Zone Doubt, a.k.a. 'Surreal Я Us'...
Joules, trusted by... dozens... to make a drama out of your crisis...
:: JAT :: WaveWrights :: Publications ::
I live to write. It's not wise to get in my
... I'd write my autobiography, but no-one would believe it....
If you come across any words you don't recognise in this blog, take a look at the Taylorspeke Glossary in the left-hand infopane, you'll usually find a definition there.
Adventures in Orchids
Apparently I am now collecting them...
EO - Everlasting orchid. Phalaenopsis. I've had this orchid since 2007 and it just keeps flowering...
AO - Alien face orchid. Phalaenopsis . Bought 2018 - lovely little flowers, all different patterns!
RO - Rescued orchid
TO - Tiny orchid. Phalaenopsis. Bought at Tesco 21.8.20. It just begged to come home with me. How could I say no?
CO - Crimson orchid. Cambria. Another Tesco find. This one may be going to live in Ken's room once we've redecorated and put up the new shelving; it prefers a cooler, less sunny windowsill. If so, I'll need to find another cambrian to keep it company.
GO - Golden orchid. Phalaenopsis. Saw this one when I bought CO and left it behind - then immediately regretted it as soon as I got home. Never seen one like it before. Ken, bless him, went back over to Tesco in the rain and bought it for me...
DO - Dendrobium Orchid. Smells of wisteria, so beautiful...
RO2 - Rescued orchid no 2. Phalaenopsis. This is the one I rescued from the wall along the road middle of 2021.
PO. Pink orchid. Phalaenopsis. This is the one I bought at Cabury Garden Centre on special, late 2021. It's much happier here!
TWO. Teeny weeny orchid, Phalaenopsis. Rescued from Tesco end 2021 (I think).
Sunday, January 31, 2010
Contented cat is contented...
Managed to get one lot of client site updates done, the other will wait until tomorrow... Also finished a little Swamp Thing fic, which will be posted in The (other) Zone later tonight (I'll post a note on the Updates Blog when it's coded and uploaded).
Saturday, January 30, 2010
Two days of managing absolutely soddall, what a waste...
My Director's Cut edition of Dark City arrived: it was supposed to be for my birthday, but was rattling inside where it had become detached from the spindle, so I had to watch it to check it wasn't damaged. (That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.) It is very good, much better than the theatrical version, missing that stupid spoiler narration at the beginning and with about fifteen minutes of extra footage that add so much to the story. Wonderful stuff!
My latest Lovefilm rental is Moon, which I listed because Matt Berry is in it. It stars Sam Rockwell, who I absolutely loathed as Zaphod in HHGTTGM film, so I did not have particularly high hopes - but it's a chilling little gem of film, well deserving its IMDb solid 8 rating (I'd have given it a 9, personally). Admittedly I'd worked out the plot before we were more than a third into it, but that's not unusual. It's an amazing film. I'd recommend it highly.
Gorgeous weather today, brilliant sun (even if it was only just above freezing temperature wise) and K&K have been out riding on buses looking for St Anne's wells...
Much later edit re Dark City Director's Cut: it felt like 15 minutes but was probably only about three. Still made the whole thing so much better though.
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
... bleurgh... iz dedz...
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Sorry about the lack of the usual 'large spider' warning: too short a post to make it work.
Quite why Rosa decided to take a bath in her freshly-topped-up drinking bowl I don't know... Feeding her on the specially-fed crickets seems to be working though, she's a brighter and healthier looking pink than she was before.
Still groggy. Had a stab this morning at seeing how I'm going to revamp the BCP site, but not uploading until I'm happy with it. Spent a couple of hours curled up on the settee this afternoon enjoying an Arcane fest, watching some favourite Swamp Thing episodes. (Forgot to say - the STF seems to have really enjoyed the gift-fic, which is very encouraging. I'll post it in The (other) Zone in the next couple of weeks.)
Distinct lack of energy today. Shall be very glad when the cold's gone.
Monday, January 25, 2010
[snuffly sigh] Bleurgh. I have Kai's cold. Thought I'd avoided it, but no. Partly my own fault as the First Defence ran out and I forgot to get another bottle. Eh well. I may still be able to fend off the worst of the effects.
BCP Comms group meeting earlier tonight - very useful. Will start on the site revisions tomorrow.
Sunday, January 24, 2010
Tch', day spent charging madly around like a mad thing. Sainsbug's, then the Sunday market for a rucksack (yes, I know I bought one just a wee while back, I had to give that to Kai as his school one was falling to pieces and his need was greater), a bag for Ken and trainers for me (because I didn't find anything right the first time). Back, very quickly made dinner then headed off into town with Kai to try to catch the 3.30 showing of Avatar in 3D at the Showcase de Lux.
Couldn't believe it - they were sold out (and only had a very few seats left for the later showing). Sold out!! We're used to having the cinema practically to ourselves. And the film's been showing for months! Most aggrieved I was. Apparently all evening and weekend screenings always sell out really quickly and to make sure you can get a ticket you have to book by phone or online. Will have to see about organising it for next weekend. The problem is the thought of sitting in a packed cinema for 2 hours 40 minutes makes me feel positively claustrophobic.
Hm. Well, I suppose it's a fun enough film, but it's not Sherlock Holmes. I wouldn't be at all surprised to find purists highly offended. The situation isn't helped by Downey's absolutely bloody horrible unreal accent - if you can't believe the main character is genuine it kinda spoils the effect of the rest. I did like Law though - that visualisation of Watson worked for me. But the rest... it's an action movie, and just plain silly in places. Distinctly slashy subtext too (deliberate, I thought. And if you can call something that unsubtle 'subtext'). I'll probably pick it up if I ever see it anywhere very cheap (much of the banter was funny, at least) but it's certainly not on the 'must have' list.
But there are two films coming up that look, from the trailers, like 'must sees', The Lightning Thief and the remake of Clash of the Titans - the latter looks simply awesome (and the music sounds spot on, even if touring commitments do mean Muse aren't able to be on the soundtrack). It must be the year of the Olympians.
Back, tea, and then I watched the first two eps of 24 (heh, Season 8!) I haven't seen any before, but I've recently been re-watching Kiefer Sutherland films (always found him a consistently good actor and usually enjoy his work) and thought I'd take a look. It's not bad. I'm in two minds whether to make it a regular watch or not. It does clash with Being Human, but since that's repeated every day and readily available on Replay, and in any case is only 6 eps in total, that doesn't present too much of a problem. I can get the earlier seasons of 24 from Lovefilm if I find myself really liking it. I don't mind watching things backwards.
Now I need to catch up on everything I missed today (didn't boot up until after we got back from the cinema - 7.20ish - so have a few emails to answer before I get to anything else...
Saturday, January 23, 2010
Probably the most contented cat in the world...
An aerial view of the house and garden, screencapped from Multimap ->
<- What's left of Kai's log scramble. This was interesting: it's been hollowed out by a fairly large animal, and it's only happened within the last few days. I noticed that the block that Dave next door had placed against his fence to try to keep out the badgers was askew this morning, so it may very well have been one of them digging for the bugs and beetles overwintering in the wood.
We all spent an hour in the garden this afternoon, pruning the cherry tree at the front and the apple and medlar trees at the back. Still have the bay tree to do before it grows too tall again, and the rockery (and the meadow) is a complete mess so I have a lot of work to do there, but otherwise everything's looking good.
Spaced series one is on at nine - all six eps back to back. Looking forward to that!
Friday, January 22, 2010
Too wet for the garden - it rained all day - but my orchids are now tended (although I need to feed the non-flowering ones over the weekend, a job that usually takes an hour as I let them sit in a bowl of water and feed mixed for a few minutes so they can absorb the nutrients) and the greenhouse plants checked (the problem with keeping them indoors is that any bugs they have love the warmth and wiping the pests off with damp tissues is very labour-intensive. I'm not sure if my systemic house-plant pest treatments are suitable for food plants so won't risk it).
Also finally racked this year's elderflower wine - should be able to bottle it in a few days: I need Ken's help for that as the corks have to be carefully hammered into the bottle necks and I don't have the strength or control to do it safely - and started the generic red wine I plan to use mainly in cooking. So a useful day all told.
We watched A Scanner Darkly tonight. It's good, but strange. Then again, given the subject matter, that's not surprising.
Thursday, January 21, 2010
Kai is still feeling rough, but coping well, and says his exam today wasn't too bad, so keeping fingers crossed.
Kai and I watched Chemistry: A Volatile History on BBC 4 this evening (my knowledge of chemistry is not good...) It's extremely good, gives a fantastic overview of the subject, and I was surprised to discover how much I actually do know.
Oh - and today I had probably the most inept 419er EVER. It's so bad I thought I'd share... Do feel free to skip to the end if it gives you a headache, but please read the first paragraph, which gives a good taste of the whole. Ostensible sender's name has been deleted in case it is a real member of staff of the company, which does actually exist.
It goes on like this for another four paragraphs, still all in caps, and ends:
Well yes, of course I'm impressed by scammers SHOUTING at me. And look at the perfect spelling and grammar! I'm even more impressed that this twat sent this out to over forty email addresses, too stupid to even BCC them. How can I fail to respond to such an elegant, eloquent missive? [sigh]
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
So, Drag Me To Hell...
Heh. Ninety nine minutes long and it felt like it dragged to at least three hours. Absolutely predictable. Basically a remake of Night of the Demon (which is a real horror film). Supposed to have some grimly comic moments: all I can say is this must be some weird American definition of the word 'comedy' with which I am unfamiliar. Characters who seemed to think they were making a comedy. Two 'make-you-jump' moments at the beginning which were then used over and over again until we were yawning. Dire, truly dire, and really boring.
But then, you never know until you try.
[sigh] And sprog has a cold - quite an unpleasant one, poor thing, and his maths GCSE is tomorrow afternoon. Going to have to dose him up before he goes and hope the cold-relief tablets last (the school is, quite rightly, completely averse to kids taking in any kind of medication, unless it's important prescribed stuff).
So I'm on the First Defence again...
I've started updating the Haadri blog a little more frequently, for anyone who might be interested. There'll be a post there in about half an hour.
Just as I was about to head off for Tesco I got a call from Hotter Shoes customer service - terribly apologetic and saying that my first email never reached them. Well, that would explain why I got no answer! I've been assured that they do take complaints very seriously and have now referred it to the Home Courier Service, who handle all their deliveries, and hopefully I should hear back from them soon.
I feel happier now. I still won't be ordering from them, as the shoes won't be wide enough to be comfortable, but I won't be not-recommending them. If you see what I mean.
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Odd day. I have another blasted subconjunctival haemorrhage, in my right eye, which feels uncomfortable and itchy. It's not as bad as the last one, fortunately. Both eyes are a little uncomfortable at the moment, mostly due to lack of sleep I suspect. (I've been keeping an eye on my blood pressure and it seems to be slowly coming down, so it's unlikely to be that.) If it doesn't clear up I'll trot up to the doctor.
So I've tried to spend a little less time than normal at my desk today. Managed some client site updates, watched Dark City and Dark Fury (which is interesting), and did a little (very little!) housework.
I also emailed Hotter Shoes. Remember all the hassle I had with the bloody courier breaking the letterbox last November then shouting at me when I complained? I contacted the company right away, but have heard absolutely bugger all. On their website they say:
If that's their idea of first class service they can bloody keep it. I will not be recommending Hotter Shoes to anyone, nor will I be buying anything from them in future. Appalling behaviour.
My latest rental from LoveFilm is Drag Me To Hell: Ken and I are going to watch it after Kai's gone to bed. (It's a 15, but given the content we'd rather check it first. If it's OK he can watch it at the weekend.)
Monday, January 18, 2010
Wow. I did nothing today.
Labels: nowt really
Sunday, January 17, 2010
Day trip to Tesco. It's irritating when everything runs out at the same time - like laundry limescale preventative tablets, Ecover laundry bio-tabs and Mr Muscle Window and Glass cleaner. I ended up buying so much I couldn't carry it and had to ring Ken to come and help. I think I'm going to have to accept that with my left arm and shoulder still playing up I simply can't carry as much as I used to (and I'll ask the doctor what could be wrong when I next go to see her, which will probably be in March).
Kai, bless 'im, has been working through hours of maths homework today, in preparation for the GCSE on Thursday. He also gets his German exam details this month: it's spread out over a year as far as I can see and involves four sections (speaking, writing, reading and conversation? Something like that). It's all very tough for the kids but they all seem to be very determined to do well.
But it was such a glorious day today he took a break and went down to St Anne's Well with Ken, who needed a couple more photos for a small book he's working on. While they were gone I opened up the greenhouse for airing and watering: everything's survived quite well, including my big pot of mint, so hopefully I'll be able to make my own mint sauce this year.
We did have another two casualties in Roeg's Pool - two very large frogs (who might have died of old age as much as the weather). I shall feel happier when I know that at least some of our amphibian inhabitants survived (they should have, there's plenty of places for them to shelter in the garden). My poor jasmine is looking very unhappy though - and we haven't stopped the leak in the garden loo. That's going to have to be looked at properly this week. All in all, though, the garden's come through the worst of the cold snap in pretty good shape.
Unfortunately so have the bloody mosquitoes. Arctic temperatures for three weeks and at the first sign of thaw we have mosquitoes over the frewtnog pool? I am not impressed...
Aiming for an early night (yes, well, we know how that usually works out...) Tomorrow I really need to do a little garden work, even if it's just deadheading in the meadow and starting pruning the bay tree, before I dive into Heart.
Saturday, January 16, 2010
Snow all gone. Finally able to get out to Sainsbug's! 'ooray! (Day trip to Tesco tomorrow.)
Major shop accomplished, but my legs are really aching. How can I get so out of condition in just three weeks? Admittedly, I'm normally walking to the supermarkets three or more times a week and carrying heavy stuff back, which actually makes for pretty good exercise, so not doing so is bound to have some effect. [sigh] Will need to get that sorted out over the next few weeks. Mind you, it won't be long and I'll need to get the greenhouse and veg bed ready for this year, and start my cold-resistant tomatoes off indoors. That'll get me moving.
We had our first casualty of the cold snap - one of the goldfish in Roeg's Poool has died. The other two seem to be fine though.
And I've had music all afternoon: the B sprog came over to jam with Kai. They've been practising Muse songs, and sounding great!
Back to the loom.
Friday, January 15, 2010
News in brief: Kai said the exam wasn't too bad.
If Only... finished at 56 pages and emailed off.
The second lot of Rosa's crickets arrived, all alive (with the weather the first order wasn't delivered for eight freezing days and all of them were dead). I've given them some cricket food (it comes as a greyish powder that is mixed with water and shaped into little round balls: they love it) which has all sorts of protein and vitamins and minerals all designed to keep Rosa in top condition. We'll see...
The snow has all gone. Shall go shopping tomorrow (in the forecasted rain).
Kai and I watched Swamp Thing eps Blood Wind, Mirador's Brain (where I noticed that at the beginning, where they're removing the brain, the man is actually still alive - well, his heart is beating and he's breathing - yet later we're told he committed suicide... I could do a Judas Justification I suppose and say well, he committed suicide and suffered brain death while his body was still technically functional - but that still leaves the awkward fact that they removed the brain of a living man...), and Night of the Dying. Mostly so we could have fun MSTing them, which is wonderfully easy with those eps. Don't get me wrong, we love the latter two, they're so deliciously OTT, but they're so easy to mock. Heh. Kai asks to watch eps! He's a convert! (Oh dear, what have I done...?)
Off to the loom now, to make a start on the next instalment of Repercussions. Or perhaps the non-drabble drabbleish shorts I have planned. It's Friday, and tonight I get to play...
Thursday, January 14, 2010
And the school buses were running this morning, the water in the birdbath wasn't frozen, and the snow is melting apace: this little part of Briz is back to what passes for normal, at any rate. So childe has just finished his science GCSE and will, presumably, since the school is open today, have to continue with normal lessons. (Seems a bit unfair after an exam!)
This morning there was a fieldfare eating the apples I put out at the top of the garden. The flock of redwings is also sitting in one of the big trees in the communal garden along the lane, I assume waiting for the coast to be clear so they can come down and have some. Tyjer is out at the moment, but as usual keeps coming in - he may be a Bodie-cat but he does like his comfort...
Back to the loom.
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Snow. Wet, warm Atlantic snow that settles lightly then melts a few hours later (as opposed to cold hard Siberian snow that settles and freezes solid). School buses not running (there was actually a 'Road Closed' sign at the bottom of Talbot Hill! Never seen that before) so Kai was home again today.
And it was noticeably warmer today, even with the snow. Only problem is it's supposed to freeze tonight. Maybe. If it does, it'll be horrendous tomorrow. We're going to check the websites early and see what's what. Ken's going to try to take Kai in to school for his science GCSE in the morning if at all possible: the exam starts at 9, and if they set off at about 6.45 and the First buses are running (and so far there's nothing to say they won't be) they can get there in time. We're a bit concerned about the pavements around the school - very slippery apparently - but we feel if Kai can get there, he really should. (His opinion is markedly different, of course...) Please keep fingers crossed...
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Warmer today - the snow was actually melting. Kai went to school, Ken nipped into town to get skooshes from Robert Dyas, and I cleared some client site work. Ken had an archaeology group meeting this evening, so Kai and I watched the last four eps of Spaced (absolutely brilliant) and Swamp Thing ep Jury of his Fears. Great fun.
But now it's started snowing again, not heavy but relentless. If it freezes tonight the roads will be impassable again in the morning.
Monday, January 11, 2010
Warmer today: school buses were running, so Kai made it to school (bus drove all the way, the road to the school carpark was passable, at last, so they didn't have to walk from the top). It's his science GCSE on Thursday, not maths - I got them the wrong way round - but he seems pretty OK with it, and tells me they have two whole afternoons of revision tomorrow and Wednesday. (Assuming, that is, that tonight's below zero temps don't make the roads impassable again and the forecast snow tomorrow night doesn't cause problems for Wed. [sigh] I'm tired of this, it's time for a thaw please.)
Ghosts first draft is now done and off to the publisher: Ken can slow down for a couple of days (still has to source the sorts of illos he wants, which will take a while, but that's relatively straightforward) before they come back requesting revisions/additions etc. He was able to get to Tesco this evening for a bit of shopping: still too treacherous underfoot for me, but he said it was a lot better than he'd expected, which is all good.
If Only... is now at 38 pages, but the end is in sight. Probably only about another 5 - 8 pages to finish the story. I'm quite pleased with it, and what I have learned while writing it will serve me well for some of the characters in Heart.
Back before Yule I picked up Spaced vol 2 from the Cat Charity shop, and tonight we started watching it. It is very, very funny, gloriously but only slightly surreal, enough that it's quite believable. We are hooked and I'll probably order the first series from amazon tomorrow (there's a book Ken wants to 'search inside' but you have to buy something before they'll let you. Yes, sounded odd to me too, but I wouldn't put it past them...) Terrific!
Back to the loom.
Sunday, January 10, 2010
More proof-reading, and another picture (of the Bantu ena - spirit). The manuscript is now, essentially, finished and can go off tomorrow, though there are a few things that will probably need to be revised and reduced/extended. This is perfectly normal and expected.
And then - Being Human season 2, ep 1. Whoah! Heaveeee. I do feel that introducing quite so many plot-arcs in the first ep might have been a little... enthusiastic, though.
Really looking forward to next ep.
Saturday, January 09, 2010
Busy day. Ken needs an illustration of the Bantu system of reincarnation, so I've been drawing the seven small illos for that. In between proof-reading the Ghosts manuscript - and I have to say it's bloody good! Long term readers probably know I have a very sceptical view of the whole subject, but the book is absolutely fascinating (which made it difficult to proof-read as I kept being distracted by the content!) Great stuff.
The client site situation is not so good. A few months ago Supanames became incorporated with 123-reg.co.uk. The transfer seemed to go nice and smoothly, although I have to confess I do not like the new control panel. But then I had an email asking me to set up the payment registration for all the sites they host. That's not a problem per se, it's the same procedure as Supanames used - but when I tried the system refused my business card. And Ken's business card. And my personal card...
123-reg have a support page not too dissimilar to Supanames, so I reported the problem, and some hours later got an email asking me to login to check the response on my support page. (humph. Supanames were faster and replied in the email.) They thought it might be a problem with my bank. So - given that when Lovefilm sent me their (rather nice!) usual Yuletide £10 gift voucher for being a loyal customer and I tried to pay the excess on the two films I ordered from them, that failed as well - I rang the Co-op.
Who had a nice message on the phone saying that due to the weather they had less staff than usual (they guarantee a UK call centre, bless 'em) but please to wait and the call would be answered asap. Which it was, in less than a minute. The extremely pleasant young guy I spoke to assured me there was no problem the bank's end, and to maybe try paying Lovefilm again as it may be a glitch (but he'd add a note to my account anyway to say I'd been in touch and in case there were any repercussions). He then transferred me to their business section, where the equally friendly and efficient young man also assured me there was no problem with that account either. Which is pretty much what I'd expected.
So I went back to 123-reg - and logged in using effing IE...
Oh surprise surprise, the registration went through just fine. [spitspit]
However, I did notice that the two-yearly hosting sub for one of the sites was showing as £74 instead of the £50.50 it was last time, so I queried it, wondering if they were charging for the domain name (which is held elsewhere) as well as the site hosting.
So they've come back, saying - if I've understood the not-terribly-well-worded message correctly, and I will confess that I'm not at all sure that I have - that they don't host sites for which they don't hold the domain name. Which accounts for seven of the client sites I manage.
I've asked for clarification, as that really doesn't sound right to me. I sincerely hope I have misunderstood, because I really don't want to have to try to transfer half my clients to another new host...
I managed to get Lovefilm mostly sorted out too, I think - although it seems they somehow refunded the excess on the order when my payment never actually managed to get through to them, so I need to pay them twice £1.86 to set things straight. Somehow.
[sigh] Nothing's ever easy 'round here...
Friday, January 08, 2010
Go see. Feel small. Then realise that despite our complete cosmic and earthly insignificance, the fact that we can do this, appreciate it, make the first attempts at understanding it, makes us giants...
Labels: ... wow...
Thursday, January 07, 2010
[sad sigh] We watched the last six episodes of Swamp Thing Vol 2 tonight: Easy Prey, an environmental ep that I really enjoyed; The Handyman, which is interesting, a bit daft, and another Anton sort-of-retcon ep; The Hurting, another enjoyable ghost-type ep; The Chains of Forever which was rather sad; An Eye for an Eye which I like for its wonderfully nasty Arcane; and Swamp of Dreams, an anti-drug ep with an even nastier Arcane. And now I have no more to watch, until I can get hold of the remaining twenty-four episodes of Season Three. [Shouts at Shout!Factory] I need my eps!
Y'know, this programme could have been so very good. Every now and then a tiny glimmer of greatness shimmers through. With a bigger budget, longer episodes, some better acting on the parts of a few people, weeding out the weaker plots and someone willing to get the science right - or at least plausible - it could have been terrific. The eco-eps and the overall encapsulated environmental concerns portrayed throughout - not to mention the dangers of technology used irresponsibly with no regard to consequences - have deep resonances today.
The school buses aren't running tomorrow: Kai will be home for another day.
Back to the loom...
Labels: Swamp Thing TV series
And the school is actually closed today. Kai is carrying on working through maths problems.
We have a flock (about 14 birds) of redwings visiting the garden! First time we've seen them. Unfortunately our blackbirds have stripped most of the berries from the pyracantha, which is where they were hunting: we have another pyracantha shoot in a tub outside the greenhouse, so I shall try to bring that on and get it in the ground this year. I'll have to see what other berried shrubs I can get hold of: the mahonia is a bit too close to the house for any but the blackbirds, and I don't know if redwings eat ivy berries (apparently they'll strip rowan trees bare, and they love apples. I have a couple of apples in the fridge - I could try sticking one on the goji-berry frame...)
Client invoices sent off, and I've done a major (and I mean major) archiving session that took all afternoon. All 6,000+ 2009 emails archived as html files, all 2009 client files burned to CD and deleted from the C drive, all email attachments and embedded images cleared out. About a gig in total. I still have a little tidying up to do, but that's the bulk of it. Thankfully. Scanning should be a little faster now.
The school buses aren't running tomorrow (a very wise decision since it's due to get down to -7° tonight and the roads will be ice-rinks tomorrow morning) so Kai has another day at home. We're not sure what's happening Friday yet, but with another very cold 48 hours forecast he may very well not be going in 'til next week. It's at times like this I'm very glad we work from home.
Swamp Thing eps: Destiny, which was odd but really rather nice; Tatania, still a distinct favourite; and Mirador's Brain, which had us all snerking - it's a fine ep. Then the second series of Secret Cabaret, which is simply brilliant. I am so glad I hunted it down.
Back to the loom for a spell...
Wednesday, January 06, 2010
Yes, it snowed. The school is closed - I think most of them are. Bristol is practically at a standstill, all bus services have been suspended and the only traffic I have heard today is police and ambulance sirens. The freeze continues...
And it's started snowing again.
Tyjer is most unimpressed.
Later edit: 'The Academy is shut - but the learning continues...' Kai is working through maths problems at the moment, and later will switch to music. We have LotR Fellowship of the Ring on: it seems apt given the weather, and it's old and familiar enough to provide a pleasant background without being too distracting.
Oh yes - and at 3 this morning I realised I could hear water running somewhere... Seems one of the joints in the pipes that feed the cistern in the garden loo has sprung a leak - luckily above the stopcock, so at least we can turn the water off until we can get it fixed. Since we still haven't had the washbasin installed we may wait until the spring and get it all done together. At least the little heater out there is keeping everything ice free, so far...
Second oh yes - and my fan is still making the horrible grinding noise on start up. Nick says that since we've checked and there's nothing obviously wrong, and it's not affecting performance (at the moment anyway), and once it's running it's quiet and efficient, it's probably fine to just put up with it for now. Otherwise I'll need to have a new fan fitted, and to be honest, right after Yule, I can do without the expense. I will keep an eye on it though, and if I'm worried we'll just have to grit the teeth and throw money at the problem. At least it counts as a business expense.
Tuesday, January 05, 2010
Swamp Thing eps: Special Request, which is terrific; What Goes Around, Comes Around, which is fun; Fear Itself, which I think is supposed to try to present some deep psychological something or other but which fails badly (and nearly sent Ken and I to sleep, despite Arcane being deliciously nasty); and Changes, which is a lovely ep.
And speaking of Arcane... there are similarities between him and Simon Drake's dark, leather-clad 'evil bastard' persona that might explain why I find the character of Arcane so appealing. (Apart from my fondness for psychos, that is.) Yes, we watched the first season Secret Cabaret Creator's Cut, one of my Yule DVDs, which is basically all of Simon's acts from the TV series'. Fantastic! OK, these days we know how a lot of the tricks are done, but the man is a tremendous showman and extremely versatile. First time Kai's seen him (Secret Cabaret is well before his time, first season 1989, second 1992) and he loved the show.
Here's a Youtube clip - not the best illusion but there's not much available online.
Or here if the embedding is jerky.
The DVD includes one of my favourite illusions of all time, the incredibly beautiful Dancing Cane.
Well, Kai got off to school this morning (tired - he was still awake at midnight - and cold), but there is how a note on the website about the forecast weather and what to do. It started snowing earlier - absolutely massive flakes (OK, clumps of flakes) and has snowed on and off all day, which has had the effect of warming up the air so the ice on the ground has melted - but the temperature tonight is due to get down to around -6°, and with heavy snow forecast to start around 6 pm, conditions tomorrow could be horrendous. (Kai will be miffed if he can't go in - he really likes Wednesdays, though right now I can't remember why...)
Tyjer kept going out - though no further than the medlar - staring around at the snow then coming back in, shaking his paws, having something to eat and warming up before venturing out again. It's all very strange and he'd like mum to bring back the sun and the nice warm weather, please.
Kai fancied watching a new film last night, for his last day of holiday: we found Outlander on FilmFlex (in their reduced price selection) so thought we'd give it a go. It's not bad! Nice special effects, good strong characters, not the most original of plots, but overall a good watch.
Also saw the last two eps on Swamp Thing Vol 2 disc 2, so we're now half way through. Dead and Married was a really good ep, very enjoyable and beautifully done. Powers of Darkness, not so much.
STF's fic If Only... is now at 30 pages and still going strong. I've started making notes for Lutra's challenge fic. And I'm re-reading what I've already written of Heart to see what needs revising and how.
It's all good fun.
Monday, January 04, 2010
Leave it to Tyjer to find the sunniest spot and squat there... (that fence is all of an inch wide).
It's been below freezing all day: we had to chip off the ice and put water in the birdbath when we saw our poor blackbirds taking beakfuls of snow. Going to have to get into the habit of doing that a couple of times a day while the freeze lasts.
And it is going to last. We can cope - I got the fridge, freezer and larder well stocked while I could get to the supermarkets safely - but now I'm worried about Kai getting to school. The walk to the bus-stop is flat - but the buses have to come down Talbot Hill first, then at the end of Wick Rd there's a steep slope down to a very narrow old railway bridge, a bit of a slope up at the other side then a sharp right hand turn, all side roads that won't be a priority for gritting. (The slope down to the Feeder and up the other side to Two Mile Hill Road is pretty steep too, although the road up on the other side of the canal is a major route so should be treated early.) Conditions are forecast to be extremely treacherous tomorrow morning, so the school buses may not be running - but we won't know until just before Kai has to leave...
At least the school has things set up so the kids can login to their accounts and programmes from home, if need be, and still get some work done, but they're due to take their maths GCSE on the 7th and their science GCSE on the 21st of January, so the less disruption they have to the normal school routine the better.
On the plus side, I opened up the stack, cleaned out the dustballs and Ken tightened the screws of the fan (it had started making worrying noises again) which seems to have helped, but I'm not going to be very happy if I have to poke around inside the computer every couple of weeks to keep the fan working!
We also finished watching No Heroics, which is without a doubt the crudest, absolutely least PC and possibly funniest Brit comedy I've seen in a while. Great stuff.
Tyjer made it as far as the garden loo porch then came straight back in, and is currently curled up asleep in a sunny spot on my settee...
So much for tough Bodie-cat!
Sunday, January 03, 2010
[sigh] Slapped in the Face by Synchronicity (yet again...)
So we finally managed to watch the second part of the Doctor Who special (which was much better than I'd expected) and at the end...
Well, remember Lutra's challenge?
So you can imagine my face at that scene in the bar... Spoiler in next paragraph, I guess...
Captain Jack sitting disconsolate in an alien bar - reminiscent of the Star Wars cantina scene - is handed a note by the barman. Note is from the Doctor, and says 'His name is Alonzo.' Captain Jack looks puzzled: from the other side of the bar the Doctor indicates the man in uniform who has just sat down beside the Captain.... It's George from Being Human... Cue Captain Jack starting to chat him up and George/Alonzo responding favourably... And on checking further, he is Alonso Frame, who was Midshipman Frame in 2007's Voyage of the Damned, so there's a precedent already in place. (No, I don't remember that. Long-term readers of the blog may recall that I had a bloody great abscess under my root canal filling that Yule and was doped up to the eyes on painkillers until I could get to the emergency dentist the day after Boxing Day. I only just remember the ship was the Titanic. I have no idea of the plot or who was in it...) Are we going to see some sort of relationship there, in the future?
I'll reserve judgement about the new Dr until I've seen an episode or two, but from tonight I can't say I'm hopeful. Especially not after that seemingly-misogynistic comment (and I only say 'seemingly' because I might have misheard what he actually said...)
Ken has a meeting shortly, so we've only been able to catch one Swamp Thing episode tonight - Sonata, which is beautiful. Might be able to watch some more if the meeting doesn't last too long: next up is a ghost story, Dead and Married, which would be useful for him for research.
X-posted to the Updates Blog:
Latest Swamp Thing chapter, Incursion, posted in the Rogue Lemons section of The Zone. Finally, some smut!
I'm quite pleased with this instalment. And Lutra pleaded with me not to kill off my latest original character.
I haven't promised... [beg]
Saturday, January 02, 2010
Next three Swamp Thing eps - Poisonous, Smoke and Mirrors, and This Old House of Mayan, were, unfortunately, rather dull. The absence of Arcane had a lot to do with that, of course. Of the three, the middle ep was OK, while the last one nearly sent me to sleep...
So, not on the favourites list then.
Afterwards we watched Next, which I picked up for £1.99 at the Cash Generator at Broadwalk, and which is a terrific film, highly enjoyable and thoroughly gripping.
Now I'm off back to the loom...
[gasping and holding aching stomach] This is one of the funniest (and some of the crudest, so be warned) things I've ever read. I think I've guffawed enough to last me a year...
Friday, January 01, 2010
... buggerit. I've done my hands in peeling chestnuts. Can barely use the left one. Wasn't even worth it - the chestnuts weren't quite cooked through enough to be tasty. Just hope the hands're OK tomorrow.
Got up very late (11) and had a relaxed day. Kai's been watching the Tremors films, back to back on SciFi channel, which he really enjoyed, then we settled down for the next three Swamp Thing episodes: Better Angels, which is great; Children of the Fool, nicely Will-centred but otherwise a bit pointless; and the magnificent Jury of his Fears which had Kai and I in stitches and even elicited a "can't top that!" from Ken.
Since I can barely type I'm going to try for an early night. Another of the MLC Murder: She Wrote eps is on at 10 in the morning, then I really must get a bit of shopping, since we're out of such staples as milk for Ken and kitchen towels. Well, OK, the latter aren't really a staple, but they are very useful.
There are several other things I need to buy, too, which I meant to write down and then forgot. Tch'. Not organised yet...
I'll stop wittering now. Laters.