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!
Saturday, June 30, 2007
Wee beast on her perch.
The exams Kai had yesterday were the ones set for Year 9, two years ahead of his class. Apparently this was to a) give the kids an idea of what it would be like, and b) give the tutors an idea of how they were progressing. A bit harsh, I'd have thought, but we'll see when they get the results.
[sigh] More rain. I was hoping to paint the woodwork in the outside loo today - bought a satinwood in a slightly darker peachy shade than the wall paint at The Range on the way back from the Showcase yesterday - but it's so damp and humid it would take forever to dry. And there's rain forecast right the way up as far as the forecast goes (Wednesday). I think this is the wettest June on record.
Friday, June 29, 2007
Well, OK, I was never a great fan of the Fantastic Four (or the Avengers, Superman, Hulk et al). My fandom allegiance was always to the X-men (and Dr. Strange), although as said previously Silver Surfer was also a favourite. I enjoyed the first film, in a mostly harmless sort of way, so didn't go into this expecting much more than nifty special effects. I wasn't disappointed there, they really are good. But the plot...
Not a lot of point, and plot holes you can drive Galactus through. If you see what I mean. The 'humour' is mostly flat, the characters seem oddly OOC in places (especially Reed), and the Thames is a tidal river, not a bloody lake!
But the Surfer is great. Though I would have much preferred him to be voiced by Liam Neeson.
My response is lukewarm. Kai enjoyed it - especially the Galactus scenes - and no doubt we'll get it, eventually, when it comes out on DVD. But I'm not in any hurry. It was a reasonably pleasant and relaxing way to spend an hour and a half (yes, it's a short film, mercifully they didn't try to drag it out) as long as you aren't expecting anything more than brain candy. And despite Chris Evans' hairy chest. [shudder] Can't stand hairy chests - real turnoff. But then again, I don't find his character appealing anyway...
Yesterday evening was rather nice. My snupin ficlet made a lot of people laugh and inspired one of the Lj artists to illustrate it! Heh, I have a gift-pic! It'll be hosted in the (other) Zone when I get around to posting the recent fics, which will probably be when I've written the sequel. I hadn't planned one, but one of the comments about the pic just cracked me up and inspired me...
Ken had committed to take a whole load of archaeological 'finds' along to the Brislington Conservation and History Society's AGM for the 'show and tell' session afterwards: they're trying to encourage local residents to get involved in charting the history and archaeology of the area (kind of a follow-up to the Big Dig of 2003), so we had dinner as soon as Kai arrived back from his after-school club (Punjabi Tikka Masala, which was really rather hot, but Kai was fine with it. I'm happy he likes curries!) We talked about what we'd done during the day and what he'd been doing at school, as we usually do (when he feels like sharing, which he doesn't always), and he commented that they'd been discussing corporal punishment, I think as it relates to kids, though Kai wasn't specific on that.
Apparently a small number of the class (unsurprisingly the bigger ones, I gather) thought it was perfectly fine; some thought it was OK; most thought it was a bad idea. And Kai? Well, while thinking that in general it was a very bad idea, there were occasions when nothing else worked, and on those occasions it was necessary.
Seems he was the only one who offered an opinion of both sides of the question. I think we're raising a very self-aware and thoughtful child.
After Ken left, Kai and I decided to watch Sky High. It's a lovely feel good film and with Kai having exams all day today, he needed something pleasantly distracting to help him relax (he hasn't been sleeping very well this week, poor sprog. Not used to exams, and even though we've said that they're designed to check how much he knows so the tutors can gauge which areas and subjects need work, and therefore nothing to get too upset about, he's still nervous...)
Anyway... we settled down on our respective sofas, half-watching, half idly chatting: Argent jumped up on the sofa to be stroked, and while petting him Kai looked up and asked why humans don't have lots of body hair any more. My understanding (and I always stress it's just my understanding, not carved in stone!) is that a thick pelt makes it easier for disease-carrying fleas and parasites to grab hold, weakening the carrier and making them a less desirable breeding mate, so over time humans evolved to have smoother, less hairy skin (except where the heaviest pheromone concentration occurs, of course. Then I had to explain pheromones. Just as well I wrote Perfume Power and could remember most of my research!)
Plus, of course, once humans started making and wearing clothing, it simply wasn't necessary for them to be so hairy!
Kai thought this all sounded very logical, and we went back to watching the film for a few minutes longer. Then he piped up again, asking why ancient people believed that they thought and felt with their hearts...
That one's easier of course: they didn't know about the workings of the brain, but they were aware that emotions generate a physical response that you can actually feel and in some cases see, like fear making your heart pound faster in your chest. And, I added, when you fall in love, it feels for a moment like your heart goes empty, then it floats upwards and you feel all happy and tingly...
Kai thought that sounded really cool - so I left it at that. Plenty of time to tell him about the downside when he's older.
He went off to bed at nine in a happy frame of mind, and it seems he enjoyed the evening, the film and the meandering discussions. At any rate, Ken tells me he woke up cheerful, having had a really good sleep, and went off to school feeling very positive. (Ken says he should go out for the evening more often!)
It'll be a bit tough for him today, a full day of exams - English all morning, then two Maths exams this afternoon, one with calculator, one without: he's going to be mentally knackered when he gets home. So I'm making quick tortillas and tiramisu for dinner, and then taking him over to the Showcase to see Fantastic Four 2. Been looking forwards to that, Norrin Radd was always one of my favourites. Surfing among the stars? Oh yes please...
Thursday, June 28, 2007
Phalaenopsis flower spike. Getting bigger!
Pepper plants on lounge windowsill ->
<- I've been pollinating them with a fine paintbrush - it seems to be working!
They are, however, amazingly prone to aphids. I have to clean the leaves and flowers every day - icky but necessary. It looks as though we may be due a nice crop of organic homegrown peppers though, which is great.
And I have six more seedlings on the kitchen windowsill: think I might have to grow those up in our bedroom as I'm running out of space down here...
The courgettes. Not quite sure when I'm supposed to pick them - I suppose once they've reached the size I want! ->
Posted the comedy ficlet over at the snupin Lj, and so far it seems to have gone down quite well. Must get them all uploaded to the (other) Zone sometime soon...
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
So Bliar has finally left. Bastard. Can someone tell me why, after dragging the country into an illegal war in Iraq, they thought it was a good idea to make him 'peacemaking' envoy to the Middle East?
But the veg patch is now weeded, the skimmia can see the sun, and we had the first handful of home-grown carrots with tonight's pork chops. They were wonderful, really sweet - even Kai liked them (said they were the nicest he'd ever tasted, and can we have them from now on please?) The potatoes look ready to be dug too, they're pushing up the earth where they were planted.
Won't be long and we'll have courgettes too!
The snupin DarkFic has garnered some interesting comments. I'm writing a short snupin funny - inspired in an ICQ convo with Lutra - for light relief.
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
Definitely a phalaenopsis flower spike!
How long til flowers?
Very tired. Only managed four hours sleep last night and haven't had time for a nap. Busy day. On the more creative side, finished a brief redesign of the Arnos Park Action Group part of the BCP website, and finished and posted my entry for the June DarkFic Challenge over at the Lj community. Now going to finish the fic I started reading earlier and then have an early night...
A is for Argent, curled up on the couch...
... such a cute kit...
(Lutra) Morning. (Flare) [glomps] [huggle] [eyebrow] this early? [sunny smile] [askance] oooh kay... Being über genki in an effort to wake myself up. heh. Über genki. mashing languages together is such fun. [splutter] Trés über genki... It's the Language Mash! [singing] Do the mash, do the language mash, the language mash, it's a linguistic smash... [snerking] [smirk] [g] That's blogworthy. G'wan then. 'k. after coffee... akshully (actually saw that spelling in a novel, used phonetically for an accent. The author also used 'frangible' [g] Only place other than your work I've seen it... where was I? oh yes...) I'll c/p and do it later. Need to be more awake than I am to deal with either html, or blogger's twisted version of it. I'll do it then. yours or mine? Toss a coin....[shakes head and wanders back to the ziggurat]
Monday, June 25, 2007
I has a blanket
Still not feeling right after yesterday's dinner: today has been a bit of a washout for me. K&K have had fun though - went out to Ashton Court miniature railway for the afternoon. It's only open a few times a year, and usually pretty packed, but the weather has been a little on the damp side today and not as many people turned up as usual, so there was a minimal wait to go on the trains...
Ashton Court is a lovely estate. Those tiny brown dots you might be able to make out down at the bottom of the hill are deer.
We have a second flower on the mimosa. Very pretty, but they only last a day.
I have a story to finish and no energy. [gritting teeth] Back to the rockface.
Sunday, June 24, 2007
A nice day. We tanked down to the White Hart for lunch (which wasn't as good as the last time we visited: they have a new chef and I don't think he's settled in yet). The folks are fine, and I believe they enjoyed themselves!
Friday, June 22, 2007
[bemused and chuffed] A complimentary paperback copy of the Russian edition of Dream Decoder arrived in the post today. Heh, I'm on sale in Russia! (It's fun seeing your name translated into another alphabet. I'm Джоулс Тэйлор in Cyrillic...)
This means our books have editions in five languages - English, French, Spanish, Portugese and Russian. [grin] I'd love to have one translated into Japanese!
Wendy, I'm sorry - I forgot to wish you Happy Birthday yesterday. Blame exhaustion and paint fumes! Hope it was a great one.
I found our copy of The Little Book of Wrong Shui while tidying. It's a giggle, with such gems of wisdom as -
Or perhaps -Desks. Ideal Location of.
Interior Design... how true...
Apparently I was born in the year of the Cutlery Tray Insert. Advice includes: "Never marry a cutlery tray insert. Your life will be intolerable. And any children you have will grow up to be serial killers." [eyebrow] Yeah, riiiight...
Back to the rockface.
The mimosa is flowering. I found the ideal place for it to live. Unfortunately said ideal place is on top of the TV, which makes watering a little ticklish...
Painting all done. Two pics to put up tomorrow (upstairs) and that's me for this week.
Onna, thank you for the Solstice card - we're very fond of Mucha!
Thursday, June 21, 2007
So, after taking the stereo unit to pieces that corner looked a little bare. Ken suggested putting in a glass corner shelf and having Diana properly up on display...
Diana was another of my lucky finds. When we lived back at the flat in Totterdown (before we bought the house), there were a couple of second-hand/antique shops on the Wells Rd that I used to haunt. In the second of them, one fortuitous Saturday, I spotted a pair of identical lamps that looked suspiciously art deco to me (art deco being one of my favourite art styles). Going in for a closer look I realised that one of the lamps was damaged, but the other was almost perfect.
Turned out it was genuine - though not of a particularly good or high quality - made of spelter (zinc), and still had its original glass! As I'd given them a fair bit of trade in the past, the shopkeeper was willing to split the pair for me - a little on the pricey side but worth it as far as I was concerned. She's very pretty: in case you can't make out the figure, it's a half-nude woman pulling off the top part of her clothing, her head shyly tilted and resting on her shoulder, her arms crossed over her chest holding the fabric to her. We call her Diana because the first time I saw her she made me think of Diana bathing.
We then paid five times as much to have her silver-plated. We did daft things like that back then...
I spent half an hour with the Goddards silver polish while Ken put up the shelf - then we found that the switch didn't work. Cue Ken traipsing over to Focus for a new one (he picked up the Black Velvet Satin gloss for the radiator and woodwork out here at the same time). The light works now, as you can see. (I've added the pic at bottom right as I rather like the effect: I took the photo head-on and the reflection is quite something.)
I still have to tidy up the cabling under the shelf and repaint the corner where the paint pulled away from the speaker cable, but that can wait: it's not an obvious mess.
I also made another cushion cover, the floral one in the top pic, using the old curtain fabric from out here, and repaired and recovered my old stool with the same old curtain material and foam from one of the old sofa cushions. The stool is over 20 years old, and I've recovered it once already: I thought about getting rid of it, but it's so damned useful - it's seen service as something to stand on when painting ceilings, as a table to rest trays on, as a barrier to stop Quyn getting through the door, additional seating when we have guests, and even (gasp!) as a stool for me to sit on when using the sewing machine in the lounge - that would be a really silly idea. It looks reasonably smart again. Though the wooden frame could do with repainting...
So we're nearly finished. I should be able to do the glossing tomorrow. Then next week - if it ever stops raining - I have to get going in the garden. The rain's made the grass shoot up, and I now have carrots that need lifting from the veg patch (and onions ready to go in). Not to mention my poor skimmia, which is almost completely swamped by meadow... A couple of afternoons should be enough to restore order. I hope.
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Ken enjoyed Shrek. So did Kai. I fell asleep curled up on the futon with Raptor cuddled into my knees. Perfect...
Apologies in advance for anyone using a smaller screen res: this pic will scroll sideways.
My figurine shelf. It could be better organised, I suppose.
Oh, and that's Kurt Wagner hanging off the curly bracket on the right. If you press the button on his back, his eyes and mouth light up...
The capital J (for Joules) to the left of the corkboard is spelt out in jay wing feathers, carefully collected from Nightingale Valley by my son and even more carefully arranged on black paper in a CD case. It was my birthday present from him in 2002, and it's very precious.
Right! Time to get something sensible done. As opposed to the entirely random urge to read Sky High slash that descended upon me at the weekend and which I have spent the last two nights indulging...
There are few sweeter fragrances than the smell of the garden in a thunderstorm. It's wonderful out there - rolling thunder and blinding flashes of lightning. The light is that extraordinary shade of green that accompanies evening storms. Sheer exhilaration...
And K&K have gone shopping in it. Yes, it was deliberate, like me Kai loves storms, and he wanted to go with his dad (I'm a bit housebound at the moment: have acquired a large deep blister on the ball of my right foot which is just a wee bit painful to walk on, so Ken is doing shopping this week), it's warm, and they can go straight up and get dry when they get back. And in any case, I've had one shower today, thank you!
Organza curtain up: organza curtain dropped. Amazing how much light bounces back from the material! (You can see just my acanthus spinosa through the left-hand patio door.)
This is one of the dragonfly decoration tie-back pretties. I'm not happy with the cord arrangement, but I needed something to hold the curtains back in this afternoon's breezes - when I said the faux silk would billow nicely I wasn't joking! - I can sort out something more attractive tomorrow.
I've also covered the first small cushion: made a cover with the coppery-gold heavy faux silk material offcut. Well, it's a start! My hands are a little on the sore side from sewing, so may take it easier tomorrow.
Shrek (the first one) is on at 8. Ken thinks he's never seen it, and Kai thoroughly enjoys the film, so he's having his one allowed late night of the week to watch it.
[sigh] Storm's finished now - but it's left a lovely tingling freshness behind it...
Monday, June 18, 2007
Well, it took me an hour and two screwdrivers (and more luck than judgement, I fear) to fix the sewing machine, but I have now finished the turquoise curtains: I'll get the organza one made tomorrow. Then I just need to gloss and my room is done! Want to have everything completed for Saturday: the folks are coming to visit.
Then I can take photos.
There was a Red Admiral investigating our nettles yesterday. And I think I confused our bat - at any rate it kept coming back to circle me, check on what the strange solid thing was half way up the garden that wasn't there the night before...
Sunday, June 17, 2007
UK Fathers' Day and Ken's Birthday
On the same day for once, poor him. But I think he quite enjoyed it: made him a proper British breakfast and we had steak, chips and all the trimmings for dinner. And we opened the Dart's Farm Cowslip Wine, which is very nice and rather strong! I gave him Dawkin's The God Delusion, Kai gave him a cat and mouse noughts and crosses set and a box of Thornton's chocolates (this latter for Fathers' Day). The rest of his presents he'll have to select for himself with birthday cash: he's very hard to buy for.
Wendy, we loved the card!
Kai has exams this week too - finally worked out they're the ones that will determine which 'stream' he goes into for his core subjects. He's worried that he won't end up with his friends more than anything, apparently. Keeping fingers crossed...
Saturday, June 16, 2007
Trying to get something constructive done, but Kai wanted to watch Hot Fuzz again and it's very distracting. Still had me chortling on the second viewing though, which is always a good sign!
It looked to me as though they'd filmed in Wells in Somerset (a gorgeous, ancient little city) so today I caught the credits, and yes, it was Wells. We now have Shaun of the Dead on and it's notable how different the Simon Pegg and Nick Frost characters are in both films. Good actors, these two, and great chemistry. Hoping they make more films together!
I really must get something done today, even if it's only the side hems of the new curtains...
Apocalypto. Could have been OK if it had been an hour shorter and made by a decent director. As it is, it's done little more than confirm my opinion of Gibson as a sick, sadistically-minded waste of oxygen. I don't think we'll be watching any more of his films.
Friday, June 15, 2007
Well, Hot Fuzz is absolutely fantastic! Deliciously and in places hysterically funny and grows more and more surreal the further in you go. Wonderful stuff! A definite must-have, full of dryly mordant homages of everything from the DiCaprio version of Romeo and Juliet (and The Cardigans' Lovefool) to Serpico. No spoilers, but I loved the two translator running joke. Wonderful soundtrack too.
Oh, the language is a little ripe and the violence quite graphic, but none of it's gratuitous. Not really. Honest. Make sure you don't miss any of it, as there are some highly amusing and really quite complex sight (and other) gags...
Another fairly successful day's shopping. The Range didn't have the actual frame I was after, but they did have a picture (a field of lavender) in a lovely old-silver frame that was the right size and not too hugely expensive: will simply replace the pic with the island print. They also had the tie-back attachments I wanted to hook the organza curtain-pole over in an 'aged silver' finish, and another set in brushed silver to hold back the faux silk inner curtains. It's going to look very pretty.
Dropped into the DVD rental place too. Ken told me this morning that Kai had mentioned, before he went to school, that he has Spanish and Maths tests today... This would explain why he hasn't been able to sleep for the last two nights and has been very fidgety, but why he didn't tell us earlier I don't know.
Anyway... Phœnix had Hot Fuzz - the same team as Shaun of the Dead, which Kai loves - so I've rented it for him for tonight (it's a 15 but he's quite mature enough for it). Also bought him some Chocoboy (little Japanese biscuits shaped like mushrooms with chocolate for the head) when I was in the Chinese supermarket on Wednesday, and a Mars chocolate drink with the Sainsbug shopping - that should cheer him up!
I've rented Apocalypto for Ken and I. Was in two minds, but thought we'd risk it.
While I was there, I found an ex-rental copy of Night at the Museum for sale. The owner said they'd ordered too many, and if that happens they usually offer the excess to customers to buy. £7.99 - half RRP I think. Having mentioned in passing that I seem to be collecting Ben Stiller films, the owner asked if I was interested in Along Came Polly, which I caught on TV a while back and found amusing. (He let me have it cheap as it had been on the shelf for a while and wasn't selling.)
So not too bad, all told. Of course, I got caught in the rain on the way back, but fortunately managed to get home before the thunderstorm started in earnest. It bucketed down. Still, it filled up the pools and the waterbutt...
Right - back to the rockface...
Thursday, June 14, 2007
I'm sure it's a flower spike! Keeping fingers crossed it does flower, and that the blooms are a pretty colour.
... what did I do today?...
Got the Akira cel on the wall, along with two other graphic works. PhotoShopped some .jpgs for Ken for an article he's writing. Did a little more tidying. Didn't start making the curtains - will try again tomorrow.
We have cherries on the cherry tree ->
They won't last long once the woodpigeons realise they're there! (Personally I don't care - can't abide cherries, and these, Ken assures me, are rather bitter cooking ones anyway.)
Kai is doing two after-school clubs this term, Science Club on Tuesdays and working in the Conservation Garden on Thursdays. This latter involves taking in jeans, a sweatshirt and a pair of trainers and using a lot of gardening tools. Kai had the first session today and loved it - even if he did come home with a couple of scrapes and a rather large splinter in his finger!
Argent on his futon. Flexible for an elderly kit, isn't he?
Oh, and there were loud rustlings from the 'meadow' last night, so I think our hedgepig is still here.
Right. Back to the ziggurat...
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
The trip into town was very successful. I now have the most gorgeous turquoise faux silk, 2x8' by 44" wide, £1.49 a metre, from Fabric Land, enough to make lovely billowing curtains for the patio doors. It's quite thin, but with the organza inner curtain it should keep the cold out reasonably well. If we have any, that is. Hoping to make a start on them tomorrow. I have a pair of large, sparkly dragon-fly Yule decorations which I'm considering using as the pretty part of the tie-backs...
They also had an oddment, a yard or so of heavy, coppery-coloured faux silk (at least, I think that's what it is: it's twice the weight of the turquoise but a similar texture) which is going to make a wonderful cushion cover. Or possibly two... there's a thought. I still have the torn suedette jacket I was given free when I was looking for makings for Kai's hobbit costume: it's a pale fawn colour. I could use that as the background and have a go at a quilted orchid as decoration on the front. I have an old raw silk blouse I've been saving to cannibalise - it would make pretty leaves... Eh, I'll see, that's quite a lot of work and I don't know if I'll have the time or patience. It would look good though...
Wilkinson's had the right size frame for the cel, 40x50 cms, basic clip design but with a black plastic outer frame so it looks a little more sophisticated. That needs to go on the wall tomorrow. But I'm having trouble finding a square frame for the island print. It's 26x26 cms: I want a wide black frame, but all I can find are rectangular ones. I might be able to get what I want at Hobbycraft, apparently, but that's out at Cribb's Causeway and will take hours to get there and back. I'll try another couple of closer places first.
From LOLCats. [bemused] I keep hearing it saying "Look mum! I has a stik! Throw it for me mum please mum!!"
If all snails were this cute I'd be far less inclined to go out stomping on them.
Today's rain has done the garden a lot of good. We have our first courgette developing, the slug pubs are really working, and I'm hoping the hedgehog will take care of the teetotallers. If s/he hasn't moved on, that is. But I'm also hoping our garden will keep him/her happy for a long time yet.
There's an extraordinary number of buds on the two pepper plants on the lounge windowsill, which bodes well for our supply of peppers. Unfortunately they have aphids, which isn't so good, but so far I'm not doing too badly at wiping/squashing the damn things off. Debating bringing in a ladybird for a few days: that should solve the problem.
I'm firmly convinced that is a flower spike on one of the phalaenopsis. I'll try to remember to get a photo tomorrow!
Right. I have two outstanding reviews to do, and I'm in the middle of two shorts as well. Better get back to the... rockface? loom? Ah, I know - ziggurat!
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
So I sauntered down this morning - to find Vaako hanging upside down by one foot from the edge of the new shelf...
Guess the BluTack wasn't strong enough. Either that or the divine Mr Johnson in his Scorpion King incarnation pushed the Necromonger off...
Legolas won't stand up straight either - he's slumped back against the wall. Have to sort that out before taking a photo.
The room is closer to being finished. My corkboard is up, as is the red oil painting (now hiding the ugly mess of cabling and connections where Denis drilled though the ceiling), and I've chosen the rest of the pics. I need a large frame/clip-frame for my Akira cel, and a new frame for the 'island' print: tanking into town tomorrow morning to see if I can find what I need - and look for curtain fabric as well.
Bill Oddie's Springwatch was on TV earlier. They were lamenting the disappearance of the hedgehog, and Kai wished that we still had them in the garden. I agreed - though had to mention that they do carry fleas, and we think that's where Quyn used to pick them up - so perhaps it was just as well...
Famous last words. I did a quick slug-hunt half an hour ago and was faintly alarmed to hear loud rustlings behind the fake blackcurrant (little rustlings you expect, given the wide variety of wildlife we have here, but this was rather bigger than the usual) and when I shone the torch there... Yup. A fine, fat healthy hedgepig rootling around for prey.
I'm very happy (despite the risk of fleas)! We haven't had a hedgehog in the garden for several years - I'm so glad to see one again. And with a bit of luck s/he'll take care of my slug problem. (Which is a point - I hope alcohol-soaked slugs don't harm hedgehogs... Then again, perhaps that's why s/he's come here - heard the pub was a good one!)
Monday, June 11, 2007
Painting finished. Walls and ceiling, anyway. I still have to do the radiator, but first I have to take off the old paint - it's cracking and peeling away in sheets, rather conveniently. Hopefully get that done next week. The figures shelf is up and populated now, too: will see about a photo tomorrow.
Knackered now, and didn't manage to get any gardening done. I really must trim and strim before Wednesday - we're supposed to be due several days of rain, and I'll need a machete to tackle the grass around the veg bed and planters if I don't cut it before then. But we have the first courgette and tomato flowers blooming, the radishes are beautifully red and plump, and tonight I gave Ken a bowl of homegrown strawberries...
Sunday, June 10, 2007
Right - facing wall and corner is now finished, though I can't put the shelves back up until I have the shelf over the double doors fixed (tomorrow morning hopefully). We even managed to haul the desk out without detaching any of the plugs - except for the modem, only the most important one as it connects all three computers, but that plug has always been a bit loose - so I could ICQ while watching the paint dry. I still have to paint the wall behind me (there is enough turquoise paint to cover, just!) and the wall behind the tall bookcase, but then this room is finished.
Apart from the curtains, of course. And putting pictures back up. But, in line with my recent urge to get rid of clutter, there will be less 'stuff' in this room collecting dust. So, less things under my monitor (Radittsu, Zaabon and Legato, EvilSquid and The Frog: the Twins are still surfing on top of the speakers however, never fear...), and on the shelves, and on the walls. I fancy having a waterfeature on top of the short bookcase, something like this would work well, I think.
Raptor has definitely laid claim to the futon. If I dare to leave things lying at 'her' end, she sits and glares at me until I move it - or if I don't move it, she sits on me and holds on with her claws. And she has claws like scythes. Tch', it's not like there isn't room for all of us...
We've watched four of the six Sapphire and Steel DVDs now, and I'm quite impressed with the quality. It's not perfect (wouldn't expect that, it's a very old series) but it's considerably better than the tapes.
Kai had much fun in the garden this evening, destroying the old sofa. Ken helped a little, but sprog did most of it. Haven't found any money yet, but he did manage to get ink (fountain pen ink) all over his hands, and we can't get it off. [rolls eyes] And I didn't find time to trim his hair either: it's getting a little shaggy over his eyes. Have told him to blame me if his teacher complains. I'll do it on Wednesday...
I like these LOLCats. I've seen Quyn make that expression when offered something he doesn't like!
Right. Code/upload the latest BCP minutes, then I need to make a start on a short I have to write. I must make time for some gardening tomorrow, too: Ken mowed front and back, and I need to trim around the containers. And weed the veg bed. And pull up the carrots that are ready, and plant out cucumbers, onions and more lupins... All go, innit?
... twiddling thumbs, sitting watching paint dry...
A few more minutes and I'll be able to slap on the second coat.
Saturday, June 09, 2007
Room now about half done. Couldn't move desk to paint the most awkward bit as Ken took Kai out today, but we'll shift it tomorrow so I can get in behind to paint and decide where the pics should go. Could still finish tomorrow if we pull out all the stops (apart from the curtains, that is).
As for Dr Who... ye gods, that was bloody scary! And I don't scare easily. But Kai and I both agreed it was almost - almost - scary enough for hiding behind the settee... Probably my favourite episode ever, just fantastic. Loved it. And the ending was perfect...
I think we might have overdone it a bit. (It was the bending and stretching in my case, I'm sure: my legs are killing me...) Still, it's all looking good - and Ken painted the outdoor loo (the paint's come out a lovely warm peachy colour) while I worked on my room, saving me a job. The royal blue is lovely, which is just as well as it will probably have to go on the wall behind me as well as the two end walls and ceiling. (It was to be turquoise like the wall behind the monitor, but I only have one tin of that colour, and despite initially thinking I could get away with just one coat, when it dried it was horribly patchy and needed two. Dammit.)
So, patio doors and end wall are finished, and half the ceiling. Not too bad. Shall get most of the rest of the ceiling done, and start on the wall between here and lounge, tomorrow while Ken takes Kai out adventuring (sort of). Then hopefully I can finish the rest on Sunday.
Aiming to tank into town early next week for curtain material.
The Sapphire and Steel DVD boxed set arrived this afternoon. Need to make time to watch that too, to check it's OK. And it rained earlier - I'd better go slug-hunting before closing up. It's all go, innit?
Friday, June 08, 2007
[sigh] The kits love their new futon sofabed...
Started painting at just gone 9am, and it's been a reasonably successful day - we managed to do everything I'd scheduled (put up the shelves behind the TV, reorganise them, and paint the patio doors and alcove silvery blue, which really lightens the place), though unfortunately no more than that. I also forgot to get a 'before' photo of the end wall: will find an old one later when the project's finished. I've posted enough photos of the rest of this room in the past that regular readers will have some idea of how it looks right now.
Tomorrow I plan to paint the end wall, and make a decision about the colour. I'm beginning to wonder if the royal blue I've bought will be too dark out here, make the room feel smaller. I'll have a better idea once it's on a wall.
I really need to give Quyn another trim, his fur's growing back very quickly.
Aiming for another early night...
Wednesday, June 06, 2007
Well, we got the cable-detector working, and I've painted the wall behind the TV, and washed the patio doors: tomorrow we should be able to get the shelves back up and the patio doors and alcove painted, at any rate, if not the end wall in total.
We've also got rid of slightly less than half the books - two black bags full to be picked by St Pete's Hospice home collection service and a couple of carrier bags to go down to the Leaping Lemon to sell. So not a bad end to a day that didn't start off that propitiously.
Early night tonight, ready for early start tomorrow. Have impressed upon Ken that said early start is essential - to him as well as to me!
Now, when I ask Ken to wake me up early it's for a good reason. Today it was so that I could shift everything away from the wall with the patio doors, take down the pics and curtains, clean the window panes in the door and wash down the paintwork, then start painting. This all takes time, and the paint takes time to dry, and I'd like to be able to at least put the curtains back up before it gets dark, even if everything else has to wait til the following day. It's a fairly simple, logical sequence, isn't it, hardly brain surgery.
He didn't wake me up. Quyn did, barking at Denis, at nearly 11 am.
'OK', I thought, 'patiodoorswall is out for today, though I can prepare it for tomorrow and make an early start then. Let's do the wall behind the TV instead, that shouldn't take more than an afternoon...'
[snarl] The cable-detecting gadget is broken. £20 it cost (admittedly 15 years ago, but it hasn't had a lot of use) and one of the wires has come away from the contact. Why do we need it? Because the wall behind the TV is where the double socket is, and where we want to put the upright for the bookshelves is above the double socket.
Ken's had a go at soldering it back into place, and we're now recharging the battery, but it's too late to start drilling now, and Kai will be home in a couple of hours.
[snarl] Nothing is ever bloody easy here!
I think we'll have to eat outside, the lounge floor is covered in books and the room a complete mess. At least it's sunny, though there's a sneaky, cold, north-east wind today.
The problem with redecorating/reorganising in a house this size is always that it means shunting furniture around from room to room. Which is a pain in the bum. Especially when it comes to this room...
Everything has to be done in a specific order. Today Ken had to take down the too-wide top shelf of the wall bookcase in the lounge and cut it in half to make my action figure shelf for above the doors in this room: the other half went back on the lounge wall to hold videos (at the moment) and books (later). But first we needed smaller brackets, so that meant a trip over to focus. Though I have to admit, for once they had everything I wanted.
Then to make a start out here, I need to clear the DVD/manga shelves and empty the tall bookcase so Ken can put in angle brackets to strengthen it while I paint that wall (which means hauling my desk away from the two walls without disturbing all the cabling underneath). If we're going to do that, then I may as well take off the pictures on the wall behind the monitor, fill in unwanted holes, paint it, and decide which pics are going up (in the snazzy new silver frames I bought over a year ago) before moving the desk back. Preferably without unplugging everything first.
And we need to haul the TV out from its corner, empty the shelves behind it (and sort through the books while we're at it - I want at least half of them gone), move the uprights further in towards the centre of the alcove to make the shelving stronger, then fill the holes and repaint before rearranging the shelves with an extra wide one (from the old unit: Kai took it to pieces this evening), then we can put the stereo on there for now, until we decide whether to wire it up again with a CD writer or buy a new midi system.
THEN my room will be a bit clearer again, and I can get the rest of the walls painted - and the patio doors and their alcove, which are going to be a much lighter blue than the rest of the room. (And while I have the paint opened for that, I may as well paint the unpainted bits of wall in the outdoor loo, so the peach colour will cover evenly - though we have to take the shelf and picture off the wall first and brush all the walls down to shift the flaking white paint.) Then I can make and put up the inner organza curtain, which will be weighted at the bottom and help keep out the bugs when the patio doors are open.
I need to get into town to FabricLand to buy the material for the main curtains. Haven't decided on colour yet, although this room will be primarily blue and silver, I've decided...
And then I can finally get the loo painted, and we can lay the carpet out there.
So, busy week ahead, ne?
Kai had a bowl of homegrown strawberries for pudding tonight. So sweet he didn't need sugar...
[A lolfish for a change!]
Tuesday, June 05, 2007
ouchouchouch... legs (and arms, and back) aching...
But it was worth it. I now have a futon sofabed, something I've wanted for years, with a black metal frame and terracotta-coloured cover, instead of my old settee. Free, from Freecycle!
Mind you it was a real bugger getting it here and making room for it. The Freecyclers offering it had already had three people say they'd collect it and then not turn up, and of course we had to arrange for a van (on LETS). It's also half again as long as the old settee, so the unit in the corner that held the stereo, LPs and cassettes had to go (we think we'll put up corner shelves and try to get a mini-system: we hardly ever use it anyway), and we now have to find somewhere to store the vinyl and tapes. Or maybe offer some on ebay: we have some real classics!
So I've had to shift furniture around twice today - to make a wide path through from the patio doors to the lounge to get the thing in (even though it came in pieces, it was still big) and then back again to restore order. The old settee is in the garden until we can break it up, as is the corner unit (which we'll cannibalise for shelves).
I now have to make vast numbers of cushions/cushion covers for it - being a metal frame it has tubular steel arms, not the most comfortable of things to flop on. But I have to make the curtains for my room anyway, so will probably just set up the sewing machine and keep it down here until I've finished... oh. Forgot. It needs looking at after the last sewing project (Kai's hobbit cloak). Will have to do that first.
Speaking of Kai, his first day of the new term went well (except for games. They played cricket.) And he has a bodyguard. Or rather, his hair has. [bemused] Apparently he has a female classmate who is just itching for his hair to grow long enough to plait...
Right, back to the loom...
Sunday, June 03, 2007
[bemused] There's a B-movie on in the background at the moment, on the Sci-Fi channel. Lightning: Bolts of Destruction. Not watching it, but I did catch the immortal B-movie line - "The storm is out of control, but I think I can stop it..." um, yers, OK then...
"Isn't that Giggerota?" Ken asked. And indeed it was - Ellen Dubin playing the part of Gail.
Had an odd dream as I was waking. It started with me getting ready to sort out Rosa, but thinking to myself at the time it was a bad idea as I was feeling clumsy (not something that happens very often in real life, incidentally). Nevertheless, it needed to be done - and yes, I managed to drop the card from the bottom of the transfer bottle (only an inch or so). Cue large tarantula scuttling off at high speed across the room - then under the bed.
It says much about how far I've come that this didn't have either I or Kai (who was there too) running screaming from the room. Though she did prove a bugger to catch (especially since the room was open-plan, with the stairs opening out over in the corner, and if she made it over there she'd have free access to the whole house), and in the meantime I also managed to tip over a tank of very small scorpions (scorpions? What the hell were they doing there??) and another of large beetles, which we also had to try to gather up again...
The dream then segued into us being 'called' to go downstairs and out onto a wide, flat beach. It was sunset, and there was a whole crowd of people gathered on the shore, all waiting silently. Just offshore were low flat rocks on a sandbank, and as the sun set and the tide receded we could see two sand-covered, narrow rocky causeways leading from the shore to the sandbank.
"What is it?" asked the little girl at my side (no, Kai hadn't changed sex, he was behind me).
"The path to the Land of Life." I replied (no, no idea how I knew that). "We can go there if you want. Which causeway do you want to walk across?"
She chose the nearer, and we (ourselves and a lot, but not all, of the other people on the shore) began walking - the sea was still lapping over the rocks at that point, warm and silky. As we approached the sandbank reality began to twist, and what had been a completely flat path gradually became a stiff climb: we ended up crawling up a steep rocky slope on our hands and knees. The little girl beside me nearly gave up, but I helped her and we finally reached the top. Standing up, we saw that we were on an island - it seemed to be made of pumice, and I recall some mention of it being 'a cinder fallen from a greater whole' - with a huge and haphazard castle a short distance away from our arrival point. There was a sense of happy anticipation in those of us who'd crossed the causeway.
We made our way into a large stone-flagged courtyard with high walls, where we were welcomed by an elderly androgynous figure in a long, shimmering black robe, and told to make ourselves at home. There were no rules in the castle, but we were expected to respect everyone there.
We made our way to an outdoor dining area, along curving uneven circular corridors (the base of the walls were black, the upper parts red, the border between the two jagged) with smaller corridors and twisting staircases leading off in all directions. The meal was simple and tasty, a sort of stew with bread, but after a couple of spoonfuls another figure in a robe stood up at the side and began to intone what sounded like a list of rules. At that, half the diners also stood and repeated what was said, holding their bowls in their hands. I stood up too, thinking this was obviously some obscure dining ritual, but then noticed that others were still seated and eating - one figure in a yellow and orange robe was on its knees praying - and sat back down again and ate. Though it felt very awkward, with the standing diners unable to eat until after this (very long) catechism, with their food going cold and them staring with either anger or envy at those of us eating.
After the meal I went to find where we were supposed to sleep, and found myself in a very quiet, peaceful part of the castle. There was one most intriguing wide spiral staircase leading up into a tower: I wanted to explore, but another robed figure told me it wasn't a good idea, as that path led to Death.
At that point I came fully awake, alas, as I'd have like to go further...
Sooo... A quick and superficial analysis... The spider bit is obvious - I don't look forward to having to repot Rosa. I may have mostly overcome my old arachnophobia but it's still a slightly scary experience, moving a large tarantula from one tank to another then back again when the former has been cleaned. The scorpions - no idea, unless it's because I've recently had The Mummy and The Mummy Returns in the background and The Scorpion King (mmmmmm... the delectable Mr Johnson!) is the next in the sequence. Plus I like scorpions, think they're fascinating creatures.
The rocks and sandbank are a hangover from the recent Exmouth visits (and may also refer back in a visual pun to The Rock as the Scorpion King). There's also an aural echo, to the Van der Graaf Generator song Refugees that I particularly like:
North was somewhere years ago and cold: Ice locked the people's hearts and made them old. South was birth to pleasant lands, but dry: I walked the waters' depths and played my mind. East was dawn, coming alive in the golden sun: the winds came, gently, several heads became one in the summertime, though august people sneered; we were at peace, and we cheered. We walked alone, sometimes hand in hand, between the thin lines marking sea and sand; smiling very peacefully, we began to notice that we could be free, and we moved together to the West. West is where all days will someday end; where the colours turn from grey to gold, and you can be with the friends. And light flakes the golden clouds above all... We're refugees, walking away from the life that we've known and loved; nothing to do or say, nowhere to stay; now we are alone. We're refugees, carrying all we own in brown bags, tied up with string; nothing to think, it doesn't mean a thing, but we'll be happy on our own.The causeway to another reality is a common feature of my dreams (possibly influenced by memories of CS Lewis' The Last Battle, although I believe I already used it in dreams before I read the book), and the climbing up is also common, although it's usually on a narrow and impossibly steep staircase. (I never have a problem with going up - but I find it almost impossible to come down. Onwards and upwards, always!) The 'Land of Life' is probably a flicker form Pirates 3, and I suppose the castle may be an echo of Hogwarts given that we're looking forward to OotP. The robed figures are from Lexx. The quasi-religious nature of the dining assembly isn't surprising given what I'm researching at the moment. But the spiral staircase leading up to Death? Not sure about that one.
It was a very colourful and rather fun dream for the most part.
Right. Time for a little orchid TLC, then the usual Sunday things (worse today as Kai is back to school tomorrow after two weeks off, not looking forward to it, and has to get his rucksack ready. I also have to trim his hair.) I'll probably not be able to get back to Vexed until tonight, but that's OK, I have some plotting to do...
Oh, keep forgetting to say. My acanthus spinosa now has three flower spikes. Will try to get a photo later!
Beautiful weather today after over a week of lots of (very welcome) rain. I woke up just before 10 am after four hours sleep to put through the first machine load of washing then went back to sleep for a while: woke up as first load was finishing, in time to put the second through, to find K&K were havering trying to decide if they wanted to go out (as it was effectively Kai's last day of holiday)...
They did eventually head out - to Temple Cloud - at 2.30, after one false start when they had to come back for the camera. However, they eventually made it to St James Church at Camerly, a short distance from Temple Cloud itself. It's a very ancient church, dating back to the 12th century CE, and the walls are still adorned with 17th century paintings (it was these that Ken particularly wanted to see, I think. He came back with dozens of photos of them anyway - some quite interesting things...)
This is just cute! ->
(No, it's not on the church!)
They had a lovely day, and I got a fair bit done, house and garden wise: replenished the slug-pubs, weeded the rockery, raised the netting over the lupins, which are - fingers crossed - doing well so far, and pulled a couple of melnips to have with dinner. They're... interesting. Have to admit they don't taste much like melon to me - more like a juicy and not so hot radish - but maybe they have to be a bit bigger. They're certainly not unpleasant. (No photo as Ken had the camera. Next time.) The other edible plantings are coming on nicely, too: most of them are now at the hairy-stemmed stage where the thrice-damnèd gastropods find them distinctly unattractive (too uncomfortable to crawl on).
Not sure about the tomatoes though. They may not be as successful as I hoped. We'll see.
I also managed to get two pages of Vexed written - could have been worse. Planning to write some more tonight, if I can keep my eyes open. Attempt at nap failed due to inordinate amount of noise, of the merry singing and cheering variety (was there some sort of football game or something on tonight?), and I'm very tired.
And finally... ->
... typical South West countryside, but it was the signpost that tickled me. Yes, that is a 'beware of frogs' road sign!
Saturday, June 02, 2007
Another LOLCat, familiar to anyone who has ever been owned by a cat... ->
Kai went off to spend the day with a friend, didn't get back until 8.30 (the dad picked him up and brought him home): he had a wonderful day and I got loads done. Because much as I love him, it is a distraction having him home. Normally it's fine, but not when I'm under pressure of work... So, the proofed Celtic Messages is now off, two client websites are updated, and I even finally managed to finish the JAT navbar, although I think the 'on' buttons might be a little on the large size for most people's screens. Perhaps I'll reduce them before I turn to the new Haadri short (Vexed)...
(two minutes later) That's better.
Back to the loom!
Friday, June 01, 2007
My absolute favourite LOLCat.
(Quantum entanglement being the effect of two particles (more properly quanta) acting as though they were one and the same no matter how far apart they are. Generally viewed askance as somewhat 'spooky' - and considered by us as a possible cause of such esoteric effects as telepathy. Possibly due to all matter being one infinitesimally small, unified mass immediately prior to the Big Bang. Term coined by none other than Schrödinger, of Schrödinger's cat fame. Just in case anyone was interested...)
Heh, I spoke too soon, there's more editing of Celtic Messages than I'd initially thought. Still, it's mostly cutting and condensing text, which is usually quicker and less aggravating than adding to it. Should have it finished tomorrow.
Tree is now posted in the Haadri library - the Haadri stories section (as opposed to the passworded or Heart sections). And I asked for another Lutra challenge, which will form the basis of another backstory for the main character in Tree. This is all good!
I have a bad habit of occasionally downloading anime mp3s and then not listening to them for ages, until I suddenly decide to make a whole load into a playlist and listen while writing. I did that last night, and found Mirai's Open up your Mind (from Saiyuki, so you'd have thought it would be familiar, but no, somehow I managed to miss it) - and fell in love. It's a gorgeous piece of music. And I really like the words (sung in Japanese and English):
In this world where life can be so tough You must be strong, Just believe in yourself and don't you fear, So open up your mind and close your eyes, Take another look from the other side...Yes, it's much gentler than my usual raves. I have eclectic tastes.
Busy day tomorrow. Aiming for an early night after making a start on the next short.