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Elizabeth's Journal
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Date:2014-11-24 11:26
Subject:I first produced my pistol and then produced my rapier

Enquiring minds wish to know...

Imagine you are taking the lid off a jar. It's quite tight. You struggle with it a bit. Are you imagining wrestling with the jar? Now...

My right hand is on the jar lid
My left hand is on the jar lid
It's quite a struggle, I'm trying both ways round
I use some form of Device for taking lids of jars, which I might tell you about in the comments
I have staff for that sort of thing
I do not eat things that come in jars and/or Other

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Date:2014-11-21 14:32
Subject:Sound them out, one after the other

Yesterday[*] I finished Life After Life. I highly recommend it, though I should declare that I am a massive fan of Kate Atkinson's writing.

Anyway, at one point during the book a character in a garden is surprised. He leaps backwards, and falls over into a cotton-eater.

Wait, back up, he falls back into a what now?

A cotton-easter.

Err, no that's not a thing, either.

At which point something weird happened. I realised that I was looking at a word, and had no idea what it was. Obviously I meet words whose meaning I don't know on a daily basis - technical terms, words in languages I can't read, obscure words that don't crop up much. I read them, and realise I don't know them. I look them up (or not, as appropriate) and move on.

A related problem, of course, now that I work on the fringes of marketingworld, is finding words that I know perfectly well but which are clearly being used to mean something other than what I think they mean. See also: neologisms, ghastly. Though at least it was immediately obvious what was meant by the word "onboarding".

Anyway, the cotton-eater. For the first time in probably thirty years, I found myself having to carefully spell out a word, syllable by syllable. Co-to-ne-as-ter. Aha! A cotoneaster! A word I know perfectly well once it's said, but which - had I ever thought about it - I would have spelled katoniasta.

It's rather nice to know that English can still surprise me.

[*] With rather annoying timing - I still had a lot of journey left when I ran out of book.

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Date:2014-11-18 22:10
Subject:Didn't we have a lovely time the day we met Cthulu?

As mentioned last Friday, I was under a cold. A slightly weird one, as it happened, in that I went from the awful sore-throat-shivery-achey-feverishness of "coming down with a cold" to the tight chest and hacking cough of "getting over a cold" without ever really having the snuffly bit in the middle.

Anyway, despite feeling moderately ghastly, I headed off to a gig on Friday night.

The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing @ The GarageCollapse )

On Saturday, I braved hell and (almost listerally) hight water to get over to bateleur's house for a spot of role-playing. (NB. If you're one of the people playing in subsequent versions of this, it's safe to read this as it contains no details of the game.)

Call of CthuluCollapse )

And, to tie the two nicely together, we have TMTTNBBFN performing Margate Fhtagn:

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Date:2014-11-18 21:30
Subject:And they call this having fun, a different party every night

As mentioned, I'm suffering dreadful LJ backlog. One of the things I'm keen to note down for my own future reference is the bands at WGW this year. So...

Anyone interested can watch the "band sampler" released on YouTube before the event here.

FridayCollapse )

SaturdayCollapse )

SundayCollapse )

And that's it. April next year is the 21st anniversary, and is a double-length affair featuring four nights of bands. All you lot who don't do that kind of WGW thing any more, why don't you think about it? It'd be nice to see you :)

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Date:2014-11-17 10:10
Subject:All right, stop. Collaborate and listen.

Today is not going well. I opened the freezer to begin making my bento this morning.... gosh. What a lot of ice. "Defrost freezer" moved from the hazy middle distance of something I forget to think about to "probably next weekend".

I fought a section of freezer open... oh. This drawer is full of slush puppy. And the things in it are rather... bendy for frozen goods. "Defrost freezer" upped to "something I should probably do tonight".

And then I discovered I couldn't close the door. Oh. Guess I'll defrost the freezer now, then. At 7.30. While in my fluffy grey dressing gown. Chris C (plus Batman dressing gown) came to help.

Sadly, I've thrown all the food away. Even the things that still appeared frozen solid, because I've no way of knowing if they've been consistently frozen. A few things (bread, apple purree, red cabbage) I'll risk. Prawns and chicken stir-fry mix, not so much.

The freezer is, of course, one of those alleged no-need-to-defrost affairs, so doesn't have useful features like a built-in spout to funnel the drips. There has been a lot of mopping.

ChrisC has heroically taken the morning off to keep the floods at bay. I am now heading immeasurably slowly to work, as all forms of transport out of Ealing appear to be stuffed.

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Date:2014-11-14 18:01
Subject:Don't blame it on sunshine

Right. I have a stiff neck and a vile headache[*]. Ibuprofen and gentle shoulder-rolling have done nothing. I'm going to try alcohol and a The Men That Won't Be Blamed For Nothing gig.

This could be a new breakthrough in medical technology.

[*] Note for anyone concerned. It is not serious. I just have a cold :)

6 comments | post a comment

Date:2014-11-06 13:03
Subject:When I argue I see shapes

As per usual, I am massively behind with things I'd like to write about. I've been to Spain. I've been to Whitby. I've seen some bands. I've even read some books. But anyway...

A few weeks ago, a post from sushidog included a sentence which began "I need to div out..." and I thought huh? div? Oh well, maybe Sushidog has been talking to some people who are unusually hip, or unusually Canadian, or something. Later on in the post she mentioned that she had divd it out after all, and I thought right. Fine. I have learned a new word.

Then nalsa said it, and then susandennis... OK. That's a thing, then.

Except... it just seemed a bit weird. I got suspicious. I looked at LJ on a real, live PC web-browser instead of the Android app. Lo and behold... Everyone was reporting that they needed to figure things out, or had figured things out. For some reason, the app replaces the word "figure" with the word "div". Is this some kind of CSS transform gone wrong?

I have no idea.

(If you're reading this on the app, it probably makes no sense. I am claiming that "f-i-g-u-r-e" is replaced by "d-i-v" on the app.)

Edit: figure (at pseudomonas' suggestion, testing if fi (fi ligature) makes a difference)

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Date:2014-10-15 18:19
Subject:Hey there, Mr Blue Sky

When on holiday, I'm a do-er. I always have been. In a museum, in a gallery, up a tower, walking across a hillside... definitely not lazing in bed all day, or sitting still. Sunbathing? Wouldn't thank you for it.

However, I think I'm getting old. I'm also, these days, probably working harder than I ever have. Longer hours, plus I'm more contactable when not in the office. I've also given up dicking about online when at work: if I'm in the office, I'm working. Some nights I dream about spreadsheets. The idea of doing nothing is becoming more appealing.

Right now, I'm lazing (admittedly in the shade) on a sunny roof terrace. With a beer (plus the little dish of the nuts that this jolly civilised place provides as standard). We didn't make it back to the museum, where the next tour in a language we could both understand was 5pm. We're just... sitting. And I'm ok with that.

6 comments | post a comment

Date:2014-10-07 07:23
Subject:Travelling on the tube-train

Testing, testing...

New LJ Android appCollapse )

Additional: client decidedly flaky without signal/wi-fi. Obviously I don't expect it to download posts then, but it'd be nice if the error pop-up didn't go all woogly and prevent interaction once we're back in internet land.

Additional additional: notifications only work for comments on your own posts, not replies to comments you've made elsewhere. If this is controlled by a setting, I can't find it. The navigation is quite awkward. If I click on the notification of a comment, I'd like to go to that comment, not the post it was made on (and then have to lead the comments separately).

3 comments | post a comment

Date:2014-09-30 07:01
Subject:Those men in biohazard suits, mud caking on their rubber boots

Good morning, the internet. Does anyone know anything about Brussels?

My dance team are organising a trip for ourselves and another team there next Easter (location chosen mostly for presence of Belgian beer, and ability to get there on the train).

Right now we're at the planning stage, and looking for things to do, things to see and places to dance for a group of ~30 people. Also a (cheap) place to stay, and places to eat. I'm sure the internet, and the research trip Sally and I are planning, will turn up plenty, but if you have any special recommendations, I'd love hear them!

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Date:2014-09-29 14:07
Subject:They come from many places, they come down for the day

Some time back, a festival was announced on Blackheath. OnBlackheath, in fact. We looked at it and thought, hey, look at Sunday's line-up. Frank Turner! The Levellers! And err... probably some other people. The tickets were £60+, and we decided that weren't that excited.

Then ChrisC spotted a deal somewhere, selling tickets for less than half price. He grabbed a couple quickish, and then we realised... everywhere was selling them cheap. Possibly everyone else had decided it was too pricey, too, and stayed away in droves. Would it end up being cancelled at short notice?

In the end, no. Blackheath is a very long way away from our bit of London, but a tube, a train, and a bit of walking got us there. And wow. You may remember me describing Latitude as the most middle-class festival every. Not so! OnBlackheath had celebrity chef demos, and a stall advertising and demonstrating the latest model of Neff oven... Probably not that surprising, given that it was sponsored by John Lewis. Rock and roll, man.

Obligatory list:
Rhys Lewis and the Relics, [Athlete], Stealing Sheep, Levellers, Steve Mason, Imelda May, [Red and Pink], [TOY], Frank Turner & the Sleeping Souls, Radiophonic Workshop

You sound middle-class, but I'll let it passCollapse )

6 comments | post a comment

Date:2014-09-27 17:51
Subject:You will softly and silently vanish away, and never be met with again

Hurrah, we have the internet back! Someone had sliced through a critical cable, and Virgin Media Man has now, I dunno, knotted it back together or something. Expect a volley of blog posts, as various rough drafts from the last fortnight come out...

At the beginning of September, I went away for the weekend with my occasional dance team, Boojum.

Note for new(ish) readers: I do a form of traditional English folk-dancing called rapper. It looks a bit like this. It's from the north-east, and no one has ever heard of it. It involves short, bendy strips of metal which we (inaccurately) call swords, and usually happens in pubs. I belong to a team called Mabel Gubbins, based in Oxfordshire. Since Boojum formed in 2001 - of people scatted from Newcastle to Canterbury - I've also danced with them.

Boojum have always gone in for meeting up at odd times, in odd places, dancing wherever anyone would have us. We've had a lot of fun. But... we've decided to call it quits.

We've travelled the country for pleasureCollapse )

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Date:2014-09-26 10:17
Subject:Go, boys, go

Quite often, when I phone my parents, there's some sort of breathless scramble at their end as they turn off whatever music they're listening to. I nearly always have music on when I'm at home, and my parents do too... I always assumed that was just what people did, but apparently not.

When I was little, there was always music on in our house. One corner of my parents' dining room was given over to the record cupboard (an MFI job when I was little, now a far superior dark wood cabinet) and it was full... classical concerti, and the occasional Buddy Holly disc, but mostly folk music. Lots of it was bought direct from the artist in folk clubs up and down the north-east - my Dad tells me that when I was little I thought that was the only way you could buy records. He may be winding me up. He does that.

One of the records that reminds me strongly of my childhood is an album called Ring of Iron, recorded by a local group called the Teesside Fettlers. They were one of those rolling concerns that kept going through multiple line-up changes (oh, and still are, apparently). One of the stalwart (and, I think, founder) members was a guy called Ron Angel. On lots of the tracks you can hear him playing the whistle or the fife, the counterpoint dancing happily over the melody.

Ron AngelCollapse )

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Date:2014-09-23 11:29
Subject:Is there still a part of you that wants to live?

For anyone who - like me - is forced to use Windows 8/8.1, but hates lots of the non-negotiable features, I commend to you Winaero. From them, you can download two lightweight programs which:

1. Allow you to turn off the bottom-right hot corner, meaning the stupid Charms menu doesn't pop up all the time (Charms Bar Killer runs in your systray, and allows you to turn various hot corners on and off).

2. Allow you to fine-tune, and indeed turn off, the taskbar thumbnail previews meaning the the silly little windows don't pop over the thing you're trying to look at (Taskbar Thumbnail Tuner is a run-when-you-need-it selection of extra settings, including the mighty "disable thumbnails" tickybox).

(There are various registry hacks proposed on t'internet to solve both of these. I haven't tried them.)

If the above are features you like and use, then hurrah! However, in my case they were nothing but a source of irritation.

I think nearly 12 months of locating settings, finding obscure menus, and downloading extra bits means that I'm now willing to declare a sort of armed truce with Windows 8 (or, actually, 8.1 now). It has agreed to keep all its spurious Mac-esque eye-candy and ridiculous Metro nonsense out of my way, and I've conceded that a very small amount of the new functionality is useful.

5 comments | post a comment

Date:2014-09-19 09:07
Subject:Sink like a stone without you

Next door to my station, a former sandwich shop has been turning into something else. Today it's got its pink-and-black fascia up. It's called "Afters", and helpfully lists what it will purvey:

Frozen yogurt
Cold stone

Err.... a nice cold stone for afters, anyone?

(I'm familiar with places advertising "hot stone" pizzas or steaks, but I have absolutely no idea what they mean here...)

13 comments | post a comment

Date:2014-09-18 10:11
Subject:Because you're probably too drunk to even remember

As some of you will know, I cheerfully make up words all the time. But I'm struggling to think of a word I'd like to exist... I can come up with neither a real one nor a decent substitute.

Can anyone suggest a word or phrase to convey the sensation of realising you've forgotten something that you always remember?

Every week, when I go to work in the Oxford office, I need to put extra cables into my laptop bag. Usually I remember. Occasionally I forget. This is not the thing I'm describing.

When I leave the house without tying my hair up, I clip a hairslide to one of my belt loops. If I'm not wearing trousers, I clip it on the strap of a bag or similar.


On Sunday, in far-flung south-east London, I reached for my hairslide. It wasn't there. This never happens.

Perhaps it had sprung off? It hadn't. When I got home, there it was waiting. I genuinely can't think of having ever forgotten this before. It's surprisingly disconcerting.

3 comments | post a comment

Date:2014-09-15 09:38
Subject:The birds and the beasts were there

Do you have pre-school children? Do they like animals? Do they like playing games? And do you have some form of Android device?

If so, check out Little Clever. It's a set of games aimed at pre-schoolers, published by an ex-colleague[*] of mine who went solo when the company we worked for was wound up last year.

If you've got an Android tablet/phone/toaster, you can try the games free here: (they're still awaiting approval on iPhone but should be available soon). Facebook nonsense here:

I haven't tried them out, but would be interested to hear what anyone thinks if they do.

[*] KC, for any readers who haven't already seen him touting this on G+ :)

6 comments | post a comment

Date:2014-09-13 22:45
Subject:Sticks out a great big hand and grabs me by the wrist

Does anyone want to help me out with the 80's (or maybe 70's) Doctor Who episode which featured a lot of grabbing hands appearing from unlikely places? Specifically, I remember a hand thrusting out of a water butt to grab the Doctor round the neck, and a series of hands trying to pull him down into a sandy beach.

Weirdly, I can't remember which Doctor. And my Google-fu appears to be failing.

spindlemere did once track this episode down for me, but I've forgotten his answer :(

2 comments | post a comment

Date:2014-09-10 09:09
Subject:You have always worn your flaws upon your sleeve

As I mentioned a while ago here, I bought some of Dr Geof's embroidered badges of the First Tea Company, in the blind faith that a military-ish jacket would show up to sew them on. Six months later it did, in my local charity shop (the label proudly says it is made by NafNaf, who apparently are still going - in my head they're synonymous with the 80s).

I sewed up the rips in its lining, fixed its fastenings, and attached my badges. What surprises me is the extent to which it draws comments.

Full Kettle JacketCollapse )

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Date:2014-09-04 09:36
Subject:In his skin-tight trousers and his cherry-red Docs

Strolling into Carnaby Street at 7:15 this morning[*], I was surprised to see a crowd. Large numbers of young persons, standing around. It looked slightly like a meet-up for a college trip, but Carnaby St? At 7 in the morning?

The crowd was long, and strung out along the street, smaller groups chatting. Sitting on the road, eating Pret toasties and drinking fancy coffee. Some had sheets of cardboard to sit on, some had picnic blankets.

Further along the road, people had sleeping bags and camping chairs. Aha! This isn't a crowd, this is a queue.

It ended abruptly outside the Dr Martens shop. A quick Google suggests that some Dr Martens outlets are selling boots at the 1960's price of £3. A limited number of pairs, obviously, so if you're reading this: you've missed it.

I've never queued overnight for something. I don't think I've even considered it. Have you?

[*] I was going to yoga before work. Don't tell anyone. It will ruin my pie-eating, beer-swilling image.

15 comments | post a comment

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