Thursday, June 28, 2007

Looking for something?

Looking for something that used to be on the sidebar? Like, my links, or my important dates? Well, I'll tell you how to find them.

If you look on the sidebar, you'll see a list of links with the heading "Go To..." In that list you will find all the stuff you are looking for.

So...

  • For info on the animals (ones we have now, and ones we had in the past) go to Our Pets' Page
  • For all the links that used to be on the sidebar, go to 'The Links Page'
  • For a bit of info about Kelly and myself, go to The Family Page
  • For a list of birthdays and other dates that are important to us, go to the Our Important Dates page
And so on!

The homepage was created for us by my Dad, and at the moment hasn't really got much on it, but once I'm done sorting the other pages, I'll be helping my Dad finish creating the homepage. I'll let you know when it's done.

So, if your blog or web site was among our links, don't worry, it's still among our links. It's just that our links have been moved.

Anyway, I did these quizzes today...


You Are 56% Gross

You're more than a little gross, but probably no more gross than the average person.
Maybe it's time to drop some of those disgusting habits that could eventually embarrass you!
You Are a Tuna Fish Sandwich

Some people just don't have a taste for you. You are highly unusual.
And admit it, you've developed some pretty weird habits over the years.
You may seem a bit unsavory from a distance, but anyone who gives you a chance is hooked!

Your best friend: The Club Sandwich

Your mortal enemy: The Turkey Sandwich
You Are a Caramel Apple Jelly Bean

You have a gentle sophistication. An appreciation of fine things, without being snobby about it. You enjoy sweet tastes and silky textures.


Tori

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Fiddling with my blog

Just a quick note to let you know that I've been fiddling with our blogs a bit. So, there are a few new pages, and things that have been moved around and such.

Tori

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Yep, it's me again

I know, I know, I've already done two posts today. Do you think maybe I'm addicted to this blog thing? Hmm... Actually, I'm not sure I want that question answered. LOL!

Anyway, the photo in this post is Kero with the rawhide treat thingy that my Grandma sent back for him with my Mam. Mam kept meaning to give it to me, but she kept forgetting. Mind you, I was just as bad, and forgot each time I was there too. Kero had another treat too. It was a sort of meat chew thing. And my Grandma had sent a pouch of chicken flavoured cat food each for Sakura, Megan and Chance.

There was a present for Kelly and I too. It was actually a late anniversary present from my Grandma. A really nice purple blanket. We really like it. Thanks Grandma.

Well, Mam and I had loads of fun playing with the quizzes, and posting our results on our blogs. We did a few quizzes that we couldn't be bothered to post on the blogs too. Mam has never posted so much on her blog. In fact, I think she posted more on her blog yesterday than she had in total before. I guess the 'nonsensical dribble' on my blog really did inspire her. LOL!

I've had a pretty good day today too. Mam and I went shopping. We didn't get much, but we had a good time, and that's what matters. I got:

  • A new kettle (because my old one seemed to be leaking)
  • A tuna, sweetcorn, cheese and onion baguette for myself (Mam didn't want a baguette this week)
  • A green rope giraffe toy for Kero (because 'Jake' chewed up the blue one that I got him for his birthday)
  • A treat each for Kero and Willow (Kero always gets a treat from me on shopping day, and Willow always gets one from me when I go to my parents' place, which I'll be doing tomorrow)
  • A new, purple hairbrush
And, of course, I got the usual weekly food shopping done.

I also ordered some stuff for home delivery...

  • A new toaster (to match my new kettle)
  • A new saucepan set (because my set is a set Mam gave me when she got new ones almost two years ago)
  • A set of baking stuff (baking sheets, roasting tins, and pie dishes)
They're being delivered some time between 7:00 am and 6:00 pm on Thursday.

Looks like my kitchen stuff is going to be white now, not yellow. Most of my kitchen stuff has ended up being white instead of yellow. It's amazing how hard it is to find yellow stuff.

Anyway, I've probably bored you enough for one day.

Tori

Daisy picture


These are meant to be daisies, but they don't look very much like daisies in this photo. At least, I don't think so. What do you think?

Tori

Late Midsummer stroll pics & clips

It's taken me a couple of days, but I've finally gotten around to getting the photos from my walk with Kero and Sakura on Saturday.

This first one, is just to show you what the sky looked like. Not exactly the nicest looking sky. You'd think we'd have a beautiful blue sky around Midsummer, wouldn't you? But, nope! We have yucky, grey clouds instead. It never rained that day though. It took until Monday for that to happen.

Here's a photo of Kero and Sakura running along the bridge to me. Well, Kero's running to me, Sakura's running over to Kero. She actually smacked him right after I took this. Not sure why exactly, but I think maybe she wasn't too keen on the idea of him running on the bridge. She's not a huge fan of the bridges, and only crosses them because she has to in order to come with us if we either go for a long walk, or go to the park.

And this is one of the photos I took of Kero while we were on the walk. There's more photos of him - and some of Sakura too - in my photo albums section.

I did a couple of short video clips too.


They're both in my video clips section, but I'll put them in this post as well so you can just click on the little pictures and go right to them.



Tori

Monday, June 25, 2007

At the quizzes again

Yes, I've been at the quizzes again - *evil laugh* What can I say? They're addictive! But, if you're more interested in hearing about my day than reading my quiz results, scroll down past the results and read the 'Monday with Mam' post. Go on, you know you want to!

And, in my defense... Mam did it too!

Tori

What's Your Element?

Your Element Is Fire

Your passion and emotion are as obvious as the brightest flame.
You make sparks fly, and your passion always has the potential to burst out.

You are exciting and creative - and completely unpredictable.
You sometimes exercise control, and sometimes you let yourself go.

Friends describe you as sensitive, spirited, and compulsive.
Bright and blazing with intensity, you seem mysterious and moody to many.

What's The Part Of You That No One Sees?

The Part of You That No One Sees

You are unique, witty, and even a little snobby.
You're quite proud of who you are, and nothing is going to change that.
You've paved your own way in life, and you've ended up where you want to be.

Underneath it all, you feel very isolated from the rest of the world.
It's hard to find people to relate to you on every level.
The mundane interests of your friends and family often bore or depress you.

What Will You Get For The 12 Days Of Christmas?

For the twelve days of Christmas, your true love will send you:

Twelve glam rockers drumming
Eleven christmas trees a-twinkling
Ten midgets a-leaping
Nine ladies baking cookies
Eight cows a-milking
Seven eggnogs a-intoxicating
Six puppies a-barking
Five golden bowls of chicken noodle soup
Four calling booty calls
Three French fries
Two starving Olsen twins
And a monkey in a cherry tree
I know it's nowhere near Christmas, but who cares?

What Kind Of Bra Are You?

You Are a White Cotton Bra!

Practical, comfortable, and classic
You want your man to feel relaxed and himself with you
Your perfect guy is low maintenance and adaptable
And he makes you feel comfy and cozy too!

What Color Is Your Lucky Underwear?

Your Lucky Underwear is Blue

You are caring and extroverted. You've made relationships your number one focus, and your lucky blue underwear can bring some balance to them.
You thrive in one-on-one situations. You are a good listener and a natural born therapist.

Sometimes you let the concerns of others become too important in your life, leading to stress and worry.
If you want more balance, put on your blue underpants. They'll help you take care of yourself first.

What Kind Of Cake Are You?

You Are a Chocolate Cake

Fun, comforting, and friendly.
You are a true classic, and while you're not super cutting edge, you're high quality.
People love your company - and have even been known to get addicted to you.

Are You Rock, Paper Or Scissors?

You Are Scissors

Sharp and brilliant, you can solve almost any problem with that big brain of yours.
People fear your cutting comments - and your wit is famous for being both funny and cruel.
Deep down, you tend to be in the middle of an emotional storm. Your own complexity disturbs you.
You are too smart for your own good. Slow down a little - or you're likely to hurt yourself.

You can cut a paper person down to pieces.

The only person who can ruin you is a rock person.

When you fight: You find your enemy's weak point and exploit it.

If someone makes you mad: You'll do everything you can to destroy their life

How Selfish Are You?

You Are 37% Selfish

In general, you are a very giving person who treats others very well.
But at times, you insist on getting your way - when it matters most to you.

Monday with Mam

I've had my Mam here for most of the day, and we've had a really nice time. Most of the afternoon, she was playing on World Of Warcraft, while I was reading bits from my blog to her. The nonsensical dribble on my blog inspired her to post on her blog. It was nice to see a post from her after so long. So, I'm very glad I was able to inspire her.

There are many reasons why I don't play World Of Warcraft any more, which I wont go into. But, I stopped payment on my account, cleaned out my characters, deleted the lower characters (Dad asked me to leave Zararose and Keroberous, because they were so high) and shared the stuff between Mam and Kelly. I didn't give Dad anything, because I made him leader of what was my guild. Then, I told Dad that if anyone wants to play and they don't have an account, they are welcome to use mine, since I doubt I'll ever use it again. But, if I was to change my mind, then at least I could easily do so.

Anyway, Mam and I booked our train tickets for going to get Elizabeth and Shireen. We're going on July 31st, which is Harry Potter and J. K. Rowling's birthday. I asked to go that day, because Mam said we were going through King's Cross station, and there's a pretend platform 9 & 3/4 entrance set up there, which I want to have my photo taken at. We'll be staying with Jackie until August 3rd, then bringing Elizabeth and Shireen back up with us. They'll be staying for about a week and a half, because their biological brother - who's name is Wayne, like one of my brothers - is getting married.

OK, I think that will do for today.

Tori

Sunday, June 24, 2007

What Finger Are You?

You Are the Thumb

You're unique and flexible. And you defy any category.
Mentally strong and agile, you do things your own way. And you do them well.
You are a natural leader... but also truly a loner. You inspire many but connect with few.

You get along well with: The Middle Finger

Stay away from: The Pinky

Some sad news

I've just received some bad news. My Grandma's friend (Dawn)'s husband (Derrick) has been ill for some time. He had been in hospital for more than a month. And, a little after 7:00 am this morning, he left this world. While it's good that Derrick is no longer having to go through the pain that has been with him for so long now, it's always sad to hear that someone has left us. I really don't know what else to say here, so, I'll just say, "Rest in peace, Derrick!"

Tori

Saturday strolls & such

I had quite a nice day yesterday.

The weather was nice, so, after 'Jake' left, and I'd fed the animals and had my morning snack, Kero and I went for a nice little walk. We went for another little walk after lunch too. Chance and Sakura joined us for that one. After our lunch time walk, I sat and watched my 'Great Expectations' DVD while fiddling on the PC. I really enjoyed the movie.

Kero, Sakura and I went for another walk after dinner, and I took my camera with me. I haven't got the photos from the camera on to the PC yet though. So, I'll have to post them another time.

When we came home, I listened to some more of my Harry Potter audio CD, then went to bed. I'm trying to finish listening to it so I can concentrate on reading my book, but I keep snuggling up with Kero on the bed to listen to it, and falling asleep. Oops!

I'm even getting used to the tastes of fruits and healthy snacks and starting to enjoy them a little more than I used to. Thing is, when you aren't used to having something you don't tend to find it enjoyable when you have it as a rule.

I found this really nice cereal and milk bar - it's meant for babies and toddlers, but who cares? - that tastes almost like a bar of white chocolate. Which is awesome, because that's my favourite kind of chocolate. But, it's a healthy 'toddler finger-food' snack. And there's this pack of 'lunch box snacks' that are pieces of dried fruit in little packets. They're quite nice too. Also, despite what a lot of people say about rice cakes, I've found some really nice tasting apple ones.

So, all in all, yesterday was a pretty good day!

Tori

Saturday, June 23, 2007

We called him 'Jake'

About 2:30 am, we were woken up by Kero barking at a noise that he'd heard outside. At the point when I was telling Kero to be quiet, we heard the garden gate close. A few seconds later, we heard a dog howling just outside our door. We waited a while, then Kelly went out to investigate. Outside, intentionally left there, was a black and white dog with no collar on. We knew from hearing the gate that someone had shut it in. We tried several times to get it to go out of the gate, but every time we shut it out, it would find a way to get back in.

A couple of neighbours had been woken up too, and we asked them if they knew who's dog he was. Nobody had even seen him before.

After about an hour of trying, and failing, to get him to leave, we decided the best thing would be to keep him contained until the morning when we could either find out where he lived, or get someone to pick him up. So, we left him in the yard and went inside. He followed us in. We tried several times to get him to stay out, but when the only successful time ended up with him one side of the door, and Kero the other, with both dogs howling, we decided the only way anyone would get any sleep, was if the dog came inside with us.

We shut the door to the front room and kitchen, which is where the cats have the open window they use to go in and out as they please, made sure that our window was shut so the cats didn't come in that way, made sure both Kero and the dog were the side of the house we wanted them, and went to bed. Kelly and I woke every few minutes though, checking on Kero and the dog.

At one point during the night, Kelly commented that he looked like a 'James' to him, and I said I thought he looked more like a 'Jake' to me, and at the mansion of the name 'Jake' the dog looked right at me. We don't know if his name is Jake, or if he just liked the name, but he responded well to it, so, for the rest of the time he was here, we called him Jake.

When we got up, I tried again to persuade him to go off and find his home. Jake was having none of it though, so I called the RSPCA. They kept insisting it wasn't their job, it was the local council's job to pick up strays. I thought that was stupid, but phoned the council anyway. The council told me that the department that deals with that is only open from Monday to Friday, but if I kept him until Monday they'd come and fetch him. I told them there was no way I could keep him that long, so they told me to phone the local police and ask them to take him. Which I did. The police said they'd take him if I could bring him in. I told them I had no car, so they said I had to either find someone who has one, or keep him until the council could come and get him, because they don't have dogs in their cars any more, unless they are properly trained police dogs. Apparently, the dogs kept "making a mess" in the cars, and then they'd be out of action for four days while they were being cleaned. LOL!

Anyway, I phoned my Mam, who had Dave (who's visiting with Jackie, Elizabeth and Shireen, and doing some work in Mam's bathroom for her) come down and fetch Jake and take him to Ammanford police station. They're going to check him for a chip, if he has one, call the owner. If not, they're going to hold him for a couple of days to see if someone reports him missing. If nobody does, they'll find him a space in a rescue center.

I'm positive though, that if they don't find his owner, they'll have no trouble finding him a home, because Jake's a lovely dog. He has a wonderful temperament, and is very well trained. I threw a ball for him, while we were waiting for my Mam, and he jumped in the air, did a sort of backwards somersault, then caught it. It was awesome! Shame I'd put the camera away! I did, as you probably saw while reading through the post, take a couple of pictures of him though. I'll tell you honestly, if we had a bigger place, and if we didn't have the cats (Kero and Jake got on great) then I'd tell the police that if they can't find his owner I'd take him. But, we're not in a position to take on a dog of that size. Not to mention, my cats would NOT approve. Chance made that perfectly clear, when he saw Jake in the garden. Let's just say, size doesn't always matter... Poor Jake!

I was a bit annoyed with one of my neighbours though. I had Jake and Kero in the yard, waiting for Mam and Dave, and she opened her window to talk to me. Jake went to investigate, and she turned round and told me if he jumps in her house, she'll take a knife to him. How cruel is that?

Oh yeah! For the benefit of anyone who doesn't know... Kelly is my husband (as I mentioned in the comments section a couple of days ago), Elizabeth is my adopted sister, Shireen is Elizabeth's biological sister (and my Mam's Godchild), Jackie is Shireen and Elizabeth's biological mother (and one of my Mam's best friends), and Dave is Jackie's partner.

Tori

Friday, June 22, 2007

Kero & fruit deserts

I mostly just wanted to share this photo of Kero, since there's not much to say today, because I've not really done anything today.

About all I did today, was spend most of this morning making most of my fruit into deserts in little pots, then putting them in the freezer.

I got a new blender yesterday, so I used it to make some of the fruit in to smoothies. Some of them I used to make toppings for some of my deserts, some I froze on their own so I could use them as toppings for future deserts, or, defrost and drink them as smoothies at a later date.

So, I'm not going to bore you with nonsense. Not today anyway, lol!

Tori

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Gynaecologist, fruit & things

I got up about 4:00 am. Not intentionally, I just woke up, and I couldn't get back to sleep. And, since I've been out all day, I'm extremely tired right now.

Today was my gynaecologist appointment.

He wasn't all that bothered that I hadn't lost much weight. He was glad I'd lost some, but didn't seem all that concerned that it wasn't nearly as much as I was meant to have lost. So, he's writing to my doctor to get me a fertility medication that should make me ovulate properly - which I'm not doing properly - and, in doing so, should increase my chances of getting pregnant. I have to call the doctor surgery in about a week to see if they've received the letter from the gynaecologist, and if so, when my pills will be at the pharmacy for me to pick up. Then I have to go see the gynaecologist again in three months. He'll be sending me an appointment closer to the time.

Anyway...

Considering today is Midsummer's Day, it's been a miserable, wet day. It's been kind of warm though, which is probably why we've had scattered thunderstorms over the last couple of days.

I've tried some new fruit type 'snacks' over the last two days. Last night, I had a sort of 'Summer fruit desert' type of thing, which consisted of... Strawberries, raspberries and blackberries, covered with strawberry yogurt. And, I tried something I got while I was in Tesco on Tuesday, which was called a 'HumZinger Fruit Stick.' Then, today, I had a strawberry and banana smoothie, some apple and orange fruit flakes, and right now, I'm drinking a cranberry and raspberry smoothie. The Summer fruit desert was really nice, so were the apple and orange fruit flakes. I quite liked the strawberry and banana smoothie too. I'm not sure I like the fruit sticks or the cranberry and raspberry smoothie much though. I'll finish the ones I have, but I'm not planning on buying (or making) them again.

I've watched a few movies over the last couple of days too. I watched:
  • Baby's Day Out
  • Canadian Bacon
  • The Aristocats
I'd seen them all, and enjoyed them all. Although 'Canadian Bacon' was on more for Kelly, since he quite likes that movie.

I've not done much reading over the last couple of days, because I've been listening to 'Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban' on audio CD. Although, I read a book on Tuesday called "My Dad's Got An Alligator," which was by Jeremy Strong. And, today, I started reading "The Vile Village," which is book seven in Lemony Snicket's A Series Of Unfortunate Events.

Well, I'm going to go watch 'The Simpsons' then go to bed.

Tori

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Books (at last)

FINALLY my books have arrived!

I'm talking, of course, about books seven and eight in Lemony Snicket's A Series Of Unfortunate Events.

I informed Play on Monday morning that they hadn't arrived yet, and they sent me an e-mail some time on Monday afternoon apologising for them not arriving, and another saying they had sent out replacements. The replacements arrived this morning. So, I can finally continue reading them! YAY!

Tori

Midsummer Lore (June 21st)

Also known as: Litha or Alban Heruin (Druidic)

Although the name Litha is not well attested, it may come from Saxon tradition -- the opposite of Yule. On this longest day of the year, light and life are abundant. At mid-summer, the Sun God has reached the moment of his greatest strength. Seated on his greenwood throne, he is also lord of the forests, and his face is seen in church architecture peering from countless foliate masks. The Christian religion converted this day of Jack-in-the-Green to the Feast of St. John the Baptist, often portraying him in rustic attire, sometimes with horns and cloven feet (like the Greek Demi-God Pan) Midsummer Night's Eve is also special for adherents of the Faerie faith. The alternative fixed calendar date of June 25 (Old Litha) is sometimes employed by Covens. The name Beltane is sometimes incorrectly assigned to this holiday by some modern traditions of Wicca, even though Beltane is the Gaelic word for May.

Traditional Foods:
Garden fresh fruits and vegetables are made into a variety of dishes and eaten by Pagan's who choose to celebrate this day.

Herbs and Flowers:
Mugwort, Vervain, Chamomile, Rose, Honeysuckle, Lily, Oak, Lavender, Ivy, Yarrow, Fern, Elder, Wild Thyme, Daisy, Carnation.

Incense:
Lemon, Myrrh, Pine, Rose, Wisteria.

Woods Burned:
Oak

Sacred Gemstone:
Emerald

Special Activities:
An Ideal time to reaffirm your vows to the Lord and Lady or your dedication to following the old traditions. Berry picking is another activity that many people enjoy at this time. Also, children can draw pictures of various Summer themed items (butterflies, the Sun, etc), make their own wands by decorating sticks they find on the ground (or, thin pieces of wood you have brought for the purpose), or, make their own "Green Man" mask.

Hamish the Westie

Hamish is a West Highland White Terrier. He's about six years old, and he was given to me yesterday.

Kero is thoroughly enjoying having his new playmate. He's spent ages trying to get Hamish to play tuggy with him. But, Hamish isn't interested in games of tuggy.

I'm sure you'd like to see Hamish, so, I took a photo of him.

I also got a couple of photos of Hamish and Kero together, and a couple of videos of Kero trying to persuade Hamish to play with him.

I have a pretty good idea why Hamish wont play with Kero properly. Take a good look at his photo, and I'm sure you'll be able to figure it out too...



Yes, that's right, it's because Hamish is a toy. LOL!

He's a battery powered Wesie that Wayne was given a while back. While I was at my parents' place yesterday, Wayne was cleaning out his room, and trying to get rid of any old stuff he didn't want any more. When he discored Hamish, he offered Hamish to me.

Wayne asked me if I would look after his Westie for him. He told me he couldn't keep it at our parents' place, so it needed a home. Then he offered to go and get him to show me so I could decide if I wanted him.

I was relieved when he was only carrying a toy dog when he came back into the yard (where I was waiting with my Mam, who it turned out was in on the whole thing).

Check out my photo albums and video clips sections if you want to see the rest of the photos, and the videos.

Tori

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Dietitian

Man am I tired!

I got up early to go into town. Didn't get much, just the weekly shop, and our usual baguettes. Then I went to my parents' place for an hour or so until it was time for me to go to the dietitian.

The dietitian was very impressed with the changes I had made so far in my diet. The only other things she asked me to do, was to increase the amount of fruit I'm having, eat better cereals (like, swap my frosties for shredded what, that kind of thing), and to have small meals with a little "healthy snack" in between them, rather than having either a small meal and going hungry between the meals, or having large meals with no snacks. She said that it's not the snacks that are the problem, it's the things people have as snacks. And that snacks and small meals are useful for keeping your metabolism going all day, which is apparently a good thing.

She also gave me some good ideas for fun ways to make the things I don't really like (like certain types of fruit and veg) more interesting. Mostly different ideas for things to hide them in, or things to put on them to disguise their disgusting taste. LOL!

And, she wants to see me again in "about three months."

We stopped off on the way home and had fun picking out different kinds of fruit, and stuff to put with it. I have basically every kind of fruit that I'll eat.

Tori

Monday, June 18, 2007

Mail on a Sunday

Only once before has something come to us on a Sunday. It was at the last place we lived (bearing in mind, we've been here nearly two years now) and, it was a special delivery item that my next door neighbour had asked us to take in for her.

Usually, special delivery is the only way any mail comes on a Sunday (as most of you know). So, you can imagine how surprised I was when there was a knock on my door yesterday (Sunday) morning. I was even more surprised when the person at the door turned out to be our mail lady, who handed me a package.

Inside the package were some books I'd ordered...

  • Cider With Rosie by Laurie Lee
  • The Enchanted Wood by Enid Blyton
  • The Faraway Tree Collection by Enid Blyton
  • The Wishing Chair Collection by Enid Blyton
So, they've been added to my reading pile now too.

Tori

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Saturday in Swansea

Friday night, I read 'Back To Front Benjy' by Dick King Smith. It was quite an amusing little story. There are a few other short stories in the same book, which I read too. But, I don't remember what they are called, and I can't be bothered to get up and go and fetch the book to check.

About 10:00 am yesterday (Saturday) morning, I was trying to decide what to do with my day, when I got a text message inviting to go out for the day with my Mam and Nan. I accepted it, got dressed, and went off to meet them.

We were going to just go to Ammanford, but we decided to go to Swansea instead. We go to Ammanford every week, so we figured Swansea would be a nice change. Besides, since Kelly had already decided he wasn't going to club, we didn't really need to rush back.

Before we went to Swansea though, we went to 'Stardust' for a drink. Mam and I just had a can of pop each, because it was quite warm, but Nan had a hot drink.

By the time we got to Swansea, it was about 1:00 pm, and we were all hungry, so we went to find somewhere to eat. The place Mam and I normally go (if we don't go to McDonald's) was PACKED, so we went to look for another place to eat. We ended up going to the restraint in British Home Stores, and let me tell you, we will NOT be going back. Don't get me wrong, the food was quite good, but not good enough to compensate for the restraint's bad points. First of all, our choice for meals was either chips and something, or shepherd's pie, which was a pain, because the whole point of avoiding McDonald's and such was to avoid chips. Secondly, as most of you know, my eyesight isn't all that great, and Mam was telling me what I could have with my chips, and the woman behind the counter actually got annoyed with her for doing so. Then, there was no clean cutlery, and the woman behind the till had to go wash some for us. And, if that wasn't enough to annoy us, I had almost finished my dinner before Mam and Nan's dinner arrived. Not to mention the fact it cost us £20 for two bottles of water, a bottle of Ribena, two lots of fish and chips, and the sausage, chips and beans that I ended up having. And, when we looked at the receipt, we learned that half of that bill was the drinks. Plus, the tables were filthy. We all agreed that next time, we either wait for someone to finish with a table at the place we usually go (I think it's called "Eli's" or something like that) or, we just go to McDonald's or something.

Anyway, apart from that, we had a pretty good day.

My Mam got herself some new tops, and she got me some more books. The books she got me were:


  • The Colour Of Magic by Terry Pratchett
  • The Light Fantastic by Terry Pratchett
  • Mort by Terry Pratchett
They are books one, two, and four, of Terry Pratchett's Discworld Series. I have book three - which is called "Equal Rites" - on order, so I should get that pretty soon.

Also, there was a man who's friend in Australia had written a book, and he was giving away copies, so, Mam grabbed me one of those too.

As fast as I'm getting these books read, I'm getting new ones. Not that it's a problem. LOL!


When I got home (a little before 4:30 pm) I took Kero for a walk, then sat down and watched 'Dances With Wolves,' which, as my Grandma and ChicagoLady pointed out, is a really good movie. I really enjoyed it, and I'm glad I got it.

After the movie, read a book called 'Mr Majeika And The School Book Week.' It was an amusing book with a couple of short stories in it about a teacher who is also a wizard. By the time I'd finished reading that, I was extremely tired, so I went to bed. Hence being up so early.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot... I watched 'The Incredible Journey' on Friday night (after watching 'Lemony Snicket's A Series Of Unfortunate Events'). It seems I was right. It is the original version. The one with Tao the Siamese cat. If I'm not mistaken, he's a seal point. I loved it! Kelly watched it with me, and seemed to enjoy it too. Also, Chance and Kero watched it. They fell asleep half way through though. LOL!

Tori


P.S. Oops, forgot I was signed in to fix something for Kelly on his blog... Now it thinks it's Kelly posting this. LOL!

Friday, June 15, 2007

A post full of Friday's things

I never did get any reading done last night. So, I guess I wont be telling you which stories I read last night. I did pick up a book a couple of times, and something would happen so that I never ended up reading any of it. First, someone knocked on the door. Then the phone rang. And, by the time all those things stopped happening, it was getting quite late and I needed to see about trying to get some sleep.

It's been a funny day - weather wise. All day, it's alternated between being hot and wet, hot and dry, dry but a bit windy, and wet and a bit windy. With no particular pattern.

I went to town today. Mostly I went to get a few bits of food, but I also got:
  • A new, blue, lead for Kero
  • A rawhide ice-cream cone for Kero
  • A rawhide shoe for Willow
  • A new headset with a mic on it for Kelly
  • A new microphone for me for my PC
  • 2 baguettes (the usual tuna, sweetcorn, cheese & onion one for myself, and a plain cheese one for my Mam)
  • A Father's Day card for my Dad
And, my Mam got herself a pale grey pair of trousers with two thin, pink stripes down the legs, and a white t-shirt with a bit of pink on it. She also got me a pair of dark blue trousers, and a nice top. The top is a sort of two piece thing. The bottom layer is a plain, white t-shirt, and the top layer is a black sort of 'gypsy top' type thing.

I didn't come home to my books, as I'd hoped. Instead, I came home to find that the movies I'd ordered had arrived. The movies were as follows:
  • Baby's Day Out
  • Dances With Wolves
  • Great Expectations
  • Lemony Snicket's A Series Of Unfortunate Events
  • The Incredible Journey
I'm watching 'Lemony Snicket's A Series Of Unfortunate Events' right now. I've seen it a good few times when it's been on TV, but that didn't stop me wanting to own it.

The only one of the others that I've seen is 'Baby's Day Out.' I watched it a few years back. Possibly when it was first out. My Mam had it (and possibly still has it) on video. And now, I have it on DVD.

I've seen 'Homeward Bound' - the newer version of 'The Incredible Journey' - but I haven yet to see the original version of 'The Incredible Journey' (which is what this one says it is).

As for 'Dances With Wolves' and 'Great Expectations'... I've heard them both on audio book, but never seen the movies. I'm hoping to get a chance to watch them some time in the next few days.

Anyway, I think this post is long enough. So, I'm going to hit 'publish' and go see if anyone else has posted anything on their blogs today.

Tori

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Basically books

I read a couple of those short stories last night. I was going to just read one of them, but I couldn't sleep, so I decided to read a few. I've got half a dozen or so left, so no big deal. And it's not like I don't have other books I could read while I wait for books seven and eight from the A Series Of Unfortunate Events series.

So, last night, I read:
  • The Tale Of Pigling Bland by Beatrix Potter
  • Notso Hotso by Anne Fine
  • The Perfect Hamburger by Alexander McCall Smith
  • Winnie The Pooh - Growing Up Stories
  • Rala Rwdins by Angharad Tomos
They were cute stories. They're definitely more for little kids than for people my age. Although, 'Notso Hotso' and 'The Perfect Hamburger' are, obviously, for older kids than the others are. Maybe next time Shireen is here, I can get her to stay still long enough to read one to her? Or, maybe not! Shireen's not big on staying still. She's also not all that interested in paying attention to books. When I have kids of my own, I'll have to try and encourage them to enjoy books. Then I can read those books to them.

I don't know why I read the Winnie The Pooh one. It's not like I don't know what kind of stories they'd be. But, it was in the pile, so... *Shrugs helplessly*

And, for those who don't know - which will be most, if not all of you - Rala Rwdins is a Welsh children's book. I don't know if the TV series is based on the book, or the book is based on the TV series, but there are both books and a TV series out. There's a whole set of them, and Rala Rwdins is the first book. I somehow got book seven (not sure on title and can't be bothered to look) so when I saw the first book I figured I'd buy it. I mean, if I'm going to have a book from the set, I might as well get the whole set. I'm sure my kids will enjoy them. When I have kids, of course.

I'll be reading another story - or, perhaps another couple of stories - again tonight.

Today is Kelly's Aunt (my Mother-In-Law's sister, Susan)'s birthday. I don't think she reads my blog, but neither do a lot of the poeple I say happy birthday to. So, I'm going to say, "Happy birthday Aunt Sue" anyway.

Going to town tomorrow. Got to get Kero a new lead, and get a few other bits that we'll need between now and Tuesday. Like food. You never know, maybe I'll come home to find my books have arrived! I wont hold my breath though. I had thought I might actually get this series read before July 21st, which is when 'Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows' comes out. Doesn't look like it now though, does it? Although, I suppose, if books seven and eight hurry up, I might still be able to finish the series in time.

Anyway, I think that'll do for today.

Tori

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Dad's birthday

Hi there! I just wanted to do a quick, little post to say, "Happy birthday" to my Dad (Doug), because today - June 13th - is his birthday. I don't know if he'll read this, but at least I can say I posted it!

Tori

Lemony Snicket - The Ersatz Elevator

I know, I know! I was 'meant to be' taking my time with this one so as to give Play time to find, or replace, books seven and eight for me. But, I couldn't help it! I just couldn't put this one down, for some reason. It's been a while since I've sat and read chapter, after chapter, after chapter, without so much as getting up for a drink, or snack, or whatever. But that's what happened with this book. The story was a bit slow to start, making the first chapter a little dull, but by the time I was finishing chapter two, I was so eager to read what happened next that I was reading whenever I could. Even if it was just a page or two at a time. Last night, when I picked the book up to read a little, I had just started reading chapter nine. A few hours later, however, I had finished reading the entire book. Needless to say, I enjoyed it very much! LOL! Unfortunately, I now have to wait for at least a week before I can continue reading the series. So, while I wait, I will be reading the short story books that I've acquires from various cereal boxes, boxes of tea bags, or other means. Most of them are stories meant for youngsters, but no book goes on my shelf without first being read, therefore, I need to read them. And now, while I wait for book seven to arrives, seems like a good time to do so.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Tiring Tuesday

Kero's been to the groomer, and now he's all clean, fluffy, and smells nice. I wonder how long he's going to be clean for this time? LOL!

Anyway...

Today has been a nicer day, weather wise. It's been one of those days when it's warm, and dry, but not too hot. I like this kind of weather, because, though it's nice enough to do whatever things it is that you want to be doing, it's not so hot that you can't find the energy to do those things.

However, apart from the perfect weather, today hasn't been the best of days. I'm not saying it's been a bad day, but I've definitely had better ones.

Firstly, I had trouble sleeping again, and finally fell asleep about an hour before I had to get up.

Then, while taking Kero to the groomer, Kero's lead snapped. He decided he wasn't going to go to the groomer, and pulled the opposite way to me, snapping his lead. So, I guess that retractable lead wasn't as good as it seemed to be. Plus, it seems I'm going to be buying Kero a new lead when I go to town on Friday. Good thing is, I do have a little lead I can use until then. It's not the best lead though. It's not very long, and it's not very strong, so I wouldn't want to use it for too long, but it will be fine until Friday.

While Kero was at the dog groomer, I spent some time with my Dad. I don't spend a lot of time with my Dad usually. Not because I don't see him, because I see him a lot, it's just that Dad and I are both usually in our own worlds, and usually barely exchange more than a few words. But, today we spent some time together. Admittedly all we were doing was working on some stuff on World Of Warcraft, but at least we were having a conversation. LOL!

My Nan came home from town not long before I was due to go pick Kero up from the groomer. She made me an egg sandwich. I love Nan's egg sandwiches! Unfortunately, stopping for the egg sandwich meant that by the time I left my parents' place, I was already late picking Kero up. And, since I had to go get some milk before picking him up, I ended up about half an hour late getting him. Which then meant I ended up missing the bus, and waiting for almost an hour for another one.

I was meant to pick Kero up at 12:30 pm. But, I never got to the groomer until about 1:00 pm. We finally got home just before 2:00 pm. By which time I was exhausted!

Well, I think that covers just about everything.

Tori

Megan on fish tank


Megan says, "Why should I sleep in a cat bed, on a sofa - or on any other surface meant for napping on - when there's a perfectly good fish tank to sleep on!" LOL!

Tori

Kero on donut bed


Been meaning to post this for more than a week.

As you can see, Kero considers Chance's bed more than acceptable, and extremely comfortable. LOL!

Tori

Hot, wet, Monday

It was wet, it was grey and gloomy, and it was hot. That's all I have to say about my Monday! The weather part of it, anyway.

I was going to be going to town to get a new microphone for myself, and a new headset for Kelly. But, I changed my mind. I'd have been too hot in a jacket, but needed a jacket because it was pouring with rain, and I couldn't be bothered with fussing about with an umbrella (the only other option). So, I decided I'd just get the mic and headset when I go in town on Friday.

Yes, I did say Friday. I know I normally go in on Tuesdays, but since Mam is away, and Kero has to go to the groomer tomorrow, I'm going on Friday instead.

OK, wont ramble on any more tonight. Need to see about bed if I'm going to be up in time to get Kero to the groomer for 9:30 am.

Tori

Hey... Did you know...

... that Kelly has been posting on his blog a bit more lately?

No? Then why not go take a look. I'm sure he wouldn't mind you stopping by and reading his blog. :-)

Temperature

Temperature is a physical property of a system that underlies the common notions of hot and cold; something that is hotter has the greater temperature. Temperature is one of the principal parameters of thermodynamics. The temperature of a system is defined as simply the average energy of microscopic motions of a single particle in the system per degree of freedom. For a solid, these microscopic motions are principally the vibrations of the constituent atoms about their sites in the solid. For an ideal monatomic gas, the microscopic motions are the translational motions of the constituent gas particles. For multiatomic gas vibrational and rotational motion should be included too.

Temperature is measured with thermometers that may be calibrated to a variety of temperature scales. Throughout the world (except for in the U.S.), the Celsius scale is used for most temperature measuring purposes. The entire scientific world (the U.S. included) measures temperature using the Celsius scale, and thermodynamic temperature using the Kelvin scale. Many engineering fields in the U.S., especially high-tech ones, also use the Kelvin and Celsius scales. The bulk of the U.S. however, (its lay people, industry, popular meteorology, and government) relies upon the Fahrenheit scale. Other engineering fields in the U.S. also rely upon the Rankine scale when working in thermodynamic-related disciplines such as combustion.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

It's SO hot!!!

I've spent most of the day sitting in front of the fan eating ice lollies. Which was fun, but still didn't cool me down very much.

Poor Kero's spent the whole day alternating between sleeping in various different spots. I think he's been trying to find a cool place to sleep. Poor thing. He's all furry right now, because of it being close to time for him to go to the groomer (he goes on Tuesday) and all that fur just makes a day like today seem even hotter.

We usually have dinner some time between 4:00 pm and 5:00 pm, but it was so hot today that we didn't even think about making food until after 8:30 pm. And, by the time it was cooked it was after 9:30 pm, and, thankfully, a fair bit cooler.

Megan brought a frog home when we were dishing up dinner. It was dead, and she dropped it by my feet. Now, I don't have a problem with frogs, but... I picked it up, not realising what it was, and then dropped it on the floor and ran away from it. At this point, all I knew was it was something slimy, and dead, and I wasn't too happy about touching it. Then Kelly went to see what it was, and told me it was a frog. I went and washed my hands while Kelly threw the dead frog away. Megan wasn't too happy we threw her present to us away, so I told her we liked her gift, but added that in future we would REALLY appreciate it if the 'presents' stayed outside.

That's pretty much all that I have to say.


The only other thing I could add - and have decided that I will add - is that I did get Zararose to level 49 last night, and I got Keroberous (the mage on World Of Warcraft, not the dog) to level 33 today. And, now I'm going to go read some of my book.

Tori

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Harry Potter

Harry Potter is a series of seven fantasy novels by English author J. K. Rowling about a teenage boy named Harry Potter. The story is mostly set at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, a school for young wizards, and focuses on Harry Potter's fight against the evil wizard Lord Voldemort, who killed Harry's parents as part of his plan to take over the wizarding world.

Since the release of the first novel, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (retitled Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone in the United States) in 1997, the books have gained immense popularity, critical acclaim and commercial success worldwide, spawning films, video games and assorted merchandise. The six books published to date have collectively sold more than 325 million copies and have been translated into more than 63 languages. The seventh and last book in the series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is scheduled to be released on 21 July 2007. Publishers announced a record-breaking 12 million copies for the first print run in the US alone.

Due to the success of the novels, Rowling has become the richest writer in literary history. English language versions of the books are published by Bloomsbury in the United Kingdom, Scholastic Press in the United States, Allen & Unwin in Australia and Raincoast Books in Canada.

The first four books have been made into highly successful motion pictures by Warner Bros. The fifth, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, began filming in February 2006, and is scheduled for release on 11 July 2007.

____

Scroll down for info on J. K. Rowling.

Sky = Skie = Cloud

SKY - An English word taken from the Old Norse word "Skie," which means "Cloud"

Did any of you know that? If not, don't feel bad, I only learned it yesterday. I have to ask now though, is it really right to say that we have a, "Beautiful, cloud-free sky" today? After all, wouldn't that mean that I'd be saying we have a, "Beautiful, cloud-free cloud" today? Hm... I guess something got lost in the translation. Maybe the Norse folk didn't have an actual word for the sky (as in, what we now call the sky) and pointed up at the clouds, and whoever was trying to learn the language got it wrong? I mean, that kind of thing can happen. And, I don't have any other ideas. Do you?

Sunny - but boring - Saturday

I'm SO bored!!!

It's a lovely day, with a beautiful, cloud-free sky, and Kero and I have had a couple of really nice walks, but other than that, I've been just hanging out at home being bored. I've got a few dishes to finish washing, but that's about it.

There's not even anything interesting on TV. The few shows that I like to watch, I've seen so many times that I could pretty much quote every word of them to you. The rest of them are rubbish.

I could read, but I don't want to finish my book too soon, because, even though book twelve has arrived from Play, books seven and eight haven't arrived yet. I was going to call Play yesterday, but their web site said I had to wait 21 days before they'd do anything, and 21 days doesn't run out until June 17th. So, I have to wait another eight days before I can even report them as not being here. When I've finished the book I'm on, I'll have to read a couple of the short story books I have in my pile while I wait, I guess. *Sigh* And I was doing so well at reading the sereies fairly quickly too!

I guess I'll go finish these dishes, then go play on World Of Warcraft. Zararose is almost level 49 now. Maybe I'll get her to 49 before dinner?

Before I go though, I just wanted to say that today is my Mother-In-Law (Jenifer)'s birthday. So, HAPPY BIRTHDAY Mom.

Tori

Friday, June 08, 2007

J. K. Rowling

Joanne "Jo" Rowling OBE (born 31 July 1965) is an English fiction writer who writes under the pen name J. K. Rowling.[2] Rowling is the author of the Harry Potter fantasy series, which has gained international attention, won multiple awards, and sold over 325 million copies worldwide.[3] In February 2004, Forbes magazine estimated her fortune at £576 million (just over US$1 billion and still is at the same spot in 2007), making her the first person to become a US-dollar billionaire by writing books.[4] In 2006, Forbes named her the second richest female entertainer in the world, behind talk show host Oprah Winfrey.

Name:
Rowling's surname is pronounced "rolling" (IPA: /rəʊ.lɪŋ/). Her full name is "Joanne Rowling", not, as is often assumed, "Joanne Kathleen Rowling". Before publishing her first volume, Bloomsbury feared that the target audience of young boys might be reluctant to buy books written by a female author. They requested that Rowling use two initials, rather than reveal her first name. As she had no middle name, she chose K, from her grandmother's name Kathleen, as the second initial of her pseudonym. The name Kathleen has never been part of her legal name. She calls herself "Jo" and claims, "No one ever called me 'Joanne' when I was young, unless they were angry."

Early life:
Rowling was born at Yate, South Gloucestershire, England, 10 miles (16.1 km) northeast of Bristol on 31 July 1965. Her sister Dianne (Di) was born at their home when Rowling was 23 months old. The family moved to the nearby village Winterbourne when Rowling was four where she attended St Michael's Primary School, later moving to Tutshill, near Chepstow, South Wales at the age of nine. As a child, Rowling enjoyed writing stories about fantasies, which she often read to her sister. She attended secondary school at Wyedean School and College. Rowling was good with languages, but did not excel at sports and mathematics. There are numerous references to Welsh places, things, and people in Harry Potter, which could be attributed to her time in Chepstow.

After studying French and Classics at the University of Exeter, with a year of study in Paris, she moved to London to work as a researcher and bilingual secretary for Amnesty International. During this period, while she was on a four-hour delayed-train trip between Manchester and London, she developed the idea for a story of a young boy attending a school of wizardry. When she had reached her Clapham Junction flat, she began writing immediately.

In December 1990, Rowling’s mother succumbed to a 10-year-long battle with the condition multiple sclerosis. Rowling commented, “I was writing Harry Potter at the moment my mother died. I had never told her about Harry Potter.”

Rowling then moved to Porto, Portugal to teach English as a foreign language. While there, she married Portuguese television journalist Jorge Arantes on 16 October 1992. They had one child, Jessica, who was named after Rowling’s heroine, Jessica Mitford. They divorced in 1993 after a fight in which Jorge threw her out of the house.

In December 1994, Rowling and her daughter moved to be near Rowling’s sister in Edinburgh, Scotland. Unemployed and living on state benefits, she completed her first novel. She did her work in numerous different cafés (e.g. Nicolson's Cafe and Elephant House Café), whenever she could get Jessica to fall asleep. There was a rumour that she wrote in local cafés to escape from her unheated flat, but in a 2001 BBC interview Rowling remarked, “I am not stupid enough to rent an unheated flat in Edinburgh in midwinter. It had heating.”

Harry Potter:

Main article: Harry Potter:

Harry Potter books:
In 1995, Rowling completed her manuscript for Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone on an old manual typewriter. Upon the enthusiastic response of Bryony Evans, a reader who had been asked to review the book’s first three chapters, the Fulham-based Christopher Little Literary Agents agreed to represent Rowling in her quest for a publisher. The book was handed to twelve publishing houses, all of which rejected it. A year later she was finally given the green light (and a £1500 advance) by editor Barry Cunningham from the small publisher Bloomsbury. The decision to take Rowling on was apparently largely due to Alice Newton, the eight-year-old daughter of the company’s chairman, who was given the first chapter to review by her father, and immediately demanded the next. Although Bloomsbury agreed to publish the book, Cunningham says that he advised Rowling to get a day job, since she had little chance of making money in children’s books. Soon after, Rowling received an £8000 grant from the Scottish Arts Council to enable her to continue writing.

The following spring, an auction was held in the United States for the rights to publish the novel, and was won by Scholastic Inc., who paid Rowling more than $100,000. Rowling has said she “nearly died” when she heard the news. In June 1997, Bloomsbury published Philosopher’s Stone with an initial print run of only one-thousand copies, five-hundred of which were distributed to libraries. Today, such copies are each valued at between £16,000 and £25,000.

Five months later, the book won its first award, a Nestlé Smarties Book Prize. In February, the novel won the prestigious British Book Award for Children’s Book of the Year, and, later the Children’s Book Award. In October 1998, Scholastic published Philosopher’s Stone in the US under the title of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone: a change Rowling claims she now regrets and would have fought if she had been in a better position at the time.

In December 1999, the third Harry Potter novel, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, won the Smarties Prize, making Rowling the first person to win the award three times running. She later withdrew the fourth Harry Potter novel from contention to allow other books a fair chance. In January 2000, Prisoner of Azkaban won the inaugural Whitbread Children’s Book of the Year award, though it narrowly lost the Book of the Year prize to Seamus Heaney’s translation of Beowulf.

To date, six of the seven volumes of the Harry Potter series, one for each of Harry’s school years, have already been published and all have broken sales records. The last three volumes in the series have been the fastest-selling books in history, grossing more in their opening 24 hours than blockbuster films. Book six of her series earned The Guinness World Records Award for being the fastest selling book ever, selling more copies in 24 hours than The Da Vinci Code sold in a year. (The Da Vinci Code was the best-selling book of the previous year.)

Rowling has completed the seventh and final book of the series. Its title was revealed on 21 December 2006 to be Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. On 1 February 2007 Rowling announced on her website that its release date was to be 21 July 2007. Rowling wrote on a bust in her hotel room at the Balmoral Hotel in Edinburgh that she had completed the seventh book in that room (652) on 11 January 2007; this was confirmed to be authentic by Rowling's and the hotel's representatives. In February 2007, Neil Bayer, a lawyer with Rowling's literary agency, announced that Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows will not be released as an e-book. Rowling has not allowed the first six Potter stories to be released as e-books and has no plans to change that for the seventh and final work.

On 26 June 2006, Rowling revealed that in the final book of the Harry Potter series at least two characters will die. Authors Stephen King and John Irving asked Rowling not to kill off Harry in book seven during a press conference, but Rowling remained ambiguous regarding Harry’s fate.

In June 2006, the British public named Rowling “the greatest living British writer” in a poll by The Book Magazine. Rowling topped the poll, receiving nearly three times as many votes as the second-place author, fantasy writer Terry Pratchett. In July 2006 Rowling received a Doctor of Laws (LLD) honorary degree from University of Aberdeen for her "significant contribution to many charitable causes" and "her many contributions to society".

Harry Potter films:
In October, 1998, Warner Bros. purchased the film rights to the first two novels for a seven-figure sum. A film version of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone was released on 16 November 2001 and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets on 15 November 2002. Both were directed by Chris Columbus. The 4 June 2004 film version of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban was directed by Alfonso Cuarón. The fourth film, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, was directed by yet another new director, Mike Newell. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, is in post-production and is scheduled to be released on 13 July 2007. David Yates is the film's director, and Michael Goldenberg is its screenwriter, having taken over the position from Steven Kloves. Half-Blood Prince is in pre-production, and is scheduled for release on 21 November 2008. David Yates will once again direct the film, and it has been confirmed that Kloves will return to screenwrite it. Nothing has been announced regarding the film version of the final book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

In contrast to the treatment of most authors by Hollywood studios, Warner Bros. took considerable notice of Rowling's desires and thoughts in their attempt to bring her books to the screen. One of her principal stipulations was the films be shot in Britain with an all-British cast, which has so far been adhered to strictly. In an unprecedented move, Rowling also demanded that Coca-Cola, the victor in the race to tie-in their products to the film series, donate $18 million to the American charity Reading is Fundamental, as well as a number of community charity programs.

The first four films were scripted by Steve Kloves; Rowling assisted him in the writing process, ensuring that his scripts did not contradict future books in the series. She says she has told him more about the later books than anybody else, but not everything. She has also said that she has told Alan Rickman (Snape) and Robbie Coltrane (Hagrid) certain secrets about their characters that have not yet been revealed. Steven Spielberg was approached to direct the first film, but dropped out. The press has repeatedly claimed that Rowling played a role in his departure, but Rowling stated on her website that she has no say in who directs the films. Rowling's first choice for the director of the first Harry Potter film had been Monty Python alumnus Terry Gilliam, being a fan of Gilliam's work. Warner Bros. studios wanted a more family friendly film, however, and eventually they settled for Chris Columbus.


Current life and family:
In 2001, Rowling purchased a luxurious 19th century estate house, Killiechassie House, on the banks of the River Tay, near Aberfeldy, in Perth and Kinross, Scotland. Rowling also owns a home in Merchiston, Edinburgh, and a Georgian house in London, on a street where, according to The Guardian, the average price of a house is £4.27 million ($8 million), including an underground swimming pool and 24-hour security.

On 26 December 2001, Rowling married Neil Murray, an anaesthetist, in a private ceremony at her home in Aberfeldy. Their son David Gordon Rowling Murray was born on 24 March 2003. Shortly after Rowling began writing Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, she took a break from working on the novel to care for him in his early infancy. Rowling's youngest child, Mackenzie Jean Rowling Murray, to whom she dedicated Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, was born in January of 2005.

Politics:
See also: Criticism over political values

Although Rowling guards her privacy closely, she has spoken about some of her political views and influences. Rowling says her heroine is life-long socialist Jessica Mitford, and claims to have read everything she has ever written. She remembers going to visit her great aunt Ivy in Somerset when she was 14, and being told about this 'amazing woman'. "And she said, 'You know what she did, Jo, she bought a camera on her father's account and then went travelling.'" This story evidently made quite an impression on a young Joanne. Later, she discovered that Mitford was also a civil-rights activist who had suffered more than her share of tragedy. "She had a total lack of self-pity. And she lost three children through war, which is the worst thing that could happen."

After university, Rowling worked for the human-rights organisation Amnesty International. She still knew she wanted to write, but this was the next best option - "a day job that I cared about". Rowling wrote some of Harry Potter on her lunch breaks. A connection between the "three unforgivable curses" (killing, torture, and slavery) and Amnesty International's mission has been suggested in an article by John Rose. Rowling maintains a link to AI on her very popular website.

Rowling wrote an introduction for a collection of speeches made by future Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Moving Britain Forward, praising his support for single mothers. According to Sean Smith, in J.K. Rowling, A Biography (pg 196), "It was widely reported that Gordon Brown asked Jo to endorse the Labour Party, but she has kept her own counsel on her political persuasions."

In an interview with Simon Hattenstone of the Guardian, Rowling asked if he remembered the speech John Major made about society's ills being down to single mothers. She had only recently returned to Britain and now every time she hears Major described as a decent man she blanches. She says people exploit her story, depending on which way the political wind is blowing. [6]

Charities and donations:

Comic Relief:
In 2001, the UK fundraiser Comic Relief asked three bestselling British authors, (Rowling, cookery writer and TV presenter Delia Smith, and Bridget Jones creator Helen Fielding), to submit booklets related to their most famous works for publication. For every pound raised, a pound would go towards combatting poverty and social inequality across the globe. Rowling's two booklets, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and Quidditch Through the Ages, are ostensibly facsimiles of books found in the Hogwarts library, and are written under the names of their fictional authors, Newt Scamander and Kennilworthy Whisp.[49] Since going on sale in March, 2001, the books have raised £15.7 million (US$30 million) for the fund. The £10.8 million (US$20 million) raised outside the UK has been channelled into a newly created International Fund for Children and Young People in Crisis. She has also personally given £22 million to Comic Relief.

Multiple Sclerosis Society Scotland:
Rowling has contributed money and support for research and treatment of multiple sclerosis, from which her mother died in 1990. This death heavily affected her writing, according to Rowling. In 2006, Rowling contributed a substantial sum toward the creation of a new Centre for Regenerative Medicine at Edinburgh University. For reasons unknown, Scotland, Rowling's country of adoption, has the highest rate of MS in the world.[55]

Other donations:
In January 2006, Rowling went to Bucharest to raise funds for the Children's High Level Group, an organization devoted to enforcing the human rights of children, particularly in eastern Europe. On 1 August and 2 August 2006 she read alongside Stephen King and John Irving at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. Profits from the event were donated to the Haven Foundation, a charity that aids artists and performers left uninsurable and unable to work, and the medical NGO Médecins Sans Frontières. In May 2007, Rowling gave USD$495,000 to a reward fund of over $4.5 million for the safe return of a young British girl, Madeleine McCann, who was kidnapped in Portugal.

After Harry Potter:
After Rowling finishes the final Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, she plans to continue writing. Rowling declared, in a recent interview, that she will most likely not use a new pen name as the press would quickly discover her true identity.

In 2006, Rowling revealed that she had completed a few short stories and another children's book (a "political fairy story") about a monster, aimed at a younger audience than Harry Potter readers.

She is not planning to write an eighth Harry Potter book, but has suggested she might publish an "encyclopedia" of the Harry Potter world consisting of all her unpublished material and notes. Any profits from such a book would be given to charity.

Honours:
In June 2000, Queen Elizabeth II honoured Rowling by making her an Officer of the Order of the British Empire.

In early 2006, the asteroid (43844) Rowling was named in her honour.

In May 2006, the newly-discovered Pachycephalosaurid dinosaur Dracorex hogwartsia, currently at the Children's Museum in Indianapolis, was named in honour of her world.

There is a housing development in Bristol, near to her childhood home, called Rowling Gate.

Controversy:
Main article: Controversy over Harry Potter;

J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter series has faced a number of controversies. The books have been the subject of a number of legal proceedings, largely stemming either from claims by the religious right that the magic in the books promotes witchcraft among children, or from various conflicts over copyright and trademark infringements. The immense popularity and high market value of the books has led to Rowling, her publishers, and film distributor Warner Bros taking legal measures to protect their copyright, which has included banning the sale of Harry Potter imitations, targeting the owners of websites over the "Harry Potter" domain name, and suing author Nancy Stouffer for claiming Rowling had plagiarized her work.

Bibliography:

  • Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (26 June 1997) (titled Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone in the United States)
  • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2 July 1998)
  • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (8 September 1999)
  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (8 July 2000)
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2001)
  • Quidditch Through the Ages (2001)
  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (21 June 2003)
  • Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (16 July 2005)
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (to be released 21 July 2007)

Alexander Graham Bell

Biography:

Alexander Graham Bell was born in Scotland on 3 March 1847. He was the second of three children, all boys. Both brothers died of tuberculosis. His father was Professor Alexander Melville Bell, and his mother was Eliza Grace Symonds Bell. At age eleven, he adopted the middle name 'Graham' out of admiration for Alexander Graham, a family friend. Many called Bell "the father of the deaf". However, Bell believed in eugenics as well as audism. With both his mother and wife deaf, he hoped to eliminate hereditary deafness. To family and friends he was known as "Alec" which is how he signed his name.

His family was associated with the teaching of elocution: his grandfather, Alexander Bell, in London, his uncle in Dublin, and his father, in Edinburgh, were all elocutionists. His father published a variety of works on the subject, several of which are still well known, especially his treatise on Visible Speech, which appeared in Edinburgh in 1868. In this treatise, he explains his methods of how to instruct deaf mutes (as they were then known) to articulate words and read other people's lip movements to decipher meaning.

Bell was educated at the Royal High School, Edinburgh, Scotland, from which he graduated at age 13. At age 16, he secured a position as a pupil-teacher of elocution and music, in Weston House Academy, at Elgin, Moray, Scotland. The following year, he attended the University of Edinburgh, but he graduated from the University of Toronto.

It is while he was in Scotland that he is thought to have first turned his attention to the science of acoustics, with a view to ameliorate the deafness of his mother.

He served as an instructor at Somerset College, Bath, Somerset, England.
In 1870, at age 23, he and his parents immigrated to Canada, where they settled at Brantford, Ontario.

In Canada, Alexander Bell continued an interest in the study of the human voice and ear (his father was an authority on speech disorders), and he also explored a method of communication with electricity. He designed a piano which, by means of electricity, could transmit its music at a distance. In 1871, he accompanied his father to Montreal, Quebec, Canada, where his father was offered a position to teach his System of Visible Speech. Subsequently, his father was invited to introduce the Visible Speech System into a large school for mutes at Boston, Massachusetts, United States, but he declined the post, in favor of his son. Thus, teaching his father's system, Alexander Bell became professor of Vocal Physiology and Elocution at the Boston University School of Oratory.

At Boston University, he continued his research in the same field and endeavored to find a way to transmit musical notes and articulate speech.

In early 1875, Bell visited the famous scientist Joseph Henry, who was then director of the Smithsonian Institution, and asked Henry's advice on an electrical multi-reed apparatus which Bell hoped would transmit the human voice by telegraph. Henry replied that Bell had "the germ of a great invention". When Bell said that he did not have the necessary knowledge, Henry replied, "Get it!" That greatly encouraged Bell to keep trying.

On 11 July 1877, a few days after the Bell Telephone Company began, Bell married Mabel Hubbard, daughter of Boston lawyer Gardiner Hubbard who helped finance Bell's work and organize the new telephone company. Mabel was one of Bell's deaf pupils. They had four children: Elsie May Bell (1878-1964), Marian Hubbard Bell (Daisy) (1880-1962), and two sons who died in infancy.

In 1880, Bell received the Volta Prize which he used to fund the Volta Laboratory in Washington, D.C. In 1882, he became a naturalized citizen of the United States. In 1883, Bell and Gardiner Hubbard established the publication Science. In 1886, Bell started building a mansion overlooking Bras d'Or Lake across from the village of Baddeck on Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia, Canada, which he left in the care of a friend, writer David Narbaitz.

In 1888, Bell was one of the founding members of the National Geographic Society and became its second president (1898-1903). He was the recipient of many honors. The French government conferred on him the decoration of the Légion d'honneur (Legion of Honor); the Académie française bestowed on him the Volta Prize of 50,000 francs; the Royal Society of Arts in London awarded him the Albert Medal in 1902; and the University of Würzburg, Bavaria, granted him a Ph.D. He was awarded the AIEE's Edison Medal in 1914 for "For meritorious achievement in the invention of the telephone."

In 1891, Bell began experiments to develop motor-powered heavier-than-air aircraft. In 1898, he began experiments with tetrahedral kites, and he became the president of the National Geographic Society and regent of the Smithsonian Institution (1898-1922). In 1907, Bell founded the Aerial Experiment Association, and in 1908, he began development of the hydrodrome (hydrofoil).

In 25 January 1915, he sent the first transcontinental telephone call, at 15 Day Street in New York City, which was received by Thomas Watson at 333 Grant Avenue in San Francisco.

Bell died of Pernicious anemia on August 2, 1922, age 75, at his private estate, Beinn Bhreagh, located on Nova Scotia's Cape Breton Island near the village of Baddeck. He was buried atop Beinn Bhreagh mountain overlooking Bras d'Or Lake. He was survived by his wife and two of their four children. Upon Bell's death, the nation's phones stilled their ringing for a silent minute in tribute to the man whose yearning to communicate made them possible.

Bell's last word was "No."

Invention Of The Telephone:

In 1874, telegraph message traffic was rapidly expanding and had become "the nervous system of commerce" in the words of Western Union President William Orton. Orton had contracted with inventors Thomas Edison and Elisha Gray to find a way to send multiple telegraph messages on each telegraph line to avoid the great cost of constructing new lines. When Bell mentioned to Gardiner Hubbard and Thomas Sanders (parents of two of Bell's students) that he was working on a method of sending multiple tones on a telegraph wire using a multi-reed device, Hubbard and Sanders began to financially support Bell's experiments. Patent matters would be handled by Hubbard's patent attorney Anthony Pollok.

Bell was able to hire an assistant Thomas A. Watson who was an experienced electrical designer and mechanic. Bell and Watson experimented with acoustic telegraphy in 1874 and 1875. On June 2, 1875, Watson accidentally plucked one of the reeds and Bell at the receiving end of the wire heard the overtones of the reed, overtones that would be necessary for transmitting speech. This led to the "gallows" sound-powered telephone, which was able to transmit indistinct voice-like sounds but not clear speech.

Meanwhile, Elisha Gray was also experimenting with acoustic telegraphy and thought of a way to transmit speech using a water transmitter. On 14 February 1876, Gray filed a caveat with the U.S. patent office for a telephone design that used a water transmitter. That same morning, Bell's lawyer filed an application with the patent office for the telephone. There is a debate about who arrived first.

On 14 February 1876, Bell was in Boston. Hubbard, the lawyer who was paying for the costs of Bell's patents, told his patent lawyer Anthony Pollok to file Bell's application in the U.S. Patent Office. This was done without Bell's knowledge. This patent 174,465 was issued to Bell on 7 March 1876 by the U.S. Patent Office which covered "the method of, and apparatus for, transmitting vocal or other sounds telegraphically … by causing electrical undulations, similar in form to the vibrations of the air accompanying the said vocal or other sound."

Three days after his patent was issued, Bell experimented with a water transmitter, using an acid-water mixture. Vibration of the diaphragm caused a needle to vibrate in the water which varied the electrical resistance in the circuit. When Bell spoke the famous sentence "Mr Watson—Come here—I want to see you"[5] into the liquid transmitter, Watson, listening at the receiving end, heard the words clearly.

Bell and his partners Hubbard and Sanders offered to sell the patent outright to Western Union for $100,000. The president of Western Union balked, countering that the telephone was nothing but a toy. Two years later, he told colleagues that if he could get the patent for $25 million he would consider it a bargain. By then the Bell company no longer wanted to sell the patent.

In 1879, the Bell company acquired Edison's patents for the carbon microphone from Western Union. This made the telephone practical for long distances, unlike Bell's voice-powered transmitter that required users to shout into it to be heard at the receiving telephone, even at short distances.

The Bell company lawyers successfully fought off several lawsuits. On January 13, 1887 the United States Government moved to annul the patent issued to Alexander Graham Bell on the grounds of fraud and misrepresentation. The prosecuting attorney was the Hon. George M. Stearns under the direction of the Solicitor General George A. Jenks. The Bell company won the case.

The Bell Telephone Company was created in 1877, and by 1886 over 150,000 people in the U.S. owned telephones. Bell and his investors became millionaires. Bell company engineers made numerous other improvements to the telephone which developed into one of the most successful products.

Competitors:
In 1834, the Italian Antonio Meucci, created the first model of his telephone in Italy and in 1849, he tested electric transmission of the human voice in Cuba, the next year, demonstrating his electric telephone in New York. In 1871, Meucci paid for a patent caveat for his telephone and in summer 1872, he asked Edward B. Grant (vice president of American District Telegraph Co. of New York) for permission to test his telephone apparatus on the company's telegraph lines, giving Grant a description of his prototype and copy of his caveat. Up to 1874 Meucci had only the money to renew his caveat while looking for funding for a true patent. After waiting two years without receiving an answer, Meucci asked Grant for his documents, but Grant claimed they were lost. The same year the caveat expired because Meucci lacked the money to renew it.

After Bell received his patent in 1876, Meucci took Bell to court in order to establish his priority, but he lost the case because he could not prove much material evidence of his inventions apart from reconstructing them during the trial and calling witnesses. Bell Telephone Company also won in the trial The U.S. Government Versus Antonio Meucci by a decision on 19 July 1887, by Judge William J. Wallace (Circuit Court, S.D. New York.) "The experiments and invention of one Antonio Meucci, relating to the transmission of speech by an electrical apparatus [...] do not contain any such elements of an electric speaking telephone as would give the same priority over or interfere with the said Bell patent".

However, on the initiative of the Italian American Congressman Vito Fossella, with the Resolution 269 the U.S. House of Representatives on 11 June 2002 recognised the work previously done by Antonio Meucci.

Later inventions:

Metal detector:
Bell is also credited with the invention of the metal detector in 1881. The device was hurriedly put together in an attempt to find the bullet in the body of U.S. President James Garfield. The metal detector worked but did not find the bullet because the metal bed frame the President was lying on confused the instrument. Bell gave a full account of his experiments in a paper read before the American Association for the Advancement of Science in August 1882

Hydrofoil:
The March 1906 Scientific American article by American hydrofoil pioneer William E. Meacham explained the basic principle of hydrofoils. Bell considered the invention of the hydroplane as a very significant achievement. Based on information gained from that article he began to sketch concepts of what is now called a hydrofoil boat.

Bell and Casey Baldwin began hydrofoil experimentation in the summer of 1908 as a possible aid to airplane takeoff from water. Baldwin studied the work of the Italian inventor Enrico Forlanini and began testing models. This led him and Bell to the development of practical hydrofoil watercraft.

During his world tour of 1910–1911, Bell and Baldwin met with Forlanini in France. They had rides in the Forlanini hydrofoil boat over Lake Maggiore. Baldwin described it as being as smooth as flying. On returning to Baddeck, several designs were tried culminating in the HD-4, using Renault engines. A top speed of 54 miles per hour (87 km/h) was achieved, with rapid acceleration, good stability and steering, and the ability to take waves without difficulty. In 1913, Dr. Bell hired Walter Pinaud, a Sydney yacht designer and builder as well as the proprietor of Pinaud's Yacht Yard in Westmount, Nova Scotia to work on the pontoons of the HD-4. Pinaud soon took over the boatyard at Bell Laboratories on Beinn Bhreagh, Bell's estate near Baddeck, Nova Scotia. Pinaud's experience in boatbuilding enabled him to make useful design changes to the HD-4. After the First World War, work began again on the HD-4. Bell's report to the navy permitted him to obtain two 350 horsepower (260 kW) engines in July 1919. On 9 September 1919, the HD-4 set a world's marine speed record of 70.86 miles per hour (114.04 km/h).

Aeronautics:
Bell was a supporter of aerospace engineering research through the Aerial Experiment Association, officially formed at Baddeck, Nova Scotia, in October 1907 at the suggestion of Mrs. Mabel Bell and with her financial support. It was headed by Bell. The founding members were four young men: American Glenn H. Curtiss, a motorcycle manufacturer who later was awarded the Scientific American Trophy for the first official one-kilometre flight in the Western hemisphere and became a world-renowned airplane manufacturer; Frederick W. "Casey" Baldwin, the first Canadian and first British subject to pilot a public flight in Hammondsport, New York; J.A.D. McCurdy; and Lieutenant Thomas Selfridge, an official observer from the U.S. government. One of the project's inventions, the aileron, is a standard component of aircraft today. (The aileron was also invented independently by Robert Esnault-Pelterie.)

Bell experimented with box kites and wings constructed of multiple compound tetrahedral kites covered in silk. The tetrahedral wings were named Cygnet I, II and III, and were flown both unmanned and manned (Cygnet I crashed during a flight carrying Selfridge) in the period from 1907-1912. Some of Bell's kites are on display at the Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site.

Other inventions:
The range of Bell's inventive genius is represented only in part by the eighteen patents granted in his name alone and the twelve he shared with his collaborators. These included fourteen for the telephone and telegraph, four for the photophone, one for the phonograph, five for aerial vehicles, four for hydroairplanes, and two for a [selenium]cells.

Bell made many other inventions in his life. They include the metal jacket that assists in breathing, the audiometer to detect minor hearing problems, a device that locates icebergs, investigated on how to separate salt from seawater, and he also worked on finding alternative fuels. He worked in medical research and invented techniques for teaching speech to the deaf.


During his Volta Laboratory period, Bell and his associates considered impressing a magnetic field on a record as a means of reproducing sound. Although the trio briefly experimented with the concept, they were unable to develop a workable prototype. They abandoned the idea, never realizing they had glimpsed a basic principle which would one day find its application in the tape recorder, the hard disc and floppy disc drive, and other magnetic media.

Bell's own home used a primitive form of air conditioning, in which fans blew currents of air across great blocks of ice. He also anticipated modern concerns with fuel shortages and industrial pollution. Methane gas, he reasoned, could be produced from the waste of farms and factories. At his Canadian estate in Nova Scotia, he experimented with composting toilets and devices to capture water from the atmosphere. In a magazine interview published shortly before his death, he reflected on the possibility of using solar panels to heat houses.

Eugenics:
Along with many very prominent thinkers and scientists of the time, Bell was connected with the eugenics movement in the United States. From 1912 until 1918 he was the chairman of the board of scientific advisors to the Eugenics Record Office associated with Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York, and regularly attended meetings. In 1921, he was the honorary president of the Second International Congress of Eugenics held under the auspices of the American Museum of Natural History in New York. Organizations such as these advocated passing laws (with success in some states) that established the compulsory sterilization of people deemed to be, as Bell called them, a "defective variety of the human race". By the late 1930s, about half the states in the U.S. had eugenics laws, and the California laws were used as a model for eugenics laws in Nazi Germany.

His ideas about people he considered defective centered on the deaf. This was because of his feelings for his deaf family and his contact with deaf education. In addition to advocating sterilization of the deaf, Bell wished to prohibit deaf teachers from being allowed to teach in schools for the deaf. He worked to outlaw the marriage of deaf individuals to one another, and he was an ardent supporter of oralism over the use of sign language to educate deaf students. His avowed goal was to eradicate the language and culture of the deaf so as to force them to assimilate into the hearing culture, for their own long-term benefit and for the benefit of society at large. Although this attitude is widely seen as paternalistic and arrogant today, it was mainstream in that era.

Although he supported what many would consider harsh and inhumane policies today, he was not unkind to deaf individuals who supported his theories of oralism. He was a personal and longtime friend of Helen Keller, and his wife Mabel was deaf (none of their children were).

Tributes:
In the early 1970s, the UK rock group The Sweet recorded a tribute to Bell and the telephone, suitably titled "Alexander Graham Bell". The song gives a fictional account of the invention, in which Bell devises the telephone so he can talk to his girlfriend who lives on the other side of the United States. The song reached the top 40 in the UK and went on to sell over one million recordings worldwide.

Another musical tribute to Bell was written by the British songwriter and guitarist Richard Thompson. The chorus of Thompson's song reminds the listener that "of course there was the telephone, he'd be famous for that alone, but there's fifty other things as well from Alexander Graham Bell". The song mentions Bell's work with discs rather than cylinders, the hydrofoil, Bell's work with the deaf, his invention of the respirator and several other of Bell's achievements.

Bell was honoured on the television programs the 100 Greatest Britons (2002), the top-ten Greatest Canadians (2004), and the 100 Greatest Americans (2005). The nominees and rankings for these programs were determined by popular vote. Bell was the only person to be on more than one of the programs.

One of the residence halls at Rochester Institute of Technology adjacent to the National Technical Institute for the Deaf building is Alexander Graham Bell Hall.