Thursday, April 30, 2009

Functional neuroimaging

The human brain uses up about 20% of the calories we eat. Some kids of Functional neuroimaging scans light up areas of the brain with a higher metabolic rate, which shows which parts of the brain are currently in use.

This translating and poof-reading makes me tired, and I'm sure the
language areas are lighting up like Christmas trees, and metabolising like mad.

So translating twisted Spanish burns calories.

Therefore I can go and eat some chocolate.

Yup, that's logical.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

It's getting mad around here again. There I was, doing yoga every morning, critiquing my friend's novel, writing fiction, and doing a bit of translating, a bit of housework and so on, feeling I was getting on with stuff rather well. Then the deadline for the translation job moved forward from September to June 8th.

Oops! So now it's full steam ahead on the translation, but it's a particularly tiring one. So I translate, then take a "break" and do housework, and translate again, and have another "break", and try to fit a bit of something else around that.

But at least I got to Los Sauces to see the procession on Monday evening. Even then, I had to miss yoga, and then I had to leave before the loa (a little concert, in honour of the Virgin), because I had an appointment in Santa Cruz.

And this afternoon I have to take my son to the dentist, then horse-riding (if we get out of the dentist's in time) and then yoga at 6 pm. Which means I'd better organise dinner before we got to the dentist.

How did I ever have time to work?

Monday, April 27, 2009

Power cuts.

Yesterday I saw a notice, announcing that parts of the village would have a power cut this morning, but I couldn't make out whether it included our house or not.

So this morning I made sure to have the computer turned off and the kettle boiled by half past eight. And the power stayed on.

So now I'm really enjoying living in a house with electricity.

Saturday, April 25, 2009


Lately I've been writing slowly, but almost every day. Although it would help if the fiction writing was all on the same story. Sometimes I work on the second episode of Agent Hammer, sometimes I do a bit of a new story about El Hierro, and today I worked on the rewrite of "Hell Raiser". It went down pretty well at the critique group. Even better the critiques largely agree, so I know what to do.

The blog about El Hierro now has a total of 4 posts. For someone with no time, that's not too bad.

I learned how to put a poll on a blog, and added one to the blog about La Palma, asking people what they wanted to see more of. Now I knew fine well that most people wouldn't vote, but this blog gets an average of 120 visits per day, so I thought I'd get maybe 10 votes a day. I was completely underwhelmed by the response - one vote in the first 24 hours. Oh well. Perhaps there'll be more later.

I've been critiquing a friend's novel. It's longer than I expected, and therefore taking up more time than I expected, but I'm thoroughly enjoying it.

I really ought to send off some submissions. Nothing's going to sell just sitting on my hard drive.

The other thing I'm pleased about is that I've been doing a little yoga every morning. Just 10-15 minutes, but I've kept it up for 2 weeks and I can feel the difference.

A morning well spent.

My friends in Garafía saw a notice saying the Town Hall were accepting applications for grants to improve rural houses.

Boy were they interested! I phoned up for them, and it sounded like they might well qualify, so I asked for, and got, a list of documents they'd need. Then on Thursday I set off with Helen to the Town Hall.

It looks like they'll be eligible, so they have to get the application in by May 15th, they'll hear whether they qualify by September, and for how much (up to 50%). Then they have a year to do the work. When it's finished, they show the receipts to the Town Hall and get a cheque. So they might just get their indoor toilet a lot sooner. They might even get a bath, at long last.

Friday, April 17, 2009

The Olive Branch

I had a row with friends (with faults on both sides, of course) and somehow I managed to give the impression that I was annoyed with them in general, rather than annoyed about one thing.

So they came to my house with the nearest they could get to an olive branch. Yup, that's a tin of olives on the end.

Even if I'd been really mad, that was irrisistable. So all is sweetness and light again, thank goodness.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Great Photos, shame about the comments

I just discovered, which features memorable news photos. Some of them I remember seeing before. Some are very upsetting, but all are worth seeing.

I hadn't heard of Emmett Till before. As a 14-year-old he went from Chicago to visit relatives in Mississippi, and while he was there he whistled at a shop girl.

He was black. She was white. This was 1955.

Three days later, two men took him away in the middle of the night and tortured him to death. The police found them, but the jury (all white from the defendants' home town) found them not guilty, although in 1956 they confessed to a magazine.

It's a disgusting story, but the really disgusting thing is the comments. Some people haven't changed, although the percentage of people like that has.

Being proud of winning the Nobel Peace Prize, I can understand. being proud of making really good scones, I can understand. Being proud of a genetic predisposition to sunburn and skin cancer, I find very, very strange.

Friday, April 10, 2009

This is crazy!

I must be MAD! Stark raving bonkers! Thick as four short planks. At least 64k short of a megabyte. Nuttier than a whole warehouse of fruitcakes. But then what would you expect from someone who has conversations with imaginary, genetically-modified hamsters?

I've started a blog on El Hierro at This is ridiculous, because I have absolutely no time at all to update it. Mind you, I'm not promising to update it. Ever.

On the other hand, I love the place, and there's practically no competition at all. I found a blog about it, started in 2006, without a single post.

One thing I've been planning for a while is to put some real work into the blog about La Palma, and today I registered it with Technorati.

According to pro-blogger .com:
Adsense Revenue = Traffic Levels + High Paying Ads + Relevant Ads + Optimally Positioned and Designed Ads

This sounds like common sense. Given that the subject of the ads is fixed, and I'm already getting relevant ads, I want to increase my traffic and improve the ad design and placement. If I do a little every day, then soon I should be able to retire right?

Well, maybe I'll be able to buy a pizza at least.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Good things come in Threes

Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine are hanging onto my story for round three of their selection process. Of course this doesn't guarantee that they'll buy it, but as far as it goes, it's very encouraging.

My story "Thrice upon a Time" has been accepted by Afterburn SF for their December 2009 issue, and "Designer Genes" is now up at Alien Skin.

I'd better do some more writing, or I'll have nothing to sell.

El Hierro again

The famous Garoe in El Hierro
The Garoe

I've lost my passport.

I had it about ten days ago, because I checked the expiry date. But as I headed for the ferry port on Sunday afternoon (to visit my friend on El Hierro) it was nowhere to be found. I phoned the police, who said that I could travel on my residencia. So I heaved a sigh of relief and went to the port.

But at the ferry check in, they said you could travel on the older residencias (credit-card sized with a photo) but not the new ones (A4, no photo, nicknamed "the green monster"). In the end they let me on the ferry, but as a non-resident, and I had to pay double. Still, that was only an extra 12€, so I wasn't too bothered.

I had a great time with my friend. The spring flowers are blooming, I finally saw the famous Garoe, I took some photos of Ruben Armiche working on his huge statue of "Homenaje a la Bajada". It's something he calls "re-use art", because it's made of things like old washing machines covered by chicken wire, sacks, and finally cement. He plans to finish it in time for the big festival in July (the bajada, hence the name), so I hope to see it then. We had a delicious dinner at the viewpoint at La Peña, too. Once again, I wondered about starting a blog about El Hiero, but I really don't have time.

All too soon it was time to come home. I was worried that I might have trouble without the passport, so we went to the airport early, in case the check in staff needed to phone their boss or something.

Thank goodness we did. You can't fly without a passport. I had to go to the Civil Guard and formally report the loss. They gave me a piece of paper to show at the airport along with the green monster, and I got home all right.

Of course, I found the house grubby, the laundry baskets overflowing, and my son's friend wanting to stay the night, but it was worth it.

The statue of Neptune in El Hierro, by Ruben Amiche
The Statue "Homenaje a la Bajada, by Ruben Amiche

Thursday, April 02, 2009

The Mummy's Curse

Cover for Flash Fiction Online

My story, The Mummy's Curse, is up at Flash Fiction Online. It even got a special cover for April Fool's Day, although I believe that's coming down today.