Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Blog of Outstanding Natural Beauty

It's time to bestow another Blog of Outstanding Natural Beauty award. This time to Unikorna, of Why I Wake Up Every Day.

Unikorna's blog is varied, thought-provoking, and always visually rich. I find it presents beauty in many forms: mouth-watering food, the human body in all sorts of contexts, and some extraordinary fantasy images.

There is nothing to do on receipt of this award, no obligations, no questions to answer, no requirement to pass it on. Just acknowledge it and display it in whatever manner you see fit.

And this award is free for anyone to hand out. If you see a truly beautiful blog, feel free to bestow this award. You do not need to be tagged first. Just grab the image, say why you are awarding it, and let the recipient know.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Bye Bye Bacon

In moving from Britain to Canada, we made a lot of adjustments settling into a new country. Many of these have been surprisingly easy. I think we came into this adventure looking for change, not being afraid of it, and not trying to simply recreate our old life in a new setting.

However, one of the first things we noticed, and which we have never really accepted, is the lack of decent bacon. Canadians really don't get it. The stuff that is sold as bacon here, we knew as "streaky" bacon back in the UK. Some people like it. We only ever bought it to lay over the breast and legs of a turkey to seal in the moisture.

We were delighted, very early on, when our growing network of contacts pointed us in the direction of a Scottish family butcher. This place was a delight. Amongst the many imported goodies, they sold black pudding and real Ayrshire bacon. Staples of a proper fried breakfast.

I haven't been there for a while. We usually buy turkey bacon these days, which is lean and tasty, but I fancied bacon fried with tomatoes for breakfast and you can't beat the taste of proper Ayrshire.

So, I was deeply saddened to visit the shopping plaza and discover that the butcher has closed down.

Seems like they were hard hit by the Alberta beef scandal, which has put many people off buying meat. The oddest thing is, I feel partly responsible, having not given them my custom in so long.

I'm going to miss my Ayrshire.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Award received, award given

I am dead chuffed (does anyone outside of Britain understand what that means?) to have been given the Great Comments Award by Danette.

Danette created this award herself, so I guess I can claim to be the proud owner of an "original", and it inspired me to be creative myself.

So, this is the launch of Botanist's very own Blog of Outstanding Natural Beauty award.

Da Rools!

The purpose of this award is to recognize blogs which do an exceptional job of extolling, presenting, or promoting beauty in some form or another.

This is not a tag, with lots of things for the taggee to do, so the rules are very simple.

For the giver

If you see a truly beautiful blog, feel free to bestow this award. You do not need to be tagged first. Just grab the image, say why you are awarding it, and let the recipient know.

For the recipient

You do not need to pass it on, or answer questions, or stand on one leg while drinking a glass of water and reciting the alphabet backwards. Just acknowledge the giver, display the award with pride, and bask in the appreciation.

And this first award goes to ... Danette!

While I was thinking about creating my own award and keeping it simple (inspired by Danette's example) her own blog inspired the subject itself.

I enjoy her frequent and illustrated excursions into the stunning wild country where she lives - the rugged trails, trees, wide views from high places. Her blog is a visual feast of nature in all its raw and untamed beauty. Please pop over and say "Hi!"

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Look at that!

Many thanks to the awesome Ellie Garratt for passing on another interesting tag: The "Look at that" challenge.

Here is what you have to do: Count up the 'LOOK's in your current WIP and choose your favorite three, then post the paragraphs around the word.

I decided to play with the opening scenes from Tiamat's Nest. The first few chapters are in one document, and I found a total of 32 'look's or variations in 7,700 words. A lot of them turned out to be very short paragraphs, which wouldn't make much sense to post, so I ended up choosing three with a bit more substance to them.


"Look, I know Tiamat can't really hurt us," Tin Man said. He tried not to stare at Pink Marie's impossibly generous bust filling her pink leotard, flouting the normal laws of physics. "It's all just photons in crystals in some cloud server in a basement somewhere."


The dragon, frozen mid-lunge, rotated slowly so they could all get a good look. A sinuous body rippled with power beneath iridescent scales. Individually, their color defied analysis, like a film of oil on amber, but overall the beast shone a lustrous reddish-gold. Translucent wings cupped virtual air, and razor-tipped talons stretched to snag invisible prey. So far, so dragonlike. But the eyes! As they swung into view, they appeared little more than flat black discs, vacant and lifeless. But as Tiamat faced Tin Man full on, for a moment, they seemed like portals to a limitless void, empty yet all-seeing. He felt them strip away the veneer of his avatar and pierce him in the darkness of his apartment. I know you! The sensation was overwhelming.


"And don't go whining. Screw your gamers' code. You screwed with mine when you broke in, so now it's my way, or nothing." He looked at each of them in turn. His Samurai mask, not bound by real world constraints, was subtly animated. Right now it wore a 'don't fuck with me' expression that brooked no argument.

Now, I should tag some more writers but I'm short of time today and I wanted to get this posted before it got missed, so if you want to play consider yourself tagged.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving, Eh?

Summer on Vancouver Island got off to a late start this year (I complained here about still lighting wood fires at the end of June). But it's lingered well past the time we've come to expect.

Usually, the Labor Day weekend signals the last of true summer, and, as soon as school starts, someone upstairs flips a switch and we are into autumn.

Not this year. We've had a few false alarms and the days are noticeably shorter, but right now we are still blessed with warm sunshine. Yesterday, a first for us, we took our Thanksgiving turkey out on the deck, sheltering under parasols from the afternoon sun.

Of course, we don't have family over here so our Thanksgiving is a very small affair. Many people I know are catering for full households. Folks here don't bat an eyelid at the prospect of cooking for 40 or more.

It has become something of a family tradition for us to take celebration meals, like Christmas and Thanksgiving, as well as summer barbecues with friends, at a slow pace spread through the day. Appetizers (just to tickle the tastebuds and stave off the temptation to snack) at 1pm, then a leisurely time to prepare vegetables and carve the turkey before serving up at 3pm, with dessert following several hours later. This lazy, spread-out approach makes for a stress-free day.

So, to all those north of the border, I wish you a Happy Thanksgiving. What are you all doing to celebrate?

Saturday, October 6, 2012

30k and counting

I wasn't paying much attention at the time, but I just realized that last night I passed the 30k mark on Tiamat's Nest.

*Happy grin*

Hoping to add another 30k by Christmas. I know that's a paltry effort compared to all you NaNo Ninjas, but it's a big deal for me.
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