Tags: everyday stuff



I'm going to do a very un-Grimlike thing and enthuse about a mower.


A mower.

We used to get our little plot of neighbouring bits of land mowed on the cheap, but what with things being as they are it's necessary to save some moolah. Paradoxically that means spending out to buy a mower and so we looked at the options.

What we eventually settled on, at my insistence, was the Bosch 34 LI which is rad because it's a cordless electric, rather than a petrol mower.

I think I made the right choice as even though it takes three charges to do both gardens, this is a plus since it forces you to take breaks. The really cool things about it however are that it is relatively quiet compared to petrol mowers and that it doesn't smell. That's the real bonus with it. When you're mowing you don't smell petrol fumes but rather the scent of the grass and anything else you run the mower over. While this may be a disadvantage if you go over some animal poop, most of the time it's nice. Some wild mind was growing in a patch in our garden and going over that was delightful - and I don't even like mint!

Hurrah for powerful, rechargeable batteries!

Looking back... looking forward

Where did you think you'd be at this point in your life? Where did you hope you'd be?

Married (check) with one or two kids (no) and working in either comics or gaming (kind of check) or an author (not really, yet).

Life never really goes according to plan, I need to find a way to turn what I have accomplished into something more. I've had the opportunities now and then but they've all faltered at one point or another and the world has changed so much just in my lifetime. I was born into a generation that's used to change as a way of life I think, due to the acceleration and rapidity of those changes, but it does tend to mean that there's nothing 'solid' under your feet, nothing you can rely on. That makes forward planning a bit tricky.

I hoped I could make an actual living doing what I love, rather than scraping by. I wouldn't change a thing, but it would be nice for this all to be a more viable economic model of sustaining myself.

Otherwise, by and large, I'm where I wanted to be, doing what I wanted to do.

Go me.

What's something great that you can cook? Give the recipe.

I've given the recipe for hotpot before, but that remains my favourite, easy, go-to dish of deliciousness and we've revised the recipe a bit.
  • 500g diced Beef
  • Thin-sliced taters.
  • Three half-decent sausages, cut into chunks.
  • Onion
  • An apple cut into little chunks.
  • Cider or stout (optional)
  • Thyme.
  • Salt.
  • Two carrots, sliced.
  • Gravy (Bisto, tspn coleman's mustard, Knorr beef stock gel, tspn of Marmite)
  1. Get a big dish, with a lid.
  2. Slice the onion in half and chop each half into little bits.
  3. Scatter half the onion and half the carrot on the bottom of the dish to make a layer.
  4. Take half the diced beef and sausage and scatter it on top of the veg layer.
  5. Toss half the chopped apple on top of that.
  6. Take sliced tater and make a flat layer on top of the meat.
  7. Repeat all this to make another layer.
  8. Scatter thyme and salt on top of the final layer.
  9. Pour the gravy over so it covers the top layer and roughly fills the dish halfway.
  10. If you're putting booze in, but a little bit in now over the top, but don't overfill the dish, it shouldn't be too wet when done.
  11. Heat the oven to 200 degrees and stick it in for an hour and a half. For the last half-hour to quarter hour, take the lid off so the top layer of taters can brown and go crispy.
  12. Nom.

One place or person you never want in your life again, and why.

It's not so much particular places that bother me - I'm not going to pick on people because that's just mean - so much as the process of getting from one place to another. Sure, there are places I don't like... Inverness, Catford, Salford, Texas, but I am a very stoic individual and when I know I'm in for a bad/boring/painful/embarrassing time I can brace myself. When it comes to hating such things though I'm very much of the 'It's not the destination, it's the journey' point of view.

I hate travel. I loathe it with an absolute passion. It's unpredictable, expensive, invasive, stressful, you're forced into the company of arseholes in close proximity and don't even get me started about flying. I find the whole nonsensical level of suspicion already stressful without being scanned or groped.

If I could take travel out of my life I would. I hate it. It's so far out of my comfort zone you can't get there on a travelcard. Roll on teleportation.

30 day challenge Number 26 - Attraction

 What kind of person attracts me?

Looking back over my romantic history, such as it is, there is no common thread I can point at between the young ladies I've stepped out with or wished to have stepped out with.

I appear to have no particular 'type' in terms of body shape, secondary sexual characteristics, height or lack thereof, hair colour, personality, intellect or lack thereof, or anything else I can put a finger on.

When my hormones were just starting to putter into life I liked blonde girls, but that was pretty much because that was the accepted standard of beauty. Nothing to do with any personal taste - which hadn't developed yet. Later on in adolescent desperation the only criteria that was really needed was that they liked me, nothing else mattered really.

I've liked buxom and boyish, tall and short, nice and nasty, selfish and altruistic, busty and flat, curvy and railed, women of all racial types, intelligence and interests, bitches and angels.

The only unifying factor I can really think of is that most of them have been bad for me or 'damaged' in some way.

Still... married 10 years yesterday, so I must have got something right in the end.

Fings and Schtuff

So, how's things?

Pretty good really. The ol' noggin seems to be on track and I've settled into a good, new, tempo of work where I swap between short projects and tasks and longer term ones, mixing things up to keep me interested. The only problem, I think, is that these drugs now seem to be making me a bit... manic. Which is a rarer side effect than pure anxiety, but is, apparently a 'thing' and not me just acting screwy for some other reason. Still, I suppose it's better to have a surfeit of energy rather than a shortfall and I seem to be getting quite a bit done.

Work's going along nicely, though headway on Agents of SWING is a little slower than I'd like, it's still about 1/4 done now. I've got various things commissioned coming up for shorter products, which hopefully should get things going and am just waiting on art and other material for some other things. I'm venturing into getting other people to write for me again too, which is difficult for an 'auteur' and control freak such as myself, but hopefully something good will come of it and I won't go spare.

I seem to have landed some more freelancing bits and bobs too, so juggling all of this is going to be the challenge, more than writing it almost I think!

Otherwise life is OK, I always have preferred autumn and winter. I'm going to try and keep this - and the work blog - better updated and spin out some material and other things that interest me.

What's on my mind lately?
  • Epic careface at royal wedding.
  • Hopeful that the student protest is just the start of something on a Poll Tax protest scale.
  • Really, really hoping for electoral reform but the vested interests and political opportunists seem to be lining up against it, more's the pity.
Anyway, let's see what shakes loose...

Will Nobody think of the Bandwidth?!

I've been getting these warning e-mails the last couple of days from Demon over our bandwidth usage, which has - apparently - crept into dangerous territory. I guess that's what happens when you add a third heavy internet user to a house of already hardcore net-bugs. I guess it's what also happens when 'unlimited broadband' actually means something entirely different once they apply a 'fair usage' policy.

Still, I managed (after an hour of waiting due to their advertised hours not matching their actual hours) to get through to the lovely Priya (who I imagined to be an entirely different Priya) who happily put a note on the account that this wasn't going to be the regular state of affairs and so everything should be sorted and I shouldn't end up with my bandwidth restricted.

just me

All Boob, no Nipple

Played a marathon session of Dragon Age: Origins today. I'm having fun playing it but it's not quite doing it for me. It's hard to pinpoint what it is that'sstopping it being a wonderful experience for me. Elements are really good but I think what it is, is a slight sense of disappointment that it's going 'so far' but no further. It makes an effort to change fantasy stereotypes, to play with your expectations but it doesn't push that extra mile to really make it work.

The experience is rather reminiscent of ready D&D3.0 for the first time. Amazing happiness at the extent of the changes and modernisations, tempered by disappointment that they didn't go that extra mile and slay a few more sacred cows. There's a touch of hypocrisy there I guess, I write enough fantasy game material playing up to the usual stereotypes but still, I'm SO tired of them and like to confound expectations. Dragon Age could have gone a bit further.

The Elves are a downtrodden and mortal people, but half of them are still wild forest dwellers and the city elves don't quite manage to have a culture all their own. The dwarves are all but extinct, but they're still doughty warriors who live underground. There's nobles and peasants and all the usual pseudo-medieval gubbins. There's religion which is obviously meant to be a somewhat critical take on Christianity, but they keep just shy of really pushing it.

Given that I got to the 'sex scene' (Morrigan, obviously, that insipid 'French' girl and the bisexual leather fetishist just weren't doing it for me) the whole thing can be summed up neatly in relation to that.

Dragon Age is boobs, but no nipples.

I like boobs, don't get me wrong, but one can only take so much teasing and disappointment.

The Dragon fight was good mind you, but again, while difficult, didn't quite pay off dramatically enough.
just me

A Fresh Start?

Usually I start off a new year with a burst of energy, creativity and organisational impetus that carries me forward at breakneck speed for about three months until my get up and go, get's up and goes and I lapse back into a more normal routine again. This does, however, get shit done and usually gives me a solid foundation for the coming year. This year, I don't have that motivation at all, I think it's still the lingering effects of the exhaustion and depression, though I don't feel depressed any more and the morning after a New Year's night probably isn't the best time to try and feel motivated - though we did only stay in and watch Jool's Holland's 'Hot Punani' show and get mildly tipsy, nothing that bacchanalian for once.

This year's mainly going to be about business. The economy slow down has impacted a little though the evening out of the value of the pound back to old levels has countered that quite a lot. I do, however, need to concentrate on more commercial enterprises in order to succeed and move forward and that requires a fairly radical rethink of my plans for the coming year and a lot more publishing via others, commercialisation of existing product and concentration on my core lines.

On a personal basis I want to get out and about more and see people again, that requires money so is another motivation for shifting how the business operates at the moment, plus there are plans afoot that also require additional spondoolicks. It seems almost impossible to get people out to see us due to our location, though we have plenty of room and try to be hospitable hosts, so it seems this Muhammed will have to hire some Sherpas. Lots of people promise vaguely to catch up with us sometime, but it never comes through, often even if they invite us out there's never the follow up, so meh, one can but try.

Well crap, this all seems fairly business-like and on a bit of a downer doesn't it eh? Sorry, but I have no earth-shaking revelations, no real resolutions - other than to keep losing weight as I have been (until now, curse you Christmas, curse you) and to try, amongst everything else, to take some more personal time to do fun things and to try not to be as jaded. I'm also going to try and keep this thing a bit better updated.

I'm looking forward - though with some tredpidation - to what the U.S. will make of itself this coming year and, somewhat cynically perhaps, expect Obama to be assassinated sometime in the next four years, especially if he actually DOES anything.

Right, off over to apresvie  to lay out the business plans for the coming year.