Zone Doubt, a.k.a. 'Surreal Я Us'...
Joules, trusted by... dozens... to make a drama out of your crisis...
:: JAT :: WaveWrights :: Publications :: Joules... on writing [on hiatus] ::
I live to write. It's not wise to get in my way.
August 2011: the earlier posts in this blog are a mess, the result of me changing the format some time ago. I'm working to edit the entire blog from the beginning, but with over 4K posts and sodall time for such luxuries it's going to take a while... [02/09/16 - Now reached 09/10/2004]
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.
Sunday, April 30, 2006
Pandering to the gullible... I just don't 'get' adverts. I really don't. Well, I mean, I appreciate some of the more artistically-crafted commercials - and Guinness ads, of course, are in a class of their own, from Rutger Hauer selling up and moving to Earth through the white horses surfer to the fabulous Rhythm of Life noitulove classic - but in the main? Can someone explain to me how having my legs hairfree and exfoliated can possibly 'bring out the goddess in me'? And it's all very well saying that if I replace my 'indulgence snacks' (what indulgence snacks might they be, then?) with a special K bar and eat a special K breakfast I can lose an inch from my bust, waist and hips - but when? How long do I have to go without my indulgence snacks before it happens? And do I have to swim in a rooftop pool to effect this miracle - and how often? Does it matter if it's raining? Or snowing? Or must I only swim on sunny days? Is is absolutely essential I wear a red swimming costume that falls off as I dive in? (Yes, thank you, I know that's a really cringe-worthy image to put you off your - special K, I trust? - breakfast...)
And as for Boots the Chemist proclaiming 'because you can never have enough makeup'... [shakes head]
It's been a satisfactory weekend: I've actually accomplished everything I set out to do. (Well, almost: I didn't quite manage to finish pruning the dog as he wouldn't lie still enough for me to apply the scissors as effectively as usual. But he'll be a little cooler, and I can finish later. I need help clipping the matted fur from between his pads anyway, he really doesn't like me doing it and Ken has to hold his head and calm him down while I get to work with my tiny embroidery scissors, the only things small and sharp enough to do the job...) But Ken mowed front and back, and I went around with my new strimmer - and a very nice wee strimmer it is too, light and easy to use (although next time I must remember to use gloves, the vibrations left my fingers numb).
Then we organised the small platforms for the strawberry planters up in a sunny spot, Kai trimmed the grass and rogue honeysuckle from around the frog and newt (frewt? nog?) pool, thereby earning himself a little extra pocket money, and Ken shifted the ground spike for the rotary drier to a better position and firmed in it with bricks (it's now more or less upright, instead of tilting at 45°). The big fern at the end of the path between house and shed has exploded into life (I thought we'd managed to kill it after cutting down the buddleia that was sheltering it from the sun, but the transplanted and flourishing mahonia seems to be doing the same job), the white, mauve and purple violets and the lily of the valley are coming into flower, and to my joy my transplanted enchanter's nightshade looks like it's survived the kits using the spot under the fake blackcurrant bush as a litter tray!
And my paeony has reappeared. Waiting to see how it does in its new position.
Photos of everything as soon as there's a sunny day.
I even managed a little house plant care. My ficus elastica tricolor, which is now taller than I am, has developed a sprout a little way up from the base, and it looks like there's another one coming closer to the top: I didn't know they did that unless pruned, though it doesn't surprise me in this house... It's going to be interesting to see how big it gets. (It's in the bedroom at the moment, my side of the bed. I'd like to keep it there if I can.)
My tomato seedlings have grown about half an inch overnight, it seems, and all look very healthy. And we finally have some catmint sprouting in the seedtray. Happy kits - especially Ryme!
I've even managed to get some writing done - 2AC 1.4.09 continuation and a little more of Broda.
It's supposed to rain tonight - and we need it: the news on the water front is worrying. I know we're not as badly off here as in the South East, but the reservoirs are less than half full after two dry winters. I think we need to invest in a water-butt, and I need to find out if there'll be any long term damage if I recycle washing up water for garden watering. We use Ecover washing up liquid, so I don't think it would do any great harm, but I need to be sure. [sigh] It's enough to make you consider investing in a bore hole...
Back to the loom.
Saturday, April 29, 2006
[rewind and start again...]
Right - where were we?
So I got the computer working again on Thursday, which was good. And yesterday it booted up just fine, although I didn't risk turning it off when I went to collect Kai, just in case: set AVG going to give it something to chew on, and all seemed well.
Ken was invited to a Government focus group thingumee (a public... what d'you call 'em, consultation?) for Gateway - these people, I think (you can tell how much it impinges on my consciousness, can't you?). Since he uses the resource quite frequently, and had some criticism and comments, and they were paying transport and food, he leapt on a coach early on Thursday morning and has been in Exeter and environs until last night (arrived back at just gone 9pm). As a result I've had to take and collect Kai from school both days - not a problem except that it does cut into the working day somewhat. Anyway, while he was there he was able to complete a few last minute tidying up things for the Dartmouth book (which involved photographing a goodly number of pages from a rare (but not valuable) book at Exeter Library), and hunt nymetts with friend Tony.
He arrived back with 95 photos in the digicam, which I duly downloaded and burned to CD (the pic is of a yew tree in a cemetery at Zeal Monacorum. If I remember rightly it's apparently around 1200 years old.) I then tried to delete the photos...
[sigh] Remind me to just use the camera's delete function in future, rather than my computer, which is what I've been doing so far (though since I've never had more than 6 photos in the camera at any one time it's never been a problem). Half way through a screen flashed up, saying 'insufficient resources to complete task' - and then the whole system hung, so badly I eventually had to switchoff at the stack as it would not close down.
Booted back up - and all the messages in Eudora's main in-tray had vanished. As had the ones in Ken's in-tray. Now fortunately, after Thursday's fun and games, I'd backed up everything recent, including all the archived emails (and then deleted nearly 2,000 from the system), and mostly cleared the in-trays anyway, so we didn't lose anything that we can't replace simply by asking the few people involved to resend the messages. But dnoter (that nifty little 'screen postit' software I found ages back and use to make notes to myself when I'm writing) had completely gone, along with my current notes - and of course that had me worried in case anything else was affected. (So far everything important seems to be OK.)
Then the nagging stomach pain I'd had all evening resolved itself into a full-blown case of indigestion - the sort that feels like someone has tied your guts in knots and is forcing tennis balls through with a sink plunger...
Drinking half a mug of almost-boiling water helped a bit, but I didn't get a lot of sleep last night, and this morning my abdomen feels as though it's been repeatedly kicked. A fun start to the bank holiday weekend, eh?
In other, more fun news... I now have 40 little tomato seedlings sitting on the kitchen window sill being cute and perky. They aren't big enough to plant outside yet, but it shouldn't be too long. And there are a lot of flowers (and some early fruit) on the strawberries: need to organise a permanent place for them to sit all through the summer, as struggling up and down the garden with heavy terracotta planters is no fun.
Onna, thank you for the offer re FF, but Alithiel gave me a pretty comprehensive run down of the story and characters when she sent over her fanfics, so even though I've never played it I know more or less who's who and what's what! I will ask if there's anything I'm not sure about, though.
Gremlins... [growl] Personally I think Butch has decided he wants to move again and is going to give me grief until I upgrade my machine.
One of the simple joys of the warmer days is being able to drag the rotary drier out of the shed and hang the washing up outdoors. Especially if I can inveigle Ken into mowing at the same time: everything ends up smelling of freshly-cut grass, one of my favourite summer fragrances...
And I watched last week's Dr Who last night, repeated on Beeb 3, before the stomach pain really set in (missed it last Saturday as I simply had to have a sleep, couldn't keep eyes open). Really enjoyed it! I do like David Tennant as Ten, and Rose is even better in this series, I think. I shall actually watch episode three tonight.
Garden-type stuff today. There may be photos, later...
Thursday, April 27, 2006
Typing quickly before my computer shuts down again.
Having fan problems (again): start up says CPU fan speed too low, auto shut off in 5 seconds. But the fan seems to be working just fine. This happened once before, and resolved itself without any further action. However, knowing how temperamental both machine and gremlin can be...
Yes, I can alway plug Melkior in instead - if I can remember which cable goes where and actually get online! Heh, see how we go.
Later - I hope...
Wednesday, April 26, 2006
I'm being astonishingly disciplined these days. And no, I don't mean the whips and handcuffs kind either (although I do sometimes feel as though I'm chained to my computer...)
The BCP site is now uploaded to the Claranet server, although as the domain name transfer hasn't quite gone through yet it'll be a day or so before it's accessible. But even that has been easy this time around. Then again, after all the shunting around of sites I've handled recently I really should know what I'm doing by now. And it's all so much simpler today than it was in the olden days, ooh, six years ago or thereabouts...
While I was setting up the site with a free WhatUSeek internal search engine I thought to take a look at our own accounts, and found that a) I'd forgotten to change the source URL for the WaveWrights search engine (so the search engine on the site would be trying to find pages on wordwrights.co.uk, which of course no longer exists) and b) I hadn't requested a re-spidering since May 10th last year! Shockingly remiss of me! That's now been rectified.
Hm. It must be nearly time to resubmit all the sites to the big search engines too...
Still have a handful of business-type things to do before I can settle to the fun stuff tonight, but that shouldn't take long. The five day weather forecast (which of course isn't foolproof, but is at least somewhere to start) says 'warm with sunny intervals' on Saturday, and I really need to get some gardening done: I have lupins to plant and tomatoes to transplant and weeds to get rid of. And Kai needs to have a last play on his swing before we dismantle and ditch it (anyone know of a way to recycle rusty metal poles?)
I can't remember where I found this...
[sigh] Back to the rockface.
Tuesday, April 25, 2006
Arrgghh! Medium series 2 ep 13 is on BBC1 at 11.15! What to do, what to do. Watch it and be horribly out of sequence? Is there an ongoing story/plot arcs/character developments that would be ruined by watching an ep so far in advance of episode one? Oh, decisions...
Woke to a very odd dream, of visiting a group of 'beautiful people' who lived in a fabulous glasshouse at the very top of an extremely high building (it was vivid enough for me to be able to sketch the ground plans of the place). It sat at the corner of the building: the walls facing inward to the roof were solid, but the walls along the edges were glass, as was the roof. Amazing views over the city and the nearby sea, and there was a sculptural 'water-garden' on the roof outside, comprised of a pool and lots of different water features (but no plants. Everything was metal, stone or glass).
The people were... interesting. One of the women was all long floating orange and red and purple draperies with very long yellow hair: another was very Goth. I distinctly remember one of the young men: shoulder-length black hair, white face with black makeup, a white and black shirt and waistcoat, sloppy black ankle boots - and black velvet pantaloons. But his legs were bare, and very pale. Odd.
Have started the process to move the BCP website from Supanames to ClaraNET (we just weren't able to sort out the problem with the control panel, and without access to that there's no point staying with Supanames), and I did the sketch I needed for Valkyrie (although I haven't prepared the email yet).
Kai's SATs start the 8th of May (bloody hell that's the week after next!) with Science on Monday, Writing (short and long) on Tuesday, Reading on Wednesday, Mental Maths on Thursday, other Maths on Friday. And after that... well, I gather they get to relax a bit, enjoy some PE, citizenship sessions, art, until the summer holidays... not entirely sure, but I don't think it'll be terribly harsh on the sprogs. And Kai's having no problems at all with his revision. It helps, of course, that the pressure is off, his place at John Cabot is secure, and we've encouraged him to think that he's taking the SATs to prove to himself how much he knows. Like me, he loves a challenge...
I've never particularly liked the Rolling Stones, but this had me grinning widely (from the Sun [spitspit] via Pandagon):
PRESIDENT George Bush can't get no satisfaction after Mick Jagger grabbed his hotel room. The Rolling Stone splashed out £3,600 a night for the suite days before the US leader tried to book it.
Of course, one has to raise an eyebrow at the cost of the rooms, and the American public's willingness for their taxes to be used to pay for such luxury...
Right, back to the loom.
And yes, I did watch Medium, and the ending was a little... anticlimactic. But then, that was half way through the second series, by which time a lot of programmes are becoming tired. I'll still follow it for a while on Sci-Fi.
Just posted, Live Long and Protest, the first MSAvenger story. Only short (two pages), warning for three uses of language, although in a lit. crit. setting, so that's OK then. The story was originally intended to be made into a mini-comic (hence the slightly awkward structure) but I never quite got around to it...
Maybe when I retire.
Monday, April 24, 2006
There comes a point in every cold where the head suddenly clears, and even though you still can't breathe properly, the eyes are still watering and the voice still sounds like you're chewing gravel, you realise that the really bleurgh part is over. I just hit that point. It's so good to have my brain back - I really miss it when it goes AWOL. Now I can get back to what laughingly passes for normal around here.
So, brainless activity, ne? Friends and visitors who've read back that far may remember I was involved in co-operatively writing a sort of online slash/yaoi story with six other people (scattered across the planet), the as-yet-unfinished sex-n-drugs-n-rock-n-roll epic called Purgatory. The last posted, chapter 250 (I did say it was an epic!) hit the 'net 27th Oct 2004, although there are at least another 8-10 chapters in rough sitting in a Topica account: my main character, Devon Welsh, went on to co-star in Lutra's epic Dystopia, posted in the (other) Zone at wavewrights.com. (Well, he was just so cute! I didn't want to waste him...) Purgatory is hosted on geocities, and I spent the last two days' computer time saving the whole thing to my C drive in preparation for burning to CD. (The actual writing was a lot of work, and a lot of fun, and I needed a copy for my own records if nothing else.)
But of course I didn't want all the advertising crap that comes with geocities, so it was a matter of 'open page, [show only this frame], [save page as], [open file] (on C drive), open notepad file, delete all the geocities junk, [save]'. For each of 250 pages. Then copy/pasting the rough chapters from the Topica account to notepad and trying to save them in the right chronological order. Had I had a fully-functioning brain, it would have either run screaming or died of boredom.
But now it's safely backed-up on the CD (the story, that is, not my brain...) and deleted from my C drive - a job that's needed doing for a couple of years. I do hate wasting time, even when I'm ill. It's just a pity that the story is very unlikely to ever be finished...
The timing of the 'feeling better' is handy too - the Dreams editor emailed me earlier with a requested entry revision. Well, when I say revision, she wants the entry rewritten. Which is OK, if a little tricky, trying to cram a lot of info into about 120 words. Yesterday I couldn't have managed it. Tonight I can. This is a good thing.
In other news... Cute comment on my JList newsletter -
We've restocked the popular Recipes of Japanese Cooking, a great bilingual book that helps you cook Japanese dishes in both languages.[smirk] Just in case you ever want to cook sushi in Japanese...
Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children is supposed to be available on DVD very soon. This I must see, in memory of Alithiel as much as anything. Hopefully the DVD/video rental shop will have it for the weekend.
On the subject of viewing, Sci-fi Channel have started showing Medium tonight: the trailer clips have been intriguing, and Ken suggested we watch it... It's really rather good - had me actually watching rather than turning my head from the monitor every now and then to see what was going on. Whether the quality stays that high remains to be seen, of course, but I've remindered it for regular viewing.
Right, enough of this frivolity! If I can get this Dreams entry rewritten, I can do something more fun for a while...
Sunday, April 23, 2006
Spent the afternoon curled up watching TV (the excellent Joan Hickson as Miss Marple in 4.50 from Paddington and Babylon 5: A Call to Arms, which I've never managed to see before: Sci-fi Channel are showing Crusade again from tomorrow), and Ken went over to Tesco (whose pharmacy were open, luckily) to get me some Sinutab (decongestant/analgesic tablets. Onna, I think our equivalent to Dayquil/Nyquil is Day Nurse/Night Nurse, which doesn't do much for me).
Can't concentrate, but fell asleep earlier so now I'm not tired. Eh well, I'm sure I can find something brainless to do...
Following my yesterday's comment about heartsease, I tried photographing one of the plants in the rockery while I was pottering with a bit of weeding. As I said, our heartsease is predominantly deep purple, and very small - to give an idea of scale, that's a blade of grass behind the plant.
Even more impressed by the digicam's telephoto lens!
Perspective is an interesting thing. The Briz and Melbourne weather pixies both said 11° this afternoon, but while I was out in the sun in a tee-shirt and shorts, Lutra was indoors trying to get warm...
Overall a good and useful day but now I feel dreadful and am heading for an early night. And hoping I can sleep. Well, no, I know I can sleep - it's the waking up suffocating because my sinuses are blocked and my throat dry and sore that causes the panic. Eh well. Only four more days...
From ICQ, earlier:
[Joules] ...the walls of my mind grow thin and permeable when I'm poorly.... [Lutra] [g] which is interesting, if not actively disturbing. I like my brain sometimes. Well, most times really. Most times it's a wondrous thing. [g] scary at times, yes, but never dull.The topic that sparked those little exchanges will later be included in a distinctly alien lemon...
Saturday, April 22, 2006
Two days ago there were only buds. Today there is this. Spring is like that. Innit great?This is (half of) my original spirea, the one with the gorgeous name 'Snow in Summer'. This is why I love spireas (spireae?), regardless of how 'non-rare' (how PC!) they are around here. They're big and bold and boisterous and pretty much irrepressible. [frowns] Am I describing myself here?
And yes, I know the grass needs mowing - it's been too damp to do it. Maybe Sunday if Ken feels up to it (I can't, the lawnmower is a brute and I can't use my hands after only ten minutes. I might try my new - little, very light - strimmer though.)
After yesterday's sickness, today the bug has resolved itself into a cold. Just a cold, but gods I hate 'em! Stinging, bunged up sinuses, sore and scratchy throat, overly-sensitive skin... so glad they don't last long.
Wrote and emailed this month's book review, just scraping in on the deadline. Cleared up some bits of business. Slept a lot (two naps!? Unheard of! Must need it though, especially if the cold takes its usual course and doesn't let me sleep for the 2-3 days it's at its worst. Though that might not happen, I might get off lightly.)
Tomorrow Ken is taking Kai to The Dings (isn't that a great name for a place? There's nowt there, just a park and a place where the old railway ran, as far as I can tell - it's the railway tracks Kai wants to see.) I have a whole load of things to get done, things I should have been able to do last weekend when I should have had a holiday [glower]. As well as transplant the dozens and dozens of tomato seedlings, and prepare a bonsai pot for the nashi pear pip that's sprouting!
<- Promised closeup of Sue's present orchid ludisia dawsoniana flowers! Aren't they lovely?
But right now I'm going back home to Haadri...
Thursday, April 20, 2006
Well, I suppose I was due a less-than-perfect day given how well everything's gone recently.
It wouldn't be so bad if I didn't feel so awful. Must have picked up a bug from somewhere - parents brought something up with them? I know they've had bouts of cold and flu type things in Exeter over the last couple of months... Nothing specific, just aches, snuffles, sore and tickling throat, vague nausea, stiff neck, headache that will not go, and worst of all complete inertia. Gravity's too heavy here right now.
In other news... I seem to have talked myself into another website commission - big (very big) but alas not lucrative, for me anyway. More on that when/if it happens.
Another blasted agent rejection letter. Eh well - I still have plenty to go 'til number 17...
At least the vet's visit with Quyn was fairly positive. She says even though he has been moving more stiffly recently, his legs aren't any worse than last time she saw him, and thinks it might just be a hangover from a cold winter. His ears seem fine, so the reduction in his hearing acuity is probably just old age. And the snoring might be the result of a soft palate infection (though she can't tell for certain without a proper exam under a general anaesthetic) so he has a week's worth of anti-biotics to see if that helps. If not, and if there are no other symptoms, we may just have to try to persuade him to sleep downstairs.
All that aside he's disgustingly fit and sprightly for an old dog!
We have dozens of tomato seedlings sprouting. And several more lupins.
And for a break, I've been writing a Haadri short, a little story detailing what happened to one of the minor characters in the first book...
Addendum 1.20 pm: email arrives with revisions to a cgi form on the BCP site. Am I sufficiently composted to code it? Heh, and re-remembered I've yet to write this month's book review. And I'm behind with my SFSG beta-ing schedule. I need a holiday. Maldives will do...
Clones. TARDIS. Immortality. My kingdom for a googleplex of haddock.
Time, dammit! I need more time. A 60 hour day would help.
And oh bloody hell I haven't written this month's book review yet. Have to wait til tomorrow now.
This was Quyn on Tuesday... um, that was yesterday, wasn't it? Yes, I'm sure it was. That's a chip in his mouth, not his tongue or a strangely coloured cigar. (He ate it soon afterwards.)
More later, haddock permitting...
Tuesday, April 18, 2006
But it was a fun day.
More later when I'm composted...
Monday, April 17, 2006
[props open eyelids with matchsticks]
The earlyish night ended up not being as early as I'd intended, and even though I managed to drop off again for an hour or so after waking up at just gone 8, I still haven't had enough sleep.
I need a large box for a present, and thought The Range might have what I require (they didn't, dammit) so arranged to tank over there this morning - with Kai, who wanted to take a look at the trains on the way. No, I'll rephrase that, he wanted do an anorak at the sidings and behind the Showcase cinema where two tracks diverge and there's a train roughly every seven minutes ([rolls eyes] he knew because he's timed them...) We were almost out of the door when Kim rang to ask if we wanted to drive out to the Cadbury garden centre at Congresbury at 2.30 (we meant to go there last week on the way back from Portishead swimming pool, but the traffic was so awful we turned round and went home instead).
Regular readers will know how much I love the place, and how lucky I've been with shopping there, so I wasn't going to say no! But it meant the morning shop was a bit hurried... Still, we stopped at the sidings, where I took this ->
(interesting assortment of shapes, structures and perspectives, I thought, though it looks much better in RL), and then at the Showcase, where to Kai's delight an EWS locomotive trundled past <- (It's his favourite. First time I've used the 'moving image' setting with the telephoto lens - rather pleased with how it worked, though this photo of course doesn't show how far away the train was, and I'm no good at estimating distance. Um, too far away to be able to make out that anything was written on the side?)
Anyway, back via Sainsbug's and arrived home in time for a very quick lunch - except that Kim arrived early, so there wasn't...
Great afternoon though - picked up the Whitegold and Goldflame spireas I wanted, a rosemary (the one I bought from Hurrans appears to be dying), a ceanothus Blue Sapphire, a native yarrow - and a silk laeliocattleya plant (now sitting in the hall by the mermaid). Then the sprogs wanted to play in a park, so we drove along the coast road from Clevedon to Portishead (gorgeous run and the weather was lovely). There's a large pond at the western end of the town, with a play park and beach walk, and an open-air swimming pool that's only open when it's very hot. (We'll have to go back when it's warmer and try the beach walk: apparently it's really pretty.)
So, quite late getting back, about 6-ish I think, but I still had time to finish one of Quyn's beds. He's due a bath tomorrow, poor thing.
Will try again for an early night...
And no I can't have a rest tomorrow, still have to finish Quyn's beds and at least tidy a little: parents are coming up to visit on Tuesday...
Ken took Kai out with him earlier, to go and take photographs of a haunted busstop. [sigh] Don't ask. But on the way he found these mutant dandelions. That is about five flower heads on one wide stalk (there was another with two flowers on the same stalk but this pic was more impressive). It wasn't just the one plant either...
Anyone like to hazard a guess as to what this is?
Sunday, April 16, 2006
Dreams... I will be very glad when this is finished...
Up to page 228 (less the 16 pages of the section I need to go back to), over half way. Which isn't bad, though I have a tough section coming up, with a lot of re-writing. (The need for rewriting isn't wholly my fault, by the way, it has much to do with the way the design department want the text organised.)
In other news... All the frogspawn has hatched and Roeg's Pool is full of tadpoles. A magpie was drinking from it earlier, though I assume the bird wasn't eating frog infants.
We have one lupin already breaking the surface of the potting compost on the shelf in the kitchen window!
I've been half watching Chris Crudelli's Kick Ass Miracles (he's a British martial artist who's travelled around the Far East "discovering the beliefs underpinning the abilities of people who perform incredible feats of mind and body") on BBC 3 over the last few hours. It's fascinating, if only to see the appalling things people will do to themselves in the name of religion, but some of it is very very interesting, and presents amazing examples of the power of the human mind over the human body.
In one segment he volunteered to be the guinea pig in a British experiment to see if acupuncture works: he had an MRI scan of his brain as it is normally, then another with an acupuncture pin in his hand (I assume on one of the meridians. I don't know much about acupuncture, except that it's been used in Asia for 2,500 years, so I'd assume there must be something in it...) According to the results, the pin did actually activate the pain-suppressing part of his brain. I have to confess if it was available instead of anaesthetic here I'd go for it.
Another section I found particularly interesting was the ongoing study of British herbalism. I knew that yew tree extracts are major constituents of modern cancer-fighting drugs, that digitalin for heart disease comes from the foxglove, and that aspirin was originally made from willow bark (willow bark tea is an excellent general analgesic, and very gentle on the body. Pity it tastes so horrible!), but apparently galanthine (from snowdrops and narcissus) is used in the treatment of Alzheimers. I need to try to keep up with the research...
And I loved the guru-debunking bit at the end, and the little proverbs that separate each segment of the programme -
"There are two ways to live - as though nothing is a miracle, or as though everything is a miracle."
And if that doesn't appeal, how about this one?
"Only two things are infinite - the universe and human stupidity. And I'm not too sure about the former..."
Certainly had me nodding wryly.
Addendum: 3am Onna and Lutra (and anyone else who's seen Wolf's Rain), could you take a peek here and tell me if this looks like the city in the anime - the one the wolves reach part way through their journey, where the local animals are allowing themselves to be used as beasts of burden in exchange for food? That's the first thing that hit me when I looked at the photos...
Friday, April 14, 2006
Spent most of the day on the Dreams revision - now at page 150. I've had to rewrite four pages, which isn't too bad, and the quick and easy revisions have worked well, but now I've reached a very tricky section. I simply can't see how I can trim it as they want without discarding half the text - which will make the whole section useless.
I'll have another look in the morning: too tired and poggled to focus right now. I need to do something fun to unwind...
So, strawberry plants potted up, Quyn's new 'baskets' ready to have the outermost covers made as soon as I can steal an hour to machine-sew them, and Dreams proof-reading/revisions started.
Erk. There's a lot of them. After a quick skim it looks as though it'll work out at at least one a page, and the book is 380 pages long. Fortunately most of them require me to write a few extra words to avoid having just one word on a line: those are great as I can expand fractionally on the original text. However, others require me to cut up to five lines to force the text to fit the page, and they're more hassle: in most cases looks like I'll have to rewrite the entry.
Eh well. All part of the business. Though the timing is very tight - they want the whole thing finished by the 19th: I've just finished the Introduction (pp 7-18) and it's taken me two hours. Just as well I get faster once I'm back in the flow!
To my joy, however, any changes to my original text have been minimal, so far at any rate. This makes me very happy, and the job a lot less stressful. The project editor is happy for me to send emailed .docs with the revisions, too, which speeds everything up (and also means they don't have to struggle to read my appalling handwriting!) And even though the markup version I have is of course rough and in black and white, it looks good: the illustrations really make it attractive and user-friendly.
Back to it. I'd like to get at least halfway through the first section before backing up and closing down.
Addendum, 3.37 am: that's the first 41 pages done. There have been a number of cuts of my text, but in the main it's been done sensitively and I have no major objections (the same can't be said of the couple of places where someone has tried to add text - 'what stage is your life at?' indeed! I mean, really. How inelegant. As if I'd write that for a book!) All in all it's going well. Though I shall need a break at the end of it!
Thursday, April 13, 2006
Happy Birthday GoodTwin!Hope you're having a fine relaxing day, with your co-workers letting you take it easy and feeding you chocolates and cakes and flowers - well, OK, maybe not the flowers - and taking you for a liquid lunch the likes of which I can still vaguely remember back before BT, quite rightly, got shirty about staff returning from the pub too squiffy to deal with the customers properly... Either that or you wangled a day off and are at home having Adrian and the cats lavish attention on you!
[GLOMPS Lutra] I had a parcel arrive this morning, containing Ritual of Proof (I don't usually read 'drivels', as Lutra calls them, but this one looked interesting. Though after Lutra's comments I'm not expecting much...), a postcard of the frozen giant squid on display at Melbourne Aquarium, the cutest little purple squid water-squirter, a bag of very realistic-looking chocolate eggs - and a wind-up duck-billed platypus! Kai insisted I wind it up, and we were both in stitches as the little legs whirred into action so fast they were a blur... Thank you! Much fun will be had by all!
The Dreams proofs also arrived this morning. I haven't opened them yet - probably in about an hour. I do hope there's not too much to revise...
Kai's first baby molar came out yesterday. He put it under the pillow for the tooth fairy, as usual, and found a £2 coin in its place this morning (apparently that's the going rate for molars these days...) He announced this at 9.30 - [groan] I wasn't even awake yet! - along with his two theories as to how it all works. One, they are able to see or sense the whiteness of the teeth, home in on them and effect the exchange, or, two, they are attracted by the blood. [blink] Blood? Well yes, he said, there was blood on the molar. [sigh] Only my sprog could come up with the notion of vampire tooth fairies...
Ken is being interviewed by Radio 19 - a local community radio station - on Saturday morning, in relation to Brislington Ghosts and Mysteries. He's treating it partly as a rehearsal for the launch of the Dartmouth book at Samhain, since that is showing signs of being quite a major affair!
And lastly, before I get back to the loom, this cracked me up...
Wednesday, April 12, 2006
[sigh] I really need to have 'Famous Last Words' stuck on my monitor to remind me not to make rash statements. An hour after the last post I had an email from my Godsfield editor saying she'd managed to finish going through the whole book and it was on its way to me - to arrive mid-day tomorrow...
Eh well. I didn't have anything much planned over this weekend...
But the kitchen window idea works a treat!
This last was suggested by Ruth, who says it's one possible way to restrict the growth when trying to bonsai - you just cut the roots off as they grow through. Not that I've ever had any success with bonsai (and I have trouble reconciling the 'voice' that says it's unnatural and cruel to the tree with the part of me that thinks that a fine bonsai is an absolutely exquisitely beautiful work of art...) but I thought I'd give it a go.
And I found the strawberry plants at Focus! (They were hiding away with the pansies, the little blighters.) Will have a go at filling the planter tomorrow.
This had me in stitches. If you listen carefully at the end there's definitely an aggrieved, "Curses! You may have won this round, but I'll be back..." tone to the mews...
A satisfying morning. The second composter arrived and has now been placed (and the first load of kitchen waste added); Kai has scattered the glow-in-the-dark 'pebbles' I ordered from Kleeneze around the steps and Roeg's Pool, and done a fair amount of SATs revision; I've finished Pal ch 11 and beta-ed SFSG chapters 20 and 21; and Ken is now sawing the
And I had a phone call from Godsfield - they have an American publisher lined up for the Dreams book but he wants the proofs by the end of the month. That's this month. And I haven't seen any of the proofs yet. So [beg, plead] if they send the proofs to me (in batches so I can make a start asap) could I get the proofing done by then?
Well of course I can - we're used to this. Though it will be tight and everything else will need to be put on hold until I've finished. But at least this gives me a few days to rip through as much of everything else I have on as possible before the first batch arrives - so, more SFSG and Pal over the next two days (first package can't arrive before Saturday unless they courier it down and I can't see them forking out for that!)
Better get back to it, I suppose!
So there I was, just finishing beta-ing Lutra's 19th SFSG chapter and planning to get a whole load of seeds planted, when Kim rang to see if we wanted to go swimming.
Cue frantic get-ready, and 40 minutes later we were off to Portishead. I went in with the sprogs this time (Kim had a touch of a cold so watched: I joined her afterwards) for twenty minutes: persuaded Kai into swimming without his float, then nipped over to the serious swimmer lane. Ye gods, talk about unfit! I only managed two lengths and my arms were burning...
Sprogs enjoyed it, mostly, although Kai said afterwards there were a handful of kids causing hassle, and rather more worryingly a couple of men that both he and Sarah found 'creepy' (but whom the lifeguards appeared to be keeping an eye on, according to Kai.) They were both at the shallow end of the pool - the spectators' seating area is at the deep end - so although we kept an eye on them both we didn't see exactly what was going on. Kai said it was OK, nothing happened, but next time I shall stay in with them.
Back for coffee at ours, then I had some client site updates to get done. Now getting back to Pal, but I'm tired so not sure how much I can get done (and my hands are aching from swimming as well, so need to be careful. That's something I hadn't considered, but then again, it's been a couple of years since I've been swimming...)
It occurred to me earlier that I have far more seed trays than kitchen window space, so I suggested we rig up a removable shelf across the middle of the window, supported on a couple of wooden blocks screwed into the surround, to double the amount of space available. Ken's not keen on the drilling required, the brick is incredibly hard and the area is tricky to get at, but he says he'll give it a go. (And yes, I am quite capable of using a drill, and hammer, and spirit level, but the hands just won't cope with the weight any more, and that's dangerous.) We have spare wood (well, MDF) from Kai's shelving, so with a little luck tomorrow I'll be able to get my lupins (currently soaking in water), hellebore, tomatoes, catmint, and, finally, the taca seeds planted.
Tuesday, April 11, 2006
[blink] and the day just vanishes...
It's those damned haddock waiting 'til my mind is turned and slipping off through black holes again. Although I must admit a fair bit of the morning was taken up with Haadri-related business stuff (as will be some of tonight since I haven't finished reading/replying to emails yet.) Had to shop as we didn't have anything for dinner that didn't involve defrosting and lots of preparation, and I didn't feel like cooking. On the way to Sainsbug's I picked up Doom for us and The Polar Express [shudder] to cheer Kai up 'cause he was "having a bad day" and nothing was going quite right (and as a sort of tacit apology. He'd come in from the garden earlier with a face like a wet weekend, carrying a little bit of stick with a white crystal attached to it with a green plastic plant tie, and muttering, "It'll always be remembered". I made the mistake of asking him what had died, and nearly choked laughing when he said his favourite stick... To his credit though he did appreciate the melodrama of it: he was trying not to laugh along with me...)
Then Ken whisked me off to Focus - and we ended up carrying home not only the little strawberry planter, two heathers and a pot of lily-of-the-valley, but also a magnolia stellata. I still wasn't sure about whether our soil was right - there is a lovely and rather old (been there since before we bought the house) magnolia growing up the hill, but Ken tells me the soil there is limestone based, not sandstone like ours (apparently the demarcation line is actually down our road). However, Ken has also seen two big and beautiful stellata growing in gardens not far away - other side of the Bath Rd - which have the same soil as us. So we risked it. It looks beautiful!
Now I just need some strawberry plants...
By the time everything was planted and the garden tidied, it was time to fling the battered cod in the oven (my revenge for the escaping haddock. Empress of Casual Torture, yeah!) Afterwards we watched the first 45 minutes of Doom: had to pause because the second half of Ghostboat was on at 9 and K&K enjoyed it yesterday. I went up for a cycle's nap - it just didn't grab me. Ken woke me afterwards and we watched the rest of Doom.
Verdict? Yawn. Though the axe in the head bit was vaguely amusing...
Time to get back to Haadri. Pal chs 10 and 11 await, plus emails, and I have to attempt a sketch.
It's all go, innit?
Monday, April 10, 2006
[growl] I can think of innumerable more pleasant ways to be woken than by having a surprisingly heavy small cat land squarely on the backs of my thighs at 6.32 am when I was in the middle of an interesting dream.
I wasn't overly impressed by the 'so what the hell are you doing in my space?' look she gave me either.
But 'our' carpenter is back, after having major problems with his transport, and is currently completing the gate fixing. Earlier he put up the shelf he made -> which is now proudly sporting Lutra's gorgeous black orchid.
It finishes off the hall/stairwell/landing project just beautifully, I think!
Sue came back to me with some suggestions to improve Pal ch 10 (it involves a board meeting, and given I don't do meetings - well, other than the BCP and that's rather different - and the last I went to that was anything like it was over a decade ago I needed some help!) Currently working them into the chapter and as usual it's improving the whole thing immensely.
Gorgeous day here but absolutely freezing, so we aren't going far from home - it's too cold to do much outdoors. I haven't managed to get to Focus yet: hopefully in an hour or so.
Back to the loom...
Sunday, April 09, 2006
Tired. And it's been a funny old day. I'm still working on ch 11, which is proving a little tricky (it sets up a chain of events in the next chapters so it's important to get it right), but took an hour off to wander over to Focus (actually went to pick up a cheap strimmer: ours has been dying slowly over the last five years) - who, I then discovered, are having a 20% off sale. And they have little terracotta strawberry planters, but I couldn't carry that and the strimmer (might go back tomorrow...) They also have small stellata magnolias for sale, one of my favourite shrubs, and beautifully fragrant, but I don't know if they'll grow in our soil. The last one we had died (though Quyn helped there, thought it was a stick for him to chew...), and I don't recall seeing any planted in the Brislington area. Maybe I won't risk it.
Finally summoned the energy to reply to the body shop's customer relations email. Naturewatch has some interesting information about L'Oréal...
And Ken is playing chess with Kai while we watch Ghostboat. Looks interesting.
Right, where was I? Oh yes...
I'd arranged with Ruth to meet up in Keynsham Park with the sprogs at 11am (which required me dragging myself up to something vaguely resembling wakefulness at 9.30am after getting to bed at 6am. As I said in the previous post, I was in the flow. Got a lot written too. Pal wordage now standing at 25,253 after 10 and a half chapters: there were 80 chapters in the original version. It's going to be a weighty tome...) Leapt onto the bus, arrived in time, and let the sprogs indulge in their favourite park game of climbing trees while we sat and talked. And talked. For three hours on a cloudless-sky-bright-sun-bitter-wind Spring day.
Under those circumstances and given I was facing the sun the whole time, I shouldn't really have been surprised to look in the bathroom mirror to find my face and throat bright red. Heh, sunburn in April, whatever next? Still, it'll go a lovely golden-brown when it settles, and it doesn't hurt. I'll be more careful next time.
We caught up on news, swapped book recommendations (Kai has borrowed the first 4 Anthony Horowitz 'Alex Rider' books in one hardback volume from Yumi and so far hasn't been able to put it down...) and hair-raising holiday tales - agreeing that there must be some kind of special karma that looks after the reckless traveller, given some of the sensible-circuit-overloading things we've both done in the past - and generally set the world to rights. Now if we could only effect a coup and take over... World Domination, yeah!
It was a fine day, most enjoyable, and the meal (homemade turkey goujons, macaroni with sprinkled cheese, carrots and asparagus! [melts] It's been so long since I had asparagus I'd forgotten how much I like it...) was wonderful. Ruth is a terrific cook. We finally dragged ourselves away at 20 to 7, and that was only because after 7pm there's only one bus an hour back to Briz.
I managed a nap when we got home, just one cycle, but I'm now composted enough to get some writing done - so it's back to Pal 11.
And since I don't want to sour a lovely day, the Empire Stores [spitspit] rant can wait until tomorrow...
Saturday, April 08, 2006
[rolls eyes] HyGROmeter, not hydrometer. And bought just in time, it would appear, as Rosa has been spinning silk and appears to have made herself a 'shedding platform', which could indicate she's due to shed soon.
Pal chapter 10 first draft finished and I'm about to re-write chapter 11 (was originally chapter 8). Mini-rant due about bloody Empire Stores and their 'generosity' but it'll have to wait 'til tomorrow night, as I'm in the flow and don't want to take time out...
Thursday, April 06, 2006
I had to go into town today, to pick up a variety of things, including Pocky for Kai. The Chinese supermarket didn't have any - again - so I trundled off up the Gloucester Road to the Korean supermarket ('ooray for FirstDay bus tickets, say I!) Since I was going up that way anyway I jumped off at the top and checked out the second hand shops all the way down, then at the first pet shop remembered I needed a hydrometer (Rosa's has packed up), so went in to ask...
No, they didn't have any, but there was a shop just up the road that would have some.
Heh. 'Just up the road' turned out to be up past where Special Reserve used to be, about a mile and all uphill. But they did have hydrometers, so I suppose it was worth it.
Walked back down to the Korean supermarket and bought 13 packs of chocolate Pocky. Bussed back down into Broadmead, picked up new trainers, birthday presents - and a Yule present (I'm very organised this year!). And [gasp] walked away from a silk laeliocattleya! (In my defence I should say it was pale pinkish-purple, pretty but not what I'm looking for.)
Home, breakfast (well, brunch I suppose, it was 3 pm by then), cleared down emails then leapt back on the bus to Wyevale in search of a plastic strawberry planter, solar powered pool fountain, seed trays, and something else to try to get shot of the mole, since the trap just isn't working. I came home with two plants - they didn't have anything else I wanted. [sigh] Have to check out Focus tomorrow for seed trays: we need to get everything started. (And thanks, Sue, for the links to solar-powered fountains!)
Champagne phalaenopsis. Perhaps I ought to stop buying this particular orchid now...
Less hectic day planned tomorrow.
Doom is now out on DVD. Might see about renting it over the weekend.
Oh, and the loosest of Kai's loose teeth came out. Now awaiting the tooth fairy...
Back to Palingenesis. I suppose I ought to set up the word count .doc too...
Wednesday, April 05, 2006
Kai announced last night that he thinks he's going through a 'phase'...
Yes. It's called 'growing up'. And at the moment it's making him somewhat stroppy. But that's OK - we were expecting it anyway, and a simple explanation of why it isn't nice to be on the receiving end of such behaviour is enough to change it. Though I don't expect that to continue, he is at least self-aware enough to know what's happening and why...
Doesn't help that he has three very loose teeth at the moment, two of them pre-molars, one on each side, and it's uncomfortable for him to eat. Eh well. Perhaps tomorrow's pizza will be enough to make them drop out.
I've finished jigsawing the stones around Roeg's Pool - worked mellow Bath stone covered with moss and lichen from their sojourn behind the shed. It looks interesting, a subtle landscape of sculpted green-hazed pale gold whose shapes and shadows change with the light, a contrast to the white quartz-studded rocks at the sunrise end and the russet flat stones around the pool itself.
I'm pleased with it.
I had a reply from the body shop's customer relations. Most of it was the same sort of self-justifying guff as the statement I had from them, with this paragraph added:
We can assure you that The Body Shop and L'Oréal believe that protecting and enhancing the values of The Body Shop is an essential part of the proposed partnership. Any agreement to acquire The Body Shop would be reached solely with L'Oréal. The Body Shop would remain as a standalone business within L'Oréal. L'Oréal is quoted on the French stock exchange and, as such, operates entirely separately from shareholders such as Nestlé.To me it doesn't matter: by associating themselves with such a company they tacitly give their support to its activities. The taint is there and isn't going away. The body shop state their five 'core principles' are - Support Community Trade, Defend Human Rights [my emphasis], Against Animal Testing, Activate Self-Esteem, and Protect Our Planet. Unless large sums of money are concerned, apparently.
The Hunt for Red October has almost finished on Beeb 3 - not my usual sort of fare but I've thoroughly enjoyed it. Fine acting (mind you, with that cast I wouldn't expect anything else!), a decent plot, wonderfully tense climax!
I'd better get this posted before the scheduled outage, and get back to Palingenesis (taking a break from 2AC for the moment): I have a lot of re-writing to do...
Tuesday, April 04, 2006
Which Extremity of the World Are You?
Well, if I can't be Olympus Mons or Maxwell Montes, Everest will do...
I was supposed to get up early. Ken tried, he really did, but I dozed off again, and consequently everything I'd planned to do was put back by a couple of hours...
Eh well. I did shop, despite the queues (the main reason for getting up early was to avoid them) - and finally gave in and bought the 'champagne' silk phalaenopsis on Sainsbug's '3 for the price of 2' offer: they'll look gorgeous on the tall bookcase at the top of the stairs. Photo when I've got them organised.
Two more chapters of Lutra's SFSG beta-ed, then we tackled a little more of the garden: Ken moved the second conifer to its new position between Roeg's Pool and the fence, and we jigsawed a few more rocks into place, ably assisted by sprog and his trusty wheelbarrow-locomotive (and accompanied by running commentary as to the trials and tribulations of said loco trundling about the garden-countryside. I think we narrowly avoided several derailments...) I'd estimate another afternoon and all the stones will be in place. Then I need some more small plants to fill in the gaps.
<- Yet another photo of the black peacock on the orchid branch, this time taken with Ken's Olympus. It looks far better in the photo than here, much more subtle detail, even though I scanned it at very high res. [sigh] At this point I give up: I'm sure you get the general idea.
Maki zushi for dinner (peasant cut with very hot wasabi/soy dip. Brought tears to me eyes, it did!) Now about to take a look at 2AC 1.4.09 - three pages in and it's coming along well.
Oh, forgot to mention... Lutra tells me Natalia Tena, who played Fevvers in Nights at the Circus is slated to play Nymphadora Tonks in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix! Personally I think she's an excellent choice.
Right - back to the loom...
Monday, April 03, 2006
Sorry for the length of time it's taken, but Band 3 is now posted in the (other) Zone: the link is on the main CCO808 intro page as well as on the fics index. There's no accompanying pic, I'm afraid - I just haven't found time. But I'm not too dischuffed with the story: it could have been longer, and the end a little better paced, and I could have done more with the guest stars, and there could have been a lot more lemon in it, but it's fairly amusing, I think.
Hope you enjoy, Zonefolk!
Sunday, April 02, 2006
Impossible to resist.
Remember way back when I was first talking about redecorating the bedroom and I found the string of silk maple leaf lights, but the catalogue had sold out of them when I tried to order? Since then I've been looking for something similar, but haven't been able to find quite the right design. Well, Sainsbug's are now selling strings of silk phalaenopsis lights for £6.99...
I'm so glad I waited. They're beautiful!
Though I wish they'd made the cable green instead of transparent, it would have looked better. Eh well, maybe I can cover it with ribbon or something.
In other news...
I finally tidied up the area outside the patio doors, which has needed doing for at least two years. Piles of plant pots, Kai's garden finds, the old broken pump from the small pond, other bits and pieces of junk... It's much better now.
I've started making two new beds for Quyn, out of an old king-sized downie, waterproof plastic and some heavy navy blue cotton. Started being the operative word: the downie and plastic have to be worked by hand - too big and thick for the sewing machine. It badly needs doing though. Should be finished in a couple of days.
And finally, Band 3 is now finished. Well, almost. I need to read through and expand a few sections, but essentially it's now done. It's not the best thing I've ever written, but if I try to spend any more time on it it simply will never be completed, so I'm going to leave it pretty much as it is, at 45 pages. Hopefully I should be able to post it tomorrow!
Though I'd still like to do the picture I have in mind. Will have to see if I'm inspired.
Saturday, April 01, 2006
So, Nights at the Circus...
A voice-over welcomes us to "the fag-end, the smouldering cigar-butt of a nineteenth century which is just about to be ground out in the ashtray of history." A lone figure, dark skinned and androgynous, in top hat and tails, appears in the limelight, singing unaccompanied in a rich dark voice an appeal to let the old century die...
The curtain pulls back on Fevvers, sitting on her trapeze. Singing 'Only a Bird in a Gilded Cage' (are those really the lyrics? I've never known...) in such a little voice... Until the second (third? No, I wasn't taking notes, I was watching the performance) verse, when she suddenly starts belting out the words in a luverly raucous Cockney accent...
And the play takes off.
It's a bawdy, funny, boisterous, dark piece, crude and complex, tragic and optimistic, powerful and brutal, full of larger than life characters, wonderful songs, delicious surreality - pretty faithful to the book, in fact.
For anyone who doesn't know, the story involves Fevvers, the winged woman hatched from an egg, who takes Europe by storm at the end of the 19th century, and Jack Walser, American in the book, Icelandic in the play, the reporter determined to expose her as a hoax. In the course of his 'investigations' he follows her to St Petersburg, where she has joined the circus, and is taken on as a clown in order to observe her more closely...
Nights at the Circus, both the play and the book, is difficult to classify. It encompasses so many different concepts - female freedom and independence, confusions of male and female rôles and gender identity, love and lust and their manifestations, absurdity and individual perceptions of reality... Unfortunately the play attempted to do too much, to include everything, which really isn't possible in three hours. Well, not without a measure of confusion, at any rate (tonight shown in the audience's laughter at several entirely inappropriate points).
It's still a fabulous piece of theatre, however - enough to make us both forget the cramped discomfort of seats designed with much smaller people in mind - with an incredibly talented cast. Natalia Tena is just wonderful as Fevvers: Gísli Örn Gardasson makes a terrific Walser (even though he does appear Brad-like - that's Brad from the Rocky Horror Picture Show - for a fair bit of his time onstage. Though actually, given what he was doing at the time...) And the singer at the very beginning of the play? I was sure I knew the voice from Casualty, and indeed, when I checked later, it was Adjoa Andoh, Collette from way back in 2003! So, a thoroughly enjoyable evening watching a great play in a lovely little theatre - and our seats were actually pretty good, the pillar in question must have been all of six inches thick and a good six foot away from us, hardly blocking the view at all.
Kai enjoyed himself too. We let him stay by himself (with Dave next door keeping an eye and ear on the house and sprog for us) for the first time ever, and he was fine. Mind you, we rang him when we got there, and at the interval, and when it finished, and he had the full instructions (don't answer door, let the answering machine answer the main phone - we left him my mobile for our own incoming calls - no wild parties etc...) Not something we'll do often, but he's mature and responsible enough to cope every now and then. He quite enjoyed being trusted, I think!
Right. Band 3. It would be wonderful to get it finished this weekend...
Picture of Fevvers shamelessly