Monday, 31 January 2005

wierderama

Last night I dreamt that I was in bed with R.



However, that wasn't the wierd thing.



The wierd thing was that I got up half way through and went in to the kitchen to get a drink of water. Out of the window, sitting on the lawn againt the fence separating the garden from the forest was an enormous black bear with a cub; a moose; and a Przewalski's horse.



The mother bear roared at me and I went back in to the bedroom and got back in to bed.



Then R's head came off, flew spinning across the room and lots of capital-letter 'R's' poured out of the hole in his neck.



That was the wierd thing.

wierderama

Last night I dreamt that I was in bed with R.



However, that wasn't the wierd thing.



The wierd thing was that I got up half way through and went in to the kitchen to get a drink of water. Out of the window, sitting on the lawn againt the fence separating the garden from the forest was an enormous black bear with a cub; a moose; and a Przewalski's horse.



The mother bear roared at me and I went back in to the bedroom and got back in to bed.



Then R's head came off, flew spinning across the room and lots of capital-letter 'R's' poured out of the hole in his neck.



That was the wierd thing.

Friday, 28 January 2005

hurry up harry

I have finished Harry-The-Illuminated-One's final draft. At least, I hope it's his final draft, as I have reached the end of my tether. It was the piece about his ex-girlfriend's pubic hair that did it, even if it is written in a spiritually uplifting and cheerful manner that is meant to turn people on to The Other Side.



I went round to drop it off yesterday afternoon at a pre-arranged time and he didn't answer the door for ages. When he did he was really wierd; sleepy, sexed up, in touch with Beyond The Veil, I don't know. I dumped the manuscript and legged it up the hill as fast as I could, only mildly hampered by all the gears falling off my bike half way up.



He's checking it for errors and then will drop round to pay me and collect the CD-ROM I'm going to burn for him. I've decided that if he wants any more major edits I am going to refuse, whether or not he witholds payment.



I spent the rest of yesterday afternoon babysitting R's kids, which was fun, although a little alarming, as the youngest one has worked out how to turn the knobs on the gas cooker on and off and it took me a while to realise.



hurry up harry

I have finished Harry-The-Illuminated-One's final draft. At least, I hope it's his final draft, as I have reached the end of my tether. It was the piece about his ex-girlfriend's pubic hair that did it, even if it is written in a spiritually uplifting and cheerful manner that is meant to turn people on to The Other Side.



I went round to drop it off yesterday afternoon at a pre-arranged time and he didn't answer the door for ages. When he did he was really wierd; sleepy, sexed up, in touch with Beyond The Veil, I don't know. I dumped the manuscript and legged it up the hill as fast as I could, only mildly hampered by all the gears falling off my bike half way up.



He's checking it for errors and then will drop round to pay me and collect the CD-ROM I'm going to burn for him. I've decided that if he wants any more major edits I am going to refuse, whether or not he witholds payment.



I spent the rest of yesterday afternoon babysitting R's kids, which was fun, although a little alarming, as the youngest one has worked out how to turn the knobs on the gas cooker on and off and it took me a while to realise.



Recently reading:

Conditionally Human by Walter M Miller (of Canticle for Leibowitz fame).

A collection of deeply disturbing short stories. For example, the title story - in an overcrowded future, population control means that 'neutroids' fulfil childless people's desire for offspring. It's making my elbows twitch a bit, to be honest. It's just as bleak as A Canticle for Leibowitz - but more immediate. And it has shades of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep in the the neutroids. Miller suffered from depression and eventually took his own life - if this was his vision of the future I can see where he was coming from. Do not choose as light reading if you're feeling a bit flat, although it is absorbing and has some really interesting ideas.



Gaudy Night by Dorothy L Sayers.

More Lord Peter Wimsey and Harriet Vane. [sigh]. I do realise it's both slightly unhealthy and also, un-pc, to fancy a fictional character who is both a tip-top detective (don't you know) and a member of the aristocracy. But I can't help it. Also, I keep picturing myself as Harriet Vane, which involves not only wearing a tweed two-piece, but also, brogues, on a semi-regular basis. A journey through a bygone age, that probably never really existed anyway.



I am also trying to plough my way through Neal Stephenson's Quicksilver.

I am finding it really, really hard going. I normally love his involved plots, thousands of characters and enormous overinformative chunks of text that are not, strictly speaking, germaine to moving the story along. But this, I just can't stomach. I am seriously considering giving up on it - and I haven't done that on a book since Stephen Donaldson's 'Gap' series (which IMHO should be burnt in the public square, along with the author, as an offence against both literature and humanity). I am determined to get through it, but it's going to take lots of short bites.



We are off for a weekend in London tomorrow, to see the Peter Brook show at the Barbican. According to B, Peter Brook is a major deity and I am in for a culturally stimulating experience. However I am fighting an almost overwhelming desire to pike out and spend the weekend under the duvet eating chocolate and watching 'This Happy Breed' repetitively with an enormous box of tissues. Mental note to self - must work harder at having life.



Recently reading:

Conditionally Human by Walter M Miller (of Canticle for Leibowitz fame).

A collection of deeply disturbing short stories. For example, the title story - in an overcrowded future, population control means that 'neutroids' fulfil childless people's desire for offspring. It's making my elbows twitch a bit, to be honest. It's just as bleak as A Canticle for Leibowitz - but more immediate. And it has shades of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep in the the neutroids. Miller suffered from depression and eventually took his own life - if this was his vision of the future I can see where he was coming from. Do not choose as light reading if you're feeling a bit flat, although it is absorbing and has some really interesting ideas.



Gaudy Night by Dorothy L Sayers.

More Lord Peter Wimsey and Harriet Vane. [sigh]. I do realise it's both slightly unhealthy and also, un-pc, to fancy a fictional character who is both a tip-top detective (don't you know) and a member of the aristocracy. But I can't help it. Also, I keep picturing myself as Harriet Vane, which involves not only wearing a tweed two-piece, but also, brogues, on a semi-regular basis. A journey through a bygone age, that probably never really existed anyway.



I am also trying to plough my way through Neal Stephenson's Quicksilver.

I am finding it really, really hard going. I normally love his involved plots, thousands of characters and enormous overinformative chunks of text that are not, strictly speaking, germaine to moving the story along. But this, I just can't stomach. I am seriously considering giving up on it - and I haven't done that on a book since Stephen Donaldson's 'Gap' series (which IMHO should be burnt in the public square, along with the author, as an offence against both literature and humanity). I am determined to get through it, but it's going to take lots of short bites.



We are off for a weekend in London tomorrow, to see the Peter Brook show at the Barbican. According to B, Peter Brook is a major deity and I am in for a culturally stimulating experience. However I am fighting an almost overwhelming desire to pike out and spend the weekend under the duvet eating chocolate and watching 'This Happy Breed' repetitively with an enormous box of tissues. Mental note to self - must work harder at having life.



Tuesday, 25 January 2005

scrubber

I am still wading through Harry's typing. As Teresa has gone away for a few weeks it's down to me to do his corrections - since I committed to it in the first place.



However, what I thought was going to be a straighforward case of piling through the manuscript at speed changing commas and the odd phrase here or there, is becoming an Herculean Task. Harry has decided to make editorial changes - which was definitely NOT in the original negotiations.



And the nature of the corrections means that I simply can't avoid reading the stuff.



I feel like I need a bath after each session, and possibly a nice scrub with a wire brush.



The stories, which he is marketing as 'uplifting tales' seem to be strung-out rants about all the people he feels have done him down over the course of his life. And they include picturesque descriptions of his ex-girlfriends and their attributes. For example, one of them possesses "peachy wangers" [shudder].



Oh, and he is also known as 'The Illuminated One' and will be travelling round the world soon to meet his readers in person.



I am disgruntled with myself for not managing to suss out his quite amazing levels of nuttiness early on - as it is, my options are now fairly limited:

a) sack him off - means Teresa doesn't get paid, which seems unfair

b) sack him off and pay Teresa myself - also seems unfair, but this time to me

c) don't sack him off but take a firm line about more corrections and refer him to Teresa if more work comes up

d) don't sack him off and continue to get taken advantage of

I think I'm going for c). Pass that wire brush please.



scrubber

I am still wading through Harry's typing. As Teresa has gone away for a few weeks it's down to me to do his corrections - since I committed to it in the first place.



However, what I thought was going to be a straighforward case of piling through the manuscript at speed changing commas and the odd phrase here or there, is becoming an Herculean Task. Harry has decided to make editorial changes - which was definitely NOT in the original negotiations.



And the nature of the corrections means that I simply can't avoid reading the stuff.



I feel like I need a bath after each session, and possibly a nice scrub with a wire brush.



The stories, which he is marketing as 'uplifting tales' seem to be strung-out rants about all the people he feels have done him down over the course of his life. And they include picturesque descriptions of his ex-girlfriends and their attributes. For example, one of them possesses "peachy wangers" [shudder].



Oh, and he is also known as 'The Illuminated One' and will be travelling round the world soon to meet his readers in person.



I am disgruntled with myself for not managing to suss out his quite amazing levels of nuttiness early on - as it is, my options are now fairly limited:

a) sack him off - means Teresa doesn't get paid, which seems unfair

b) sack him off and pay Teresa myself - also seems unfair, but this time to me

c) don't sack him off but take a firm line about more corrections and refer him to Teresa if more work comes up

d) don't sack him off and continue to get taken advantage of

I think I'm going for c). Pass that wire brush please.



love is ...

Marriage is being woken up at 4am by your husband gargling teatree and salt for his sore throat before he goes off on a three-day away-job.

love is ...

Marriage is being woken up at 4am by your husband gargling teatree and salt for his sore throat before he goes off on a three-day away-job.

Monday, 24 January 2005

breaking the news

Question:

What is the best way to break it to your inlaws (who neither you nor your husband has been confiding in much for the last six months, due to their general levels of stress and insanity) that:



a) you are seriously considering adopting two or three (or four, although B starts to twitch a bit at that point) brothers and sisters of pre-school or just-starting-school age?

b) you have been having fertility tests that have resulted in the above decision?

and

c) you have been on anti-depressants for the last six months for various reasons, (one of which is their general levels of stress and insanity (sic)). But haven't told them because back in the summer they gave B hell one day when they needed a hand moving some furniture and he couldn't help because he was taking you to the GP and worrying whether the GP would section you. Because you didn't know who you were and were hallucinating. But he didn't get an opportunity to tell them this information before they jumped down his throat and accused him of being unsupportive?



Answer:

Go round for tea with them, all get REALLY, REALLY pissed and divulge everything in one big lump.



Luckily it worked. Rapprochment effected, bridges built, Kate offering to come to adoption interviews, Vic offering to crew for us etc. etc..



Motto:

Keep your inlaws drunk at all times, and especially before imparting any sensitive information.



breaking the news

Question:

What is the best way to break it to your inlaws (who neither you nor your husband has been confiding in much for the last six months, due to their general levels of stress and insanity) that:



a) you are seriously considering adopting two or three (or four, although B starts to twitch a bit at that point) brothers and sisters of pre-school or just-starting-school age?

b) you have been having fertility tests that have resulted in the above decision?

and

c) you have been on anti-depressants for the last six months for various reasons, (one of which is their general levels of stress and insanity (sic)). But haven't told them because back in the summer they gave B hell one day when they needed a hand moving some furniture and he couldn't help because he was taking you to the GP and worrying whether the GP would section you. Because you didn't know who you were and were hallucinating. But he didn't get an opportunity to tell them this information before they jumped down his throat and accused him of being unsupportive?



Answer:

Go round for tea with them, all get REALLY, REALLY pissed and divulge everything in one big lump.



Luckily it worked. Rapprochment effected, bridges built, Kate offering to come to adoption interviews, Vic offering to crew for us etc. etc..



Motto:

Keep your inlaws drunk at all times, and especially before imparting any sensitive information.



Friday, 21 January 2005

defensive?

In response to Adrian's gibe about my reluctance to watch 'Akira' I feel the need to state that I actually quite like a lot of anime ...



I've recently been introduced to Hayao Miyazaki, and really love both the stories and the animation of 'Spirited Away', 'Castle in the Sky' and 'Warriors of the Wind'. I think that labelling Miyazaki 'The Japanese Walt Disney' is a little insulting - he is much more talented than Uncle Walt and his work has about a million times more depth.



I have had a bit of a twitch of my e-bay buying-finger this week and have just taken possession of 'Rain' starring Joan Crawford and 'The Gathering', the pilot episode of Babylon 5. I had forgotten how much I enjoyed Bab 5, despite the fact that in South Wales it was on in the early hours and I had to take stimulants to stay awake and watch it every week.

defensive?

In response to Adrian's gibe about my reluctance to watch 'Akira' I feel the need to state that I actually quite like a lot of anime ...



I've recently been introduced to Hayao Miyazaki, and really love both the stories and the animation of 'Spirited Away', 'Castle in the Sky' and 'Warriors of the Wind'. I think that labelling Miyazaki 'The Japanese Walt Disney' is a little insulting - he is much more talented than Uncle Walt and his work has about a million times more depth.



I have had a bit of a twitch of my e-bay buying-finger this week and have just taken possession of 'Rain' starring Joan Crawford and 'The Gathering', the pilot episode of Babylon 5. I had forgotten how much I enjoyed Bab 5, despite the fact that in South Wales it was on in the early hours and I had to take stimulants to stay awake and watch it every week.

Wednesday, 19 January 2005

plague

B and I are fighting off R's plague. The three of us are sat in the office coughing in harmony and grumbling in to our tea. It's like a TB sufferer's convention.

plague

B and I are fighting off R's plague. The three of us are sat in the office coughing in harmony and grumbling in to our tea. It's like a TB sufferer's convention.

Monday, 17 January 2005

dragons, cold calling and pizza

We watched 'Reign of Fire' last night. I liked it - lots of post-apocalyptic sillyness, crazy gung-ho Americans, nicely rendered dragons and my goodness, hasn't Christian Bale grown up since 'Empire of the Sun'? Although I understand that a lot of people were disappointed with the film, I thought it did a reasonable job and it was an entertaining evening in. I have to admit to being a bit of a dragon fan - my SF education started with Anne McCaffrey, and her Dragons of Pern and moved on from there. I think McCaffrey says somewhere that her dragons are based on her perception of horses and the relationship between them and their riders. The dragons in Reign of Fire are nothing like - but brilliant all the same.



I have spent today reluctantly following up cold marketing leads that have been left lingering since the Autumn. I am hoping that having worked my way diligently down the list, the universe is going to reward me by making the people I contact next week excited and enthusiastic about the product. To reward myself I am now going out for a girly pizza-and-cheesy-film evening, leaving B to watch Akira in manly solitude.



dragons, cold calling and pizza

We watched 'Reign of Fire' last night. I liked it - lots of post-apocalyptic sillyness, crazy gung-ho Americans, nicely rendered dragons and my goodness, hasn't Christian Bale grown up since 'Empire of the Sun'? Although I understand that a lot of people were disappointed with the film, I thought it did a reasonable job and it was an entertaining evening in. I have to admit to being a bit of a dragon fan - my SF education started with Anne McCaffrey, and her Dragons of Pern and moved on from there. I think McCaffrey says somewhere that her dragons are based on her perception of horses and the relationship between them and their riders. The dragons in Reign of Fire are nothing like - but brilliant all the same.



I have spent today reluctantly following up cold marketing leads that have been left lingering since the Autumn. I am hoping that having worked my way diligently down the list, the universe is going to reward me by making the people I contact next week excited and enthusiastic about the product. To reward myself I am now going out for a girly pizza-and-cheesy-film evening, leaving B to watch Akira in manly solitude.



Friday, 14 January 2005

quads?

We received our first 'Be My Parent' magazine from the BAAF during the week. It's a wierd and uncomfortable feeling looking through it and seeing all the kids who need families.



We have been doing some serious thinking about where we are going with starting a family. Today I went to see the doctor to get a bit more information about the hospital tests he has referred me for. It's the first time I've been confident enough to go and see a GP on my own since I moved here, which was a big step forward in itself.



It will take at least eight to ten weeks for the appointment to come through, and the process would involve some or all of:

  • blood tests to see if my ovaries are working
  • having dye blown down my tubes to see if they are blocked
  • possible drug treatment to stimulate ovulation
  • the option of IVF if other things don't work
The GP emphasised that it was a staged process, rather than all happening at once. However, the appointment clarifed my feeling that I don't want to go through the process. Since starting the tests back in December, I have become increasingly stressed about it all. The doctor suggested not cancelling the hospital referral, but waiting until it came through and then seeing how I felt, which seemed like a good plan.



However, he also clarified the fact that one shouldn't be on SSRI-type medication whilst one is pregnant. So if I catch, I will have to come off them.



This seemed like a less good plan.



We have therefore made the decision to call a halt to the tests. If we do conceive, then that is great. However, because I suffer from endometriosis, it is possible that this won't happen naturally.



I have just made an initial phone call to our local adoption agency. They are going to call me back.



Scary stuff.

quads?

We received our first 'Be My Parent' magazine from the BAAF during the week. It's a wierd and uncomfortable feeling looking through it and seeing all the kids who need families.



We have been doing some serious thinking about where we are going with starting a family. Today I went to see the doctor to get a bit more information about the hospital tests he has referred me for. It's the first time I've been confident enough to go and see a GP on my own since I moved here, which was a big step forward in itself.



It will take at least eight to ten weeks for the appointment to come through, and the process would involve some or all of:

  • blood tests to see if my ovaries are working
  • having dye blown down my tubes to see if they are blocked
  • possible drug treatment to stimulate ovulation
  • the option of IVF if other things don't work
The GP emphasised that it was a staged process, rather than all happening at once. However, the appointment clarifed my feeling that I don't want to go through the process. Since starting the tests back in December, I have become increasingly stressed about it all. The doctor suggested not cancelling the hospital referral, but waiting until it came through and then seeing how I felt, which seemed like a good plan.



However, he also clarified the fact that one shouldn't be on SSRI-type medication whilst one is pregnant. So if I catch, I will have to come off them.



This seemed like a less good plan.



We have therefore made the decision to call a halt to the tests. If we do conceive, then that is great. However, because I suffer from endometriosis, it is possible that this won't happen naturally.



I have just made an initial phone call to our local adoption agency. They are going to call me back.



Scary stuff.

Thursday, 13 January 2005

form over content

I have had a long list of quite important work-related stuff to do over the last couple of days, so I've avoided it by redesigning the blog.



When I started off, I made a conscious choice to use one of the standard blogger templates as I wanted to concentrate on what I was writing rather than fiddling with HTML ad infinitum. However, having (made) the time to build on the original template has been very satisfying, even if I'm not sure whether or not the 'apple background' will make it difficult to read for some people.



It's definitely a triumph of form over content though, and to be honest I don't feel very confident about either :-).



Tomorrow, I start on my to-do list. Honest.

form over content

I have had a long list of quite important work-related stuff to do over the last couple of days, so I've avoided it by redesigning the blog.



When I started off, I made a conscious choice to use one of the standard blogger templates as I wanted to concentrate on what I was writing rather than fiddling with HTML ad infinitum. However, having (made) the time to build on the original template has been very satisfying, even if I'm not sure whether or not the 'apple background' will make it difficult to read for some people.



It's definitely a triumph of form over content though, and to be honest I don't feel very confident about either :-).



Tomorrow, I start on my to-do list. Honest.

parental sanity

I am developing a new theory about parental sanity. I am coming to the conclusion that in any relationship there is only so much sanity that can be allocated out amongst all the parents involved.



For example, my beloved Ma is pretty grounded at the moment - normally if contrasted to the rest of the population she is probably up there in the upper quartile in the eccentricity stakes.



On the other hand, in all the time that I have known her, B's mother, Kate, has been the saner of the two. However, as Ma has become more attached to the real world, Kate has gradually become more detached.



She has started displaying extremes of traditional parental behaviour - for example, being unable to finish a phone call even when you have stated, clearly and emphatically that a) you are in the middle of something important, b) your call-waiting is going, c) there's someone at the door or even d) the house is on fire; Wanting me to solve some minor and inexplicable IT issue every time we pop in for a cup of tea; Re-writing history in her head to justify not having done stuff that we had all agreed she would do. The last one is particularly frustrating while we've been working with her.



I am indescribably relieved that Ma has come back down to earth - it is now possible to have a conversation with her like a normal person - communication takes place. Yay!



But is there a quotient for how much madder Kate is going to get in proportion to Ma's sanity? And is it better to have one sane and one mad mother/mother-in-law, or is better that they are both equally just slightly dotty?

parental sanity

I am developing a new theory about parental sanity. I am coming to the conclusion that in any relationship there is only so much sanity that can be allocated out amongst all the parents involved.



For example, my beloved Ma is pretty grounded at the moment - normally if contrasted to the rest of the population she is probably up there in the upper quartile in the eccentricity stakes.



On the other hand, in all the time that I have known her, B's mother, Kate, has been the saner of the two. However, as Ma has become more attached to the real world, Kate has gradually become more detached.



She has started displaying extremes of traditional parental behaviour - for example, being unable to finish a phone call even when you have stated, clearly and emphatically that a) you are in the middle of something important, b) your call-waiting is going, c) there's someone at the door or even d) the house is on fire; Wanting me to solve some minor and inexplicable IT issue every time we pop in for a cup of tea; Re-writing history in her head to justify not having done stuff that we had all agreed she would do. The last one is particularly frustrating while we've been working with her.



I am indescribably relieved that Ma has come back down to earth - it is now possible to have a conversation with her like a normal person - communication takes place. Yay!



But is there a quotient for how much madder Kate is going to get in proportion to Ma's sanity? And is it better to have one sane and one mad mother/mother-in-law, or is better that they are both equally just slightly dotty?

Wednesday, 12 January 2005

welcome to the house of fun

Before Christmas I rather foolishly took on some typing for someone who was advertising in the local papershop window. Foolishly, firstly because I miscalculated the amount of time I had available to do it and secondly because I failed to ascertain in the initial phone call exactly how he'd want it presented.



In my admittedly limited experience, printers do not normally want manuscripts submitted to them printed out in a small rectangle in the middle of a sheet of A4. And authors do not normally ask their typists whether or not they know any young women who may be available to pose for the front cover of their book. For free.



So Harry is looking for someone to type up several collections of uplifting short stories for publication. He seemed a very nice man on our initial, and indeed subsequent, meetings, is very quietly spoken and doesn't appear as if he is going to lunge at one, either brandishing a bread-knife or whilst whipping down his trousers.



However, his stories make it quite clear that he is stark, raving, barking, woofing mad. I can't think of any other way to put it. He is clearly of a spiritual, indeed, spiritualist bent. Which as it's vaguely my bag as well, I've got no issue with per se. But his grammar is terrible, his spelling and writing are awful and the content of the stories is confused and, well, not terribly interesting.



R's mum-in-law, Teresa, has done most of the typing, as I haven't had time ... her initial comment after reading story one, was "I think he seems a bit odd". This is on a par with saying "the Pope prays a bit on Sundays" or "Hitler caused a bit of trouble in Europe during the forties". I've printed him out a draft (with DRAFT written all over it in big letters) and taken it round this morning ... we are now awaiting his corrections so that we can finish with it.



I understand that there is another book to do ... I don't have time, but Teresa is willing to give it go, provided he ponies up for the first one. Fingers crossed. B made the point that it's okay for him to be a barking mad vanity publisher, so long as he pays, and I suppose that I agree.

welcome to the house of fun

Before Christmas I rather foolishly took on some typing for someone who was advertising in the local papershop window. Foolishly, firstly because I miscalculated the amount of time I had available to do it and secondly because I failed to ascertain in the initial phone call exactly how he'd want it presented.



In my admittedly limited experience, printers do not normally want manuscripts submitted to them printed out in a small rectangle in the middle of a sheet of A4. And authors do not normally ask their typists whether or not they know any young women who may be available to pose for the front cover of their book. For free.



So Harry is looking for someone to type up several collections of uplifting short stories for publication. He seemed a very nice man on our initial, and indeed subsequent, meetings, is very quietly spoken and doesn't appear as if he is going to lunge at one, either brandishing a bread-knife or whilst whipping down his trousers.



However, his stories make it quite clear that he is stark, raving, barking, woofing mad. I can't think of any other way to put it. He is clearly of a spiritual, indeed, spiritualist bent. Which as it's vaguely my bag as well, I've got no issue with per se. But his grammar is terrible, his spelling and writing are awful and the content of the stories is confused and, well, not terribly interesting.



R's mum-in-law, Teresa, has done most of the typing, as I haven't had time ... her initial comment after reading story one, was "I think he seems a bit odd". This is on a par with saying "the Pope prays a bit on Sundays" or "Hitler caused a bit of trouble in Europe during the forties". I've printed him out a draft (with DRAFT written all over it in big letters) and taken it round this morning ... we are now awaiting his corrections so that we can finish with it.



I understand that there is another book to do ... I don't have time, but Teresa is willing to give it go, provided he ponies up for the first one. Fingers crossed. B made the point that it's okay for him to be a barking mad vanity publisher, so long as he pays, and I suppose that I agree.

Tuesday, 11 January 2005

not waving, but drowning, actually

Wales is wet at the best of times. Last weekend was not the best of times, I think we can say that most emphatically.



It rained solidly for forty-eight hours from the moment we arrived in Snowdonia.



Foolishly we decided to brave the weather and go for a bit of a walk around Betws-Y-Coed on Friday - we were drenched through in seconds and called it quits after about an hour to take refuge in a tea-shop. Then going back to the cottage the car almost got swept away - R was driving and I swear that the car was floating at one point. I was all set to hop out and push, but we had enough forward momentum to carry us on over the deepest water until the tyres could purchase again. Apart from some scary coughing noises (from both the car and R) there was no damage done.



Fun ... but proves I need more high-tech waterproofs :-).

not waving, but drowning, actually

Wales is wet at the best of times. Last weekend was not the best of times, I think we can say that most emphatically.



It rained solidly for forty-eight hours from the moment we arrived in Snowdonia.



Foolishly we decided to brave the weather and go for a bit of a walk around Betws-Y-Coed on Friday - we were drenched through in seconds and called it quits after about an hour to take refuge in a tea-shop. Then going back to the cottage the car almost got swept away - R was driving and I swear that the car was floating at one point. I was all set to hop out and push, but we had enough forward momentum to carry us on over the deepest water until the tyres could purchase again. Apart from some scary coughing noises (from both the car and R) there was no damage done.



Fun ... but proves I need more high-tech waterproofs :-).

Wednesday, 5 January 2005

getting a life

Question: How long does it take three graduates to fdisk and rebuild a MS network of three machines?



Answer: Longer than you would have thought humanly possible, even though two of them do have arts degrees.



Two days. TWO WHOLE DAYS. And B is still ripping the final bits of Norton AntiVirus out of his registry by hand - it came pre-installed on his new laptop. When he finishes (or finally gives up) we are going for a reviving curry to celebrate.



We have had a short week this week - tomorrow we are all off to a cottage in Snowdonia to do a bit of walking. B phoned the keyholder earlier this afternoon to arrange an arrival time and ask if the local pub served food. One pm is fine to collect the key, but Mrs Davies doesn't recommend the pub in the village:

"as you're not local, you see, and they might not be very friendly".
I think we'll pop to Co-Op before we go in case the village shop is a local shop for local people. I am also packing a fire extinguisher.



See you next week.

getting a life

Question: How long does it take three graduates to fdisk and rebuild a MS network of three machines?



Answer: Longer than you would have thought humanly possible, even though two of them do have arts degrees.



Two days. TWO WHOLE DAYS. And B is still ripping the final bits of Norton AntiVirus out of his registry by hand - it came pre-installed on his new laptop. When he finishes (or finally gives up) we are going for a reviving curry to celebrate.



We have had a short week this week - tomorrow we are all off to a cottage in Snowdonia to do a bit of walking. B phoned the keyholder earlier this afternoon to arrange an arrival time and ask if the local pub served food. One pm is fine to collect the key, but Mrs Davies doesn't recommend the pub in the village:

"as you're not local, you see, and they might not be very friendly".
I think we'll pop to Co-Op before we go in case the village shop is a local shop for local people. I am also packing a fire extinguisher.



See you next week.

Monday, 3 January 2005

uncivil

I have spent the last eighteen hours playing Civilization Test Of Time against B across our office network.



I have a raw patch on my wrist from where it's been rubbing on the mouse-mat and I am scared to go to sleep because when I shut my eyes I can see engineers whizzing about building railways.



Excuse me, I need to go and bomb the Aztecs.



uncivil

I have spent the last eighteen hours playing Civilization Test Of Time against B across our office network.



I have a raw patch on my wrist from where it's been rubbing on the mouse-mat and I am scared to go to sleep because when I shut my eyes I can see engineers whizzing about building railways.



Excuse me, I need to go and bomb the Aztecs.



Sunday, 2 January 2005

neighbourhood new year

My next-door-but-one Blogging Brits neighbour Rhys has had a good new year ... . B and I went to bed at 11 pm with chamomile tea and listened to Radio 4. I am now offically middle aged. How does this happen?



I am hoping it's a one off ... Last year we partied respectably. Two years ago we drank far too much a friend's party, walked home at about 2am in the freezing rain and B proposed to me under a lamp-post with a 'No Dogs Fouling' sign on it - I had to lean against it to stay upright. I accepted ... but we were both so hung over the next day that we were each slightly nervous about mentioning it in case the other one didn't remember :-).

neighbourhood new year

My next-door-but-one Blogging Brits neighbour Rhys has had a good new year ... . B and I went to bed at 11 pm with chamomile tea and listened to Radio 4. I am now offically middle aged. How does this happen?



I am hoping it's a one off ... Last year we partied respectably. Two years ago we drank far too much a friend's party, walked home at about 2am in the freezing rain and B proposed to me under a lamp-post with a 'No Dogs Fouling' sign on it - I had to lean against it to stay upright. I accepted ... but we were both so hung over the next day that we were each slightly nervous about mentioning it in case the other one didn't remember :-).

going greener

We are still gradually going through our lives and trying to 'reduce our footprint' on the earth. We've looked at our carbon emissions and worked out how many trees we need to plant every year to become carbon neutral. Originally we looked at Future Forests (who have a good carbon emission calculator), but they don't seem to have any facility to donate money for trees on a monthly basis AND they don't answer their emails. So I've contacted the Woodland Trust, who seem a bit more together.



We have dealt with our meat supply issue by buying the lamb and pork from Ma and her neighbour ... and we have changed our inefficient upright freezer for a more efficient chest freezer with a bit more room. We can now make a trip to the local farm shop every few weeks and stock up. We are eating less meat anyway - but we've decided that we can't do without it all together at the moment.



We have got rid of the second car, bought bikes and are making a successful effort to cycle to places locally. We've finally finished the loft insulation - the house is about a million times warmer and we are saving up for a room thermostat to attach the boiler.



The final thing we are struggling with is household cleaning products and personal care products. I have become slightly un-nerved by the amount of scary-ass chemicals in all of this stuff. For years I've been buying animal-friendly products that haven't been rubbed in to the eyes of bunnies ... but the chemical impact on our bodies and on the environment is also an issue. I've discovered The Green Shop who only sell ethical and environmentally friendly products - AND you can order online. So problem solved I think.



No New Years resolutions about it all though - much better to try to do things by increments, praise yourself for what you DO manage to do and not beat yourself up if you don't quite meet your targets ... so long as you keep trying to meet them.

going greener

We are still gradually going through our lives and trying to 'reduce our footprint' on the earth. We've looked at our carbon emissions and worked out how many trees we need to plant every year to become carbon neutral. Originally we looked at Future Forests (who have a good carbon emission calculator), but they don't seem to have any facility to donate money for trees on a monthly basis AND they don't answer their emails. So I've contacted the Woodland Trust, who seem a bit more together.



We have dealt with our meat supply issue by buying the lamb and pork from Ma and her neighbour ... and we have changed our inefficient upright freezer for a more efficient chest freezer with a bit more room. We can now make a trip to the local farm shop every few weeks and stock up. We are eating less meat anyway - but we've decided that we can't do without it all together at the moment.



We have got rid of the second car, bought bikes and are making a successful effort to cycle to places locally. We've finally finished the loft insulation - the house is about a million times warmer and we are saving up for a room thermostat to attach the boiler.



The final thing we are struggling with is household cleaning products and personal care products. I have become slightly un-nerved by the amount of scary-ass chemicals in all of this stuff. For years I've been buying animal-friendly products that haven't been rubbed in to the eyes of bunnies ... but the chemical impact on our bodies and on the environment is also an issue. I've discovered The Green Shop who only sell ethical and environmentally friendly products - AND you can order online. So problem solved I think.



No New Years resolutions about it all though - much better to try to do things by increments, praise yourself for what you DO manage to do and not beat yourself up if you don't quite meet your targets ... so long as you keep trying to meet them.