A boss from James Pond 3: Kentucky Fried Fiend

Cut for large-ish graphics. Snog, I am instructed to beg you not to let Sebastian see these.

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Change your name by deed poll for free

UK legal name change by deed poll – a DIY guide.

Nice site, so I’m doing my bit to get it up Google. If you want to change your name, do it there.

If you use this, please fix the typo in “substitution” (“subsitution”) under point 1. I’ve notified the site owner and they’re fixing it. (Now fixed.)

To-night… I’m gonna have myself… a real good name.

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SwarmCrow gift art

SwarmCrow gift art for an art exchange on the Jack fan forum. Tablet and Photoshop, more hours than I’d like to contemplate.

I wasn’t going to attempt this. But come on, the character is a CROW made out of INSECTS. How cool is that? How could anyone resist?

I’m too exhausted to talk extensively about the process, lucky you. Suffice it to say that this was trial-and-error and although in parts it hasn’t come out as impressively as I’d hoped, overall he’d better be damn pleased with it, because you can’t beat the asking price.

I also really hope I win next week’s sweep on the back of this! I think I know what to ask for, if so… this is a furry fandom, after all.

edit: I forgot; earlier in the process I found the image was going much bluer than I intended, and also looked weirdly Japanese (quite cool). I kept that version too, so here’s the REMIX!

edit2, 14/7 09:21: OK, having dreamt (twice) (the second time thinking “Well, this one can’t be a dream”) that I heard back from the guy and he liked it, kind of, but was a bit standoffish… I woke up saying “Well, I’m a dork” and found that I’d been left this feedback:

Dude I love it ! it looks damn cool (far better than any crow I have drawn) , the beetle eye was a great detail and the small joke was freaking funny too. my only regret is that I have no money to pay you for more

And that guy can really draw, too. Although, sure, offers of no-money are cheap to make, nobody else has got feedback that enthusiastic. Woo! I think I deserved it for all the effort, if nothing else. :>

Only four entries total and someone’s suggested extending it another week to see if more come in; but if they don’t, I have a one in four chance. Whee!

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He is pleased to see you!

FRIENDLY (quick tablet sketch)

I r teh great arteest. That is (not) my muse.

edit: I was asked to print this out. I stuck it on the fridge, where the cat food cans live.

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Saunders-Roe Princess

Today’s Thing That Has No Right Not To Exist Any More is the Saro Princess.

The Saunders-Roe Princess was a British flying boat aircraft built by Saunders-Roe, based in Cowes on the Isle of Wight. The Princess was one of the largest aircraft in existence. (from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

This is the Saro Princess prototype. Here it is on its test flight. Here it is again in some more newsreel clips.

Three of these things were built. Only one flew, a series of test flights. They were overshadowed by the rise of jet aircraft and general falling out of fashion of seaplanes. Though they weren’t used as passenger aircraft there was talk of using them to carry troops. This wasn’t to be, and all three were broken up for scrap in 1967.

I am asexual and I don’t much like vehicles. I would, however, hit that with the force of a drunken polar bear on skis. It is absoballylutely beautiful. Look at her!

Brought to you by the idiot who is writing flying pirates. Taupeshank’s boat, the FPS Errant Buoy? Oh yes. Replace the cruise liner with galleon and you’ve got it.

(I know someone’s about to mention the Spruce Goose. That tub couldn’t flaming well fly and I’ll have none of it. :P)

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Aren't I too old to do bad drawings in Paint?

Apparently not.

(This is supposed to be he.)

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(not counted) Haiku

White expanse of fur
Summer moult sprawls open-legged
Licking its fat self

This is not a proper haiku with serious haiku-ingredients, although it does happen to contain a season.

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Mews word cloud!

http://wordle.net/ makes word clouds from text. Although it isn’t any use for web development, because it only outputs a graphic. (For text output, use other tag cloud tools.)

Anyway, I put Mews into Wordle. The result (790×346 px) is behind the cut.

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#14, Rescue


10 June 2008

An asphalt rambler, thumbnail-scale
with tentacles a-waggle:
this is, I have to tell you, snail,
a silly place to straggle.

I stoop and, plucked, you soar and land.
I fondly beg your pardon;
you’d thank me, could you understand.
Enjoy your nice new garden.

Draft #1 written for Erin for no apparent reason. It was edited with help from the WritingFeedback bods (because, aptly, it needed a lot of rescuing itself).

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#13, Flock

My package arrived so I can post this up here too:


12 May 2008
for Erin, who is sick

In the end, what most surprised me
was that anything could graze
on the morning-jewelled blueness,
on that field of summer baize.
But I saw them shake their fleeces
and I think I heard them bleat,
so there must be something up there
for those airborne sheep to eat.

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#11, Railing


A fence, my sweet!—why, what’s a fence?—
a mere eight feet of paling wood.
It’s nothing but—you smell so good—
a minor inconvenience—
I’ve bested worse. The other day
I beat a pit bull and his four,
no, seven cronies, left ’em sore
and yelping. Honest. Look this way—
just sniff me! Don’t I drive you wild?
Come on! Ignore these other guys!
I’m strongest. Best. I love your eyes;
they’re brown like liver. Bear my child!
We’re spar-crossed lovers, you and I.
I wish this fence weren’t quite so high.

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Uplift books #1–#3

I’ve just finished the third of David Brin’s Uplift books.

They’re extremely good.

Sundiver concerns humankind, with the nascent sapient races of neo-chimpanzees and neo-dolphins at its side, ‘cooperating’ with a range of extraterrestrials on a research project into Earth’s sun. (Don’t let me oversell the presence of Earthling clients in this title, which mainly concentrates on the Galactics and humans, but it’s definitely worth starting here to set the scene.)

Startide Rising deals with the first mission of a spaceship crewed almost entirely by dolphins—still a very young work-in-progress client species and completely unequipped to deal with the thing they stumble upon.

And The Uplift War is set in a colony of humans and chimps, slapped with the military repercussions of events half a galaxy away while there are secrets of their own they’d rather like to protect from Earth and the other Galactics.

Biological uplift‘ is a new phrase to me, but the concept’s dear to my teeth… after all, ‘talking animals’ have lived comfortably in this mostly-chimp’s thoughts long before I read The Lion, the Witch and the Wardbrobe. Despite the obvious attraction of having a swim with a friendly talking dolphin, genetically engineering fellow species for intelligence and other traits valuable to humans is never going to be a bowl of blueberries. Brin’s books have an excellent way of winkling out all the meaty ethical puzzles, while the politics and general argy-bargy is all too believable… probability drives, hyperspace and bureaucratic birds notwithstanding.

Although there are plenty of aliens to enjoy (special mention to Kanten and Pila, because really, who could fail to enjoy jangling broccoli-beasts and teddy bears?), much of the charm comes from the characterisation of races closer to home. The dolphins’ way of expressing themselves through trinary ‘haikus’ is apt to get stuck in the head, and if I hadn’t been won over long before the third book, hearing a chimp swear “for Goodall’s sake” would’ve clinched it.

In terms of the overall tone, there are no long passages of boring exposition to plough through; you can jump right into the story. Any new vocabulary is naturally extrapolated from English (except certain alien and dolphin concepts), and is introduced in context. You’re not talked down to, over-explained at or bored with incongruous dollops of aren’t-I-so-clever worldbuilding, which works for me. (Book two does have a glossary at the end, which I didn’t notice until I got there, but didn’t need.)

Especially nice is the general tenor of the universe, which is both environmentalist and ultimately optimistic. I feel I have to give it a rest before starting the next three books, or I won’t get anything else done at all.

Meanwhile, here on this bit of Earth, it’s snowing!

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#9, Old Book and #10, Mountainbank

Catching up with my backlog on the poem-a-week project, here first of all is Zenbunny’s ‘prize’ poem, which I offered a while back to the first person to spot the hidden secret in Tactical Cat-Tricks.

Zen correctly spotted that every line contains the syllable “pi” or “per” alternating—and the poem is about a cat named Piper. (Read Zen’s comment carefully.) I hope the following is prizelike enough for that startling bit of detectivework.

Old Book

written 18 Mar 2008


Eyesight be damned: it’s your spine that you’ll miss.
Worst of infirmities coming with age.
(Cliché; one never believes them, and now…)
Joinings that stiffen and crackle on flexing
An effortful venture, the turn of a page.


My offspring—I’ve many, by numerous authors;
A marriage of minds, evolution of memes
(Barring the reprints, the spit of their dad)—
Slight disappointments, the lot of them. Written
In language so modern it dates within minutes.
A paperback culture. Disposable reams.

I unashamedly stole the structure from one of my old, old poems. This reads as awfully brief, but I can’t make myself go back and pad it. Someone tell me if it sucks, please; I’m at the “can’t look at it” stage.

I had a few thoughts about the other theme Zen suggested, so we may see a pumpkin poem showing up; no promises…

And the next one is for Cerhn.

Mountain lionMountain lion (source)


completed 24 March 2008

From the wonderful wavering glass-bottled range
Of Montgomery P. Concolore,
Can discerning enquirers discreetly exchange
For their myriad ailments, a cure.

He has patented nostrums for fever and gout,
For neuralgia and asthma and mumps,
He’s electrical girdles in case you are stout
And an ointment to spread on your lumps.

Just confide in this cat the amount of your ill
And elixirs he’ll grant without fail—
And present you a neat little itemised bill
Which he’ll sign with the tip of his tail.

Monty’s fishberry tonic refreshes the brain
Though with adverse effects on the breath,
While his ligament liniment soothes every sprain—
And he claims he can cure even death.

Gingivitis and ulcers Montgomery treats
With a poultice of olives and tar;
Disquisitions he’ll give upon sugary sweets—
They have called him the feline Fauchard.

In a drab-coloured coat stands this pantherine sage;
He is white round the muzzle and ears.
But his youthful performance belies his great age
For he boasts over two hundred years.

He has troches for tetanus, bitters for boils
And some gauze for your knee, should you skin it.
Monty makes this great claim of his copious toils:
That a succour is born every minute.

How This One Came About:
Mutt mugged the lovely Cerhn and asked him to gissa theme.
“Mountain lion mountebanks?” suggested Cerhn.
“Catamount quackery! I’ll give it a shot,” said Mutt.
And there was much disbelief.

Writing this one was like pulling teeth, but I think it turned out ok in the end. I HAD to force “cat amount” in there somewhere, which was a nigh-impossible job given my structure. (Anapestic tetra/trimeter. I deliberately went for You are Old, Father William, only more strict with the line beginnings.)

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Dog storytelling

Fiction storyplex: The evolution of trickster stories among the dogs of North Park after the Change

Found through one of the links on the Dream Cafe blog. Read it quickly: it’ll be disappearing for a few months after the Nebula Awards voting, because it’s being printed in an anthology.

I once thought of writing something a little like this in scope, but eventually decided it had been done and I wouldn’t be able to get it right. Certainly I couldn’t have written that. It would have turned darker and lighter.

*sends author an appreciative email*

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#8, Tactical Cat-tricks

Unrhymed metered fourteen-liner. My muse wants to kill me!

Tactical Cat-tricks

written Tuesday 4 March, 1 hour, tweaked today

You think I don’t discern that I’m despised.
No, no, o Food, I’m perfectly aware.
I’m not the dog for which you pine. Big deal,
you disappoint me too. Disperse pretence:
you feed. I eat. Pray don’t aspire to more.
Impersonal near-tolerance at best.
You teach me tricks, despite my playing dumb—
I train you in return. Performing ape!
On shoulder-top I’ll pilot you downstairs,
perfect the steering motion of my kneads;
I’ll pioneer an armour-piercing stare,
pervade your work with rump and scattered pens,
and moisten up your fingers with my jowl,
and howl, and howl, and howl, and howl, and howl.

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#7, "Something Lacking"

(There’s a better title and it’s just evading my grasp. Will update if it makes itself known.)

Something Lacking

My hand, when it drops to my side, finds a puzzle:
no skullbone to stroke and no sniff of a muzzle.
No eyelash, no whisker, no cold-sweating nosey,
a cranial dearth. I’m devoid of a nuzzle.

At nights my discomfited feet huddle frozey
despite double duvet. It could be I’m dozy,
or poor circulation’s to blame. I’ve no theory—
yet somehow my chamber is all things but cosy.

Proceeding to work unaccompanied, bleary,
in earphoney trance unaware of exteri
or stimuli. Autist. No sights worth attention.
Except ones that bounce by on leads looking cheery.

My fingerless glove by my side in suspension.
The tram station’s cold-shouldered hilltop ascension.
No friend dogs my footsteps. My hearthrug is empty
except for a cat, which is all the more wrenchin’.

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#6, The Jolly Pirate Ship

Yes, it’s a fictitious song not a poem. Deal with it. :) No, I’ve no tune in mind.

The Jolly Pirate Ship

as recorded by Sylvette Lastude in “Selected Folk Songs of Central and Eastern Terrimoire”

Call-response requiring two singers (or teams of singers), A and B, with chorus.

A: I saw a jolly pirate ship
(Sing solid, liquid, gas and sand)
B: And what was on that handsome tub?
(Sing liquid, gas and sand-oh)

A: The holds were filled with figs and limes,
all brought aboard from warmer climes.
It was a quirky pirate tub.
(Sing liquid, gas and sand-oh)

B: I saw a jolly pirate band
(Sing fluid, granule, ground and air)
A: And who was on that dauntless crew?
(Sing granule, ground and air-oh)

B: The crew was golds and goblins all,
adroit and hardy in a squall.
It was a motley pirate crew.
(Sing granule, ground and air-oh)

A: I saw a windblown pirate jack
(Sing vapour, droplet, stuff and gloop)
B: And what was on that flutt’ring flag?
(Sing droplet, stuff and gloop-oh)

A: It showed a smirking vixen red
with striped bandana on her head.
It was a crafty pirate flag.
(Sing droplet, stuff and gloop-oh)

B: I saw a scowling pirate king
(Sing grainies, water, ice and steam)
A: And tell me of this fearsome chief
(Sing water, ice and steam-oh)

B: He had three lemons in his grasp
and velvet cloak with silver clasp.
He was a strange feraisai chief.
(Sing water, ice and steam-oh)

Sylvette Lastude was a gentlesapient scholar in the mould of the more famous and gender-ambiguous Gery Illumin. As with all Lastude’s recordings, of all possible iterations of the song, the version as written is the most likely never to be heard in real life. This is put down in large part to the effect of a pretty, prim and proper feraisai face on the vocabulary of your average young man in a pub.

In practice, the order of the refrains (“Sing fluid, granule, ground and air”) depended entirely on which words the singers in question could remember.

edit: and there are minimal changes to make an Earthling version in the Livejournal mirror comments section.

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