Family, General

Floods and Frogs

Last night we had rain in biblical quantities. Hard, heavy rain that made a noise like hailstones. I didn’t really give it a thought. Unusual for the time of year – even in Britain – but not unheard of.

So when Rachel woke me up at 2.30am to investigate the sound of running water I was not best pleased. I had not heard her fully describe the issue though – probably due to my general sleepiness and string of bad language at being woken up for what seemed a trivial thing.

I put on the first pair of boots came across, normal ankle high work type boots, and stepped out the back door to have a quick look and placate Rachel.

Not a good idea. The water flowed over the top of my boots up my leg.

We had a major flood. It was lapping at the step of the back door. Wheelie bins were floating around as were half their contents and the kids tent was completely washed out.

Our garden has two level, it is lower near the back door then steps up halfway towards the back. The entire lower level was no basically a pond.

There was not much I could do at 2.30 in the morning beyond checking that it our hose pipe was off and we had no leaks anywhere – i.e. the flood was the result of the downpour and nothing else.

Next morning it turned out we had a blocked drain. Between the upper and lower level of the garden there is a drainage channel. This had over the years become totally blocked. So I had to left the grills and dig out the gunk, then grab an old tent pole to ram down the actual outlet until I finally freed the blockage and all the water rushed away.

Not the Sunday morning I had in mind.

Anyway – the reason for relaying all this was more interesting. The drainage channel outlet is under a very vibrant bush we have – so I had to crawl under this to get to it and start the business of unblocking it. While is was busy ramming it in I looked up and found myself face to face with this little fella!

20140629_115928 20140629_115918

It seems nature was quick to capitalise on the situation and this frog decided he was going to move in to this ready made pond before anyone else.

Not sure what he is going to do now his pond has disappeared as quickly as it came.

Alexander was very excited and had named him Mexico, as this is the team he is in for the school sports day tomorrow. Something we only found out a few days ago which is why the rest of Sunday was spent trying to find a Mexico football team green t-shirt for him. Thanks for that school.

General, Science Fiction

The Return of the Doctor…

We have had the day of the Doctor, the Name of the Doctor and the Time of the Doctor. Soon we will have the return of the Doctor. Yes I for one am eagerly anticipating Peter Capaldi’s take on the role.

And there have been some interesting rumours about what is to come. More on this in a bit. While thinking about all this though I came to a sudden realisation.  There has been a subtle decline in the series lately. Or maybe it was not so subtle and I was just blind to it. Who knows?

The decline I mean is that some of the gravitas of the Doctor has been replaced by humour. There is an excellent example of this with the Daleks. In the last episode we see the Doctor accidentally dropped into a Dalek ship whilst carrying a part of one he has obviously previously defeated.  He makes a quip and a quick getaway. Returns to chide his cyber man pet and then appears to disregard the fact their is a Dalek ship there!

Think way back to Dalek – when Christopher Ecclestone’s Doctor encounters a lone Dalek. A captive and helpless Dalek. His reaction is not humour or running away. It is fear. Utter fear and dread, And by this time we had to realise that despite appearances the Doctor was a formidable opponent to cross. Therefore anything that scares him must he worth fearing.

More than anything else it was that reaction and the superb way it was acted that made the Daleks scary again.

Now, by the Moffat/Smith era they are nothing more than the foil of some throwaway jokes. They are not scary anymore, making the whole concept of the time war etc. a lot less horrific in the process.

So where does that leave us?

One of the rumours I have heard is that the next series will have less humour and be darker. But how  many times have we heard that? Still I remain optimistic that Peter Capaldi can bring the right gravitas to actually achieve this.

Which brings me to the other rumour doing the rounds.  The Master will be making a return this season. And it won’t be John Sim playing him. In fact they want a heavyweight Hollywood actor.

This is more promising.

It gets better! Top of the wanted list (and in rumoured to have already been cast) is Charles Dance!

Now that is a prospect to salivate over. Dance’s Master up against Capaldi’s Doctor.

And to top it all it would tie in beautifully with my own personal master plan i. e. to get Peter Dinklage as the 13th Doctor!

General, Poetry, Writing

The Ripple Effect

The Ripple Effect

By Scott Bailey © 2006

Six flashes of gold beneath the mirrored air.
Ripples reach out to my feet.
Blurred images pass here and there.
Their intrusion indiscreet.

The casters of these images,
against their prison rail.
Disgust contorts their visages.
Behind a lacy veil.

What is true they scorn and spurn.
Blurred figures in a shaky land.
To look up! They will never learn.
And see the clear truth at hand.

General, Poetry, Writing

The Piranha

The Piranha

By Scott Bailey © 2002

 

The flesh eating Piranha fish
Is not as rare as you think
Much more common than one would wish
The flesh eating piranha fish
Beware, you may be their next dish
If into the water you sink
The flesh eating piranha fish
Is not as rare as you think

Family, General

Batman and Sun

What a wonderful afternoon we had yesterday.

Went to too a mini school play. Alexander was Batman! The coolest superhero of all! Watching him come on and dance around to the Batman theme tune (60’s TV show – has to be doesn’t it!) is a memory I will cherish forever. L was squealing with delight when he saw his brother come on stage.

The afternoon was topped off by a lovely picnic and playtime at the seaside with good behaviour from the kids!

But getting back to Batman – it got me thinking. Every one of those kids knew that theme tune – it has remained in our cultural conscience. Probably because of the many repeats and references to it in other programs. I was wondering why some things stay with us and other fade away. For example. How many people of my generation remember this little ditty?

Jingle bells
Batman smells
Robin flew away
Kojak lost his lollipop
And didn’t know what to say

Now doubtless there are other versions still in circulation but I doubt that one is. The youngsters of today wouldn’t get the Kojak reference?  I wonder what it is that has made Kojak fade from the forefront of most people’s minds. I mean he is not forgotten. In this day and age of electronic records nothing will ever be forgotten. He is just not a part of the cultural conversation any more.

I suppose if I could answer the question I would be rich.  Also I realise it means that I am getting old enough now that things that once seemed permanent and solid are fading into history.

General, Poetry, Writing

Only Us

Only Us

By Scott Bailey © 2014

 

We don’t understand
The fight between them and us
There is only us

 

(Inspired by the Peter Gabriel song of the same name.)

General, Poetry, Writing

Purple Eye

Purple Eye

By Scott Bailey © 2014

 

From the purple eye of death
The last exhaled breath
Comes an aweful doom
And darkness starts to loom

It dims the roads once bright
Quenches golden light
Sends tremors through the land
Like my trembling hand

Trembling on the key
That sets the danger free
Releasing purging fire
Born from grief and ire

Fear will bring the dark
And there is no lighted ark
So hide your fears away
Until the final day

General

Peter Dinklage – an Idea….

Oops – now edited properly

Scott Andrew Bailey - Author

I have just finished season two of Game and Thrones and I want to talk about one actor in particular – don’t worry no spoilers!

In a series packed with good writing, good directing, and good performances his is, for me, the stand-out performance of the show.

One of his early roles was in “Living in Oblivion” where he played a dwarf actor frustrated with the limited and two-dimensional roles he kept being offered. A feeling he must have been all too familiar with.

So the role of Tyrion Lannister must have been a godsend. A role to get your teeth into.

Even so  – it still could easily have come off like a pantomime role. Another, lesser actor, could have said all the same lines in the same situations and it would have been a comedy part with no depth.

Not so with Peter Dinklage. He has given the…

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Fantasy Fiction, General, Science Fiction

Peter Dinklage – an Idea….

I have just finished season two of Game and Thrones and I want to talk about one actor in particular – don’t worry no spoilers!

In a series packed with good writing, good directing, and good performances his is, for me, the stand-out performance of the show.

One of his early roles was in “Living in Oblivion” where he played a dwarf actor frustrated with the limited and two-dimensional roles he kept being offered. A feeling he must have been all too familiar with.

So the role of Tyrion Lannister must have been a godsend. A role to get your teeth into.

Even so  – it still could easily have come off like a pantomime role. Another, lesser actor, could have said all the same lines in the same situations and it would have been a comedy part with no depth.

Not so with Peter Dinklage. He has given the character real depth and humanity. You can see the fierce intelligence battling with his humour and situation. His basically good morals fighting with his lusts and passions. His expressions and eyes do most of the work.

There is a scene where he is trying to win an important argument. His opponent says –

“Oh you think you are so clever with your scheme and plots!”

In a look that lasts only a millisecond or two you see him fighting with his urge to correct her. Don’t get distracted – you can almost hear his mind screaming, stick to the point. He fails.

“Schemes and plots are the same thing.

He quickly moves on to his point.

Brilliant!

Anyway – while I was contemplating all this a sudden thought struck me.  Maybe it is  almost sacrilegious to think about this seeing as the current incumbent has not even started yet (and I am excited about that too) but when he inevitably hangs up his coat how about this?

Peter Dinklage – as Doctor Who!

General, Poetry, Writing

This Isle

This Isle

By Scott Bailey © 2014

 

Red the blood
That flooded the plains
Of the green valleys and hills
Where children still lay

White the bleached bones
Of warriors old
Who died for their lords
Defending high homes

Blue is the blood
Of those who command
With wires of constraint
And tradition’s grey chains

General

The Jellyfish That Froze

Scott Andrew Bailey - Author

The Jellyfish That Froze

By Scott Bailey © 2014

The jellyfish sighed, in a jellyfish way. It wobbled awake.

Another day after another rough night.

The little jellies were disturbed, heavy currents last night. They had needed lots of comfort. He had wrapped himself around them and rocked them to sleep against the waves. Mrs Jellyfish had bumped up against him, squishing his comfort and rumbled fitfully. Bad dreams, turbulent waters.

He stretched out, taking in as much of the early morning sunbeams as he could, building up energy for the coming onslaught…

The jellyfish swore. Riding the busy jet stream he had just missed crashing into a hard-shell and getting himself shredded.  He had survived the morning scramble, the sleepy then crazed, energised little ones. The rush, the noise.  Now he was squeezing and twisting himself in and out of the flow. Avoiding the less considerate travellers. Collapsing himself…

View original post 428 more words

General

RIP – Rik Mayall

Rik-Mayall

 

A sad loss from our comedy landscape. Meanwhile – anarchists everywhere are failing to organise memorials.

General

This Is What Happens When Geeks Get Married

Brilliant. Almost worth having a blessing for our marriage just to do something like this :-).

Linkkz

first_kiss

Yes, nerds do get married.

And when they’re nerds with a skill for arts and crafts, pop culture references and a slightly over-the-top attitude to wedding pictures, things get out of hand, fast.

These pictures were posted to Reddit Saturday by the groom with the caption, “We wanted our wedding to reflect things we love.”

The invitations were inspired by Nintendo:

wedding_invitation

wedding_invitation_nintendo

The bride’s shoes were all about “Mass Effect” (it’s a video game):

Mass_Effect

While the groom’s kicks were all about “Doctor Who”:

Doctor_Who

The couple’s tribute to “Spider Man”:

Spider_Man

“Star Wars” guest book:

Star_Wars_guest_book

A ninja, because why not?

wedding_ninja

First kiss:

first_kiss

Custom cake topper:

cake_topper

Pictures from inside the groom’s room:

grooms_room

The Lego-inspired groom’s cake:

Lego_cake

“Dr. Who” card box:

Dr_Who_card_box

Dobby manned the bar and, yes, the signature drink was butterbeer:

Dobby_manned_the_bar

Yoda guarded the goodie bags table:

Yoda

More “Dr. Who”:

Dr_Who

Wedding gifts were jars filled with local honey and contained a shout-out…

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Family, General

What The Hell Are Straws For

I was watching our youngest (22 months old now) expertly drinking with a straw – wondering how the hell we taught him that or Alexander. They just seemed to pick it up. Which is lucky because when you think about it how do you explain how to use one when they are too young to understand language properly. By demonstration I suppose.

Anyway the point is my mind started wandering and I began to think about straws. For a young child they are pretty much perfect. You can give them a carton of drink that they can drink from when they haven’t yet mastered the art of tipping up an open top cup – and especially handy when you haven’t got a proper beaker to hand.

However – beyond that – what the hell is the point of straws. I mean – when you think about it they actually make the act of drinking a little bit harder.You have to suck! Now I am not complaining here – I don’t really care – but it does seem illogical to use a straw when you could just sip the liquid.

It’s not even like it improves the taste or anything. Why would we add inefficiency to something as vital as drinking.

OK – so maybe it was invented exactly for the situation described above – for young children. But now they are every where – we all use them at some point. In fact I bet there are multi million pound companies – providing jobs and financial throughput somewhere out there.

All based on making our lives just that tiny little bit harder – with our complicit approval.

As I said my mind wandered. It was brought back to reality when our son – having demonstrated his mastery then took out the straw and decided to tip the rest all over himself.

Perhaps he had been thinking along similar lines.

General, Short Stories, Writing

The Jellyfish That Froze

The Jellyfish That Froze

By Scott Bailey © 2014

 

The jellyfish sighed, in a jellyfish way. It wobbled awake.

Another day after another rough night.

The little jellies were disturbed, heavy currents last night. They had needed lots of comfort. He had wrapped himself around them and rocked them to sleep against the waves. Mrs Jellyfish had bumped up against him, squishing his comfort and rumbled fitfully. Bad dreams, turbulent waters.

He stretched out, taking in as much of the early morning sunbeams as he could, building up energy for the coming onslaught…

The jellyfish swore. Riding the busy jet stream he had just missed crashing into a hard-shell and getting himself shredded.  He had survived the morning scramble, the sleepy then crazed, energised little ones. The rush, the noise.  Now he was squeezing and twisting himself in and out of the flow. Avoiding the less considerate travellers. Collapsing himself sliding like and eel. Rolling up like a ball to barrel through the wake of those speeding by way too fast. One day his shifting and gyrating would not be enough. He would get hit.

The jellyfish quivered. He shook himself more awake and aware. Had to concentrate more or mistakes would be made. The others didn’t help. The one who needed to be high up to avoid the sand. The one by his side who couldn’t help bumping him with every list and move. The on behind who kept expanding and contracting. He was only here because he could adapt, shift his shape to accommodate.

Another day. And tomorrow yet another. And the day after.

The suddenly the alarm. Shark! Here! that was new. It was almost exciting, but he had all the other jellies to think of, to return to, to bear up and settle down. He could not enjoy this. Not without guilt.

They scattered. All of a sudden he was alone. Alone in the deep. No shark, no one.

Sunbeams drifted down through the undulating waves. Debris floated gently on the eddies and sway. It was silent for once. Peaceful

He basked in the peace and dreamed. This he could enjoy.

There was a sudden surge of cold. A surprise current swept in and took him. He curled up and rode it but he was at its mercy. No control.

He pulsed with, fear. And excitement.

This was out of his comfort zone, out of the everyday routine and out of his volition. Therefore he was not responsible.

He let go – he could enjoy this.

The water got colder, He suddenly noticed looming, dark shapes above him. Icebergs. He has heard of them, never seen one. They looked imposing. Hard. Unyielding.

He watched them for a while as they crashed through everything in their path.

And then he made his decision.

He froze. It was a simple act of will. He became as rigid as the icebergs. Shaped himself how he wanted and never shifted his outline again.

He returned to his home. Now, everyone had to shift their stances, adjust their positions and accommodate his new shape. They had to as it was crowded with sharp points and hard corners. He was not comfortable to be near.

Now the world was shaped around him instead of the world shaping him.

He was pleased. So please he did not notice how far everyone drifted from him.

He was frozen and would stay so.

No one had ever told him that even icebergs melt.

General, Poetry, Writing

Yellow

Yellow

By Scott Bailey © 2014

 

Yellow is the sand
That slips and tumbles in the glass
Sifting through our fingers
Yellowed is the ancient paper
Where ancient text resides
And the finger that glides
Tracing shaky wisdom

General, Technology

Two Weeks Notice!

There is a big story all over the news about the impending cyber attack in two weeks time. Everyone panic! and update and virus check!

But what about XP users? Support was withdrawn for that sometime ago?

As I understand it there is a lifeline for them but it has to have them nervous right? What about next time?

So am I being to cynical when I look at the fact that Microsoft have tried with little success to get the many many XP users to upgrade to the travesty that is Windows 8 – and then I see something to scare the users into doing just that?

Perhaps. I will just smugly carry on with my Linux set up 🙂

 

General

Poem a day challenge #95 (Debt)

Thought it would be appropriate to repost today. Though this was about WW1 the sentiment is the same

Scott Andrew Bailey - Author

Back to work tomorrow. So much to do – so this is an old one today.

Debt

By Scott Bailey © 1998

 
Do not lightly discard them
with tales of the foolish bold.
They sat for weeks, for months, for years
in trenches freezing cold.
Sometimes feet simply mouldered
in the sucking mud.
And now and then they’d rise and run
and spill their loyal blood.
 
Do not belittle the suffering
of soldiers now long dead.
With nothing but talk and songs and bombs
bursting in their head.
Bound together with chains of love
shattered by leaden death.
They ended as they had begun
with cries upon their breath.
 
Do not lightly remember them
with only paper flowers.
they faced the fear, the pain, the cold,
for hours and hours and hours.
They ran together and fell alone
upon those foreign fields.
Protecting those they loved
those…

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Family, General, Science Fiction, Work

Detours of the Mind

Today has been a little strange.

Stresses have been building up. Money worries, over work, trying to get the kids up and to school on time, family illnesses, friends in turmoil.

All the normal stuff, just got to me a bit more today for some reason, and has done all week.

So when I left work and saw a long traffic jam I surprised myself with my reaction. Instead of letting it rile me I shrugged and said to myself – OK let’s use the opportunity. So I turned off down a country lane to try to find a short cut across country.

A short cut it was not – a pleasant drive it was. Over some rolling hills with stunning views and down through winding valleys and dark, magical woods. I even got surprised by a juvenile deer jumping out into the road and running, for quite some time, in front of me.

It wasn’t just the pleasantness of the drive that made it such a nice change though – it was the change itself. The fact it was out of routine. So I am carrying on with it by taking time out from study and housework tonight to read something purely trivial.

Gladiator by Philip Wylie

This is nothing to do with the film. Let me explain. I have developed a passion for vintage – even ancient science fiction. I can’t explain why – there is something about it. Maybe the less cynical outlook – though some are still quite dark. Maybe the fact that they were not so aware of the physical limits of the universe so their imaginations were freer. They always seem to me more human than some more modern attempts. I think also I like to see where things have come from.

This one appeals to me on two levels though. It describes the story of a man – who as a result of experiments done by his father – is imbued with great power. His skin is invulnerable and he can leap over buildings, run faster than a train. At one point he asks “is he a man of iron rather than flesh”. In another scene, as a young boy, he lifts a wagon off a man who has been trapped under the axle. His father guides him to be good and responsible with his power but to keep them hidden. All sounding a bit familiar?

Published originally in 1930 – many see this as a huge influence on Superman. I will let you know my own thoughts when I have finished it.

The other delight with this book was it was free. You can get it from Project Gutenberg. Click here is you are interested.

And that was another nice surprise – Last time I looked on the Gutenberg site they had plenty but it was all in plain text form. Now they offer it in all kinds of e-book formats. And furthermore – you can get it delivered direct to your favoured cloud storage – Google Drive, SkyDrive etc.

I can foresee a lot of time browsing their site.

By the way. If anyone else is interested in old Sci-Fi here are a few I have enjoyed – most are free on Amazon.

The Coming Race – by Edward Bulwer

Trips to the Moon – Lucian of Samosata (very ancient – contemporary with Homer).

A bit more modern and not free – but I cannot recommend enough is

Last and First Men by Olaf Stapledon. A very original book – with not a single character in it.

Maybe my taste is just weird.

General, Poetry, Writing

Winds

OK so the year challenge is over – I will still be posting a bit here and there.

Winds

By Scott Bailey © 2014

 

Dusty grey pigeon
Battered by the wind
Ruffled feathers, frantic wings
To stay true to course
A struggle

A tall ship sitting silent
In the harbour on
Still calm seas
Regal, proud and ancient
Going nowhere now

A queen strutting her stuff
Colours on parade
While those who earned the medals
Into memory
Slowly fade