Tuesday, December 05, 2006

One Hundred and Fifty Seven Thousand Words

And a bit.

In case anyone wondered how much I wrote in November, or where I was, or anything.

Monday, October 30, 2006

And The One In The Middle Is

Tim Burton.

And yes, those are snakes on my head.

It's Been How Long?

Eight years, we figure. Since the last time Witching Hour appeared live.

But not any more! Now, should anyone ask, we can say 'Why, we played just last Friday. At the best Halloween party ever. And the photos are up, right here.'

I'm not going to tell you who everyone is, because even I don't know - I only found out yesterday who that was in the shark costumes... Those ones on stage with the two people playing red guitars, that's us.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Da Boots

I've been trying to post a photo of these since I bought them, about a month ago. Ha, finally, it worked!

I love my new boots.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006


arvon 2
Originally uploaded by Flyingsquid.

I've just been on a week-long residential writing course run by the Arvon Foundation. This is the scenery, or some of it - for more, click the photo to go to my flickr stream. It's a little embarassing, but I was so enamoured of the surroundings, I forgot to take pictures of any of the other participants. Well, I live in London, I can see people any time. Some of the same ones, I hope, since many of them are from London too.

I found a story out in the woods and brought it home with me. (Actually, I thought it was going to be a nice little well-behaved short story. But when I got it back to the house, it turned out to be more of a novella, and I'm not at all sure it won't be a novel in the end. You have to watch what you feed these things.)

And I know how to fix the book I was revising back in June, and what's wrong with one of my short stories.

The tutors were Adam Roberts and Justina Robson, whose books I highly recommend.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

They're Here

The Poppets have arrived. I didn't tell Trev they were coming, or anything about them, so his reactions are amusing...

When he came in, they had just emerged onto the ironing board.

"What are those? They're cute," he said.

What Are They Looking At?

They moved over here to watch Trev program the new sequencer/drum machine/digital recorder. He noticed, after a bit.

"What are they up to? I don't trust them," he said.

A Tiny Invasion

They moved over here to look at the toys and the hamster. Trev noticed.

"It's some sort of miniature invasion. Why do I get the feeling they're scouts for a larger force?" he said.

"Exactly." I said.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Happy Birthday To Me

And happy DS Lite, with the game that made me want one, Electroplankton. Thank you Trev!


Thursday, July 27, 2006

Peter F. Hamilton

Another post about writing.

Last night's BSFA interviewee was Peter F. Hamilton. I ought to confess, up front, that I've never read any of his books. The reason for this is that the ones my local library has are the three-inch-thick space opera series. (Which, according to Peter, required special new book-binding technologies to be invented in order not to have to cut them in half, or even smaller parts, as has happened in the US and Italy.) Since the majority of my reading time occurs on public transport on the way to and from work, and those books would have my arm off at the shoulder if I tried to carry them in my bag, I haven't read them.

But I now know that he has other books out, which are of a more practical size. (And if I like those, I can buy the space opera in smaller volumes next time I'm in the US...) So I'm looking forward to trying them.

Meanwhile, a piece of advice Peter was kind enough to say I could post here. According to Peter (who was only drinking ice-water at the time) there are three things you need in order to be a writer:

1. The ability to tell a story.
2. The ability to write prose.
3. The dedication to spend hours every day writing. "Even in weather like this."

Some of you may be aware that London (and indeed all of England) has been experiencing a record-breaking heatwave this month. But it's a good point - and the only reason I'm not working on a book now is that I've just finished the second draft of one - during the afore-mentioned heatwave. So now I'm doing research for the next one.

The thing I'm having trouble with is number 1. The story is all there in my head, it's just getting enough of it down on the page. I can do number 2, except when the story is giving me grief. If this heat keeps up, I know where I can find an air-conditioned library to write in. So watch this space.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Where did June go?

I haven't blogged much about writing here, but I may have to start. June disappeared into the black hole of me trying to write the ending of novel #2, draft #2. The monthly re-cap goes something like this:

June 1st: I've got it!
June 3rd: No I haven't.
June 7th: Yes I have, and it's bloody clever, too.
June 12th: No I haven't, it means making Jay act stupid on purpose.
June 15th: Well, back to the simple ending. At least it's finished.
June 20th: Noooooo! The simple ending sucks. I can't let anyone see it like this.
June 21st: But wait! If I just reverse what everybody does, the clever ending works after all!
June 23rd: Muahahahaha! It is written. Now to type it all in, carefully rearranging everything else so it fits.
June 30th: Phew! It's all typed in. It's done, I tell you, done!! Oh, except for the missing bits in the middle where I still haven't put real changes in, instead of notes to self.

I've left out all the moaning and beating my head against the desk. And I'm still doing those last little bits. And every week, I tell you, every week, I sat there thinking 'this week I'll finish it.'

So this week, I really will. Really.

Sunday, May 07, 2006


the elephant stands
Originally uploaded by Flyingsquid.

On Friday, I went to see The Sultan's Elephant. Pictures can in no way tell you what it's really like to stand next to a 40 foot high mechanical elephant, but click on the image to see the rest of mine on flickr!

Truly, an amazing thing. When I arrived, the elephant was in Horse Guards Parade, and part of Whitehall was closed to traffic. As I went in, I passed a man asking as to why. It's not every day you get to hear a policeman say "They've got a 40 ton elephant in there."

I also highly recommend Pat Cadigan's photo sets for more. She's got some fantastic pictures up.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

The Traditional Gift for your 15th Anniversary Is


We got each other (well, OK, Trev did the actual shopping) The Dark Crystal on DVD, and Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles. We haven't got round to watching the DVD yet, because Trev couldn't find Crystal Chronicles anywhere on the 19th (which was our actual anniversary, I'm just blogging about it a week late, as usual) so he bought us Lego Star Wars on the day and Crystal Chronicles on Saturday. Need I say more?

My only possible complaint is that Crystal Chronicles has that lovely, soporific background music that all of Square's games have, which renders it hazardous for playing if you're the tiniest bit sleepy. Otherwise, it's gorgeous.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Easter Lobster

As a surprise for Trev, I made him his very own Kiwa Hirsuta, using the Mediatinker's pattern . Thank you Mediatinker! He came out really cute.

He looks like a bit of a hippy, so we named him Floyd.

All of the other lobsters are red, so I made Floyd red as well, in order to avoid awkward questions. And also because the Aladdin's Cave of fabric in the shopping centre near where I work only had the long fun fur in red or yellow.

After eating some chocolate eggs, we introduced everyone.

Saturday, April 08, 2006


It's been a while since I've posted here. Sorry about that! I've been knitting. But it's all finished now, and it even fits! And the weather is just about still cool enough for me to wear it...

Monday, March 13, 2006

I Heart Katamari

Some of you lucky people will have gotten to play the original Katamari Damacy, but they never released it over here in the UK, so we've had to wait for the sequel to come out. So I've actually been waiting over a year to play this game. It does not disappoint. In fact, it's my new favourite game. The surreal dialogue! The trippy graphics! The weird sense of satisfaction when you get big enough to pick up the elephant with the apple on its back!

Also, Trev went out and searched half the game stores in London for it on Saturday as a surprise, because he thought I needed cheering up. I have the best husband in the world.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Have Spaceman Will Travel

Steve Cockayne
Originally uploaded by Flyingsquid.

Steve Cockayne was February's guest at the BSFA night. He brought along some of the marionettes from the show his family used to run. Some of his characters are based on the marionettes, but not this particular one, which he just brought to show us 'cause it's cool.

It really is cool. The head moves around independently inside the helmet, and he can do a quick-draw on the laser pistol. And there used to be a set of little flying saucers which went with him, but there's only one left now.

Steve also knows a lot about scaffolding, from his days working as a BBC photographer. He worked, among other things, on Dr. Who, including some of my favourite episodes - late Tom Baker stuff, and early Peter Davison. (Though he says he was junior enough then for his memories of it to be mainly crawling around repairing cables.)

He also writes pretty cool books. (Seriously - good enough that I actually read the third book of a trilogy first, because that was all the library had. And I never do that, but I couldn't put it down.)

Thursday, February 23, 2006


As part of China in London month, Selfridges commissioned the building of an entire biscuit city in their basement. I went to see it under construction on Saturday, when the Imperial Palace bit was finished, and the rest was still being built. I wish I had been able to get down there to see the finished city and photograph it for myself, but the Erudite Baboon has done a really excellent job. Check it out.


biscuit frenzy
Originally uploaded by Flyingsquid.

I got there too late to see the finished city, but just in time to bag a few souvenir biscuts.


Originally uploaded by Flyingsquid.

Some people filled entire shopping bags. I just took a few home for tea. The chocolate wafer ones turned out to be very stale, almost inedible (nothing chocolate is ever entirely inedible, right?) but the caramel-sided ones were yummy.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006


You have no idea how much I want one of these .

Really. Go look. Click the play button. Remind yourself to close your mouth.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Only One Stuck Around To Be Photographed

fox on garage
Originally uploaded by Flyingsquid.

Very early Friday morning, I kept hearing unhappy fox-noises. It woke me up twice - in case you've never heard foxes, they sound like a cross between a siamese cat yowling and a baby being tortured. This sounded even worse; seemed like something had really upset the fox.

Then, when it had gotten light out, I heard them again. Yes, not one but two foxes, snarling at one another on the roof of the garages out back. One of them jumped down and lit out across the neighbours' back garden as I got to the window, but the other stuck around long enough to pose for photos.

I have no idea how they got up there.

Monday, January 30, 2006

And I Only Took These In December

tower morning
Originally uploaded by Flyingsquid.

On a mostly chilly, somewhat grey, but very changeable day in late December, Trev and I went to see the Chihuly glass sculptures at Kew Gardens. I've finally got the photos all up on flickr. Start with the one above for the full tour.

Vladmaster 3D

On Saturday night, we went to see a performance by Vladmaster . The Viewmaster was one of my favourite toys as a child, and I have to admit, still is. I'd bought the Italo Calvino set last year, and loved them. Nonetheless, I went feeling a little trepidation. A night spent viewing Viewmaster reels in a room full of people doing the same had the potential either to be seriously cool, or the lamest thing ever.

It was seriously cool. The stories are creepy and poignant, the use of the medium is more inventive than I had imagined it could be, and doing it in a room full of people and hearing them laugh, go 'ew!' and change frames along with you makes it even better. If you get a chance to go to one of these performances, do.

The only thing I wonder is, what do Customs think of you, when you come through carrying an entire suitcase full of Viewmasters?

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Blog this Conversation

We, especially in Britain, most especially in London, live in a surveillance state.

Last night, I was discussing this with Pat Cadigan (who I mention because she is famous, and therefore all over the net anyway), Al (who I mention because he is convinced no one will be able to find him on the net from just the name 'Al') and several other people. Someone mentioned there's a statistic for the number of CCTV cameras per person in London, and it's very high. And then Pat's husband said (not an exact quote) "yes, but it's not the cameras we need to worry about. I'll bet you at least five people at this table are blogging this conversation. Or at least some aspect of the evening."

And you know, he was right.

And I couldn't find an exact statistic for London, but Britain as a whole has apparently one camera for every 14 people.

Monday, January 23, 2006

This Week I Have Been Mostly Editing

Done this week: Synopsis (the one I'll now work from, not the one I'll send out) for novel A. Working on the missing middle scenes for novel B. One short story ready to send out.

Also, I'm still vacuuming pine needles out of the carpet. They seem to have migrated all over the flat now.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Nose In A Book

Mine, in fact. The first new MS of the year, or the first few chapters thereof. I had hoped to get roughly twice as much done on it this past week, but it does now have most of a plot, and some sub-plots, and the secondary characters are sorting themselves out and beginning to insist on larger parts.

I'm also revising two other novel drafts, and have a newly-revised short story all ready to send out as soon as I get around to buying some envelopes.

I hope I can keep this level of industry up all year. It's all the more amazing for being January, a month I usually spend attempting to hibernate...

Friday, January 06, 2006

The D Word

Yesterday, my resolve finally broke, and I went shopping in the sales. At some point in the wee hours of the morning, when I couldn't sleep, I suddenly remembered having seen a blue velvet jacket while out doing my Christmas shopping, and thinking to myself at the time 'must remember to see if that's cheaper in the sales.' After that, I had even more trouble getting back to sleep.

So I went looking for it. And it was on sale, but the only one left was a size too small. I could get into it, but it was just that bit too tight across the shoulders, and it was also not as flattering as I had hoped. But never mind, for I found several other things, all of them irresistible and cheap. And they're also things I needed more, for the reason I did not buy the blue velvet jacket earlier was that I had just bought, as a present from my mother, the Perfect Jacket, which is black and piratey-looking and very flattering indeed. So now I own several new tops, one of which is going to be the perfect thing to wear underneath the Perfect Jacket.

There's only one problem. The Perfect Top also came only in one size too small. (Or in my size in cream. I don't do cream, and it's stretch lace, so no chance of dyeing it.) So I did something I haven't done since I was a teenager, and thought 'yes, but it will fit if I lose a bit of weight.' And not only will it fit, but so will my favourite skirt that didn't fit last summer due to the dress-size or so I gained last winter.

There go years of successfully avoiding the New Year's Resolution to Diet.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

A Small Moment Of Thankfulness

We didn't go visit my family for the holidays this year. We went last year, we'll go next year, we skip the alternate years. As is usual when we don't go, I spent Christmas day feeling homesick, especially after the family phone calls, and Boxing Day feeling only a little less so.

The small moment of thankfulness came yesterday afternoon, when I realised that if we'd gone, we would, at that very moment, be in a plane somewhere over Canada. Or perhaps, even worse, still waiting in an airport.

Today, actually, I'm feeling even more thankful, at being spared the jet-lag.

Sunday, January 01, 2006


Hm. It's that time of year again. New Year's Eve, despite the fireworks, always depresses me - I find it more of a time for guilt, for thinking of all the things I ought to have gotten done, but didn't, over the past year. (I should point out that this feeling happens even when I've had a very productive year. Maybe some year I'll be so productive that I'll be happy on December 31st, but it hasn't happened yet.)

New Year's Day, I like. Today is a day for planning, for grandiose ideas, for telling myself this is the year I will get enough done. So this year, I will:

1. Post more often to my blog *
2. Get more exercise
3. Watch less TV **
4. Actually revise and send out some of the dozen or so short stories I've written over the past year, had friends critique, and left in the drawer untouched ***

*(does anyone who blogs not do this one?)

**(I should point out that 2 & 3 ought to be easy, given how little of the first and how much of the second, I spend my time on.)

***(This is the one which was biting me hardest last night. I have no real excuse for not having gotten around to it months ago.)