Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The next worst thing to losing your own horse is waking up to a call from a dear friend to find out that they have lost theirs. I was lost for words, because from experience I know there is literally nothing you can say to make it any better. Losing your partner and friend destroys you, end of story. So I said what I had found most useful when I lost Cam; that it was perfectly okay to cry as much as needed for as long as needed, because they were a family member and worth a good grieving. The only other thing I could manage to come up with was that I was sorry, and that it sucked, both of which are sincerely true. This is about all I suppose you can say in this situation, but it feels woefully inadaquate.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

My favorite Sexy Losers so far. Hugely unsafe for work, and graphic to boot. But I laughed for *ages*

Oh come on, you knew I was weird already. #grins#

Thursday, October 26, 2006

I'm actually looking into making the coat, by the way; I wasn't just idly musing. It'll be a good warmup for doing the Vash coat, which has *far* more complication if I'm going to do it right. The State Alchemist unform is pretty simple by comparison; I'm thinking it can be built off of a standard trench coat pattern. Although the actual uniform has a seperate "skirt" that belts on below the short jacket, which gives it the appearance of a tailed trench coat at a distance, for ease of use I will probably make the tail section a seperate part that snaps underneath the jacket, so it can be worn with any old jeans. A winter liner is also a possiblity, depending on how easy that ends up being to accomplish. I will probably have to borrow Bummy's machine for it; doing it by hand will take bloody forever, and my treadle machine, while admirable enough for small projects and things like curtains that won't get worn anywhere, is probably not quite up for a heavy jacket that will likely take a pounding. I'll also have to borrow her expertise at intervals, but then again you probably knew that. #grins#

The other nice thing is that if I keep blogging on the status of my projects, it tends to keep me working on them more studiously than I would otherwise.

In other news, I was considering going as a State Alchemist for Halloween, but it's come up as in a bit short notice to get the coat done. Well, actually, I could probably manage it in five days, if I went right now to get the materials and didn't do anything else for the rest of the week, but I hate being rushed on these kind of projects. I will get around to it at some point, though.

Reasons to love the 99p Challenge

"Coming home to find his slippers are missing, and ten thousand bats are hanging from the ceiling spelling out the word 'Turmoil.' "

- things that might worry Bobby McFarin

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Definition of freaked out: clicking on a link thinking you're going to a page with the action figure for Scar, but getting a giant picture of a shirtless, posing Armstrong instead.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Sredni Vashtar went forth
His thoughts were red thoughts and his teeth were white
His enemies wanted peace, but he brought them death
Sredni Vashtar the beautiful

- Saki, "Sredni Vashtar"

That was the first Saki story I ever read, which I found in the book of pre-1940's horror that was the only book I ever purposely took permantly from the school library. I got a book of Saki stories for Christmas some years later, and a little while after that (after the advent of Amazon) I ended up with the complete collection, which I quite fervently recommend to anyone who enjoys fantastic (and fantastically sarcastic) literature. Saki is brilliant and hilarious and if the character Clovis Sangrail was a real person I would kidnap him and chain him to my bed. But I digress. #grins#

Why this all of a sudden? I was checking my stats at Statcounter (it's quite addictive) and found someone linking off Bradkitty's livejournal, Bradbury being an old friend of mine whom I seem to have lost touch with. Case in point, I didn't actually realize that he had a livejournal. But there it is, with a link to the text of Sredni Vashtar on the sidebar, and one to Urban Dead, and a mention of Ghost in the Shell and Doctor Who. Funny that we still have a lot in common #grins# If you're reading this, hi Bradbury, it's been too long. Drop me a line sometime; my email is findable through Dubious Treats, if a little digging is done.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Yup, photos are up- well, some of them anyway. I realize that I am obscenely tall in heels; I didn't do it on purpose, but I couldn't find decent flats anywhere to save my life.

Looks like the page with photos from Jeff and Johanna's wedding is getting pieced together; nothing works but the front page yet but I imagine that will change as the weekend progresses. I've put in a request for the one good pic with Austin and I in our good clothes, and also the one distance shot outside the registry office, so that certain people will be amused at actually seeing me in a skirt. You know who you are.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

I have accepted the fact that at some point I will actually want another horse. Not right now, maybe not for half a year or so, when the balance of missing riding and missing Cameron has shifted a bit from the 40-60 it seems to be sitting on. And from a practical standpoint I'll certainly have to have a job first, as the way my life is it's ethically and morally unfair to ask anyone but myself to pay for it. But at any rate I noticed today that I could flip through the horse catalog I got in the mail (I get about three a week; today it was Jeffers) and not burst into tears, so that must mean that I'm working through my grief, as the saying goes. At some point, in I'm guessing six months to a year, I'm likely going to put out feelers for a horse. I tried, as an experiment, to collate my thoughts on what kind of a horse I want into a want ad, and this is what I came up with:

Equine Wanted: New partner needed for rider in that nebulous state of experience called "intermediate." Rider is comfortably experienced in handling, grooming, and care, has interacted with a wide range of equine temperaments, and likes to consider herself fair and honest when dealing with her equine partners. However the rider is still dealing with the aftereffects of losing her former horse to a tragic accident, so emotional issues may surface at intervals- applicants who are dealing with their own emotional issues may wish to look elsewhere. Prospective applicants should be brave, kind, and willing to accept lots of contact from the rider, mostly long grooming sessions, cuddling, and kisses on the nose. Rider, although lacking a huge amount of competitive drive or competition experience, is an eventer both by training and for love of the discipline. Thus, a sincere enjoyment of hacking (often solo) and cross-country jumping on the part of the applicant is mandatory. Age of applicant not a major issue, although those between late youth and the middle-ages will be shown a slight preference. If applicant is brave and willing enough, high experience levels may not be necessary. Attitude, as they say, is everything- rider would prefer an honest green horse who will try to an experienced horse that is dishonest or must be constantly coaxed. However, willing *and* experienced is certainly a high plus point. Breed, color, gender, and markings are not issues, however height of applicant should be a minimum of 15.2 and build should be solid simply because the rider is tall and solid as well. Good ground manners, or willingness to learn them, is a necessary aspect of the potential applicant's character, as is a willingness to be a kind (if not necessarily perfect) mount to occasional beginner riders. Applications will be accepted from June 2007 onwards.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Soo, tea + Depeche Mode + late night = writing. Go figure.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

There are seriously some days when I consider packing up and moving to Canda posthaste. And this is definitely one of them. I feel ill.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Phillipe in York - I'm just sorry that I wasn't visiting at the same time, because it would have been nice to meet Phillipe (and Mr. and Mrs. Onstad #grins#)

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Geek Cred

"Why does the panty have its own ass crack, James?"

#falls over laughing# Gods, I'd forgotten how much I loved this story...It's the only believable and sensible reaction to the late-70's-to-80's X-Men costumes.

*No, I'm not linking; 1) I think I linked it on the old site ages ago, and 2)the host site's certainly NSFW and so's about half the story's content. I'll leave it be, and if those of you interested enough to do a search can't find it, I'll help out then. And I'll probably still be chuckling.

Theoretically I should be writing right now. I mean, I've got the right weather (cold and rainy), the right music (currently Portishead, "Dummy"), some tea, some snacks, a warm kitchen, and a comfortable chair. But instead I'm alternating between reading a book and looking up random things on the 'net (most currently, that pic from the X-Men comic with Wolvie standing on the bar in order to be tall enough to threaten Juggernaut. I always really liked that one #grins#)
I just can't seem to get the ball rolling today, which is irritating. I've never understood the saying about all good artists being tormented; I absolutely can't get any work done when I'm depressed, which, although the level varies, I am a lot of the time at the moment. So that cuts down on my available writing time, and when I am at a fairly stable level and I still can't manage to write it irritates me further. I will probably have to shout at the next person I hear mentioning how easy it is to write.

Geek Cred

So I don't bother with online petitions, email petitions, or online voting, as I understand a fair amount about both how the internet works and how society views it, and I like to think (most of the time) that I'm not a fool. But I still signed the online petition to get Simon Pegg on the Simpsons, because I think it's something that definitely needs done. #grins#

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Geek Cred

I'm quite pleased with my new pistol, having put it through its paces this afternoon with myself, four tin cans, four other shooters, and about ninety rounds. It's accurate and useful and I like it a lot. However I'm amused now as someone has pointed out that I own the same gun as Spike Speigal. I'm a big Cowboy Bebop fan, but I guess I never made the connection. Go figure.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Geek Cred

Gods love you, Bruce Campbell. You certainly manage to put up with all us fans, and do it with far more humor and grace than I could probably ever muster.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

I'm sure I've quoted this one from Lore before, but it bears repeating...

"Writing about technology is like having sex in a bathtub: If you don't know anything about sex, it won't help to know a lot about bathtubs."

Also, check out the origins of the Mahna Mahna song- anybody out there got a copy? I think I need to see this film as well.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Prepping some photos for putting up here; it's one of my plans for tomorrow. Given my track record on getting things done when I say I will, though, I wouldn't hold your collective breath. #grins#

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Back safely, flights were on time and unremarkable. Very very tired and miserable, but that's not exactly a surprise. Just thought I'd do a quick post to say that my luggage and I arrived at the same place and time without incident.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

How do you find a quote you're looking for? Google your old blog ([shameless plug] link at right [/shameless plug]) with the bits of it you can remember. How handy is that?

"Practice wise medicine and try to have a good laugh at least three times a day. Be humorous with God and religion, for laughter is the best way to exorcise evil, which is by its nature heavy as hell." -Edward Hays

I see my kid brother has succumbed to the siren song of D2 again. Good for you, kiddo; someone needs to slaughter the forces of evil while I'm on break...

Best quote of this week: "Smell it! Smell the Sonic Death Monkey!"

Okay, so it's a shower gel, but still...#grins#

Monday, October 02, 2006

General Travelogue - A Long Weekend In Aberdeen - Sunday and Monday


Got up early-ish for breakfast (same again; we're boring and neither of us reckoned we could face a full fried breakfast that early #grins#) and set out to find St. Machar's, a medieval church we saw in a travel brochure. It apparently has one of the four best heraldic ceilings in Europe. It was also quite a ways away from where we were, in Old Aberdeen, but it was basically within walkable distance. It was raining, so I unsnapped my hat and Austin bought a small umbrella, and we hiked on into Old Aberdeen, which is very pretty and has more trees than I have seen anywhere in the UK so far.
There was a church service going on when we got there (Sunday morning, duh, we didn't even think about that) so we wandered around the churchyard in the rain looking at the gravestones. It was very pleasant and quiet and some of the stones were beautiful. Some of them were fairly old, too; there were several from the 1670's and 1680's, which is pretty old for those of us from the States. The church itself had been a worship site of one sort or another for over a thousand years (good ley line crossing is my guess) but the church itself dates from I believe the 1500's or so. I'll have to look it up again. (Hey, come on, do you know how many medieval churches they've got here? You can't throw a stick and not hit one. I can't keep them all straight...) When the service was over and everyone had pretty much left (including a nice older man who chuckled at us for looking at gravestones in the pouring down rain- I think his wife may have said something about us not catching cold #grins#) we went inside to look around. The ceiling is lovely; unsure as to whether we were allowed to take pictures we bought some postcards of it instead. It is definitely a working church; the congregation work to maintain its upkeep themselves, with donations from visitors, but instead of resenting the intrusion of two scruffy soaked studenty-looking types (the University is just up the road) they were quite pleasant and helpful. We wandered around ab it, looked at all the carvings and went back out into the rain towards Union Street in search of lunch.
This proved to take a while, as we were both damp and hungry and cranky and everwhere seemed to be full despite it being a fair while past what we would consider the lunch rush. We ended up going to the Old Blackfriars again, because, as Austin pointed out, we might be able to find somewhere *different,* but we were unlikely to find anywhere *better.* Quality over novelty it is.
I highly reccomend the place, by the way. It's always busy, but the waitstaff seem uniformly friendly and helpful, the food is great, and apparently the beer is great as well- it's won some awards from Camra, the real ale people. As mentioned before the building is really spiffy and the atmosphere is nice as well- it seems to be a local place but not in that unnerving, "If you're not local, get out before we throw you out" way that some local pubs seem to have. So yeah, good lunch, and I bought a t-shirt.
More cheerful now, we headed out to St. Nicholas' church, which was practically across the street, but it was too late and it had closed visiting hours for the day. Still, we went around the churchyard looking at the gravestones (no MacAlisters here either) and wandered out the back gate to see what was there. The art museum was there, actually, about a block up the road, and we had an hour until closing so we checked it out. There was a special exhibit on a local painter who predated the Pre-Raphaelite movement, and another special exhibit on Japanese woodblock prints, and a fair amount of interesting modern art in the permanent collection, so there was plenty to look at and we sadly weren't through it all when it was time to go.
We went back to the hotel to dry out a little and have some tea, and then we went out in search of Chinese takeout, which turned out to be harder than we'd thought. We got all the way to the German Fish Festival without finding a place, and decided to get some food from there instead. But they were closing up early due to the rain, so no joy there either. While leaving that we saw a sign for a takeout place, though, called the "New Way, " and they more than upheld my theory that wheverer you go, dedicated takeout Chinese places have the best food anywhere on Earth. We took our haul back to the hotel and sat up far too late watching Dave Gorman's Googlewhack show, which is fantastic you should all definitely make the effort to find it if you haven't seen it already. We also watched fifteen minutes of Badly Dubbed Porn (that's the title, not an editorial comment) which was fairly entertaining (take out the hardcore bits and dub in dialogue, like Mad Movies) but it was neither comedic or pornic enough to bother staying up for the whole thing.

Alarm at ten; sleep was deemed more important than breakfast. Collected the rest of our stuff, settled bill, checked out. Walked down Union Street to a bakers', then passed it to go tp a tourist information place to pick up gifts to bring back. Got the tea towel that had been requested of us, also some heather honey, postcards, and some awesome chocolate covered ginger cookies. Nearly accidently bought three tea towels, as they were folded together and I hadn't noticed, so I tried to blame that on Austin. Mixed sucess #grins# Went back to bakers' and got some pasties for lunch and some sort of Bavarian cream style things for breakfast. Got to train station about forty minutes early, so wandered around a bit. A map machine ate my pound coin; it turned out that several people must have lost their coin that way as there were several maps jammed up in the dispenser slot. I fussed with my pocketknife for ages trying to lever one out, but to no avail. I'm kind of surprised that no one came up to see what I was doing, considering I was digging away at a vending machine and swearing quietly, but no one seemed to care. I was going to put a sign on it warning others to stay away, but just then the janitor came up and I figured maybe I should leave it until later. So we went to the station pub instead (there always is one, so far as I can tell) and had a coke and a beer, respectively, and waited for the train. The train ride to Edinburgh was unremarkable and I got some great pictures. Not of the seals, though, sadly; there were two this time as well. I saw some gorgeous Clydesdale horses as well. And there was a man in a kilt on the train, which was cool.
The train from Edinburgh sucked, though, as we accidently sat across the aisle from some self-centered jerk who complained about me reading a Fafhrd and the Mouser story to Austin (quite quietly, I might add- Austin had to lean in to hear what I was saying and he was sitting right next to me) Instead of asking me politely to be more quiet, or moving (which I would have done if I sat across from someone who was distracting me) he said, in the most patronizing way possible, "Excuse me, I'm not enjoying listening to that." As I blinked at him in confusion, he added, "Oh, you can move somewhere else, of course." I wish I could convey in print the condescencion and self-interest just dripping off him- it was just instantly infuriating. Now I would have responded positively to, "Hey, I'm sorry, but I'm trying to work here, would you mind being a little more quiet?" or any variation thereof, and I would have happily complied or moved. But his phrasing and tone were both self-satisfied and self-centered, as though he owned the train (not to mention that he wasn't doing work at all, he was drinking a cheap beer and idly fussing with a crossword) and he had this air of "Of course you'll immediately do as I say; I'm obviously the most important person here, " which I have never responded well to. We were both very good and didn't snap back at him (although we were sorely tempted) but I was so angry I refused to move, and put the book down and faced the window and didn't look around or speak for the rest of the trip. Austin did the same, and since we were the only people in that end of the train car he spent the rest of the ride being shunned by the only other people in sight, which I think unnerved him a little. I heard him drop a few things, and he cleared his throat a lot. I could have been a lot nastier but I decided that he was self-centered enough that he honestly wouldn't have understood why we were being angry at him. We also decided that he was definitely a middle-manager type, and that if he always treated people with the same measure of condecension he had towards us, then he probably led a fairly sad life. Plus his subordinates probably did some really amusing impressions of him when he wasn't around. #grins#
At least it was reasonable weather when we got back to York, and we stopped in a pub and had a good dinner, so everything was fine again.

Culture Shock

I was sad not to see any formal occasions going on (weddings etc.) that there might have been formal dress at, as I think men look awesome in kilts- Ewan MacGregor being a particularly fine example. #grins#

Train bathrooms are weird. They have huge spaceship-type sliding doors that you live in fear of opening spontaneously, as the mechanisms seem extremely suspect. I had to push on one to get it to open as it didn't seem to have the power to manage it itself, and who wants to be stuck in a train bathroom for hours on end?

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Culture Shock

The warning labels on cigarettes here are [theKid] amazing [/the Kid] The ones at home are these little wussy "The Surgeon General warns that smoking can be hazardous to your health." Feh. The ones here read, in big black letters that take up three-quarters of the pack, "Smoking Kills." or "Smoking can cause impotence." or "Smoking harms you and others around you." Or my personal favorite, "Smoking will cause you to die a slow and painful death." Dude! How come we don't have these here?

So far, Aberdeen holds the record for the most public vomiting in the list of places I've been, but let me tell you it's a hotly contested title. There must be some country-wide directive that states that all city streets must have a minimum of two people having been sick on them, unless it's Friday night, in which case the minimum rises to four. And there's another contingent of people charged with going out on Saturday nights to drop bags of french fries on the sidewalks and throw beer cans in fountains. It's a very effcient system; I haven't seen it fail yet.

People who work in shops and people who buy from shops seem to treat each other with a kind of weary contempt, so when I say please and thank you to clerks and ask how they are it startles the hell out of them. Most of them seem alarmingly grateful to be treated like human beings, which is kind of sad. Some of them are so startled it's frightening.

So now that I've discovered Lush it's entirely possible that I'll have to leave all my clothes here, as my suitcase will be full of chocolate, bath stuff, and learn to play the recorder books. But at least I'll smell good, sound good, and everyone will get chocolate #grins#