed on the IMDb that I can see). A wonderfully weird film. Surreal, almost. Very funny (well, I thought so). Bizarre, with a clichéd but feel-good ending - maybe. I'm not sure. Does the reappearance of a presumed-dead Indian on a motorbike count as a cliché? I'd planned to just have it on the background, but ended up having to watch it - as did Ken, who'd intended to stay down for 15 minutes or so and then go to bed. Well worth watching, but make sure you park your brain at the door. Oh, and the acting's not too atrocious either.
Now videoing End Day - 'Based on the predictions of leading scientists ... five apocalyptic scenarios. A tsunami strikes New York, a comet hits Berlin, a supervolcano devastates the US, a virus outbreak in London, and most bizarre of all a 'dangerous strangelet' - a strange form of matter predicted by physicists - destroys the earth.'
"All on the same day?" said Ken, bemused. "Oooh - can I watch?" piped up Kai.
All scenarios we know about of course - but so far the docudrama looks rather well made (especially the reactions of the general public: basically ignoring what's happening while trying to continue as normal...) It's a bit of a toss up as to which will happen first. For real, I mean.
Lutra's black orchids have arrived! They're absolutely beautiful - this photo doesn't really show them properly, but gives some idea. The depth of colour is amazing, the richest, darkest purple faintly dusted with green at the base of the petals - fabulous.
I was expecting phalaenopsis but these are something quite different (possibly a variety/hybrid of cattleya, going to see if I can find out what when I have a spare moment). Since it has leaves, I think I'll 'pot' the spray up rather than put it in a vase. There were some attractive, fairly heavy planters at The Range: I'll check them out at the weekend. (Have to do it then, The Range is closing on the 13th to have a second floor installed, not sure how long for but quite looking forward to seeing what more treasures they have when they reopen. Double the space, double the fun for me, mayhap!) I'll probably move the cream phalaenopsis currently on my bedside cabinet to sit in front of the mirror and put the new one in its place: it'll catch the light better there. I'll take a pic when it's ready.
This is the pot of red phalaenopsis from The Range. The colour hasn't come out very well - it's darker, richer and slightly more blue-toned than this but my attempts to get the colour right in PS didn't work terribly well. Perhaps you can try a better photo for me, if you bring the camera over in the summer, Carol?
Just about set for tomorrow. Dave next door is very kindly going to look after the house and animals for us (matter of letting Quyn out for a run around the garden several times in the course of the day. Dave likes dogs - rather misses Baron, his Weimeraner, I think). Our train is at 9.25, changing at Newton Abbott and getting in to Torquay at around 11.30am: we'll be back sometimes after 11pm. A long day, but it should be fun!
Tuesday, June 07, 2005
[bemused] So there I was, walking back from Sainsbug's (where our Neighbourhood Watch Co-ordinator had kindly dropped me at my request on his way home after the BCP meeting) when a lad in a hoodie grabbed my attention (not literally, and luckily I was between tracks on Nappa or I wouldn't have heard him).
"Where's the nearest phonebox?" he says. "Around the corner, outside the park." I reply, pointing. He says thanks and tanks off...
As I round said corner, I see lad standing by the phone junction boxes talking on a mobile... And then I notice that the phonebox that had been standing against the wall and constantly being vandalised since before we bought the house is in fact no longer there... No, I've no idea when it was removed. I only walk that way twice a day... So much for my observational skills. Then again, perhaps it was a TARDIS... I apologised as I walked past, saying it used to be there, which earned me a kind of weak, 'let's humour the madwoman' sort of smile...
Though I can't help but wonder why he needed a phonebox if he had a mobile.
Anyway... Actually managed to get a fair bit of FL revision done today, in between forwarding spam/porn complaints to the providing servers, updating websites, answering emails and organising the rest of the week. And proofing a couple of chapters of an excellent ongoing Good Omens slash series (Aziraphale/Crowley, of course - always saw them as a pair). I took the unusual step of volunteering to proof-read (not beta) for the author, who is German, and like many Europeans writes better English than far too many of my countryfolk, to their shame. Her (I'm assuming it's a her!) spelling and grammar are very good, but she sometimes doesn't get the idiom quite right, which is where I thought I could help. That I get to read the stories before anyone else is a delightful side-effect, of course! I've asked, and been given permission, to host the stories in The Zone, but haven't had the haddock to get them organised yet. In the meantime they're available to read on AFF.
(In fact, I've noted them as recommended reading on my own AFF profile. And I must post a link to her site on the 'must-sees' page. She also writes in YnM, InuYasha, DNAngel, CSI, Tremors and a host of other fandoms. I haven't had time to look around properly yet, but I've enjoyed what I have read.)
Quyn has to stay on his medication and I've to take him back to see the vet in two months. Looks like that's going to be the routine for the rest of his life, unfortunately. Still, he seems happy enough, and can chase around the garden without stiffening up, so he's quite content with life!
Now it's back to Haadri for a couple of hours...
Monday, June 06, 2005
(Delayed from yesterday) Dull and showery Sunday. I took Kai to the video rental shop: we came back with The Incredibles [shakes head, we're going to have to buy it soon, he loves it], and, since we seem to be in superhero mode, Daredevil (which I quite enjoyed - I like grim and gritty on occasion) and Elektra, which we haven't watched yet.
Might not get to it until tomorrow though: I have to take Quyn to the vets at 4.30, then I have a BCP meeting at 7. And Kai needs to get ready for school tomorrow too, though luckily that won't take long.
As for the rest: Ken's working on genealogy. Kai's watching Incredibles, Quyn's drying off after his bath, and I'm trying to get my arse in gear to get some work done - but given how disjointed this week is going to be that may be tricky.
The third (and most likely final) Drawn Together ficlet will probably have to wait until after next week's ep.
Back to Haadri, for the moment...
Sunday, June 05, 2005
[growl] OK, I've changed my mind (I'm allowed, I'm a fish) - I couldn't cope with not being able to see/reply to the blogger comments, and have gone back to Haloscan. I've copy/pasted the previous comments as far back as I could into separate archive .docs on my C:drive and remindered myself to do the same every month so I don't lose anything. And Lutra has kindly re-posted the few comments already on Blogger comments into Haloscan for me [GLOMPS Lutra].
I found a couple of previously unseen comments while archiving. BW, re: silk orchids - I try to buy 'unpotted' sprays where I can, so I can choose the container, but if I don't have any choice I'll buy 'potted' and either 1) put up with it if the pot isn't too ugly, 2) paint or otherwise disguise it, or 3) if it's really hideous, ease the orchid out and repot it in a better container. I've only had to repaint once, though: I like having them in different, unmatching pots, gives a less formal look, I feel.
Speaking of orchids, I did actually treat myself to the rich red phalaenopsis that I saw at The Range: will have to get a photo of it sometime soon.
I forgot to say I posted to Lutra's blog - here - a few days ago, for anyone who's interested... [ducks]
Back to Haadri...
Heh, I should have made myself have a nap, tired...
Ken took Kai to Dundry: they had a great time. I slashed and hacked through a couple of recalcitrant chapters and whipped them into shape. The Dr Who ep was... bemusing. And surely someone's written some Dr/Jack slash... I mean, the banter between the two is just so... slashy! Very funny, too.
Have now posted five pages of photographs of the work the Friends of Nightingale Valley have recently accomplished. (We love the valley. A lot of Walking the Dog comes from the place...)
Nope, no good. Too tired to witter. Off to do something... else.
Saturday, June 04, 2005
Briefly, 'cause my hands are hurting, I'm pissed off, and I'm on strike tomorrow...
The young girl was at the park - she has a very unusual name, which Kai almost said correctly when trying to remember what she was called, so my apologies, I got that wrong - and Ken spoke to her grandparents (typical, she lives at Corsham, miles away from Briz): and we've swapped phone numbers and addresses. And she seems to be rather keen to meet up again: at any rate, she rang Kai up this evening to let him know she was on her way to her karate class... [bemused] Rather sweet, actually. We'll have to try to arrange a visit...
Kai was reading in my bed when I went up last, at 11.05 pm, Jacqueline Wilson's Bad Girls (the book's about being bullied at school - poignant given the last couple of months). I couldn't be cross - hell, I used to do exactly the same myself (except I got punished for it) and I love the fact that he loves books. There's no school tomorrow, it doesn't matter how late he stays up reading...
Back to F40.
Friday, June 03, 2005
[growl] Bugger. I can't see the blogger comments. Lutra tells me they're working just fine, but all I get is the main page reloaded...
[sigh] Never mind - I've set up to be emailed when anyone comments. Could I ask everyone to use blogger rather than Haloscan, please? I'll delete Haloscan after a while...
This just arrived in my inbox:
We indicate suspect activity at your bank account. Your account has been frozen, for fraud prevention. We strongly recommend you to follow instructions how to defrost your bank account. Click to the following link for future information. [some spurious phishing link] UK Banks Association.'Defrost my bank account'?? [rolling on floor in hysterics] Who do these cretins think they're trying to fool?
Do you remember, way back on Feb 21st, I posted a link to the cocktail squid, and Wendy commented that she'd been to a place in Exeter that had mermaids that perched on the edge of the glass, and I said I wanted one? (You won't be able to read the comments - Haloscan apparently doesn't keep them past a certain amount of time, hence my changing to bloggers' own commenting system...) Well, a wee parcel has arrived with a couple of them! They're really cute: one's resting against my magnificent octopus, the other is up in the bathroom hanging onto a plant pot. [GLOMPS Wendy] Thank you!
Ken took Kai up to Broadwalk yesterday, to trawl the second-hand shops: sprog found a little battery-operated indoor fountain for £1.95, a stone effect ball that looks a little like mine! Works too. He's dead chuffed. So am I - the one he had his eye on at The Range is £24.99.
They went to Redcatch Park afterwards, where Kai met a nice young girl, whose name he can't remember, and they swapped phone numbers and agreed to meet there again today 'sometime after noon'. Only the phone number is wrong. So Ken's going to take him back to the park, just in case. And it's raining. And Ken keeps getting phone calls. [sigh] Must try to impress upon Kai the importance of getting the details right...
Horrendously busy week ahead. Kai has an inset day on Monday: it's supposed to be sunny, so Ken's planning to take Kai to Dundry on the bus. He's at school Tuesday and Wednesday, then off on Thursday for the Torquay trip, and off Friday because it'll be close to midnight by the time we get back and he'll be in a right state in the morning. Then on Monday 13th he has another appointment with the consultant at the Children's Hospital. Perhaps we might be able to pin them down to some sort of diagnosis. Fingers crossed.
But for now I woke up with a way to resolve another niggling problem with FirstLight, so am about to tackle that...
Wednesday, June 01, 2005
I'd honestly forgotten how astoundingly gross Bad Taste is... St Pete's Hospice had a copy of the video, and Ken wanted something to relax (?) with after his meeting in Exeter. It's still a favourite, though I really shouldn't have tried eating during the... um... 'chunky bits' scene... On sober reflection, however, I don't think I'll let Kai see it just yet...
The meeting went well - publisher is keen, and Ken's arrived back with a sample contract to check, amend and send back to be OKed. The good news is manuscript delivery's been put back until March next year, which gives him time to get the additional text comfortably researched and written. Apparently they asked Ken if we knew anyone 'famous' who could write a foreword - their definition of 'famous' being H.R.H the Duke of Edinburgh and David Dimbleby, the latest two books' contributors. I can't think of anyone we know in that league, quite (although apparently Ken's mention that we have other publishers asking us to endorse their books went down OK...)
The contract for the Brislington Ghosts book has also come through. And the commissioning editor was pleased with my Dreams book outline, and will get back to me in more detail regarding format, word count etc after they return from the BookExpoAmerica convention in New York. (I already know the total word count is about 60,000 words, but I'm not sure how much leeway I have to make some of the sections longer than others. Given the way I'd like to structure the text, it would be nice to have a fair bit of latitude, but it's quite likely that won't happen. Well, we'll see.)
Spent a lot of this morning typing while Kai dictated the first part of his superhero dream. It's really amazingly complex and very detailed, and I'm delighted he can remember it so well.
On the subject of dreams, I had to have a nap earlier (Kai watched one of his spider DVDs while I slept), and told bratling to wake me after an hour and 45 minutes, one cycle by the time I'd dropped off. Actually he woke me after an hour, to ask if he could have a chocolate-orange bar, the pest, which disturbed the cycle and may explain what happened next. I got back to sleep and the next thing I knew I was flapping a hand at him and saying "Shush..." as in my dream I'd just answered the phone and was telling him to be quiet so I could hear the person on the other end. So the first thing I saw on his waking me up was him looking extremely confused. He found it very funny when I explained.
Back to Haadri...