Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Simon attempting to 'act'

Guess who this is:

Yes, that's right. It's me, being a tit!

A rather amusing (near) end to the year at work. This week is finally a little bit quieter than the last few, so I've had time to do some more interesting stuff and start to get everything back ship-shape.

Nearly Christmas woo!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

My God, it's full of December!

I'm not entirely sure how it got to be December - I'm sure it was only October a couple of months ago.

It's been an extremely busy few months for me, with work going utterly nuts due to our Christmas deals, two entirely new products (PhotoKey and VideoWrap) and brand new 1.5 versions of the Lab stuff. It all seems to have gone down extremely well with the punters, which is spiffy.

Outside of work it's also been a bit hectic. Last weekend, for example, I popped down to London to have dinner at the Houses of Parliament. Bit posh, eh? It was thanks to my Dad inviting me to join him for the annual Churchill Fellows' dinner, and an excellent time was had by both of us. Good food, excellent speeches from the likes of David Owen and, of course, the astounding building, which I'd never seen in close-up, let alone been inside. Hugely impressive, and I have to say it did restore a little bit of confidence in the UK's governmental system. Not so much in the current government, mind you, given their repeated data cock-ups recently...

On Monday I piled all the FXhome greenscreen equipment and the HVX into the car and moved it down to the Norwich Arts Centre, where I was supervising a visual effects shoot with Axis of Evil Productions for their next play. As with the previous Coalition gig, which was accompanied by the brilliant (and rather popular) Get Lost, the live on-stage antics this time are being interluded with some more modern TV spoofery. I don't want to give too much away, but I will say that seeing Andy dressed up in a green lycra suit, straddling Will while whipping his shirt up and down frantically was a rather remarkable sight. The shots we got should turn out pretty awesome, I hope - going through the material on Friday with Tom.

Lots of other bits and pieces on the go, too, but they're far too top secret to divulge just yet.

Right, time for a spot of frivolity.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Bruges holiday

Little late with this one, as we actually went to Bruges what seems like ages ago. In the meantime we've been quite ridiculously busy, both at home and at work (decoratingnewcomputerhendovisitvideowrapetcetc), and we never quite got round to blogging about it.

It's all a bit late now to go into massive detail, but here's a few highlights:

The trip

Eurostar is great! Really easy, very quick and pleasantly non-stressful. Brussels main station was slightly intimidating, but we managed to find our connecting train with about 30 second to go!

The weather

Somehow we managed to get three days of really sunny, warm, wonderful weather that brought out the city wonderfully and enabled us to have some extremely pleasant wanderings.

The chocolate

Goes without saying really, but the chocolate was excellent. :) I'm not really a chocolate person (unlike Leiali), so the fact it got me so excited really is saying something! Remarkably we managed to make the chocolates last for about a month on our return! Whether that was down to restraint or simply the mass quantities we bought is debateable, though...

The museums

Bruges is home to a wonderful collection of art and history museums. From an ooooold hospital to an eclectic collection of European art throughout the ages to a surprisingly interesting examination of chocolate (aside from a rather suspicious lack of due attention to the unfortunate slave trade connections...), it was all fascinating stuff.

The food

Bit of a mixed bag this one. For some reason, Belgians (or at least Brugesians) are obsessed with chips. Every damn meal comes with chips! Now, I'm not averse to chips, but it even became rather much for me. The first night we found a superb little restaurant, though, that was a little different from the masses of cloned eateries around the market square. It was here that I discovered Waterzooie, which is essentially a collection of seafood (prawns, salmon etc) in a fantastic creamy sauce. Not my usual fare, but absolutely delicious.

The Tower

Climbing the Belfry at the market square was my personal highlight. Astounding views from the top and an exhilerating climb, combined with brilliantly intricate clockwork machinery in the bell system itself. For Nadia, however, it was nearly her undoing. If it wasn't for a conveniently placed bench, she may very well have been too exhausted to make it back down the steps, and would instead have found herself known as the Moany Woman of Bruges Belfry.

The return

The only real snag we hit was on our return to the UK, when we arrived at the London Underground only to find that they'd just started a strike, about 10 minutes beforehand. Due to being away for a good few days we were blissfully unaware of this and got stuck in a rather mad human traffic jam, a few hundred feet underground. It was rather unnerving for a while, but we eventually fought our way to the surface and Nadia used her London Know-How to bus us to Liverpool Street.

All-in-all it was a marvellous weekend, and I wouldn't be at all surprised to find us back in Bruges in years to come.
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Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Happy Birthday Jenny!

As soon as there isn't a strike, your prezzies and card will be winging their way to you. Until then, here's a picture to say we haven't forgotten you. Will add this on facebook too!

Happy Birthday Jen, from Simon & Nadia - See you in a couple of weeks?
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Tuesday, October 2, 2007

The Detective and the Robot

Following hot on the heels of Nadia's new stories, I've finally got round to editing my final piece, following Ian's comments at the end of the course. I've added a few bits and tweaked a few pieces and I think it's much better now, even though most of the changes are individually quite minor.

The story link can be found to the right under Tarn's short stories, so check it out and let me know what you think! For those of you that have previously read The Detective, I should note that it starts out quite similar, but follows a markedly different path.

Enjoy. :D

Monday, September 24, 2007



I have put my two stories up. The short one, entitled 'Goblins' is the first one I wrote for our creative writing class, so it was written at some point in May and based on a dream I had many years ago. The second is my final piece 'Journey of a King' with amendments after comments from the course tutor and Simon. It was hard work but I thoroughly enjoyed it. I'm fairly certain that at least two white hairs on my head are attributable to the course, which doesn't bode well for my Masters! I now know that for some reason, creepy stuff is my thing. Very strange. Maybe I should write a story about a werewolf to frighten Simon scare-de-cat?

I do hope people like them, and let me know either way by commenting on the blog, if you just email me Simon will be sad as he'll think no-one reads the blog.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

New officey goodness

This last week up at FXhome we've been moving down the corridor and into new offices, which has been rather knackering but also most excellent! I like to think that my recent DIY experience with the spare room came in handy, as I felt like I was decidedly less useless than when we put the last office together. :)

It's really rather grand - to think we were all still working from home just a year ago. We've now got oodles of space, which is essential for storage now that we're shipping, nice new monitors and even a proper leisure/meeting area with comfy sofas. All-in-all it's a far more pleasant area in which to work, and a far easier place to work with regards to sending out boxes and stuff.

The sofa area is particularly spiffy - we're going to get the webcam all set up so that we can do proper web conferencing with Malone and Hendo when they're not in Norwich.

Check it out:

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Visiting Chris & Jen in Hastings!

Llama hats are brilliant. During the summer they're slightly less brilliant, so I haven't had much opportunity to show off my membership of the Llama Hat club since the inaugural night with Mr Wayne. During our visit to Hastings a few weeks back, however, I got an opportunity to adorn my bonce with another Llama hat, as can be seen in this photo. Chris also appears to be wearing a jester's hat.

Since their return from traversing the globe, Chris & Jen decided to set up shop in Hastings, which gave us an excuse to go check it out. Rather further to go to see them than just two streets up the hill, but they're worth it! (well, except when Chris is physically abusing me - more on that in a moment)

After a fairly painless drive down from Norwich (other than an absolutely foul pub lunch at the roadside Blue Boy in Kent - DO NOT EAT THERE), we then proceeded to get utterly lost in Hastings. I firmly blame this on Jenny's rubbish directions. Once we eventually found their flat, I was then faced with one of the most ludicrously difficult parking situations in automobile history, thanks to late-19th century architects completely failing to predict the rise of the ubiquitous motor vehicle. Remarkably, we didn't lost any wing mirrors, although getting out again would require a similar feat of wheel wrestling, aided by a random stranger who was suspiciously sitting in his car nearby.

Anyways, Chris & Jen's flat is rather spiffy, being top-floor, right on the seafront and complete with C&J cosiness. And we like being cosy. First night Jen cooked a rather magnificent chicken/tuna rice + peppers spicy thingummy, which we really must have again sometime. Saturday involved a pleasant wander around the Old Town and a ride up the funicular (or up the vernacular, as Nadia would have it) in order to gambol merrily about the cliff-top (Chris beat me to the tip of the mound, but only just, and I reckon he'd been practising from childhood).

The afternoon involved an exciting round of Adventure Golf, which Chris actually invented (with a bit of help from his Dad, I believe). I don't know how much of a percentage Chris gets from inventing crazy golf, but he must be set up for life! Jenny somehow got two hole-in-ones, which left us all rather flabbergasted - not to mention in 2nd, 3rd and 4th places. The Hastings Wind was starting to play silly buggers, so we retired back to Chez Chris & Jen for fun and games, joined by Ian and Rachel.

A word of warning: Do not play 'Grab a Pig' with Chris Coleman. As some of you may know, he tends to take his games rather seriously (he also very much likes to count). Grab a Pig involves swapping cards until you hit on a particular combo that enables you to - wait for it - grab a pig, a pig being a small plastic thing in the shape of a pig that sits in the middle of the table. When you've got 6 people playing everything's fine. But that's how it always starts - 'ooh' and 'aah'. Then there's the running, and the screaming. Particularly after, having found oneself in the last round with only Chris remaining, one discovers one's finger bent backwards in a most unnatural manner after a particularly violent 'Chris Lunge'.

I shall get my revenge one day.

We came back to Norwich on the Sunday, and glared with malice at the Blue Boy as we drove past. Do not eat there.

Click here for our pics!!

The Computer(s)

Long while since the last entry and there's lots to talk about! It's been a rather manic month-or-two, one way or another, so I wasn't entirely sure where to start. Given that I'm currently plonked in front of my new computer, however, I thought I'd start there!

Due to Nadia starting her new Masters course this month, she needed a computer. Rather than buy her something cheap and nasty, we decided that she would have my old computer (which isn't massively old, and is actually fairly spiffy still) and I'd get myself something new and sexy. So, yes, essentially it was just an excuse for me to get a beast of a machine.

Installation all went rather smoothly, other than Vista being a bit temperamental when it comes to the order SATA drives are plugged in. The lovely 22" Samsung monitor also had a nasty backlight error, but eBuyer sent a replacement for that swiftly, so all is now good. Certainly better than my first computer building session a few years back, which nearly sent me round the bend - admittedly it was mainly due to me forgetting to use the motherboard mounting thingies, and screwing it directly into the case. Ahem.

I have to say, I rather like Vista. General opinion on it seems to be very negative, but I've had a very pleasurable experience with it so far - even when running old games like The Longest Journey. All that remains is to reinstall XP on Nadia's computer, which is currently in-progress and proving to be a right pain in the arse. After the swift simplicity of Vista, XP's installation is a right old nightmare. Bah!
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Monday, August 6, 2007

Next time, we get a pro

This weekend I have been mostly getting covered in paint. As part of our Spare Room Rejiggling, we wanted to get rid of the deep, dark purple that has been on the walls since we moved in and shift over to something a little brighter and less girly goth.

The process got underway last week when we offloaded one of the beds into Tim's new place, which was all rather convenient as Jack needed a temporary place to stay and Tim needed some furniture to kit out his new pad! We still have one bed left, which is proving rather problematic as the mattress doesn't tick all the current 'fire safety' boxes and thus won't be taken by the Salvation Army etc. I'm sure we'll figure something out!

Having removed most of the furniture, however, it came time to get down to some serious painting. A quick trip to homebase discovered our new colour, a sunny, cheery, generally inoffensive peach. Despite Tim's kind offer to help me out next weekend (he was off in Wales this one just gone), I got all over-excited and decided to dive in by myself.

Silly me.

The first coat was a bit of a nightmare, given my general ineptitude when it comes to DIY and having never done Proper decorating before. The second coat, applied today, went much better and the room is now looking actually rather spiffy but, by god, painting a room is so dull. I really have no idea how some people enjoy doing this kind of thing, let alone do it for a living!

Still, the results are looking much better than expected. One more coat is probably needed mid-week. More photos when it's done. :)
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Monday, July 30, 2007

Mike & Rachel's Wedding

It would be more traditional, of course, to accompany this entry with a photo of the bride and groom looking all elegant and glamorous, but I simply couldn't resist this rather marvellous snap of Jenny's horror at the sight of a tumbling load of wooden bricks. Admittedly it was rather shocking, but we didn't realise it would cause her quite this level of trauma.

The wedding was fantastic - you might say a new level of fantastic, in fact. Great readings, all very carefully chosen and perfectly evading the cheesy cliches you sometimes bump into at these events. The whole shebang was really very moving, possibly due to Mike being such a big girl and breaking down into whimpers every five seconds. Beautiful location, wonderful people and rather marvellous desserts - all-in-all, a superb day.

It was marred only slightly by our taxi being 45 minutes late, which resulted in a very wet, very cold and slightly scary (there was a definite sense of mild peril) wait in a pitch black forest in The Middle of Nowhere, Norfolk, with only the militant rage of Chris, the righteous anger of Dave, the cow hunting of Sedger and the inappropriate singing of Nadia, Jen and Hena to keep us in good spirits. We eventually found our way back to civilisation, though, and it at least gave the day a rather adventurous climax!

Congrats to Mike and Rachel, who are currently swanning about somewhere in Italy, for putting on a spiffy day and, you know, getting married. Woohoo!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Transformers (2007) review

OK, deep breath.

Where to start?

First off, I won't be reviewing this as a Transformers film, or comparing it to the stuff I remember from my childhood, or which I read in comics as a teenager. There's simply no point, as this film has nothing to do with any of that.

So, instead I'll look at it simply as a standalone film.

I was generally entertained for most of the film, in a typical being-bludgeoned-over-the-head Michael Bay kind of fashion. It's the kind of film where you almost don't have time to consider whether you're enjoying it or not, there's so much audio-visual mayhem going on. On the other hand, once it's finished, you realise that it was an utterly empty experience.

Let's deal with the stuff I liked first:

Shia Labeoeoeieieieiuuueoeouf. This guy is great! I didn't like him in I, Robot - but that was mainly due to his 'irritating sidekick' style character. In Transformers, however, he's fantastic. Really captured that Harrison Ford/Michael J Fox style of natural acting, which can switch between comedy and 'serious' absolutely seamlessly. As such, any scene that he's in was noticeably better than ones without. Can't wait to see him in Indy 4!

The visual effects. Dear god, these were fantastic! Practically flawless, and one of the first times that CG has felt properly 'there', to the same level as a animatronic or puppet version. The rest of the technicals were of similarly fantastic standard - this is a very, very well produced film. With the notable exception of the script, of course...more on that in a moment.

Peter Cullen. Despite being saddled with some seriously rubbish dialogue, Cullen did a great job. It might just be nostalgia speaking, but he really managed to inject a bit of character.

Other than those three elements, however, this was a remarkably shoddy film.

The biggest mistake? All the military and political scenes. Seeing the soldiers in Qatar and later in New York was ok, with some great action, although most of it was still fairly superfluous. It seemed mostly to be a big advert for the companies that make military hardware than anything else.

All the Jon Voight stuff, and anything relating to the Pentagon, hackers and Sector Seven, though, was utter guff. It was simply intensely [i]dull[/i]. This was particularly true in the first half of the film. When we [i]should[/i] have been focused entirely on Sam and Bumblebee's attempts to woo Ms Fox, all of which was highly entertaining and brilliantly reminiscent of the golden age of 80s action-comedies, instead we had to keep cutting back to dry offices, meeting rooms and made-up computer talk. The problem for me was that it was all so tiresomely generic - it really could have been footage cut out of any other random disaster/sci-fi movie. It's been seen so many times before, and it utterly sapped the energy of the film. How much better would this film have been if we'd seen it entirely through Sam's eyes, as this larger world was revealed? The military could still have shown up at the end, could still have been involved, but there was really no need to give them such a prominent role.

Then there's the muddled action. Sure, much of it was fantastic - the military's assault on Scorponok (a total non-entity, unfortunately), for example (my prior comment notwithstanding), was awesome, as was Prime's head-to-head with Bonecrusher. However, so much of the rest was shot in such major close-up that it was impossible to see what was going on, and the geography of the end battle was seriously perplexing at times.

This was compounded - or perhaps caused in the first place - by the crappy robot designs. Now, I'm not saying this from a 'purist' point of view. I don't mind that they've changed the designs from the G1 robots - there's been bjillions of Transformers incarnations over the years, some good and some bad. That they rejiggled them isn't what annoys me - that the redesigns were so uninspired does, however.

This is never truer than with Megatron and Starscream who, in both plane and robot mode, look almost identical - especially given that their scenes are almost all action-based, thus filled with wobbly camerawork, lots of blur and fast movement etc.

The general aesthetic was oddly fragile looking, too - it felt like these robots would just snap in two, or get their gears and levers jammed on something. There are so many exposed parts, all you'd have to do to stop one is stick a long pole in-between a couple of struts!

Then there's Frenzy (I think that's what he's called), the little mincing spaghetti robot. What the hell were they thinking? So many of his scenes were played out as if they should be scary, or at least slightly freaky. Instead, it was just hugely camp and a bit odd - almost like there had been a massive miscommunication between the director and the special effects guys. And why on earth could nobody see him, when he was wandering about in plain sight? Very odd.

There were also numerous action scenes that started to be fantastic.....then inexplicably stopped. The first car chase between Bumblebee and Barricade, for example. Given it was a Michael Bay film, I got rather excited as this began - I knew it'd be fantastic, no matter what the rest of the film was like. Instead, it stopped before it even began. Same happened with the Prime-Bonecrusher fight on the freeway, which ended rather quickly.

Then there's the Prime-Megatron battle, which turned into a total non-fight, and was mainly just two robots falling over constantly. Not exactly the epic final battle between to arch-enemies that have been fighting for thousands of years.

Finally, there's the general dialogue. While Shia somehow rescued his, the rest was decidedly ropey. No more so than Optimus', which ended up sounding more like a patronising school teacher, endlessly repeating asinine platitudes and blatantly obvious moral absolutes - while everybody else seemed to completely ignore him. This was no truer than at the end, where you had Optimus going off on yet another speech, while Sam and Ms Fox get jiggy on Bumblebee's bonnet and Ironhide and Ratchet look on in a perving manner, totally ignoring their leader's 'wise words'. The end result was that Prime came across more like a bumbling, slightly senile old codger, rather than a military and visionary genius.

Add in the bizarre over-acting of every black actor in the film, all seemingly willing to hammer home a bunch of stereotypes, followed by John Turturro apparently trying to upstage them all, and you've got a seriously odd film experience.

This was a film which had big stompy robots, but the filmmakers made them say things like "my bad." I guess that just about sums it up right there.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Story up

I've got Simon to post one story up, will post the next one when it comes back from the tutor..marked. I hope people recognise the main character, and would appreciate feedback.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Final pieces submitted!

We were rather last minute (or I was, at least) but we've finally handed in our final coursework for the Creative Writing: Science Fiction and Fantasy course that we've been doing for the last twelve-or-so weeks. It was thoroughly enjoyable throughout and I look forward to hopefully meeting up with members of the group again in the near future. With luck we'll be putting together a little anthology book of all our stories, too, which will be a nifty memento.

I'll have my final story - 'The Detective and the Robot' - up on the site ASAP. It's an expanded and massively reworked version of 'The Detective', though goes off on a considerably different tack. I believe Nadia is also planning to put her stuff online, but I'll let her write about that (if she ever bothers to write another post!!).

Meanwhile, we're investigating going to Bruges in August. Wee!

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Looming deadlines and writer's block

Back at university, entire semesters would go past with hardly any work to do, then we'd suddenly find ourselves deluged by multiple coursework projects, all to hand in the same week, leading to a manic final dash to get everything ready.

Other than occasionally strenuous FXhome release deadlines, I haven't had to worry about that kind of thing for years. Just recently, however, I've ended up in a similar situation, what with work busier than ever, my film-related work more active than it has been for yonks and, of course, our Creative Writing course that we're doing up at UEA.

Typically, a whole bunch of deadlines once again converged, the most troublesome of which has been the final piece for the Creative Writing course. My plan had been to take the Detective character from The Detective (see stories on the right!) and spin him out into a slightly longer tale. Easier said than done, especially given that my head has been focused on entirely different characters for the past few weeks.

This has proven to be more of a problem than normal. The whole point of the 1st person narrative in the Detective stories is to try something I don't normally do, and write from the point of view of a rather extreme, unpleasant character, in 1st person, while also playing with all kinds of noirish cliches. All well and good, but leaving Keila and Kamran behind in order to write in the voice of the grouchy, robotist detective was difficult. If only I'd chosen to write in good, old fashioned, easy peasy 3rd person perspective!

Ah well. I've finally got a hook into the story, so will have it finished by this time tomorrow, ready to hand in on Tuesday. Nothing like last minute!

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Funky film work

Back in the day, I used to make films. They weren't particularly good but they were great fun to put together. More importantly, they taught me a lot about what not to do. Unfortunately, just as I felt like I was grasping what was necessary to make something decent, I finished uni, got a job and found myself with precious little time to direct.

Fast forward a few years and I've found myself working on quite a few productions, here and there. I've stepped back from the directing ambitions to work on other areas - specifically writing and effects, two areas that spin naturally out of my work at FXhome.

I've just this second finished fixing up the English translation subtitles for NightCast, a Swiss action movie (a rare thing!) directed by my good friend Marco von Moos. Marco, of course, is the inimitable Sollthar from the community. I've also been doing some writing with Ashley Wing, director of Between the Lines, who is working on some very exciting future projects.

That's the nifty thing about working at FXhome - you get to meet a real variety of filmmakers from all over the world and get to be a part of their work, even if only in a tiny way.

Talking of work, this week proved rather entertaining as we did a quick greenscreen shoot in order to have some new promo material, for which we actually employed the services of a model for the first time - that's right, it's not going to be me in every single damn video! Our giant new greenscreen courtesy of the chaps over at really helped out, so for once compositing should be smooth and easy!

Sounds like Nadia's just got back, so time to sign off. Until next time. :)

Saturday, June 30, 2007


No, not of my novel, Evinden, but of a film script I've been working on for a fair few weeks now. Rather a long slog, and it's still only a first draft, but at last the entire thing is down on paper. As usual with everything I write, it's far too long and will require some judicious snipping. I knew it was going to come out far too long even as I was writing it but decided to complete it before delving into editing, so as to better discern the overall structure and pacing.

In other news, we're off up to UEA this evening for a 90s Reunion. Nadia's friend Emma is up for the weekend and there's going to be a whole gaggle of people converging on Norwich - Malone's coming up from Cornwall with Clem, for a start. Should be a good evening - will try to get some good pics!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

What is a patriot?

I was reading an issue of Amazing Spider-Man last night and unexpectedly stumbled across a rather nifty definition of what it means to be a patriot, written by Mr Mark Twain. I quote:

In a republic, who is 'the country'?

Is it the government which is for the moment in the saddle? Why, the government is merely a temporary servant; it cannot be its prerogative to determine what is right and what is wrong, and decide who is a patriot and who isn't. Its function is to obey orders, not originate them.

Who, then, is 'the country'? Is it the newspaper? Is it the pulpit? Why, these are mere parts of the country, not the whole of it; they have not command, they have only their little share in the command.

In a monarchy, the king and his family are the country; in a republic, it is the common voice of the people. Each of you, for himself, by himself and on his own responsibility, must speak.

It is a solemn and weighty responsibility, and not lightly to be flung aside at the bullying of pulpit, press or government, or the empty catchphrases of politicians. Each must decide for himself alone what is right and what is wrong, and which course is patriotic and which isn't. You cannot shirk this and be a man.

To decide it against your convictions is to be an unqualified and inexcusable traitor, both to yourself and to your country, let men label you as they may.

If you alone of all the nation shall decide one way, and that way be the right way according to your convictions of the right, you have done your duty by yourself and by your country. Hold up your head. You have nothing to be ashamed of."

Saturday, June 23, 2007

A few stories more!

I've added links to a few more recent short stories I've written. Most of these are literally 10-minute jobs written as exercises for the creative writing course we're on at the moment and are tests of style/character/POV etc.

Next up is to write the final 1500 word piece for the course - a horrendously small word count! My final piece is going to be based on the character from 'The Detective', probably with a mixture of plots from the two Detective stories I've put up so far, plus some extra bits and pieces.

Meanwhile, Evinden is coming along nicely. I've nearly finished the second part, at which point I'll be creating a new 'work print' for selected people to peruse. The story is really hotting up now, with the characters' journeys well underway and (hopefully) avoiding (or fiddling with) the usual cliches!

I'm also writing a new short film script, details of which I'm not at liberty to disclose at this point. The project will be announced in due course, at which point I'll be able to reveal some info. :)

There's also a bunch of other filmy stuff going on at the moment, particularly with the Axis of Evil guys. As it happens, I'm seeing them tomorrow for an afternoon of extreme puppetry at the Norwich Arts Centre - should be good!

Friday, June 22, 2007

A fistful of stories!

I've just put links up on the right to a couple of stories I've written as part of the Sci-Fi & Fantasy Creative Writing unit we've been doing for the last 8-or-so weeks. They're pretty short, so take a peek! Please do let me know what you think, feedback is always appreciated.

More on the way...

p.s. I seem to have broken all the images in the previous posts. Will try to fix that soon. :)

Monday, June 11, 2007

And so it begins...

After neglecting our little website for many a month, I've finally got round to rejiggling it a bit. The first step being to remove just about everything except this blog. Now that I've finally detached myself from 90s-style websites, hopefully this should prove much easier to update on a more regular basis.

We've been up to lots of exciting things lately, so we should have some short stories, artwork and photos to link to soon. In the meantime, enjoy this work in progress journal thing. :)

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Hahaha I forgot this existed

I forgot we had this, and now I remembered I figure I may as well post on it! First things first, I am now officially thirty two years old. How old is that? How grey am I? And how have things been these past thirty two years I know you are asking yourself and even if not, I shall reply. Well, so far my early thirties are a million times better than my twenties. For a start, I know myself better and am therefore less likely to make a complete idiot of myself in public, and when I do I don't actually care any more. It is very liberating.
My working life is a bit rubbish, poorly paid and bored in a nutshell but I am going to do a masters so all is well, other than working my socks off in the next two years. I'd never have been able to do it without Simon so I am counting my blessings. Urgh, how cheesemongery is this?! Sorry, but the truth is never pretty.
What else? Oh yes, creative writing is scary, difficult and stilted for me. I didn't realise I was quite as long winded as all that, but ponderous is a good way to describe my progress. However words trip lightly off of Simon's tongue, like honey from a bee so I am insanely jealous and downhearted. I think it is only right that I make a melodramatic statement of intent soon along the lines of 'I will never write again as long as I live!' or just edit and critique as usual and leave the writing to the more dedicated and confident out there. Or do poetry instead which I generally always preferred to write.
Hm...Things I have noted in the past few weeks:
I feel old
I miss my friends
I have a new 'perfect sister' badge which I fully intend to wear at the weekend
Simon is the best (but don't anyone tell him that).
Sitting outside in the sun all day is a fantastically indulgent and enjoyable thing to do
Sitting outside in the sun for too long gives me a headache
Fireworks are ok if you are really really far away
Old people have no shame
I've felt under the weather for nearly two months now....
Girly chick flicks rule
Heroes and BSG won't be around forever :(

So anyway, I'm going to stop now.

Monday, February 26, 2007

I wonder when Simon will notice?

That I've been blogging on here? If that is the correct term. I've been ruminating on whether to go down to London to get a book signed on the 17th March, as I have the 16th off work anyway, and it would be great to meet some people from the forum. But then can I really be bothered to spend £30 odd for a chat and a couple of signatures? And sit on a train? As I'm going down in April anyway, I doubt I'll go but I never get to go to signings and they all seem to happen at Forbidden Planet. I wish there was cause for great writers to come up to Norfolk, but unless they already live here there never is :(

I've had a good day today, though I still don't feel well having contracted the lurgy over a week ago and still shaking it off, and I made the mistake of eating fresh pineapple, mango and papaya at the weekend in one of those little packs where they prep it for you. Never has such a great food sin been committed by me. Or at least, not in so long. I was still feeling quite ill today...I think I am actually allergic to fresh fruit - and apparently it isn't all that uncommon to be intolerant of it at least...So I'm not weird.

Anyway, the day has been good because: I drove around a lot and am determined to KEEP IT UP; it is my mantra. Having never ridden a bike, or a horse, I haven't always believed people saying that getting behind the wheel after a short absence is ' just like riding a bike, once you learn it you never forget how to do it,' 'once you get on you always fall off' is more likely. I hate idioms and similes like that, I never remember them right. It is clearly because I am foreign, which is a card I occasionally allow myself to wave around maniacally. Certain sayings come to you from your family so all of mine are Eritrean.

It was also a good day because I went to two meetings which took all day and were strategic and in someways visionary. But that is going to bore everyone so I'll stop there.

things to note:

My life is not that interesting
Fruit is sometimes bad, but heavenly
I don't know how to post pictures

I forgot to talk about hypnotherapy and the dirty dancing wedding first dance. So, next time I shall.

Just watched University Challenge:

Nadia 110
Simon 35. Not his finest hour.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Long time no type

I thought I'd update the journal seeing as I am home, sick and bored. I've been off work for days now with a bad head cold - Simon's man flu seems to have affected me more:( and am going stir crazy.

Topics of interest lately have been: Slavery, as it is the 200 year anniversary of the abolition of slavery in the UK, but slavery still exists in the form of domestic labourers being bought and sold as well as sex trafficking in theUK, let alone what happens worldwide. I did a bit of reading on the activists in the US as I know very little about American history, and know know something of Sojourner Truth, Frederick Douglas and Ulysses Grant (not an activist but someone who certainly had the power to make a difference). Sojourner Truth especially had a strong impact on me as a black woman who had been through such turmoil; her 'Ain't I a woman?' speech still resonates.

I also learned a bit more about marriage, the Baha'i faith, the mythical land of Punt which may be the land of my heritage, Eritrea, what else? Also, I learned a little bit about Aiken Drum the Scottish tale, and Solomon the wise of biblical times as well as Suleiman the Magnificent or Law Maker, who ruled the Ottoman Empire. Wikipedia is great for browsing but I'm inclined to further any studies with real books, or at least learned texts. Some of the submissions on it were misspelled and I swear at one point someone wrote 'awesome'.

So, snobs are us. I just got a parcel from Amazon so I must now spend the next week trying not to start any of the books I've bought. It will be particularly difficult with Guy Gavriel Kay's Ysabel, which I know will be great and is his first book in ages. I didn't realise the dearth of his books til recently. Good writers should learn to type really, really, extra specially fast. The other two books I may start nowish, I have Winterbirth by Brian Ruckley (which kind of looks a bit traditional) and a book of short stories with an offering from Sharon Shinn whose latest series I really enjoyed....But I must resist as my to read pile is so enormous, I shouldn't have bought the books in the first place.

What else? I'm looking forward to going to Oxford for a few days, our first proper holiday together (gulp!). I should imagine that navigating, not getting lost, driving, and all things associated will be a nightmare. I hate that we are so conventional in our disagreements. Woman: Bad Navigator. Man: Bad instruction taker. It is so predictable. Still, it'll be worth it I'm sure. Blenheim Palace looks so good. I'm fairly certain that as I am looking forward to it in particular, the day will be too cold, raining or something which will dampen our enthusiasm. Fingers crossed it won't.
Next time: Hypnotherapy and what it means to me.

Posted not by Nadia and Simon, but by Nadia all on her own and who is an independent being. As Dave once said, there are at times too many ands and not enough commas.

Sunday, January 21, 2007


James Bond, to be exact. Not a man I either like or am interested in except to have an apoplectic fit whenever he is mentioned. But Casino Royale was actually ok. Just the right mix of action, irony, poker and lithe male and female bodies to appeal to a wider range of audience. Hurrah! And the Chris Cornell song went really well with it - threading its way through the film blending in marvellously with the traditional dum dum dee dum dom dee dum tune. I don't have a picture I'm afraid, but if I did, it would be of a random village by the med, with hot sun blazing down at people in sun glasses on powerful boats. Why are all the criminals [girlfriends/wives] in the world lazing on a sun lounger by the Mediterranean? Surely some of them like a bit of a change every once in a while?

Sunday, January 7, 2007

Getting there...

Now that all the festivities are done, I've finally had time to update the website properly. I've rejiggled most of the pages so that they can cope with more content. The Artwork section now works via the rather nifty Picasa web albums service - nice and free!

With a bit of luck we'll have some pseudo-science articles going up in the next couple of weeks, which will hopefully prove to be fun reads. They may even be collated into a book one day!

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