Time spent cleaning tank: 10 minutes.
Time spent removing cockroach from tank in order to clean: 20 minutes.
He would not move. He clung to the side of the tank so I couldn't lift him. Sensible cockroaches lay on the soil (allowing them to be scooped up), but not this one.
I tried my usual trick of prodding him till he walks onto a piece of card in front of him. He's getting wise to this, and simply squished up his back end without moving the front.
Eventually, I managed to get him to walk forward, one slow step at a time. Once on the card, he promptly trundled onto my hand and went for an explore. I've learnt before that he'll only go on my hand after he's lost the I-want-to-stay-in-the-tank-sleeping battle. I suppose once the battle is lost, he doesn't see any reason to hold a grudge.
Once the cleaning was done, I had no problem getting him back in the tank. The new tank met with his approval and he snuggled up under his new cardboard house.
At least I only have to clean the tank once every six months... a single cockroach doesn't make a whole lot of mess.
Thursday, 28 May 2009
Time spent cleaning tank: 10 minutes.
Sunday, 24 May 2009
This post starts without spoilers. Then there's the spoiler part. So if you haven't seen the movie, don't read past the spoiler warning. The comments/replies may also contain spoilers.
Overall, I really liked the movie. It was generally well-paced (though a bit rushed in places... I get the impression there were some things they wanted to explain, but didn't get time to include the scenes).
The casting was excellent. As a big Spock fan, I was pleased they chose a good actor. Having seen a picture of the guy in an interview, I also sympathise about the eyebrows. He's got some majorly bushy eyebrows, and it must have been torture to wax/remove the things for the part. I wince for the eyebrows.
The science was terrible, but I've never really watched Star Trek expecting hard science fiction. Even so, I'd have liked a bit of technobabble for some of the elements.
I'd suggest going to see it if you're a Star Trek fan or a fan of soft science fiction. But if you like your science harder than diamond, it's going to make you cry.
*** Beyond this point, spoilers roam ***
Though I liked it overall, there were things I didn't like. The biggest was destroying Vulcan. Though a genuine emotional tearjerker for a long-time Star Trek fan with a thing about Vulcan, it leaves me wondering what place Vulcans will have in the future of this film series. Will it just be Spock, or will they introduce plotlines about the new colony?
The science I would have liked a hand-wave for was the black hole. It obviously wasn't a normal black hole, yet they spoke about it as though it was one. It was so unlike a black hole that my usual feeling of dread watching black holes didn't surface. Couldn't they have given it another name? Called it an unknown something-or-other? Another name for the phenomenon would have gone a long way, because it wouldn't make me say "wait a minute... black holes don't do that".
Complaints aside, there were bits I really loved. I do like the fact this is an official alternate timeline. We can still enjoy the original timeline, Vulcan and all (and I may do so when the Star Trek Online game comes out, as that will be set in the original timeline. Guess what race I'd play?). It was fun seeing what bits had changed and what stayed the same.
I liked that they expanded Uhura's role, as I was a fan of her character in the original series. The romance with Spock made sense (she's intelligent, dedicated and generally controlled... a match with a Vulcan/human makes more sense than Kirk). It was also well-handled. In public it was mostly subtle stuff. In private, Spock obviously had issues relaxing and showing affection, despite it being clear they'd been involved for some time. The whole thing was very believable.
The Vulcan bullying was excellent. Along with using 'live long and prosper' like a swear word. You'd got to love the reserved expressions of emotion. And I want one of those learning pod things form the Vulcan school. Imagine playing games on one of those.
Have you seen the film? If no, the spoiler warnings are tutting at you. If yes, did you like/hate it?
Monday, 18 May 2009
Since my last ramble about poetry, I've sold two poems to Every Day Poets: 'The Dog's Complaint' (humour) and 'Snowman' (not humour). I don't know the publication dates, but I'll post here when they go up.
I'm currently meeting my target of writing two new stories/poems a month. I was a bit behind earlier in the year, but the extra time since becoming jobless means I've caught up. Yay!
Now onto the rambling...
What Food is Your Story?
This came up talking to my beta reader about recent rejections. I commented that one of my stories was like marmite, but I wanted the next one to be more like ice cream (because I'd like to sell it). This led to a general ramble about the foods different stories can be. Here are a few I came up with...
- Rotten Tomatoes - You can eat them, if you don't mind being sick. These are the ones you'll end up composting some day, rather than continuing to submit them. No one is trying to write a rotten tomato, but it happens.
- Marmite - A common food in England, marmite is brown sludge with a strong taste. It's advertised as people either loving it or hating it. People don't tend to like it unless they're already used to it, so these stories are great for fans. Not so good for random magazine editors.
- Food Cubes - Referencing the previous post on science fiction ideas, food cubes are comfortable and familiar. A food cube story will make use of cliches and tropes. But with the right seasoning, these stories can be entertaining.
There's a general feel against food cubes in the modern short story market, but not in the novel market. Personally, I see food cubes as a way of bringing in new readers. You have to get people familiar with the basics first.
- Ice Cream - Most people like ice cream. It's a delicate blend of tasty writing and originality, without being too out there. I wish I wrote more ice cream stories.
- Creamy Mashed Sprout with Chocolate Topping and Mushroom Sprinkles - Some markets specialise in experimental stories. I've written some, but I don't go dark enough for most of those markets.
- Mashed Potato - It's nice, but it tends to go better with things. You wouldn't want to eat too much on its own. The humble vignette comes in this category. Often they'd work better as a description within a longer story, though that's not always the case. A well-done vignette can be interesting to read (as long as there isn't too much of it).
Overall, I write too many marmite stories, with a few food cubes mixed in. The day I figure out the recipe for ice cream will be a happy one.
What sort of the food are the stories you write/like to read?
Sunday, 10 May 2009
I've lost a story. I can't think how, other than saving it in the wrong place, but it's gone. In the process of searching, I opened up everything I didn't recognise in my idea file.
Despite my memory, there were things I'd forgotten. Strange, fragmentary things, with no apparent story attached. Maybe these will become stories someday. Maybe they'll always stay in the 'what was I thinking?' category. Either way, here they are for your bemusement...
1) Hero's Shadow
"The hero moves through the street, silent as a shadow. He stops, turns and glares at me."
"Will you cut it out? This is a stealth operation."
[I actually had a brief story outline for this one.]
The Evil Lord of Balthoss smashed a hole in the door. I wouldn't have minded so much, if I hadn't been the door. I hope he got splinters.
[I think I was having a door appreciation day. They do get smashed down on a frequent basis. Besides, when was the last time you saw a door as a main character? Inanimate object discrimination.]
The holonet ought to come with warnings. I don't want to see a pro-gamma five kissing an epsilon one. It's not natural, choosing one of your quad outside your normal gender alignment. You've got forty-two other genders to choose from. What's the fascination with the remaining fifty three?
[This is what you get for letting a science fiction writer read anti-gay propaganda.]
4) Octopus Melon
Octopus loved to make melon pies
With cream on the top and jellyfish eyes.
[It's for children. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.]
5) Dancing Spiders
Dancing spiders. Dancing spiders everywhere.
[I have no idea. None. Maybe it was late?]
If you're a writer, now is the time to release those idea oddities onto an unsuspecting world.
Wednesday, 6 May 2009
Fantasy Magazine is running a micro fiction contest. The contest involves writing a ten sentence story from a picture prompt (picture of your choice, as long as Fantasy can publish it).
Here are the details: Fantasy Micro Fiction Contest
Go forth! Write stories!
Friday, 1 May 2009
Some of the honey bees are swarming in the local woodland. Given the decline of bees, it's nice to see. It's also fun watching people fleeing the bees for no reason (it's not like the bees care about people being there... they're too busy doing their swarming thing to sting anyone. I was standing right in the middle of the swarm and I wasn't stung).
They were a little high up. If they come down lower before heading off to their new abode, I'll try and get some better close-ups.
Unlike my usual photo posts, these are linked... click on them for the bigger version.
(I've also put a movie on YouTube: Watch Bees!)