Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Why I don't like cats

It's not like we don't give him any toys to play with. That box has a toy hamster in it that makes noises and runs around. Rufus loves it and so does his sister.

And this one that Bonnie is so interested in has dried cat food and cats' treats in it.

But no, he has to make his own entertainment. So this morning I found him on the doormat in the hall, with a small limp animal between his paws. Poor little thing, it was the size of a large mouse but completely bald. I picked it up to put it in the bin and found it was breathing!

I rang the vet (veterinary surgeon) and they said I could take it in. It turns out to be a baby squirrel. I don't know what will happen to it.

Sometimes I don't like cats.

You can nominate an author's blog

Thanks to Steena Holmes for the heads up about the authors' blog awards, where you can nominate your favourite authors' blogs (up to three) or even your own if it qualifies.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Birthday present

It's my birthday today so I've got a present for you. (If it's good enough for hobbits, it's good enough for me.) Your gift is a link to Nicola Morgan's new blog for her book Wasted.

It's a good pressie. The blog is only just starting and doesn't really open up till April 23rd when there will be competitions and a blog tour. You could have Nicola do a guest post on your blog, or maybe you could guest post on hers.

Nicola is an established Young Adult (YA) writer and gives advice to aspiring writers on her blog Help! I need a publisher! If you love books and writing why not pop over now to Wasted by Nicola Morgan and see what's going on.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Surprising Banned Books

The Huffington Post has an article today on The 11 Most Surprising Banned Books. The one that surprised me the most was the dictionary. Apparently, it was banned from an elementary school for its definition of oral sex. I'd have thought that you'd have to be able to read pretty well to look that one up, and know what you're looking for too.

I'm really not keen on the idea of banning books. I certainly wouldn't have banned Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time
Because it's a tale of the battle of good and evil, many were concerned it was making a religious argument they didn't want their children exposed to.
I'm not in favour of religious indoctrination, being an atheist, but the battle of good and evil is the main theme of so many wonderful stories, including Lord of the Rings and most of Dr Who! For goodness sake, why do people feel so sure that they know what's right for everyone else?

It's always interesting to see who has banned what and why. Are there any books you would ban? Or would you always let readers decide for themselves?

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Time warp

This morning in the UK we skipped straight past 1am and went to 2am instead. I'm quite glad because I've been waking up earlier and earlier with the light, but I suspect that it will still take some adjusting to.

And today is my Beloved's birthday! We're booked to go for lunch with the family at the Anchor, Pyrford Lock (see above). At 12 noon. That's 11am yesterday's time.

I do like an early lunch but this is going to be more like a late breakfast!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

First Contact

For those of us interested in science fiction, I wrote in a previous post about the problems of talking to aliens. How could we communicate with beings so vastly different from us? Most of us have enough problems understanding someone from France or Russia.

A lot of people seem to think that drawing and maths are key. I recently came across this article which makes some interesting suggestions.

I'm not convinced that even simple drawings would be understood across such a vast cultural gulf. Suppose the aliens "see" by echolocation? But if we're writing stories we have to assume a lot of commonalities or there would be nothing to tell. Or would there?

Friday, March 26, 2010

Blogger gets a face lift

Blogger has just brought out a whole load of new templates, bringing it more in line with Wordpress. You can choose from a host of background images, and have transparency and rounded corners, in fact there's almost anything you might need. Almost everything. There's still a bit of tweaking to do if you want a favicon or your own background image. But it's a big improvement.

I've spent all morning playing with it.

(The picture is in case you're reading this in a reader.)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Men are from Mars... aren't they?

Actually, no. For an interesting insight into how much "research" goes into gender stereotyping, I recommend this Mind Hacks article.

It seems the secret to finding differences between the sexes is to ignore any actual evidence. Oh, and don't be put off from relating human behaviour to animal brain structures that humans don't actually have. No one will know the difference anyway.

Did you know that:
testosterone drives the "Man Trance"-- that glazed-eye look a man gets when he sees breasts (from the article by Louann Brizendene)
No? Maybe Mind Hacks can explain.
Are there any scientific studies on whether hooter staring is related to testosterone levels? (Sadly) No.

The trouble with these sort of articles is that they have a spurious authenticity and soon the "testostone makes you look at breasts" meme will be all over the internet.

I agree with Mind Hacks.
Please make it stop.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Art and craft

I seem to be busy with lots of things that aren't writing or blogging at the moment. One of the things I'm doing is making window clings for the hall. I did have a perfectly good window cling but Rufus was fascinated by a bubble in the centre that is now a hole.

I'm getting some more paints for my birthday, so I'm thinking of doing one based on a design of my own. (The one above is based on this template.)

Some time ago, I doodled a witch's cottage:

I thought I might base a design on the cottage, or maybe the bird. I'm not sure how that will work out, though.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

You can live forever...

...but only if you are a jellyfish.

Ah well. It would make a good alien for a story.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Amazon gives teens a raw deal

Amazon strikes again. This time it's an author complaining that while most of the titles in Amazon's teen sections are written for teenagers, the books in their teen sexuality section aren't. Only 8 of the 25 books listed are about sex in some form, and four of those are telling teens why God doesn't want them to have sex until they're married.

Amazon rant

I came across this article on StumbleUpon and found it had been recommended by Sylvia. Thanks Sylvia!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Advice for Writers

You may have seen this when it came out but I'm a bit behind in my blog posts.

Advice for Writers

I rather like the advice to Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip.

I wonder what your favourite piece of advice is.
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