Saturday, May 31, 2003


At the risk of losing all my hate cred, I have to say that the current period of extended Luridlessness is grating somewhat. I'm not pining away or anything, but when you're used to being around a person a lot of the time, adjusting to their abscence is... odd. You do stuff like going to make a cuppa and asking "D'you want one too?" then realising you're talking to an empty room. Doing stuff without them seems thin somehow. I'd been gagging to go and see The Matrix: Reloaded for ages, and now it's been out here for more than a week and I still haven't gone because there'll be no one next to me to nick jelly-babies off of.

I could buy my own jelly-babies, of course, but it's just not the same.

And I know it's daft, because he's only off doing safe academic stuff. I keep thinking about how I'd feel if my fella was on an oil rig, or out in the Gulf. Or worse, if he was missing. I think about all the people out there who are missing someone who's taken away, kidnapped by some bunch of bandits or disappeared by their government. I think about people who can't be with the ones they love because their love is proscribed by law. I think about how lucky I am that I know where all my special people will be tonight.

Friday, May 30, 2003


Since finally clawing my archive links back from the maw of oblivion, I've been doing some idle cross checking between my blog and my various other journals. And I found out something very interesting.

See, I like to sing. I'm not bad at it, either. And every so often, I will go on a bit of a singing jag, during which my voice will improve to the point where I start thinking seriously about recording summink or finding some other peeps to sing at. And every time I have got to that stage-- every time I have said to myself "Right! Now's the time to get the tape deck out and show some tonsil!" I have come down with a nasty oozy infection of the throat and/or lungs which precludes me from taking things any further. Every time, without fail. More telling still, every incidence of such an infection has coincided with a singing jag. I never, ever get one without the other.

Which means that some part of me has decided it's a good idea to be scuppering my vocal cords.

Right then, mush. You are BUSTED! You've had things your way for years, but the party's over. I'm coming for you. Those are my vocal cords and I'm having them back. Put down the wallpaper paste and STEP AWAY FROM THE VOCAL CORDS!

Thursday, May 29, 2003

Stop. Laughing.

In a lurching, desperate attempt to stop my Castilliano sucking quite so hard, I have begun a Spanish weblog over here. I'll be mostly using it to corral my language-related links in one place, since my sidebar is now getting really silly. I've cheated with that first entry by running some of the verbs through a translator, but I'll try harder to work it out myself in future.

The new Blogger templates bite, BTW. I hope to hell they add some more soon.
Under construction.

Still not a superhero. Stupid magick.

Been conducting an audit of the dreaded book, sussing out what I've got so far.

I have the first chapter, which is set in our world, pretty much done. The first draft of the first chapter anyway. ('Course it'll need extensive re-writing; my stuff always does.) I have the human characters, their personalities, names, and a brief bio for all but two of them. I have a large chunk of the second chapter done too. I have a good outline of the beginning of the book, and a very rough notion of how the rest of the book is going to go. Several scenes from later in the book also exist in one form or another.

The world: I know pretty much what it looks like and how it works.

As to the peoples of the other world... I have a general outline for one of them, the civilization that the story will be about.. I know roughly who they are and what they're all about. I know pretty much what their dwellings are like, the sort of societies they have, what standard of living they're at. I have some of their alphabet done and in my mind I can hear how they speak, even if I don't know what the words mean yet. I can see how they dress, how they move, how they carry their babies, how they eat and sleep. I've begun making a few tentative pencil drawings that will help me later on.

I have purposely stopped trying to write the story until I have their language, history and religion down pat. Fortunately they're a patient lot, good at explaining things to the newcomer. Hey, here's one of them now-- I think he wants to tell me something...

Wednesday, May 28, 2003


Realised today that when I fixed up my sidebar I inadvertantly left off my link to Happy Coconut. Didn't notice till now because I've been getting my political jollies over at ZNet for the last week or so. Remiss of me. Never mind; it should be back now. You can all pop across and read what fridgemagnet has to say about current plans to turn Guantanamo Bay into a death camp, where people could be tried, convicted, sentenced and executed without any of that pinko appeal nonsense screwing things up. Sorry, did I say people? Silly me.

Tuesday, May 27, 2003

Bagsnatcher Central

That's what we call this internet caff, which shall remain nameless. (It's the big cheap one.) I come in here because you can buy a 24 hour pass for €1.40. Trouble is, it's chock full of villains. There are warning notices hither and yon telling everyone to watch out for theives but every time I come in here for any great length of time I see some poor so-and-so getting turned over. I was sort of hoping to see a chair fight today, but so far there's been nothing but minor beer-related squabbles. This might seem callous but since the chair fights are going to happen anyway, you either go somewhere less skanky but more expensive or learn to treat it like street theatre. 'Sides, people hardly ever get hurt, they just play who's-got-the-biggest-Chair-Antlers until someone backs down.

Signed up for an intensive Spanish course today. Two hours a day, five days a week, for four weeks. I start on Monday. Should be enough to let me function adequately. I'm not doing too badly working on my own, but I want something a bit more structured. I've been toying with the idea of starting a Spanish blog, which would give me much-needed practice and also provide innocent amusement for passersby. Hmmm.

After a desultory sniff round Temp Hell (no dice) and signing up for my course, I decided to treat myself. Bought the book on Spanish wildflowers that I've been promising I'd get for months now. The plan tomorrow is to go temp-bothering in the morning and then take a stroll round by the Uni, check out las flores, write it up. Good excercise.

The alphabet? Ah, yes. The alphabet. Goddamn the alphabet. I spent about three hours last night redesigning the letter A. Maybe 40 years was a bit optimistic. But I can feel them, y'know? The imaginary people, I mean. Leaning over my shoulder, murmuring: "No... not quite like that. Bit more round, and that line should stand up more." They're never satisfied, I tell you. Never! I think the best thing to do might be some trance work. Pop into mindspace, find one of them and slap him around till he shows me how it's supposed to look.

Monday, May 26, 2003


WRITER: I'm so fed up and cheesed off and things. The world seems full of people who are both younger and more accomplished than I. Why do you, Fragile Grasp On Reality, and you, Twisted Self-Indulgent Resentment, think that is?

F.G.O.R.: Those people had more initial talent then you, and they've worked harder. They also have something resembling focus. And they don't keep dithering over finishing stuff and punting out stuff they have finished. Oh! And when they do find themselves on a roll they don't shoot themselves in the foot by downing tools and playing Icewind Dale. They want to polish stuff off and show it to the world; you want to crook your arm around your paper and lean over it and mutter "not finished yet!" until everyone gives up and goes away. You continually punch below your weight because deep down you're terrified that you're not really that good.

T. S. I. R.: Those people had more luck than you. They had more support from those around them in their formative years, better teaching, better advice, and a magic draw with an unlimited supply of those nice pencils that you like-- y'know, the green ones? Nothing that's happened is your fault. If you'd had all their advantages, you'd be as good as them. Better, in fact.

WRITER (schnoogling up to T.S.I.R. like a rhesus monkey clinging to its fake cloth mum): I wuv you, Twisted Self-Indulgent Resentment. Don't ever weave me.

T.S.I.R.: Of course not, sweetie. I'll stay forever and make everything all right.

F.G.O.R.: I'm going out to shoot myself. It's urgent.

WRITER: 'Bye then.
Ancestral voices.

With vague memories of a telly prog I saw once stirring in my brain, I've been looking at proto-world language as a possible starting point for my new language. If you're not familiar with the concept, the proto-world languge hypothesis says that all languages evolved from a single ancestor language back in the mists of time, and that by looking at similarities between languages it might be possible to reconstruct this ancient tongue. I find the idea strangely moving.

Results of random Googlege while I wait for my Windows updates to finish downloading...

The BBC actually went to the trouble of making a homepage for Gareth Keenan, the lanky creep from The Office. Man, I can't belive they've stopped making that show after two series. It ws so horrible and funny. Everyone recognises someone from that show; David Brent is definately the bastard son of my old job-club leader, and there's this one person I used to know online who was just uncannily like Gareth.

Typing orange monkey flower picnic into Google gets you this (aw, blessssss), whereas green panda wobble ankle noise gets you neuroscience and Digimon fanfic. Meanwhile, over at blue ox strangle television we find Dragonball Z fanfic. It's not that I've got anything against fanfic per se but... Am I the only person who actually makes up stuff anymore? I'm too frikkin' mercenary, that's my trouble. Just can't imagine putting in the effort if I don't own the copyright.

Saturday, May 24, 2003

More Oooh.

Or possibly just Hmm. We'll see.

How to Create a Language

Reasons for abandoning this whole twisted scheme before I expend any more time or energy on it:

1) It's not like I don't have other stuff to do. Including learning a real language.
2) This whole thing is, quite possibly, just an attack of toxic perfectionism. I'm probably just being anal-retentive about this whole language thing as a stalling technique; the longer I spend writing the damn thing, the longer it is before I have to show it to anyone. Fear of faliure/rejection, et hoc genus omnes.
3) Let's face it, my English grammar could do with a wash and brush-up before I go giving myself glossopoietic* airs.

Reasons for seeing twisted scheme through to the bitter, bitter end:

1) I always have other stuff to do. Big central project that I really graft away at (currently learning Spanish) plus three or four little side-projects that I ditch and come back to as and when, thus keeping BRANE from seizing up with panic if the Big Central Project stalls. That's how I work. That's how I work best. This would mean less screwing-around time, but there you go.
2) I really and truly belive this is a necessary part of the novel. The more I flesh out my imaginary culture, the more detail I put into my backstory, the richer and more beliveable the finished article will be. And I've been doing much better with the avoidy/not-finishy/got-to-be-perfect thing. That last article I punted out? Chock full o'typos.
3) This will probably help with my English grammar rather than hindering it, since checking out grammar and language resources is an intrinsic part of said plan. In fact, it'll probably do my language studies in general a bit of good.
4) Language is very important to me, and the thought of creating a new one makes me all tingly with Nerd Joy.
5) There are already half-baked, bitty, dashed-off-on-the-back-of-an-envelopey, weak, derivative, and downright shoddy fantasy books enough and to spare in the world. Why the hell would I want to add to the heap?

Okay. Glossopoiesis wins. At my current rate of progress I can expect to finish my novel in, ooh, a little under 40 years.

It really had better not suck.

*Yes, I know that's probably not a real word.

Friday, May 23, 2003


Ooh, would it be bad and wrong of me to use this handy Alphabet Synthesis Machine to help things along a bit? Oooh.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch...

Dan has contrived five ways to improve X-Men 2. (The permalink is buggered so you'll have to scroll down.) Contains spoilers, and the term "veiny bangstick". May cause liquids to be ejected through nose.
Oh, for the love of Mike.

I seriously need to hurt whovever came up with this idea. Where do I start? Where do I even start? Whoo, filing your nails, wehey, pink shirt, 's a bit, uhh, camp innit? Cor, you want to watch it, mate! They'll think you're batting for the other team!


(Via plasticbag.)

Finally fixed the almighty mess I made of my sidebar the other night. My looker-uppers are back. Yeerrrs. At least Solonor made my site his aortal thing of the whenever before I knackered half my links, which was nice. Ahhh... ego-stroking...

The thought occurs that I should really dust off my writey blog, which I've allowed to languish in limbo for months on end. All that stuff last year (dropping out of the University of Fishpacking, sucky jobs, mad packing scheduals, etc) was no good for my noggin at all.
An update on the progress of That Novel, for anyone who's still even remotely interested.

To Beelzebub with backstory! Vaya al Diablo, research! Screw you with a large vegetable marrow, linguistic invention!

Why? Why am I doing this? Why can't I concentrate on churning out some unassuming little potboiler? Why did I have to get all fatbeardy and start drawing maps? Oh, sure, that's where it starts. Let's just have a cute little pointy pointy map to go in the front of the book, shall we? There, isn't that nice? But wouldn't it look even better with a few runes? Only we can't use runes, really, because they're so old hat. So we have to invent our own alphabet. Only we can't just invent our own alphabet, can we; we have to make it convincing. Which means looking at lots and lots of other people's alphabets, taking carfeful notes in our special shiny Novel Notes book. And then there's the actual language! Don't forget that. You can't just shove in any old mumbo-jumbo, oh no. You've got to sit down and devise a passable grammatical structure and about a thousand words of vocab. I'm a huge, huge nerd, aren't I? I'm a collosal and irredeemable geek. A stunningly handsome, charismatic and edgy geek, but a geek nontheless.

Oh, and I've lost all faith in my grasp of English grammar and puctuation and of course I've always spelled for shite and my dialogue still bites; everyone talks like an instuction manual. I've been writing up lab reports for too bloody long. And I know, I just know, that after all this I'm probably just going to end up with some gawdawful sub-Mercedes Lackey drivel that'll just rot on my hard drive forever and ever, Amen.

I loathe writing. Writing sucks. Books suck. All written matter is corrupt and evil and foul foul foul.

Thursday, May 22, 2003


Damn, I love the veiw from my living-room. I mean, I hate to gloat but... what am I on about? I love to gloat! I could run the 600 Yard Gloat. I could Gloat for my country. I could be the Girl Who Won The Gloating Match Despite Her Broken Leg.

So anyway, the sky is a hazy perlescent blue, and there are just scads of swifts swooping and gliding through the air. There is enough birdsong for 53 standard dawn choruses. Also, there are lots of really dolly yellow light aeroplanes flying around for some reason. No goats this morning, sadly, but they were here yesterday. I dig the goats. Some guy herds them in the field down the ways; I can watch them grazing from my window.

Been a bit under the weather the past couple of days. Some viral thing, not quite worthy of the 'flu title but yecchy enough to keep me indoors with my Spanish lessons. Since I haven't been able to enroll on a course yet, these still consist of doing the excercises from Spanish for Dummies, watching Spanish telly, and translating H***y P***er back into English with the aid of a dictionary. Have you any idea how fed up it's possible to get with H***y P***er? And I haven't even worked my way through the first book yet (groan). I got a Barbara Vine novel in Spanish the other day, but it's a complete non-starter. My vocabulary just isn't wide enough to lift me from the vale of Kid Lit. yet. Gahh. I feel like I'm stewing in juvenility, y'know? Today I was slogging away at H***y P***er and I found my eyes straying towards the Noam Chomsky books. I'm sitting there thinking, "Oooh! I'll just finish this chapter and then I can go and re-read Manufacturing Consent!" What is this-- Bizzaro World?

The only really ungloatworthy thing in my life at present is a slight dearth of Lurid Archive, who has beetled off on one of his maths-related jaunts and won't be back for a few weeks. Blah. Oh, well-- at least I'll have the internet connection to myself. My messageboard has been looking decidedly more healthy since I did away with the Gawdawful popups but it really deserves more time than I spend on it.

Sunday, May 18, 2003


Okay, further to my X-Men triggered return to psi excercises: In order to overcome my ingrained scepticism and self-doubt I have been searching for the maddest, most out-there New Age nutsack psi sites I can find. This looks like just the thing: Wingmakers, the Official Site of the 21st Century. If you dig your looney fluff, this is a primo slice thereof. They have helpful hints on everything from levitation to invisibility. Should be interesting. I'm going to start working through their site; I'll keep y'all posted as to what happens (or maybe just BAMF! on over and fill you in in person).
This is what happens when you neglect your stalking duties.

I admit it, people. I haven't been reading your weblogs with my usual sticky mouth-breathing compulsiveness. So I missed the news that Mr Coates is Between Jobs again, and accordingly strapped for cash with which to maintain the 'Lith.

See, this is why I need to sell more stories. My Paypal account has about US 50c in it at present. Bleph.

Saturday, May 17, 2003


For those of you who can actually read my sidebar, I've added a new section for mental health type stuff: suicide prevention, eating disorder support and self-injury support. I know that some of my regulars have ishoos with this kind of thing. There are a few links there now and I'll add more as I get around to it.

If you have any links you think would be helpful, tag me or leave a comment.

Edited to say: If you know a support group for people who are daft enough to try to update their sidebar at 12:30 am after a couple of shots of Jim Beam, pleeeaaase contact me. I need help.
Light is poison.

The rain in Spain has played a low-down, dirty trick upon yours truly. Yesterday I was in town having a brewski at Cafe Zurich, and it started to chuck down in that special vertical ocean way. So today when I woke up and it was a bit cloudy, I assumed that more rain might be on the cards. I went out sans sunblock, sans shades, sans everything but a knockoff Cure tee, jeans and army boots. Mistake. For it was all sunny by the time I got into town, and it just kept getting sunnier. Reeeeallly sunny, y'all. Yep, this is one sunny old part of the world, alright. And just because I know that many of you are reading this from London and other wet soggy places where they see the sun so rarely that its appearance can trigger mass hysteria and human sacrifices to the Fire In The Sky, I'm going to bitch about how I got wayyy too much sun today and it's made me feel a bit foggy-headed and my eyes sting.

I did mention that I'm here till August next year, right? Not just on my hols here, oh no. You can't comfort yourselves with the notion that in a few short days I'll be back and soaking in the drizzle, just like you only more miserable because one long weekend every year-and-a-half is just enough to let you see what you're missing without taking the edge off the SAD. Nuh-uh! I'm here for another 17 months, baby. Choke on it.

Tuesday, May 13, 2003

Oh, no.

Oh, no no no. After everything I've said, everything I've done-- you're back. Why? I thought I'd finally weened you off reading this thing. What's it going to take to make you get over this FREAKISH OBSESSION? You are a sad, sad person who repeatedly comes back to read the online diary of an unemployed failed electronics engineer whose last job but one was cleaning toilets.

Look out of the window. Do you see all those people walking by, those teeming multitudes? Don't you ever get the urge to go and join them, instead of frittering away your precious life like this? Think of the time and resources you've expended to get where you are today. Think of the new and wonderful experiences-- eye-opening, mind-expanding, life-changing experiences that await you if you'd only STOP READING THE UNEMPLOYED CLEANING LADY'S DIARY AND GET A LIFE! Museums, parks, areas of outstanding natural beauty, sights you may never have the opportunity to see again. Look, there's a guy over the road selling banana pancakes! Wouldn't you just love a banana pancake?



Anyway, job-hunting. On Wednesday I managed to meet up with the friend of a friend of a friend who might possibly know something about getting an English teahing job. On the down-side, she told me that as it's summer I probably won't be able to get anything like that for a few months. On the upside, she was really cool and very keen to socialize, which I could do with right now. Going stir-crazy. On Friday I went and tried my luck at a temp agency, with predictable results. Didn't quite get everything that the pink fluffy creature behind the desk said, but the basic thrust was that they couldn't take me on because I don't have a work permit. I pointed out to her that I didn't need a work permit as I'm an EU citizen. All I need is my NIE. But she wasn't having any of it. Not sure if this was one of those "make something up to get rid of the no-hoper" situations, or if she genuinely didn't know the employment legislation. No reason she should, of course, except that IT'S HER GODDAMN JOB. Left feeling deeply discouraged and fed up with things, especially little blonde people who wear fluffy pink cardies and pearly-pink nail varnish and pearly-pink lippy without any shred of irony. (I'm sorry, and I know that as a pointy pointy goth I'm in a sartorial glass house here, but if you're going to wear that kind of ensemble in public you'd better be RuPaul.)

Weekend rocked, though. Had dozing panther over for a few days, which was great. Went out for a picnic, went to the beach, saw X-Men 2 again, went to the Parc de la Ciutadella , went up in the cable-car, ate out, did loadsa fun stuff.

Tuesday, May 06, 2003


Spent most of Saturday trying to get to grips with Flash, with patchy success. I've gone through all the tutorials, but they're not that great: there's all this basic stuff that you have to do and it's just not covered properly. The books I've got are a bit too advanced, really. Also had a bash at the Heros IV campaign editor, but I can't make the quest huts work properly. Gahh.

Went out for a meal on Sunday, to this cracking little veg/vegan restaraunt/juice bar called Juicy Jones. Had a mean thali, then went off to the flicks again to see No Good Deed, which is based on Dashell Hammet's The House On Turk Street. It was okay, but... Look, it's a Hammet story, okay? And I know how things work in the Hammetverse. I realise that you have to suspend disbelief a little. But the whole premise of the film seemed to be that there's this woman whose sex appeal is so intoxicating that any guy within a five mile radius falls under her spell and will do all manner of dangerous/unpleasant/foolish things if he can only bump the lala with her. All she has to do is flash some thigh and they'll risk their lives, their fortunes, their careers to get on her good side. And this is a completely instinctive thing for her to be doing, BTW. She doesn't appear to think much about what she's doing or what the consequences of her actions might be, she just does it.

Not buying it. Sexual manipulation of men by women does happen, of course, but not in the ham-fisted way portrayed by the film. Unless you belive that all women are weak, manipulative, irrational succubi intent only on reducing the male brain to sago pudding and sucking it out along with the contents of their wallets and that men are powerless to prevent said suckage occuring, but I don't think Dave Sim reads my blog so we're probably okay on that score.

Glorious weekend, weatherwise. Gone a bit cloudy now though.

Friday, May 02, 2003


I think you should just buy $75 theremin kits and assemble them, then sell them for $150 on eBay. -- grant b.

Not a bad idea. But I had this dream about selling vandalized zombie dolls imbued with dangerous and unpleasant magick on e-bay, so I might do that instead. I don't know how to sell things on e-bay though. I shall have to find out more.
Beltane aftershocks.

Couldn't handle a demonstration yesterday (asthma) so went to el cine instead. Saw X-Men 2 (and yes, I am aware of the irony, trading real part in possible change for change-flavoured corporate bromide. I couldn't bloody breath. Really not up to marching. Okay?)

Anyhow, X-Men 2: I wannabeamutant. Iwannabeamutant! Iwannabeamutant! Iwannabeamutant! Iwannabeamutant! Iwannabeamutant! Iwannabeamutant! Iwannabeamutant! Iwannabeamutant! Iwannabeamutant! Iwannabeamutant! Iwannabeamutant! Iwannabeamutant! Iwannabeamutant! Iwannabeamutant! Iwannabeamutant! Iwannabeamutant! IwannabeaMUUUUTAAAAANT! I'm going to be on Ian McKellan's team and we're going to titter at you and bitch about your hair! MUTANT!

Don't know if it was the oxygen debt, but somehow the film got my magickal muscles all-of-a-doodah. I felt all juiced and evolvey (and yes, I do know that's not how proper evolution works. I read Dawkins and Pinker, me. It's as good a metaphor as any). I sat in the cinema and made myself a little energy tent, like a wire-frame model made of beams of light coming out of my hands. I really opened myself up to the feeling. I could visualise universal energy pouring into my crown chakra which got all tingly (it hasn't done that in a while). It's strange but fun when a piece of featherlight entertainment can have an effect like that. I know I was definately meant to be in that cinema watching that film at that time. I needed a bit of a boost, you see; I'd been a bit slack on the old magick, what with the move and having a crisis of faith and stuff, and so I asked my (guides? Angels? Those spooky dudes that have been hanging around since my attunements, anyway) to Give Me A Sign. And Lo, the was a Sign.

I think they know me a bit to well.

Anyhow, I came out feeling like doing something impressive. Have decided to re-start my aborted psi excercizes. The attunements really shook me up in all kinds of ways: my tolerance for drugs like alcohol and caffine has dropped through the floor, my dreams have become more vivid, my memory attacks more frequent and more uncomfortable, my synasthesic experiences more pronounced. Oh, and I've only had the one fit since, which is some kind of record. It feels like things have started to settle down a bit now, though, and I'm ready to get back on the psi. I doubt very much I'll be floating pencils, you understand, but when I was doing the excercizes before I was having all sorts of interesting little experiences. I don't care if it doesn't do what it says on the tin, it does something, and that's the whole point. Trouble is, the work is all very repetative and you have to keep doing it every day, like sit-ups. And I'm already doing so many little bits and pieces every day that it's easy to conveniently "forget" some. It bugs me, though: my lack of sticking power, the way I get discouraged and let the rot set in. What I would like is someone who's already good at that stuff to poke me along, badger me to keep on with the exercises when I get slack. However that's unlikely to happen. Certain incidents over the course of the last year and a half have made me extremely distrustful of magickal alliances, especially over the internet.

A big prob is the restrictions I place on my own mental processes. "Oh, you can't write/think/say/do that! I doesn't look like the things that everyone else is write/think/say/doing! Do what that guy's doing, over there! Quick, before someone sees you!" No more of that. If it's the same as the other guys, fine. If it looks like a turnip, fine. If it's a fetching shade of lemon yellow, fine. If it goes CLUNK boink .vwzzzzzz SPROINGGGG then that's fine too. Everything is fine.

I'm definately an October-December person but I love the way that something shift-y generally happens to me around this time of year. Last year it was deciding to be a writer, and things are gradually shaping up in that department. This year it's been deciding to go full-on magickal freak.