ellenscult: (girl writing)
My dad called to say one of his friends had died. Stan Barstow passed away on the first of August. He'd been one of my dad's close friends since some time in the 1950s, had been an infrequent presence in my life as I grew up, but he was a constant: kind, genial, wise, intelligent, gracious, good-humoured; a man who always had time for myself and my siblings.

He was one of the great British writers of our time; of course he was. But he was also the man who told my twin and I that he'd had a dream of beautiful women in long dresses flitting across his lawn at dusk, one summer party, making it clear that we were the embodiment of his dream. Exactly what shy fifteen-year-olds need to hear, putting us at ease among his distinguished guests.

Stan wrote A Kind of Loving, a novel that helped changed the face of English literature, following it up with other novels that cemented his justly-deserved reputation as a great writer.

He's not the only figure from my childhood to pass away; Glyn Hughes, novelist and poet, passed away at the end of May. Another of our unsung literary giants, Glyn encouraged me to write, going as far as to take my adolescent stories and offer me valuable feedback.

These men helped shape my childhood, helped shape my awareness of my heritage, of the bleak-hilled industrial background I lived among. They encouraged my literary pretensions and above all they were kind to a shy and awkward girl who fit in best among the pages of books.

RIP Glyn Hughes and Stan Barstow. Great writers both; I'll miss you.
ellenscult: (fist of doom)
Bit of an update... )

A plug: if you're after anything in classical or jazz music, please consider ordering through/purchasing from the Lamb CD shop on Micklegate in York. It's an independent music shop, it's struggling to stay in business, and it used to be one of the largest classical and jazz music shops in the country. If you're after a specific recording, even if it's been deleted, chances are they may have it, and it'll be available at its usual cd price rather than the 'it's deleted so we'll hike the price up to 60 quid' which Amazon have a habit of charging.

Another plug: if you have a special event coming up, need decorations for cakes or buns, consider ordering them from Anita's Sugarcraft. Anita makes all the decorations by hand, to order. She's a friend, and she's very talented.

Last plug: if you're in need of any games, dice, rpg stuff, go visit Jorvik Games. It's run by a couple of friends of mine, who will post stuff out to you, arrange to meet up with you to hand things over, or even hand-deliver items (in York, that is).

Keep the economy going! Go forth and buy stuff!
ellenscult: (bfg)
This afternoon, thanks to Whatever, I read this article. Although it's very sad, it reminds me yet again how glad I am that we have civil unions in the UK, how glad I am that one by one countries are making same-sex marriage legal, that states in the US (despite California's Proposition 8) are moving in the right direction.

It shouldn't even be an issue. If both parties are adult and want to marry, sex and gender should be the least of our issues. Why should I have the right (and incredible good fortune) to be married to the love of my life just because he's male and I'm female, but not if we're both men, both women? I'm bi; I could have easily fallen in love with another woman and that wouldn't have been an issue for me, my family or (I'm pretty sure just about all of) my friends.

Marriage is where you combine your heart and your community and all the legal stuff into one declaration:

This is other half of my soul, the person who is most important to me, the person I want to spend my life with.

So I don't see how so many people can regard this as the collapse-of-civilization zombiepocalypse. It's not. With death a certainty, why put the survivor through such extra trouble? To deny people the right to marry their loved one is cruel. It's inhumane.

I do have a problem with places that allow (with parental consent) young teenagers to marry. This is right, but same-sex marriage is wrong? My mind boggles. Looking at you, Alabama, looking at you.

Other stuff:

Gakked from [livejournal.com profile] rhube, Uncomfortable Plot Summaries - very funny indeed.

From [livejournal.com profile] jaylake's link salad, vintage sexist ads.

ETA: [livejournal.com profile] spindr and anyone else in Sheffield who uses cash machines on Fargate and The Moor - there's a new cash machine scam going on, so be careful. Verified by staff at HSBC and a press release by South Yorkshire Police today, so probably not a hoax.
ellenscult: (Kipper)
This are yet another 'Aten't Ded Yet!' post, brought to you from my busybusy workdesk... *grin* From which you may surmise that I'm skiving and really should get back to doing some work.

The CFS/ME, life, work, yada yada stuff: )

Right! I probably had a bunch of other things to blog about... Birthdays!

Many happy returns of the day to [livejournal.com profile] evieb, [livejournal.com profile] gaxx and Miss India!

Mazel Tov to [livejournal.com profile] vin_petrol, [livejournal.com profile] trash_petrol and [livejournal.com profile] evie_petrol on the latest addition to their family!

Hub - Europe's largest weekly SF, F & Horror ezine. Fiction! Articles! Free!
Pseudopod - the world's largest horror podcast. Also free!
Kiva Loans - changing the world one loan at a time.
ellenscult: (dressmaking)
For those of you who feel you lack enough angst in your life, this is superb. Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] alasdair1076 for passing the link along!

Another link: [livejournal.com profile] o_faolain points out something rather important for those of you who enjoy listening to live music. If you don't want to see live music disappear, go and read, then follow his link to sign the petition.

Weekend update... )

Right, enough of this lj malarkey! It's time to force-quite WinZip Pro and try again to update that pesky zip archive for work...

Oh, but before I go, I have started a new knitting project - a cashmere lace shawl... More about that later. *beam*
ellenscult: (Queen of France)

Happy Jesus Year, [livejournal.com profile] ravenlas! Happy Birthday, Kate! Belated happies to [livejournal.com profile] thirstypixel!

Running at 38rpm; the weekend; a fanvid. )
ellenscult: (comesee)
Just a reminder that Pseudopod 108 is Paul G. Tremblay's The Teacher, which is one of the best short stories I've read in a very long time.

Also, Hub magazine is up to issue 65, which contains an interview by the sterling Richard Morgan.

Go, listen, read, donate. Yes, they're free. Yes, they could do with your support. No, I don't donate money. But I do all their slushpile reading (and for Hub, proofreading) for free. Which, yanno, is something. Because they're worth it.
ellenscult: (car at my head)
So today I finally fell over. I was in bed by 10pm, and mostly slept through okay. Still with the weird dreams, but hey, they're all good. :) And I got up at 6:30, and went downstairs and looked in the mirror, and I still looked as though someone had punched me in the eyes. So I grabbed my phone and went back to bed, and a couple of hours later [livejournal.com profile] ravenlas called in for me. I really didn't want to take a sick day - I'm fed up of it, and if I ever do need to get another job, my sick record is really quite bad. But I didn't get up until just gone 11. Which means I had between 12 and 13 hours of sleep, and I don't look like someone thumped me. :) I'm still tired, though, and my day has not thus far involved the doing of any work at all. Ho hum. I shouldn't be off next week, though. Which is good.

So instead of any writing progress, here's a couple of things to pass along: a post on corporate Christianity and the implications thereof.

And from my sister:

Llandrindod Wells animal rescue has many cats and dogs needing good homes - all neutered.

collies and collies crosses of all ages
german shepards
king charles spaniels
jack russells and jack russell crosses
cats and lots of kittens
budgerigar, runner ducks and aylesbury ducks

contact glenys 01597 824966

If you can help, give them a call.

And if you've not seen the ad for Mercenaries 2, you really should. You can download the song for free from the official website. It's remarkably genteel.

Exercise: nothing. Weight: 150 lbs. Alcohol: 0 so far, maybe a glass of wine later make that 2 glasses of white wine, a marguerita and a pina colada.

Have a great day, y'all. Thanks for being an amazing bunch of people. Thanks for not demanding apologies for my being rubbish (socially) right now. I hope your lives are all going well, or at least are improving. And know that you do all matter to me, and I love each and every one of you.

Shabbat Shalom!
ellenscult: (trains)
I took [livejournal.com profile] ravenlas off to London this weekend for his birthday. Which was the weekend before, in case you were wondering. (And yes, he'd pretty much forgotten about it, and doesn't tell anyone about it.)

Details, Schmetails! )

So that was the weekend. [livejournal.com profile] alasdair1076 called me. I have Torchwood squeeeee! Awesome! Utterly, uttely awesome.

If anyone has a muppet icon I could use - you know, where they run around in circles waving their arms above their heads - that's me right now.

ellenscult: (bunk)
... and not just if you read it in your bunk. My friend [livejournal.com profile] o_faolain pointed out an article in today's Metro, and followed it up with a link to an article in the Daily Mail. Apparently, Borders have comissioned a study showing that reading racy books - thrillers, erotica, etc - burns more calories than, say, reading the phone book.

So all that Doctor Who fanfic I've been reading is actually good for something!

Maybe they'll start marketing juicy books as 'can help control your weight as part of a calorie controlled diet'. *heh*

Of course, it'd work better if I could balance my laptop on the exercise bike...
ellenscult: (Kipper)
I was away in Cork on Wednesday and Thursday for a conference for work. It was really interesting, and we were hosted by EMC in their very swish 'executive briefing centre'. The evening entertainment was a trip to the Curaheen Dog Track. I had the Best Steak Ever, and had a good time watching the dog races, surprisingly. The most fun was the betting, or rather the deciding, as I was in a group with one of my company's directors and two customers (met them before, lovely guys). And then we went out to the pub afterwards. So I got to bed around 1am, and had to get up at 7:30, feeling a tad delicate. The speakers were excellent, though, and the trip back was uneventful. And so to a quiet evening, the first episode of House Season 3 (yay! *happy dance*), and an early night.

Some links for you: Bob Taylor's obituary - the only example of an alien sighting becoming the subject of a criminal investigation in UK.

The Cricket Test - Tebbit's 'Are you English enough?' test coming back to haunt Jews with this week's England/Israel football match.

From [livejournal.com profile] jaylake: Backups, or why you need them.

New Chinese Olympic swim centre.

New bone substitute material.

Photos by the blind.
ellenscult: (wrong)
Just a couple of links for you, of different ways of looking at familiar cultural icons: Steampunk Star Wars, courtesy of [livejournal.com profile] a_crow, and a Dalek as you've never seen it before. Or at least, I hope not... *shudder*


Feb. 14th, 2007 11:30 am
ellenscult: (Default)
Not much to post about, so have this to amuse you. And this. You need to listen to this. *happy dance*

Work, busy but boring this morning. Need more tea. Feh.
ellenscult: (nell gwyn)
What I did over the weekend, or, our heroine finally confronts the evil in the attic. )

And today? Well, I got 8 done on the cryptic crossword. Must be the Right Setter. Yay!
ellenscult: (norns)
... there's often an argument! Don't have a will made? There'll definitely be an argument, then. If not with the family, then with the government. I don't have a will, yet. Just not got around to it. But if, HaShem forbid, I get knocked off my bike and splutched one of these days, there'll be a right mess for someone else to sort out. Now, [livejournal.com profile] spindr has posted about the Bluebell Wood Children's Hospice annual help-with-will-writing day. So if you'd like some information, or help with writing your last will and testament, her post tells you who to contact. You don't have to leave money to the hospice, but if you do, it'd be really nice. As far as I understand, there just aren't that many childrens hospices around, and it's not appropriate sticking them in with the old folks. Anyway, the will-writing day is next Tuesday, the 30th, so hop to it, my minions! *evil cackle*

Oh, sorry... got a bit carried away there. I don't *actually* have my own army of hopping monkeys, do I...? Note to self: find some place to put that secret lab, and develop army of freaky creatures. After writing will.
ellenscult: (Default)
Perfect for cheering up a Friday, this flash film stopped all work in the office. Oh, much chortling! Then go check out this site. They've some good stuff up there.

Hint: get your headphones ready, cover your keyboards, and place mugs of tea and coffee out of reach. No liability accepted for ruined keyboards.
ellenscult: (passed)
I have a story up on The Slant! (A sarcastic and cynical news feed.) Yay!

[livejournal.com profile] paul_marks is up visiting, which is nice.

I cycled out to the Balloon Tree farm shop and back to get a lot of veg, lamb and beef. It's about, ooh, a 12 mile round trip. Along busy roads. But no cars tried to kill me, though one 4x4 did try overtaking a learner on the other side of the road, thereby coming right towards me. It's a good job the road was wide enough - nowhere for me to go. Meh. Still, maybe the idiot driver will be a bit more observant next time - he got truly beeped at by other drivers.

After lunch, I cleaned out my veg drawer at the bottom of the fridge, then decided to clear out my cupboards and rearrange them. So now I have a full compost heap (bags of flour dating back 2 years, very out of date rice cakes, etc), and cupboards where I can find things (all in date), and actual space in my cupboard to put away my food processer. Go me! For dinner I did: chicken fillets on a bed of onion, celery, apple, apricots with honey, in a sauce of a little bit of chopped garlic, some mustard, cinnamon, nutmeg, ground ginger and orange juice, with lime juice. And roast carrot, parsnip and celeriac. Sprouts with chestnuts. Mashed potatoes and swede. Yummy!

[livejournal.com profile] ravenlas came back from town with Battlestar Galactica season 1 - and a bag full of lush stuff for me. I love him! He's so thoughtful! So if you don't hear from me for a while, it's because I'm getting all prune-like in the bath. At this point, it'd be a good thing to have a second loo in the house. Oh well! *shrug* *evil cackle*


Jan. 5th, 2007 01:30 pm
ellenscult: (Default)
For anyone who's wading through Miss Snark's latest crapometer, you might want to watch the 12 Days of Christmas, a la Miss Snark, by one of her Snarklings. It's fabulous: funny, heartwarming, and with photos of George Clooney. What more could anyone want?

Cool stuff from [livejournal.com profile] jaylake:

After the Deluge - a very clever, funny short story by Leah Bobet. If you're into SF, read it and grin.

Writing news: completed a commissioned article on podcasting and submitted it. All other work on hold so far this week due to shredding & filing, dressmaking & writing the aforementioned article. Must Try Harder!
Exercise: (Over the past 7 days) cycled 56 miles - 44 on exercise bike, 12 on road bike.
Dressmaking: Filed all the handouts, finished tacking together the back and back side pieces. Tacked interfacing to front pieces, and staystitched.
ellenscult: (chomp)
Christmas: or, How I Learned to Stick to Chanukah... )

Back in York, [livejournal.com profile] ravenlas and I went sales shopping. I bought: 3 pairs of pyjamas, 4 towels, a lamp and some monster furry slippers from BHS. And then we went to Monsoon, and I bought a pair of trousers. [livejournal.com profile] ravenlas bought me a silk skirt and a jacket, and the jacket wasn't even in the sale! He's so good to me, and I don't deserve him. We called into Game, and [livejournal.com profile] ravenlas got a computer game, and I did too, only mine was only £1.99, so I'm not expecting great things of it. Then we had dinner at Russell's Carvery, went home, came back into town, gave said monster slippers to [livejournal.com profile] a_crow for his birthday, saw his flat - v. envious as it's in one of the Georgian town houses on Micklegate, and it's a gorgeous building - and went out for a drink. Various folks were there, and I got to see Vicky's Peru photos, but all too soon we had to head home as we're at work today. Only... when I got home, I opened a bottle of wine and sat and watched Pretty Woman, which is still a darned good film. So I got to bed at 1:30am, rather squiffy, and though I could catch a later train into work, I'm still tired and a wee bit achey. Meh. That'll teach me... Oh, and I have done No Writing. At all. I will have to rectify this state of affairs.

So far today, I've done no work whatsoever. I suspect that state of affairs will continue until next week... *heh*


ellenscult: (Default)

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