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
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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
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12/01/2007 - 12/31/2007
01/01/2008 - 31/01/2008
01/02/2008 - 29/02/2008
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01/02/2009 - 28/02/2009
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01/01/2011 - 31/01/2011
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01/02/2014 - 28/02/2014
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01/01/2015 - 31/01/2015
01/02/2015 - 28/02/2015
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01/05/2015 - 31/05/2015
01/06/2015 - 30/06/2015
01/07/2015 - 31/07/2015
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01/09/2015 - 30/09/2015
01/10/2015 - 31/10/2015
01/11/2015 - 31/11/2015
01/12/2015 - 31/12/2015
01/01/2016 - 31/01/2016
01/022016 - 28/02/2016
01/03/2016 - 31/03/2016
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01/09/2016 - 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

Friday, September 30, 2011

Hot. Stupidly hot. No fun shopping in this heat.

But I've started the proposal for the putative new book. Pretty much as usual it's proving to be more complicated than first envisaged, so will take me a little longer to get it done, but that's fine and will be worth it in the end.

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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Nearly October and today was like high summer, out in the garden in vest top and shorts putting the last coat of paint on the gate wood. Sun's too late to save the rest of my sweetcorn and tomatoes, though.

Still, did get the putative book proposal thrashed out. Will write it up tomorrow and email off to our agent on Monday.

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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Finally got the potential synopsis whipped into shape as a discussion document - need to brainstorm with Ken tomorrow...

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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The nice thing about being a frequent shopper at the local Sainsbug's supermarket is they are more likely to remember you and put themselves out for you. There were no large unsliced organic wholemeal loaves on the shelf, so I asked if there were any on the go behind, in the bakery. Whereupon the baker baked one for me while I got the rest of the shopping. (Mmmm. Warm, absolutely fresh bread. Few things nicer!)

Kai had psychology homework yesterday, and it took until 9.30, so I watched Tf: the Movie after everyone went to bed. And it's probably just as well I did, as I think K&K would have a) been lost and b) not enjoyed it at all.

On the pro side, if you're coming to it from the G1 continuum I can see why you'd adore the film. (Well, except for the completely gratuitous deaths of several old favourite characters at the beginning of the film...) The animation is terrific, much smoother than the cartoons and in glowing (almost psychedelic) technicolour - though the fact that nearly all the animators seem to be Japanese may account for that (making the possibly erroneous assumption that they are anime-trained). The characters are beautifully delineated, and there are some extremely famous names doing some of the voices (Eric Idle, Leonard Nimoy and Orson Welles, no less). And I do appreciate that the film introduces the planet-sized, planet-eating transformer Unicron, who became a fixed point in the Tf multiverse (I believe later plots were retconned to allow for him? I know he's a key plot point in Tf:P...)

Unfortunately I came into the phenomenon from Bayverse and Tf:P...

The Tf wiki quotes one reviewer describing the film as 'a movie length advert for the toys', and that can't really be bettered. There are so many characters, planets, fights and action crammed in here it's really quite hard to keep up (especially if you aren't familiar with the new charas!). Coupled with a truly horrible and inappropriate 1980's rock soundtrack, and the usual abysmal dialogue, and I was disappointed. Though really, I should have expected that, given the foregoing pros.

This version of Starscream is pretty, though. Except for the voice. Steve Blum (Tf:P version) is the definitive Starscream voice for me...

Eh well. It's a fun film to have on in the background!

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Monday, September 26, 2011

[headpillow snarl] And of course, if I ask the bank to cancel and reissue my card, that will also cancel the payment for Tf3: Dark of the Moon, and that will cause endless problems with amazon.com...

Going to wait until I get the confirmation it's on its way and the payment has been called for before I contact the bank. Fingers crossed that should be this Wednesday.

On the plus side, Tf: The Movie arrived this am, so we'll watch that after dinner.

And here is the second instalment of the cracky Tf-inspired fic (first part is in the August 24th post, below. Search for SUDS.)

Chillin'...

For several weeks the new 'relationship' hummed along nicely. Poppy actually felt safer knowing that a person – of sorts – was in her flat full-time, and Shakespin ('Spin, as Poppy had decided to call him) seemed to be happy. At any rate, her clothes were leaving the machine absolutely spotlessly clean and, she was sure, brighter than they went in. Poppy assumed that he was fulfilling his role in life – washing clothes to the best of his ability – which surely meant he was happy, didn't it.
     There were a few surprises. Soon after he'd introduced himself 'Spin had asked, diffidently, if she'd mind leaving the TV on and the lounge door open for him during the day – turned out he had a distinct soft-spot for daytime soaps. Poppy had giggled to herself, thinking how appropriate that was. And apparently he still accessed the internet: he'd taken to giving her a run-down of the news every day when she arrived back from work and sat drinking the last coffee of the day at the kitchen table. She drew the line at him trying to give her dieting advice though.
     "But Poppy, you've put on a little weight, you know. I can tell from the thretch markth in your jeanth." It came out probably slightly whinier than he'd intended, and she frowned at him.
     "'Spin, I don't give you advice on how hard to wash my clothes, please don't try to tell me how to eat."
     The machine humphed.
     "I wath jutht trying to look out for you."
     She patted his top.
     "I know, and I do appreciate it, but honestly, I know what I'm doing when it comes to food."
     Even so, she found herself checking in the mirror that night, and yes, perhaps losing a couple of pounds might be a good idea. With summer coming up it might be nice to look OK in a bikini. Or shorts. She rewrote her shopping list, removing a couple of the higher calorific items and adding some fruit and salad veg...

"Poppy?"
     She hurriedly turned the key and opened the front door, frowning. 'Spin sounded... anxious.
     "Oh, thank goodneth you're home."
     "What's happened?"
     "It'th your refrigerator. It thtopped working jutht after you left thith morning..."
     She stepped into the kitchen and nearly slid in the large puddle of water covering half the floor.
     "Oh damn." Tiptoeing carefully over to the table she dropped her bags and reached for the towel hanging at the sink. "Bloody thing's not even that old."
     Shakespin was quivering. Poppy blinked. Had she left him switched on?
     But all the dials were in their off position and the mains switch was also, as usual, off – and thinking about it, how did he watch TV during the day if he had no power?
     She'd worry about that later, after sorting this mess out. At least there hadn't been much in the thing.
     "Will you have to get a new one? Becauthe I might be able to help."
     Poppy frowned up from the floor where she was wringing sodden towels into a large bucket.
     "You're a washing machine. How can you possibly help me get a new fridge?"
     "Wi-fi. I can hunt down all the betht bargainth for you in a nanothecond!"
     "You have wi-fi?"
     "Well yeth, we all do."
     There it was again, that worrying little 'we'.
     "How... how many of you are there?"
     "Not many." But it sounded a little cagey. Poppy sighed.
     "And how many is 'not many'?"
     "Um... don't really know for thertain..."
     "Are you all appliances?"
     "Nnno... not all of uth."
     Poppy rolled her eyes.
     "Y'know, if this is going to work, you're going to have to be a little more forthcoming."
     She could hear 'Spin hesitating, thinking that over. Literally hear him, little hums and whirrs from inside.
     "I thuppothe tho..."
     She waited, but he said nothing more.
     "Well?"
     'Spin sighed.
     "We're... you'd call us alienth."
     OK, not unbelievable, given she was talking to a sentient washing machine.
     "Uhuh. And?"
     "And we take the form of common local thingth to hide."
     "From the bad guys, yes, you already said."
     "From humanth too."
     Which made sense. Poppy finished mopping the floor and emptied the bucket into the sink. Then paused, going back over what the machine had said.
     "Hang on. You said you 'take the shape of things'. That means this isn't your original form?"
     "... no..."
     A little shiver of alarm went through her.
     "So what do you really look like?"
     A tense silence. Poppy tried to keep the tremor out of her voice.
     "Come on, let me see."
     "I can't."
     "Why not?"
     "Not allowed."
     "Not allowed? Why not?"
     "It'th the ruleth. We can only thtay here if we thtay hidden."
     "Seems a bit hard..."
     "The Prime inthithth. We mutht not endanger humanth."
     "And that would happen if we saw your true forms? And what's the Prime?"
     "Our leader. And it'th not our appearanth that'th dangerouth. If the bad guyth knew we were here, they might come too. And that would be bad for humanth."
     OK, that made sense. Though it left her a little worried.
     "So, by you staying here, I might be in danger?"
     "No no no no! I wouldn't allow you to be harmed."
     Which argued that he might be able to do something to protect her if he was discovered? A washing machine? She bit back a ripple of hysterical laughter. Then frowned. She had no idea what he would turn into. It could be something absolutely lethal for all she knew.
     Keeping him here was beginning to feel like not such a good idea.
     "Tho – do you want me to find you a refrigerator?"
     It effectively derailed her train of thought. She'd worry about the whole situation later. After all, everything seemed OK right now. And surely she'd have heard something about it if the world was in danger of imminent alien attack. Other than on conspiracy websites, anyway.
     "Oh, why not? See what you can do..."

Four days later Shakespin had found a fridge for just £49.99. And not just a fridge – a silver slimline fridge freezer that fitted perfectly into the space her old, small one had taken. The delivery guys had slotted it in smoothly, waved away her offer of a tip, and left in a hurry. Had she not been so pleased with the new appliance she might have wondered why.
     "Better go shopping. Need to fill it up. Be nice to eat proper food instead of carry-outs." Poppy grinned over her shoulder at the washing machine. "Thanks! I appreciate the help."
     "Oh, it'th no problem. I can do it any time you ever need anything elthe."
     "I might take you up on that." Poppy grabbed her shopping bag and waved in the machine's direction. "Be back in an hour or so. Is the TV on the right channel for you?"
     "Yeth, thank you."
     Behind her, as Poppy locked the door, the fridge door silently opened...

Laden down with bags (there had been a lot of special offers at the local supermarket ) Poppy fumbled in her pockets for her keys – then paused, frowning, ear pressing to the door. She could swear there were two voices speaking, louder and clearer than the muted jumble of sounds that had to be coming from the TV. As quietly as possible she unlocked the door and swung it open abruptly.
     "'Spin? Is there somebody in there?"
     "No, jutht me." But the mechanical voice sounded... a little too bright and casual.
     "Are you sure?"
     "Well, I can't very well let anyone elthe in, can I?" It sounded aggrieved, and Poppy eyed the machine warily. 'Spin sighed. "It wath the TV, Poppy. That'th all."
     Not entirely convinced but unable to do anything about it, she began putting the shopping away, smiling happily at the new fridge-freezer.
     "This really is a beauty. Perfect for me."
     "I'm tho glad."
     She flashed a grin over her shoulder.
     "My vacuum cleaner's getting on a bit too. I don't want one right away, but perhaps you could keep an eye out for me? Something decent, like a Dyson, but not too dear."
     "Of courthe! Anything elthe?"
     "Not right now, but I'll let you know."

She wandered through to the kitchen the following morning, yawning and stretching. Sunday, early summer, and the weather was brightly sunny outside. She flung open the window and set some coffee going, then turned to the fridge. And paused, frowning. There was something very slightly off about... something.
     "'Morning, Poppy. Thleep well?"
     She nodded absently at the washing machine, then shrugged. Whatever it was that wasn't quite right, it was so slight as to not be worth wondering about. If there'd been a problem, 'Spin would have let her know.
     She opened the fridge for a pot of yoghurt for breakfast – and frowned again. Surely she'd put the cheese on that side of the small holder on the inside of the door... Ah, it had probably shifted when she shoved the door shut a little harder than she needed to. She'd got into the bad habit of slamming the old one shut, or sometimes it didn't close properly: she'd have to stop that, the new one closed perfectly.
     She settled at the table, strawberry yoghurt in hand, mug of coffee steaming in front of her, and smiled. It was going to be a beautiful day...



© JAT Sept 2011


There will be more...

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Sunday, September 25, 2011

Shouldn't really [headdesk] any more, not good for the brain...

So, off to Sainsbug's ATM to unlock my card. And ye gods, the machine didn't eat the card like it did last time. However, neither did it ask me if I wanted to unlock the PIN. No, it offered me the usual range of onscreen options. Which means that, according to the ATM network, there is nothing at all wrong with my card, and never has been.

The supermarket checkout systems, however, will not accept the card. That means Tesco as well as Sainsbury's. (Haven't tried anywhere else, but I assume they're all on the same system.)

This is absolutely bloody ridiculous, and the only way I can think of around it is to have my card cancelled and a new one reissued. Will have to ring them tomorrow and try to speak to a person rather than a machine.

I'm wondering if this is connected with my weird ability to speed up and slow down clocks and watches: that includes the one on my phone, which is currently four minutes fast despite being corrected when we switched to BST. Not to mention the very odd behaviour of the phone while we were at Weymouth...

I didn't tell you about that, did I? We were on the top of the open air bus on our way to Portland, and I tried to ring Ken. And my phone was asking me if I wanted to set it to the local time zone. Confused, I hit yes - and found myself set to Madrid time. I put it back to BST, of course, but was asked again the next time I tired to ring.

[grump] So, can't wear watches because they won't keep the right time. Can't wear artificial fabric because I generate so much static I get electric shocks off the cat. Phone plays up. Get shocks from trolley handles and lift doors. And for as long as I can remember something goes wrong with my debit card before the new one is due, and I have to have it reissued.

If this counts as some sort of superpower or mutation, you can keep it!

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Saturday, September 24, 2011

[headdeskheaddeskHEADDESK]

Know that problem I have with numbers? I now seem to have it with bus numbers too. Headed off on a Firstday ticket in search of crickets, thinking to myself that any bus starting with a 7 would take me up the Gloucester Rd. Well, yes, they all do - except the 73 turns off at Horfield and goes out to Filton. And Bradley Stoke, Stoke Gifford and Patchway. I don't know any of those areas. I was completely lost. Decided it was better to stay on the bus until Cribbs Causeway and get a no 75 back. And then I nearly missed the stop for the Reptile Zone as I've never approached it from that direction.

Took an hour longer than it should have, but at least I got to see some unfamiliar bits of the city...

Then I found I'd put the wrong expiry date on one of our site hosting payments so had to do it again. Only I paid the wrong one by accident. Still had to pay the right one, so we've now paid for two years for t'other one.

Will try to unlock my card at Sainsbug's tomorrow when I get the shopping for next week's sandwiches for K&K. What do you bet the ATM eats my card again?

[headwall] Please may I rewind this week and start again - with the correct settings this time?

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Friday, September 23, 2011

[snarl] Transformers: Prime. Yup. Fragging episode fragging two...

It's been one of those days. Last Sunday I was shopping in Sainsbug's and tried to use my card to pay, but the system told me my PIN was wrong. It wasn't. It absolutely bloody well was not. But the system insisted and then locked me out. And of course I didn't have enough cash on me because I don't carry much cash. The assistant said they could hold the shopping for me while I went back home to get funds, but as it happened an acquaintance, who was the driver of the Abus that we used to get to work every day (and that's going back nearly 20 years!) was behind me in the queue and offered to pay on his card. Which I wasn't happy about but it certainly was much easier than any other option. So he wrote out his address, and what I thought was his name (thinking I'd put a cheque in the post) - only to find that he'd written [his name], Abus. And since I doubted that any bank would accept a cheque made out to just [his name], I resigned myself to Firstday-ticketing it out to his home to put it through the door.

[headdesk] He lives out past Kai's school...

But today was Kai's inset day, and he wanted a break from homework, and we had a load of stuff to do in town, so he came with me. Bank first, to pay in a cheque for him and for me to get cash out.

[headDESK] It's been ages since I took cash out at the bank and you now need to give them your security code in order to do anything, and I can never remember it. So I opted to change the code so I could at least withdraw some cash while there, as I'd gone through their automated procedure to have my PIN reissued when I got home from the shopping on Sunday. (Am I still making sense?) So that was fine, and they confirmed that my new PIN was on its way (it arrived while we out, of course).

Then it was up to Wild Oats, to try to pick up degradable sandwich bags.

They didn't have any.

Back down to Broadmead to pick up green exterior gloss for the gate from Wilkinsons, a skoosh from Robert Dyas (they were out of stock), and to SpecSavers with my new glasses, which I can't wear as I can't focus on the screen with them without getting a blinding headache and feeling like my eyes are being pulled from their sockets. (They're going to replace the lenses.)

Then it was up the Gloucester Rd to the other shop that used to stock the degradable bags. They didn't have any either, but suggested the Better Food Company might. You know, the Better Food Company shop that we sailed past on the bus on the way back from Wild Oats...

[HEADDESK]

As a last resort I tried Harvest, a few shops down, and they did have some - fully biodegradable paper ones, which are much better (and a lot more expensive) than the others. Eh well.

Then it was back to catch the no 6 or 7 bus out to Kingswood. One arrived, but the driver decided he had to make a phone call and didn't let us in - which was actually felicitous because while we were waiting the Abus sailed past and stopped a few yards away, with last Sunday's Good Samaritan driving it. So I was able to repay him in town instead of tanking out to his place.

This was very good, and went a long way to putting to rights the rest of the day's pains in the bum.

[HEADDESKHEADDESK] Until I realised that I'd completely forgotten the other important thing I meant to do in town - bus out to Filton to pick up crickets for Rosa, as the usual place we buy them from online is relocating their shop and not taking any orders right now.

[sigh] I'll have to go out again tomorrow...

After dinner we watched my latest Lovefilm - Battle Los Angeles, which starts off terribly dull (after 15 minutes Kai said he was hoping the aliens would win) but got better as it went on. More interesting synchronicity, though: Lt Martinez is played by the same actor who played Leo in Tf:2, and the music was written by the same guy who wrote the music for Tf:P.

Tonight I'm being self-indulgent and reading fic. 'Cos that's the sort of day I've had.

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Thursday, September 22, 2011

AARRGGHH!! Bloody Cartoon Network! TfP tonight was supposed to be the conclusion of a really good two-parter, but the idiots played the very first ep instead! I shall not be amused if they now just repeat everything from the beginning instead of showing the rest of the series in the correct order. There are plot arcs here that you simply can't bugger up or it'll make no sense.

I emailed to point this out but I doubt it'll have any effect.

[growl] Had been looking forward to it all day, too...

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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The weather was, finally, good today - so it was two washing machine loads, shopping, followed by the amended APAG minutes and more client stuff.

We thought it would be nice to get Kai something as a gift for doing so well in his GCSEs. He wears a watch (all the time) and as it happens the strap of his old, very cheap watch broke in the last week of his holiday - so a new and better watch seemed like a good idea. As usual the easiest shopping method was on amazon.uk (incredible variety!) and he's chosen the last in stock of this - smart, classic, waterproof but not so expensive-looking that wearing it to school is going to cause problems. He's happy, and we're pleased with the choice (and getting it at the sale price - £10 off - is an added bonus!)

Whilst in amazon I ordered Transformers: The Movie. I keep hearing good things about it, and while I'm not interested in the vast number of different continua, this one looks interesting.

I also discovered that Dark of the Moon isn't going to be released here until the 28th of November, which is ridiculous when it'll be out in the States on the 30th of this month. So Ken said go ahead and order it from amazon.com - and opt for the speedy international delivery (which at £17.96 altogether just scrapes in under the £18 ceiling after which I'd have to pay nearly as much again in VAT and excise duty). I am inordinately lucky to have a partner who indulges my obsessions!

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Monday, September 19, 2011

A fair while back I mentioned that the garden had become a mini-reserve and I wouldn't be surprised to wake up one morning to find deer grazing up the top. Heh. Apparently that's not at all far-fetched, as it seems there are muntjac living just down the road in Arnos Vale Cemetery - I've been told if you go down to the park around dawn you can see them...

BCP meeting tonight - all very useful. Bristol Park's Consultation at the hotel on Thursday, then on Friday Kai has an inset day. My time is even less my own than it was over the summer!

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Saturday, September 17, 2011

It hailed. This weather does not bode well for the winter...

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Friday, September 16, 2011

Busy. Painted primer on the gate wood, did a lot of client stuff, even managed to get a little gardening done before shopping. Our apples this year are quite magnificent!
Apples

(Must prune the tree this autumn...)

evening sky

The sky this evening was very pretty - all sorts of clouds going in all sorts of directions.

That row of strange looking clouds was intriguing. Don't know what they are or how they're formed but they do look quite alien. strange clouds

I know there was something else but I can't remember what it was...

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Thursday, September 15, 2011

Into town to pick up new glasses - well, the work ones anyway, the lenses for the distance ones aren't ready yet. They feel odd - not the frame, which is wonderfully light, but the lenses. I suppose it's probably because I've been managing with the old ones for so long, and have to admit my eyes are very tired today. Hope that's all it is anyway. They were fine when I tried them in the shop...

APAG meeting tonight, and I'm currently trying to get the minutes written up. Blasted nuisance as all I want to do is chill with musekick and a little light reading (*cough* fanfic *cough*) but if I leave it til tomorrow I'll have forgotten half of what was said. Oh joy.

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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Spent much of the day weatherproofing the wood which is shortly to become the new front gate (the old one, we discovered, was made of untreated recovered wood and is now almost entirely rotten). Hoping to be able to at least get an undercoat of paint on it tomorrow...

Spent half an hour with binoculars in the garden tonight, trying to find the supernova, which is supposed to be visible, but the combination of a full (and very beautiful) moon, astigmatism, wispy cloud, and being in a city has made it impossible. Pity, as I'd love to see it!

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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Well, we're pretty much back to what passes for normal again. Sixth Form is fine, there's far too much needs doing in the garden, and the client stuff is coming in again. Oh, and I'm preparing a kindle version of Prime Contact, as well as trying to get a new project proposal readied and Heart on the go. And I have a number of short story ideas bubbling too.

The usual - T.A.R.D.I.S., immortality, clones, 60 hour day and no sleep requirement - take your pick, any one will do!

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Monday, September 12, 2011

Suddenly, autumn.

But to my surprise my sweetcorn has actually worked quite well, certainly enough to blanch and freeze. Just as well as it's getting battered by the winds.

Kai's cold is unpleasant, but he's soldiering on. So far Ken and I seem to have successfully fended it off...

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Saturday, September 10, 2011

[g] So I risked a Saturday morning shop at Tesco (mainly for cold and flu provisions as Kai has managed to bring a lurgy home from school, pretty much as anticipated) to find that they are having an end of season sale (practically half price) on their toy stuff.

I haz a Jolt!

Jolt

His alt form is quite nice too - Chevy Volt, electric car.

Jolt

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Friday, September 09, 2011

Sideswipe:

Sideswipe

And in alt form:

Corvette

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Thursday, September 08, 2011

It has been a day of the strangest synchronicities...

Sideswipe

I had an optician's appointment this morning - the usual two-year checkup (and yes, I need new working and distance glasses). Got into town a little early, so dropped into The Entertainer. Who had a sale on. And who also had a really nice Sideswipe. Which I couldn't resist... (Photo is poor - will try again tomorrow.) Now I just need Jolt and Soundwave.

Well, until the Transformers: Prime figures get here, at any rate.



After checkup and ordering the glasses - will be ready next Thursday - I got shot of some shopping chores. This afternoon I'd managed to get a dentist's appointment, so after dropping everything off I headed for the Wessex Connect bus-stop along the road.
Car





There was a car parked nearby, and it suddenly occurred to me that the logo on the front looked worryingly familiar...




Autobot





[blink] Yes, that is an Autobot symbol! And it looks as though it's part of the grille...

Ken jested it's a real transformer stalking me... Though actually the owners got in and drove off shortly after I took the photo.



ANYway. Dentist took a look and has prescribed me 5 days worth of amoxicillin (just in case the pain's being caused by an infection) and is arranging a visit to the dental hospital to see if there's any way of forcing the tooth back into line: at the moment it's being pushed further and further out of true, which is what's causing the pain and which will probably end up with me losing the tooth if something's not done.

Transformer Vac

And then, on the way back home, I saw this in a charity shop window...

I am being haunted by transformers...

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Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Kai's second day at sixth form and so far so good. He likes the classes, gets on OK with his classmates, and is able to get out with friends at lunchtime, which he's always enjoyed. And he's slotted back into academia with ease - is upstairs tackling his first lot of homework at the moment! This is a great start.

I have toothache - that root canal again. If the pain hasn't gone by morning I think I'll have to get up to the dentist for an emergency checkup - really don't want another abscess under it.

Transformers: Prime continues apace. And I really really like this version of Ratchet. (He's voiced by Jeffrey Combs, probably best known as Weyoun in Deep Space Nine or as Herbert West in the Re-Animator films. It was a very good choice!) That this version of Bee is probably the most adorable one ever helps, of course...

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Monday, September 05, 2011

Transformers: Prime is excellent, and the designs as good as they look in the publicity artwork. Pity the eps are only half an hour (well, just on 20 mins really) long...

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Sunday, September 04, 2011

The usual Sunday. And we watched Paul on Filmflex this evening (last treat before Kai starts sixth form). It's brilliant, and very very funny. Played 'spot the reference' all the way through!

[Edit] And to my joy I've just discovered that Transformers: Prime starts screening here tomorrow at 6 pm on the Cartoon Network channel! The artwork for this is gorgeous, and the snippets I've caught on Youtube look great. I was expecting to have to wait forever for the DVDs to come out, but now I can have at least the first few episodes (hopefully all if it isn't cancelled) - will keep me going until Dark of the Moon is out on DVD...

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Saturday, September 03, 2011

cormorants






So, yesterday.

It was extremely long, but very enjoyable. We had sun for the journey, and that train ride is always fun. It was very hot at Weymouth, though (both of us caught the sun, but not enough to burn).

We caught the open-top bus to Portland, but managed to miss the stop for the nature reserve (maybe next time). The museum was tiny but very informative (and they sold wonderful Purbeck ice cream), well worth a visit. We stayed an hour then leapt on the next bus to the lighthouse.

It was nice to start with, but then the fog horn started and a cold grey sea mist started rolling in. We'd planned to stay a couple of hours but ended up getting the five past three bus back.


Below: this was the view over Chesil beach from the hill (you can just make out a bit of the beach):

fog


Compare that with the one I took last year to see how thick the fog was!

It was much warmer and brighter back down in Weymouth itself, and with an hour to spare before the train back we walked out to the pier - just in time to see the Paddle Steamer Waverley pulling out!the Waverley



All in all a very nice day!

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Friday, September 02, 2011

Foghorn

At the lighthouse at Portland Bill. It did and it was, headache-causing volume. Proper post tomorrow - completely shattered now...

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Thursday, September 01, 2011

Gah, knackered.

Kai's sixth form enrolment was this morning, and I went along to do some shopping while up at Kingswood. Kai decided he'd be happy to accompany me after enrolling, so while he dived over to the Cabot Eye, the school's lovely new media studies building, I sat in reception and waited. And waited. And waited. For nearly an hour and a half.

There were queues, but also a potentially serious problem with his computing A Level, as the school had changed the timing of the classes. So it was a relief when he finally came back and said it was OK, he can take his three main subjects (Physics, Maths and Computing) but had to change his fourth choice (Electronics) to his backup (Psychology) because they clashed. Actually, in a way it's a good thing, as it helps to balance out the heavy science-based courses, and I think he'll enjoy it.

He also got his timetable, and has no classes on Wed and Fri afternoons. I suspect he may stay to study, in any case.

Then he thought it would be nice to take advantage of the all-day bus tickets and ride out to Cribbs Causeway and back - so we did. Didn't get back until 5 pm, and I still had to get over to Tesco as we're planning to do a last summer trip tomorrow and train it to Weymouth: want to get the open top hop-on-hop-off sightseeing bus out to Portland and spend an hour each at the nature reserve, the museum, and the lighthouse (and those buses stop running on Sunday, so we're just managing it!) and Tesco sell the slices I want to take for lunch...

So, knackered. And fingers crossed for an early night as in order to get everything done we need to catch the 8.41 am train...

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