Cal 9000

Moving day tomorrow!

About ten years ago blufive and I decided that we ought to move from Whitefield in north Manchester, to Stockport (where Gav works).
Tomorrow we will actually do that.
It's our second move in six months, as we sold our old house and moved into a short-term rental nearby while we found somewhere to buy.
I've spent all day watching our very helpful and efficient removal man packing the stuff that we'd bothered to take out of boxes after the last move. The top floor of the house has mostly been emptied of everything except disassembled shelving and large items of furniture, while the ground floor is stacked with heaps of crates and boxes. But I still can't quite believe that tomorrow we will have a new home with lots of potential shelf space.
In fact, it's been such a strange day that instead of thinking "I really ought to post something on LiveJournal" and then failing utterly to do that, I seem to have managed my first post in almost five years.
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    excited excited
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What I did in November...

...Apart from Novacon and getting stranded in Plymouth while attempting to vist my parents in Cornwall:

NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. The challenge is to produce a 50,000 word novel between midnight on 1st November, and midnight on 30th November. I made it - with almost three quarters of an hour to spare.

Things I have learned from the experience:

  • I can produce about 1600 words (of dubious quality) in an hour
  • Being nine days behind schedule by the 15th is definitely a mistake
  • Fact checking is a luxury
  • Consistency (about things like where the characters are at any given point, or even who they are) can be fixed later if I ever feel brave enough to go back and read it
  • The CD changer is my friend

It was quite difficult to hit the deadline with so many busy weekends, but it was great fun. With a bit of luck, I'll see if I can do it again next year.

Cal 9000

Not again!

According to the BBC News website, a gang of armed robbers have stolen "The Scream" from the Munch Museum in Norway.

Story here

It was stolen a few years ago and not found for several months. It must be one of the most famous modern paintings in the world, not to mention one of the most recognisable paintings EVER. Hardly something you could keep for a couple of years then dispose of quietly.

Unless there is a real-life Ernst Stavro Blofeld out there with a taste for disturbing paintings, then I suppose they must intend to hold it to ransom.
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    surprised surprised
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This weekend has mostly been...


Courtesy of the blackcurrant bush and bramble hedge in the back garden.
About five years ago a colleague gave me a twig from a blackcurrant bush, that I took home and stuck in the ground, as per her instructions. Yesterday I picked 3lb of currants off it. The brambles just appeared, as brambles do on any boundary that isn't supervised to within an inch of its life.

I have a simple style of gardening called "mostly I don't have time, and plants are supposed to grow anyway". I occasionally plant things, then leave them to struggle and either win, or get smothered. When we walk by the flowerbeds (i.e. the bits that aren't paved and that Gav doesn't mow), I proudly point out the surviving shrubs and flowers. For some reason other, more pessimistic, people mostly see the weeds.

Most of the blackcurrants have now been stewed and are cooling before being frozen. I've used a few already for a blackberry and blackcurrant crumble - pure nostalgia. My parents have a big garden and when I was a child it was full of fruit bushes and trees. It's rather nice that after 14 years living in Manchester I've finally got to taste the fruits from my own back garden.
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    cheerful cheerful
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Busy weekend

Back in January I was prompting for a play at an amateur theatre near work. I had just finished a run in their pantomime - hard work, but fun, and very glittery. One night I spotted a notice asking for volunteers for a "Playathon" in July. Older members explained that this was a show to be staged and rehearsed in 48 hours. In a burst of enthusiasm I put my name down...

Friday, 7.30 pm

After hanging around in the bar for about 20 minutes with about 40 other members, the moment of truth arrived. The organiser of the Playathon, one of only three people who knew the identity of the production we would be performing, made his announcement:

Read more...Collapse )
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    accomplished accomplished
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We had a small power cut yesterday. I only know this because the microwave has no backup battery for its clock. Sadly, the outage was enough to kill our elderly freezer. It has done pretty well - over ten years of faithful service. I think the compressor has died - it sat and made sad buzzing noises, but is now full of semi-defrosted food that we will never get to eat.
I was looking forward to that sea bass, the next time Gav went away (he doesn't like fish very much).
Have just cooked about 5lb of various types of sausage, all from the farmers' market. Now we have to eat as much as we can over the next couple of days before they go off... so maybe there is a bright side.
Job for tomorrow: go out after work and find somewhere that can deliver a nice new freezer at the weekend.
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    aggravated aggravated
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How Dare They!

I suppose over the last three and a half years I should have had ample opportunity to get accustomed to the boundless arrogance and insensitivity of the Bush regime, but this still struck me as extraordinary:

US demands war crimes immunity

The UN Security Council is expected to vote tomorrow on whether US Peacekeepers should have immunity from prosecution when on UN missions.

In the last few weeks the world has been treated to a whole stack of news stories showing exactly why NOBODY should have a "free pass" in international law. Strangely enough lots of those stories (but by no means all of them) involved the US.

Since the current occupying force in Iraq doesn't have a UN mandate, I assume the resolution wouldn't affect troops there anyway. But, just to make sure, apparently the US and UK are seeking legal immunity for their boys in Iraq when sovereignty is handed over:

Coalition seeks Iraqi immunity

It's like some sort of return to feudalism: apparently it's fine to lock people away without trial, subject them to torture and then photograph yourself gloating over the battered corpses. Provided you're a citizen of a nation at the top of the hierarchy and they're from somewhere down at the bottom. Well, until there's a huge public outcry anyway. Does anyone out there believe that any of those "bad apples" would have been seriously punished if the press hadn't got hold of the story?
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    enraged enraged
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They never had this when I was a kid...

...Well not that I ever saw.

I was flicking through the review section of the Independent when an article on toys caught my attention. Feeling nostalgic, I read happily about Lego, Sticklebricks, nice wooden toy farms etc. Then I got to the paragraph about Playmobil. I remember these as standard plastic figures, taller than the Lego ones but not significantly more exciting. There were probably a few knights, maybe even an astronaut or two, but I thought that was about it.

I've read loads of articles over the years about anxious parents banning little boys from playing with guns, lest it should encourage violent tendencies. In my experience, this just means that the little boy in question points his hand (or a suitably shaped prop) and shouts "Bang". Or if he wants, he can apparently save up for a Playmobil limited edition Arms Dealer (of the old Wild West variety). It comes with 5 pistols, 4 rifles and a locking weapons box (very safety concious).

Equally fascinating is the safecracker playset, complete with a locking mechnanism on the safe and an oxy-acetylene torch.
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    surprised surprised
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I finally gave in...

Blufive has been saying I should get one of these for ages. So I finally decided to take the plunge.
I'm really not sure how I'll get on with it though. I'm quite fond of reading his Friends list to find out what everyone has been up to, but I've a feeling I may turn into one of those people who has one or two lonely entries after about 3 years.
We shall see...

P.S. On the first attempt, for some reason this ended up in Blufive's journal. Dratted browser!
  • Current Music
    Blufive's PC on random play in the next room