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
04/01/2003 - 04/30/2003
05/01/2003 - 05/31/2003
06/01/2003 - 06/30/2003
07/01/2003 - 07/31/2003
08/01/2003 - 08/31/2003
09/01/2003 - 09/30/2003
10/01/2003 - 10/31/2003
11/01/2003 - 11/30/2003
12/01/2003 - 12/31/2003
01/01/2004 - 01/31/2004
02/01/2004 - 02/29/2004
03/01/2004 - 03/31/2004
04/01/2004 - 04/30/2004
05/01/2004 - 05/31/2004
06/01/2004 - 06/30/2004
07/01/2004 - 07/31/2004
08/01/2004 - 08/31/2004
09/01/2004 - 09/30/2004
10/01/2004 - 10/31/2004
11/01/2004 - 11/30/2004
12/01/2004 - 12/31/2004
01/01/2005 - 01/31/2005
02/01/2005 - 02/28/2005
03/01/2005 - 03/31/2005
04/01/2005 - 04/30/2005
05/01/2005 - 05/31/2005
06/01/2005 - 06/30/2005
07/01/2005 - 07/31/2005
08/01/2005 - 08/31/2005
09/01/2005 - 09/30/2005
10/01/2005 - 10/31/2005
11/01/2005 - 11/30/2005
12/01/2005 - 12/31/2005
01/01/2006 - 01/31/2006
02/01/2006 - 02/28/2006
03/01/2006 - 03/31/2006
04/01/2006 - 04/30/2006
05/01/2006 - 05/31/2006
06/01/2006 - 06/30/2006
07/01/2006 - 07/31/2006
08/01/2006 - 08/31/2006
09/01/2006 - 09/30/2006
10/01/2006 - 10/31/2006
11/01/2006 - 11/30/2006
12/01/2006 - 12/31/2006
01/01/2007 - 01/31/2007
02/01/2007 - 02/28/2007
03/01/2007 - 03/31/2007
04/01/2007 - 04/30/2007
05/01/2007 - 05/31/2007
06/01/2007 - 06/30/2007
07/01/2007 - 07/31/2007
08/01/2007 - 08/31/2007
09/01/2007 - 09/30/2007
10/01/2007 - 10/31/2007
11/01/2007 - 11/30/2007
12/01/2007 - 12/31/2007
01/01/2008 - 31/01/2008
01/02/2008 - 29/02/2008
03/01/2008 - 31/03/2008
01/04/2008 - 04/30/2008
01/05/2008 - 31/05/2008
01/06/2008 - 30/06/2008
01/07/2008 - 31/07/2008
01/08/2008 - 31/08/2008
01/09/2008 - 30/09/2008
01/10/2008 - 31/10/2008
01/11/2008 - 31/11/2008
01/12/2008 - 31/12/2008
01/12/2008 - 31/12/2008
01/01/2009 - 31/01/2009
01/02/2009 - 28/02/2009
01/03/2009 - 31/03/2009
01/04/2009 - 30/04/2009
01/05/2009 - 31/05/2009
01/06/2009 - 30/06/2009
01/07/2009 - 31/07/2009
01/08/2009 - 31/08/2009
01/09/2009 - 30/09/2009
01/10/2009 - 31/10/2009
01/11/2009 - 30/11/2009
01/12/2009 - 31/12/2009
01/01/2010 - 31/01/2010
01/02/2010 - 28/02/2010
01/03/2010 - 31/03/2010
01/04/2010 - 30/04/2010
01/05/2010 - 31/05/2010
01/06/2010 - 30/06/2010
01/07/2010 - 31/07/2010
01/08/2010 - 31/08/2010
01/09/2010 - 30/09/2010
01/10/2010 - 31/10/2010
01/11/2010 - 31/11/2010
01/12/2010 - 31/12/2010
01/01/2011 - 31/01/2011
01/02/2011 - 28/02/2011
01/03/2011 - 31/03/2011
01/04/2011 - 30/04/2011
01/05/2011 - 31/05/2011
01/06/2011 - 30/06/2011
01/07/2011 - 31/07/2011
01/08/2011 - 31/08/2011
01/09/2011 - 30/09/2011
01/10/2011 - 31/10/2011
01/11/2011 - 30/11/2011
01/12/2011 - 31/12/2011
01/01/2012 - 31/01/2012
01/02/2012 - 28/02/2012
01/03/2012 - 31/03/2012
01/04/2012 - 30/04/2012
01/05/2012 - 31/05/2012
01/06/2012 - 30/06/2012
01/07/2012 - 31/07/2012
01/08/2012 - 31/08/2012
01/09/2012 - 30/09/2012
01/10/2012 - 31/10/2012
01/11/2012 - 30/11/2012
01/12/2012 - 31/12/2012
01/01/2013 - 31/01/2013
01/02/2013 - 28/02/2013
01/03/2013 - 31/03/2013
01/04/2013 - 30/04/2013
01/05/2013 - 31/05/2013
01/06/2013 - 31/06/2013
01/07/2013 - 31/07/2013
01/08/2013 - 31/08/2013
01/09/2013 - 30/09/2013
01/10/2013 - 31/10/2013
01/11/2013 - 30/11/2013
01/12/2013 - 31/12/2013
01/01/2014 - 31/01/2014
01/02/2014 - 28/02/2014
01/03/2014 - 31/03/2014
01/04/2014 - 30/04/2014
01/05/2014 - 31/05/2014
01/06/2014 - 31/06/2014
01/07/2014 - 31/07/2014
01/08/2014 - 31/08/2014
01/09/2014 - 31/09/2014
01/10/2014 - 31/10/2014
01/11/2014 - 30/11/2014
01/12/2014 - 31/12/2014
01/01/2015 - 31/01/2015
01/02/2015 - 28/02/2015
01/03/2015 - 31/03/2015
01/04/2015 - 30/04/2015
01/05/2015 - 31/05/2015
01/06/2015 - 30/06/2015
01/07/2015 - 31/07/2015
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
01/04/2016 - 31/04/2016
01/05/2016 - 31/05/2016
01/06/2016 - 30/06/2016
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

Saturday, February 28, 2009

43,024. I really need a nap before I plough into tonight's last surge, but this is the last clear night forecast for a week and hence the last proper chance we get to see comet Lulin (a green comet? Damn right we don't want to miss it!) Leo's not far up yet - and our neighbour is having a bonfire, absolutely the right time of night, just unfortunate that tonight's the night we could do without the smoke. Still, it's not huge and with luck it'll have died down before the sky clouds over...

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42,516. Not quite as much as I hoped but not too bad under the circumstances. Noted here to remind myself that there's not much further to go...
Then I can have a decent sleep!

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Friday, February 27, 2009

[growl] Dental surgery rang this morning - dentist has injured her leg and they were having to cancel and reschedule all the day's appointments. So Kai's now having the tooth out on the 10th and I have to reschedule his orthodontists appointment, and I had it all timed so he didn't have to lose a day of school. They keep bloody doing this to us...
And then I got an email from the UK publisher that nearly had me having kittens: US publisher wants the text dumbed down to appeal to the lower end of the demographic (13 upwards) whereas I've been writing for 17 upwards. Pointed out I don't have time to rewrite anything with the deadline three days away: Octopus agreed, said to finish as I have been writing, and we'll iron out any problems in the editing. There's always a measure of rewriting with this sort of project anyway, so that shouldn't hurt. Disappointing that I'll have to take out all the racier bits though. And I do so hate dumbing down.
41,305. Hoping to hit 43K tonight. That way I should hit about 45,500 - 46K tomorrow and have time to edit the text myself a bit on Sunday, before the manuscript goes off on Monday.

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[happy sigh] [grins at Lutra] That's gorgeous. I can positively smell the heat and the dust and the scent of grapes. And as usual you have the characterisation perfect.
Do you think I could borrow Sanjeev? Don't have a car but if he's as handy with a duster I'd be eternally grateful...

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Right, 40,033 words. Now I can treat myself to Lutra's gift-fic!
Dentist with Kai tomorrow am, for his second extraction. Oh joy.

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... my elderflower wine is a lot stronger than it appears...

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Thursday, February 26, 2009

A quickie before we settle down to watch Prince Caspian (two-disc edition, £10 in Tesco in their desperate-to-keep-the-customers-buying sale, with birthday cash from Ken's folks) and a whackin' big chunk of Cadbury's chocolate gateau...
cushion The other parcel from Wendy was this ->
Gorgeous embroidered cushion. Thank you - it's lovely. I love the beastlies' smiles.
gargoyles <- And we love these! 'See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil' gargoyles from Sue! Such fun! They're now scattered around the house on shelves where they can keep an eye on things. [GLOMPS Sue] Thank you!
And GoodTwin - DeathNote and Fruits Basket 18! Fantastic! Many thanks. Will save the garden gift vouchers til I can get back to Almondsbury or Cadbury Garden Centres again. And will also get the list updated. [bg GLOMPS] Many thanks!
Also to Lutra, though I now have to get that other 1K done before I can open the fic...
Wordage now 39,002. Will continue after the film.

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onna's card
Saw this and just had to get stuck into the big Turkish Delight bar Kai gave me... Thanks Onna! Ken's bought a big chocolate gateaux for tomorrow - Kai's suggestion!
Loved everyone's cards, both the beautiful and the ones that had me chortling aloud - and yes, you're quite right Wendy! - but am opening pressies tomorrow. Except for two of Wendy's, which were completely unexpected...
Love the little book. Explorer 6, hovercrafts and motorways, eh? That all seems somehow highly appropriate. Not so sure about Barbie though. And pink? pink?! [shudder] Though I suppose it is at least a shocking pink bag, not a pallid pastel. And the marshmallows inside are really great - they'll be fantastic sprinkled on a mug of Belgian Chocolate with skooshy cream. Will open the other parcel tomorrow though - bit scared as to what might be in it...
[GLOMPS!] Thank you!
So, 38,065K words. Finishing for tonight with a vodka and coke... Now there's a thought. Remember that glorious Turkish Delight-flavoured vodka we had at ЯRevolution, GoodTwin? I have some rose water here - wonder how it would mix with the vodka...? Maybe give it a try tomorrow.
Time now to watch a little more Kindred: the Embraced on YouTube. (I have really appreciated YouTube for this project, been able to watch the first ep of True Blood, which was enough, along with the IMDb info, to know that the whole series is basically the first book, which I'm in the middle of reading. And Kindred. And there may even be an ep of Moonlight and a couple of Forever Knight, if I'm lucky. I watched some of the latter when it was on the Sci-fi channel but don't remember much about it...)
More later!

Much later edit. Lutra, no matter what I say, DON'T let me see my burfdai fic until I have hit 40K words. This is really, really important! [nodnod]

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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

orchids
Orchids...

Picked up Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull for £7 at Tesco: took a couple of hours off last night to watch it. Silly, but great fun!
37K. Hoping to do another 1K before bed: it's Kai's last day of school before his two-week Ostara holiday tomorrow, and on Friday he has his second tooth extraction, so I'm not likely to be able to get a full day's work done, but I'd like to have 45K done by Saturday night.
Ploughing on...

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Monday, February 23, 2009

I haz a fish
volitan plushie!volitan plushie!
Volitan plushie from Lutra. Where does she find these wonderful toys?
(I haven't flipped the pic, that's my backwards clock on the wall)

I had a parcel from Lutra this morning. In it was this wonderful plushie (he doesn't have a name yet), a beautiful little 3D frogmouth 'owl' carving in a frame, and two postcards, one of the Big Merino and the other of Larry the Big Lobster (that thing is scary. Almost as scary as the Giant Coconut Crab) There was a volitan fridge magnet too! [GLOMPS Lutra] Thank you - they're wonderful! (I've saved the card 'til Thursday)
In other news... In the garden: I have snowdrops coming up, but some bloody 'pod is eating the flowers before they can bloom. The leaves are safe though, so with a bit of luck next year there'll be more and they'll stand more of a chance of flowering. I also have something else coming up nearby, which I'm hoping are the fritillaria I planted last autumn. The cowslips survived being moved from the front and are coming up a treat.
And Kai has had the first delivery of his train track. Remember I said we planned out how he could have a miniature railway in the garden? He's been saving his money, and ordered 10 metres of track and a little wagon for rolling stock. He can't afford a powered engine at the moment (they're around £700) but he'll have the beginnings of a nice little layout. Only we'll have to order some gravel as ballast: the ground is too soft for the track. Will need to price that up next week.
Ploughing on. 32K now and another 1K at least planned for tonight.

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Sunday, February 22, 2009

30K words done, and another 1K planned for tonight. I have to take a break in an hour or so though, to rewatch Being Human, as there are some immensely quotable quotes in this week's jaw-dropping ep.
This means I can slow down a little if I like: 50K is the max wordage, 45K would fulfil the contract. I'm thinking 47K would be a happy medium. This is just as well, as my arms are burning from shoulders to fingertips and even the ergonomic keyboard isn't helping. Ken's given me the anti-inflammatories he was prescribed - Diclofenac Sodium - but I need to check them online first, want to see if they have any side effects.
In other news... In the garden: Wendy's mum's orchid has survived! I was worried we'd disturbed it too badly, but the leaves are there and looking healthy. Fingers crossed for a flower this year.
We now have a pair of long-tailed tits, another of blue tits and a third of great tits as regular visitors to the feeders, a pair of blackbirds thoroughly enjoying the sultanas, and the robin likes the birdtable too. Today we had a pair of human-accustomed pigeons - townies I assume as they quite happily picked up seed almost at our feet, and the woodpigeons are too timid to do that - wandering around as well.
The mystery of the hole under the fence is solved. It's not a fox. Suzanne next door (Dave next door's wife) was standing at her kitchen door the night it happened, and saw a badger, of all things, shove the loose earth out of the way and squeeze under. That explains all the paw prints on the loose earth in the meadow. I assume it came up from the woods at Arno's Park, or maybe from Arno's Vale Cemetery, it's a veritable nature reserve down there.
So - mole, hedgehogs, Ferdinand the bat, slowworms, newts, frogs, a host of native butterflies and beetles, little birds and now a badger. I love my garden.
Adrian - Mr GoodTwin - dropped in after his visit to the Briz Audio Exhibition with two parcels for me - thanks, Sue and GoodTwin! They're carefully hidden away til Thursday.
Back to the rockface...

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Saturday, February 21, 2009

cold LOLCat
I shouldn't laugh, I know I shouldn't. But I chortled all the same.

The ploughing on continues.

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Thursday, February 19, 2009

Ok, right, so - the big project.
So called because it's bigger than the crystal project. And because it's quite a big deal for me.
I am writing [cue fanfare]

The Vampire Handbook

Now, in case you didn't know, I've been a vampire fan since secondary school. Can't remember what started it - possibly a film - but I remember reading Dracula at about 12, and afterwards collecting any and every vampire book I could get my hands on. Later, when videos became available, I started collecting the films too (and anyone clued in will now understand why I've been replacing my old vampire tapes with DVDs, as well as picking up new films - and books - along the way). I think it's fair to say my knowledge is encyclopaedic, my library extensive, and my enthusiasm for the project undiminished through the years.
The book very nearly didn't get off the ground, though. Despite the publisher's keenness (Octopus - there's an omen of there ever was one! - an imprint of Hamlyn), and definite interest from the US market (in the wake of Twilight fever) and considerable interest from Europe, the UK weren't at all keen: it's taken a lot of effort on the publisher's part to persuade them on board.
But we finally got there. Publication is due in October, ready for the Yule market.
And I'm having a whale of time! I've also found a new read - Tanya Huff's Blood Books, the series that the wonderful Blood Ties TV series is based on. Most enjoyable. (Pity I can't say the same for Laurell K Hamilton, but there you go.)
Now off to check the location of Purgatory (in Sundown: the Vampire in Retreat) and the name of the comet (in The Little Vampire) before ploughing on. Punishing schedule, but so far the hands are coping (just) and enjoying the subject matter as much as I do makes all the difference.
Later!

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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

I keep watching out for the wee beast, reaching a hand down for him to come and nuzzle. The house feels empty - it's the first time in 19 years there hasn't been a cat wandering around. Even Ken says so. When the books are finished (only 10 days to go), we're going down to the Bristol Dogs Home (yes, they have cats too) to see if a cat would like to make a home with us. Not a replacement for Argent, of course not, but a new companion. I'm trying to persuade Ken to consider a dog too - I still miss Quyn horribly - but he says, quite rightly, we need to think about the costs, in time and energy as well as cash.
Ideally we'd find a dog and cat that needed to be re-homed together. That would be perfect, but life isn't like that.
I'll talk about the big project tomorrow - too weary right now. I am however, hitting my target of 3K words a day (total now just over 20K) which is good. Hands are nagging though.

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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Vet confirmed what we already expected: his kidneys had almost stopped working, he was dehydrated and his heartrate was much slower than it should be; his body was shutting down. He didn't even fight as they shaved his leg for the injection, just drifted off on my shoulder.
We've buried him in the meadow.

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Monday, February 16, 2009

Regular readers might remember that we took Argent to the vet August 19th last year, and were told that he had hyperthyroidism, incipient kidney failure, high blood pressure and an enlarged heart, but there wasn't much that could be done. He was happy and reasonably fit, and treating any one of his problems would make the rest worst, so we opted for benign neglect.
Now, however, he's failing. After I mentioned on the 5th that he wasn't eating properly, he picked up again and although he wasn't eating well, only about half of his usual amount, he was fine until the end of last week, when he started having funny turns (his legs just went and he collapsed slowly onto his side, and lay for a few seconds looking bewildered then dragged himself up again before wobbling off) - five that I knew about on Saturday - and started not eating, just licking the gravy and jelly from his food and drinking a little cat milk. Today he hasn't even managed that. He's not ill, exactly, just not happy and can't settle for any length of time, and of course with not eating he's gone really skinny. I'm not entirely happy with the feel of his stomach either - feels oddly lumpy to me.
Anyway, we have a vet's appointment tomorrow afternoon. If they can do anything for him, all well and good, but after losing two cats already I'm not overly optimistic. He is seventeen, after all, a grand old age for a cat, especially one with his medical problems.
I have permission now to tell everyone all about the big project, but I'd prefer to wait until after the appointment.

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Sunday, February 15, 2009

Ploughing on.
Sunward-side bubble-wrap removed from inside greenhouse. Might be a bit early but today was the first day of spring (we could smell it, even Kai said the air smelt lovely) and there's nowt in the greenhouse that can suffer right now. I'll risk it.
Something has dug a hole under the fence between our garden and Dave's next door. I'm thinking fox: the paw prints are too big to be cat. That would be great!
Being Human... bloody hell...
Ploughing on.

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Saturday, February 14, 2009

new kettle
The new kettle's light. Took this after dark with kitchen light on but camera flash off. It gives you the general idea anyway.

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Friday, February 13, 2009

Well that was busy.
Shopping this morning - badly needed after a week chained to desk. Was good to stock up again. And we have a new kettle, Russell Hobbs cordless half price at Tesco (£17.13 instead of £35), the old one has done extremely well but started needing the 'on' button physically held down to make it work. [bemused] The new one has a light inside it: if you watch from the handle side you can see both the translucent side panels light up - looks like a plasma globe as the water starts to boil! Mesmerising...
Bought some organic sultanas for the blackbirds too. Best fed blackbirds in Briz!
Crystal Power manuscript tidied and formatted in accordance with Eddison-Sadd style sheet... erk, I think I left some '-ise' verb endings in... oops... and emailed off. Ken printed out the hard copy (yes, he got his printer working again, but only on the old machine, which fortunately he hasn't yet dismantled) which I need to annotate tomorrow and get in the post.
I am completely in WUB with my new tablet! It's fabulous. And it has a floating pen!
floating pen   floating pen  floating pen
Pen on accompanying stand.
Ok, not quite floating, but it almost does. And it's almost weightless (not needing a battery helps!) and soft to hold - wonderful. (The little butterfly-winged fey you can see there was a Yule present from Kai.)
The tablet itself has an odd quirk though.
controls
This is the little control panel thingie at the top. The right and left arrows page back and forth between screens, and the two lower buttons are customisable 'f' buttons: they all light up in that beautiful electric blue. The circle in the middle is a touch pad, like on a laptop. The swirly things that look like volume indicators increase and decrease the size of the text on the screen, as I found by accident when brushing my hand over it and then finding the text had gone microscopic. Terrific - except that on my system, you have to brush anti-clockwise clockwise I mean, blame my backwards clock, (volume up direction) to make things smaller, and anti-clockwise to make them bigger. Which is definitely counter-intuitive. Don't know if that's a general feature or just my machine. Wouldn't surprise me, it's the sort of thing Butch likes doing...
Have the 1966 Christopher Lee Dracula, Prince of Darkness film on TV in the background...
(Joules) [g] Hammer Horror Films in glorious Technicolour - wonderful stuff. (Lutra) LOL! Shouldn't that be 'lurid Technicolour'? [g] [smirk] [g] Nope - glorious. Mind you, haven't seen any blood yet...
Right. Need to get a little of the other project done tonight. No rest for the mad. Unfortunately it's all meant that we couldn't go to see this, that Ken would have like to take me to for my birthday. Eh well. Maybe another time...

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I do believe we have a songthrush singing at the top of the garden! That would be fantastic - not only are they great at keeping the 'pod population down, but they're gloriously tuneful and increasingly rare. Must find out what I can put on the birdtable to tempt them.
Bed shortly.

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Did. Crystal Power manuscript now finished (though I'll have to proof-read before it goes off tomorrow) at 18,001 words! [g] That 1 at the end is just silly...
Time to get crackin' with the other project. Though not tonight - I'm tired now.

Edit: Oh look, it's Friday 13th! Excellent!

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Thursday, February 12, 2009


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OK, just 2.5K words to go and the crystal book is done. I'm quite pleased with it (have been revising and tidying as I go, to save time) and I think I should be able to whap it off on Friday (a good two weeks before the deadline).
Then I have to get the other one written. I'm taking a month off after this before I get back to Haadri, but then I should be able to get the PC second edition done fairly quickly and Missions finished.
Ken's computer is now in and working: he's installed the basics (Word, Eudora, Mailwasher, Firefox) and is ready to go first thing tomorrow.
Tired now. Going to go fall over.

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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

[happy sigh] New tablet and trackball arrived this morning, so we spent an hour getting my new set-up organised. The new monitor is great, although it enlarges everything to fit rather than increasing the actual screen size. If that makes sense. Everything looks enormous - I can read the screen easily without my glasses. I can probably customise it, but I haven't managed to get any work done yet today so will leave that until I have time.
Tablet is amazing - half the size of the previous one (which itself was half the size of the first one I ever had), incredibly sleek and snazzy, and very sensitive, so will take a day or so to get used to. And it's fantastic to have a trackball again - really missed it.
But it's the keyboard that's the best news - I can hear my hands saying 'thank you' already. Although it too will take a little getting used to, as it's been years since I've used a proper ergonomic one. Also, on the old keyboard my insert/home/page up and down/ delete and end buttons were in two columns of three, while on this one they're in two rows of three. I keep hitting page down instead of end. Eh well, give it a day or so.
Right. Back to rockface.

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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Rain melted all the snow so Kai is back to school.
I think it's fair to say I'm not going to be able to do anything with my hands for about a week after I've finished these manuscripts. Ken's already suffering: picked up some anti-inflammatory gel from the dr., which I think I shall be borrowing. At least he still has his splints - I only seem to have one left. Not that I can wear them with any degree of comfort though, anyway.
Ouch.
snow and sun
Snow and sun on Sunday - pretty, but hopefully that's the last of it for now.
Ken's computer arrived today, along with the ergonomic keyboards, but I'm still waiting for my new tablet and trackball. Given the confusion of cabling under my desk I'd much rather do everything at once than have to keep crawling under there to shunt things around. Especially since the slightest tweak unplugs the cable modem - dodgy connection.
On the plus side, the monitor that came with Ken's package is a 22 inch, which he doesn't want, so I'm getting that one and he's having my 19 inch. This makes me happy.
Right, while my hands are still working I'm back to the rockface. The CP wordage is now a tad shy of 13K (planning to make that up before I close down): aiming to finish this book before I really dive into the other.
Later...

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OK - just over 10K words on Crystal Power, just over 9K words on the other project: total wordage so far 19K (out of a required 68K). Not too bad but still a long way to go.
Bed now. It's rained a lot, and the snow has been melting, but if it now gets cold (and there's a nasty chill wind blowing) it could still freeze...

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Monday, February 09, 2009

[sigh] Kai was at school today. It rained nearly all day, washing away nearly all of what snow was left and melting the last little bit of ice.
And then it started snowing, and now everything is white again. Don't know whether he'll be going in tomorrow or not...

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Sunday, February 08, 2009

More of the same.
But at least the weather - and the snow and ice - has cleared up a bit. (Though that being said I'm typing with fingerless gloves on: it's not actually cold in here but my fingernails are blue. Circulation seems to be up the creek...) Looks like Kai will be back to school tomorrow, and hopefully we'll get all the post that's been backlogged. Includes a vital book for Ken, and several essential DVDs. And keeping fingers crossed the PC World and tablet orders arrive too, this bloody pen is driving me nuts.

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Aaaand overshot the target. But that's fine, less to do tomorrow.
I shall be very happy when I can announce what this project is. All I can say at the moment is that I'm enjoying it immensely.
Going to go fall over now...

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Saturday, February 07, 2009

Work.
Last ep of Demons. Got bored, won't watch any putative second season.
Watched the Dalziel and Pascoe episode Demons on our Shoulders (REG as Lee Knight). Cracking stuff.
Ploughing on. Need to do another 700 words to reach today's target. This is a really punishing schedule, and there's another three weeks to go...

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Friday, February 06, 2009

snow on the fence
The fence had fangs this morning...
That's supposed to be the last of the snow, however. Now we get sub-zero temperatures and rock hard ice for the weekend. Oh joy.
So Kai was off today again. And we both had to work, so it's not been that brilliant a day for him. Eh well.
Back to the rockface.

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Thursday, February 05, 2009

[sigh] And it's snowing again... I have never known anything like this, even when I lived in Scotland.
This has not been a good day. I woke up with the most unpleasant crackling, popping noises in my right ear that have only just (almost) gone away. No idea what it was, but it was incredibly annoying. Argent isn't eating properly: may have to take him to the vet - when it's safe to get there. Then Ken's computer started playing up, 100% CPU usage making everything hang and crash. The culprit was one of Symantec's Norton files, we discovered, although that didn't explain why Ken had no internet access. Email, yes - 'net, not a proverbial sausage. Eventually managed (after seven reboots) to uninstall Norton, which has solved the hanging problem, and he's using the laptop for 'net access right now, but he's also in the middle of a book at the moment and this is really slowing things down.
So we ordered a new computer for him from PC World.
And two decent ergonomic keyboards, one each. And I have a Logitech trackball coming too, from play.com - all USB wired connections, I'm fed up with bloody wireless stuff that just eats batteries and keeps going wrong.
So I've managed soddall work today. Will need to make up the wordage tonight, and I'm already knackered. And cold - it feels like the outside temperature is somehow creeping in, missing the air in the house, and osmosing into me. And there's a limit to how many hot drinks I can cope with in one day...

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2 am Two a.m. 10 am Ten a.m.
Looks pretty, but it's very treacherous out there (I went to Tesco this morning, so can vouch for the state of the pavements. Walked back down the middle of the road). The snow has turned to extremely slippery slush were it's been walked on, and with the forecast freeze tomorrow will be very dangerous on the roads. There are no bus services running today (except for the independents).
So Kai is home, and getting some German homework done (a brief essay on what he would buy the Osbournes as presents? They do some strange stuff in MFL...) then he's going to get some music practise in (guitar I think). The school says to log in to their VLE suite and work from that - only Kai's password doesn't work. [rolls eyes]
Ploughing on...

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Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Kai back to school, but we aren't yet sure about tomorrow - will see if the forecast heavy snow arrives, and what the JC website says in the morning.
Our blackbird has been eating the tasty seed from the bird table! (It has sultanas mixed in with it, and apparently they're quite partial to sultanas...)
Working all day. Spreads off, wordage now just over 6K for the crystal project and 5K for the big one. More later: have film to watch tonight.
I also have emails to answer and no energy to do it. Tomorrow am perhaps.

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Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Kai was off school today. He went down to the park with the B sprog, where they proceeded to build a very large snowman and have a snowball fight. They arrived back a couple of hours later, a bit cold and wet, after the snowman's head had been punched off (in the process of the snowball fight, I think) and had a hot Belgian Choc drink and pork, honey and wholegrain mustard sausage sandwiches for lunch.
I left them watching Boosh while I trudged into town to the Cabot Circus Showcase de Lux (yes, that's the correct spelling) to catch a film for research for the big project. First time I've visited the Circus - it's rather fun, windy passages (as in passages that wind, not breezy ones) and cobbledy undercover lanes and escalators everywhere. A handful of fun shops too, though nothing we'd consider exactly good. But it's a bit of a hive - had to ask for directions twice. Nice cinema though, big and lush with amazingly wide, comfortable seats with high backs and headrests. Quite tempted to take Kai there to see Dragonball Evolution (oh come on, there's no way I could not see it now, is there?!) which looks like it'll be a big budget, intense cg extravaganza...
Anyway - the film... I went in expecting at the very least to dislike it, as I've read the book it's based on and absolutely loathe it, the worst thing I've read in a long time, worse even than quite a lot of the MarySues on FFNet. However, to my surprise the film is actually not that bad. Yes, it's flawed, but it's a damn sight better than the thrice-accursèd book. So quite a useful afternoon.
Got back via Primark and Sainsbug to find the B sprog still here, so invited him to stay for dinner (chilli con carne). Both sprogs should be back to school tomorrow, unless the JC site says otherwise: the roads were very wet and it's due to freeze tonight, so it still might not be safe even with much of the snow melted. And there's more snow forecast for later in the week, so they might all be home again Thursday and Friday (if so, I've told Kai he'll have to get some schoolwork done from the school's site, these aren't really days off.)
No Heroics is on at 11.30. That gives me a tad over two hours to see how far I can get with the 1K words required for the publisher requested spreads (no, sorry, 750 words, I managed some of it this morning). The Crystal Ball project is now one third written: haven't word counted what I've done so far for the other yet.
Rockface calling...

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nightime snow

Incredibly bright out there, with the city lights bouncing off the low clouds, hitting the snow and bouncing back again - the most amazing golden-orange. This really doesn't show it off to best advantage, but my camera isn't quite powerful enough to take the pics without a flash, which is what is really needed. Ah well...
I haven't said, but my tablet has been playing up like nobody's business this last month, making me have to reboot several times a day when it stops working. I really need a decent one (have been using the mouse tonight and my hands are hurting already) but thought I'd never be able to afford a Wacom. Until I found this on amazon.uk. That's actually cheaper than the last Trust tablet I bought. Ken said buy it (it counts as a business expense, and with two advances in the near future it won't bankrupt us right away!) so it's on its way. [happy grin] Looking forward to it.

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Monday, February 02, 2009

Snow! <- 11am. Not as bad as London, but still enough that if it's like this in the morning, Kai's buses won't be running and he won't be going in to school. We need to check the JC website after 5am tomorrow to see what they say, but it's looking possible, given there's heavy snow forecast around midnight... And all over Bristol kids are praying it continues, and their parents are cursing and praying it doesn't...
We could do without this!
Snow!
1.30pm. ->
In other news... Remember the meeting I went to last November, at Canary Wharf? Looks like I might have the contract after all. More when everything is confirmed and the publisher gives me the OK, but it's 50K words - and a deadline of the end of February. Same deadline as the Crystal Ball project.
Insane. Just as well I've been working on it anyway.
Back to the mine...

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Sunday, February 01, 2009

Happy Imbolc!

St Anne's well, St Anne's Wood
K&K went on an Imbolc walk to
<- St Anne's Well today. They quite enjoyed it, even though it's very cold.
I was working, of course. Ploughing on, and not doing too badly, though it's hard keeping up with the required wordage...
pigeon on brussels sprout plant Pigeon on Brussels sprout plant. Yes, actually sitting on the top. Cheeky bugger. Pity he didn't have a go at the cabbage white butterflies [edit: butterflies? butterflies?? AARGH! I mean caterpillars of course...] on it. Yes, they are still alive, even after that cold snap. What the hell are they made of, granite?
Second ep of Being Human. wow. Watching it again when it repeats at 12.15.

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For anyone who missed it, there was a half-hour or so spell when any and every google search brought up a 'this site could harm your computer' type warning and no sites were accessible at all. Quite alarming, it was. But they sorted it out speedily...

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