Friday, 31 October 2014

Terror in the skies

The hard caress of a hand on my shoulder. The warm touch of a cheek against mine. An excited voice in my ear 'What do you have there?

I turned to see the overly animated face of a flight attendant. A flight attendant I'd only ever seen on my current flight. Or, as I prefer her to be known, a complete stranger.

I muttered something about Pet Rescue and hoped it would be enough to thwart her unwanted advances.

It wasn't.

Further one-sided conversation ensued. The merits of Candy Crunch were extolled. I turned my phone off, turned it upside-down in my lap, and stared fixedly ahead waiting for it to be over. In time it was. Except for the play-by-play happening on a loop inside my head.

Meanwhile, my darling was dealing with his own terrors. The campervan with the pop-up roof in front of him discovered a few metres too late that it was taller than the height restriction on the carpark ramp. So my darling and the car behind him had to reverse back down and park in the 15 minute slots because the remainder of the park was now blocked off.

The van driver did also manage to extricate his vehicle from its concrete sandwich. By the time I emerged from the terminal he was busily explaining to the parking attendant that he needed to exit from the carpark, and the attendant was busy explaining that he couldn't because the exit was one floor up and that would entail him removing the top deck of his vehicle.

I imagine that later that night, when the steady flow of commuters dried to a trickle, they may be able to accommodate him driving out the in ramp. But, given there's a very large sign advertising the height restrictions and a free turn to exit if your vehicle exceeds them on the way into the carpark, I don't think the parking attendant viewed this as a priority. Certainly not the priority the driver thought it was.

Or he's still there, arguing.

Thursday, 30 October 2014

#JoyDivision Live after Death

Ticketmaster gave me a delightful surprise the other day. Almost 35 years after Ian Curtis's death (if the Ian Curtis Memorial Wall in Wellington has its dates right once again) I get the chance to listen to Joy Division music performed live. Almost the way it was meant to be.

I was overjoyed. I missed out on Peter Hook's last tour when he and his band performed Joy Division music for the first time in far too long. It's hard to be on the lookout for things that you don't ever believe will happen.

This time, at least, I was ready. If lightning strikes once...

I probably should mention about now that my darling is not so enamoured with the dear departed. He can easily recognise Never Tear Us Apart or Atmosphere, but through sheer force of repetition not love. I don't think he'd know an Atrocity Exhibition even if I showed him the way to step inside.

Keeping this in mind I debated the best way to handle the conversation that would necessarily ensue. I'm not going alone to a pub I've never been in before even if it is to listen to an echo of my best memories. And not just because I still can't drive...

So lets start with the standard.

Would you like to...?

Okay. Not my best work. Perhaps best not to ask such an obviously closed question.

If I was dying what band do you think I would most like to see perform live?

Mmmmmmm. Better. But sure to elicit a swathe of questions that would take us completely off topic.

Whilst debating how to ask my darling to a concert he most certainly doesn't want to go to, I purchased the tickets. You know. Just in case they sold out. It's not like I'm making the decision for him.

But this led me to believe that a question may be the wrong path.

'Congratulations!' I said. 'We're going to an awesome concert in February, and I've already shouted you the tickets!'

And then I left the room.

I may go back in someday.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Warning!! Please Confirm Your Informations!

I do appreciate it when phishing emails make themselves known in the first line. Saves so much time.

I also appreciate how much my banking services don't contact me. This also saves time. It's from a bank that I have investments with? Not for me then. From the bank which holds all my worldly goods? Must be Nigeria calling.

If these phishers truly wanted to bait the hook they should just set up a website that's slightly harder to navigate than it first appears, and doesn't quite offer the number of services you anticipated it would, but also has just enough so you don't ever need to step foot in a banking branch ever again.

They should do that, and then just sit and wait. Wait for you to come to them.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014


This evening I've somehow managed to aspirate some spit.

Oh yeah, warning. Don't read this if you're eating tea. Or breakfast. Or a meal not particularly associated with any time of the day.

It's been a good two hours now, and I'm still having bouts of coughing. And a stabbing pain in my left lung. At least I think it's my left lung. There's a possibility it's my heart, but that's okay. At least then I could take down the detractors who insist I don't have a heart. More reassuringly I've researched heart attack symptoms, almost as much as I've researched hypochondria, and I'm certain that it would more resemble a heavy weight in the middle of my chest than a slim stab to the left. Fairly certain. A bit sure.

Anyone know a good doctor?

Anywhoo, I was looking up to see who was in danger from aspiration pneumonia. Because if you can't have Ebola you make other stuff up. And guess who is most likely to suffer from aspiration pneumonia? Frail people. Old people who can't sit up. People who are hospitalised and forced to lie flat for weeks on end. People who don't have enough muscle tone in their throats to swallow.

Mmmmhmmm - you read that right. I'm being compared with people who are so wasted (not in the good way) that they don't even have the strength to swallow anymore. That's tube feeding stage. No use pulling out the blender and a spoon, oh no - I'm too far gone for that.

Of course what I'm most concerned about isn't me. It's the wellbeing of the people of Canterbury who rip themselves open on something and bleed a copious amount of B+ blood that needs replenishment. It's all about the giving, you know. Not the taking. I give away 500g of blood. I hardly care at all that it results in an immediate loss of - oh I don't know - about half a kilo or so in weight.

I'm scheduled in to donate tomorrow morning. If I really am in the process of contracting aspiration pneumonia (just rolls of the tongue by now doesn't it?) I won't be allowed to do that. I won't get my half kilo of weight loss. I won't get my free biscuit and cup of tea! I won't get my hour off work!!!

All about the giving. Right now I'm giving up and going to bed. Goodnight, I'll speak to you again.

If I make it.

Monday, 27 October 2014

All for charity

Today there was a sale at Ezibuy, and a pink clothing donation bag turned up on our doorstep. Co-incidence? Pah. I don't believe in co-incidence (whilst still being slightly concerned that there's a very popular word in existence to describe something that everyone agrees doesn't exist - still, there's a word for god as well so it can happen.)

I have gone through my wardrobe and been ruthless. The parts of my wardrobe that haven't managed to fit into my wardrobe, that is. I only have the bare essentials in my actual wardrobe, but I have a variety of other locations which I refer to as my wardrobe whilst being better known as the chair, the floor, the sofa and the other chair.

I also have a whole other wardrobe, but I reserve that for the items of clothing that I began sewing at some stage in the past and plan to finish... sometime...

Thanks to my strict adherence to throwing anything I could swear blind I'd never seen before into a bag to place at the gate tomorrow, I now have room spare on my sofa wardrobe for some new items of clothing.

Unlike all my other clothes, these ones will actually have a shot at fitting me as well because I ordered them in my current size as opposed to the size I would like to be, or the size that I tell other people I am.

That's going to come in extremely handy right about now because I appear to have outgrown the last item of my work uniform that still fitted me.

I used to grow out of my uniform all the time when I was a girl, but for some reason everyone looks at me funny when mention that I do it now.

Who cares? The empress has new clothes!

(oh dear me, I didn't think that one through and now everyone on the internet is going to be picturing me naked... oh well, more fool you)

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Back on track

I think there's something wrong with my body. Not the obvious, easy to view flaws. No. I'm talking about a problem that runs much deeper.

There's something wrong with my ankles.

I know that until I lose a bit of weight these should more properly be referred to as cankles, but aside from that even. Pain. That's the problem. Pain.

If I so much as sit down for an hour without moving, my ankles protest vehemently about supporting my body and shifting it's bulk from one place to another. If I do continue to walk my weight about they grow used to the idea and their cries subside to a deep mutter, but then something else happens.

More pain. In my knees. They get to a point where I can feel the individual pieces of cartilage moving against each other. Or rubbing against each other. It's usually a deep-seated ache, but there are occasional flashes of white, hot pain where I can easily imagine my knee cap popping in one direction, and my knee folding in the other.

I shouldn't write things like this down. My face just went white. Other people's pain, not a problem. I can torture a crime victim to death over hours or days without blinking twice with the best of them, but my own? I feel faint at the thought of a splinter piercing my flesh, let along a total knee collapse.

My solution thus far has been to stop exercising. If I don't stand and move about I don't have these problems.

I must say it worked very well in the short-term, but I'm starting to get the feeling that as a long-term solution it may be falling a bit short. Although I don't have to put up with the painful jointy bits of my legs as often, for the times that I do have to move them it's getting worse.

With this in mind I took a lovely walk this morning on the Port Hills of Christchurch. Lovely in the scenery and surrounds and soul-tingling bird songs that is. Not so much in the grunting panting-ness of me trying to move my increasingly elderly body up and down paths that would more be suited to a mountain goat.

Yeah, okay. More suited to an old mountain goat with fading eyesight and wobbly legs who could no longer navigate the thin hilly bits of mountainside and therefore needed the practically boulevard-sized paths of an urban dweller, but still. A slow dim-witted mountain creature is still more suited to mountains than I am.

We only got through about two-thirds of the regular walk we were doing early in the year before it started to pour with rain all the time and the paths turned to a muddy slip 'n' slide. I gave up early in the hope that my legs wouldn't punish me the rest of the day (a vain hope as it turned out.)

Yet, for all the pain and the discomfort, and the weird itchiness of the backs of my hands for the rest of the day, I have fond memories of my panting ascent and descent of the hill. So much so that as long as it doesn't rain hard overnight I may be suggesting the same trek again tomorrow morning.

Or I may opt for plan B and loll in front of the telly. We'll see.

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Sad, sad girl.

Guess what I've been doing for the past couple of hours. Go on, guess.

Hah! Not likely. No, I've been doing work.

Yup. It's a Saturday night and I've been sitting on my sofa for the last couple of hours working out the complex differences between two very similar wording extensions to Material Damage cover because I received an email during my course yesterday that I am leaving until next week to deal with but which caught my interest so much that instead I had to look it up tonight.

I know. I'm uber cool. And I get invited to all the right parties. If your definition of a party is not one.

But at least now I know. I know the difference between one PP code definition and another PP code definition and what cover they were meant to offer on our office's computer system. While they may appear the same to the uninitiated I can now give you their entire history as well as when the appropriate changes were not made, or were made in error, which led to the confusion in the first place.

What is the difference, I hear you ask (because I'm prone to auditory hallucinations in the evening) and BTW what's a PP code while you're at it?

And the fact that you have to ask the second question leads me directly to the conclusion that you're not yet ready to hear the answer to the first. Another day perhaps. When you haven't stopped reading from mind-numbing boredom.

There, I'll leave you. Perhaps to go out on an exciting adventure where I throw caution to the wind and take the bull by the horns. Perhaps to go to bed early with a smile on my face because I solved a small riddle that concerned no one but me.

Good night.

Friday, 24 October 2014

Nice phone action

One thing that I've taken away with me from the three-day course I've been on, is that people use their phones a lot. And I mean a lot!

And not for the usual things like Candy Crunch or Farm Heroes. They were reading things on there, and sending messages that were longer than LOL <:-) or the pressing of a retweet.

I think, and I don't have proof mind, but I think they were doing work.

I did receive the odd work message myself you know. I'm not a complete loser. There was a query about how the course was going, and a... no that was it. A query about how the course was going. Not a lot of back and forth there, once you've banked the sarcasm you're done.

I'm afraid that I started to get a bit of phone envy. I do have a very nice phone. But as the old adage goes, it's not how big it is, it's what you do with it that counts. And I had done sadly little.

I did have a twitter contest going, but since that was only with myself and therefore could only ever have one winner or loser (winner! Yay!) it probably doesn't count. I'm thinking that other people are using their phones as a method of communication. In some way, shape or form. Not to the point that anyone would actually telephone - now you're just being retro stupid - but certainly in a this involves at least two or more people sort of way.

So I did what any right-thinking person would do. On the second break I pretended to have urgent business as well. Oh, I frowned at some of those emails from Asos, and I gave a little gasp 'Oh' in delight for the wonderful offers exhibited by Air New Zealand. And as for those luscious wee emails from NZSale, well.

In order to make my work look a little bit more genuine I furiously typed a copy of some of these emails and sent them to myself. At home of course. Not work. That would be stupid.

And then I messaged a few tweeps and favourite a few tweets, and put it back in my bag.

By which time everyone else was still fiddling with their phones. I did have a secret weapon though. My work phone. This is a pristine item indeed, kept only for the purpose of providing replacement battery parts to other identical phones within the office phone family, or to whip out in meetings in a kind of 'me-too' logic that you can see I easily fall prey to.

I pulled it out, unfastened the metal magnet tab, and pressed the teeny tiny little button that is nested exactly next to the join and fastening for the phone holder so that you have to try two to three times before you can actually depress it enough to turn it on.

I held my breath the first time. It's a bit of a gamble after all. I only check it once a week to see if it's still retaining a battery charge and that had been down to a half on Monday.

But to my relief the phone came into full blossom in front of me. It cracked me up how it asked me if I wanted to connect to wifi to download the latest updates. We had a giggle at how I forgot my password the first time and it decided to treat me like a stern schoolmistress. Then I was in, and there was a plethora of phone messages waiting for my assistance.

Copies of the bank statements that I don't need a copy of. Updates on problems that were happening with the computers at the office that I wasn't attending while I was on the course. An inquiry as to whether I could provide some information, which I found in the email trail I had already provided.

Glorious seconds were filled as I scrolled through this pointless list of pixelation.

And then the break was over and I put my second phone away with a sigh of relief. I'd held up my end.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

The pursuit of knowledge. And twitter followers.

I've been on a course for the past couple of days, and have the last day of it tomorrow. Just in time for a long weekend to recover. Thank God.

I love learning new things, or even having old things I've already learned being re-presented so I can think of them in a new and exciting way. It's all good. I usually learn by experimenting on my own, which is an incredibly close-minded way to learn, so whenever I get the opportunity it's great to join in with a class. Much more open-minded, though not so much that my brain will fall out, as Dawkins would say.

There are a few drawbacks to learning with a group of course. They don't go at your speed. Either you're sitting there going, get on with it, get on with it. Or sitting there going what. What just happened. Wozzit mean?

Then there are all the different personality types that happen when disparate people are trapped in a conference room specially designed to hold at least four fewer people. (Fewer. See. That's for you, my darling.)

There are definitely roles that are mandatory in any group of people. I usually audition fairly early on for the role of class-clown, but there have been a few too many medications and a few too many side-effects going on lately to keep the pace up after the first morning. It's awfully tiring you know. Luckily that's a popular role so there are plenty of other fillers. Auditions over, sorry Katherine you didn't get the part this time.

Then there's the person who knows more than the instructors. Yeah, you bet you know that one. Oh god. Make it stop. Make it stop.

And you remember the person with the annoying anecdotes that don't quite fit any situation but get trotted out for... I don't know. I assume there's some sort of reason. Surely there's some reason. Surely you're not putting us through this just because you like the sound of your own voice. Like the heckler who stands up in the middle of the show and shouts out "ME!"

Last of all there's the one who makes everyone else feel smart by virtue of never getting the theory behind anything, but who is also incredibly annoying because it was bad enough to hear that theorem spouted the first time, by the third it's into wrist-slitting territory.

I've been making up games with myself to get through. I have a "follow people on twitter without anyone seeing you with your phone" game going on that's been very successful so far. I've also taken a few photos of Found, Near Water near various appliances in the room without raising anybody's eyebrows. That I know about anyway.

I've written at least ten pages of notes on how to make the second draft of my novel so much better than the first draft, and also noted down a couple of random thoughts that might turn into my fourth or fifth novel. Maybe.

I'm getting a bit desperate though. I could conceivably try to book my entire holiday for next September on my phone without looking at the screen, but we're heading into some dangerous waters there. Credit cards are involved. Or I could try to whisper commands into my smart-watch that it can interpret but the rest of the room can't hear - but that's just foolishness. I don't have a smart-watch. Refer Customer Service blog for reasons why.

I suppose the port of last refuge would be to actually pay - I don't know - like, attention? to the class.

Nah. Only kidding.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014


Hooray. I have officially finished the first draft of my latest novel. Wholehearted awesomeness all-around.

I already have a list of notes for my second draft, and will undoubtedly spend the next couple of days jotting down all the things that I should've written instead of the ones I actually did. But that's something I can worry about another day. Or, this weekend for starters.

It's going to be so much easier doing the second draft than the first draft because I'm getting on much better with my characters, and I'm really just going through and filling in all the gaps with putty to make sure everything makes some sort of sense.

And then the third draft will be even easier still because that's just sorting out the sentence structure, and making sure it all sounds okay when you read it. Yes, that's me muttering to myself at the back of the bus as I read my own book out loud. So too is normal.

And then it's just a matter of handing my beautiful baby girl off to complete strangers to read and make fun of. Or, a better reaction, go all gaga over.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. For the moment I'm just happy with the thought that today I'm giving myself the night off writing. Apart from this blog obviously.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Customer Service

Katherine Hayton Oct 18 04:59 AM

Hi - I placed an order for a Samsung Gear Live Purple Watch on your website a couple of weeks ago. I didn't receive an email confirmation, and I haven't received the item in the mail yet, although I had paid for express courier delivery and the shipping timeframe was 5-7 days.

The only confirmation I have that this order was placed is the charge to my credit card. I have guessed that the order number is the reference number provided on the credit card, but without a confirmation I'm not sure.

Would you please confirm that this order has been placed, advise what is happening with delivery as it's now well outside the timeframe indicated on your website, and please send an email confirmation of the order so that I can track its progress.

The credit card charge details for this order are:
Transaction Date 3 Oct 2014
Processing Date 3 Oct 2014
Debit $259.80
Reference 276258

If you aren't able to fulfill this order would you please refund this debit immediately.

Kind regards,

Kimberly (MobiCity Helpdesk)
Oct 18 02:14 PM

Hi Katherine,

We would like to inform you regarding ordered item Samsung Gear Live that only Black color is available, if you would like to switch please feel free to reply at this email for further assistance. Sorry for the inconvenience. Cheers.

Kind regards,
The MobiCity Helpdesk Team

Katherine Hayton
Oct 18 02:33 PM

No I don’t want to switch my order to the black colour. Please refund my credit card charge and send confirmation that this has been done.


Kimberly (MobiCity Helpdesk)
Oct 20 03:44 PM


I have already requested to cancel your order.
I'll email you once I have an update.

Kind regards,
The MobiCity Helpdesk Team

[MobiCity Helpdesk] Pending request: Order # 200019731
Oct 21 07:03 PM

## In replies all text above this line is added to the ticket ##

This is an e-mail to remind you that your request (#291939) is pending and awaits your feedback.

Please follow the link below link to review and update your request or reply to this email with your response:

You may need to create an account to view your ticket. If so, please create your new account using your email address and a secure password under the create account option. Otherwise, if you have an account, please log into your account using your email address and previously chosen password to view your tickets.


My feedback that you have been awaiting is that you suck. Oh, I'm sorry. I meant, you have already sucked.

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Monday, gosh. I didn't know you'd be here so soon.

Today was Monday.

I reluctantly accepted this after the alarm went, after I fell back asleep confident that it couldn't possibly be so, and after I was rudely shocked back to wakefulness when my darling came back in the room in his weekday pattern.

Damn you weekend. Why do you always abandon me so soon?

I treat you with such love. I plan such exuberant things to share with you. I spend time and effort all week long thinking of how I'm going to fill every minute that we're together, and what do you do?

You sneak away. You slip by. You catapult me forward while you stay behind.

We used to be such good friends. You'd give me a little nudge in the morning, and I'd shake my head and snuggle down for a couple more hours in bed. Then we'd go out and do something great. Something exiting. Something wonderful.

Like shopping. Remember the days when we used to go shopping? Sure, there's still the supermarket but it's just not the same.

And movies. Remember when we used to go to the movies? Remember when I'd stay up late at night so we could get a thrill and a chill long after I'd usually be in bed? Remember?

But those days are long gone. Maybe it's me. Maybe I'm the one who's grown complacent. But it doesn't seem that way. Saturday, I'm looking at you. Sunday... Sunday? Won't you even look me in the eye anymore?

I'll make you a firm promise then. I'll meet you here, same time, same place. Four and a half days from now. Don't pike out on me now. Don't you turn your back or pass me by when all I want to do is spend time with you.

Four and a half days weekend. I've got something special planned.

Where are all the bees?

The rosemary bush by the front gate opposite our letterbox is in full-on blossom at the moment. It's glorious and fragrant for something that's basically a bit of spiky wood the rest of the year.

But there's something that's been missing this year. I don't know why but usually the little blue flowers are like catnip for bees. They flock to it; buzzing around all day long. They fly from one flower to another with drunken swoops.

Except for this year. Nowhere to be seen.

Out the other end of our property I have the black- and red-currant bushes merrily plumping out their fruits. There are some tiny and amusing wax-eyes that keep landing and dipping their beaks in. You can tell from their shocked expression that they know they shouldn't.

Occasionally we even get a bumble bee bumbling by. But not a honey-bee in sight.

I realise that there have been a variety of ever-more-destructive diseases blighting our poor little honey-bunnies for a number of years, but they've still remained plentiful around our place. Mostly by virtue of not living very far away at all from a couple of extremely large berry farms.

This year it seems it's even started to effect us. And by us I mean me because my darling doesn't believe in fruit. At least not as a food-stuff. Not even when it's cunningly disguised as a cake. Even a chocolate cake.

Farewell my little friends. I will keep my fingers crossed that you recover from your Varroa mites or your colony collapses and come back strong and healthy next year.

Saturday, 18 October 2014


It's been beautiful weather all week long. Sunny days, from bright early in the morning all the way through to the evening. Extended thanks to daylight savings. Long, hot, sunny days.

I'd be celebrating except that it's hard to enjoy them from inside an office. The concrete and glass seem to deflect all the goodness of the sun away. And the warmth outside is no match for our home-grade air-conditioning units vainly attempting to air-condition a commercial premises.

When you're locked in all day long the weather outside either doesn't matter at all, you're not out in it to care, or it matters a lot, you're not out in it to be carefree.

But it has been consistently nice all week long, so I was lulled into the expectation that I'd have a nice weekend. This would obviously entail finishing off the tag-end of the gardening, but at least the pain caused by that experience would be offset by the warm sun on the back of my neck. I love that. And the way it warms your hair up so if you crush it down against your scalp it's hot hot hot.

The day was still warm this morning too. I got out of bed unreasonably early in order to beat the morning shoppers at the supermarket. It was still so warm from Friday that I only dressed in a T-shirt (and jeans - don't be rude!)

When we hauled our groceries out to the car however, it was pretty obvious that a different story was well on its way. Dark skies loaded the horizon. By the time it got to lunch the wind outside was cold. By afternoon tea (and yes I do measure my days out by meals) it was spitting. I don't know if you can hear it now, but yes - that's full-on rain outside now. Another great Saturday.

And that leads me to my question.

Why is it that the weather is more often crappy on the weekend than during the week?

It's shorter - right? The week is long. Why doesn't all the rain happen during the longest part of the week instead of piling its awful self into the two short days that I have off?


Friday, 17 October 2014

Reasons to be fat

After having continued to gain weight over the past two years, along with experiencing depression, dry skin, dry hair and general lethargy, I have been given an out. No, it's not the evil clothing elves. And apparently it's not me being lazy either, although that probably doesn't help. No - it's my thyroid gland instead.

All those long days spent trying to avoid food because if I look at it I'll gain weight, and trying to work out why my entire skin sheds all over the floor, or why I either need to sleep for twelve hours or can't sleep at all, I may finally be on the way to a diagnosis.

It will be so nice to know that when sitting bolt upright in the middle of the night completely exhausted but also completely unable to sleep and with a horrible checklist taking place in the back of my head ticking off every awful thing I've ever done and every mistake I've ever made it wasn't really because I'm useless and deserve to die but because a little gland at the base of my throat can't be bothered to do the one job that it's been given to do.

At the moment I have bruises all down my right arm from where my doctor took a few vials of blood, and nothing will be confirmed until I undergo another round of bruising in four weeks time, but after that I might finally have the excuse diagnosis that I've been craving.

No more is it going to be down to my lack of willpower that I gain weight through overeating. No - it's my thyroid. No more is it going to be down to my lack of willpower that I don't go for that hour and a half of exercise that I promised myself I would. No - it's my thyroid. No more is it going to be down to my horrible life choices that I sit bolt upright in contemplative horror in the long dark teatime of the soul. No - it's my thyroid.

I'm keeping that text message from my doctor. I may even have it framed. Nice to have a genuine full-on diagnosis at the ready when life's pitfalls loom.

I had a T-shirt made up a few weeks ago with my logo and my website on it. I'm now considering whether I should have another one made (one size larger) that reads - it's not me it's my under-active thyroid. Then I could whip it out when the occasion calls.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Reminiscing about wallpaper

I'm just watching the latest episode of the Brokenwood Mysteries from our hard drive. At one point they went into the house of a beekeeper and I thought 'he's got a lovely home.' He had lovely chairs with wood and a fabric backing. It all seemed very comforting. Very homely.

I realised after a while its because we have those same chairs in our front room. They used to be part of our dining room set until the table gave up the ghost and we invested in some dark brown dining chairs instead. The old ones migrated to the front room so that I had something to sit on when I was sewing, and something to sit on when I needed to work at the desk.

I kept watching with a keen eye because there was something else about the place. He had lovely wallpaper. Comforting. A good choice. I could see the individual details on the selection of dried leaves and grasses that formed the pattern. Which was odd since the wallpaper was actually out of focus. Then I realised it was because we used to have the very same wallpaper in the kitchen, dining room and lounge of the house that I grew up in. A nice shading of light greens and browns on a lovely cream background.

The scene was restricted to one room, so I wasn't able to see if the rest of the house matched, but in my imagination I can see it now.

It has the lounge-suite that sits in the front room, not used outside of being where my clothes pile up when I've once again overflowed the wardrobe. The one that's curved gracefully so that it forms its own corner. His spare bedroom doesn't house a single, or a double bed, it has what used to be called a princess-sized bed, just like the one that my sister had in her room at home.

He's got a bathroom with the shower curtain from my young childhood home, and the bathmat that we had the time before the time before the one we have now. It's a nice pattern to step on. The rubber patterning on the surface really grips your feet.

If I keep imagining much longer I'll probably be able to see the chest of drawers that he keeps because it belonged to his dead wife. And the silver backed brush, mirror and comb set that she arranged in the middle of it. For display more than utility.

I wonder how many other people looked at the same scene and saw the tiny bits and pieces of kiwiana that formed part of their own childhood homes. I wonder if they'd turned the camera around if we would have been able to see the three ducks flying in perpetuity. A family heading south for the summer. Or north for the winter. Or the opposite if you live on the wrong side of the world.

Trips down memory lane can be lovely, can't they?

So I'm... not a gamer?

Today I arrived late at the #gamergate party. Apparently it's been going on for a while, but I waited until it had fully metamorphosed into full-on abuse before I bothered to check it out.

And was rather disappointed to discover that the label I've been applying to myself I apparently can't.


Suddenly I have to be a white male who only plays games with set structure and little exposition to qualify? Dicks.

Apparently Dear Esther and The Path don't count as games. I haven't bothered to find out what the community I'm suddenly excluded from thinks of Dinner Date or Thirty Flights of Loving.

You know I have my own criteria for what constitutes a game - something that can be downloaded from Steam or bought on disk from EB Games. That means everything I play or have ever played instantly constitutes a game and I'm happy. If you insist on breaking it down further then get some freaking self-respect and invent your own genres.

I didn't become a bestseller in the genre of Kindle>Mystery, Thriller & Suspense>Crime>Kidnapping without steering my way through a few genres mind-bends you know. If you can't be bothered to think of a genre like death killing ray guns - zombie so you can easily tell it apart from visual non-interactive novel then that's your own look-out.

How about you get off Twitter and start sorting yourselves out? Perhaps if you wore yourselves out by putting in the effort to categorise every item you can purchase in the world that might be reasonably (or unreasonably) be referred to as a computer game you won't have enough time to call members of my gender c***s and send them death threats when they threaten your white masculinity in some way. Perhaps you could get all inspired and at the end of your categorisation you will have made a contribution to society instead of being an endless drain.

Of course I have drawn and formed all of my opinions from one evening spent trawling with ever-increasing horror through a downwards spiral of twitter hashtag doom, so I could've got the wrong end of the stick. Perhaps I wasn't looking at the dregs of humanity and instead missed the whole point due to the English language's sad failure to provide us all with handy satire or sarcasm punctuation marks.

Perhaps not.

Monday, 13 October 2014

The dreaded lurgy strikes - no blog tonight...

But here is an adorable picture of a kitten courtesy of icanhascheezburger:

Oh, why you leave me?

Watch out! Road work ahead.

There's a bit of a kerfluffle going on outside tonight. When we arrived home there was a roadsign face-down on the street by our house. There were orange cones lined up on the footpath like they were on sentry duty. And this is Christchurch man, it's not like they just toss those things around willy-nilly you know.

I did vaguely recall that there have been road-signs either way on Greers Road. For a week or so. But who has time to read those things when they're a passenger in a bus or car with nothing else to do?

So I wandered down the road to find out that for the rest of the week the main road next to our house is undergoing something that requires all traffic to cease between the hours of 7.00pm to 7.00am.

That means it will screw us up in the morning, but at least will be over by the time I return home from work each day. Unless I'm running super-late and that would cause me more concern than whether there's a road block between my bus-stop and the house.

However, there is an unforeseen side-effect that the traffic signs couldn't warn us about. Extra traffic.

The road they're currently hard at work on (or moderately at work on at a minimum) is a main one. Not an arterial road perhaps, but certainly a major vein. Like the big squishy one in the side of your wrist that'll bleed a whole lot if you cut it but not really ever pose a risk to life (unless you're Doctor Kelly.) Or the one in your inner arm that the blood vampires pop a needle in before they drain a pint (BTW blood donors are urgently needed in Christchurch at the moment so please don't let my description put you off a wonderful contribution to society that has the added benefit of 600g instant weight-loss!)

This means that it has a constant flow of traffic through it. Or it would have if it were open. Since it's not, we now have a constant flow of very concerned drivers wondering how the hell they're meant to get to their destination. They come barreling along Greers Road and then there's the squeal of rubber as they brake, followed by a slow progression into our street.

As we're only a few houses from the corner, we also have a lovely light display as they pull into our driveway only to reverse out again and turn back to wherever the hell they came from.

We did have a moment of consternation, and both stopped what we were doing, as a police car siren heralded from further down the road. We waited to see what would happen. Would it continue forward and bowl through the repair work (as they did appear to have left one lane open for emergency entrance and egress) or would it skid to a halt as the bad guys got away? It turned off the siren and crept around onto our street, exactly the same as every other driver. The siren never went back on so I presume it wasn't that important after all.

Bring on the 16th. Or the 17th if they're not quite running to schedule. Or sometime next week maybe.

Sunday, 12 October 2014

I'd rather deal with the aliens, thanks

I have been hard at work gaming today. Far harder than I wanted to be. There are a few glitches with Alien: Isolation causing varying degrees of annoyance.

I'm not an expert gamer. When it gets to the options menu I choose the easiest setting immediately (in the memorable choice name from Wolfenstein "Can I play Daddy?") because I'm under no impression that my temper can cope with my inadequacy. In other words, I play for the storyline.

I'm also firmly in the camp that believes that just because I'm useless at shooting things, that should be no reason to stop me from playing through to the end of the game. I paid the same amount of money for it that dextrous people did - I should also have the privilege of finding out what happens at the end. No one kicks you out of a movie theatre because you weren't paying attention in the second quarter so now have no idea of what's happening. No. You're allowed to sit there until the end with no sense of continuity but still grooving on the cinematography.

Sadly the gaming community seems to disagree with me. I never did get the chance to find out what happened at the end of Dead Space because I got stuck on one of the subway scenes. It was near the end, I could guess how it ended, but I wasn't allowed to experience it because apparently you have to be better than I was to get to the final cut-scenes.

Thinking back there are a trail of littered games behind me. And I'm not talking about the ones that legitimately bored the **** out of me so that I voluntarily stopped playing. There are far more of those tossed in disgust on the track. But there are also a lot of levels of Manic Miner that I never got to see, and far more rooms that Jet Set Willy never stepped or leapt or jetted into.

I never made it through to the end of The Hobbit. I never got to see the wonders of that Tolkien expected me to see. I even sucked at Washing Windows, but to be fair I saw far more of those than I wanted to.

I have been blocked from enjoyment my whole life. I accept this as part and parcel of belonging to the lower strata of the gaming community. Unless I put in some serious years of time studying, designing, and working on my own game with my own rules then I'm not going to be in a position to change it.

But at least I know that thems the rules. Not being able to hit and kill all of the things that you need to in a reasonable amount of time even though you dedicate some serious time to it sucks hard, but can be explained.

But what the hell is the deal with making one choice that renders it impossible to move forward in a game? Yes, I'm looking at you Sega. What were you thinking?

It was perfectly reasonable for me to run out of the room when three people returned (and shot at me) after I picked up the hacker tool. I'd done exactly that the last time I walked in to find it populated with people who liked me for target practice. And that worked. Why would I do something different? It was also perfectly reasonable to save the game at that point because I had people on my tail and I'd just been through a cut-scene so I was guessing the tool was something important. Perfectly. Reasonable.

And more to the point, how was I to know that it rendered the room forever impossible to navigate through? Seriously, how was I meant to know? Was it spraypainted on the side of a locker that I slide quickly by with my arms flailing because even though I'm meant to be taken seriously as a space engineer I run like a girl? It's like being back in the Jet Set mansion where one wrong move throws you all the way back to the start, but at least then I knew what I was signing up to. Where's this in the fine print?

Not only is it cruel to regress someone to the previous level so they have to repeat all of the steps thus far taken to move them forward in the game, it's also an opportunity for them to notice and grow increasingly annoyed by every little glitch which they're now encountering for the second time.

Don't know if companions blocking your exit is meant to be a fun feature, and I also don't recall that on the ad Sega. I don't recall you advertising their enoyable rotation of sayings either. You know, the one where you get told to be quiet when you're not even capable of talking and you haven't moved in half a minute. Or the one where the guy searching for you with his gun out says 'Keep looking, she can't have gone far,' and then two seconds later says, 'Maybe she's gone - I haven't found her yet.' I'm serious. Two seconds - I haven't found her yet. Does Sega also have the attention span of a teenager? Actually, wipe that - it's an insult to teenagers. I'm sure most teenagers would hunt a woman with a gun for far longer than two seconds before deciding to throw in the towel. And I'm talking about New Zealand teenagers who don't even view gunplay as a regular sporting activity.

I'm also fond of how when people run at you shooting and you stand in the corner because you haven't got a weapon, you all become trapped together so you have to restart the game from the last save. Another sterling discover there in gameplay. Along with the way when you're crouching at the level of the vent you have to stand up to climb back down into it. Or how your companions keep saying follow me and then stand still waiting for you to go ahead. Or how the enemy can stare you straight in the eye, and then decide to go and check the inventory because apparently the noise was nothing. And they don't appear to be making the decision in a wink-wink got-your-back kind of way.

Don't make me go back again Sega. You'll make me angry. And trust me, you won't like me when I'm angry.

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Gardening Injuries

I'm sure I'll wake up with more tomorrow morning, there are some muscles just starting to bunch into a deep-seated ache - but for the time being at least I have to be content with the far-more-obvious flesh wounds.

I always forget between bouts of gardening (possible something to do with them occurring a full year apart, but possibly not) that it usually involves a lot of physical pain on top of the actual energy required to do it in the first place.

To date, from one full half-hour of gardening duties, I have incurred light scratches on the inside of my right arm:

I also have a deep long scratch on the outside of said arm (which I'm unable to get a photograph of because I'm not a contortionist more's the pity) and a collection of varying size scratches in a variety of patches on my left arm. I also removed a half-centimetre long splinter (or blackberry prickle) out of the knuckle of my left forefinger.

These are not life-threatening injuries by any stretch of the imagination, but that they occurred while I was wearing leather gloves and a long-sleeved top did surprise me. Those berries have tenacity. I'd admire them if I wasn't still picking little bits of them out of my skin.

But at least that's most of the back garden done. A quick tidy up around the half-dead orange and lemon plants and it'll all be over for another year. Apart from picking the fruit, and I don't consider that a gardening duty, I consider that dessert.

The front garden still needs to be weeded, hopefully at less risk of harm, and then I just need to dig a trench, pop in my pink fir seed potatoes, mound them up a couple of times and I'm done.

The peaches and nectarine trees take care of themselves, as does the quince tree and the Jerusalem artichokes. No doubt I'll also end up with a courtesy crop of last year's potatoes, as they seem to be the gift that keeps on giving.

Is there anything better than free food? My arms, hands and knees are bound to disagreed for the next couple of days, but then I'm sure they'll be in agreement. It's the bomb.

Friday, 10 October 2014

#Amwriting and hitting the home stretch baby

About the 1st July (my birthday - why do I do these things to myself) I enthusiastically started writing the first draft of my latest novel. I was awesomely confident that I would have this finished by the end of July, or a few weeks after that at the latest.

After a few wrong turns and a lot of pauses to do things like design covers for the book I still haven't written I'm pleased to announce that I'm almost pretty much nearly finished!

Wow. I thought this day would never almost very-close-to-being-here come.

A mere 10k to go-ish. Or 8-10 hours worth of full-on #1k1h sessions (which I always try to 1.2-1.5k because I'm competitive even when it's just with me.) Unless something unexpected happens that elongates a few bits and pieces unexpectedly. Lord I hope that doesn't happen, unless it's in a sort of all enthusiastic get it all down before it disappears into the ether case of binge-writing. That's okay because it takes about the same amount of time, give or take.

I've just got to get **** into the **** and cut off the **** so that the **** from **** can see the **** and make the connection with **** thereby tying up all the loose little strings into one large emotional **** of an ending.


So that old saying about everyone has one novel in them but few have two might soon almost nearly not apply to me.

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Aliens and sweat

Today my copy of Alien: Isolation arrived. Lovely, dovely. There wasn't quite the perfect set-up as there would've been if it had arrived - oh I don't know - yesterday maybe. But I still managed to get a nice dose of ten minutes play-time. Well, not play-time because the vast majority of that was intro and cut-scene, but a good two minutes of play-time.

I haven't actually found an alien yet. In fact the only activities I've performed so far are to get dressed and then have a shower. Yes you read that right. I don't understand why I didn't realise the button in the closet operated a shower-head either. For some reason it looked more like a door.

There's a lovely old-style vibe to the game. It's like playing on the Spectrum again, except the graphics are interactive and don't take four minutes to load per page. You have to plug your hard-disk into an emergency wall slot in order to save. I'm not sure how well that's going to play when I have alien(s) hunting me down, but I don't have much choice.

There's just one thing I'm a bit confused about.

Obviously I haven't played through very much of the game yet, so it may be explained at some point down the track and if so I apologise Sega, but WHAT'S UP WITH THE SWEATING?

Yeah, okay. It may be HOT in space. What do I know? I've never been (although there's a boarding pass with my name on it going out on Orion courtesy of NASA - thanks guys) and perhaps sweating is the norm.

And that's all good. I don't mind sweat. I even partake myself if the weather complies. But I wipe it off my forehead if it gets thick enough to form a drop and roll down my face. I don't just let it pool on the surface of my skin without brushing an arm across so that it doesn't start to drip off me.

You may be out in space people, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't exercise normal human standards.

Otherwise - all good. I'm looking forward to the weekend.

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Change of plan

Today I had a blog all planned. A rare thing indeed, but I'd actually thought ahead and intended to take a short break from playing Alien: Isolation for long enough to write up a quick note on how good/bad/no-opinion-yet it was.

It was the perfect set-up. My darling was going to be late home because he's having some sort of snore torture device fitted (no longer will I need to poke him awake when his snoring becomes too loud - this thing will keep him awake long after I've dozed off) so I would be able to get in through the door, boot up the PS4, and search on the internet for the instructions on how to eject the CD that's already in there because I always forget, and if I try to work it out intuitively I end up in downward spiral of turning it on and off, off and on.

That would give me a good twenty minutes playing time before he was due home. There'd be a pause while he listened to the end of the Panel, which meant I could have a bite to eat, and then I'd be able to take over the television again to my endless enjoyment until I grew tongue-tied with frustration at the failure of the PS4 controller to effectively transmit my intention to the game so some weird alien hell-bent on my destruction would succeed again and again and again, and the only cure would be to throw it against the wall and turn the system off to recover for a few hours.

As you do.

(and yes that is my idea of fun thank you very much for asking you non-game playing life-form)

You may've been able to work out by now that things haven't quite gone to plan.

I'll give you a hint - it's something to do with the thing I was going to put into the console. Something shiny and round and which if you hung it from the rafters outside would keep birds away from your verandah (in theory.)

My joyful gaming experience has been brought to a sudden and inhumane halt by the positioning of a certain game CD in a certain postal service depot awaiting a certain courier driver's return to my certain address because a certain plane didn't make it down from Auckland in a certain time-frame.

And a certain person doesn't need a certain inability to get out of the way of certain death to be certainly hacked off right now.

On the bright side I did take delivery today of three loaves of joy-inducing pumpernickel bread from the wonderful Breadman of Christchurch. For those of you who live in other cities I pity you (or I add this to the existing list of things I pity you for) and for those of you in Christchurch you should look him up online and immediately order some today. Right now. It's worth it. It tastes like a heavy sourdough bread that comes conveniently malted up so you don't even need to worry about putting on the marmite. And for those of you who are looking at me funny right about now, that really is a description of a fine-tasting bread. Trust me.

Also note that the above message is a free public service announcement. I have never accepted money from anyone to advertise their products on this blog, and I never will would in a heartbeat.

Monday, 6 October 2014

The wrong speed

I have been set on the wrong speed all day today. I woke up before 4.00am but convinced myself that if I stayed in bed I would surely fall asleep again. After all, I'm absolutely buggered exhausted. If I just lay there with my eyes tightly shut I would definitely get at least another hour's snooze before I need even think of getting out of bed.

So after lying in bed not doing anything, and definitely not sleeping, for another half an hour I called it quits and got up to face the world. I had the joy of trawling across the web looking at my analytics while my mind went, you should have tried harder, you should have tried harder, and nothing made a lot of sense. I finally quit it and started to write instead, and then my darling decided to get out of bed early as well thus giving me the perfect excuse to immediately stop.

Usually I take a few hours to get revved up enough to even think of eating anything (unless there is ice cream around whereupon I am immediately hungry upon waking) but this morning I was starving by the time I sat down at my desk, so I ate my breakfast bar before 6.30 where I would usually eat at 8.30am.

I don't mind a change in routine (I do, I do) but it left me with a slight problem at 8.30am when my stomach once again decided it was breakfast. No matter that I'd already eaten, breakfast was due and breakfast would be had.

It doesn't help that my ulcers are back so if I don't have something to eat not only am I hungry but I start to experience actual pain.

There was no help for it. Everything was stacked against me. I gave in and ate my morning tea for my second breakfast.

Well, that shut my stomach up. All good. I went back to my day.

All good until 10.30am which is - you guessed it - when I normally have morning tea. Morning tea already consumed, it was only sensible to move onto lunch.

I'm sad to say that my stomach didn't even have the common decency to wait until lunchtime. I generally eat my lunch at 12.00pm during the week (the week-end is a structurally different day so doesn't count) but I needed something to eat by 11.30am. Don't be stupid, I told my intestines, it's too early and you can easily wait another half an hour.

5 minutes later I was downstairs in the cafeteria buying lunch. Spag Boll since you ask. Very nice indeed.

I don't usually require an afternoon tea, but today is just sailing off the horizon as far as normal goes. And then I also required an extra can of coke zero because they got out of sequence with my meals - or my meals got out of sequence with them? Who knows? I needed another one.

I started to walk home like a good girl, but then gave up and got on the bus because my stomach was growling like a monster and I needed to get myself home and next to a fridge and I couldn't wait an extra 45 minutes just to get a bit of much needed exercise in.

And now it's 7.30pm. I've had my evening cups of tea at 5.30pm so now have another one drawing in the pot. I'm also about to start on my second tea/dinner/supper of the evening, my first having been served at 4.25 and eaten by 4.30pm.

I keep telling myself it doesn't matter, I'll probably wake up tomorrow and everything will be back in sync or out the other way, but it's not working. Worst of all I can hear the evil clothing elves stirring in the skirting boards again. I'd better hide the thread or they'll be out in force tonight!

Evil clothing elves.

Don't tell me they don't exist. I have proof of it.

Sure there have been a couple of times when I've returned from a holiday and thought, that's fair. I ate a lot of ice-cream, of course my clothing will be a little bit tighter. I stuck to my fried foods only diet - to make sure that all the bugs died screaming in agony before I consumed their little dead carcasses - it's a matter of safety. Yes, sometimes I've taken the blame and admitted that there's been an expanding waistline in the picture somewhere.

But come on. This is going too far!

I order clothing a full size up when I returned from my holiday - I'm not the sort of girl to postpone happiness until I lose weight, or I would be naked by now. No - I buy clothes in the size that my body is. No false hope - no false promises - no crying jags.

Except the clothing doesn't seem to be the size that my body is, at all. And it's not like I gained a massive amount of weight. I expected a few spongy bits to be rolling out the tops of things, I like a nice muffin as much as the next girl, but really? To not be able to fit anything? That seems a tiny bit excessive.

Of course, there are those who tell you that the reason you don't lose weight is because muscle weighs more than fat, and so you're getting smaller by exercising while staying the same weight. If that works in reverse then I no longer have a shred of muscle left anywhere in my body. No - it's all been converted into larger-sized-but-same-weight fat.

Not believable, is it? Either way you spin that sentence out you're bound to see a rolling eye in your periphery.

So, I don't weight much more but my body is bigger. Perhaps I've filled up with air? Come to think of it that may be a bit closer to the truth. Certainly when I tried to swim a length of the pool underwater I had quite a struggle to get down to the bottom. Is it conceivable that I've somehow managed to self-inflate?

Nah. First of all I don't have any puncture marks, and second of all you may be able to inflate a stomach quite easily, maybe even the entire digestive tract, but how on earth would you inflate a thigh? Or a knee?

Yes, that's right. You heard it here first. My knees are bigger.

Or, are they? Today at work as I unzipped my fly so that I could actually sit down, I came up with the only theory that logically covers everything and makes sense.

Clothing elves.

Evil little clothing elves.

The little buggers have been beavering (or elvering) away while I've been sunning myself on foreign beaches, all in order to have a good laugh when I come home and try to dress up in my work uniform.

I bet they're having a great time. Rolling around on the floor, waving their nimble little evil-elf hands in glee.

They've probably made their homes in the skirting boards, and now I'll never be able to get rid of them. They'll come out whenever I'm away for a night or two, make themselves busy, and then scuttle back into their lairs to wait for my reaction.

Well I'm not falling for it Elf-Men! I survived teenage girls in high-school, I can survive you.

First thing on the weekend I'm donating all of my clothing to charity, and I'll going to start to dress entirely in Lycra.

Then we'll see who's laughing.

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Bestseller in its field!

Today I hit the refresh button on my permanently pinned Amazon book page (which is next to my blog visits summary, my twitter analytics, my facebook insights, my google analytics and my tweetdeck - also all permanently pinned) and saw something wonderful.

Oh yeah - you read that right. #63 in Mystery - the second largest genre section on Amazon. Oh wait... I think I cropped that wrong. Just a moment, try this one!

You saw it here first. #63 out of how many, you ask? 38k or more. Oh yeah, alright, oh yeah, alright. Oh. Wait a moment, just a slight change...

Definitely right this time! (You can trust me)

Number #63 out of how many, you ask? (again)

I choose not to answer that question on the grounds that it may invalidate my victory.

And I also shouldn't mention how the time elapsed since the last sale has already made inroads into my number placement. I'm afraid to look because the last time I was getting dangerously close to slipping into the 90s and that's the Amazon equivalent of hitting your 40s - the edge of irrelevance.

So I'll just leave these pictures here, and maybe when refresh gets the better of me later tonight I'll visit my own blog (don't judge - I bet you do it too) and see my immortalised victory.

Bestseller status. Forever.

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Why are there still #Apple #fanboys

After three month's exclusive contract with Amazon Kindle through KDP select I've decided to branch out to more electronic formats. Surely, rather than just having a print and one ebook option not selling, it's better to have a print and multiple ebook versions not selling.

And what does it cost me anyway? Ebooks are free to publish, right?

Well it depends on how you count cost. Free of time - no. Free of energy - no. Free of learning opportunities - definitely no. And free of monetary output - surprisingly no.

It all went so well on the Kobo site that I started to think I'd imagined all the drama I'd had getting the Kindle version together. Half an hour and one file conversion and it was done. There are two chapter headings that hand a line lower than they should, but I was after readable and edited, not perfection, so I accepted that as okay.

Price it, spin it, set publish date and go! All ready for purchase by any willing members of the public interested in an intense, emotional and shocking [Readers' Favorite] story you can go ahead and pre-order when you're ready. Or when it finished being fully vetted by Kobo - whichever is soonest.

Now onto Nook. I like Barnes and Noble, not least because I only have to type to get to their website and I'm time starved so every little bit helps. I am a fan. Or, I was a fan. Apparently as I don't live in the States, the UK or Belgium I don't count as a person. Fine. Whatever. Racists.

Nevermind, I can always link up Bookbaby on the free version to take care of them. I'll lose an extra 15% on sales (hah sales, remember them Katherine?) but at least they'll be available. 15% of very little is still probably not going to meet a minimum threshold anyway so does it matter to me? No.

But I know there are people out there who seem to genuinely like and buy iBooks. Fair enough. I use Kindle on my iPad so I'm not one of them - I tend to think of it as my Kindle with backlight and The Walking Dead: Series 2 game but that could just be me - but if the people demand it the people shall have it!

Or shall they?

Turns out that it doesn't matter what sort of book you've managed to cobble together - you require a Mac to upload a book. And when I say book I mean anything of more than 1000 words because there is an app for short books with pictures if you don't mind typing the text into a page that won't free-flow to the next. Not really an option when you're looking at 200+ pages. Or 10+ for that matter.

Surely this can't be the case? I must be missing something. I know that Apple likes its closed architecture but seriously guys - this is a shop. Are you really saying you can only drop off merchandise if you're driving a Ford and not a Holden?

Turns out I was not mistaken.

Turns out that they really have become that distant from how real societies run that they believe this is a solid course of action to take. No wonder you can get a Kindle and Kobo app for iPad.

But I was not deterred. If I can use Winebox to run windows in linux then surely there must be something to run mac in windows. The world must be full of aspiring authors who aren't Apple fanboys, right?

There were some instructions, but they required an ISO of Mountain Lion (hah!) and then a lot more hours than I was prepared to spend. I could always go back to Bookbaby, but it can take up to two weeks to get the books approved even when they're text only and direct, so I didn't really want to go through an aggregator to extend that by a week (and 15% of nothing.)

So i went hunting again and found a lovely service that lets you rent a virtual Mac so you can use your PC to run the little Apple club of programs.

It's free for the first day, and then $20US per month for light usage. One month worth should do me because once I've got this set up I'm never touching it again. So, I'll fork out my hard-earned money in order to load up an alien system inside my lovely speed-filled windows 8.1

And I was a bit curious. People who like Macs seem to really like Macs don't they? There must be some reason.

Four hours later I think the reason is that they have to really, really pretend they like the stupid, crappy, nonsensically structured things because they've invested so much money in them it's either that or look like the dickheads that they are for purchasing them in the first place.

Stupid, stupid. Slow, slow. Nonsensical. Idiotic. Yuck.

I gratefully exited when my work was done. I'm already postponing the inevitable re-entry required when my book hits the website for the first time and I start to notice all the little things that skim by my attention when I'm grappling with something larger, and stupider, than whether my punctuation is where it should be, or does my html format okay, or did I just load up a string of nonsense because it turns out that the text field was just a text field and some html formatting was NOT okay.

Why, why, why does anyone still buy such awful outdated architecture in this day and age? Why would you opt to spend more money investing in something so awful when they could get some nice hardware and put lovely compact Ubunto on it for free?

I understand the iPods. I understand the iPads. I even used to understand the iPhone until it became a choice between two identical things one of which you could change the battery on when it ran out or upgrade the memory size of when it was full, and one which you couldn't.

I do not understand the Mac.

Unless they rename Mountain Lion to Sick Cat so I can invest some money rewarding sarcasm I don't think I ever will.

Friday, 3 October 2014


Katherine had to put grumpalumps into the box today. Friday started off really well with an early morning start of 4.30am.


Then I checked the Internet connection and found that both it and the phone weren't working for the third day in a row.


Then I checked my bank account to see that no royalties had been paid yet again, and then managed to track down a statement that said rather than the EFT that I'd signed up for I would instead be paid via wire transfer. Once my balance managed to hit the minimum threshold.

Needless to say the threshold hadn't been reached. Still hasn't. All payments are now forever in limbo.

Yah! There's nothing like being so poor that people don't even think it's worth the trouble to pay you to make you feel like a success. At 6.20am in the morning.

And then there were the constant floods of emails for problems that had started, been discovered, recurred, been rediscovered, thought were fixed but turned out resolution was for a different problem than the one that was actually causing problems - you know, the one I'd been told to fix rather the thing that actually needed fixing.

Yah! 7.30am.

Well at least I could crawl my way through the randomly awful day and then go out to buy a nice lunch. A nice lunch that turned out to cost $4.00 more than the last time I'd been to the restaurant - two weeks ago!? - for a sandwich with a new filling. Not the filling they said it would be filled with, that would be humorous nonsense, but the filling they presumably had on hand.

And lovely french bread. Four inches of lovely crusty french bread. Lovely crusty french bread that had spend at least two hours in a moisture filled refrigerator so it was dense and chewy. Not the dense and chewy of a beautiful, rich, dark, pumperknickel loaf carefully hand-ground, crafted and slow-baked in an artisinal oven. No. The dense and chewy of something that's meant to be light and crusty but dropped out of school early and started snorting meth.

I pulled the two mouthfuls of oil-covered plain chicken out, that's PLAIN chicken not the SMOKED chicken that I'd paid for, and then threw the rest away. So I had to buy a second lunch from the downstairs cafe, which was half the price and twice the edibility, but unfortunately was purchased so late in my lunch half-hour that I had to wolf it down (yeah, okay, the gnawing hunger may have contributed somewhat to that scenario.)

My lunchtime ended with a phone-call from a communications engineer who was disgruntled that I had the temerity to be at work during the day when he'd responded to my urgent call for assistance with the complete lack of internet or phone at our home within a mere 72 hours of calling. He was further put out when I timidly suggested that I may be able to get home by five o'clock - because surely all mortals are aware that technicians finish work on the dot of four-thirty.

So with the promise of an hour's overtime on Monday I skipped away from work early. There was a steady stream of traffic blocking our exit, and then when we finally pulled into the flow of traffic two trains decided to go past on the tracks while we sat staring at them in astonishment. Since when did the South Island have TWO trains?

But we forged ahead, to encounter a slow-mo traffic flow which we eventually crawled far enough along to realise was caused by the road-works (which we knew about) coinciding with a major set of traffic lights not working (which we didn't.)

Then I arrived home to find that all that was in the mail was a bill, all that was in the cupboard was some sugar-free cookies past their expiration date, and all that was in my heart was despair.

And then the lovely repair technician turned up and got our internet working in about ten minutes, said they'd need to reblow the fibre from the gate but we didn't need to be home for that and they'd do it early next week, and then my darling said he could put on a full packet of oven-fried chips and I could have half. Which I enjoyed with my favourite protein; tomato sauce and peri-peri mayonnaise. (Wot?)

And tomorrow it's Saturday. And I don't care that the weather is crap all weekend because I don't like to go outside anyway.

Things are definitely improving around here.

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Why yes Amazon, that is a wonderful recommendation!

While I was sitting at my computer tonight I received the following email recommendation through from the Amazon marketing department.

Why, yes Amazon. That's a fabulous suggestion. In fact, I think you should make that suggestion to hundreds of thousands of your other subscribers because I'm sure that they'd like it too.

Oddly enough, I actually already have a copy of this one. And I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Anyone reading this please follow Amazon's kind suggestion and click on the following link:

Awesome dudes.

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Canterbury Live Appearance on CTV

Congratulations! You've won the chance to see me on TV. Happy days :)

Click Here for Video

Go ahead and click - it's awesome (especially if you like to see someone repeatedly say the word "So" and "Incorporate")

Now onto the movie...