Summary of a Saga

June 30, 2020 at 12:27 am (funny, MegaList of Awesomeness, Reviews, Top Ten, TV/movie review, With a list)

So.

I just watched the entire MCU Infinity Saga in five days. With twenty-three movies in the saga, I averaged ten hours of movie-watching time a day. I’m keeping a neat-o summary here to remind myself who’s who and what’s what next time I dive into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In Australia, they’re all on Disney + except The Incredible Hulk (I rented it from YouTube; feel free to skip it), Spider-Man: Homecoming (Netflix), and Spider-Man: Far From Home (Amazon Prime).

Phase 1 (all reviewed in full here)

***Iron Man

Stark swears off weapons then immediately makes the best one ever.

*The Incredible Hulk

Dr Banner is found by the government but eventually manages to go back into hiding.

***Iron Man 2

Stark promises that bad people definitely won’t be able to make any iron man suits; two different baddies make iron man suits.

**Thor

The god of thunder becomes less of a dickhead.

***Captain America: The First Avenger

A good-hearted weakling turns into a good-hearted superhero.

***Marvel’s The Avengers

Loki tries and fails to use a shiny to get more shinies for big bad Thanos.

 

Phase 1 summary: S.H.I.E.L.D. (specifically Nick Fury) puts together a superhero team made up of playboy genius Iron Man; part time rage-monster Hulk; jock god Thor; honourable 40s man Captain America; and well-trained humans Hawkeye (arrows) and Black Widow (assassin). They defeat various baddies including an alien hoard led by god of mischief Loki (aka Thor’s adopted brother and temporary minion of big bad Thanos).

Our original six heroes, left to right: Thor, Hawkeye, Black Widow, Hulk, Captain America, Iron Man.

And here’s Loki.

Phase 2 (part 1 and part 2)

***Iron Man 3

Stark makes way too many suits then blows them all up.

**Thor: The Dark World

Thor and Jane get back together; Loki is slightly less evil.

***Captain America: The Winter Soldier

S.H.I.E.L.D. turns out to be mostly Hydra (oh no), but Cap’s best friend gets partially un-brainwashed (yay).

***Guardians of the Galaxy

Star-Lord makes friends, and together they keep a shiny orb away from assorted baddies.

*Avengers: Age of Ultron

Stark makes then breaks a bad robot, killing a bunch of people in the process.

**Ant-Man

An ex-con becomes a superhero in exchange for stealing stuff for a cranky good guy instead of amiable bad guys.

Phase 2 summary: Our superheroes (now including semi-reformed Loki and Winter Soldier) add iron-suited War Machine, flying robot Vision, superfast Quicksilver (already dead), his twin sister Scarlet Witch (who has ill-defined but impressive powers and no personality to speak of); and loveable schmuck Ant-Man to their ranks. They also get (but don’t yet meet) the Guardians of the Galaxy: insecure but music-loving Star-Lord (human); righteously driven ex-baddie Gamora (green); trisyllabic Groot (tree thing; it dies but sprouts another Groot); twisted and damaged Rocket (mutated racoon thing); and literal-minded muscleman Drax (humanoid). They mean well (mostly), but commit various crimes including major property damage, theft, and mass manslaughter.

Picture 1: Scarlet Witch, Falcon (who gets those wings in the next movie), Vision, War Machine (in his Iron Patriot phase; usually he’s not so colourful).

Picture 2: Bucky (recovered from being the Winter Soldier) and Ant-Man (Scott).

And the Guardians, left to right: Groot, Rocket, Star-Lord (aka Peter Quill), Gamora, Drax

Phase 3 (part 1, part 2, part 3 aka Infinity War, part 4, part 5 aka Endgame, part 6)

***Captain America: Civil War

Running low on baddies, the Avengers fight each other.

**Doctor Strange

Dr Strange learns to use his annoyingness for good.

***Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2

Star-Lord finds and then kills his dad (who is a murderer and also a planet).

***Spider-Man: Homecoming

A dorky teen with superpowers has to save the day alone when the grown-ups get sick of him.

***Thor: Ragnarok

Thor blows up his home planet so his big sister stops playing with it.

***Black Panther

King T’Challa kills a baddie and then does what the baddie wanted.

***Avengers: Infinity War

Thanos gets all the infinity stones and instantly erases half of all living creatures.

***Ant-Man and the Wasp

Ant-Man and the Wasp rescue Wasp’s mother from the quantum realm.

***Captain Marvel

Captain Marvel realises she’s Captain friggin’ Marvel.

***Avengers: Endgame

The Avengers kill Thanos (twice).

***Spider-Man: Far From Home

Spider-Man gives a potent weapon to a baddie then gets it back again.

 

Phase 3 summary, excluding Infinity War and Endgame: The goodies add the following to their roster: adorkable kid Spider-Man; witty sidekick Falcon; arrogant wizard Dr Strange (and similarly-powered sorcerer Wong); half-mecha ex-villain Nebula (Gamora’s green sister); empath alien Mantis (also a Guardian); long-frustrated heroine Wasp; superhero squared Captain Marvel; and the Black Panther and a bunch of epic Wakandan people and weapons (gracious noncombatant Queen Ramonda; genius teenager Princess Shuri; and Okoye, who is the righteous leader of the bald-headed Dora Milaje all-female army).

Summary of Infinity War and Endgame: Thanos erases half of all living creatures. The heroes get everyone back, except:

a) There’s a five year gap when the world is half empty.

b) Gamora, Loki, Vision, Black Widow and Loki are dead; and Captain America is old and retired. Past versions of Gamora and Loki are likely to be around in future.

c) Thanos is definitely for sure gone now.

 

Picture 1: Spider-Man and Dr Strange

Picture 2: Nebula and Mantis

Picture 3: Captain Marvel (she cuts her hair later) and Black Panther (Wasp not pictured because she’ll be hanging out with Ant-Man, and her look is very similar to his except she has wings):

Thanos is big and purple, and also dead. Not pictured.

*     *     *

I’m in the process of writing a bunch of best-of (or sometimes worst-of) lists, which I may or may not remember to link here. Here’s one, at least:

Top 5 Best-Written Villains

*     *     *

For those concerned about my health, I had a very calm day today. TJ was lonely in the living room, but he was fine with me sleeping as long as I was in the room with him. I’d warned him I needed to rest today, so he very carefully made the living room couch “super comfy” for me so I slept there during the day.

Pictured: super comfy.

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Farting My ABCs: Chapter 15 (the end!)

April 23, 2020 at 11:12 am (Cat pics, Free story, Fully Sick, funny, general life, Mum Stuff, My Novels)

In which Louisette attempts to merge with a bush, and TJ performs a fart dance.

Well, there you go!

Today, Zipper ALMOST managed to get her collar off. But instead she got it stuck around both her neck and one leg.

I laughed when I realised, which did not help matters as she fled into TJ’s room. We all backed off, and soon enough she was in her cat box ready to be caught and freed. She’s fine now—not that she deserves it, the little punk.

Art of the day: Er… how about Farting My ABCs? I’m tired; shut up.

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Farting My ABCs: Chapter 2

April 10, 2020 at 12:51 am (Cat pics, Free story, Fully Sick, funny, I get paid for this, Mum Stuff, My Novels)

I have some great news about FARTING MY ABCs… but I can’t tell anyone about it yet.

Anyway, here’s Chapter 2!

In other news, TJ is now up to twenty backyard baskets.

Today Louisette is wearing tiara, two tutus, and her dressing gown.

I’m feeling… okay. Four day weekend!!!!

Art of the day: Another middle grade series by a wonderful Aussie author (wonderful at heart as well as talent; I have met both Sandy Fussell and Pamela Freeman and they’re everything you hope a famous author could be): Princess Betony by Pamela Freeman (who also writes historical fiction as Pamela Hart).

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The Virus Diaries: Goodness

March 26, 2020 at 5:56 pm (Cat pics, Fully Sick, funny, general life)

Look, I know there are lots of things that suck right now. But I’ve never seen such a flood of kindness, generosity, and support. I’ve never felt so connected to the whole world—in a good way.

This entry is almost entirely made up of just stuff from my facebook and twitter feed from the last hour. It’s a random mixture of encouragement, humour, information, stuff to do, and resources to help people either deal with self-isolation or understand why it’s necessary.

The above was posted by Julia Vee from the Parasol Protectorate facebook group.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The “Bear Hunt” is all about putting teddy bears in windows and front gardens for kids to spot as they walk around the neighbourhood.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And here are some videos:

A bunch of late-night hosts are working from home. It’s messy, awkward, and hilarious:

This is my favourite song right now. It’s rude and funny and strangely inspiring (make sure your kids aren’t in the room).

 

Another parody song:

 

A beautiful in-character bit of encouragement from The Doctor herself:

 

A charmingly odd news article. It kind of epitomises how so many people are reacting to this global challenge—with humour, with love, and with everyone asking, “What can *I* do to help?”

Here’s a news article thinking about how COVID-19 will change the world, which is fascinating for all of us (I haven’t had time to read it yet, because I’ve been hard at work all day preparing something VERY special for the school holidays). Not necessarily uplifting, but sometimes it’s nice to have someone say, “This is what will happen next, then this, then this.”

 

And how about twitter, that infamous trash fire?

This guy is always like that. He bleeds love and kindness every single tweet.

 

(If you haven’t read Gail Carriger’s funny supernatural steampunk tales, you should!)

I wish I was in Melbourne right now, but I also love how facebook has so much content talking about how important artists are right now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve been fielding emails and calls all this time. My Flourish home mental support people switched to phone calls, but gave me a million other options of ways to stay connected, and also checked a whole lot of practical things (do you have food? Can someone look after your kids if you are sick?)

My chemist called me up to say they’ll be delivering my regular medications to me, and is there anything extra I need? My friend Chevelle climbed into a store refrigerator to get me the last, lost pack of frozen peas. My Mum finished painting the signs we were making together (pics soon). People are looking at their pantry and giving food away over social media.

A woman I have never met gave me a quilt she made. That’s not even because of the ‘rona. She just… makes quilts, and gives them away.

Here is the quilt (gorgeous, isn’t it?) hanging on my washing line (hence the odd pic) for several days so any ‘rona germs can die before I touch it.

It is, in a word, beautiful.

I’m not saying the ‘rona doesn’t suck. It does. I’m not saying certain people aren’t being tossers. There are some people making awful decisions out of various kinds of fear. But what I’m mostly seeing is kindness, thoughtfulness, generosity, humour, and creativity—all at unprecedented levels.

We can do this. We have each other.

Resource of the day: I can’t believe I’m saying this, but if you’re not on social media now is a great time to join.

Donation of the day: What weird item or talent can YOU throw out into the zeitgeist?

Personal action of the day: Have you heard of #FormalFriday? Or my alternative, Wear-A-Bra Wednesday? Go ahead and dress up. It’s good for the soul.

Hoarding item of the day: Pet food and litter (only 2 weeks’ worth, okay?)

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What is an escape room?

February 10, 2019 at 10:06 pm (Escape Room, funny, Steampunk, Videos)

An escape room is a team game that involves exploring a room and solving the puzzles you find there in order to get out.

In practise, that means being put into a room with a team and figuring out how to open and/or unlock various things. In Canberra, it is illegal to actually lock the room so although there is usually a large obvious padlock on the exit door, it is purely decorative (eg put on a second handle while the first handle actually opens the door). You can leave at any time (and come back in, eg after going to the bathroom or getting some air).

Most escape rooms take place in a single physical room, although some start in one room and take you through others as you progress through the various puzzles. Mine are one-room games that can be restricted to a tabletop if necessary, and they are macguffin-based ie you ‘escape’ by finding a specific magical item in one of the boxes, rather than by ‘opening’ a door.

Most escape rooms start you off in very dim light, so one of your first challenges is finding more sources of light. The darkness and lack of torches enhances the stress and forces you to work with your team-mates. Stress, frustration, and cooperation are huge elements in a well-designed escape room.

Another vital element is skill-sharing. A good escape room has a wide range of puzzle types, so different team members’ strengths can come to the fore eg. A puzzle box, a simple maths problem, a clue hidden in an unexpected location. I am terrible at puzzle boxes and not super mobile (so I won’t be crawling under tables if I can help it), but I can do maths.

Puzzle rooms tend to steer away from any maths harder than primary school level, because a lot of people hate maths. I have found that having a simple maths problem towards the end of the game is hilarious as people panic and can’t count good no more.

Each escape room has a fictional scenario to fire the imagination, and a timer counting down (usually the time limit is 1 hour, or 1.5-3 hours for much more complicated rooms).

During the last week both my parents and my siblings attempted my magical steampunk game, MADAM ALCHEMIST, and each session was filmed. If you’d like a better idea of how escape rooms work, I recommend watching the first and second videos. If you just like watching people alternatively swear and cheer, the third video is pretty much just that.

The first video includes an opening spiel by yours truly, and a few minutes of play by my parents.

The second shows a cut-down version of my brother and sister playing the room from beginning to end (complete with my patented sarcastic subtitles). It contains very mild spoilers ie you can still enjoy the game fully after watching (I edited it very carefully), but if you’re an experienced player I recommend playing the room before watching it. Of course, if you don’t live in Canberra/NSW then you might as well watch it.

There is some mild swearing.

The third is a super-short montage of my brother and sister’s play-through (all of which is also part of video #2). There’s almost no context, just the usual escape room experience of intermingled frustration, bickering, cooperation, and joy.

 

All clear? Good.

You can book through the store link above, or email me at MagicInTheMailStories@gmail.com to arrange a time and place of your choosing.

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Ah, l’Hospital!

December 30, 2017 at 2:07 pm (Food, Fully Sick, funny)

For those who don’t follow me on facebook or twitter, I’m in hospital (again). Just as it looked like I was in the clear post-operatively speaking, I developed an infection.

It so happens that the infection is right in a patch of my belly that’s currently completely numb. Which possibly explains why I’ve been in almost no pain this entire time (I noticed it on Christmas Eve, but thought it was just a rash).

Yesterday I had a small operation to help fix the infection and (warning: the rest of this paragraph is medical and icky, but fascinating) the wound was left open and gaping for a while, as I waited to have a special medical vacuum attached to it. I used my kindle camera to have a look and got a huge shock at what I had thought might be a belly button-sized wound. It’s long, and wide, and deep. It’s also extremely clean as far as the human body goes, and I could clearly see different levels of. . . well. . . me. I was somewhat disturbed and quickly replaced the sheet covering it, but then realised it was a fab writing opportunity and took a picture. Several people have since requested to see it, so I’ve emailed them privately. (If you want to see it, email “fellissimo@hotmail.com” with the subject line “Gaping belly wound please”.)

It’s also inspired a significant dramatic scene in one of the stories I’m currently working on. I can’t tell you more than that, except that I ran the entire scene past a nurse and she made lots of the right kind of impressed noises. (Also, I was not on morphine at the time.)

I very much enjoyed my morphine experience once again. Some people throw up and/or feel awful after a general anaesthetic. I feel FANTASTIC. It was rather hard not to over-compliment all the wonderful staff, and I struggled with conversation due to not being able to hold info in my brain for more than about five seconds at a time.

The following morning I had a follow-up visit with the surgeon who asked me if I remembered speaking to him and his team after the surgery.

No, I did not. I definitely remember being on morphine and talking to people, but there is a whole period of time before that fully-conscious part of the evening that I don’t remember at all. He said I was, “Two vodkas over” and “laughing at nurses”. I suspect I may have made some overly affectionate comments towards all the staff (male and female nurses are both awesome) and he chose to spare me the knowledge of exactly what terrible things I said.

Silly man. Of course I want to know exactly what terrible things I said! I’ve never been blackout drunk so THIS IS MY MOMENT TO SHINE.

I saw a different doctor this morning and asked him if he was there at the time. “No,” he said. “Sadly. It seems I missed out.”

Fingers crossed I get some embarrassing and inappropriate quotes of my drugged-up self before I have to go home.

As you can tell, I’m in high spirits and feeling remarkably well (seriously, I’m not even taking panadol today because I just don’t need any pain relief). I’m going to stay attached to the medical vacuum for quite a while, and I’m still waiting on a swab result to get me a more targeted antibiotic—but I have my own room with a gorgeous view of Telstra Tower, The National Arboretum, and the helipad, and I actually had to force myself to not dance when a song I liked came on the Tv this morning.

Wacky stuff.

IMG_20171230_083951

You can see why this floor is called ‘The Penthouse’.

Also, I have a silver dressing on/in my stomach wound, which is extremely cool given that my steampunk universe has magical silver that can assist with supernatural levels of healing. (Based, of course, on silver’s real-world antibacterial qualities, which is why it’s in me right now.)

My actual surgery was at John James Private Hospital, but my official surgeon is away on holiday so this entire infection is being dealt with in Canberra Hospital, which is public. So I’ve been able to compare notes with… er… myself.

What the private hospital did better:

  1. It’s made up of almost all private rooms, and you can pay a (relatively) small amount ($70/night when it costs over $1000/night already) to make sure you’re alone.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but sharing a room with a random stranger (who is guaranteed to not be at their best) is always going to suck. The best-case scenario is that the 2 (or more) of you get on like a house on fire, and relieve one another’s boredom. But even that would freak me out thanks to the magic of social anxiety.

When I was at the private hospital I also had a private ensuite, which of course significantly reduces the grossness factor. (I also struggle with anxiety when showering anywhere other than my own ensuite at home, but sharing with sick/bleeding/incontinent people—or sharing while sick/bleeding/incontinent is even less fun.)

My roomie here at Canberra Hospital was an older man who was clearly very ill and in a lot of pain. He spent a lot of time moaning aloud, and would swear (and then apologise—he’s clearly also a very nice man doing his best at a miserable time) at almost every procedure (including really basic stuff like blood tests and cannula flushes) or movement. He was also in the bed by the window, which meant I didn’t get to see the view (not anyone’s fault of course, but natural light is a very helpful thing). He isn’t fully aware of where he is, or who staff or family members are, and talked to himself a bit. All this was stressful for me but part of the joy of hospital life. Then one day he was talking to himself about wanting to be violent and trying not to be, and I decided that he was a (tiny tiny tiny) potential danger to himself and others.

I told the staff that I thought he should have his own room, and why. They said that wasn’t an option, which shocked me utterly.

This man has been in hospital for weeks and hasn’t done anything the least bit violent. He’s also got a catheter and is basically unable to leave his bed. So you can see why staff immediately assumed I was over-reacting.

I went to the lounge and tried to sort out whether I was being rational or not. The thing is, as a fiction writer everything in life goes through a story filter in my head. This man said he felt like he was being tortured. He wasn’t sure what country he was in. He didn’t recognise his own family, or the nurses. And he was understandably angry.

I’m mentally ill too, and keenly aware that “mental illness” is blamed for a bunch of crimes (while the mentally ill are far more likely to be the victims of crime than the perpetrators).

But.

Watch any movie with foreshadowing, and you can see the big disaster coming from miles away. You never get a story where a crazy old man talks about violence and then successfully controls himself. You get a story which ends with Hospitalised Mother Of Two Killed By Delusional Room-Mate After Requesting A Different Room.

Long story short, I applied the same strategy I apply to every important hospital issue: I waited until the next shift came on, and told them exactly the same thing.

They knew the man would hate to be moved, so they moved me instead. And voila! I have a private room (the only one on this floor), despite assuring everyone over and over that I’m absolutely fine and don’t deserve special treatment.

It’s sooooooo gooooooood. TJ in particular was born loud, and it was very hard to host him while trying not to bother the patient on the other side of the curtain. The gentleman above also had lots of visitors and I constantly found myself inadvertently (or vertantly, who am I kidding?) eavesdropping on everything they said.

It’s good to be alone.

2. Food. Obviously. Everything I ate at John James was nice. Not all of it was 100% to my taste, but it was all decent. Some of it was seriously good.

Yesterday for breakfast I was intolerant to literally everything on the plate except a slice of cold toast and some low-fat margarine. So that was my breakfast. No milk, no protein, nothing that was enjoyable to eat.

The vegetables here are microwaved frozen vegies; the meat is usually a little nasty; the porridge would be better used as Kindy glue and the backup sandwiches (kept in a fridge for people like me that have been fasting and needed something to eat between normal mealtimes) recalled that famous New Yorker story “Cat Person”, in the following manner:

“It was a terrible sandwich, shockingly bad; Felicity had trouble believing that a grown human could possibly be so bad at making sandwiches.”

One sandwich was cheese: plastic cheese with a thick layer of cloying margarine. The other was “Mayo chicken”. The mayo was bad, the chicken was bad, and the bread was going stale, but it was the combination of finely-minced chicken and still-very-noticeable chunks of cartilage and bone that truly surprised me. I’ve never encountered chicken bones in a sandwich, let alone one that had apparently gone to the trouble of mincing up the meat. Was it made of chicken scrapings from a sausage factory floor?

I cannot confirm or deny that statement.

This was my lunch today:

 

Take a moment to guess what it is. Milky tea, and some kind of meat with an ice-cream scoop of gently flecked mashed potato?

The mug is mushroom soup. It tasted very mushroomy, with just the slightest hint of actual real mushroom—perhaps as much as 2% of a physical mushroom, finely grated and scattered into the mushroom-flavoured broth. It was actually pretty nice, and it was a good thing it was low on actual vegetables since I’m pretty darn intolerant of the shrooms at the best of times.

The other is a veal roast with gravy and “cheesy potato”. The lunch and dinner menu always feature microwaved frozen vegetables, and various forms of (alleged) potato.

Potato is actually the one vegetable I can eat safely, and despite the carbs it’s got a lot going for it. It’s all powdered potato, but the “cheesy” version was definitely superior to the ones that are pure powder or microwaved slices of boiled spud.

I feel a little sad as I wonder how many baby cows were slaughtered in order to be burned and smothered by (alleged) gravy throughout hospitals all over Canberra today. I had some of the non-burned bits and they were okay, although the weirdly viscous movement of the gravy was a little disturbing (I’ve made powdered gravy and it doesn’t do that, so what could create such an effect? Did it get mixed up with the “rolled oats” glue from breakfast?)

Oh! The other food difference is that it was quite easy to convince people here that I’m better off with the non-diabetic menu (which tends to have more protein and less stuff I’m intolerant to). At John James I’d take advantage of any confusion and squirrel away real butter whenever someone accidentally gave me the good (ie non-diabetic) menu.

I also had a slice of nice white bread and real butter at lunch, which isn’t super healthy but certainly is delicious.

3. Respect/Meds

But here’s something interesting: I’ve been treated much more respectfully here than at John James. On one occasion at John James two nurses came in to personally administer my medication while I was on the loo (rather than coming back in a few minutes). Given how overworked nurses are, I’m mildly sympathetic—but after having two kids I feel like far too may people have treated my body like public property and I’m pissed. If I can dress and shower myself, I want to do so without company thankyouverymuch.

A nurse at John James disapproved of my method of bringing in my (very confusing) array of medications, and she confiscated them all and ordered replacements from the pharmacy. The replacements looked different and I was unable to keep track of important meds like diabetes stuff, migraine stuff, and anti-depressant pills. As has happened every single time I’ve been in hospital, nurses tried valiantly to keep perfect written records and give me all my meds at the right times—and they failed utterly. Although the paperwork system is a great plan, it doesn’t work in practice and that is dangerous. (Obviously, letting me take my own pills while high on morphine isn’t going to be safe either.)

Here at Canberra Hospital, nurses have over and over again LISTENED to me and let me take my own pills at the appropriate times. This is bizarre and wonderful. (And didn’t happen here at Canberra Hospital when I was pregnant and came in with premature labour… but of course, pregnant women be crazy so people are always extra patronising during such times.)

I have a theory that patients at a private hospital are fussier and more demanding, so private nurses are more likely to have grown hard and dismissive of patient concerns. Because, although the vast majority of staff at John James were great, my overall experience with staff here at Canberra Hospital has been better, kinder—and MUCH more respectful.

 

Having said that, I’d kill for a private room.

I mean, not really KILL…

Or would I?


There’s often a wonderful eerie quality to hospitals, as I meet yet another shift of new people tasked with keeping me alive, as my medical vacuum says “eep” to indicate it’s just been unplugged, as I smile politely while someone takes four attempts to hit one of my veins with a syringe, or as I push my drip stand down the empty hall at 2am, shuffling in and out of pools of fluorescent light.


Once again, my biggest worry is recovery. Small children, school holidays, and major surgery do not mix well.

Kids get bored.

Mums run out of ideas.

Mums do what they have to do to get through the day without excessive screaming from/towards the children.

Mums go back into hospital, and the cycle starts again.

I don’t really have a solution. Chris may be healthy, but he has his limits too—and he’s back at work this Tuesday. I have received overwhelming amounts of support from friends both close and barely seen, and that frightens me as well. I’m painfully aware that my normal “good” level of health isn’t enough to do the stuff people have done for me (such as babysitting my kids for a whole day, or donating money). It’s never easy to believe I have value, as a woman/fat person/depressed person/writer/disabled/low-income person. Hopefully spelling it out here will help me to remember it’s society that is broken and wrong, not me. My personal worth can’t be linked to societal norms or I’m screwed.

The good news is that I may still be able to enrol Louisette in holiday care during January. Because boy howdy do we need it.

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Dear Star Wars: Here is Your Script

December 23, 2017 at 8:59 pm (Daily Awesomeness, funny, Writing Advice)

I don’t often write fan fiction.

So this kind of happened as I wrote my thoughts after seeing “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” (I had so many feels it took me days to write and is 3000 words long.) It’s a VERY interesting  film for writers, and so of course I analysed it in that vein.

The full (very spoiler-y) article is here, on a shiny new forum I’ve set up for the “Murder in the Mail” series. You can read the article immediately, but you need to register to comment. (If you register, you’ll get about three emails a year about the “Murder in the Mail” series, unless you unsubscribe.)

The “Murder in the Mail” series is a set of cozy mystery stories (one story so far, to be released in August/September 2018) told entirely through letters, postcards, objects, and art posted to the reader over the course of eight weeks. The forum is for fun (discussing things like Star Wars, and so on), and also for readers to talk amongst themselves and try to figure out the identity of the murderer before the final letter arrives.

There is (arguably) a VERY mild general character-based Star Wars spoiler below.

Basically I figured out the One True Way to resolve all the possible romances of the current Star Wars trilogy. Because I am a genius.

Insert anti-spoiler kitty!

 

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Rose: *Takes Rey to a storage area where they can talk privately* So you’re a big hero, just like Finn. I guess you guys are… you know…
Rey: Um. *blushes furiously* Well I might sort of kind of think of him a little tiny bit that way. Maybe.
Finn: *Emerges bleary-eyed and shirtless from under canvas, and clutches it around his hips so the girls don’t see EVERYTHING* Rose? Rey? What are you doing here?
Rose and Rey: *wide-eyed panic*
Rey: You. . . heard us talking?
Finn: Me? Nope. Nuh-uh. Didn’t hear a thing. *Accidentally-on-purpose jabs his elbow into the canvas*
Poe: *Emerges bleary-eyed and shirtless from under canvas, clutching canvas around his hips, and hastily donning That Jacket* Oh, hi Rose. Hi Rey.
Rose and Rey: Ohhhhh! Er, we’ll just be going now.
Rose and Rey: *become best friends*
Finn and Poe: *adopt half a dozen children and live on a porg farm forever*

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Pictures worth thousands of words

October 4, 2017 at 3:58 pm (Advanced/Publication, funny, Reviews)

I’m not a visual artist, and I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of influence I was allowed to have on my books covers (Odyssey Books has a top-notch cover game).

It’s a good thing they go through a few drafts, too.

Can you see what’s wrong with the first draft of SILVER AND STONE?

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Thank goodness for Chris, and for my fellow ‘Oddies’ (we Odyssey authors are constantly talking book stuff together), who noticed what I didn’t.

So that was changed.

I was SO PROUD to finally have the finished cover, and to be able to put the two covers side by side on facebook. Only to realise (due to facebook’s arbitrary cropping) that half my followers were wondering why I’d called my first book “Fart of Bras”.

Does one’s underwear usually fart? If so, why? And how?

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In unrelated (but still vaguely visual) news, I was amused by the juxtaposition of these two reviews on the “Choices That Matter” Google Play app. The first made me laugh out loud, and the second was just icing on the cake.

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That’s an excellent screenshot summary of the review-reading experience.

There’s reviews on iOS too, but barely any (and they get deleted every time there’s an update). I gather it’s a lot easier to leave a Google Play review, since there are several new ones every day.

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Louisette Interview Age Four

March 11, 2016 at 4:03 pm (funny, Love and CJ)

Based on a set of questions from Crappy Pictures, I’ve interviewed Louisette around her birthday at age two, three, and now four:

 

Me: What job do you want to have when you grow up?

Louisette: LOTS of jobs. I want to be a waiter….and work in a cafe. And in the cafe I will make cupcakes. And cakes. And bread.

Me: What makes you feel happy?

Louisette: Being with Dad AND TJ… and you. And I’m with you right now, so I feel happy. And I feel happy when I’m eating bacon.

Me: If you had so much money you could buy absolutely anything, what would you buy?

Louisette: The same bag as anybody in the whole world.

Me: What is the meaning of life?

Louisette: I don’t know. That’s just a silly joke. I know! That’s the question.

Me: What do you love?

Louisette: You.

Me: What makes you feel loved?

Louisette: Dad and you and TJ

Me: What are you afraid of?

Louisette: Without being with a grown up.

Me: If you had one wish, what would you wish for?

Louisette: I wish I could fly.

Me: What is the funniest word?

Louisette: Clowny bowny.

Me: What is the hardest thing to do?

Louisette: Play golf.

Me: What is the easiest thing to do?

Louisette: Ah…aha! Play with a balloon. and make this picture.

Me: What is the best thing in the world?

Louisette: You and TJ and Dad.

Me: What is the worst thing in the world?

Louisette: TJ usually snatches from me so he’s the baddest.

Me: What makes you mad?

Louisette: Someone holding on tight of me and I want to get out.

Me: What is the meaning of love?

Louisette: Bun! [Giggles]

Me: If you had all the money in the world, what would you do with it?

Louisette: Buy a lot of things, like this (her own drawing). Well if we wanted to get a real slide then we need thousands and thousands of money to get that.

[later]

Me: What is life for?

Louisette: Are you getting sleepy?

Me: No Louisette, I just leaned my head back to hear what you’re saying  because we’re in the car. So what do you think life is for?

Louisette: For having…….life!

Me: Great answer.

Louisette: Now I’ll ask you a question.

Me: Okay.

Louisette: Why is Upside Down Town upside down?

Me: Because it’s silly.

Louisette: Why?

Me: Because silly is fun.

Louisette: Like Mr Klickety Kane?

Me: Yes! He’s VERY silly.

 

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“Worst one I’ve played”: Reviewing the Reviewers

November 8, 2015 at 12:16 am (Advanced/Publication, Daily Awesomeness, funny, I get paid for this, Interactive Fiction, My Novels, Reviews, Steampunk, Steampunk Australia Stories, Well written, Writing Advice)

It’s finally happened: my first interactive (that is, Choose Your Own Adventure-ish) Australian steampunk novel is wandering unsupervised in the great big world, gathering reviews near and far (and scaring its mother half to death).
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My very first review was the hilarious comment “Worst one I’ve played”, accompanied by one star. I’m genuinely delighted by such a start to proceedings, and could only be happier if a major lobby called for it to be banned.
Moments ago, the very clever and well-respected Emily Short published her review, and said, “All in all, then, this is both the biggest and the best of the Felicity Banks games I’ve tried so far; the worldbuilding is more extensive and the plot better structured.”
She also said the beginning was nicely paced while the end was rushed… which is funny since another reviewer said the beginning was boring but don’t worry because it gets better once you get into it.
People say, “Don’t read your reviews” but with material like this, how could I resist?
It’s on Amazon (after 20 reviews – positive or negative – Amazon will start promoting the book for me for free!!), Apple itunesGoogle, and Google Chrome.
 
Or you can play directly through the publisher’s web site, here. That’s the simplest if you’re not tech savvy (although you’ll need a credit/debit card there).

On most sites, it LOOKS like the game is free, and has in-app purchases. This is just a backwards way of saying, “You can read the first bit before you pay for the rest.” It’s a one-off $5 payment.

I’ve started up a facebook page just for this specific gamebook (discussion, reviews and steampunk/Victorian-era fun), at https://www.facebook.com/attackoftheclockworkarmy/

And of course the Sydney Launch is at the Freecon at 11am today/Sunday (Garry’s even promised me wine, and I know there are lollies because I brought a huge pile). If you’re in Sydney, you can just show up:
O.E.S. Amenities centre, 190 William Street EARLWOOD, Clemton Park shops, next to the ‘Thai-in-a-box’ shop, about half way between the Bexley Rd. / William St. intersection and Main St., Clemton Park.
Bus routes M41, 400, 412, 423, and 473 all pass near the Freecon venue, Campsie (Bankstown Line) and Bexley North (East Hills line) stations are nearby.
I’ve been working non-stop to get the rumbling engine of promotion moving, and I now have a weird feeling that I’ve managed to start something I can’t stop. That’s the entire point of the whole thing, but that doesn’t mean it’s not scary to see the train suddenly belch fire and clatter off beyond my control.
Good luck, little e-baby. I know your friends are out there.

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