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, December 31, 2006
House clean, rubbish out, vol au vents and sushi nori made for nibbles, and we've put on Cast a Deadly Spell, an old favourite, to relax with while we wait for midnight...
Saturday, December 30, 2006
A parcel from Onna arrived today! Two colourful Mutant Pot Holders (strange beings from one of the moons of planet Witzend... There's a thought, if I let them live together in the kitchen, do you think they'll breed?), a gorgeous Texas scenes calendar, Furuba 8 and 12, and two packs of plastic 'critters', lizards and snakes, really pretty. [GLOMPS Onna!] Thank you!
The house is now mostly cleaned. Need to vacuum upstairs, clean the bathroom and top of the cooker, and Kai has to dust in his room, but that shouldn't take more than an hour, two at most. Then we can relax tomorrow!
Then we watched Spirited Away... oh... Miyazaki for god. Even dubbed it's just superb... enchanting... perfect...
... there was probably more, but my brain has flumped... (No nap today - I feel the lack.)
... I'd rather be typing with light...
Friday, December 29, 2006
I seem to have slept most of today. Which is no bad thing - I do feel a fair bit better (oops, nearly said 'more human' there!) and considerably more awake after a four and a half hour sleep early afternoon.
So I didn't get a whole lot done. Handful of emails/client mini-updates, comix and blogs. Watched two eps of Marine Boy - which is such fun! And I was right, it is anime, which means my addiction to the genre goes back to when I first saw the series on TV as a child of about 8 or 9, I think. Kai watched with me, and was absolutely fascinated by the noses - and the awful dialogue, which had us both in stitches. [GLOMPS Sue] Thank you! It's a real treat. We'll watch the whole lot bit by bit - 7X100 minute DVDs is a bit much all at once.
Other bits... I'm bemused by the Slimfast advert. I'm not an advocate of such so-called diet 'aids' myself, but if other people find them useful, fair enough: from what I know of them they won't do any actual harm unless you're allergic to milk or any of the ingredients. And the model they use is gorgeous, beautiful face, real, chubby body, lovely enthusiasm for the way the product is helping her lose weight. Except... she's the same size as in last year's Slimfast ad. And I know this is a new one, because she talks about the new Slimfast soup, which wasn't in the ad last year.
I'd have thought this wouldn't really encourage confidence in Slimfast...
You've probably gathered by now I don't buy many gadgets - partly because I can't afford most of them and partly because if I am going to buy something, I buy it for a specific purpose. Lutra's all-singing, all-dancing phone/mp3 player/camera/nightlight/alarm clock is great and suits her perfectly, but wouldn't do me at all. I don't watch films on Butch (except for the DVDs onna has sent, Ai no Kusabi and Gravitation, and that's only because they won't play on anything else - so far, at any rate) because my computer is for work, for writing the books, maintaining the websites and for research. Yes, OK, and the online comix I like, and the blogs, but even they are mostly to keep myself up to date with things of various natures. TVs are for visual entertainment.
And terran tech goes wrong too often for me to fork out a lot for complex multi-purpose things I don't really need. I know from experience it goes wrong. You know from my experience it goes wrong: not only can I not now trust this computer's system restore facility, but the Realtek audio control panel has had a headfit and will not recognise either of my two sets of speakers or the line in: the only way I can hear anything is through headphones. I am, needless to say, not happy about this, but for the last couple of weeks haven't had the time/have felt too ill to do anything about it - like read the pdf help that came with the computer. After the new year, hopefully.
So I have a jaundiced attitude to new terran tech, and much prefer to wait until it's at least a year old so there's been time to iron out all the bugs before I invest.
But I really, really, REALLY want one of these, and a smartphone to go with it. I drooled, I really did. Do. Am doing. Wantywantyhavehave...
[sigh] Maybe next year...
Thursday, December 28, 2006
Soooo..... we were all late waking up, hence I was late getting into town, especially since I took the time to load my new Kood playlist (lots and lots of Muse!) The chores didn't take long though: coach tickets for Kai and me for next Wed/Thurs - we're off down to Exeter to visit my folks (and pay back the loan), a pack of those tiny little 'no more snags' plastic hairbands to tie off my plait from Clares, the only place I can find them these days (transparent, they didn't have black, alas), and to the bank. Chinese supermarket was closed, so I couldn't get any ramen, but I'm sure I'll survive.
After dinner (a healthy one tonight, we were all sick of rich, high-calorie stuff so I did baked potatoes for us, noodles for Kai, with tinned salmon and a lovely lettuce/cucumber/tomato/spring onion salad, with galia melon and raspberries for dessert, that we all thoroughly appreciated) I put on Zoolander - which K&K both really enjoyed, and which had me chortling again - while I sorted out what is laughably known as my 'in-tray'. There are four of them, actually. As Sue and GoodTwin know from experience, this is a major undertaking (and hasn't been done since the time they were here for the LotR-fest). But I've got it down to two trays now, and have chucked the other two, in the hope that I now have to keep it under control as I've no space not to...
You have to admit the theory's sound.
K&K started tackling Kai's under-the-cabin-bed den while I was out, and have made noticable progress. I'm very pleased about this. With a little luck, tomorrow we can vacuum under there!
When the current project is finished, we need to sort out the shed again, so I can reach my pots and propagators. Looking forward to putting up the mini-greenhouse. There will be photos!
But tonight I'm unwinding. I have emails to do and audio to organise for Jenni's site, but I'm tired and just want to read for an evening. Quite a treat it is...
My Legato Bluesummers figure arrived from Hong Kong yesterday morning! Very fast delivery. The figure's only small (5") but beautifully detailed. He's now perched on the printer surveying the desk...
And this was my Yule present from Kai! Apparently he saw it and immediately told Ken that 'mum would love that!', so they bought it. [rolls eyes] Kai knows his pragmatic-but-sparkly-on-the-inside mum about as well as I know him, I think...
Quiet day - I slept in until midday, which did a lot of good. And I have a functioning brain again, so the cold is on its way out. Hope it doesn't take as long to go as the last one did.
Back to the rockface tomorrow. And possibly a trip into town - I have a few chores to do - so if you hear a newsflash about murder and mayhem in the centre of Bristol it'll be me getting annoyed with the bargain-hunting mutoids...
Wednesday, December 27, 2006
Tuesday, December 26, 2006
Two hours sleep and I woke up at 6.13 am panicking and completely unable to breathe. By the time I'd got myself under control again I was thoroughly awake, and out of medicaments. Fortunately the chemists up near Kai's old school was one of just four open today in the whole of Bristol (and only from 11 am - 1 pm): Ken took Kai out for some (cold) fresh air and got me restocked. I even managed a cycle's nap when they got back and I'd dosed up, which helped a lot.
We had roast pheasant later. Kai is trying all sorts of different things at the moment, and enjoying most of them. Though he's definitely a carnivore like his mum.
I know there was more I wanted to say but the brain is AWOL. Maybe tomorrow...
Later edit -
Remembered one of the things I meant to mention. You remember the Kai photo album we made for both sets of parents back in September? As I thought it might, it reduced my mum to tears - she said it was the best Yule present she'd ever had. Chuffed about that. (Well, not about the tears thing, obviously...)
Next lot of sinutab then bed now, I think.
Monday, December 25, 2006
We've had a good day. We all loved our presents (YAY! I have a mini greenhouse! [GLOMPS GoodTwin]) and have something over 24-hours' worth of DVDs to watch (including what I think is the complete series of Marine Boy (the first anime I ever saw) from Sue. [GLOMPS!]) Going to take a while to watch everything...
All in all it's been fun. I just wish I didn't feel so dreadful. I hate sleeping on a pile of pillows, it makes my back and neck ache, but if I lie anything close to flat I can't breathe...
Will keep telling myself it's finite.
And we watched the Dr Who special. Tell me, does Catherine Tate ever play anything other than mouthy obnoxious cows? Terribly disappointing ep. I think Torchwood has spoiled me. Though even that was a little odd this week.
... For the first time in 18 years, the sun didn't shine for us on Xmas day. Strange that.
Sunday, December 24, 2006
Last shopping trip to Tesco. It had to be Tesco, as they had the cutest little 'atom' shaped decorations for Yule which I fancied but wasn't going to pay full price for - bought two packs at 30% off. And I hoped to get some of Ken's favourite beer - Goliath - which Sainsbug doesn't sell... They had three bottles left - on the very top shelf at the very back, where I didn't have a hope in hell of reaching them. So I borrowed a very bemused, very tall bloke, who very obligingly reached down two bottles for me - although even he had to stretch, and he was well over 6 foot.
When I got back this was waiting for me - my card from Kai! Isn't it lovely?
Right. Need to get all the dinner makings out of the freezer to defrost ready for tomorrow, or we'll be having unborn chickens and pig rashers for Yule dinner!
... oh, just lovely...
Blocked stinging sinuses, sore streaming eyes, sneezing, tickly cough that will not go... I do not need this!
At least I'm only trying to cook/organise for the three of us.
Black Holes and Revelations just gets better and better.
Knights of Cydonia
[snerk] According to 'Norad tracks Santa', the big red dude should have left the North Pole a couple of minutes ago. But all the site is saying is 'Merry Christmas 2005'.
Saturday, December 23, 2006
There are times I miss the car. Then again, there are times I'm glad I don't have one. Like yesterday morning - at 10 am all the parking spaces in Sainsbug's car park were full and incoming drivers were circling like vultures waiting for people to finish shopping and leave...
Kai arrived back a good hour and half early from school, in fine spirits. We ordered the curry-out from a smallish local place called Goa Classic (no site, unfortunately) and it was wonderful. Chicken and lamb tikka to start, Kai had a rich, creamy and very mild Chicken Tikka Makhoni (which he loved), I had Modhu Puri Chicken (sweet and medium hot), while Ken had Goa Classic Lamb (which was a bit hotter than he was expecting, but which went down well with the cucumber raita). And the keema naan was the best I've ever tasted. We'd definitely use them again.
DVDs: Stormbreaker was no better on a second viewing, and Miami Vice was curiously empty and unengaging. Eh well. There are worse ways to flump after a hefty meal.
... why are there kangaroos on the Google Yuletide logo?
Friday, December 22, 2006
<- My card to Ken. I gave him one of these as a silly pressie (it produces a recording of real robin song when gently squeezed) and a jar of special Peach and Orange Preserve with Brandy - Ken likes his preserves and marmalades for his breakfast toast.
Ken's card to me (isn't it adorable?) ->
And he gave me Muse's Black Holes and Revelations CD! It's most intriguing - a little more... restrained than their previous works, a little less powerful musically and with a distinct Latino flavour, but ye gods, the lyrics... Positively violent in places. It sounds to me much more like a concept album than earlier albums, with a distinct sci-fi feel, pro-environment and anti-theistic (I think. I might be reading too much into it). It's delightfully deceptive: some of the tracks sound fairly mainstream - and then you catch the words...
I really need to listen to it again, but the tracks that stood out for me on first listening are Map of the Problematique, Assassin, and Exo Politics. I didn't like Hoodoo, which starts off deliciously eerily then flips into an OTT overblown orchestral backing.
The album is more complex, more work (to listen to, to appreciate) than any of the others, but none the worse for that. I shall play it again later...
The shopping is almost finished now, just the last couple of things to pick up. We're planning to have a curry-out tonight, and I picked up Stormbreaker (for Kai) and Miami Vice (for us) DVDs since there's nothing unmissable on TV.
Thursday, December 21, 2006
Lovely day. The Garden Centre wasn't too busy, and I managed to pick up a couple of anniversary presents for Ken. (It's our 17th today, but we're actually celebrating it tomorrow, on the Solstice itself.) It was great to see Kim again.
Interesting programme on the Beeb tonight - the making and serving of an authentic Tudor feast. Peacock pie, anyone?
Better than yesterday's Xmas cooking programme with Nigella Lawson - all salt, butter and maple syrup. And she has a somewhat... alarming presence: Kai stood in the doorway staring at the TV, then turned to me and said - "She's scary!"...
Heh, after hearing some of the blogger switchover horror stories (some blogs have been down for over 16 hours in the process) I think I'll leave it a bit longer.
Early night, I think...
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
[growl] I haven't changed to Blogger's new - what'dy'callit? platform? - yet, so am still signing in on the old blogspot access. Only now they've switched the sides. I used to check the left hand button to login - overnight they've changed it to the right hand button. Dammit, I nearly hit the wrong thing! Which is, no doubt, what they wanted...
Suppose I'll have to switch at some point. I'm waiting to see if anyone has any problems first, though.
So, today... a little more shopping (couple of different types of cream, Belgian waffles for Kai, chocolate curls to go on the ice-cream - you know the sort of thing), a little more work, a little more tidying of this room: I idly mentioned I was thinking of laying the table properly for Yule dinner this year (yes Lutra, I'll post a photo) and Kai was very enthusiatic, but first I have to clear it! Eh well. Good excuse to get organised. Had a cycles' nap early afternoon, which worked a treat. Tried Kai on sweet pancakes and maple syrup for dessert, and he loved it.
And the Rocky Horror Picture Show arrived from play.com, so that's the order now complete, and no need to query non-delivery.
And I've ordered a Legato figure (on ebay, with Yule cash)! Finally! [bemused] It was sprog glowering at me and growling "Buy it!" that swayed me, I think. But I am pleased. Forbidden Planet haven't been able to get one, and I've wanted the figure for quite a while now.
Unfortunately there's also a Raidei the Blade and Midvalley the Hornfreak available from the same seller in the same range, but I can't go too mad. Maybe next year.
Kim's coming 'round tomorrow morning: we're off for what seems to have become the regular pre-Yule trip to my favourite Garden Centre at Congresbury. Can't wait!
-2° and a freezing fog. Even I'm feeling a little chilly.
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
0°. A little on the chilly side. Better leave the outdoor loo heater on tonight...
Spent several hours this morning getting Ken's system customised. He now has Mailwasher (the free version) for his main email account, Spybot/Spyware blaster/ewido/Adaware all set up and running, and his own ICQ account with me as sole contact. It was very funny chatting to him without having to bellow up the stairs!
Other than that it's been a bit of a Yule-organising day. My Mirage of Blaze (first four eps, bought on ebay) arrived today, the play.com order arrived yesterday - less the Rocky Horror Picture Show special DVD version, which is a little worrying, as all four were posted together and we've never had any problems with play.com before. I'll leave it a couple of days and contact them if necessary. Did a little work early afternoon, then went into town to the bank and to shop. [bleurgh] Have I whinged about how much I loathe Yuletime shopping yet, this year? Consider it whinged...
Still, picked up the last of the presents - well almost, I still don't have anything for Ken for our anniversary - including the 'Secret Santa' one for Kai to take to school. Quite pleased with it too. So is Kai - he wants one as well. [sigh]
In other news... Ken's off to our doctors' surgery tomorrow morning (next bloodtest, I think) and will ask what's needed for me to have a proper diabetes test (no, I haven't had a chance to get up there yet, this last couple of weeks have been fraught). I'll schedule that in for the new year.
The Leander Pryne fourth chapter isn't finished yet, but I did manage a little more of it.
I've now embedded six favourite YouTube Muse videos into the template at the bottom of the blog - mostly so I can go and watch them without having to login to YouTube. But do feel free to go and look too. (I found a YouTube version of Sing for Absolution. I'd still like to write that story one of these days...)
Early night, I think.
Monday, December 18, 2006
Denis had recovered enough from his cataract op to come 'round and fit the router cable so Ken can have online access. Ken and I had discussed where it was to go: Denis wanted it on the near end of the radiator in the room, so it would look tidier and mean not having cabling all over the place (like that's a problem, it is anyway), but I'd insisted it had to go through the floor at the far end of the radiator so it avoided all the pipes and cables at the other end. Ken and I had agreed this. It's safer than having holes drilled further back towards the main body of the house, as we know this place has wiring and plumbing all over the damn shop. So you can imagine my horror when the drill starts, and sounds... wrong... to me, and I realise it's coming through at the wrong end of the radiator, and before I can scream up the stairs to Ken and Denis to stop the drill-bit's through the ceiling in my room - and cuts through the house alarm cable.
... can we say bloody furious?
It took the pair of them all bloody day to repair the (6-core) cable - yes, it works fine now, I ran through the full alarm setup to be certain - but instead of the nice neat cabling I would have had if it had been done as I wanted, I now have a bloody great junction box on the wall below where all the paint's been stripped off because of course, there wasn't enough slack to join the cut ends of the alarm cable, so the original, tidy wiring had to be slackened before the job could be done. Which involved pulling it all off the wall, along with the paint.
Worst of it is I can't even vent properly. Ken feels dreadful about it - he simply forgot what I'd said, and given how badly the courses of medications for the Hep C have screwed up his memory I fully believe him. Which makes it partially my fault, because I knew that and should have checked what they were doing before letting them start.
So I'm a very pissed off old trout tonight. The only bright spot is that my room is the last one that needs decorating, and I'd planned to do that in the New Year, so at least I won't have to live with the bloody mess for too long.
But Ken now has internet access upstairs, so won't have to keep interrupting me. And he's going to download his own ICQ, so I can shout at him online instead of having to yell up the stairs (when, for example, he gets a phone call, since the upstairs phone doesn't actually ring - there's a loose connection somewhere in the cabling between here and there. You can hear and be heard OK, you just can't tell if its ringing unless/until the answerphone cuts in.)
Needless to say I got buggerall done today...
Sunday, December 17, 2006
Quiet day. Did a little work. Kai tidied half his corner of the lounge (and acually chucked out a load of stuff! [gasp] I hope this is the start of a beautiful habit...) Ken and I watched The Core - a mildly entertaining piece of hokum with plot holes you could drive a starship through - and then Torchwood.
Which was perfect. No spoilers, but I don't see how that ep could be bettered. [happy sigh] Wonderful...
Bed now. Hectic tomorrow as usual.
Saturday, December 16, 2006
Kai wanted Ken to take this photo: sprog thought that was such a cheeky cloud! (Photo taken from near the top of Talbot Hill.)
Ken suggested taking Kai up to Broadwalk today, to check out the charity shops - but first they went down to the park for a few minutes. Matt and Tom were there - which was... interesting, because Kai rang last night to ask if Matt would like to come 'round today and was told no, they had something planned. Even more interesting, the only time Matt has been free in the last couple of months was last Saturday, when, of course, my parents were here. If I were a suspicious old trout I might suspect Matt wasn't being allowed to meet up with Kai. Which would be a pity - Matt loves our garden, and seemed to enjoy spending time with Kai.
I gather the trip up the hill was reasonably successful. They were gone for several hours, at any rate, and arrived back tired but happy. The weather was glorious today - hence Kai's wanting the photo of the only cloud in the sky!
Arnos Cemetery. No, I don't know quite why Kai is hugging a tree, except it's sort of soft and fluffy, and he loves trees.
Speaking of trees, I refilled the peanut and birdseed feeders hung on the medlar, and added a fat ball this year: the birds love them! And hopefully, since the medlar is closer to the house than the apple where they used to hang, the squirrels from the park will leave them alone. (I keep forgetting to mention, but there's at least one owl living down at the park, or in the cemetery: I hear it hooting at night. There was a dead hen-pheasant in the road outside the park a few weeks ago too, which left us a little bemused, as that's not the sort of creature you'd expect to find in suburbia...)
Kai spent half an hour writing out Yule cards for all the boys in his tutor group when they arrived back (he'll do the girls' cards tomorrow).
Remember the Milk was a 'blog of note' a little while ago, and since my memory for dates is abysmal I thought I'd give it a go. It's not the easiest of applications to use - the help isn't geared to the way I think (but then, what is?) but once you get the hang of it it's pretty good. It sends you an email to remind you you have to do something - in my case, remove appearances and events from Jenni's website, important but something I missed half the time. Yes, I still like Spacejock's 'Remind me Please' software, but it gets buried at the bottom of the windows, and since Ken usually boots up for me in the morning I don't see it unless I remember to look at it. Having a reminder email arrive and beep at me is more effective.
Right. Back to the rockface...
Friday, December 15, 2006
An interesting sort of day. There I was, sitting ploughing on with the current project (which is nearly finished now) when our agent rang to discuss a potential new book (well, a book package actually). It all sounds good, though the deadlines are (as is now becoming usual) incredibly tight, and I gather there's no room to manoeuvre with this project. We'll see how we go. It's nice to be wanted, though!
What was also rather nice was that she's now had her copies of the Dream Decoder and is impressed, says it looks beatifully modern, unlike most of the dream dictionaries that come out - but even more by my handling of the subject: her daughter had an odd dream last night and couldn't work out what it meant. C suggested daughter look it up in my book, and was, I think, a little startled to find I'd got it absolutely right. [happy grin] When you can impress your agent, especially after 8 years, you know you're getting it right!
I gave Kai a sort of fruit salad last night - red seedless grapes and clementine segments, both of which he likes - and a couple of physalis berries, which he'd never had. He's decided he rather likes them (though my saying that the label says they're great dunked in a chocolate fondue might have helped him make up his mind!)
Tonight I can play for a bit. Going to try to finish Iron Wills, the fourth Leander Pryne chapter - then I think I'll post what's been done so far. It's about time it was available to read.
Thursday, December 14, 2006
Raptor: [sigh] What do you want now? Can't you see I'm busy?
Of course Quyn wanted in on the act. [shakes head] I have a dog who loves having his photo taken...
Kai arrived home and announced the school does 'Secret Santa' every year. I now have to find a present for an 11 year old girl I've never met and about whom Kai can only tell me 'she's tall'. Yeah, thanks sprog, that's a great help...
Looks like another trip into town is on the cards. Then again, I haven't found anything for Ken for our anniversary, so perhaps it's just as well. (I have no idea what to get. He's been wistfully eyeing up those Celtic coins - they're for sale on another site, at £300+. Heh, I would if I could.)
I think I've managed to get a cactus spine embedded in the palm of my left hand - sharp stinging pain when I move it, but I can't see anything. You'd think I'd know by now to be more careful with the damn things. Eh well, it'll go when it's ready.
Off to code up Sue's latest Professional's story (finally. Sorry for the delay)...
[startled blink] I wrote a drabble. I've never written anything so short before (well, except maybe Yule cards...) - as many (most?) of you know, I may plan to keep it small and simple, but the story usually escapes, hares off on its own and turns into a multi-chapter, multi-character, multi-book epic...
Anyway. 'yer tiz. Any guesses as to who the characters are/what the situation is?
It shouldn't have been you. One of the others, but not you.
This whole damned project was a mistake. Fuck the rules, you should have let people know. Then we might have been prepared... Ah, who am I kidding? You can't prepare for something this... big.
Work always came first with you. You should have let me in earlier. Now you're gone, choked by that... we don't have a name for them, do we? We should have names for the things that kill us.
Damn you, you prickly, awkward, unlovable bastard. You never let me tell you I love you.
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
Yes, it's a heart-shaped spud. Innit cute?
Carol and Adrian came over to exchange presents today - thank you for taking the time at such a tricky juncture. It was lovely to see you both, and catch up on the news - and I'm glad you enjoyed PotC! Such a fun film. (Your email has just arrived - glad you got back OK and had a good time.)
Just for the hell of it... Some Muse. Have I mentioned recently how much I enjoy their music?
GODS I love Muse... Bellamy's glorious voice.... and come the 25th I'll have the CD (Origin of Symmetry, I mean) so I can mp3 it and have it blasting in my ears when I'm out shopping. Bliss. Which is another most excellent video on YouTube... (Please ignore the slightly irritating 'clicking' on both videos - no idea what's causing it but I'm pretty certain it's not on the audio tracks.)
I sometimes wonder if people wonder what I'm listening to, and if they'd be surprised if they knew. I'd wonder - except I don't see very many (make that any) females my age walking around plugged into mp3 players, so I don't have the opportunity.
So, what to do next...
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
Raptor's now very happy with her new 'tree'. I'm wondering if a thin piece of towel-covered foam velcro-ed to the top might be feasible, to make it more comfortable for her...
(memo to self... Next time you take your earrings out to clean them, don't leave it two and a half months before you put them back in. [wince] Pushing an earring post through a half-healed hole smarts.)
Though I've no idea why it had started healing - I had those piercings done about 18 years ago...
More shopping. Snuck in some little treat type things I can really only justify at this time of year, like whole prepared chestnuts (to go with the Brussel's sprouts), organic Canadian maple syrup [drool], and Carte d'Or tiramisu ice-cream. Oh, and I added okra (was on special - 10p reduced from £1.19) to the korma tonight: Kai ate it without complaint (that's aubergine and okra he'll now eat happily. I'm gradually adding to the repertoire!)
Current project is now a tad more than three-quarters finished. And this is fun - an ancient Celtic coin with Cthulhu on one side and a double circuit board on the other! (Well, that's what it looks like to me anyway. Yes, OK, it's a starfish. The reverse side is supposed to be a thunderbolt or something similar, but I'm not convinced.)
Need another early night. I shouldn't be this tired, really I shouldn't...
Monday, December 11, 2006
The sky was pretty tonight - not as dramatic as it has been, but the evening clouds were beautiful. You can't tell from the photos here, but winter sunsets are a good 45° along my horizon from the summer ones. OK, I may be out with the actual degree, it involves numbers after all, but at midsummer the sun rolls down the hill into Arnos Park at the end of the road, while now it's at the Talbot Hill end of the ridge: the difference is really noticeable.
Kai is currently in a monster-liking phase: he watched Shaun of the Dead, Evolution, War of the Worlds (yes, the Tom Cruise one. [shudder] The things we put up with for our sprogs...) and Tremors one after the other yesterday. (Well, there was precious little on TV worth watching - until Torchwood, anyway.) Then he opined he'd rather like us to get the Hellboy DVD. Well, that's OK, the film isn't a favourite but we don't loathe it. That'll be ordered from play.com though: at £5.99 it's a little more than half the price of amazon.co.uk and a saving of 73% - excellent value.
Managed to get about half the Yuletide shopping this morning, which isn't bad! (Much less to buy with neither of the families coming up, and it means I actually have room for everything in fridge, freezer and larder.) It would be nice to finish it this week if I can, then I can relax next week. I'll rephrase that: I can finish writing my half of the current project without having to try to make time for trips to shops and supermarkets. I'm not sure if that counts as relaxing. One of these nights I'll get back to more fun things...
This left me speechless - Worst Album Covers of All Time.
And on that truly revolting note I'll bid you all good night.
Sunday, December 10, 2006
[bemused] Mum brought up home-made apple pie and a tub of double cream for tea yesterday. There was some left, so after I nuked the pie for lunch, Ken ladled out the cream he wanted and I gave the rest to the kits. Who took one lick and turned their noses up at the rest. So I gave it to Quyn - who wolfed it down. [shakes head] I'm really not sure he knows which species he belongs to...
Torchwood tonight was... odd. Not sure how I feel about it. It's reminiscent of one of the Tennant Dr Who eps (and not one of my favourites). Hm. I shall have to ponder. Looking forward to other people's views [grins at Sue and Tim] later in the week.
I was over at Alternate Brain, a blog I find myself visiting more and more often these days, and was dead chuffed to find there's a link to this blog in their 'Reality-Based Community' list! I'm very flattered: there are some truly great blogs listed there, including Steve Gilliard's News Blog, Pharyngula, Pandagon and Echidne of the Snakes, and while Zone Doubt was never intended to be anything more than a personal online journal of no great profundity, it's lovely to be considered 'reality based'!
Heading for an early night: another hectic week ahead.
Saturday, December 09, 2006
That was a very pleasant day - relaxed and fun. Folks arrived about 10.30, and took us out for 'Xmas Lunch', since we won't see them over Yule, to the White Hart in Brislington village. Ken and I both had smothered chicken (a large chunk of breast meat smothered in mushroom and garlic sauce, with chips, onion rings and peas, very tasty) while Kai opted for a double beefburger, chips, and cucumber and grapes (and ate it all! I [gasped], I did!) Pudding was a Chocolate Monster Sundae for me, profiteroles for Ken, and Belgian waffle with chocolate ice-cream and chocolate sauce for the sprog. Please feel free to drool!
We put on PotC 2 when we got back, which they thoroughly enjoyed. Unfortunately they had to leave at 6.30 to drive back to Exeter, but it was good to see them again.
I remembered what it was I forgot to say. It came up in conversation yesterday (I'd been talking to Ken about ID being snuck into schools) that Kai had never read any of the bible - and certainly not Genesis. He was interested, so we muted the TV, grabbed our copy of the revised version with Apocrypha (it lives in the bookcase with the Quran, the Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita and all our other classical fiction) and I read out the first two chapters. Actually, I only read as far as chapter one verse eight before Kai interrupted me, frowning, with "Hang on. You read that god created heaven and earth in the first verse, and now he's creating heaven again?" Heh, first of the contradictions... We got as far as the second version of the creation of humans and at that point Kai lost interest. We explained that the book was the attempts of primitive people to explain the world around them, and for something devised around 4,000 years ago they hadn't done such a bad job - even if, as Ken says, a lot of it was borrowed from Sumerian creation myths. But that was then, and this is now, and several thousand years of discovery and scientific progress have increased our knowledge and understanding somewhat. </ironic tone of voice> (We'll cover the Dark Ages some other time.)
Lie-in in the morning. But what I really need is a couple of days when I can just sleep as and when I want, without having to worry about anything else. Maybe after Yule...
Friday, December 08, 2006
Well, the bathroom's done, and half the kitchen. We're almost three quarters of the way through the current project. And I've coded and uploaded Lutra's latest snupin in the (other) Zone - it's a goodie.
... I know there was something else, but I can't think what it is...
Thursday, December 07, 2006
The big hole that is currently half of Broadmead...
(Photos taken from the top of the bus out to Kingswood yesterday)
Been an odd, distracted sort of day. Managed to complete some more of the current project, wrap some more presents (the ones I bought yesterday, plus an Amazon.co.uk order which arrived this morning), and catch up on a little sleep. But I haven't made a start on the house at all... [sigh] Ah well. It's not that bad, really. As long as I clean the bathroom and the cooker, it'll do. Tomorrow is soon enough.
[growl] I can't get into the comments on KW's blog again, this time no matter what I do. Or the blogger spellchecker...
(And the black holes in the house have been at it again - well, them or the pixies. I bought a decorative bag yesterday for Carol and Adrian's Yule presents, and overnight it has completely vanished. Gone. Disappeared. I've looked everywhere and there's just no trace of it. We may have to dowse tomorrow. Or buy another, which would probably be quicker!)
Later edit: Lutra asked if the photos are of what's happening to Castle Park, which made me realise I hadn't made it clear. If you go here, you can see Castle Park (my pic of it from above, from the HighPoint Balloon, is here). The bit I photographed above is marked 'Broadmead Expansion, Opening 2008' on the map, and is where a variety of very old and very tatty shops used to be.
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
Trailing round shops from 10 am 'til 4 pm, with about 45 minutes spent sitting on the bus. Legs are killing me. But I managed to get everything I went for. So that's good.
And Torchwood tonight? ... ye gods...
Spellbound, we were, gobsmacked and spellbound. Ken declared it his favourite episode yet, I think it's probably the best so far. It just keeps getting better and better...
[grin] And as for Captain Jack and the acrobatic twins... well, that's just begging to be written...
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
Red and gold foil chains up in the lounge: holographic silver ones and snowflakes in the hall: inexpensive wreath on the front door.
All presents wrapped (except for the ones I haven't yet bought, of course).
Current project now more than half complete.
BCP forum set up on Invision. BCP meeting last night fairly successful.
Eaves in the outdoor loo filled with crumpled paper in freezer bags stuffed tightly into the spaces from outside - makes an extraordinarily effective filler!
One of the fence panels blew down the night before last (yes, it was a little stormy), into next-door's garden: Dave managed to jam it upright with stakes (he leaves his gate open and with the fence down Quyn would be able to get out into the road); he came 'round yesterday morning to check the damage. It's not too bad - the arris rails on three of the panels have rotted and need replacing, which he is willing to do (we're in the odd situation of Dave having paid to have the fence put up, back before we bought the house, but us actually being responsible for it, because he has the nice side and we have all the concrete posts. Don't understand it myself, but apparently that's how it works. Which is fine - we're happy with the fence, and have been painting it every couple of years - except we can't afford any repairs...) What got me was we didn't even notice. Then again, Dave would have propped it back up before we had a chance to notice, I think. Eh well. Ken was checking ways of reinforcing it from our side - there are things you can buy to cover the arris rails - but as with everything on this property each section of fence is a different size. [sigh] Well, I'm sure we'll get something sorted. And Denis now knows about it and is happy to share his expertise.
Anything else... I plan to grab a FirstDay ticket and head into town tomorrow to try to complete the Yule shopping. I have finally managed to get some idea of what Kai would like, though the conversation was amusing...
Me, plonking a sheet of paper numbered 1 - 5 and a pen down in front of him: "List please. Or all you'll be getting is a notebook and a pen so you can make next year's list early!" Kai: "But I like surprises!" Ken: "It won't be a nice surprise if you don't get anything." Me: "You have some surprises coming, but you know it's better to get things you like and want than to sit there trying to pretend you like the present when you don't!" Kai (pouting): "Oh, I suppose so..." [So he writes list. Only one thing on it is easily affordable, one is a ludicrously expensive two-minute wonder, one is a piece of furniture - a purple furry rug for his room, I still haven't been able to find one - and the TV/DVD combo he'd like that I think would be nice has been vetoed by Ken, as he would rather Kai was downstairs socialising than watching DVDs upstairs... I'm not convinced, but we can always reconsider next year. Kai had also mentioned that he'd love the paid version of Google SketchUp, SketchUp pro 5 - but it's £315! Heh. Need that bestseller...][shakes head] I can't really complain - he's a very undemanding sprog. Still, I managed to drag a few ideas out of him.
Monday, December 04, 2006
Kai decorated the tree yesterday; he decided on gold and silver for this year's colour scheme. We need to get some thick gold tinsel to hide the base, but otherwise I think it looks great. You can't really see them here, but there are simple, white, non-flickering fairy lights in the tree that look really pretty in the dark.
On Friday my author's copies of the Dream Decoder arrived. It looks good, and while some of the text has been cut it's been done sensitively, and nothing has been added. Unfortunately, because of the timing, it's not quite as enjoyable as seeing the latest book in print usually is.
Last Thursday Ken had his appointment at the BRI to find out the results of the last bloodtest. No change, which is good news: the virus is still present but in very low quantities, and from what we can gather it hasn't increased since the last test. A relief, indeed.
Instead of Torchwood I watched Zoolander tonight - I needed something silly and light and fluffy and the film worked just beautifully. It's one I'd like to get - I like Stiller anyway, and the film is so pretty as well as being daft as a brush. Torchwood is repeated on Tuesday at 9 (a better time for Ken: he needs more sleep than me and usually goes up around 9.30-10 pm) or, as we've just discovered, it's on teleport, so we can in fact watch it any time.
The beastlies are still unsettled, and Raptor and Argent are spending more time with us than usual, Raptor draping herself over Ken's lap while Argent sits beside me demanding to be petted. Quyn is a little more himself again, though, which is good - though even he is asking for reassurance more often than he did. It'll take time, we know.
Busy week ahead again. And my folks are coming up for the day next Saturday, so I'll do my usual and use that as an excuse to clean through the house. I loathe and detest housework, but it needs doing. Perhaps I can pay Kai to do the upstairs dusting...
Saturday, December 02, 2006
We decided to have the vet come to the house, to save Ryme being further stressed by me having to carry her to the surgery to be put to sleep in strange, clinically-smelling surroundings. I sat up with her all Thursday night (to be honest we both expected her to die, she was so ill by then): by Friday she was hardly moving, dozing on and off, only eating tiny amounts and having trouble using the litter tray.
The vets (both young, gentle, sensitive women) arrived at midday. They talked us, very quietly, through the procedure; Ken and I both said goodbye, then they injected Ryme: I cuddled her as she drifted to sleep, feeling her heart beat more and more slowly until it stopped. And even with the relief of knowing it was the kindest thing we could have done (the vets confirmed that the tumour was large, lumpy and very 'nasty'), and knowing that it was quiet and dignified and she's not in pain any more, it was still the most heart-breaking thing I've ever had to do.
We wrapped her in pure cotton with a small handful of her favourite treats, and laid her to rest at the top of the garden, between the two new spireas, with a sprinkling of cat grass seeds in the dug earth. Come spring I'll plant the gardenia over her.
Tonight Argent is lost, wandering around looking for her, Raptor is subdued, and Quyn anxious but trying to cheer us up. Kai had a miserable day, but he has several sympathetic school-friends he was able to talk to, who have their own pets so know how he's feeling, and he understands that she would really have suffered if we'd left it, and that would have been simply cruel. We're going to focus on her life - and it was a good one - and remember all the fun things, all her idiosyncrasies, not think about her death. Even so there's a Ryme-shaped hole in the family that will take a while to get used to.
We're planning a low-key weekend, pottering, Yule-present-wrapping, maybe even putting up the decorations: distractions mostly.
Thank you very, very much, everyone, for all your supportive emails and comments - they really helped. I'll try to get back to everyone as soon as I can, but in the meantime, I've scanned and posted a little page of favourite photos from the last fifteen and half years here.