The Three R’s; reading, (w)riting and reflecting

I am in full writing mode; seated before my trusty keyboard and bright, white monitor. I am just waiting for inspiration to arrive. Sometimes it is a little slow. At the outset, let me make it perfectly clear that I do not suffer from writer’s block nor do I believe in writer’s block. I think that any difficulty in getting started is due to having too many choices. For example, you may have to choose between writing, watching television or going out. Tough choices, eh? But, if you aspire to be a writer you must be strong, determined and masochistic. Easy!

I have been looking out my study window at the garden. Normally this is enough to start the ball rolling. But, not today. I switched to Plan B but found there was nothing to watch on the box and to my great horror there will be no ‘Game of Thrones’ for two weeks. Tyrion could be dead by then! Plan C has been considered but for the moment I am not sure it would be a good idea. Plan C involves reading other books to find ideas or simply to be ‘jump-started’ like an old car. The trouble with Plan C is that I end up getting lost in one of my favourite books. Maybe a coffee break will help?

Now I am standing in the kitchen listening to the couple next door having a shouting match. This is not being nosey because half the street can probably hear them as well. As the kettle starts to boil the number of f-words, c-words, shits, bastards, bitches and get stuffeds reaches an all-time high. I am laughing. Why is it that other peoples’ fights are mostly so amusing? Oh, this is good. She is storming about in a bare midriff top, micro shorts and sheepskin boots. At another time her outfit might be described as fetching. He has decided to jump in his classic coupe and is revving the engine loudly. Sounds good. Now he puts his foot down and takes off up the street, fishtailing as his tyres screech like souls in torment. He is gone. The silence is deafening. Nothing to see here folks! You can just imagine the cops trying to usher away a crowd of onlookers.

Oh well, back to the salt mines. When I am working my study is always the salt mines not withstanding the nice carpet and lovely view. Come on, go with me on this. You know we writers have to feel like victims. The trouble with this room is that the bookshelves are full of distractions. I have several scale model cars including James Bond’s Aston Martin DB5 from ‘Goldfinger’. There are also many ceramic cats, numerous dragons, small statues, a water feature, an incense burner, my teddy bear, my crystal collection and too many books to count. It is fair to say that I have a lot of toys.

Okay, I am starting to get a little angry with myself for rabbiting on and not writing anything. Perhaps some more coffee? No, they might start fighting again. I could not live with the guilt. Hmmm, here’s my notebook where I write down ideas and observations as I wander about during the day. Could be something great hiding in here? Nuh. Well that was five minutes badly spent. Drumming my fingers now as I look at the clock. Two hours have passed and there is nothing to show for it. My screen is empty; the proverbial polar bear in a snowstorm picture. Desperate times call for desperate measures. Shuffle, shuffle. Shuffle, shuffle. You have to imagine this bit, I am frantically rummaging through my scrap paper bin. Shuffle, shuffle. Eureka! Thank goodness for oversight and scrap paper. One line; ‘space travel at high speed is just like conventional air travel, only much faster…’

I am up and running.

My first book review – ALLSORTS

Reviews

You are author of this book.

Review by: Jeannie Meekins on May 18, 2014 : star star star star
An entertaining collection. A dash of imagination coupled with a dash of reality.
There are some rich descriptive details that give a feel of atmosphere. I particularly liked the reverse assumptions, such as if there is a footprint in the sand, it must be Friday.
(review of free book)

Thank you very much Jeannie. I am absolutely stoked.

regards

Rob

Seekers after truth, ghost posses, spirited pursuits and cricket bats

Lately I have developed a fascination for the numerous ‘ghost hunter’ type programs available for viewing on Foxtel. Far from creeping me out, I am like a rabbit in a spotlight. I just have to watch and I can’t get enough of the stuff that goes bump in the night. This is a huge advance on hiding under the bed or in the cupboard, which were my preferred strategies up until I started watching these spooky reality shows. For one thing, the bed is too low and we have all seen those movies where the monster, ogre, murderer or general harm-doer always stops outside the cupboard, and smells the victim’s fear. Then it’s usually curtains. So I don’t hide no more. Instead, I sit in a corner of my lounge, with a cricket bat; where I cannot be snuck up on. So far it has worked. No need to call Ghostbusters.
Here in Oz, there are two programs with similar names. One features a team of locals (investigators, photographers and psychic) and the other features a team of locals plus Internationals. I prefer the latter, simply because the all Aussie version is so pathetic. Most of the team on that show look like refugees from Telly Tubbies and the psychic cries at the drop of a foot fall. The star is a weird-looking dude dressed in black who has all the charisma of a fence post. But he does nod very well. So far these guys have failed to turn up anything of note despite finding a number of apparently haunted sites. Maybe the resident spirits run away as soon as the team appears.
The combined team on the other hand has racked up some great results. What impresses me the most are the EVPs; recordings of ghostly voices and sounds. What does not impress me, is when one of the team shouts out that they just saw a dark shadow or an apparition, but there is no film to back them up. Spooky noises and unexplained happenings are common to both shows but for my money the combined team’s creepy voice over narrator (perhaps ex-Rocky Horror Show?) and the team descriptions provide touches of real class. One of the team has the job description ‘Psychic Bad-boy’ (he has tats and piercings). You gotta love it.
Ghost Hunters and Ghost Hunters International have similar lineups. The shows are quite slick and often thought-provoking. All team members wear casual uniforms with individual accessories. I also like the fact that they travel in black SUV’s or cars. Are they VIP’s? Course they are; ordinary people do not get to ride in black SUV’s. You talk about technical equipment? Both shows’ stars are tooled up big time. The spooks don’t have a chance.
More recently a show called Paranormal Phenomena – Fact or Fiction has caught my attention. Unlike the other shows, this one sets out to prove whether particular happenings are true or not. They even attempt to replicate what has been alleged. It makes for great tv. I love the way that a bunch of people, who claim to be either ex-FBI, ex-CIA, ex-police, a super hero (current or past) or have some other such pedigree, have become part of a team that selects its own cases from the weekly submissions sent in by viewers. Best of all, they often conclude that what has happened is not faked.
Of course, all this proof of ghostly activities does little to soothe my nerves; especially when I am all alone in the house with just my little cricket bat to protect me.
Unfortunately, like the snake charmer’s cobra I know that I will continue to be drawn to these type of shows. Perverse, isn’t it? SSSSSSSSSSSS!

Yet more saucers

More eatable flying saucers. Just how far does this conspiracy go?

mycluteredmind

Day

We’ll technically I’ve missed the 4th now. But it’s here now (how many times did you hear “May the 4th be with you” today?) I know I said it a couple… hundred times haha!

Anyway some British sweets are the picture today called “Flying Saucers”. I don’t really know what the outside is but there’s sherbet in the middle and they’re pretty tasty =D

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Flying Saucer Cupcakes

This is the kind of twist I like to see. Health warning: these saucers may be fattening.

Yummagumma

flying saucer cupcake
(Please excuse the absolute mess of my kitchen in the background, I was in a rush…)

Here it goes, my first recipe post! Bear with me…

Our office has semi-regular bake off’s and so far I have won both the best taste award and the best looking award in the last two, so my winning streak was at stake here! This time around the theme for the bake off was “Absolutely Fabulous”, so you could take it literally and bake a wine bottle shaped cake with fags ends coming out of it, or go all OTT on the decoration. I decided to go for latter…

Having scoured the net for inspiration, I stumbled upon a blog called raspberri cupcakes. Oh my. I implore you to go and check it out! Amazing recipes with amazing photograph, serious food porn! So after perusing her recipes I was inspired by a particular post…

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Draft of an interview with Edgar Allan Poe in the proposed magazine ‘Yeah Right’

Edgar Allan Poe was born on 19 January 1809 in Boston, Massachusetts. He died, some say in mysterious circumstances, in Baltimore, Maryland at the Washington College Hospital, on 7 October 1849. Poe was just 40 years old. However, during his short life Poe was widely celebrated for his short stories and poetry. Unfortunately his fame did not transfer into income. Small wonder then, that he accepted YR’s summons to this interview in exchange for a donation to the Poe Mystery Writers Trust.

Edgar Allan Poe was a poet, short story writer, journalist and literary critic. His best known works include, ‘The Fall of the House of Usher’ (1839), ‘The Murders in the Rue Morgue’ (1841), ‘The Masque of the Red Death’ (1842) and ‘The Raven’ (1845). His stories and poetry continue to be popular with modern readers and have inspired many writers and filmmakers.

YR: Welcome Mister Poe. Did you have a nice trip back?
EAP: Well yes, I suppose I did. The shift between dimensions is always unpleasant. Everything dissolves into atoms, then, you kind of reassemble again on the other side. You tend to keep your fingers crossed you know?
YR: Quite.
EAP: I notice that things have sure changed a great deal since I was here last. It’s all just a little frightening for me.
YR: Frightening for you? Oh give me a break.
EAP: A break?
YR: Yes well, it’s very true that things have changed a lot Ed. Oh, do you mind if I call you Ed?
EAP: As a matter of fact I do mind. We have not been properly introduced, and nobody has ever called me Ed.
YR: Come on Ed, loosen up a bit and undo that string tie. You’ve been gone for a while. We don’t stand on ceremony so much these days.
EAP: That may be so. But look here, my name is Edgar. Although, you can call me Mister Poe.
YR: Okay, if that’s the way you want it. Mister… Temperamental.
EAP: Mister Poe sonny. Don’t get shirty with me. I only came back because you said I would be able to clear up some misconceptions about myself and my writing. I am doing your nasty little magazine a big favour.
YR: Don’t forget the donation to your writers’ trust.
EAP: (sheepishly) Well yes, that too.
YR: Yeah, okay, whatever Ed. Still a harsh critic of other people’s work eh?
EAP: That’s Mister Poe and yes I am. I don’t know how many red pencils I could wear out on a rag like this one but I’d suggest that double figures would not be out of the question.
YR: Ouch, still a bit moody Mister Poe?
EAP: Moody? Listen sonny, when I was alive, I struggled with debt and alcoholism. Then my dear, dear wife died in 1847. Am I still moody? Yes, you bet. I am also still a little gloomy and morose, not to mention deceased. I see things very differently to you.
YR: Whatever. Settle down, Mister Poe. Let’s just get on with the interview shall we?
EAP: Alright then. What do you want to know?
YR: Did you manage to meet up with your missus when you passed over?
EAP: Yes, but I’d rather not talk about it.
YR: Sounds suitably intriguing. Did she give you the flick or something?
EAP: If you’re asking whether we are still together, the answer is no.
YR: Left you for a younger spectre eh? Perhaps it was for someone less creepy?
EAP: Err, yes, but he’s nothing but a cad and a bounder. He is a rogue who’s taken advantage of her youth and innocence.
YR: Oh Edgar, you should talk. You married her when she was 13. You were 22. She was your cousin. Come on now.
EAP: Well, you look here, you weren’t there. Anyway she looked a whole lot older. You’ve seen the photographs. I’d also had a couple of drinks and the sun was in my eyes. She initiated our close relationship. I just saw her ankles and love did the rest. I was smitten.
YR: Okay Ed, we get the picture. Why do you hate birds so much?
EAP: I don’t hate birds. What on earth are you getting at?
YR: Does The Raven ring a bell with you?
EAP: Of course it does. It’s one of my finest pieces, if I say so myself.
YR: Certainly you can say so Ed. But what’s the story? What kind of creature is the bird really? Is it perhaps a demon or something even meaner?
EAP: (sighs) The wretched bird is simply a sounding board for a young scholar. He is desolate following the death of his one, true love, Lenore.
YR: Yeah, well that one’s not going to fly with our readers Ed. What about your so-called mysterious death? What happened there?
EAP: Well, as you seem to know, there has been much speculation. Amongst other things, it has been suggested that I died of heart disease, drugs, cholera, rabies or alcoholism; or even a combination of all those things.
YR: It’s an impressive lineup of possibilities, Edgar. Which one actually did you in?
EAP: It’s a mystery isn’t it, sonny? I like mysteries. Let’s leave it at that.
YR: Mister Poe you are hardly being co-operative.
EAP: Yes. I suppose that you might be wondering why that’s so? (long, long pause)
YR: Well…I’m waiting Ed. Don’t keep me in suspense. What’s your answer?
EAP: To quote the raven, ‘Nevermore’. Merely this and nothing more. (Poe vanishes)
YR: What? Now where’s he gone? Come back here Ed. I’ll give you Nevermore.