Sunday, December 23, 2007

Do Atheists celebrate Christmas?

Yes and no. Celebrating the birth of Christ? No. Celebrate a generic holiday around the time of the Winter Solstice? Most likely. Xmas is not just a short form for Christmas, it's also a great way to talk about the same holiday while avoiding the religious connotations. Let's have a look at why today, it's definitely more Xmas than Christmas anyway, and why people who aren't Christian can celebrate it:

Trees and decorating them: not a Christian idea. I believe it originated in Germany.

Red and green: traditional Pagan colours around the Winter Solstice. No particular significance placed on these colours around the birth of Jesus, if I remember the Gospels correctly.

Gingerbread: I don't remember reading about those in the Bible... Nor do I recall any meatballs, julmust, eggnog, candy canes or cranberry sauce and stuffed turkey, or brussel sprouts... or chocolate, for that matter. Or any other food traditionally linked with the holiday.

Father Christmas - there's an old Pagan tale of the Holly King, if I remember it correctly.

In Sweden, we also enjoy a one-hour Disney special - also not mentioned in the Bible - and we have a tradition of giving rice porridge to the helping spirit (i.e. "tomte") of the house and garden. Very little to do with religion.

Stars on the top of a tree and gifts and gold colour - yes, fair enough, that's from the tale of the Three Wise Men. But the rest? Not so much.

The Winter Solstice was a traditional time for deities to be born in various mythologies, so where better to place the birth of the Son of God? Jesus wasn't even born in December. Look at any of the traditional Pagan holidays, and you'll find a Christian holiday superimposed nearby. It was a bit of a PR stunt from the church back in the day. Instead of stopping the people from celebrating those dates, they just changed their meanings, thus making the conversion a lot easier. (They just weren't very successful in getting the Vikings to give up their Midsummer Solstice celebrations, which we celebrate to this day!)

The Nordic word for Christmas, incidentally, is "jul" - compare this with the English "Yule", it's pronounced the same way... Stubborn old Pagans, Scandinavians... ;)

So yes, I'm celebrating a holiday this time every year, albeit not the birth of Jesus, and I'm planning on continuing my Yuletide Xmas celebrations in the future without any mention of babies born in mangers in Bethlehem thousands of years ago.

P.S. Not to mention Lucia... heh. Read more at Wikipedia: St. Lucy's Day .

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Ho ho ho

I bought a new camera. A Fuji FinePix S9600, which is superbly awesome. The only downside is the aggressive noise reduction which I'm not extatic about, as that's the reason I decided to get a new camera in the first place - the noise reduction making things look rather watercoloured on the S5600. Then again, the S9600 has things to make up for it. Manual focus that's actually useful! You turn the lens to do zooming and focusing (well, if set to MF), just like on an analogue SLR. And 9 megapixles. And you can attach an external flash and a remote shutter control thingy! :D Wish I had that when I was trying my hand at astrophotography...

In just over 4 hours it's Global Orgasm Day. Google it.

Friday, November 30, 2007

NaNoWriMo 2007 - Day 29

Word count: 52,335 (52,407 validated)
Target word count: 48,343
Days to go: 1
Words left to write: 0

It is done.

NaNo 2007 winner

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

NaNoWriMo 2007 - Day 28

Word count: 47,343 (47,407 validated)
Target word count: 46,676
Days to go: 2
Words left to write: 2657

Slow day. :/ At least I'm ahead some. Two days to go, and if I don't write at least 50k worth of words, I don't get a tshirt as a reward. Bleh.

Because I bought a tshirt after I finished Script Frenzy as a reward for having completed it. Thus, if I complete NaNo 2007, "I wrote a novel and all I got was this shiny tshirt"... ;) So no win - no tshirt. And a tshirt would be nice.

I think, tomorrow I will write about them getting back to the real world. I suppose. They're in a library at the moment.

NaNoWriMo 2007 - Day 27

Word count: 46,065 (46,127 validated)
Target word count: 45,009
Days to go: 3
Words left to write: 3935

And if I actually spend the day writing tomorrow, which I should have done today but didn't, maybe I'll even finish tomorrow! :O Would be a stroke of luck though, as I've only written like 4k when I wrote... a certain chapter. We'll see how it goes. Will be busy on Thursday, so it's tomorrow and then see what I can do on Thursday and then it's Friday, and time's up on Friday... and it would be nice to finish ahead of schedule. If I go to bed now, maybe I'll even be able to get out of bed at a reasonable time in the morning so I can get crackin'. Good night.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

NaNoWriMo 2007 - Day 24

Word count: 40,239 (40,297 validated)
Target word count: 40,008
Days to go: 6

Still on target and slightly ahead! Mind you, it's 1am now so it's not like it's an early night, or anything. Once I got down to it, it was pretty quick to get those last 1300 words I needed. It would be silly to leave it and go into a deficit again when I've finally managed to get ahead.

I've broken the 40k barrier! 9761 words to go in six days. I'd say that's doable. The fact that my novel isn't about a terrible lot of things and probably not that interesting for anyone except myself is beside the point. My Word file is over 90 pages long now. I've never had a document that long, containing only a story I had written myself. Which makes me feel kind of warm and fuzzy inside to think that I have made something. :) After all these years of wanting to write a book and become an author, well, at least I seem to have written a book! To call myself an author would be pushing it, though. Perhaps if I can work on it so that it DOES become an interesting story for other people to read, THEN we can start discussing adding new job titles.

Wow. NaNo is actually perfectly doable. Even if you are working full time. Without losing too much sleep. Do need to hoover quite badly, though, and do other bits and bobs, but once NaNo is out of the way, there will be plenty of time for Xmas cleaning and decorating and all that nice Decembery stuff. Like switching to the Xmas blog template... :B Hehe. Oh, maybe I ought to do a template for November that is less frosty leaves and more writing books? But then I should also make one for June which is more about writing screenplays. So much to consider! But I'm going to sleep on it now.

Because tomorrow, I'm looking forward to writing about what it's like to have food and lodging in a mythological place. I'm thinking underground. Which should make one of my characters freak out... hrm. Didn't think of that. We'll see what happens. 'Night!

Friday, November 23, 2007

NaNoWriMo 2007 - Day 23

Word count: 38,400 (38,455 validated)
Target word count: 38,341
Days to go: 7

Good thing I decided to piece the text together. Because again, I thought I was just ahead. Which I wasn't. Well, I am now. Yay! One week to go and I'm knackered. But I didn't want to go to bed with another deficit. Now I'm ahead again, even if it's not by much. :)

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

NaNoWriMo 2007 - Day 20

Word count: 31,700 (31,751 validated)
Target word count: 33,340
Days to go: 10


I was behind yesterday, and I knew that. I didn't go to bed until it was like 01:45 because I was busy writing and it was flowing pretty okay. Wrote 2904 words last night... and I wrote it down on the wrong date in my notebook. I was really happy about it too, because I had gone from a 1023 word deficit to a 209 lead. Until I tonight realised that I had missed to write on one night, so instead, I had put down day 19's word count on day 18, where the target was 30,006 words. Those 209 words I was ahead was in fact a 1458 deficit. D'OH!!

Didn't get around to write that much at work, so I'm finishing tonight with a 1640 deficit. :( But hopefully, I'll be able to write loads next week, as I should be free again then.

It's just a lot easier to write about a lighthearted conversation with a stone than it is to write about a more serious conversation with a water spirit. Sigh. Hopefully I'll have more time to write tomorrow.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Raindrops keep falling on my head

If I manage to write a bit tonight, I will come back with a Day 19 NaNo update. If I don't, I'm busy writing. I'm almost 2700 in debt counting today. :/


First snow!

Yesterday, we were going out to see Bill Bailey in town. As we got out of the house, we weren't sure if it was raining or snowing, but as we drove into town, it became quite clear. It was snowing! :D Nothing that stuck to the ground, unfortunately, but still, snow! As it was quite chaotic around the Ice Centre - sorry, the Nottingham Arena - we had to park up at Victoria Centre and then walk down. It was very cold and very wet. But hey, it was the first snow of this season! Snow!


While waiting for the show to begin (we were in section 15), some people were throwing paper planes over the audience. Some of them flew quite impressively and got applauded by the people who had seen it. One had a great flight and was brilliantly caught by one of the yellow-shirted staff, which got both applauded and cheered. :)

The show was brilliant. We've been watching Bill Bailey on TV for years (Black Books, Never Mind the Buzzcocks, and so on) and thought it would be great to see a live show with him. When we drove past the Notts Arena a few months ago, I saw it said "BILL BAILEY: TINSELWORM" and November, so I phoned up and booked tickets.

The performance on the 17th was sold out, and there weren't that many spaces free on the 18th. He's a popular comedian and can certanly draw a crowd! And not without reason! He's a very funny guy with a very funny show. Not quite sure why the tour is called "Tinselworm", but that's by-the-by. It's kind of ADD safe comedy, because it changes very quickly. One minute he's talking, the next he's playing one of his many instruments and/or singing! He made us all do a Mexican wave as well.

Anyway, it's an ace show. Go and see it if you can. :)

Why does it always rain on me?

This morning, when we were going to work, had to stop by at the Mercedes/Smart dealership again... because it had rained in again, and it was a very big (and very wet) stain this time... and it was supposed to have been fixed months ago. We couldn't get a courtesy car until the end of the week, so we'll have to wait until then to get it fixed. As we didn't want to just leave and have it dry out and them to (again) say "we can't replicate the problem", we asked for one of the mechanics to come out and have a look at it. It was a very nice man, who had a good look, and as there was some slight dampness felt on the ceiling at the back, and you could see a stain there (not as clear as on the seats because it's a different fabric).

It seems the whole roof has to come off and be re-sealed! It's not a major job, because... well, let's be honest here, Smart make very cheap cars. Most of the body is plastic - which made it a bit interesting to try and place our magnetic L-plates the first time... To put one on the hatch at the back was fine, it's metal, but at the front... not so much. Anyway. The roof is attached by some kind of sealant... pretty much. And that's what seems to be the problem, because if it had been coming in through the windows, the doors would be stained, which they aren't.

I remembered to ask about disabling the child lock on the back doors, which he did in a jiffy. It was surprisingly easy - you just had to put the key in a hole on the door and turn it and hey presto. Yet we couldn't find how to do it in the manual! The good thing is, now people can sit in the back and they can open the doors themselves. Before, we've had to get out and open them, because of the child lock!

He was also going to replace some seals around one of the back doors, as it seemed a bit dodgy. Good thing that car is still under manufacturer's warranty! Although this time, fingers crossed, the problem will actually be sorted once and for all. Let's hope so. :)

Saturday, November 17, 2007

NaNoWriMo 2007 - Day 16

Word count: 26,864 (26,912 validated)
Target word count: 26,672
Days to go: 14

Feeling quite stressed at the moment, and I am working all next week... After that, hopefully I can go back to my normal routine and actually get more writing done.

Well, at least I made sure I was on plus before finishing for the night.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The ULTIMATE Italian pizza

Even though I have a tendency to point out the limits of the pizza toppings in Britain, and praise the tastiness and variety of Swedish pizzas (only Swedes would put Bearnaise sauce on their pizzas... Swedish folk have a bizarre obsession with that sauce!)... but I must admit that I have never seen a Swedish pizza with a spaghetti bolognese topping. Sure, there are plenty with the bolognese sauce... none that feature the actual spaghetti as well!

The first time I came across it was in Koblenz (in Germany - go look it up). It was December 2001, after the Modern Talking fanclubparty, and we wanted to go somewhere to eat. We settled on the restaurant next to Hotel Höhmann on Bahnhofsplatz, where on the menu they had "Spaghetti Pizza". It was so crazy I just had to have one! A pizza with spaghetti on - the ultimate Italian pizza, surely! Very tasty it was too. Incidentally, this was a restaurant which had a menu in English, which was a nice touch.

And today, a pizzeria in Beeston sported one on their menu! Of course, I had to try it! I think the one I had in Koblenz had a bit more meat in the sauce, but it was still quite nice. :) More people should try spag bol pizzas. Maybe I should make one if we have some left over spag bol next time!

Oh, and this has taken some time to write, because trying to find out the name of the hotel, I ended up joining ...and spent some time writing a few hotel reviews. :look

As I still don't know when we'll be getting home tonight, I'll go back to writing my novel. Only written 375 words today, and I want to have a lot more done until tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

NaNoWriMo 2007 - Day 14

Word count: 25,406 (25,452 validated)
Target word count: 23,338
Days to go: 16

Have broken through the half-way mark! :D And that was my goal for today. Was like 3000 ahead from last night, so can afford to only write 1096 words today. The validator's word count keeps increasing - today it's +46. As long as it doesn't go into minus, I'll be well pleased.

I could be writing more tonight, but will opt for going to bed instead. I have left it at a point where it should be fairly easy to pick back up the story again tomorrow. NaNo actually feels completely doable this year. W00t!

CSS is my new best friend

I'm learning more and more about CSS. Today I have made some templates for this blog, for instance. :) I started out with a Christmas one, now I have three. They all use the same code, pretty much, so layout is the same. The difference is colour scheme and images. I thought I'd make one that's appropriate for the season, so I made one called "Rants & November Raves". Which would be the one you can see now. Tell me you like it. :P Will be switching over to the Xmas one in December.

Not written a terrible lot today, but I was 3000+ words ahead yesterday, so all's well.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Word count tips & tricks

Here's my list so far:

  • write out numbers, just in case the validators don't like 'em ("twenty" instead of "20")
  • no apostrophe shortenings ("do not" instead of "don't", "I am" instead of "I'm")
  • long names ("Delacroix" is one word - "de la Croix" is three! ;))
  • chapter titles (instead of "Chapter One", it could be "Chapter One: Once upon a time or This is where the story begins")
  • ramble - you can make the text and sentences look all pretty in the editing stages instead
  • use more words than you need, such as a "death cloak" can be a "cloak of death", and someone who's "pregnant" is instead "with child" (okay, that one works best if your story is set in the past)

NaNoWriMo 2007 - Day 12

Word count: 22,225
Target word count: 20,004
Days to go: 18

Today has been a good day for writing. 4293 words in total, flowed very well. :) And I liked writing it as well. Now I have to find eight or so other past life memories to build on. But this one worked out pretty well... although it was "inspired by", I would say, rather than built on what actually happened. Or at least so I think. Haven't really researched that particular one properly.

But hey, I got over the deficit from yesterday, and added a nice lead, so that's good. And I've gone over the 20k mark and am heading toward the mid-point. Timewise, mid-point is in a couple of days, so... hopefully I'll beat it ahead of time.

In other news, finally received my CSS book today. Yay!

Monday, November 12, 2007

NaNoWriMo 2007 - Day 11

Word count: 17,932
Target word count: 18,337
Days to go: 19

Welcome to week two, also known as the "oh shit" week. I get what they mean by that. Lagging behind for the first time now. Mainly because I didn't end up writing anything last night and because of that, I was only 22 words ahead from what I had written on day 9. On the plus side, the official word count validator is now online.

Here's a comparison:

Microsoft Word: 16,692 words
OpenOffice Writer: 16,703 words
NaNo validator: 16,718 words

See? +26 words from the program I'm writing it in! Me likes the validator! :D

Also, I seem to have come up with a better working title than "Moo". Behold:

The Phantom Crystal

Even though I'm behind, I have to finish for tonight. My head hurts and I have work in the morning.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

NaNoWriMo 2007 - Day 7

Word count: 13,573
Target word count: 11,669
Days to go: 23
Chapters: 5
Characters: 4

All the main characters, at least the ones I planned to begin with, have now been transported to Moo Moo Land. The boys have met each other, as have the girls, and they are heading in each other's direction so they can all meet.

I'm quite amazed at the word count, to be honest. I mean... When I wrote the story for "Acting Out", it only came to 12,574 words. Not the original story I wrote down on paper in December of 2003, but the one where I had added scenes and descriptions while typing it down on a computer. 12.5k words from beginning to end, and I was a bit stuck as to what to fill it out with, as it was way too short for anything. It was turned into a screenplay (see blog entries for June 2007) for Script Frenzy, totalling 20,064 words.

And here I am, with a story written (realistically) in less time, but with more words. And it has almost not even started yet! Oh yes, not to mention the fact that I've been busy away from home all week as well.

I suppose, as this is day 7, tomorrow it'll be the dreaded Second Week, which I've heard so much about. We'll see how that goes. Hopefully, it will be well and I'll march along fine. :)

Tricks of the trade: Abolish any two-word combinations shortened with an apostrophe! Why write "don't" or "I'm" or "isn't" when you can write the same thing in twice the amount of words? "Do not", "I am" and "is not" is a handy way of getting free words! Also, don't write numbers unless you have to. Someone who is 10 years old can be "ten years old" instead, ensuring the number is counted by both your own word processor as well as the NaNo validator.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

NaNoWriMo 2007 - Day 3

Word count: 9042
Target word count: 5001
Days to go: 27
Chapters: 3
Characters: 3

Apparently, they all find some piece of jewellery, and hey presto - Narnia. Except it still isn't Narnia, but I have yet to come up with a name. Actually, that's a lie. I do have a name. I had a name for it before I even started writing! I just won't tell you that name. But that's where they've gone to. Two down, two to go! Although I'm currently writing one of those, I might just leave her disappearing until tomorrow or so. Glad I didn't leave the cat on the beach. Even if they come back and it's the same time as they left, I still don't like the thought of leaving her stranded all by herself like that. Better to do it when they're both safely at home.

The first chapter is by far the longest one (12 pages compared with 3 and 5). Mainly because that's where most of the talking has been done and also, it's heavily drawn on memories of events and places (namely: Båstad, disguised as an unnamed small seaside village in England somewhere). Oh well, first draft is a first draft. It's not supposed to be very good, and lemme tell you this right now - it sure ain't! It's something that can be sorted out at a later date. Post-NaNo.

Was gonna go to the meetup at the Maltcross today, but didn't want to spread my germs, as they've spread enough already. Still having a bloody cold... sigh.

The book No Plot? No Problem! (by Chris Baty, NaNo founder) suggested putting on a hat or something to put yourself into a "writing mood", so my hat of choice is my Indigo movie baseball cap. I don't wear baseball caps very often, and hey, if I have one that says "Indigo", from the movie with the same name (the less said about it the better), and I'm writing about a bunch of Indigos... makes sense.

Good night.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

NaNoWriMo 2007 - Day 2

Day 2
Word count: 5111
Target word count: 3334
Days to go: 28

Novel: "Moo" (working title)
Category: Religious, Spiritual & New Age

It's a story about a bunch of Indigos who end up in a different world, where they learn stuff about themselves and the world. A little bit like Narnia, but without Jesus and turkish delight. Actually, a lot different from Narnia. The only similarity is the whole "ending up in a different world" bit. I think the "His Dark Materials" trilogy by Philip Pullman is a closer comparison, and it's still not the same thing. I suppose if you mix Narnia and His Dark Materials with "The Celestine Prophecy" (James Redfield) and "Conversations With God" (Neale Donald Walsh), you're getting there. Kind of. I don't know, so far I've only written about a girl who discovers there's more to her cat than cuteness and a boy who eats chips. The other world is pretty far away yet. Plus I still need to figure out how they get there.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

I don't want to write fiction actually

What's wrong with writing something that isn't made up? It's still a book. It's still a big challenge to write 50k words of it.

I don't mean writing a book about Random Topic of Interest Which Requires Lots of Research, such as writing an instruction manual or a guidebook to Paris.

It might be something more lighthearted. Perhaps someone really wants to write a book about different cars they really like and why they like them and such. It wouldn't be fiction, but it's still a novel. Or a factual book about something fictional, like a book about your fantasy world or a roleplaying game you've created. Same goes for biographies/memoirs and any sort of book that deals with memories. If I want to write a book about my cat, it wouldn't be fiction (unless I started making stuff up, of course), so it wouldn't "count" for NaNo according to the attitude of people in the forums and the FAQ... but isn't the challenge to come up with a continous (not necessarily coherent) text of at least 50k words in a month's time? (Continuous might be the wrong word, but you know what I mean.)

A text of at least 50k words in 30 days = a book/novel/whatever = big challenge = what NaNoWriMo is about.

I've seen in the FAQ and other threads the saying "If you call it a novel, we call it a novel", which is great. So if I write a book that _I_ call a novel, but which isn't fiction, it'll still be a novel according to that saying. And then the whole thing doesn't make any sense:
"Here's a novel I wrote about my mother's childhood."
"It's not fiction."
"Perhaps not, but it's a novel if you ask me."

Not that it really matters, as such, as no one verifies the texts and say "this is not fiction!!" - so who would know anyway? And if you're writing it for your own sake, to prove that you DO have it in you to write a novel, all types of novels should be allowed, as long as you start from scratch. Why say "you can't write that" to people who have no interest in writing fiction but who want to participate in NaNo because it's a great writing challenge? I've never written 50k words in a month (at least not comprising of the same story), fictional or non-fictional. I care about how many words about the same kind of "topic" (storyline) I can come up with, as that's my challenge. I don't care about the storyline being fictional or real, as I will be just as happy and feel just as accomplished to reach 50k regardless of if it's fiction or not.

"YAY!!! I wrote a novel of 50k words about my mother's childhood! Woohoo, I made it!"
"It's not fiction."
"I don't care, I wrote a novel of 50k words in a month! I did it! Yay me! I can write books!"

If there's no one to verify the topic of the book, why actively discourage people from writing what they care about just because it's not made up, when the challenge of writing it is still the same?

Friday, October 19, 2007

Like a broken toy

Good idea: Taking tests online.

Bad idea: Taking tests online about personality disorders and the likes and reading up on them on Wikipedia and go "hmm, maybe".

Quite often, it feels as if I'm broken and the warranty has run out.

I mean, ffs. According to tests and Wikipedia, I show signs of Schizoid Personality Disorder. I'm just not a very social person! Schizoid sounds serious. Like... schizophrenia... and the voices tell me they're pretty sure I've not got that! ;)

Did a few Asperger's Syndrome tests the other day. On one of them, gave me a 91 score out of 200. Is that good or bad? It shows some Aspie tendencies, but nothing severe... I think. I got 92 neuro-typical (non-Autism) points on the same quiz, so... I don't even know what that means. Some other sites suggested I show a few signs, but nothing to go to the doctors and say "analyze this!" about.

Today, I did some Adult ADD tests. One of them said if you answered 3 or 4 to 20+ questions, there's perhaps a slight cause for concern. I had 31 of those. Think my total score was 154 or something, but I don't know what that means. I guess I have a touch of Adult ADD or something?

On the other hand, it's said ADD and the likes are quite common in Indigo people, so I digress. Then again, I am not that keen on the Indigo labelling. I prefer to think of the Indigo phenomenon as the next step in evolution. Apparently there's a word for it, Homo noeticus. I don't think she uses that word, but she does make a compelling case for the same kind of thing - PMH Atwater in "Beyond the Indigo Children". One of the few Indigo books that doesn't put the people it writes about on a pedestal and go all "Hell Messiah!" about it.

It's fairly simple, really. There have been people showing signs of being psychic and/or intuitive all the time, but back in the day, they were persecuted and burned at the stakes as witches, for instance. It wasn't the right time for that gene in humans to prosper. Survival of the fittest - intuition wasn't fit enough. Nowadays, society has opened up a lot - and opened up a whole lot even in the puny 25 years I've been here (really, the last 10-15 years especially) - and it allows for the gene to pop its head up again and say hello. When it discovers it no longer risks getting killed off, it gets more prominent. Today, psychics can even be celebrities! It's the right time to show itself... and it means it now is fit for survival. It's quite an interesting thought if you ask me...

Days until NaNoWriMo: 13

Yes, I am going to have a shot at it again. The National Novel Writing Month, 1-30 November writing a book of 50k words. Only got to like 3400 last year for various reasons. Will try again. This time, I know the subject and it feels as if it's something I have to write. Not for the sake of writing or proving anything to myself, but rather, writing it for my sake. Writing about my life, from a child up until today, in detail. I've not had a particularly interesting life, really, but that's not the point. I won't be writing it as a giant ego trip. I will be writing it because writing is my primary form of expression, and because of that, it's the greatest therapy. I'm hoping that by writing about my life, I can come to terms with stuff that has happened, connect the dots, and work through shit which I've never quite been able to deal with. I had a big breakthrough writing about something from my past in an email just yesterday, when dots were connected and they seemed to lead back to the same incident. (Mum can probably guess what I'm talking about. Not that she reads my blog. But if she did, she'd know.)

In other news, we had the first frost yesterday morning. I took a picture, but I've not transferred it to the computer yet, and I don't know where I've put the camera. Can show it next time instead.

My Swedish animal communication / healing website seems to be generating more traffic and interest than the UK website, ...and yes, the only reason I mentioned them right now was for SEO purposes. :look *pokes Google*

There's also a snooker championship going on at the moment, in Aberdeen, but no sign of Alan McManus so far. :( There's an appreciation society of his on Facebook. Yay! So to finish off this post, here's a clip of a post-match interview with him from 2005. Thank you and good night!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Spinning Mindf*ck

spinning woman picture

Which way does she spin? Clockwise or counter-clockwise?

No, it's not a trick question. You'll see her spinning one way or the other and you won't be able to figure out how the HELL anyone can think she spins the other way.

Unless, of course, you see her change direction. I have looked at the actual animation frame-by-frame, and that doesn't give any "after a certain time, she spins the other way". No. Frame-by-frame, she spins clockwise. First time I looked at it, she was going counter-clockwise and I was thinking there's no way you could see her as spinning clockwise. Then, all of a sudden, she did. And when pointing this out over MSN, it changed again! And as I was writing it again, it changed mid-sentence!

I remember a few years ago, doing a test about which half of the brain you most use, I was quite close to the middle, with only a few % more to the left side. Maybe that's why. Either way you look at it, prepare to feel mindfucked!

Monday, October 08, 2007

Supporting my argument

Money should be abolished!

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Powerful Woman

A quick and easy pick-me-up. Sing along to this a couple o' times and you'll feel a lot more confident!

"Powerful Woman" by Moving Breath

I am a powerful woman, I am.
I am a powerful woman, I am.
I connect with myself and everything.
I am a powerful woman, I am.

I am a passionate woman, I am.
I am a passionate woman, I am.
I express myself with the power and love,
I am a passionate woman, I am.

I am a feeling woman, I am.
I am a feeling woman, I am.
I accept all the things expressing through me,
I am a feeling woman, I am.

I am a loving woman, I am.
I am a loving woman, I am.
I love myself and everyone,
I am a loving woman, I am.

I am divine woman, I am.
I am divine woman, I am.
The Goddess is fully awake in me,
I am divine woman, I am.

I am a powerful woman, I am.
I am a powerful woman, I am.
I connect with myself and everything,
I am a powerful woman, I am.
I am a powerful woman, I am.
I am a powerful woman, I am.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

No one knows how the Wheel turns

The Wheel of Time turns as Ages come and go, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth comes again. In one Age, called the Third Age by some, a man died of a horrible disease. His death was not the end. There are neither beginnings nor endings to the turning of the Wheel of Time, but it was AN end.

Robert Jordan has died, aged 58.

I found out today and it made me very sad. Another one of my favourite authors to die. I cried the day I found out that Douglas Adams had died, and I have tears in my eyes writing this. No, I didn't know RJ either. I'm crying because I admired him, he wrote a fantastic fantasy series, and he's left a loving wife behind - Harriet - and I feel for her. It's a great loss to lose a partner like that, but it's also a loss to the world of fantasy literature.

To Harriet - may the Light shine upon you and give you strength. You're in all of our thoughts.

To RJ - May the Mother's last embrace welcome you home and I'm glad you can finally rest and not be in pain anymore. Thank you for writing the best fantasy series ever. R.I.P.


Sunday, September 09, 2007

An old email

This dates back to 23 February 2004 and is from an email to Whale's Passage, suggesting we put these kind of questionnares about ourselves on the site (the questions are from the talkSPORT site):

talkSPORT Allstars.

Steve Irwin.

Green Park.

Listening to England lose in the World Championships in 1998 on Talk Radio. Or something. I dunno, I'm not really into sports.

Other than WHAT exactly? I'll go with Whaley on this one: Archery.

Douglas Adams.

Guinness. Bailey's Irish Cream. As long as it's Irish!

Who cares?

None whatsoever.

Father Ted.

A dictator, terrorist or oracle. But instead, I ended up in radio. Hmm.


If Sam Neill's in it, title doesn't matter.

"Bald On Top" by James Whale. Duuh.

Celtic or Irish folk.

Working at talkSPORT as an engineer, producer or presenter.

Imagination running wild here and I can't decide, so I'll say Ash.

Nowadays, it would look more like this:

The A-Team! ;)

Alan McManus.

The earth we walk upon.

Ronnie O'Sullivan getting a 147 in about 5 minutes. As seen on YouTube! Or, perhaps the total fluke pot by Alan McManus just for the look on his face. :D

Football's not my favourite sport. Snooker is. My second favourite sport is... err... Quidditch. :P

Douglas Adams.

Anything Irish, and Kiviks Varm&Kall.

Who cares?

One with an L-plate on.

NCIS and a bunch of others.

A dictator, terrorist, oracle, moviestar or pilot.


If Sam Neill's in it, title doesn't matter.

The Wheel of Time, Harry Potter, and anything by Douglas Adams.

Irish folk.

Successful script writer. Or, running HP roleplaying games and actually get paid for doing so. :B I already am an animal communicator now, so that doesn't count. :)

My future husband.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Facebook is like time travel

If you think about it, Facebook can make you take some serious trips down memory lane. Sure, I bet so can MySpace and such too, but I personally find MySpace rather confusing to use. Facebook has a nice and simple interface and funny add-ons. I have a pet Greenbit (green rabbit) called Shamrock, for instance. The Sorting Hat placed me in Ravenclaw (as well it should). I've been to 63 towns around Europe - sadly, though, a lot of the smaller towns aren't recognised by the application. I'm also endulging in trivia quizzes about Harry Potter and Firefly, as well as movies. Can write short movie reviews and rate films too. Loads of fun.

Then there are friends. I seem to have aquired a whole bunch. Never knew I had that many friends! o_O A bunch are fellow ex-slaves from PC ServiceCall/The Tech Guys/Crapita, another bunch are CHATphilers, and then there are some people I've been to school with and such. It's really quite freaky when you see pictures of people who you remember most vividly when they were about 10... They have since grown up. Okay, fair enough, I've seen them graduating from school too, but that was still a fair few years ago now. (About five.)

The best part are those who you have lost contact with for some reason or another, but who you can reconnect with. Like the bunch of people from CHATphiles. Which brings me on to the subject of groups. Someone created a CHATphiles group on Facebook. Last time I checked, we were 33 members. Many of them are people I used to chat with, and a bunch I've even met IRL. It's so great to see them again. That's why I've decided to name the group "CHATphiles" the bestest group on Facebook ever. I loved CHATphiles, it was a big part of my life for a fair few years, and I loved all the friends I made there. It's such a shame the software couldn't cope with the new servers. :(

There are groups on any subject imaginable, including one about automatic doors making you feel like a Jedi. Didn't join it, though. Another one I did join is I compulsively join groups that interest me but don't actively participate. Yeah, that'll be me in a nutshell. I'm in fangroups of Firefly, The Flying Doctors, Wheel of Time, Animaniacs, Texas, Modern Talking, Thomas Anders, Lord Cutler Beckett, Sam Neill, James Whale (who's on my friends list, w00t!), Poltergeist: The Legacy... you name it. Some were missing, so I had to add them, such as Time Trax. Today I even found an appreciation society for Alan McManus. :)

Facebook is teh shit.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Efinancial spam calls

So, there it is again. The phone rings. It's someone who does not have English as a first language, yet they keep saying they have very very English-sounding names. Yesterday, it was "Sean", today, it was "Matthew". I bet they're calling from somewhere in India. Outsourcing ftw. :]

Our home phone number is listed with the Telephone Preference Service. It means, unless we're a client of theirs or have expressed our written consent for them to contact us, they're not allowed to. Yet they're the ones who keep calling us again and again! Most of the other spam calls we used to get have ceased, but they're not giving up. They still want to offer us mortgage deals and sound slightly perplexed as to why on earth we're not interested in this when we - politely - tell them to bugger off.

Yesterday, I told "Sean" we're not interested and that they shouldn't be calling. "Matthew" was harder to get rid of - maybe he's worked there for longer and has lost a little more of his soul than "Sean" has. I don't know. I had to explain that a) we're listed with TPS, therefore, they're not allowed to call us unless we're a client of theirs (which I pointed out we were not, and had no plans on ever becoming), and b) we do not do business over the phone. It's not exactly rocket science. This time, I googled for some kind of address and reported two American companies by the name of "Efinancials" (eFinancial Services and Efinancials LLC, the latter have actually been sued for email spamming, so my money's on them) to the TPS.

When ("if" is not the option with these people) they call again, I'll try and get the company's URL, which means they should be easier to track down than just the name, as the name's a bit elusive. Getting the company's phone number and address details from the call centre minions tend to be a lost cause, you see. I've tried that before. Doesn't work.

But hey, maybe one day, when searching for "efinancial spam calls", this blog entry will show up, and at least then that person will know they're not alone. Also, hopefully, they'll know if I've managed to track the right Efinancial mortage brokers down and if they've stopped calling...

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The Toilet Seat Conundrum

There's always a lot of talk about arguments over men leaving the toilet seat up - or women leaving it down. I don't see much point in arguing with my beloved over petty things like that, and luckily, neither does he.

The toilet is not an argument-starter in our household.

Here's how you can achieve bathroom bliss:

After use, always put the toilet lid down.

Doesn't matter if you're a man or a woman. Women put the lid down, men put seat and lid down. Sorted! Yes, it really isn't any more difficult than that. That means both will have to lift it when going to the toilet, regardless of who has used it before, and both have to put it down.

Putting the lid down doesn't just mean one thing less to argue over, it also ensures the bathroom looks nicer, smells cleaner, and when you flush the toilet there are less fecal bacteria sprayed into the air and potentially settling on your toothbrush. Another thing - which is actually the reason I started doing it in the first place - is that it's good Feng Shui. A toilet with the lid up makes luck escape. So as you can see, there are a lot of benefits for putting the toilet lid down after use. :)

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Deathly Silence

Finished at around 1:30pm.

Now I'm just waiting for others to finish so I have someone to discuss it with.



I know she said she'd leave some loose ends for fans to speculate about, but... it felt like too many. Like, why not say what people are working with? What happened to some people (are they dead or alive)? And so on. There were also some pacing issues. Super-mega-action-packed start, then it drags on a bit and not a lot happens for like 200 pages before it picks up again. I think I'll have a bit of a ponder about it.

Pulling an all-nighter

It has arrived.

Busy reading. Queued up at ASDA around midnight. Started reading just after 1am, while having a large mug of strong (yucky) coffee to keep me awake. Have read for 4½ hours, just finished chapter 15, on a pee break / making-some-tea break / computer break... but will have to get back to reading now, before my tea-water gets cold.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Personality Disorder Test

Personality Disorder Test Results
Paranoid |||||| 26%
Schizoid |||||||||||||||||| 78%
Schizotypal |||||||||||||||| 62%
Antisocial |||||| 26%
Borderline |||||| 26%
Histrionic |||||| 22%
Narcissistic |||||||||| 34%
Avoidant |||||| 26%
Dependent |||||| 30%
Obsessive-Compulsive |||||||||| 34%
Take Free Personality Disorder Test
personality tests by

EDIT: Did another one just now (24 October 2008), as I've been reading about psychological disorders in the psychology course recently. I seem to have become more schizoid in the past year and a half. ;) But less paranoid, which is interesting, considering how much X-Files I've been watching recently...

Personality Disorder Test Results
Paranoid |||| 14%
Schizoid |||||||||||||||||||| 82%
Schizotypal |||||||||||||| 54%
Antisocial |||||||||| 34%
Borderline |||||| 30%
Histrionic |||||| 30%
Narcissistic |||||||||| 38%
Avoidant |||||||||| 38%
Dependent |||||| 26%
Obsessive-Compulsive |||||||||||| 42%
Take Free Personality Disorder Test
personality tests by

Schizoid Personality Disorder - individual generally detached from social relationships, and shows a narrow range of emotional expression in various social settings.

Test author comment: I don't think Schizoid personality is a valid disorder (read), some of the smartest people in history were schizoid because they occupied a remote end of the intelligence bell curve. Schizotypal personality can encompass highly original thinkers as well as totally insane people so I think it's a flawed type.

Script Frenzy! - Day 29

Days until fade-out: 1

Well, decided I wasn't going to go to bed until I finished. So I did. Still feels like scenes are missing, but on the other hand... I was watching "Notting Hill" earlier. Unfortunately, a Scandinavian release, so no director's commentary (during SF, I've been watching "Love Actually" and "Wimbledon" with director's commentary). Found the script, though. It was 17k-ish words. At the point I was earlier tonight, I still had more than that. Now I've breeched 20k! \o/ I did it!

Then comes the polishing and stuff. But hey, I made it! And it's a day to go! (Two days, technically, as it's only just turned Friday an hour and a half ago.) Happy now.

Total word count: 20,064

Script Frenzy 2007 winner

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Script Frenzy! - Day 27

Current word count: 18,431
Words left: 1569
Days until fade-out: 3

Written about 1600 words today. Have just as many to write tomorrow and then I'm done. A couple of days ahead of schedule! That will feel good.

Today, I got out "Writing Your Screenplay" by Cynthia Whitcomb, which I bought a couple of years ago or something like that. It will be my guiding light when it comes to the editing process, which will ensue once Script Frenzy is done.

Today I was struck by the horrible realisation that there isn't a lot of character development in the story. That's pretty bad. So the scenes I've written today, I've put in some self-esteem issues, which they can overcome in the end.

Also, a 25-year-ish gap in a couple can work IRL. To date, it seems to still be working quite well for Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones, and they've been married 7 years now. And they seem to be genuinely in love, so there! Not every young woman is a golddigger, nor is every older man a perv. (Some people would argue that in relation to Mr. Douglas, I bet, but shush you. :P)

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Script Frenzy! - Day 26

Current word count: 16,760
Words left: 3240
Days until fade-out: 4

Everything has been transferred from the story. Now I'm at the stage where I have to think of new scenes to put in, and that's proving to be a bit tricky. "Tricky" meaning "AARGHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!" Okay, perhaps not that much. I've identified Act 3, but still don't know where Act 1 finishes and Act 2 begins.

I've added a scene in a bookstore, in a country village, MMC's first lesson, and a scene that explains FMC to have a bit of a thing for older men. But I need more. Have asked around on the Script Frenzy forums and have got some suggestions there, as well as in the newly formed Order of Merlin (Merlinordern) in the SH forum, which is a writing circle like The Circle of Prophets (Profeternas Cirkel) once were in VVT. Got some input there too, which is good.

I do feel slightly stressed now, and there's only four days to go. Okay, I only have to write 810 words per day now, but I want to finish ahead of schedule. I just need some more scenes.

Not sure there will be a Script Frenzy next year, as they need $120,000 to break even. That's a lot of money. And so far, they've only got a bit over $21k. Would love to donate some, but am very short of cash right now. Would be fun to participate in another Script Frenzy (dunno about NaNoWriMo in November... scripts are more my thing), as I've got several ideas for other scrips I want to write, but if there's no official Script Frenzy next year, I guess I'll just have to pretend there is one next June. Or just start writing scripts anyway, but not the "I have to get to 20k words in 30 days" thing. We'll see.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Script Frenzy! - Day 21

Current word count: 14,226
Days until fade-out: 9

I beat the half-way mark the night to the 15th, which is half-way through. The past week has been full of distractions, however. I was working Wednesday to Friday. Friday also meant it was return to DDO weekend... which we were playing on on Saturday, and then were out in the evening. Sunday also doing stuff, and in the evening, I was playing DDO. Monday and Tuesday were both spent upgrading the SH forum to phpbb3. So I've basically lost a week, but it's still doable. Only have 1½ A4 pages left to transfer, and then I just have to fill in the blanks. Which should be okay.

Less than 7k words to go, after all!

Return to DDO weekend

Returned to DDO for three days last weekend. Was supposed to be extended to Tuesday, but couldn't log in on Monday morning. :( Spent Sunday night questing with my Bard, and did part 1 and 2 of Waterworks, which got her to level 3. It was +50%xp during the weekend, which helped.

Since then, I've had a bit of a look on the DDO forums, and have finally managed to do that Bartle test I've heard about.

The Bartle Test
: Achiever 46.67%, Explorer 80.00%, Killer 33.33%, Socializer 40.00%
EASK players often live by the phrase 'The journey is often more enjoyable than the destination.' They are motivated by meeting the challenges of the world, but they are usually in no rush--because seeing the creatures and places of the world is even more fun.

Online Gamer Playstyle Survey
Based on your answers, you are Supporter-Organizer.
This combination is also referred to as the Impresario playstyle. You provide a foundation for other players to enjoy the game. You tend to help other people achieve their goals before you do things for yourself, hoping to reap later rewards in the form of loyalty and dedication to growing a guild or clan.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

What old skool my little pony are you?

You are MAGIC STAR! You're the nice one, always giving people a chance and having hope. Good for you, you nice little pony you!

Take this quiz!

YAY! Magic Star is actually one of the ponies I have as well! :D

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Script Frenzy! - Day 10

Current word count: 7881
Days until fade-out: 20

I've found her, the female main character! The male lead I, as have already been established, picture as Sam Neill or Alan Rickman. The female one I couldn't quite decide on which one. Then, last night, we watched "Doctor Who" on BBC1, and there she was. The character of Sally Sparrow, being clever and cheeky and all that kind of stuff just made me think of my FMC. The actress is the beautiful Carey Mulligan (Kitty in "Pride & Prejudice" from 2005). So she's born in 1985, but then again, so is Keira Knightley. Romola Garai is born in 1982, just a couple of weeks before me, and she would be a good FMC, I think. Yet Carey Mulligan... bingo! Perfect. <3

"Yeah. 'Sir, how come your characters
never seem to get the girl?' Brilliant. Sure
he would love that question."

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Script Frenzy! - Day 7

Current word count: 6568
Days until fade-out: 23

The program says I'm 32 minutes into the script. Huh. I'm just getting to a huge turning point, and that is in no way after a mere half hour into the film! But, on the other hand, they meet on page 3, go on a date on page 10... That's just not good enough! Although, right now, the task is to transfer the 20-page story into a script first of all, and once I've done that, start filling in all the blanks. Such as the beginning. I mean, sure, for him, it's love at first sight. For her, he's just some actor. A considerably older actor to boot. So she's got to be a lot harder to get than just " 'Hi, I fancy you, can I take you to dinner?' - 'Sure.' - 'You're the love of my life.' - 'I love you too! Let's live happily ever after!' " ...I mean, wtf?!

Here's how it's gonna work:
1. Transfer rest of story to script.
2. Check word count - unlikely having reached 20k. (The story is 20 A4 pages, 12k-ish words.)
3. Fill in blanks to make up 20k.
4. Celebrate having completed Script Frenzy! 2007.
5. Edit.
6. Edit again.
7. More editing.
8. Rewrite a lot.
9. Edit some more.
10. Get a company like Working Title to buy the script and make it into a great movie.

Aim high! )In the words of Dieter Bohlen: You can win if you want, anything is possible.)

P.S. Angfiel, if you're reading this: WHEN this movie gets made, if Alan Rickman gets the part of the Male Main Character... by then I'll have got decent money for the script and will get you a plane ticket to come and join me on the set so you can meet him IRL. (The catch is, you gotta read the script and hack it to pieces with constuctive criticism in the editing stages.) How's that? ;)

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Script Frenzy! - Day 5

Current word count: 4761
Days until fade-out: 25

So far: They've met. They've been on a date. There's even been a sex scene! And morning after angst. And the Quirky Friend has just been introduced.

According to Ten Must-Haves in Any Romantic Comedy there are certain things most RomComs have in common. It's a good list. Without even making an efford, my story will have 7 out of 10. The "Older Perverted Relative" can be added, and I'm sure we can have a proper "Wedding/Dance/Party scene" as well. The "One Hit Wonders"... well, I'm not familiar with exactly what Burt Bacharach has written, but I do like a bit of Motown, so +2! All the rest of the points I have, so yay!

To quote the Script Frenzy Romance/Romantic Comedy forum:

1. Check. Rich celebrity vs poor drama student.
2. Check. Drama school.
3. Check. There's one of those, except not just yet.
4. Check. She's a bit of a hippie.
5. Don't have one of those, so good point, must add one.
6. Don't know what Burt Bacharach has made specifically, but I'm sure we get some Motown in there. I like Motown!
7. Check. There is a cat.
8. Hmm. That could be arranged.
9. Check.
10. Check. But of course!

I could so do script-writing for a living. It's awesome. <3

Monday, June 04, 2007

Bestest Show Ever!

Look! Someone put these on YouTube! I wuvs them.

Script Frenzy! - Day 4

Current word count: 3463
Days until fade-out: 26

I'm having a blast here. I've also considered another actor for the male lead. I'm thinking Alan Rickman could pull it off. And I'm not just saying that to make Angfiel happy. :P I reckon he'd do it well. I would say the main reason I'm considering him is because he did a shiny job in Love Actually and Sense And Sensibility. Okay, the guy normally tends to be very good, but the whole love thing. I'm not too familiar with the wider range of his films, so he might do an excellent lovesick puppy, I just don't know it. But from those two films, I'd say I'd be happy with him. Not as happy as I would be with Sam Neill, perhaps... but close enough. :)

But hey, I guess if Alan Rickman played the main man, I'd have both Angfiel and one of my sisters queueing up to go see the film... ;)

Procrastination eyecandy:

Sam Neill and Romola Garai version above, Alan Rickman and Anne Hathaway version below.


Friday, June 01, 2007

Animaniacs on DVD

I think I even had season 1 on pre-order. Today I found out that they've released season 2 already! Season 3 is on the way later this month. On Region 1, I might add. Region free players ftw.

Things I wouldn't mind for my birthday (next month, remember?):


Animaniacs are great.

(The actor can actually sing that song ^^ still, without the lyrics. Impressive? Hell yes!)

Script Frenzy! - Day 1

So far, I have 614 words (667 being the daily total one would have to do to reach 20k in 30 days), and I'm only like 2 minutes into the film according to the program I'm using. On the other hand, it wouldn't be two minutes in on screen, as you require some establishing shots and things like that.

I settled for a story I've written and that I've been meaning to turn into a script. After all, it's about two actors, so what would be more fitting than making a script of it? It's a romantic comedy, inspired by a dream I had in mid-December 2003. The one that turned me into a SamNeilloholic, incidentally.

Even made a poster. Not with any actor names on, because I don't know who'd fit as the woman, and I have two suggestions for the man (yes, Sam Neill is one of them :P).

I started with looking for pics of Sam, and even though I have a truckload, I couldn't find one that would be good as a poster for this film, and also, the only woman of the right age for the female lead that I seemed to have pictures of with Sam (erm, because I couldn't be bothered to google for actress pics), was Keira Knightley, and that's not quite who I had in mind. Although, I'm kinda warming up to her after PotC3. (Oh, which I'll have to write about separately. Pirates 3, that is. W00t!) Also, the behind-the-scenes interview with her on the "Dr. Zhivago" DVD... gotta love her for that. She talks about Sam Neill and gets as starry-eyed and giggly as a love-struck SNeill listee, which is great fun to watch. You're welcome to the official mailing list any time, girl! ;)

Time to back to the writing.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Towel Day

It's that time of year again!

When I have anything interesting to report about this, I will. I shall update this post a bit later and reminisce about the past six years of celebrating Towel Day. Actually, sod it, I'll just copy what I sent in to the Towel Testimonials page on the official Towel Day website a few years ago:

It was a day like any other. I had been watching TV for some time and then finally decided to do something more constructive with my day, so I switched it off, and picked up my mobile phone. That's when I got an SMS from a friend in England: "Douglas Adams is dead". I asked the standard questions, and was told what had happened. I was in shock, went straight to the computer, and closed down my two websites in memorandum. Later that night, my mother and I were preparing dinner, and I told her I had got an SMS from my friend, and then I started crying. She thought something had happened to my friend's family, but I told her "Douglas Adams is dead!". She looked at me and said "Who?", and when I told her who he was she pointed out that I didn't know him personally and all that, but it somehow didn't matter. For a lot of fans, that didn't matter. We had lost Douglas and were in shock and mourning.

There was talk on the Internet of a Towel Day in rememberance of him, set to May 25, and the thought of NOT participating never even crossed my mind. Of course I would pay my tribute! Thus, I walked around with a towel in my
school bag for I think the end of the semester. Not displayed all the time, but it was there.

In 2002, I was going to Vänersborg to meet up with some friends on May 25, and I had a towel lying around my neck on the train. People looked, but I didn't care. At the train station in Vänersborg, the group of friends came to meet me. The two boys in the group had their towels with them.

In 2003, unfortunately, it was a Sunday, and I don't recall leaving the house at all that day. I had a towel with me anyway, though! In 2004, I was going to go to Gothenburg, but ended up going around Stenungsund instead - towel properly displayed from my hand bag! My mum asked why I was carrying a towel. I told her. "Ahh, that writer," she said, and left it at that.

To not celebrate Towel Day is still not an option. I've been pushing for it this year, sending out reminders to people, and they've been positive about it. Reading Daniel's testimonial, I've decided to keep the towel in my bag. I noticed back in 2001 that it was very useful to carry with at all times, so I will definitely start doing that again.

TraXy - who knows where her towel is!
To update it, as it seems to be written in 2005, I can say that in 2005, I was reminded of it at work, and fortunately had a towel in my bag, which I immediately took out and displayed. Last year (2006) I completely forgot and was deeply ashamed. Ended up pinning a paper napkin to my coat saying something like "temporary towel", explaining the situation. Ho hum. So this year, now that I have remembered it, I have put a towel in my bag as we're going around places carding in the morning. You can't stop the towel!

Friday, May 18, 2007

Script Frenzy!

June 1-30, it's NaNoWriMo all over again... kind of. Except this time, the goal is a 20 000-word screenplay! :) I'm game. Are you?

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Which superhero are you?

Your results:
You are Superman

You are mild-mannered, good, strong and you love to help others.

Superman 75%
Spider-Man 75%
Green Lantern 70%
Robin 67%
Wonder Woman 57%
Supergirl 52%
The Hulk 45%
Iron Man 40%
Catwoman 35%
The Flash 35%
Batman 35%

Click here to take the "Which Superhero am I?" quiz...

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Monitor update

The Tech Guys just phoned to arrange re-delivery of the monitor. It's been fixed already. And they only picked it up yesterday, at 11:47! Done already! That's quick. Hopefully it's fixed now. Only waited three weeks for it, after all...

To be continued...

Monday, May 14, 2007

Always think for yourself

Customer call-back

Guess what?

Around noon, I actually received a phone call from The Tech Guys regarding the booking of that monitor. Tomorrow, is that all right? In the words of Mulder: Sure, fine, whatever. Just make sure they actually come to pick it up this time...

To be continued...

Also have had two spam callers today, which pisses me off. The first one was someone calling from France about an exhibition that would be on in our area on May 24. Porcelain, apparently. He wanted to speak to the man of the house, advised he was not around. Even though I said "oh no, we're busy that day, no can do", he would still call back later. Gah.

The second one was from eFinancial or something like that - they've called before. Every time, I've advised them that we're listed with the Telephone Preference Service, we do not wish to receive calls like that. This lady actually said she was just providing information, not selling anything. SAME SHIT DIFFERENT NAME! Providing information about a personal loan... not interested!! Sod the fuck off!

Friday, May 11, 2007

The Tech Guys Saga

As it's kind of come up, I'm going to spend this whole post getting some stuff off my chest. If you hadn't guessed it yet, I'm a former employee of The Tech Guys. Yes, that was the callcentre responsible for plunging me into a depression and who I had to resign from in order to keep my sanity and stay healthy.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present you with The Tech Guys Saga.

The Tech Guys, which up until the end of last year some time was called PC ServiceCall, and a few years prior to that, it was called Mastercare. You see, they seem to be changing their name every time the general public has a bit too negative view of the company. I guess it's easier to change the company name than it is to make the changes needed for the company to function like they should. I mean, why on earth sort out the problems of an organisation where one hand doesn't seem to know what the other one is doing? Name changes are much better, less work.

Rather than biting the bullet themselves, DSGi sold PCSC to a callcentre empire called Capita in the spring of 2006, and as far as us employees could make out, let them take the blame for some controversial changes. "It had to be done, and DSG didn't want to get the aggro themselves," someone explained to me when I mentioned how badly they handled shift changes in the UK teams, which was one of the things that was pissing me off at the time.

DSGi, or DSG International - trading in the UK as PC World, Currys,, The Link and Dixons, trading in Sweden as Elgiganten and PC City (rest of Scandinavia as Elkjøp, Gigantti, Elgiganten, and Lefdal, amongst others) - a company where it was said you sometimes felt you were just a number, but then they'd do something to make you feel like an individual... and Capita... to them, you never feel like you're anything but a number.

When there were initial talks of Capita taking over PCSC, I joked about it, saying maybe it was like "Capita(l) punishment". Another apt term we came up with was "Crapita". Both turned out to be painfully accurate, as far as we were concerned. We were shown videos of happy people whose companies had been taken over by Capita, and how great it all would be to be taken over. New opportunities and family values and whatnot. We all thought it sounded pretty nifty, but reality turned out to be a little different.

The first thing they did when taking over were changing shift patterns. You got to have your say beforehand, though, so they could take your personal needs into consideration. These considerations were then pretty much thrown out of the window, and they lost around (I'm guessing) ⅓ of the call handlers, who said enough is enough.

Things were not quite as bad in the Nordic camp, but... well, there were some changes there too. From the summer of 2006 to the time I left in March 2007, we had replaced about ¾ of the team. I had been there for two years, and there were only about five other people left from those days when I quit. One of them, who had been there since the Nordic department started finished a week or two before me. Around the same time, two of the four team leaders resigned as well. One of them, who had been my team leader in the past, had been there since the start of Nordics as well. Yet finally, all at once, they seemed to have had enough...

A company who does things right, such as treating their employes like human beings and with a bit of respect, not to mention does a good job for customers... well, they shouldn't have a problem keeping staff on for more than a month or so. Oh yes, but then they'd of course have to be treating people with respect, dignity and things like that, no matter if it's a customer or an employee, which they to my mind never figured out how to do, as long as I worked there. Some people didn't even last a month, and otehrs became as frustrated as me with the place after only a month or two, and I had been there for over a year. It's not a good place to be.

And now I'm free, and I'm never going back to that place ever again. To finish up the rant, I present you with the poem I wrote for my goodbye letter to my co-workers.

seek me where no dress codes apply
where the AUP is whatever I say it to be
where being ill is not a breech of contract
where true words can roam free
where the breaks are whenever
where my phone don't require a login
and an IVR doesn't even exist
find me at peace
fulfilling my purpose

© 2007



As I've mentioned before, my camera was replaced, with a spankin' new S5600 which is working fine, it would appear, so yay!

But, alas, this is another chapter in the epic TECH GUYS SAGA!

On the weekend when I was away in Leicestershire (went to stay over with Arnie and her family and wuvly dogs and went to another ACT1, which was great fun), one of our two Xerox monitors decided it was time to pack it in. They were purchased at the same time as my laptop, just before Christmas 2005, on the "Computers @ Home" scheme. They're great things, 19" flatscreens. Mine is still working, the other one decided you could press the button to switch it on... and then it makes a buzzing noise and shuts down. It shows the Xerox logo, then "no signal" and then bzzzz, dead.

Phoned that Sunday, April 22, to book it. Was advised as it's a business agreement (guess how surprised the PC World guy was when I said "oh, and I want Coverplan on that!" ;)), I would need to speak to business, so got their number. They were only open normal business hours, i.e. not on a Sunday. Phoned the business line that Monday (April 23), they said "even if it's a business agreement, it's the domestic line that deals with monitors"... so I had to phone the normal number again...

Got it booked in finally. Was told I'd receive a call within 24 hours to book a date to come pick the monitor up. Nothing. Was advised to phone later that afternoon, as it could be 36 hours rather than 24, and it was still "being processed". Still nothing, was advised to wait until Friday, and if not having heard anything then, phone back.

Phoned back on the Saturday, as I didn't hear anything all week. It was re-booked again... and still nothing. Phoned last Friday, they were going to pick it up on Tuesday, which they didn't, so it was re-booked under a new booking number (in case there was some technical glitch with the first one). You guessed it, nothing.

Phoned again, a woman was going to investigate it. She phoned Parceline, they had no knowledge of them being supposed to be popping by our house. Her words suggested to me I was not the first person this was happening to, as she said bookings seemed to get stuck with a third party company and not being processed and passed on to Parceline. Apparently, The Tech Guys book the job, the job is handed over to a third party company whose name I can't recall but it began with an M (no, not Mastercare), and they arrange with Parceline to come and pick the item up for repair. Anyhoo, she passed on the details in an email to her team leader ("it's like my supervisor" - gasp, I had NO idea! Who'd o' thought?) and said as soon as they heard anything, I would hear from them. That was two days ago...

Soooo... now, I've phoned up Coverplan directly, partly to check with the pay-as-you-go deal on my camera, because as far as I know, if an item's replaced, you lose the warranty policy - I could have it changed to fit the new camera, or I could cancel it, which I did. The other part asking about the monitor. Explained the situation, he took my number, was going to call them up and see what's going on and ask them to call me. They might, or they might not. I'm not getting my hopes up...

Wow, I knew there was a reason for people slagging off that company. Turns out I was right on all accounts as to why. Go fig.

Me iz clever

I did an IQ test. Been a while now.

IQ Test Score

Did it again, today:

IQ Test Score

I gets cleverer every day! :D

Monday, April 16, 2007


I haven't written anything in ages, so quick update:
* I have passed all ACT2 assessments, and have sent off to get insurance so I can start working professionally. Yay! :D
* My camera was replaced with a manufacturer refurbished S5600, next model up from S5500, and as far as I can tell, it's working like it should. :)
* We have finally managed to get hold of a Wii! :)
* I got my provisional drivers license and have started taking driving lessons. :)

And here's a story I got through the Sam Neill Mailing List shortly after Steve Irwin died. I thought I'd put it here, because I thought it was very moving. Makes me cry every time. I don't know who wrote it, though, so kudos to whoever it was!

An Interesting Day at the Rainbow Bridge

Rainbow Bridge is a place of both peace and anticipation as departed pets await their beloved owners. There are plenty of things to keep them contented while they wait: trees you can't get stuck in, endless meadows, splashing streams, thickets perfect to hide in for pounce-attack games. But one day the residents noticed some rather...unusual newcomers arrive. The koalas and the kangaroos slipped in rather quietly, but then came the bearded dragons, the skinks and the goannas. The influx of snakes startled an entire family of cats up a tree. Pythons, cobras, tiger snakes, brown snakes and even fierce snakes. There were so many at one point, it seemed the ground itself was alive with writhing. A burly wombat shouldered his way through the crowd and plopped down in a shady spot, barely missing a Jack Russell terrier who yapped indignantly as he abandoned his position. And then the crocodiles showed up. Finally, a Great Dane managed to get up enough nerve to approach one of the reptilian giants.

"Um....excuse me," he said hesitantly. "But, why are you all here?"

The croc dropped her jaw and laughed. "Same as you, mate," she said. "Waitin' for someone who loved us."

The dogs, cats, gerbils and other "typical pets" looked at each other in confusion, then at the plethora of weird, ugly and downright deadly creatures assembled. Who on Earth could possibly love some of those faces?

"I see him!" shouted a green mamba from his vantage point in one of the trees. A cacophony of squeeks, hisses, bellows and roars erupted as the mob surged forward toward a lone human walking across the field toward the bridge. The other animals managed to catch a glimpse of him before he was overwhelmed by the crowd.

"CRIKEY!" he shouted joyously right before he was bowled over by the wombat.

"Well I'll be," said a Persian as she tidied up her fur. "It's that Aussie my human liked to watch on TV. Had to be the craziest human on the whole planet."

"Oh, please," remarked a echidna as he hurried by. "Is it really that crazy to passionately love something God made?"

"No, it's not," they heard a voice say from their crowd. "You see, I, too, was with him, at his side, as he caught the crocs, the snakes, and the spiders and spoke on the importance they have in life. For you see, I am his mate, his dog Sui. To you ordinary animals he may seem crazy, but to me he is simply known as a Best Friend."

And with that comment, as the animals looked on with surprise, she ran barking, clearing a path to him, and jumped in his arms, licking his face as he cried, "Sui, my mate, my friend. How I've missed you so."

And with that, they all crossed the Rainbow Bridge together.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Gradh geal mo croide

They say that the lakes of Killarney are fair
That no stream like the Liffey can ever compare
If it's water you want you'll find nothing more rare
Than the stuff they make down by the ocean

The sea, oh the sea is the gradh geal mo croide
Long may it stay between England and me
It's a sure guarantee that some hour we'll be free
Oh! thank God we're surrounded by water

Tom Moore made his waters meet fame and renown
A great lover of anything dressed in a crown
In brandy the bandy old Saxon he'd drown
But throw ne'er a one into the ocean


The Scots have their whisky, the Welsh have their speech
And their poets are paid about ten pence a week
Provided no hard words on England they speak
Oh Lord! What a price for devotion!


The Danes came to Ireland with nothing to do
But dream of the plundered old Irish they slew
"Yeh will in your Vikings", said Brian Boru
And threw them back in the ocean


Two foreign old monarchs in battle did join
Each wanting their head on the back of a coin
If the Irish had sense they'd drown both in the Boyne
And Partition throw into the ocean

--- Lyrics by Dominic Behan

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Camera, take 3

Got my camera back today.

...And I just phoned to book it in for a repair for the third time... :/

This time you could even see a white dot on the display, after taking the picture. Placed at 1599x814 pixles. The other ones, that are not so bright, are at 1360x1222, 1188x699 and 900x609.

If only I had noticed it right from the start, eh?

Oh well. This time it'll be assessed and see if it can warrant a replacement or something like that. Fingers crossed! At least now I'm home so can phone DHL up for a collection straight away.

On the plus side, yesterday we got some curtains from ASDA. Tried putting them up. They were way too big. A 72" drop works out at the same level as where the radiator finishes, and a 90" drop, which they were, works out covering half the livingroom. Went back to have them replaced for the smaller size, but even though they were of a 66" width instead of 90", they had a 90" drop.

Didn't fancy any of the other ones there, but was happy to settle for some cheaper cream coloured curtains. Ended up getting some shopping and a refund for the curtains, and then went to a curtain place in Ruddington instead. Now we have some modern curtains which I'll just have to wait and get an opinion on. Saw some really nice other curtains as well though, so might go back and have a look at those as well.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

New windows

No, I'm not talking about Vista. I mean windows, as in the things attached to your house. Ours were falling apart, so we've got them fixed now. Shiny new uPVC things, like everyone else seem to have these days.

To the left is the before picture. I haven't taken any "after" pictures, but rest assured they look a lot better now. Well insulated, so keeps noise from the road down, it looks nice and clean... Daisy even decided to use the cat flap to go out into the garden in the end. Her first reaction to it when I said she could use it, as it's her own door, was "I'm not some animal!" kind of thing (she's also not some animal when it comes to use her scratching post - carpets are fine, however).

Speaking of cat flap, we got one that uses a magnet to open. Err. At least according to the box and instruction manual. It opens fine to go out, but coming back in, there's a little catch that won't come down, even when the magnet is around... which is a bit pants. I'll have to call the manufacturer and ask what's up with it. I can just tape over it so it's always down, but on the other hand, that means there's no point in having the magnetic version, because the locking mechanism is gone. Sigh. Should've gone for the IR one or the one without that kind of security feature. Not like we have any other cats in the garden anyway. Except for Lilly next door, but she's only been to visit when they just moved in. I'd say next door would have to be more worried about Daisy popping in for a visit there than the other way around! ;) She's popped over a few times, especially if their back door is open.

When the house next door had another owner, who also had a black cat, Daisy would spend a lot of time there. She could be sound asleep on our neighbour's bed, with Sweetpea on the windowsil being a bit grumpy. Funny thing was, Sweetpea was a few years older than Daisy, but that didn't seem to matter. Sleeping on a bed that by right would be Sweetpea's... I've got one word for that. "PWNED!" Lilly (or possibly "Lily") is some years younger than Daisy, so maybe that's why she won't come visit anymore. Well, for all that I know, they might be total pals when they meet each other outside. Who knows? I doubt Daisy would tell me, at least if it's a secret between the two of them.

DHL picked up the camera yesterday as well. See if I get it back this week, and see if it's fixed or not. If it needs another repair, I guess I'm entitled to a replacement. :B