Zone Doubt, a.k.a. 'Surreal Я Us'...
Joules, trusted by... dozens... to make a drama out of your crisis...
:: JAT :: WaveWrights :: Publications ::
I live to write. It's not wise to get in my
... 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.
Adventures in Orchids
Apparently I am now collecting them...
EO - Everlasting orchid. Phalaenopsis. I've had this orchid for at least 15 years and it just keeps flowering...
AO - Alien face orchid. Phalaenopsis . Bought 2018 - lovely little flowers, all different patterns!
RO - Rescued orchid
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).
Tuesday, February 28, 2006
I do like my new camera...
So does Quyn. As soon as he sees it he gets all excited, bouncing around and barking, and then poses beautifully while I snap him. Ken thinks he likes the pretty flashy light. [shakes head in bemusement]
Been an oddly busy day, though a good one. Jenni's set up on Paypal (Premier Account, which accepts credit and debit card payments) and her first CD, Devotion that Moves the Heart, is now up for sale from the site. Still have some tweaks to do - I want to add a link to the currency converter, and at the moment the payment page opens in the frame rather than a no-frames page - but it's ready for use.
They love each other really.
This is not a kit. This is the toy cat Kai gave me for my birthday. It looks realistic and I keep thinking it's real. Ken tells me so do the (real) kits!
It snowed - not enough to settle, but enough to make it very cold...
Monday, February 27, 2006
[happy grin] My digicam arrived today, and it's a little beauty. So easy to use! The various menus operate exactly the same as my mobile phone - got most of them internalised already. The manual insisted on pain of crash that we install the software first, as they do, so we did, but then turned off the EasyShare option (I'm used to downloading to the main computer anyway - I'm perfectly capable of sorting my photos into my own folders, don't need the software to do it for me thank you very much!) and copied across manually. Only thing is with mine you have to switch the camera off before connecting, and with Kai's the camera has to be on before you plug in the USB cable, so it's the opposite. Will have to remember that. And apparently, with the extension card, I'll be able to take about 30 mins of video, should I ever so desire.
No, not taken with the new camera - this is one of Carol's from yesterday: I forgot to post it last night. I think the apple branches look beautiful there, lightening what is a bit of a dark corner. And I'm very fond of the vase.
My computer is about to be hijacked for several hours, but I still have the third foliate head to do for Ken: I'll sit and get that done after Kai's gone to bed.
[bemused] This is fun.
Hm. Acting as a nexus for far-flung galactic empires, alliances and confederations? Sounds oddly familiar...
Sunday, February 26, 2006
What a lovely day! (Even if I was only just awake when Carol, Sue and Adrian arrived...)
And I have a veritable treasure trove of gifts. This dragon pen -> was from Sue (Ken says I should keep it especially for book signings!), along with one of these orchids (a real one), which has the most gorgeous foliage, a little book of bear humour, a candle that looks like a rock pool, complete with shells and bubbles, and a new fridge magnet ("I had a handle on life but it broke"). [GLOMPS Sue] Thank you!
[GLOMPS Carol] too, for Fruits Basket 5, the beautiful blue birds, and the chocolates!
Carol also took some photos, since my camera hasn't arrived yet. <- This is Ryme sitting on the window sill in the sun...
And this is one of the lampshade ->. There are 60 of those little glass rods - the thing is really heavy - and the pack came with eight spares, extremely sensible. A pain to put up though: we had to screw the bulb in and then finish putting one side's rods in place.
As well as the rest of the St Germain books, Ken gave me a Scott Walker CD - and Gorillaz Demon Days! And I now have a miniature zen garden sitting under my monitor, very pretty...
<- A better photo of the peacock!
And Kai's given me a curled up sleeping toy black cat that breathes and purrs when you switch it on! (And left it wrapped on the pillow beside me - that was a little creepy to wake up to...)
View from the landing window - garden plus molehills (the dark splodges in the lawn - not so easy to see in the smaller pic) ->. Yes, we still have the damned thing!
All in all a wonderful day, lots of music and talk and fun TV: the Sci-Fi Channel are re-showing V, the mini-series, which Sue has seen but Carol hadn't (and then I forced them to watch last year's version of War of the Worlds, 'cause I'm mean like that.) Loved the card, Wendy - made me laugh!
Thanks for a great time, and for all the good wishes folks!
Saturday, February 25, 2006
An interesting sort of day, with a lot of little things accomplished. One of which was moving Rosa to her new tank...
Which was actually surprisingly easy: we prepared the new tank a while back, and I've had the top of a clear plastic large coke bottle ready for ages. (That being said, and even with my being very used to her by now, lifting her from one tank to the other with nothing but plastic with cardboard over the bottom separating her from my hands still left me feeling a little shaky. She's a big spider now. And I don't respond well to insect bites. But having done it once, next time will be easier...) The new tank is bigger, but not as tall, and Kai wanted a branch in it (a sterile plastic one from the Reptile House to avoid any problems with insects, mould or rot): it looks quite good, and Rosa seems... it's daft to say 'happy' of a tarantula, but having something more than just coir underfoot is more like her native environment. She's crawled over it a couple of times anyway, and doesn't seem perturbed.
Of course, it's never all smooth: she sulked and wouldn't come out of the bottle top to start with... Seems fine now though.
I repainted the stair rail too: it was patchy in places (comes of doing it in the dark first time around).
Quyn's had a bath (in preparation for Carol and Sue visiting tomorrow. Well, he was a very smelly dog, bless him) - and the house is [gasp!] clean and tidy. [grin] I have far more interesting things to do than housework, but it had become a little too messy, even for me. I was starting to use the Sherlock Holmes method of telling time by the thickness of dust...
And I read Les Bijoux.
Visually it's extraordinarily beautiful, absolutely the most gorgeous, ethereal, androgynous bishies I've ever seen (and I've seen a lot, as you've probably noticed). It draws on mythologies and traditions from all over the world - one character uses a (hexagonal!) Tarot pack (and gives the wrong interpretations of the cards - but then, she was trying to persuade her companion that all would be well for him), the 'creator' resembles a Buddha, there's talk of both Hades and Paradise, and the backdrops range from a mediaeval European bakery to a desert palace to what looks like the inside of an ancient Egyptian tomb. There are cursed, shape-shifting once-humans, near-immortal despots, unpleasant demons, and plain and downright ugly individuals as well as the beautiful ones. There is violence, yaoi and rape (not too graphic, those last two, but not exactly understated either). There are shades of RG Veda and Arslan Senki in the rich and very detailed world-frame and overall appearance (whether either manga influenced Les Bijoux I don't know and really couldn't care less).
The characters are all strongly three-dimensional (it's impossible to hate the 'villains' once you get to know them) and believable (in context, of course). But it was the story that grabbed me. It's complex - I'll have to read it again to take it all in - and unfolds gradually. And the ending is... unexpected. But wonderful.
My only quibble is that it jumps around a little: it really needs just a banner or panel to note that there's a change of scene or time, or a flashback, instead of leaping straight into the next part of the story. After a while you get used to it, though, and it really doesn't detract that much from the enjoyment.
I had a feeling I was going to love it, and I was right - it's exceeded my hopes. An immediate favourite!
I'm taking tonight off. With a glass or three of wine. Starting my birthday a little early!
Friday, February 24, 2006
[sigh] So Ken reminds me I haven't taken down the bulk of the wordwrights.co.uk site. Cue twenty minutes of ftp deletion - followed by two hours of changing all the old links on this blog... Heh, and I haven't done the Updates Blog yet. Eh well, that'll wait til tomorrow.
Foliate heads - this is what I've been doing for Ken. Original photo on the left, my 'artist's impression' on the right. These were drawn freehand then scanned. Not traced, in other words.
Quite a bit of artistic license in that second one, but the poor thing is in a very sorry state in RL...
One more to do and I'm finished. That too will wait until tomorrow.
Right! Band 3.
[sigh] These people are so stupid...
Good afternoon, unfortunately some processings have been cracked by hackers, so a new secure code to protect your data has been introduced by Visa. You should check your card balance and in case of suspicious transactions immediately contact your card issuing bank. If you don't see any suspicious transactions, it doesn't mean that the card is not lost and cannot be used. Probably, your card issuers have not updated information yet. That is why we strongly recommend you to visit our website and update your profile, otherwise we cannot guarantee stolen money repayment. Thank you for your attention. Click here and update your profile.No fake Visa logo, no proper paragraphs, nothing to make it look even the slightest bit professional... which is actually probably a good thing...
Town trip was successful, mostly. The Chinese supermarket had nori in stock, so I can make sushi this weekend (if I feel inclined, that is) and ramen, but no Pocky. Poor Kai. (Heh, that almost rhymes...) Found a new chrome shoerack at Wilkinsons to replace the cheap and nasty wire thing we've been using in the hall for the last - I forget how many - years. Picked up some more Angels on Bare Skin facewash at Lush Cosmetics. Got to the bank to find my mother had put my old name on the cheque and they wouldn't accept it. [rolls eyes] I've been Joules legally and officially since August 2000, you'd think she'd have got the message by now. Unless this is her way of hinting I should change it back. Not that she can talk, she absolutely loathes her original names and has insisted on just being called Dee since she was a teenager...
Where was I? Oh yes.
I got snowed on. A bit. A very tiny bit. Tiny little flurries of very tiny snowflakes, hardly deserving of the name. Which hasn't stopped it being bloody cold here, literally freezing and with the wind chill factor taking it lower.
Arrived back to find the Amazon.co.uk order had arrived, the SD card and the first volume of Les Bijoux (um, forgot to say I added that to the order, didn't I?) 'Oooray! I can finally read the series.
Anything else? Well, Band 3 is now at 32 pages and I'm hoping to finish it this weekend. I have one (at least) picture I'd like to do to illustrate it, but... we'll see...
Ken's taking Kai to the dentist after school. Keeping fingers crossed that lower front tooth is OK and he doesn't need a root canal. He's been asking me to check it every few days: all the darkness (blood? bruising? decay? As I kept telling him, I'm not a dentist...) at the root has gone and the colour is back to normal, which I think is a hopeful sign. Eh well, I should find out in half an hour or so.
Addendum 4.25 pm: Kai's just rung to say he's fine, and his tooth is recovered, and he doesn't have to see the dentist now for six months. Happy and relieved sprog! He's also received his spelling certificate today (got 19 out of 20 quite hard words) and I think that means he moves up into the next hardest spelling group. And his name was picked out of the 'thank you' hat, and he chose a squidgy ball. No idea what all that's about, I'll ask him when they get home.
And HAPPY BIRTHDAY ADRIAN! I didn't forget, I just didn't get my arse in gear to post your card and wee pressie. Will Sunday do?
Thursday, February 23, 2006
Well, that's Jenni's RP music samples page started: there'll be more later. She seems quite pleased with everything, so I'm happy with it, so far. Next, Paypal and pay-for-download...
[bemused] And I'm drawing green men (foliate heads, not B.E.M.s) as illustrations for Ken's Dartmouth book. From photographs, I hasten to add: he has three, one of which is tricky - very small, very faint and very badly deteriorated. Going to take considerable tweaking to make the scan high-contrast and sharp enough to attempt. Just as well I like a challenge.
Now to tackle the SFSG 4 beta. Then I'll carry on with Band 3.
Wednesday, February 22, 2006
What a great day! Lovely to see/chat with Wendy again. We watched The Quiet Earth - it's even better than I remembered, amazing film - then stuck on Pirates of the Caribbean while we talked: wonderful to catch up with all the news.
In other news: birthday money arrived from the parents and in-laws today - and I've bought this, and also ordered a 512meg SD card from Amazon.co.uk. (Many thanks to Carol for all the advice - and looking forward to Sunday!) So that's one thing less to get before the Australia trip.
Now have 11 Jenni samples to encode and upload: planning to do that tomorrow.
And MTV2 screened Muse, Their Finest Hour this morning: I now have a video of Sing for Absolution (though I still want it on DVD). So wonderful...
Truly shattered. Have to have an early night tonight, can hardly keep the eyes open. Ack. Forgot (well, just remembered, obviously) - have to prepare Kai's lunch for tomorrow before I stagger off to bed...
[flump] Done. Knackered. Worked out it's roughly the equivalent of three rooms though, so that's not too surprising. Even managed to get three apple blossom boughs at the Range - very pretty - that sit up in the corner just beautifully. Thinking about it it would be nice to pick up some apple blossom fragrance oil to dab on the flowers...
Now I have to rest before the hands give up completely.
Tuesday, February 21, 2006
Right - that's the hall done. All that's left are the inevitable little splodges of touching up - and the hand-rail, but I can't do that until Kai's gone to bed tonight, or there'll be painty hand prints everywhere...
I'm very pleased with the effect: the walls seem to recede, especially in my peripheral vision, making the whole space seem much bigger and more open. And - subject to the prices - we've decided to split the difference on the matter of the carpet. We'd like the dark blue carpeting in the hall and on the stairs, and the blue-grey on the upper hall: that way we'll have a waterfall effect flowing down the stairs, and be walking on clouds upstairs.
It's taken me at least twice as long as it should have, though. And it's bloody cold downstairs with the windows open and heating off (so I could paint the radiator).
Off to the Range to pick up blue organza (and apple blossom branches if they aren't too dear) after collecting Kai: need to get the inner curtain made as soon as possible. I'm debating making outer curtains too, but our Range no longer sells the ice-blue faux silk...
I have six song samples (QuickTime mp3s - that'll be interesting) from Jenni to encode to RealAudio and upload tonight, and SFSG 4 to beta (too tired last night, would have done a terrible job). Wendy's up for the day tomorrow, so I get a rest.
Monday, February 20, 2006
Heh. The early night wasn't much cop, since I couldn't sleep...
Useful morning though. Dropping Kai off, then shopping - then to Leonard Wyatt, the little carpet shop in Sandy Park Rd... I do like it when I'm remembered in shops! Mind you, I wouldn't go anywhere else for our flooring: I love the personal touch anyway, and we know the quality and service they give us is second to none. They loaned me the 'Gala' sample swatch folder to bring home, so we can see the colours against the paintwork (the overall appearance is similar to the brown fleck we have in the lounge). The dark blue is gorgeous - but we're also tempted by the blue-grey, which would actually look a little better with the paint, but is a few shades lighter than the blue, so it would show the dirt more... We're going to check it in different sorts of light and sleep on it: at nearly £9 per square yard we do need to get it right! Plenty of time - they'll ring us to arrange a time to call to measure up next week. Once we know how much it'll cost, we'll have more of an idea of when we can afford it.
Bought the paint - and found that Focus are selling garden furniture at half price - nothing too special, just the hard-wearing resin stuff we usually buy, but in a really dark forest green, rectangular table at £12.50, chairs at £2.50 each. Our last table broke a leg in a storm a couple of years ago, and we haven't been able to have summer dinners in the garden since, so I've been looking for a cheap replacement. Ken says he'll go in on the way back from collecting Kai from school.
And the Furniture Mill had something I've never seen before - a 'slide and glide' sofa bed; big, comfy sofa that slides out to become a comfortable temporary bed (solid foam base, not metal springs). Very much what we're looking for as a replacement for one of the old sofas. £399 (reduced from £599), so not something we'll be buying right now...
Heh, better get on with the painting. Loads of other things to do tonight.
Sunday, February 19, 2006
I forgot to say - Onna, the Steam Trains DVD pack arrived yesterday! Kai is over the moon - sends BIG hugs and thanks.
The stairwell is now painted and I've run out of paint - off to buy some more tomorrow.
The wooden A-shaped display box is back on the wall (in a different place) with the curios sitting in it (a baby gargoyle in a nappy, my Siberian iron devil, the grumpy unicorn, the eerie fat cat and the erotic Oriental head), Ken's Chinese ceremonial sake pourer is beside the orchid branch, and my big 'barbarian' hammered metal vase (an amazing find at St Pete's Hospice: thinking of getting some fabric apple-blossom for it) on top of the tall bookcase outside our room. I'll have to post some photos...
Spent some time arguing with Eudora today, but have finally managed to persuade the wavewrights emails to work.
Had a go at beta-ing SFSG 4, but I only seem to have part of it. Will need to sort that out tomorrow.
And we're watching Final Destination 2. Haven't watched the first film, but it's not necessary. I'm sure it's not supposed to be funny but it has us chortling, it's so gorily, gruesomely OTT...
Planning for an early night though - bed when it finishes. I have a hectic week ahead.
Ruth and the sprogs had other plans for today, so Ken took Kai to Keynsham. They had a fun time, did a little anoracking at Keynsham Station and looked at the ruins of the Abbey (not much to see, evidently). But it was very cold today, so they didn't stay too long.
And for me, today has been satisfyingly successful. I wrestled RealProducer into submission (no, I must be honest, it's not really difficult to use) and Jenni now has two RealAudio files of her music on the site. She's pleased, and I'm chuffed, I have a new webskill.
But the big news is that WaveWrights is now live (didn't take long to upload either, courtesy of our latest broadband upgrade). The refurbished and renovated (other) Zone is set up, with proper password protection now (that took the longest time - adding over 450 IDs and passwords to the site. Ouch say the hands...). And then I dismantled the (other, WordWrights) Zone, so if anyone goes looking for it, you'll get a customised 404 page directing you to the new site. Where you will need your ID and password for access, so anyone who's forgotten or lost theirs, email me.
Everything now opens from one welcome page, so there's no need to sign into four different sections. Much easier to cope with.
So I'm taking a bit of a rest tonight, with apologies to Lutra for not tackling SFSG 4. But my hands and I need a break!
Saturday, February 18, 2006
Dark Water was surprisingly good - very dark, atmospheric and subtly underplayed: the Japanese influence comes across strongly. We won't be letting Kai watch it though - it is quite scary.
I did manage a cycle's nap. And the beta of SFSG chapter 3. And another couple of pages of Band 3, which is now at almost 29 pages and back on track. So, not a bad day, all told.
I'm supposed to be doing something with Kai tomorrow - he's back at school on Monday. He really wants to go to the Model Railway Exhibition at Warminster, but it's not really possible. Only 20-odd miles away but the bus fare would work out at about £20 for him and Ken, which is pretty much out of the question, and take about 2 - 2.5 hours. It's at times like this I miss the car... So I may well ring Ruth in the morning, see if they're up to a meet at Keynsham. Not that I'm keen to do the proposed woodland walk, even with the promise of a pub at the end: it's rained rather a lot and will be horrendously muddy. Eh well, we'll see.
I suppose I ought to think about getting to bed, otherwise I won't be able to wake up tomorrow morning.
And blogger's playing sillybluggers again...
In the - now lost - comments Carol said that Blogger had eaten my afternoon post: I replied -
[SNARL] Not just me - DG, No More Mister Nice Blog, and Lukery over at wot is it good 4 blog are all finding the same problem: any new post seems to overwrite the previously posted one - and they disappear from the edit screen too.
Friday, February 17, 2006
Very pissed off. I'm writing this on Saturday evening, but going to date it Friday, which was when the original was posted after Blogger went belly-up. From their status site:
We're experiencing some problems with one of our databases. Some posts may not be saved, and other, saved posts, may not be visible in the app. Working on fixing this now.I'll do my best to remember what I said but will no doubt forget something...
RealProducers installed OK and seems reasonably easy to use. It'll be interesting playing with it...
But that'll have to wait until tomorrow. It's been a hectic day today. I finished this month's review (9Tail Fox) and emailed it off; beta-ed the second SFSG chapter; finished glossing the woodwork upstairs (that's the upper hall and landing done now); wrote a little more Dreams text - nothing major, just a couple of intros and a new entry for one of the topics, fairly standard for this part of the project (the editing). Oh, and I forgot to mention that they've sent though two pages of the illustrations and they're gorgeous! I don't know if the style has a name, but it's modern and blocky, while still looking delicate, the four or five, at most, colours warm and pale - but not pastel - and the details quite beautiful. I'm very pleased indeed with them. I'll post a sample here if (big if) I can get permission.
[then I believe I'd written -] And if that leaves you breathless, you know how I feel.
I was hoping for a nap as well, but probably won't have the haddock. Ken's picked up Dark Water (I was actually fancying Doom and a bit of a drool at Johnson and Urban, but it's not out to rent yet, apparently).
Then later it'll be SFSG chapter 3, and a bit of Band 3, I think...
Today I shall be mostly wrestling with RealProducer...
Jenni, whose website I manage, wants streaming audio onsite so visitors can hear samples of her music. This isn't something I've ever done before, though I've considered it, as eventually I'd like it on the Haadri site. Last night I downloaded the basic (i.e. free) version and am about to install it. After setting a restore point, promising Butch something nice if he doesn't bollix it up for me, and taking several deep physical and virtual breaths...
Later Jenni also wants a Paypal account and a pay-for-download facility, the aim being for people to be able to buy tracks they like after hearing them streamed. The code looks horrendous, and I've never actually used cookies before (generally speaking I view them with suspicion - with good cause I feel) So that will be... interesting...
Wish me luck. I may or may not be back later...
Thursday, February 16, 2006
I looked in the mirror this morning - looked, as opposed to the brief glance I usually give myself just to make sure my nose hasn't fallen off in the night or anything - and noticed something a bit odd about my right eyebrow, an unevenness, as though several of the hairs had been pulled out (anyone with skimpy eyebrows will know it doesn't take much for that to look very obvious). On closer inspection, however, I found that three hairs had turned white. [blink] um... I know life is stressful but this is ridiculous! I'm going to look very odd if the whole eyebrow turns white - especially if the other one stays black!
On the other hand, I'm looking forward to my hair going completely silver (it's getting there!), so perhaps it won't look too bad...
So, that's the upstairs hall now done. Nothing on the walls yet, though we have put the half-a-fish bas relief I found at the cats' charity place on the bathroom door, where it looks just eccentric enough to be cute.
Kai invited Tom and Matt around for the afternoon, which was fun. Kai and Matt ended up playing Matrix. At least, that's what they called it. The game involved them being part of the crew of the Nebuchadnezzar, fighting the sentinels. (Matt and Tom play a lot of computer games, and Kai has recently re-watched the trilogy - while I was asleep, so I missed the Twins, and haven't found time to watch it again myself...) They're nice lads, lively, polite and intelligent. They also love Kai's mum's tortillas (I think I'm famous at the school for my tortillas...)
Finished this month's book review (9Tail Fox) and beta-ed SFSG chapter 1 last night: will start the second chapter when House finishes.
Black velvet peacock on the orchid branch. Not the best picture: those speckles are actually delicate multi-coloured glitter lightly scattered over the tail feathers - very pretty, very elegant. Ken's taken some photos with his Olympic ([sigh] I mean, of course, Olympus. Said I was tired!), but they won't be back from the developer for at least a week... Heh, I have got to get a decent digicam...
This (found on the frizzylogic blog) is quite fun - it's always interesting finding out how other people perceive you (compared to how you perceive yourself).
And - most probably asking for trouble with this - here's the negative one!
... tired now...
Wednesday, February 15, 2006
The pic doesn't really show the details, or the true colours, which are much more vivid than this (I'll try taking a photo in natural light tomorrow), but I'm very pleased with the way it's worked, almost exactly as I imagined it. I'd still like another two small orchids, in muted colours, for the branch, so will keep an eye out.
I'm about half done with the decorating now, although I still have to finish the banisters and the landing window frame (which needs sanding first to get rid of the old paint). But the difficult bits (the ceiling and upper walls of the stairwell) are now done: the rest is far easier.
I'm going to price up carpets next week.
Kai has been a little star these last two days, clearing out his 'den' (under the bed) and sorting through everything. It's not finished yet, not quite, but we were able to vacuum under there, and he's determined to keep it tidy from now on (to save having to do it again in a hurry).
We're watching Seven Days that Shook the Weathermen on 4 (it's the second entry on that link). Got to love a programme that starts with Zoë Wannaker saying "Global warming is a fact" and then goes on to present the evidence. It's frightening, all the more so because it is happening - hotter summers with more violent subsequent storms, now-yearly flooding and terrifying flash flood, storm surges, and that's just here. It worries me: this house is only about twenty feet above sea level, with the river less than a mile away, although Sparke Evans, first, and Arnos Vale, secondly, parks would act as minor flood-plains, at least initially. And being in the valley we miss the worst of the force of the winds, although the land itself channels them to some extent. Still, we could be worse off. I'd like to do something about the pool that builds up just outside the patio windows when it storms, though. We'll perhaps investigate that this summer.
Tuesday, February 14, 2006
Argent is taking lessons in Cute. He's now taken to joining Qyn and Raptor in sitting in front of me begging while I eat - only he does it by tilting his head to one side and smiling at me...
Managed to get some more decorating done, though not as much as I wanted - hands too sore. We did get the new lampshade up though: it's very pretty, though it looks more like delicate bamboo sticks than icicles to me.
Monday, February 13, 2006
Well, that's stage one of the current redecoration project almost done. Haven't been able to finish glossing the banister, but that shouldn't take too long tomorrow - assuming I can move, that is, everything's aching horribly and my left hand is actually swollen. Not sure why, since I paint with my right...
It's looking good though, bright and fresh and clean - and bigger, a great side effect of the lighter colours.
I really need to rest the hands tonight, so going to start beta-ing Lutra's SFSG - that won't require too much typing.
Sunday, February 12, 2006
Well, that was fairly successful.
No, I've not started painting yet, but we have cleared everything from the upstairs hall and cleaned in preparation for painting.
You can probably see from the photos (sorry about the quality, as I said, it's a smallish, darkish space - though not as small or dark as it looks here! - despite the fact that all together hall/landing/upstairs hall has more paintable wall and ceiling area than any other room) the area is all angles, and there are five bookcases of various sizes and shapes along the walls: you can just see two of them here, the pine-effect one outside Kai's room and the tall black one outside ours.
They're both emptied and in our rooms at the moment: the black one is going to be repainted with the ice-blue gloss so it's less intrusive. I'll do the same to the small black one at the top of the stairs too (that one contains most of my vampire books. Just for information.)
Other news... Kai's homework for over the holiday is a guided tour of a mosque. Ken thought it might be useful for him to hear the Ahdan (the Call to Prayer), so I found it for him at IslamOnline: a RealPlayer file but we managed to wrestle it into a .wav file and burn to CD for him to take to school. He'll have to get the rest done tomorrow while I'm painting, since he needs to check several things online.
2AC 1.4.4 is finished! Nicely angsty I think. Now it gets really interesting.
Back to it.
Saturday, February 11, 2006
Five litre pots of paint are heavy. Though it's not so much the weight, it's the bottom rim of the pot pressing into the small of the back from inside the rucksack that hurts.
Nevertheless, we now have the ice-blue paint for the hall/landing/upstairs hall, the ice-blue gloss for the woodwork of the same, a pendant lampshade... um... thingie, you know, the bit that holds the lampshade in place on the end of the lightcable hanging from the ceiling (the people who had the house before us took the lower half of nearly every light fitting with them when they left. No, I have no idea why. It's a bloody nuisance though) so we can put up the pretty new frosted glass 'fjord' shade I bought at The Range last year. And some new paintbrushes, and a roller on a very long handle so I don't have to hang perilously over the banister with an ordinary roller packing-taped to a broom handle to paint the ceiling and walls over the stairwell, like I had to last time.
So, all set to tackle the upstairs hall first - well, I will be when we've shifted the two full bookcases up there and scrubbed the woodwork. It's amazing how grubby a dog - and a young sprog - can make paint... Hoping to start tomorrow, but we'll see. I'll try to get photos, but the upstairs hall is small and quite dark, so I may have difficulties there.
Ken sanded and primed the gate today, ably helped by Kai. It wasn't until he'd finished with the primer that he read that it takes sixteen hours to dry. [sigh] So no undercoating until tomorrow - or the day after if the threatened rain arrives, the work really has to be done outdoors. But it's a start!
I think I've just about finished preparing the rosemary stump too, and decided where the three (at the moment, though I'm now looking for another small one) orchids will sit. And which branch will hold the black peacock I bought in Winchester!
My Vampire High DVD arrived this morning from amazon.com (early birthday present: it was only $8 dollars plus $6 p&p - about £8 in total). Not the whole series, unfortunately, that hasn't been released (yet. I hope it's a 'yet'...): the first four episodes edited together into a 90 minute film (with nothing missing but the commercial breaks and credits, except at the very beginning and very end, of course.) It's finished showing on the Horror channel now, alas - ended on a cliffhanger, dammit! Heh, plot holes you could drive a deathstar through, internal inconsistencies, and some dodgy acting, but I really don't care - I thoroughly enjoyed it, it's an oddly sweet, endearing show, with some great characters, much potential and an intriguing plot. My problem is I could very, very easily be sucked into writing in the fandom - there were so many questions left unanswered and stories left untold... But I can't. Can't take on anything else at the moment. For now I'm just keeping my fingers crossed the rest of the series comes out on DVD.
I also managed to write another three pages of 2AC 1.4.4, which had ground to a halt a couple of weeks ago. Back in the swing again, which is great.
Band 3 at 27 pages and I'm not happy with the way it's going. It needs a lot more work, which I'm afraid means it's going to be a bit delayed...
Back to the loom.
Friday, February 10, 2006
Staggered off to bed at just before 7 (am that is. Worked on 2AC last night. Sort of...), only to be woken by Ken at about 9.30 saying if I was sufficiently composted, could I come and look at the little shelf for the upstairs landing?
To explain... regular readers might remember we had a lovely shelving unit for the bedroom made by 'our' carpenter last year - my main orchid display is sitting on it - and at the time we asked about having a new main gate made for the front garden. (He said yes, he could do it, and started work, but was then struck down by illness, so had to put all work on hold.) He'd also brought along a lovely little corner shelf that had been made for someone who then decided they didn't want it, so we said we'd have it. Only thing is, the corner it was originally made for wasn't 90°, and neither is the corner we want it to sit in here (nothing in this house is exactly straight or exactly level. Makes hanging wallpaper a nightmare. Which is why I don't. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.)ANYway. Dragged myself out of bed and pointed blearily to where I want it to go, then decided I may as well get up. The carpenter had brought along the gate - and very smart it is too, so much better than the tatty, ugly, broken, wire-mesh thing we inherited with the house - which needs priming, underpainting and two coats of oil-based exterior paint before he can come back and hang it. (yes, we could prime and stain it instead but then it'll need repainting every year rather than every ten years, and quite honestly the less hard work we have to do around the house the happier we - and our hands - will be). At the moment debating between terracotta - to match the house bricks - or a neutral mushroom to blend in with the pennant stone of the wall. Pretty sure the mushroom will win...
It was another gorgeous day, brilliant sun, no wind, temperature out of the sun still only just above freezing - too nice to stay indoors. So Kai and I leapt onto a bus to Keynsham, had a wander around the second hand shops then went to the park, where Kai climbed and swang for a bit before we did the river walk (sounds grand but it's not long). This entailed pausing at the downstream bridge until a train had gone past (luckily not too long), then walking upstream as far as we could go before doubling back to catch the bus home.
It's a really pleasant walk, and takes us under this road bridge, which has a cute acoustic effect: if you stand under the first arch close to the stream itself, it sounds as though the water is running above you. Coupled with the sparkles on the underside of the bridge, from sun reflecting off the water, it can be quite disorientating. Rather nice though.
There were snowdrops in the little wooded bit at the far end of the walk, and yellow and purple crocuses appearing around the trees. Beautiful.
We bumped into Ruth and Jun at the busstop, and will try to arrange a meet before the sprogs go back to school.
It was a lovely day, but I was dropping by the time we got home - went straight up for a sleep. So I'm only now about to start...
Ken's still ploughing on with the Dartmouth book. He ended up having so much material he had to request an extra text allowance, but even with the additional wordage (heh, can't remember if it was 10K or 15K) he's going to be hard pressed to get everything in. The manuscript is due with the publisher at the end of March and I still haven't proof-read it yet. So that's the next deadline.
Going to make a start on beta-ing Lutra's SFSG on Monday. In the meantime, still pushing to finish Band 3, but it's not proving easy...
Oh yes... Lutra's mentioned the online comic Two Lumps (that link goes back to the first comic) on her blog. It's hysterical - Carol, you and Adrian will love it! I was in stitches. (And I consider myself vindicated. See? Cats are planning world domination!)
There was an opalescent halo around the moon last night - absolutely beautiful, only the second one I've ever seen...
Our author copies of Crystal Power arrived this morning, and I have to admit I'm very pleased with it. The publishers have stayed with our revisions (especially that one I was so worried and annoyed about - it's on page 54, first para - a while back, where the whole sense of the section was reversed. They've gone back to my original text, to my joy), and the book is, I think, practical, pragmatic, useful, and lovely to look at too. Yes, very happy with it. Now we just hope everyone else is as well!
I didn't get out into the garden. Maybe later.
Kai's now on holiday for a week...
Thursday, February 09, 2006
I woke to the most wonderful fragrance this morning. My small jasmine in the bedroom has just one snowy-white flower fully open, and one opening bud, but it's enough to fill the whole of the room and the upstairs hall with a haze of perfume. Absolutely gorgeous.
And there are more buds coming...
UKReg emailed last night to have the WaveWrights.com transfer authorised, which I did. Now just waiting for ClaraNET to email with the details (email, ftp etc) and I can upload the site!
I lifted the compost bin lid earlier - Ken said it's getting a bit full - to find a mouse sitting at the top. It's a lovely little thing, fat and sleek with a looong tail, obviously eating really well. Ken's right though, the bin is nearly full, but the stuff at the bottom isn't completely composted yet. We could do with another one, always used to keep two on the go.
.. It's a beautiful day, bright sun, no wind, cold but not too cold. I should do a bit in the garden later (if the hands hold up)...
[GLOMPS Onna] Thank you! Kai will be dead chuffed - he's now rereading Vol 2 (along with two Jacqueline Wilson books and The Magician's Nephew. I'm so pleased he loves reading!)
Wednesday, February 08, 2006
[grin] There's something deliciously naughty about piously whisking up a mug of Cadbury's Highlights low calorie fudge-flavoured hot chocolate drink - then topping up the mug with mini marshmallows, piling it high with skooshy cream, and throwing another dollop of marshmallows on the top. (Even naughtier is eating the topping with a spoon and going back for seconds. Or thirds, as I did today. Heh, it's not that often I crave sweet things for snacks - generally I prefer cheese - but just occasionally...)
It was extremely nice though.
[bemused] I'm sure most people, on hearing what sounds like a squeaky toy in the garden, would assume it came from a sprog or dog's toy. In this household, it means Argent is playing with a frog...
In other news... Finished a couple of client site updates - may get another, small commission in the next month - and checked the synopsis: that will be emailed shortly.
Kai has finished Furuba 2, and loved it. Now looking forwards to Vol 3 (Onna, please let me know if you're still looking, and if not I'll get a copy over here). And on the subject of Kai: Carol and Wendy, I'm really sorry, I keep forgetting to say - his cards arrived and he loved them! Thank you.
We had a letter back from Briz Council telling us we can't have help with Kai's uniform: apparently you can only do so, here, if you're on Income Support and 1) homeless, 2) there has been a serious fire, theft or flood in the house, 3) sprog has serious medical conditions (extreme growth, enuresis or soiling problems or 4) one parent has recently died. Which seems pretty harsh to me, but I can see why. On the other hand, my mother has insisted she wants to help, and since Kai is the only grandchild they ever see, and they love him dearly, I'm not going to object in spite of the guilt.
And on that subject... Kai has made vague noises about being interested in contacting his cousins (Michael and Georgina). Needless to say I'm not at all keen on that - not because of the children, I'd be happy to see them friends, not being a believer in family upsets being carried through the generations - but because I can't see their father allowing them to read the letters, or worse, sending something nasty back (yes, I am serious, he's done it before to our parents. I have copies). Still pondering.
And we still have the mole...
Tuesday, February 07, 2006
OK, so, the transfer email came through and was OK'ed this morning. Assuming now everything goes according to plan, WaveWrights.com will be up and running in about five days. We hope.
And the synopsis for the proposed new book is written: we should be able to send that off tomorrow.
Other than that it's been a funny old day...
Monday, February 06, 2006
[blink] ... riiiiight...
Had two emails from ClaraNET, one saying just to tell UKReg to amend the DNS records to ClaraNET (which I would do myself if that's what I wanted), the other saying they've initiated the transfer through their own Registrar...
Another case of right hand, left hand, perhaps?
Eh well, when they do get it together, the 'new' site is just about all ready to go, with the X-rated stuff amalgamated into one subdirectory in preparation for the htaccess file (which I can't set up until the site is uploaded to the server). In which there'll be a couple of Lutra-fics (HP) newly posted, and with a bit of luck Band 3 as well!
Sunday, February 05, 2006
WildLife at the Zone!
Well, sort of. This is how the rosemary stump looks now, after several weeks of working at it, peeling away the bark little by little, breaking off the smaller branches and sawing off the larger (Ken did that for me). It's been a loooong job, mainly because I can only work at it for a few minutes at a time - it's hell on the hands.
It's an extraordinary piece of wood, though. The shape and pattern of the grain - if I can call it that, it's more like... twining congruent tendrils - is beautiful, smooth and silky and the wood is amazingly hard. Working with it has been a real pleasure, despite the difficulties: it feels warm and alive to the touch. Much like a living tree. I love trees. Ancient, enduring, a perfect contrast to the frantic speed and brevity of human life, a vast slow architecture across the world. So beautiful...
I'm hoping to have it ready by the end of the week, orchids and all. I'm also hoping to have the upstairs hall and landing redecorated by then: planning to buy the paint tomorrow.
But I promised the tales of the mole and the heron. That's tales - two of them, not, unfortunately, a joint tale à la [spit spit] Barbara Cartland. Let's start with the mole.
That f****ng mole. The first attempt with the mole trap, as I've said, led to the damn thing filling the trap with earth and going around it. The second attempt had the mole tunnelling under the trap. The third one again had the trap filled with earth, while the mole went around it. [glowers at Carol - I can hear you sniggering from here. Can we borrow a gun?] We've now sunk the trap into yet another different tunnel...
Are moles smart, or just lucky?
So, the heron... I'm sure I've mentioned we have a heronry at Eastwood Farm, about a mile and half as the crow flies (or a mile as the heron flies, because it's that much bigger, but we won't go into that or we'll end up in a 'made the Kessel run in less than twelve parsecs' situation and we'll have none of that sort of nonsense here, thank you...) and we occasionally have a heron visit the garden. They used to come, we think, because of the glint of light on the tiny frog and newt pool outside the patio doors. Roeg's Pool, however, is rather bigger, and of course has fish in it...
A heron landed on the fence on Friday, but flew off again fairly quickly (actually, from what I could tell from the glimpse I caught, it kind of overbalanced and nearly fell off the fence, so maybe it flew off in embarrassment). Yesterday it came back, perched on the fence more securely and stood peering into Roeg's Pool - until it was seen off by four very aggrieved seagulls. (Maybe they're keeping an eye on the fish for themselves?) I'd rather not put a cover on the pool if I can help it, but it might be necessary. Unless I'm prepared to feed a heron and restock the pool every month or so.
And finally, we still have happy and extremely well-fed mice. Ken took out the kitchen compost binlet to empty into the big compost bin in the garden, lifted the lid - and found a cute little mouse sitting looking back at him.
Life's interesting in this house.
Saturday, February 04, 2006
[sigh] Blogger's playing silly buggers again...
Tomorrow I must detail the tales of the mole and the heron. But for now, it's back to Band 3, which is growing ever more vasty as time and tide and fingers coalesce into one vaguely amusing fanfic...
Friday, February 03, 2006
Fruits Basket 2 and 4 arrived today! [GLOMPS Onna] Thank you! (Oh, Ayame is so pretty...)
Overall it's been a better day. The last tiny bit of Dreams is now away (the analyses I wrote have had to be dropped to make space - which doesn't worry me, there wasn't enough space anyway to do a good job - but one of them involved a major subject, so I needed to rewrite it in the same format as the rest of the text): after three prolonged phonecalls I think I've sorted out the delay with getting wavewrights.com up and running (yes, I was right, it was too easy!): and I've now had a result with the Supanames situation - they're refunding the overpayment and having the engineers look at the server problems. And have deeply apologised for the inconvenience I've suffered.
Which is all good and acceptable. Pity it took a fax to them - and an email to Nominet asking what action I could take to get satisfaction - to accomplish what should have been resolved a month ago...
ANYway. Happier now. We still haven't finished the synopsis - I'm taking a look at that now - but everything else I planned to do today has been done. It's rare. I'm going to savour the moment. For a moment.
Oh yes - and the Crystals book is now available to preorder from amazon (all the amazons except China - I checked, just out of interest. Hey, maybe we're banned in China! How radical! </sarcasm>) [bemused] They're even offering used copies. Which, given the book isn't even out until March, is... interesting. Maybe someone's using a TARDIS...
More Band 3 tonight, I think...
Thursday, February 02, 2006
... so, Trainz....
We tried reducing all the various elements - changing from GL to DirectX video, lowering the spline count, getting rid of the shadows, cutting the fog, etc - to see if that would stop it hanging and crashing every time Kai tried to use the 'surveyor' application, but nothing worked. I registered with the Auran site (the manufacturers of the Trainz software) and spent an hour prowling their forums to see if I could find a reason for it, eventually falling over a suggestion that simply reducing the screen resolution to 800x600 from 1024x780 might solve the problem...
And lo and behold it worked. Kai now has full use of the software, though with over 7,000 items it'll take him a while to work through everything!
Spent most of today working on the new synopsis: hopefully have it ready to send off tomorrow.
Muse provided the dream soundtrack last night.
Band 3 at 21 pages. Still no ETA though, I'm afraid. (No guest stars yet either, but I think I have a way around that.)
Wednesday, February 01, 2006
[bemused] It says a lot about how important music is to me when even my dreams start including soundtracks: in this case Hard-Fi's Cash Machine (a nifty song and a great video: Kai likes it too).
Vin joined in the Seven Songs meme -
So, like you, I had a really hard time narrowing down my top 7 songs. As you will probably see, they are extremely varied! Basically I only hate country, with the exception of the Dixie Chicks maybe (and even they start to get on my nerves after a while). Everything else, if it sounds appealing I'll listen. Here's my current top 7 (next week's top 7 will probably be different):
1. Tool - Schism 2. A Perfect Circle - Passive 3. KMFDM - Ultra 4. Sarah MacLachlan - Fallen (Gabriel & Dresden Mix) 5. Ayumi Hamasaki - M (Trance Version) 6. New Order - Age of Consent 7. Jem - 24Thanks, Vin (though I have to admit the only names I recognise there are New Order and Sarah MacLachlan, and even then I'm not sure I know the tracks...)
Band 3 at 19 pages.