Zone Doubt, a.k.a. 'Surreal Я Us'...

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

Other sites:

:: JAT :: WaveWrights :: Publications :: Joules... on writing [on hiatus] ::

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

August 2011: the earlier posts in this blog are a mess, the result of me changing the format some time ago. I'm working to edit the entire blog from the beginning, but with over 4K posts and sodall time for such luxuries it's going to take a while... [02/09/16 - Now reached 09/10/2004]

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

The Poppy Tales

(Transformers fanfiction!)

Transformers mini-comics here.











I'm a Member of 

UK Veg Gardeners!


My IMDb ep summaries

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

For later:

Earthian
Dragonball Z (season 2, part)
(Someone else beat me to it!)
Robotech (s2 ep14 Triumvirate)
BBC Lion, witch and wardrobe
BBC Caspian and Dawn Treader
BBC Silver Chair
Beauty and the Beast (part)
(Missing Excel Saga eps)
(Missing Haibane Renme eps)
(And possibly Marine Boy...)


Silver birch at Eastwood 

Farm

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

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

Autumn...

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

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

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

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

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

(Joules, Autumn 2004)


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


In Memoriam

17.03.09 - Argent

25.07.08 - Raptor

18.12.07 - Quyn

02.12.06 - Ryme


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

Currently reading:
Various Transformers books and graphic novels.



Currently working on:
Heart, The Poppy Tales

Currently chuffed with:
My garden

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

Currently maintaining:
BCHS
BCP


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




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

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

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

TPTB - The Powers That Be.

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

biteable - referring to an anatomical part vb, tasty.

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

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

Cumbles - n, cucumbers.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Splish - verb. A combination of slosh and splash.

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

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

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

Murfs - noun, moths.

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

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

Shrumps - noun, mushrooms.

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

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

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

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

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


The Updates Blog

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




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

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

Butch by the talented 

Sylverthorne

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

Joules' 

Haddock

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



A'lestrel by 

Valkyrie.

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



Kood, my new mp3 

player.

Soundwave! (Kood's still moving in...)


Albino Alsatian Benten (c) MEBird 

2004

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

Radittsu, an oekaki for my birthday 04 

by 

Onna

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



I now have an Amazon wish list - find it here. But please be warned most of the things on it are yaoi. If you don't like yaoi, or don't know what it is, you probably won't want to take a look.




The Zone Plant from
The Zone 

blog 

plant

OrganicHTML (which alas no longer seems to exist...)
[::..My Regular Reads..::]
:: Astronomical Pic of the Day [>]
:: What is Space... [>]
:: Dark Roasted Blend [>]
:: BLDG [>]
:: Pruned [>]
:: Watchismo Times [>]
:: Fundies say the darnedest things [>]
(Warning. This site is likely to have you screaming with laughter, shaking your head in sheer disbelief, or weeping for the future of your species. Often all three at the same time. I disclaim any responsiblity for any harm suffered by anyone who visits...)
[::..Fun Places..::]
::HubbleSite
Stunning...
::PALEOMAP Project
Absolutely fascinating.
::The Hacker Dictionary
Hackers with Humour!
:: Carol's Place
My GoodTwin's Homepage!
:: Skymap
Check out the night sky where you are!
[::..Useful Sites..::]
:: GreenNet
First stop for environmental matters
:: MailWasher
Excellent anti-spam software
:: About Bristol
The essential guide - and beautifully user-friendly too!
:: The Forest of Avon
Our local community forest and places to visit
:: The Guardian
Online Guardian Newspaper.
:: ZSPC Colour Chart
Check how your text and background colours look together before releasing them on the world!
:: Symbols
Exactly what it says
:: World Timeserver
For checking the current time around this world
:: Universal Currency Converter
Actually it's just a terran-global currency converter, not universal, but it's still useful...
:: Union of Concerned Scientists
Exactly what it says. Fascinating - and worrying...

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

I'll leave that to others to decide.

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


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

How could I resist?

Just too adorable...

and to complete the rainbow...

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

[::..Anime/Manga..::]
Useful sites:

Yamato -
Fabulous anime figures

Anime Lyrics
A huge selection... evil popups

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

Owned:
   DVD
   Dj: June Special
   CD: Ambivalence

Cyber City Oedo 808

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

From Eroica with Love

Owned:
   Manga Vols 1, 9, 11

Mirage of Blaze

Owned:
   DVD Vol 1 (eps 1-4)

R.G. Veda

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

Twelve Kingdoms

Owned:
   Anime Vol 1-12: complete

Under the Glass Moon

Owned:
   Manga Vol 1, 2
Vol 3 needed

Vampire Hunter D - Bloodlust

Owned:
   DVD

   Vampire Hunter D Book 1



New Vampire Miyu

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


Yami no Matsuei

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


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


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

(Thanks, Lutra, for the quote!)

[::..archive..::]
07/01/2002 - 07/31/2002
08/01/2002 - 08/31/2002
09/01/2002 - 09/30/2002
10/01/2002 - 10/31/2002
11/01/2002 - 11/30/2002
12/01/2002 - 12/31/2002
01/01/2003 - 01/31/2003
02/01/2003 - 02/28/2003
03/01/2003 - 03/31/2003
04/01/2003 - 04/30/2003
05/01/2003 - 05/31/2003
06/01/2003 - 06/30/2003
07/01/2003 - 07/31/2003
08/01/2003 - 08/31/2003
09/01/2003 - 09/30/2003
10/01/2003 - 10/31/2003
11/01/2003 - 11/30/2003
12/01/2003 - 12/31/2003
01/01/2004 - 01/31/2004
02/01/2004 - 02/29/2004
03/01/2004 - 03/31/2004
04/01/2004 - 04/30/2004
05/01/2004 - 05/31/2004
06/01/2004 - 06/30/2004
07/01/2004 - 07/31/2004
08/01/2004 - 08/31/2004
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11/01/2004 - 11/30/2004
12/01/2004 - 12/31/2004
01/01/2005 - 01/31/2005
02/01/2005 - 02/28/2005
03/01/2005 - 03/31/2005
04/01/2005 - 04/30/2005
05/01/2005 - 05/31/2005
06/01/2005 - 06/30/2005
07/01/2005 - 07/31/2005
08/01/2005 - 08/31/2005
09/01/2005 - 09/30/2005
10/01/2005 - 10/31/2005
11/01/2005 - 11/30/2005
12/01/2005 - 12/31/2005
01/01/2006 - 01/31/2006
02/01/2006 - 02/28/2006
03/01/2006 - 03/31/2006
04/01/2006 - 04/30/2006
05/01/2006 - 05/31/2006
06/01/2006 - 06/30/2006
07/01/2006 - 07/31/2006
08/01/2006 - 08/31/2006
09/01/2006 - 09/30/2006
10/01/2006 - 10/31/2006
11/01/2006 - 11/30/2006
12/01/2006 - 12/31/2006
01/01/2007 - 01/31/2007
02/01/2007 - 02/28/2007
03/01/2007 - 03/31/2007
04/01/2007 - 04/30/2007
05/01/2007 - 05/31/2007
06/01/2007 - 06/30/2007
07/01/2007 - 07/31/2007
08/01/2007 - 08/31/2007
09/01/2007 - 09/30/2007
10/01/2007 - 10/31/2007
11/01/2007 - 11/30/2007
12/01/2007 - 12/31/2007
01/01/2008 - 31/01/2008
01/02/2008 - 29/02/2008
03/01/2008 - 31/03/2008
01/04/2008 - 04/30/2008
01/05/2008 - 31/05/2008
01/06/2008 - 30/06/2008
01/07/2008 - 31/07/2008
01/08/2008 - 31/08/2008
01/09/2008 - 30/09/2008
01/10/2008 - 31/10/2008
01/11/2008 - 31/11/2008
01/12/2008 - 31/12/2008
01/12/2008 - 31/12/2008
01/01/2009 - 31/01/2009
01/02/2009 - 28/02/2009
01/03/2009 - 31/03/2009
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01/05/2009 - 31/05/2009
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01/11/2009 - 30/11/2009
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01/01/2010 - 31/01/2010
01/02/2010 - 28/02/2010
01/03/2010 - 31/03/2010
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01/05/2010 - 31/05/2010
01/06/2010 - 30/06/2010
01/07/2010 - 31/07/2010
01/08/2010 - 31/08/2010
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01/10/2010 - 31/10/2010
01/11/2010 - 31/11/2010
01/12/2010 - 31/12/2010
01/01/2011 - 31/01/2011
01/02/2011 - 28/02/2011
01/03/2011 - 31/03/2011
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01/05/2011 - 31/05/2011
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01/11/2011 - 30/11/2011
01/12/2011 - 31/12/2011
01/01/2012 - 31/01/2012
01/02/2012 - 28/02/2012
01/03/2012 - 31/03/2012
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01/06/2012 - 30/06/2012
01/07/2012 - 31/07/2012
01/08/2012 - 31/08/2012
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01/10/2012 - 31/10/2012
01/11/2012 - 30/11/2012
01/12/2012 - 31/12/2012
01/01/2013 - 31/01/2013
01/02/2013 - 28/02/2013
01/03/2013 - 31/03/2013
01/04/2013 - 30/04/2013
01/05/2013 - 31/05/2013
01/06/2013 - 31/06/2013
01/07/2013 - 31/07/2013
01/08/2013 - 31/08/2013
01/09/2013 - 30/09/2013
01/10/2013 - 31/10/2013
01/11/2013 - 30/11/2013
01/12/2013 - 31/12/2013
01/01/2014 - 31/01/2014
01/02/2014 - 28/02/2014
01/03/2014 - 31/03/2014
01/04/2014 - 30/04/2014
01/05/2014 - 31/05/2014
01/06/2014 - 31/06/2014
01/07/2014 - 31/07/2014
01/08/2014 - 31/08/2014
01/09/2014 - 31/09/2014
01/10/2014 - 31/10/2014
01/11/2014 - 30/11/2014
01/12/2014 - 31/12/2014
01/01/2015 - 31/01/2015
01/02/2015 - 28/02/2015
01/03/2015 - 31/03/2015
01/04/2015 - 30/04/2015
01/05/2015 - 31/05/2015
01/06/2015 - 30/06/2015
01/07/2015 - 31/07/2015
01/08/2015 - 31/08/2015
01/09/2015 - 30/09/2015
01/10/2015 - 31/10/2015
01/11/2015 - 31/11/2015
01/12/2015 - 31/12/2015
01/01/2016 - 31/01/2016
01/022016 - 28/02/2016
01/03/2016 - 31/03/2016
01/04/2016 - 31/04/2016
01/05/2016 - 31/05/2016
01/06/2016 - 30/06/2016
01/07/2016 - 31/07/2016
01/08/2016 - 31/08/2016
01/09/2016 - 31/09/2016
01/10/2016 - 31/10/2016
01/11/2016 - 31/11/2016
01/12/2016 - 31/12/2016
01/01/2017 - 31/01/2017
01/02/2017 - 28/02/2017

Thursday, March 30, 2006

It rained.
Rainbow March 30th 06
Untweaked. The garden really is that colour in this light...





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Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Well, what an exciting day it's been so far! First of all we have the moon taking a bite out of the sun - and the clouds parting and staying parted for almost the whole time of the eclipse (Ken and I spent an hour diving in and out watching). Then the battery recharger arrived (big beast it is too!). Then - [GLOMPS Onna] - Fruits Basket 3 arrived! And finally... do you remember I mentioned that an adaptation of Angela Carter's Nights at the Circus is on at the Bristol Old Vic? I'd been idly wondering about the possibility of us going to see it... Today Ken said let's go for it...
Cue a bit of a scramble organising child-minders and ringing for tickets, and the last performance is on Saturday and there are hardly any seats left, but we've managed to get two together and we're going on Friday! Dress circle seats beside a pillar - not the best in the house but the best we can do at such short notice and for such a popular play (it's been booked pretty solid for the whole run, apparently).
Ye gods, the last time we went to the theatre - together - was waaaaaay back just after we bought the house, when we saw a fun play by a playwright whose name now completely escapes me, except I'm sure the surname begins with B: a Sherlock Holmes play starring Robert Powell which we thoroughly enjoyed. (I really must find the programme - saw it when I was tidying a wee while back, put it somewhere safe, and now can't remember where...)
Right - after all that, I must do something constructive. 2AC is coming along well - now onto 1.4.09 and getting on for 108,000 words - and I took a look at Band 3 last night as well. [beg] Here's a teaser, 'cause I'm evil like that...

     The albino waved a piece of paper at the C.E.O., holding it gingerly between long crimson nails.      "And these are supposed to be our costumes?"      "These are preliminary sketches, yes."      Goggles and Sengoku both snatched for the paper - and burst out laughing. Monglane looked most put out.      "I'll have you know we've had the most prestigious fashionistas working on those designs!"      "Yeah right..." Goggles laid the picture face up on the table: Rei made a grab for it, eyes widening as the other band members jostled closer to take a look. Sakura squealed.      "OOOOH! You'll look gorgeous!"      The... 'costumes'... were leather, with a lot of straps and buckles. Mostly useless straps and buckles, as far as Gina could see. There wasn't an awful lot of coverage to the outfits, either.      "Might as well call it Bondage Slaves from Outer Space and have fuckin' done with it." growled Goggles. There was a suspiciously pregnant silence, then Monglane sighed and shook his head.      "Alas, delicious as the idea may be, we need to suggest wholesomeness and romance since our girls are also starring."

I really must get it finished...





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Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Fings wot I 'ave found out terday...
How to code and use a cascading style sheet just for printing (IAVMT needed one for their membership subscriptions). Beautifully simple and easy to code. Next up: a couple of different templates for my blog, so readers can choose different colour schemes!
That 'our' carpenter might be able to put up our little shelf and the garden gate at the end of this week! (Emphasis on the 'might': he's a lovely man but retired for a goodly number of years now, and his health isn't that wonderful. But he loves his craft and does these small commissions for people every now and then.)
That camera batteries don't last forever. Well, actually, I kind of knew that anyway, but hadn't realised I'd taken nearly 200 high-res photos since getting my digicam, and the starter battery pack is only supposed to take 150-250 depending on the quality, so it's done very well really. We've now ordered a recharger (the more expensive version of the one you recommended, Carol, since it does the bigger batteries too and we're always running out of torch batteries - very dear and heavy power drain) and some good rechargeable batteries. No getting away from it: my tablet pen uses one AAA every 1.5 - 2 months, and Kood eats batteries like there's no tomorrow (I get four weeks' use if I'm lucky) so it'll pay for itself in no time.Jewel Orchid Much as I don't like the idea of everything being battery driven, there's not really any way around it, and at least with the recharger we're both using less resources and creating less waste...
<- This is the ludisia (jewel orchid) Sue gave me as a birthday present. It's doing very nicely, as you can see (I'll have to try a close-up of the leaves when I have new batteries in the camera - they're amazing, rich dark green with cream and maroon veins, and they look and feel like velvet) and I'm hoping for flowers soon!
That we have four lots of frogspawn in Roeg's Pool - and newts in the small pool. Now considering moving some of the frogspawn down to the small pool to help feed the newts (newts being much much rarer than frogs here) since Ken tells me they eat tadpoles...
That our resident magpie pair are collecting tiny twigs from our garden, presumably to finish their nest. If I remember rightly they had five chicks last year. Will have to keep an eye out. (They don't nest in the garden, but they're not far away.)
That Kai is on Eostre break on Friday! But surely it was just a couple of weeks ago he was on half-term... My haddock are escaping faster all the time.
I need a nap. Half the lack of sleep problem is caused by snoring. No, not Ken, Quyn. Gods he's loud! I'll ask the vet about that as well when I take him, but he may end up being exiled to downstairs at night. Which he will hate. But I do need some sleep!
More later...





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Monday, March 27, 2006

Pomegranate seeds in bone china Sakura bowl




Proserpine's enchantment.





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[snarl] ... bloody migrating haddock again... I really don't think I can be arsed to change my timestamp in the settings, this time...
A strange day in which I appear to have accomplished very little. Mind you, waking at 12.30 didn't help... oh, hang on, it was really 11.30. And it was Mothering Sunday. OK, that makes a small difference. Half-watched Corpse Bride (charming film!) while footering around with pay-for-download (no good, I think I'm going to have to ask for help). Thoroughly enjoyed dinner (steak, mushrooms, mixed veg, strawberries, Galia melon and blueberry icecream. But not on the same plate.)
Then sat and watched the Sense and Sensibility video. It's gorgeous! And to my joy Kai enjoyed it too (though he had to go up to bed before it finished). It might be time to try him on some classics, perhaps some Shakespeare comedies to start with (on film I mean. He's too young to enjoy reading Shakespeare - and in any case, old Bill's work should be seen, rather than read. Well, seen first anyway. Where was I? Oh yes...) I'll see what I can find.
To the loom!





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Sunday, March 26, 2006

[snort] Just caught snippets of the end of the Commonwealth Games on News 24. Dame Edna Everage not managing to lipsynch? [snerk] But the Delhi extravaganza looked sparkly and exotic - hope you enjoyed it, Lutra!
From Onna's Blog -
Nymph
What kind of fae are you?
Uh, right...

Happy Mother's Day to all UK Mums!







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Saturday, March 25, 2006

So, Stealth... Twenty minutes in I turned to Ken and said, "Am I alone in hoping they all die horribly?" Ken, grinning, "They should all be sent to the bug planet." Me, "And have their brains sucked out, slowly... Then again, I knew I wasn't going to like it. Not after that intro."
It's a nasty, jingoistic, militaristic piece, clichéd as hell (I guessed the plot soon after the start), with a half-arsed and wholly unbelievable 'love-story' thrown in as a plot device. What little moralising there is is half-hearted at best, laughable at worst.
The best things about it are the DVD itself, coloured a very pretty bronzy-gold, EDI the smart plane - very pretty, same colour as the disc, but ultimately stupid (sacrifice itself for those morons? Obviously not as smart as first appeared. And why did he sound like Hal? Is that de rigueur for computers these days?) - and the soundtrack, which wasn't bad.
Other than that, it's dire. I wouldn't bother.
The Phobia List, however, is fun...





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Right. Dartmouth Ghosts and Legends manuscript is in the post. K&K are upstairs - Ken is putting up Kai's new shelves, he has time now the book is finished, and it's raining, so it's not a good day for outdoor adventures. I've shopped - Tesco on a Saturday. [shudder] But the price war with Sainsbug's is still going on: Tesco's strawberries are 99p as opposed to Sainsbug's 'buy two for £3' (Moroccan, so I shall eat my Mother's Day dessert tomorrow feeling suitably guilty about the distance they've had to travel and the resources the trip has used up...), while the organic fruit juice cartons that Kai takes for breaktime and lunch are 78p at T, 89p at S. Annoyingly, S have now put the price of their Yeo Valley organic butter up to £1.19, same as T: for a good few weeks it was £1.09. Then again, everywhere seems to be slowly increasing the prices of food items by 10p a time... Where was I? Oh yes...
We've ordered a second compost bin - a Rotol Composter (280 litre capacity, 100% recycled plastic) from our local council. (£17 including delivery: apparently these retail at £34.99 usually.) We were planning to get one anyway, but we've kind of been forced into it because of the new waste-collection policy.
I don't know how these things work in other countries (or even other cities!), but in Briz (well, Brislington, at any rate) each household is provided with a standard large wheelie-bin and the rubbish collected once a week. Each household was also given a black box for recyclable materials - it takes paper (but not cardboard), glass, steel and aluminium cans, and items of clothing. (I don't think they allow plastic, but we always take ours to the recycling tanks at Tesco or Sainsbug anyway.)
However... with effect from... we're not actually sure, but it'll be sometime soon... rubbish will only be collected once a fortnight, and each household will be provided with a kitchen caddy and a larger collecting bin for kitchen and biodegradeable waste, which will also be collected and recycled. (We've opted out since we already compost everything.)
I'm in two minds about this (the once a fortnight collection, I mean). Yes, I'm all for 'persuading' people to recycle as much as possible by any means possible, and if inconveniencing them has that effect then that's fine by me. After all, if the council are willing to take it away from right outside your house, you'd be stupid not to take advantage of the service. But we recycle as much as we can already, and even we frequently still end up with a full bin (this is mostly the fault of packaging, I've found: we compost cardboard and the biodegradeable trays organic veg often comes in, but far too many things are - quite unnecessarily in my opinion - pre-packaged in polystyrene, plastic and plastic film, and so far I haven't found anywhere here that can take such things).
It'll be interesting to see how the scheme works out.
ANYway... the new composter should be delivered in about a week, and when the weather warms up and the slowworms have dispersed we can start dismantling the remaining old wooden one (which is only still standing thanks to the big stones around the bottom! But it's done us proud, so we can't complain). And at that point it'll be time to start getting the garden organised for this year: I still haven't finished laying the stones around Roeg's Pool, we have some pruning to do and a whole load of seeds to plant. I'd also like to get a strawberry planter and see if we can grow our own: we all love the fruit but it's expensive to buy.
On a sadder note our apple tree is definitely dying; it's going to have to be cut down and burnt. I've suggested replacing it with a pear tree - Ken and I both like pears, and the Concorde variety is described as being a small and compact tree. I need to check how easy it is to grow and whether it's prone to any diseases first though.
For now, I'm still wrestling with the pay-for-download. But only until dinner time: I've rented Stealth (yes, I know, probably absolute crap but the planes look pretty, and knowing me I shall end up cheering for the AI to win...) and Corpse Bride (Kai said he wanted to watch it) DVDs for afterwards.
Then tonight I get to play again!





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Friday, March 24, 2006

Well, that was fairly satisfactory. I finished Ken's proof/beta - then had to go through it again after he'd revised it all to check for any further typos/red ink (there were a few, too, shame upon me!) However, it's all finished now, printed out and ready to go off in the post in the morning (publisher wanted two printed copies: it weighs the proverbial ton and needs to be packed in a box rather than an envelope. That'll be fun at the Post Office!)
But at least I've now got my computer back. (We use mine for printing manuscripts because my printer uses the big, extended-use ink cartridges rather than the 'print 100 pages and pack up' cartridges of Ken's Lexmark.) Getting another chapter of Lutra's SFSG beta-ed - I've rather fallen behind while working on the Dartmouth book - and then I shall take a look at my own writing.
Wendy, thank you for the card! [GLOMPS] It's beautiful.
(c) Alan JR Jacobs
© Alan J R Jacobs.
(I'm a little puzzled because the URL on the back of the card leads to Natural Images, which is a 'fully catered guided holiday experience' as far as I can see, and the photographer's name isn't mentioned... Eh well.)
Heh. I need to reorganise this room, get the new artworks up on the walls. Only that means redecorating first... Maybe before Yule, depending on cash flow, I suppose.
Back to the loom...





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Thursday, March 23, 2006

Busy.
Actually, why do I bother saying that? I can't remember the last time I wasn't busy...
Let's start with the bad stuff. I emailed the Body Shop last Friday, after hearing the news they'd sold out to L'Oréal. Yesterday I had an email back...

   We would like to thank you for your email in relation to the recommended cash offer for the The Body Shop International Plc by L'Oreal which was announced last week.    Our UK Customer Care team is working through the emails we have received and will respond as appropriate to each email. In the meantime please find attached our statement to customers on the announcement including comments on the decision from The Body Shop Founder and non-executive director, Dame Anita Roddick, The Body Shop Chief Executive Officer, Peter Saunders and Chairman and CEO of L'Oréal, Sir Lindsay Owen-Jones.

This is the statement, in full. (Sorry for the length...)

   The boards of L'Oréal and The Body Shop are pleased to announce today that agreement has been reached on the terms of a recommended cash offer to be made by L'Oréal, to acquire The Body Shop.    Commenting on the Offer, Dame Anita Roddick, founder and non-executive director of The Body Shop, said: "For both Gordon and I, this is without doubt the best 30th anniversary gift The Body Shop could have received. L'Oréal has displayed visionary leadership in wanting to be an authentic advocate and supporter of our values. They understand what a maverick The Body Shop was in the business world and how we helped change the language of business, incorporating the action of social change, especially in human rights, animal welfare, the environment and Community Trade. I am so proud of these achievements. We have come a long way since then with great new campaigns like Stop Violence in the Home, fabulous new products and Community Trade ingredients and an even bigger reach around the world. I want to thank all those employees, consultants, franchisees, suppliers and NGO friends who helped shaped our identity. I am confident that they will see being part of the L'Oréal family as a great opportunity for The Body Shop.    The five values of The Body Shop will continue to be applied throughout the organisation and we will be offered the opportunity to further expand the brand and our values with support from L'Oréal. We can expand into new markets and grow all our channels: retail stores, TBSAH and ecommerce around the world. For our customers The Body Shop remains a great ethical retailer offering prestige quality products at affordable prices with compelling values campaigns and our commitment to our five values including Community Trade and Against Animal Testing."    The Chairman and CEO of L'Oréal, Sir Lindsay Owen-Jones, said: "We have always had great respect for the success of The Body Shop and for its strong identity and values created by its outstanding founder, Dame Anita Roddick. A partnership between our companies makes perfect sense. Combining L'Oréal's expertise and knowledge of international markets with the distinct culture and values of The Body Shop, will benefit both companies. We are delighted that The Body Shop board has agreed to unanimously recommend our offer to the Company's shareholders. We look forward to working together with The Body Shop management, employees and franchisees to fulfil The Body Shop's independent potential as part of the L'Oréal family."    Commenting on the Offer, Peter Saunders, Chief Executive, The Body Shop said: "The Body Shop Board believes that the purchase by L'Oréal will benefit our customers and other stakeholders through the opportunity to extend the reach of The Body Shop brand and its exciting range of products and campaigns in partnership with L'Oréal it provides good value to shareholders; and ensures an exciting future for The Body Shop employees and The Body Shop At Home™ consultants within one of the most respected cosmetic companies in the world."

Fucking hypocrites. I'll post any 'personalised' reply I receive.

On several more pleasant notes...
My copy of Jenni's CD Quiet Mind arrived yesterday. It's extraordinarily beautiful, complex without being complicated, transcendant and haunting, a joy to listen to.
I've proof/beta-ed half of the Dartmouth book so far (hoping to finish tonight) and it's very good. So good, in fact, that at several points I forgot I was supposed to be beta-ing and immersed myself in the text, then had to go back and work over it again! It deserves to be a top seller. Keeping fingers crossed.
Butbutbut... The item I bought from eBay arrived this morning...

WAIIII!!!

Zarbon gashopon
Yes, it's a Zarbon gashopon! Rather larger than life-size in this scan (he's actually 3 and a quarter inches high: I did try taking some photos but they didn't come out terribly well - I think the figure's too small even for my zoom function. Unless I wasn't using it correctly, which is a distinct possibility), and I've left off the cloak (which always got in the way as far as I was concerned) - and also coloured the eyes, as for some wholly inconceivable reason they were purple (I shall paint them when I can find the right colour).
Zarbon gashopon I am, of course, delighted. To put it mildly. And I'm wondering - since Bandai have finally included the character in their list - if they might now produce an action figure as well. Keeping fingers tightly crossed, anyway!
I'm also extremely pleased that my first experience of eBay was so painless and easy. The package was sent from Hong Kong on the 20th, and arrived here faster than some internal mail!
I must now email the seller and let him know how pleased I am... (Onna, if you're interested let me know and I'll email the details!)
And I'll be getting back to 2AC tonight!





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Tuesday, March 21, 2006

So I take a nap while Ken collects Kai, and I dream - though I don't now remember most of the dream, except for the end of it when Ken woke me up...
I was talking to Alan Rickman. He was giving me advice.
About decorating (so wipe that lecherous grin off your face!)
Un-bloody-believable. [growl] It's rare enough I dream about 'real' people as it is, but for them to invade my dreams and then not have the decency to do something... interesting is a very poor show indeed. Mind you, after that other dream - a year? two years? ago - that featured Orlando Bloom I suppose I shouldn't be too surprised.
Going to grump off and watch GoF now...





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At the Sign of Two-Frogs-Bonking...
At least, that's what I thought they were doing in Roeg's Pool, but since they still seem to be doing it three hours later, after I've taken Kai to school, shopped and returned, it might be that the one on the top is drowning/has drowned the one on the bottom (as happened to those two ducks we saw a year or so ago along the river). I'll check again later and oik them out if need be. There's another frog in there as well at the moment...
The pool is very popular at this time of year - there's a hefty load of frogspawn in there already. Which is a point: do goldfish eat tadpoles? I have no idea, but if they do we're going to have some fine fat fish later on!
I picked up Sense and Sensibility video for a pound at the cats' charity shop, along with the other pretty little phalaenopsis, and Sainsbug's are selling the two-disc version of HP Goblet of Fire for £12.79 at the moment, so I bought that as well (we were going to get it for Kai as a birthday present anyway: he can have it belatedly). So, a little Rickman fest for me this weekend, then!
Having trouble sleeping. The attempted early nights aren't working, even with valerian. Damned nuisance. No doubt it will sort itself out but in the meantime I'm permanently tired.
Still, I started 2AC 1.4.08 last night, and am hoping to get some more of Band 3 done later. I just want that finished, now.
I have some more site updates to do first, though. Back to it.




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Sunday, March 19, 2006

[boggled] I started off the day looking for a way to code Jenni's requested pay-for-download pages. I ended it by having a reasonable grasp of SMIL, XLS (I already know XML, mostly, I'm just too lazy to use it. Here, anyway.), how to code PHP (sort of. I'll need to look further into them all if I'm to use them) and considering whether installing an RSS feed on Jenni's page might be a good idea (which I think it is. I could install it here too, except I don't think it would get much use. I'd find it handy for myself, though: I have far too many blogs to read every day...)
The meme Lutra's referring to came from Kitchen Witch, and here's my version.

What was I doing ten years ago?

Looking forward to the 14 month hurdle when I planned to stop breast-feeding Kai, as by that time [wince] he had teeth. Why 14 months? Because received wisdom at the time was that breast-feeding up until 13 months helped prevent the child developing asthma (as well as being best for baby, of course!).
He was a very hungry baby...

What was I doing one year ago?

I can't remember. Hang on...
.................
Blog entry for this time last year says I'd finished redecorating the bedroom, made the window's main curtains, almost finished the wardrobe curtains, and met my sewing machine's gremlin. Interesting. I seem to get these urges to redecorate in the winter...

Five snacks I couldn't live without

Hm. I'm not sure there are any I really couldn't live without. There are some I turn to time and time again - like cheese, especially Jarlsberg or Leerdammer, and sushi, and ramen (when I have it in) - but I can live without them if I have to. I'd find it difficult giving up diet coke though.

Five songs to which you know all the lyrics

I know the lyrics to all my favourite songs. But my favourites to sing are the Scott Walker version of Jacques Brel's If You Go Away (which is my song for Ken), Bowie's Wild is the Wind (Ken's song for me), Shania Twain's That Don't Impress Me Much, Judy Small's The IPD, and Kaiser Chiefs' Oh My God.

Five things I'd do if I was a millionaire

Like Lutra, my first thought was - just a millionaire, or a multi-millionaire?
Well, for the first option I'd pay off the mortgage and slap a hefty sum in trust for Kai for when he hits 21 (none of this 18 nonsense - 21 is a most magical number and he'd just have to wait the extra 3 years!); have an extension built with a garage underneath and a big bedroom for Kai over it (freeing up his room for guests again); have done all the household things we haven't been able to afford so far, like double glazing and a decent kitchen. And I suppose I'd buy a car, if I could find one that was sufficiently ethical. Networked computers, home cinema, that sort of thing. A family holiday or two. Enough of a pension to make our later years comfortable. Small dreams that are big to us.
That was more than five, wasn't it? Well, count the household things as all one...
Multi-millionaire, though - now that's a different thing. Pay off this mortgage, yes - then have another house built to our specifications to be moved into in 10 years time or so when Kai's finished secondary school. And big donations to charity. RSPCA, PDSA, NSPCC, National Trust, WWF. Start our own small publishing concern! Learn to fly! Buy a helicopter!
So nice to dream...

Five things I like doing

Writing. Swimming. Flying. Riding (horses, that is). Dancing. Unfortunately I don't do the last two at all any more, can't afford to fly, and rarely get to swim. But that's OK, I like writing best anyway...

Five things I'd never wear again

My first wedding ring (can't anyway - I sold it). Slave collar. (Oh wait, sorry - it says again. Forget that one then...) Dresses (unless forced at gunpoint). Skirts (ditto). Stiletto-heeled shoes. A multi-coloured crocheted poncho ([wince] But I was very young, and I had made it myself...).

Five favourite toys

Kood (my mp3 player), my digicam, and the last three are too personal to list here.

I'm tired, and I have another busy day tomorrow, and I've done none of my own writing for four bloody days - no wonder I'm growling! Aiming for an early night I think.
And no, I still haven't managed to sort out the pay-for-download. (The cheapest e-commerce software package I found was £199 and I'm not forking out for it!) I think I am a little closer to a solution though.





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Saturday, March 18, 2006

Pics of the hall/stairs/landing are here.
The Treasure Hunt went very well - all three sprogs enjoyed it. Here's the schedule...

[Start in living room. First clue:] Anubis guards the entrance to the Otherworld. Between his paws a message lies: Read his words and he will start to guide you to your prize.

There's a Past Times statue of Anubis on the hall windowsill (you can see it on the picture page, at the bottom).

Clue 1: Up at the top where the vampires live, 'Dracula' can be found. Within his 'cloak' are stories - and smiles....

My vampire books are in the little bookcase at the top of the stairs. I made sure Dracula (the Bram Stoker one) was on the top shelf - and the sprogs looked in everything with Dracula in the title except the right one. [sigh] A little nudge and they found it!

[Inside the book, 'smiley' stickers and Clue 2] Look behind you! Look behind you! Where orchids beckon, the peacock points the way. Three legs and a face - what's in here?

The next clue was rolled up inside Ken's ceremonial sake pourer - beside the orchid branch. And it was in Egyptian hieroglyphics! Kai has a hieroglyph chart on his bedroom wall... Translated, the clue read - under snakeskin (well, undr snakskin, because there was no 'e' on the chart!) I left a fortune telling fish, rocket balloons and a tiny 'smiley' padlock along with Clue 4 under Kai's snakeskin.

Clue 4: Where half-a-fish floats at the entrance to a pearly place Dolphins leap and fishes swim and mermaids' tails point the way - Three baby dragons in a green and blue jar!

The half a fish is of course on the bathroom door, and there are three mermaids in the bathroom. The baby dragons were little goldfish water squirters -
goldfish

Clue 5: Goldfish are baby dragons in the East. Now go out and find the real baby dragons - And ask the frog!

There's a little terracotta frog by Roeg's Pool in the garden. Three sheets of holographic stickers and the next clue were under it.

Clue 6: One of these a day keeps the doctor away Or so they say. Untangle the letters to find where to look! nehbid het pelap etre!

(Anagram of behind the apple tree.) I hung a bag with three 'melody pops' - melon, strawberry and cola 'swanee whistle' lollies that the sprogs had much fun with, playing Happy Birthday to Kai!

Clue 7: Where does the mouse live? Kai knows! Look around the place. Somewhere here is a way to see the world The way the insects do!

I (not very inconspicuously) hid three plastic facetted 'insect eye' mini-kaleidoscopes near the compost bin!

Clue 8: Now here's a thing. Inside, Spinning, spinning but going nowhere... If you look, you'll find more things that spin!

I was quite pleased with that one, because it could have meant spiders webs, or the washing machine, or - correctly - my exercise bike, where I'd hung a bag with the next clue and three little magnetic UFO spinning tops!

Clue 9: Where one table fits under another See what's in between!

Three 'maze' pens (3D maze with two tiny ball-bearings to fineagle through the twists and turns) between the stacking tables in the lounge.

Clue 10: Somewhere a fountain bubbles gently, aiding peaceful sleep. Amusements are under the cat!

This was the breathing, purring cat Kai bought me for my birthday: I hid three 'noughts and crosses' games under her plus the final clue.

Clue 11: Now at last you're almost there! The final prize lies in Shelob's lair...

I asked Kai to put his Great Big Tarantula in his den under the bed several days ago so I could hide the final 'prize' - two little books (3D Dinosaurs, 3D Body, Hand Shadows and Turn About), a crystal each, and a bag of old-fashioned sweets (sherbet flying saucers, pear drops, barley sugar) in a bag for each of them - under it without arousing suspicion.
They loved it. Jun asked Ruth for a Hunt of his own! And Ruth made the most gorgeous sachertorte decorated like a clock, with the hands pointing to 11, for Kai!
Afterwards we watched Nanny Mcphee - lovely feel-good film. We thoroughly enjoyed it.
And finally, Ken recorded the cats demanding to be fed this morning. Here's the RealAudio file. Turn your volume up...





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Friday, March 17, 2006

[phew...]
So, I manage three hours sleep, then drag myself out to take Kai to school, then to the carpet shop to pay the invoice (via the cats' charity place to pick up some cards; they had a very pretty little pinkish-purple silk phalaenopsis, £2.50, to which I treated myself - and forgot to take a photo. Must do that tomorrow...) Back home via Sainsbug's, rang Ruth (the Treasure Hunt is on for tomorrow! Yay!), painted the darkest bookcase in the blue gloss (wondered about doing all of them, but decided the pine-coloured ones are a nice contrast), then picked up Quyn's prescription on the way into town (the vet is ill, so the appointment's postponed 'til next month).
[takes a breath] Bank for cash bags, Hawkin's Bazaar for a last minute couple of small things for the Hunt, W.H.Smith's for envelopes (and I forgot to use the bloody vouchers we've saved up, dammit!) and Wilkinsons for bath foam for Kai and shower gel for Ken. And while I was there I checked downstairs for blue/white pots for the maranta and scindapsus - finishing touches for the landing and stairwell.
They'd had a new delivery of new fabric orchids...
While drooling over a spray of the most gorgeous deep purple laeliocattleya I caught a glimpse of a deep bronzy red tucked away at the back....
Paphiopedilum A paphiopedilum. The biggest paphiopedilum I've ever seen - the flower is bigger than my hand...
£7.99.
Of course, it just had to come home with me.
(I'll keep my fingers crossed the laeliocattleya is still there next time I go in.)
[sigh] It's beautiful - in a Little Shop of Horrors way (says Ken). I've been looking for one for well over a year now and had almost given up hope - it's not the prettiest of orchids and not really much in demand. So I'm absolutely delighted!
Paphiopedilum
I was naughty, too...
You've probably realised by now I don't wear a great deal of jewellery (jade, peridot and emerald in my ears, jade and amber beads, and peridot-coloured crystal in the other piercings. Yes, I like green gemstones. Particularly jade!): when it comes to necklaces my jade dragon won't hang quite straight, which irritates me, and the jade cicada, which I really like, is so big and heavy it's not comfortable to wear for any length of time. I've been keeping an eye out for something just right for several years now, in an on-off way.
Anyway, the last time I was in town on a Friday I checked out the Friday Outdoor Market at St Nicks - lots of stalls selling all sort of specialist jewellery, clothes, artwork etc - and found a Chinese stall (it's where Adrian's birthday present came from) selling jade jewellery. One in particular caught my eye - a chunky jade 'fretwork' pendant of a koi carp with three 'cash' coins on a bronze and olive green silk necklet. I fell in love with it, but couldn't afford it at the time.
I decided that if it was still there the next time I was, I was obviously meant to have it.
Heh. It was there. Reduced in price too (to £15)! So I bought it. But it's supposed to be my Yule present, so I'm not allowed to have it yet. I'll try to get a photo tomorrow though.
So, home, couple of client site updates, washing, shower, dinner - then a cycle's nap as I couldn't keep my eyes open any longer - and I've just finished making maki zushi for tomorrow. Time to do something creative!
As a final note I must say that I am disgusted, wholly and entirely. The Body Shop have sold out to L'Oréal. L'Oréal!! The company's a quarter owned by bloody Nestlé (I cannot adequately express how much I loathe and despise this company. We refuse outright to buy anything from them or any of their associated companies.) Can we say betrayed? Apparently Anita Roddick is making something like £130 million from the sale, the traitorous bitch. So much for ethics. It seems it was all about the money in the end. I hope it chokes her.
I will not be buying from the body shop again. I'd urge anyone who feels the same to write/email expressing their disgust and also switch to someone with some ethics - like Lush.

Addendum: the body shop's email is UKCustomer.Relations@the-body-shop.com. Email them before they take it down.





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Thursday, March 16, 2006

[happy grin] Well, he was two hours late arriving (his colleague was sick), but he'd finished the job in two and a half hours and it looks gorgeous. Haven't taken any photos yet: will try that tomorrow.





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Wednesday, March 15, 2006

... can I sit down yet?
Gordon Bennett, that was a bit of a day! My hunt for graphite proved unavailing - even our little man up at the ironmongers at Broadwalk didn't have any (which came as a bit of a shock, since he's a proper old-fashioned sort of ironmongers where you can usually buy the sorts of things the big DIY places have never even heard of and would have to ask their grandparents for a description...)
So we've ended up buying some Polyfilla wood-filler stuff for the smaller cracks and Ken's now replaced the worst floor board - that'll be the loose one he tried to nail down when we first bought the house and ended up putting the nail through the copper water pipe underneath, which required an emergency visit from a (very expensive) plumber and resulted in Ken not trying his hand at any DIY for several years afterwards... Kai was quite excited though: he's made a sort of time capsule with a message and put it in the gap under the board, to be sealed up later. He has the romantic vision of someone in the distant future finding it and wondering about the people who lived here.pawprint
They'll probably realise we had cats...
Back when I last painted the stairwell, in green, it was interesting to see the cats' reactions. Ryme and Raptor saw I'd been painting, and stayed well away from the wet areas, walking down the middle of the stairs.pawprint But not Argent, oh no. No, he prefers going up and down against the wall, and by gum he was going to carry on doing it regardless. Result - one small cat with nasty horrible green gloss on his paw.
Fortunately we didn't have many carpets down at the time, and I was able to catch him before he a) walked paint all over everywhere, and b) tried to lick the stuff off. Oh what fun we had, slathering his paw in paint remover then in warm soapy water to remove the paint remover, then carefully clipping away the fur around his toes - damn paint would not come off...pawprint
He's been a lot more circumspect this time around.
(Have I mentioned recently I love my new camera? And the tiny little quiet kerDONK sound it makes when it connects to my computer is soooo cute...)
Eh well. The floors still squeak, but the only way to cure that is to have all new boards laid, and we have neither the time nor the budget. I'm not using talc; it's carcinogenic and at best only a temporary fix. To be honest the squeaking isn't that bad, and I tend to view it as an early warning system anyway. I know all the sounds this house makes, and my hearing is still pretty good (my parents used to say I had ears like radar screens. They could never whisper about anything in the house because I could always hear what they were saying. It spoiled a number of birthdays for me as I found out what my presents were in advance. Interestingly Kai has similar hearing - perhaps it's genetic? Anyway...) - even to the tiny 'clink' of the saucer that has always lived on the kitchen windowsill and holds the sponge for the animals' washing up, and which had me going downstairs in time to prevent those bastards who'd broken in from getting away with too much. (This was back in 1992, soon after we bought the place: the next day we had the house alarm system fitted and soon after acquired Quyn as a watch dog!) Perhaps fortunately they heard me and escaped - fortunately for me as they obviously had a very sharp knife (amongst other things they'd cut the cables to the speakers and VCR) and for them because I'm not fully rational when angry.
SO! The squeaks stay. I don't care. I like my squeaks.
All the skirting board is now painted. Kai can juuuuust squeeze into his room between the bookcases, as can we, and the fitter is due between 10.30 and 11 tomorrow am.
Then we can get back to what passes for normal 'round 'ere and I can get back to what I do best.
But it's Spring - the sunlight has that wonderful subtle goldenness that marks the dawning of the year. It's still close to freezing, but the sun is warm, warm and welcoming, waking this Northern earth.
I love this time of year.





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Welcome Back Lutra

Heh. To paraphrase a Windows haiku -

Today it is working. Last night it was not working. Blogger is like that.

Yesterday was busy, lots of site updates, IAVMT on Paypal, to-ing and fro-ing between me and ClaraNET to move wordwrights.co.uk over to UKReg, then setting up the site redirect and email forwarding. It carried on being busy into the evening, as I made and froze vast numbers of beefburgers from the Sainsbug's 'special' on steak mince, while Kai helped Ken lift the old carpet from the hall and stairs and tidy up as they went along. It's horrible out there now, cold and echoey. And we have a very grumpy dog: Quyn doesn't like change at the best of times, and now he can't lie at the bottom of the stairs (the floor is too cold and uncomfy for him until the carpet's laid) - plus, he managed to get upstairs last night on the bare boards, but then couldn't get down again - Ken had to carry him this morning. (He made his displeasure known by going for Argent, who was playing with his catnip mouse at the time: cue dog being slapped over the nose with rolled up newspaper and banished to his basket. Argent's fine, Quyn knows better than to bite, but having 5 stone of dog bounce at you is enough to scare anyone.) We're a bit concerned about Quyn's hearing at the moment - either his ears need treatment or he's going deaf in his old age. I have a vet's appointment for him on Friday: will get it checked.
Unfortunately we can't do anything with the old carpet, the foam backing has simply disintegrated into powder. Eh well.
Right. Cheese and mango chutney sandwich (for breakfast) eaten - time to get something useful done.





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Monday, March 13, 2006

[sigh] Y'know, I vaguely remember hearing that things were supposed to become less hectic and more relaxing as you got older. Did I take a wrong turning somewhere?
Nah, not really complaining. Cleared up a lot of bits and pieces yesterday, and today revised a couple of client sites - and opened eBay and Paypal accounts for myself. Yes, I finally gave in. Only because there's a particular item on eBay that I HAVE TO HAVE and this really was the only way (mainly because I had to communicate with the seller). So, thanks Sue and Lutra for your help in the past, but I shouldn't need to bother you again! (Unless it's for assistance with the procedural side of things. I have a real problem following instructions. And directions. And orders...)
I'll post a pic of the item when/if I get it. [beg]
The new carpets are being laid on Thursday - which means we have to start shunting bookcases around tomorrow and taking up the old one (going to recycle as much as possible out in the shed/outdoor loo). Then we need to get a tube of graphite to stop the stairs squeaking, and see if we can repair the floorboard dip outside the bathroom, and I have to go all around the skirting board with the gloss. Oh joy. But it's going to look gorgeous when it's done.
Back to the loom. I will get Band 3 finished before Yule, I swear it!





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Saturday, March 11, 2006

HAPPY BIRTHDAY LUTRA!!

(capslock of celebration)
Have a lovely day at Niki's!
So, we're half-way through a major housekeeping session - Jun has asthma, so a visit, as well as being a delight, is also a most excellent excuse for thoroughly cleaning the place! - when an agitated Ruth rings: she was taking Yumi to hospital...
Poor sprog has a nasty virus. To start with Ruth thought it might be the extremely nasty and infectious stomach bug that's doing the round of the schools at the moment (and which Kai will probably bring home sometime soon), but it seems it's something else. Hospital took samples for testing: in the meantime, the Treasure Hunt is off tomorrow and tentatively re-sheduled for next Saturday. Kai is, naturally, disappointed, but understands it can't be helped.
We rented Wallace and Grommit and the Were-rabbit and Sky High on DVD to partly make up for it, Kai's been itching to see the former since it came out (I went for a nap: much as I admire Aardman's work, it really doesn't do anything for me - although I did chuckle at the jar of middle-aged spread on the kitchen table...).
So, tonight... Back to the loom...




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Friday, March 10, 2006

... tired...
Couldn't sleep last night. Finally dropped off around 5 am: Ken woke me at ¼ to 8. bleurgh...
But yesterday was very successful. Kai opened his presents before school - Incredibles, Shaun of the Dead (which he hurried home to watch after school!), and Tremors DVDs, and a microscope from us, amongst other bits, and an amazing book on trains from Carol and Adrian (and many thanks for the cash too: he hasn't quite decided what he's buying yet, although I know he fancies a Hornby EWS locomotive, and given how well he did for money, all told, he can certainly afford one!) - and wore his '11 Today' badge all day. (Apparently we've been a bit remiss on that front, as all the other sprogs always wear badges on their birthdays but we've never bought one for Kai. Cue Ken diving out to the Post Office to find one before they closed!)
I went into town and raided Hawkin's Bazaar for bits and pieces for the Treasure Hunt. It was all very successful: picked up 3 lots of everything for prizes and treats for each of eleven clues, nothing over 99p (and most under 75p). That shop is just wonderful for this sort of thing! More details on Sunday when the Hunt is over, however...
Kai, it seems, had an absolutely brilliant day - except for the afternoon, but then, he had PE, and he doesn't like PE. Mostly, anyway. He was alright when they were doing gymnastics and dance, last term, but hated rugby and isn't particularly enjoying tennis. (Which is interesting, because tennis is one of the (pitifully few) sports I actually enjoyed.) Still, he had a favourite dinner when he got home - pork chops with lemon and coriander couscous - and opened the rest of his cards (our post usually arrives about 11 - 11.30, so he had a handful of things to open in the evening too, including your card Wendy - and thank you very much for the enclosure!)
This morning his welcome letter arrived from John Cabot: the Meet the Tutor evening is scheduled for June 14th, and there are four 'uniform sales' days at the College (new, not second hand) in April and May, ready for collection at the meeting. April and May? That's a lot of bloody use! Kai always shoots up over the summer holiday: I'm going to have to guestimate by how much and hope I don't get it wrong...
They also included the term dates for the next year and half, which unfortunately don't go quite far enough and tell me when they break up for the summer in 2007. The following school year starts on August 28th though, and this year they break up on the 20th of July, so we're looking at the very end of July and most of August 2007 for the Australia trip. I'm still wondering if we could afford two stopovers on the way: a recent holiday programme went into the possibilities and Kai and I both thought the idea of a Red Desert Tour (in Dubai) sounded fantastic! I wouldn't be averse to a night in Hong Kong or Singapore either. Eh well, it all depends on the money. We'll have to wait and see.
I'm flagging - eyes don't want to stay open, and I'm nowhere near composted enough to actually get anything sensible (i.e. creative) done right now. Think I'd better get some sleep. Then I can write tonight!
Later!





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Thursday, March 09, 2006

Mars face

Things to do with a miniature Zen garden no 8:

Discover life on Mars.





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Blow Dry...
A perfect British film. Dour, dryly funny, poignant, heart-rending in places, understated, beautiful, powerful. It had me laughing through my tears, and - even though I admit I was emotionally charged (teeth-grittingly, shakingly angry more than anything else) by the ten minutes I caught of Childline - it takes a lot to do that to me. All fellow Britons, and anyone wanting an insight into the English character, should see it.
This is true British cinema - not the nauseating, vulgar, crass, pseudo-american bilge of Little Britain.





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Wednesday, March 08, 2006

I was finishing devising the clues for the Treasure Hunt, but I made the mistake of switching over to BBC 1 in preparation for taping Blow Dry and caught the end of Childline: Someone to Talk To. It's heartbreaking, absolutely heartbreaking. There is no excuse for abusing children, none, and those who do should be made to suffer...

Mirage


Things to do with a miniature Zen garden no 7:
Make your own mirage of a beautiful oasis.
You can't see it? Maybe you aren't looking at it from the right angle...





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I finished 2AC 1.4.05 last night - and tricky blighter it was too, prefiguring conspiracies and all sorts of past nastinesses - and took a little time off to prowl... I checked out some of the links on the God is for Suckers! blog I read every day (but don't have linked because the language is often a little on the unnecessary side) and found the Fundies say the darndest things blog.
[bemused] Which led to the following somewhat surreal ICQ exchange with Lutra...
Joules: [shakes head] Ye gods.... these people need help.... "The Philippine Deep and Bermuda Triangle are actually the secret spiritual passages going to the center of the Earth - to the Spiritual World of Normosom. It is not easy to believe and recognize this claim as a fact because science tells us that the Earth'?s core is made up of molten rocks and iron which constantly boiling. But science is limited only to the observable material things. It can not scope on the spiritual side. That is why, it is very impossible for science to believe that man has spirit, or that God really exists. But if you believe that nothing is impossible to God, then the truth is already presented to you." And what about this - "The evidence for the existence of God is in the fact that your hostility to the truth was prophesied about 2000 years ago." Lutra: [rolls eyes] a very neat circular argument. Your doubt was prophesied so your doubt proves it... wtf? My fifth form English teacher would not accept that! [g] We are talking fundies here. ... not rational people... Two brain cells to rib - er sorry - rub together if they're lucky... LOLOL! [pisses self laughing while brain goes all asplodey] "7 year apocolypse!!! 6-6-06 will mark the coming of something big in the world, 2009 will start World War 3, 2012 comet comes headed to earth but is destroyed by a Laser Gun which there already starting to make as we speak, but the comet is not totally destroyed and will kill almost all of us on the planet, by 2013 there is not much of left, therefore it will start a new generation of people and alot of rebuilding. All of this comes from Bible, and now there making movies such as The Day after tomorrow, The Davinci Code, and so on.. There doing that just to get us prepared for whats to come in the future..so were not scared. The only people that will be safe is our Gov. and the President cause they have a place go when things are going to be bad of whats to come. They know its coming too, the comet is already heading for us, but it will finally make land fall on December 21,2012." [shakes head] conspiracy theories/fundies... You want circular? what about this.... "[So you see nothing wrong with genocide?] Nor with capital punishment if the true God commands it. It is wrong otherwise, such as when a false god like Allah (or someone in his name) commands it. [So everything your God does is right, even mass murder? Why?] Because the evidence alluded to in the previous posts shows that he is the true God. It also shows he is good, loving, and righteous." [HEAD DESK] ow... Not sure what hurt worse? Tch. That wasn't sposed to be a question. See, brain rattled... I'm leaving here before my brain really DOES asplode.... It's worrying that there arte poepl who actually, truly do think this way though. And just LOOK what they did to my SPELLING! Yes! [points] It's their fault!! it's worrying that they just don't seem capable of even admitting there could be other points of view. Kill 'em all, that's what I say. The planet would be better off without them. But you'd have to get them all cos those left would make martyrs of them and then it'd start all over again. ... definitely need a cup of tea after that. That's the flaw, alas.. [sage nod] it always has been. But it would be a good start. [manic grin] Then you just hunt down the martyrs and kill them too. [g] take a picnic along... could be fun. And it has the added benefit of getting rid of some of the overpopulation problem... After all, they believe they're going to heaven anyway - why should they object? (Other than that they can't rant - sorry, condemn others - when they're dead, that is). Y'know, that's the sort of thinking the Inquisition used... : ) ... and your point is? um... nothing really... [insane grin] I wouldn't torture first. Well, I'd make exceptions for paedophiles and rapists. That's a relief, I'm sure! ... and murderers and plagiarists - and spammers! and a few people I don't like... MWAHAHAHAHAHAH! [thud click click whirr as rationality circuit re-engages] [sigh] I've obviously been on this planet too long....
There were a few entries on 300 Proofs that God Exists that I found wryly amusing too -
ARGUMENT FROM THE BIBLE (II) (1) The Bible says the Bible is true. (2) Therefore the Bible is true. (3) The Bible says God exists. (4) Therefore, God exist.
ARGUMENT FROM HOSPITAL, aka ARGUMENT FROM MIRACLES (II) (1) A dear relative of mine was terminally ill and undergoing extensive surgery in the hospital. (2) My whole family sat outside the OR and prayed through the entire eight hours of surgery. (3) He lived. (4) No, the highly trained physicians had nothing to do with it, unbeliever! (5) Therefore, God exists.
And probably my favourite (although yes, I do know that the fruit bit is symbolic rather than actual, but then, I'm not a fundie - I'm not even any colour of Xian.)
ARGUMENT FROM WHAT MAKES SENSE (1) Doesn't it just make more sense that an all-knowing, all-powerful, all-good deity created the world out of nothingness, from magic, essentially, and then punished us for eating a piece of fruit, and then incarnated himself in human flesh and came down to shed his own blood so he could break his own rules, and then went through hell on a temporary basis and then went back into the sky and promised to come back and take everyone who believed in him to this heaven no one has ever seen? (2) Well, doesn't it? (3) Therefore, God exists.
And this simply had me in stitches...
But enough of this insanity - er, levity! We'll return you to normal service, just as soon as we're relatively sure we think we know what passes for normal around here.
We apologise for the inconvenience.





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Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Talking of adverts - which we are now - Kai wanted a Cadbury's Creme Egg after school. I had to say no, though. I haven't been able to face the thought of the things since that ad a few years back with the pregnant woman dunking a cold chip into her creme egg. [shudder] The idea made me feel positively nauseous, and I can't even bear seeing anyone eat them in my vicinity. Daft, 'cause I use to rather like them.
Kai had a Time Out instead.
And I'm bemused by the 118 ads. The A-Team spoof is vaguely amusing...
fossil

Things to do with a miniature Zen garden no 6:
Explore your own Lyme Regis!




Kai's Treasure Hunt now planned - tomorrow I write clues and organise the trail. Into town on Thursday to pick up the things I need, then on Friday I'll probably need to break out the needle and thread. Don't want to give any spoilers on the offchance it gets back to Kai: there'll be full details at the weekend. And photos if the sprogs don't mind!





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Monday, March 06, 2006

Today I shall mostly be being TALL...
Either that or everyone has shrunk - well, everyone in Sainsbug's, anyway. Ever had one of those days when you feel you tower over everyone else, regardless of your height? I had one of those today. (Actually, I rather enjoy them...)
Been an odd sort of day. Slept badly last night, so after taking Kai in and shopping had a nap at mid-day, sleeping in sunlight, and felt much better afterwards - but then found blogger were having a problem with the server on which my blog (and No More Mr Nice Blog) is hosted (emailed them and within an hour they'd emailed back to say they'd rebooted and all should be well again, which, obviously, it is!)
Came back from tonight's BCP meeting and caught The Twin Inside Me Extraordinary People episode - absolutely fascinating, about chimerism. And in just a wee while BBC 4 is showing Shadows of the Sun "a documentary shot exclusively with slow-motion and time-lapse photography dealing with the sun's effect on the earth".
Barclays [grin] I know I'm back on form when I can dismiss a distance of 6,500 light-years as being just next door.

Things to do with a miniature Zen garden no 5:
Make your own Barclays advert (that might be a bit obscure for non-Britons...)

Addendum: yes Carol, you're quite right - it's Lloyds TSB, not Barclays. Why do I always think it's Barclays? [bemused] Perhaps I knew a horse called Barclay in a previous life...?





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Sunday, March 05, 2006

Fun afternoon. Kim rang to see if we wanted to go out, and drove us all to Portishead, to the Parish Wharf Leisure Centre's swimming pool, where Kai, Sasha and Sarah had a fine time splashing around while we talked. (Though next time I'm swimming too, it's a great place!)
Ken's put a couple of coats of exterior gloss on the new gate. Unfortunately he had to bring it indoors to do, because the tin specifies that the air temperature has to be above 10° before it can be used, and it was well below that outdoors. So the kitchen smells of paint...
Lovely colour though, a kind of rich dark dioptase green (we couldn't find a taupe and the terracotta was too harsh, and we didn't like the browns). Kai, surprisingly, hates it - but then, he doesn't have to look at it. With luck, we can have it hung by the weekend.
Then we have to think about getting the front garden looking half-way decent. It's all go...
litter tray

Things to do with a miniature Zen garden no 4:
Litter tray for Pokémon.



Off to play for a little while.





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Saturday, March 04, 2006

Right - let's see...
I forgot to say we had the hall/stairs/landing measured up for carpet a couple of days ago, and they rang through the price yesterday. [wince] Though actually, for the area, it's not too bad... So we took a deep breath and ordered it - blue-grey for the landing, dark blue for the stairs and hall - and it'll be delivered and laid on the 16th. Will have to postpone the other house projects for a bit, but at least that only leaves two rooms to do (kitchen and my work-room).
My Tacca Chantrieri seeds arrived this morning - according to the pack, they can take up to nine months to germinate. So, not a quick project then. Photos as things happen!
We had a letter from the LEA today - offering Kai a placed at Broadlands School! Obviously we've declined it, but it's nice to know he's in demand.
More updates to the IAVMT and Jenni's sites.
The mole still evades us.
Kai's decided he wants a little Treasure Hunt for his birthday, so we've invited Jun and Yumi over next Sunday. In the meantime I've started planning how to organise the hunt. Never tried anything like this before, but it should be fun!
Managed a little more Band 3 and 2AC 01.04.05. Will continue in a little while.
Stargate?

Things to do with a miniature Zen garden no 3:
Ask a question of the Guardian at the City on the Edge of Forever. (Or take a trip through the Stargate, I'm not fussy...)
Back to the loom.





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Friday, March 03, 2006

[dives in for a very quick upidate. No, that's not a tyop]
IAVMT site updated. Last little Jenni site bits done. Kai's foot a lot better. Captain Lockheed and the Starfighters just wonderful, better than I remembered, especially the spoken skits:
Pilot 1: Ah, Fritz, how does she handle? Pilot 2: Pretty good. I found I could balance a glass of beer on my oxygen mask while I was flying it in a slowww roll. P1: Really. P2: Well it did spill a bit on the first try. Air turbulence, actually. P1: Still it's not bad. P2: Yes. I could go into a loop, light a cigarette, peel a banana and thread a needle at twenty five thousand feet. P1: Hmmm. P2: Go into a dive, do the three card trick, write my name backwards, catch a peanut in my mouth and juggle my eyeballs from one socket to the other. P1: Sounds like a pretty nifty kite. P2: I've seen worse.
Band 3 at 34 pages: I'd estimate at least another 6 before it's finished, possibly a few more. Off to continue. pyramids Things to do with a miniature Zen garden no 2:
Visit Egypt (or is that the Himalayas?)

Does anyone have any idea what could have made me suddenly break out in clusters of tiny blisters all over my fingers? They don't hurt but the itching is horrendous. Never had anything like this before and it's driving me mad. Well, madder than I already am, anyway...





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Thursday, March 02, 2006

We have an injured sprog. Kai landed awkwardly while running on the way home, and has hurt his foot. It's very painful and a little swollen, but I don't think it's anything too serious. There's no bruising, and he can hobble on it, but I'm keeping him home from school tomorrow and will keep an eye on it. If necessary I'll taxi him to doctor/hospital - but we both hope it doesn't come to that.
I forgot to say it was parent/teacher evening yesterday. Kai came in with me as usual, and we had a nice chat with his teacher (who remarked on our leaving that she was very happy he was in her class. So am I, she's been absolutely wonderful for him.) The only problem is he can be a little disruptive, and distracted, during lessons, though that seems to be due to his being enthusiastic and excitable rather than anything else. And he's also a little twitchy at the moment, partly due to the big changes in the future - secondary school and an entirely new environment - and partly due to the uncertainty with Ken's health. His academic work is excellent though - and she's very impressed with his vocabulary.
In other news...
I've tweaked the navbar on Jenni's site - thanks BW and Carol! It shouldn't word-wrap now. She's happy with it, and I'm going to take a break before I start wrestling with pay-for-download coding...
Had the conference report from the IAVMT Directors, along with a handful of photos that need cropping and brightening before I can use them (so fingers crossed PS is working today. I know MusicMatch is, I mp3ed some Robert Calvert earlier... which reminds me, I should encode Quark Strangeness and Charm now...) The report is only a couple of pages, but the site needs a little work. Might leave that until tomorrow.
Going to continue with Band 3 tonight, but first I'm taking a look at Ken's synopsis for his first novel. It's the first time he's let me read anything regarding the idea, though we've talked about it before, and it sounds really good!
['alf-inched from Thorne, who found it at BW's]
Flare --
[noun]:
A poltergeist sent back in time to change the course of history forever.
'How will you be defined in the dictionary?' at QuizGalaxy.com

[sigh] ... this is so beautiful. I've added the Hubble site to my infopane. And you never know, I might even trap a haddock and explore it later.
mini Zen garden A not overly good pic of my miniature Zen garden, about life-size (4" by 2¾") on an 800x600 screen. It represents a fast-flowing stream surging around an upright rock, or a windy seashore with a wind-blown seagull...
... obviously I haven't quite grasped the concept of Zen just yet...





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... soddit... [sigh] I haven't changed all the links on the no-frames index of Jenni's site... [lopes off to do...]




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So, I settle down to work on Band 3, get three whole paragraphs written - and Jenni emails over another mp3 to encode to .ra and post, and a request for a new BUY NOW navbar button direct to her sales page, and a bit of shifting around...
I overhauled the site - it was quicker. Still not happy with the Buy! page; going to have to tweak it when there's more to add. But the whole thing is easier to navigate now, with all the The Loft info grouped together. If you want to take a gander, the site is here. It's in frames. Yes, I know you don't like frames. I know I'm not overly fond of coding them. But I find them less hassle to navigate than non-frames on a site like this...
... I shall get back to Band 3 tomorrow...





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Wednesday, March 01, 2006

I am somewhat perturbed to find that today PS has taken to not functioning properly, and crashing instead of closing, and that MusicMatch isn't working at all.
And that, as I've just discovered, hitting the keyboard's 'hash' key results in a Yen sign...
Furthermore, it has so far proved impossible to uncover exactly why I can't access the BCP's control panel at sitecontrol. The Supanames support staff can't find anything wrong, and are certain there's nothing wrong at the TeleWest end. But it's not just my (broadband) computer - Ken can't access it on his on dialup either (although Carol can on her home and office machines in Winchester). Which argues it should be something to do with TeleWest, though we're damned if we can figure out what.
Strange things are afoot. Or maybe it's just Butch. Then again, he's pretty strange himself...
The problems with the programmes may, conceivably, have something to do with using RealProducer. Using, not installing - or at least, I hope not! - as I was able to use PS yesterday to resize my photos, and I mp3-ed Demon Days (fabulous album, by the way) at the weekend. Well, hopefully it's a temporary glitch and will sort itself out overnight. I'd rather not have to reinstall the programmes if I don't have to. Or uninstall RealProducer.
Spent much of the day working on Jenni's site again, and clearing down niggling little things I've been putting off. Now it's time for something more fun - like Band 3, which I'm still trying to finish.
Back to the loom...





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