katiefoolery: (Fear not the semi-colon)
I want to rant about this article. I want to rant about it so hard and I want to use bad grammar while I do so in the hopes that I'll make some sort of ironic point.

Because.

GAH.

So much wrong in so little time. So much that I was arguing with the screen as I read the article this morning. The author of the article states that she actually loves grammar; she's a fan of grammar; grammar makes her all kinds of happy. And yet, I'd happily stab her with an exclamation mark, should I ever happen across her in the street.

Let's start with this:
Most grammar rules don’t matter, though. That is, if you get them wrong, the reader still can find the meaning. For example, few people know when to use effect and when to use affect. But it doesn’t matter because the first is a noun and the second is a verb so the likelihood you'll mistake the meaning of a sentence because of a grammar error in this case is extremely low.

That's my bolding in there. Because I just love bold font. Or maybe to highlight a basic error before we go on to the substance of the paragraph. (Because you know you want to. You want to hear me ranting about grammar so damn bad, right? :P)

"...the first is a noun and the second is a verb" - actually, the first is a verb, too. Yes, most people confuse affect and effect. I used the wrong one by accident the other day. While messaging. And corrected myself a few lines down. But seriously, I was talking to my writer at the time and I didn't want to give the impression that their beta couldn't tell the different between effect and affect.

Let's see them in use:
He effected an air of jollity, although she wasn't deceived for a second. The effect reminded her somewhat of a puppy that was bravely attempting to pretend its favourite ball hadn't been stolen; it was impossible not to be affected by that.


Three different effect/affects, all used in different senses. Very easy to confuse. (So easy to confuse that I actually wrote "affect" instead of "effect" the first time around...) You could argue that it would still make sense if I'd used "affect" the whole way through. Then again, you could also argue that "ur" is a valid spelling of "your".

I WOULD NOT AGREE WITH YOU, should you try. Fair warning. We could still be friends, but your texts would probably make me wince whenever I read them.

If there's one thing I've learnt about bad grammar, it's this: You can read your own bad grammar, but you cannot read that of another. We're several centuries too young to remember when spelling and sentence structure was an optional, person-by-person concept... but it can't have been any fun at all. And it raises a question: why is it we're allowed to advance in technology, yet we're encouraged by some people to go backwards when it comes to communication?

Around half-way through, I experienced a small paroxysm as a result of the following statement:
We should judge people by their ideas, their creativity, their enthusiasm. None of this naturally comes at the heels of good grammar.

Oh. Oh. Oh.

This, my friends, is the one statement GUARANTEED TO DRIVE ME CRAZY. How, for the love of lamingtons, are people to express said ideas, creativity and enthusiasm if they don't have the tools that will allow them to do so? So you have ideas and creativity to hand... fantastic. What a shame you can't express them, due to your inability to spell or use words in a coherent, easily-understandable sense. Why are we constantly being told we don't have to use our brains? That we don't have to spell properly or understand how our own language works? I can only see one advantage to keeping the general populace in a state of ignorance, so let's just prepare ourselves for our new overlords right now, shall we?

And apparently, those overlords are going to be Google. Please see the following quote:
Anyway, if Google is deciding that these rules are no longer useful guidelines, then we can all follow suit.

Admittedly, at this point, I started wondering if the whole article had been an experiment in irony that had gone horribly wrong. Seriously. Who on earth is going to use Google as the standard by which all things are judged? Google.

I ask you.

We use this langauge of ours every day. Surely it's not asking too much to have a little care and love for it.
katiefoolery: (Failboat!)
So it turns out I'm an internet libertarian, engaging in dangerous "radical individualism", according to this blog.

This is news to me.

I thought I was actually someone to whom the idea of goverment censorship is distateful, appalling and actually just a little bit terrifying.

I thought I was someone who believed she lived in Australia, a reasonably open-minded, intelligent country, not behind the great firewall of China.

I thought I was someone who was allowed to make her own decisions about what she does with her life, rather than leaving that up to the government.

But no - I'm an internet libertarian. I'm expressing attitudes of radical individualism (gods damn me for wanting to be an individual! Why can't I just be a mindless clone instead?). I'm an awful, awful person who endorses child pornography and who knows what else. It's a wonder I can even live with myself. You must all be wondering how I can even sleep at night, considering how depraved and heartless I am.

And why? Because I don't want my government to apply a mandatory filter to my internet use. Hell, I wouldn't even want an optional one, but a mandatory one is just disgusting. It's like having your parents come and watch over your shoulder while you use your computer. It's like feeling guilty for doing something* completely innocent on the internet because, you know, you could be looking at porn. We've heard it's out there. It's CENSORSHIP under the guise of protecting children from the horrible things out there on the internet.

I have this crazy belief that most children actually don't need to be protected from the internet by the government because they live with people who are perfectly capable of doing that themselves. They live with people who can monitor their internet use. They live with people who can buy their own filters and install them on their own computers.

But no.

Instead, we have a government that's determined to do something; to pretend they're terribly net-savvy and aware and can have MySpace and Facebook pages and probably Twitter as well** and isn't that cool? Aren't we doing a fantastic job of keeping up with these young people and their high-tech ways? But wait... all these "working families" who voted for us in the election probaby have kids... and they need protecting from all this horrible porn... so maybe we should take all this new-found techy knowledge of ours and CENSOR THE SHIT OUT OF THE INTERNET create a protective net around undesirable content.

Because then we'll look like we're doing something. Being proactive. Protecting the children.

It won't become personal at all. Goodness, no. Look - other countries have the same optional compulsory filters on their internet, too! No, seriously. Completely compulsory.

Never mind that anyone can access a non-Australian proxy and bypass a filter.

Never mind that the filter has been proven to block innocent sites while letting wave after wave of porn and "undesirable" sites through.

Never mind that it can reduce the speed of your internet by up to 87%.

Ah, but I'm just being melodramatic and alarmist, according to this Clive Hamilton. This university Ethics professor - presumably a reasonably educated man - seems to think that a mandatory filter is the same as film censorship: "In the libertarian world where individual rights overrule social responsibilities we would have no film censor and kids could go to the cinema to watch whatever they liked". Apparently, rating films as acceptable for certain ages is the same as imposing a mandatory internet filter on everybody, regardless of age. It's not a case of saying, "Right - you're under eighteen, so you can't see this film and that, incidentally, is the worst fake ID I've ever seen in my entire life". No. It's a case of saying, "Well, we're the government and we don't think you should see this film at all. Or this one. Or... oh my god, no. Why? Well, sure, you might be over eighteen and quite capable of making your own decisions but we wouldn't let a ten year old see these films. So neither can you."

Remember a little while back, when NetAlert was introduced? A convenient, free filter that anyone could install to protect their children from things they shouldn't see? Or maybe you don't, because it was eventually discontinued. And why? According to Communications Minister Stephen Conroy it was because it represented an incredible policy failure and attracted "extraordinarily small usage".

A free filter attracted "extraordinarily small usage".

Suddenly, that explains why they're so keen on a mandatory one.

I believe that children should be protected when they're on the internet. I believe they shouldn't be exploited or abused. But I don't believe it's within my government's responsibility or godsdamned mandate to take control of that. Provide advice, yes. Provide optional filters, yes. Educate parents and carers, yes. Please, do all of that.

Just don't treat all of us like children.







* Only careful proof-reading allowed me to avoid leaving in the terribly Freudian "doing someone" I accidentally typed here...

** Turns out I was right about Twitter, too. Well, when it comes to the opposition, at least.
katiefoolery: (The power of the beta!)
I’m going to rant today.  Indeed I am.  This one’s been coming on for a week or so, ever since I read a quote from an author who I used to count among my favourites.  Note the “used to”.  She used to be the first name I mentioned whenever I was asked for a favourite author, or even just an author worth reading.  I loved her books and her style and sometimes found myself influenced by it myself.  That’s all in past tense now.
[ETA: Just to clarify, it’s been a looooong time since this author was my favourite; I wasn’t turned off them or their books by the quote below.  The main purpose of the above paragraph was merely to reveal one of the biases that might have affected my rant.]

So I have a bias, I suppose.  And since this rant is about editing, my icon will hint at my other bias.  I love editing.  I believe there’s not a single writer out there who can’t benefit from a good editor.  Not.  A.  Single.  One.  And I may be only a humble beta but I still feel a thrill of pride when I read over a revised draft from one of my writers (I’m very possessive of them) and think that I helped a tiny bit in bringing that to life.

It feels like magic sometimes.

But I’d like to get to my point eventually, so I shall stop rambling and instead include the quote that inspired this rant.  (I’m not going to name the author, as I believe their identity is irrelevant.  Several of you will most likely be able to identify the author, though.  n.b. Although I mention J. K. Rowling towards the end of this rant, she is not the one who wrote the original quote.)

The quote:
“In a way I love editing... editors always want to reduce words by cutting incidents in a book, but each step is a point of careful trajectory so to cut a step is to simplify, to de-complexify a journey and I much prefer the far more time-consuming business of cutting single words from sentences, or rearranging sentences to get rid of a couple of words.  That way you retain the complexity of a book - of a journey.”

Ah, where to start?  Firstly, may I object to that generalisation that editors like to remove incidents from stories without reference to those stories as a whole?  Because any editor who does that is most certainly not doing their job properly.

I doubt that’s the case, though.  If an editor suggests an incident should be cut, then it’s usually for a good reason.  Perhaps it’s just not necessary.  Perhaps it overwhelms a more important scene.  Perhaps it’s in the wrong spot.  Or maybe it’s self-contained enough to deserve a separate story or book of its own.  But here, the author is almost implying that editors just choose scenes at random and remove them; that the editor is the enemy of the story and has no respect for it.  Here’s where my bias kicks in, for I find this insulting.  An editor’s job is to take a story and to make sure it’s the best it can be.  To imply that they have no care for the story and are prepared to suggest things that would injure it is not only fallacious, it’s downright immature.

Let’s remember that any good edtior will allow you to argue your point.  If you can sit there and say “This must stay because [insert damn good, unassailable reason here]” then your editor will most likely be impressed and may even concede the point.  An incomparable editor will not only concede the point, they’ll also sit down and work with you to make sure your damn good, unassailable reason has even more impact than you could have hoped for.

I’m going to preface this next statement by re-asserting the fact that I’m a writer, too.  I even have a degree that proves it (for what it’s worth...), along with several achievements in writing competitions.  In short, I’ve been writing since I was roughly five years old.

That being said, I do not believe for one minute that you can seriously edit a story simply by cutting single words from sentences or re-arranging them.  It is not possible.  It’s certainly possible to refine your style that way.  And it’s certainly possible to round off the structure of a short story that way.  But it is no way to edit a book and it is no way to edit AT ALL.  It’s like painting a masterpiece two inches away from the canvas and never stepping back to look at the painting as a whole.  Sure, it sounds lovely and painstaking and terribly artistic to edit by removing single words but it ignores the fact that a book is more than just the way it’s told - it’s also the way it’s structured.  You can have the loveliest sentences in the world... and they’ll do you no good if you don’t have a plot.  Or if your plot, your “journey”, is flawed and badly-constructed.

Finally, let’s look at that last statement: “That way you retain the complexity of a book - of a journey”.  There’s complexity and there’s over-writing - it’s important not the confuse the two.  What looks like complexity to one person is another person’s pointless ramble and a reason to put the book down, unsatisfied and unfinished.  There’s also complexity and pointless side-plots: one’s good, the other can destroy what could be a great book.  In my opinion, a prime example of that is Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.  Were I J. K. Rowling, I don’t believe I could ever forgive my editor for letting that book be published in the state in which it was released to the world.  Half of the book was vital; the other half was an author having fun in the world she had created.  There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that - I wouldn’t want to take any of the small joys away from writing - but there’s no excuse for leaving it in the finished product.  Rowling was just lucky that her legions of readers were just as keen to revel in that world, too.  It could have been a great book; instead, it was just acceptable.  And all because verbiage was mistaken for the “complexity of a ... journey”.

I worry that young writers who still hold this author in awe will be swayed by these words; that they’ll believe editors are omgsoevil and are the enemy of every good story.  They’re not.   They’re the impartial voice.  They’re the eyes that can see the flaws we can never see as writers.  Even at our harshest, we writers are still too close to our stories to always know what’s good for them.  And if we know our story inside out, then it’s like a well-trodden path: no matter how wildly it diverges from our destination, no matter how many pointless detours it involves, it still feels like the right way to travel.  And to carry this metaphor a little further, an editor is the guide with the map who can point out the side-trips that add nothing and the trip around the base of the mountain that’s quite unnecessary because there’s a path that cuts right through here.  They’re on the same side as writers after all.

Here endeth my rant.  Please, argue or agree with me - I welcome all debate.  Do you also think you can edit one word at a time?  Or would you welcome an outside voice to point you in the right direction with your writing?  I want to know it all.
katiefoolery: (My beloved apostrophe)
I read an article over the weekend about the state of English education in this country and how we can hardly expect students to learn English and grammar if their own teachers have only the barest grip of it.  And wow ‑ did I just write a sentence that long without a single comma in it?  Why yes, it looks like I did.

But to return to my point: ’twas an interesting article ‑ one that made me nod in righteous affirmation and scowl and clench my fists in utter fury.  Let’s start with the title, shall we? “Can’t write can’t spell” ‑ where’s the comma?  I know I can hardly speak, given the comma‑less state of my opening sentence, but unless the title was intended as a piece of highly‑refined, ironic humour, there needs to be a comma in the middle.

*breaks out red pen and scribbles one in*

Once I got past the urge to beta the title, I moved on to the body of the article and read of universities and the difficulties they experience as they deal with students who haven’t been taught the basics of grammar and who can barely string a coherent sentence together.  And what would be the reason for that?  Could it be the amount of grammar that is taught to students at primary and secondary school?  Which would be “next to nothing”? You know, I think it might.  What did I know about grammar by the time I reached secondary school?  Let’s see... I knew the difference between a verb and a noun.

And that was it.

What a wonderful grounding I received in my own damn language.

Let’s look at the cause of that by taking a quote from the article:

And what happens to teachers struggling to come to terms with language structure, in particular those teachers who were school students during the “process writing period” of the ’70s and ’80s?
I’m not a teacher, but I was a product of that “process writing period” of the late eighties.

More quoteage:

We went through a period where we sometimes didn’t correct their (students’) written expression for fear of offending or demoralising them,” says Fred Ackerman, president of the Victorian Principals Association. “You could call it (the process writing approach) a bit of a fad . . . the general concept was, the more children wrote every day, the more creative it would be and self‑improvement would occur.
And this is why, exactly, I hate the education department so much.  It’s also where my ability to express my anger begins to slip away (but, hey, at least I know who to blame for that...).  I cannot adequately express how betrayed I feel.  The department responsible for educating me and ensuring I knew my own language decided it wasn’t worth the bother.  Oh no.  All of those pesky rules were only going to demoralise me!  Instead, let’s just throw me into the pool of whims and vagaries of one of the most illogical languages around and hope I can swim in it.

Instead, I learnt my grammar through reading.  Luckily, I seem to have a memory based on pattern‑recognition, so I was able to develop a feel of when a sentence was right or wrong.  I could fix sentences and feel relatively confident that they were grammatically accurate... but I had no idea what I was actually doing.

And here’s my favourite quote from the article, tacked on to the end as though it’s making a point:

In 2005, a study by Professor Richard Andrews from the University of York found no evidence to suggest that the teaching of traditional grammar, specifically word order or syntax, was effective in assisting writing quality or accuracy of five‑ to 16‑year‑olds.
Um, so?  Also, have they been into a school lately?  Have they seen how students write?  I’m sorry, but I don’t believe for one minute that this is at all true or even accurate.  It’s like suggesting that teaching students how to use tools won’t help them in woodwork, or that showing students how to use PhotoShop won’t help them learn how to create graphics.

Once again, I’m annoyed by the arrogance that assumes we implicitly know the rules of our own language, simply because we speak it from birth.  We don’t.  And I just wish the education department would start living in the real world and grant to students the ability to communicate their ideas.  We’re living in a world where the written word is possibly more important than ever: if we don’t know how to express ourselves and communicate with others, then we fail.

Just like the education department failed before us.
katiefoolery: (WTF is that?)
The way I see it, the online world of writing operates on a rather basic system of karma.  At its most simplistic level, it looks a little like this:

posting fanfic for others to read = exceptionally good karma
leaving a review = good karma
reading but not reviewing = bad karma

Like I said: simple but karmic.

Before I was sucked into the shiny, shiny world of LiveJournal, I spent a great deal of time at FictionPress.  It was at FP that I first met some amazing people and was also introduced to this most basic rule of online writing: if you want people to read your stories, then you must first read theirs.  And leave a review.  A meaningful review.  Too often, I (along with many others) was the recipient of a review somewhat along these lines:

Great story!  Plz R&R!

In FP.com-speak, this meant:

Hi!  I didn’t read your story but I’m just leaving a token review so that you’ll feel obliged to come and read one of my stories in return!

Suffice to say, I never left a review like that myself, mostly because I’ve always believed in that whole “doing unto others” concept.  Therefore, if I wanted to receive helpful and meaningful reviews, then I had to give some first.  It seemed quite logical and straightforward to me.

When I started reading fanfic, I applied a similar principle to the whole process.  Since any fanfic I’ve ever written is either a) now under a friends lock, b) hidden away on my computer, or, c) hidden away in my indecipherable hand-writing in my notebook, the only way I can acculumate positive karma is by leaving reviews for the fic I read.  I consider it payment, really.  Somebody has gone to all the effort of writing a story and posting it for me to read; how hard it is to thank them for doing so by leaving a reivew?

Answer: not hard at all.  Seriously.  Taking a couple of minutes out of your life to write down a simple review really isn’t that much of a trial.

I just so happened to be reading some fic today and was about to leave a comment when the following part of another person’s comment caught my eye:

its honestly very rare that i get the urge to comment on fanfics i read

And I just thought: how bloody rude.  How inconsiderate to receive enjoyment from reading fics people have worked hard on without even telling them so.  What makes this person so damn great that they can’t take two minutes out of their life to say something as simple as, “Great story - I enjoyed it”?

I have to get over extreme attacks of internet shyness to leave reviews sometimes.  Often, it takes me an age of dithering to write a review because I’m anguishing over my wording or desperately wanting not to come across as an idiot.  But I do it eventually.

But I’d be interested to know what you all think.  Do you review?  Or do you read and move on?  And what motivates you to do either?

Powerless

Aug. 25th, 2006 03:57 pm
katiefoolery: (Don't panic!)
I spent most of this morning without power.  Gosh it was great.  One minute, I was eagerly popping my fruit muffins in the toaster, the next I was powerless.

Well, apart from the lights.  The lights were working fine.

Not so the toaster, the central heating (waaah!), Bindi’s hairdryer, the fridge and anything else you care to mention that involves a power-point in any way.

Thank goodness I’d just made a cup of tea or I would have gone insane.

I’d relate the following couple of hours of pointless phone calls and frustrated waiting but a) it’s really boring, and, b) would involve far too many mentions of how damned cold I was.  I was freezing!  The weather had been looking up at the start of week, but it had taken a turn for the worse and seemed to be mocking the whole situation.

So... cold...

Oh, did I mention that I couldn’t even turn on a computer?  No warming glow of the monitor, no internet.

So... very... cold...  I think some of the shivers might have been withdrawal symptoms from my beloved internet, too.

So, there I was, wrapped in too many clothes for comfort (including a scarf wound about six times around my neck), reading my new manga until my fingers were too cold to hold things up any more.

When the electrician finally arrived, he said such inspiring things as:

“Oh, I really hoped it wouldn’t be one of these types of fuse-boxes.”

And:

“Damn, I don’t have any of these fuses.”

And then we worked out that the toaster had caused all this trouble.  The toaster.  The stupid, piece-of-rubbish four-slice toaster that's too narrow to fit anything but the slimmest bread slices and that toasts things unevenly anyway.  That pointless, frustrating, AGGRAVATING toaster caused all of this trouble.  So now we have to dispose of it.  At this point in time, I can’t decide if I’d rather burn it or smash it with something heavy.  Both options are incredibly attractive.



In non-toaster related news, I’m enjoying the new range of styles that LJ has given us, courtesy of VOX.  It turns out they’re going to start leaning towards CSS customisation now, so I might actually have a chance of customising it to suit my purposes!

*stabs S2*
katiefoolery: (Girl writing in cap)
If you're a writer, then you love words.  You love putting them together correctly.  You love spelling.  You love grammar.

You couldn't imagine writing anything anywhere that wasn't correctly-phrased, well-spelt and grammatically accurate.

In my, possibly rather harsh, opinion: if you don't care enough about words to use them properly in every situation, then you're not a writer.

Yesterday, I was browsing through the wonderful collection of blogs at Authors' Blogs, when I came across the blog of an aspiring writer.  I read the most recent post on her journal and all was going reasonably well, until I reached the last paragraph.  In this paragraph, she claimed that, as a result of the event described in the post, she wasn't going to start using correct "grammer" and spelling.  No way.  That's for losers.  Apparently.

I then went and read the blurb of her blog, wherein she claimed to be a writer... but I wasn't to expect proper spelling and grammar (at least she spelt it correctly this time) on her blog.  No, this blog is a place where the pressure's off, where she can relax and forget about treating words with respect.

I was incredulous.  How can you claim to be a writer in one breath and in the next, claim to find it "relaxing" not to have to bother with spelling?  No real writer would ever feel like that.

As I was sitting there with my lower jaw somewhere in the region of the floor, I began thinking about the realities of the situation.  Every day, we learn that it's harder and harder to be published.  The vast majority of publishing houses no longer read unsolicited manuscripts.  They've fired their readers and the onus on reading these manuscripts has fallen to agents.  Unsurprisingly, many agents are now refusing to read unsolicited manuscripts, claiming that this job should be undertaken by publishers, as it was in the past.

With all of these obstacles in your way, why would you jeopardise your chances of publication by espousing such an attitude of indifference to the tools of your trade?  The reality is that you can write an amazing, breath-taking book but it's no damn good if it's rife with errors of grammar and spelling.  No publishing house is going to take the time to fix that, not when they have another story on hand that's well-written and simply in need of a little editorial direction.

Further to this, how would your potential publisher feel if they visited your blog in order to investigate you, only to find that you disdain to use correct spelling and "grammer" there?  What sort of attitude does that reveal to your visitors?  How much respect would that really generate for you and your dream to be published?

Words are a writer's tools and they should be treated with respect.  Tradesmen look after their tools and make sure they're in working condition.  They know that if the tools aren't clean and the wires aren't intact, then they won't work properly and they won't be able to do a decent job.  Just because you can't polish words with an oily cloth is no reason not to make sure they're in proper working order.

If you truly are a writer, then you'll love words and the idea of not using them correctly will fill you with revulsion.
katiefoolery: (Swimming hole)
So, I was sitting in my reading chair by the bedroom window just before, you'll be fascinated to know.  It was rather pleasant: just lolling about in my chair, reading my book while the sun warmed my back.  And as I read, the sound of water trickling pleasantly by could be heard outside the window.

This would be fine if we happened to live by a stream or a river.  It would make sense if there was an aqueduct nearby or even if it had been raining heavily.

However, none of these instances happen to apply here.  The reason for the sound of water tinkling by outside is a burst mains somewhere under our footpath that still isn't fixed, despite copious men digging about our yard and rather attractive plumbers turning the water off on me without warning.

Water is a precious commodity.  Here in Melbourne, we have permanent water restrictions in order to conserve as much of the precious substance as possible.  It's a dry country after all and water is rather handy for keeping people alive.  The basic rules of water conservation (according to Yarra Valley Water) involve not watering gardens during the day and not filling spas or pools without a permit.  Another of the rules also mentions paved areas as follows:

  • Paved areas must not be cleaned with water except in exceptional circumstances.
I guess Yarra Valley Water believes that a broken mains constitues an exceptional circumstance, because it's the only way I can explain why the following image has greeted us every day for the last two weeks.*

Click for a larger image

It's not that shallow, either.  In some parts, it's up to an inch deep.  When going to the supermarket or getting into the car, we have to hold up our pants so the cuffs don't get soaked and muddy.  Oh yes, I didn't mention the mud, did I?  That's a legacy of the attractive plumbers.  They had an absolute ball, digging up their holes and shovelling mud onto the driveway with wild abandon.  The motion of the water has ensured that the mud has now spread as far as it possibly can.

The following image is the cause of the lovely trickling sound outside the bedroom window.

Click for a larger image

The picture is a little deceptive - there's more water than you'd imagine there.  Luckily, the next photo gives you an idea of the way the water is simply flowing down our driveway...

Click for a larger image

You only need to glance at the ripples in the water to see how quickly things are moving.  This is the gutter in front of our garage at the end of the driveway... and it's almost full up.  I just can't wait to find out what will happen when the water has nowhere else to go.  It's already seeping into the garage where all our excess boxes of stuff are stored and where my Timothy escapes to practise his darts.  I can tell you from recent experience that rotting carpet does not produce a lovely smell.

Click for a larger image

This is our front yard, with a bonus shadow of my elbow.  Ironically, the real estate agent sent us a letter the other day, asking us to tidy up the front yard a bit.  Maybe I should ask them for a boat in which to do it.

It's all very frustrating and I just can't believe that a company that's supposed to be conserving water is letting so much of it flow down our driveway (not to mention next door's as well).  I'm thinking of sending these images to the council and the local newspaper, to see if we can't speed things up a little bit.

Luckily, Pickle still looks incredibly cute, so that makes things a little better.

Click for a larger image



* Obviously, it doesn't greet us from this angle (unless I'm trying to imply our bedroom is on the footpath) but you get the idea...

Alas!

Jan. 23rd, 2006 07:30 pm
katiefoolery: (Back to work)
I've just had an email back from Cat Sparks about my beloved story, Postcards.  Alas, it wasn't chosen for the anthology, although she encouraged me to submit other stories, if I thought they'd be suitable.  All in all, I think it was a good rejection, especially since she didn't actually mention the word 'rejection' once.  It was simply "not selected for publication", which is a bit more pleasant than just being rejected outright.  Moreover, she also encouraged me to submit it to ASIM and to have a look at a website listing Australian spec fic markets (which I already know about, but the thought is there).

So, Postcards isn't going to published immediately, but I still hold out hope for the dear thing.

In other news, some rather nicely-put-together plumbers spent most of the day digging up our front yard and footpath, in an apparently futile attempt to hunt down our water leak.

"Let me know if you're going to turn the water off," I asked politely, seeing as I'd only just got up when they arrived and had yet to shower and brush my teeth.

Assured that this would happen, I then went into the house... to find out the water had been turned off.  Ten minutes later, one of the plumbers rocked up at the door and informed me that the water would be off for a while.  I was too bewildered to ask him what he thought it had been doing for the previous ten minutes - playing hide and seek with me in the pipes?

Nevertheless, our driveway is presently coated in a nice sludge of water and mud, which shows no sign of abating.  The plumbing duo have shifted operations across the street, where they further indulged in their passion for digging up footpaths, with little success.  That is to say, they were incredibly successful in digging up the footpath, but less so in putting a stop to the leak.

Ah well - time to pay attention to my icon.  Back to work it is.

April 2011

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