Monday, April 27, 2009

The future is happening now.

Did you know you can move objects with your mind? I didn't until I saw this video on Sentient Developments

If you write science fiction you really will enjoy Sentient Developments, including the new feature Yesterday's Tomorrow which features retro visions of the future.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Cat prison

Rufus has a cut on his leg and it needed a staple to pull the edges together. Unfortunately, the staple didn't go in completely, leaving a loop that could catch on branches outside so he has to stay in for the next week. He doesn't like staying in and scratches at the catflap which we have had to board up with cardboard because he can work the catch. He also meows pitifully by the front door, comes and complains to us and attacks his sister.

Bonnie is also housebound because we can't let her out with no way to get back in but she makes much less fuss.

Things I have done to try to amuse Rufus:

  • Put his cat tree in the conservatory by an open window (carefully tied so that it can only open a smidgen).

  • Tie a feathered cat ball with elastic to the window so that he can bat it and it flutters in the breeze.

  • Use a special cat friendly mixture to blow bubbles for him.

  • Take him out for a walk using his old kitten harness and lead, cobbled together with string as it is now too small.

  • Make him a box fort.

  • Hide his squeaky toy under a cover for him to find

  • Play with him with his cat fishing rod toy.

  • Throw his toy mouse for him. And again. And again.

  • Make hidey places for him with towels and blankets.

  • Sprinkle catnip on his toys for him to play with.

And the result: Rufus liked the squeaky toy, the fishing rod toy, chasing the mouse and hunting the mouse for all of three minutes each. He tried to climb out the window that was open two inches and got stuck so now all our window are closed. He doesn't like going out if he has to be on a lead. (Who can blame him?) The catnip resulted in bliss lasting maybe ten minutes.

We have six more days to go of this. I'm taking it one day at a time.

Saturday, April 25, 2009


This is the landmark that my Beloved used as part of his directions for how to get to the minion's meet last Sunday. In his words "When you get to the taxi humping a vacuum cleaner, you're nearly there". You see why I love him?

Thanks to Sylvia for the photo as I didn't get one.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Evil Editor's minions meet

Jan, Robin, Gina (me), Neil, Jane, Sylvia

Place: Giraffe, outside Royal Festival Hall on the South Bank of the Thames.
Time: 12 noon Sunday 19th April 2009
Present: Robin, Sylvia, Peter, Jane and me (Gina) plus my Beloved (Neil) and Robin's sister-in-law (Jan).

Jan, Robin, Neil, Jane, Peter, Sylvia

Neil and I got there early due to his nagging encouragement and Jane found us shortly after. Robin and Jan took a table outside and after a few missed phone calls we found each other, then Peter arrived followed by Sylvia not too long afterwards.

It was wonderful meeting these people in the flesh when I feel that I know them so well already. There was a curious sense of, "So that's what you look like!" I felt comfortable with them straight away.


Terms of endearment were flung around. The waiters seemed quite happy to be called "sweetie" and there was talk about calling them "babycakes". There was lots of drinking and laughing. I knew I wouldn't have the stamina to stay for as long as the others so I was trying to get as much in as quickly as I could. It was fun.

I had to leave at 3.30 because I was flagging but the party went on a lot longer.


We did think about absent friends, so if you're wishing you could have been there, we missed you too.

Edited to add: If anyone doesn't like having their photo up here, please let me know and I'll take it down.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Which one do you like best?

I'm trying out different looks for this site. There is a poll in the sidebar for you to vote on which on you like best.

Mid-blue background

Light Blue Background

Blue Page Outline

Pale grey borders


Let me know which you prefer, or if it doesn't matter to you either way. If you have any other suggestions then I'm listening.

PS There was a wonderful meet up of five of EE's minions yesterday but I'm too tired to post about it today. Photos tomorrow!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Happy Birthday Bonnie and Rufus!

When we first saw them, they were tiny. Rufus wasn't even called Rufus, he was Frankie Marmaduke. We didn't know then which of the five kittens we were going to take home, so the pictures may be of them or their littermates.


Frankie Marmaduke (and Kiwi)

They cried all the way to our house and I felt so mean taking them away from their Mum. They clung together and played together almost all the time.

They still often eat together, although Bonnie likes to steal Rufus's food. Rufus jumps on Bonnie and they fight although Bonnie still sometimes grooms Rufus.

They have very distinctive characters. Rufus is rough, likes firm handling, and nips people when he is being petted. He can also be a sweetie and will lie back on my arm like a baby. Just don't touch his tummy if you value your fingers.

Bonnie is much softer and more timid, although she is less easily frightened than she used to be. She is very loving and doesn't like being on her own, even at four o'clock in the morning. This can be a problem when our bedroom door is shut.

Happy Birthday Rufus and Bonnie!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The winner is...

This was very hard to judge because of all the brilliant ideas you came up with.

Honourable mentions to everyone who offered me any suggestions:

Scott from Oregon
Scarlet Blue

Special mentions to Sylvia for A view of the stars from the hedgerow and to Jessi for
A little bit of writing
A little bit of cats
A little bit of reading
And a whole lot of laughs!

and her jokes about hedgehog rhymes and to Pjd for his blatant flattery.

There were so many good ideas in there, some of them featuring hedgehogs and some of them not. To everyone who said that the tagline is fine as it is, thank you. To everyone who offered kind and flattering comments, thank you.

First place goes to Scarlet Blue for A Writer's PotPourri because that started the train of thought that led me to the new tagline. Scarlet, can you email me your address so I can post the chocolate to you?

Thanks, everyone, for your brilliant, funny and above all kind ideas! I'm sorry you can't all get the chocolate!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Legion of On-Line Superheroes

My story Fairy Hedgehog meets Lizard Girl is now up at The Legion of On-Line Superheroes.


I'm trying out Twitter again, so if you want to come and find me I'm signed in there as fairyhedgehog.

I haven't worked out what it's good for yet so at the moment I'm just playing with it. If you want to tell me what's so good about it, or the reverse, then please do!

Oh, and don't forget the competition, closing date is tomorrow. The chocolate awaits!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

On the bandwagon

I don't know if you've been following the recent Amazon debacle. It seems that Amazon suddenly decided to label all GLBT literature as "adult" and to remove it from its search base. Twitter was flooded with irate tweets labelled #amazonfail and the Internet was filled with far-right conspiracy theories and indignant diatribes against Amazon's evildoing.

Amazon made matters worse for itself by making a statement that
In consideration of our entire customer base, we exclude 'adult' material from appearing in some searches and best seller lists.
This wasn't well received as adult toys and straight erotica were not taken off the list.

The waters were muddied further when a hacker named Weev claimed that he had been the one to cause all the fuss with a few lines of code. According to other hackers, his code wasn't capable of that so it looks like he latched on to the situation to get publicity for himself. This didn't stop the comments that Amazon's system shouldn't be capable of being hacked in that way.

Finally, Amazon emailed complainants saying
This is an embarrassing and ham-fisted cataloging error for a company that prides itself on offering complete selection.
Apparently, an IT worker in France made a mistake that affected the whole system. As a Live Journaller called Suaine puts it:
The French programmer did it! This is going to be my new excuse for everything.

What gets me about all this is how we can all be stirred up so easily through the Internet. This isn't the first time someone has used the GLBTQ community for their own ends. There was a similar case that I heard of through Pharyngula, where a college had apparently failed a nursing student because she is lesbian, with the tutor writing in an email that she would not like to be treated by a lesbian nurse. After everyone had expressed their outrage, including sending hate mails to the tutor, questions were raised about the authenticity of the email. It's very easy to enrage us when it seems that a minority group is being done down.

I see two problems with this.

  1. Innocent people are witch hunted.

  2. Energy is wasted which could be better spent on the real issues: like governments refusing to acknowledge gay marriage.

It all comes down to one thing. When we read anything that fills us with righteous indignation, we need to check out the facts before we join in.

Sunday, April 12, 2009


I need help.

You may have noticed that the tagline on my blog says Mostly about books and writing and a bit about cats, or maybe you haven't because you view in a reader. Anyway, books and writing were the initial impetus for this blog but I don't post much about published books because no one seems interested. Looking back, what I have posted about is: words, word games, gender issues, homophobia, various outings I've been on, and computer widgets that take my fancy. I also post photos I've taken of my area and of my cats. If you look over the blog or the Label cloud you may find other odds and ends that I've forgotten about.

I know what I want in this blog but I don't know how to label it so I this is where I would like your help.

The rules
  • Write a tagline for this blog.

  • You have until midnight EST on Thursday 16th 2009* to send me your entry.

  • You can enter by commenting here or by email to (or to my main email address if you happen to have it). Please put Competition in the subject line so that I don't get confused.

  • The winner is the one that I decide to use as my tagline. If none of them is exactly what I want, then the one I like best will win.
The Prize

is a minature selection of Green & Black's awesome chocolate. (If anyone wins who doesn't eat chocolate then we'll come to some sort of agreement. I'm sure there is something you'd like!)

*That's 5am BST on Friday 17th. I don't get up till at least 6.30 so there's a bit of leeway here.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Absolutely Super

The first story is now up on The Legion of On-Line Superheroes.

Somebody loves me

Lisa has very kindly given me the I Love Your Blog Award. In fact, I'm doubly awarded because freddie has given it to me too. In fact, she's gone one further and also given me the Proximity friendship award. I am brimming over with awardedness.

This blog invests and believes in the PROXIMITY - nearness in space, time and relationships. These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends.

What could be nicer than to be told that someone loves your blog or thinks you are friendly and wants to be closer to you? I want to pass the love on but once again I'm stuck because there are so many lovely blogs out there and I don't have the energy to do a repeat of yesterday and go through all my blogs whittling them down. I'm not even sure if I want to do that because if you're in my Blog List in the right sidebar then I love your blog and I want to be friends. Everyone who wants to, please take your awards now!

I am overwhelmed by all these awards so I shall be retiring from the field for a while. I won't be doing memes either just so that you know it's nothing personal when I don't take you up on it.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Another day, another meme. This time it's chickens.

This is my 201st post and I have been awarded the prestigious Zombie Chicken award by Aerin and McKoala. What can I say? (That I can put online, I mean.)

Is this because my blog looks like it's composed while I'm running around like a headless chicken? Apparently not.
The blogger who receives this award believes in the Tao of the zombie chicken - excellence, grace and persistence in all situations, even in the midst of a zombie apocalypse. These amazing bloggers regularly produce content so remarkable that their readers would brave a raving pack of zombie chickens just to be able to read their inspiring words. As a recipient of this world-renowned award, you now have the task of passing it on to at least 5 other worthy bloggers. Do not risk the wrath of the zombie chickens by choosing unwisely or not choosing at all…

I'm never quite sure how to respond to these memes. I'm flattered because hidden in all those words is supposedly an appreciation of content, although I think friendship and shared jokes probably has more to do with it.

I'm also concerned. Do I pass the award on to my best friends online and if do, how will people who don't get the award feel? If I award it to a large blog with a readership in the thousands will I look like an idiot?

I went through my Blogger Reader list and found far too many blogs that deserve it. Not all of them belong to my little circle of friends although some do. Some are humourous, some are factual, some are a way of keeping in touch with friends. How am I meant to choose?

What I've decided to do is to post a list of blogs that I think are outstanding resources for budding authors and particularly writers of science fiction. If you see your blog here and want to accept the award then please do. If you're not on the list, I still love you but for different reasons.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Gender in the virtual world

When you're online, you can be free from the constraints of age and gender. It doesn't matter if you're a man or a woman, young or old, everyone relates to you according to your words and not your physical being.

Well, that's what I thought when I first started using the internet but I found out that it isn't that simple.

In the past, a lot of people assumed that fairy hedgehog was the name for a gay man. There was one particular man who was amazed when he found out that I was female. He said, "You're too logical to be a woman." He was never as friendly to me after that which I regretted.

More recently, I've found out that someone online is not the gender that I thought they were and it affects how I relate to them. It made me realise how differently I respond to men and women even when gender doesn't matter. It's not something I'm proud of but it's the way it is.

Given that people respond to us differently according to the gender they believe us to be, and that if we don't reveal our gender people will make assumptions about it, do you think it's our responsiblity to correct those sort of assumptions, or not?

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Reading reduces stress

I've always known that getting lost in a book was a form of escapism for me. I used to joke that I used reading instead of drinking. It's healthier and you can snap out of it much more quickly.

Well, researchers at the University of Sussex have found that reading cuts stress by 68%.

Doesn't that make you feel good about your writing? It's not just entertainment you're offering your readers, it's therapy.

Friday, April 03, 2009

A Day In Hand: May 17th

As part of the International Day Against Homophobia, people are being encouraged to hold hand with a member of the same sex in public on May 17th. You can join the A Day In Hand group on Facebook, if you are interested. You don't have to be GLBT to join. Or visit the official A Day in Hand website.

I'm not sure how much prejudice there is against women holding hands in public but I'm guessing that it is much harder for men to feel accepted if they show affection like this. I suppose trying it out would be one way to find out.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Superhero writing fun

The Legion of On-line Superheroes is now signing up members.

In case you missed this, Bevie is setting up a website where we can develop superhero characters and write an ongoing superhero story, or series of stories. It's collaborative writing at its best, or possibly at its most fun. Maybe it can be a place to kick back from the more serious writing that you normally do.

If you haven't made a superhero yet, you can make one at Heromachine. If you're not into playing with online picture makers then you could just describe your superhero, I'm sure one of us can come up with something for you!

(I'm not sure if Galbrogeth is a hero or a villain but why should the heroes always be good looking?)

If you want to be in at the start then You might want to head on over there now!

(So many 'ifs' in one short post. I must be feeling tentative today.)

Edited to add:

How to get a copy of the picture from Heromachine if you're using Windows:

Make sure your hero is fully visible on your screen and not partly obscured by a toolbar etc.

Click PrintScreen (PrtScn) on your keyboard.

Go to Start -> All Programs -> Accessories -> Paint.

In paint, click Edit -> Paste.

Save as a .jpg file.

You then need to cut out your picture. I use my printer software to do this because it's fiddly in paint. If you email the image to me, I'll cut it out for you and send it back.

(My disposable email address is but if you have my real one then you can use that.)
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