de-bugging procedures

At first glance, it may look as if the rather snazzy spider in the photo is lying on her back waving her legs in the air. In fact she was dangling a few inches above the kitchen counter, suspended from the ceiling by a thread. It’s probably just as well that I saw her before I put the mixing bowl down and started measuring out the flour to make scones.

She was the second spider I had to ask to leave the house this morning. I don’t suppose either of them really fancied being outside in the rain, but I decided I’d be happier if they left the premises, even if they weren’t.
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(not) a singer in a rock-and-roll band

I’m really not one for enforced fun, but this past week I attended a couple of training days where there were ice-breaker activities before several of the sessions.

On the first day we had to arrange ourselves according to how many letters we had in our names – a fairly innocuous activity that was presumably meant to make everyone introduce themselves. In fact it resulted in pained expressions and much counting on fingers. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the polysyllabic Italian lady ended up at the far end.
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background conversation

It’s nearly thirty years since Douglas Adams wrote Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency and introduced the Electric Monk to the world:

The Electric Monk was a labour-saving device, like a dishwasher or a video recorder. Dishwashers washed tedious dishes for you, thus saving you the bother of washing them yourself, video recorders watched tedious television for you, thus saving you the bother of looking at it yourself; Electric Monks believed things for you, thus saving you what was becoming an increasingly onerous task, that of believing all the things the world expected you to believe.

I remember reading that and feeling a kind of recognition.
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milking it

I was brought up in a time before coffee shops.

Well, not entirely before coffee shops, but certainly before the global phenomenon of American chains with their skinny ventis, Americanos, and tall decaf drips.

There were tea shops in my childhood – both independents and the ubiquitous ABCs; and I have fond memories of Saturday afternoons spent in the Kardomah in Nottingham. But children were given nursery tea, while coffee was a drink for adults; even then, it was as likely to be Maxwell House as anything. (Our kitchen did have a bottle of Camp Coffee tucked away, but although I remember the intense smell of chicory of the inky brown liquid, I think it was only brought out to make coffee cakes, not to serve as a drink for guests.)
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a green scream

Undecided what to post today, I had a quick look on twitter, only to find that it is International Translation Day.

It’s actually been quite a while since I did any translation and nothing came to mind immediately as suitable for posting. But I remembered a long time ago using Google Translate to find inspiration for creativity and thought I’d have a dabble and see what happens.
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point seven five

It’s Michaelmas Day so I have been rummaging around the web to find some ideas for words to accompany a couple of photos of Michaelmas daisies.

Firstly, I checked up on the quarter days and realised that although I remember Midsummer, Michaelmas and Christmas, the one I always forget is Lady Day, which falls on March 25th.
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options and alternatives

Yesterday I talked about choosing what to read at a Live Lit event. There are hundreds of pieces of writing to choose from in my files, and such decisions are made even more difficult by the fact that some pieces exist in several different forms.

Not only is there an almost infinite chain of drafts and re-drafts preserved from the writing process – and all too often not properly labelled, so I end up wondering which is meant to be the final version; there are also versions resulting from adjustments made to what I thought was a polished piece, when I need to cut a few lines or words so it complies with competition rules, or adjust the length to suit the time allotted for a reading slot. And, as I showed with yesterday’s fairy tale, the same idea may occasionally be shaped into different final forms such as a short story and a poem.

At times, then, even when an open mike event has a specific theme, the options are numerous and decisions are difficult. Which is probably why my attention was caught by the sign in supermarket the other day.

After giving it some though, I reckon a world “free from choice” might be simpler, but I don’t think I’d like it very much.