Posted in Blogging, Computer Graphics

Season of Fruitlessness

I’m more ‘creative’ (Photoshop, Bryce 3D etc) when it’s summer and the days are brighter and warmer. In winter I spend less time in such projects… and it’s happening again now. Halloween is not all that far off… the days are cold and rainy, and my room is chilly and dark. It is driving me back downstairs to read a book!

People are affected differently by the seasons, but perhaps I would feel more creative at this time of year if we were living in a hot country or a brighter, warmer house.

I’m in more of a ‘blogging’ frame of mind than I’ve been all year, though. I suspect other interests have shifted, leaving more room for that. I’ve been looking around  and reading more; wondering more about other bloggers. I doubt if I will be here every day, especially if I’m so cold that I’ve taken refuge downstairs… but I have more appetite for it.

Sometimes I miss being a kid… I used to feel there was no limit to what you could do or write about. To think of something was to write, and I didn’t worry about originality as such… if it came from me and wasn’t a repeat of something I remembered reading or hearing somewhere else, then it was original. I wasn’t stupid — I realized that true originality is rare… ideas are derivative and people often think the same thoughts independently. But the world seemed big enough and diverse enough to bear it.

The reason I miss my naivety is that my world seems to have shrunk… I have fewer options and less faith that I will write about the right things in the right way. I’m no longer some carefree child leaping off the plank at the deep end, sure that I will swim, and swim well.

I wonder if the internet has added to this over-flowing cup? My pictures are the same as everybody else’s, and there is nothing new under the sun. Some articles, discussions and reviews are repeated word-for-word on different sites, and it doesn’t matter how hard you try at something, there’s always someone else who does it better.

Anyway, when the weather takes a nose-dive, so does my mood. Perhaps switching off and reading a book is not such a bad idea!

Posted in Rants

A Few More Grumbles

Ah, remembered some of my other niggles.

(1) shop price tags
You know…? When you look to see how much something is, and the price isn’t anywhere to be seen (so I usually don’t buy them). Or, worse, when something is sitting in the wrong place so that you think it is such and such a price, but it’s had the wrong label nearby. Or those price stickies that have the ‘amount of money saved’ in much bigger text than the amount being asked (have to admit I haven’t seen any of those very recently).

Even more confusing are the supermarket labels that say “money off certain product lines” so that you will get money off a 200g tin of beans but not a 400g tin of beans by the same people… you have to pay great attention to the small print. Or you’ll get money off the Grumbling Girl ‘silver line’ beans, but not the Grumbling Girl ‘golden line’ beans… and sometimes you can’t see what on earth the price tag is referring to, because all you see are Grumbling Girl beans, and no mention on the labels of whether they’re silver line or golden line!

(2) tight book shelves
I have a problem with those bookshops where, when you try to slide a book out for a look, it’s wedged in tightly. (In our town the main offender is a charity bookshop). If you’re holding a lot of bags in your other hand, you have to put them down and try again with both hands! Actually if I was only browsing, and am only vaguely interested in the look of a book, I’m liable to stop trying to get it out, and I’ll move on.

Actually it’s not surprising it happens in that particular shop, because they seem to have three or four volunteers! They’re constantly on the go, coming out of the back room with books in their hands, looking for spaces to squeeze them into. If you buy something, they’ll soon plug the so-called gap with another book (or three).

(3) loose books and toppling displays
On the other end of the stratum are the books which are so loosely balanced that they all topple over heavily (or threaten to crash off the end of the shelf) when you try to look at one (this is usually the case with children’s books). Or any sort of display which is too easy to disrupt… such as videos or boxes of jigsaws, all set in a row on their ends, facing outwards. If you take one, you’ll knock over the neighbour, leading to a cascade!

Sometimes I’ve picked up something I’ve nearly knocked over, and replaced it in a safer position, only to find it back and teeering dangerously the next time I visit the shop.

(4) shop displays in general
That goes for racks, baskets and other things that get in your way or make you have to squeeze through a gap. It also goes for advertising boards set out on the pavement and getting in the way of busy shoppers. I’ve seen them cause pavement traffic jams!

(5) ‘missed hospital appointments’ furore
Missed hospital appointments cost money? How? Isn’t this real life? Everybody costs everybody else time and money. And it’s apparently ‘unforgiveable’ to miss an appointment and not phone up to explain we can’t come? Considering we’re talking about people who aren’t well, who may be distressed; some of whom have problems with memory, understanding, mobility, funds (for parking or transport) or communication, the word ‘unforgiveable’ seems to me completely wrong-headed.

Hopefully that’s all the bad air cleared. Now for the blog post I meant to write first thing this morning!! (Perhaps I’ll have some tea first).

Posted in Rants, Technology and Software

A Few Grumbles

(Two days later)… c’mon, surely my Bryce picture wasn’t that bad! We struggling artists need encouragement. I sent some photos I was quite proud of to a friend, and after a week’s silence (and a cautious prod) he said “oh… they’re fine.”

On the subject of grumbles and moans, here are a few more:

(1) When you tear tissues in half, you have to tear with the grain so that they don’t break off in bits. That’s fine, but different tissue manufacturers fold their tissues different ways, so that a tissue from Manufacturer A tears across the fold, and a tissue from Manufacturer B tears along the fold, and you’re never sure what it’s going to be. Somehow I always tear the wrong way…

(I always promised myself I wouldn’t complain about that as it’s so trivial, and I wouldn’t actually demand that all tissue manufacturers standardize, but… rrr! It can be aggravating).

(2) Handwash pump-action spouts that don’t work. (The one we bought in Aldi’s said “turn anti-clockwise to release pump”. I did as suggested, and the whole thing turned round and round and nothing happened. I took it out of the bottle and washed it so I could secure each end, but no luck. I will just pour the soap into the previous Radox bottle. I don’t think they should even bother manufacturing spouts for those other bottles… they should put that they’re refills only!)

(3) My Mac is so sluggish and slow. Sometimes I highlight a word and it gets stuck halfway through, or nothing happens at all for about 5 seconds. It takes Firefox an age to launch. WordPress is extremely sluggish too, in the editor… it would drive me mad to have to compose posts there, so I’m glad I’ve got ScribeFire.

(4) Mum and I went for a small meal in a coffee shop, and the flies came along and kept trying to sit on our food while we were eating it. We swished at them, and they just buzzed right back, so that we were flapping like windmills even while we ate. Flies these days don’t have the manners they used to…

I thought I had more, but that’s all I can remember for now! Next blog post coming up soon (and not about grumbles).

Posted in My Cats, Rants, Technology and Software


Feeling annoyed about several things…

  • How can some folk treat you like you don’t count? I wonder if they would feel the same if they saw others treat someone they cared about that way?
  • How people have nothing good to say about someone, and when she dies, suddenly she’s an angel with the strength and grit of 10,000, and the world will never see her like again?
  • How everyone’s ridiculously overworked, and not even doing anything particularly rewarding, and then we end life wondering what it was all about?
  • How just running a home is considered of no value compared to gumming up the public transport system every morning and every evening.
  • How some people are determined to be accorded more respect than others, even when it’s a waste of other people’s time and energy.
  • How charity shops are overcharging for things (muddy shopping trolley that somebody spilled something inside…. £8.50? A tiny handbag that still contains a sanitary towel and a shopping list for toilet rolls… £5.50? Dinky little jewellery cases with so much padding that there’s no room for most people’s jewellery collections – anything from £6 to £13?)
  • How people stroll into a shop and don’t give you room to leave it first – do they think there’ll be plenty of room inside with you still trapped in there by them?
  • How set top boxes, DVD players and VCRs operate together in such an incredible muddle that they don’t always do what you expect (much too complicated) and sometimes your set top box refuses to work at all when it was working perfectly well this morning. As a result, you miss Tenko, which you haven’t seen properly (with subtitles) for over 15 years.
  • How things like kettles and juicers are sometimes made in such a shoddy fashion that they fly apart and injure people, and you worry in case it happens to you – but when you’re shopping, all the kettles and juicers look as shoddy as each other and you get the feeling it won’t make much difference which you choose.
  • How people cheat, use small print, try to mislead you about what you’re buying, and don’t tell you the full price of their products.
  • How DVDs force you to watch bits you don’t want to watch (by not letting you speed over them), and when you try to speed over something you’re allowed to speed over, it takes you straight into the middle of the film.
  • How there are too many remote controls with too many buttons using too many different symbols in too many different places, and your brain starts to give up so that most of the time, even months after buying these things, you’re just dabbing all the buttons hopefully, trying to get things to do what you want.
  • How some DVDs are so badly designed you start the film before you’ve even been given a chance to set the subtitles, and it’s not very clear that an X in the box next to subtitles means “I don’t want this” when you think it’s a check in the box for “I DO want this” and you have to go back and do it all over again when the subtitles fail to materialize. And finally when you succeed in putting the subtitles on, the DVD takes you right back to the spot you first discovered they weren’t running, when what you WANT is to go back to the beginning to catch anything else you might have missed (and I’m not talking about the bit that says ’20th Century Fox’ or ‘Dreamworks’ or the trailers of other films).

Think I’ll get to bed now, and let the Invisible Sulk roam unchecked… he might even get on this blog to you, you never know. I hope not.

Posted in Books, Life and Family, Music, My Cats, Notepad Conversations, Pet-Minding, TV and Films

You Are So Beautiful…

A guiding light that shines in the night
Heaven’s gift to me
You are so beautiful to me

It’s been in my head the past couple of days.

Sharky wasn’t improving as rapidly as we hoped and we took him back to the vet. He was kept overnight on a drip and returned to me today… along with renal cat kibble and tablets.

He seems brighter – his eyes have cleared.

There was black ice today; looks like tomorrow will be the same. At least it’s not raining any more. The rain yesterday did excuse me from walking Thundercloud, which I was grateful for. I felt shell-shocked about Sharky, having just left him at the vet, and though I could have accepted a dog walk if the day had been bright, I couldn’t face one in the lashing sleet. I would have caught whatever Marianne got in Sense and Sensibility. A case of the fainting Willoughbies.

Last night there was nothing on TV so while Mum watched something, I was reading Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe. In it was a chapter about someone very ill achieving her greatest wish. I’d been feeling numb up to that point, but that was just too much – and I hadn’t even finished the story. Mum was in the next chair and I didn’t want to get all teary and whimpery while she was there. Escaping quietly was a huge struggle. Upstairs I hid in my dark cubby hole and mopped my eyes, which just got wet again.

When I returned to the book and finished the chapter, there was a twist to the story that made me giggle – it wasn’t at all what I thought it was.

But I was so tired.

The next morning we received ‘more optimistic’ news from the vet over the phone, but I was still bushed and rather moody. We met my sister in a coffee shop in town, and (having struggled to find somewhere to put my shopping trolley) I whipped the conversational notebook out.

Me: This is ridiculous – there should be more room – you wonder what happened to the DDA.
Mum: The DDA?
Me: Disability Discrimination Act.

Pause while the girl came and served our coffee and hot chocolate.

Me: I think the only coffee I like now is mocha – everything else tastes like liquid sawdust.
Mum: You often drink liquid sawdust?
Me: Here and in Starbucks.
Mum: Is everything wrong this morning? Chilblains? Headache? Blue-tinted specs?
Me: Non-pink clothes and sickly 10-year-old cats. And horrible TV with the same shows over and over.
Mum: What’s that about pink clothes? You’ve lost me.
Me: I think something red was washed with them and turned them muddy.
Mum: Red with pink means pinker.
Me: Not rust red.
Mum: Big Sister says would we like a trip to Fuddyduddytown?
Me: I suppose – Fuddyduddytown is not my numero uno town. How can Thingy live there?
Mum: People get stuck in places. It’s not the worst. Remember Yobtown?
Me: Not really. When did we go there? I remember Thingyside Leisure Centre as being stuck in a bubble of stark. Probably because they wouldn’t let them build it anywhere nice (can’t blame them).
Mum: Yobtown had most of the shops at either end of the town boarded up. Graffiti everywhere.
Me (distracted): That dark photo of the poppy… it’s like a puddle of thick paint that my eyes have got stuck in. When I pull them away with a *squelch*, it leaves that pattern there.

You get the picture. I shouldn’t blog in this sort of humour.

Posted in Blogging, Life and Family, Pet-Minding

Grumpy Old Me

I found a copy of Grumpy Old Men at Mum’s today. I pounced on it with glee, read several chapters, then had to put it down and leave. Never mind – I have a copy of Grumpy Old Women on the desk! It was a Christmas present from Mum, who said I’m a Grumpy Old Woman myself.

It’s definitely a Grump Day for me. I was very tired and didn’t even want to get up this morning, but I had to:

(1) haul myself to town to visit the bank;
(2) travel to Mum’s house (well out of town) for a solitary cheese sandwich;
(3) walk her neighbour’s dog a bit earlier than usual;
(4) trudge back into town again to feed some cats (they didn’t even need a visit as their owner was at home this morning).

The traffic is abysmal and I could never get across the road any time soon. It was a case of three cars up, one car down, two cars up, five cars down… The monotony was occasionally alleviated by a teeth-rattling, bone-jolting lorry, or a bus passing so close you could smell the dust on its churning wheels. Meanwhile, I was getting trampled on by other pedestrians with their dogs and their empty double-decker pushchairs while I hunted desperately for a way to escape across the road.

Every so often there was a really nasty slippy muddy patch even though there was not a spot of rain today. I didn’t fall flat on my face, but I had a feeling some gremlin wanted me to.

It was only 3.15 when I went to feed the cats, but already the day was dimming and there was a feeling of red tail-lighted hurry as though everybody was leaving work and going home – an unsettling feeling when you’re nowhere near home yourself though you would like to be.

Not the best way to spend the day when you’re already tired.

Finally dragged myself home to some hot sweet tea and a cat on my lap (yawning fishily in my face). I’ve been thinking with relief about Grumpy Old Wo/Men – makes me feel I’ve got company out there, even if they probably WERE the other folk I saw today who got in my way!

Posted in Lost in Thought, Observations

Stray Thoughts

What do we focus on?:
People notice what you’re wearing on your feet, but not me. I don’t go around checking out people’s footwear and laughing at open-toed sandals unless I’m suddenly curious about something, such as whether all the schoolgirls wear Doc Martins, and what is people’s favourite shoe colour. You could wear trainers instead of Manolo Blahniks, and all I would think, as we swung down the street, would be “at last – a reduction in noise pollution!”

Things that aren’t funny:
Lots of people laughing at trivial stuff is strange – somebody falls over and they giggle. Another person says something lame and they roar. I’ve never understood it. Of course, it could be sheer politeness – a desire to seem lively, happy and ‘part of the group’. That could be why there are so many bad jokes around – people think “well I don’t think it’s funny but never mind – I know people who laugh at this kind of thing all the time.”

Working with others:
Some time ago I was watching the Top Ten Love Songs on TV. Someone said “The real geniuses have always been the ones who are most difficult to work with.” It could well be that geniuses are difficult to work with but I think a huge number of non-geniuses are too, so that’s not really saying anything.

Dark times get darker:
The thing about stress is that it makes people withdrawn and irritable – people will react negatively to all that if they have no idea of where you’re coming from. When I was having a bad time some years ago, I kept catching the tail-end of dark looks from people I didn’t even know. There’s nothing more annoying than people who think they know all about you when they’ve never so much as said ‘good morning’.

I can’t believe there are still fireworks being let off when the 5th is well over, in this weather! I hope they’re jolly well getting chilled to the bone. Goodnight to all bloggers.