Angelic Paranoia

Paranoidangel's Website

What I’ve been doing
Sunday 9th June 2019 9:13 pm

A lot of programming stuff. I have found that learning things that I'm already using at work has been such a help - there are some things I never knew existed and now I could change them to make them so much simpler. So it's useful and interesting and fun, but also time-consuming.

Tennis. The French Open just finished, so I've been listening to that, when it's been on the radio/online. I watched it, on mute, for five minutes and that was enough - the camera work just does not do me any good. It was exciting and now we are on to grass, which mostly happens not on the radio during the day when I'm at work. Until we get to Wimbledon, then there's eight hours a day of it to listen to.

Singing and dancing. Choir goes in terms, so our end of term concert is during Wimbledon, then we have the summer off. Dancing is most weeks and some weekends until the end of July, when it becomes some weeks and some weekends. It was really cold at the start of the season (end of April/start of May), warmed up enough that I didn't need so many layers, now it's got chilly again.

Writing. None of this leaves much time for writing, but I have started a few things, but not got any further than a completed first draft. I am trying to put some effort into finishing something, if slowly, because it's been so long I've forgotten how to write.

Decluttering is also going slowly because I fit it round everything else. At the moment getting rid of things mostly involves moving them to the spare room, but in the summer when I have some more time, and when I have some days off, I will work on getting it out of the house. I did remember to take a bag of stuff to the charity shop this weekend, so that's a start.

For LJ Book Bingo I finally decided that I needed to assign my list of books I've read to squares. I've found I've filled most of them, but in a way that means I have no lines. It's a skill.


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Not posting much
Sunday 14th April 2019 7:31 pm

I'm struggling to find the time to post much. The three evenings a week I am in look like this:
6pm get home
6-7pm dinner
7-9pm 1 hour coding plus 1 hour doing things I need/want to do (not necessarily consecutive or in that order
9-10pm feed Sammy and watch TV
10pm go to bed to read

Two nights a week that 1 hour free I have includes half an hour of doing things I need to do (eg food shopping). I end up leaving most things for the weekend and then don't have time to fit everything in.

But I am doing better at the coding thing, now my rules are to do 10 minutes to an hour and no more than that, except on weekends when I can go up to two hours.

And I am watching more TV. This is partly because I have Netflix for a month to watch Discovery, and it turned out to be another free month, no idea why, but I'm not complaining. I have got through it quicker than I thought I would, partly because I have had some time with no energy to do anything other than watch TV that doesn't require a brain. And partly because it's not as bad as the first series (which is not hard).

I have two problems with Discovery this series:

  1. They're obsessed with spinning the camera round and can barely keep it still for two seconds, so it becomes more something I'm listening to than watching
  2. Last series there was one character I liked, one I hated and the rest I was meh about (well, by the end of the series - there was another I hated at the start). This series has one character I love, who I suspect is not going to be in series 3 (if there is one) and two I hate. They keep teasing that the characters I hate are going to die/leave the series and then they don't.

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Busy, busy
Sunday 24th March 2019 7:21 pm

I have mean to post (and comment and do all the other things) recently, it's just all been a bit crappy.

The week before last I got over-excited by the 100 days of code thing and got some coding done every free moment. And overdid it. I spent last Sunday doing nothing to recover. I decided last week that I would redefine a 'day' from being an hour, to somewhere between 10 minutes and 2 hours, and I wasn't allowed to do more than 2 hours in a day.

And then it all completely went tits-up by work being crazy, so there was no way I had the energy to do any coding, even when I wasn't working in the evening/morning before work.

And because bad things come in threes, my stove died. By sparking a lot, which was scary. And didn't do much for my stress levels. It is the least bad it can be though because the only thing not working is the ignition, and you can light the gas without that. And it's under warranty, so at least it won't cost me anything (extra) to get it fixed.

So I have spent this weekend catching up on TV and reading. Last weekend I finally got round to watching Game of Thrones series 7 (only two years later...) and then decided to catch up on the books. I was watching a series, reading the relevant book six months later to get the background, then watching the next series. But I got really behind and after spending some time trying to work out which I read last, I'm now partway through the fourth book.

The one bright spot in the week was dancing, which I didn't have the energy for but is de-stressing. I learnt a new dance, after having watched it before, dancing a position at the back of the hall, and then dancing it for real. All those years of ballet were good for remembering sequences (well, better than I was, if not perfectly). We'll see how well I remember it next week. It was a simple dance, but it was a self-esteem boost.

This week shouldn't be as crappy as I'm only doing my job, not my boss's as well (they got rid of him and shared his duties out between three of us, so we do his job on top of ours once every three weeks and I find it so stressful).


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Clocks
Sunday 17th February 2019 9:22 pm

It's all been going on with clocks recently. Well, two of them. Well, my alarm clock and my watch.

One morning I went to turn my alarm off and the button disappeared into the clock. Fortunately I could still turn it off by unsetting the alarm. But the button that no longer existed was necessary to change the alarm time. The clock is over twenty years old and a piece of it fell off years ago. I thought I'd glued it back on but found that was not the case when I turned it over to take the battery out.

I did consider for a while whether I needed a new alarm clock. There is an alarm clock on my iPod and my phone and my travel alarm clock. And I have one of those clocks that gets light before it goes off. Which I've found good for being able to wake up in the light in the winter, but frightens the life out of me when it goes off (it has 16 volumes, they are all loud). It also doesn't do the waking me up gradually thing, so is useless in that aspect. It also doesn't have a battery back up if the power goes. It does take a battery, it just doesn't do anything useful.

I also don't use it as a clock. It's just too far away and too big, so if I need to know the time I pick up my small bedside clock and put it up to my nose. It also has an alarm, but it's a very unreliable clock and a more unreliable alarm.

My alarm clock is a radio alarm clock, but I don't listen to the radio either. I've had it for so long that I associate the slightly tinny radio noise with annoyance and it makes me want to turn it off the second it's come on.

But I ended up buying a new radio alarm clock for £7. You can spend ridiculous amounts, mainly for the ability to charge your phone with your clock. Even though it would be cheaper to buy a plug. Since the new clock is smaller I've moved it further away from the bed so I now have to get up to turn it off, rather than just sitting up. This is because the traffic on the way to work got hideous so it would take 10-15 minutes extra to get to work. Considering my journey is generally only 20 minutes, that's quite an increase. Since I tend to spend about 10 minutes after my alarm goes off trying to get out of bed, putting my alarm clock further away means I have to get out of bed and am not going back again afterwards. Of course, once I'd shaved 10 minutes off my morning routine the traffic went away and I was 10 minutes early. I've started leaving a bit later and it's all fine now.

On Friday I looked at my watch and realised it wasn't vaguely telling me the right time. Or ticking. After thinking about what a pain it would be to take it somewhere to get the battery changed and how it would cost nearly as much as I paid for it and it didn't look that hard, I thought I'd have a go at changing it myself. I did manage to prise the back off, but broke off a plastic piece that held the strap. I have now bought a tool so I can get the strap off and not do that again. And glued the piece back on - I've been trying Gorilla glue and it is really good. I glued the hoover back together and after it set I couldn't get it apart again when I pulled.

The battery was the tiniest thing in the world and needed a magnifying glass to see what type it was. At which point I realised I don't have a magnifying glass. I found an app for it, which unhelpfully turned the torch on, which reflected off the battery so I couldn't see a thing. I eventually managed to find the battery type, established it's not one you can buy in the shops and ordered one for about £1. So on balance it's probably cost me more than I would have paid if I'd gone somewhere, but it will at least be cheaper next time.


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Car
Sunday 27th January 2019 7:50 pm

I now have my new car and I have driven it. I want to say that I like that it starts when I turn the key, except that it's a button, not a key, and because it's a hybrid when I press the button it's silent. It starts up the petrol engine when it needs to, which it did when stationary the first day I had it, because I couldn't work out how to turn the heating off (after pressing all the buttons I discovered it was the one marked 'off'). At one point it frightened the life out of me when I got out to check that the lights were on and not the fog lights or anything else and it started up just after I got out of the car.

I like that you can move the seat up. So I can now sit up straight enough to get the sun behind the sun visor in the mornings. And the lights of cars coming towards me aren't so blinding. I feel like I'm driving a 4x4. And have a tendency to hit my head on the sun visor.

It has a lot of gadgets, most of which I haven't used yet because I'm still getting to grips with the driving and the heating. The driving especially, because it's an automatic. I was fine the first day, but ever since whenever I want to put it in any gear I end up in neutral. I'm very glad the screen tells me what gear I'm in because I keep wondering why I'm not moving. And my instinct after putting it in reverse is to go upwards (for first gear) and then end up in park (which also means the car doesn't move).

When they redesigned the car they made it 20cm longer, which is in the boot. Although given that there's less space between the front and back seats, I don't know where the rest of the length went. I have, however, managed to make the boot smaller. In my old car there was a part of the boot that lived above the main boot that meant it was all flat if you put the seats down. Since the new car was the same width, and the old car was only going to be recycled, I took it out of the new car. It does fit, but not quite as well, so you have to be a bit careful about where you put stuff. Which ends up in having less space overall.

But I have less in the car. I found a lot of stuff in there I didn't know I had. I remember what the sellotape was for (making sure the headlights stayed attached after a pheasant flew out in front of me) but I have no idea why there was blu tack in the car. I don't remember ever needing to blu tack anything in either of my previous cars.

After buying a new car for the first time, I am going back to second hand after this. It's just such a lot of faff, whereas buying second hand is so much easier. And I feel like it's a bit posh for me. I miss having a bottom of the range, doesn't do anything fancy car (as much as I liked listening to the tennis on 5 Live Sports Extra on the way to work this week).


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Car
Monday 7th January 2019 10:20 pm

I have solved all my car problems (and I realised I have four things about it that aren't quite right) by buying a new car. It's the same as my old car, only newer and a model up. And still red, of course (I have found that it's not just me who finds having a red car makes me invisible on the roads, but how can I have a car that's not red?). Which is about the only thing I didn't compromise on when I bought it.

Toyota seem to have decided, in updating their cars, to make them 20 cm longer. That 20cm is in the boot, which is fine. But then to make up for that they made it so the back seats don't go forwards. And I think they made it so there's less leg room in the back, but it's hard to tell because I test drove a car where you could raise the front seat, so then I had to have it further back. I really wanted a car where I have to move the seat all the way forward, but it seems that the only way to do that is to buy a car for tall people, in which case I can't reach the pedals. Or chop my legs off, but that seems a bit drastic.

They have removed a lot of storage from inside the car. According to the salesman this is to accommodate air bags. A comparison of the car I sat in and my car tells me this is completely and total rubbish. The trouble is that I have a lot of stuff in the car. On the other hand, I might not need it all in there. I opened a compartment I hadn't opened for ages and found, among other things, an ice scraper. I own four ice scrapers, in various sizes. Last winter I used one once to remove snow off my car. I think it's safe to say I don't need four of them. Especially as the new car will have heated wing mirrors. Although I have no way of knowing if they ever work because I haven't seen my wing mirrors with ice on them since before I moved to a house with a garage.

I have got a hybrid. They are more expensive, but you save on petrol. I reckon by the time it dies I should break even on that... Annoyingly hybrids only come in automatic (which are completely unintuitive to drive - and since the left foot isn't doing anything, why not have some controls down there? It would be the perfect place for the radio volume controls). The only thing that reconciled me to the automatic is some research that tells me that's how hybrid/electric cars are going, so by the time I need another new car manual won't be an option any more, so it won't matter that I've forgotten how to drive it.

And it's a 1.5. I currently have a 1.0 which is enough power 99% of the time. It's possible I won't notice the extra power because I've never had a car which can pass a lorry while going up a hill on the dual carriageway, so I'll probably forget that it's a possibility with the new one. Although in the new car I won't be able to go down to fourth gear to try it. (The more I think about it the more crazy it is that there's nothing for my left foot to do)

The hardest thing to figure out will be the lack of CD player. I had to compromise on that to get a digital radio (for 5 Live Sports Extra tennis listening purposes) and more important a digital speedometer (and not to end up with a car that felt like a downgrade from my last one. I tend to listen to all the Big Finish CDs (and sometimes some music CDs) in the car. The new car does have a USB port, so I can always put whatever I want to listen to on my mp3 player, if it doesn't work with my iPod. But I have a load of CDs hanging around and I like the CDs. Even if they take up space, I still like them. But when I get round to getting rid of my old computer I'll only have two CD players in the house (and I did look into plugging a CD player into the USB port of the car and it can't be done due to lack of power).

(I know I need to do a Never Seen Star Wars post for this month, but I'm still deciding what it should be - and have spent a lot of my free time lately researching cars).


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Comedians
Friday 28th December 2018 7:23 pm

At the end of last year I was lamenting about how few comedians I'd seen. This year I set about changing that. As a result this year I have seen:
Dara O'Briain
I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue
Lucy Porter
My Dad Wrote a Porno
No Such Thing as a Fish
Sara Pascoe

Which doesn't seem like that many now I write it down. But I enjoyed all of them.

This year I have already booked to see:
Ellie Taylor
James Acaster
Josh Widdicombe
Lucy Porter
Mark Watson
No Such Thing as a Fish
Rhod Gilbert
Rob Beckett
Romesh Ranganathan

Which doesn't seem like that much either written out, but it looks like more in my diary. Mostly because thy are quite bunched up - to the point where I'm seeing one on a Friday and another the day after!


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Silly things
Sunday 28th October 2018 8:57 pm

1. A few weeks ago I lost the part of my sat nav lead where you plug it into the car charger. I had it on the way and on the way back it wasn't in my bag, wasn't in the car and wasn't in the hotel room. I suspect it's in the same place missing pens go.

When looking up where to buy a new one from I discovered Halfords sell general USB to car adaptors, so I bought one, tried it and it didn't work. So I took it back and bought a branded one for twice the price, which also came with two cables. I assume one of them is for something different and I assume I have one of those in my sat nav box that I've clearly never needed. Well, now I have a spare.

I plugged the sat nav in one morning when I went to work and it charged. I unplugged it, it told me it was switching off, so I put it back in its bag and set off. It waited until I had set off to tell me to turn right (my sat nav not only doesn't know where I live, it doesn't even believe my house exists). I then had to listen to it telling me to turn round at every roundabout until I had the opportunity to stop and turn it off.

What made it all the more annoying is that usually as soon as it finds satellites it forgets the route I have planned. I hadn't used it for a couple of weeks and yet the one time I would have been happy for it to forget, it remembered.

2. On the subject of my sat nav, I discovered it really doesn't understand a big roundabout near me. As I neared it it told me there was a right turn ahead...

3. Gone to the same lost pen place, is my fiddle ring. I had it on when I left the house and then later I didn't. I don't think it helped that it was a bit big and now it's colder my fingers are smaller. I have bought some more (so this time I have spares) half a size smaller, so they still fit on the fourth fingers of both hands.

(I read somewhere that the fingers on your dominant hand are slightly bigger than the fingers on your other hand. For me it's the other way round)

4. I've already written the first draft of my Yuletide fic. I read my assignment on Monday morning and had the basic idea by the time I left for work. But I need to get it done soon as work goes crazy in November, until a week before Christmas, and when it does I won't have the time or energy for writing. Or anything.

5. I accidentally ended up completely happily on GMT today. I overdid things a bit the past few days and stayed up too late. Then at 5:30 this morning I was woken up by my neighbours slamming their back door a few times (not the first time I've heard them do that in the middle of the night, I have no idea why). Having been woken up I was therefore really hot*, so got up to go to the toilet to cool me (and the bed) down a bit.

And then I thought that it was really cold and the heating should be on by now. My heating is set based on when the house is coldest and stopping Sammy from getting too cold, rather than when I might need it. At which point I realised that although my clock said it was 5:30, it was actually 4:30 and my heating knows when we change the clocks. So I ended up having to go downstairs to turn the heating on, because there wasn't much point in it coming on just before dawn on a day that was due to be sunny.

I took a while to get back to sleep after that (not least because I was still hot, despite having gone down to the kitchen, which is the coldest room in the house). When I woke up it was a lot later than I usually wake up, although I usually wake up earlier than I want to.

I tried feeding Sammy an hour earlier, as it might mean he is still on BST and would get up an hour earlier, but I think it's on whatever time zone I am.

*I remember learning in biology at school that when you sleep your temperature goes down. Mine really doesn't.


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Things
Sunday 21st October 2018 2:23 pm

I have totally got out of the habit of posting and commenting. I must try and get back in it. So here are some things I've had going on recently.

1. I had a flu jab at the start of the month. Usually it just makes me feel like I've been punched in the arm. This time my arm swelled up and was hot to the touch and hurt so much that I really didn't want to be using or moving it at all. It also made me feel really ill, so I spent some time catching up on TV. I caught up on Midsomer Murders, which included an episode about a small pet show and was all about the rabbits. Obviously I loved it, aside from the rabbit cages being too small, and for some reason they were kept in a tent on site overnight, which makes no sense. But now I am being stalked by the murderer - he popped up in Doctor Who and then in Johnny English. He's everywhere!

2. I've been watching a lot of hamster videos and got into the crafty DIY side. It's possible to make nearly everything in a cage with wood and lolly sticks - and if you're good with DIY you can even make a cage. I'm not quite that good, but I did make a log cabin (out of 15 toilet roll tubes), a small rainbow bridge (that isn't rainbow because I couldn't be bothered to pain it) and a climbing frame. Now I've got the hang of the glue, and a lot more lolly sticks in three sizes, I might try making more things.

3. Sammy is still cute. He'll happily put two feet on my hand (even if there's no food) but won't put a third on (even for a treat). I've got into the habit of giving him some of my boiled egg at breakfast at weekends (sometimes in bed, sometimes he gets out of bed for it).
Sammy

4. I had the last big thing done on my house (where big means getting workmen in to do things). All(!) I have left is getting rid of stuff and deciding which cross stitches to put on the walls where.

5. Dancing - but I've been meaning to write a whole post about that for the past couple of months, so I will save all of that for its own post.


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Not summer any more
Wednesday 29th August 2018 9:08 pm

While it was summer and hot I got used to not doing lots of things, including posting here. It got less hot, but then I did some of the things I intended to do over summer, but it was too hot to do. Except for when I was too busy working - we had a couple of weeks of it being crazy busy.

But it really feels like it's not summer any more. It's nearly September, the weather is very autumnal and the things I do in the evenings are about to start up again. So I should get used to posting here again.

I bought two amazing things this month: a shower head and a fidget ring.

My old shower was a bit like a dribble. I did some research and came up with one that most people said was more powerful than what they had before. And bought a new shower hose as well, as the old one looks old and dirty, plus one of the rings is coming off, which made me wonder how long it would be before it sprouted a leak. It turned out to be a good decision because when I took the old shower hose off, green stuff came out... And the new shower head is so much more powerful. I can't believe how much cleaner my hair is. I possibly don't need to wash it as often any more. I should have done this years ago!

Fidget jewellery was something I learnt about on Ask a Manager, of all places. I am incapable of sitting still. I used to have Russian wedding ring type rings, but then it became impossible to find new ones cheaply (because I always lost them) and I just had ordinary rings, which I couldn't play with as much. Now I have a fidget ring from etsy. It's just two beads on a band, which doesn't seem like it's that exciting, but I very quickly found there were an awful lot of things you can do with two beads that really keep my hands occupied. It is great.

In non-buying things, Sammy continues to very slowly mostly get less scared of things. I am still on step 1 of hamster taming, which is putting food on your hand, so they have to put their feet on your hand to get at it. He does it quite happily and is really interested in sniffing my hand, but the slightest hint of any movement and he's off. He was toilet trained, then he moved his bed and now doesn't wee in his toilet. He is anti-toilet trained...

In a new record for me, within the space of a week I managed to injure both big toes, bruise both knees and burn two fingers and a thumb. Plus plenty of other bruises. Housework is bad for you.

And that's pretty much the highlights of my news.


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Too hot for this
Sunday 1st July 2018 9:25 pm

I was fine with the hot weather when I didn't need to go out in it (we have air con at work) and the worst part was my seatbelt getting hotter than the sun on my drive home. I'd be cold in the mornings before work and the house would be not too warm when I got back. Until today. It was particularly hot and humid today and not cold last night. And I was so tired I went to bed early and then slept late. So at no point when I was awake was it colder outside than it was in. I am tired of the hot weather.

I have been procrastinating on my Unconventional Courtship fic, which is why I haven't done anything else. I sit down in the evening, intending to write it, dick around in the internet and go to bed having achieved absolutely nothing. I have been listening to some First Doctor audios in the car in the mornings and it's been good to re-listen to them (and justify having kept the CDs).

But tomorrow Wimbledon starts. I'm looking forward to not quite wall-to-wall tennis due to the football. But I am glad I have a digital radio, as 5 Live Sports Extra is pretty much constant Wimbledon. But I have my Fantasy Wimbledon team sorted and my finalists prediction in: Federer vs Djokovic in the final. I'm not feeling terribly confident about that, but all the people I thought could get to the final are in Federer's half of the draw.

Sammy has been fine in the heat. I still don't see much of him and he's still unsure of me when he realises I'm in the room. But when he surprises me, he's much better, coming to the front of the cage for food. Although he only takes a few bits before going back to his bed and store/eat them.

I need to post about Never Seen Star Wars for July, but since I'm not doing anything for it until after Wimbledon, it can wait.


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Various things
Monday 11th June 2018 8:53 pm

All the things I've been meaning to post and haven't got round to.

1. There was an interesting episode of Timeless this series where they went back to 1919 and it was all about women's suffrage. Which was interesting because there's been so much about a hundred years of women's suffrage in this country. I never considered what it was like in America. The answer, when I looked it up, was complicated, because different states had different things going on. But Alice Paul, who was in the episode, really existed.

2. In May my morris side started dancing out one evening a week. Although due to illness and holiday and a clash with choir, I've only made it to three so far. Given that I don't hate driving to places I don't know, it's been a bit nerve-wracking. Especially to one pub in a tiny village in the middle of nowhere, and I only knew the first five minutes of the route. I am very glad of my sat nav and Google Street View, so I can do the route the night before and know what I'm looking for. Although Google's directions were a bit interesting one week when they told me it was right by the dual carriageway, so all I had to do was to turn off it. Completely ignoring that I can only come off it at a junction.

We dance in clogs, which made things interesting to start with. There's a lot going on underneath, so it's a bit like walking in platforms, which I've never done before. At first I felt like I was going to fall over just walking, never mind dancing. But now I've got used to them and my only problem is going too excited and ending up on tiptoes. And dancing on ground that turns out to be uneven, which can make things a bit interesting.

3. After looking through a load of summaries for [info]unconventionalcourtship, when I came to sign up I picked the first one I have saved. I have 800 words on it so far and I know where it ends, just not quite so sure on how to get there yet. Some of the wording still might change a bit, but the summary is:
Coming home to the country offered Barbara Wright the chance to make a settled, secure life for herself. But there was a complication – in the shape of her ex-fiancé, millionaire ex-colleague Ian Chesterton. He was still the gorgeous man who had swept her off her feet before – and the attraction between them was electric!
It would have been easy for Barbara to let Ian seduce her seduce Ian. But not so simple to explain the secret she'd kept hidden for years she was keeping hidden. If Ian learned the truth, would he be so keen to reclaim his runaway bride colleague?

4. I have a hamster - his name is Sammy. I've actually had him for three weeks, but he's scared of everything. It's only in the past week when he's started to take food from me. Although that can take a while because he's scared of the rustle of the bag of treats and scared of the noise the box of food makes... The cage is in a bit of a dark corner, but I managed to take a photo one morning, when he got out of bed when I was having breakfast.

Sammy

Sammy


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Long weekend
Monday 28th May 2018 8:33 pm

The weather forecast said it was going to be hot this weekend and I needed to clean the house, so I got most of the cleaning done in the week and just had a bit to finish off on Saturday morning. Which was good, but it's been chilly in the mornings and hot (if not as hot as forecast on Wednesday) in the afternoons and evenings (not to mention hayfevery).

With all that time I finished off my Fandom 5k fic. And then didn't quite know what to do with myself. I have started collecting possible Unconventional Courtship summaries for a few pairings. Although there are only so many Mills & Boon summaries I can read before I can't deal with all the clicheness any more. And why do so many of the 'Classic' ones involve Amish?

I did make a start on the mess of the spare room. I realised if I freecycled one pile, charitied another, and took a third to the tip that would be much of the stuff gone. And then I could put away the stuff I'm keeping but can't get to where it needs to live. And go through all the crap in the wardrobe because there's stuff in there I could also get rid of, if only I could get to it. Of course now I need to go to the charity shop and the tip. Since I didn't start this until Jo Konta's match was on the radio on Sunday it was after the charity shops were closed for the weekend and I'm not going to tip on a bank holiday weekend, it'll be too busy. And too hot to sit in a car in the sun, roasting.

Speaking of tennis, the French Open started yesterday. With a re-designed website where it's impossible to find the order of play. At least the BBC have it. They had Jo Konta's match on 5 Live Sports Extra, but then switched over to 5 Live. Except there was a gap where the news was. So I was listening on the BBC website, which had all the sound from the court, but no commentary. Which is fine on TV, but not as useful on radio. Unless you know who is serving, the scores during the games are particularly unhelpful. I know I could have watched it on ITV whatever number it's on, but it involves adverts, Jim Courier and a love of swirling around the crowd and zooming into the court. So I'll save that for the final because that's probably as much of all three of things I can take.


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Ill (again)
Saturday 5th May 2018 11:36 am

I've been ill this week. But since I only felt terrible for one day, the rest of the time I was fine if I was lying down, I managed to work on my fandom 5k fic, albeit in small bits. I now have 5000 words and am more confident about getting it done. The reason I didn't blog before I was ill was because I was busy working on my fandom 5k fic.

Weekdays day time is quite good for old TV. Old TV is good because it doesn't move much. So I watched some Star Trek and The Bill (from 2000, so it moves, but not too much). And listened to podcasts, read some stuff that didn't require a brain and I can't even remember. And I've nearly caught up on Wil Wheaton's Tabletop, which I was very behind on.

Its made it hard to get excited about a three day weekend when I've already not done anything for a week and am not well enough to do too much yet.


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Ikea and Hobbycraft
Sunday 8th April 2018 9:30 pm

I went to Ikea and Hobbycraft this weekend. I haven't been to Hobbycraft for years, which is just as well: it's a dangerous place. I spent more money than I did in Ikea and can not say I don't have enough card making stuff (it only just fits in the drawer). And I also now have plenty of Aida, as I am close to finishing my last cross stitch kit and then will do some from patterns using up the approx 70 million threads I have.

Ikea is lovely and empty at opening time on a Saturday. That's the only good thing I can say about it... I've never been on my own before had to be told by the cashier what to do with everything I had. I didn't bother with a trolley and although I happily carried a bag of cross stitches that needed framing, some frames, a lamp shade, a back door mat and a 10kg 100x50 cm table to the till, afterwards I couldn't work out how I'd done it. I had to go on a mission to find a trolley without dropping anything.

I managed to cut my thumb open in the middle of Ikea: I had a frame with broken glass courtesy of the window men. Since the glass was sitting in there and not moving I thought it would be fine to take it like that. I should have known that a) that's not a good idea and b) if I can break something/injure myself I will. Fortunately I had plasters with me, but I was miles from a toilet (probably).

And then there was the car park. I've only ever parked in one multi-storey car park before and that was in the evening when it was pretty empty. I'm not really fond of going up ramps in multi-storey car parks as a passenger and I think I've only done it once as a driver. This one required me to go up a spiral ramp. Theoretically it's fine once you have the wheel turned correctly because it's all the same. But I went up on level to a closed floor, decided I couldn't manage another level, got most of the way there and then hit the side. Going down was much better, although I was glad I was behind someone because you pretty much had to drive round the whole car park to get out and I'd have got lost. When I did get out I ended up in the wrong lane, as I assumed that on a roundabout with two exits the left lane would go left and the right lane would go right. Which it didn't. And I knew that from looking at Google Street View in advance, but was so freaked out from the whole experience I had forgotten.

If I ever decide I need anything from Ikea again I am only going if it's with someone else who is driving or I'll get it delivered. £7 seems like a small price to pay (and probably what it costs in petrol to get there anyway).


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Other things
Wednesday 4th April 2018 9:09 pm

Every time I think work's calmed down it calms right back up again. It is currently calm, and with choir having stopped for Easter I am enjoying having more free time and energy to enjoy it.

I signed up to Fandom 5k. My self-imposed deadline on my 25k fic was so that I could sign up. Given that I wrote a 5k fic for Yuletide and a 5.5k fic earlier this year because I was a bit sick of the endless long thing and wanted to write something short(!) I think I should be able to do it. So far there's one person I could write for, a few more days of sign ups and some other possibilities I might yet offer.

I finally managed to work through [info]b2mem at the weekend. Somehow it's become traditional that I don't have time to read any of it in March and then as soon as April hits I do it all in one go.

I am used to watching non-fictional things on TV or saving them up. So when I watched Episodes on Friday (series 5 finally on in this country) it felt strange that I'd have to wait a whole week to find out what happens next.

The Commonwealth Games starts tonight! On the other side of the world, again. I looked at the schedule, couldn't tape all of that, so I am hoping the BBC will make it easy to watch things later (especially the swimming). And then I'll catch up at weekends. Hopefully.


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Stuff and nonsense
Wednesday 7th March 2018 3:14 pm

(I can't keep titling posts "Things")

While I didn't have a hamster I thought I'd get some holidays in. I was going to Chester anyway for a wedding and I'd already made some tentative plans to go to Edinburgh. Said plans got less tentative and then I thought I could go somewhere else. The only weekend I had free when it wasn't the Easter holidays was last weekend. I then discovered that staying on a Friday or Saturday night was twice the price. Which worked out well because I ended up going to Bath on Sunday when there were trains running (if not all of them).

I've heard a lot about the snow elsewhere in the country, but it wasn't as bad where I was. It still wasn't great, but we didn't have the 7 inches of snow they apparently had in Bath. I worked from home on Thursday because although there wasn't enough snow to completely cover the ground, the weather forecast said it was going to get worse. I was at the point of deciding the forecast was wrong when people at work went home because it was so bad there. Work is only 10 miles away!

After being out in -4C (in seven layers, not including coat, scarf, hat and gloves), 5C (ish) felt really warm. Bath was good, although I did loads of walking. The Waterstones there didn't have a separate social history section, but their 20th century history section had quite a few books I'd got or read, which was pretty good. I looked in the crime section for Daisy Dalrymple, because having read ebooks I'd never seen any covers in person. They had three, very brightly coloured, one of which was Superfluous Women.

One of the things that has bothered me about the books is the way all the women are married off (or about to be). Yet after the war there were a lot more women of marriageable age than men. Which turned out to be a good thing in the end because no longer were women expected to just get married. They could have jobs and no longer was spinsterhood something to be pitied. Turns out this is the book that does deal with this. And in the acknowledgements, the author has read the same book I have on the subject. On the basis that money spent on books when you're on holiday doesn't count, I bought it.

While I was there I went to a comedy club that had a few new stand ups doing short sets. Some of them were funnier than others. Some of them were better than others. Although the best ones were the ones that were confident. The nervous ones didn't come across as well. It was interesting that quite a few had notes written on their hands to remind them of their jokes.

Between my cold and the cold I've been in a lot, so it was good to get out and about. Although I seem to have ended up going out nearly every night this week. And I like Bath: it's pretty and you can get to everything in the city centre. I was sad to leave until I was walking home from the station and it was so quiet. And then I realised how much I missed the quiet. I like cities to visit and they're handy to have nearby, but I couldn't live in one.


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Chester and cold
Sunday 18th February 2018 2:42 pm

I went to Chester last weekend, came home and then got a cold. Work has been busy before and since, hence the lack of posting.

I wouldn't have chosen to go up north in the middle of winter, but I went for a wedding and since it involved four trains, I stayed for a bit longer. I ended up doing most of Chester in a day, which involved being out in the sun, wind, rain, hail and snow (not all at once). It was nice when it was sunny and the wind wasn't blowing. But not otherwise. It was pretty though.

A combination of lots of walking, going up four flights of stairs to my room, swimming 500m every evening (there was an 18m pool in the hotel), wearing my warm winter boots rather than walking shoes meant I ended up with shin splints. Which I've never had before, but I was glad I wasn't staying longer because I couldn't manage any more walking. But my feet were warm.

I got back, woke up the next morning with a cold. I can't just have a cold, it also sets off my asthma and dizziness, so it saps all my energy and I can't breathe. At least it waited until I got back.

I am getting some holidays in while I don't have a hamster, so I'm off to Edinburgh in the spring and another holiday in a few weeks. Usually I plan where to go and then take the time off. This time I've found a weekend I can have off and am yet to decide where to go.

In the meantime I am enjoying the Winter Olympics. A lot of the sports I just need to see a bit and then I've seen it all (except for people falling over). And a lot of them involve so much movement and camera movement that I got too dizzy if I watch too much. None of which counts for the curling. Which this morning included an excellent view of the Norwegian team's trousers.


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2017: the year of babies
Sunday 7th January 2018 7:48 pm

It feels like everyone had babies in 2017. Although in reality it's only three and only if you count the beginning of this year as 2017. Which isn't that much of a surprise in some ways, because I went to a lot of weddings a few years ago (where four counts as a lot). But it's had a terrible effect on my social life.

When I went to the tennis or to see comedians, I used to go with my sister. Which was fine until the end of 2016 when we saw Adam Hills. And then she very selfishly had a baby this year (who I plan to use to go to things that would be odd to go to without a child when he's old enough, but that's not going to be for a few years yet). Between that and other babies and illness (and weather) I haven't been to any tennis, the only time I went to the theatre was to Harry Potter, which I booked in mid-2016, and the only comedian I saw was Ellie Taylor, when the local theatre emailed that week to say she was on. Amusingly, her set was all about how she was in her 30s and everyone was having babies...

But this year is going to be different. I've decided that if I want to go to something I will just book it and go. Then it doesn't matter what anyone else is doing. So I am already going to see Lucy Porter and Dara O'Briain in the spring.


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Christmas
Saturday 23rd December 2017 4:35 pm

I hate Christmas. I hated it more when I was a child because I got two weeks off from school and the only difference between Christmas Day and every other day was that everything was closed, everyone else was too busy eating turkey and arguing with their family, and there was nothing on TV. These days it's different because Christmas means two bank holidays. And I like that that they mean not having to see anyone. There's still nothing open, but these days it's when all the TV is on.

I was starting to think I was in a minority about this because there are other people at work who aren't Christian and still do Christmas. And on The Last Leg they went all Christmassy on 1st December, and it turned out both their guests were Jewish. But both of them did something Christmassy or at least didn't hate it.

And then Captain Awkward had a question about Christmas and a lot of people in the comments saying how they hated it too.

It's not the actual day I hate any more, it's the lead up to it. It's not being able to go into a shop without having to listen to Christmas music that I've heard a hundred times already. Or listen to the radio without the same problem. And people who ask what I'm eating for Christmas dinner. They might as well ask what I'm eating for dinner a week next Tuesday for all the sense that makes. Or worse, ask if I'm ready for Christmas. I don't know what that means. (I'm always ready for Christmas to be over).

I don't mind people asking what I'm doing for Christmas, because it's the same as asking what I'm doing for any bank holiday or weekend. Although I keep my answers vague because they're not actually interested in the specifics.

And there are some Christmassy things I do like. Like mince pies and Christmas pudding (as long as there's no brandy butter - that stuff is disgusting). And Christmas trees (I especially like that you can get them in colours other than green), and tinsel. I have no interest in baubles, they're not as pretty as tinsel. Or fairy lights that flash. I like the white lights on people's houses that hang down. And the really OTT people you can laugh at on the way past.

So there are good things about Christmas, I just wish it wasn't so in your face, with an assumption that everyone does Christmas. (Besides, passover is much better, which is why it's the only Jewish festival I still do every year, even when it's not at Easter)

For me, this is an appropriately timed post: since yesterday was the last working day before Christmas, therefore yesterday was Christmas Eve and today was Christmas Day.


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