Zone Doubt, a.k.a. 'Surreal Я Us'...
Joules, trusted by... dozens... to make a drama out of your crisis...
:: JAT :: WaveWrights :: Publications ::
I live to write. It's not wise to get in my
... I'd write my autobiography, but no-one would believe it....
If you come across any words you don't recognise in this blog, take a look at the Taylorspeke Glossary in the left-hand infopane, you'll usually find a definition there.
Adventures in Orchids
Apparently I am now collecting them...
EO - Everlasting orchid. Phalaenopsis. I've had this orchid since 2007 and it just keeps flowering...
AO - Alien face orchid. Phalaenopsis . Bought 2018 - lovely little flowers, all different patterns!
RO - Rescued orchid
TO - Tiny orchid. Phalaenopsis. Bought at Tesco 21.8.20. It just begged to come home with me. How could I say no?
CO - Crimson orchid. Cambria. Another Tesco find. This one may be going to live in Ken's room once we've redecorated and put up the new shelving; it prefers a cooler, less sunny windowsill. If so, I'll need to find another cambrian to keep it company.
GO - Golden orchid. Phalaenopsis. Saw this one when I bought CO and left it behind - then immediately regretted it as soon as I got home. Never seen one like it before. Ken, bless him, went back over to Tesco in the rain and bought it for me...
DO - Dendrobium Orchid. Smells of wisteria, so beautiful...
RO2 - Rescued orchid no 2. Phalaenopsis. This is the one I rescued from the wall along the road middle of 2021.
PO. Pink orchid. Phalaenopsis. This is the one I bought at Cabury Garden Centre on special, late 2021. It's much happier here!
TWO. Teeny weeny orchid, Phalaenopsis. Rescued from Tesco end 2021 (I think).
Saturday, March 31, 2007
Did! I can relax for what's left of the night now...
(Joules) I blogged earlier... (Lutra) eeep! How big is that thing? I did *say* I was going to post it... Oh, not that big. not that big? only a handspan or so? 2 - 2.5 inches with its legs spread as normal? Not as big as the palm of my hand. I mean, for a native spid I suppose it's quite large, but it's everso timid - runs and hides if you blow on its web... I didn't think spids were supposed to do that... if a gust of wind is indicative of a bird flying close... [eyebrow] in a loo?Did I ever mention that the whole family really likes Jonathan Creek? Kai is particularly fond of the show - so much so he sort of collects magic tricks to try out on family members... Anyway, last weekend he asked if it was on anywhere (some of the Classic and Gold cable channels sometime show it). Ken looked, and it wasn't - then pointed out that Kai has quite a lot of money in his bank account, from birthdays etc., and if he wanted, mum would order it for him from Amazon or play.com and he could transfer the cash to us online.
Well, this went down very well, and we ordered Series One and Two boxed set DVD from Amazon (who were selling it at less than half price if I remember correctly - £23.99); that's the two with Caroline Quentin as Maddy. We prefer her to the Julia Sawalha character (even though I find Maddy irritatingly stereotyped as illogical, irrational and really quite bitchy), and it arrived today. So we've watched the whole of the first series tonight (no, sorry, only four of them: we'd caught The Reconstituted Corpse on TV just a few weeks back). It was great fun. I can usually remember the resolutions to the cases - but not how Jonathan gets there.
No doubt we'll be watching the second series over the weekend...
Off to find something fun to do. And have a well-deserved glass of wine, I think.
[sigh] Been a long hard slog today and I'm just shy of hitting 75%. I will get there before I close down.
[sings] There's a dirty great big spider in the loo...
Well, not actually in the loo of course, just in the corner above it. It's a stegasaurus - quite a big one. I was going to call it Horace, but then I saw what appears to be an eggsack tucked away under the eaves, and decided he must be a she. So, Hortense, perhaps. Something easy to remember.
The weather's supposed to be good over the weekend. Tomorrow we have Denis coming to help concrete down the slab for the water butt - and drill the entry hole through the plastic, we don't have the right sort of bit. Then we'll finally be able to get the thing in place and working. You watch, then we won't have any rain until September...
Back to the mine.
Thursday, March 29, 2007
Setting sun through clouds. Unfortunately I missed the best shots. But hopefully there'll be other occasions.
72.5%. The end is in sight.
Moved the cat mint from the planter into the ground, in two places: Argent immediately sat on guard over the biggest patch. I've planted four tacca seeds today, and put two in the propagator, one on the lounge windowsill, and one in the GH, to see if any of them come up. Also trying four Galia melon seeds in the propagator - see if anything happens. We now have two peppers coming up.
Raptor asleep on the bed in the sun - it made her fur glow the most beautiful deep russet red. Hasn't come out as well as I'd hoped, but I had to snap quickly before she woke, so didn't have time to adjust the digicam.
Kai arrived home in pensive mood. In CCC they'd watched a video of child labour in Korea, in a sweat-shop making clothes for Nike and Gap (two brands he'll now never buy...) The class had to separate into groups to discuss the film, and prepare a presentation - letter, powerpoint, poster - about the subject. Protesting it, I think, though Kai can be a master of obfuscation when he's been moved by something. I'll try to get more details tomorrow.
Now, if you've ever felt the urge to watch something really, really exciting - check out the CheddarVision CheeseCam!
Oooh, I can't bear the suspense...
[blinks blearily] 70%...
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
And I now have a row of main crop carrots in the new bed - and chicken-wire covers to keep the beastlies off. Everything looks fine in the GH - the aubergines haven't died yet, at any rate.
Kai is fighting off a cold, bless him - which means we are too. So far it's not too bad. Fingers crossed.
I have The Scorpion King on in the background... I wonder if DBZ DVDs are available in dual language? Haven't watched any in years and it might be fun to hear the original voices!
... back to the rockface...
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
The fake blackcurrant bush. The fence is over six foot high, so it's a fair size.
Sue had me chuckling earlier - sent a very funny email that was doing the rounds. Unfortunately I don't know where to allocate the credit - if anyone knows, please tell me. The bit that particularly made me laugh is here (it's so true...)
The British are also feeling the pinch in relation to recent bombings and have raised their security level from "Miffed" to "Peeved". Soon though, security levels may be raised yet again to "Irritated" or even "A Bit Cross". Londoners have not been "A Bit Cross" since the Blitz in 1940 when tea supplies all but ran out. Terrorists have been re-categorized from "Tiresome" to "Bloody Nuisance". The last time the British issued a "Bloody Nuisance" warning level was during the Great Fire of 1666.A Bit Cross [grin]. Right...
I'm going to adopt those levels. I already use miffed and irritated.
[sigh] Back to it. All very slow and plodding today.
Monday, March 26, 2007
[happy sigh] Brilliant sunshine, air cool but it's hot in the sun. One of my cacti has flowered. The aubergines are now potted on and in GH, as are the newly-sprouted Oriental salad greens (the frost killed the last lot). My marigolds are sprouting too. There are tadpoles in Roeg's Pool, and the fake blackcurrant bush is full of bumblies and what look like honeybees. And our order from Thompson and Morgan arrived...
Strange thing about that. They sent us the catalogue with a £5 money-off voucher back in January - and we somehow managed to lose the voucher (I think I may have bunged it in the recycling box during a tidy-up). This was a pain, as the tacca chantrieri seeds I got from them last year were a dismal failure, didn't germinate - my fault, I'm sure, I didn't provide the right conditions - and I wanted to try them again now I have a propagator, but they aren't cheap. Anyway, early March another (identical) catalogue arrived - with another money-off voucher! So we order the tacca, a packet of Turnip 'Oasis', which is supposed to taste like melon and which you're supposed to be able to eat raw, like an apple (I'll believe that when I try it!) and a packet of leymus arenarius 'Blue Grass' (which they say they'll send on later).
So, happiness all round, then.
And very shortly I'll be hanging the washing out to dry in the garden for the first time this year. On a perfectly upright and stable rotary drier. All the bath towels will smell of Spring sunshine. Bliss...
The perfume in the terracotta bottle is called Purrfume. I knew it had something to do with cats that didn't involve it smelling like cat's piss on my skin after half an hour...
Back to the rockface. Wordage now at 62.5%
[growl] Loathe the day after the haddock changes direction. Can never settle properly.
Had to take it easier too, as left hand is aching...
Back to the rockface tomorrow.
Well, wasn't that interesting!
I need to find something for the tall blue bottle...
[frowns] Looking at that lot reminds me of the choosing of the right grail at the end of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade...
Sunday, March 25, 2007
We now have a big wooden four-drawer filing cabinet - much needed with over ten year's worth of book-related stuff to archive. (It's from Freecycle, a truly wonderful global scheme.) It'll save our bookcase shelves from groaning, although they'll soon be re-filled with resource material for forthcoming projects... Ken went to pick it up with a LETS man-with-a-van too, which saved a lot of money in transport terms, and he helped carry it up the stairs, which was great as there was no way I wanted to risk my hands. Heavy thing it is.
Kai's friend arrived at just gone 2 pm: they had great fun for several hours first down at the park, then charging round the garden (on my asking, Kai tells me that apparently he's the object of some envy at school for having such a big and interesting garden. [grin] Which is kind of satisfying since we originally bought a garden with house attached. I'm glad we let him do what he wants with the 'copse'!) then upstairs, then playing with the Hornby and Trainz software. Altogether a very successful afternoon, and I hope to repeat it soon.
Completed about a third of today's wordage - which ain't bad given the distractions! Always harder working at weekends - but that's OK as I've given myself 'til tomorrow night to reach the goal. Shall do a little more before I relax though: be nice to get halfway.
Back to it!
... oh gods, the haddock's due to reverse in 35 minutes...[groan]
Friday, March 23, 2007
Hit today's wordage relatively easily (actually I feel I've cheated a little, because getting on for half of it was three tables I asked Ken to do for me, showing an Ogham/English alphabet, a comparison of the Bríatharogam and Graves' Arboreal Alphabet, and a third smaller graphic with the forfeda - or should that be forfeða? I'm not having much luck finding the unicode for ancient languages... However, since these are needed, and although I've downloaded an Ogham font that's not much use if the publisher doesn't have it, they do legitimately count towards the final wordage.) I'm now 60% done, Ken tells me. This is good.
Evening off tonight!
I'm sure there was something else I meant to say...
Right - made up yesterday's wordage and did today's: 54% finished, and the Animals section is almost done.
Now I have to finish answering the last of the publisher's queries, add a feedback form to the BCP site and a practitioner bio and photo to the IAVMT site. Then I can think about getting to bed...
I've now managed to read the first volume of the manga Kami Kaze that Windlily sent over - and rather enjoyed it. It's extremely violent, with some nudity and sex scenes (so not Kai material just yet) but it has some extremely pretty bishies. I'm intrigued enough to want to read more...
Also read +Anima Vol 1. It's a charming and intriguing manga: I let Kai read it afterwards and he wants to read more, so I shall check out Forbidden Planet when I'm next in town. (Which reminds me - he's now caught up with the Fruits Basket series and wants the next ones...)
Discovered the new FireFox has another new property - if it crashes for any reason (as mine did tonight when I tried to access a particular page to see if I could find jpgs of the carved stone doves at Fontes Sequanae) and you reboot it, it asks if you'd like to resume the previous session - and brings up everything you were looking at before, including logging you back into any sites you were checking. (Great for me, since at the moment I find I'm working with something like twelve windows up at any one time.) I'm dead impressed!
Back to it. I have to go shopping tomorrow: Kai has a friend coming 'round for the afternoon on Saturday, and we need tortillas and a pudding...
Sleep? A much overrated commodity.
Thursday, March 22, 2007
It's the Vernal Equinox - the days get longer from now on.
And at the weekend the haddock reverse direction (again)... [sigh]
[grumble] My courgettes keeled over in the freezing weather last night. And my cucumbers have swooned, and even my tomatoes look close to giving up the ghost, even in the GH. Pain in the arse. So I've started some new ones going on the kitchen windowsill. Eh well.
It's been a day of distractions - every time I put finger to keypad another email arrived from the current publisher with another query re: the artwork for the previous but linked project. Which, I can now say, is the Book of Celtic Messages, a pack of cards (circular ones) with affirmations on them (they can also be used for divination, if you're into that sort of thing). It seems I'm having more input on the final look of the cards than I'd anticipated (they're being done by a professional artist), which is a pleasant surprise. However, it does mean I've managed bugger all work today.
I've just installed the latest version of FireFox - and a nifty little English dictionary add-on. It's brilliant - indicates any possible misspellings (in proper British English) by a dotted red line under the word, and a right-click brings up possible corrections and an 'add to dictionary' option, like Word. It's great for me, because half the time the damned blogger spell-checker doesn't bloody work: now I don't need it!
Also installed the 'Blue Ice' theme, which is very snazzy!
Right. Back to the rockface. Cutting my usual daily wordage in half today: have had a rheumatic-type pain from my fingers to my shoulder in my left arm all day. 'prufen helps, but I need to take it easy tonight to give it a chance to ease off for tomorrow.
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
Raptor isn't a cuddly cat when it comes to Argent. Mind you, he will keep picking fights with her...
Quyn likes to keep an eye on them.
Well, annoy them with his snoring, at any rate.
52% finished. Stopping for the day now, have a website update to do and a publisher query to sort out...
Heh. Just over half way through the Celtic Symbols text. It's all downhill from here.
Took Quyn for his repeat prescription appointment at the vets' this morning. He's lost a little weight - we'll have to up his food intake a tad - but otherwise the vet was happy with him, and still surprised that he's so fit and healthy for such an old dog.
Onna, I thought you didn't want to move to new blogger...?
Back to it...
Monday, March 19, 2007
I found some old photos today...
This is me with Tharg, in the flat I lived in in Stirling for a wee while before graduating. (Tharg's only about 4 months old here - he turned into a BIG cat). He really used to sleep like that, it was very cute.->
That grey thing I'm wearing is a huge baggy jumper my mother knitted for me. I called it my 'porridge', and wore it 'til it fell to pieces. (In between washes, obviously!)
Two of Quyn when he was tiny... (How on terra did he grow into that shaggy great monster lying snoring loudly next door?)
This is him lying on the old floor cushion chewing a plastic dinosaur...
He was so cute back then! Though we'd begun to suspect at that point that perhaps we hadn't been sold a Border Collie, as the petshop had claimed..
Today's wordage done. Tired now. But I've had a nice day, even so!
Sunday, March 18, 2007
It's Mothering Sunday!
(Happy Mum's Day to any UK mums reading!)
I woke up to Kai creeping into the room to leave my card on my bedside cabinet: it's one of those fun ones that has a mother and baby on the front, with baby saying "Where did I get my brains from mummy?" and the mum answering "Must be from your dad - I still have mine!"
I was told most strictly to stay in bed. Then I was given a box of Thornton's Turkish Delight chocolates 'to keep me going', and Kai disappeared back downstairs. A little while later he came back up with a tray, on which was a plate of garlic mushrooms and scrambled eggs on toast that he'd made all by himself!!
It's amazing how much better breakfast in bed tastes under those circumstances! It was delicious too. (Ken said all he did was watch and supervise...)
AND I was then given a bottle of the Karma perfume I've been lusting after... wearing it now - it's gorgeous...
Thinking about it, it occurs to me I now have a reasonable collection of favourite perfumes. Along with the Karma there's the Ming Shu that GoodTwin introduced me to; I still have some Fabergé Xanadu (ye gods, I must have bought that when I still had a Saturday job at Boots! It's lasted well!), a little [spit spit] Body Shop Samarkand and jasmine perfume oil (from back before Body Shop sold out) left, and a small Oceanus spray, and the Yves Rocher desir de lys parfum crème, for 'whenever' use. That's not bad, given the problem I have finding perfumes that don't end up smelling like cat's piss after half an hour on my skin! (Though I need to wear the Ming Shu and Oceanus when I'm not planning to eat in the near future, as they both have something in them that migrates to my mouth and tastes most unpleasant.)
But enough of this sweet-scented frippery! I need to get some work done...
Saturday, March 17, 2007
Still on target...
Too cold and windy to do anything much in the garden today, and we're supposed to have a frost over the next two nights: be interesting to see if the courgettes have hardened off enough to survive. Or I could cover them in bubble wrap for the duration, that should work.
A TAKL LETS member rang, saying they had some Train books for Kai if we'd like to collect them, so Ken took Kai back off to Windmill Hill (again, they were there yesterday at Victory Park) then onward to the City Farm. Arrived back knackered again, so dinner was welcome: I like stews, and they're traditional, but Kai prefers the meat softer, so today I casseroled it instead. Worked really well, and was very tasty (making the stock with cooking wine, a dash of Teriyaki, whole grain mustard and more cooking wine helps, of course), but it's heavy on the gas, takes two and a half hours in the oven. Going to investigate getting a plugin slow-cooker: our electricity is from a green supplier.
So, Primeval ended on the expected cliff-hanger. We've quite enjoyed it (but sorry Sue, I still prefer Prehistoric Park!) and I do hope there's a sequel...
Just caught the new mini advert. Thoroughly chuckleworthy! Helsinki indeed... But the mini ads always are fun. Wouldn't be seen dead in one myself (even if it didn't give me claustrophobia!) but the ads are classics.
Unlike that hideous hideous Vauxhall Corsa ad. Those doll things are really ugly and nighmareish... How is this supposed to make you want to buy the car, exactly?
Can relax tonight.
Well, K&K's Two Park Walk turned into a Five Park Walk. Happy child, knackered father...
But I managed to catch right up, and am now over 40% finished with the current project (and since I now have permission, I can at least release the name - the Book of Celtic Symbols. [grin] Remember I use the term 'symbols' very loosely...) I'm hoping to hit the magic 50% by the beginning of next week, which should give me plenty of time to do a thorough polish before the manuscript has to be sent off.
Also did a couple of small updates to the IAVMT site, and finished and emailed the Pan's Labyrinth review to Crowsnest.
I can play now!
Friday, March 16, 2007
Gorgeous day! And the cats have discovered the cat mint I planted on Wednesday: Argent is lying curled around it with his nose shoved against the biggest leaves...
And I don't have the camera. Ken's taken Kai on a Two-Park Walk (or scoot in Kai's case - how he loves that scooter!) to give me peace to work, and taken the camera with him. [sigh] Well, I'm sure it won't be the only time Argent does it...
I have two Lady Balfour potatoes that I saved to see if I could grow - they're our favourite, but a bit expensive to buy - and they're now sprouting, so I think it's time to plant them. We don't eat potatoes that often - Kai doesn't really like them so we tend to have couscous or rice instead (honestly, who's ever heard of a child who doesn't like chips, or jam! And who likes broccoli, Brussel's sprouts and cucumber? Not that I'm complaining, mind you!) - so a couple of plants should do us for a treat. If they grow, of course. Never deliberately tried growing potatoes before (usually dig them out of the compost heap!) so that'll be interesting...
Back to it. I'm discovering all sorts of intriguing facts about beavers - including that six have been released into a wildlife reserve on the edge of the Cotswolds! Will have to check to see if it's open to the public. It would be fantastic to have beavers back in the wild: they were native here until the bloody Tudors hunted them to extinction.
Thursday, March 15, 2007
Kai had a dentist appointment this morning, so I took him up early and dropped into the doctor to get my blood test results. You remember those blood tests I went up for... um... two weeks ago? Or was it three? Yes, I know, I was supposed to go see the doctor the following week: I cancelled my appointment and haven't quite got round to making another one...
Anyway. Pap test isn't back yet - could be another four weeks for that one. But the others...
Hepatitus C - negative (which I expected) Kidney function - normal Cholesterol - normal (y'what?) Liver function - normal ([blink] y'what???) Diabetes - slightly elevated (as I expected).[happy grin] Well that was all a bit of a turnup for the books! All very good news indeed.
I now have a two hour appointment for the 23rd of April, fasting, to recheck the diabetes: a blood test at 9.50, then wait for the results, then a glucose drink and another blood test. It's more a case of catching things early so I can stop anything nasty happening.
Kai's dentist checkup was OK too, though he needs to be a little more careful with his cleaning, and she took an X-ray to check the status of that lower tooth that was nearly knocked out when his friend stood up suddenly and crashed into the underside of his chin back at his old school (I posted about it here but can't remember now when it was...) The tooth is healthy, but a little loose, so she wants to check there's no underlying problem.
I picked up three more planters at the 99p shop in Broadwalk. And some of their wonderful wonderful Belgian truffles. And some champagne chocolate eggs... Diabetes? What diabetes?
[sigh] Better get some work done now...
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
What is it with cats and beds?
Grubby little horror. Still, at least he managed to get rid of all the soil before tracking it through the house...
This is the magnolia stellata. It's still small - I don't think they grow all that big anyway - but the flowers are beautiful, and so fragrant...
Glorious weather today, so glorious I took an executive decisions to get away from the computer and go out and enjoy it. So, the courgettes are now in their planters, the cucumbers are potted on and in the GH, the happily sprouting cat mint is in the ground up by Roeg's Pool, and I've planted some of the marigold seeds from my birthday card. I've trimmed the grass around the small shrubs - my spirea 'Goldflame' has finally produced buds, I was beginning to think it had died over the winter - and weeded around the prunus, which is in fine form with buds opening on every branch! Chuffed about that! I'll take photos when/if it flowers.
Also repotted my begonia bowerii so it trails down the side of a terracotta pot - looks much better.
(What, you didn't think I went out to just sit and enjoy the weather, did you? I don't have time for such an extravagance!)
While I was doing all that, K&K mortared my rotary drier spike into the ground (you might remember the bloody mole filled it with earth so I couldn't use it) and Kai signed his name and date in the wet concrete. It'll take a couple of days for it to dry properly, but then it'll be solidly rooted and I shouldn't have any more problems with it.
[grumble] Kai's taken a shine to watching Most Haunted Live, which I absolutely can't stand (especially that bloody Derek Acorah. I find all mediums offensive, and him particularly so...) I think it's just a sprogly enjoyment of being frightened. I hope that's all it is, at any rate. He's also taken a liking to Castaway, which I find less objectionable, though I don't watch it myself. Interesting the likes and dislikes he's developing!
Better get back to work. But here's something soft and fluffy - and grumpy and whingey - to leave you with...
Iron Wizard now posted...
Still debating whether to have a wine or not. BP's not too bad today/at the moment.
Blads away, and I've done more than today's allotted wordage, which is good. Though my hands hurt, which is bad. But the Cico Books catalogue came through, which is good, as I can now see how they're promoting the latest two-book project. [sigh] But they're claiming I'm doing several things I haven't agreed to (teaching Ogham, for one, and detailing "special rituals for empowerment and protection", something I simply do not hold with) - which is bad. On the other hand, they've said I've "built a reputation for carefully researched and lucid writing exploring ancient traditions" - which is both good and true. Well, the carefully researched bit, anyway...
Got a headache now.
But the first of the flowers on my magnolia stellata has opened and smells gorgeous. Photo when a couple more are showing.
Time to code Lutra's Iron Wizard fic for the website - and maybe have a glass or two of wine. Feel I've earned it today!
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
... aaaaand second one done.
Just need to finish the rest of the book now...
First blad done, second one half-finished...
Monday, March 12, 2007
HAPPY BIRTHDAY LUTRA!!
Sunday, March 11, 2007
That was a really nice day. Wendy and Peter dropped in for coffee this morning [GLOMPS both - great to see you!]; this afternoon we pruned the cherry tree and Ken did the first lawn mow of the year. I shifted baby carrots and onions out to the GH, and got some maincrop carrots and peppers on the go on the kitchen windowsill. I have got to get the courgettes into planters soon: they have their second leaves now and the roots are showing through the plantpots...
Before finishing up we stood at the top of the garden for a few minutes and thought about what we'd like to do with it: at the moment it's hardly used (though that will change a little once I get something to keep the cats off the newly dug bed and can plant there). I'd really like another, larger pond, and Ken isn't averse to the idea (less mowing). It's also the sunniest spot in the garden - although it's the least private and most overlooked, too. Nevertheless, we're thinking about a pool with fountain, the goldfish and waterlilies, table and benches, lantern holders, and paving over most of the area, leaving spaces for drought-resistant show-plants to grow through. It would be a nice place to eat and relax in the summer, a proper little suntrap.
Not this year though - unless I find more unmissable offers!
We are on the lookout for a couple of blueberry bushes though. They grow to about 5 foot, which isn't too high for the garden, we all like blueberries, and they're healthy food too. Pretty white flowers in spring, couple of months of cropping, and lovely brightly coloured autumn leaves. I'll check out the garden centre next time we visit.
However, I'm very tired now, and I haven't accomplished anything like as much as I was supposed to - which only leaves more to do tomorrow. And I'm taking Kai into town in the morning to spend some of his birthday money (and for me to throw cash at the bank). Going to be a busy afternoon...
Saturday, March 10, 2007
But Kai had a terrific day - really enjoyed himself. And what a lovely bunch of sprogs his friends are! Bright, self-assured, polite - fantastic kids. (I did take a photo but don't have everyone's permission to post it, so I'm afraid you'll have to put up with just the cake. That little white and gold whatsit beside it is a sound thingie that says 'Exterminate!' in a dalek voice when you press it.)
But I'm knackered - and I still have a headache: it was just a tad noisy in there...
The hands are a lot better but I'm taking tonight off anyway, ready to plough on tomorrow.
Friday, March 09, 2007
A low key but fun sort of day. Kai had a good run/swing/commando slide in the park, and we ordered curryout for dinner. He's having the proper celebration tomorrow, at Laser Quest - along with his birthday cake, a golden dalek. (Lying down: I bought it rather than trying to make it.) He says THANKS! for the birthday wishes, folks!
Thursday, March 08, 2007
But the blads are away, and I'm now a quarter of the way through the current project.
And they want blads for that for the London Book Fair too. [sigh]
They'll take one from the two sections I've just emailed, but I'll need to write two more by Tuesday, 700 words each so not too bad, I suppose.
Going to take a break tomorrow and possibly Saturday - my hands are hurting and I daren't jeopardise the rest of the project. But that's actually OK, as it's Kai's birthday tomorrow and Laser Quest on Saturday...
Having an early night shortly.
Wednesday, March 07, 2007
... ploughing on...
Literally in a small way, today. The weather was gorgeous, and Ken, ably assisted by Kai, prepared the small bed at the top of the garden for the carrots/onion/anything else we fancy planting there. I opened up the GH to let some fresh air in and water everything: it's all looking good! And I have carrots, onions, cucumber and aubergines now sprouting on the kitchen windowsill.
There were two newts in Roeg's Pool - which isn't so good: if they lay eggs there the tadpoles will eat them. The little frewtnog pool on the patio area is reserved for newts. I may have to try to catch and move them. Fingers crossed they were only there enjoying the early sun.
The blads are now almost prepared for the other potential book, ready for the London Book Fair. I just have an intro and one more (small) spread to do and they can be emailed off tomorrow. Unfortunately, this means I'm now behind with the current project. Luckily I still - just - have time to catch up and hit the first deadline.
Back to the rockface...
[pissing self laughing...]
It occurred to me, after commenting on the Musification of Ghost Riders in the Sky (which was performed by Spiderbait - great name!) in Ghost Rider [please see previous post], to check out YouTube to see if there was a clip of Knights of Cydonia. And there was.
... gods, I love synchronicity. If I had more time and energy and could be sure more people had seen the Ghost Rider film, I'd have a go at noting all the correspondences. But since I haven't, and aren't, I won't.
I will, however, state that I don't particularly like this video. Muse can do a hell of a lot better than this.
Tuesday, March 06, 2007
So, Ghost Rider...
The galaxy has made at least one turn about the massive black hole at its centre since I last read any Ghost Rider comics ® Hyberbole Я Us: I don't remember much about the stories, but I do remember liking the character. And of course, it (the film, that is) stars Nicholas Cage, an actor I particularly like...
Hm. Well, the religion is distinctly dodgy, and the philosophy the sort of thing you'd find in a party cracker. The basic theme has been worked to death over the years. The acting wasn't brilliant either (and I could have happily lived without the female lead), but then again, the whole idea is a fantasy, and it's Marvel after all: OTTness is pretty much to be expected.
The rest? We absolutely LOVED it. It's at the top of the list to buy when it's available. The special effects are just wonderful, Cage is his usual vulnerable, angsty self - with a bit of pleasantly old-fashioned vengeance thrown in. And I'm still a little puzzled as to how a man with a blazing skull for a head can be so damned (term used advisedly) sexy. Though the skin-tight black leather trousers over looooong legs and really cute bum, and big spiked, chain-draped black leather jacket on broad shoulders, might have something to do with it...
Kai loved the bike, and the feel-good ending, and the overall simplistic good versus evil plot. There are even a few laughs to lighten the mood.
The film ends with a crackin' version of Ghost Riders in the Sky, which I've always quite liked anyway, but this version has shades of Muse's Knights of Cydonia, so of course I'd like it... Actually, thinking about it, I enjoyed the whole soundtrack.
Leave your brain at the door and just enjoy the spectacle. It's a rollicking good ride!
Monday, March 05, 2007
Ploughing on with latest project.
Frodo came round to play again.
Kai finally installed The Universal and for several hours all we heard was "WOW! I'm gonna have a ninja avatar! Ooooh, I'm gonna land there... 8 more minutes... Why can't I dock with the spacestation? Oh, that's brilliant..." I think he likes it.
More ploughing on.
Sunday, March 04, 2007
We've just watched Pan's Labyrinth (advance DVD release for review purposes - sometimes it's advantageous writing reviews for Crowsnest!) Absolutely extraordinary film, powerful and very disturbing, and absolutely not for kids. 'Enjoy' is probably not really the right word. Gripping comes closer.
Better get the review written while it's fresh in my mind...
GoodTwin has a great photo on flikr showing the moon's colour during the eclipse - here.
[sigh] Frogspawn ->
<- More frogspawn.
And yet more frogspawn. There's no room for any more in Roeg's Pool.
At least there'll be lots of tadpoles for the crows...
Frodo came round to play with Kai yesterday afternoon. They built a wigwam frame from the offcut branches as Ken coppiced the goat willow, then played a distinctly odd-looking online game which seemed to mostly involve torturing, maiming and killing a Teletubby...
Yup, I can live with that.
Kai's now on holiday for two weeks. I'm planning to take him to see Ghost Rider on Tuesday; Friday it's his birthday, and Saturday it's Laser Quest! The first part of the current manuscript is due on the 15th (I think: better check the contract) so Ken will be doing more with Kai this time.
Argent on lookout on top of the shed. I think he must climb the buddleia to get up there...
I think the maggles have just about finished the mansion.
Right. Time to make dinner. Then back to work.
Saturday, March 03, 2007
OK, they aren't the best photos I've ever seen, but I only have a little point and click digicam. I'm surprised and very pleased they came out at all!
It's a pity we can't photograph totality though. The moon looks beautiful, a dusky, rusty red, slightly lighter at the top left hand curve, and all the mare and craters are still visible. Hopefully I'll be able to find a photo to link to later...
Finished today's wordage and made a start on the new blads. I can play tonight. If I can stay awake.
Nothing much happening yet though, so we've come in out the cold to grab some nibbles and warm up - it's bloody cold out there! We're keeping an eye on
Friday, March 02, 2007
[sigh] You can't win with kids...
Apparently not all that many of the school actually dressed up (and only one of the ones that was supposed to be in Kai's 'group') and he got teased for being - as I understand it - too good.
Still, he's on the school's website - here: that's Frodo at the front. And they won a prize each (Alex Rider Stormbreaker funfax pack, bookmarks, postcards, a couple of mini-books and a double handful of sweets, which he shared, except everyone started grabbing and he only ended up having three...) and he and the witch were best in their tutor group, so it wasn't all bad. He's cheering up, and will cheer up even more when Ken gets back from shopping with a chocolate milk and some biscuits.
I haven't caught up yet, but should be able to by the end of the day...
"Cannot cope - off to Mordor..."
Though it was a little nippy this morning for such bare ankles, despite the glorious sunshine! However, off he ambled to catch up with a schoolmate from down the road who walked past dressed as a witch...
I'm rather pleased with the way this has all turned out, given the tiny amount of cash I had to spare and the difficulty of finding the right coloured second hand clothes to cannibalise. (Forget about finding the right size - it doesn't matter what age Kai is, there is never anything in the charity shops that fits him. (Well, except for tee-shirts.) Younger and older, yes, but not the size he is right now. Sod's Law I suppose...)
It's a pity I didn't have time or wherewithal to do more with his hair. I tried using styling mousse, but it wasn't terribly successful (not to mention I had the same problem with it I have with rue, and even after scrubbing my hands ten minutes later I could taste the stuff - vile.) But it'll do for today!
Ears courtesy of GoodTwin! [GLOMPS] He wore them all yesterday evening to get used to them...
The HitchHikers Guide to Mordor... All written in Old English font. The back cover -
Mordor... The most feared place in all Middle Earth You'd have to be mad to want to go there... ...but just in case you are mad, this guidebook is for you!The first page...
Traveller's Tips 1) Don't go there 2) Really, don't 3) Ditto, seriously 4) Especially if you're a hobbit!There's a map of Mordor in the middle of the Guide, then the next page:
Places to Visit 1) The Black Gate Peril-rating ********* Enter at your peril... 2) Mount Doom Peril-rating ************* The clue is in the name - Doom! 3) Barad-dur Peril-rating ****************** You need to be suicidal to go here!This is followed by a picture of the Great Eye, with the warning -
If you see this... you're dead.On the back page are a couple of useful phrases (the first of which has been printed out in Quenya, which I'm not going to attempt to reproduce here): "A star shines on the hour of our meeting" and
"The Doors of Durin, Lord of Moria. Speak, friend, and enter."
(All text © Kai and Ken Taylor)
And finally - lembas...
I hope someone takes a photo of the group!
Tired now. Might have a nap before I get stuck in and make up yesterday's wordage...
Thursday, March 01, 2007
Knackered. And my hands are killing me. And for the first time in years my wrists are burning too.
But the trip to Fabric Land was successful and Kai's costume is done (except for the feet. The joke shop didn't have any and I simply don't have the time or hand-power to make them: he's going to wear his mud-covered trainers instead and pretend it's skin under the mud...) It would have been easier had my sewing machine not decided to play silly buggers half way through sewing several yards of hobbit cloak... I managed, but I have to get it serviced, or do it myself. But the costume's looking good. And Kai and Ken have made a wonderful 'Hitchhikers' Guide to Mordor' booklet (I'll post details tomorrow, along with the planned photos of Kai before he goes to school) to go in his backpack, along with the squares of lembas (old-fashioned yellow washing up sponges) wrapped in felt mallorn leaves. We've ended up using a little balti dish instead of a saucepan or frying pan - lighter and less noisy! And I bought four yards of silky light green cord for his 'elvish rope', now firmly attached to the backpack. He's dead chuffed with it all and looking forward to tomorrow. Me, I just hope the kids don't have too much school, they'll all be too excited to work.
Dropped into Lush Cosmetics while I was in town. Last time I was there I treated myself to a chunk of their Karma soap (it's my newest favourite, gorgeous fragrance) and was wondering lately if they made a Karma perfume. Turns out they do, so I tried a spray of the tester. [happy sigh] It's wonderful, and the fragrance didn't change on my skin like most perfumes do. It's too expensive to buy right now, but I shall treat myself later in the year. (I did buy a bar of Karma shampoo though...)
Tonight I'm taking a break - if I don't my hands will be useless tomorrow. I cleared half of today's wordage last night, so it's not as bad as it might seem. Reading for a bit, then I'm having an early night.