Monday, November 30, 2015

Of trams, metal sea creatures, and birthdays (FD)

Trams still run in some places, you know. At least, they do for tourists.

Kelly took this photo of the one that runs in hastings:


Fancy a ride?

***

At the end of July, when we had a visit from my brother, Carl, and my Mam, we spotted a metal sea serpant of some kind, as well as a great 3-D chess game. I found out later - thanks to Iggy, if I'm honest - that not far away should have been a couple more metal sea creatures. So, while waiting for everyone to look in shops at the end of September - after our trip to the aquarium - Kelly and I went looking for them (since we weren't interested in the shops).

We found two...

A metal Octopus:


And a metal seahorse:


***

Kelly's sister, Sherry, celebrated her birthday on November 22nd. I'm late with this one, and I actually doubt she'll see this, but I'll say it anyway... A belated happy birthday to you, Sherry!

Plus, it will be my Grandad's birthday on December 4th. Now I know there's no way he's going to see this post, but I'll still say it anyway... Early happy birthday to you, Grandad!

If you had your birthday recently, or will be having it soon, then a very happy birthday to you as well!

Oh, yeah... I had my birthday too. Which reminds me... A huge thank you to anyone who sent me cards, gifts, or birthday messages via Facebook or text message. I really appreciate every single one of them!

I spent my birthday being a kid. It wasn't planned that way. The original plan had been for us to go back to the aquarium to visit the reptile room (though it would have just been Kelly and myself this time) and then have food out. But I've been feeling quite run down lately, and wasn't feeling up to an outing. So I ended up spending the day watching Disney movies and a few cartoons, while eating chocolate Ready Brek, pizza, and cake. Ready Brek, for those who don't know, is a kind of oatmeal with extra vitamins, which is actually designed for children, but I love the stuff. Besides, it's a good thing for me to have with my anemia issues, and the fact the main extra vitamin it has in it is iron (bearing in mind, oatmeal is great for that in the first place). Yep, that's my excuse, and I'm sticking to it, LOL!

My birthday cake wasn't anything fancy... It was just a lemon cake our local bakery makes, which I'm quite fond of. But I enjoyed it, and that's what matters. Anyway, here are a couple of photos of it:


I didn't get many actual physical birthday cards, but here are some photos of the ones I did get:


The cards were from my Dad and his girlfriend Cath, my Nan, my Grandma and her little dog Jayde, and Rita and Karma.

Mostly I got money (most of which I've already spent on books). But I also got some nice sock yarn from Iggy. Plus, Kelly brought me the Pathfinder ponies rulebook and a pair of Cthulhu slippers. The slippers haven't arrived yet, but that's not Kelly's fault... Postage delays are behind it. They're on their way though.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

TV talk and movie mutterings - November 2015 (LBE)

We figured out how to make the audio description go on for the Sky box, and - even better - they've improved it since I last had Sky, because it now appears to stay on until you turn it off in the settings; it used to turn off if you changed the channel, or turned the box off. Well, OK, my Mam helped us figure it out. But it works now, so it doesn't really matter who made it work. Of course, it's still hit and miss as to whether the show has it or not, like it was with my freeview box, but that's the fault of the people making the shows, not Sky.

Now, if I could only get audio menu navigation too...

Actually, a little birdy told me that may be something that happens in the not-too-distant future... I hope that's true!

Anyway...

Since I've watched a few new to me movies and TV shows recently, I thought I'd do a post to tell you which ones I've watched, and what I thought of them. Only "new to me" ones mind you... I'm not mentioning re-watched favourite movies, or Tv shows you already know I enjoy watching.

I've not written very detailed reviews, but instead just given my opinion of the movie or TV show in question, so I've included links to where you can find out more about the movie or TV show, if you want to... Just click on the title of it, and you'll go right there.

So...

Maleficent (movie):
I loved this movie! I mean, I've always liked the Sleeping Beauty stories, but I just love this version! It's great getting to see the story from another point of view, and learn what made the wicked fairy so wicked. Not all fairy tale retellings are done well, but this one is, in my opinion.

In To The Woods (movie):
This is one fairy tale retelling I wasn't so impressed with. It's not Disney's worst movie, but it's certainly not their best either, and - quite frankly - I didn't think much of it. I mean, it was an OK movie, but far from being a great one, in my opinion.

Extinction: Jurrassic Predator (movie):
This one was absolute rubbish! I was all excited about a new Jurrassic Park type movie, and couldn't have been more disappointed. Not only were we an hour in to the movie before anything more exciting than a dislocated arm happened, but when we finally did get some dinosaur action it was pathetic (not to mention, over so quickly you'd have missed it if you blinked). On top of that, whoever was in charge of the movie sound effects obviously knows nothing about jungles; even if the presence of a bunch of bickering humans wasn't enough to have the jungle animals feeling threatened so going quiet, the presence of dangerous predators like the dinosaurs certainly would have been. Yet, during the entire movie, birds and insects were happily tweeting and chirping away in the background. I may not have noticed that had I not been so painfully bored, but I was... An hour of just listening to a bunch of supposedly grown men and women bickering will do that to you. I'm glad I saw this as part of the Sky package I was already paying for, because if I'd spacifically paid to watch it, I'd be demanding my money back! Oh, and... Not being able to see has nothing to do with how little I enjoyed the movie. Kelly watched this one with me, and thought it was rubbish too.

The Boxtrolls (movie):
Now this is one I wouldn't have been able to enjoy without the audio description, so I'm glad we got it working, since I would have missed a great movie! I mean, it's not out of this world amazing, but I really enjoyed it; it was sweet and touching, as well as being entertaining.

The Good Witch's Wonder (movie):
I think the movies in this series are great, and this one was no exception. That is all!

Muppets Most Wanted (movie):
This was a pretty good movie, which fans of the Muppets will love. It's exactly what you'd expect from a movie with the Muppets in it: entertaining, and often amusing. Not my favourite Muppet movie, but I did enjoy watching it.

Annie (movie):
This wasn't a bad movie as such, but it's certainly not the best of the Annie movies. I've seen - and loved - both the 1982 and the 1999 versions, and this new one is nowhere near as good.

Tinker Bell And The Legend Of The NeverBeast (movie):
This was an entertaining and sweet movie, with an excellent lesson in it about not being too quick to judge.

Frozen (movie):
I absolutely LOVED this movie! I'm not sure what it was in particular that made me love it as much as I did, but I thought it was an amazing movie, and could have quite happily watched it again immediately after finnishing it the first time. In fact, had I been watching it on DVD instead of on Sky Movies Disney, I might have just hit "play" again the moment it was finnished! Actually, if I'm honest, I've already watched it twice, despite having only seen it for the first time a couple of weeks ago; when I saw it was about to start the other day, I couldn't resist!

The Librarians (TV series):
I've only caught a couple of episodes of this show, but enjoyed what I've seen. Kelly's seen more of it than me, and appears to love it. I can see why. I won't go as far as to say it's one I'd consider a new favourite, but it's worth watching, and I've found the episodes I've seen to be enjoyable and entertaining. There are supposed to be some movies too, but I haven't seen those.

Star Wars Rebels (TV series):
I love Star Wars, so it's no surprise I've enjoyed the episodes I've seen of the new Star Wars animated series. I did enjoy the Clone Wars version more though. Not that there's anything wrong with the Rebels one... I just thought the Clone Wars series was more entertaining. Still, this one is good too, and we're both enjoying it.

Lego Star Wars: Droid Tales (TV series):
This one is amusing, and fairly entertaining, but not as good as the other Star Wars cartoons.

Marvels Guardians Of The Galaxy (TV series):
This one is not very good. I haven't seen the movie, but I've watched a couple of episodes of the TV series now, and honestly didn't think much of it. I've seen worse, but I've also seen a lot better. It's one of those I'll watch if there's nothing better on, but I'd never go out of my way to watch it.

Monsters Vs. Aliens (TV series):
I've seen the movie version of this, and loved it. But I don't really think too much of the TV series. It has its moments, but it's nowhere near as good as the movie, and is another one I'd only watch if there's nothing better on, to be honest.

My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic (TV series):
I grew up watching My Little Pony 'n Friends, so when I learned there was a new My Little Pony cartoon, I just had to check it out. Call me a big kid if you like, but I think it's really sweet, and have enjoyed the episodes I've seen. I'm nowhere near as obsessed as I was as a child, since my love of horses is now just a love of them, not an obsession with them. But I'm still enjoying feeling like I'm young again while returning to my childhood love of watching ponies. Besides, I love how they make a point of changing things just slightly to make them horse related. Like when they say "anypony" or "everypony" or how they live in places like "Canterlot."

Our Little Family (TV series):
I like learning about how people with disabilities overcome those issues to function as "normally" - for lack of an alternative word - as possible. I don't know if it's because I have a disability of my own, or if the simple curiosity and nosyness most humans are filled with is the only reason for my interest... Maybe a bit of both? Either way, I started watching this show, and am finding it interesting so far.

Dr. Jeff: Rocky Mountain Vet (TV series):
I like to watch vet shows... Even if they often make me cry when the outcome for some pets isn't good, or when an animal has gone through a rough ride but things are finally looking up for them. So far this one seems to be a pretty good vet show, and it's nice getting to see a vet caring for more than just cats and dogs.

Loch Lomond: A Year In The Wild (TV documentary):
This is a very interesting documentary; great for animal and nature lovers in general, and especially worth watching if you're someone interested in Scottish wildlife in particular.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Furkid Friday - November 27th 2015

Ummm... Hi everyone. This is skye the rat.

It's been really cold and stormy here, so the humans gave us extra hay to put in our house.

Even more exciting though... They've started wearing those cuddly things called "robes" or "dressing gowns" a lot, and they let us crawl in to the sleeves where we can get all nice and warm, but still have some space to play a little if we like.

We've all tried to grab on to the fabric of those robe things to take some back for snuggly bedding, but the humans are being mean and won't let us for some reason. We think this is incredibly selfish of them. But, I suppose they kind of make up for it by letting us climb inside the robe things, and by giving us nibbles.

Only kind of, mind you!

Squeak soon,
Skye

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Looking ahead to December holidays - part 2

What are you thankful for today?

If you're in America, chances are you're celebrating Thanksgiving today, and don't want to think beyond that. If that's the case, have a very happy Thanksgiving, and feel free to come back and read this tomorrow. If it isn't, then please read on. Mind you, since you're here, you might want to just read on anyway.

Anyway, if you're not already thinking about your prefered December holiday - be it Christmas, the Solstice, or whatever - you're going to need to start doing so soon.

Last week, as you may remember, I told you about Jeanie's first post on this supject, which was about cards and gifts. Now she's done her second, which is all about decorating for the holidays, and which can be found by clicking here.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Wednesday's writing related ramblings - November 25th 2015

The following books of mine are now also available as paperbacks from CreateSpace and Amazon:

Toby's Tales, book 4: Toby's Games
Toby's Tales, book 5: Toby's Special School
Zeena Dragon Fae, book 1: Zeena And The Dryad
Zeena Dragon Fae, book 2: Zeena And The Gryphon

(Click on the book titles to go to their CreateSpace pages).

So, that's 37 of my 42 already published books available as both eBooks and paperbacks; just four older books, and the new degu book, to get the proofs for and make available. Those five will follow as soon as they can be arranged; most likely early next year, due to how close we are to the end of the year now. After that, it will just be a case of arranging the paperback versions of each new book as I publish it.

These 37 books are available as eBooks from Smashwords, Apple iBooks, Barnes &
Noble, Kobo, and a few other eBook retailers that Smashwords distributes to, as well as being available to order as eBooks via many libraries that support e-lending. They are also available as paperbacks via CreateSpace and Amazon, as well as being available to request via bookstores and libraries who order books via CreateSpace.

Well, most of them are. Some of them may not have reached some retailers yet, since it can take a couple of months in some cases. Though they are all most definitely available from the retailers I actually named. But, anyway, they're available in a format that should work for you whether you prefer to read physical books, or have a spacific eReader or reading app you prefer to use.

And the rest will be soon too!

***

If you're a writer too, how's your own writing going?

November is almost over. Are you participating in NaNoWriMo or PiBoIdMo? If so, how are you doing with that?

For those participating in NaNoWriMo... Is your novel coming along well?

For those participating in PiBoIdMo... Are your ideas still flowing? If not, remember that observations and daydreams can be great for inspiring ideas. Not to mention, random comments that others consider strange, are normal for a writer, and can also be great inspiration for stories. Despite being blind, I know for a fact I've had that "yes, dear," look a lot... You don't always need to be able to see in order to know someone is giving you funny looks... Just saying!

***

Regardless of the software you use, if you're a writer too, make sure you take the time to learn to understand the tools of your trade... Especially if you're new to using your chosen software. After all, knowing the basics of how your software works wil help a lot with both editing and formatting.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Battle Abbey - part 2

OK, here are the rest of the photos my Dad took at Battle Abbey. At least, the rest of the ones I plan to share.

If you missed the post with the first half of these photos in, go here.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Battle Abbey - part 1

At the end of September, when we had the big family visit, we were supposed to go with them to Battle Abbey. Except Kelly and I didn't end up going, since we decided to go by ourselves some other time... Preferably when it's not been as wet as it had been leading up to that weekend.

We haven't gotten there yet, but my Dad said I could swipe some of his photos to post on my blog and Facebook.

There are a lot of them, so I'm splitting the ones I plan to share in to two posts. Here's the first batch:


Come back tomorrow for part 2.