Zone Doubt, a.k.a. 'Surreal Я Us'...
Joules, trusted by... dozens... to make a drama out of your crisis...
:: 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.
First, a recommendation. Dive over to The Jonathan Day Fiction Site and try some of the stories. I love this author's writing - it's funny, bitingly witty, dryly incisive, chilling, and deliciously subversive by turns. Absolutely well worth a look!
Tuesday, April 28, 2015
Have I mentioned recently how much I love my garden?
Sunday, April 26, 2015
I have had a hankering to do something a bit different recently - something along the lines of improving my range of knowledge. I've always had an interest in cosmology, but don't have the physics knowledge to go any distance with it. Physics requires algebra, which is a completely closed book to me. So I've ordered The Dummies Guide to Algebra, 2nd Ed and The Dummies Guide to Physics 1, 2nd Ed. I 'looked inside' on amazon and had Kai vet them first, and they both look relatively straightforward (and Kai volunteered to explain anything I'm not clear on). And I am (or possibly we are, K&K haven't decided yet) going to be joining the Bristol Astronomical Society (they have telescopes!!) If all goes well, I shall later see about investing in my own telescope (right now I have no idea what I need, so will get plenty of advice when the time is right).
Unfortunately I haven't been able to find any free courses, although the Open University does do a sort of 'taster' mini-courses for free, which I shall investigate (signed up for an account yesterday). At the moment, paying for a course is out of the question, though you never know, later on it might be feasible...
I picked up The Signal yesterday, and we watched it after dinner. ... wow... It's very good - we think - but certainly not for everyone. Fascinating stuff.
Thursday, April 23, 2015
[grump] So I had my first musculo-skeletal appointment this afternoon...
I have arthritis in my lower back. Oh joy. And it may be that the unfused bone is tearing the thigh muscle. We won't know until after the MRI. "Are you claustrophobic?" he asks.
"Unfortunately it's nothing simple," he says, "otherwise we could just give you a hip replacement and be done with it."
Well, of course it wouldn't be anything simple, it's us after all...
At least that explains the constant pain. More as I find out more.
On a more positive note, as far as my trip to the Con goes, at the end of May I can get two single tickets to and from Birmingham International at an advance cost of £17.40 each, a much better deal.
And in the garden, the first asparagus has appeared, in the greenhouse half the sweetcorn and all the 'Speedy' dwarf French beans have sprouted, and I have my first iris flower...
Lots more coming if the slugs and caterpillars just leave them alone. I've dusted with Py, put a slug pub in the middle, and scattered crushed eggshells. Fingers crossed...
Oh yeah, forgot to say - hayfever season has started for Kai and I. And he's suddenly developed a sensitivity to cucumbers (my father has that too), which is a pain, as he likes them.
Tuesday, April 21, 2015
Ken and Kai decided I needed a day out on Saturday, so Ken and I went to Bradford-on-Avon, and had lunch in the Dandy Lion pub!
Beer-battered tiger prawns with sweet chilli sauce, with a side salad of radicchio and rocket in honey-mustard dressing. Ken had a ham and cheese sesame seed panini and let me try a taste as I've never had it - very nice! The meal was delicious, the service excellent, and the pub itself one of those built on all different levels without a right-angle in the place!
<- A Bradford on Avon street. There are a lot of these!
We thought it might be nice to go to Frome as well, but to get that bus we had to go to Trowbridge first, and the bus was very late, so we went back to Bath instead and then home. We'll do Frome another day.
Sunday was the usual - two lots of shopping, washing, more gardening...
Monday's appt was nice and quick, although his tacrolimus level is still too low and they rang at 9.15 this morning to increase it again. Afterwards we picked up his glasses from Specsaver and walked back down the hill through the woods, which was lovely. The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies was out, so dived down to Sains to pick it up, and we watched it after dinner...
Hm. Well, it was action-packed and pretty to look at, but otherwise oddly pointless. The first two films were one long chase, this was one long fight. A bit disappointing, to be honest. Eh well, we have the lot now, will see if it improves on a second viewing...
Energon ep 10 watched and written up this morning - I'm a fifth of the way through and it isn't getting any easier or more enjoyable. Easily the worse Transformers continuity to date, with an appalling dub, incomprehensible jumps in plot, and a human character you just want to bludgeon to death. Then again, it was really made as an anime, and Japanese cultural norms are a bit different to ours. But even so...
I shall be Ronsealing the new bench after lunch, and getting some more seeds on the go (more peas, lettuce and pak choi). It's a brilliantly sunny, near cloudless day, and the water butts are nearly empty, but there's rain forecast for the weekend, so fingers crossed. We need it!
Friday, April 17, 2015
Later edit... We had time for two games before Masterchef, the first a quick one to show Kai the moves and explain 'castling' and remind ourselves how to play, since it's been so long (I lost, but wasn't expecting anything else), and the second one a much more serious, defensive game. I lost again, but it was hard fought - and by half way through Kai was analysing the best moves and where we went wrong! [bg] I'm looking forward to playing with him!
The usual catchup...
Tuesday - um... can't remember. Probably shopping and gardening, much of my time is taken up by these things right now. Edit - Kai reminded me: we went over to the Showcase to see Avengers: Age of Ultron, only to find it's not out until the 23rd. I could swear I saw it in their listings all over ostara, but I must have been imagining it. So we still have that to look forward to.
I do remember on Wed Kim and I went to the garden centre at Whitchurch, where I picked up compost, a growbag for my greenhouse tomatoes, new secateurs, the remaining seeds I needed (sweetcorn, galia melons, chives, indoor cucumbers), and an adorable solar-powered wol... (that sounds really wrong!)
So cute! The light is inside, so when on at night it makes the prettiest scrollwork pattern.
Also picked up a two-seater bench from Sainsbury's (£50 - really cheap!) which I need to treat before we assemble it. Shall give that a go tomorrow. Kai wants to clear the area behind the hazels to make a shady nook for sitting (out of the sun, which he will need to be careful of for the rest of his life) and this bench will certainly do for now.
My black tulips are flowering!
Thursday was all garden and greenhouse - now I have the potting compost I've been able to get the sweetcorn and 'Speedy' dwarf French beans on the go (should get the first crop of beans in June from the April sowing, hence the name!), and moved strawberry plants into the old terracotta strawberry planters (they aren't doing anything in the bed, and are prone to being dug up by foxes). Also cleared out my pots: have a couple of hundred more than I need, now trying to find somewhere that will reuse them. Almondsbury used to, not sure if they still do...
Ken and Kai went out for the afternoon - Ken had the day off after having to be a witness for a friend who's soon-to-be-ex-husband was stalking and victimising her (he was found guilty and will be sentenced next month) and took a day's annual leave to recover. They went to Goblin Combe (on the bus route to Weston-super-Mare) and had a fantastic time - so much so that Kai says he has to take me there! Apparently there is nothing ordinary about the combe at all... Cue day out in the next fortnight!
After that busy day we watched Night at the Museum 3 after dinner - it's OK. Not great, but OK as brain candy.
Today I've continued in the garden - wigwams now prepared for the outdoor cucumbers and a couple of melons (may as well give them a go as well as the ones in the greenhouse) and general pottering; slowly trying to clear the veg beds of the small stones that keep coming to the surface. And hoed: it's sunny enough to kill the roots.
The funnest thing of the week, though, is my Transformers chess set, picked up from ebay for £9.99 plus postage. It's brilliant
I mean, what self-respecting Transformers addict could resist a chess set in which Starscream is the black queen?! ("The most powerful piece on the board." Bet Megatron isn't too happy about that...)
The pieces are all based on the Bayverse films, which is a bit of a pity as the designs aren't the most attractive, but the detail is fabulous!
(Optimus made me chuckle. The base is slightly distorted, so he wobbles. Easier to knock him over, I suppose...)
Jazz as bishop made me chuckle too...
Even the board is pretty!
So it's all set up now for Ken and I to at least start a game before Masterchef (semi-finals) tonight. Kai has never played, so thinks he might watch for a bit. Not that I'm any good - haven't played in years and even when I was playing my party trick was accidental stalemates. (Used to drive my opponents mad...)
SO - I now have Transformers Risk, and Transformers Chess, the last one to get is Transformers Monopoly. There are several different versions of this available though, so I shall have to be very careful which one I go for - ideally the 2007 one, not the 2009 or later. Heh. Will have to see what I can find...
Monday, April 13, 2015
This is the little tree Kim gave me as she didn't have enough room for it in her garden. I thought it was a hazel of some kind, but it's looking more and more like a Juneberry (amelanchier, like the one in the middle of the meadow out the back). Absolutely beautiful - but I now have a problem. Apparently there are umpteen different varieties of Juneberry: some are small trees, some are clump-forming shrubs, and others form low-growing shrubby patches. I have absolutely no idea which I have! Do I plant this one in the meadow with the other, in the hope that this one is a tree and the other a shrub, or in the front garden, or risk leaving it in the tub?
I suppose for the moment I'd better leave them both where they are and see what happens over the next year...
Kai had his appt with SpecSavers yesterday (our local branch is open on Sundays): everything is fine, so we think the problems with his vision are due to the tacrolimus, and should ease off once he's off the meds. The optician did say he has the very slightest 'prescription' in his left eye, and glasses may just possibly help, so as they're free Kai chose a pair of frames and is having them made up for him to use when we're out and his distance vision is blurry. Happens just occasionally... Overall though it's a relief to know there's no physical problem.
Everything continues well in the garden and greenhouse. I now have peas and peppers - bell and sweet - sprouting, and have got the first of the mange tout on the go. Nearly time to plant out the first peas!
Friday, April 10, 2015
Another busy week. Have some photos!
We've been getting a lot of garden work done - including incinerating the cuttings from the trees and sterilising the greenhouse with a sulphur candle, which was surprisingly undramatic -
Did the job though. I have the first of my tomatoes and cucumbers now in there, taking advantage of the early sun.
Tulips and cerinthe at the top of the garden.
And Ken took an arty photo of the 'floofy prunus', as Lutra calls it -
On Wed Kai and I bussed to Bath and walked along the canal a little way - his first trip out of Bristol in over a year (we don't count the London trip as that was medical)
Beautiful day but a bit too hot for him, and very tiring. We'd thought about going to Weston-super-Mare after his Thursday appt, but he was too tired after the previous day, so hoping to do that some time next week.
Contented cat is contended...
We also watched Predestination, another truly excellent film. Kai said it was the best and most accurate time travel film he's ever seen (and since we make a point of buying/watching them, that's saying something!)
And today I'm trying for a day off - pottering in the garden, and since I've now finished Transformers: Armada I suppose I should make a start on Transformers: Energon - probably my very least favourite continuity of all. Oh joy.
Oh yes, and hoping to get nextPoppy finally written. Fingers crossed...
Monday, April 06, 2015
... I'm going to Auto Assembly 2015...
Just for the Saturday. Ken says I deserve a reward for doing all the ep guides to The Unicron Trilogy for the IMDb, and this is the last year it will be held (it started in 2000). So I've booked my one-day ticket, checked the train times - every half an hour from Temple Meads to Birmingham International, one change at Birmingham New St - and prices - (wince) more than the con ticket - and now just have to look forward to August!
James Roberts is one of the guests. I shall take MTMTE vol 6 along in the hope I can ask him to sign it for me. If I can get through the hordes of fans, that is...
Sunday, April 05, 2015
So, yesterday was, as usual, shopping and client stuff. In the afternoon Kai and I went along the Whitchurch Way (we need to get back into the regular walking) which was very enjoyable but tiring. We watched Transcendence after dinner. I enjoyed it more the second time around, though that may be because I didn't keep falling asleep...
This morning was gloriously sunny, so Ken and I gardened. The forest pansy is now in place, as is the woad, and I've got two clumps of freesias in the ground, one close to the patio, the other up by the bench. Fingers crossed the gastropods don't eat them all!
This is the front garden now. It looks better in real life!
Might head out for a walk in a bit...
Thursday, April 02, 2015
Interstellar is as close to perfect a film as we can make given current technology.
Everyone should see it.
Wednesday, April 01, 2015
This is getting ridiculous. So much for thinking I'd have more time for myself when we weren't in and out of hospital all the time!
ANYway... let's see.
Wednesday: general busyness, shopping, planting a few more pea seeds, trimming more ivy, watching Extraterrestrial, which is better than expected. Good and surprising ending. Pity the rest of the film isn't to the same standard.
Thursday was BHOC for blood review, then we walked up to Clifton again, but Kai was suffering from soddall sleep syndrome and more or less collapsed, so we got the (nearly empty) bus (!Yes! First time in nearly two years) back down to the hospital. I think he slept most of the afternoon...
Friday... Friday... And Saturday... Can't remember. Assume more shopping and gardening, my life seems to revolve around those at the moment...
Sunday was the LoveFood Festival at Paintworks: Ken came with me to carry back all the ground-covering herbs I bought. (And the slice of blueberry, lavender and white chocolate cake we thought we'd try with a coffee when we got home - it was heavenly.) The afternoon was more gardening - planting what we'd bought. In the evening we watched Coherence, which is brilliant.
Monday I got tomato and pepper seeds on the go on the kitchen windowshelf (means we can't use the blind for a month or so until I can get them into the greenhouse but it's not so cold now, we'll manage). And did a whole load of client stuff.
Yesterday Wendy came up to visit, and we went through to Glastonbury (and stopped off at Wells on the way back). Fantastic day, wonderful to meander and talk...
Today has been more general busyness. Broadwalk for my prescription and birdfood, Sains for general shopping (it occurred to me that the opening hours will be curtailed over the Ostara weekend...) Picked up Interstellar for us to watch tomorrow night after dinner.
I'm now up to ep 47 (to do tomorrow) in my episode guides for Transformers: Armada (I didn't write the first one but all the rest are mine) and have gone through Transformers: Energon putting in all the episode titles: I'll start tackling that after I've finished Armada.
And In half an hour I'm going to sit with Masterchef. I'm forever hopeful I'll find a new recipe that I could actually make, but so far I've been disappointed. It's fun to watch though!
Unicorn bed. You can just spot the new camellia if you look very hard, between the spiraeae.