Carnage

For the last three days I have been rather pissed off.

My current host for www.projectultraviolet.com had a monumental server crash and managed to take down not only my site but my email as well.

During most of this outage I was pretty much high and dry – the systems support that they run is also located on the same server that crashed.

Long story short: I’ve lost a lot of emails. Two to three days worth in fact. This is annoying as I was in mid-conversation with several people – some of whom I haven’t talked to in a long time.

Arsebiscuits.

In lighter news, last night I attended a flower arranging (Ikebana) class in town, and had great fun. Providing my host doesn’t pull a fast one on me I might throw a few pics of the finished result online…

Slippery Flotsam

For the few that know, I’ve been doing some rejigging of the internals of my site, with the hope that by the time you read this I would have brought a few more bits and pieces online.

Unfortunately this is not the case. The site looks the same, and the extra bits of nonse have failed to appear. Long story short: the applications I’m using kept freezing up on my laptop whenever I tried to deploy the new info to the site.

In other news, earthquakes and typhoons abound.

Normal Service To Be Resumed

This is just a quick post to say that I am in the middle of reactivating the site. As you can see, the frontend of it looks rather ugly just now. This is because I am in the middle of trying out new software, and have yet to finalise the eventual look and feel.

In other news, expect there to be several posts made over the next wee while, including several backdated posts circa mid-June onwards.

For those that are curious to know why I chose not to update the site much in the last year – it wasn’t because there wasn’t anything to post about (Finty, I am sorry I didn’t write about the various things that we drunk, nor the time you manhandled me in front of your wife in a way that probably meant that you and I should trade telephone numbers). In fact, I had a lot I could’ve written about.

I just chose not to.

Anyhoo, expect this site to get more ugly as I fiddle around with it, and watch in horror as I try to add new fangled functionality, as well as attempt to bring back stuff that was working but is now horribly broken (can anyone say photogallery?).

And now, on with the show.

A Little Night Music

It’s been an unusual couple of days.

On Friday night, around 8pm, I had a chance to experience today’s youth up close. Well – not really up close if truth be told – just at throwing distance.

I wasn’t angry with them, nor was I scared by their antics, even though some of the items that they threw were about the size of my fist. It only took a couple of sidesteps and the odd torso-twist to ensure that I wasn’t hurt by their missiles. In addition, there was little point in retaliation. That would only have served (in the world of twisted grunt logic) to justify their actions, and perhaps to provoke it to a more serious level. I just stopped walking, stood where I was, and stared at them, my eyes holding sorrow at their acts.

There wasn’t anything directly spiteful or malicious in it – it was just a bunch of ignorant kids with no other way to express themselves other than to throw stones at a stranger who hasn’t done them any harm.

They ran off after a few taunts, whilst I continued my walk home.

I forgot all of the above until Tori and Marty came over on the Saturday, and I recounted the experience to them. After that, I spent the afternoon with them running around shops, and then popping round to their house for an altogether unhealthy meal involving chicken, chips and a rather obscene amount of gravy.

On Sunday I rang home, only to find out that mum wasn’t in the best of shape. A few hours after my call, a doctor was called out.

#

Shifting gears deliberately faster than normal, today was a rather lazy day, full of self-indulgence and hot tea. The only high points were a couple of nice emails from various people (you know who you are).

*sips tea*

Back to work.

The Memory Of What Once Was

It’s been a while since I last did a proper post.

My only defense is that life in Belfast is rather sedate, and a lot of what I could write about would prove to be either boring, or confidential (for now).

Here are a couple of random bits and pieces, in an attempt to make it look as if the last few weeks have been interesting:

Here goes…

What have I been doing?

Bugger all.

Dining: – I finally ate at Zen, a rather upmarket Japanese Restaurant in the heart of Belfast. The sushi was really tasty and it was the closest I’ve come to the Japanese restaurants I frequented in New York and Los Angeles. I plan to go back in the next couple of weeks, providing my wheels within wheels activities warrant it.

Drinking: – Yes, why do you ask?

Writing: – I’ve been doing some writing, but I’ve found that my mind is clouded regarding certain aspects of the current story. I’m sure this will sort itself out, but I must guiltily confess that I’m rather enjoying the break from writing this has given me.

Taking a Bullet: – I attended a Science Fiction convention, with the specific aim of watching a friend of mine, Eugene, present a rather nifty lecture on quack medicine, which also incorporated demonstrations of various archaic paraphernalia. Eugene clearly loves this subject, and so did the audience, but despite the success of the lecture I cannot help but make a general criticism of the convention itself. I know that this is rich coming from a man who only turned up for an hour and a half on the last day, but the general aura of the convention, including the numbers attending would make my use of the word ‘pisspoor’ an understatement of polite proportions. Given that the GoH list held such people as Robert Rankin, Ian McDonald, Paul Holden, and Glenn Fabry, I would find the lack of actual people (total weekend membership: fifty, and almost all of them either directly connected to the GoHs or to the committee/club itself) at the convention to be insulting to both the guests and to the supposed organizers of the weekend.

Near Death: – A joyrider in a car (much more dangerous than a joyrider on foot) almost had a head-on collision with the taxi I was in late one Sunday night. The upshot of it was that there was a swerve at high speed and said vehicle only just missed us. If that wasn’t enough, it was followed by a police land rover in hot pursuit, who had to make the same kind of emergency dodge in order to avoid us.

The taxi driver nearly had a heart attack, while I remained somewhat ambivalent to it all.

Familial Matters: – I popped over to Dungannon, to see the folks, and so much fun, I found it rather hard to leave.

Reading: – It’s mostly been revisiting ‘Astro City’, as well as ‘The Invisibles’, but I’ve also read my fair share of manga, including more of ‘Iron Wok Jan’ and the third and fourth volume ‘Excel Saga’ (thanks to Carl for pointing me towards this one). I’ve also read the first two volumes of ‘Tuxedo Gin’, and the first volume of Fruits Basket (which is snuggled up to the original Japanese version that I own). Alien Nine: Emulators is next up. I also have several novels that I’m intending to read, but time and will are not in sync just yet.

Music: – I’ve been ripping lots of my anime soundtracks and whatnot and storing them in a great big folder on my laptop. As a result of this, I’ve got almost 1,500 songs on shuffle, with still more to add. To offset this, I’ve also been going through a bit of an 80’s revolution, and right now have reacquired an aural fondness for Depeche Mode.

Well, that’s the past. What about the now of now and the future of later on?

Nihongo: – This coming week marks the end of a Japanese language class that I joined last year. I’ve been doing some self-study for the last couple of years, and found that while I enjoyed it, I wanted a teacher to help me. The final two classes are this Thursday and Friday, and I must confess that I will miss my sensei as she has helped me realize that while my Japanese may be somewhat shaky (I’m by no means proficient), it’s good enough to be understood.

That said, this week also marks the start of a potential Japanese conversation group. It’s just going to be four or five of us in a coffee shop trying out our spoken Japanese, which should be fun if nothing else.

Writers I Want to Pimp: – I was surprised and happy to see Glenn Patterson, my old creative writing tutor, on the BBC News website. He has a new book coming out, which, like a good little bunny, I’ll be purchasing. (And so should you).

One of Those Things: – I’ve made another one of my famous decisions. I’ll talk more about it when the time is right.

Weddings: – A friend of mine is getting married this month – in India no less. This left me rather happy and smiley inside, as last year, when he and she began to date, it was yours truly who wrote the letters of woo.

Right, that should me be up to speed. I’ve mentioned all the more interesting happenings in my life. Now all I need to do is –

(an unsuspecting nudge)

- ow! My ankle! Oh, yes. I forgot one thing.

(picks up a red box)

I am now the proud owner of the Renewal of Evangelion. I had meant to buy it when I was in America, but my financial planning made it clear that I shouldn’t be going off and buying toys willy-nilly. Now that several months have gone by and that prudent voice of mine has been sated by my actual fiscal survival, I was able to purchase said box-set.

Everything that people have said about the remastered version is correct – the visuals, the audio – it’s like a completely different show (bar the fact that it’s exactly the same, but – aww, you know what I mean).

As a taste test, I did a comparison between the first seven minutes of the first episode, Region 1 against the Region 2 Renewal, and I was left speechless. The End of Evangelion, it should go without saying, is spectacular to the point of distressing.

Thanks to this, and the other nuggets above, I’m a really happy guy right now.

Math Tells Me I Shouldn’t Be Here

I’ve been very busy this last while. Normally this would be something I relish, but…

…it’s been so piecemeal that I’ve taken very little joy in it.

I really want to spend this evening working on the next novel, but I can’t. If I did, then all the other non-writing stuff I want to have done by next Wednesday/Thursday will fall by the wayside.

I don’t think I’ll be writing anything until next Friday.

Life and other things have officially caught up with me.

Falling Into Shadow

Today is the 25th of January. As all semi-good people know, tonight is Burn’s Night.

I had thought about getting a haggis, and doing some of that fine home cooking, but I relented.

Instead I have a small selection of cheeses and some Irish whiskey.

I shall not recite any poetry over such a feast, lest my ancestors come to kill me – a just act, given my sacrelidge.