A few of my (current) favourite things…

It’s been a bit serious on the old blog of late, so I thought I’d lighten things up with some snippets from youtube that have amused me lately.

First, in honour of Valentines day, the adorable lads of Out Of The Blue are here to sing you a song:

Next, we have the inimitable Miriam Margolyes (who I’m pretty sure was born without any f**ks to give and who I want to be when I grow up):  WARNING FOR THE GENTLY NURTURED: MIRIAM MARGOLYES IS NOT SUITABLE FOR WORK, CHILDREN, OR PROBABLY LIFE.  (Funny, but.)

And then, a very short visual explanation of why I’m a Cumberbitch to my bootstraps.  Phwoar!  (If you’ve seen the season of Sherlock this is from, you’ll know that this might not even have happened and Molly will never have Sherlock to keep, but none of that matters.  It’s still amazing!)

And now I must climb out of the youtube rabbit hole and do some work!  Enjoy your Wednesday!

Anxiety dreams and other perils of Deadlines

This morning, on the book of faces, one of my author friends shared that she had had a horrifying nightmare: she had arrived at conference with only the clothes she was standing up in. No frock for the dinner, no change of undies and worst of all, no costume for the cocktail party!

I don’t know if you’ve ever been to a writing conference with several hundred other women, but this is definitely nightmare material!  Not so much for me, admittedly. I am a big fan of finding an outfit that works and buying it in several colours and I’m a bit crap at costumes, but some of the girls go all out, especially on the costumes.

But of course, this nightmare was not really about clothes, but about deadlines – and those nightmares I understand all too well.

ID-10084449

Debspoons created this pic for freedigitalphotos.net
(click for link). She’s a bit blonde to be me and I have a dog,
not a cat, but the expression fits!

See, I am one of those people who need deadlines.  I’d love not to be.  I’d love to be the kind of person who works steadily every day, come rain, hail or shine and who is never distracted by the internet, shiny things, books or lunch.

But I’m not.  I am a world-class avoider of that which is hard and scary and writing is both, so the whip-crack of an imminent deadline is a necessary spur to my creative endeavour.

Lately, I’ve had several.  Deadlines, that is (which is also partly why the blog was neglected; mea culpa and sorry!).  I had to rewrite a book (thoroughly, including many thousands of completely new words), edit the same book and I am currently running to try to finish another before I go to the RWA annual conference in… no, sorry, not calculating the number of days.  Too soon, put it that way!  A dread lurgy took two full weeks out of an already tight schedule, so I’m really under the lash now.

With the result that I’m also deep into anxiety dream territory.  Being a deadline-addict, a perfectionist and a closet worry-wort, I have built quite the repertoire of these, over the years and in the interests of sharing (and possibly making you feel less of an idiot, if you have them too), I thought I’d share some of my favourites.

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This little girl (who looks quite startingly similar to me at that age)
is a stock image from the wondrous resource that is FreeDigitalPhotos.net. Click on the pic for a link.

Let’s begin with an old faithful, the ‘I’ve missed my exam’ dream.  This stems from my years of study and is experienced as much in the waking as the sleeping.  This is the one you have when you have a plane to catch, or a call to make that must be done by a particular time.  It is characterised by sudden waking, drenched in sweat, with heart racing and utter, utter conviction that you have overslept, missed your morning exam and therefore failed some desperately important subject.  The horror of this is so deeply ingrained that I sometimes fall back on it, even now, and it has been many, many years since I was in any formal education.  I have, on occasion, been so horrified by this dream that I have needed to get up and go and check my calendar to remind myself that I am NOT ACTUALLY STUDYING ANYTHING to bring my heart rate back to normal.

Then there are the occasion-specific ones, like in the days leading up to my wedding, when I dreamed that I was in the back of the church, with the guests all seated and I was still in my dressing gown.  Or that I discovered, two days before the wedding, that my husband-to-be was married with four children.  This one is a particular nod to my perfectionism, as what worried me in this dream was not the existence of the wife and kids so much as that, because no-one had told me, I hadn’t been able to organise a way around it.  (Are we scenting some control-freak issues here?)

My most common one in recent years, though, has been the ‘caught naked’ dream.  I don’t think you need a PhD in psychology to work out what this is about.  It’s fear of both deadlines and the work not being good enough.  Both of those are big enough fears to feature in my conscious mind – it’s hardly any wonder that they crop up in my dreams.  But I am sometimes a little concerned by both the number of times and the variety of ways I manage to be naked in public, in my dreams.

Take last night’s: in the middle of an otherwise ordinary dream, I found myself walking down a dark street in a rough neighbourhood wearing nothing but a baby-doll nightie.  The last time I owned a baby-doll nightie I was approximately 8 years old and I’m pretty sure that I have never ventured onto the street at night without shoes, much less without knickers.  Yet there I was, prancing down the street in an outfit that barely covered my naked bottom.  I’m sure there’s something here about covering one’s arse, but I prefer not to think about it too hard.  It may lead to taking a good hard look at my work practices and I’m not sure I’m ready for that. 😉

So, what about you?  Do you go in for anxiety dreams?  What do YOU end up leaving the house without?  Do tell – I need some company out here in bare-arsed land!

More Unexpected Joys… (and the purple end of a rainbow snake)

It’s been a week of delightful surprises.  On Wednesday I introduced you to the charming, talented Lucy Spraggan.

She’s clever and funny and I couldn’t think of who to compare her to, until I thought of another of my all-time favourite singer/songwriters, Kristina Olsen.

This song, performed with her favourite performing buddy, Australian cellist Peter Grayling, should show you why she’s a favourite…

I hope Lucy goes on to create such a body of work and give as much joy as Kristina has!

Another unexpected joy was my lovely friend Resa’s latest creation.  She has been doing a series of ‘art gowns’ and her latest is almost too gorgeous to describe.  It’s old Hollywood in a new fabric and never has a dressmaker’s model looked so magnificent!

Then there was this: a love story with no words in a little over six minutes.  Black and white, charming, old-school animation that delighted my eyes and lifted my heart, from the very talented people at Disney.

Finally, I have actually followed through on my commitment of last week, which was to get out my knitting and have made some progress on the rainbow snake.  This is the violet and indigo end (obviously) and I’m sure you can see why I had to have the variegated yarn as well, even though it has doubled the knitting involved.  It’s not the best picture, (I’m never getting a job as a stylist) but I thought I should show you the beginnings, so I can do progress posts.

The unexpected part of this was how much I enjoyed doing it.  It’s calming and somehow rejuvenating to be achieving something while just sitting.  Much better than ‘just’ watching TV or, in the case of last night, my girl’s Karate class.

I hope you’ve had some unexpected joys this week too.  Here’s to celebrating them!

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Search Engine Funtimes

On this blog’s dashboard, there is a section that tells you what people typed into search engines that led them to this blog.  Often, mine are quite ordinary.  People have googled my name or something equally unsurprising.

But this week, I have had a bumper crop of search engine terms that made me wonder.

What, for example, were these people looking for, and did they find it?

How did juan antonio samaranch inspiration women

wordplay made from great gatsby

I can kind of understand how

x files coat

led them here, (I do love a good coat) and I know what post

Fairy tales of women salons

led to, but I’m a long way from knowing what they really meant by it.

I hope that

women who made their blogs well known

is prophetic and I was quite delighted to find

Girl with books in hand

led to me.

But I am at a loss to understand why Mr Google thought that the people who typed in:

smiles for email sexy

mansexy cop

would want to come here.

But none of these are a patch on my favourite (I swear I didn’t make this up):

Full fathom five+pollock

So, what weird search terms have you come across?  Or what weird results have you got while googling?  I’m sure this is just the tip of the iceberg…

And while you’re thinking, here’s a little Friday tune to bop you into the weekend…

Photo from http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/

A few of my favourite things…

Hello my lovelies!

I am sitting at the computer this morning drinking hot, hot tea and eating crunchy toast topped with very ripe camembert.  I don’t know about you, but for me, breakfast doesn’t get much better than this.

Camembert is definitely one of my favourite things.  The fact that my local supermarket discounts it when it gets near its use-by date is another.  I don’t know if you’ve ever noticed this, but camembert and brie ripen with time and in fact they are about perfect to eat just on their supermarket use-by date. Full of flavour, soft and creamy and… ahem.  moving on.  The point is that when the supermarket has a extra wedge and it goes in the deli discount basket, it’s a hot time for breakfast at my place.

I should point out that the picture above is of brie that is NOT ripe.  This is the firmness at which is it often sold and you can eat it this way (it’s much easier to cut, as demonstrated but the fact it is being cut with what looks like a pate knife) and it still tastes good.  (As is demonstrated by the fact that the photographer’s family clearly got to it before he got the tripod set up.) But it’s better when it is ripe.

But that’s actually not what I wanted to talk about today.  I really wanted to talk about the lovely Marian Keyes and her new novel, The Mystery of Mercy Close.

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Friday Favourites Goes Geeky

Geeky, and yet, apparently, technically challenged, which is why the Friday post is up on Saturday evening.  Ahem.

Anyway, I just wanted to share with you something which I think is cute, clever and interesting, from a story-telling and marketing point of view.  These will make more sense if you follow Doctor Who, but in case you don’t, here’s some background:

The Doctor is a time traveller.  Rory and Amy are a married couple who travel with him but are at home at the moment.  There is a new series of the show about to start shortly (see below for details) and the makers have created this little five-episode mini-series as a teaser.  They have released one a day for five days.

(I just realised that I should say, for the uninitiated, that Rory and Amy’s surname is Pond (kind of, long story not going into here!) hence the name of the series.)

There are many clever things about this, but chief among them is the several neat little twists that they managed to work in even in such a short format.  Well worth analysing for structure, if you are that way inclined.  But mostly, they’re fun and a great appetiser for all the rabid Whovians hanging out for the new series.

If you are in Australia, the first episode of the new series will be available on ABC’s iView on Sunday morning (2 Sept).  It will be shown on the tele on ABC 1 on the 8th of Sept (Saturday) and repeated on ABC 2 on Tuesday the 11th.  I believe it is screening on Saturday night in Britain and America.  Check your local guides or with the BBC.

Now, without further ado, here are the episodes.  Enjoy!

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The Greater Twittering Blog-Face

This gorgeous owl picture came from The Photography Blogger. Check it out!  The link text will take you to the blog.
For a link to the photographer’s Flickr, click on the photo.

Two months ago yesterday, I launched myself, feet first and limbs akimbo, into the world of blogging, twittering, facebooking and generally making a pest of myself on the interwebs.

I knew not what to expect.  Could I hold myself to 140 characters at a time?  Could I keep up a blog schedule and still feed the family?  Would anyone ‘like’ me on Facebook, or would I be a Nelly no-mates and have to retreat to somewhere with no internet access (the moon, perhaps) and drown my sorrows?

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Let’s Pretend This Never Happened

Imagine, if you will, a young girl, growing up poor.

Imagine that she has a chronic, undiagnosed anxiety disorder, a taxidermist father with a yen for roadkill and some very curious ideas about what makes a good puppet (and the time of night at which is appropriate to share said puppet).

Imagine she has a series of pets which… well, let’s just say that the pet experience is not entirely usual.

And all she wants is to fit in.

In the hands of Steven King, it would be a towering, terrifying horror story.  (At least, I imagine it would.  Growing up has not made me any more able to read Steven King’s novels than I was when I first encountered them as a squealy 11-year-old.  Loved ‘On Writing‘ though.)

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Today’s Musical Friday Favourite = OK Go

I love, love, love, OK Go.

What other modern band would illustrate their song with a multi-coloured tango?

Or work so well with the Muppets?

Or go to this much trouble for the sheer, gleeful, musical madness of it? (Listen to the end to get the ironic, [in view of the song subject] spoken last line of the video.)

A true Friday favourite!  Do you have any OK Go favourites?  Or Muppet favourites, for that matter?  Or any video silliness to share?

Hope your weekend is looking good…

Imelda

Sunday Salon = Sunday Surprise. Again

So, my much-anticipated (by me, anyway) Sunday Salon program has hit another snag.  My invitee this week was indisposed.  I’m thinking I might have to rename this segment as Sunday Surprise.

However, not to be downcast, and in honour of the date today, I have cast in her place the quite fascinating Tom Lehrer. A mathematician, academic and soldier, he was also, for a relatively brief period of his life, the writer and performer of some of the cheekiest, funniest, most irreverent satirical songs of the 20th Century.

Songs like this one,

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