Thursday, December 29, 2011

The House of the Rising Sun - as performed by old computer parts

What does it say about me that the first time I started watching this, I nearly died laughing?

Thursday, December 22, 2011

week off

We get the week from Christmas till new year off. I am so looking forward to this.

Skyrim, here I come!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Thursday, December 01, 2011

If you ever decide to write fantasy

First write the story/book.
Second buy and read Diana Wynne Jones' book "The Tough Guide to Fantasyland"
Third now see how many fantasy conventions you've followed
  • Map
  • Colour coding
  • Food
  • Animals
  • Various types of races/species met
I'd read the book before writing a second fantasy novel so every time my poor characters ate stew - I laughed. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

#NaNoWriMo - Winner Circle!

Hurray! 50K of novel done in 29 days.

Mind you, the plot hasn't actually finished yet but that's a minor detail.

Shiny certificate.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Nearing the end of NaNoWriMo

So, in my part of the world, it's Sunday the 27th at 10:54 pm

I have complete 46K words for the novel, I have a mere 4,000 words to go.

This is the first time I ever tried to write a 50K novel in 30 days. It's been an interesting experience.
But to some extent, I never would have made it without taking 2 weeks off work. I can base that on two problems
  1. it was pretty rare for me to just 'go for broke' typing. I kept going through ideas in my head working through things and that's not in the NaNo spirit.
  2. if you are going to write a novel in a mere month, it really is a good idea to have a solid picture of the main events, the major characters. Give everything names, write up sheets about them and get to know them IN ADVANCE. Cause if you don't, problem 1 kicks in again. 

Thursday, November 24, 2011

NaNo Snippet 10

Onyx jumped at the voice, letting go entirely of the knife. He looked around to see a boy only a year or two older. The boy was dressed strangely, more fur and feathers, not cloth.

“What do you mean, kill him? I’m trying to help him.” He looked at Master Dervin, now looking extremely pale.

“If you pull that knife out of him now, he’ll bleed to death. You’ve naught prepared to staunch the flow of blood that I can see.”

“Could you help me keep him alive? It sounds like you know something about this. I don’t know anything about healing,” he looked pleadingly at the stranger. “I’m Onyx, and that’s Master Dervin.”

“My name is Sam.” Sam knelt down by Master Dervin examining the wound and the knife. “Removing that knife will be tricky. We’ll have to work together, if you want any chance of Master Dervin surviving. Are you sure you don’t want to just finish him off instead? That will be easier.”

Onyx shook his head. “I need Master Dervin. He’s teaching me…stuff.” Onyx found himself reluctant to say the word magic after Frillion. “What should I do?”

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Things I look forward to post NaNo

Briefly visiting the various TS3 saves of mine and checking that all seems well. Then back up and install Pets EP plus update Twallan's mods.

Shannon will have her baby here
Nick will manage to have his way and there will be baby 2 here
Then finally Sammy will be sent in to find out what's new and cool about Pets This Sammy is definitely due to have a boyfriend/husband and thanks to Kaleeko - he'll have a fluffy pink shirt - LOL

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

NaNoWriMo Snippet 9

It wasn’t long before Onyx realised that they were being followed through the streets. He glanced back to see a group of men and boys, ranging from his age to men in their twenties. Master Dervin was moving steadily through the crowds, so Onyx decided that his attention was better placed at moving then on the followers. Still, once having noticed the following crowd, Onyx couldn’t help but glance back again. He regretted that immediately, the group was bigger and a little bit closer.

Onyx tried to pull Pungo even with Lady Evelyn. That was when the crowd stopped merely following.

“Get the boy,” someone shouted.

Master Dervin whirled around. “Do not touch my apprentice. Leave us be, we are leaving.”

“We’ll show you what we think of your kind. Grab the boy.”

Lightning flashed from one of the storm clouds, now directly above the city. “I said leave him. I don’t want to cause harm, but I will. Don’t try it.”

Two of the crowd darted forward, closing the gap between them and Onyx.

There was a flash of light with a deep boom. Master Dervin had sent the lightning crashing to within a hairs breath of those trying to grab Onyx. Both Pungo and Lady Evelyn tried to bolt, Pungo lashing out with his back legs. Onyx blinked trying to see again after the blinding flash.

Master Dervin turned to grab Pungo’s lead when a knife flew out from the crowd. It buried itself deep in the master’s right shoulder. Dervin gasped with pain and released the full fury of the storm he’d been holding. Cold rain with large hailstones poured out of the sky. It wasn’t long before the streets cleared of all traffic, except Dervin, Onyx and the two donkeys. Master Dervin had invoked a barrier that kept the rain and hail from them.

Post NaNo plans

I plan to spend most of December doing other stuff, unless I have yet to finish the first draft of the NaNo novel. I'll finish the first draft, if that's not done yet.

By January, my brain should be clear enough to start the editing. I'm more likely to read what's really there and not what I think should be there. How long the edits will take? No clue at all.

So when can you read it? Well, a brave soul might have access to the 1st draft but that's a true warts and all. Second draft should be much better whenever that happens.

Monday, November 21, 2011

NaNoWriMo - best character introduction

Onyx removed his master from Lady Evelyn as gently as he could. Master Dervin was no longer awake and the amount of blood on his clothes looked massive. Onyx reached for the knife, preparing to remove it from the wound.

“Ah, trying to finish him off?” came an unexpected voice from behind. “Do you need help?”

NaNoWriMo Snippet 8

The sun was low in the sky when Master Dervin noticed a small manor house off one side of the road. “Never hurts to ask, though I doubt this crop needs our assistance.” Onyx nodded his agreement, there were very healthy looking plants in the fields.

Master Dervin noticed a man working in the fields, “Good evening to you, sir. We were wondering…”

The man straightening up, his eyes widening in surprise. “Margo! We have visitors, dear.” The door to the house opened and a plump middle aged lady beckoned the pair over.

“Come in, come in. Are you hungry?” She looked at Onyx, “Of course you’re hungry, I can see that you’re a growing boy.”

“Well, first we’d like to take care of the donkeys, if that’s possible?” said Master Dervin.

“Ben, Larry, come here boys.” A pair of young men strode into view. “You take those donkeys and put them up in the barn. Be careful of Molly, you know she’s been a bit tetchy lately. Molly is our plow mule,” she said to Master Dervin.

“We were going to ask for shelter for the night.”

“Of course you can stay. We haven’t had visitors in ages. Now, you two get inside.”

“Yes m’m,” replied Onyx.

“If you’re sure,” said Master Dervin.

“There’s plenty of food, between our field hands and the boys, I have to be sure of that. We have guest quarters too, no problems.” Ben and Larry returned with the packs. “You boys put those in the green guest room. Then wash up, supper is nearly ready.” She turned to her guests. “Well, go on then, follow the boys to your room. Food should be ready in half an hour, I’ll send someone up to tell you when.” Master Dervin raised his hands in surrender, he’d realised that he was never going to get a word in edgewise.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

NaNoWriMo Snippet 7

And if the weather was fine at the midday break, Onyx had more lessons on summoning the wind. Master Dervin was very patient about that first lesson. “Now, let’s try this again.” It was the end of the week and Onyx felt no closer to being able to move the leaf as he was on the first day.

“But master, I can’t do it. I can’t work out how to call the wind deliberately. And if I call it accidentally, I’m likely to hurt someone seriously.”

“You can do it, Onyx. It’s not an easy thing, but you will be able to do it. Just relax, be patient, let your mind wander.” Master Dervin was using a small dust devil to cause the leaf to dance on the grass.

“That dust devil, it doesn’t feel the same as the breeze,” remarked Onyx.

“Very good, apprentice. A dust devil is born of wind, and can be summoned much the same way. However, the dust devil is a small entity of itself, and once it exists, it’s completely independent of other weather.”

Onyx idly watched the leaf dancing back and forth. After a couple of minutes, he decided to snatch the leaf away. The dust devil danced on without the leaf for a few more moments.

“Congratulations Onyx, you’ve done it.”


“You called a puff of wind to steal the leaf from my dust devil. It was a bit stronger than I would have liked,” Master Dervin pointed ruefully at the leaf which was a good 5 meters away, “but you’ve done it. Now fetch the leaf back and try to be more gentle this time.” Onyx started to get up to move the leaf closer again. “No, lad, you don’t need to touch it yourself. Ask the wind.”

Onyx sat stunned for a minute while he tried to remember exactly how he’d stolen the leaf from the dust devil. His plan had been to reach over and grab it but then he had asked the wind to do it for him. He closed his eyes and visualised a little puff of wind pushing the leaf his direction. When he opened his eyes, the leaf was a good meter closer than it had been.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

NaNoWriMo Snippet 6

Back at the tavern, the farmer quickly settled the account while Dervin and Onyx finally had breakfast.
“Does anyone threaten to not pay what they’ve promised?”

“Well, Onyx. I’ve never had that happen, but it’s not a surprise. An angry weather mage can do a lot of damage. A sudden freeze, a sudden flood, temperatures soaring, a large hailstorm. I don’t think there are many people willing to risk such damage, since they have some idea what a weather mage can do.” He looked at Onyx.  “That’s why it’s important that you make your status clear. Most people know not to do anything to mages, but they do have to know it’s a mage they deal with. There are always some stupid enough to take that risk, your bullies probably wouldn’t have left you be even knowing there was a risk that you could call weather. But those who know enough to pay, also know enough that they must pay if services were rendered.”

Onyx nodded as he scrapped the last few oats from the bottom of his bowl of porridge. “I hadn’t done anything to provoke them.”

“I believe that. Sometimes there are people who seem to need to prove they’re superior by putting down others. That particular lot decided to prove it by brute strength, I suspect they knew you’re brighter than they are.”

“But Mark, in my class, he knew way more about reading and maths than I do.”

“Mistress Anna told me that you were unusually talented and were catching up to all of her current students quickly. Mark might have suspected that you are quite smart, you’ve just never had the chance to develop it. His type always tries to get even with anyone who seems to be better than they are.”

 Breakfast finished, the pair returned to their room and picked up the bags. They walked to the stable and prepared their donkeys for the day’s journey.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

NaNoWriMo general update

So it's the 16th of Nov. I am nearly at 23,000 words for NaNo, which isn't good enough to finish on time - I should be above 25,000 at this point. Not far off the mark but I would like to be even with par by the end of the week.

And the interesting thing is that the only way I'm going to find out how this novels ends is by writing the rest. My vague outline at the start was based on fairy tales - the main character was going to end up visiting entities in the north, south, east and west to pull together their magic. And at 23,000 words? We still haven't finished going north yet. Obviously, there isn't going to be a south, east and west at this rate.

So where is it going? Honestly, I don't know. I expect that north and home again will be all. Nor do I know what they'll be facing once they get deeper into the cold wastelands. There will be stuff, but what? Hmm

:) So, onward I go, braving the unknown depths of my mind to find out what is lurking there.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

NaNoWriMo snippet 5

The rest of the day went quietly enough. The donkeys were quiet patient beasts willing to follow the humans. The day was warm but there was a light breeze that was keeping the travellers fresh. It was some time before Onyx realised that his master was calling the breeze, just a small request.

At the end of the day, they reached a small settlement. “You wait here with the donkeys. I’ll go see if I can come to some sort of agreement about beds and food for the night.”

“Surely we should have a room for the night. What if it rains? We wouldn’t want to be sleeping in the open then.”

Master Dervin smiled. “Come on lad, use that brain of yours. Do you think I ever get wet unless I happen to want to?” Onyx suddenly remembered the day the bullies cornered him. There wasn’t a drop of water on his master, though the rest of the population was getting wetter by the minute. “The donkeys don’t mind rain though a big thunderstorm might spook them. So it’s only a small effort to keep the area for the two of us dry. I suspect though, this little place could use a bit of weather. We’ll see.”

He handed the lead rope of Lady Evelyn to Onyx and walked over to what was obviously the busiest building in town. And from the sounds drifting out, it had to be a tavern. Onyx waited standing patiently for some minutes when he noticed how sore his feet were. He envied the donkeys and their hard hooves. Since he had no idea how long his master would take, he decided to have a seat on a nearby barrel. The donkeys followed and soon Onyx was as comfortable as he could expect to be given he was still outside waiting.

Onyx was beginning to think he was going to fall asleep where he sat. Walking wasn’t that tiring but moving most of the day wasn’t something he was used to now. Finally he spotted Master Dervin returning from the tavern.

“Right, so we have a place for the donkeys to rest for the night, and we have a room and a bed for the night. Tomorrow I’ll earn our keep with a little magic.”

Onyx slid off the barrel and discovered how sore his feet were. He handed the lead for one donkey back to his master. “Donkeys first?”

Sunday, November 13, 2011

NaNoWriMo snippet 4

“We are going to start working toward you being able to summon weather when you want to. Instead of you accidentally calling weather when you’re scared or angry. The first exercise will help you harness the wind to your will.”

Master Dervin placed a leaf on the grass in front of them. “Now pay very close attention. A weather mage can sense when weather is being called but it’s quite hard to describe what you need to feel. So I’ll summon the wind to blow the leaf around, and you let me know when you can feel that I’m pulling on the wind.”

Onyx watched as his master called the wind to blow the leaf a number of times. The leaf went skittering away from them, toward them, to the left, to the right and even in a small circle. Master Dervin looked enquiringly at him and Onyx shook his head mutely. He had no sense of when the wind was being called.

Master Dervin stopped and thought for a few minutes. “You should be able to sense this. I’m not sure why you can’t. Maybe we should try it again. This time, close your eyes and keep them shut. If you can’t watch the leaf, you may be able to better sense the wind.”

Onyx closed his eyes. At first, he felt a small puff when the tiny breeze that Master Dervin summoned came close enough to feel. But after a few minutes, he realised that he could sense the wind even when it wasn’t dancing past his skin. The breeze was playfully chasing - ah, there was Master Dervin’s influence. “Master, I can feel it now. I can feel the wind and you.”

“Good, let’s just continue with that a bit. Keep your eyes shut and feel what I’m doing.”

Now that Onyx could feel Master Dervin, he quickly realised that his master was calling the wind several ways. One way felt like a gentle request and the answering puff of wind was soft relatively slow. One was an urgent demand, the wind went roaring in the desired direction. The playful chase was when Master Dervin sort of teased the wind into doing his will.

“So, apprentice, what have you noticed?”

“That you can summon that wind in different ways. And the answering breeze behaves differently depending on exactly how you summoned it.”

Saturday, November 12, 2011

NaNo Snippet 3

“Not a problem lad. It’s good to have some company for the trip. I’m Jim. You are the one bound for Skilopse?”

“Yes sir. It’s been a long trip.”

Jim smiled at the boy. “You only think that’s a long trip. I’ve heard of people traveling so far north, it’s always cold or so far east that there is a body of water so huge you can’t see the other side. Can you imagine?”

Onyx shook his head. A body of water too far to see across? That had to be some sort of folk tale. “I may be from a small place, but that’s just too much to believe. There can’t be enough water in the world that you can’t see to the other side.”

“Ah Onyx, the world is a bigger place then you might think. There are many strange things to see. We’ve carried some passengers from very different places. I’ve seen blue-skinned people from the sea, a deep dark brown from much sunnier climates and a man who was fire-red. Those I have seen myself.”
Man and boy waited for the other passengers to settle in the coach and the mail parcels and bags to be secured. Onyx found himself wondering if any of his fellow travellers today were also bound for Skilopse.

“A rather motley looking bunch of passengers, I’d say,” commented one of the people loading bags onto the coach. “Be careful Jim. It’s said that some robbers are active just outside of Skilopse over the past month.”

“It’s a mail coach, who’d want to steal a bunch of letters and trinkets? We’ll be fine.”

“Just sayin’, cause it’s better to be careful when it’s not needed then careless when care was needed.”

To Onyx, loading the coach took forever but they were on their way not long after dawn. Progress in Thirngo was slow, there were many farm wagons moving in the streets which were moving quite slowly. Onyx found the town to be so different then anything he was accustomed to.

NaNo progress report

It's definitely starting to go a little better and feel like it's mostly right instead of awkward as hell. Should make 14,000 words soon, which is a good thing.

A couple of my NaNo buddies are well past the 20,000 word mark. Ah well, I should at least catch up to where I should be - word count wise - by sometime next week at the latest.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

XXIT – A Short Sci-Fi Film

XXIT – A Short Sci-Fi Film:

XXIT from Stargate Studios on Vimeo.

A short sci-fi film with time travel, and a very “Blade-Runner” like future. Made by Stargate Studios, the people behind the visual effects of “The Walking Dead,” “Heroes,” “24″ and more.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Just realised

NaNoWriMo is going to be my second novel. My first novel was written some time ago - never published and I have yet to finish retyping in chapter 3 more or less the rest of it.

And they would both be classified as children fantasy. Hmm, what does that say about me.

Then again, I love Garth Nix books and he mostly does children's fantasy. Dianne Wynn Jones.

And the NaNo novel has hit 11,000 words so far. That puts me rather below par for getting to the goal on time, they recon that you need 15,000 words to be on track. Still, it's day 9 so there is plenty of time to make it up. And the words are no longer fighting with me, it's slowly getting easier.

Monday, November 07, 2011

NaNo Snippet 2

Onyx woke the next day to the scent of porridge. He was still feeling a bit tired, it was more difficult to sleep well in a strange room with a man that snored. The man from the coach was still snoring away so Onyx decided he may as well have breakfast if he could.

“What ho, one of my coach guests appears so early?” A short round and rather happy looking man exclaimed.

“Yes sir. Is there breakfast please?” Onyx asked sniffing the air hungrily.

“Aren’t you a polite young man? What’s your name boy?” The innkeeper smiled at Onyx. He started dishing out a bowl of porridge from the large simmering pot.

“Onyx, sir.” The innkeeper topped the porridge with a generous spoon of honey and some fresh milk.
The innkeeper had finished with the bowl and set it on the wooden table. “Here you go, young Onyx. You can call me Bill. I take it that this is your first trip from home?”

Onyx grabbed the spoon and started eating. “Yes sir,” he noticed the innkeeper frown, “I mean Bill. How did you know?”

“Mostly your age. We don’t get many through here as young as you.” Bill looked at the rapidly disappearing porridge, “Nor as hungry,” he said with a laugh. “More, young Onyx?”

“No, thank you. But if you have some bread you can spare, that I can take along today?”

Bill disappeared for a moment, then returned with a small parcel. “I don’t normally do this, but most of the coach passengers are like the two with you. They think they deserve the best fare, and yet the coaches only pay a pittance for the overnight stay. Since you appreciate what I have to offer, I’ll give you just a bit more.” Bill sighed, “Still, I better get them up. The coach leaves in about an hour. None of us would be happy if it left without them.”

Sunday, November 06, 2011

NaNo progress - eh

I still haven't hit a good writing groove yet. I don't know if the story has a flaw that my brain hates or

The interwebs and Plants vs Zombies (iPad version) are just keeping me too entertained.

I am still making progress - the nano site thinks I should finish mid-December at my current writing pace. And one or two really good days will make a huge difference.

When will I get in good days though? I hope soon.

Friday, November 04, 2011

More Nano snippets???

I can't decide. Due to the underwhelming reaction from the first snippet, I am tempted to say no more.

But I'm a serial posting offender and the idea of NOT posting snippets - hmm.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

So, the other day, I bought the Sims 3 EP Pets

Even though I know it's going to be a couple of weeks before I can try and install it. I can't afford to add new stuff to my computer during the NaNo writeathon, at least not until I go on holiday in two weeks.
I did snag a special Limited Edition - which you were supposed to need to pre-order to get. Kind of funny, really.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

First NaNo snippet

(Nano snippets will be first and very rough drafts. Read at your own peril)

Coming of age in the village saw each child be apprenticed in some career. Many stayed on the family farm, a few would be chosen to apprentice to the village baker, miller, or blacksmith. Each of those was considered an honoured profession and one well worth growing into.

But Onxy caused some special issues. His talent for causing special weather grew stronger with age, but his control remained hopelessly inadequate.

“Onxy,” said the elder. “You need more than this village can give you. We have found a teacher for you, a weather mage. He lives in Skilopse.”

“Getting you to Skilopse is something that we’ve been deeply considering. It will do no one good if you fail to arrive.”

“So we have decided to purchase you a place on the mail coach, due in three days time. It will take another 4 days to arrive in Skilopse.”

“Once you are there, you must seek out the house of Dervin, he is the weather mage we have found. Dervin has already agreed to your apprenticeship assuming that you too are a weather mage.”

“But we don’t know that I am a weather mage, not at this point.”

“The wind and water answer your call, whether you desire it or not. And if you have no control over them.”

Onxy thought back to the summer. He had been terribly in love with Daisy, a nice girl on a neighbouring farm. One day, he found Daisy had a second boyfriend, and he wanted to lash out at his rival. In an instant, a bolt of lightning nearly struck the couple as they lie in the grass kissing.

Since that fateful Daisy had no boyfriends that Onxy had heard of. She also steadfastly refused to remain in his presence for more than a few moments. Onxy tried to approach her while she was chatting with some friends, but he could never get that close before one of them would exclaim, “Watch it, dunder thunderhead is here, let’s go.”

“Wait, I just wanted to…”

“Dunderhead, thunderhead, he’s such a blunderhead.” The girls would sing as they danced out of sight.

“I just wanted to say I was sorry. Why can’t they listen!” as Onxy’s temper rose, so did the wind. It tore nearly a half of the ripening fruit off the branches of a nearby apple tree. Daisy’s father, owner of the tree, rushed out.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Story time

(The following is a pre-NaNoWriMo exercise. It was about 25 minutes of typing random semi-story just going with no pre-planning, plot or anything else.)

“Hi butterfly. Hi Turtle. Hi Grass.”
The bright and bubbly girl was off for her morning trip to take goodies to her wicked wolf grandmother.
Everyone knew her real granny was dead but they all liked to pretend that the wolf was the granny. That way no one ever died.
The forest was dabbled with light. It was a cool place, mostly of very tall trees with the occasional patch of light and grass. Birds twittered overhead as the girl wandered through the forest.
Now once the basket of goodies would have been filled with newly baked bread, fresh fruit and maybe a flower. Now the basket held a few raw pieces of meat and a jug of wine. No, wine is not good for wolves but he rather liked it and no one dared say nay to the wolf.
So the girl in blue (HA!) made it to her grandmother’s place.
“Granny, are you in?”
“Don’t be an idiot child, of course I’m in. Where else have you ever found me?” Originally the wolf was going to save the little girl for a second meal, the dead granny having been his first meal. She realised quickly that no matter what the person in the bed said, it wasn’t her real granny. Once she knew it was a wolf, she made sure that the next basket had enough food to keep a wolf from needing to eat her. And ever since, she had been bringing a basket with meat to granny’s house.
“Shall I pour you some wine?” asked Adelina.
“Yes child. Pour the wine. And what goodies have you brought for me today?”
“Well, old man Codger just butchered his old cow. So he sent you a few bits that he thought you’d like.”
Adelina placed the meat on a plate, poured the wine into a large mug and set the two down on the table. It was rather a cruel thing to do, the wolf had to walk over on two legs which was a rather difficult thing for a wolf to do.
“So, Granny, would you like to play a game today?”
“No thank you dear.”
“Would you like to sing songs?”
“No thank you dear.”
“What would you like to do today?”
“Oh, now that these old bones are out of bed, I might just see how my garden fairs. Would you like to help by tending the plants?” The wolf always waited till Adelina had turned her back for a moment before eating the goodies. While the wolf could do somethings that looked human, eating was never one of them. The mug of wine was also hard but the wolf had learned how to hook two claws around the handle so he could drink more like a human.
Adelina skipped outside and started gathering the veggies that were mature. She placed them carefully in the basket.
“Granny, you don’t mind if I take this stuff home, do you?”
“The vegetables?” the wolf shuddered for a moment. “Of course not dear.”
Adelina turned her attention to the weeds. Her wicked wolf granny didn’t really tend the little garden patch, but granny’s garden was worth some effort. Before the wolf ate her, the garden had been one of the best in the neighbourhood.

Now why, you may well ask, did the village do nothing about the wolf that had eaten Adelina’s garden? Well, my children, after the wolf moved in, he actually was less of a problem then he had once been. The village could send him the parts of the animals that there were few or no uses for and that keep the wolf from killing anything. Before, they had tried to kill the wolf but he was too clever for them to catch. Clever enough to pretend to be a granny and that’s a very clever wolf you must admit.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Current food blogs

I haven't entirely given up on Cheap Healthy Good but I'm not hopeful that it will ever get back to as active as it was.

Dulce Dough - nice little blog featuring yummy baked goods.

Over a Tuscan Stove the author lives in Tuscany - blog includes some of the local eateries, shops, festivals as well as some recipes from around the region.

Still looking at other food blogs from time to time.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Shoebox Chuck and Beans

Chuck and Beans

This is a cute little strip, I think I'll try it in my feed.

Family recipes

Most families have a few special dishes that have some twist that make them personal.

In my case, my mom's family has roots in the Pennsylvania Dutch culture - this means that I consider normal

Apple butter (we used to regularly take cottage cheese and apple butter sandwiches to school)
Chicken Corn Soup
Ham and Corn Fritters
Pork and Sauerkraut
Pickled eggs (this are pickled with beetroot - turn a dark red colour over time)
Shoofly pie

While some of it I knew was from Penn Dutch (Pickled eggs and shoofly pie in particular) others I didn't really know. I found out about Chicken Corn Soup being a speciality via a cookbook once.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Defeating writers block - tip from LifeHacker

From a LifeHacker article
Writer's block isn't hard to cure.

Just write poorly. Continue to write poorly, in public, until you can write better.
I believe that everyone should write in public. Get a blog. Or use Squidoo or Tumblr or a microblogging site. Use an alias if you like. Turn off comments, certainly—you don't need more criticism, you need more writing.

Do it every day. Every single day. Not a diary, not fiction, but analysis. Clear, crisp, honest writing about what you see in the world. Or want to see. Or teach (in writing). Tell us how to do something.

Full post at lifehacker

I've read similar things before. And I am trying to write every day. Maybe not quite the writing they talk about in that last para but to just force my brain into writing space every single day. Even if it's only for a few words or paragraphs. Just keep at it.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Followup to the lunch thief

On way to refect yesterday, I noticed 3 blue-winged kookaburras flitting around looking for their lunch.
My lunch was a sandwich, which I carried away from the danger zone.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Kate Bush - Experiment IV

When we finally broke down and bought our first CD player, Kate Bush's The Whole Story was one of our first CDs

Eventually, we saw some of the videos associated with those songs

This is an impressive song and a fascinating cast of British actors doing parts in it.

Thanks to Simon for reminding me about Kate.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Lunch theft

So peacefully eating fish and chips outside.
Suddenly there was a flurry of wings by my ear followed by the removal of about 1/3 of the fish.
The culprit? A local kookaburra. I don't think this thief will be brought to justice.

Kookaburras can be quite aggressive if they have been fed before. This one was obviously a practiced lunch thief.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Blogger's new interface

Some bit I like. Some bits I am not too keen on. Most of what I'm not keen on are the parts of the interface that don't have the functionality of the old one - like setting the options for comments. You have to go to the old interface to see all the options.

But one thing that has really come home to me with the new interface is that my blog stats - I really should look at the sums across the blogs and not the totals for any single blog. Especially true of the Sims blogs, most people only use one or two blogs - not 5. Each of the story blogs has a different set of followers - though they do share a number of users too.

And I finally stopped getting depressed that the group blog has far far far more hits then any of the story blogs I actually work on. That's never going to make me happy but at least I don't get depressed about it.

They've finally announced dynamic views but at the moment, dynamic views don't allow you to have your widgets - at all. And no custom banners. So, sort of cool but I'm not going to recommending them for awhile.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Farewell Sara Douglass - Australian Fantasy writer

I found out today that Sara Douglass - well known Australian fantasy writer has died from cancer. I've read and loved a number of her books starting with the Axis Trilogy.

I briefly spoke to her once at a world sf conference. Waiting for a panel to start and none of the other panelists had arrived.

I know which books are next in my read again pile now.

Her personal blog and her professional site.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Sometimes I am easily amused

I am perpetually amused by getting referrals to my blogs that are from a search engine where the query is ... the url of the blog they want. Oops, someone typed in the search bar and not the address bar. It's very obvious with a url like - not exactly the world's most used search term.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

I think I'm going to have to find a new food blog

I'm a follower of Health Cheap Good blog. It was quite a good blog, reasonable recipes, regularly articles.

However, the main blogger got married and is writing for something else now and there have only been a few posts in that blog for months.

So, I need to start looking for another regular food blog that has stuff I'd actually make and eat. I do follow a food blog from Tuscany but that's more for the information. I really don't think I want to try drying out meats for salami or some of the other projects she's done.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


I'm of two minds about Twitter. It can be entertaining - short interesting posts or links to neat stuff.

It also attempts to consume my soul. Both the sheer volume of stuff and sometimes feeling like a completely unwanted trespasser in that part of cyberspace.

So I'm taking a break from Twitter. And not a soul will ever notice.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


I'm not into cars.

I loathe driving.

In spite of the above, I love Top Gear. Now that alone must qualify it as serious entertainment.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Back to gym

Ok, I've been slacking off. I let my gym membership lapse back in April. I hadn't been regular to gym for some time before that.

But I have to go for two reasons.
  1. it's good for me 
  2. I have a shoulder I seriously damaged a couple of years back and going to gym helps me keep it working well. It's been getting a bit stiff and sore lately, because I haven't been going much.
If I can keep up gym and stay off the junk food, I should start losing weight. Or at least not gain if I eat junk food.

This is only for the strong of mind and stomach

When clearing out things from my mother's house, we found a print copy of my first (and currently only) novel.

First novel == it's not going to be brilliant. But I've been typing it in lately, to get a feel for it, and with some work after the current copy is typed in, it might be ok. Maybe.

If you have a need to read something now and quality is something for lesser mortals, Here is Chapter one of Ted the Dragon.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Happiness is

Wearing my new serious kick-ass boots. I really love them.

Now I need someone to take a picture. Pictures taken
Discreet, just footwear with a skirt.

Kneehigh kick ass boots under that skirt.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

More on Nanowrimo

So, I've actually signed up. No idea at this stage what I might actually write but I have a couple of months to think about it.

My profile is up though very uninformative at the moment. And I've discovered Scrivener, a Mac application that is specially for writing novels/screenplays. It has a lot of features that look potentially useful. Corkboard, auto outlines, notes, character sheets and more. I need to play with it now so in Nov, it's something I'm used to working with.

Saturday, August 06, 2011

In November

November is Nanowrimo month. Nanowrimo is National Novel Writers Month. Basically, in 30 days you write a complete 50,000 word novel. You can plan it before hand, write up an outline, do character sketches. The novel must be started on the 1st of Nov and completed by the 30th.

I have decided to take part. The novel written in 30 days won't be perfect but it will be there and ready to be improved on. I even have a twitter friend who has decided to try as well.

30 days, one novel. It will be worth it.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Writing tip

I'd heard before that writing daily is good for your writing skills in general.

And I must say that it does seem to be working for me. Writing every day keeps the words flow much more easily. Whether it is part of a publish or just working on background stuff doesn't matter. Just write. Write often. Keep writing. etc. :)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

I am evil

Just in case you haven't realised this yet.

What brought this on?

A recent Sustainability plan. There is something about this document that really really makes me want to print 50 totally useless documents, leave lights on, and celebrate driving my car back and forth to work as the sole occupant.

My favourite recommendation though is something along the lines of "Inform staff of the inconvenience and expense of air travel." Say what? Like anyone who has flown in the past decade hasn't noticed this on their own? Air travel is horrible. You tell me to reconsider if it's necessary and I may reply about shoving something where the sun don't shine.

Friday, July 08, 2011

The 30 day drawing challenge

Since I haven't drawn anything - even doodles for years now, I suck big time. Therefore these should be funny. :)
The challenge

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Thursday, June 23, 2011

How about that, twitter can be useful

I'm not following that many, and they are kind of a random set. One of them is Tex Perkins - singer/songwriter  (or some facsimile thereof) who tweeted that there was a new album coming - order from JB hifi and get an autographed copy.

And I now have an autographed copy of said album. :)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Breaking bad sleep cycles

Unfortunately, not entirely breaking it but...

I tend to wake up at least once per night and was finding it hard to go back to sleep. Problem one - my dad did this for years and mentioned it most days. Which leads one to the fear that it's something you inherited. Problem two - brain switches on to hyperdrive and there are too many thoughts.

So the solution? Well, much like using a basic meditation technique. Take deep slow breaths and concentrate only on the breathing. That helps keep brain out of overdrive (or push it down out of that mode) and sleep comes within 5 to 10 minutes by my estimate. Tis good.

Friday, June 10, 2011

I can understand this

Masterpiece The world failed to change! Indeed.

Wow, that's very cool

I was just cruising through blogger options when I came across Some of the views can be very interesting Others won't work so well with the blogging that I do - snapshots - not recommended. Still, that's a very interesting feature.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Pointless policy

Apparently there is a policy that any incident involving a member of the workplace must be reported to the security office. If the incident is offcampus - the security office hasn't a clue of what to do, it's well out of their authority. But you still have to officially inform them, even when there is nothing that they can do. Bonus tip for Health and Safety officers - there are no policies or procedures that will stop people from being idiots. Just won't happen.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Hubby had good news

Yesterday, Ross went to his specialist surgeon for a one year check on his hip surgery. The surgeon was extremely pleased with the results and said the next check could wait for 5 years.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Chicken and dumplings

Someone recently mentioned this dish and it made me crave it a lot. Cheap to make too, I used chicken frames, onions, garlic and carrot to make the base stock. Added some frozen peas, beans and corn. The dumplings are flour, baking powder, salt, milk and a touch of oil. Should be relatively low cal, it's certainly very tasty.

The most useless stats

I decided randomly to use feedburner for the blogs. Random cause I have no idea if that good or bad, just sounded like a consistent service people can use. So that's what you get if you use the Subscribe by Email box on the blogs. Feedburner has 'subscriber' stats. Most useless things I've ever seen. Period. It might vaguely relate to how times the feeds are checked for new stuff. But it's not actual subscribers because I refuse to believe that real subscribers go from 30 to 3 to 32 in the space of 3 days.

Friday, May 20, 2011

You call that a Staff Function?

My place of work is having a staff function. For $65 per person, you can go hang out with other staff people. They offer a live band for entertainment and finger food. There is a cash bar. Someone is hoping to make one hell of a profit here. Or for $65, you could go to a nice restaurant in town, have a good dinner and some wine or beer. It's a no brainer which appeals more to me. Give me a nice restaurant and proper dinner, not finger food and lots of people I don't know and won't want to talk to.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Monday, May 09, 2011


Blogger is currently semi-busted. I had to switch to old editor mode to make a post. And stop using blogger in draft, that is failing even more.

Sigh, I hate it when my tools go bust.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Friday, April 29, 2011

April has been a good month for stats

Warning - this is very boring.

I finally had a really decent month for hits across the various story blogs. For the first time ever, one topped 1000 for the month, more like 1200 and still climbing. Several others are well over 500. All of the ones I actually update are being looked at far more often this month then previously.

Will it continue? I hope so but there is no way to tell. If it stays up for a couple of months, I'll be such a happy happy camper. In the meantime, I'm pleased that a few more people finally discovered them.

I've never really cared if this blog is read or not, this is the random blog. Two of the other blogs are short story types and I expect the stats to drop when there is no story running. But the other three, well, it's nice to see they are gathering an audience. And the two short story ones have also had an extremely good month.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Spam email - I doubt he read that blog...

I ran across your blog (insert one of the story telling blogs here) and thought that it might be a good match for us.

We pay bloggers to write blog postings on their blogs and link those blog postings to our clients' websites. This improves our clients' rankings in the search engines, so they are willing to pay for your services.
If you had actually read the contents of the blog in question, you might ask the question of yourself, how exactly would a paid for blog posting fit here? Perhaps we should be discussing banners or text ads instead?

But no, clearly they did not read the blog in question. Because it would be painfully obvious that any paid for blog posting is going to stand out for what it is. A sell out.

Sorry, you can't offer enough money for that. No way.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Next week == good

Starting Friday - public holidays on Friday, Monday and Tuesday. I've set up to take Friday of next week off so it's a 2 day week. And the next Monday is a public holiday so that is a 4 day week.

Maybe I'll have a chance to get caught up on the million and one things I mean to do...or maybe I'll procrastinate again. We'll see

Sunday, March 27, 2011

dropbox app

Well, I finally got with the program and started using my Dropbox - a way to upload files and share between multiple devices.

It is nice, I must admit. I started a little story text file on the iPad and uploaded it. Now I've edited it on the iMac and resaved. And it all worked fast and smooth.

Improvement on the dog situation

The one dog who was throwing up and not eating seems to be much better now. She rushes to the kitchen if you vaguely look like you might do something with food and she's nearly her old obnoxious self when getting ready for a walk.

The other dog needs his ears cleaned, which is a pain in the bum but nothing fatal.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

It's a worry

We have two dogs, and they are 13 and 12 years old. For their size, that's a fairly old.

One of them has been throwing up and some nights this week refusing food. Dogs refusing food more than a day is a worry.

The other has been having problems with his ears but he's been prone to that for years.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Can't stop the rain

I live in a place where we've had pretty dry years for quite some time.

This wet season has been seriously wet. At least some rain most days, several parks around have been lakes for a few weeks now.

And I've had enough.  Enough I say. Rain Rain, go away already.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Not that hard DAMNIT

Spell my name right! Especially if you are sending an email asking for a favor or information. It's only 4 freaking letters, how can you manage to miss it?

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Easy steps to freaking yourself out

  1. Go to local rainforest township to clear some plant debris from property
  2. Develop a small itchy bite mark a day after step one
  3. Remember that rainforests can have paralysis ticks
    1. a paralysis tick nearly killed one of our dogs
    2. tick bites itch like crazy
  4. Now worry about is that bite a paralysis tick and did any travel home with us? Will one of the dogs get a tick?
Yasi did a lot of damage to trees to the Paluma property. And the house? One screen got damaged, a lamp shade fell to bits but that might have been ready to happen anyway.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

My favourite cute news feeds

I love lots of these things - general cute stuff - cute food Fail blog

Thursday, February 10, 2011

most painful spam ever

 "blow up your penis now & see results in as little as 7 weeks Guaranteed"

Hmm, shouldn't that be blow up your penis now and feel the results instantly?

If penis enhancement drugs worked as advertised, men should need a third 'leg' along the front. :)

Friday, February 04, 2011

Cyclone Yasi

Was very big and quite nasty. But the eye didn't pass over town, and at the last I heard, no fatalities due to the storm. Lot's of damage. Power is out over a great deal of north Queensland at the moment. I have an iPad which I charged up just before the power failed. So I can stay in contact for awhile at least. But the main computer must wait for power to be restored over town. Our house had minor damage from the storm. Ross wants to check the roof. But it must mostly be ok or there would be more water around.

Monday, January 31, 2011

I am scared

There is a major cyclone building up off the coast of Queensland.
They anticipate it will be *very* large and *very* dangerous.

And the predictions have the eye going right over my city.

I can talk the talk

but fail at walk the walk.

I know that blogging is one of those things you mainly have to do for love. But I've gotten so accustomed to having comments on blog posts in my story blogs that I'm really nearly ready to abandon the lot of them.

After I cry about the whole thing that is. Sad, I know.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Definitely no fun

Living in north Queensland, we regularly have alerts about cyclones.

Currently there is one for Cyclone Anthony, still a fairly long way away but predicted to hit the coast almost directly over town.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Another good Mimi and Eunice comic

 I'm also really fond of several of the offerings from

This includes LOLCats, LOLDogs, Very Demotivational, and failblog. They add up to at least one smile a day.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Cute thing going around Facebook lately

The instructions

1 - Go to wikipedia and hit random. The first random wikipedia article you get is the name of your band. 2 - Go to and hit random. The last four or five words of the very last quote of the page is the title of your first album. 3 - Go to flickr and click on “explore the last seven days”. Third picture no matter what it is, will be your album cover. 4 - Use photoshop or similar ( is a free online photo editor) to put it all together. 5 - Post it with this text and tag the friends you want to join in.

Mine was
Band name - Secret Rendezvous
Title of the album - Marry your equal

And my first album would look like

That worked well.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Compelling reading

A friend told me about PostSecret years ago now. The secrets are sometimes sad, sometimes scary, sometimes too much information. Some are very simple postcards, others are elaborate pieces of art.

Telling those secrets must be heartbreaking sometimes and incredibly freeing at others. You may laugh, you may cry but you are likely to read every card from start to end.