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 ::

I live to write. It's not wise to get in my way.

... 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.

The Poppy Tales

(Transformers fanfiction!)

Transformers mini-comics here.

Adventures in Orchids

Apparently I am now collecting them...

There's room for one - or maybe two, at a pinch - more on that bedroom windowsill (the only one in the house that's ideal for them). Let's see what I find. Well, that didn't last long...

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 photo to come when it flowers. Phalaenopsis. Rescued from a bin up the road in 2019. Classic!

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).

My IMDb ep summaries

Arthur of the Britons
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
Jupiter Moon
Transformers: Beast Wars (part: seasons 2 and 3)
Transformers: Beast Machines (part)
Vampire Princess Miyu
Nathan Barley
No Heroics
Undermind (3 eps)
Will Shakespeare (Tim Curry version)
12 Kingdoms
Trigun (ep 8)
Hyperdrive (season 2 ep 3)
The Café

For later:

Missing Earthian ep
Missing Haibane Renme eps)
(And possibly Marine Boy...)

Silver birch at Eastwood 


"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)


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:
Transformers - IDW, Prime, Animated, Rescue Bots.

Currently reading:
Various Transformers books and graphic novels.

Currently working on:

Currently chuffed with:
My garden

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

Currently maintaining:

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 


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



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...

Albino Alsatian Benten (c) MEBird 


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

Radittsu, an oekaki for my birthday 04 



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

The Zone Plant from
The Zone 



OrganicHTML (which alas no longer seems to exist...)
[::..My Regular Reads..::]
:: Astronomical Pic of the Day [>]
:: What is Space... [>]
:: Dark Roasted Blend [>]
:: BLDG [>]
:: Watchismo Times [>]
[::..Fun Places..::]
::PALEOMAP Project
Absolutely fascinating.
:: Skymap
Check out the night sky where you are!
[::..Useful Sites..::]
:: GreenNet
First stop for environmental matters
:: The Forest of Avon
Our local community forest and places to visit
:: The Guardian
Online Guardian Newspaper.
:: 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...

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...)

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

   Dj: June Special
   CD: Ambivalence

Cyber City Oedo 808

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

From Eroica with Love

   Manga Vols 1, 9, 11

Mirage of Blaze

   DVD Vol 1 (eps 1-4)

R.G. Veda

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

Twelve Kingdoms

   Anime Vol 1-12: complete

Under the Glass Moon

   Manga Vol 1, 2
Vol 3 needed

Vampire Hunter D - Bloodlust


   Vampire Hunter D Book 1

New Vampire Miyu

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

Yami no Matsuei

   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.

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

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

(Thanks, Lutra, for the quote!)

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
01/03/2017 - 31/03/2017
01/04/2017 - 30/04/2017
01/05/2017 - 31/05/2017
01/06/2017 - 30/06/2017
01/07/2017 - 31/07/2017
01/08/2017 - 31/08/2017
01/09/2017 - 30/09/2017
01/10/2017 - 31/10/2017
01/11/2017 - 30/11/2017
01/12/2017 - 31/12/2017
01/01/2018 - 31/01/2018
01/02/2018 - 28/02/2018
01/03/2018 - 31/03/2018
01/04/2018 - 30/04/2018
01/05/2018 - 31/05/2018
01/06/2018 - 30/06/2018
01/07/2018 - 31/07/2018
01/08/2018 - 31/08/2018
01/09/2018 - 30/09/2018
01/10/2018 - 31/10/2018
01/11/2018 - 30/11/2018
01/12/2018 - 31/12/2018
01/01/2019 - 31/01/2019
01/02/2019 - 28/02/2019
01/03/2019 - 31/03/2019
01/04/2019 - 30/04/2019
01/05/2019 - 31/05/2019
01/06/2019 - 30/06/2019
01/07/2019 - 31/07/2019
01/08/2019 - 31/08/2019
01/09/2019 - 30/09/2019
01/10/2019 - 31/10/2019
01/11/2019 - 30/11/2019
01/12/2019 - 31/12/2019
01/01/2020 - 31/01/2020
01/02/2020 - 29/02/2020
01/03/2020 - 31/03/2020
01/04/2020 - 31/04/2020
01/05/2020 - 31/05/2020
01/06/2020 - 31/06/2020
01/07/2020 - 31/07/2020
01/08/2020 - 31/08/2020
01/09/2020 - 30/09/2020
01/10/2020 - 31/10/2020
01/11/2020 - 30/11/2020
01/12/2020 - 31/12/2020
01/01/2021 - 31/01/2021
01/02/2021 - 28/02/2021
01/03/2021 - 31/03/2021
01/04/2021 - 30/04/2021
01/05/2021 - 31/05/2021
01/06/2021 - 30/06/2021
01/07/2021 - 31/07/2021
01/08/2021 - 31/08/2021
01/09/2021 - 30/09/2021
01/10/2021 - 31/10/2021
01/11/2021 - 30/11/2021
01/12/2021 - 31/12/2021
01/01/2022 - 31/01/2022
01/02/2022 - 28/02/2022
01/03/2022 - 31/03/2022
01/04/2022 - 30/04/2022
01/05/2022 - 30/05/2022
01/06/2022 - 31/06/2022
01/07/2022 - 31/07/2022
01/08/2022 - 31/08/2022
01/09/2022 - 30/09/2022
01/10/2022 - 31/10/2022
01/11/2021 - 31/11/2021
01/12/2022 - 31/12/2022
01/01/2023 - 31/01/2023
01/02/2023 - 28/02/2023
01/03/2023 - 31/03/2023
01/04/2023 - 30/04/2023
01/08/2023 - 31/08/2023
01/11/2023 - 31/11/2023

Sunday, February 28, 2010

AAAAAHHHHHH! Oh NOES!!! Herrick was buried in the park at the end of our road!!



Saturday, February 27, 2010

Fantastic day!

My White Egret Orchid tubers arrived in the post, along with their care leaflet, so I was able to head off with full knowledge of what I needed for their propagation. We drove to Cadbury first, where I was able to get most of the things on my list (potting compost, orchid compost, perlite, citrus feed, and a suet treat cage with a berry suet treat for my little birds). Then it was next door to the Rowntrees gardening centre, where I found the potash feed recommended for the Egret Orchids - it's also good for fruit trees, so will use it to help the apple this summer as well. So many thanks, Sue - the vouchers went a looooong way!

Afterwards Kim suggested driving on to Clevedon, and of course I said yes - I love that town and its seafront. We ended up at Ladye Bay, although it was unfortunately too muddy and slippery to get down to the beach (will try that in the summer), then went back to Five The Beach (a wonderful seafront restaurant) for a coffee before heading back. Altogether a terrific day, with mammoth exchanges of news and a lot of laughter. A great supplement to the birthday!

But I forgot to take my camera, and haven't yet set up any way to download photos from my phone. Must find out how to do that soon.

A tad tired now...

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[bemused] Checking the Swamp Thing index page in The (other) Zone, I suddenly noticed I'd put the copyright at the bottom of the page as 2009-2019. I have mentioned I have problems with Time, haven't I...?



Friday, February 26, 2010

squid on pillow

Because Lutra was tickled by the idea of a SQUID on a pillow...

He doesn't have a name yet. However, I have now met my new phone's gremlin. I changed the welcome message from SAMSUNG whateveritwas to Konichi-wa! yesterday in the hope it might kick him into making his presence known. And it did. His name is Jeremy. Yes, I was thrown too - never had a gremlin with an ordinary name before. He has crimson eyes...

I have had a great day! Got up stupidly early (I can't seem to sleep longer than six hours at the moment). Bought a SouthWest FirstDay bus ticket and went out to Almondsbury Garden Centre with present money. Didn't actually buy much - a pot of reduced stachys and several packets of seeds - but I really enjoyed just having the leisure to wander.

On the way back got off the bus at the top of the Gloucester Road and checked out all the charity shops on the way down. Would you believe I found Biggles - Adventures in Time for £1 in the heart research shop? (You might remember I rented it from Lovefilm purely because Daniel Flynn (English voice actor for Benten of CCO808) was in it, but ended up really enjoying the film, and said at the time if I ever saw it cheap I'd grab it? Never actually expected to find it!) Then picked up the Director's Cut of Taking Lives at Cancer Research (an 18, so not Kai material), which looks interesting.
alien singing cat

<- I haz an alien singing cat... (from K&K!)

The post had arrived by the time I got back home: it usually gets here mid-afternoon these days. Thanks for the cards, everyone, and [GLOMPS GoodTwin] for the book, and [GLOMPS Sue] for the gardening vouchers. As it happens, Kim rang early evening: she has tomorrow off, and use of the car, so we're off to Cadbury Garden Centre at Congresbury tomorrow afternoon - I shall take the vouchers with me.

I braved the wind (absolutely freezing and almost strong enough to push me off my feet) just long enough to take this pic of the new Severn Bridge from the top of the hill down to the Almondsbury Garden Centre.

New Severn Bridge

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Thursday, February 25, 2010



I haz a squid! (Actually, the label says it's a cuttlefish, but I can't see the difference, personally. I say it's a squid. It's a big squid too. And he perches on my shoulder like some benthic pirate's parrot...)

Isn't he gorgeous?

He arrived this afternoon, along with a yellow volitans called, according to the label, Fifi. I think I might change that.

The parcel came from Australia. [GLOMPS Lutra] I'd completely forgotten. Wish I hadn't, I'd have saved it til tomorrow. But thank you very much - they're wonderful.

Hm. The squid (SQUID!) is too pretty to stay down here - I think I'll keep him on my pillow. Yes, I know most people keep teddy bears or kittens on their beds, but I don't do teddy bears and Tyjer already sleeps there. A squid (SQUID!) is much more me...

It's kind of spooky though - the eyes follow you...

squid eye topstraighton

Later edit: and then I read up about cuttlefish, and they're fascinating...

Also forgot to say, while I was in Exeter I picked up a very cute beany-baby jellyfish (will try to get my own pic tomorrow, too late now) and a bukkitless lolrus from the Force charity shop.

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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Today was mostly client site stuff, although I did take an hour and a half to watch The Last Days of Frankie the Fly. Odd, if interesting, film. Extremely nasty characters, unpleasant story. Not one to watch very often.

Can't seem to get enough sleep at the moment...

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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Ground Control arrived while we were in Devon, and last night, in the absence of anything decent on TV, we all settled down to watch it.

And it's a great little film - low-key, realistic and thankfully lacking the histrionics of so many bigger-budgetted 'disaster' movies. The acting was terrific, especially Sutherland's: I am more and more impressed by what a fine and incredibly versatile actor he is.

Something that was even more apparent today when I watched Behind the Red Door, where his performance is simply astonishing.

My latest Lovefilm offering, Eye for an Eye, arrived today. Definitely not Kai material. Aiming to watch it tomorrow, if I can find time.

Last part of CSI: Trilogy in half an hour...

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Monday, February 22, 2010


Well, that was all rather successful. The run down was very pleasant - the train was quiet, fast and peaceful, the scenery lovely, and the weather beautiful (in fact it was glorious all weekend, cold but brilliantly sunny with only a few flakes of snow on Fri night/Sat morning). Ken wasn't at court so we caught an earlier train (to elucidate: I didn't want to leave Tyjer alone for any longer than I had to so we were going to catch a later train if Ken was working) which gave us longer in town.

I found the stained glass window Ken wanted - he's working on a book about St Anne's Well at the moment, and Exeter Cathedral has a window portraying St Anne with her daughter and grandson - and the extremely (one might almost say overly) informative guide also pointed out a carving of 'Mary receiving education at the foot of St Anne' outside the chapel of St George,carving which was a bonus. (it now costs £5 - under 16's free - to visit the cathedral, but you don't have to pay to take photographs, so it's not too steep.)

Afterwards we checked out the charity shops, where I found the boxed set of the first season of Dead Like Me for £6.99 - a terrific find. But the best was in the Wants shop, where Kai found a second-hand classical guitar in almost perfect nick for £25. He's dead chuffed! (Not cheap Chinese crap either - the label says hand-made in Holland...) No amps, unfortunately, but he wasn't too bothered. I bought him a good guitar bag from the music shop a few doors down, and today I'm planning to bus up to Broadwalk to try to get a couple of guitar stands. Then he has to practically gut his room to make space for them!

Earlyish night: I started reading the Torchwood novel Risk Assessment (free when I bought Ken's Yule present books)...

Oh dear. The plot can be described as mediocre at best, the characterisation poor, and the writing made me cringe. It's worrying that it's a BBC publication: their standards have apparently sunk through the floor. I did finish it, with my teeth gritted, then left it with the folks to do with as they will...

Saturday was lovely - weatherwise too. Exmouth was fantastic, the sun blinding where it reflected off the sea, the wind down the river chill but not too heavy, and the tide was going out. The beach is wonderful in the winter in the sun.

Not so much luck in the town shops though, but you can't have everything.

In the evening the folks took us out for a meal (early birthday treat for me) to the Cat and Fiddle Inn... Only problem was Holiday on Ice was showing at the Westpoint arena just half a mile away, and the afternoon performance was chucking out as we were nearing the place. And several cars and a completely full coach turned into the carpark before we could reach it. By the time we'd parked the queue was huge. And they ran out of chicken, so I had to have Beef Lasagne instead (not complaining, it was really delicious, and the portions are huge), and it took an hour for us to be served, but these things happen. We just got the timing wrong. It was still a great meal. If you click the link, have a look at the menu page. Kai and I had the Chocolate Brownie Delight for dessert...

We got back just in time to catch the second part of CSI: Trilogy - very disturbing.

Got to sleep around midnight, but woke up at 4.50 and couldn't get back to sleep, so switched on the light, plugged in Kood and explored my new phone - and somewhere between 5.30 and 6.15 I fell in love with it. It does so much! Found the email sub menu, though haven't set it up yet (Ken and I may as well do both our phones at the same time). Hoping to add my own wallpaper and ringtone in the near future.

Down to visit Ken's folks at 10, spent a couple of hours talking, then back to Exeter for a quick coffee before we had to get down to the station. (The train back was packed, and at each stop twice as many people got on as got off, so gods know how sardined it was by the time it reached Edinburgh. Luckily we only had to go three stops...)

All in all a fun time, though as usual we tried to cram too much into too short a space.

And in other news, I picked up two guitar stands for £6.99 each at the Cash Generator up at Broadwalk. Now we just have to badger Kai into clearing enough space in his room for all the instruments...

24 tonight.

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Sunday, February 21, 2010

[sigh] Back, so knackered that my need for sleep even outweighed my need to watch the first ep of the new series of The Mentalist (it was lovely to have Tyjer curl up against me on the bed though. I think he missed his mum. He's now not letting me out of his sight.) Will update properly tomorrow, possibly with an aaarty pic or two of lacy ripples over the Exmouth sand...



Thursday, February 18, 2010

[grump] A day of little niggles. Since we had to be over at the Clifton side of town for the orthodontist, decided a trip to Wild Oats for degradable plastic bags was in order. Headed off to get the number 1 bus - got to the corner and it was just pulling away. And the next one wasn't for half an hour. Decided to catch the X39 instead, get all day tickets and catch a Clifton Down-headed bus from the centre; got back around the corner to see that bus also pulling away...

Then Wild Oats didn't have the swing-bin liners we use, and the assistant thinks the company is no longer making them...

And the orthodontist was running late, and it took ages to get the lower brace fitted, but it is, apparently, not too painful, so the weekend should be OK.

Oh - it was snowing, too.

But we're all ready to go, and Ken is resigned to kit-sitting while we're away (the whole trip is mainly for Kai to visit his grandparents: he hasn't seen Ken's folks for several years, and speaking on the phone every week is no substitute for RL). Tyjer knows something's up and is shadowing me dedicatedly - I think he'll miss me. Then will probably ignore me for two days when I get back as punishment for going. [sigh] Kits...

Trapped in Silence arrived from the trader Gr8Bargainz4All (incredibly speedy delivery! I was impressed by the service and will be happy to buy from them again): Ken and I watched it tonight. It's an interesting film: Sutherland's performance is wonderful, but he's badly let down by the ineptitude of the rest of the cast, who, as Ken opined, acted as though they were just reading the script. In a mirror. A real shame as the story is a powerful one.

Will catch you all on Sunday, assuming the cable modem hasn't blown up again...

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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

... and in other news...

Yesterday ended up being a general shopping and housekeeping (house and computer) day. Kai got some homework done and watched The Lost Boys, which he'd never seen and rather enjoyed, I think. In the evening we caught CSI: Trilogy part one (part two is on Saturday: have asked Ken to record it) which was fun.

Today Wendy came up for a break: Ken was at court and Kai met N and friend in town to see a film at the Showcase de Lux, so we had the house pretty much to ourselves for the afternoon. It was great - chat and films and general relaxing.

This evening we settled down with Surrogates on Filmflex, which started off very well but soon degenerated into the usual Willis massive destruction, which unfortunately overrode the philosophical, psychological and ethical issues that could have been raised in the overall concept of 'living life through a machine'. (On a personal level, the (distinctly disturbing) surrogates very rarely blinked, which made my eyes ache and water after only ten minutes...) I'm glad we've seen it, but I'm also very glad we didn't pay a small fortune to see it at the cinema.

Another long and hectic day tomorrow...

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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

... too tired. Going to go fall over...



Monday, February 15, 2010

Up early and into Temple Meads to get our train tickets for the Devon trip. Heh. Just a few years ago it cost around £20 total for Kai and I to get returns on the National Express bus down to Exeter. Now it costs £31.50. The train costs a mere £2.10 more than the bus, the trip takes one hour instead of two, and there's one train an hour as opposed to four buses a day. We go by train these days.

The station was busy, with only two windows open, and of course I got the one with the bloke who thought he was a wit...[rolls eyes]

Back via Sainsbug's, then some exorcism research for Ken, up to the dentist with Kai (via Broadwalk to check the DVD places), then some general client site/housekeeping type stuff, then before I realised it it was evening. We were talking about all sorts of things after dinner, and I mentioned that if I had guard dogs I'd call them Ben, Sen and Riki. Ken eyed me with a frown and said this rang no bells with him: I reminded him they were the three 'hounds' in Cyber City Oedo 808 - still my favourite anime after nearly twenty years - i.e. Benten, Sengoku and Rikiya Gabimaru (and there can't be many people who know Gogul's real name offhand and without looking it up!) This led to Kai asking what on earth I was talking about, which led to me putting the DVD on and us all indulging in a CCO-fest. All hugely enjoyable, Kai really liked it, I fell in love all over again and Ken was as bemused as ever. Although even he agrees it's worn extremely well. Happy days...

24 in ten minutes.

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Sunday, February 14, 2010

Breakfast in bed (scrambled eggs with sautéed mushrooms on toast, one of Ken's specialities), then shopping, a little client stuff, steak and chips and mixed veg for dinner (with strawberries and ice-cream for dessert) and in a little while Being Human. Not a bad Valentine's Day. Quite restful really.

Busy week ahead...

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Saturday, February 13, 2010

On Skype, earlier...

Joules: ...bugger. it's going to cost me 100 donor eggs to buy magic potatoes to hatch my cats, and I was so hoping to buy a galaxy...

This probably requires explanation....

I have the Hatchlings app on my Facebook account.eggegg

Basically, you hunt for eggs which you then incubate to see what they hatch into: some hatchlings are beautiful, like my peacock, some are endangered, like my Hector's dolphin, some are mythical, like the very pretty unicorns I'm trying to collect but keep getting bloody US road signs instead, some are cute, like the puppy with the heart, some are hideous, and some are simply gorgeous.
caterpillarblue butterfly

The latest release is a flock of at least thirteen butterflies, lovely things, but in order to have the caterpillars change into butterflies you have to feed them a 'Magic Potato', which you can 'buy' from the Warehouse.

Only problem is they 'cost' 25 donor eggs (shells) apiece, and you can only collect five (free) donor eggs a day. I have 90 at the moment and was saving up for a super-rare cosmic egg, a galaxy, which 'costs' 200 shells. So do I hatch butterflies or keep saving for the galaxy? 'Tis a veritable quandary...

Ken and I watched Last Light after Kai had gone to bed. It's a wonderful, harrowing, heartbreaking film and the acting is simply superb. Not at all easy to watch though.

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Watched Eye of the Killer and thoroughly enjoyed it - just wish I'd known about it while Ken was still writing Ghosts, as it's a fascinating take on the subject. Found it (new) on amazon UK for 99p plus £1.24 p&p, so have ordered it (as well as Trapped in Silence new from amazon US at half the price of the second-hand UK one). Really have to stop spending now!

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Friday, February 12, 2010

[bemused] Anyone remember the last Macdonald's advert? The one that starts off talking about slang names for the £1, like quid, squid (SQUID!!) and bob? That last pissed me off. A bob was a bloody SHILLING, of which there were 20 in a pound. (Why yes, I am old enough - just - to remember our delightfully eccentric pre-decimal English coinage. I was thoroughly annoyed when decimalisation came in. Where's the fun in that? Where was I? Oh yes...) I dislike such sloppy research. So I hopped over to the site and left them - quite polite, for me - feedback pointing out the error.

Somewhat to my surprise they got back to me. It's a bit of an odd email, apologising for my being disappointed and for the advert causing me concern (it didn't, it just annoyed me), and went on to say:

With this in mind and because your comments are valuable to us we have shared these with our Marketing team who will bear them in mind for future promotions. Just to let you know, like the English language our advertisements are also continuously evolving. I can confirm that the Saver Menu advert you referred to has now reached the end of its natural run and is no longer being shown on television.

which apparently implies that the meaning of bob as slang for a shilling has, in the intervening decades, changed to mean slang for a pound. Really? Where? I'm fully aware that language evolves (I'm a writer, of course I know) but bob=shilling was very specific and as far as I'm aware has never changed.

Not that it matters. We never use Macdonald's anyway, and as a family our usual response to ads is to pick them apart and mock them.

Kai is now on holiday for a week, and it's going to be hectic. Dentist on Mon, orthodontist on Thurs, probably try to catch a film on Tues, and Fri-Sun I'm taking him down to Exeter (and Babbacombe, probably) to see both sets of grandparents. Shall have a rest on Wed though - Wendy's coming up for the day.

My Lovefilm rentals have arrived, so I guess tonight we'll be settling down with a psychic detective...

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Thursday, February 11, 2010

Chewing spearmint Orbit gum a few days ago something went 'crunch' and on examining the gum I found pieces of filling. [sigh] Uncomfortably jagged edge of tooth too.

So today I left my D drive defragging and bused up to Broadwalk a good hour and a half before my appointment - which should have been Ken's appointment but he decided to delay his checkup and managed to persuade the receptionist to book me in his place instead - so I could look 'round the shops. Principally the DVD sellers, where to my delight I found The Sentinel (the film, not the series) and Brotherhood of Justice - and because this was the Cash Generator, who are currently selling their DVDs for £1.99 each plus on 'buy two get one free' special, I also picked up The Last Days of Frankie the Fly. Not because I like gangster films, but since it was free... (Why yes, I'm on a Kiefer Sutherland kick, how did you guess?) Arriving back I also found that my next two Lovefilm rentals, Last Light and Eye of a Killer, are on the way, and I know I'm getting Ground Control and Behind the Red Door for my birthday (dead cheap from So a real Kiefer-fest is in store.

There are a few more of his films I'd like to pick up, but I'm not interested in a complete collection (I already have Lost Boys, Flatliners, A Few Good Men, Phone Booth and of course Dark City. Thorough, you see, not obsessive...)

Ken had an APAG meeting tonight, so Kai and I watched Brotherhood of Justice, which is surprisingly good for a made-for-TV film, quite charming and oddly innocent in the way only a 1980s film can be. It was very strange watching an incredibly young Keanu Reeves (guilty pleasure, remember?), and 20-year-old Kiefer was simply adorable, unbelievably cute. I would squee loudly if I was at all prone to squeeing. Luckily I'm not. But that's how cute he was.

Ken and I watched The Sentinel, later, and thoroughly enjoyed it. Hardly demanding drama but engaging enough to keep us both awake and alert (and given how bloody knackered we both are at the moment that's saying something).

The tooth? Oh, yes, well, dentist drilled out a little more of the filling (which hurt like hell for some inexplicable reason. It shouldn't have, she didn't go very deep) and patched up the damage. Seems to be holding OK and the sharp edge is no longer cutting into my mouth, so that's all good.

I really must try to catch up tomorrow. Or even try to catch tomorrow, given how slippery my haddock are at present.

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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

[grump] Fifteen years ago this afternoon I was sitting in the garden in shorts and tee-shirt soaking up the pallid but warm winter sun with a glass of very low alcohol wine.
Today it snowed, hard granular snail followed by big flurrying flakes. It's cold.

Tyjer's not much gone on the weather.


Caught mid-lick. Look at the size of those paws!


Snuggled into the wolf on top of K&K's settee. It's cosy there.

At Sainsbug's this morning I found Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen newly out on DVD. For £5. So of course I picked it up (it probably will be even cheaper in the future, it's a dreadful film) and we watched it tonight (Ken hadn't seen it). It was possibly even worse the second time around, but some of the CG is pretty and it'll do nicely as a background film.

Ken suggested scraping the paint off the bathroom radiator in preparation for redecorating, since it's actually started bubbling, so I took some 'before' pics - you can see them here - before we made a start. Luckily the paint comes off relatively easily (there are three layers!). There'll be more photos when the room is finished, but it's going to be long and fiddly: I anticipate April before it's all done.

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Tuesday, February 09, 2010

[snarl] Another effing company we'll have to boycott.



Monday, February 08, 2010

Bulk of the client site stuff done (except for the BCP local shopping/utilities directory but we already know that's going to take a while). Though more came in while I was watching "24" - yes, I'm hooked - which will have to wait until tomorrow.

There was a suggestion on the Echo forums that having too many posts showing on the blog's main page might be causing the intermittent problems with some people not being able to get it to load, so I've cranked it down from 50 to 25 posts. Please let me know if that helps...

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Sunday, February 07, 2010

Client stuff, and this evening we watched one of my cheap DVD finds, The International, which is grim and gripping for about two thirds then fizzles rather disappointingly. Still worth a watch though.

Tired. Need a holiday...

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Saturday, February 06, 2010

Right, what have we been up to?

Busyish day. Got some client stuff done in the morning, then paid Kai to help me in the garden for an hour this afternoon (digging grass out of the bed behind the greenhouse, pulling up the dead sunflowers and deadheading around Roeg's Pool - St John's Wort, sedum and Tyjer's catmint. Cat helped of course, for this latter, overseeing to make sure I left some...) Then I dived out to get some shopping while a wash went through, back, showered, made dinner and we settled down to watch my latest Lovefilm rental, Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian. It was OK. Mostly harmless. Predictable, but with some chuckleworthy moments. A good braincandy film for a Saturday night...

Ken saw the consultants at the BRI on Thursday, to get the results of his last Hep C blood test. All quite favourable: the two nightmare courses of treatment he went through have kept the virus pretty much at bay. It's still present, but they say it would take about thirty years for it to get back up to dangerous levels. This is very good. The next round of drugs is in its final trials at the moment and should be available by November: Ken's going to ask to wait until January so at least he can spend Yule not feeling like he has bloody awful flu. The next course has three components: the interferon and ribavirin he had the last two times, plus something new and I assume quite powerful. But it's good news! The cure is getting closer all the time.

I'm off to the loom...

Edit: forgot to say: Thompson and Morgan sent my annual £5 off voucher with the latest catalogue, which arrived Friday, so we've ordered a tacca chantrieri, three White Egret Orchid tubers - and they had a special offer on these little darlings, Japanese Butterfly Wing fragrant miniature orchids, so we added three of them to the order as well. (The voucher pays for the postage and packing.) They won't be delivered 'til March at the earliest, but that's OK, I'll have something to look forward to!

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Friday, February 05, 2010

I'm baaaaack! Didja miss me? (Did you have time to miss me...)

In keeping with the general trend of nothing ever being easy 'round 'ere, the new cable modem arrived while I was up at Broadwalk (having a relatively successful shopping expedition), so I got the next bus back.

And we then spent over an hour trying to get the bloody thing working. Followed the installation instructions perfectly, but cable light was flashing (it's supposed to be solid green when operational). Rang the activation number, got talked through activation - no joy. Operator put me through to tech support - where, typically, I ended up with an operator with such a broad Indian accent I could barely understand her and had to keep asking her to repeat everything (phone line wasn't great, which didn't help). The whole system's been off and on again three times, the cable's been disconnected and reconnected twice, and the router and modem powered off umpteen times. And then, when the line finally connected, I got taken to the Virginmedia 'oops, it looks like you have java and cookies disabled' page. Which was a load of rubbish - both are working fine - although it did make Ken fancy a coffee and biscuits.

Anyway... we now seem to be OK again. Of course, I had several hundred spam emails to delete, and a whole load of client stuff that's come in, and all my Facebook hatchlings are hungry, so I'm going to be busy this weekend...

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Wednesday, February 03, 2010

[snarl] A couple of hours ago we had a microsecond power-cut.

My computer turned off, then immediately rebooted. Fair enough, that's happened before. But the cut also set off house alarms, buggered up Steve down the road's central heating controls - and blew my cable modem.

I have no connectivity at all - no Skype, no email, no web.

AARRGGHHHHHH! [watch Joules run around like a headless chicken...]

Currently typing this on Dave next door's computer (many thanks Dave!) just so I can let you all know I won't be reachable until Virgin media have posted the new modem. Yes, these days they send them through the post and you have to install them yourself. Great service, ne?

Hopefully be back by the weekend. Fingers crossed...

Later edit: it was a power surge, of course, not a power cut.



Tuesday, February 02, 2010

And a belated happy Imbolc to all...

[sigh] Now poor Ken has a cold... (I'm back on the First Defence!)

What have I been doing? Client site stuff, mainly. Household chores that were left undone while I was ill. Shopping - picked up Phone Booth for £2 at Tesco: hadn't seen it before and we all found it really gripping. Shame about the language but that's New York for you.

Thompson and Morgan were having a 'free p&p' weekend, so I ordered their three-pack of honey berry bushes. Honeysuckle family - if the fruits taste like honeysuckle nectar no-one else will get a look in 'cos I'll eat them all! The company are also now selling their tacca chantrieri as jumbo plants (instead of seeds, which I could never get to germinate). I think Ken might be thinking about getting me one for my birthday. (Also strongly tempted - again - to try habenaria radiata, the White Egret Orchid. I think they've come down in price a bit, and T&M now provide detailed care instructions...)

Tyjer is grumpy again - it's been wet and dull today. He fights his cat toys when he's grumpy - in the lounge, in the kitchen, up and down the stairs, even out here if he thinks he can get away with it. I wouldn't mind but several of them have rather loud bells and he really makes a racket. (And no, I'm not going to to try to take them away from him. If I do that, he finds other things to play with. Like stalks or leaves or potato peelings from the kitchen compost bin, or bubble wrap. Ever had a large cat pouncing on and popping bubble wrap behind you for half an hour? It's... distracting...)

I think we'll all be very glad to see the spring.

Back to the loom if I can shift this headache.

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