Feb 14th

Akinator - Guess Who?

By Mook
Came across this while researching/procrastinating;

Akinator - Think about a real or fictional character. I will try and guess who it is.

Akinator.com

Just like the Guess Who game, Akinator will try and guess your character in twenty questions. Surprisingly successful.
Feb 13th

A funny e-mail sent to the police

By The Clockwise Man II
This is a genuine complaint to Devon & Cornwall Police Force from an angry member of the public
A true email sent to the force, lengthy but brilliantly written...... 

--------------
Dear Sir/Madam/Automated telephone answering service, 
Having spent the past twenty minutes waiting for someone at Bodmin police station to pick up a telephone I have decided to abandon the idea and try e-mailing you instead.

Perhaps you would be so kind as to pass this message on to your colleagues in Bodmin, by means of smoke signal, carrier pigeon or Ouija board.

As I'm writing this e-mail there are eleven failed medical experiments (I think you call them youths) in St Mary's Crescent, which is just off St Mary's Road in Bodmin.

Six of them seem happy enough to play a game which involves kicking a football against an iron gate with the force of a meteorite. This causes an earth shattering CLANG! Which rings throughout the entire building.
This game is now in its third week and as I am unsure how the scoring system works, I have no idea if it will end any time soon.

The remaining five failed-abortions are happily rummaging through several bags of rubbish and items of furniture that someone has so thoughtfully dumped beside the wheelie bins. One of them has found a saw and is setting about a discarded chair like a beaver on ecstasy pills.

I fear that it's only a matter of time before they turn their limited attention to the caravan gas bottle that is lying on its side between the two bins.
If they could be relied on to only blow their own arms and legs off then I would happily leave them to it. I would even go so far as to lend them the matches.

Unfortunately they are far more likely to blow up half the street with them and I've just finished decorating the kitchen.

What I suggest is this - after replying to this e-mai l with worthless assurances that the matter is being looked into and will be dealt with, why not leave it until the one night of the year (probably bath night) when there are no mutants around then drive up the street in a Panda car before doing a three point turn and disappearing again. This will of course serve no other purpose than to remind us what policemen actually look like.

I trust that when I take a claw hammer to the skull of one of these throwbacks you'll do me the same courtesy of giving me a four month head start before coming to arrest me.

I remain your obedient servant

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Mr ??????,

I have read your e-mail and understand your frustration at the problems caused by youths playing in the area and the problems you have encountered in trying to contact the police.

As the Community Beat Officer for your street I would like to extend an offer of discussing the matter fully with you.

Should you wish to discuss the matter, please provide contact details (address / telephone number) and when may be suitable.

Regards
PC ???????
Community Beat Officer
Feb 13th

Will Kindle and other book readers kill the paperback?

By quackers

After a great deal of formatting and setting up I’ve downloaded my trafficker series of novels onto Kindle and also built a sub website http://www.raggedcover.co.uk/ebooks.html to complement.  Fingers crossed it will be another outlet for my books. I know lots of people who have Kindle and think they are great and wouldn’t be without. For the author it's a good way to compete after all getting on the shelves of book stores isn’t exactly easy. Unless you are famous!  As the cost is zero, apart from like I said work to make it look good, what’s there to lose? Unless you all out there know something I don’t?

Feb 13th

Another Love Story

By Caducean Whisks

Once, I was fourteen.  I went to see Love Story at the cinema with my best friends, Jo and Liz.  I had my new cassette recorder, hidden in a plastic bag and taped the film, holding out the puny mike and hoping the usherettes didn’t see.

During a recent clear-out, I came across that tape.  The sound is cracked, the quality dire.  You can hear the rustling of the carrier bag as we rooted in it for tissues; you can hear the snuffles as Jo, Liz and I burst with sobs when Jenny died and Oliver sat in the snowbound park as the plane flew over – Jenny’s departing soul – and his father found him, and Oliver Barrett IV tells his father, “Love means never having to say you’re sorry,” just as Jenny had told him earlier.

Erich Segal, the author, died a few weeks ago; it’s Valentine’s Day on Sunday. 

I’m fifty years old, now.  My hands are wrinkled and cracked; I don’t have as many teeth as I should.  My back aches and I need glasses for reading; my hair would be grey if I let it grow out; but some of me is still fourteen years old.

I loved Love Story.  I worshiped the stars, Ali McGraw and Ryan O’Neal.  I’d sit in my bedroom with my friends – or alone – listening to that wearied tape of the film and we’d sob all over again; hearing us sob on the tape, made us sob some more.  He loved her so much.  She loved him so much.  We wanted to love like that, we wanted to be loved like that.

 

From the age of eight or nine, I stayed with my Nan during the school holidays while my Dad, a single parent, went to work.  Nanny was a cleaner, but not just any old cleaner.  She cleaned the Australian Embassy; she cleaned the House of Lords.  She got free tickets to the Opening of Parliament and rifled the bins of the Foreign Office for the beautiful, exotic stamps and brought them home for me.

We slept together in her double bed for warmth and company.  Central heating didn’t arrive for several decades, the curtains were nylon and the flat was arctic at night; she’d flinch as I nestled my cold feet into the crock of her knees but she didn’t complain – very much.  I’d tell her ghost stories in the darkness until I fell asleep, but she’d lie awake, alert for all the banshees she hadn’t realised were lurking in the shadows.

I’ve no idea what time she got up for work, but it was early.  She was home by ten in the morning and woe betide me if I wasn’t up, washed and dressed by then.  She’d bring in a copy of the Daily Mirror and we’d have a cup of tea and a bit of toast.  She kept the old bread crusts in a special drawer in the scullery and when it was full, she’d make a bread pudding.

She was sometimes cross with me, but I knew for certain, when the chips were down, she was on my side.  She told me very clearly, that if I were ever in trouble, I could always come to her, no matter what.  I didn’t know what she meant when I was nine, but I do now.

She loved wrestling and at 4pm on a Saturday, we’d sit down to watch Giant Haystacks, Big Daddy, Mick McManus and the others.  We both saw that famous bout where Giant Haystacks and Big Daddy ran at each other but the ref was in the way and they knocked him out.  Sometimes Nanny would stand up and yell at Mick McManus on the TV, “Oh, he’s a dirty fighter!  Did you see that?  What’s the matter with the ref?  Go on, hit him back!”  I wanted to take her to a wrestling match when I was old enough, but I never did.  She’d have sat in the front row and hit that dirty cheat with her handbag.

I told her about Love Story.  She listened to the tape with me, even though I was embarrassed by the sobbing bits.  She nodded solemnly.  I bought the sheet music and learned to play the theme on the piano, over and over and over again.

“I have to find the book,” I told her, “I just have to.”

After we’d (she'd) done the washing, run to the shops for a few bits, and sorted out what we’d have for tea, we might pop to the bingo (she could mark five cards at once, whereas my limit was three); or play cards with her sisters, the ashtray overflowing and a yellow cloud hanging from the ceiling.  They gambled, too, those sisters.  They even played Ludo for money.  I’d be sent to the corner shop for a packet of five Batchelor, or Senior Service at a push; cigarettes don’t come in fives any more and Batchelor is no more.  Granddad had smoked Woodbine but he was no more, either.  Now and again during these card schools, her brother would pop round in his flat cap, appearing through the smog like a gunslinger, nod, say nothing, and open the paper while the sisters and I continued the card game.  Even now, I can still gamble at cards with the best of them, but she always beat me at chess.  If I whined, she'd say "When you beat me, you'll beat me fair and square."

The next school holidays, Nanny had a present for me, in a plastic bag.  Love Story.  She’d made me write down the author and had got the bus to every bookshop in the area until she found it. 

It was disappointingly thin and almost the entire film script (no more, no less) – which I knew off by heart anyway, from playing my sentimental tape bald.  But she’d remembered that it had mattered to me, she’d taken me seriously; she’d listened.

When she slipped me presents like that, I’d say “thank you”, but she’d wave it away and tell me that when I was grown-up and earning, I could take her out for tea with my first wage packet and I promised I would.

She didn’t get a passport until her sixties and had no idea why anyone would want to speak all those funny lingoes - what was wrong with English, she'd like to know - yet I knew for certain when I later travelled Asia with a backpack, that if I’d been in trouble in Bangladesh, she’d have gone to the library to find out where it was, then got on the bus and stalked the Prime Minister until I was home safe.

She never got the hang of decimalisation and when the baker said our iced buns were elevenpence, she’d hand him two bob and wait for change.

She was superstitious about many things and if you put your woolly on inside out by mistake, you had to keep it like that the whole day because it was lucky.

When I was about twenty, she’d admired my new jumper from Etam, so I bought her one too, so we could be twins.  And she wore it.  The colour didn’t suit her, but looking back, it didn’t suit me, either.

She always wore patent leather-look court shoes with a low heel for going out, but when the snow and ice were thick on the pavements, she’d wear Granddad’s wool socks over the top of them so that she didn’t slip over.

My first Saturday job, at fifteen, was washing hair in the local salon.  As far as she was concerned, this made me qualified and she couldn’t always afford a perm, so when it needed it (and sometimes when it didn’t), she’d let me cut her hair.  Now and again, it wasn’t too bad.

After Sunday lunch, we’d rush to do the washing up in time for the TV at 1 o’clock – seasons of black and white films starring Bette Davis, James Cagney, Joan Crawford.  It was during these biopics, that I’d cut her hair, while she sat enthralled on a hard dining chair because the settee was too soft.  Only after the film had finished, would she stand up, look in the mirror and search for the missing clumps of her hair.

 

She died when I was twenty-four.  I had a degree, my own flat and was reading Simone de Beauvoir.

She had cancer of everything and I visited the hospital every other day.  I took her a huge bunch of freesias when her sight was going, so she could smell them instead.  That last day, I couldn’t visit – I had meetings at work which were terribly important.  I twitched all morning until I couldn’t stand it and told everyone I had to go right now; they’d have to deal with it or sack me.  The curtains were drawn around her bed and a nurse asked if I were a relative.  I’d missed her by fifteen minutes.

In 2008, on what would have been her hundredth birthday, I took myself on a pilgrimage to her Battersea council flat, now yuppiefied, and visited the corner shop where I’d taken back the empty lemonade bottles for sixpence return. It’s now a pound store selling rat poison and I bought a broom for £2.  The Granada cinema had become another bingo hall and then a nothing hall, boarded up and derelict.  There was graffiti on the railway bridge but the phone box where she’d walk to phone us at an agreed time each week, was still there.

I’m fifty years old and I still miss her.  In her last years, I was busy having my important life and I knew she’d always be there, solid as a rock, until she wasn’t.

My first wage packet came and went and I never took her out for tea. 

In the words of the great Jenny Cavelleri, as she lay dying in Love Story, “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.”  I don’t know if that’s true.

Feb 13th

Anyone interested in forming a 'Critic Group'?

By kd
I've seen this done on other writer's forums and I thought it might be a good idea.

I'm looking for three or four individuals who might be interested in forming a 'critic group'.  I'd ideally like to find those whose genres I have a taste for:

contemporary fiction/ women's lit/ historical/ romance/ humor-comedy/ mystery/ paranormal/ thriller/ YA

And those that might have a taste for mine which is mainly a historical YA/paranormal manuscript for the time being.

The idea would be to critic pieces either set up on one another's blogs or if you prefer- correspond by email and send entire chapters or documents for critic.  We would each be looking for things like: deadwood or clumpiness, structure, description, wordiness, repetitiveness and plot indescrepencies.  

It always helps to have a fresh pair of eyes as we revise and I think this might be more useful for those that are working on or have finished their first manuscript and need help pulling it together and tightening it up.

Please sent me a private message if anyone's interested!

Thanks!
Katie


 
Feb 13th

The Curse of Overwriting.

By Mistress Elysia

"I fear my enthusiasm flags when real work is demanded of me" H.P Lovecraft, 1890 - 1937

*Stands up*

My name is Ely, and I overwrite.

From the tiniest shimmer of the dust mote that floats elegantly down from an incandescent heaven to the overpowering maelstrom of the storm that rages with a power that defies all overhead, I overwrite. Adjectives, adverbs, overextended metaphors, overblown synonyms that have been sought desperately for in my well-thumbed thesaurus are all my friends; dear, dear friends I have spent a lifetime collecting, devising, enjoying.

But, alas, unlike my idols Lovecraft, Poe and Stoker, we do not live in a time where a love of language is de rigueur. To write because you love words is not enough. For fear of being rather melodramatic, I would describe myself as a bit of a shadow out of time  (nudge nudge, wink wink); an anachronism who needs to let go of these archaic mentors and begin to live in the literary now.

But how to cut those ties? To cut loose that which brings fire to your belly? To prune, yet feel you are not losing that which defines and inflames  you?

That, I do not know. It escapes me, cantering into the depths of the maelstrom above with a gleeful kick of its heels, defying me, challenging me: come and find me, but do it with less reliance on adverbial phrases and passive passages beginning with words that end in 'ing'.

Time to put the thesaurus back onto the shelf, methinks...

 

Feb 13th

Paint

By Ele

In my mind streaks of paint spread across the walls.  Drying quickly, messily.  Just a first coat.  Plenty of time to even it out later.  But sometimes later never comes.  Sometimes this moment is all we have.  So here’s my problem.  Should I do a really slow patient job, brushing into all the corners, even strokes, starting and ending at the same height, never wavering.  Or should I rush letting paint drip down the brush onto my hand maybe splatters on the floor like fresh graffiti.  I waz here.  But maybe I already have the perfect system.  Outlining a square on the wall carefully.  Showing me where I’ve already been and where I’ve still to go.  (White on cream isn’t easy you know.  Sometimes you’ll miss a bit.  Later it’ll glare at you accusingly.  Slapdash.  Not careful enough.)  The square gives me freedom to paint any way I want to.  Controlled border.  Any style in the middle.  Sometimes I vary the technique with adjacent squares.  Stand back and see if I can tell the difference.  I never can.  As long as I stay within the border I’m safe.  Sometimes though I really want to throw the paint at the wall any old way.  No system.  No borders.  No safety net.

I haven’t yet though.  Maybe the next wall.    

Feb 12th

Movie Reviews- Laypeople.blogspot

By claraw
Hi folks,

I just wanted to use a little space to promote my new website, http://www.lpplmovies.blogspot.com/

It has movie reviews and well, I hope you all like it and comment, naturally, I do love trading ideas.

This is for all you movie fans out there, share the love. Also if you have tips of movies which review you´d like to see on the site, let me know.

Cheers!
Feb 12th

Day 1

By Ele
Thinking about writing while painting (the walls not a work of art).  Wondering what other people do to put off actually writing.
Feb 11th

The mystery of the disappearing posts.

By Steve
I've now reached 48 hours as a member.