Thursday, June 29, 2006

Interesting dream last night. There was a kitten, lovely wee ginger thing that had spent most of its time asleep. Not the way kittens normally spend a great deal of time asleep but only able to stay awake for a few minutes at a time, just long enough to have some liquids spooned into its mouth so it didn't die. Sounded grim but I found the longer I stayed with the kitten the more awake it became, the more it behaved like a normal cat though weak and uncoordinated. The little cutie was gaining animation and confidence as I watched...

Good gods the holidays are almost over. <pout> Don't wanna go back to normal.
What have the cubs and I been up to? We saw Cars again - yay! - and Over the Hedge. Not the most original or intelligent of movies but entertaining nonetheless. You can say one thing for William Shatner, he's not afraid to mock himself.

Cubs and I spent a few days up at Mum's as well. Took the traditional ride on the Healesville Trolley, and found out the company has just got hold of one of the original diesel engines that ran on the line. There's some work to be done but hopefully it'll be running before too long.

Mum wasn't feeling the best the next day so she didn't come with us to the Sanctuary. It's been a couple of years since we were there; lot of good changes including a hospital centre that's open to the public. Had fun looking at microscope slides and browsing the interactive displays; watched a kookaburra being operated on... That was fine until the vet started trying to remove the pin that had been holding the bird's fractured leg together. The thing was solidly wedged and the vet was tugging, tugging, tugging. That I couldn't cope with. <g> I don't know how the operation panned out, the cubs and I left soon afterwards.
I misread the information at the front gate so when we trotted 'round to the Birds of Prey display we discovered we had an hour and a half more to wait than anticipated. Wasn't time wasted though, in the meantime we sat in on the Free-Flying Parrot display. That was fun, and relatively new apparently; that was the first time we'd seen it. The keepers talked about several types of parrots while their charges zipped over and through the audience. Dang some of those birds are noisy! But sooo pretty!
The cubs and I didn't hasten to leave the arena after the display so consequently we were amongst the few that were asked if we'd like to stay and watch a training session for another galah. It was her first time in front of an audience but she handled it well. :)
The Birds of Prey display was as wonderful as ever, even though they couldn't bring the wedge-tailed eagle out cos of the wild eagles in the area. The osprey was being a prima donna as well, gliding between the trees instead of diving into the pool after the fish like she was sposed to. She was teasing her keeper, I'm sure; almost doing as requested, once, then equally ignoring his command to go home. It was quite funny. <g>

The following day, the Friday, I took the cubs swimming while Mum was in her exercise class, then we piled into her little car along with a friend and drove out to Powell Town for lunch at the milk bar/pub/post office/general store. Nice little place - I can always get crunchy cabana there.
After lunch we continued southwards to the heritage-listed Trestle Bridge. Cubs had fun rollicking about on that for a while, then we went back to Mum's.

Last day at Mum's we drove out to Warburton and the Patchwork Teahouse for morning tea. Picked up some nice Japanese influenced material, then the cubs insisted on exploring another old bridge across the road. We found our way up on to it - it's part of the walking trail - then came back down. :)
Had a quick lunch at Mum's, or rather the cubs had something else to eat - I didn't need to, the scones at the Teahouse were huge - then Mum drove us out to the train station and we came home.
It was a fun few days, and not exhausting. Cubs loved their early birthday presents from Nana - a home made heat bag (wheat filled) each, and a selection of 'Australian Light Railways' magazines. Oh, and a pair of bendy pencils, which are bizarre. I can't see how the lead can't be broken and useless, not when you can tie the sheathing material in knots... <g>

Joules has had a quick read through of the SFSG rewrite and still managed to find several boo-boos. Was-were, loose-lose, it's-its, and those pesky commas. Tch. I take heart at least that there's a lot less of those things to find now than when I first started writing.

Monday, June 19, 2006

I did something last night that I haven't done for years. I stayed up stupidly late to watch a soccer match. If it hadn't been the holidays it wouldn't have happened - I fell in to bed at 4.30 a.m! <g>
So anyway, Australia vs. Brazil in the World Cup Soccer. It started slowly, seemingly - to my untrained eye - to be more about defence than goal-scoring. Lots of near misses by both teams but I think there were more too-high/too-wide shots than actual saves by the goalies. I could be wrong, I'll check the stats later perhaps. At half-time the score was 0/0 and the Aus commentators were enthusing about how the 'Roos were holding their own against the best team in the world. Really? It didn't look to me like either side were playing particularly well. There was a lack of follow-through, I thought, a fair few missed opportunities for goals because there were inexplicable holes in the attack. Doesn't matter how skillfully a shot is set up if there's no one there to pass the ball to...
Early in the second half Brazil scored a goal and the energy and pace of the game picked up. Lots more near misses, including some excellent saves from both goalies. Brazil scored a second goal in the last few minutes of the game though it wasn't because of skill - more a case of someone being in the right place at the right time to take advantage of a fumble. There was no need for them to be so smug about it. <grump>
Listening to the commentators afterwards, the consensus was that Australia did very well, considering. There was some very skillful play, I have to admit, and the goalies certainly earned their fees. If we beat Croatia in the next round we could go on to the next level.
Speaking of Croatia... before the Aus/Brazil match I caught the second half of the Croatia/Japan. Now that was entertaining. :) Neither team scored but they were both playing hard. I was impressed too, by the camaraderie and politeness between the opposing sides. There was none of that in the Aus/Brazil match. If someone went down they were on their own, and Aus racked up a huge amount of fouls. Hm. Not sure I could be bothered with catching another 'Roos game but I'll keep my eye out for Japan. <g>
(And chips [crisps] are great for keeping you awake, but only while you're eating them.)

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Right. Aside from a couple of minor details needed to slot into early chapters... the SFSG rewrite is finished! <happy dance> 187k words - 4k more than the first draft. Yeah!
Thank you so much for the beta, Joules, it helped enormously. :) I envision there'd have been lots of ineffectual fumbling about if I'd been left to my own devices.
Hee, the next step is to have it looked over by a someone who's not seen it before. That's probably the best way to see if the story makes sense - gods know I can't be objective!
I could have a drink to celebrate... Nah, chocolate...

Friday, June 16, 2006

I grumbled when the alarm went off this morning, until I remembered we're on holidays!

Odd dream last night. Some friends and myself were looking at renting apartments in a huge towerblock in Melbourne's CBD. Someone, the cubs' father I think, was making suggestions about who could live where and said the cubs and I could share a three bedroom unit with... Robert de Niro. I protested that; the cubs need their own rooms! Besides, I didn't know this bloke why would I want to share with him?
Toted up my finances and thought I could just possibly afford a unit on my own though rent would take up 2/3rds of my income. (Which just goes to prove this was a dream - even a bedsit apartment in the docklands would be waaaaaay beyond my reach.)
But the units were quite nice, roomy and light though the building felt quite old, not one of the new glass and chrome edifices that have been fashionable recently. The view of the Yarra and the ports was lovely and you could open a window and catch a sea breeze, or watch the weather coming in...
There was bugger all space for the cubs to run around however, but then, I thought, they don't do much of that anyway, and there was a swimming pool nearby where we could get discount vouchers. So, I decided it was do'able, expensive but do'able.
And then I woke up before I had to start dealing with all the crap that comes along with moving house. :) Still, a docklands apartment? I could go for that...

Of all the GoF stickers I'm missing, the majority are either the 3D or 'character' ones. Demn annoying. Heh, ordering from the company might be an option now cos I'm likely to spend far more than the order price trying to find the missing numbers buying sticker packets. Eh, next month perhaps, once the rent is paid.

Mum rang me last night to complain that she had to hear it on the radio that the cubs' school is reopening - why didn't I tell her?
Um, cos it's so low priority in my mind I forgot? <g> I've got far more important things to think about! I also didn't volunteer to help with the move because, well, I'm lazy, for one thing, and I know just how much use I won't be in a situation working cooperatively with lots of people I barely know.

Cubs got their half-year reports - they didn't vary much from previous ones. Their teachers again acknowledge that my boys are intelligent and capable but bemoan the lack of motivation which is holding them back from excelling. <shrug> They don't have much pride or interest in their work but I don't know what I can do, or if I should try. When they are interested in something the focus they can bring to bear is astonishing, but... They're keeping ahead of what they need to know, and they're both excellent readers and widely read which, as far as life-skills go, is one of the most important and useful you can have.
Should I be worried about this apparent lack of interest in reaching their potential? If they're anything like their father and myself - which, given what I've seen, is likely - they'll happily apply themselves once they've found what it is they want to do. Their organisational skills could definitely stand some improvement, but then, so could mine. In that respect, as a role-mode, I would be marked 'unsatisfactory'. <g> Oh well, in that case, perhaps there is something I can do? Pull my own socks up and serve as an example...

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Penny rang me this morning, squealing excitedly. Seconds later I was squealing too. The community centre near the cubs' school is holding Bollywood Dancing classes next term! Hee. I'll be there.

The cubs and I were chatting (enthusing) to the cubs' father about Cars this morning while waiting for the bus. The cubs asked us what sort of cars we'd be in that universe. Their dad decided he'd be a blue panel-van - suits you, sir - and I'd be an old valiant. Yeeeah, a big old purple valiant...
I've seen some less than enthusiastic reviews for Cars over the past couple of days and they've made my brain go spang cos, what? How can you not like this movie?!
But then, realistically, I went into it with a pronounced bias. The soft spot I have for fast and/or powerful cars is largish, and then there's the other largish soft spot I have for road-trips and the scenery thereof...
Heh, each to their own. As I recall I said that Fellowship of the Ring was 'good for a laugh'. <g>

GoF sticker update (cos it's just sooo important...)
47 stickers left to collect, and 4 of the 12 'detector' cards. I've been buying the half-price 'starter packs' - 8 so far - and the people at the newsagents are starting to give me funny looks. Hate to think how much I'd be spending, though, if I had to resort to the full-price individual sticker packs.
You can order missing stickers from the company but at $1 each I'd rather get as many as I can through regular means first. Or eBay. : )

That's a 'gasp' emoticon. Discovered it by accident today while chatting to Joules...
<blink> It also kinda looks like a b/w minstrel. Oh dear.
... that's better. It's not been bolded...

As the SFSG rewrite ambles to an end I'm inevitably drawn to the question of 'what next'. I'm spoilt for choice, really - which is never a good thing. <g> So? Do I delve into the potentially 3 part fantasy? The Dystopia (hence a distinct lack of fluff) Romance? The actual Romance (just to see if I can bring myself to write one)? The contemporary crime fic? The several children's novels lurking in my 'ideas' folder? Eh, I'll come up with something. :)
Heh, and just noticed that those listed are in descending order of preparedness. Guess that narrows it down a touch.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

I don't have the words... but in the interests of doing the thing justice I will try to find them. :)
Gods, where to start? Um...
The plot was simple, no surprises there, but as I've found with all of Pixar's things the characterisations more than make up for any cliches. True, there's a lot of borderline stereotypes but they're handled so deftly by both the voice-cast and the animators that they become believable, even lovable in some cases.
Okay, visually, this movie was... wow. The speedway sequences were stunning, and the backgrounds/scenery were a cause for endless delight. Again, Pixar has taken the idea of a world and made it live and breath in super-realistic detail. (Hee. Cadillac Ranges and Ornament Valley. You have to see it to believe it.)
There were loads of visual jokes - some very subtle - as well as loads of self-referencing from previous Pixar productions. Do please stay for the end credits! I laughed as hard during those as at any point in the movie.

Right, I can sense myself descending into incoherency at the wonderfulness of it all - there'll be nothing more sensible out of me tonight.
Cubs and I will be definitely seeing it again. We'll get the DVD as well, when it's released even though Cars will certainly lose impact on the small screen.
(Oh, and the short this time was something called 'One-man band'. Not as charming or funny as 'For the Birds' or 'Boundin' but still wonderfully detailed and giggle-worthy.)
Very happy we finally got to see the movie - been waiting for at least eighteen months...
(<frown> Who's got the copy of The Incredibles, Soulsis? I've lost track. :)

Speaking of Soulsis, she visited last week and brought me presents!
A Danger Mouse DVD! (Eeeee! Crumbs, DM!); a very pretty pink/purple polar fleece scarf; a wee little plush fish; a gorgeous burgundy ceramic tri-part serving dish fashioned from leaves, and a set of 1970's paper-plate holders shaped as fish. <g> Authentic colours too: mustard, burnt orange, cacky (Missionary) brown and sage green. Ooh, I love vintage tat... <bounce> Thanks, Soulsis!

Monday, June 12, 2006

Heh, just about finished the follow-up to Lord Rakehell - and because it's lemony, naturally I dithered overlong on it. Tch, there's not even that much smut but still it took more time than it perhaps should've. Eh, well, it's more or less done. Perhaps I should start giving myself mini-challenges? See how much smut I can write in an hour? :)

Joules has finished beta'ing SFSG (the first beta, at least) so I have no excuses now. <g> Not a problem, really, only six chapters to go! With luck (read: determination) I can hopefully get the rewrite finished before the school holidays. That'd be neat.

Watched Coffee and Cigarettes yesterday. It's a series of vignettes about people smoking, drinking coffee and talking. It was odd, and though amusing in places I kept waiting for some deeper meaning to emerge. It was a little disorienting as well - were the actors (in some segments) playing themselves? Or playing characters that had their names and the same professions? Is Tom Waits really that prickly?
There was a lot of awkwardness in the segments too, lots of uncomfortable silences, the sort of silences you have when you're trying to make hesitant conversation with someone you don't really know.
Stylistically there were some wonderful images - some of those faces are fascinating in black and white - and it was fun looking out for and comparing the linking similarities in each segment, but ultimately this movie was a little duller than I'd expected. Though having said that I'll probly still be picking it over in my mind for a little while.

Perspective's a funny thing, innit? Joules and I were comparing temperatures the other day. At 25 degrees she was sweltering while I consider that quite comfortable. At 10 degrees I was shivering but that's apparently balmy in the UK. <g>
I also realised - after seeing a pic of the moon that Joules had taken - that we must be seeing the moon from a different angle down here in the Southern Hemisphere. Back to front (and upside down?) to be precise. No wonder I've never been able to see 'the man in the moon'! I can however easily pick the Japanese 'moon-rabbit'. <g>

This last week of term is mercifully short. Today (Monday) is the Queen's Birthday holiday, and school finishes on Thursday rather than Friday so we can begin the move over to the new building. It should be ready to move into by then. It better be, considering we were sposed to have been able to move at the end of last term.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Mwahahahahahah! I have a GoF sticker book! Actually, it's a 'starter pack' so there were 8 packets of stickers included - and all at about the price of 4 packs. <g> I think I'll pick up a couple more; nice, cheap way to collect. Yes, okay, that means I'll have extra copies of the book and 3D glasses but I'm sure they'll come in handy.
(I have confirmation now: 234 stickers and 12 'secret icon' cards. Now I know what I'm aiming for...)

Andandand! I got a parcel today from GoodTwin! Cutest little lapel pin with a pic of an otter, and a slidey pen! With an otter! <boingboing> Happy now. The pen came from New Forest Otter and Owl Centre. Did you go there, GoodTwin? Looks like fun!

Friday, June 02, 2006

There's nothing like a new fluoro to show you how shabby a room really is.

We've known for months that the light in the kitchen would need replacing sooner rather than later, but in the past few days it's been noticeably failing. So I got a new tube today and - because I get vertigo from standing on chairs - the cubs' father installed it.
From perpetual twilight to sunshine bright in a split second! Pity I was looking at the light fixture at the time. <wince>
It's now so bright in the kitchen the spiders have run for the shadows. It's so bright, in fact, that I keep having to stop myself turning the light off cos it feels like daytime and of course you don't need the lights on then...

Dammit. <head~desk> I've mostly managed to ignore the packets of Goblet of Fire collectible stickers for months but yesterday, in a moment of weakness, I... weakened. Buying one won't hurt, will it? - I bethought to myself - Just to see what they're like...
Tch. It only takes one.
Because now I know I'm sporting a wild-eyed, wide-nostrilled look of must-have-more-obsession. And of course I must get the sticker-book so I know how many stickers I have to collect! Plus - and the official site is no bloody use - I need to know what sort of 'specials' there are. Out of the 6 packets (30 cards) I've got already there is one example of a 3D card, and a plastic 'secret icon' card! (Which has quite a nice pic of Draco in dress robes. However...) Is there anything else I should be looking out for? And let's not forget the sticker packets themselves, which have different designs...
<sigh> I think I've made things hard for myself though, coming in 6 months after the initial release; means the cards could be tricky to find - once I've exhausted the supply at my local newsagents. Soulsis, could you keep an eye open for me, please? I don't doubt there'll be some stickers I won't mind having multiples of at all. (No: 160, for example...)
What is odd, however, is that one of the early stickers in the series is from Prisoner of Azkaban. Mistake? Or recap of previous story? See, I need the sticker book so I know what's going on. <nods>

There's toys an' stuff out for the next Pirates of the Caribbean movie! (I've noticed I only tend to sneer at cynical merchandising when I'm not interested in the product. Tch, shallow or what?) The action figures don't look too bad - no more or less like the actors than the Lord of the Rings figures were anyway - but the wee ships are cute. : ) But, I don't have a burning desire to own any of that stuff yet, though I could quite fancy some of the posters.
(I wonder sometimes if my life would be dull if I wasn't a fangrrl. Heh, it'd probably be cheaper...)

Both cubs are back at school with a minimum of grumbling. I, however, am ignoring my scratchy throat and runny nose. Nah, not sick, just... gribbly <g>
Only two weeks left of the term though, and one of those weeks is only 3 days long! Then, all being well, we'll be moving into the new school after the holidays. Exciting. Sort of.
I'm going to go paw through my stickers now...