Monday, October 30, 2006

Plug Time

Siobhan, my brother's regular companion, does quite a lot of work for charity. Her latest project is a charity gig. Since everyone involved is a volunteer, and anyway the plan is to fill the place by word of mouth, the flyers[1] aren't ready yet, so I can't just copy the details off one. [Update: Flyer is now available and can be seen at the Gig website] However, before I forget, here's my blog-flyer[2]:

Holierthanthoudogooders present

A bunch of Kunifunts

Threewheeler - (Have had a decent write up in Time Out and I'm now assured are this band)
DJ Vinyl Ritchie - (Has also had a decent write up in Time Out, and has a very cool name - my brother tells me that he is worth the entry fee alone)

At: Ad Lib,246 Fulham Road, 11 November 2006.

Doors Open 1900. £6 Entry, of which every single penny goes to

It's also Siobhan's birthday, so if you go and see her, don't forget to go over and wish her a good one.

Note: This will pop up to the top of the blog nearer the date, and also if I make any changes.

Update: In the interests of full disclosure, I'm putting the text of my brother's invite below:

Afternoon Geezers and Geezettes,

If you don't want to spend eternity
having your bits roasted by Satan then you should redeem your sinfullness by
coming along to Siobhan's charity gig night on Saturday 11th November. All the
details are on the e-flyer and it is on the King's Road so those of you with a
nervous disposition don't have to come to the ghetto where i live. It is a
genuine charity and they do lots of good work with blind kids and people with
less limbs than is good for them.

The first band are reasonably popular
but i find them a bit dreary however Vinyl Ritchie is worth the entrance fee
himself. It is only £6 which doesn't even get you an African orphan these days.

Anyway i realise it is a bit late in the day to send it out and i only
really expect Leon and Dave to attend as they have a long history of charity

See u then and forward on to anyone that may have been missed

I apologise for his dubious theology.

[1] Which will be created by a real life artist!
[2] Yuck. I hope noone uses that word again.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Roast Pigeon

This is even easier than the previous pigeon recipe, but requires you baste it to keep the pigeon moist. Pigeon, like all game, dries out very easily when roasted.

Per Person:

1 Pigeon
1 Rasher of streaky bacon
1 Knob of butter

Heat the oven to 200C and heat a roasting tray. Spread the butter on the breast of each pigeon. Wrap the pigeon and butter with streaky bacon. Put the pigeons on the heated roasting tray and into the oven. Baste the pigeons every 10 minutes. After 30 minutes, turn the temperature up to 230C, take the bacon off and cook until the skin is dark brown and crispy.

Serve with leftover vegetables and roast potatoes; note that the roast potatoes have to go in before the pigeons if you do it this way.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Pot Roast Pigeon

For 3 people, which is what fits into a large Casserole:

3 pigeons
4 Potatoes sliced
9 or 10 shallots peeled and cut in half (2 Onions roughly chopped would do as well)
3 Carrots cut into chunks
1 Bulb of Fennel sliced
2 stalks of Celery cut into chunks
3 Large Mushrooms quartered (or a whole bunch of small mushrroms would do to)
Handful of Thyme

2 cloves garlic sliced
Several knobs of butter[1]

Some stock (mine was left over pork gravy padded out with vegetable stock, but chicken stock would probably do better).

Heat the oven to 200C. Heat a knob of butter in a big casserole. When it's melted, brown the pigeons on all sides. Take the pigeons out and put them on a plate, preferably somewhere warm.

Heat another knob of butter in the casserole. Add the shallots and garlic. Cook them until they're about to go brown, then throw in the celery, carrot and fennel. Again, cook until they're about to soften, then turn off the heat, stir in the thyme, some salt and pepper and the mushrooms[2].

Layer the potato slices on top of the vegetables. Pour in the stock; it should not quite get over the top of the potatoes. Put the pigeons on top. Try and get the lid on; you may need to shift things around a bit. Put it in the oven for 30 minutes, then take the lid off and cook for a final ten minutes. Serve. It really wants some bread to mop up the juice, which is a little thin, but delicious.

[1] Sorry, didn't really pay attention to how much I used
[2] I actually forogot about the mushrooms, so they had to sit on top with the pigeons

Monday, October 23, 2006

How many heads?

Now I have no comment on the new Gillette Fusion razor, which has five blades on one side for comfort and to spread pressure and one blade on the other to do the "tricky bits"[1]. However, in conjunction with this, Gillette have introduced Hydra Gel.

My first thought was is that what I think it is? as, after all, like all mythological beasts, the Hydra would be very heavily endangered. On the other hand, when you cut off one head, two more[2] grow to replace it, so, assuming the gel is made from a head, a near limitless supply would be available.

Nevertheless, two objections spring to mind; cruelty and the fact that the hydra's blood (or venom or gall) is hideously poisonous. No, really, really poisonous. The fish were unfit to eat for twenty stadia downstream of it's lair. Hercules used the Hydra's blood as poison on his arrows to kill Nessus, who tricked Hercules' wife into smearing some of Nessus' blood onto Hercules' tunic, and this killed Hercules; that's how poisonous.

So, anyway, if you're wondering why I've not leapt at the chance of using the latest developments in shaving technology, now you know.

(What? You don't think that's what Hydra means in this context? Perhaps so, but I'm keeping this blog a Lost-free zone.)

[1] Although it does seem as though half my face is a tricky bit most days.
[2] In some versions, merely one replacement.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Conversation overheard in Waterstone's formerly known as Ottaker's in Canterbury.

(The Scene - three student types are in front of the Horror section)

Student: "She hasn't any patience. When she comes round and I'm playing a game, and I only need five minutes to finish it, she's always distracting me. 'My tops off.' Okay, just finish the game... 'Bras off.' Must finish game. Once she ended up naked before I finished."

Girlfriend (sitting next to him): Giggle giggle.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Dream Diary 5

I'm in a posh hotel. It's full of public school boys. I'm going to be sitting a public school exam. Somewhere in a parallel set of rooms are the public school girls, as I keep catching glimpses of them through doorways. I'm not as tall as I normally am.

I'm served overcooked roast beef with black forest gateau sauce. The "sauce" is just a piece of gateau. Except it's the black forest gateau I baked for Vas' party, damn it.

I'm watching Pride and Prejudice except, as always, there have been many many changes. Most of the action is taking place on top of a hill which has a manhole to a tunnel leading back to the house. Two of the characters are black. Mr D'Arcy[1] calls at the house and everyone is shocked that they aren't there to greet him. The script just has people saying "Mr D'Arcy! Mr D'Arcy!" for many, many pages. Eventually I get bored and wake up.

[1] That's how it was spelt in the dream

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Dream Diary 4

Dreamt I was a wave. I broke on at least a thousand different shores.

Circular Story part 1

A couple of notes: This is none of the stories I intended to put up here. I know how the story ends, but not how it gets there, so this stuff is likely to be gutted and rewritten when I've finished. That's also why it has a work-in-progress name. And this is just the introduction.

When the Great Boar came from the West, and all the weapons of the kingdom broke on it's flanks, Terisen went to Ardigan the steelsmith, and asked him to make a sword. Ardigan promised him a sword of such superlative strength that nothing, even the Great Boar, could withstand it.

Ardigan worked for 20 days and 20 nights, using 5 cartloads of charcoal. The steel was folded a hundred times, and the sword quenched in blood...

Ardigan couldn't control himself any more and the laughter escaped him. Putting down the book and lifting the hood of his gown, Mikis gazed back at him.

"What is so amusing, young sir?"

"Blood!" said Ardigan. "Noone uses blood to quench a blade. It would just boil away, and the steel might crack. The impurities would get into the metal. Oil is what you use to quench a blade. The steelsmiths would beat me if I suggested using blood to quench a sword!"

"Nevertheless" said Mikis, "that is what has been recorded. The records of other lives are written so we can know what has happened. This is what the Order of Records does."

"But blood..." said Ardigan.

"All of life is a wheel," said Mikis, "but the road it turns on changes. There are fashions in all things. The Book of Ardigan is written in prose as it was updated a century ago. But three hundred years ago it would have been in blank verse. And five hundred years it would have been written how?"

"In hexameter couplets" said Ardigan. "But that's writing! If you use a different form, it doesn't break the page."

Mikis snorted. "Have I taught you nothing? Hidesplitter, The sword Ardigan forged to kill the boar - what pattern was it?"

"A straight sword, a horseman's sword"

"Do we use them any more?"


"Before Hidesplitter Ardigan, what pattern of swords were used?"

"Short swords"

"And why?"

"Men fought from chariots using spear and bow."

"And now?"

"Men fight from horseback with sabre and lance."

"Yet, men still fight. The fashions change, but the wars continue the same. Before the Great Boar, men would fight their wars by dueling against their enemies, but killed their rivals by stealth and ambush. Now we overcome our enemies by any means we can, but duel with our friends over trifles. The wheel turns, and we live our lives again. The seeming is different, but the meaning the same."

"Is that where your scars came from?" asked Ardigan "From dueling?"

The bell rang for the end of the study hour. Mikis sighed.

"Again, you miss my point. But that time is over, go now, down to the river to swim with the other students. Perhaps tomorrow we will learn something."

Ardigan couldn't remember a time before he knew who he was. The spring after Ardigan's first birthday the priests of identity had come to his village. They tested all the children who had been born since they last climbed the mountain. Ardigan showed that he had been reborn, his spirit knowing things from a previous life. The priests took him with them when they left.

Before he was three, his aptitude for metal, his quick growth, and other, subtler signs showed that he was Ardigan, swordsmith to kings and heroes. His entry to the Academy of the Reborn was assured.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Dream Diary 3

First Dream: I'm in a mansion. Some kind of fairy/folk-tale competition is taking place, with ludicrous challenges to win a prize; it's probably a princess, but at other times it's something magic or a pirate's treasure chest.

The competition(s) makes no sense. One challenge I remember is a room full of contestants, and someone holds up a lemon. "This is a lemon" he says. We all stare at it. After a moment he says "Good". In another challenge, I'm in a room slowly filling with water and I have to do something. I'm not panicing at all, even though I have no idea what I'm supposed to do. But then it's not me, and I'm watching, and then I'm not watching anymore either.

Second Dream: A play is taking place in a hall, that later is a courtyard, of a junior school. Many of my friends are taking part in the play. It's suggested that the play is The Princess Bride although it clearly isn't. A swordfight takes place. The Princess spends an entire scene rolling on the floor, naked but covered in white makeup. Her acting is excellent[1]. A stand-up comic does a scene. Many speeches are made.

I find myself outside on a lawn, on a warm summer's evening. We're gossiping about our friends who were in the play. Someone notes that it had needed to be toned down for the schoolkids. Apparently it made a lot of money for the school. The actors, despite giving extraordinary perfomances, can't get work, partly it seems, because they only play that one role.

[1] For reasons of dream logic only, she reminds me of an actress I saw playing Ophelia in Hamlet about 17 years ago, and fell three-quarters in love with by the end of the play.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Dream Diary 2

After the two most worthless posts in blogging history I managed yesterday, I do now have some dreams:

I'm wearing a mask of some sort. I'm filing out of an office as part of a fire drill. (I also remember that this is the merest edge of the dream).

It's early morning and I'm standing somewhere that looks like the path to the bay. There's a mist that greys the green fields. I can see waterdrops on a hawthorne with almost preternatural clarity. I breathe in and smell the scents of winter.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

The only information on Star Wars anywhere on the internet.

Having finally got around to watching the last bit of the Star Wars sextet[1] I hadn't seen (the first two-thirds of Attack of the Clones, if anyone is interested) I'm still left not knowing the cover story of why the separatists rebelled against the Republic[2]. This, of course, is how it should be; AotC and RotS are mostly seen through the view of Anakin (who's not really interested in politics), Obi Wan (the closest he comes to caring about politics is to state that he doesn't like politicians) and the droids (??!?).

Additionally, it never really makes sense why Sidious is trying to kill Senator Amidala - no, scrap that, it's because she would be replaced by Jar-Jar Binks, and after the hard work of plotting to overthrow the Republic he'd add some "comic relief". Anyway, there was slightly too much talking and not enough action already, so on balance I'll give this minor complaint a rest.

[1] Or sexology as we might call it if we were feeling a bit smutty.
[2] The Trade Federation had previously displayed it's opposition to taxes. The closest Count Dooku gets to a political statement is unhapiness with the corruption of the Republic. Obviously the whole thing is a set-up, but wouldn't it be obvious that it would be more profitable to bribe a corrupt government to ignore owed tax than, for example, spend all your money and resources on a desparate war? Or: is this really the best cover story that Darth Sidious could come up with?

Non-Dream Diary

Woke up today with no memory of any dreams.

Curse my unconcious for sabotaging my create-blog-content-while-sleeping plan.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Dream Diary 1

Dreamt I was a hedgehog. A two-legged cartoon hedgehog.

Also I had a dream about a small town in Soviet Russia with a military display team made up of dead children. Their uniforms' were the most peculiar shade of grey-green. I can remember thinking that there was a lot more to the dream, but I forgot it while fumbling for a pen.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006


Slightly too apathetic to do anything to the story I'm working on. Instead, I'm going to do something that requires slightly less work.

The idea (not a new one) comes from Claire asking me what she should be looking for on my chin. She thought that someone had told her to look. When it became clear my chin was unremarkable, she thought that maybe she'd dreamed that someone had told her to look at my chin.

So anyway: dream diary. I'll be putting it up for a few days. Since this will undoubtedly be dull, uninteresting and/or too self-revelatory, you might want to come back at the weekend when there will almost certainly be brand new fiction.

Monday, October 02, 2006

A thought on spam

While glancing through my spam trap, I realised that all the scams were trying to take advantage of fear and/or greed. The greed motivated ones interested me most. I had the feeling that the designers of these scams were assuming that the people they were sending them to were just like them - greedy, open to a slightly dodgy deal - but not quite as smart.

Obviously these will never work on me. Not because I'm smarter than them - although, lord knows, I surely am - but because my greed is not a motivating force for me. A scam to trap me would be better aimed at my vanity.

In fact, were I to design some kind of internet scam, it would be designed to assume that people are just like me - vain, always wanting to find out something to make me look clever - but not quite as smart. Since I'm motivated by vanity rather than greed, it wouldn't be aimed at their money, but instead to make them look like fools, while making me look especially clever.

It would probably be bits of writing that looks like it's telling them something they don't know, but is actually a waste of their time. And if they didn't figure it out, even when they were told about it, I think I'd have made my point.

Fortunately I'm too apathetic to put this plan into action.

Update: Within minutes of me posting this I started to get emails offering me handmade silk embroidery from China, which I have to say was a good try. The spambots are evidentally monitoring, analysing and adapting to us, and I for one welcome our new artificially intelligent and virtual unsolicited advertising overlords.