Tuesday, 31 December 2013


Hiya: brief synopsis created from a dream I recorded on Twitter a few nights back.

A woman goes on a luxury cruising holiday. It's a really cheap deal because the ship is shared between holiday makers and "patients". At every stage of the booking process she is assured that the patients have nothing contagious and she doesn't need to take any additional shots.

The ship's hospital facilities were run and maintained by an artificial intelligence, which governed medication and treatments, as well as providing on ship security, managing entertainments and the general running of power and navigation. As AI is a common thing, the woman (Jane) accepts this easily and signs all the documents placed in front of her.

On board, she enjoys a few days before being informed by a retired actor that the patients are all psychopaths. The actor was formerly a horror film star who abruptly retired a few years before, so she didn't take him seriously. However, she begins to notice a few things:

The ship AI continually guides her through routes which turn out to be long, dark or in some way unreasonable - although she doesn't notice this for the first week, it's only when the actor shows her the quicker, more obvious routes that she begins to be confused and disoriented.
Although there is a zombie film being shot on board, it doesn't include the retired actor and the group working on it went to great lengths to avoid him.
He talks a lot about his past and makes dark, vaguely threatening statements about the people involved in the film.
Certain people are pointed out as patients and she realises they are all tagged with a light symbol, which the actor has displayed on his chest like a badge.

She begins to become frightened - unable to trust the AI and afraid of the actor she turns with relief to the arrival of a newcomer. They spend a lot of time together and the actor becomes angry and aggressive towards the man. One day, after a romantic lunch which the actor has been spying on, he waylays them and attacks the man. the man disables him (I don't know for sure - one of those wrestling locks, maybe?) and manages to talk him back to sanity. The man goes away to try and report the security issue to one of the few human staff members. In his absence the actor begins to praise him and Jane, still twitchy, reacts badly.

They begin to fight and Jane tries to flee. She runs straight into the zombie movie crew and collapses screaming. The actor, apparently shocked into sanity tries to help her up apologising profusely. She slaps him away but otherwise remains in control of herself. The camera crew pull her to one side and confirm her fears - the actor didn't retire he started on the ship as a passenger, but was diagnosed as a psychopath and now was kept as a patient.

She is once more left alone with the actor and becomes very nervous. Every time he comes near, she flinches or retreats and he rapidly becomes angry and she is scared into hauling a weapon from a nearby decorative display which triggers a full on fight.

She eventually stabs the actor and runs away, locks herself in her cabin and falls weeping into bed.

When she wakes up, there is a video display on the main screen and several faces looking down on her. The video display tracks her through her holiday on the boat and the AI voiceover details instances of erratic behaviour, culminating in her "attempted murder" of a fellow passenger. It describes how a doctor was assigned to her as a precautionary measure and a picture of the man flashes onto the screen.

At the end of the AIs report, the decision of the watchers is unanimous - Jane is a psychopath and must be retained as a permanent patient on the ship. She screams and pleads her sanity, but no-one believes her.

The next day she wakes up and continues her holiday, convinced it has all been a bad dream. When they return to her city of embarkation the next day she tries to disembark and is forcibly restrained. She is injected with a vast amount of drugs and hauled back onto the ship while an announcement is made about the danger she presents to her fellow passengers.

Josh Groban's flaw.

Dear Josh

This is my last communication of 2013. I feel it is important to do it now and begin the new year with a clean slate. You see, I haven't been completely honest with you. Over the last year I have told you many times of the urgent need for you to develop a flaw and obliterate my rather tiresome crush on you, freeing us both to live our respective lives in happy oblivion1.

And now the truth.

*deep breath*

I've been very flippant about terminating my crush because I never took it very seriously. It seems to be a symptom of my single state and it will inevitably pass - as I thought - because all along you have had a massive flaw. One single blip, which to some people would be nothing at all or, at the worst, a surmountable issue. To me it's always been an absolute certain sign that there is no way my interest in you would ever last.

You need to be aware I am a very strong individual. Physically I'm quite pathetic. Emotionally, spiritually, mentally and in every other way that counts I am strong. I'm also deeply passionate. I have very strong beliefs and I will argue for them long and hard2. I'd like to add another footnote here3.

The point here is that I will flatten anyone who is less formidable than myself. 

What I need from a partner is someone who can understand my depth of passion and fervent support of a position. Someone who can meet me halfway and participate in a friendly wrangle over something insignificant. This is why I look for geek men: they're smart, passionate, driven and can understand my personality. But geeky isn't enough: I also need someone who has the strength of character to stand up to me. 

Idiotic crushes on timid guys will always go nowhere because a good 70% of my mind is unable to let go of the knowledge that should we ever meet, within five minutes I would be utterly disinterested at best and frustrated at worst.

Until this Christmas holiday I had never seen you enter the fray. You seem to let everything flow over you, you don't get angry or annoyed and you were clearly labelled as timid4. It seemed vaguely odd given the intensity you put into your music but you don't seem to get personally involved in anything - which is totally your call and keep on being whatever you want to be - but that lack of fire was all I needed to know that I wasn't really into you.

And then, when I was busy being an introvert in a full house I went to your tweet list and came across a gem that blew my mind and utterly screwed me over. You called someone a lying sack of donkey poop and told them to get bent.

Dear boy, you and I have a problem. OK, so *I* have a problem. You just have yet another screaming fangirl.

You  know what my problem is? It sucks being single and it sucks even more measuring every man I meet up against a ridiculous ideal and finding them wanting. Please get a girlfriend - that will always make you cease to exist on my plane of awareness. Alternatively, publicise a flaw. It isn't necessarily going to be something that everyone will hate, but it's got to be something to dissuade me.

I get that this isn't your fault, but I would appreciate your help nevertheless. 



1 I acknowledge that this won't alter your life whatsoever.
2 To balance this, I do also have the ability and inclination to - in Tim Minchin's words - "spin on a fucking dime" if someone makes a point I haven't previously considered which is why I haven't yet alienated everyone I've ever met.
3 There was one instance where a similar minded chap and I began to discuss web browsers and our differing opinions on the efforts you should go when designing a website to support IE. We were both in relationships and our respective significant others were horrified at the vehemence we each employed. After almost half an hour we came to some conclusion and went off to have a drink with no ill will. 
4 Even though that's not a bad thing, I feel compelled to apologise. I'm British, so that probably accounts for it. Sorry. 

Monday, 23 December 2013

Merry Newsletter everybody!

From @fascinatingpics on Twitter
By now the mail should have delivered unto my nearest and dearest the real world copies of this newsletter that I posted last Wednesday and so this post contains no spoilers.

If you haven't had a card and you feel you should have, probably best to not click the link and instead send me a distressed text. Bear in mind that since I swapped my Android for Windows phone I've lost the vast majority of my contacts, you might get a response saying something along the lines of "who the hell are you?" and it won't necessarily be in jest. The second one probably will be though ;)

The holidays are upon us and all my chores are still to be done, so I assume you are the same and give you this as a way of whittling down the time you have carefully hoarded to do chores in preparation for Christmas. Be joyful, be merry and slothlike; and when all else fails eat, drink and remember you've got a whole 365 days before you need to worry about it again.

And finally..... Click here to read my newsletter but please note, I did things to make the printed version pretty which haven't translated too well into this version which was written and finished in free software and so is missing fonts and some understanding of column layouts.

Love and best wishes for all the years to come


Saturday, 21 December 2013

Be careful what you wish for!

I love Christmas. There's all the anticipation, the gluttony and the messages of love and goodwill from family and friends who take a large chunk out of their personal time simply to pass on those messages.

Christmas is such a beautiful time of year and one of the things I truly enjoy is the Secret Santa. Every time I've done it I've put more effort into it than the previous time. I've mulled over present ideas, I've gone back and forth, I've hunted through a thousand shops and yet, no matter how hard I try I never manage to better whoever buys my gifts.

And this year? This year I was convinced! I was so sure I would be prouder of how I'd done at purchasing than pleased with what I was given.

I failed to take into account the sheer brilliance of my team.

We agreed a £5 gift limit and signed up to a website to draw  names. I wrote up a wish list as  follows:

"Diamonds, Josh Groban and a puppy."

Yesterday I played the role of Santa and handed out the gifts. You know when you have that moment that everyone seems to have a gift except you? It turns out the big present under the tree wasn't decorative - it was for me!

We tore into our gifts as one - sadly the woman I purchased for wasn't there to open her gift - and the first thing I did was open the card. My Santa had handmade a card with a variety of Josh Groban photos and had Photoshopped thought bubbles of him daydreaming about me.

Inside she had written "Be careful what you set your heart on for it will surely be yours, Ralph Waldo Emerson" my wishlist and "Merry Christmas".

Tearing into my present I discovered a large cuddly puppy toy and a CD - David Bowie Diamond Dogs. The girl next to me pointed out that my puppy was also wearing very glitzy earrings.

I had a massive grin on my face for the better part of an hour and I'm wearing my new earrings now.

Next year I'm upping my game!


Monday, 2 December 2013

The deadline is looming

Dear Josh

Let's not beat about the bush. We both know what is going on here.

10 months ago I gave you fair and honest warning of my crush on you. Anticipating that you would be as unenthusiastic at the prospect of a drooling femme geek stalking your Twitter account as I was, I offered you a really easy out – simply by announcing some dastardly flaw in your personality you would be free of my adoration. Alternatively, you could relinquish your single status. It didn't even have to be for long! Just long enough for me to get distracted so that by the time I seek my own relationship in 2014 I'm over this ridiculous infatuation. 

Yet somehow a handsome, talented, intelligent, sensitive man with a fantastic sense of humour who is still too young to be referred to as having reached (in the oddly euphemistic phrase) the “prime of his life” has managed to remain single for the entirety of 2013 to date.

To give credit where it's due - I couldn't help but notice your plea for a dating service that matches people up in December: it's reassuring to see that you're taking this situation seriously. However, I do feel compelled to hint that you might have left it dangerously close. By finding yourself a lady friend earlier in the year you could have nipped my passion in the bud and simultaneously enlivened your touring experience.

Unfortunately, it has to be admitted that due to your delay in finding a suitable mate, this crush of mine has reached a rather unpleasant stage. While looking for a photo of you to include in my Christmas newsletter (a significant portion of which shall be dedicated to your inexplicable failure to set yourself up as a happily married father of three in the last ten months) I entered “Josh Groban pictures” into the search engine and before I pressed Go, I couldn't help but notice that the first option was “Josh Groban pictures shirtless”. To my everlasting shame... Oh dear. I can't even admit it on the internet.

I'll leave you to extrapolate from context.

Just... Don't extrapolate too far, I'm not that crazy.

In summary: you need to stop being everything I'm looking for in a male. Please? I mean, really. Please. You're screwing up my potential relationships and I don't appreciate it.


This blog post was brought to you by the thesaurus.com page of synonyms for “infatuation”.

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Made it!

Huzzah! November achieved! For those of you who just happened upon this and missed my daily updates (you lucky ducks) I wrote, in November only, a fifty one thousand word beginning to a novel.

Those 51k words make up the first two thirds of my plot. When I've written the whole thing down, I need to go back through it and get some serious editing on. What I need to do is print it to a paper copy and read it through many times before setting to it with a red pen. Currently it's a 79 page document. Looking forward to the full word count!

Sadly, editing is less fun than getting the words down, and this is the point at which my writing usually falls flat. Hopefully I'll keep ripping through it.

Even if I don't, it's that time of year again! I've got a million mince pies to make, Christmas cards to design, make, write, post, etc and my Christmas newsletter to write up. You see, I'm terrible at staying in touch, even with my nearest and dearest. So at Christmas I put together the highlights of my year in a mock-up newspaper, print it out and mail it to people alongside a Christmas card. If you're very good, I'll post a copy of it up here for you.

I'll be avoiding Christmas cracker manufacture this year. It's for a combination of reasons, but the end result is the same: no crackers.

However, there is one thing I am determined to do: at the start of this year I let Josh Groban know abut the urgent need for him to get a girlfriend. I have to remind him that his deadline of New Year is looming, so he gets his act together. I'll try to get that up asap to give him as close to a month as possible.

OK. So that's it. Rant at Josh Groban until he has the decency to get a girlfriend, write up newsletter - probably involving a recap of my favourite of the year's rants - bake mince pies, eat mince pies, make cards, mail cards, wrap Christmas presents, plan Christmas.

And above all: be happy and warm.

I am blessed and mine is a very good life.