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Hello to all, this time from fabulous Belgium!

Yes, I know, this wasn't on the itinerary. However, plans change, especially when the French want to charge us ridiculous prices to hole up to relax for a few days in a winery, and so the breakneck pace of sightseeing must go on!

And although it's perhaps not technically first on the days and days of things I haven't got around to telling you, it's perhaps the most relevant: my poor laptop computer, my beautiful Poiro, is broken. Why, you ask? Well, in part it was simply a Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, but for the most part I blame Frau Schmidt of the Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof reservation office. (Yes, I'm naming and shaming. Come on, the woman was literally called Frau Schmidt!)

Read on if you dare... )

More and happier news some other time, but, without my own laptop, I have to follow the rules of the hostel and give up the computer to someone else for a turn eventually. I'm starting to get angry looks. :) I assure you, one day aside, the holiday is going brilliantly and I'm enjoying every minute!
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This year, my mum gave me a season pass to the Queensland Theatre Company's productions for Christmas, which I have been enjoying immensely. The Female of the Species was hysterically funny, I Am My Own Wife transfixingly intriguing, and The Prisoner of Second Avenue a darn good time. Friday's offering, however, The August Moon, has at last inspired me to actually write a review.

First of all, I have to admit that I went to this prepared to, if not enjoy myself, then to at least be touched. The story of the only fatality in the category five cyclone that hit the town where my sister, brother-in-law and their four children were and are still living, two and a half years after losing their home, had a personal connection that I thought would make even a mediocre play intriguing.

Seventy-five minutes later, I walked out completely unmoved. )

Much more enjoyable was the Brisbane Symphony Orchestra (in which my mother-in-law plays cello) concert on Sunday afternoon, at which they played the Grieg Piano Concerto and the 1812 overture, complete with canons. Fantastic fun - if you ever have the opportunity to see 1812 live, do take it - there's something awesome about percussion that actually rattles your insides.

And on the note of more enjoyable, if anyone missed out on the first run-through - Dr. Horrible's Sing-a-long Blog has returned to the Internets! Hurrah, yay!
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Dear Sir,

I am writing to inform you of my intense dissatisfaction with your recent proposition to have the entire proceedings of the novel come out as having been a dream.

I remain unmoved by your assertions that makes it easier to kill off various characters, to gloss over the some ten years that the protagonist has spent moping, to introduce technologies without worrying about their legal, ethical, or social implications, to bring in characters or technologies with absurdly fantastic tendencies, or to have the protagonist make completely wrong choices all the way through and wake up with a second chance at happiness.

I am equally unimpressed by your contention that it makes sense, given the protagonist happens to take a massive drug overdose in the prologue.

Reaching the end of a story and finding out that it was all a dream is not only cliche, it's sloppy, it isn't something that can be simply thrown in right at the end of the story, it's annoying, and it's against every one of the philosophical and literary principles I hold dear.

I will not do it. I absolutely refuse, and I consider your stated intention of holding the remainder of the story for ransom until I comply with your demands to be unconscionable and in contradiction with all international treaties for the humane treatment of authors.

Pretty please, with a cherry on top, could I have another idea, please?

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Just call me Super Support Su - er - Lily.

So, the office was practically empty today, because half of the company was off in Sydney demonstrating our software to a new client, and another significant portion is on holiday.

This leaves me as not only the person on phone/email monitoring duty, but as the only technical person in the office capable of solving customers' problems and the closest we have to a business savvy person in judging the urgency of having those problems addressed.

Of course, this morning between 9am and 10am, just before the boys' plane lands, is the time that every customer we have suddenly strikes some inexplicable problem, which must be solved instantly because (a) they're leaving for New Zealand in half an hour, (b) the event for which they're using our software started ten minutes ago, or (c) they want to change the details of the demonstration the boys are about to give.

The phone was ringing hot, to the point where I finish solving one client's problem and hang up only to find that there's a new message been left while I was on the phone with them. My inbox filled to the brim with client's messages requiring responses, timestamped things like: 9:10am, 9:13am, 9:18am, 9:23am, 9:28am...

Of course, after 10am, there was no more email and only one call for the rest of the day - that one from a telemarketer. Hah. Just goes to show how awesome I am at getting everyone's problems sorted.

General notes for future troubleshooting:
1) By default, Vista does not give users write permission to the root directory of an external drive. A good thing to know before half an hour of stuffing around with an increasingly frantic client on the other end of the line.
2) Half my video is gone, you bastards, is likely caused by running low on hard drive space and thus not having anywhere to put your bloody video.
3) If in doubt about the urgency of an email, check how long it's taken that person to reply to the previous respondant. If it's more than twenty-four hours, you don't even have to think about responding until the immediate crisis is over.
4) Being CCed on the itinerary for the boys' flight to Sydney is a fantastic thing, because knowing when their plane lands means that I can follow them up if they don't check their messages.
5) Don't panic. It's not the end of the world.

I kept my head above water. Just.

Next time the boys go to Sydney, though, I'm bringing a snorkel to work, just in case.
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If you have a nasal congestion including runny nose and blocked sinuses to the point where it's very obvious in your voice and aggravating everyone around you with your incessent, disgusting, drawn out sniffing - assuming you have no actual allergies or other reasons for staying away from medication - and assuming that the tablets of nasal decongestent are right in front of you, brought by your frustrated colleague who is forced to remain in the room with you... why would you refuse to take the them and relieve not only your own discomfort, but that of those around you?

Is it a male thing? Some kind of macho "I'm not sick, I just like to drive everyone nuts and complain a lot"? Or is it just that Mummy didn't teach him to blow his nose when he was little and so he sees no problem with snivelling his way through every day until he's better again?

Gaargh. I know I'm probably overreacting, because I have an unusually low tolerance for biological sounds - I get driven into a homicidal rage by the sound of someone eating an apple - corn chips and crunchy pizza reheated in the oven are of the devil, and woe betide anyone who slurps a hot drink nearby me, but...

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I’m new to this whole friendship thing.

Apart from Hubby, I’ve been pretty much a loner all through my life. I had a couple of friends in primary school, but in hindsight they weren’t so much best friends as people who enjoyed having someone follow them around. I was socially useless before I decided to shift the goalposts and claim victory by redefining my social life to include the Internet. Not-so-coincidentally, I started managing to fake it face to face.

Dealing with people is still intensely confusing, immensely tiring, and unbelievably time-consuming, but I was considerably more useless before I discovered that I could express myself in the written word if I gave myself long enough to try. (Come to think of it, my relationship with Hubby only developed in the first place because we started exchanging email.)

But I just can’t help but feel so inadequate for the task of being a friend. )
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Now I'm really pissed off.

I ranted briefly about our rain water tank last night. What I failed to mention was that the tank had been full to the brim, and putting on just one (out of eight) circuits made the level drop by 670L. That's a huge amount, but at least now I know how much water it's going to take to do the garden. Hey, that's cool, we've got a 5700L tank, so that basically means either I drop the watering time for each circuit, or treat one full tank = one full watering.

So I turned off the system and unplugged the pump again, and went to bed (eventually).

This evening I tracked down and fixed the leaky pipe (not their fault after all) and then the system onto the second circuit... and nothing happened. WTF? So I went and had a look at the water tank to make sure I'd plugged in the pump correctly, and my eyes drifted to the water level gauge...

Completely empty.


So. I checked my memory banks. Yes, the pump was off. The watering system itself was also off, which should take care of any gravity draining issues. Yes, I'm sure.

Where the firetruck did my water go? My only conclusion is that actually using the darn thing for the first time has blown a fitting loose and drained all my preciously hoarded water away.

As a final insult to injury: the salesperson who measured us up for a tank assured us that if we weren't getting enough rain to make using the tank worthwhile, we could get a truck to come around and fill it with recycled water for a small fee. I've been googling on that for about the fourth time, more seriously this time.

The only hit I can get is the Queensland Government Water Myths site.

How encouraging.


Nov. 28th, 2006 02:26 am
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I hate insomnia.

Of course, I made a pact with it a month or so ago: leave me alone in November, and I shall be yours forevermore!

I think it's breaking the contract a bit, though, to hit me the moment I hit 50K, despite the fact that it's still November. I'm sleep deprived, darnit, and I'd kind of like to catch up with what I've lost. However:

I finished NaNo on Saturday.
I couldn't sleep Saturday night.
I couldn't sleep in on Sunday morning.
I couldn't sleep Sunday night.
I couldn't even sleep in the last half hour before I had to get up for work on Monday morning.

Now it's Monday night, and guess what? I can't sleep! (well, technically it's Tuesday morning, but it counts as Monday, because I haven't slept yet).


I wouldn't mind so much, except I have the attention span of a gnat when I'm not sleeping. It's probably part of the reason I can't sleep in the first place. But it also means I can't do any of the things on my plate that I'd like to do or that I've promised people I will - writing, editing, betaing - I can't even read Mozzie's new fic, because I'll just end up skimming, and that'd be a shame. (I managed to make my brain focus for the entire first section though, Mozzie! Yay! I like it so far! *headdesk*)

Still, I'm doing everything I can to get me closer to sleep. I've had a swim. Actually, that was back closer to 10:30, but still. ) I've also washed my hair and treated it for chlorine exposure. I've trawled around LJ commenting on a few posts I'd wanted to comment on but hadn't got around to for whatever reason. I've put on moisturiser and transferred clothes into the washing machine and petted the cats.

I've even weeded the garden. (Yes, at 1am.) And if you knew how much garden we have, you'd know that was a large job - I got a full garbage bag of weeds. Which I refuse to admit has anything to do with me ignoring them for NaNo. I've also set our watering system going, only to find that there's a gushing leaking bit on the second circuit, so I'm glad I was up watching it to stop it, so as not to waste all the contents of our lovely rainwater tank. )

Erg. My eyelids are starting to droop again. That's at least a good sign, even if it's really my brain that needs to droop if I'm to actually get to sleep.

*goes to have another try at counting sheep* G'night.


Nov. 22nd, 2006 10:05 pm
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Dear Subtlety,

Where have you gone? Why have you abandoned me?

Wasn't it enough that every extended metaphor I've tried so far has ended up three feet of carp thick? This scene I've just written that started with perfectly subtle humourous touch and ended up repeatedly bashing the reader over the head with nods and winks and taps on the nose, isn't it just going too far? How can you do this to me?

Is it something about writing so fast? Are you still chugging your way through the first few chapters, hoping to catch up with me as soon as you can? Or is it simply that when I'm writing quickly, a subtle or vaguely clever thought that goes through eight rephrasings in my mind ends up with every single one of them on the page, rather than having the best one selected?

Are you just off on a beach somewhere sipping Mai Tais with my Inner Editor? Will you be back in December when he comes back, or have I lost you forever?

Is there any hope left for the two of us?

Wishing you were here,
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There's a weird spot on my cat's back, and since I'm totally overparanoid since the Invasion of the Evil Parasite of Evil, I took him to the veterinarian today.

She frowned at it, and said it didn't really look like ringworm - it was a bit too scabby for that, so she'd shave the area around it to get a better look. Okay, fair enough.

So she pulls out these clippers, and soon there's white fur merrily flying everywhere, and I'm thinking about how long I'll last smearing sunscreen on his back every morning before I start forgetting and he comes home with a bright pink back (or if it's even worth the trouble even trying, since he'd be able to reach it to lick it off within a few minutes).

Then she starts running the clippers into the edge of the scabby bit, trying to lift the scab to get a look underneath it. Wrenchwrenchwrench on the hair stuck in the scab, ramramram under the edge with the blade of the clippers, and Neung's flinching with every move she makes, but not trying to turn around and bite her or scratch her or anything other than to get away, because... well, he's a nice boy, and he doesn't attack humans no matter what. I'm holding onto his face, feeling him trembling in my hands and I'm arguing with myself over whether to protest the rough treatment, but presumably it's necessary to diagnose, or it won't heal properly unless the scab comes off, or something.

Then I start noticing the blood that's staining all the fur around the area, seeping out from under the edges of this scab that she's been trying to lift, and she's still trying to peel it off!

"He's so placid," she says, as she's wrenchwrenching and ramraming away. "It's amazing to find a cat this calm."

AAARGH! It's no bloody wonder she has trouble finding placid cats, if that's the way she treats the poor things!

Of course, in the end, it doesn't really seem that it all had any purpose because the conclusion was well - perhaps he scraped under a fence? Or it might be a burn, from sneaking under a hot car, or something? In any case, it's treated the same way you'd treat any skin lesion - a course of antibiotics and antiseptic cream to make sure it doesn't get infected.

Except now there's this big bald patch and an livid red open wound around the remains of the scab, where the whole thing had previously been neatly closed, and a kitty who's rather more suspicious about the whole idea of being put in his cat carrier to go visit the vet. I have to admit his owner is, too.

Gaargh. *shakes fist*
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I went to a wedding yesterday.

Well, actually I didn’t, I just found this on my hard drive yesterday, which I’d written up months ago and never got around to posting. But in an attempt to stop myself from writing a long ranting response to [ profile] lovecrafty’s post that manages to be part agreement, part denial, and part manifesto, I decided to seek it out and post it. So… instead, let’s imagine that I went to a wedding yesterday.

I’m not sure what my cousin, the bride, thought of my wedding, a couple of years ago, but I suspect it must have been something similar to what I thought of hers.

Do you really think that? Can you possibly, really think that?

I had a secular wedding. I cobbled together the twenty minute ceremony from bits and pieces I found on the Internet, then rewrote them, then my husband rewrote them, then I rewrote them, then he rewrote them again, until we had something that we both loved.

Since my husband and I are secular humanists, our ceremony, I suppose, was a humanist one. We vowed that although we would inevitably anger, burden, and hurt one another, doing so would never be our intent. We claimed that the fact that either of us could survive on our own made it all the more special that we were making a choice to be together. We promised to love one in many different ways, to make our lives together as friends, as companions, as lovers, as a family, and as husband and wife, and to hold on to that multi-stranded love through anything life could throw at us.

My cousin, clearly, believes something quite different. God is love. And since God is love, human beings are not love and cannot have any capacity to love. They are simply not capable of it! Instead, the most they can do is make themselves conduits to reflect God’s love to one another.

Enter The Rant )

My six-year-old niece obviously followed at least some of the sermon, because when my sister was putting her to bed, she asked, “So was God the first one to get married?”

She was told that no, God wasn’t married. (Yes, I realise a more technically correct answer may have been that God’s married to the church. But my sister’s not a Christian either, so I think she did rather well on the whole with the simpler answer.)

“Oh,” frowned my niece and, without missing a beat, “she must be terribly lonely up in heaven all by herself, then.”

Out of the mouths of babes…
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The bottle of champagne my grandparents-in-law brought to my birthday party, which we cracked open to celebrate the departure of everyone and the completion of the dishes was... intoxicating.

Yes, that's right, I, The White Lily, your beloved fandom friend, is currently completely and utterly smashed.

As in, fingers-are-numb, typos-are-rampant, drink-lots-of-water-because-otherwise-boy-will-you-regret-this-in-the-morning, drump. I mean, drunk.

And yes, I just made a grammar error, two paragraphs ago, which I can still identify in this state. But no, I can't be bothered fixing it, unlike the last eighty-five typos. Particularly because I can't work out whether it actually is a grammar error. Should it be "am" for "I", or "is" for "The White Lily/your beloved fandom friend"? *ponders* *thinks it should be "am"* *decides doesn't care* *moves on*

What was it I had to say to you all?

Oh, that's right. )

That's all I had to say, I think. Aside from things I've decided not to say, like Hubby suddenly deciding that the way to attract my attention is to croon "threeeeeeeeee" in my ear...

Okay, so I'm a sad, sad case. I already know this. :)
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It occurs to me that I've probably had more poetry written for me than most other girls around. In the first couple of years of our relationship, Hubby felt that the appropriate compensation for having to spend more than twenty-four or so hours out of email contact was a poem - sometimes more than one - which sounds sickeningly romantic until one realises the exact nature of these poems.

I've kept them all, of course, and while procrastinating today, I came across the whole collection. Here's one that I consider possibly one of the most romantic of them - and that mainly because it was a takeoff of a top forty song of the time.

Win2K Box (to the tune of Wheatus's Teenage Dirtbag) )

*brain implodes* To all of you who doubted my previous tale of Hubby's extreme geekhood: the proof is in the poetry.

As far as my reinstall goes... gaaargh, it doesn't. It turns out it wasn't a problem with the installation being screwed up at all. (Haha! Windows is VINDICATED!!) It's just that my hard drive's bad in a number of places, and has been getting slowly worse and worse. Since I hadn't run scandisk, like I should have, we only discovered halfway through reformatting, and now I have to wait for my replacement hard drive to arrive in the mail before getting my machine back again. *shakes fist*

Still... the end is in sight. In the meantime my laptop is completely out of commission. Fortunately, I've managed to resurrect my old laptop, so... I'm still around. If slightly more slowly.

[/procrastination over actually writing fic *shakes fist at the Smallville Scene which is Still Not Behaving*]
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So I'm working on bits and pieces of fics all over the place, as I always do, and managing to get exactly nowhere. )

Also: I've finally managed to get everything I have backed up, and also tracked down my reinstallation CD, so hopefully the trauma of the last nine months and the mess that iTunes made of my poor, poor laptop will soon be over. (Never trust poor punctuation, my friends! There's got to be something wrong with an uncapitalised proper noun!)

But... a reinstall! YAYAYAYAYAYAY! Go me!

In any case, I may be offline for a day or two. Hopefully the reinstall will go quickly and to plan, but if it doesn't... adieu! I shall return... eventually. With a shiny new install that will make my tired little laptop run like a rocket again! *dances at the prospect*


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The White Lily

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