Zone Doubt, a.k.a. 'Surreal Я Us'...

Joules, trusted by... dozens... to make a drama out of your crisis...

Other sites:

:: JAT :: WaveWrights :: Publications ::

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

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

If you come across any words you don't recognise in this blog, take a look at the Taylorspeke Glossary in the left-hand infopane, you'll usually find a definition there.

The Poppy Tales

(Transformers fanfiction!)

Transformers mini-comics here.

Adventures in Orchids

Apparently I am now collecting them...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My IMDb ep summaries

Arthur of the Britons
Star Maidens
The Starlost
Space Rangers
The Sentinel (part: seasons 2 and 3)
Swamp Thing (part: season 3)
Gravedale High
Transformers: Armada
Transformers: Energon
Transformers: Cybertron (part)
Misfits of Science (four eps)
Zoo Gang
Jupiter Moon
Transformers: Beast Wars (part: seasons 2 and 3)
Transformers: Beast Machines (part)
Vampire Princess Miyu
Nathan Barley
No Heroics
Undermind (3 eps)
Will Shakespeare (Tim Curry version)
12 Kingdoms
Trigun (ep 8)
Hyperdrive (season 2 ep 3)
The Café

For later:

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

Silver birch at Eastwood 


"Autumnal - nothing to do with leaves. It is to do with a certain brownness at the edges of the day... Brown is creeping up on us, take my word for it... Russets and tangerine shades of old gold flushing the very outside edge of the senses... deep shining ochres, burnt umber and parchments of baked earth - reflecting on itself and through itself, filtering the light. At such times, perhaps, coincidentally, the leaves might fall, somewhere..."

(Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead Act 2: Tom Stoppard)


I love this time of year. I love the colours, the sharp slant of sunlight on the trees, mosaics of acid-yellow and harts- blood, velvet and darkness and a haze of mist-grey over the hills. I love its immanence, its mellowness, the tang of frost just around the corner of the year...

Watching the little birds in the goat-willow in my garden, I realised something more.

I love this land with a fierce, possessive love, deep-rooted in two thousand years of history. From the frosted beaches and cloud-brushing peaks of the north to the wind-haunted meanderings of the rivers of the east, from the sensuous rolling patchworked hills of the south to the demanding dark moors of the west, this land seeps into bone and blood and synapse, mother of motley nobility, culture, individual freedoms. It can be known. It can be understood. It can be felt deep inside.

I love its effortless eccentricities, its vigour and vibrancy, its flawed perfections, its silent strength and tenacious resilience, its hard-won tolerances and intense and variable beauty, the profound energy in its sacred mythical landscape.

Home and more-than-home, the forces that shape and protect and bind, in me, as I am in the land. Love returning love in the stillness for those who'll only take the time to listen...

(Joules, Autumn 2004)

All photographs taken by Joules unless otherwise specified. All photographs © Joules A Taylor or other specified individual.

In Memoriam

17.03.09 - Argent

25.07.08 - Raptor

18.12.07 - Quyn

02.12.06 - Ryme

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

Currently reading:
Various Transformers books and graphic novels.

Currently working on:

Currently chuffed with:
My garden

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

Currently maintaining:

Blog Pics
I've gathered some of my pages of photos together: the page of links is here. I'll be adding more as time goes by!

Evil Squid
A Little Glossary of Taylorspeke
(in no particular order)

plit popints - n. Typo for 'plot points' typed on a keyboard with more than half the characters worn off...

[PING] (alt [ping]) - n. A brainwave. The text equivalent of a lightbulb going on blindingly over someone's head. Usually mine. And usually at the most inconvenient of times. [sigh]

TPTB - The Powers That Be.

wulmet - n. A person of little or no talent who somehow inveigles himself into a position where he is in power over other, far more talented people and uses his position to downplay them in order to try to make himself feel superior.

biteable - referring to an anatomical part vb, tasty.

Flatterfed - vb. 27.02.08: my typo for flattered, but since it's so cutely apt I thought it would fit nicely here. Lutra defined it as "the lovely warm feeling of satisfaction resulting from enthusiastic reviews..." (which I've been getting for my MB fics).

Composted - vb, 'compos mentis', mentally capable of working. Contrast with uncomposted or non- composted, not 'compos mentis', not capable of working, hungover...

Cumbles - n, cucumbers.

Kewp - how Ken says 'thank you'. We rather like Lutra's 'nanx', too...

Musekick - noun, music, without which I cannot work.

'feinne - noun, caffeine, essential for correct mental functioning, especially first thing in the morning. I prefer mine in the form of SodaStream Diet Coke. And on that subject...

Skoosh - verb, noun. To skoosh - to add CO2 to a sodastream bottle filled with water to make it fizzy, prior to adding Diet Coke syrup (or just drinking as sparkling water). A skoosh - a bottle of water that has been skooshed. Skooshy - something that has been skooshed, water, or that whipped cream that comes in tins you have to shake then upend and press the nozzle...

Shoogle - verb. To shake gently, for example, of roast potatoes in a roasting tin to ensure they're covered with oil. I have vague memories of this being a real Scottish colloquialism...

Stegasaurus - n, spider of the genus tegenaria. Why? No idea. I just find it easier, that's all...
Edit 08.09.07: Lutra thinks that Brian is a good name for a mini-stegasaurus. From now on, any 'Brian's in the posts may be assumed to be a tegenaria. Except where otherwise specified.

Viterals - noun, vitamins + minerals. Also a pun on victuals.

Splish - verb. A combination of slosh and splash.

Parrots - noun, paracetemol (from the old joke "Why are there no aspirin tablets in the jungle? Because the parrots eat 'em all...")

Maggles - noun, magpies. As opposed to non-magical people.

Flamewings - noun. Swifts. So called because the first time we became aware of them was an early summer evening when they were flying high, the light from the setting sun seemingly turning their wings to flames. Lovely little birds. We always know summer's arrived when we hear their high-pitched squeeing.

Murfs - noun, moths.

Peasant cut - noun, roughly cut up into big chunks, e.g. vegetables chopped in a hurry for a hearty stew or soup. By extension, anything prepared in a hurry - haircut, material, even a first draft of a story...

Giraffe - noun, a carafe (of wine, coffee or water, for example).

Shrumps - noun, mushrooms.

Splings - noun, Kai's spelling homework: by extension, any spelling.

Tyops - noun, typos. var toyps, typso, psyto, psoyt, etc. Usual result of a dose of the fingerials (see next entry).

Fingerials - (pr. fin GEEE ree yalls) noun, fingers that will not type what you want them to.

Haddock - noun, time, of which I never have enough. (Origin of this term here.)

Sleep - noun? vb? a.k.a. sheeeeeeeeep.... I used to know what this word meant...

The Updates Blog

The place to stay notified of WaveWrights' Fiction updates: Zone, Darkside, DarkRealm, Matrix, Vault, Safehouse 13...

my computer gremlin Butch. click the pic to see the larger image

Butch, my computer gremlin. Click the pic for larger version, and read his adventures here...

Butch by the talented 


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



This is MY haddock. It was caught exclusively for me by Talon. No, you can't have any. I need all the haddock I can get!!

A'lestrel by Valkyrie.

A'lestrel - a gift for me from Valkyrie...

Albino Alsatian Benten (c) MEBird 


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

Radittsu, an oekaki for my birthday 04 



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

The Zone Plant from
The Zone 



OrganicHTML (which alas no longer seems to exist...)
[::..My Regular Reads..::]
:: Astronomical Pic of the Day [>]
:: What is Space... [>]
:: Dark Roasted Blend [>]
:: BLDG [>]
:: Watchismo Times [>]
[::..Fun Places..::]
::PALEOMAP Project
Absolutely fascinating.
:: Skymap
Check out the night sky where you are!
[::..Useful Sites..::]
:: GreenNet
First stop for environmental matters
:: The Forest of Avon
Our local community forest and places to visit
:: The Guardian
Online Guardian Newspaper.
:: Symbols
Exactly what it says
:: World Timeserver
For checking the current time around this world
:: Universal Currency Converter
Actually it's just a terran-global currency converter, not universal, but it's still useful...

So what is it with the haddock? Am I some kind of fish freak?

I'll leave that to others to decide.

The tale (or tail if you prefer) harks back to October 2000, when my GoodTwin and I, ably assisted by Sue, ran the first UK Professionals convention...
It's common knowledge that I never have enough time, and I was determined not to bewail the fact that weekend: hence I promised not to use the 'T' word...
Of course, that didn't really work (if nothing else I had to let the trainees know what times things were supposed to be happening!) so we decided a substitute word would be employed instead. There were several suggestions. Banana came very close to being chosen. However, I eventually decided that 'haddock' fitted the bill nicely. Ever since, haddock=time. Hence the title of my forthcoming autobiography,
My Half-Life in the Haddock Space Continuum....

Normally I wouldn't, but these were just irresistible...

How could I resist?

Just too adorable...

and to complete the rainbow...

These Too-Kawaii Kitties
were adopted from
Ghost's Anime Page (which appears to have disappeared, alas...)

Useful sites:

Yamato -
Fabulous anime figures

Anime Lyrics
A huge selection... evil popups

Anime still needed to complete series' I'm collecting... Many thanks to everyone who has helped me acquire the collection!
Ai no Kusabi

   Dj: June Special
   CD: Ambivalence

Cyber City Oedo 808

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

From Eroica with Love

   Manga Vols 1, 9, 11

Mirage of Blaze

   DVD Vol 1 (eps 1-4)

R.G. Veda

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

Twelve Kingdoms

   Anime Vol 1-12: complete

Under the Glass Moon

   Manga Vol 1, 2
Vol 3 needed

Vampire Hunter D - Bloodlust


   Vampire Hunter D Book 1

New Vampire Miyu

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

Yami no Matsuei

   Viz Manga: English translation, Vols 1 - 11 (complete: I believe vol 12 is only available online)
   Japanese 3-DVD set
   Central Park Media: Descendants of Darkness Vol. 1, English/Japanese subbed.

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

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

(Thanks, Lutra, for the quote!)

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

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

I'm almost afraid to comment in case I jinx it... then again, if I don't say anything the gremlin will probably throw a tantrum...
The fridge seems to be comfortably hovering at 3°, while the freezer is a perfectly acceptable -19°. This is a very good sign. However, I'm assuming nothing and - in the hope that reverse psychology works on f-f gremlins - anticipating it breaking down at some point...
However, I have now been able to stock up a little (not too much, can't be too confident) and even get a couple of things in ready for Yule!
Hm. Just had a bowl of Taiwan Roast Pork ramen for brunch (a low fat variety, since I nearly had kittens when I discovered that a normal packet of ramen is 475 calories! And there was me happily eating at least two a day!) It was - interesting. The taste reminded me of tinned spaghetti in tomato sauce, not exactly exotic. OK I suppose, and it filled the grumbling hole, but I don't think I'll bother again.
We buy 'flat' treats for Quyn - thin chewy oblong thingies about six inches long. He's taken to holding them upright between his paws to eat them. Dead cute!
Right - back to the grind...


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Tuesday, November 29, 2005

(Last post of the day, I promise...)
The sky is fabulously clear, the air still and bitingly cold, and the stars almost as steady as planets. Standing just outside the patio doors I have a wonderful view of Orion, its sword (M42 - the meaning of life?) clearly visible tonight. Gemini is also vivid in the sky, and below and towards the sunrise is Cancer, though the stars are too faint to see in the city. Cancer 'contains' Praesepe, the Crab Nebula (M44): I've always liked the translation of its Chinese name, 'The Last Exhalation of Piled-up Corpses'...Kai's new plaything...

F-f seems to have settled - so far anyway. The temperature is within the correct limits everywhere in the fridge, and the freezer behaving itself - but we'll see how we go.

As you can see, Kai likes it. He'll probably like it more if/when we put his fruit juice in the dispenser, which I'm not prepared to do until I'm convinced the damn thing is working properly - or at least well enough to keep going until after Yule.
Looking forward to next Thursday (I'm off over to Winchester for a few days), though I'll feel happier if I can get to around 56-57K words done before then. And get the Yule decorations put up, which we have planned for Sunday (I was going to wait til I got back from Carol's but Kai would like them up sooner, please...)
Back to it for a wee while longer.


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[frown] There is a thin sheet of ice over the back wall at the top of the fridge to half-way down, then it stops. The temperature at the bottom of the fridge is hovering between 5° and 6°: haven't checked the temperature at the top yet...


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Fridge now down to 6°, Dreams wordage at 43,049, and I have to collect Kai in half an hour.
After a couple of 'prufen for the incipient headache.
(If the blow-by-blow is boring anyone, please do feel free just to wait 'til tomorrow to check back!)


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... oooooh kaaaayyyy... fridge is now down to 7° and falling and a thin layer of ice is forming over the back wall, as it's supposed to. The compressor is switching itself off, also as it's supposed to, and the others never did. This is a good sign, though I'm not getting my hopes up just yet.
Carol, thanks for the info. Our first f-f - the one that lasted twelve years - was a Zanussi, I think, and our dear old washing machine that's still struggling on after 16 years is an Indesit. But ED now stock a very nice Servis f-f, almost exactly comparable, with a silver finish...


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Does anyone have any idea about the relative merits of Servis, Zanussi and Indesit?


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Freezer working, fridge temperature remains about the same as the kitchen.


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F-f now switched on.


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I stepped outside around 7.15 this morning, to see how cold it was. There were still stars overhead, just faintly - the Plough's handle, pointing to an extraordinarily bright Arcturus. And Jupiter was brilliant just above a pretty crescent Moon. Beautiful sky.
Fourth f-f has arrived and is now settling for 'a few hours' before we switch it on.
Kai's fridge message

Mum and Dad Taylor sent up this bunch of fridge-magnet text for Kai. His first comment? "Oh how stupid - there's no comma!" [sigh] Reminds me of me...
I'm not at all sure what the little face is supposed to be saying. It might be something rude, or it might just be in some alien language. I'll try to remember to ask later.
It's cute though. No doubt he'll be doing more on the new f-f.

Some more photos of Arno's Park, from the King's Road entrance.
Arnos Park looking left
Arnos Park looking right
The slope you can see on the top pic - looking left from the entrance - is great for sledging down, should we have snow. And you can just make out Kai on the swings in the kids' play-area in the bottom photo - taken looking straight ahead from the entrance.
Right. Back to Dreams.


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Monday, November 28, 2005

I have no feelings for Christine Aguilera. I think she did a song once I quite liked, but since I can't remember what it was it probably didn't affect me that much. But... This is... quite something. I mean, that's the sort of frothy creation you'd expect to see on top of the cake, not on the bride.
Impressive though, if you like that sort of thing. (Personally I don't.) Looks OK on her, however, in a weird OTT flamenco way...
It snowed a bit but didn't settle. Dreams at 42,024. Tired. Keep sneezing. Need sheep...


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Sunday, November 27, 2005

The Face In The Mushroom...

[looks askance] I was preparing chestnut mushrooms for dinner earlier when I found this face lurking on the edge of one of the 'shrooms...


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Busybusy. Kai had lost one of each of the three pairs of gloves he had last year, and needed a new rucksack, so off we went to the Sunday Market...
Successful trip too. Magic gloves with palm grip for Kai, a backup pair of fingerless leather gloves for me, rucksack, several custom-made Yule cards for the family, and a half-dozen pink grapefruit. Then Kai wanted to check out the sidings just along the road from the market. Cue me standing in the cold while Kai waited for trains to appear - which of course they didn't, because it's Sunday afternoon and the sidings aren't near the main line. Still, we did find a good place to stand in future, towards the back of the Showcase cinema.
Dropped into The Range on the way back. Reminded myself of why I hate shopping at weekends, especially this close to Yule. But we picked up the rest of the bits we need, and Kai now has a Wallace and Gromit advent calendar.
On that subject, this (Framley Examiner Advent calendar, nicked from Diamond Geezer) is highly amusing. I want some of those stickers!
On the other hand, I don't like Dawn French. I find her one of the least funny so-called 'comediennes' around today. So I was glad to see I'm not the only one who feels that way.
And does anyone else want to slap that 'little girl who hated shopping so much she turned into a little monster' in the Argos advert? Or even better, the bimbo mother? Gods I loathe that ad!
I shall shut up now and get back to work...


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Saturday, November 26, 2005

Kai thoroughly enjoyed working through the NVRT samples John Cabot sent, and got all but one right. They were fairly standard IQ test type questions, like this one (not a direct copy, obviously, since that is copyright):
Which figure fits in the blank space?
X     M     O M     O     X O     X     ?
1) W     2) M     3) O     4) M     5) O

At the end we compared how we'd worked out the solutions, which was intriguing. Ken used the columns, I used the rows, and Kai used the overall pattern...
Afterwards we headed into town. And it started raining as we got off the bus. Luckily there are canopies most of the way to Antics, so we didn't get too wet.
Kai loved it there. He found the co-co locomotive he wanted - well, actually he wanted an EWS loco like the one that passes the school every week, but apparently it had the wrong connectors. So after he'd inspected his chosen one and decided it was fine, the assistant went off to find the box.
And came back with another assistant with another, nearly identical loco already boxed up. Would Kai prefer this one? they said. It was exactly the same except for the number: the boxed one ended 088, the one Kai chose ended 090. No, said Kai, he wanted the other one. Was he sure? they said, obviously trying to convince him to take the ready-boxed one. He hesitated for a moment, then said yes he was, he wanted the 090. [rolls eyes] As if it was that hard to find the blasted box for him! I mean, the damn thing cost £45, I expect reasonable service! Anyway, they did manage to find the box - and they've also ordered some bumpers (78 boxes of them in the warehouse, apparently: hopefully some will be delivered on Wednesday).
Kai's also pointed out the next few things he wants, one of these, and an intermodal double set with two containers. Oh, and he prefers some of his trains and rolling stock to be 'weathered' - look like they've been in service for a decade or so. I can't fault his attention to detail: it's going to be fun when we start doing the landscapes...
I've started wearing my wrap again, it's about cold enough. It's ancient, I've had it since before Kai was born: it's kind of like a long pashmina, but a black wool/poly mix with a slightly frilled edge. Kai thinks it's dead snazzy - I think because it's the sort of thing that wouldn't be out of place on a Hogwarts teacher (no, not Professor Trelawney). Heh, my son complimented me! [big grin]


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favourite tree
I love this tree. It stands at the Bath Rd entrance to Arno's Park and turns the most fabulous gold, copper and bronze in the autumn.
Well that was fun! Parents and brother arrived about eleven yesterday, laden down with bags and boxes and garden chairs (for the garden next summer, that is. We don't ask people to bring their own seating when they visit...) and a fun time was had by all.
Even managed to get a little Dreams done in the evening.
And today the Yule cheques arrived from Ken's folks. Kai has rather more than we were anticipating, and now wants to go into town to buy one of the locomotives he has his eye on. To be honest, even though the idea of trudging into town on a Saturday just a month before Yule is horrendous, it would be nice to have a break from the keyboard.
But he has to finish his homework/NVRT sample questions first. Which gives me time to get a little 2AC done, hopefully.
Dreams wordage now 40,111. More later.


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Friday, November 25, 2005

It snowed!
snowy garden 1 snowy garden 2

Only a bit, but they're forecasting the worst winter in years...
But Quyn enjoyed it. Yes, that is snow on his nose - he rolled. (Unfortunately he also moved as I took the photo, so it's not as sharp as it could be.) And yes, you're right Lutra, dogs are daft. It's part of their eccentric charm...


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Thursday, November 24, 2005

[head->hands] We have a new f-f being delivered on Tuesday. No, I'm not overly keen on the drinks dispenser thingie - chilled drinks give me toothache - but that's the only comparable they have in stock at the moment. Perhaps I can make a model of the f-f gremlin to sit there as a sort of shrine. Ken says Raptor will think it's a special fridge cat-flap for her use and try to get in to steal prawns (which she believes spontaneously generate in the machine when no-one is looking).
You know that sinking feeling you get when you're pretty sure you've made a wrong decision? I have that. But as Ken pointed out, even if ED did give us a refund, it wouldn't be enough to buy an equivalent new appliance. Something I didn't say yesterday was that ED are only legally required to give us the original purchase price LESS an amount for the use we've had as a proportion of the expected life of the f-f. The expected life of a f-f is, apparently, between 7-10 years. Divide the original purchase price (£262) by, say 8, less the 21 months we've had the various f-fs, and the result is what we're entitled to - I make it something under £200. The fact that the use was intermittent is neither here nor there - the freezer part was working all the time, even though it was too cold. Compensation is only payable on spoiled food, and you need to be able to prove it. (And no, we can't afford to make up the shortfall on the price at the moment.)
I'm sick of the whole thing. If we'd known at the beginning everything we know now, we'd have rejected the first f-f and gone for a different make.
More as it happens.
Dreams wordage at just over 38,000. Parents are visiting on Friday for the usual pre-Yule present exchange, so I need to hit 40K today.
I really need a break.


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Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Well that was tiring...
Yesterday... (no, I'm not going to sing it...)
Arrived at CAB in good time to find that the Trading Standards Officer I was to see was running late: they'd had a fire (or possibly a fire drill, I didn't quite catch what was said) at her place of work.
But that was OK, it gave me a chance to browse a copy of Vogue and shudder at what passes for haute couture these days. Lurex ankle socks under strappy sandals with four inch heels worn with skimpy mini-dresses? Give me strength! They look like little girls dressing up in mummy's shoes. Or perhaps that's the idea - some sick paedophiliac attempt to present 'fashionable' women as cutesy helpless children.
I never did have any patience with 'fashion' or the victims that try to follow it.
HowEVER... The TS officer was great. I have learned:
That our contract is with Empire Direct, not Hoover-Candy (and for up to six years, apparently): ED sub-contracted to H-C, but it's ED's responsibility to put things right. That we are entitled, under Sec 14 of the Sale of Goods Act 1978, to goods which work properly and stay working properly for a reasonable amount of time. It was agreed that 5 weeks (first f.f.), three months (second f.f.), and 0 hours (third f.f.) does not constitute a reasonable amount of time for such an appliance. That our next step is to contact ED with a copy of the event log, stating exactly what we want - either a replacement f.f. (of a different make) or a refund. That we have to have an engineer's visit from GIAS anyway, to confirm in a written report that the f.f. isn't working.
Ken wants to give them one last chance and request a fourth replacement. I'm too tired to argue. I just want a fridge-freezer that bloody works.
[sigh] More later.
After leaving the CAB I did a little more Yule shopping. Thornton's have a special on at the moment, spend £15 and get a free box of chocolate. I bought a new Yule tree too, should have been £6.99, reduced to £5 (Wilkinson's, 'New Forest Pine' 4 ft version, which is quite big enough for our little room). By the time I'd slogged round town and struggled back, box under one arm and bags on the other - that'll teach me not to take my rucksack! - it was gone midday...
Spent the next couple of hours wrapping presents (shouldn't have left it so long...) We kept finding more things we'd picked up for Kai (he's going to be a very happy sprog come Yule!) Then I collected him and we trotted off to the Showcase to see HP & GoF.
Hmmmmmm. Well, it was an incredibly ambitious project to start with, and there was no way everything in the book could have been crammed into one film. The events have been judiciously chosen and are given pretty much equal time onscreen, as far as I could tell on a first viewing - but it's choppy. It jumps from scene to scene with little buildup, and the scenes themselves feel hurried. And no-one really gets an adequate amount of screentime (except for Harry, of course, but even then his scenes feel rushed). I can see why Kai had trouble with it too, although he couldn't articulate it fully: as in the book, much of it deals with dawning adolescence, the kids' first noticing each other as something other than just schoolmates, and Kai's not at that stage yet.
So - noble attempt, I enjoyed it, the sfx are, as we'd expect, amazing, but I left feeling oddly unsatisfied. I'm hoping that there will be the usual extended director's cut to buy, and that it'll contain what (to me) appeared to be missing scenes, or at least longer versions of those in the theatrical release.
The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe opens here on the 10th December (Erk. Or was it the 8th?) Kai breaks up for Yule on the 20th, which is, most conveniently, a Tuesday, and it's our anniversary on the 21st: I've suggested Ken and I both pick Kai up on his last day and all go to the film together (I can't remember the last time we did that!) as an anniversary treat. (It would be nice to go for something to eat afterwards, but since TGIFriday's closed down the only places at Avon Meads are MacDonald's [spitspit], KFC and Pizza Hut (the latter is OK but not really anniversary meal material). Eh well.)
And I had an early night. Come 10pm I couldn't keep my eyes open, not even long enough to dry my mane, which this morning looks like a magpie nested in it...
Still tired this morning, and I have a busy day ahead: didn't get any work done yesterday at all. (Sorry, onna - will get back to you as soon as I can.)


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Monday, November 21, 2005

[grumble] Absolutely knackered last night, was asleep by 10pm! [smirks at gasps of disbelief] Problem is, I then woke up at 4.11 am and despite determinedly trying couldn't get back to sleep. At 5 I gave up and came down, fed four- and eight- legged beastlies and got things organised for the still-sleeping two legged ones, and thought I might as well get some Dreams done, since I'm awake. Sort of.
frosty cobwebs

Kai took this one yesterday morning - it was dull yesterday, with an almost-freezing fog all day. But this has come out beautifully - cobwebs on his swing. (You can see the molehill - it's now doubled in size, and we have another one appeared at the top of the garden - and if you peer you can just make out Quyn behind the swing's chain. Well, you can see the white of his tail, anyway...)


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Sunday, November 20, 2005

Strange day. Found myself being horribly distracted by MTV2's 25 Top 21st Century Bands (though how they can claim that given we're only five years into the century is beyond me...) I was happy to see they've included Gorillaz.
I like Gorillaz, have done since Clint Eastwood (though I still haven't worked out what he had to do with the song...) And I've grown to really like Feel Good Inc., the video is fascinating. But MTV have been showing the live version - and it's driving me nuts trying to work out how they did it, because, of course, Gorillaz are a virtual band. You can watch a fairly good RealPlayer clip here. It's clever.
Kai is, finally, after a week of me asking, clearing his room. Just a pity I had to threaten him with not being allowed to play with his trains for two weeks unless it was done by the end of the day.
Ken presented me with a big bar of Cadbury's Turkish Delight, announcing that it was thirty years ago today that we first met! (Whoa! Where'd the haddock go?) It's been an interesting thirty years, too...
And here's something for GoodTwin and Lutra...


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Saturday, November 19, 2005

Hm. Kai says HP & GoF is OK, but not as good as he was expecting - and there are too many people in it, he had trouble remembering them all! [blink] Well I didn't expect that reaction! Though of course, with the two other schools joining Hogwarts for the duration, there would be a lot more characters...
I still want to see it. And I expect Kai wouldn't object to going again.
It's been a bit of a viewing weekend: K&K stopped off at Phoenix to pick up some DVDs on the way back from school on Friday. So far we've watched The Time Machine (the 2002 version, which, like I, Robot, played somewhat fast and loose with the original story...) which was OK. Though I was distracted from the action slightly by the male lead's extraordinarily chimp-like face. It's the first time I've liked Jeremy Irons in a film too - though of course that might just be due to my predilection for long white hair and pale blue skin...
They got out Queen of the Damned, but the DVD is so faulty it's unwatchable. Will try to get a replacement: what we did manage to see looked - interesting, if not exactly compelling.
Then there was Underworld... Well, I knew it was going to be style-without-substance - but I still enjoyed it. Very stylish, with a distinct Matrix feel. Hopeless excuse for a plot, and some of the acting was dire, but overall it's fun, in a dark, gothic way. Another one I'll keep an eye out for cheap.
Kai wanted to watch The Nightmare Before Christmas, so that's for tomorrow. (Ken and I went to see it while I was carrying Kai: must try to remember to ask him if he remembers any of it!)
I've actually rested most of today, managed a page or so of 2AC but the hands are sore, so a break seemed like a good idea. Then there was this on ICQ...
Joules: Eeep! I've had 12 reviews for Heroes now. Heh, I really must write that orgy scene. Lutra: [wriggle] Oh yes! Though I'd prefer to wait until I've seen the DVD. Maybe I'll take some time over Yule to finish the Drawn Together ficlets and the next Matrix Twins one. I've not lost interest, just had too much to do. [sigh] And I'm being nagged something fierce to finish Transposition, again. Internally or externally nagged? Though Sue wouldn't be fierce, would she? Internally. I have a large hairy Saiyan glowering at me. ROFLMAO!! LOL! Sue? Fierce? Ye gods, she can be as bad as me... [smirk] You can't really blame him, though. I left him naked and injured on an alien planet with however many moons it was, and he hasn't even f****d S yet! Heavens above, that's just cruel!
[sigh] Empress of Casual Torture I might be but I have such a soft spot for R. Even when I'm being nasty to him. And I really would like to finish the story. I'll try to find a haddock-shaped door in my schedule...


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Friday, November 18, 2005

Arnos Court Park, November 05

Tree shadows taking long walks over frosty Arno's Park (at the end of the road).

It was very cold last night, and hasn't warmed up much all day: the ice on Roeg's Pool is about a centimetre thick and proving very resistant to melting...
But it's been another brilliantly sunny day. Pity I've been stuck inside. Still, Dreams is now at 35,018, which means I can play tonight.
Mysteries of Life no. 3764: Why do dogs love rolling in frosty grass?


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[shudder] I really do not like that Egg-money advert...
On the other hand, I do like the Famous Grouse ads. They're quirky and cute, and I rather look forward to seeing what the design team come up with year by year.
[chuckle] And the new Jameson's ad has just been on TV. That's cute too!
Then of course there's Sheila's Wheels... I'm saying nowt.
I picked up a second hand copy of E-tales: the best and worst of internet humour when we went to Trowbridge in the summer, and I've been snatching odd moments to re-read it just recently. Some of it is extremely chuckle-worthy...
Q: Do you recall the time that you examined the body? A: The autopsy started around 8.30pm. Q: And Mr Dennington was dead at the time? A: No, he was sitting on the table wondering why I was doing an autopsy.
I like sark... (Yes Lutra, that was deliberate.)
Dreams at 33,019. 2AC at 68,795. And the haddock are fleeing faster than I can net 'em...
Back to it.


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Thursday, November 17, 2005

What a fabulous day! I love weather like this, bright bright sunshine and temperatures close to freezing: the frost is still white on the grass in the shade. Though it's still not cold enough for me to want a coat. I've come to the conclusion that my internal thermostat has simply packed up and I should just move to the Antarctic...
We went just a little mad this morning and placed an order with - mostly for other people's Yule presents, true, though we treated ourselves as well: ordered The Quiet Earth (an old favourite. The final scene symbolises absolute loneliness for me and is well worth the price of the film. Actually, more than worth in this case, as the DVD is only £3.99...) and Gohatto (which I missed when it was shown on... um, Channel 4 I think, a few months back but which sounds intriguing) for me, and The Wicker Man (a classic) for Ken. I do like I also like the URL, even I can't forget it!
Kai has been invited to go to HP and the GoF on Saturday with Matt and Tom, then to tea at theirs afterwards, so he's bouncing with excitement. Though I want to see the film myself, so will probably take him a second time over the next couple of weeks, on a Tuesday after school.
I'm thoroughly enjoying Lutra's SFSG, it's a cracking good read and a beautifully realised world frame!
Dreams continues apace. So does 2AC. Everything else is a little behind schedule though.
Our sympathies to Blue Witch for the Ginger Familiar, who was hit by a car outside her home. Thinking of you.


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Wednesday, November 16, 2005

OK... Had to wait in the biting wind outside the CAB for half an hour, but I was fourth in the queue and got seen almost immediately. Extremely helpful staff: I have a print out of the Sale of Goods Act section that applies, and a half-hour appointment booked to see a Trading Standards Officer at 10am next Tuesday, to ascertain were we stand legally (as in what we can ask for). I feel a little happier now.
Managed some Yule shopping, including finding a little something I've been looking for, and about which I am dead chuffed. Unfortunately I also thought I'd try a couple of the new Body Shop perfume sprays, both of which smell horrible on me and which I can't seem to wash off. One of them obviously has rue or something similar in it as I can taste it. (Heh, taste it? It's burning my tongue!) I'm really going to have to be more careful with perfumes...
Had an answer back from the police re: cars splashing people - there's no specific legislation, but it's covered by the Road Traffic Act 1988, 'careless and inconsiderate driving':
3. If a person drives a motor vehicle on a road without due care and attention, or without reasonable consideration for other persons using the road, he is guilty of an offence.
But it has to be supported by the evidence for it to stick (though I assume eye-witnesses would count).
Dreams wordage now standing at 32,180: will be 33K+ by this evening.
Heh. Back to it.


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Tuesday, November 15, 2005

[sigh] So I thought I'd go back into town and wait for the CAB office to open, to make sure I was at the front of the queue...
They don't have drop-in sessions on Tuesdays and Saturdays, only appointments. If I'd been awake yesterday I might have noticed that on the noticeboard on the door.
Eh well. I'll try again later. Took advantage of being there to check out the 00 gauge railway stuff at Antics, in Fairfax St. [blink] Can we say boggled? The whole back corner of the shop is full of everything the railway enthusiast might need. Except for buffers, they were out of those, which was a pity because Kai was very insistent he needs some. I still managed to spend £39, though (an advance on his Yule money from the grandparents) on various bits of Peco 00 track (cheaper than but compatible with Hornby), including a slip and a level crossing, an ICI wagon - and a lovely little Hornby footbridge just like the one at Exeter St David's station, which I couldn't resist as it's just so cute.
Unfortunately the two things he's very keen to get we can't afford at the moment - a 'working co-co diesel locomotive', which is £45, and a 'self-propelled carriage' (the little Sprinter trains we call buses on train tracks) like this one, which they had for £55. Ouch. And I thought anime was expensive.
It's a great shop though, has everything, including all the little fuzzies and features to make the landscapes. I could quite get into it myself, to be honest. And incredibly helpful staff!
Actually wrote over 500 words before leaving the house this morning - a good start to the day. But since I didn't manage to get anything done yesterday I'm still behind.
Back to it.


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Sorry about that, folks, you'll have to excuse my brain. I really don't have much control over it. I suppose I should be grateful that it was really quite restrained!
But the valerian seems to have helped, admittedly with a bit of help by determinedly thinking of pleasant things instead of worrying about the stressful elements in my life at the moment. Of course, it's possible that that alone would have done the trick - except that there was an unfamiliar but very pleasant somewhat spaced-out sensation which kicked in twenty minutes after taking the tablet...
Heh. I slept for six hours, and have woken feeling a great deal better than the last couple of weeks. No point going back to bed, the others will be rousing in an hour, and too much sleep leaves me with a backache. Should be able to get some work done before I take Kai to school (well, down to meet Matt and Thomas, anyway.)
More later.


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Monday, November 14, 2005

Greetings, terran natives, non-terran sentients, trans-dimensional beings and super-intelligent shades of the colour blue.
Joules' brain here. Her body is suffering from extreme exhaustion at the moment, brought on by me not allowing her to get to sleep on the rare occasions she manages to make it to her bed. Or so she says. Tch'. I get the blame for everything.
She did not sleep at all last night, so switched me to autopilot very early this morning so her body could at least go through the motions of taking the child to school and getting into town to do the chores. Though why she then insisted on lugging vast quantities of ramen and pocky around in her rucksack is quite beyond me, it wouldn't have been that hard to pick them up on the way back home...
She bought a plain glass vase for her new pale green silk cymbidium and a small saucepan with a glass lid for making sushi - not that she can make sushi at the moment, with a non-functioning fridge... (I fail to see why she should think that this is of any interest to anyone).
She sat in the CAB for an hour with six people ahead of her with no movement in all that time, and eventually had to give up as she was at risk of keeling over: she'll need to get there at about 9.30 am to have any chance of being seen quickly (they do have an appointment system but it takes two week). However, the email has gone off to Trading Standards and two versions of a letter to Watchdog are now sitting on the system waiting to be 'slept on', as she so oddly puts it, and sent off tomorrow. Hoover-Candy has also been rung, to advise them the fridge isn't working, and an engineer's visit refused while legal advice is sought.
She also bought a bottle of valerian root tablets, on Lutra's advice, to see if it solves the insomnia problem. Though I think all she needs is less stress and she'd be fine. Of course, it's all very well to say that but not so easy to make it happen.
I am now going to force her to drag her body to bed. No doubt said body will be back in control tomorrow. Pity, that. I've rather enjoyed this.


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Sunday, November 13, 2005

Half-way point reached with Dreams and I'm taking a little time to continue 2AC (now at 66,080 words and I'm nowhere near halfway through yet). Enjoying (re)writing this so much...
Now this - the BBC Science and Nature Sex ID test, found on the FrizzyLogic blog - was fascinating. I came out as exactly in the middle. Which suits me just fine, thanks!
I loved this (know the feeling so well): -
Citizens should be aware that New York City is currently under unusual weather conditions.      At approximately 6pm, EST on Friday, November 4th, an area of High Time Pressure moved in over the area, pushing ahead of it a front of mixing High and Low Pressure Time. This caused the unusual conditions that were universally witnessed over the weekend.     The Temporal Meteorological Office (TMO) have reported that according to their instruments Time was flowing past the city unusually fast.     Using the "LUCKY T" apparatus, which stands for Large Underground ClocKY Thing, (and which is so far the only scientific equipment capable of measuring the speed of Time) Time passing across the city did not drop below a rate of three hours per hour for the entire weekend, with gusts of up to four and a half hours per hour. City residents reported a range of tragic stories:     "I left my building a little after one in the afternoon, and it's only two blocks to the laundromat," said one LES resident, "but when I got back it was six o'clock. I missed my siesta."     "I dropped off little Sally for her morning playdate on the dot of ten and took the 2/3 to my brunch date, but he'd left by the time I arrived, and all of a sudden it was four in the afternoon! Where did the time go?"     "I put a couple of slices of leftover pizza in the oven, man, and watched a commercial break. By the time I got back into the kitchen the oven had melted through the floor and was plunging through my downstairs neighbour's dining room table."     The front of turbulently mixing High and Low Pressure Time has now passed the area, and a system of Extremely Low Pressure Time has now taken up station over the city, meaning that the first day of the working week is anticipated to last at least 78 hours.
(Shamelessly stolen from Autoblography)
Carol, Sue, thanks for the comments/advice: I will certainly try to get to see the CAB on Monday (I'll be very lucky, but maybe I can fix an appointment for sometime soon.)
... back to it...


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Saturday, November 12, 2005

Fridge now at 8° in the coldest part (above the salad crispers). We have two small patches of ice build-up on the back wall, instead of the correct thin sheet of ice over the whole area, and a line of condensation half way up - which in our long and bitter experience indicates it needs regassing. Which in itself indicates that this brand new appliance ALSO has a leak. Which to me suggests that the whole bloody batch is faulty.
I have a vague memory of Trading Standards saying something along the lines of, if we accept a repair we can't then demand a refund: going to have to check with them on Monday (because H-C will no doubt offer an engineer's visit in the first instance). In the meantime we're drafting an email to Watchdog. More as it transpires.
I'm not overly happy about the small chunks the delivery men managed to gouge out of my kitchen lino either.
In other news: Kai's dragged Ken off to Totterdown - train-spotting. [wince] Sprog assures me that no, he's not turning into an anorak (and Ken pointed out that I'm exactly the same, get interested in something whole-heartedly for a while, kill it to death, then move onto something else, so I suppose I can't really object if little trout does the same...) He was actually very lucky earlier in the week. Ken took him through Nightingale Valley, which he does when the weather is fine, a bit of father-son quality time that goes down a treat. At the far end the main Bristol-Bath railway line cuts through a large tunnel: it's a good place to watch. And while they were there the Orient-Express British Pullman passed, something that only happens three times a year.
Their being out does give me some time to work on Dreams though. Will be half way through in about half an hour's time - 30,000 words - so I'm horribly behind, but fortunately not so much that I can't catch up.
K & K dropped into Phoenix on the way back from school, arriving home with the Revenge of the Sith DVD for me (Ken hasn't seen it, and I want to enjoy the planetscapes again, so pretty!) and two Dr Who adventures for Kai (another current obsession).
Back to it...


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Friday, November 11, 2005

The fridge doesn't work.
It's been switched on for six hours now and is struggling to get down to 12°.
Had Hoover-Candy managed to accomplish the exchange on the 7th, as they were supposed to, and this had happened, we'd have been able to complain right away. As it is, we're without a fridge for the weekend, as there's no-one at the company - of course - until Monday. But since we've been without a working fridge for almost a year, on and off, I suppose another weekend won't make a great deal of difference.
I'm going to cry. Or get drunk. Or more likely both.
I'll save the anger 'til next week, when it'll be of some use.


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New fridge-freezer arrived in good order (though the little thingie that clears the drainage hole was missing. Well, we couldn't expect everything to be there, could we? It seems to be a common problem with these f-fs. Ken rang and they're putting one in the post.) And I like its appearance very much, it's sleek and high-tech, brushed effect rather than in-your-face silver. We haven't switched it on yet: have to let it sit for four hours to let the gas settle.
The delivery men wheeled it in, then said it shouldn't be plugged into the cooker socket... To explain, this is an old house, and really needs re-wiring right through. We've added spurs and sockets around the house, and circuit breakers and an earthing rod to the fuse box, so the house is safe, but the wiring itself does leave a bit to be desired. The cooker socket on the wall is for an electric cooker to be wired in, and there's an additional socket beside it - but, as Ken discovered, the sockets themselves have no fuses. Cookers, apparently, need a 30/40 amp fuse, while the f-f needs 15. Cue Ken rewiring the fuse in the fusebox. Though since the f-f came with integral fused plug I'm not sure what the problem was...
Eh well, we have double protection now. Of course, if in a few years we change cookers again I want to go for an electric one with a couple of halogen rings (our electricity supplier is green - our gas supplier can never be) so we'll have to rewire again. But hopefully by then we can afford to have the whole house done.molehill?
The mysterious heaps of freshly dug earth have reappeared. I'm pretty sure we have a mole. We're going to try and contact the Avon Wildlife Trust to ask for advice. We aren't too bothered - I like moles, and it's not as if we have an immaculate garden! - but I don't think it would be very popular with any of the neighbours...
Back to work. Will report later as to whether the f-f actually works. Dreadful innit, I'm almost expecting it to pack up.


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Thursday, November 10, 2005

I hate it when Spooks ends a season on a cliffhanger. And we have to wait until next year to find out what happens...
Kai's selection procedures for 2006 admissions letter arrived from John Cabot this morning. His Non-verbal Reasoning Test is at 1.30 pm on Saturday 3rd December at the College and will last an hour and a half. This test is to place the children in their ability band: the real test, the 'guided interview', is on Friday 13th of January 2006. [bemused] This has always been a lucky day for us, but I do wonder if choosing it was deliberate, a way to throw the superstitious off their stride. There are 855 children trying for 156 places, so competition's going to be pretty fierce...
Quyn had a vet's appointment this afternoon - just a check up and for him to get a repeat prescription. The vet is quite pleased with him, but warned that the arthritis might get worse with the cold damp weather. He's doing well though, for an old dog, still acts as though he thinks he's a puppy!
Seriously considered cutting off my plait this afternoon. It's heavy and hot and a pain to look after. Just recently I've taken to leaving it in while I wash my hair - saves the ten minutes it now takes to replait it. Only I've now found that if I do this more than twice in a row it mats at the back of my neck - and it takes good five minutes of finger combing to untangle it (since I don't think dreadlocks would suit me) as I discovered tonight.
Then I caught a glimpse of it in the mirror, all ringletty and Pre-Raphaelite and thick and shiny. And it nearly reaches the backs of my knees when it's wet. [sigh] It's taken ten years to grow it this long. I'll defer cutting it off a little longer.
Ken took a call from the H-C robot this evening. New fridge-freezer to be delivered tomorrow. Sometime between 8am and 6pm: they'll probably ring in the morning with a more specific time. At least these extra few days have allowed me to just about empty the freezer.
Dark City is on TV. Terrific film. Though I've only just noticed the strangers' costumes are very reminiscent of the Cenobytes in the Hellraiser films. Their teeth chatter too...
Dreams is coming along, but slowly.
... I've... I've... just seen the Egg-card advert... I'm traumatised, I tell you, traumatised...


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Tuesday, November 08, 2005

[bemused] Kai has created a little den for himself - behind my sofa under the lowest tier of the bookshelves against the 'hall' wall...
kits and Quyn
Behind the sofa at the back there...
He must have got this from his dad, the very thought of trying to squeeze into that sort of tiny space is enough to give me the heebie-jeebies. (And yes, I hated small enclosed spaces even as a child, always felt they were trying to gobble me up and swallow me.)
I'm saying nowt. Not pushing my phobias onto Kai. He knows I don't like small spaces/being underground and accepts it, as I've explained it to him as just me, one of my dislikes, and it's not a problem.
<rant> We need rain, I know it. We need a lot of sustained rain to fill our reservoirs. So when it does rain I'm happy, even if it does mean I squelch home with sopping jean bottoms and sodden trainers.
It was dry when I left to collect Kai from school. So was the ground. It started raining as we were going down the lane to Sainsbugs. And when I say rain, I mean as in torrential. We were in the supermarket for maybe twenty minutes, and when we came out the roads had turned into streams, and we were jumping from slightly raised dry bit to small hillock just to get out of the carpark. (I wasn't wearing a coat, it's still too warm for me, though I confess I'm out of T-shirts now and into a threadbare sweatshirt that isn't too hot, and my brolly is a joke, though it does at least keep most of my hair dry.) The drains simply can't cope with that volume of rain...
We reached the pedestrian crossing at the bottom of Sandy Park Rd... Now, when it really rains this small but vital bit of road becomes a miniature lake, more than ankle deep, necessitating some truly athletic jumps around the safety railing and across the road to keep your feet dry.
I'm going to assume everyone reading this has seen the effect of vehicle tyres driving through a small body of water. You know, if you go nice and slowly you make a small ripple that harms nobody. Go a bit faster and you make waves. Go faster still and you send up a thigh-high sheet of water that soaks everyone in its path...
Yes, I am addressing you three selfish bastards who actually speeded up to drive through the mini-lake at the bottom of Sandy Park Rd, completely soaking me, Kai and the two schoolgirls standing waiting for the lights to change (bear in mind, kind reader of the non-selfish-bastard variety, that once you've crossed half way you're stuck on a small island, perhaps four foot wide at best, and unable to move anywhere until the lights change.) And yes, I saw you turning your faces away, trying to pretend it wasn't you...
When you find yourself in the middle of nowhere, in a vicious storm, late at night with two flat tyres, a non-functioning mobile phone and a two mile walk to the nearest habitation, you'll only have yourselves to blame.
They were the usual 'one person in a car' morons, too, adding to the city pollution and wasting the planet's resource... Pissed off? Oh yes. These cretins and others like them are a good part of the reason why I don't like drivers. Especially Briz drivers.</rant - but don't even think this is going away...>


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Monday, November 07, 2005

HOOVER-CANDY FRIDGE-FREEZER SAGA pt 14, pt 2 (please see previous post for the gory details...)
Ken woke me at 3pm, just before leaving to collect Kai. H-C customer service rang at around 3.20... [shakes head] I have this mental image of them drawing straws to decide who will be growled at next... Reasonably apologetic. Then he explained that although they'd allocated us a replacement f-f , somehow the delivery peeps managed not to get the instruction, and they were now out of stock of the replacement. No, he couldn't tell me when they'd get any more in stock. However, they did have an identical appliance but with an 'aluminium finish': would we be prepared to accept that one?
This is the version they're offering us. This is the one we have at the moment (well, close enough, though this one seems to have a couple of extra features that ours doesn't, so perhaps it's a slightly higher spec...).
I'm not a great fan of the 'industrial kitchen' look, but dammit, I just want a fridge that bloody works!! And given that the microwave is 'aluminium finish', and the kitchen odds and sods I've bought this year (bin, washing up bowl, cutlery drainer etc.) are silver-grey, I decided we can live with it, so after confirming that all the specs are the same, and that they WILL collect the old one, I said OK. Delivery should be Friday - unless anything else goes wrong.
Then I stood in the kitchen and looked around. Yes, we need a new sink unit and a mixer tap: water from the taps and the washing machine has soaked into the... um... mdf is it called? Whatever the 1950s version was, anyway, chipboard?... and the whole thing lists at an angle. Ken would like a double sink. (Yes, Ken: he does most of the washing up. [evil grin] Evidently I don't do a good enough job.) We need to make better use of the wall space. It would be nice to have new worktops too, and new doors to the cupboards, even if we can't afford to replace the whole units. And the room badly needs repainting, of course. Upshot is I think we'll go for blue, smoked glass and brushed steel/'aluminium' out there. It'll mean new flooring and window blind, but everything else will fit in, with the wooden containers adding a whimsical touch. Will try to make a start in the New Year, when the current projects are finished.
And there'll be photos, of course.
In other news, Ken was invited to give a talk to the Bristol Society for Paranormal Research and Investigation last night at the King's Head pub in St George (lift there and back), following the publication of the Briz Ghosts book. Apparently it all went well, and nearly all of the attendees bought one of the books, which is great!
AGM was fine. I seem to have been made a member of the BCP sort of by accident, but since that doesn't really involve doing anything more than I already do I suppose that's OK.
Back to Dreams. Now at 27,181 words and still behind...


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I took a phone call last week from a robot. It's strange being talked at by a robot. It rang to tell me the new fridge-freezer would be delivered, and the old one collected, Monday 7th November sometime between 8am and 6pm. (Then it said if I wanted to listen to the message again to press 5, which I did just for the hell of it, but nothing happened, but that's neither here nor there...)
So this morning Ken woke me just before he went out the door to take Kai to school - I must have had, oh, all of three and a half hours sleep - to say Hoover-Candy had rung and would be here between 9 and 12.
OK, I can cope with that, I can have a nap later - going to have to, it's the BCP AGM tonight and I need to be there and preferably awake and composted for the website report. Got up, cleared the fridge, packed what's left of the frozen stuff (not much, I've been running it down and [growl] not picking up the bargains I would usually buy) into bags to be packed into coolbags while the new freezer settled, then sat down to get some work done...
Half eleven a lorry pulls up outside. "We've come to collect the fridge-freezer." said the very nice young driver. "Sure," we say. "Just bring the new one in and you can take the old one away." Blank looks. "New one? No, we're just here to collect."

Driver rang H-C (heh. H/c has a new meaning for me these days...). Took him as long as it takes us to get through. He explained the situation (though he did exaggerate a little, I wasn't actually spitting mad. Annoyed, yes, but let's face it, we don't expect anything better from H-C these days.) Upshot is they'll reschedule, get a replacement to us 'asap'. That could mean later this week or next week. In the meantime, we're still without a functioning fridge and stuck with a freezer that's still at sub-arctic temperatures.
Probably just as well I'm too tired to be angry.
[sigh] More as it happens.

Later: Ken rang H-C. Customer service have us scheduled for a delivery today. The delivery people have no record of us. Customer service is now going to try to sort the mess out.
Life here resembles a sitcom sometimes. You couldn't make this stuff up.


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Sunday, November 06, 2005

[blink] Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves is playing in the background on the National Geographic channel - terrible, terrible film but the delectable Alan Rickman is just great in it (two Rickman films in two days. Can't be bad!) - and I've just noticed the intro screen between ad breaks: Fact on Film. Fact on Film? National Geographic are touting this crap as FACT?
I'll never trust them again.
It's a mystery... The Tetra of Immortality has vanished. Disappeared. Gone without a trace. Not there any more. Possibly disapparated. Lutra suggested it's returned to the Mothership...
Wordage 26,142. Back to it.

"And cancel Christmas!"


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Saturday, November 05, 2005

[grin] Galaxy Quest is on UKTVGold... Love this film, so deliciously clever and wickedly funny. Have to get the DVD.
Y'know, you could invade this country on Guy Fawkes Night and no-one would notice until the following day. The fireworks lasted for hours, and we managed to catch the ends of what must have been two professional displays - HUGE s&f rockets one after the other exploding across the sky, absolutely beautiful.
But the noise! I'm sure fireworks have never been this loud, or varied. Have to admit I really don't like the wailing screamers, most unpleasant. Quyn was funny though, charging up and down the garden growling and barking at the rockets and being all protective. Very cute.
We watched another two eps of Trigun - so good. [GLOMPS Onna]
Dreams wordage now 25,681: will be 26K+ by the time I close down, but I can't concentrate while the film is on.
Never give up, never surrender...
(And I want some of whatever Sgt Chen is on...)


Post a Comment gods, whatever next?...


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Friday, November 04, 2005

Fireworks 1


Well that was fun! There have to have been at least fourteen fireworks in the box, including three small but rather loud rockets, a couple of very noisy cascades, and some really beautiful fountains. (We didn't light the Catherine wheel - nowhere to pin it, our posts are all concrete.) And the quality was very good, especially for a cheap box (£10, but actually only £5 on the BOGOF).

Fireworks 2 There were fireworks going off everywhere out there, some spectacular rockets. Unfortunately the firework sounds were practically drowned out by the ambulance and fire-engine sirens - dread to think how much damage has been done tonight.
(Photos taken with Kai's little digicam - not come out too badly, I think, given I was standing a good 25 feet away. I'm afraid of fire and mistrustful of fireworks.)Fireworks 3
It's the Bridgwater Carnival tonight as well: I'd love to take Kai to this one year. The problem is you really need transport (or to be able to stop overnight. Well, that too may be an option.)
And The Goblet of Fire opens here 18th November, if I caught the ad correctly (and if I'm wrong, please let me know, so I can reschedule when we go to see it). Hoping to take Kai the 29th, if the queues have died down by then. Can't wait - it looks amazing! (Pity the DVD won't be out in time for Yule - it's become traditional for us to buy the extended version for Kai as a pressie over the last three years... Maybe for his birthday.)


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A useful sort of day. We still hadn't managed to get the TV-VCR connection working, and I spotted on DigiGuide that Carry on up the Khyber was showing on 4 (the new Channel 4 channel, um, 4...) this evening...
<tangent> The film is a product of its time, appallingly sexist, racist, full of dreadful stereotypes and absolutely non-PC: it would never be made today, thank gawd. It's also side-slappingly funny and has me in stitches every time. Such terrible, terrible jokes. Ghastly puns. Horrible one-liners. Wonderful stuff! I know, I know, most reprehensible of me. I can't say I care, I'm allowed to be incorrect on occasion. It's quintessential British humour, bawdy, crude and takes the piss out of itself something awful. And Kenneth Williams is excellent. Love it. </tangent>
ANYway, I wanted to tape it (while we watched some more Trigun, but that's incidental), so we had another go at fiddling with the cables. Hm. That's probably an offence, somewhere... It didn't work, although we did establish there was nothing wrong with any of the leads or the equipment. So we rang TeleWest.
As it happened, we had to reprogramme the VCR. Huh? I don't remember having to programme it in the first place... So, with Ken on the floor with VCR remote and instruction book, me at the desk with phone to ear relaying instructions, and TeleWest techie on the other end of the line trying to make sense of my descriptions of what we actually have here, we finally got the whole thing working (not exactly as the techie said it should, but what the hell, I can video again, that's all I care.)
Thank you, unnamed TeleWest techie with the interesting Northern accent!
The college didn't ring, so I rang back: had a chat with the deputy head, who was very helpful. Apparently the boy doesn't go to BEC, which was a surprise as Ken was sure he did. However, the d.h. did say we shouldn't have to put up with this harassment, and we should complain once we find out where the boy does go to school. [sigh] More investigation next week...
Dreams wordage now at 24,436, still behind but catching up.
Off to make dinner. Then we're out to set off Kai's fireworks; tonight, as they say it's going to rain all weekend. We don't usually buy them, but Tesco was selling boxes on BOGOF, so we grabbed a couple of the cheapest. Me, I like pretty fizz-bangs - as long as I don't have to put up with them every night for bloody months.


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Thursday, November 03, 2005

[bleurgh] Finding out you're allergic to the foam cleaner you've just used on your keyboard is no fun when you're waiting for a phone call... [snuffle sneeze] Damn nuisance, it never used to affect me.
Regular readers might remember me mentioning, in passing back when I wrote about the BEC open day (October 7th), that we've been having a few problems with one of their students. This goes back two years, to an afternoon when Ken had taken Kai through Arno's Park (at the end of our road) on the way back from shopping. There's a children's playground there that the parents in the area campaigned for quite some time to have built: dogs are prohibited, as it clearly says on the signs at the entrances.
On this occasion the boy in question took his young Staffordshire bull terrier into the dog-free sprogs playground. Ken spoke to him, pointing out that dogs were prohibited: the boy ignored him and let it off the lead.
I'm the first to admit that all dogs have the potential to be dangerous - even Quyn will bite if you give him due cause - but Staffordshire bull terriers are a specialist fighting breed, and they frighten me. (Heh, they frighten anyone with any sense!) This particular dog proceeded to charge around the sprogs' area, sending one young mum with her little 'un running, bounced around Kai, terrifying him, and then shoved its nose into our shopping, at which point Ken pushed it away (carefully). To be fair, the dog was young and more boisterous and enthusiastic than threatening, but a) it shouldn't have been in there in the first place and b) standard advice for these dogs is they shouldn't be let off the lead in public places where there are people.
At no point did Ken hurt the animal - none of us would hurt any animal unless directly threatened. But ever since the boy (he must be 13 by now) has accused Ken of kicking it.
He shouts this from across the road, or while walking through the park, annoying Ken and worrying Kai. Ken's tackled him about it on a couple of occasions, but he keeps lying, and has obviously done so to all his friends. I spoke to our local police about it, back before the summer holidays, at a BCP meeting: they told us they could either; have a quiet word with the boy; have a word with the PC attached to the College (yes, they have a police officer actually onsite. Does this reassure anyone?) for him to speak to the boy; have a word with his parents; or we could bring a civil suit for slander. (Obviously this last would be overkill, but the other options are perfectly acceptable.) We opted to take no action at the time, though the complaint is now on record.
I'd hoped the whole ridiculous situation would fizzle out, but there was another incident yesterday, and I've had enough. I've rung the College to see what, if any, disciplinary procedures they have (for students shouting abuse while in uniform, I mean) and am now waiting for a call back. We'll take it from there.


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Mmmmmm... Kai wanted to watch some Trigun, so we slapped in the first DVD and sat/laughed/oohed through the first five episodes (and only stopped there because it was his bedtime)...
Sprog was perfectly happy to watch in Japanese with subtitles - he's thoroughly pissed off with practically all the anime dubs having American accents, too, though to be fair the dubbed voices aren't too far off the Japanese seiyuu, here. So far at any rate. And we can now see how badly my videos have deteriorated (although given how many times they've been played that's hardly surprising!) So very happy family here! 'lestrel smiley
Attack of the Clones was on ITV West tonight. Reading the blurb, I was sure I hadn't seen it, despite Ken insisting we had. So we watched it, and sure enough I was right. [sigh] (He also insists he didn't tell me that passports are now only valid for half the old time, but Kai was listening when he'd said it and backed me up. In fact they're still valid for ten years, not the five Ken said. Heh, the side- and after-effects of the medication are supposed to have worn off by now...)
Well, the planetary landscapes were great, as were the vehicles, but the acting... [cringe] And plot holes big enough to drive a Death Star through...
Glad I've seen it though, if only for completeness sake. Will pick it up if it's ever for sale extra cheap.
Managed a thousand words on Dreams today, but I'm not feeling particularly well and seem to have a temperature, so am aiming for a dose of multi-vits, 500mg CVit, and an early night. Hopefully that'll do the trick.


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Wednesday, November 02, 2005

There was a parcel waiting for me when I woke this morning, from China.
[blinkblink] WAII!!
Trigun. On DVD. All 26 eps in a 3-DVD set!
Onna, are they from you? I mean, I assumed they are, but there was no note/reference with the parcel... Let me know and I'll say thanks properly!
Going to have to schedule in some time to watch. Kai wants to see the series again: with luck I can persuade him to watch in Japanese, since he knows the story.
Speaking of Kai, he's back to school today. It feels like Monday though - hard to kickstart brain. I need to catch up with Dreams...


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Tuesday, November 01, 2005

[sigh] I said I was tired. Last night's post was supposed to say Happy Samhain for everyone in the Northern Hemisphere, and Happy Beltain for everyone in the Southern...
Ken finally arrived home about 7.15 am. It was quite interesting, but they only experienced one unusual event, a temperature anomaly in one of the first-floor bedrooms. He's now knackered!
I took Kai, Matt and Tom to see Sky High this afternoon...
It's a great film, charming, funny, cute - the antithesis of Sin City. It treads a fine line between the naff and OTT and the wryly sweet without ever tipping over into the gooey and saccharine, and is oddly innocent. I saw the ending coming a mile off, but it didn't matter. We loved it. The sprogs played superheroes all the way home.
I was bemused by the soundtrack, however. I'm sure all these songs were hits around the times I was at Uni... Does this mean I'm in my second childhood? Or did I never grow out of the first one?
Managed to catch up with Antihero for Hire and took a look at the extras. I found this:
Unexpected War Year: 2075 It was a time nobody really expected, excepting the organizations up North planning the whole thing. See, what happened was that Canada, tired of the way the US was running their country, sent wave after wave of genetically modified dinosaurs trained to attack only military targets. Not one non-resistant was killed, and all of the states that bordered Canada became provinces. Word is people living there don't really mind, which is one of main reasons it was so successful. The other was, of course, that the US was so busy protecting themselves against Weapons of Mass Destruction that they never made anything to protect against dinosaur attacks.
[beg] Nicely subtly subversive, I think...


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