Zone Doubt, a.k.a. 'Surreal Я Us'...

Joules, trusted by... dozens... to make a drama out of your crisis...

Other sites:

:: 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.

The Poppy Tales

(Transformers fanfiction!)

Transformers mini-comics here.











I'm a Member of 

UK Veg Gardeners!


My IMDb ep summaries

(completed)
Arthur of the Britons
Sky
Star Maidens
The Starlost
Space Rangers
The Sentinel (part: seasons 2 and 3)
Swamp Thing (part: season 3)
Gravedale High
Transformers: Armada
Transformers: Energon
Transformers: Cybertron (part)
Misfits of Science (four eps)
Zoo Gang
Zodiac
Jupiter Moon
Transformers: Beast Wars (part: seasons 2 and 3)
Transformers: Beast Machines (part)
Vampire Princess Miyu
Starhyke
Nathan Barley
No Heroics
Undermind (3 eps)
Will Shakespeare (Tim Curry version)
Nightwalker
12 Kingdoms
Trigun (ep 8)
Rayearth
Hyperdrive (season 2 ep 3)

For later:

Earthian
Dragonball Z (season 2, part)
(Someone else beat me to it!)
Robotech (s2 ep14 Triumvirate)
BBC Lion, witch and wardrobe
BBC Caspian and Dawn Treader
BBC Silver Chair
Beauty and the Beast (part)
(Missing Excel Saga eps)
(Missing Haibane Renme eps)
(And possibly Marine Boy...)


Silver birch at Eastwood 

Farm

"Autumnal - nothing to do with leaves. It is to do with a certain brownness at the edges of the day... Brown is creeping up on us, take my word for it... Russets and tangerine shades of old gold flushing the very outside edge of the senses... deep shining ochres, burnt umber and parchments of baked earth - reflecting on itself and through itself, filtering the light. At such times, perhaps, coincidentally, the leaves might fall, somewhere..."

(Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead Act 2: Tom Stoppard)

Autumn...

I love this time of year. I love the colours, the sharp slant of sunlight on the trees, mosaics of acid-yellow and harts- blood, velvet and darkness and a haze of mist-grey over the hills. I love its immanence, its mellowness, the tang of frost just around the corner of the year...

Watching the little birds in the goat-willow in my garden, I realised something more.

I love this land with a fierce, possessive love, deep-rooted in two thousand years of history. From the frosted beaches and cloud-brushing peaks of the north to the wind-haunted meanderings of the rivers of the east, from the sensuous rolling patchworked hills of the south to the demanding dark moors of the west, this land seeps into bone and blood and synapse, mother of motley nobility, culture, individual freedoms. It can be known. It can be understood. It can be felt deep inside.

I love its effortless eccentricities, its vigour and vibrancy, its flawed perfections, its silent strength and tenacious resilience, its hard-won tolerances and intense and variable beauty, the profound energy in its sacred mythical landscape.

Home and more-than-home, the forces that shape and protect and bind, in me, as I am in the land. Love returning love in the stillness for those who'll only take the time to listen...

(Joules, Autumn 2004)


All photographs taken by Joules unless otherwise specified. All photographs © Joules A Taylor or other specified individual.


In Memoriam

17.03.09 - Argent

25.07.08 - Raptor

18.12.07 - Quyn

02.12.06 - Ryme


Currently enjoying:
Muse
Transformers - IDW, Prime, Animated, Rescue Bots.

Currently reading:
Various Transformers books and graphic novels.



Currently working on:
Heart, The Poppy Tales

Currently chuffed with:
My garden

Currently miffed at:
Nestlé, Nonpres Tinyhands Fart, Toadface Farage

Currently maintaining:
BCHS
BCP


Blog Pics
I've gathered some of my pages of photos together: the page of links is here. I'll be adding more as time goes by!




Evil Squid
A Little Glossary of Taylorspeke
(in no particular order)

plit popints - n. Typo for 'plot points' typed on a keyboard with more than half the characters worn off...

[PING] (alt [ping]) - n. A brainwave. The text equivalent of a lightbulb going on blindingly over someone's head. Usually mine. And usually at the most inconvenient of times. [sigh]

TPTB - The Powers That Be.

wulmet - n. A person of little or no talent who somehow inveigles himself into a position where he is in power over other, far more talented people and uses his position to downplay them in order to try to make himself feel superior.

biteable - referring to an anatomical part vb, tasty.

Flatterfed - vb. 27.02.08: my typo for flattered, but since it's so cutely apt I thought it would fit nicely here. Lutra defined it as "the lovely warm feeling of satisfaction resulting from enthusiastic reviews..." (which I've been getting for my MB fics).

Composted - vb, 'compos mentis', mentally capable of working. Contrast with uncomposted or non- composted, not 'compos mentis', not capable of working, hungover...

Cumbles - n, cucumbers.

Kewp - how Ken says 'thank you'. We rather like Lutra's 'nanx', too...

Musekick - noun, music, without which I cannot work.

'feinne - noun, caffeine, essential for correct mental functioning, especially first thing in the morning. I prefer mine in the form of SodaStream Diet Coke. And on that subject...

Skoosh - verb, noun. To skoosh - to add CO2 to a sodastream bottle filled with water to make it fizzy, prior to adding Diet Coke syrup (or just drinking as sparkling water). A skoosh - a bottle of water that has been skooshed. Skooshy - something that has been skooshed, water, or that whipped cream that comes in tins you have to shake then upend and press the nozzle...

Shoogle - verb. To shake gently, for example, of roast potatoes in a roasting tin to ensure they're covered with oil. I have vague memories of this being a real Scottish colloquialism...

Stegasaurus - n, spider of the genus tegenaria. Why? No idea. I just find it easier, that's all...
Edit 08.09.07: Lutra thinks that Brian is a good name for a mini-stegasaurus. From now on, any 'Brian's in the posts may be assumed to be a tegenaria. Except where otherwise specified.

Viterals - noun, vitamins + minerals. Also a pun on victuals.

Splish - verb. A combination of slosh and splash.

Parrots - noun, paracetemol (from the old joke "Why are there no aspirin tablets in the jungle? Because the parrots eat 'em all...")

Maggles - noun, magpies. As opposed to non-magical people.

Flamewings - noun. Swifts. So called because the first time we became aware of them was an early summer evening when they were flying high, the light from the setting sun seemingly turning their wings to flames. Lovely little birds. We always know summer's arrived when we hear their high-pitched squeeing.

Murfs - noun, moths.

Peasant cut - noun, roughly cut up into big chunks, e.g. vegetables chopped in a hurry for a hearty stew or soup. By extension, anything prepared in a hurry - haircut, material, even a first draft of a story...

Giraffe - noun, a carafe (of wine, coffee or water, for example).

Shrumps - noun, mushrooms.

Splings - noun, Kai's spelling homework: by extension, any spelling.

Tyops - noun, typos. var toyps, typso, psyto, psoyt, etc. Usual result of a dose of the fingerials (see next entry).

Fingerials - (pr. fin GEEE ree yalls) noun, fingers that will not type what you want them to.

Haddock - noun, time, of which I never have enough. (Origin of this term here.)

Sleep - noun? vb? a.k.a. sheeeeeeeeep.... I used to know what this word meant...


The Updates Blog

The place to stay notified of WaveWrights' Fiction updates: Zone, Darkside, DarkRealm, Matrix, Vault, Safehouse 13...




my computer gremlin Butch. click the pic to see the larger image

Butch, my computer gremlin. Click the pic for larger version, and read his adventures here...

Butch by the talented 

Sylverthorne

A gift for me! Butch by the very talented Sylverthorne. Click pic for larger image.

Joules' 

Haddock

This is MY haddock. It was caught exclusively for me by Talon. No, you can't have any. I need all the haddock I can get!!



A'lestrel by 

Valkyrie.

A'lestrel - a gift for me from Valkyrie...



Kood, my new mp3 

player.

Soundwave! (Kood's still moving in...)


Albino Alsatian Benten (c) MEBird 

2004

Another gorgeous Valkyrie gift for me - Benten the Albino Alsatian! Click thumbnail for larger image.

Radittsu, an oekaki for my birthday 04 

by 

Onna

Oekai by Bakayaro Onna - Radittsu at his sexiest...



I now have an Amazon wish list - find it here. But please be warned most of the things on it are yaoi. If you don't like yaoi, or don't know what it is, you probably won't want to take a look.




The Zone Plant from
The Zone 

blog 

plant

OrganicHTML (which alas no longer seems to exist...)
[::..My Regular Reads..::]
:: Astronomical Pic of the Day [>]
:: What is Space... [>]
:: Dark Roasted Blend [>]
:: BLDG [>]
:: Pruned [>]
:: Watchismo Times [>]
:: Fundies say the darnedest things [>]
(Warning. This site is likely to have you screaming with laughter, shaking your head in sheer disbelief, or weeping for the future of your species. Often all three at the same time. I disclaim any responsiblity for any harm suffered by anyone who visits...)
[::..Fun Places..::]
::HubbleSite
Stunning...
::PALEOMAP Project
Absolutely fascinating.
::The Hacker Dictionary
Hackers with Humour!
:: Carol's Place
My GoodTwin's Homepage!
:: Skymap
Check out the night sky where you are!
[::..Useful Sites..::]
:: GreenNet
First stop for environmental matters
:: MailWasher
Excellent anti-spam software
:: About Bristol
The essential guide - and beautifully user-friendly too!
:: The Forest of Avon
Our local community forest and places to visit
:: The Guardian
Online Guardian Newspaper.
:: ZSPC Colour Chart
Check how your text and background colours look together before releasing them on the world!
:: Symbols
Exactly what it says
:: World Timeserver
For checking the current time around this world
:: Universal Currency Converter
Actually it's just a terran-global currency converter, not universal, but it's still useful...
:: Union of Concerned Scientists
Exactly what it says. Fascinating - and worrying...

So what is it with the haddock? Am I some kind of fish freak?

I'll leave that to others to decide.

The tale (or tail if you prefer) harks back to October 2000, when my GoodTwin and I, ably assisted by Sue, ran the first UK Professionals convention...
It's common knowledge that I never have enough time, and I was determined not to bewail the fact that weekend: hence I promised not to use the 'T' word...
Of course, that didn't really work (if nothing else I had to let the trainees know what times things were supposed to be happening!) so we decided a substitute word would be employed instead. There were several suggestions. Banana came very close to being chosen. However, I eventually decided that 'haddock' fitted the bill nicely. Ever since, haddock=time. Hence the title of my forthcoming autobiography,
My Half-Life in the Haddock Space Continuum....


Normally I wouldn't, but these were just irresistible...

How could I resist?

Just too adorable...

and to complete the rainbow...

These Too-Kawaii Kitties
were adopted from
Ghost's Anime Page (which appears to have disappeared, alas...)

[::..Anime/Manga..::]
Useful sites:

Yamato -
Fabulous anime figures

Anime Lyrics
A huge selection... evil popups

Anime still needed to complete series' I'm collecting... Many thanks to everyone who has helped me acquire the collection!
Ai no Kusabi

Owned:
   DVD
   Dj: June Special
   CD: Ambivalence

Cyber City Oedo 808

Owned:
   DVD
   All 3 eps on Video, dubbed
   Dj: Cyberage 1-3
   Illustrated Book 2 (Benten's) in Japanese

From Eroica with Love

Owned:
   Manga Vols 1, 9, 11

Mirage of Blaze

Owned:
   DVD Vol 1 (eps 1-4)

R.G. Veda

Owned:
   English Manga: Vol 1
   Japanese Manga: Vol 1-7 complete
   Tarot Pack
   R.G.Veda video

Twelve Kingdoms

Owned:
   Anime Vol 1-12: complete

Under the Glass Moon

Owned:
   Manga Vol 1, 2
Vol 3 needed

Vampire Hunter D - Bloodlust

Owned:
   DVD

   Vampire Hunter D Book 1



New Vampire Miyu

Owned:
   (Studio Ironcat) Manga Vols 1 -5 (complete)


Yami no Matsuei

Owned:
   Viz Manga: English translation, Vols 1 - 11 (complete: I believe vol 12 is only available online)
   Japanese 3-DVD set
   Central Park Media: Descendants of Darkness Vol. 1, English/Japanese subbed.
   Sketchbook


[::..Joules SPfied..::]


... this is Terra? How the hell'd I end up here...?

(Thanks, Lutra, for the quote!)

[::..archive..::]
07/01/2002 - 07/31/2002
08/01/2002 - 08/31/2002
09/01/2002 - 09/30/2002
10/01/2002 - 10/31/2002
11/01/2002 - 11/30/2002
12/01/2002 - 12/31/2002
01/01/2003 - 01/31/2003
02/01/2003 - 02/28/2003
03/01/2003 - 03/31/2003
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02/01/2004 - 02/29/2004
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10/01/2006 - 10/31/2006
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12/01/2006 - 12/31/2006
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10/01/2007 - 10/31/2007
11/01/2007 - 11/30/2007
12/01/2007 - 12/31/2007
01/01/2008 - 31/01/2008
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01/01/2009 - 31/01/2009
01/02/2009 - 28/02/2009
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01/01/2011 - 31/01/2011
01/02/2011 - 28/02/2011
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01/01/2012 - 31/01/2012
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01/01/2013 - 31/01/2013
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01/01/2014 - 31/01/2014
01/02/2014 - 28/02/2014
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01/05/2014 - 31/05/2014
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01/01/2015 - 31/01/2015
01/02/2015 - 28/02/2015
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01/08/2015 - 31/08/2015
01/09/2015 - 30/09/2015
01/10/2015 - 31/10/2015
01/11/2015 - 31/11/2015
01/12/2015 - 31/12/2015
01/01/2016 - 31/01/2016
01/022016 - 28/02/2016
01/03/2016 - 31/03/2016
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01/05/2016 - 31/05/2016
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01/07/2016 - 31/07/2016
01/08/2016 - 31/08/2016
01/09/2016 - 31/09/2016
01/10/2016 - 31/10/2016
01/11/2016 - 31/11/2016
01/12/2016 - 31/12/2016
01/01/2017 - 31/01/2017
01/02/2017 - 28/02/2017

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Yule decorations         Yule decorations


Yule decorations. The tree is gold and blue this year - though I think I need to find another star for the top, that sparkly gold and pearl blends in with the curtain.
The lights are snowflakes and straight rich blue - looks really pretty!
Yule decorations         Yule decorations
Yule decorations



I put up my tree this year - want it all to look nice for the folks - but didn't bother with the star for the top: I thought my hydrogen atom (floating a couple of inches below the ceiling) was altogether snazzier.
We also watched the end of the Excel saga. Um, yerrssss...

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Forgot to say: our Yule present cheques arrived from Ken's folks - I'm going to buy a birdtable with mine. The RSPB has a great section on birdtables, and sells a simple but elegant one (warning: the link to their shop works in IE but completely crashes Firefox!) for £36.99. I'm out with Kim to explore a new garden centre next week, so will check there first, but otherwise I think I'll order online. It will sit beautifully on the edge of the meadow where we can watch from the windows, and I've investigated ways and means of keeping the squirrel from getting at the food: I think I can make it work. There will still be feeders on the medlar (I've refilled the seed feeder and put up a fat ball and a peanut feeder today, as the tree was full of little birds this afternoon) - it's a perfect place for them.





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Saturday, November 29, 2008

I had a nice long lie-in. And an afternoon nap. And rare steak and chips and 'shrumps and Brussels sprouts and mixed veg for dinner. I feel almost human again (unfortunately).
But it's not been a bad day. Kai's got on well with his music project homework, with Ken helping, I got a goodly bit of research (and some shopping) done and ordered Night of the Demon for Ken for Yule (we've been looking out for it for ages - fantastic film), and tomorrow we're putting up the Yule decorations. I know, it's a bit early, but Kai wants to and I don't see why not.
There may be photos...

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Friday, November 28, 2008

Interesting day...
Canary Wharf The coach was half an hour late leaving Briz (not sure whether it was because the driver had to take his statutory break or because there was an accident on the motorway yesterday - we got both stories. Not sure how the accident yesterday would have affected a coach coming up from Plymouth today, though...) and the driver said he'd try to make up the time. Only we hit quite dense fog outside of Bristol - looked really pretty rolling down the hills, but couldn't get a pic as I was facing into the sun - and everyone had to slow down to 50. Could only see as far as the motorway verge each side, everything else was lost in the mist. So we were twenty minutes late arriving at Victoria - the London roads were dreadful. Luckily I'd left loads of time to get to the meeting - which was at Canary Wharf. No, there were no Cybermen. Nor pepperpots for that matter. There was, however, an awful lot of cold glass and stainless steel, all very grim and forbidding (our agent had described it as like being in a Blade Runner set: she's not far wrong). I imagine in the summer it would look pretty, but on a cold, sullenly-drizzling winter afternoon it was just hostile...
But I wasn't destined for one of the glass monoliths: I was told the meeting would take place in a red portacabin (left over from the development, apparently. I rather like that idea, akin to ruling the world from your garden shed...) [eyebrow] Poshest portacabins I've ever seen.
As for the meeting - hm. We'll see next week.
I'd bought a ticket to return at 5.30, but got back to Victoria Coach Station before 4, and luckily there was a spare seat on the 4 pm coach so I saved an hour and a half of waiting. However, what with the pair over the aisle watching Wall-E on a laptop and the person beside me playing games on a phone with an unbelievably bright screen (like having an ultraviolet spotlight hitting the corner of your eye) the only thing I could really do was close my eyes and turn Kood up a notch. Which is actually a very nice way to pass a journey when it's completely dark outside.
Tired now...

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Thursday, November 27, 2008

L

I has a L...
I know, the figures were supposed to be a Boxing Day present for under the tree, but I couldn't wait. (I'm having Bio Hunter (AYA! Kawajiri!!) instead.)
We are, however, extremely pissed off. Both our printers have ceased to function, they are defunct printers. Ken's I can understand - it's my old one and used to cause me problems - but I only bought mine about a year ago (I think) and it was NOT cheap. Bloody Hewlett Packard - I'll never buy anything from them again. Everything we've ever had from them has packed up just a little way past the warranty expiry (remember when the heatsink fell off the motherboard on my previous computer, because it was only held on with two and a half clips instead of the required four? That was HP.) And their customer service is dreadful. If it's out of warranty they don't want to know - even if it was their problem in the first place.
I think we'll have to try to get a new printer for Ken - a decent make this time, any recommendations? - and see if I can find someone or somewhere to repair mine. I don't want to just ditch it, it's a heavy, powerful machine.
As for the rest, it's been a day of tidying up bits and pieces. After dinner I have to prepare for tomorrow's meeting (shouldn't take more than an hour) and then will try for an early night. Not an exceptionally early start tomorrow - coach leaves at 9.15 am - but I'm tired.
Later!

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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Watch Joules spin round in circles...
But more like a DVD than a carousel. Actually did manage to get a fair bit done today, including the new Reflex Camera Club website finished and uploaded. And I have another dentist appointment next Friday (Dec 8th) which hopefully will put paid to this problem molar. At least, I damn well hope so - what with the abscess under that incisor last Yule and the horrendous bugs I had the two Yules prior, I'm determined not to be ill or in pain this year. (But I bought some more First Defence just in case, it really seems to work for me.)
I'm sure there was something else but I can't remember what it was...
Right - back to the rockface.

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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

[growl] So my dental appointment finally arrives, I slog up to the dentist and have a really lovely repair job done on my broken tooth - so good it looked and felt like the old, real tooth! - and three hours later I bite down (gently, I was trying to be careful all through dinner) on a biscuit (a Tesco shortcake round, in fact, one of the softest, crumbliest bikkies you can get - not supposed to eat them but sometimes I give into temptation) - and the bloody thing broke again.
I think they'll have to do a proper repair, take out the old (massive, root-canal) filling, refill the tooth and build up the shell from the inside out. Not looking forward to that at all. Will ring them tomorrow and see what they say.
Other than that - well, I have a meeting in London on Friday. More later, but please keep fingers crossed.
Oh, and I'm now looking for an mp3 of Tusk. It was playing last night as everyone was taking their seats (Boosh fans will know why) and I remembered that I'd forgotten how much I liked it. In fact, with a little prodding from Lutra, I even remembered where I first heard it - in the bar of the Meadow Park Hotel (just off the Stirling Uni entrance). Ah, that brings back memories...
Overtired now and grumpy with it. Can't work - having an early night.

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BOOSH!!

Boosh stageIt started with perhaps my favourite Boosh track ever, Future Sailors, with Vince sailing in on a sparkly pirate ship from the left - and Howard rowing in in a dinghy from the right... Vince and Howard
The show was brilliant. Completely new material from that on the live DVD, sketches and cameos from a lot of the major charas (and a live band, which was great, even if the volume was visceral - literally, I could feel my breastbone vibrating with the bass. Nowt quite like seeing the Hitcher do a live version of Eels with a live band behind him wearing the Piper Twin costumes), including Tony Harrison and the Crack Fox. And Howard's marvellous Environmental Apocalyptic Drama in the second half, with a couple of new charas (which we might be seeing more of in a putative fourth season. I rather hope so, they were great fun...) And near the end they beheaded the honey monster and Tony Harrison gave us a repeat performance of the end of the 3rd season ep Party (only there it was with Lester Corncrake's disembodied head). Extremely satisfying, and had everyone cheering.
We were absolutely forbidden, in English and Welsh, to take any photos or videos, so those you are seeing are figments of your imaginations. (There are a few more figments, but since they constitute spoilers I'm not posting them here. Maybe on a private page at some point.) Sorry about the quality: unlike others taking photos I turned off my flash and tried to be as inconspicuous as possible to avoid disturbing the people around me.
The only thing we brought back, other than memories, was a Tony Harrison keyring for Kai. Wouldn't have been my first choice but it was all they had, and even that was £7. The merchandise was expensive, £18 for a T-shirt, and £12 for a programme! (We didn't. The first half ended at three minutes to nine, so we knew we'd not make the ten o'clock train, and catching the eleven o'clock one we'd have to get a taxi, and Briz taxis are dear.)
It was worth it though, both the overall cost and the wait (nearly a year!) Wonderful early anniversary treat, we both really enjoyed it, and it was great to actually sit together and talk for a bit on the trains!
There is one last thing I should mention though, and that's unicorns. There were three 'incidents' of unicorns in the show. The first was Jean-Paul Jaquetti's new perfume Unicorn (I think - unicorn was definitely part of the name). Then in the second half there was mention of a golden unicorn alien - and then, during one of the new songs, the lightshow backdrop had neon pink winged unicorns flying across the stage. I was too flabbergasted to get a photo, unfortunately.
A coincidence, or a sign?

Ken's knackered, and I'm a bit tired myself. Will try for an earlyish night...





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Sunday, November 23, 2008

flower spikes

(How's this font size?)
As you can see, the orchid flower spikes are coming on a treat - and ->
flower spikesthat tiny little purple upward-pointing sprout might be another spike! (That's the phalaenopsis with the purple blooms that flowered... last year? Year before? What year is it today?) At any rate, I don't think it's a new root (those white things. They start off darker). That would be fantastic - three orchids flowering at the same time! Will take photos...
[bemused] Kai started accelerating a simple Trainz engine on a simple circular track about seven hours ago. At the moment it's reached 55,344 mph, and is steadily increasing. No, I've no idea why he's doing it - just 'cause it's there, I assume...
Back to the rockface. The new version of Survivors starts tonight: I liked the original, it'll be interesting to see how they treat it.

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Well, I'm knackered, but the revised Haadri site is now up and viewable. There's even a little new information, mainly the page on CalCol (with some pretty sigils and a couple of examples of how the language works). I still have an awful lot to add, so will try to keep to some sort of routine, adding more every few days or so. I'll be starting with some of the worlds mentioned in Prime Contact (Plarith, Vyridion, Shaeda) and trying to fill in the gaps, little by little, in the Culture, Tech and Policy subsections.
From now on, Haadri updates will be on the Haadri blog, where they belong.
Is this text now too big? I really can't tell on my screen...

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Saturday, November 22, 2008

Experimenting with font sizes... Greenhouse all bedded down, Haadri site a stage closer to being ready to upload. Might even be able to do that later tonight...

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Friday, November 21, 2008

Another vanishing day with not enough done. I need more hours.
But the melon wine is now on the go, and the second batch of medlar jelly in jars. It hasn't worked as well as I'd hoped: it's sticky and gluey rather than cranberry-jelly consistency (it's perfectly usable like that, but a bit messy, and not really 'company' worthy). But perhaps medlars don't achieve that consistency after all. Perhaps it's sticky or sliceable with no in-between. Next year, assuming I get a big enough harvest, I'll try some different amounts of ingredients and see what happens.
We watched the first episode of the third season of The IT Crowd. To be honest, I was a little disappointed. But it might pick up.
The loom is calling...


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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Right, what have I been up to...
Well, the melon wine is pectolasing. I forgot I had to do that before adding the yeast: Ken volunteered to go up to Broadwalk for me, as Wilkinson's up there is the nearest place to sell non-specific wine-making stuff (the other two are Brewer's Droop up the Gloucester Rd and the Home Brew Centre in Keynsham) and I had Kai's Parent/Teacher evening tonight. (More on that in a mo.) While up there he found the live-action dvd of Crying Freeman, which I rather like, in the PDSA charity shop (I'm now checking it plays OK).
The second batch of medlar juice is now double boiled and straining - will make up the second batch of jelly tomorrow.
Got a tidy bit of client site stuff done over the last couple of days as well.
So, the Parent/Teacher evening... went very well. I didn't take Kai with me this time - sprog is very tired, poor thing - which I think made it easier to get an un... what's the word? Biased? opinion from the three tutors I spoke to. Not that it made any difference: the general opinion is that he's very bright, well-behaved, well-mannered and a delight to teach, without being a suck-up. They had really nothing but praise for him (though his maths teacher thinks he lacks confidence in his own abilities). His science teacher will be 'disappointed' if he doesn't take triple science GCSE (four courses: core science, chemistry, biology and physics - a tough option but a very good one for his future career. We'll discuss it with him later.) And his core tutor says he's becoming more confident in his interactions with his schoolmates, and has a growing circle of friends - so that's relieved that concern. And just to top off a good evening, the N sprog's dad gave me a lift all the way home (saving me two buses and an hour's travelling). All in all extremely satisfactory!
Tomorrow is supposed to be lovely and sunny, but with a cold front coming over and temperatures getting down below zero come nightfall - so tomorrow will see me putting up the last big sheet of bubble-wrap and making little bubble-wrap houses for all the tender plants. The peppers have very healthy shoots on them: I must do what I can to protect them.
Autumn park
Walked through the park on the way to Sainsbug's to try to get some photos for the APAG site. I love the grass in this one - such a beautiful fertile green...

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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Glorious sunset tonight...
sunset

sunset too

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Death Note Vol 1 disc 2 and Vol 2 disc 1 both arrived today (though I only managed to make time to watch the former). It's still gobsmackingly good.
Meeting here tomorrow 10 am.
[bemused] We had a Xmas card today - from the Post Office. I'd rather they'd have used the money to bring down the price of postage...

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Monday, November 17, 2008

Kai was supposed to see the orthodontist at 2.30 [groan] today, but their reception rang at 8 (waking me up after a grand total of 4 hours sleep) to say she'd put her back out over the weekend and had to reschedule all her appointments (and after all the hassle I went through to get an inset day when Kai was off school) So he now sees her on the 22nd of December, a bit close to Yule but I think the appointment is to check how his dental hygiene is now - excellent - and generally organise the course of treatment. Kai's happy to have it delayed: he dreamed last night they were attacking his teeth with a saw...
So he had another chillout day, while I got on with a few bits and pieces - Haadri.com still coming on, and I have a semi-demi-john-worth of Galia melon wine stewing since I had an uneaten and now over-ripe one (cheap from the Sunday market). And the medlar jelly is gorgeous, although a little too firm: next batch I need to take off the heat just before setting point, I think. It's fine, but sliceable, rather than easily spreadable!
Oh - and next week's spooks is an absolute cracker, one of the best I can remember...
Back to the rockface.

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Sunday, November 16, 2008

Nested frames, what fun!

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Saturday, November 15, 2008

medlar jelly

<- Medlar jelly on the kitchen windowsill. We're having pork chops tomorrow: will try some then.



orchid flower spikes





Orchid flower spikes ->

Will update on their progress as they grow.


Revamping and tidying the Haadri site.


Later...

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Friday, November 14, 2008

Aaaand the redesigned BCP is now up. It's not quite finished - I still haven't cracked the directory or the tag cloud - but at least now people can use it, and I think the calender section is resizing properly (but please let me know if not!). I can work on the rest at a slightly less manic pace.
Left Kai in charge of the house while I went shoppi... why am I mentioning this? It wasn't the least bit interesting.
After dinner I made the medlar jelly. And I have discovered the secret of the setting point! (This is good. A day in which nothing is learned is a day wasted, as far as I'm concerned.) For medlars, it's when a thick golden froth forms on the top of the furiously boiling liquid, which itself changes from brown to garnet-coloured. (I did of course confirm this the traditional way, by dripping a drop of the syrup onto a cold saucer, letting it cool and testing it with a finger (and not to let it go to waste, my tongue). Since this is the first time I've made it properly (last time I put in far too much sugar and took it off the heat before it had really reached setting) I had to do lots of little tests. [grin] It tastes great!)
So, one and a half pounds of medlars made three quarters of a pint of juice: that plus twelve ounces of organic cane sugar , the juice of half an organic lemon and an hour's worth of cooking gas made - barely two small jars of medlar jelly. But it's real, organic medlar jelly, which is definitely unusual, and it's really rather delicious. And I still have at least a pound of the fruit bletting away merrily in the pantry, so should be able to squeeze another two jars out of this year's harvest. Will try to remember to take a photo tomorrow: it's a lovely colour.
Oh - and I now have two flower spikes on different orchids, one on the phal and the other on one of the others (still not sure what it is). Very exciting! Must take photos of them as well.
It's Children in Need tonight. We watched a little, then turned to eps 8 and 9 of Excel...
And now I'm getting on with Missions. Later!

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Thursday, November 13, 2008

[bewildered] Where'd the day go?
Kai's now home for four days...

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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Gah, not enough sleep and up too early. Brain AWOL too, just cannot remember how to interface between a MySQL dbase and the .php display. I've done it before, which makes the memory aberration doubly bloody annoying.
Will try again tomorrow.
Medlar syrup has finished straining - looks and smells lovely - and I found the almost-right-sized jars at Sainsbugs. Full of horrible cheapo mint sauce (now disposed of). For 9p each. (Yes, 9p.) So I bought five, which should be enough (I hope). Now I just have to get the smell of mint out of the rubber seal in the lids. Or find new lids. They're soaking in camden tabletted hot water at the moment, which might do the trick.
Had a phone call earlier. At Briz airport before our flight to Shannon, I got cornered by a 2minuteDraw employee, and entered the draw (as you do). The call was to tell me I'd won a luxury holiday...
Yeah right. I looked up both 2minuteDraw and the phone no. she gave me ([frowns] 0800 889 9900 I think, or something very similar, Ken's taken it upstairs to file), and of course it was a scam - Time Share in their case. Needless to say I shall not be ringing the number!
And [slaps wrist] I ebayed a set of four 3" - 5" Death Note action figures (Light, L, Near and Misa. No Onna, I haven't spoilered the story for myself, but I do like to check up the charas...) Was a special offer, £4.88 and free p&p from Hong Kong (normally £5.88) I couldn't resist... Will count them as a Yule pressie and have Ken wrap them up for under the tree.
This pic (photo from TV) is scaled to be readable by me on my screen, so it'll probably be fuge and ginormous on everyone else's (except Thorne's, which is the size of a house...[g]) This is the warning screen on the second Excel Saga DVD.
Excel Saga, Warning, second DVD
I wonder if the walrus is depraved because they stole his bukkit?

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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

winter greenhouse
Made a start on the medlar jelly this morning while working on the BCP redesign: the jelly is gorgeous, but I really dislike the smell of the simmering pulp, like over-stewed fruit tea...
One and a half pounds of fruit in this first batch! Not bad. I search for jars tomorrow.
First photo - greenhouse prepared for the winter. I do have lots of new leaves coming on the pepper plants, so will need to be careful of the temperature over the winter.
Second pic is the last of the autumn leaves on my blueberry plant (the one with the huge berries) - a gorgeous splash of colour (completely untweaked!)
blueberry leaves


new hairclipsLast photo -> is of the hair clips I found yesterday up at BroadWalk. I rarely buy myself anything pretty (and never anything pretty-pretty!) but I've been fancying something like this for a while. Only problem was they were always too expensive. However, these were 99p for two in the 99p shop, so I treated myself. Very snappy and strong clips: to my surprise the one I'm trying out is holding my hair firmly (surprise because I pruned the short bit very short and spiky last Friday, so there's not much for the clip to hold onto!)
We enjoyed the second two eps of Death Note Vol 1 disc 1 this evening: will return it tomorrow and eagerly await disc 2.
Then Kai begged to watch eps 3 and 4 of Excel Saga. It just gets weirder and weirder. I wish Ilpalazzo would take off that ridiculous cloak thing...

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Monday, November 10, 2008

A quick update while dinner cooks in the steamer (mackerel and peas/sweetcorn/broccoli with creamed spuds)...
First, Death Note is wonderful. I've taken all my other LoveFilm high priority rentals down to medium and added the Death Note second DVD as a top priority, as I can't wait to see what happens next. That's definitely on the 'must have' list (although it'll have to wait 'til after Yule now, due to unexpected expenditure today - see below).
Doctor's visit was fine - positive and encouraging. Shopped up at Broadwalk afterwards, as usual - and in the PDSA charity shop I found the Excel Saga. On DVD. Complete. All 26 eps on 6 DVDs at £2.99 each.
Of course I bought it!
I can honestly say this is the only anime about which I was, like - WtF???, then I LOLed until I threw up... It's... insane. It had Ken staring in utter bemusement and Kai doubled up in hysterics and begging - nay, demanding! - more (unfortunately we could only watch 2 eps before I had to get dinner ready. Then we found out he'd forgotten to mention he had homework tonight, which he is now doing with Ken...) We will work our way through it with a couple of eps every day when he comes home from school.
After dinner (and before spooks) we're having a complete change of pace: I'm going to try them both on Death Note (though in English, I think) to see what they think...
Off to add the broccoli to the steamer. Back later.

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Sunday, November 09, 2008

Ice cream bowl
Cat with tail in ice-cream bowl...
He usually tries to lick the bowl. I'm not sure if this is an improvement or not... We managed to get everything we went for at the market, with the exception of totes for Kai (they seem to be hard to find these days). However, the two pairs of tracksuit bottoms he chose are very nice, really soft and cuddlesome and warm and fleecy on the inside - and faaar too long, so he can tuck his feet inside to keep them warm. (I did offer to cut some foot-shaped felt and sew them onto the bottoms of the legs, then stitch the open ends closed, but he wasn't too sure about that. Though it did make him laugh.) We even managed to miss the showers (by being under the awnings) and get home before tonight's torrential rain, so that was OK.
Doctor first thing tomorrow. Early night tonight (or I could watch the first ep or so of Death Note, my current LoveFilm choice. Oh decisions, decisions.)
Hm. Slightly alarming. It sounds like something has just fallen down the chimney...

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Saturday, November 08, 2008

K&K went for a walk down to Nightingale Valley (via the PO: the parcel is in the post) to take advantage of a lovely sunny day. I carried on with the BCP redesign, but took a break to do a little greenhouse tending - and to pick the medlars in advance of the furious winds and lashing rain we have tonight. The kitchen now smells slightly strange (medlars have a most unusual scent, not really like anything else I've ever smelt). There are twice as many as last year, even discarding the windfalls, so with a bit of luck I can make four smallish jars (planning to give both sets of folks a jar for Yule). Half of them are already sufficiently bletted, so I think I'll have to make the jelly in two lots. Annoying, but there you go...
We let Kai stay up tonight to watch Silent Hill since we'd all heard a lot of enthusiastic things about it...
[growl] That's two and a half hours of my life I'll never get back. A real triumph of style over substance, tedious in the extreme. Hellraiser does it much better. Ken described it as the Ant and Dec of horror films, and he's not far wrong. What a waste of time.
This, however, tickled me enormously - curmudgeonly cephalopods rule! (And do make sure to read the comments, they're hysterical!)
Should try for an early night - need to get to the market tomorrow, I really can't make my trainers last another week. And Kai needs some new mucking-around-in trousers and sweatshirts...

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Friday, November 07, 2008

I've worked particularly hard this week, and accomplished rather a lot, so I think I'm entitled to an evening off. Missions!!
play.com are having further reductions on their endless sale, so I wandered over to browse while dinner was cooking, looking for Yule presents actually. And to my astonishment found Farishtay! Waaaaaay back while Ken and I were still renting the flat in Totterdown (yes, it's a real district in Briz!), Channel 4 (I think) showed a series of Bollywood films, some of which I taped. (Thinking about it, we might only have had my ancient black and white portable TV at the time...) Farishtay was one of them: I stayed up to watch the first couple of hours, but it's a very long film, and I'd had a very long day, so left it taping while I went to bed - only to find the following day that the tape hadn't been long enough and the end was missing! ARRGGHH! I've been trying to find it to rent or buy ever since, with no success, and had almost resigned myself to never finding it.
Then a couple of days ago I found the soundtrack on e-music (a sister company to LoveFilm: I had a 14 day 35 free mp3 offer, which I cancelled early as there was very little of interest to me) and downloaded it. (It's terrific, really bouncy and catchy.) So finding the film on play.com was wonderful. Of course I've ordered it (it's only £8.99 - a bargain!) along with Day Watch, a DVD for my dad, and Judge Dredd (well, it was only £2.99 and it's a fun romp...)
Ordering the DVD for my dad reminded me that it's his birthday on the 26th (they took his presents down with them after their visit) - and that reminded me that it was also Sue's birthday... sometime... around... now... she's a Scorpio, my Dad's Sagittarius...
.............
... oops...
.........
Sorry Sue - pressie (ordered and delivered two months ago!) will be in the post tomorrow. Blame the fact that I'm not even sure which galaxy I'm in most of the time, let alone which year, and you know what I'm like with numbers...
Have cut another six inches off my hair in penance. Well, to make it more manageable really. I now know I can grow it to my knees if I really try, I don't need to keep it that long all the time to prove it. It still reaches my bum, and it's nice not to have the ends tangle as soon as I look at 'em!

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Thursday, November 06, 2008

And the Heartsown site is now up and live - find it here. The sample chapters contain the text for the (revised) second edition: I still have to amend the font on the cover of Prime Contact for the second edition and upload the new image, but other than that I think it's mostly done. Looks quite good, I think. And it has the correct price for Missions - £4.95: I nearly had kittens when I realised that Ken had forgotten to change the Prime Contact price! (He maintains the Heartsown site, you see: I just designed it. Though I do debug for him when needed...)
Back to the client sites for an hour or so.

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Wednesday, November 05, 2008

wee beast wee beast
Argent would say thank you Onna, but he's too busy sleeping...
Not sure about feeding him fishy type food. Given his high BP and enlarged heart, we're trying to keep his salt intake as low as possible. Though I suppose a little won't hurt. (If he eats more seafood than his metabolism can cope with he just throws up anyway...)
We slipped out into the garden to watch a few fireworks. There were some pretties, but a lot less than normal (though I have to admit that the global financial hiccups seem to have had the effect of reducing firework sales and hence use this year - it's been a lot more peaceful than usual!) One big bright and very loud one in particular was notable and we expected great things of it...
SKREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE.... [silence]..... pfth
Had Kai doubled over with laughter. I grinned at him and said, "What was that then?" "Chinese." answered Ken. [shakes head] Love the dry humour...
[sigh] And the big repair to my broken tooth has broken off. Need to ring the dentist tomorrow to try to get an appointment to get it redone. Must remember not to try to eat pork crackling...
Almost ready to upload the new Heartsown site.

wee beast

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Tuesday, November 04, 2008

It's Argent's birthday round about now. He's seventeen, bless his little white boxing gloves and boots. He still thinks he's a kitten - still chases leaves and his own tail in the garden - but he's slowing down, and is now happy to sit on the arm of the sofa being petted. He's limping a bit at the moment too - arthritis in his back legs, we think, as he's otherwise fine; the cold damp weather isn't helping either. If it gets worse I'll take him to the vet.

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Monday, November 03, 2008

Aaaaaand this is the redesign for the BCP site. Not live yet and I still have a fair few tweaks (and the rest of the pages) to sort out, but so far it seems to have been favourably received...

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Sunday, November 02, 2008

Well, it took a while to get the templates created, but I think I'm basically done, and now just need to slot the text into the individual pages and upload to the new site (and try not to forget to change the nameservers!) If you want to take a peek, there's a rough draft here: it still needs tweaking, and the only link that works at the moment is the one to Prime Contact in the left hand column. (The php mailing list works - I've tested it - but please don't use it unless you're really interested as it makes more work for Ken!) Feedback always welcome...
I shall be using this style from now on, I think - it's not bad.

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Saturday, November 01, 2008

Another relaxed day (I seem to be having the holiday I didn't quite manage in the summer, this fortnight). Kai is in virtual heaven, playing with Sketchup, Sketchup Renditioner, Endorphin and Geomax - and Trainz, which now works properly, and which has a Martian landscape to play with in the Routes software that wouldn't run on the laptop!elderflower wine - liquid sunshine...
And we racked the elderflower wine.
It tastes wonderful.
<- Liquid sunshine!
Should be able to bottle in a couple of weeks...




[edit] aaaaaaand it's now one am, and I got distracted redesigning the Heartsown site. Looks good though - should be able to upload it by Tuesday, I'd have thought.
I could have an early night, I suppose.

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