Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Speed Trials

Dvorak update: I have reached 18 wpm with only 1.1% errors. Only 22wpm to go and I'll be back where I was.

It is still painfully slow and inaccurate.

Stupid Filter

I've just tried out the Stupid Filter on my LOLcats post and to my suprise it found it
not likely to be stupid

It is my most visited post but only for the cute picture. I'd better put up some more pictures of my little monsters darlings soon.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Not blogging

I've found the solution while I'm learning to type again. The effing librarian put me on to The Lazy Bloggers Post Generator. It produced this:

Good heavens! I just had a cup of tea and realised I have not updated this since people stopped clapping and Tinkerbell died... You would not believe I spend all my time in front of a computer. Apologies to my regular readers! Even the little blue ones!.

I am tied up with discovering time doesn't stand still, spending my husband's money, just generally being a mother to my cats, my day is passing in a blur from dawn to early afternoon. I am not being a whinging Pom or anything. I need a nap.

I will try to remember I promised you I will write something that makes sense soon. Well, I'll try. I mean it!.

Normal service will be resumed as soon as possible.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Progress report

It's now day 4 of Dvorak. I've read that you can be back up to speed in a month but that seems optimistic at the moment.

I know where all the keys are without looking and if I am willing to type at the rate of 10 words a minute I don't make too many mistakes. I can type "the" quickly and accurately every time.

Everything else is SLOW and I'm grateful for the backspace key. I confuse "n" and "t", and "v" and "w" and I often try to type as if the keyboard was QWERTY. My little finger on my right hand seems to be getting more of a workout than usual and I don't much like that.

Will I persevere? All I can say is that I'm not ready to give up yet.

Friday, July 18, 2008



I am trying out the Dvorak keyboard layout. It's very slow because I'm not used to it yet. Expect fewer posts until I master it or get bored.

I got the idea from Holly Lisle.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Sunday, July 13, 2008

One little word.

I've been watching a video called God on the Brain* about temporal lobe epilepsy and the experience of God. A scientist has found that he can induce a sense of presence by stimulating people's temporal lobes with magnetic fields and he is surmising that temporal lobe stimulation is at the root of all supernatural experience. The video is in five parts and I recommend it.

What struck me though was the narration.
Controversially, Dr Persinger argues that most if not all spiritual and religious experience can be explained away by the effect of electromagnetic fields on the temporal lobes of the brain.
(Video part 4 of 5, 1:32 mins in, you can see a summary of the programme on the BBC website.)

I was intrigued by the use of the word "away" after "explain". It adds nothing to the facts of the case, which are that Dr Persinger has discovered a mechanism that causes religious experiences. It adds a whole dimension to the emotions involved though and implies that Dr Persing is dismissive of religious experience. Well, maybe he is. I found it interesting how one small everyday word can alter the impact of the narration so much.

*Thanks to Scott from Oregon's post on EE's blog. And thank you Robin for letting me know where I saw this.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Truth and fiction

If you've read or listened to my post Let Me Tell You A Story... then you might think that I had a bad experience with geese in my past. In fact, I haven't. I was going to set the record straight in the comments to that post with a simple: this has never happened to me. Then I remembered that although I'd never run in fear from a goose I had two bad experiences that I must have been drawing on for the story. I have a vague recollection of going for a walk and crossing a field of cows, only to find half-way across the field that a bull was concealed in the middle of them. I ran faster than I thought I could and got over the fence in the shortest possible time. Oddly enough, though, that wasn't the incident that came to mind first. The most terrible, phobia-creating event in my life was when I was locked in the toilet by a crane fly.

I've always been scared of spiders for as long as I can remember and I think my phobia about crane flies started long before the toilet incident but it has stuck in my mind as one of the most terrifying things that has happened to me. I must have been around 12 years old and I was in the loo. I went to unbolt the door and a bloody great flying daddy-long-legs fluttered on to the bolt. I couldn't get out without touching it and there was no way I was going to do that. I was filled with terror and revulsion at the very thought. It floated away from the bolt so I reached out to make my escape but before my fingers reached the lock it was back and I nearly touched it! My heart was racing and I could see no way out. My mind was empty of everything except fear. Every time I reached for the bolt, the insect aimed for it too and I jumped back in terror, my escape blocked. This went on for hours and hours, or more probably a minute or two, before I made my escape.

This incident is was what I was drawing on when I wrote about the geese. I'm not sure what made me choose geese as my phobia and not insects: they're all flying baddies but geese don't cause the skin on the back of my neck to squirm. And perhaps "The day I got locked in the loo" doesn't have quite the impact I was after.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Sleep shall be no more.

We've got kittens. (That's for anyone who hasn't been following this blog.) They are cute, adorable and wonderful. Just now, Rufus is prowling around on my desk, trying to eat my webcam after knocking as many things to the floor as possible. Yesterday he was helping me by chasing the cursor around on my screen. Both kittens have had a wonderful time with the net curtains which I've had to knot up out of the way.

Last night they came onto my bed. (The cats I mean, not the curtains.) There isn't a lot of room in the bed with two adults in it but there is room for one cat, although these two are still so little I'm afraid I'll roll onto them and hurt them. Rufus cuddled up to me and snuggled against my feet. It tickled so I moved my feet. He did it again so this time I moved him. He curled up by my leg. Aw, sweet. He started nibbling my leg and using his claws on it. Not so sweet. I stopped him and he did it again.

Last night Bonnie and Rufus were shut out of my bedroom at 2am. I am a hard, cruel woman.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Let me tell you a story...

The phobia

I haven't got a phobia. Well, not as such. A phobia is "an irrational fear or loathing" and my ... aversion ... is not irrational at all. Anyone in their right mind would feel the same way if they knew what I know.

It all started out so innocently. It was me and my boyfriend and my kid brother, all going off to the park together. It wasn't exactly ideal, I really wanted to be on my own with Jeff, but Mum said I had to take Sam with me. I didn't want to argue because it was my birthday the next week and I wanted to keep in Mum's good books for a special present I had in mind.

Anyway, there we were, Jeff, Sam, me and a picnic on our way to the park. The sun was shining as we walked across the grass and through the trees. It's quite a big park, with a pond in the middle of it. There are boats on the water in the summer and ... other things. No, I'm going to be brave. I'm going to write the words. Or maybe Jeff will add them in for me after I've finished. There were ducks on the water. It was the main reason we'd come to the park. We were going to have a little picnic - just sandwiches and fizzy drinks - and then give any leftovers to the ducks.

We hadn't brought a blanket to sit on, we just found a bit of grass near the pond and plonked ourselves down. I got out the sandwiches and it was then that the trouble started.
"Egg!" Sam said. "Mum knows I don't eat egg!"
"Well, have one of the cheese ones." I held out a cheese sandwich but Sam knocked it out of my hand.
Jeff looked at Sam but he didn't say anything.
I did though. "Now look what you've done. We'll have to give that one to the ducks." I put it on the grass to one side. Then I scrabbled in the carrier bag to see if there were any sandwiches that didn't have egg or cheese in them. I was so focussed on the inside of the bag that I didn't see the ducks that had come over looking for food. One of them got near Sam's foot and he kicked it away.

I looked up then, and saw what he was doing. "Don't do that Sam. It only wants some bread."
"I don't like them."
Jeff and I were looking at Sam and the duck when suddenly a pain shot through my hand and I dropped the carrier bag. A large goose had come up behind me and had grabbed the food bag, and my hand with it. Have you seen the size of those things? It was enormous. Its head must have come up to my chest at least. Jeff waved at it to frighten it off and it attacked with beak and wings. Jeff must have looked scary because it wasn't him that it attacked, it was me! It was all snapping beak and flapping wings and huge webbed ... Oh, it was horrible, I get the shivers even thinking about it.

I turned and fled and ran all the way home, leaving Jeff to bring Sam with him. That goose followed me all the way, I swear it did. I could hear its hissing and the clacking of its beak and the wooshing sound of its feathers as it flapped its huge wings. I've never run so fast in my life. I hammered on the front door and Mum let me in and I threw myself into her arms.
"Whatever's up?" she asked.
I was sobbing as I said, "It's the goose, it's after me,"
"What goose?" Mum asked.
"That one!" I turned and pointed.
But by that time the goose had gone. I don't think Mum really believed me, you know. She wouldn't forgive me, either, for rushing off and leaving Sam like that.

The point is, that geese really are dangerous after all and it isn't a phobia to be wary of them. And of course ducks were involved too, so you can't trust them either. Or any bird, for that matter. Never trust anything with feathers.

It was when I screamed at the first snowfall last winter because it reminded me of feathers falling out of the sky that Mum said I had to go and see a therapist. But now you've heard my story, you can see I'm telling the truth. It isn't really a phobia, is it?

~~~ END ~~~

Well, that was easy. My computer crashed recently and I've got a new hard drive so I needed to install drivers for my webcam. Of course, the disk has vanished but all I had to do was to google for drivers and download them. Then record a quick video and I'd be done.

Except I found that I can't get a decent sound level unless the camera is so close to my mouth that you're examining my nostrils. Not my best feature, in my opinion. So I used the microphone on the webcam to record audio instead. Sadly, Blogger didn't like the audio file format; it will only accept videos.

No worries, I went to Podbean because that likes audio files. It didn't like mine though, so I downloaded a program called Free Mp3WmaOGG Converter - a really catchy title - and converted the file to mp3. By the way, I recommend that free software; it's very easy to use.

Then I just had to work out how to upload to Podbean, which worked on the second attempt, and change browsers so that I could get hold of the code I needed to embed in this post, because Podbean doesn't like Firefox.

Easy peasy. Well, it will be next time, anyway. I wonder if it was really worth it.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Do you wish you could...

From Station V3

I saw this cartoon and thought that there are a few books that I would gladly unread. For a start, I've been reading The Court Of The Air and finding it far too gruesome for me. I haven't finished it and I would happily unread the bit of it that I have read.

I wonder what it would be like to unread a book. Would the curiosity that pushed me towards reading it in the first place cause me to read it again and then have to unread it again? Would this be a repeating pattern? Or would I remember that I had unread it and leave well alone? I shall never know.

Monday, July 07, 2008


I found this Wordle gadget through McKoala's blog. It makes a word cloud of any text you input, or of a web page. The image above is of this blog, if you click on it you can see it at the original size.

It's useful for seeing which words you use most. Do I really write "will" and "just" so often? Oh dear.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

The Cure for Procrastination

An Amazing Mind has an interesting cure for procrastination: you find something less important but that you really don't want to do and you set that as your task. Then when you're procrastinating about that job and fiddling around finding other stuff to do the main chore that you've been putting off will become something to do instead of the prescribed task. Does that make sense? If not, it's worth giving the article a look.

I'm wondering if it will work, because at the moment I'm putting off writing any more of my story. Instead of writing I've just made a dolly bag for a wedding I'm going to. Next I really need to take in the top of the dress I'll be wearing to make it fit a bit better. After that, I think I've got some mending needs doing. Oh, and I must take some more pictures of the kittens.

Writing is top of my avoiding list. So I wonder what I can try to avoid instead? It used to be housework but now we have a kind lady who comes in and does the bulk of that for me. It had better not be cooking the dinner or my poor long-suffering husband will complain. Any ideas anyone?

New Widget

I'm just trying out a new widget on this blog that will affect most of the links. Snap Shots offers a preview of each link's destination site, or else of a relevant Wikipedia article or the RSS feed or other stuff that I hope will be relevant. I don't get to choose what is displayed: Snap Shots does.

I've set it up so that there's a little icon by the side of a link for you to put your mouse over if you want to see whatever is on offer, rather than have the whole link bring up a preview. You can use the Options icon (top right-hand corner of the preview) to change the views you are getting: you can have larger or smaller previews and choose to view the RSS feed of a site or a preview of it. I rather like the way that it gives the reader so much control over what he or she is viewing. You can also use the Options icon to turn the feature off completely.

I found it is very easy to turn it off but not so easy to get it back. If you turn it off by mistake and want to restore it, you need to delete the cookies from your browser cache then restart your browser.

I'd be interested in any feedback. If this is annoying then I'll just get rid of it.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Cat librarian

I realise that I'm obsessed with cats at the moment but at least this picture combines a cat with some books, so I've got an excuse.

Kitten pictures as promised

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Picture problems

I've been asked for pictures of our adorable new kittens. Pictures will follow but there are two technical hitches.

Hitch no. 1: My camera is so slow it takes an appreciable time to take a picture. You press a button and then you have time to say "kerpow kerplunk" before the camera takes the picture on the last k of kerplunk. That's a long time for a kitten to move in! My phone camera is better but doesn't have a flash so it can give quite blurry pictures indoors. I'm not sure I've got any good pictures yet, where "good" means that you can see what they are.

Hitch no. 2: my new hard drive arrives tomorrow, and until then I don't have any software for getting pictures from my camera or phone onto the pc, or for resizing them once they are on. So even if any of the photos I've taken are any good I can't do anything with them yet.

The good news is that my son is going to install my hard drive when it arrives tomorrow and I'll have a wonderful fast pc. Yay!

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Kittens and exhaustion

We have the kittens. We picked them up yesterday and they cried almost all the way home - an hour's drive or more as it was rush hour.

They're settling in but they are into everything. They run up and down stairs and across the kitchen and hall, chasing each other and play fighting. From time to time they cry out to go home but they will allow us to comfort them. I didn't sleep well and I'm exhausted.

Oh, and my pc hard drive is buggered, so I was without internet for a couple of days. My son has kindly set up one of his pcs for me so at least now I've internet access. He'll recover my data for me once I get a new hard drive. But if you haven't seen me around it's because I wasn't.

I had no computer and I was bored so I wrote some more of my story. Now I know what I can do to make myself write but being cut off from the rest of the world is too high a price to pay.

I'll try and get some pictures up in the next few days, if I can keep my eyes open long enough.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...