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!
Saturday, December 31, 2005
Last post of 2005...
House is clean and tidy, all creatures eight-, four-, two- and zero legged fed and watered, and we've just had Kai's fireworks in the garden (adding our own smoke to the miasma that will afflict the country in an hour and forty-five minutes).
It's been an interesting sort of year. I've done my usual, walking a tightrope while juggling home and family in one hand and work in the other... I'm the luckiest person I know, since my work is my writing, which is also my hobby and my life and the thing I do best, so I don't really need a third hand for 'myself'...
We've finished one joint book, and one solo book each, had the good news that the long slow miserable slog through Ken's Hep C medication appears to have paid off (he goes for his six-month blood test next week, results back at the end of the month. If they're clear we're one step closer to having got shot of the virus completely). And he's started work on a novel - it sounds most intriguing...
Then it was decided that Kai doesn't have Asperger's (sprog's social skills took an immediate upward leap, with the relief I think). We've had the trials of school open-evenings and the decisions as to secondary schools, and his NVRT at John Cabot. He's become a fan of Dr Who and model trains. He has his interview at John Cabot on the 13th, and we should know by the end of the month whether he's been accepted or not. (So two things to keep the fingers crossed for this month.)
I've made a great start on re-writing the Alliance Chronicles into a work of original fiction with an aim to publication. I've discovered some wonderful new music and a new favourite group, read a couple of fairly good books [later edit - I should rephrase that. I've read a lot of books, a couple of which were fairly good], found some excellent new anime and manga, and still need a 60 hour day to be able to get done everything I want to accomplish.
Haadri's still not published though...
You know, I started this blog because it was yet another way I could express myself (since I'm a self-opinionated old trout and find it difficult to shut up). It's also a way to let widely-scattered family and distant (and not so distant) friends know what's happening here. It's nothing special, just a peek into our lives: I leave all the profound and political oeuvres to others better qualified and with more time than me. But I enjoy writing it - I hope you enjoy reading it, even disjointed distracted posts like this! - and have every intention of continuing.
I'm looking forward to 2006. It'll be another series of challenges - and you should know by now I can't resist a challenge!
Friday, December 30, 2005
Finally scanned the coaster Carol made for me!
Mmmm - Legato...
Almost a crime to put my glass on it!
I also forgot to [GLOMP] Sue, who gave me the Sin City DVD for Yule. Many thanks!
Heh, no wonder it's cold. It's hailing furiously out there...
Back to it...
Squelching around town with trainers that leak is no fun when it's raining. I ended up not bothering with the brolly - too windy up Whiteladies Rd anyway - and just getting soaked.
Still, we did make the new Forbidden Planet superstore - it's lovely, big and packed with all sort of goodies. Though none of the things I was looking for, dammit. Still, we picked up the first Fruits Basket manga for Kai and I to share...
Kai bought himself a piece of Hornby rolling stock at Antics. I can't find a pic of it, but he tells me it's a hopper of some kind, he thinks for laying ballast on the tracks. Fantastically detailed, weathered, with bumpers that actually have a little 'give' in them, like the real thing. He's delighted with it, but it does mean he'll have to save pocket money (and wait 'til his birthday) to get the locomotive he wants.
And I picked up a new pair of trainers. Cheap to start with, reduced in the sale (£7.99)... they won't last long, I'll still need to get another pair from the Sunday market, but at least they're waterproof and will do for the time being.
And the bloody Chinese supermarket was closed! Why? Chinese New Year isn't 'til February! [growl] And in the process of finding out it was closed we missed the bus, and it was 20 minutes til the next one. (It should have been 10 minutes, according to the schedule.) So, chilly soggy grumps all round then.
Still, our play.com delivery arrived this morning. They're having a major sale at the moment, up to 75% off DVDs, so we took advantage with what was left of the Yule money. YAY! I now have Buckaroo Banzai on DVD! Love that film. Also Van Helsing, Pitch Black (special edition), a family favourite, and Lara Croft: Cradle of Life (which Kai asked to watch a couple of days ago. Don't care that it was slammed by the critics, it's still a rollicking fun film that we all like - and because it flopped it was extremely cheap!) [whispers] We also got The Incredibles, Shaun of the Dead and Tremors DVDs for Kai's birthday - all films he loves. But shhhh - don't tell him!
So, tonight... More of the same - next part of Onna's costume fic, and continue with 2AC. Tomorrow I'm roping everyone in to clean through the house ready for New Year.
Thursday, December 29, 2005
[growl] Sleep is such a waste of time...
I suppose I must have needed it though. At any rate, I feel more awake now than for the last few days.
So - shopping (Sainsbug have gritted the customer walkway under their canopy - bit pointless, I thought, as it made it slippery as hell for my trainers - and I was snowed on on the way back, just a few flakes, not enough to settle, but enough for a wintery atmosphere), then cooked sushi rice while making dinner: a Sainsbug's Cape Malay Curry (I think that's the name - one of their South African sauces range) made with pork, courgette, mushrooms and peppers, served on rice. I didn't think Kai would like it - he's been going through a phase of not wanting to try new things for the last month - so I cooked him a pork loin chop, but gave him a spoonful or two of the curry on a saucer to taste. [rolls eyes] He loved it. Eh well. On the list for next time...
Then he asked to watch some more Fruits Basket. So we did, and now I'm hooked (it was the getting positively tearful over Hatori's backstory that did it, I think). I can't believe I stopped finding Tohru's Pollyanna qualities annoying so quickly! (Kai thinks she's lovely.) It's cute, very funny, and poignant - and oddly human, given the subject matter. And it's a considerably more complex story than I'd anticipated, which helps maintain my interest. I think I will try to get hold of the manga, Onna - I'm most intrigued. I think Kai would enjoy it too. (I haven't shown him any of mine so far, as they're mostly too adult for him.)
I'm particularly enjoying the portrayal of Japanese life. The cultural festival made me grin: I connected with that, as Ruth has told me what happened at the cultural festival at Jun and Yumi's school, before they left Japan. The importance of New Year also resonates, given the season.
Then I made sushi for tomorrow. Lots and lots of sushi, which was just as well, because we managed to eat a third of it tonight. Kai had some, and after announcing he didn't like the rice, ate two rolls. From the inside out, finishing off with the seaweed. [shakes head] Can't take him anywhere! Still, he wasn't too averse to it, and I have hopes he might grow to like it. We'll see.
Planning a foray into town tomorrow, to check out the new Forbidden Planet superstore at the Clifton Triangle, pick up some modelling cement and possibly bits of track for Kai from Antics, and raid the Chinese supermarket for more sushi rice, nori, ramen and Pocky. And try Wilkinson's again for an airtight container that's big enough to store opened nori packets in (they had one before Yule but the lid was missing...) With a little luck the crowds won't be too bad.
But for now - the second part of Onna's costume fic, then some more 2AC. 1.4.01 is coming along nicely...
Wednesday, December 28, 2005
Right, let's see...
Watched: the first three eps of Drawn Together uncensored... [beg] Hm. Yes. Uncensored, definitely. Even more to gross out anyone without a broad mind and even broader sense of humour. Gohatto... Double-hm. Beautiful, but I think I need to have a far greater knowledge of Japanese culture - or at least understand the language - to pick up on the subtleties. It's extremely stylised, and the end left me completely confused. Two more eps of Dinotopia. Such pretty locations. The first four eps of Fruits Basket, which Kai and I watched subtitled. It's a lot of fun once you get past the cringe-worthy (but anime-typical as far as I can see) Pollyanna elements of the lead female character. Cute and quirky - Kai loved it, and I'll enjoy watching the rest as well. Thanks Onna!
Wrote: the end of 2AC 1.3.12 and started 1.4.01, and made a start on proofing Onna's 'costume' fic.
Kai has cleared the floor in his room and set up a layout, and spent a lot of today playing with his trains.
As for the rest, it's been peaceful again. So why am I so bloody tired?
Later: forgot to say I also organised the kitchen cupboards - ditched a whole load of stuff we never use, most of it will go to one of the charity shops - and the larder. Which is somewhat empty. Need a largeish shop done soon.
Dangerous Liaisons is on BBC2. A French 'classic' starring Keanu Reeves? This I must see...
Tuesday, December 27, 2005
Monday, December 26, 2005
...bleurgh... Slept too long - nine hours! Ken commented that'll do me for the rest of the year - and woke with backache and headache. Thank science for 'prufen!
We ended up watching Dogma last night... [grin] It's not often I get a present so absolutely right for Ken (he's horribly difficult to buy for) but he loved it, sat with a big grin on his face all the way through. And it had me in stitches - so funny. (Though I found the end a little too... pat.)
(Lutra's Sushi card ->)
Today's been deliciously lazy too. I bought in Sainsbug's special offer party snack packs, and Ken is making dinner (cold meats, creamed spuds and salad), so I haven't had to cook at all today. The 'under the tree' Boxing Day presents went down well: we got Kai the Dinotopia DVD (original mini-series, not the long TV series) and have watched the first part this morning. We're now chortling over Kai's Smeg Ups and Smeg Outs tapes. [grin] "Never work with children, animals or bullets..."
And this was my pressie - Rudolph the Evil Reindeer. The photo doesn't really do his evil smirk and manic eyes justice, alas. If you throttle him, he plays a strangely Germanic sounding version of 'Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer', and his nose flashes on and off. Surreal. But cute. Like Sunsilk Hair-Monsters are cute...
Dinner eaten and we've now moved onto Chicken Run, which Kai always asks to watch when it's on TV, so we bought him the DVD. Heh, TV's been abysmal, as far as we're concerned, this Yule. Just as well we went mad with the DVDs. I want a home cinema. And a bigger house to put it in. With a room just for Kai's model railway. Speaking of which: Onna, I had a look at the model railway landscapes book myself - what a gorgeous book! Fantastic layouts. Thank you!
Carol, Kai loves his Station Master badge - put it right on and hasn't taken it off. He says he's going to save his pocket money and add it to your cash to buy the EWS locomotive he wants. [GLOMPS]
And I love the Trigun coaster! And the fishy clips! I can fasten my freezer bags with multi-coloured SQUID!!
I need to get out of the house tomorrow - may dive over to Tesco or Sainsbug and see what half-price cards and crackers they have. And tonight I fancy watching some Drawn Together. Or maybe Gohatto...
Sunday, December 25, 2005
Well, today has been great! Unhurried, unflustered, unfrazzled - I've really enjoyed it, though I'm tired now. Kai's taken over almost the whole of the lounge floor with his track and had a wonderful day playing with it, in between watching War of the Worlds and Pirates of the Caribbean. He loves the book, Onna. We'll be writing thank-you emails tomorrow, but in the meantime, thanks to Carol and Adrian (Thornton's Turkish Delight, oh YUMM), Arfs and Chris, and Kim, as well as the folks of course!
Kai's just off to bed: we're now going to flump with a glass of wine and one of the adult DVDs... what to choose...?
(OK, Wealth would be nice too, but if you have health and happiness you can scrape by without wealth...)
May love and peace be with you, no matter what or how you worship - and especially if you don't!
I shall save the rant about Midnight Communion until after Xmas. Suffice it to say I won't be going again, and Kai's not too keen either. No, it wasn't the congregation - they were very welcoming and friendly - it was the sermon. And the overall insanity of the thing. But that can wait 'til later...
Onna, Kai's got your present on the end of his bed, to open when he wakes up - it should keep him very happily occupied for half an hour while he waits for us to rise! Will tell you later what he says.
Right, another glass of the most excellent mulled wine - doing my sore throat a power of good: as usual the carols were pitched too high and I had to drop an octave, made me sing deeper than the bloke beside me! - then I could think about closing down. Or reading something to unwind. Or something.
Hope everyone has a wonderful day!
Saturday, December 24, 2005
I'm on Santa watch - following his progress on NORAD tracks Santa. He's reached Cairo now, and Kai's just had the bright idea that we might see him overhead as we walk to St Luke's (at 11. The service starts at 11.30. And apparently the vicar is female, so this could be interesting!)
We have brandy-rich mince pies and Courvoisier flavoured skooshy cream (for Ken), apple pies with ordinary skooshy cream (for me), and mulled wine for us both, and organic clementines and a Galaxy chocolate drink for Kai, ready for when we get back.
Everything's ready for tomorrow - I think, anyway, and if it isn't, it doesn't matter. For the first time in 15 years I don't have to spend all my time in the kitchen, or making sure everyone is comfortable and has everything they need. There'll be room on the floor for Kai to set out a big layout with all his new train stuff. And I can just flop! [grin] It's going to be so relaxing!
And the folks are all set up too: Ken's have lined up a series of dances, and mine have parties and a dance to go to, so they won't miss coming up here. Well, they'll probably miss it, but it won't stop them having a great time. So that's all good too!
So, knowing I would be groggy this morning, I left a note for Ken saying to wake me when the 'flashy thing' (the ICQ postit that flashes in the system tray when you get a message) started doing its flashy thing...
Two attempts later I'm 'awake' (in some other dimension, certainly not this one) trying to make my fingers work so I can make sense to Lutra. Ken asks if I'd like toast. "No," I say, "but I'd kill for a fried egg and ham sandwich with lots of English mustard." ('Kill' being a relative term, here, as I'm probably not capable of even a bit of maiming this morning...)
Twenty minutes later I'm handed a truly delicious sandwich. Half way through, Ken says - "Oh, did you know you had a parcel?"
Given that it's still sitting on my settee unopened, it's a fair guess that no, I didn't. Kai brings it through to me at the desk...
WAIIII!! It's from Lutra!
[chokes on mouthful of sandwich] [rip rend and tear] [picks bits of polystyrene packaging out of sandwich] [big beaming grin]
Pirates of the Caribbean and 2002 DVDs, a Xena video (no, I can't stand Xena, but this has the For Him the Bell Tolls episode starring Craig Parker. You know, Haldir in LotR....), a Kaioshin action figure, a Radittsu action figure (this one with the mane blowing - and an unwindable tail! [looking more closely] Actually, this one is beautifully detailed, and more poseable than the other... and smirking. Hm. Kaioshin is scowling. Lutra had bubble-wrapped them face to face... well, face to waist, given the relative sizes... There's a lemony fic in there somewhere...), a gorgeous handmade card with 3D sushi and a pair of chopsticks on the front, 4 postcards - a drop bear (ROFL!), the Penguin Parade, Gariwerd National Park, and an Aboriginal painting of a Bunya Pine - and an evil squid. Yes, really. It's sitting in front of my magnificent octopus at the moment, glowering at me out of evil yellow eyes. Alas, it's too small to take a decent photo with Kai's digicam, and it's the wrong shape to scan, so maybe next time Carol visits...? [beg] It's great!
And last but absolutely not least, there was the most beautiful Tarot pack, based on CLAMP's RG Veda manga. Gorgeous artwork, just gorgeous. Going to be interesting working out which card is which: Major Arcana is no problem, as the cards are numbered, but the Minor Arcana cards are all in Japanese... [frown] or possibly Chinese, I can't see any hiragana amongst the kanji... Eh well, Tarot transcends language anyway, and repays study.
[GLOMPS Lutra] Thank you thank you thank you!
Going to let Lutra have the last word before I go back to bed for a little more sleep (so I can be awake enough to take Kai to St Luke's this evening).
[bemused] OK... It looks as though I may have inadvertently done something to placate the fridge-freezer gremlin, because now the drinks dispenser is working.
[shakes head, shrugs] No use asking me, I have no idea how these things happen. It's surreal here at the best of times.
Also forgot to say we ate the partridge on the 21st and it was delicious! There was a surprising amount of meat on it for such a small bird, and it was very rich. We all enjoyed the taste - Kai and I more than Ken, I think - but it's not something that will be going on the regular shopping list (not at that price).
I fed the fish in Roeg's Pool today - all five are still there and looking healthy.
Unfortunately, the f*****g mole is obviously also still there (um, in the garden I mean, not in the pool), as we now have another five bloody molehills. How can such a cute, small creature cause such destructive havoc?! And where did it come from in the first place? Do moles just spontaneously generate in amenable locations? [sigh] We've found a humane mole trap, but it's £11.95 plus £4 p&p [wince] and you have to place it in one of the tunnels, which means digging up a substantial bit of garden. But the damn thing is obviously looking to expand its territory: there are a series of hills up against the wall - it can't get under the foundations - and one perilously close to our neighbour's fence. If it goes into his garden it will be poisoned: he won't put up with any nonsense.
Stupid bloody animal! [growl]
Have to worry about it after Yule now.
Right - I think that's me caught up with the odd bits of news I kept forgetting to mention. Bed soon - I'm very tired. And weary. It's been a tiring few months... years... decades... lifetimes...
Friday, December 23, 2005
Well that was great! Then again, it's always fun having Carol and Adrian visit (and good especially of Adrian, as he's recovering from a very nasty cold).
Adrian also took a handful of decent photos of the Radittsu statuette - including this portrait, and I've replaced yesterday's photo with a better one (go see!).
Carol and I worked on my computer, first downloading all the updates I've been leaving for about six months, then installing SP2 from Sue's disc (thanks Sue!). It took ages, especially during the 'process cleanup' (which had Carol making jokes about Butch being forced to clean and iron... She didn't mean it Butch, honest! And it was her, not me! There'll be a lemon for you soon as I can write it, in the New Year!!) However, everything seems to have installed OK, I was able to reboot, albeit slowly the first time, there was no conflict with my Norton firewall or Grisoft AV, and I can send/receive email, browse and ftp just fine...
[GLOMPS] Carol and Adrian! We had a fantastic day.
Thursday, December 22, 2005
3.20 pm - Ack, where to start...?
I suppose with the dream I had just before I woke up. Not interesting in and of itself, but because it was a fairly good example of how my mind works.
We don't normally watch Only Fools and Horses - I can't stand Del-boy's character - but it was on last night and I kind of half watched it while eating dinner. It was the ep where Rodney meets aspiring artist Lady Victoria (and Del-boy completely wrecks the relationship). In the dream, I had commissioned an artist (her first name was Rachael; don't remember a last name) to paint an illustration for me - of a dream I had, featuring a dreamer and her dream (that's three levels of 'dream', yes?). She'd produced something completely different to what I was expecting - far more impressionistic than I'd originally requested - but quite striking: the figure in the centre of the canvass was foreshortened, lying down, back and neck arched so you could see the relaxed face upside down, and around her were elements of the dream in a mix of brilliant vivid colours and softer pastel smudges. (She was painted in shades of dried blood red, herself.) At the bottom of the canvass the landscape was of a river, with burning buildings to the right, and a wide rural view on the left: much of the rest of the painting was covered with images of people and animals...
If I had the skill I'd try to paint it myself.
And it's now [OnnaGLOMP] time! Over the course of the morning were delivered:
The Gravitation Yuletide picture The Fruits Basket DVD - 26 episodes! - (via Lutra in Australia! How did that happen!?) AND This! -> A 9-inch resin statuette of Radittsu!Trademark smirk and all - and the eyes are much bigger than in the anime, life sized rather than those pinprick dots. I love it! [GLOMPS onna!] (And by the way, I'm not surprised Forbidden Fruit went down so well [smirk] - it's a crackin' little ficlet!)
Now I just have to re-organise my work space to I can fit everything in...
Fake 3 and 7 arrived from Amazon uk, too (heh, a couple of hours in advance of the email advising me they'd been sent), but I need to save them until after the Sainsbug shop. Kai wants to come with me on his scooter (I suspect he's angling for some penang bites as a treat) but is upstairs with Ken at the moment, turning out one of his storage crates, and far be it from me to interrupt something that's needed doing for months...
We also received a letter from John Cabot this morning, confirming Kai's structured interview/oral assessment at 2.15-2.30 Friday the 13th January. [shiver] Fifteen minutes that will decide the course of his education for the next eight years. As Ken said, no pressure... Crossed fingers, helpful spells and encouraging thoughts would be most gratefully received. They aim to send out the results by the end of January, so at least the agony won't be prolonged too long.
Carol and Adrian are over tomorrow, just for the day (Adrian's having back problems, so they can't come over for New Year, alas). Looking forward to that!
Shopping accomplished without bloodshed - or trolley rage on my part: it was too early for the mutoids to be out in force, I think - although everything is taking longer than it should. However, now there's just a couple of odd things left to pick up tomorrow, which Ken will do. He bathed Quyn while we were out, too, so we have a clean and sweet-smelling dog for Yule. And Fake is lovely, such a gorgeous ending.
Wednesday, December 21, 2005
Ye gods, it's that time again...
Our 16th Anniversary.
It's been a low-key day. Neither of us had bought cards this year (hadn't had time and hadn't been able to find anything right) but I gave Ken a box of Past Times Mulled Wine and Xmas Pudding-flavour-centred chocolates, and he gave me a box of Beech's Rose Creams, which were just gorgeous. Second year in a row we've thought the same!
I finally put up my silver tree (pic is from last year) but haven't bothered with the snowflakes this year - it's just too much hassle (heh, haven't even got the energy to take a new photo at the moment). Kai helped me with the Tesco shopping: with a little luck I only have to do one last Sainsbug's shop tomorrow and that'll be us until the New Year (well, except for bread and milk etc).
And tonight we're just flumping...
Tuesday, December 20, 2005
Just back from The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe...
It's beautiful, absolutely beautiful. Pretty faithful to the book (except for one chase across the ice and a scene on the river which were added for drama's sake), but certainly faithful to the overall feel. The acting is wonderful, the creatures completely believable (and Tumnus is simply adorable), the CG damn near perfect. My only immediate quibbles are with Jadis' odd hairstyles and peculiar stiff costumes - most unattractive collar/ruff type thing - and the dryads. Oh, and the centaurs, but this last is only because I feel that the halves should be properly in proportion and they never are; they're life-sized and I always want the human half to be bigger or the horse half to be smaller, depending on the overall animal size. Eh well. They looked good anyway. Almost as good as the fauns.
And I cried at the sacrifice, but then I do even when I'm reading the book, always have done, just as I do when Aslan sings the world into existence in The Magician's Nephew. (No-one noticed - I was discreet and their eyes were glued to the screen.)
Some of the language and attitudes have been slightly updated, but it's not intrusive nor too modern (and I can't remember anyone saying 'OK'! Ye gods... I hope I'm remembering correctly.) I wasn't sure about the casting of Swinton to start with - she looks right, but didn't seem quite menacing enough to me - but at the end she's magnificent, everything Jadis should be (and the costume is amazing).
As to the story itself - you can read into it what you will. The tension between light and dark is far older than Xtianity and appears in the tales of every culture. I've never viewed the Narnia Chronicles as Xtian allegory, not even when told that CS Lewis intended them as such. When I first read them their mythic quality enwrapped me: seeing the first film on the screen nothing has changed.
But I did remember one thing - how I explained away the references to Sons of Adam/Daughters of Eve to myself. The children are aliens in Narnia: they're from a completely different world, and this was nothing more than a useful title to indicate their native culture. [shrugs] It worked for me.
One thing, though, before you go to see it: don't leap out of your seat the moment the credits start to roll. A short distance in there's a beautiful little scene that half the people at the showing missed (and got in my bloody way so I had to peer around them) because they were on the way out.
Really looking forward to the next one...
[happy sigh] Absolution arrived this morning, and was immediately ripped to mp3. Then listened to in WMP (with poor long-suffering Lutra subjected to a running commentary in ICQ) and I'm now listening to it again in Winamp through headphones, to pick up on the subtleties my ailing computer speakers missed.
Drowning in Muse. It's fabulous, perfect working music for Palingenesis. Will be assembling new playlists for Winamp and Kood later.
Ken's turn to go to Kai's school Carol Service. Tch', it's his last one. Really we should both go - but then again, I've been volunteered to take him to Midnight Mass at St Luke's (the 600 year old church in the village - that's Brislington Village just down the road). No, we aren't reverting to Xtianity, but like almost all ancient churches St Luke's was built on an earlier Pagan site, so the energy is still there. And it's easy enough to translate Son into Sun in the mind. We've explained the origins of the Solstice Festival to Kai, and how it was co-opted by the Xtians, and he's curious to see how it's celebrated.
And if nothing else, we both enjoy singing carols!
It feels odd not having to plough on with Dreams, but that always happens after I've finished a book. Heh, and it's not like I don't have plenty to be getting on with. Which reminds me - Onna, will make a start on Thursday, and hopefully have a first beta with you by the end of the day.
... mmmm.... Blackout.
"don't kid yourself and don't fool yourself this love's too good to last and I'm too old to dream don't grow up too fast and don't embrace the past this life's too good to last and I'm too young to care..."There isn't one track on this album I don't like.
Monday, December 19, 2005
Heh. So much for a relaxing day! Still, I've done most of the holiday shopping now, which means I can rest over the next few days. And Sainsbug's had some interesting specials, including an oven-ready partridge. We've never had partridge. It's about the size of the average blackbird, so there won't be more than a taste for each of us, but what the hell - it'll be interesting. Couldn't find any pear trees though...
Card day today!
Then I saw this and had to get it for Ken...
Since Seti@home moved, I've had a problem with the computer's System Idle process kicking in and swallowing up all my memory if the machine's left unattended for any length of time (five minutes today!), which is no fun as even closing down to reboot takes ten minutes. So I finally nipped over to BOINC (lovely name! My computer is BOINCing!) and downloaded the software: I currently have Climatechange and Einstein@home trundling along in the background. (Tried to rejoin Seti@home but it appears I changed my password and didn't make a note of it, so the system won't let me in. I'll need to contact them to find out what it was, but since I took over as IAVMT webmaster the main page renders in Japanese and I can't read it. No, no idea why, but my main site access log appears in Korean on ftp, which I can't read either. At least it makes for an interesting life...) So far so good - switching applications on the machine is actually faster now.
This was quite fun, mainly because it wasn't easy to predict the answer. Lovely illustrations too.
You are The Moon
Hope, expectation, bright promises.
The Moon is a card of magic and mystery - when prominent you know that nothing is as it seems, particularly when it concerns relationships. All logic is thrown out the window.
The Moon is all about visions and illusions, madness, genius and poetry. This is a card that has to do with sleep, and so with both dreams and nightmares. It is a scary card in that it warns that there might be hidden enemies, tricks and falsehoods. But it should also be remembered that this is a card of great creativity, of powerful magic, primal feelings and intuition. You may be going through a time of emotional and mental trial; if you have any past mental problems, you must be vigilant in taking your medication but avoid drugs or alcohol, as abuse of either will cause irreparable damage. This time, however, can also result in great creativity, psychic powers, visions and insight. You can and should trust your intuition.
What Tarot Card are You?
[blink] They've remade The Producers? Doesn't anyone make new films anymore?
Dreams in the post - Special Delivery, to arrive there by 1pm tomorrow, and I slapped on £5,000-worth of consequential loss insurance as well, just to be on the safe side.
Right! Back to something fun...
[staggering] Well that was fun...
Sat down this morning all prepared to print out the manuscript (all 208 pages of it, single-sided, 1.5 line space, 60,908 words, still a bit over brief) and took a look at the contract. Ken points to a clause and says, "Are you sure you've [fulfilled this condition]?" Me - "I think so." "Are you sure?" "No..."
[growl] Cue three hours of trawling through the .docs to make sure (in fact I had more than fulfilled it, but it was important to check). Then Kim arrived with Sarah and Sasha to take Kai and I to my favourite garden centre.
Only she thought it closed at 6. It didn't, it closed at 5, so we only had 45 minutes to look around. [pout] And they had no silk orchids. However, they did have cobalt blue tarantula spiderlings, my absolute favourites: pity they're so aggressive or I might have come home with one. They had Brazilian white knees too, at ridiculously low prices (I overheard the assistant say that spiders aren't all that popular at the moment...)
No, I mustn't. It's bad enough coping with the animals I already have. Though there'd be less wastage on crickets if I had two tarantulas eating them...
[shakes head] Where was I? Oh yes...
Back home, coffee, chat, dinner, shower for Kai, rang grandparents - then settled down to print.
[sigh] Reinstall printer drivers.
Second reinstall, now getting anxious. Ken's printer works, but it's a Lexmark and will only manage about 50 pages before the bloody minute ripoff ink cartridge runs out.
Grind teeth. Dig out HP instructions for full reinstall. Copy all .docs to pendrive and CD. Unplug printer. Close down computer. Replug printer. Boot up computer. Computer finds 'new hardware' and automatically reinstalls. Ken amalgamates 10 .docs into one master file, just in case...
AAAARRRGGGHHH!! Snarl at computer, threaten Butch with absolutely no lemons ever again unless he cooperates, fingers stamp off across keyboard and reinstall drivers yet again, hit 'print'...
Nearly collapse as printer starts printing.
Then discover that Ken had pasted two of the same .docs into the master file...
No, I didn't stop printing. I'm not that stupid! We watched for paperjams and fed in more paper for an hour, then corrected the error and tried to reprint just those 30 pages.
Swore volubly at computer and handed pendrive to Ken to print out missing pages on his computer upstairs, which he did - without the ink running out.
The manuscript is now parcelled up, with a copy burned to CD, and ready to go in the post tomorrow. Though I think I should take it upstairs and sleep with it chained to my wrist or something to make sure it survives the night!
[sigh] It's just as well I'm nuts, or the stress would drive me insane.
Hey, it's FINISHED!! Well, there'll still be editing to do, next year, but the bulk of the work is done! 'oo-bloody-ray!
And I checked the contract - the book is due to hit the bookstores next October, so even now I've finished it I still can't write in any detail about it. Eh well - this time next year...
I'm going to have a drink now. Cheers!
Sunday, December 18, 2005
Carol's great AU Professionals story Killer with a Long Arm now posted in JAT. And there's an excellent Cyber City Oedo 808 fic by Kendohotchick - Cocktail - posted in the (other) Zone. The login page is causing problems at the moment, so email me with your ID and password if you want access. Hopefully I'll be able to sort it out after Yule.
I've been re-reading Band and Band 2 tonight, chortling merrily (actually, pissing myself laughing, I'd forgotten they were so funny) and now want to write the follow-up. After I've tackled the long-suffering Onna's fic first, though.
Oh - and I've finally ordered Fake 3 and 7, and Muse's Absolution CD [happy sigh] from Amazon.co.uk. [grin] They actually now have a yaoi/shonen-ai page on the site. It's recognised as a valid genre! I am so happy!!
Saturday, December 17, 2005
Well, managed to get the Queens of the Stone Age track - but no more Muse. Eh well. I'll have to keep trying...
Well, finished the writing part, anyway. Wordage stands at 60,922, which is fine. Have to admit those last two spreads were hard, though - and not exactly helped by MTV2 showing 101 most requested videos, which included nearly all the ones I wanted to record - Muse's New Born and Time is Running Out, Interpol's Evil, Killers' Mr Brightside, Kaiser Chief's Oh My God, Placebo's Nancy Boy... I'm still waiting in hope for Muse's Bliss and Sing for Absolution and Queens of the Stone Age's No One Knows - which necessitated me leaping up at the end of each song to catch the beginning of the next just in case it was one I wanted. Not obsessive, just thorough...
Ken took Kai down to Temple Meads train station - trainspotting. Kai still insists he isn't becoming an anorak - to give me peace to work in, which was most helpful.
But I can play tonight!
Took a closer look at Thorne's dangly before closing down last night. It's fascinating. I'd guess that the fish are carved from aventurine, though it is just a guess - they have tiny flecks of mica that sparkle when you turn them in the light. The citrine is carved into the shape of leaves with the darker parts at the points, and the spherical beads have a beautiful silky lustre like obsidian (though I've never seen green obsidian). But what's staggered me is the knotwork (if that's the correct term). I think it's a cross-stitch thread (too thick to be embroidery silk) variegated to run from white to dark blue - and Thorne's knotted it so it spirals anti-clockwise... Gah, I can't imagine how long it took to make! Though I can imagine what it would look like if I'd made it, given I can start off a knitting project with twenty stitches and within thirty rows end up with 137...
It's beautiful, and feels lovely to hold. Thank you.
Oh, and Kai spent about three hours last night throwing Spinner (the Beanie Baby spider) back and forth with Ken, laughing the whole time. [bemused] Of course, this is what you're supposed to do with bean bags, but I'm not sure it's wise for beanie babies. Still, it made him happy, and he took it up to bed with him, so that was a definite hit!
Time to help Ken make dinner...
Tch', still not finished Dreams. Ken proofed today and I've had to do a lot of shunting around/rewriting of text (and yet more trimming) to whap it into shape. But it's looking OK. I now only have about 600 words to write (two final spreads) and it will be finished.
And I'm quite pleased with it. Given the wordage constraints (60K is really not enough for a book of this nature, I could easily write half as much again) and the tightness of the deadline I think I've acquitted myself reasonably well. Wordage stands at 60,332, so I'll be less than a thousand over when I'm done, which isn't bad at all. Even though it'll be further trimmed in the edit, overall I shouldn't lose anything important.
But for now my hands are aching and my poor eyes burning. Calling a halt for the night.
Friday, December 16, 2005
As Lutra says, 'tis the season...
Butch portrait, by Sylverthorne!
For anyone who can remember back that far, when I was talking about buying expensive Xmas crackers at half price on Boxing Day ready for the following Yule - 'cause I'm cheap like that! - Thorne mentioned she'd like some, so I picked up two boxes on Dec 27th 2004 and (finally, at the end of Oct 05) sent hers off, in exchange for a print of her version of Butch over there to the left.He's gorgeous! I really wasn't expecting a brand new pic - especially mounted! I think we might have the right frame for him as well. He'll be going on the wall in front of me as soon as I can get him framed.
But that's not all... There was a blue and yellow trinket box with this jade/citrine/quartz Pisces dangly in it ([points left] that's going on Kood!), one of Thorne's lovely hand-made cards, a Beanie Baby spider for Kai - and a flock... um... herd?... ah, shoal of origami Angelfish!
[GLOMPS Thorne] Thank you! (And thank you for the message on the back of the picture too...)
AND a big parcel arrived for Kai from Onna (the landscape design book)! Sprog was bouncing, wanting to open it, but I've been firm and hidden it 'til Yule. [GLOMPS Onna] I'll have him thank you himself, later!
Right. Back to work...
Thursday, December 15, 2005
OK. All bar one of the nine section intros now written, and 800 words of the overall intro. Wordage at 59,105 (yes, I did a little more trimming as well). Tomorrow I should be able to finish the last little bit, then over the weekend Ken will proof and we'll print the whole thing out. [sigh] Probably my least favourite part, very heavy on the paper, ink cartridge and my poor printer. And they still want it burned to CD as well. The whole lot will go in the post on Monday - special next-day delivery, the only way to get it there on time...
[grins at BW] The tightness of the deadline for this particular book has been unusual. We usually get about a year to finish a manuscript - at least, we have done since 1998 until this year. Writing a 60K book in... um... four months? five?... is exceptional. But I like a challenge.
Well, as you can see, we haven't got the fridge sorted out yet... Probably won't be until after Yule now. (In case you were wondering, Kai does know how to spell sorry, but there aren't enough 'r' letters in the pack.) But it is at least still working, and rather well.
So, re: the blog... I had an answer back from Blogger Command - sorry, technical support - giving me all the FAQ and help links they thought might help (and which I'd already tried). So I emailed back to say as much, and haven't heard anything yet. BUT something's been done, because my posts for the 13th had been amalgamated with the one for the 14th, which is pretty much what happened last time they played with the software. (I've reposted them with the correct date now.) It seems to have worked, whatever they've done - checked on IE [spitspit] myself - and I've now split the photos that were causing the bottom scroll bar: the post won't look so pretty at a larger screen res but there doesn't seem to be much I can do about that. (Although I am wondering why it happened. I've coded images like that often and if the screen res isn't wide enough to display them side by side it should automatically shunt the furthest down onto a new line without any problem. As it did in Firefox. [sigh])
Thanks for all the feedback, folks. If it goes skewiff again, please let me know!
Tonight's performance of Christmas at Camelot went very well: Ken enjoyed it. He tried to take a couple of photos too, but they haven't come out very well and I can't clean them up sufficiently to post here. Suffice it to say everyone had a great time.
There was something else, I know. Several somethings I think. Heh, they'll come back to me if they were important.
I think I can probably stop there for tonight.
Wednesday, December 14, 2005
Spent the day assembling the nine Dreams sections to see what more I still have to do - actually not that much, which is good. I stripped some extraneous material out, then wrote some of the additional text needed: another couple of hours and that part of it should be done. Tomorrow I need to tackle the intro chapters - twelve pages, but I only have 170 words a page to play with, which makes for very succinct writing even though it takes more effort than the rest. Wordage is currently at 57,891: I'm going to be 1,500 to 2,000 words over my brief by the time I've finished, unfortunately, but that should be sorted out in the editing. It's better to write too much than too little.
Ken proofed one of the main sections for me today - first time he's looked at it. Says it's fine, looks to be exactly what they asked for (which is just as well as I don't have time to make any major revisions!)
Tonight was the first performance of Christmas at Camelot, Kai's school play (actually written, directed and rehearsed by Kai's teacher! Talented woman!) It was great - very funny (where it was supposed to be!), the choir was in tune, the scene changes (Kai's part along with two friends) beautifully smooth (the three of them got a round of applause at the end, which was a nice touch), and there are obviously some budding actors amongst the sprogs!
The (re-worded) songs were highly amusing, among them With a Little Bit of Luck, Last Xmas ('Last Xmas, I gave you my head, The very next day I knew I'd be dead. This year, to save me from tears, I need some special magic...'), the Knights of the Round Table song and dance from Monty Python, and the finale, Wizzard's I wish it could be Xmas every day (joined in with by half the parents in the audience, me included!) Such fun! And Kai loved it - we may have a director in the making here...
[rolling around chortling] Just before I closed down last night I clicked on Thorne's latest Lj quiz... I had to post the results, especially after saying I'd been good this year...
Um, is it me being numerically challenged again or do those points not add up to -83?
Also, I like Brussel's sprouts, and eat them quite often. And I can't see Thorne objecting to a Dutch Oven - unless it means something other than a kitchen implement...
BW, will give the suggestions a try later, once I've got the manuscript off to the publisher. Once that's done I can relax for a day and get the new Seti@home software downloaded, and maybe the latest Eudora update in the hope they've sorted out whatever caused the problem last time I tried. My apologies too - of course it was your comment that reminded me the correct term was 'render'.
OK. I only need to write about 250-300 words and my last incomplete section will be completed. I'm sure I can do that before I fall over...
Tuesday, December 13, 2005
And then I forgot to add that Lutra's 'Snupin Challenge Story' is as excellent as I've come to expect from her - beautifully spot-on characterisation, succinct and eloquent prose, and a deliciously tempting ending. Gorgeous.
And the relentless pace continues...
A handful of things I keep meaning to say but managing to forget. Carol, Onna, Kendohotchick, I'm sorry I haven't been able to a) read and post, b) beta, c) code and post your stories yet. I should have Dreams ready to go by the weekend, then I have a little time to get done all the things I've been putting off (hopefully including that little story I was planning for Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine, though that might have to wait until the New Year.)
Onna, it's still worth seeing what the gremlins come up with. Though BW says the blog renders (YAY! I remembered the word. Only taken me four days) OK in Opera too, so if you're planning to install a backup browser that's a good one to try: we like it too, though since Firefox is usually all we need I haven't checked it since I last posted to the site.
Had to take an hour off today to wrap the last of the Yule presents and get the cards written. Post Office tomorrow!
Dreams now at 57,036 words and the end is nigh...
Monday, December 12, 2005
Home safely - though the middle part of the journey was uncomfortable, very misty, and for a while I wasn't sure if it was smoke from the fire or just traditional gloomy, cloudy English winter weather, but just after Warminster (whose fantastic Yule lights put Bristol to shame) I caught the first whiff of a burnt, acrid smell that stayed with us all the way to just outside of Bath, in greater or lesser pungencies. (I can still taste it now, after a long hot scrub in the shower and accidentally getting orchid oil all over my hands.)
So, THANKS to Carol and Adrian (the latter of whom spent ages transferring some antique tapes to CD for me: I now have the soundtrack to Monkey - yes, that Monkey - safely burned, along with some very early Talis Kimberley and Zander Nyrond.) I had a fantastic time and thoroughly enjoyed myself!
The pic to the left (placed there instead of the right as is more usual, in case IE users still can't see the blog properly) is Triyin, the 'camel-centaur' I dreamed a couple of nights ago. (Is there a correct term for a half-camel, half-human creature? If I was more awake I'd try to check.) She needs a story, I think. Not to mention a little more detail and some colour, but I'll see about that when I have more haddock.
Kai is one of the three stage managers for their school Yule play, Christmas at Camelot, apparently based on Sir Gawain and the Green Knight: he wanted to be involved, but didn't want to act, so he's behind the scenes. The performances are on Wednesday and Thursday: I'll go one day and Ken the next. Should be fun!
We watched the Starsky and Hutch DVD after dinner. Love that film. Wish there was a sequel...
Right - taking this evening off, aiming to be up early tomorrow to start winding up Dreams. I only have a few more sections to finish, then the section intros, then pulling it all together. Should be OK. Tonight I have some CD indexing to do - and if I have the energy, I'll take a look at 2AC as well.
(Onna - would you like Butch and Kood to come over and have 'words' with Murphy to see if that'll let you install Firefox? How about if I promise him a major role in the next Gremlins fic?)
Sunday, December 11, 2005
[grumble] OK, IE is still not showing the blog properly. I have no idea why...
I'll contact Blogger tomorrow.
In the meantime, you can always [view] source and ignore what's in the <chevrons> to read the entries if you're using IE.
Off into Southampton today - Forbidden Planet, lots of shops with bitzenpieces, had a great time!
Home tomorrow. It's never long enough. And I've only managed the one drawing. But I've had a fantastic break, and the hands are considerably better, and all in all I've thoroughly enjoyed myself.
Hm. The text isn't wordwrapping here, either.
Is anyone using Firefox or Netscape having the same problem or is it just IE users?
Saturday, December 10, 2005
Things I forgot to say yesterday...
An office block at WestQuay has a big flickery light display thing on the roof. It's supposed to be Santa + sleigh pulled by reindeer, but from a distance the deer look like ducks.
Or possibly kangaroos.
This caused some hilarity for the seniors who got on at Bath...
Today has been great fun. Wonderful to see Sue, chat, Trivial Pursuit (I won. Which startled me. I don't win at games. Well, I manage to stalemate in chess, but that's about as far as it goes. And I won by answering lots of science questions, which startled me even more...), The Sweeney game, Spooks, and more chat.
[sigh] It's just never long enough...
... I woke at 7.51 this morning from a very detailed, very strange dream that was a combination of Galaxy Quest, Krull, King Kong and Narnia (trailers) and which I'll maybe detail when I'm using my own keyboard rather than Carol's, which isn't ergonomic and which makes the hands hurt if I use it too much. But one thing I must say is in the dream was a decidedly bishieful centaur - and beside him was a very pretty female centaur-like creature, but the animal half was a camel, not a horse. She was very striking, and dripping with jewellery, and I've drawn her (will scan and post when I get home).
More spooks - and a little wine!
Friday, December 09, 2005
Zooming in quickly...
Having a great time. Nice run. Coach arrived late (well of course it did, since I said it usually arrived early), we dived into WestQuay shopping centre - great place, wonderful Swarovski crystal shop (gorgeous jewellery and a beautiful unicorn) - then back for dinner and chat.
Today I've spent too much, but had a terrific time, and I've picked up a copy of the Starsky and Hutch DVD - and found some new orchids (at 30% off today!).
And that'll have to do for now...
Thursday, December 08, 2005
OK - Dreams wordage 55,010, fridge and freezer (still working, but who knows for how long...) stocked with stuff for K&K, sushi rolled, dipping sauce made (not quite so sinus-singeingly hot as last time) and glass of Hock poured. I am now officially on holiday.
... I think this sushi is even better than the last lot. I'm taking some on the coach with me tomorrow - using the bento box from 'saru for the first time.
[big grin] This feels - odd...
Wednesday, December 07, 2005
[shudder] The X39 caught the lights at Bristol Bridge, and a double-decker pulled up alongside - an Egg-money sponsored green double-decker with human sized guinea-pigs in the windows, reading books, staring back, waving... there were little twin guinea-pig kids in pink dresses...
I shall have nightmares tonight.
Bought ticket, found a light (in weight) star for the top of the tree (and some new gold and silver baubles; most of ours were inherited from Ken's folks and are a little... antique. Not that there's anything wrong with antique - I mean, look at me! - but it really was time for something new...), and picked up supplies at the Chinese supermarket (they had duck-flavoured ramen again! Yay! And strawberry Pocky, my favourite.) If I can find time I'll make some sushi later, I now have a stock of nori in the larder.
... I know there was something else but I can't remember what it was. Eh well, if it was important it'll come back to me.
Back to it. I need to hit 55K today.
Relentless pace. But now at 53,075 and on target.
Into town to pick up ticket tomorrow: coach leaves here at 4pm Thursday, gets into Southampton at 10 to 7, but it's usually early arriving. It's a pretty run at this time of year, especially if it's a clear evening.
I don't think I'm taking the laptop - I really need a break from typing. Going to try to get some drawing done though!
Tuesday, December 06, 2005
They're back from the dentist with a big bottle of prescribed mouthwash and sachet packets of parrots and 'prufen for sprogs. It's a lower front tooth he's dislodged - though he's also chipped a corner off a top front tooth, but only a tiny chip, not deep enough to cause decay, that will round off in time - the dentist says it should go back into place by itself, but he's to have only soft food for a week, nothing crunchy or chewy, and he has to go back for a check up next Tuesday afternoon. His gum is terribly swollen and has been bleeding, but the tooth is already less out of place than at first. Apparently he was bending over a friend who was crouched on the ground; friend straightened up and cracked Kai under the chin with his head...
It's the second time this has happened. When sprog was a baby he slipped and caught the underside of his chin on the arm of the settee, displacing a baby tooth. It looks like this might be a hazard area for him (like me and my right foot and toes), so I've told him to try to avoid bending over crouching people and to rest his arms on hard surfaces so he has something soft for his face to land on if he slips!
52,033. Back to it.
I just can't believe today.
Ken took Kai in, so that after my disturbed night (didn't take a valerian as I was so tired I was sure I'd sleep without it. Heh...) I could wake up naturally (which I did at around 10am, after an odd dream about being back in Edinburgh - but not the real Edinburgh, this was my dreamscape Edinburgh, which only bears a faint resemblance to the real city - collecting a whole bunch of things that ex-husband had kept. They were on several bookcases in a half-empty indoor market, tended by a grungy old man with a grubby grey beard: not all of them were mine, I had to select the things that were, including a number of rare books and a small cabinet filled with jade figurines and ornaments, among them a pair of jade fish and a jade hand-mirror. Long-term readers will know that jade is my favourite gemstone/mineral. I sorted everything into two large boxes, and was going to load them into the boot of my father's car - I never seem to be driving in dreams. Piloting planes and spacecraft, yes, but never actually driving a ground vehicle. Interesting that. To me anyway - when my mother appeared, worried because my father had gone on a chunnel trip to France (from Edinburgh?!) and hadn't arrived back yet. I volunteered to go and find him - on a bus. [shakes head] Weird. If I can find time later I'll take a stab at analysing it... Where was I? Oh yes...)
Settled down, dealt with email (amongst the 100+ bits of crap EIGHTEEN consecutive, identical bloody fake charity spams from the same IP address: I complained to the host) opened the six .docs and 4 spreadsheets I'm working with in Dreams - then got a phonecall from one of my clients, concerned about their search engine placing...
Took over an hour and two phonecalls back to partially resolve that. Made a start on Dreams, found I need to rewrite some of yesterday's text (not too much, fortunately) and started two new sections - I'm having to work on several at a time because of the cross-referencing, will make it easier when I come to index, too. For an hour everything went swimmingly - then I got a phonecall from Kai's school...
Sprog collided with another child (I presume at lunchtime), and one of his front teeth has been knocked out of place (not completely knocked out, I must add, though the fact that the school are worried must mean it's significantly misplaced). Cue frantic call to dentist, who can fit him in as an emergency at 3pm, and Ken has gone to the school to collect him, leaving me to keep working. Though I'm so anxious I can't really concentrate properly anyway.
At times like this we really need a car. More later, after the dentist.
Monday, December 05, 2005
Tired. Dreams wordage now at 51,012 and the hands are burning. Remind me to negotiate a longer deadline next time...
I can hear my bed calling.... Oi! You! BED!! it says. [sigh] The haddock are flying and the sheeeeep frolicking amongst the orchids - and you can tell I'm knackered, can't you...
We gone. Nytol!
Sunday, December 04, 2005
[snicker] The Flaming Prince is called Lesley? Lesley Mortermer LeMorte? Puir wee lamb...
Stupidly hectic day. I ended up spending an unconscionable amount of time helping Kai with the homework he was supposed to have done this morning while I had a lie-in (an ancient Olympic Games poster). It's good, but oh, the hassle trying to wrestle it into a format Butch would let the printer print. (Have I mentioned that my printer is playing up, intermittently? Absolutely refuses to print anything from email, and won't print anything afterwards either until I've reinstalled the drivers. Then it started not wanting to print anything without a reinstall... Just recently, though, if I send everyone else out of my room, hold my breath and sweet talk the gremlins, it works. Usually. Today was one of those days.)
We watched The Polar Express with dinner. Hm. OK, so, apart from the moral of the story (and the sleigh bell, I liked that bit) was there any point to this film other than to show off what's now possible in CG movies? Eh well, Kai liked it - it was a train, after all...
Finally gave in and d/ld the latest Macromedia Flash to try the Yahoo avatars onna wrote about - been putting it off for ages. Also d/ld FireFox 1.5, which for some odd reason didn't show up as the normal little 'upgrade available' arrow in my top right hand screen corner, or float up from the bottom left like a shark's fin appearing above the waves (such a cute little reminder, that!): Ken had caught a news item about the upgrade on the TV this morning. They've upgraded the various blockers and overall security, apparently. The only obvious difference is in options, where the various buttons are now along the top of the window, not down the side.
Dreams at 49,129. I will reach 50K before closing down...
Saturday, December 03, 2005
... bleurgh... Bed at something gone 4am, woke up again at about 8.20am with a pounding headache. Got up and went in search of 'prufen, to find Kai already down and watching The Land Before Time 5. Heh. Booted up, got shot of emails/site updates then packed us both off to John Cabot for Kai's NVRT...
Terribly nerve-wracking for Kai, though he says he's been doing SATS practice all this week, so the actual environment wasn't completely strange. I sat and talked to another mum - and played Hangman with her daughter - for half an hour on a hard bench outside (and bloody cold it was too) then one of the College staff invited us inside to wait in the warm on comfy sofas.
But Kai came out very happy, saying he'd enjoyed the test. Hadn't quite managed to finish all the questions, but feels quite confident about what he did. So that was a relief!
We stopped off at Modelmania (Clouds Hill Rd - Bristol does have some very pretty road names!) to have a look - and came out with one of these (£13.95 at Modelmania). Happy sprog!
Picked up The Polar Express and Batman Begins DVDs from Phoenix, and watched the latter this evening. Hadn't expected to but I thoroughly enjoyed it, very 'Dark Knight', rollicking good film. (Kai came out with a plot flaw that hadn't occurred to me, however: if the microwave transmitter affects all the water, why doesn't it work on humans? The human body is 75% water after all... bright sprog...)
Now knackered, too tired to get much done, and will prob have an earlyish night. And a lie-in in the morning! YAY!
Yule decorations tomorrow.
Friday, December 02, 2005
Muse - who are from my (this-time-around) home county of Devon, apparently - have been getting a lot of play on MTV2 recently. I like them. Intriguing, atmospheric songs and the most incredibly beautiful, evocative music videos I've ever seen. Go here and watch Sing for Absolution - it gives me a shiver up the spine...
Dreams wordage now at 48,066, more than two thirds written, and I'm taking a break tonight; going to see if I can finish 2AC 1.3.11. If the hands hold out, that is...
Thursday, December 01, 2005
F-f still working properly (except for the drinks dispenser. Well, it works, but the valve between the tank and the nozzle leaks. All over the lowest door shelf. Just as well we only tried it with water to start with). I've risked stocking up a little more, and was finally able to take advantage of Sainsbug's specials - a good one: they've been selling lean beef mince for £3.50 for two 500g packs, but today they were reduced to £1 each. I bought six, and still got money off the total - £1.08 in fact. Going to make a huge bag of my famous beefburgers for the freezer. Also picked up a marrow for 50p - originally £2.19 - and a bag of Brussel's sprouts for 10p - originally £1.79, both perfectly fine, just at the end of their shelf life.
Sometimes it literally pays to get up early.
And I made sushi rolls last night. I couldn't find the recipe for the rice so made it up as I went along, cooked two cups in half-and-half water and cooking sake, then added four teaspoons of sugar to a half a glass of rice vinegar. It worked beautifully, best rice I've ever done (and now I've typed it here it'll be fixed in my memory, so that's a good thing...) Filled them with a mix-and-match of prawns, tinned red salmon - one day I'll be able to afford the real thing - sliced avocado, cucumber julienne, and sesame seeds.
Though I say it myself they were tasty! We had them with a small bowl of the Korean wasabi I bought a month or so ago, mixed with organic shoyu for dipping - only I used too much wasabi. Has to be the hottest I've ever tasted - felt like a flame up the nose and out the top of the head. Cleared the sinuses something wonderful! Poor Ken sat with his face red and eyes brimming, but then he doesn't like his food as hot as I do.
I'll be making more sushi though, hopefully at least once a week: we enjoy it, and it's good for us (and I think I might even be able to persuade Kai to like it: he loves the idea, but isn't so sure about eating seaweed, yet...) I'm a lot more confident than I used to be, too, and the whole procedure took much less time than previously.
Dreams wordage now at 45,032. Slogging on...