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!
Monday, October 31, 2005
But it all went well. The house is clean ready for the (Celtic) New Year, all the guisers who called admired Kai's zombie costume (and expressed the wish that his arm grow back!) Kim arrived with Sarah and Sasha and we walked with them down to the park, then back for cakes and crisps and gooey Samhain treats. The sprogs scared themselves silly with The Ghost Game (no, don't know what it is, Kai made it up, but it involves turning the lights off and playing with torches).
Ken's down at the Arnos Manor Hotel tonight, for a Ghost Watch - a proper one, with all the ghost-busting equipment. It's supposed to last until 5 am but I can't see Ken lasting that long!
There's a Murder Mystery Evening at the Hotel tonight as well...
[points proudly down at the pumpkin] Kai did this all by himself, design of the face and all!
Shall now see if I can get anything done before I keel over.
Sunday, October 30, 2005
Well that was fun - spent the afternoon working on Kai's costume.
I've used a small plastic flowerpot as the base, with a stick stuck through the bottom and painted white for the bone. When the papier mâché 'skin' has dried we'll need to paint it: I've already padded the area around the 'bone' with cotton wool soaked in fake blood for the 'flesh', and it looks quite convincing...
For anyone who doesn't have a clue what I'm talking about, Kai decided he wanted to dress up for Samhain as a zombie with one arm ripped off and the bone showing out of his shoulder. [sigh] Takes after his mother, my sprog, not for him the simple wizard or vampire or devil, oh no. Never goes for the easy option... But with the prepared flowerpot sewn to a T-shirt, his left arm inside - the T-shirt, not the flowerpot - and a ragged, 'bloody' white shirt (the left sleeve removed at the shoulder) over the T it should look OK. I've bought some cheap 'Hallowe'en' facepaint as well: luckily the quality of the makeup won't matter too much given the subject, as I'm not at all sure of my skill in this field (can't be arsed using makeup myself, skin's so greasy it slides off after an hour or so anyway...)
There will be photos later!
In the meantime, I found The English-to-12-Year-Old-AOLer Translator, which is fairly amusing. I ran this -
Yes, it's late and I should really get to bed. Then again, it takes a while for a film like this to percolate through the consciousness... The theme that - haphazardly, shakily - underpins the film is another juxtaposition, of corruption and redemption. Casual corruption, to be sure, and soul-deeply loathesome, contrasted with bitter, bitter redemption, but oh gods, so powerful. It's a visceral film (and yes, I do mean it feels at times it's twisting a knife in your guts), simultaneously portraying the best and worst of humankind - usually in the same person.from yesterday's post through it and the result was -
WTF YAS ITS LAET AND I SHUD RILLY G3T 2 BD1!1!1111 LOL TH3N AGANE IT TAEKS A WHIEL FOR A FILM LIEK THIS 2 P3RCOLAET THROUGH TEH DA!!1!!111!!!111111 LOL THEMA TAHT - HAPHAZARDLY SHAKILY - UNDERPINS TEH FILM IS ANOTH3R JUXTAPOSITION OF CORUPTION AND REDEMPTION11!!! OMG WTF CASUAL CORUPTION 2 B SURA AND SU-DEPLY LOATH3SOME CONTRAST3D WIT BIT3R BIT3R RADAMPTION BUT O GODS SO POW3RFUL!11!!!11 OMG WTF ITS A VISC3RAL FILM (AND Y3S I DO MEAN IT FELS AT TIEMS ITS TWISTNG A KNIEF IN UR GUTS) SIMULTAENOUSLY PORTRAYNG TEH BST AND WORST OF HUMANKIND - USUALY IN DA SM3 P3RSON[shudder] Is that l33tsp3k3 or Netspeak or a combination of the two or something else? Interesting that it didn't come up with alternatives for haphazardly or juxtaposition, though.
Hi ho, hi ho...
Bouncing haddock again. They tell me I've gained an hour. [looks down at hips] Oh yeah? Where?
Of course, despite all the faffing around blogger have done over the years with the software, they still don't appear to be able to automatically adjust to GMT/BST or the global equivalents. And the last time I manually adjusted it in the template it changed all my previous posts' timestamps too. Which pissed me off somewhat.
Will worry about it tomorrow. Um, I mean later today. At least this post's timestamp is correct...
[snaffled from The Mousehole]
Saki-boy (one of Carol's rabbits: he has dental problems) is back at the vet again today, just three weeks after his last visit. He never really got back to eating properly last time before he developed further problems. He should really have gone on Tuesday, he's been back on his favourite babyfood since then. (I get an organic babyfood from Superdrug; his favourite is carrot and potato but they rarely have more than two jars on the shelf. I've considered asking if they have any more, but telling them "it's the only one my rabbit will eat" is guaranteed to get me labelled as a nutter...)[smirk] Welcome to the club!
Saturday, October 29, 2005
It really, really annoys me when something I've bloody paid for cocks up, and tonight that's Haloscan. I added the following to the comments - but to the wrong post. So I deleted it, and tried to comment on the correct post. Only to have Haloscan tell me it was a duplicate, and refuse to post it. WTF? So what? If I want to post the same comment twice it is NOT up to the software to tell me I can't! [extremely pissed off]
[growl] However... here's what I was trying to say. (And if tomorrow I find umpteen copies in the comments I shall be extremely unhappy.)
Breaking with convention here and using the comments to add to my - I hesitate to call it a review - of Sin City. Yes, it's late and I should really get to bed. Then again, it takes a while for a film like this to percolate through the consciousness...
[beats self about the head most severely] sorrysorrysorry... knew I'd forgotten something really important...
HAPPY BIRTHDAY FOR YESTERDAY, SUE!!
Hope you had a great time!
Me: This is very, very dark. Ken: Refreshingly so...What can I say? The film is essentially a collection of episodes, framed by a profoundly disturbing prologue and epilogue. It's mostly in black and white with startling flashes of colour (watch the eyes. Superbly executed). The soundtrack is wonderful, edgy and bordering on sleazy but never quite crossing the border. The characters are wholly fascinating, just this side of fantastic (in the original sense of unrealistic, preposterous), repulsively attractive, extraordinarily beautiful, utterly compelling. The voices are low, low-key, and sound oddly contrived to start with, but not for long... This is genuine modern film noir with calligraphic touches of the superhero genre thrown in, casually, negligently. It's also literally dark: the action takes place at night, mostly in the rain. It's a leather fetishist's dream. It's the disorientating juxtaposition of classic American cars and modern cell phones, SMGs and straight-razors, bone-saws and advanced reconstructive surgery. It's sadistic, grim and nasty.
It's one of the most stunning - as in hooks its claws into your eyesockets and doesn't let go - films I've seen in a good ten years. I love it. I have to have a copy - I need to watch it again. And again.
I do think you have to have some idea of the origins - the graphic novels of Frank Miller is a good place to start - in order to be able to appreciate the film properly, though that's just my opinion. It's very, very violent, very negative, brutal: fluffy bunnies will be hiding behind the sofa before the prologue is over, if not already cowering under the blankets in bed. I can imagine you enjoying it, Sue (I think you're familiar with the genre?) and perhaps Thorne, but I'm not at all sure about anyone else I know. Though I'm always happy to be proved wrong!
[dragging self reluctantly back to what laughingly passes for 'real life'] Carol emailed me this morning about Nedstat free site stats counter, which we've been using on the BCP and Early Heaven sites. They were bought out by Webstats4U - not that I knew anything about this: they certainly didn't exactly go out of their way to tell anyone - and now...
Webstats4U is much more of an ad-driven service. Ostensibly that's to cover development costs, but the new owners have to be looking at earning some kind of return on the three-million-Euro purchase price. Motives aside, Nedstat users - and more to the point, the people visiting their sites - are suddenly being pestered by popup ads... Here's what Webstats4u.com says about advertising: In order to finance the new developments and to continue providing you with the world's best FREE web analytics tool in the market, Webstats4U will accept advertising sponsorships on its reporting site and will from time to time accept other types of advertising sponsorships. These advertising sponsorships will not be implemented directly into your website. Ah, that little word "directly". It should ring an alarm claxon, because it's the kind of language marketers like to use to give themselves a loophole. It implies that "indirectly" adding advertisements to your site is fair game. And so it is: the detailed terms of service set out an astonishing range of technologies that Webstats4u is willing to deploy in the service of antagonizing your visitors. With the installation of Webstats4U on the site it is accepted that WMS has the right to place advertisements on the site in any format or through any channel, including but not limited to e-mail, layer ads, pops, banners and other usual formats without any forewarning and it is furthermore accepted that WMS takes no responsibility for the advertising content and that WMS shall not be liable for any losses incurred regarding this advertising. In other words, in exchange for our "free" stats package, you're now our ad mule. Open wide![Quoted from Rob Cottingham.]
[growl] I'm sure you all know how I feel about popups/unders/pornspam by now. I have of course removed the stat counter code from the sites I maintain and will be emailing the company to tell them why - and exactly what I think of their business practises.
On to more pleasant things...
Friday, October 28, 2005
[bemused] Woke up late (11.51 if I remember correctly) from a very odd dream about finding (the DBZ) R and Zb dead - or maybe I killed them, not sure about that, everything before seeing the corpses is hazy - and trying to dispose of the evidence by sinking the bodies into a handy lake.
Only the lake turned into my bed, and the bodies into life size dolls (no, no idea if they were RealDolls, I was too worried about someone finding me to be bothered to check!) - which I then proceeded to pull to pieces, starting with the heads, which pieces I stuffed into carrier bags ready to put in the dustbin... Then my mother's youngest son came in (he was about 5 or 6 in the dream), without knocking, and crawled on the bed - then asked what the strange lumpy things were under the downie...
I have no idea what that was all about. I'm not sure I want to know!
So... Update on the Australia trip: I found out that sprogs have to be 12 and over to do the Sydney Harbour BridgeClimb, something I've wanted to try since I first heard of it, and which Kai wants to do as well - so we're postponing until 2007. This gives us a whole extra year to save for the trip, which might mean we can take in Uluru (Ayers Rock) and the Olgas as well: it's a three-hour flight from Melbourne and really only worth going if we can spend at least one night there to stargaze.
Then there are the various Sydney attractions - the Skywalk, Harbour Cruise, the maritime museum - and of course the scenic railways in the Blue Mountains...
This'll be a major holiday, and I'd rather not have to skimp!
Of course, if we win the lottery we'll go next year as well, but in the meantime, 2007 it is.
We've paid for another BOGOF on the DVD rentals: Kai is now watching The Incredibles (again. He loves that film. Actually, so does Ken. So I suppose we'd better buy it for Kai for Yule!) and I wanted to see Sin City so we have that for after sprog has gone to bed.
2AC tonight. Tomorrow we carve pumpkins and make zombie costume. Or possibly ring Matt and Tom to see if they fancy getting together (they've been to the Isle of Man for the half-term), in which case pumpkins and zombies will happen on Sunday.
Thursday, October 27, 2005
So off we went up the Gloucester Rd, to find Hobbies, the model shop at Horfield (just down from where I used to live). Heh. Everything but Hornby. Ah well, at least we can cross them off the list.
The guys in there were very helpful though, told us that Modelmania, up Clouds Hill Rd, carries Hornby (the shop is on the corner of St George's Park, on our route to the Reptile House - though I don't remember ever seeing it). We'll check it out, maybe the weekend after next.
Then we walked back down the Gloucester Rd, checking out all the charity shops - and Area 51, which is now in a much better new store. (The website is still under construction - I volunteered to manage it for them. Not that I need anything more to do, but I love the shop and would like to see their site reflect the quality of their merchandise. Will see if they contact me.) And they had a Dr Who figure pack of a small Dalek and a Cyberman, which I bought Kai for Yule.
But AARRGGHHH!! Special Reserve is gone, departed, it is no more. It is a deceased shop. Which not only means I can't get Nappa cleared (unless/until I can find someone else to do it for me - or learn how to do it myself) but I have no back-up in case the computer has problems... Time to start searching for someone new to rely on...
No luck in any of the other shops, unusually, although I did manage to find a tube of prepared wasabi and a jar of pickled ginger, in a new Oriental minimart, for the next time I make sushi (Korean wasabi and Thai ginger. You'd think, in a multi-cultural city like Briz, I'd be able to find Japanese, wouldn't you? But not anywhere I've found yet). We dropped into the park at Zetland Rd for half an hour for Kai to play and me to sit down (aching feet and legs, hence the ouch at the top), and much fun was had.
I also picked up a whole pile of ramen from the Chinese supermarket. They'd resupplied with duck flavour, my current favourite, and I made some up when we got back. Kai hovered, sniffing appreciatively, so I gave him some. [sigh] He liked it. Now I'll have to share. (No, I'm not really complaining, it's another foodstuff to add to the 'likes' list.)
[points left] There are a couple of new things in the infopane: a 'daily read', This Blog will be Deleted by Tomorrow (dry, witty, thought-provoking and wide-ranging, great fun) and the Astronomical Picture of the Day (link shamelessly stolen from the Blue Tea blog) which has some fabulous photos. I made the fuge mistake of starting to look through their archive - which goes back to 1995...
Also on Blue Tea is a link to a page where you can hear Saturn's Radio Emissions. Eerie and oddly moving. Reminded me of some of the soundtrack from Forbidden Planet. Made Ken think of Lovecraft's 'flutings and pipings from the Old Ones' dimensions'. I'll have to take his word for that - I don't like Lovecraft, altogether too much hyperbole and biscuits for my taste. Amazing sounds, though.
[beg] No spoilers, but next week's Spooks is an absolute cracker, and the one after that looks to be even better, going by the trailer.
Right. Back to it...
Wednesday, October 26, 2005
We had a letter in the post this morning, from Hoover-Candy.
They apologise for the inconvenience of all the problems we've had, and as a gesture of concern and goodwill are delivering a replacement fridge-freezer on the 7th of November.
I am now off to the garden to make the appropriate sacrifices to the Great Gremlin of Fridge-Freezers in the hope that this one is a) an equivalent size and capacity and b) actually works... (drawing to follow.)
Searching for a dangly for Kood (the player) I found this -> It's actually a little jade dragon and tassel hanging off a metal bookmark I've never used. It looks lovely on the player!
I found the OrganicHTML site via the Blue Tea blog. Enter the site and paste the URL of a website and the code renders the site as a gorgeous little plant.
The first on the left is the plant for WaveWrights.com.
And this one on the right is the plant for this blog. (Cute, ne? Going to add it to the template.) It's the only one I found with that little root/sucker thing.
The site is a little temperamental (for me, anyway) but if you give it time to load you do eventually get the picture.
This next on the left is the one for Haadri.com. Apparently frames sites code as that tall upright segmented stalk (I tried a couple of others and they were all the same). I rather like it!
And finally, this last on the right is Lutra's blog plant. Pretty, this one! (Especially if you like pink. Which I don't. But it looks good in this context...)
Much more attractive than the recent Technorati 'How Much is Your Blog Worth?' applet, I think!
Watched The Mothman Prophecies this evening. Tried to, anyway. Got bored after the first 40 minutes or so - very slow film and I didn't find it particularly creepy. Someone on the IMDb likened the ambience to the X-Files - but then I never liked them much either (been there, done that...)
We now have Lost Souls on: Ken's watching, I've lost interest already after only 20 minutes...
Back to more fun things, like work!
Tuesday, October 25, 2005
What a great day!
Just wish I hadn't been so bleary at the start of it: couldn't sleep again, and Wendy arrived only half an hour after I'd stumbled out of bed and before I was properly awake. (Sorry about that...)
Still, several diet cokes later I felt a little less growly. At about 11.30 Ken disappeared off with Kai to the Avon Valley Railway, where they rode the trains and took photos and had a wonderful time - well, Kai did anyway. And the weather actually stayed dry and sunny (if rather windy) for them. They didn't arrive back until just gone 7 pm, so it was a long day out for them.
But Kai thinks it was probably enough for him - for now...
Wendy and I indulged - watched Dune (I'd forgotten how dreadfully OTT some of the acting was) and Legend, which we both thoroughly enjoyed. The version I have on DVD isn't the same as the one I taped from the TV: the ending is significantly different on the tape, and I think much better, and has that wonderful Tangerine Dream end-title song. We then spent half an hour trying to work out if my taped version is the director's cut or not... I might just get the film transferred to DVD anyway (there's a place up Sandy Park Road that does it, though I don't know how much it costs), despite the terribly quality (it's a very old tape), as I need to have both versions.
And we talked, and looked at photos, and talked some more. [GLOMPS Wendy] It was wonderful!
Never long enough though.
Wendy, and Peter's Goldwing, in Sussex summer 05, outside a... um... see, I knew I should have written down the name of that gate-style!
(Many thanks for the cool-boxes too - they're helping!)
Repaired trousers/wrote/repotted and weighted pond plant so it doesn't fall over with the least breath of wind/wrote/cleaned waterball/watched DVDs...
Well, one of them anyway. Ken and Kai arrived back from Sandy Park Rd with Five Children and It and Hero. I was busy for the former, but actually sat down to watch the latter.
Its reputation as probably the most beautiful film yet made is well deserved: the artistry is fabulous, and even though I'm not a great lover of visual symmetry, the sheer grandeur of so many of the scenes is extraordinary and really deserves to be seen on the big screen. I loved the colour coding - and that scene with Snow and Moon in red and the drifting golden leaves slowly turning the colour of blood was breath-taking. I wasn't so fond of the interminable fight sequences, no matter how artfully done the wire-work, but then I've never been fond of them.
And the plot? Erm, yerrrrssss... fascinating, complex - but slow. Aptly so in context, but not the sort of thing I'd want to sit through very often. Now, if I could just have my favourite scenes made into a whopping big calendar...
Tired. But Wendy's up tomorrow - looking forward to that!
Monday, October 24, 2005
...ask Ken to wake me at 10, get to bed at 5, take a couple of hours to drop off (having real trouble sleeping again)...
He forgets to wake me.
[snarl] So I'm not only tired and irritable, I'm also an hour and half behind.
And I can't see the floor in Kai's room and the lounge. They decided to tackle Kai's 'filing'.
I'd say sodditall and go for a walk, except I have too much to do and it's pissing down. The forecast is for rain all week, too...
And what the hell is up with Blogger!!?
Right - whinge over. I shall now get some work done.
Sunday, October 23, 2005
A fairly good, if busy day. For me, anyway, the others spent it watching the Documentary Channels and playing with Hornby. At least, that's what Kai did...
However, Dreams is coming on apace, and 2AC is now into its 18th chapter (and Tia-chan has just been introduced... [happy grin])
Not sure why I was tempted to try this, since I'm not a Sue, but it made me chuckle anyway.
You are Sidhia tolkienii, the Elven Sue.
Telepathic, eerily beautiful, and of course a
fantastic shot with a bow and arrow. No, you
are NOT Elrond's other daughter. Get over it. What Species of Mary Sue Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla
And so did this.
Which Slytherin Mary Sue Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla
And that's probably my patience quota for quizzes now used up for the next six months.
Dreams wordage to date: 21,034.
Saturday, October 22, 2005
A photo of Kai in chiton (because onna asked for one). I think he looks great!
They didn't get to do the play they've been rehearsing, though, because apparently half the sprogs who were supposed to be in it were out of school today. Pity, because it was Greek food day: the teacher had taken in all sorts of delicacies for them. I was startled to discover Kai really liked the hummous he tried! It's not my favourite, but I'll pick some up next time I'm shopping. He also quite liked the grapes (last time I tried him on them he hated them) which is good, gives me another fruit he can take with his breaktime snack, and also didn't mind the tzatziki, feta cheese, celery or the olives. Ken loves olives, so now I can buy them for the pair of them (can't stand them myself, and I absolutely loathe celery). So we've expanded his food repertoire a bit. YAY!
[sigh] Right. The Hoover-Candy fridge-freezer saga, part... 13?
After the last visit, back in August, when the fridge was re-gassed for the second time, we really hoped that that was the end of it. The thing worked OK - until two weeks ago, when we noticed that the fine layer of ice that's supposed to be on the back wall of the fridge was no longer there. In with the max/min thermometer...
The engineer who came on 17th took a look - and then tried to tell us that 11° for fridge and -37° for freezer was perfectly acceptable (which is a load of crap, we know the government guidelines are between 3 and 8 for the fridge and -10 to -20 for the freezer) - and that he couldn't do anything because according to him the fridge was OK.
Yeah, right. We will be complaining about him, specifically. That isn't just inaccurate, it could be hazardous, health-wise.
He left, telling us to monitor it and ring again if anything changed. Temperature went up, we rang on the 19th, got an appointment for Friday, later changed to Thursday. Engineer came (see Thursday's post).
And the 13th engineer arrived today...
He'd brought the equipment for gassing [quiet at the back, there!], but then very carefully told us that we could refuse to have the re-gas done - which would mean the problem would get worse, so the fridge would still be too warm when the 'team leader' came to inspect. Whereas, we realised, if we had it regassed, it would work for another few months before the problem recurred: it's been pretty much decided now we have a slow leak.
So he left without regassing, and we'll be rung to arrange a visit from the team leader, and we've been advised to put the whole sorry tale in writing to customer service: the repeated problems, the fact that the slow leak also means the appliance is costing us in electricity, because it's no longer energy-efficient, and our health concerns. The unspoken suggestion is that under the circumstances we'll need a replacement fridge.
In the meantime, he suggested freezing those picnic cool-block things in the freezer and putting them in the fridge to reduce the temperature so we can at least stop the milk going off: the fridge door has a great seal and the insulation is very good, so that'll help a little. (We don't have any, and they only sell them in the summer around here, so I've frozen water in a couple of freezer bags and we're alternating those).
And I now know more about the manufacture and maintenance of fridge-freezers than any lay-person has any need or desire to know. I suppose it'll come in handy if I ever feel the irresistible urge to write a story about a fridge-freezer repairman...
Friday, October 21, 2005
To the left, Kood as he first showed himself five days ago: to the right, Kood with the green hair as Sue envisaged him.
Just quick and careless colourings, taking a break from Dreams. Not sure which I prefer. He likes them both, though would prefer black leather with the red hair. (That wouldn't show up, here, against the dark background though.)
And as is usual with a new gremlin, he wants a story...
That's going to have to wait until I've caught up. Or perhaps while I'm over in Winchester at the beginning of December. [beg] Along with the gremlin orgy Yule story...
Thursday, October 20, 2005
[grump] Obviously one of those weeks...
Another fridge engineer visit today - GIAS advanced Friday's appointment for us - opened the door and without even looking at the thermometer said the fridge was too warm (it's up to between 10 and 13 degrees) and it needed another engineer's visit. I'll go into more detail tomorrow, after the thirteenth engineer has been. 13 visits since we got the thing last August. Heh, 13 is usually my lucky number. Fingers crossed...
Then I remembered it's Thursday, and I said I'd video today's two eps of Spooks for Wendy to watch next week...
[head->desk] We can't get the VCR to record from the TV. VCR-TV works, so does DVD-TV, and black box-TV is fine. Black box-VCR - dead. Cue crawling around in tight spot behind TV with torch, swapping scart leads around. No joy. We think our new black box is faulty.
Will ring them tomorrow. In the meantime, sorry Wendy, can't video Spooks, although TelePort (new TeleWest service whereby you can pay-to-view films and catch programmes you missed at a time that suits you, some of them for free) has Spooks as one of its Replay options. Problem is, to watch it, you have to type in your PIN.
We have a PIN. We just don't know where we filed it. Haven't used the bloody thing since around 1993...
It can't just be us, can it? Surely other people have these problems too?
Kai's been working through his 'railway' videos, and tonight he wanted to watch Thomas and the Magic Railroad... [head->hands] I still don't know if this film actually makes any sense, it's too awful for me to bear to watch.
Only managed a thousand words today, too. And Kai's on half-term all next week. And I want chocolate, but all we have in the house is a half measure of Options Belgian Chocolate drink and a tub of Tesco soft-scoop ice-cream that's solid enough to be used as a deadly weapon 'cause the freezer's now down to -36°...
Can I go home yet?
This is Kood.
My new mp3 player's gremlin.
Yes, he is as stroppy and sulky as he looks.
Loves his machine though. For which I am heartily thankful.
Yes, that is an eyebrow piercing. And a navel piercing. There may be others, but I haven't seen them yet.
The clothes are leather, and those are shuriken on his belt.
I'll be colouring the picture once he decides what colour his hair is. So far he's considered purple, then red... I may end up making a multi-coloured animation, if he can't make up his mind.
Perhaps now he'll let me get back to work...
The player is terrific - fantastic sound quality. My only slight quibble would be that the earphone socket isn't as deep as I'd have liked, and the phones can pull out easily if I'm not careful. But I can live with that!
It's wonderful to have music again. I've really missed it these last few days...
Wednesday, October 19, 2005
[growl] Annoying, isn't it, when a good and productive day is followed by one that... isn't. Report on the state of the fridge-freezer Friday, after yet another engineer's visit...
On a more positive note, Kood (the new mp3 player) arrived today. With a twenty-seven page instruction booklet. Bloody hell that's more than came with the computer! Took me a while to get the basic instrumentation sussed - it's in better-than-normal Chinglish, but a little jargon-heavy, and somehow either neglected to mention, or disguised, the fact that the 'hold' lever (lever, not button, though it works as a button as well, though to do what exactly I haven't found out yet) also operates the skip forward/back function. Heh. Main thing is it works - plug'n'play, drag'n'drop, and the sound quality is better than Nappa. Though I've swapped the (excellent) headphones for Nappa's (somewhat battered) old ones: those that came with it are the sort that go over your head so the player hangs around your neck and bumps against you while you walk, which I loathe. However, they'll be great for use while I'm travelling. And I'll worry about the other things it can do should I ever need to: at the moment I just want it for musekicks.
It also has a little clip thing for attaching... things. Like keyrings. So should I opt for Barry the Jellycat Unicorn, or my sparkly globe with Haldir on one side and Éomer on the other? Or something completely different?
Kood (the player's gremlin) is now demanding a picture. [sigh] Maybe later.
I must get some more Dreams written...
Tuesday, October 18, 2005
1,400 Dreams words written and one chiton quickly rustled up from a (bought) white sheet: the sprogs have been told they can Dress Like A Greek from tomorrow if they like. And they all do like. [rolls eyes] At least it's a simple design. Not like a doublet and hose. (No, we don't have to make those, fortunately.) Hands are hurting now though.
This (from the sporking site) is a giggle...
Snape, eh? I could live with that.
Ken says 'Many thanks!' for all the congratulations!
Monday, October 17, 2005
... well, the write-up of Brislington Ghosts and Mysteries takes up most of page 23 of today's Bristol Evening Post, and Ken's photo (taken outside the Black Castle yesterday morning) isn't too bad, although the article's title is a little sensational, perhaps, and the reporter has misquoted Ken in a couple of places... Still, overall it's fine, and should help to publicise the book locally, which is what we want after all!
Right, where were we...?
Got the rockery steps sunk yesterday, moved a heather plant that was in the wrong place, planted the last of the bought alpines and thyme, and repotted a small ash tree. Only managed around 700 words, though: I have some catching up to do.
There've been a lot of health ads on TV recently, one in particular advising women to be checked for diabetes. Lloyds Chemist do free tests, so after the butcher-shopping this morning I dropped into the branch at the bottom of Sandy Park Rd... Just as well I don't bother with breakfast, the test needs to be done 'fasting'. It's quick and almost painless, with an immediate result. Mine was 5.9, which I was told is just borderline (6 and over and they'd refer me to my GP), so nothing to worry about at the moment. I'm to go for retesting if any of the 'symptoms' I put down get worse, or if I get any of the others on the list.
Picked up American Idiot at Tesco: now listening to the ripped version while Ken does more to the wall, I work on Dreams, and we both wait for the fridge-freezer engineer. Yes, it's on the blink again, -30° in the freezer and 11° in the fridge. Apparently we may have a slow leak of the refrigerant gas... Is that hazardous to health?
Oh, and I've joined the J-List affiliate programme. At some point today I'll explore the ins and outs and get the click-through banner posted on here.
Sunday, October 16, 2005
It's been an odd, disorientating sort of day. Got to bed at 6am - rather later than I'd intended - and woke up again at around 11.30, feeling groggy, to find Ken had taken Kai to the Bedminster model train shop (the one I was going to take him to over half-term). Ah, peace! Not that I managed to get much done, though that may be a good thing since the hands are sore and the tendons actually a little swollen. I'm telling myself the rest is good for me, and means I can get more done next week.
They arrived back at 3pm, Kai with a locomotive he'd bought with his saved-up pocket money [wince - £22] and Ken with some track and a controller to be wrapped up for Yule [double wince - another £20+, and we've nowhere to lay the blasted stuff... rolls eyes...]. Ken then tells me it's Kai's Greek Week next week. Friday is Dress like a Greek Day (twinned with Talk like a Pirate Day, and maybe Surf like an Elf Day, perhaps? Yes, OK, I know Paris was a Trojan and Will Turner didn't start out a pirate...) and Kai has to make a chiton. Only we've nothing to make one with, yet. I was going to dive over to St Pete's Hospice Shop before they closed, to see if they had any pale coloured sheets, but then realised I have enough time that I don't have to rush. Luckily. I'll check out the second-hand shops over the next few days.
Then I made cottage pie for dinner.
I make a very tasty cottage pie. However, it gave Kai and I both the most awful indigestion. The sort that feels like a spiky balloon being blown up slowly in your stomach. The sort that antacids, hot water and fizzy drinks together finally manage to beat back after several hours but which leave you feeling like a horde of Vikings have pillaged through your gut. Ow, in other words.
Actually that's what I feel like: luckily Kai wasn't so badly affected - his vanished after twenty minutes or so - and Ken not at all. There has to be something in the recipe that simply doesn't agree with me, but what the hell it is I can't fathom. I cook mince the same way regardless of what it's going into, with chopped onions, a teaspoon of organic whole-grain mustard, a sploosh of teriyaki marinade and red wine to simmer, and cottage pie is the only thing that does this (yes, it's had the same effect in the past but that was years ago).
Anyway, it's messed up my evening somewhat. Though I did manage to watch The Secret of Drawing that you recommended, Carol: it was interesting but nothing like in-depth enough, and while the manga section covered its origins, the only artist considered was Misako Rocks (in fact, the presenter said that she was rare in being a female mangaka - at which my jaw dropped. Have the BBC never heard of at the very least the CLAMP Collective? [shakes head] Shoddy research, very shoddy.)
Later I took the time to check a few links, and found myself re-reading my MMCIFile shorts, especially file 4, and realised that this is the style - and characters with a change of name and nature - I need for my Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Mag submission. [grin] Pleased about that, it's been nagging me for a while.
I should write more comedy. It's fun.
Probably be best if I get to bed soon. I have a lot to do tomorrow...
Cheers to BW for handling a very nasty situation with class and aplomb.
Saturday, October 15, 2005
Well, that was... tiring. One on one Kai is fine - dealing with more than one person, he gets shirty, especially if he can't get his own way. OK. We knew there were still a few problems - and it's not altogether his fault (six of one, half a dozen of the other). But it did serve as an example of his lack of team-working skills, something that he'll need whichever school he goes to. I didn't labour the point, since overall I think they quite enjoyed themselves, but I will remind him of it every now and then.
... would you believe that the gremlin of the mp3 player I don't yet have has told me its name is Kood? [shakes head in despair] I'm getting 'messages' from gremlins hundreds of miles away that don't actually... um... 'own' me yet. Just as well I know I'm nuts, or I'd start worrying...
Friday, October 14, 2005
Right, Kai's application for John Cabot CTC and Broadlands School has been submitted online, and I've had the confirmatory email. Fingers crossed...
Since it would cost me around £20 to buy an extension smartcard for Nappa, Ken said I might as well go ahead and order a new one with a much bigger memory. Just hoping the sound quality is OK (though they were fine about me returning it last time...)
He also said - out of the blue - since I like Green Day so much, to pick up the American Idiot CD next time I'm at Tesco (it's under £10). [happy grin] Can't remember the last time I bought a new CD, I normally wait and hope I can pick them up second hand.
I'm collecting Matt, Tom and Kai in a little while: the sprogs are all coming back here for tea. Cue rompling. But at least Kai's tidied his room...
YAY! Found a free mp3 download of Green Day's Holiday! (Yes, I will be buying the album at some point, but I really really wanted this track right now...)
Ran it through AVG and Ewido before trying to play it, and it was fine.
So I thought I'd add it to Nappa's playlist...
[growl] It appears to have buggered the player, again. Though it might not be the download, Nappa's been playing up just recently, switching off in the middle of songs even with a new battery installed. I'm taking Kai up the Gloucester Road while he's on half-term (there's a model train shop up at Horfield): I'll drop into SR and see if they can work their magic again.
Though it might be time to consider getting a new player with more memory, and keeping Nappa as a backup. [sigh] If it's not one thing it's another...
"I beg to dream, and differ from the hollow lies This is the dawning of the rest of our lives On holiday..."
Can't survive without musekick. Just CAN'T....
Thursday, October 13, 2005
... one of those days when it's been difficult to get going, to start with, then hard to keep the momentum going. Eh well. They happen.
200 words shy of 16,000 - determined to get there before trying for an early night.
No spoilers, but ye gods, next week's Spooks...
Wednesday, October 12, 2005
A pretty good day. Dreams wordage now at 15,326 - a tad over 25%. And it was parent-teacher evening, and for once I managed to snag a decent time, 3.40 pm, 20 minutes after the bell and enough time to take a peek into the new ICT suite (very snazzy!).
It was a good meeting: Kai's teacher is delighted to have him in the class. He's multi-talented and above average in almost everything (which we knew, really, but it's nice to have it confirmed!) She's particularly impressed with his vocabulary, though nodded in understanding when I explained we're both writers. So no real concerns: now he's made friends with Matt he has a partner to work with, and it's helped them both (though Kai's been warned he mustn't muck around, it's disruptive, and the teacher will separate them if she has to...) And she's very sympathetic to our wish to get him into his chosen school, so we have support there...
I forgot to say - Kai recognised the Vicious figure and asked if we could finish watching Cowboy Bebop (we haven't managed to find the time yet). And he thought the Legato figure was mint (latest kidspeak, I'm told. Makes sense I suppose - mint=cool) and please can we watch Trigun again, mum... [smug grin] Child with taste.
Ken took some time to scan in our old passport details... Joules impersonates Bride of Frankenstein 1985! ->
(The earlier ones are even more fun. Maybe later...)
The author's review copies of Brislington Ghosts and Mysteries arrived today, and Ken promptly ordered a whole lot more. He's been invited to speak to the Bristol Society for Paranormal Research and Investigation at their next monthly meeting...
And how's this for luxurious?
Haunted Room 22, Royal Castle Hotel, where Ken spent the night...
A little more 2AC I think...
Tuesday, October 11, 2005
Work on Dreams is progressing in fits and starts. I'm now at just over 14,000 words, which isn't as far along as I'd hoped, but it's really not too bad, given all the distractions at the moment (I built in a fair safety margin as a matter of course). I should be able to hit 20,000 words by next Monday: that'll be a third of the book written. Though I'm having to be a little careful right now, my hands are starting to hurt... (Ken's doing all the lifting.)
Now that Lutra's firming up plans to move, I'm looking into the possibility of going over for a visit with Kai. I have to admit the current economic climate is acting as a spur: travel is only going to get more expensive as time goes by and the fuel supplies diminish, so if I'm ever to manage it it should be sooner rather than later - as Lutra agreed.
Anyway - using August 2006 and the charges on Flights4Less as a guide, I checked out a few details: Emirates Airline works out cheapest, £1,584.46 [wince] inclusive of fees and taxes (but presumably not insurance - have to check that out separately). That's for a return flight with one refuelling stop each way (in Dubai), outward bound from London Heathrow at 17.00 on the 1st of August, arriving Dubai 02.55 then departing 10.10 on the 2nd, and arriving Melbourne airport 05.30 August 3rd - total flight time 27 and a half hours...
Eh well. Kai will be able to sleep, and I can adjust once I get there (flying sunwards always makes me feel horribly jet-lagged anyway, though it can be fun watching the sun come up just a few hours after it set...). A couple of days rest and I'd be fine - there are some advantages to my irregular sleep/wake schedule.
We'd aim to go for at least three weeks, to make it worthwhile, and during Kai's holidays, when it would be winter in Australia (I really don't think I could cope with the summer heat, and Kai burns quite easily, so a cooler season makes more sense). The suggested main trip is a run up to Sydney (10 hour trip by road or train, or an hour's flight) for a visit to the Blue Mountains (an hour's train ride from the city, Lutra tells me. We'd love to visit the Great Barrier Reef and Ayers Rock too, you know, all the touristy things, but it's unlikely in the extreme the budget would stretch that far!) and another shorter trip to the mountains to the North of Melbourne - sorry Lutra, can't remember the name. Melbourne itself has more than enough to see and do, without leaving the city!
And we'll also need a decent digicam.
Then I remembered I haven't renewed my passport for... oh, longer than I care to remember. We've been meaning to do it for ages, so Ken picked up the forms on the way back from collecting Kai...
Bloody hell! 42 quid for a five year passport? And £25 for Kai? I nearly had kittens! Last time I got one it was around £20 for 10 years and kids could be included! And that's without the cost of the hideous photos. And of course, me being me and things never being easy, I'd not only have to send them my old passport, but also my Decree Absolute showing I'd divorced first husband, my marriage certificate to prove I'd remarried, AND my blasted change of name deed!
... it's worth it... keep repeating, it's worth it...
Well, Kai will need a passport anyway, whichever school he goes to he'll have the opportunity to go on trips abroad, and we were wondering if we could afford to take him on a day trip to France sometime soon, so he could actually set foot in a 'foreign country' (other than Dartmouth [grin]) and hear French being spoken properly...
ANYway... this all depends to a large extent on the size of the advance(s) for the next book(s), and on Lutra moving, and a variety of other external forces, so nothing is definite yet. But it would be the holiday of a lifetime for me, and a fabulous experience for Kai, and there's no harm in plotting and planning. Sometimes that just makes things happen all by itself.
Ken would stay here to look after the house and animals, then he'd get to go on the next trip (though probably not quite so far!) But not the Maldives. When we go there, we all go together and I'll get someone in to house and pet-sit. If it's feasible in the near future my folks have offered to come up for a couple of weeks.
It's good to dream. It's even better to work to make it happen.
So, Van Von Hunter Vol 1... It's set 10,000 years - or possibly three years, it's difficult to say - after the end of the online comic. At least, I assume it's after the end, certain things are referred to that haven't happened yet. The artwork's pretty good, but over all... it's a bit of a disappointment, unfortunately. Yes, it has the Flaming Prince, which is always a plus, but it's... jerky. The abruptness that works well in the weekly comic is less effective in the manga. And some of the humour is forced, distinctly less funny than online. The book left me feeling vaguely dissatisfied. It may simply be that it was the first volume, the first time the creators have had to work to these particular constraints, and it will improve as more manga are produced. Problem is, I'm not sure I want to buy any more.
Well, maybe I will if the FP reappears...
[grin] Kai said, out of the blue last night when we were talking about books, "It's great to have parents who are writers."
And on that subject, I think I can do a little more before I have to rest the hands. Back to it.
Monday, October 10, 2005
Just back from town...
WHEEEEEEE!! [bounce] Dropped into Kathie's Comics to see if they had anything for me (they didn't, so I've cancelled. I've been waiting since Feb and they've only managed to get me two of the manga I want: much as I'd like to support them my patience is now exhausted. Will change all my listings in the infopane when I've posted this): I took a look at their figures while I was there...
I have a Vicious! [I can hear Sue saying, "a vicious what?"] That's Vicious from Cowboy Bebop. For these pics I took the sword off and scanned the figure: the photos I tried with Kai's digicam were a disaster. Not overly surprising: the figure is only 4 inches high and the camera can't cope with close ups. Perhaps you could get a pic with your camera when you come over next, Carol?
The detail is fabulous: the face is perfect (this is a scan from the pack of the blister pack, not very clear unfortunately). His suit is actually a rich bronze colour; it hasn't come out very well in the scan. And the base has a gorgeous golden dragon coiling on it.
The series has all the main characters - not, alas, Gren, but then he was only in two episodes [sigh] so that's not surprising. Damned shame though.
Anyway - they're selling for the princely sum of £4.50 at the moment, which is ridiculously cheap for the quality. And I think I'd like to collect the lot of them - certainly Spike and Faye.
(Going to need somewhere to display them soon - I'm running out of shelf/monitor space! Think about that when I come to redecorate this room, perhaps...)
The company is a new one on me - Yamato (purely coincidentally the name of the brand of sushi rice I bought at the Chinese supermarket...) - but I'm very impressed indeed.
They also do larger Trigun figures.
[droooool] How long have I wanted a Legato? Since I bought my Vash, however many years ago that was... I have GOT to get me one of these... He can stand on top of my monitor, gazing down at me, oh yes he can...
They only had Vash at both Kathie's Comics and Forbidden Planet, otherwise I'd have bought him, price be damned (Vash was £13.99, so presumably they'll all be around that).
Maybe after Yule...
While I was at Forbidden Planet I picked up Les Bijoux 2 and [smirk] Van Von Hunter Vol 1...
Ogreish Beast: Um, Master? Ordinarily I don't like to question you, but... we've just been standing here for the past two hours. Flaming Prince: Yes, well... I just realised... I have absolutely no idea where we're going. OB: Um, we're going to retrieve an artifact of ancient evil with which you will reclaim your throne? FP: No no! I didn't forget that! I mean, I have no idea where the artifact is! I was really kinda hoping we'd run into it. OB: Ah. FP: You didn't see it on the way here, did you? OB: Lying out in the open? Uh... I don't think so. Uh... what does it look like again? FP: Damn... and I think I chipped a nail when I crushed that guy's head. Keep an eye out for a manicurist as well.... says it all, really...
Off to snicker over the Flaming Prince's cute ineptitude before I get some work done.
Sunday, October 09, 2005
<rant>It's so bloody irritating when an otherwise well-written HP - or any other British fandom, for that matter - fanfic ruins itself by not getting the food details right...
Is it really so hard to find out what Britons eat for breakfast? Hint: we don't eat sausages with 'biscuits' (in fact, I had to ask an American friend what was meant by breakfast biscuits). We have toast with our breakfast, or possibly crumpets, or occasionally Scotch pancakes (I think these are what Americans know just as pancakes, as opposed to British pancakes, which are more like French crêpes than anything. Though when I was travelling in the states, I also saw them referred to as 'little hot cakes', which was cute...)
A full traditional British breakfast consists of bacon, fried egg and sausage, with the optional extras of baked beans, fried mushrooms, fried bread, fried potato and a fried or grilled tomato - it's a high-calorie but excellent hangover cure as well as being the next best comfort food to chocolate. It can also be eaten at other times of the day, of course!
A quicker version that can be eaten on the run is the bacon sandwich, excellent with brown sauce (or mayonnaise if you're GoodTwin!)
A less fattening British breakfast is a bowl of cereal with milk, half a grapefruit if you're feeling particularly virtuous, toast and tea/coffee/orange juice. A 'continental' breakfast is usually coffee and a croissant. Personally I've always thought buttered crumpets and muffins (proper English muffins, not the American cakes) make better mid-morning or tea-time (4-5 pm) snacks than breakfast food, but that's just me. At any rate, both are traditional Olde English Tea-room fare and highly appropriate for the fandom.
Where was I? Oh yes... In the UK, bicuits are small treat-things, often quite hard, sometimes crumbly, generally sweet-tasting, and usually nibbled with tea or coffee (or, as in this house, dunked in the tea or coffee. The best way to eat a biscuit is after it's been dunked, as far as we're concerned!) The name biscuit comes from the Old French for twice-baked, the cooking method, which is what makes them hard and crispy.
[Hm. I must be on a food kick at the moment. And I've made myself hungry now...]
Also, pants are underwear, worn under trousers. British characters will get very cold legs if you have them go out in a pair of pants...</rant>
Right, that's enough of that. Back to 2AC. After I've hunted down some supper, that is...
Saturday, October 08, 2005
Well that was a fine day! Not the weather, it's been wet and miserable all day, but everything else went swimmingly. They arrived about 11, the sprogs played with the trains/Lego/Meccano, and Ruth and I talked: they left at 7.30. Most enjoyable. And Ruth makes the most fabulous cakes! (I really ought to try again, now I have a cooker that works. My Pavlovas used to be famous, and I made a wicked Sticky Lemon Cake too [smirk - yes, I can see the grins, you lot at the back...] My Poppyseed Cake usually went down a treat as well...)
Afterlife was amazing tonight. I think my guess of Daniel twins was probably influenced by The Dark Half - but it's much more effective as it stands, in my opinion.
A little 2AC to unwind, I think. 47,600 words so far.
In between watching X-Rated (The Ads they Couldn't Show. And no wonder, given what they've screened so far. Ick...)
Edit, an hour and a half later. I take it back, that was absolutely fascinating.
Quickie while I take a break from 2AC (now on chapter 3 of the third sequence: for anyone reading this who's familiar with the original, R and Zb are now landing on Zb's homeworld to gather the chiefs together. And Lutra's growling and fluffing wings, because she knows what's coming next...)
Kai arrived back from his friends' with a whopping great box of Hornby stuff - track, controller, locomotive, several carriages and a crane. (It's on loan at the moment, though if he carries on enjoying it I'll ask if they're prepared to sell it. Apparently they have several other kits and this one was in the attic, so it's not likely they'd miss it too much...)
Happy happy sprogling! I don't think I've ever seen him move so fast: he dived in and started unpacking it, until I told him he wasn't doing anything more until he'd changed out of school clothes and put them in the wash, and tidied his blasted bedroom floor as I've been asking him for the last four days! Cue sprogling racing upstairs... The noises from his room were... interesting. THUDBANGshoverustleCRASH... Three minutes later he was down and happily putting bits of track together. He's had a great evening adding the track he bought himself to the set and trying different layouts.
Oh - the kits' reactions were so funny to watch! Argent kept a respectful, suspicious distance, creeping forward as the train disappeared behind Kai (who was sitting in the middle, of course) then backing off fearfully as it reappeared and came towards him. Ryme glared and tried to catch it as it went past, batting at the carriages. And Raptor? My beastlie just ignored the whole thing and went to sleep...
And Kai enjoyed his packed lunch, except that I made him too much. Next time he'd like just one tortilla, please! [rolls eyes] That's me told...
Back to 2AC for a little longer.
Friday, October 07, 2005
Amazing the difference a couple of days makes!
So that was Brislington Enterprise College. BEC. BECause education matters. BECause Rome wasn't built in a day. BECause two heads are better than one. And other such assorted clichés, projected onto the massive screen behind the headmaster as he gave the introductory talk (which was just a tad too long, there were stirrings of unrest in the audience towards the end). A great deal of emphasis on the college as a community, on respect, on enabling learning, and on discipline. All good as far as it goes.
The school is 50 years old, and looks it in places, but there's a brand new school being built on the site - it'll be finished for September 2008 (I think that's what was said, you know what my memory is like for numbers. Building starts next year, and it's to be a £30 million centre of excellence for Briz - £28 million for the building itself, the rest for fitments. I remembered those figures OK...) So, bearing that in mind we took a wander around the current school.
Helpful and enthusiastic students (of course) and staff. It's a big site, with lots of different buildings - not easy to find your way around and as with everywhere we've been except for John Cabot and Broadlands there was a distinct lack of signposting.
Now, I don't know about you, but I'm something of a believer in the state of an establishment's toilets being a fair indication of the overall state (cleanliness/order/care taken) of everything else in the organisation. So I always check them out. And BEC's failed dismally - actually the only school of all those we've visited that did. Most of the boys' loos were locked with one of those keypad things, except for one (that we found) where the door was propped open: it was very smelly, and Kai tells me there was no loo paper or soap and a number of the taps were broken. And rather to my consternation all the girls' loos had no outer doors: they had been there, you could see the holes where the hinges had once been, but they'd all been removed. Have to wonder why a school would need to provide locks on the boys' doors and no doors at all for the girls...
But most disappointing of all, the one place we wanted to see and which all the other staff members were so keen to talk about, the CLC (City Learning Centre with the ITC suites), had its door closed, and a member of staff inside who told us, and the other parents with us, in no uncertain terms that no-one could go in... None of us were impressed. It wasn't even that late!
Anyway, all that, combined with what we've heard from other people, plus a minor but irritating problem we've been having for a while with one of the students (a boy who used to give Kai a hard time at school and is still causing a nuisance to my family), has decided us against the school.
So we're left with our two choices. Please keep your fingers crossed all goes smoothly and I don't have to fight...
Tomorrow Kai takes his first packed lunch into school (well, with oven baked whiting or cheesy Scotch egg being the two school dinner choices I'm pretty certain he'd end up not eating anything), and I have to get up early to make it. Nothing complex this first time, and the weather's still mild, so a couple of my smoky BBQ-flavoured chicken tortillas - his favourite - with a little bag of tomato and cucumber, a small tub of halved strawberries, another of orange segments, a lemon Tracker bar, a bag of Quaker's Caribbean Chicken snacks and a carton of organic tropical fruit juice will fill him up quite nicely, I think.
He's going back to his friends' house for spagbol for tea, and to play with their Hornby trains - so with a bit of luck I can catch up on what I didn't manage to get done today. In between cleaning the house, that is - it's a tip and Ruth, Jun and Yumi are coming over on Saturday. [sigh] I need to be more organised. Anyone got any haddock they can spare?
Don't faint, but I'm going to have an early night.
Just hope I can sleep.
Thursday, October 06, 2005
It's always faintly alarming when blogger announces 'scheduled maintenance' - and all the blogs disappear...
They're back this morning, so obviously nothing too dire happened. Though I haven't noticed any obvious changes. Perhaps it was real maintenance rather than playing around with the software.
Winter is definitely on the way - it's really quite cool here now, though not cold enough for me to switch from T-shirt to something with sleeves, not quite yet... We finally put the winter downie (duvet) on the bed last night (you remember, the one that buggered Ken's back when he tried to lift it, soaking wet after being washed back in the spring?) [happy sigh] There can be few things more sensually satisfying after a long, scalding hot shower than sliding into clean bedding, soft fresh Egyptian cotton sheet and crisp, faintly jasmine scented cover on a thick, marshmallowy downie that feels like lying under drifts of warm snow...
And Kai wonders why I insist on being the first to sleep in the bed after the bedding's been changed... Eh well, he'll learn!
There's a four-part documentary series on Channel 4 at the moment, Sexology. Tuesday's was called Obscene Machines, and I watched it - had it on in the background, rather - out of curiosity.
Lutra, you'd have hated it. They showed a 'robot' that looked something like a cross between Hector, Johnny Five and Proteus IV - with a metal piston stuck on the front, sporting a large, wobbly, rubber penis on the end. Robotic erotic? It had me in stitches, especially the model supposedly enjoying its attentions, gasping and groaning like a porn star... Actually, she probably was a porn star... And I have to wonder how many women - or men for that matter - would really enjoy something shoving mechanically in and out of their body several times per second. [wince] Dildo-burn, anyone? (Yes, OK, the stroke and depth are adjustable, but all the same...)
Off at a tangent: anyone caught the fabulous new Guinness ad yet, the Devolution one? Funny, extremely clever and wonderfully stylish, and I love the music (The Rhythm of Life - turn your speakers up loud.). Then again, all Guinness adverts are classic - remember that fantastic series with Rutger Hauer? And the surfboard/white horses ad, which still gives me a shiver up my back even now.
I'm taking Kai to the open evening at Brislington Enterprise College tonight, just to get a look at the place. But for now, back to Dreams...
The robots in Saturn 3, Short Circuit and Demon Seed respectively, for anyone who can't remember... back
Wednesday, October 05, 2005
A bit of self-indulgence...
"You are shrouded in mystery, which you love, but you have a lot of trouble expressing your feelings. You are very loyal and possessive, and you become jealous very easily. You have a great deal of courage and are very clear on what you want and how to get it. You are protective and will seek revenge on those who wrong you. You are also very clever and expect your lover to be attuned to your needs and wants."
Which Astrological Planet are You?
brought to you by Quizilla
Pluto? Well, that came as a surprise. And it's not really me, is it? I mean, I have absolutely no trouble expressing my feelings, as anyone within a quarter of a mile can testify. I don't think I'm overly possessive or jealous either. Though I suppose the rest of it isn't too far off...
Anyway, the quiz is worth doing for the gorgeous planetary illustrations! (Pluto is actually the least attractive of them.)
I mentioned to Kai that Lutra had taken the cubs to see C&tCF: he asked what the cubs were. After explaining, I told him he was referred to as either bratling or sprogling, especially on the blog. He considered this for a moment then said he didn't want to be called bratling anymore - it was too close to Bratz ™, and he can't stand them. So from now on, at least in public, he'll be sprogling.
Right! Work, if I'm ever to make that fortune Lutra refers to...
[tired] But I did finally get in the mood, and wrote 1300+ words of Dreams plus a page of 2AC. But now I have to go - need to be up again in four hours to get Kai to school.
Heh. I need a PA. Housekeeper. Chauffeur. Secretary.
It's good to dream...
Tuesday, October 04, 2005
[sigh] And today we have bright sunshine and hardly any cloud... typical.
Actually, it's a beautiful day, crisp cold air and breeze, but the sun is warm - warm enough to dry the washing, not bad for October.
Autumn. I love autumn. The colours and shapes, that wonderful subtle tang in the air... Wonder if we can make time for a walk this weekend?
It's hard to concentrate today. Only knowing that if I fall behind I'll only have to make the wordage up later is keeping me going...
Does anyone else have a dog who insists on being in photographs?
(Not that I'm complaining, it's cute!)
Monday, October 03, 2005
Hm. Strange. We have odd little piles of freshly dug soil appearing in the garden. Only two so far, but that's two too many. I gave one a good poke with a stick, thinking maybe it was an ants' nest, but nothing came scuttling out looking angry. I don't think it's the fox, digging: these look like they've been pushed up from underneath. I'm wondering if we've somehow acquired a mole. I really hope not - cute as they are, they're a menace in the garden.
Will have to keep an eye out and see what happens.
[growl] We were looking forward to catching at least a glimpse of the partial eclipse this morning, but it's too cloudy to even see where the sun is, dammit. Eh well. We'll try again March next year. Though the one in 2015 will be better. Assuming the world's still here by then, of course.
See Diamond Geezer for more details. (Actually pretty much all the details you could ever want. Extremely useful - thanks DG!)
So, Ken's out trying to get this year's section of the wall re-mortared before the cold weather gets a grip on the land, and I'm typing up Kai's rolling three-week school dinner menus so we can decide which days he's going to take a packed lunch. Dreams afterwards.
And I have a BCP meeting tonight that I can't miss. Fun, ne?
But I'm now into 2AC 3rd sequence, chapter 2, and it's all going well...
This is a very affecting piece of writing, even if you don't believe in the Big Invisible Friend in the Sky. Make sure you read to the end...
Saturday, October 01, 2005
[bemused] Kai spent the afternoon in the garden melting lead.
Why? Because it was there, I suppose. He and Ken set up a little smelting type thing outside the kitchen, with Meccano and a candle, but it wasn't as successful as it should have been because it was too windy. I asked him to write me up a report on the experiment, but he hasn't got around to it yet...
He's also designed a gorgeous fountain - I'm wondering if we can make it/have it made.
What else? Not a lot. More 2AC. Odds and sods. Kai's decided he'd like a Samhain mini-party and wants to dress up as a zombie from Shaun of the Dead, with one arm and the bone of the other sticking out of his shoulder. (If I manage to make that I'll take some photos.)
Ryme snoozing on
More 2AC tonight, when Afterlife is finished. We started watching initially because it's congruent with Ken's latest books, but it's a fascinating series, understated and well-acted. It's set in Bristol, too, which is always fun.
Tch' - and then I forgot to say the TeleWest tech arrived and gave us a snazzy new black box.
Unfortunately he also did something odd to the TV/remote, and now the screen size option is recognising 'full', 'auto' and 'normal' as all the same thing, which results in oddly-deformed images. Will have a look in the instruction book tomorrow - well, I'll let Ken look in it, anyway - and see if we can fix it. Otherwise they're going to have to come back... [sigh] Why is nothing ever simple, here?
Ken arrived back just after seven, tired but fine with a goodly number of hours of interviews to transcribe, notes to type up, people to ring, and two films to get developed. The publisher wants him to go down again, maybe in March, for more publicity stuff.
Having hit my Dreams target today, I've been working on 2AC tonight, which is coming along very nicely. I've come up with a rather neat way (if I say it myself though I think Lutra will confirm) to solve the 'flying' problem. And a few other minor difficulties too...
Caught the local news tonight - first time in weeks. Depressing. Bristol schools are now officially the worst in the UK, right at the bottom with GCSE pass rates of 37%. It's no surprise, therefore, that parents who care want their sprogs elsewhere... The interviews were so bloody depressing. Everyone agrees that junior schools in the area are good, but somehow it all falls to pieces when they get to secondary schools. I've been chatting to other mums, trying to get some sort of overview. One has applied to a school in Bath, which is too far and too expensive for us: another is paying for a private school (at a minimum of £6,000 per term that's completely out of our reach): another has suggested not putting any options on the application you wouldn't be happy with - which leaves us with John Cabot and Broadlands, nothing in Briz LEA at all...
[head->hands] Now have at least six months of nail-chewing anxiety until we get the results of the applications - and if he doesn't get into either I then have to start appeals procedure... yes, of course I always assume the worst, that way if it happens I have a plan B. And often even a plan C.
A bit of light relief. Snaffled from Onna's blog:
Well, apart from the fact that I am not and never have been cute, I think that's a fair description...
[glower] Not at all sure about the Duck and Kitten likenesses though...