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.
First, a recommendation. Dive over to The Jonathan Day Fiction Site and try some of the stories. I love this author's writing - it's funny, bitingly witty, dryly incisive, chilling, and deliciously subversive by turns. Absolutely well worth a look!
Thursday, May 31, 2007
[grin] The Haadri short - Tree - is finished (8.5 pages) and I'm rather pleased with it. Won't be posting it til I've done the background tile though.
Suppose I ought to get to bed now...
Labels: Haadri short stories
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
Decided since I was repotting everything else I'd do Rosa too: her substrate hasn't been changed in about a year. So I now have damp coir sitting on my table drying out for a week - then we have all the fun of transferring her to a temp tank while I clean out the main one. What fun. If I remember, I'll have Ken take a photo while I'm holding her (in the transfer bottle, not my hands!)
The proofs arrived today for Celtic Messages - along with my first sight of the final proofs of the cards. They're gorgeous! I have permission to post some small images here - the pack and book itself won't be on sale until Samhain this year, if I remember correctly.
The artwork isn't mine, of course. I devised the basic image and advised on elements, appearance and colours, but the actual work was done by Emma Garner - who, I discovered, not only lives in Bristol, but in the area in which we lived before we bought the house!
I love her style...
I shall tackle the proofs tomorrow: on a quick skim through it doesn't look as though there's too much to do!
In other news... We watched another two episodes of Lexx this morning. Kai's still loving it. There are just three eps left to watch - and with this level of enthusiasm it looks like I'll have to buy the second season as well. I didn't enjoy it as much as the third, but it does have some classic episodes, so it's not too much of a trial. (That we have to somehow get the first four films goes without saying...)
Ken's picked up Night at the Museum on rental for us to watch tonight (it's slipped down the 'to buy' list and is now behind Pirates 3 and Ghost Rider; Spiderman 3 is at the bottom. So it could be some time before Ken gets to watch it if we don't rent it).
And I'm in the middle of a little Haadri short story, to be posted on the site when finished (I asked Lutra to give me a challenge last night, and she came out with just the right combination of random words for me to write a ficlet illustrating a character who has a role in later books - very handy!) It'll be posted on the site - hopefully with a Bryce designed bg tile - later, for those who have access to the Haadri library!
Back to the loom...
So, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End...
Possibly one of the daftest films I've seen recently, hugely OTT and confusingly incomprehensible in places, and very much darker in tone and theme than the previous two 'episodes'. The sfx are as spectacular as we've all come to expect - and for once the dizzying camera-work is actually helpful (if a little stomach-lurching in a couple of places, but I'm not complaining given the action portrayed at the time). I finally gave up trying to keep track of the double- and triple-crosses, betrayals and side-changing and just went with the action, which is really the only way to truly enjoy the film.
We loved it.
Three hours long (bar twelve minutes Ken says - it's numbers, I give up) and not a minute of them too much, we found. We're dropped straight into the plot with no explanation, as usual, and it's breakneck action the whole way: we left the cinema feeling tired! Long fight sequences tend to bore me quite quickly, but here they're both necessary and superbly crafted. The characters we've come to know and love (or hate) are all here and as believable as ever - yes, even Davy Jones (I felt particularly sorry for him, and would have liked some reassurance as to his final destination). And the end of the film is extremely satisfying, in an odd way (if you haven't yet seen it, do make sure to stay to the end of the credits for the little final scene. [smirk] I predicted it accurately to Kai (though he tells me I didn't as I got the timing a bit wrong) - although that being said it's hardly brain surgery...)
The locations are beautiful, and I particularly liked the 'showdown' (especially the music!) on the sandbar. I did at one point find myself wondering how many visual aphorisms the writers intended to present - then forgot to keep count. Oh, and Keith Richards is terrifically menacing and diabolically inclined as Captain Teague!
Do the usual, leave your brain at the door and just enjoy it for the fine and passionate fantasy that it is!
Labels: Pirates 3
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
<- Happy orchids!
No reappearance of scale insect (yet: it's not that easy to eradicate), new roots showing, old roots looking healthier, leaves fresh bright green and more appearing... It's very satisfying.
Definitely not a happy dizygotheca. ->
It's supposed to look like this, but has been sitting in too much light and draught, and the soil was far too wet. It's now repotted and set back from the window, with hydroleca in the saucer, and being misted along with the orchids. It has some new leaves, so with a little luck it'll recover. It's one of the few plants with which I've never had a lot of success. Eh well - we'll see.
It's like living in a conservatory in the lounge at the moment!
While I was at it, I took Kai's two carnivorous plants - a large and healthy sundew and a small and healthy pitcher plant - out of the tank they've been in for the last year and placed them either side of the pepper plants I have on the windowsill, in the hopes they'll catch the little flies that seem to be plaguing the poor thing. They'll have to go back under cover in the winter, so I'm now looking for a proper, closable terrarium for them.
UK Gardens cable channel was showing the Chelsea Flower Show highlights 2005-2007 incl in three one hour programmes this afternoon, so I was able to catch up with what I'd missed last week. I didn't find the gardens as exciting as last year's, but there were a few lovely exhibits. I liked the Urban Oasis, though I can't see me recreating it in a hurry! The Hasmead Sand and Ice Garden was intriguing, and the chic garden Transit of Venus I thought was beautiful. My last year's favourite Japanese designer was back with UN TEI - Garden of Clouds - not as dramatic as last year but oh, that gorgeous moss! The Ad astra per aspera roof garden was oddly appealing in a kind of The Prisoner sort of way, but I was, surprisingly, not overly impressed with the Martian garden. Well, yes, I was impressed by all the work that had gone into it, but I didn't particularly like the result...
Burnham Nurseries had a display in the main pavilion (50 years they've been there now!) and there were some fabulous bonsai. I'm already looking forwards to next year's show! (I'd love to actually go there in person one of these years...)
Right. Finished the client website updates (a surprising number today) and now pondering what to do first (although I'm tired and should really have an early night. Heh, famous last words again...)
Pirates 3 tomorrow.
Monday, May 28, 2007
Busy day. But one load of washing is done and dried, and the plants are a little happier: repotted and repositioned my ailing dizygotheca elegantissima and brought down the bedroom palm to help shade the orchids, which are now happily sitting on the hydroleca slow-moisture-release clay pebbles I picked up at Burnham Nurseries. Interesting stuff: it sounds like Rice Krispies as it's soaking up water, and is designed to help maintain humidity around humidity-loving plants. Like orchids.
[grin] And now I've had a proper look, I'm very happy to see that all of them are recovering, the coelogynes have bright green new leaf-spikes coming, and one of the phalaenopsis looks like it has a flower spike coming! I need to get some heavy clay pots for the latter: they're decidedly top-heavy and the pots keep trying to tip over. It's not really the right time to repot them but if I don't they're going to end up all over the floor the first time one of the kits gets too close... A trip to Wyevale is on the cards, again.
BWAHAHAHAHAHA!!! From Romyra's Lj:
Goose. Goose!? I don't think so.
Green skin's OK though...
I tried the eXtreme Relationship/Sexuality quiz too, but I'm not posting those results! [beg]
Sunday, May 27, 2007
[playing musekicks through new headphones while trying to catch up with comix and blogs]
Oh, the sound... the SOUND...
[shivers with bliss]
Saturday, May 26, 2007
It's been a fun break. Nice drive down, then a rest while we watched DVDs (folks had a dance class in the afternoon). When they got back I took Kai for a wander, down to Belmont Park then up around Posloe Rd (where my grandmother used to live) and down East John Walk (was East John Street) where I was born. We'd had a late night on Tuesday and an early start, so went to bed early...
... only to be woken up at 3.30 am by whoever was staying in the other guest room. Who woke us up again at 6.30 am with their blaring radio... When I'm staying somewhere, I always assume that there's someone next door, whether there is or not, and keep the noise down. Why can't other people do the same? It's not like they were youngsters either: they were older than me...
We headed down to Exmouth on the Wednesday - stopping off at Dart's Farm (site hasn't been touched since 2004, apparently) on the way. It's a lovely place, absolutely crammed with (very expensive) delicacies and luxury goods. I bought some local Devon honey (from a farm at Okehampton), a heather honey-comb for K&K to share, apple chutney with West Country cider, and a little bottle of cowslip wine! They have an outside sprog's area with dopey-looking alpaca and pot-bellied pigs in fields - I had difficulty telling which end was which of the pigs...
Exmouth was great: I walked along the shoreline while Kai alternated between getting wet and rolling down sand dunes (the folks sat in the sun and waited for us). Kai had a ride on a miniature railway and a go at directing radio-controlled boats, and afterwards had a coffee ice-cream (I opted for Turkish Delight).
And a seagull stole my mother's scone!
We came back via Woodbury Common, where we stopped for half an hour for Kai to explore the Iron Age fort again, then after dinner Kai watched films with the folks while I met up with Wendy, and we spent a wonderful couple of hours chatting in her conservatory. Thanks Wendy - thoroughly enjoyed it! It was great to see you again, and lovely to chill. Oh, and the orchids survived the trip back and we'll plant them tomorrow!
Friday was Babbacome to see the other grandparents, and another fine time was had. We visited Bygones while it rained, then took a ride on the funicular railway (or 'finicky vernacular' as Ken calls it) down to the beach. Considerably less wearying than walking up and down!
That's looking up from the bottom, the thing coming in to dock at the beach, and looking down from the top respectively.
Today we went to Burnham Nurseries Orchid Paradise...
I love the Devonshire countryside...
But look! ->
(The pic is a link to the Orchid Paradise photos I took - a slideshow of just a few of the gorgeous plants there. The pool is full of fish - including three of the biggest koi I think I've ever seen. Tried to take photos but the damn things wouldn't stay still long enough...)
I've bought all the provisions I need to repot and keep my orchids healthy - at least until I discover exactly what they are! Bit of a struggle carrying everything back, I have to confess, but we managed. And they're all looking fine. The phalaenopsis I was worried about now has plump and healthy roots, and I know not to worry if the coelogyne pseudobulbs don't completely plump up - they aren't supposed to! (Though they could do with being a little more full and smooth than they are currently.) I shall get some plant care done tomorrow, including outside - although everything is looking great: the slug-pubs really work!
So, all in all a fine time was had. The grandparents were delighted to see Kai, if a little startled by how tall he's getting, and we managed to do almost everything we wanted.
Not a bad holiday, all told!
Of course, I have a whole load of stuff to get done tomorrow that's arrived in my email over the last few days, and a rather large amount of washing (though it's supposed to rain for the next three days...) However, I arrived back to find that Ken has found me a fantastic pair of headphones - sturdy construction, covers my ears completely and with independent volume control on each - on Freecycle! Waiiiii! I have bass again! [dead chuffed] I do like Freecycle...
I am very tired though. We're all planning lie-ins in the morning.
It's nice to be back!
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
So, Spiderman 3...
oooh, shiny sparkly spinny things! Wheeeeeee!!
The cinematography made me feel dizzy: I wondered if it was to disguise less than perfect CG, but that doesn't make sense given the cost and the hype, so I assume it was to add excitement to the film. Didn't work for me...
I suppose it was OK. It felt hurried in the second half and very superficial all the way through, and I really didn't like the butler as deus ex machina. But the sfx were reasonable, and Kai enjoyed it, which is the main thing.
Ken had mowed the grass front and back by the time we returned, and we (finally) planted the osteospermum and aquiligia and the sunflower seedlings at the top of the garden. Hope they thrive: we all like sunflowers and these are a lovely golden orange.
And I'm trying the 'slug-pub' method of protecting my plants while I'm away: when I went out last night to check there were dozens of slugs and snails aiming for my seedlings - and especially my lupins - and I can't expect Ken to stay up and hunt them down with the scissors. It seems to work - at any rate, the bowls of beer are already attracting, and drowning, the slugs...
Off early tomorrow. Most likely won't have time to post before I go. But hopefully there'll be photos when I get back on Saturday evening.
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
Much happier orchids. I'm borrowing Ken's small fine-spray mister until I can get to Wyevale, and have been reading up on their care. The main principle seems to be to underdo everything - water from the top and allow to drain through before putting back in place, not too much light, not too much heat, not too much feeding... I am sure I can do this (although it might mean moving some of my houseplants to provide dappled shade in the summer in the main window, but that's not exactly a chore). It will be fun to see what happens.
I've also joined the UK Orchid Forum!
Took Quyn to the vet for his repeat prescription this afternoon. Poor pooch is getting decidedly wobbly on his legs now. I took a chance and came back via the park at the end of the road, where for a few minutes he forgot how old he is and went back to being a puppy with the other dogs there - until his arthritis slowed him down. But he had a lovely time, even though it was a real effort for him to trudge home, and it doesn't seem to have done any harm (at any rate, he's been
Tomorrow I plan to take Kai to see Spiderman 3. Which should be fun.
We're now just about ready for the Exeter trip (and I'm wondering if we could get out to Burnham Nurseries orchid paradise while we're down...)
Monday, May 21, 2007
[bemused] K&K didn't manage to get as far as Blackberry Hill. They got as far as the Hunter's Rest pub and Kai practically fell over the miniature railway...
So, after several goes on that, and an exploration of something resembling a disused sidings, they went to collect my (eight, not seven) orchids.
It seems that the previous owner of the collection (there were other plants on offer too) has died, and his son is clearing his house. How long the poor things were sitting untended I don't know, but they were in a sorry state. I spent the first hour after they arrived carefully sponging scale insects off the phalaenopsis and ludisia, then trimmed off the dead flowers and leaves and did a little watering (from the water butt and left to sit for an hour to warm up to room temperature): they were horribly dehydrated and several badly shrivelled. I'm not convinced they will all survive, but it won't be for want of trying.
They came with a bottle of growth feed and half a tub of soluble fertiliser, which is very helpful, but I need to repot several of them - well, all of them to be honest. Which means getting eight clay pots, orchid compost, perlite and sphagnum moss... I think I can group them fairly conveniently according to light and moisture requirements - most of them will sit on the cabinet on a tray of damp pebbles near the window, but I'll need to keep the phalaenopsis in a shadier place. Perhaps on the trolley for the time being.
One of them says cambria odon. on the marker: I believe the odon. is an abbreviation of odontoglossum, one of the more showy and flamboyant species, though I won't know until it flowers. It's really quite exciting! There'll be photos...
Sunday, May 20, 2007
Ouch. Ouchouchouch. Aching legs...
But the garden is looking much better: the fern and the first crop of lupins are planted, the radishes are planted out, and the grass around all the shrubs, containers and the edge of Roeg's Pool trimmed. And the tadpoles are finally growing legs. They really are big buggers. I shall expect them to earn their keep and rid me of these damnèd slugs.
I thoroughly enjoyed this weeks Dr Who - loved the central concept - and afterwards Kai asked to watch the next Lexx episodes, Boomtown (which he found a bit 'icky') and Gondola, which along with Beach is my favourite episode of Season 3. Wonderful stuff. Kai's still enjoying it too.
And I have acquired seven orchids. Well, I will have by tomorrow. Ken spotted them on Freecycle, asked if I'd be interested (which of course I am), and put in a bid. Apparently it's a lot of three cambria, two phalaenopsis, a polystachya and two mystery orchids. (Please note, these are just examples of the species, not necessarily the ones I'm getting.) The Freecycler is in Clutton, a tiny place outside of Bristol that is, most fortuitously, on the route of the 375 Bridgwater bus, which goes once an hour on a Sunday. It's also a couple of miles from the Blackberry Hills, which Kai has been wanting to get to for over a year. So Ken (who has volunteered, since the orchids are apparently quite big, about 15"+ in height and will be correspondingly heavy) is taking Kai with him to go hill-rambling and collect the orchids on the way back tomorrow. I need to read up on their care: I think the cambria and phalaenopsis will be OK grouped together, but depending on the variety the polystachya could be epiphytic, and I've never tried growing an epiphyte before.
I also know that my success with orchids has been mediocre - at best - in the past, but I know more now, and have more time to give them. Will see how it all goes.
I've been working on getting Jade's journal recoded so it looks like the original Shadows in Jade blog but is coded like a normal page. I'm trying to get the whole thing completed this weekend - it's been hanging around unfinished for three years, be nice to get it done.
Friday, May 18, 2007
It's been a day of parcels today. First my Ryvita tin arrived (probably didn't say, but a couple of months ago I'd saved up three token from packs of our favourite sesame Ryvita and sent off for one of their snazzy silver tins with red logo. I'd almost forgotten about it...), then a package from Sarah in Exeter, with a rather lovely hand-knitted scarf that will be very cosy in the winter for me, The Boys Book of How to be Best at Everything for Kai (it's great fun!), and a freelance writer's guide for Ken. If you're reading, Sarah, many thanks!
... from Wendy...
Inside is a little alien...
which is a light-up keyring!
It was accompanied by a fun card - and inside it says "I saw the alien and thought of you". My friends know me so well... [grin]
[GLOMPS Wendy] It's terrific - thank you!
Of course, the front of the card missed out psychic, and telepathic, and...
Picked up both my Family1plus1 coachcard (child goes free for a year when accompanied by named adult) and our tickets from the bus station this afternoon. We're off on Wednesday morning and will be back Saturday evening. Heh, I've been down to Devon more often in the first half of 2007 than the last three years combined!
Thursday, May 17, 2007
Kai's not too sure about the orienteering. He sort of enjoyed it, but he managed to turn his ankle in a pothole which slowed him down so his team (of two) only came in second of their school, which annoyed his team mate I gather... There's another open orienteering event on the 30th: I'll see if he wants to go to that, maybe with a friend.
We watched our old, ex-rental video of Young Sherlock Holmes and the Pyramid of Fear at the weekend, thinking Kai might like it. He did - so much he then bought the DVD on amazon! It arrived yesterday, and this morning the Alien Nation and Lexx Season 3 boxed sets dropped through the letterbox...
So I took a light day, got a few bits and pieces of business done while watching the first Alien Nation disc. Most enjoyable: I'd forgotten that great scene outside the school. When Kai got back from school he played his DVD - exclaiming about how much better/sharper/clearer it was than the video - then I gave him a brief summary of the start of the Lexx story and the main characters. Because I thought he'd like the concept, even though much of it is dark and somewhat adult material (it's rated 15, though I would have thought 18 would be more appropriate). Kai gave it a few minute's thought then decided he'd like to give it a try...
We watched 3.01: Fire and Water and he was absolutely enthralled. Begged us to play 3.02 since 01 ended on a cliffhanger! Hated 790 on sight - [grin] sprog after my own heart - and was fascinated by his namesake. I told him the story of how I first watched and became addicted to Lexx while he was still a baby, and when I first got in touch with other Lexx fans they asked me if he'd been named after Kai in the show. (Of course he wasn't - not only was he born and named before I ever saw the series, but I would hardly be likely to name my son after a 2,000 year-dead, decarbonised assassin for the Divine Order now, would I? [glower] That was a rhetorical question. I do not expect answers. Certainly not positive ones.)
Anyway, Kai (my Kai that is, not the aforementioned dead decarbonised assassin - and yes, that is his hair, not some sort of headgear ->) now wants to see the rest - not one ep a night as I suggested, but two episodes please... [grin] He's going to find some of the episodes a little slow, I know that, but he loved the sheer uniqueness of it, just as I do. We might even be able to watch the full season before I take him down to Exeter next Wednesday...
Doctor's appointment 10.30 tomorrow. Suppose I ought to try for an earlier night.
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
OK, panic over, the orienteering thing is quite genuine.
Apparently all the schools in the area were offered ten free places on the orienteering events, and the John Cabot places were taken quickly. Then the PE teacher had the bright idea of checking with Active for Life whether the other schools had filled all their places, and on finding they hadn't leapt in and asked if JC could have the places instead. (I've met this teacher and I have to confess I'm very impressed with his dedication, both to his subject and to the kids' health and welfare.) So he's offered the spare places to the sprogs he thought would enjoy it most and get most out of it - including Kai and his friend. There's a minibus there and back, and the student welfare officer is going with them.
But this was all very much a last minute thing, and I assume he wanted to get the kids to go today as that will allow them free membership of the Bristol Orienteering Club, which could be fantastic for Kai with his love of the outdoors and solving puzzles! The whole thing was really rushed (well, we know how slow organisations can be to get things done), which is fair enough, though I still think taking half an hour to have someone type up a note to accompany the application form letting us poor parents know what the hell was going on would have been sensible!
Ken texted Kai this morning to say it was all fine, and I told him when he rang not to worry if he gets muddy (which he no doubt will after all the rain we've had), we'll sort it out when he gets home.
So, relief then. And possibly a new interest and new friends for Kai. Can't be bad.
I had a follow-up visit to the nurse yesterday to have my blood pressure checked. As I expected it was high, and she said I ought to see my doctor - but she also mentioned in passing that the diabetes test was normal. [blink] Huh? So I asked why I'd been told I needed to see the doctor. She took a closer squint at the report, and frowned. Apparently it says something along the lines that my glucose whatchamacallit (I really must get these medical terms sorted out!) was elevated (= not good) and then added 'normal'. Which makes no sense. Hence I still have to see the doctor anyway (dammit. Was hoping I could cancel the appointment...)
Had to grin quietly (as opposed to loudly) last night. Kai was fiddling with his phone, and when I asked what he was doing he told me he was texting his friend about the homework. This particular friend is a girl, and it seems they often text each other, though only about school stuff at the moment. Kai's developing a whole world of his own that we know little about - which is of course exactly as it should be. My son is growing up!
I hope he chooses to still share with us, although I won't expect it.
[sigh] I can be so slow on the uptake sometimes. Just twigged what Gattaca (the name of the film) implies. Only taken me ten years..
Combination of the initial letters of the nucleotide bases of DNA, for anyone else who missed it.
Going to grump off to bed now...
[staring at Who Wants To Be A Superhero? with a kind of bemused horror] Why do [later edit: some] humans have this inexplicable urge to make complete idiots of themselves?
Kai brought home what appears to be an application form for Active for Life, saying that there was a chance for him to go orienteering at one of the city forest parks for two and a half hours tomorrow afternoon and pleeeeease could he go? [blink] Um, what? All the form does is give date, time and place - no indication of how they were getting there or back, what shoes to wear, which staff member was going with them... And why the hell were we not given more notice?...
Kai said one of his friends also wanted to go, so I rang the dad to see if the sprog had any more info than Kai (who couldn't tell us anything). Neither could friend's dad: friend didn't know any more than Kai. We've tentatively agreed the kids can go, conditional on them staying together and Ken or I ringing the school early tomorrow morning to find out the details. If we're not happy with the answers we'll make sure they stay on school grounds.
I may be being overprotective but I'm not very happy about this, regardless of the fact it was apparently a teacher who handed out the forms.
Ploughing through the .pdfs of the Psychic Box. Last chance to correct any errors/make any essential changes before it goes to print.
Monday, May 14, 2007
Another day of odds 'n' sods. Principally sorting out the videos on the top of the main bookshelves in the lounge. I found things I'd forgotten I ever had!
But most of them went (we Freecycled them to a guy who works odd hours and needed to tape all the things he'd otherwise miss. Heh. He went off with something like fifty tapes, both three and four hour ones, so hopefully that'll keep him going for a bit!)
Of course, in the process I found all my old Lexx tapes, which reminded me how much I'd
[fuge grin] Found the boxed set of Season Three (my all-time favourite) from an amazon.uk seller for £7.70 + £1.24 p&p. That's all thirteen episodes. I make that 69p per ep. Bargain? Oh yes.
So, in accordance with our new 'grab it when you see it' modus operandi I've ordered it. Dead chuffed I am.
Not so impressed to see that the first four pilot eps (which were really four full-length films) aren't available in the same way. Yes, amazon.uk sellers have them, but in two sets of two films each - eps 1 and 2 for £49.95 and eps 3 and 4 for £94.95! Needless to say I won't be buying those. I'm sure I can wait until we have a DVD recorder then I'll transfer the films myself.
Here's another disgustingly cute image nicked from the LOLCats site. Love that irony...
Sunday, May 13, 2007
That was busy!
Decided that when I get around to redecorating this room (which will probably be in the next couple of months) I want a slim shelf over the double doorway for all the action figures I've collected (it'll stop me knocking them off the bookshelves when I reach for books and DVDs). Somehow this spurred a frenzy of tidying/reorganising/dumping of a large number of old and decrepit videos. Although that latter was itself partly spurred by this weekend's extravagance: I found the complete boxed set of Alien Nation on play.com at a ridiculously cheap price (I still really like the series, watch it when it's on TV). I've also ordered the complete boxed set of Sapphire and Steel on DVD, from caiman usa via amazon.com, as to my horror it's no longer available over here. (For a moment I wished I'd bought it from play.com when I first found it a couple of years ago or so - then I thought about it and realised that given the exchange rate at the moment it's about half the price that play.com were asking even after taking p&p into account, so maybe it was just as well I didn't grab it when I saw it the first time. We're calling it an early Yule family present!)
I dusted and polished while I was at it...
And sorted the pile in the bedroom.
So, that's the start of spring cleaning, a little late, but never mind. It's supposed to rain again tomorrow: we'll carry on in the lounge.
Blithely 'alf-inched from the LOLCats site. I think this is probably my favourite.
Friday, May 11, 2007
No, it's not a pot of weeds - it's a salad bowl (literally).
(Not a particularly good photo. I'll try to get a better one when the light is more favourable.) Organically grown lettuce (of any variety) is expensive and usually tastes no better than the non-org green - somewhat bitter and inedible, for me, without mayonnaise. So I thought I'd try some home-grown [grin] and bought a packet of this (which is 'Oriental mixed' - golden streaked and red mustards, Pak Choi Canton White, Komatsuna Torasan, Mizuna Kyoto (our favourite), and Skyrocket) and another quick-growing mix that I haven't started yet. The first two attempts I put in the GH and they got 1) eaten and 2) frost-bitten, so these I decided to keep indoors and just put out on the table outside the kitchen window when it's sunny.
The leaves are really nice! Subtle flavour, not bitter at all, very easy to eat and packed full of viterals. The last couple of days we've had BLTs for lunch and they've been delicious. Kai will happily eat them too. The leaves, that is. He's still not very adventurous with his sandwiches.
Everything else is coming along nicely. I have radishes and onions appearing in the seed trays, and my tomatoes have so far survived attack (ditto courgettes and aubergines). The rain has filled up both pools and the water butt and restored the lawn, and saved me watering for a few days, though I'd quite like it to stop for a couple of days now so I can get some washing done and dried!
I've been sorting out some as-yet-unpublished short stories and seeing about sending them off to magazines - will report back if anything comes of it. (Yes, have also been working on Haadri.)
I forgot to say, but the other morning when I was on my way up to bed I stopped to look out of the landing window for a few minutes (yes, it was full daylight by then. I hadn't intended getting back into that bad habit but with the shorter nights...) The garden looks pretty at sunrise. All of a sudden a big dark shape leapt down from the wall at the top of the garden. For a mad moment I thought it was a dog, then realised it had to be a cat by the way it was moving. Honestly, I've never seen such a big feline outside of a zoo. Chester, Dave-next-door's pedigree silver tabby, makes two of my wee Raptor, but this beast was twice the size of Chester. It meandered down the lawn - fortunately doing no more than sniff at my veg patch - then leapt up and over the wall behind the hawthorn.
Ken says it must have been the Beast of Brislington!
Thursday, May 10, 2007
Popped into the St Pete's Hospice in Sandy Park Road while shopping this morning...
They had this for sale for £1.50. ->
Yes, a seemingly-moustachioed cow salt and pepper cruet. Isn't it just hideous?
I just had to get it for Lutra...
Kill Bill Vol 1 was on TV tonight. I don't think I've watched any Tarantino films before - the trailers have usually put me off.
But this... I didn't know Tarantino did comedies! It was really funny, so completely OTT. All style and bugger all substance, but quite impressive for all that. And with the limbs flying and gore spouting it looked more like live-action anime than anything else, although the actual animated segment reminded me of Hewlett's rendition of Tank Girl than anything actually anime. Which was interesting. Odd, but interesting. Anyway, Vol 2 is supposed to be on sometime soon, so I suppose I'd better watch that too, see how everything turns out.
Wednesday, May 09, 2007
[spluttering with laughter] 'alf-inched from Potter Sue of the Day comments, re a terrible HP fic about yet another transfer mary-sue:
Why is a sue always moving from Canada? Why can't the fic be about their adventures in Canada? It would be much more entertaining to imagine them riding mooses.
The ceanothus I planted last year. Gorgeous blue flowers, the colour bleeds off into the ultra-violet in RL. ->
<- This one came from Dave-next-door a good few years ago: it was growing too large for his garden and he asked if we'd like it. Yes, I know it isn't even remotely native, but I can never bear to see a healthy plant put down.
It flowered for the first time this year...->
Tired. And this bloody cold still hasn't gone - nearly a month now. Well miffed, I am.
Early night perhaps...
Tuesday, May 08, 2007
[beg] 'alf-inched from the very excellent Hoyden About Town blog:
Great second and third choices too!
Labels: God(dess) quiz
Monday, May 07, 2007
[happy sigh] It rained from yesterday evening until lunchtime today. Not all that heavy, but the difference it's made is amazing. The water-butt is full again (we've been using it to water the veg), the pools a little higher than they were (not completely full yet but if the next thee days' promised rain arrives they should be before the next dry spell) and my grass is recovering. Of course, it brought all the slugs and snails out of hiding, but so far the anti-slug gel seems to be working (nothing got eaten, anyway, and the slug and snail I found inside the GH were on the underside of the shelves...) This is a Good Thing ™.
Of course, the rain has made it muggy here in the valley, but there's a very brisk wind, which is helping clear the air.
This is the osteospermum. Interesting flower, we think: I like them a lot. They aren't tremendously hardy plants and are usually grown as annuals, but if you can keep them safe over the winter you can, apparently, grow them on year after year. Going to give it a try anyway, it's still fairly mild over winter here (until the Gulf Stream fails, anyway). They come in a handful of different colours - pink, purple, white and cream, no orange unfortunately - and will look lovely in the rockery, replacing some of the love-in-a-mist. I have horticultural fleece ready for the winter, or we could try lifting the rootstock and potting them in the GH to overwinter. Not something I've ever tried before.
I like these tiny voyages of discovery!
Ken's off to Clevedon to... um... not sure if he's taking part or just being in the audience, but it's another Most Haunted type thing, I think, courtesy of the BSPRI. He won't be back 'til around midnight. It's being televised from 8 pm until midnight, and I'm supposed to video it. [sigh] I really, really loathe the programme. Will probably set the VCR going and bung on a DVD or three...
Right - time to trim sprog's hair and throw him in the bath, never a popular move ("I'm a kid. I'm supposed to be grubby."). Back to school tomorrow, but only for another two weeks: he breaks up for a fortnight's holiday on the 18th.
I seem to have spent most of the weekend on gardening matters. Yesterday afternoon was planting out courgettes and aubergines, potting on cucumbers, and sowing trays of basil, onion and radish, and peatpots of lupins, sunflowers, and a handful more courgettes/cumbles/aubergines (in case the first get eaten). I was also going to start tackling Roeg's Pool, but then realised there were rather a lot of extremely fat tadpoles swimming around in it, so I think I'd better wait until they've all grown legs and hopped off to help keep the bugs under control before I try splitting the reeds/repotting the other plant (I can't remember what the thing's called, dammit)/clearing the water.
Spent the night skim-reading through the first draft of Haadri bk 2. There are some chapters that can stand almost as they are, but the rest needs considerable rewriting.
Today I took Kai down to Wyevale. It was an unusually successful visit: found a new eco-friendly anti-slug product, a rain resistant gel that you smear in an unbroken line around the tops of plantpots or containers (and in my case all around the shelves of the GH). Fingers crossed it works. If I need a little more help, Wyevale also sells the copper tape that is supposed to give the little buggers an electric shock when they crawl over it, but it's a bit on the pricey side. We were tempted by several plants too - a delightfully alien looking osteorspermum ('Sunny') in shades of pink, purple and grey-green (will try for a photo tomorrow), one of these ferns, and a cute little black country garden aquilegia. Also picked up bonsai compost, pond plant compost, and a pretty little mimosa, primarily because Kai was absolutely fascinated by the way the leaves closed when he stroked them. The only thing I couldn't get was vermiculite: it hadn't been with the week's delivery, but they were hoping to get it in next week. Oh woe is me, another trip to a garden centre! How tragic! [grin]
Home and a little more planting while dinner finished cooking, then Ken had to head off into town: he has been asked to be a patron for the BSPRI and it was their monthly meeting tonight at the Llandoger Trow. Kai and I watched this week's Dr Who (for the second time, because I missed the beginning of it yesterday). Most intriguing. Had me googling for junk DNA and Kai and I discussing how accurate the representation was...
Better get some work done now though.
Saturday, May 05, 2007
[grin] Well, there was sod all on TV tonight (of course there was, it's Friday) so I suggested, on spur of moment, we watch Our Man Flint...
Such fun! Really chuckleworthy, with some rather memorable lines:
Flint: "I must still be on Moscow time." Cramden: "Moscow? Business?" Flint: "No, the ballet." Cramden: "You travelled to Moscow to watch a ballet?" Flint: "To teach!"Yes, it's non-PC (of course it is, it was made in 1966!) but in a very gentle way. It's also extremely silly and positively psychedelic in places. I was surprised by how much of it I remembered: it obviously had quite an effect on me when I first saw it.
Labels: Our Man Flint
Friday, May 04, 2007
[sigh] Yesterday was vaguely amusing in an "Oh Noes!!1! I are trappeded!!" sort of way. Admittedly the pavements needed resurfacing, and the tar would dry faster on a hot day, and it was spongy rather than sticky when I hopped across it to get to the other side of the road, which they hadn't yet started... However, today Ken (bad Ken! Forgot to vote yesterday! No sausage for him!) noticed that the morons have resurfaced over ours and Dave-next-doors mains water stopcock access...
<- The place where the little stopcock access covers should be...
Ken rang the council, who apologised and blamed the contractors they used, and said they will send someone to sort it out - but that won't be 'til Tuesday now, what with it being Bank Holiday next Monday.
Let's just hope we don't have a leak/flood in the meantime, shall we?
In other news... The revisions for the Psychic Box are done and emailed off, I've finished all the little bits and pieces of business I had to do, and have opened Onna's story to beta: hopefully have that done by the end of the weekend. Although I plan to play tonight!
After a sausage, mash and beans dinner and a nice long nap.
Edit: Kai's just arrived back very pleased with himself. they made smoothies at school today (they're doing a series of classes on nutrition) - took in a litre of cranberry juice, raspberries and strawberries, prepared the fruit and threw it all in a blender, and has brought home the (very tasty!) result.
I'll have to dig out my blender and have him make some more...
Thursday, May 03, 2007
This is fun, if not completely accurate ['alf-inched from Romyra's Lj]:
[grumble] Don't know about you, but I'm having a bugger of a time finding affordable headphones. I don't want snazzy multi-media 'phones with integral mic, I just want something to stick over my ears to play musekicks (MOOOOOOOSkicks!!) through. Yesterday I bought a really cheap pair from Maplins, just to tide me over until I can find something decent. £3.99, and they work - more or less - but... Does everyone's ears stick out from their head but mine? The damned 'phones are at an angle to the head, and there's no way I can make them lie flat over my ears (which lie pretty close to my head, admittedly, but honestly!) - which of course means anyone else nearby gets to hear too, which is very annoying.
Will have to have a hunt round amazon later.
Look! Paeony! ->
It's come along beautifully this year - that flower is gorgeous - although there aren't any signs of any other buds. Still, it's pretty early in the year. The plant was here (in the front garden) when we bought the house: I've no idea how long paeonies are supposed to live, but it's doing rather well all things considered.
I've read through the .pdfs for the Psychic Box, corrected a handful of typos and assessed the amount of work needed - not too bad, seven small bits of new text (about 150 words each, I estimate), plus about a thousand on Zener cards, which Ken has taken a look at today, and a tiny section (around 300 words) on the correct use of a crystal ball (stop sniggering at the back, there!) Should be able to get the lot finished tomorrow. Annoyingly, though, we're only going to get two author's copies of the set, one for the library and one for use: any others we want we'll have to buy (doubly annoying as we don't get royalties for this version. I don't think. [frown] Will have to check with agent...)
What else has happened... not a lot. Did a little in the garden, weeded, watered, slaughtered some slugs under planters, thinned the melnips a little. Everything's doing nicely out there at the moment.
Right - quick BCP site update, then I may even try for an early night! (What is the world coming to?)
(Not) a solar powered cat...
Wednesday, May 02, 2007
Oh, forgot to say.
Remember I went for my diabetes blood tests last Monday? I remembered to ring the surgery this afternoon. Gave my name and why I was ringing, then waited.
"Hm." .... silence .... (Me) "Hello?" "Oh. I'm still here," she said. "Just trying to work out what the doctor's put on your results." (Me) "That doesn't sound very encouraging..." "Well, she's written something none of us understand..."[sigh] I did say my life was never easy...
Anyway, it has been generally agreed that something isn't quite right (yes, well, that's why I went to get the test done in the first place) so I now have an appointment to see my own doctor on the 11th. As Ken said, it can't be that bad - they weren't sending an ambulance round...
Tuesday, May 01, 2007
Happy Beltain!Right, what's been happening...
Had the sudden urge to write a Snupin short (Restraint) on Friday. Finished it on Sunday: it's now posted in three parts at the Snupin Lurve lj. No, no idea where it came from, but it's out of my system now.
Actually got some housework done! Lounge and bedrooms are now tidy and relatively clean. (Kai will have to do his own dusting, there isn't a clear inch of space on any of the surfaces. Mostly books, so I'm not really complaining.)
Have made a start on pruning the dog. Or should that be shearing? I think another two sessions should do it, then he'll be much cooler this summer. So far enough fur's come off to stuff a cushion...
Kai had a friend come 'round on Sunday: they went down to run riot at St Anne's Woods and Nightingale Valley with Ken (who refrained from running riot). Much fun was had by all.
Monday was shopping and review writing. 'nuff said.
Today was Freecycler day: someone up near Filton was offering some 2003 Corel process-mapping software that Ken thought might be useful, so I leapt on a FirstBus ticket and went to pick it up - coming back via all the Gloucester Rd second-hand shops. Found a rather nice stainless-steel fondue set, and stocked up on ramen and pocky from the Korean shop, but otherwise there wasn't much. Did a lot of walking though.
Arrived back to find that we have 'til Friday to read and comment on the revised version of Clairvoyance... I don't think I gave any details, although I think I did mention something vague about it last year, as a possible project. Well, the publisher, Eddison Sadd, are turning the book into one of their 'Boxes' (no direct link, I'm afraid, but if you hit the link then open the catalogue, we're on page 22, product no. ESE253). Included are a small crystal ball and a set of Zener cards, so you can prove to yourself if your psychic abilities really exist! We're quite pleased about this - it was always a favourite book - although as usual we don't have a lot of time to get the work done. That being said, we shouldn't need much: hopefully very little will need changing from the original. Will make a start on that tomorrow.
Tired, and this blasted cold is hanging on and hanging on. Wish it would hurry up and go...