Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Blogger Follower Issues

Thanks to Jennifer, through Sarah, for this explanation of why we're all apparently losing followers.
If you use Blogger as your platform, I'm sure you've noticed that your follower count is down. Apparently Blogger has changed everybody's followers to "anonymous" and anonymous followers don't show. If everyone can do these simple steps, we can all get our followers back:

Go to dashboard, you'll see "Blogs I'm Following"

Scroll down to the bottom of that list and click on manage.

Then you'll see that all the drop down menus have been changed to anonymous. You just need to change them back to public.

Hopefully we can get the word out, so everyone can take these steps. I hope this doesn't happen again!

I've changed my list back to public. What a cheek though, to change it without telling us! It took me forever to tick all those boxes.

So, if you thought you'd managed to lose me, tough luck. I'm still following you. Is that creepy, or what?

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Evolution is a soap opera

picture of evolution from pharyngula
Did you know that evolution is like a soap opera? No, nor did I until I read Pharyngula today.

Pharyngula points out that evolution is not a simple progression with us at the end of it as many people seem to believe. The trouble is, that idea makes a good story which is probably how the view has come to be so popular. Looking for a way to explain the complexities of evolution in a way that will grab our imagination he comes up with
evolution is like a soap opera. I can see it.

Both have lots of characters and story lines, every one full of anguish and drama, some ending happily (for a while), others ending miserably;
It's worth popping across there to read the whole post.

I thought that those of you who write science fiction might be interested both in the soap opera idea and in the picture of evolution. I like the way that we're tucked up in one corner as just part of the web of life. I wonder what an alien ecosystem would look like.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Plot Boiler

There are lots of sites where you can get random plot ideas but Plot Boiler appeals to me because you can join in and add to the characters, locations etc. It's a pleasant way to pass a moment or two and the "PlotBoiler Inspirations" links are interesting too.

None of my characters or locations have come up for me so far so I'll have to take it on trust that they've been added.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Valentine's Day Lament

This is me drawing on our car window in the snow a couple of weeks ago.

And this is what I drew:

I'm not sure if you can make it out but it's a heart with my Beloved's initial and mine. After nearly thirty years we still have fun together.

Today on the other hand is not great. I've stopped dripping nasally but my cough is disgusting and my gut hurts. Oh, and my back, and did I mention my shoulders? and... Sorry. That's enough whingeing.

Anyway, it doesn't look like Valentine's Day is going to be much of an event for us. I did exchange cards with my Beloved. Mine was home made simply because I haven't felt well enough to get out and buy one. Thank goodness for Word 2007 although my sons tell me you can do the same things with Open Office.

Being single on Valentine's Day isn't a lot of fun either. I remember when all my friends were getting Valentine's cards and I didn't. One year at University I got an anonymous picture calendar and I was never sure if it was a secret admirer or a friend having a laugh. I suspected the latter.

Is it in Finland where Valantine's Day is a celebration of friendship and not just romantic love? There's a lot to be said for that.

Happy Valentine's Day.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Love Hurts

Well, here it is, my Valentine's Day poem in glorious mono recording. The task was to read a passionate poem in a non-passionate way and I think my cold served me well.

There is nothing that you wouldn't want your kiddies to hear, except possibly for the doomladen, apathetic and yet irritable tone of voice. Come to think of it, they may have nightmares. So: not suitable for children or adults of a nervous disposition. (But no naughty words this time.)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Save The Words

I just stumbled on Save The Words which is an odd little website full of words that have gone out of fashion. It takes ages to load but once it has done so there are masses of words for you to click on and "adopt", which involves promising to use the word as often as possible.

In writing I tend to follow the advice of Gower's The Complete Plain Words and not use a long word where a short word will do but there are exceptions. I love "defenestrate" and "troglodyte". "Poppycock" and "codswallop" are good and I like the way "balderdash" sounds like it's going to be rude but then isn't.

On the Save The Words site I am attracted by "snollygoster", which means a shrewd, unprincipled person, especially a politician.

I don't fancy the idea of adopting a word, though. Who knows what words you will need to use next?

Friday, February 06, 2009

Dangerous Names

There's an interesting summary article in Mind Hacks this week, saying that difficult to pronounce names are seen as belonging to more risky or more exciting things, whether that's food additives or rollercoaster rides.

I thought that might be useful to think about when naming places and characters in stories.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Snow scenes

Here are two of the scenes I promised. If you look back at A Walk into Town you'll see that they were taken from the same place as two of the earlier pictures so you can see the difference the snow makes.

If you want to see more pictures of the snow I've uploaded them to Picasa.

My husband and I walked into town and it was so pretty. Everyone talks to everyone else when it's snowy like this. We got bread and milk in M&S - Waitrose hadn't had a delivery. We also got a chicken to roast so we aren't reduced to eating what's in the back of the cupboard yet. Then we had coffee in Starbucks and talked to a friendly young deaf couple.

I cleared a path on our drive later: it's very steep and I didn't want the snow to freeze where it was trodden down. I enjoyed that but I'm wiped out now. It's been a good day.

Snowed in

We had a foot of snow in the night and we are snowed in. The roads are impassable and there are no trains or buses running. Most of the London Underground has also shut down.

So it's an impromptu holiday! I plan to make a snowman and have a snowball fight with my husband.

I'm just wondering what we are going to eat. I have got chicken pasta sorted for tonight and we have a drawer full of frozen sausages and some eggs. I think I may have to get creative with what's in the store cupboard. Poor family!

Pictures to follow.
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