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.
Wednesday, February 28, 2007
Well, we've had a lot of weather today. Little showers, bright sun, rain pissing down, thunder, bright sun, 60 mile per hour winds, showers, bright sun with sixty mph winds, sullen clouds, hail, bright sun, heavy showers, sixty+ mph winds... Ah, don't you just love the British spring?
Agent and publisher both really liked the blads, and I've been asked if I'm still interested in doing the other - afterlife - book for them as well, and if so could I prepare blads for that too. By next week. Asked agent if she could get me a little more time, so I can maintain my reputation of miracle worker by producing the goods in advance as usual. Just call me Montgomery Scott...
Couldn't get the material I needed for Kai's Samwise cloak at The Range: will have to get into town tomorrow for a visit to FabricLand (or whatever the helll it's called.) This I could really do without, as my haddock is in even shorter supply than usual at the moment, but since I have to go in I'll check out the Briz joke shop and see if I can find a pair of hobbit feet. It would save an awful lot of time.
Still have half today's wordage quota to write, but I've finished the machine sewing on Kai's shirt and breeches, and will tackle the handsewing while Heroes ep 3 is on (I caught it on Monday but we're watching again so Ken can see it, and it's good to catch the things I missed the first time round).
Aaaaaaand we now have the hefty paving slab we need to go under the water butt to keep it stable and level. The weather's supposed to be dry and sunny Friday and Saturday, which would be ideal for cementing it onto the concrete beside the drain downpipe.
Wendy, got your text today (only have mobile on when I'm out, and I haven't been since Sunday). Thanks!
I could murder a plate of fish 'n' chips...
Tuesday, February 27, 2007
While I think of it.
For those of you who arrive here by googling Derek Lawrence's Skaters, Trekkies and Cool Dudes, I'm reading it to review for Crowsnest. I'm about half way through, and what I can say so far is I love it, it has me chortling on every page, it's wicked and deliciously evil and not recommended for fundies as it will make their brains explode....
I take that back. I'd recommend it (well, the first half anyway) for anyone over the age of 15 who has a wicked sense of humour, and especially for fundies...
More later. I'm off to eat pig for dinner.
Monday, February 26, 2007
The Chardonnay is rather nice - smooth and rich and fruity with no oaky or bitter aftertaste. One to remember, methinks!
This is the card my son made for me, in Google Sketchup. That's an Imperial jade unicorn on the top. He gave me a guided tour earlier, in Sketch: he's even put green felt on the bottoms of the feet! It's beautifully done.
And speaking of unicorns - thanks Wendy! The card is beautiful.
So... Breakfast in bed (scrambled eggs with mushrooms on toast, my favourite) while opening presents (manga: Desire of the Gods and the first two volumes of the translated Yami no Matsuei; anime: Vampire Princess Miyu the Perfect Sessions, limited edition DVD boxed set; Sense and Sensibility DVD (the Alan Rickman one); a bottle of Cimarossa Chardonnay, which Ken bought as it has a unicorn's head on all its labels! It's Chilean - not one of my favourite countries for wine, but I'll have a glass shortly and see what it's like; a big bar of Turkish Delight and one of Green and Blacks organic caramel... and a fossilised squid! Well, a calcite belemnite, anyway...) Then work. The blads are now done and ready to go off tomorrow, once I've written a little bit of blurb, and I've pinned the shirt ready for altering for Kai's costume: will get that and the trousers done tomorrow.
We have six (at least) big frogs in Roeg's Pool (and now four very large clumps of frogspawn). But only two of the frogs are female. I think. At least, there were two frog sandwiches in there this afternoon...
Episode 3 of Heroes is on. I'm hooked - so far it's excellent. Then I'm having an early night: haven't managed to get any of the current project done today and the first deadline is looming. An early start is called for, I think.
Sunday, February 25, 2007
I've had a lovely day - celebrated my birthday today, since I'll be working tomorrow.
GoodTwin and Sue arrived around midday, and we spent the afternoon watching the Buddyboy episode of Beasts (most intriguing stuff!), Zoolander, Galaxy Quest and Evolution. I'm now the proud owner of Trigun Vol 1 and Trigun Maximum Vol 8, and the first Vampire Hunter D book! (Itching to read it but I have to catch up first...) And I have a Garden Centre Gift Voucher to treat myself with! [GLOMPS GoodTwin and Sue] Thank you very much - these are wonderful!
As are the cards. GoodTwin and Sue insist they share a brain - or maybe a braincell, I forget - and occasionally the evidence is quite compelling. They were both Eric the Penguin cards, with a packet of seeds in each, marigolds from GoodTwin and pansies from Sue! [happy grin] I have a lack of flowers in my garden - these are gorgeous.
Heh, with the exception of a roast pork and apple sauce sandwich on organic whole-meal bread for lunch I've had nothing the least bit healthy to eat today. Lots of tasty little cakey-type things though! I'll make up for it tomorrow.
...tempted by the thought of an early night...
Saturday, February 24, 2007
Of course, when I looked at mine and Lutra's blogs this morning I found that amending the .htaccess code to my sites meant that the graphics and background tiles on both blogs had vanished. I then had to ftp all the main jpgs to JAT and change the src codes on both templates to have them showing again. [sigh] There's a whole load of old pics still on WaveWrights, so anyone looking way back at older posts will find images missing. Nowt I can do about that until I have the time to trawl through eveything, ftp and change those codes too, and I won't have the time for quite a while.
And I forgot to say... When I fed the fish this morning there was a large frog sitting on the non-reed plant - guarding a big jelly-load of frog spawn. In February.
Unfortunately he swam off before I could take a pic.
Several hours later there was a second load of spawn...
Interesting. Ken bought me a new toy - a touch screen wrist-type blood pressure monitor (reduced in Maplin's sale, of all things). It's really nifty, and very easy to use. So I've tried taking readings a few times today...
I haven't mentioned it - I'm not that daft! - but over the last few weeks I've had Norton intermittently crash on me (brings up the dreaded 'Symantec has experienced a problem and needs to close' window) and the only way I was able to get it back on was by rebooting (except that one time when the bloody machine would not turn off...) So I emailed their tech support, who were great, and advised me to install their latest upgrade. I finally made the time to do it today. [rolls eyes] It was the usual fun. Took five minutes to download, then twenty to install - and at the end of the install flashes up an error window saying it can't finish and to hit next. Which - if you have time to click before it automatically takes you there! - leads to a Symantec webpage with instructions on it that seem to have sodall to do with the installation.
We followed them anyway, and it did work, but talk about nerve-wracking! Anyway, it's all sorted now and hopefully the problem's resolved, though I won't know for a wee while as I have to wait to see if it crashes again.
Anyway, I thought - stressed? Oh yes! Let's take BP... Which was 175 over 89, a hell of a lot less than when I'm at the doctor's. (213 over 164... I did say I hated the whole health service thing, didn't I?) though still high. So I waited a bit and tried again... It goes up and down quite a lot, I see, but sitting at work it hovers at 144 over 79, which is only a little above high normal. Which I find very reassuring. I think I might be able to control it myself and avoid having to take any medication: I'll get advice when I see the doctor.
Friday, February 23, 2007
That was fairly successful. Managed to pick up grey shirt and trousers - both far too big but I should be able to wrestle them into something OK - a pseudo-suede jacket (has a big hole in the side and was going to be ragged, so I got that for nowt) that's a sort of creamy shade that's not too far off pale skin colour, that I'm hoping I can cannibalise into a pair of attachable feet, and a small dark blue backpack with an outer pocket. I suggested making a badge with 'Off to Mordor - I might be some time' or 'Mordor Or Bust' on it: Ken thought a 'HitchHikers Guide to Mordor' book sticking out of the pocket might be fun. Kai wants to go with the book idea, so we'll get that organised next week. Some fake lembas wrapped in a felt mallorn leaf wouldn't take long either.
I haven't been able to find anything that would do for a jerkin or cloak though. Ideally I'd make the cloak from one of those old grey blankets everyone's grandmother used to own, but they're not that easy to find in a hurry. The Range will probably have some fabric that would do at a pinch: I'll get over there next week. All coming together!
We were just a bit annoyed earlier. Ken had been doing some research, and found a blog that was hotlinking, on several different pages, to one of his own designs on our WaveWrights site. Worse, the design was published in the Early Heaven Oracle so not only were we subject to bandwidth theft, but also breach of copyright. We gave the blogger the benefit of the doubt and I left a detailed comment - the only way to contact him, there was no email address anywhere that I could find. It's actually quite a well-thought-out blog, so we offered to provide him with a copy of the graphic, on condition that he credited it correctly and linked to the Early Heaven part of the site - a fair offer, we felt. The comments are moderated, which I was quite pleased to see, as it gave him a chance to put it right before anyone else read what he'd done.
Well, I checked half an hour ago. My comment hasn't been published (big surprise) but the graphic has been deleted. No comment, no contact from the blogger - and no apology. So much for netiquette.
This actually led me to have a closer look at our stats, where I found several other sites had been hotlinking - but to images on the wordwrights.co.uk, which of course no longer exists, so those graphics will show as broken anyway.
I've now amended my .htaccess files on both WaveWrights and Haadri to disallow hotlinking, although I confess I was strongly tempted to create a BANDWIDTH THIEF graphic to replace the lunar phase one he'd linked to. Eh well. Maybe next time...
Right! Back to it. I'm within camel-spitting distance of finishing the blads for the London Bookfair potential commission: this is a book I really, really want to write, so the blads need to be good to grab attention. GoodTwin, Sue, you're going to be asked for feedback on Sunday, I'll warn you now!
Thursday, February 22, 2007
She has sprung.
We'd forgotten about the crocuses. I think we planted several, but this is the only one that's yet appeared. Fingers crossed for more...
<- The first lot of courgettes. I put these in the GH today: it might still be a little on the cool side for them to be outside, but they weren't in a propogator inside, and have been sitting by a window that is always partially open during the day, no matter what the weather, and it's astonishingly warm and humid in the GH, so I have hopes that they may do well.
I put the first lot of tomatoes in there too. I think it's probably too cold for them yet, but it's only six plants out of 125 seeds, so it's not too much of a waste. We'll see how they do overnight.
FISH! All five of them. ->
There's also at least one rather large frog living in the reed clump. It's going to get a bit of a shock when I oik the plant out to split and repot it...
I have quite a few iris leaves coming up in the 'bog': obviously they've survived and increased. I weeded around them: it'll be fun to see how they do.
It's World Book Day next Thursday, and John Cabot are celebrating it next Friday. Kai's been invited to join in a group effort with some friends who are doing Lord of the Rings: he's going to be Samwise. Hence I now have FotR on in the background to make notes on the costume. It's relatively simple: baggy darkish grey breeches, grey shirt, stripey grey jerkin, grey jacket and grey cloak. (I think. I'll be able to see better when they reach Lothlórien: it's too dark in Moria to tell colours easily.) None of which we have, of course. I'm off to the charity shops in Sandy Park Rd tomorrow. Better pick up some hair mousse too...
The most difficult bit is going to be the feet. I've told him to ask the other hobbit what he's doing about feet. And ears. (There must be somewhere in Briz I can buy pointed ears.)
Bedroll and backpack should be fairly easy, and he can borrow an old saucepan if he wants that authentic look (I kept two, because you can never tell when you're going to need an old saucepan). Although it's actually a frying pan Sam carries. Eh well, I doubt anyone will mind. Or even notice...
So that's me busy next week. Like I don't have enough to do. I am very glad I have the sewing machine.
Back to it. I'm slowly catching up.
Ah. Sam wears grey and fawn-coloured clothes. OK...
Wednesday, February 21, 2007
[growl] So I arrive at the doctors' surgery with an empty stomach and [gasp!] no feinne, to have three lots of blood taken for five tests (yes, it's now five - cholesterol, diabetes, Hep C, liver function and kidney function... those last two are going to be interesting!) only to have the sister frown and tell me I have high blood pressure.
No, really? After trudging up the second steepest hill in Bristol to an appointment I really didn't want to go to - I really, really dislike doctors, hospitals, anything to do with the health service. Apparently it's called 'white coat syndrome' - and only being allowed sips of water for the last 12 hours? What, exactly, did they expect?
Sister said to sit in the waiting room and relax and get my breath back a bit, and use the auto blood pressure taking machine thingie that now sits there. You stick you arm in up to the shoulder, palm facing upwards, then hit the start button, and it inflates a cuff (very tightly) and takes your blood pressure for you. And this uncomfortable and robotic thing is supposed to make the process easier?
[sigh] However, even I'd agree that 213 over 164 is a little alarming (well, it was off the chart on the front of the machine) so I have another appointment to see the doctor next Tuesday. At 9.10 am. Oh yes, I'll be really relaxed for that one, won't I?
But we have Kai's birthday treat organised - he's inviting a group of friends to Laser Quest - so that's OK.
Back to the rockface. I'm behind again.
Tuesday, February 20, 2007
We now have a working bathroom lightswitch! And it's much quieter and easier to pull than the old one. With a bit of luck it'll last longer too.
Blood tests tomorrow. Fasting ones. I can only have sips of water tonight. Eh well, at least it's an early appointment...
Monday, February 19, 2007
But at least the alarm is now fixed. (No, not by colleague's friend's son - a month and a half on he hadn't even bothered to ring us to let us know when he was coming: I got pissed off waiting and dropped in to see the wife of the guy who originally fitted it for us, and her son - who hasn't moved to France full-time - was there and came up to sort it out. Memo to self: next time make sure your info is accurate and up to date.)
But we need a new lightswitch in the bathroom - Ken can't fix the old one. Will try to get that done tomorrow.
I checked out the 'blog of note' a couple of days ago, and found this... Mind-blowing. I saved the sequence to show Kai, and we both simply gaped at the VV Cephei image. It's difficult to wrap your mind around something that immense.
The wiki pic is here. Enlarge the image and find our sun to get an idea of the scale.
Saturday, February 17, 2007
Aaaaaand another busy day...
Kai went to tea at Matt's yesterday evening, and had a fun time. And he really enjoyed today's birthday party: cheerfully admitted his bowling is rubbish (well, it's only the third time he's been!) but thoroughly enjoyed himself anyway.
My day was much the same as yesterday, and will continue to be so for the foreseeable future (until April anyway). The editor of one of the current projects rang this afternoon (nice guy, very pleasant) needing 50 word 'sketches' of each of the primary topics in one section, so that's a bit extra I need to do.
We still have five goldfish - and how they've grown! Must try to get some photos - but one of them, Comet I think, has suddenly grown very very fat. If we discover, later, that we have more than five goldfish we'll know why.
Back to the rockface...
I forgot to say... I had a very odd dream during my short nap this evening. A tiny white bird that I thought was dead cheeped feebly several hours after being left lying draped over a rubbish bin. I picked it up very carefully - it was only about the size of a wren, and almost weightless: the feathers had been pulled out of most of the right side of its tiny body, but its wings were whole and there were no obvious wounds. I pulled its wings closed gingerly and held it in my hand, and tried to prepare a mix of mashed apple with softened birdseed and water with the other hand, easing the resultant mush very carefully into its beak. Its eyes flickered, and it started to take a little of the mush... but then Kai woke me, so I don't know if it survived. I think it probably did. At least, I hope so...
Friday, February 16, 2007
My haddock are escaping again...
This week has been stupidly hectic - more on Jenni's site, BCP interim report (22 pages and I still haven't finished coding), blads for the London Bookfair for the next potential project (due end Feb), more on the current project. And into town today to find a birthday present for Kai's schoolmate's bowling party tomorrow. Speaking of which, we need to get the bus there, which means my day is out the window unless Ken takes him...
TARDIS. Or clones. Either would do.
But the water butt is now in place (will try to get the downpipe sorted tomorrow or Sunday: it hasn't rained enough to make any difference). And I have tomatoes and courgettes sprouting on the kitchen windowsill!
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
What a day that was.
And I mean that in a (mostly) good way...
It started by my waking up to this gorgeous card -> and a very large bar of Cadbury's Turkish Delight.
Then I was served scrambled eggs with mushrooms on toast, in bed.
When I came downstairs I found our last amazon.co.uk order had arrived. Purely spontaneous this one: Ken had the Doors' LA Woman stuck in his head last week and just couldn't get rid of it, and I've recently been hankering after Rush's Cygnus X-1 (first time I heard it was courtesy of Bruce Fraser while I was still in Edinburgh - thanks Bruce! - and I've never forgotten it (part 1 at any rate, I'm nothing like so familiar with part 2), and just now it will be an excellent background track to a possible new book commission. Terribly sorry to be so vague about everything that's happening on the work front at the moment, by the way: publishers are becoming more protective of their forthcoming publications, so we have to be cagey as well. All will be revealed closer to the publication dates...)
So we ordered LA Woman, A Farewell to Kings and Hemispheres, dirt cheap and free p&p. I'm now listening to Cygnus X-1 part one as I write:
I set a course just east of Lyra And northwest of Pegasus Flew into the light of Deneb Sailed across the Milky Way On my ship, the Rocinante Wheeling through the galaxies, Headed for the heart of Cygnus Headlong into mystery The x-ray is her siren song My ship cannot resist her long Nearer to my deadly goal Until the black hole Gains control...Crackin' stuff. That odd syncopation still throws me, though, even after all this time...
Then the doorbell screamed. It was our delivery from Ferndale - a 50 gallon water butt plus downpipe connector, a tub of eco-friendly blanket weed killer for Roeg's Pool, and a pair of heavy-duty shoulder length waterproof pool gloves for me. It's supposed to be sunny tomorrow, and rain the next two days, so hopefully we can get the butt organised ready to take advantage of the weather.
Then I had to trudge up the hill to the Doctors' (I changed my appointment so I could spend yesterday in Exeter instead of having to charge back for lunchtime today). Pap test time again (I swear they're coming around more quickly than they used to... Actually, they are - it used to be every five years, now I've been told every three years...)
[rolls eyes] The nurse couldn't find the cervix. Not my fault, I hadn't hidden it! So that was all longer and even more objectionable than normal. Then the doctor (one I haven't seen before) couldn't find the pulse in my arm when trying to take my blood pressure. Even switching to my left arm she could only just hear it. (And don't those cuffs hurt!) Apparently my blood pressure was a little raised, but frankly I'd have expected it to be high, given the previous fifteen minutes' experience and the fact I really do not like surgeries or hospitals... Anyway, I have another appointment for next Wednesday, early, for four (yes, four) separate blood test - cholesterol, liver function (that's the Hep C one. Apparently it's now standard for the partners of sufferers to also be tested. I'd grump and say nice of them to let us know, but it's possible that Ken did tell me and I've forgotten, so I'll shut up), diabetes, and... I can't remember what the fourth one is for. Unless the liver function and Hep C tests are different.
So that was fun. Not. But when I arrived back home there'd been another delivery - a whacking great parcel from WindLily in Florida! [whimper] Two Hellsing DVDs, and, in manga, [takes deep breath] Vampire Game vols 1-7, Flame of Rekka vols 1-6, three Crying Freeman volumes, Boogiepop vol 1, Clamp's Legend of Chun Hyang, Kami Kaze vol 1, + Anima vol 1, Supreme Power: Contact (written by J Michael Straczynski of Babylon 5 fame) and the first two books of A Distant Soil!! (Which I've already devoured - such pretty aliens...)
Watch Joules drown in anime/manga/graphic novels... No, no idea when I'll find time to read 'em, but I'll manage somehow!
Although I actually didn't get around to opening the parcel for over an hour: one of the editors had rung while I was out, chasing a contents list I'd already sent but which she hadn't received. So I had to sort that out first, then email our agent, then Kai needed a page printed out for his Romans homework. Stupidly hectic day.
But the steak dinner was wonderful. We watched it with Raiders of the Lost Ark, which is still thoroughly enjoyable after all this time.
Kai has been invited to a school-friend's party - ten pin bowling at the Hollywood Bowl, Cribbs Causeway, on Saturday. Only he got the invite on Monday, was supposed to have RSVPd yesterday - and didn't tell us about it until tonight. [shakes head] I'll ring tomorrow and hope it's OK. And also hope Kai can give me some sort of idea what the boy likes, so I can find something appropriate as a present!
So all in all a fine day. But I didn't get any work done. Need to do twice as much tomorrow now...
Tuesday, February 13, 2007
[bemused] Back. And what an interesting time I've had...
Shall I start with the coach? Yes. I think I'll start with the coach. It had come down from Edinburgh and was ending up in Brixham, and had been late arriving in Bristol (no, not all of its stops began with the letter B!) and the driver was on his statutory 45 minute break. As a result we were 15 minutes late leaving - annoying, but it did give me time to wonder sadly about the state of mind of the mother standing behind me who had called her little boy Cayenne (which she pronounced Kai Anne) and her little girl Killin (that's what it sounded like, anyway.) I can just imagine the crap those poor sprogs are going to take at school...
Soooo, we finally headed off, me assuming the bus would take the normal route.
No. Instead of heading for the Cumberland Basin, the driver hared off up Brandon Hill. Then took us on a non-guided tour up Whiteladies Rd, along the Downs and past the Zoo, then down Sion Hill (a hair-raising enough drive in a car). I was wondering by then if he was aiming to avoid the major watermain pipe repairs at Hotwells (the pipe cracked wide open last week and caused massive delays on the Portway/Cumberland Basin) but instead of turning right up the Portway and out to Avonmouth, he turned left, drove past all the repair work - and continued out on the Long Ashton Rd.
We were then treated to a non-guided tour of the scenic route, via Backwell and Congresbury, finally joining the southbound M5 at the Weston-super-Mare roundabout. I still have no idea why he went the long way round. Unless he suffers from vertigo and didn't want to drive over the Avonmouth Bridge. (And indeed, who could blame him? Well, me for a start...)
Then before we even got to Taunton (the first stop) we suddenly found ourselves at a standstill. On the M5. On a Monday. In bloody February. Holiday season, I might have understood it... After 15 minutes of crawling and stopping I rang Ken to ask him to check what the problem was: the RAC site reported an accident just before the Bridgwater exit which was blocking the motorway. There was an ambulance, fire engine and several police cars, and a white van, but I couldn't see much damage, so no idea what happened there. I hope it was nothing serious.
After that things went more smoothly, and we drove into Taunton in lovely sunny weather, so I started taking photos out the window.
And look! This is a rare example of a very rare species of British fauna, and I was extremely lucky to catch it!
As we reached Devon the clouds - "heavy, dark and pendulous" - appeared ahead, becoming darker all the time, until it was bucketing down.
It does that quite a lot in Devon, if I remember rightly.
We eventually arrived in Exeter nearly an hour late. There are times I am quite grateful for my mobile phone...
Wendy arrived at 6.15. We had a somewhat wet drive down to Torquay, but the roads were quiet, so it wasn't too bad. I don't think I've ever seen Tor Bay at night, so the really pretty promenade lights took me a little by surprise - they stretch right along the bay, from Torquay to Brixham. Really lovely. The tide was coming in, but it was a little chilly to paddle. (Actually, the wind was very cold, even for me, and picked up more while we were in the theatre, so we didn't dawdle getting back to the car, although I'd have liked to wander out to the end of the pier. Maybe next time.)
And the show? [big evil grin] It was brilliant. Well, mostly brilliant. I felt that the actors/singers playing Janet, Brad, Magenta and Columbia could have been considerably more expressive, but their performance was more than made up for by Rocky (Sergio Priftis), Riff-Raff (Matt Harrop), and the deliciously lascivious Frank 'N' Furter (David Bedella, who also played Satan in the Jerry Springer opera-thing, and who enjoyed strutting about the stage in fishnet stockings and basque entirely too much, methinks [even bigger evil grin]) A lot of the audience had dressed up, but the theatre had very strict rules about not throwing anything - in fact, they had black binbags at the doors, and were confiscating all the confetti, waterpistols etc (that sounds awfully school-teacherish: actually everyone was very good about it. But it did mean there wasn't as much audience participation as there might otherwise have been. Oh well.)
The audience age range staggered me. One woman had taken her young (I mean younger than Kai!) daughters along, a move I'm not sure was wise given the graphic raunchiness of the Janet/Frank - Brad/Frank bed scenes. There were also people there who must have been in their 60s at least (and more power to 'em, say I!) But everyone had a rollicking good time, and at the end, as I'd bet Wendy, we all did the Time Warp - yes, me too. There was just about enough room between the rows to dance on the spot!
[happy sigh] It was a fantastic evening. A big 'THANK YOU' to our hosts David (who was in a really good Riff-Raff costume) and Maia of TIP, and to Wendy for the transport that made it possible, for a wonderful time!
I slept well - had the second guest room at the folks' this time, a lovely cool room so I didn't need to open the window, so didn't hear the traffic, so wasn't disturbed by ludicrously early buses.
We went to The Red House in Whipton Village for lunch (early birthday treat!): wonderfully tasty carvery. I had roast pork and roast beef with all the trimmings - delicious. Then a quick trip down to Fore Street to check out the read and return bookshop (still there, though not as good as when I was at college), bought the Indiana Jones boxed DVD set (an incredible £19 in Woolworths!) and to meet Sarah in a nice little café, Streets in the City Arcade.
It was very good to chat. If you're reading, Sarah, all the best with the exams!
[Later edit - Sarah is the friend who sent us the Constellations game.]
The trip back went a lot more smoothly than the trip down (and going over the Avonmouth Bridge in the dark, in the rain, with Muse's Exo Politics blasting in one's ears is, I think, the best way to enjoy the experience.) I had an exceptionally good taxi driver, who took a short cut through the Broadmead backstreets and got me home far quicker and cheaper than anyone else has (and got a nice big tip because of it). Quyn was overjoyed to see me, Argent happy, and Raptor just wanted to be fed. I'm sure she'll come for a cuddle later.
I finally got MailWasher up and running - honestly, I've only been gone two days and the amount of bloody spam I've received crashed the software five times. And Kai and Ken have been fine: Ken cooked pork loin chops for them this evening, which is one of Kai's favourites - and I notice steak and mushrooms in the fridge, and some tiramisu, so I think I may be enjoying a Valentine's Day steak dinner. Better wrap Ken's present and write his card before I forget...
Work tomorrow. [sigh]
It's actually from one of the Bridgwater Carnival floats. There are two camels a little further back, a mother and child that have been there for quite a long time now...Back
Sunday, February 11, 2007
I feel like I'm on holiday.
Though actually, I suppose I am, really. I think I forgot to mention that The Rocky Horror Show performance I'm going to is at the Princess Theatre in Torquay. Which means travelling down to Exeter tomorrow, going to the performance with Wendy, who has most kindly agreed to drive us down there, in the evening, then back to Exeter to stay overnight, then back to Briz on Tuesday afternoon. Only way we can manage it. Ken, alas, can't come, much as he'd love to...
A day of tidying up odds and sods, and helping Kai with his homework (only a bit of looking things up, printing out jpgs, and prodding him in the right direction - no point in cheating!) All about the Romans. His last chapter was on Roman jobs.
Oh, and I forgot to say - they've started Spanish in their Modern Foreign Languages course. [bemused] The teacher introduced herself by opening up her bag - and pulling out a shrunken head.
A real one, Kai tells me. From the Andes, apparently.
This went down a treat with the kids. The teacher talked a lot about Central and South America, it seems. At one point she mentioned that native people ate guinea pigs (had some of the more sensitive souls in tears. Kai, of course, asked if she was going to bring some roast guinea pig in for everyone to taste. [shakes head proudly] My son...)
He seems quite keen to learn the language, which I'm pleased about. I suppose I should try to schedule in some time to learn the basics myself...
Saturday, February 10, 2007
[bleary eyed] It is astonishing how much work goes into coding and uploading opera scores and music tracks for audition...
Jenni has relaunched her opera, Descent of Inanna, and is looking for singers. To that end, she wondered if it would be possible to post everything on her site, so interested singers could read/print the scores of a number of tracks for audition purposes. Well, yes, it's quite possible. You need to download and install the Sibelius Scorch browser plugin, but that's hardly a problem. However, Jenni also wanted the scores password protected - which is also fine, except that it has to be done directory by directory and person by person at Supanames. Which even with the speed I work takes an unconscionably long time. Eh well - the bulk of it's done now. Four files came over blank, so I need those re-sent, and I also need some text for the main index page, but other than that it's just about ready for use.
And I'm just about ready for bed. Town with Kai tomorrow - I have to get to the bank, and he managed to break his watch: it dropped out of his pocket and the glass smashed. Can't get it mended - it was only a cheap one - but we may be able to get something almost identical. No doubt we'll visit Antics too.
Oh, and he now has his The Universal registration (they've been snowed under with registrations and all the mods have full time jobs, so they're a bit behind!). But I'm not letting him login until he's tidied his room, cruel mum that I am!
The rockface can wait a few hours...
Thursday, February 08, 2007
This had me chortling aloud - a Japanese parody of Michael Jackson's Thriller:
S'no. A bit disappointing. And with the rain and the sunny spells we had today it's all gone now. And Kai's school wasn't cancelled, so he was grumpy this morning...
And I've just discovered that since Jan 30th all the emails from the current project publisher haven't reached me - not even to bounce. (Emailing ClaraNET to ask why.)
Aaaaand just found out, after our agent forwarded all the emails I missed, that despite my wishing to have current project published under a pen-name, publisher insists on using my real name.
Handful of things I forgot...
Kai has dropped out of the Customise Your Bike after-school club. He wasn't enjoying it as much as he'd hoped - but more particularly he was the only one in his year there, and I gather the other older kids weren't overly happy about being with a younger sprog. Not that the teacher would put up with anything deliberately nasty, but you know how horrible it is when you don't feel welcome somewhere.
JC students are allowed to do this, apparently, if they really don't get on with the class, although obviously it's not encouraged because of the logistics. And I don't mind. He's given it a go, and might again in a couple of years, if the clubs are still going.
We watched the maggles pull the peanut bag off the medlar earlier, and drag it around the garden grabbing the nuts from inside. Just as well the other birds who visit aren't that fond of them, and are happy to stick with their seed. (Speaking of which, I don't know what the RSPB put in the packet but the little birds love it and are now on their third large bag - they can half empty the container in a day!)
Posted a parcel off to Simone today. [bemused] It's quite odd the sorts of things you can't send to Germany in the post - bees, for example, or human remains...
And it's snowing! HUGE soft fluffy flakes, coming down fast and hard. Well, the flakes aren't hard, just the speed at which they're falling. It's settling already: should be pretty come morning. It's not supposed to last for long though - we have rain forecast for Friday - Monday.
Speaking of huge and fluffy, I really must evict the very large spider that's taken up residence under the eaves inside the outdoor loo...
Wednesday, February 07, 2007
Frustrating and generally tedious day, but they happen. Tomorrow will be better.
We have snow, possibly heavy, forecast for tonight, due to start at 1 am. While Ken was at the bank he overheard someone - presumably someone in transport admin - ringing to say that the school buses were cancelled tomorrow and to tell all the drivers to tell the kids on their return journeys today, so we're not sure if Kai will be going in tomorrow. The JC site says:
Snow - possible school closure on Thurs 8 FebApart from the inconvenience - having to get up at six and roust Kai out of bed when it may not be necessary - we found it quite amusing: all the other schools are going to be closed, but not JC, oh no! But even if the school is open, if the buses aren't running we have no way to get sprog in, so I'm really hoping they leave a message about transport too. SOP is that if a school bus hasn't arrived within 30 minutes of its due time, students should return home and contact the school - but I don't want him standing around for 30 minutes in sub-zero temperatures...
Back to the rockface.
Tuesday, February 06, 2007
[rolls eyes] Bloody typical. I start getting ready for spring, and winter arrives... We may even have snow tonight, though it'll probably miss us. It's forecast for Thursday though. If it does snow, there will be photos...
Magpie in the medlar ->
We didn't know maggles liked peanuts, but obviously they do!
Photos © Ken This is wonderfully funny - an interview with Clunk, Hal Spacejock's robot - hm, perhaps it would be more apt to say Hal Spacejock is Clunk's human... Anyway, it had me laughing aloud. Go take a peek, it's only short (alas)!
Lovely... watched Watchdog tonight. Apparently chip and pin is a lot less secure than we thought. Depressed now. Better just use cash from now on, at least until reliable biometrics is available.
[sigh] Back to the rockface.
Sunday, February 04, 2007
Kai had a friend from school come round this afternoon (second time - they seem to get on well) and the two lads helped me assemble the GH. Took about 15 minutes, no tools (or batteries) required, and it's a lovely sturdy thing. I've put a tray of mixed Oriental salad leaf seeds in there to start it off - see how they do.
[GLOMPS GoodTwin] It's excellent. Many thanks!
Managed a little more garden tidying up as well: it was actually hot in the sun, despite there being a thin layer of ice over Roeg's Pool.
Argent liked it though, and even Quyn came out for a while.
The maggles seem to be building a mansion rather than just a nest. There's enough room in there for a whole flock of them...
Right... better get dinner organised. Early night tonight - busy week ahead.
Remembered what I forgot...
Friday evening Kai slunk into the house, handed us an envelope, then scuttled off upstairs to get changed... Turned out it was his school report...
[rolls eyes] Daft child. There was nothing less than S for Satisfactory, and most of it was G for Good, with a couple of E for Excellents. He finally slunk back down and stood at the hall-kitchen door, looking positively hunted, asking in a very small voice, "What's it say?"
His relief when we told him we were happy with it was amazing. His Tutor had some very nice things to say about him, including that he's a valuable member of the tutor group, (which is what his old school last teacher used to say). So overall we're very pleased. I did say it would be nice to see some of those S's changed to G's next time, and Kai agreed, so I anticipate him putting a bit more effort in this year.
So all in all we were chuffed. And he had a great time running riot with Matt, both in the house and the garden (not sure what they were doing in the garden but Matt had a a sword and Kai the sonic screwdriver, and it involved Kai shouting out at intervals, "You broke the ship!" Galaxy Quest, anyone?)
Much fun was had by all!
And I obviously haven't lost my touch with the BBQ chicken tortillas - Matt said he'd hoped I was going to make them and wolfed them down twice as fast as Kai...
Saturday, February 03, 2007
The schefflera today. And there's no smell!
I think this might be all it's going to do, though. Interesting, and the flowers are oddly cute in a pale green way, but not overly spectacular. I'm still very happy it has flowered.
I haven't managed to set the GH up today - left it too late to go shopping for potting compost - but I now have a handful of tomato and aubergine seeds planted in a covered propagator, and another handful of courgette seeds, sitting on the kitchen windowsill. Aiming to assemble the GH tomorrow - and Ken's volunteered to dig a small bed for the carrots, up at the top of the garden. We eat enough of them to make it worthwhile, and they'll do better there than in a planter. All coming together nicely!
Kai's signed up for a The Universal account, but confirmation hasn't come through yet: hopefully tomorrow.
[sigh] Back to the rockface...
Stars and moon are brilliant in a cloudless rich blue sky - and there's a wren singing in my nighttime garden.
There was a wren exploring my bay tree two days ago.
It would be so wonderful if it nests here...
Friday, February 02, 2007
Happy (belated) Imbolc
But why is the haddock gone?
Yesterday did exist, I know it did. And I'm convinced I got a lot done. The much smaller pile of things on my side-table and the significantly reduced number of emails in my inbox prove I did. I just can't remember what it all was...
Matt's coming over to tea with Kai tonight.