Thursday, 24 November 2011

Regarding Keyboards

After a sudden flash of brilliance, I have come to the conclusion that every keyboard should have a 'Forward!' key to complement the Backspace key. It would be on the left-hand side of the keyboard, directly across the number-line from the Backspace key.

*The Plus and Minus keys could be moved to replace the buttons for Page Up and Page Down, which could be implemented as functions on the up and down arrow keys.
*The number keys would be shifted so that 0 was right next to Backspace, making room for Forward!
*The Forward! key would function as an alternative to the spacebar, and it could also be used to return to a page which you had just gone back from, much in the way that the Backspace key can be used to return to a previous page.
*Pressing Shift and Forward! at the same time would work in the same way as a left-button mouse click. Control and Forward! would produce an effect identical to that of pressing the right mouse button.

That is all. Perhaps I shall construct a diagram of the ideal keyboard to post later on!

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Regarding That Time We Crashed A Wedding

Please note that the following account has been embellished somewhat in an effort to make it even more appealing to the general public.

 It started with an innocent effort to explore some family history.  As it happens, our grandfather went to his first Christmas service at a church not too far from our house (which is very interesting as our families have moved to many places since then).  We travelled to the church and, after taking some photographs of its beautiful surrounding gardens, went inside.

It was very interesting to look at all of the bits of the church's history that were on display.  Eventually we came (inevitably) to the Big Main Church Room and thought - hey, let's go in there!

As soon as we came near the door, it swung open with a thunderous clanking of gears akin to the sound of a hundred stampeding horses.  The dozens of people in the room turned slowly to look at us - a crowd of six people standing motionless, beginning to grasp the gravity of the situation on which they had just intruded.

Two of the people (standing at the front of the room) were dressed very nicely - one in a white dress and the other in a tuxedo - and they looked to be the most surprised of all.  Their shock lasted only a moment, though - and then the bride-to-be pulled a revolver from one of the pockets in her dress.

I ducked as the first shot buried itself in a wall inches from my head.  For a moment, there was absolute silence - perhaps our assailant was considering the best strategy for attack - and it was quiet enough for us to hear the click in the moments that followed.  By this time we were all stumbling gracefully backward, trying to figure out how we might escape without turning our backs or running into anything.

Before we could vacate the premises, the merciless woman pulled the trigger a second time.  Luckily, I had noticed each of the nearly imperceptible movements she had made while adjusting her aim, and I just had time to pull a nearby crucifix from the wall and hold it in front of me.  In true symbolic fashion, the sturdy metal of the cross deflected the bullet, and we were off and running before she could reset the hammer of her gun.  We burst out the doors in a spectacular display of athleticism, startling the innocent people lounging in the gardens.  Our lightning speed brought us to our vehicle ere the crazed gunwoman could catch up with us, and we left her shouting creative insults as we sped away in our bulletproofed mini-van.

We laughed all the way home.

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Regarding Triumphant Triumph

Let all the people rejoice, for I have finished reading a book.  Not just any book, mind you - no, no.  I have finished reading 'Ivanhoe' by one Sir Walter Scott.

This was no easy feat.

The book is claimed to be 'the father of the modern historical romance novel' or something like that.  I believe that about ninety-eight percent of the book could have been removed without affecting the storyline at all.  And romance?  There was no romance.  There was fighting aplenty, and certainly some racism, but nothing which I would consider romantic.  'Dense' is the best way to describe this book.

But this is not a rant: it is a joyous celebration.  I have FINISHED the book and am COMPLETELY DONE WITH IT.

And now, having got through that, I do believe I can get through anything.

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Regarding 'Larklight' {Book Review!}

Some time ago, I picked up an enticingly decorated volume entitled 'Larklight' and written by a Mr Philip Reeve. In fact, it was because of the title that I picked it up in the first place - I am obsessively enthusiastic about birds and anything to do with them, and I found the lark bit of the title particularly interesting. Upon further examination, I found it to be highly relevant to my interests. (Victorians in space! And giant spiders!)

The book proudly proclaims that it is 'decorated throughout by Mr David Wyatt', and this is very true. Mr Wyatt's pen-and-ink illustrations capture the spirit of the story perfectly and add a certain depth to the characters and settings.

The story itself is clever, with interesting twists along the way. Mr Reeve is, in my opinion, an excellent writer, throwing in brilliant bits of humour and turns of phrase without distracting from the plot. Footnotes are used generously (often to amusing effect) all through the book, and this is a Good Thing. Even if the author became occasionally confused regarding the proper usage of the words 'its' and 'it's' (they're not interchangeable!), I found the book to be entirely enjoyable overall. I am currently reading the second book (Starcross) in the trilogy, and it has been just as good so far.

In summary: Larklight is a good book, Philip Reeve is a clever man, and I recommend this bit of reading for anyone who would like a bit of light enjoyment without emotional involvement or confusing plotlines.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Regarding Warm Weather

I'm going to go ahead and admit that summer is not my favourite season. I don't despise it, but I do have preferences, and in this case those preferences would be spring, autumn, and winter (specifically the latter two). I get overheated easily, so it's always a relief when the air cools off after the summer.

It is nice to have the windows open all day and listen to all the birds (some of which do not even reside here during other times of the year). And I love summer thunderstorms. But when the long, hot months finally draw to a close and the cooling breezes begin to whisper teasing hints of Something New - that's when I get excited. Because I believe that, all things considered, autumn is my favourite season ever.

I love when the first leaves begin to change colour and then the radiant fire spreads through once-green boughs. I love the mystical suggestions of the wind as it converses with anything and anyone willing to listen. And, of course, I love when Starbucks re-introduce their Pumpkin Spice Latte. Less than three*.

I love autumn so much, in fact, that I feel rather compelled to write possibly-flowery poetry about it now. Perhaps I shall do that. But first, I suppose, I should finish the poems I mean to send in to a magazine.

It's not procrastination if you're doing other things.

* (<3)

Friday, 29 April 2011

Regarding Eiders

As of late, I have become quite taken with Common Eiders. The following is my attempt to capture their spirit and beauty using graphite compound on paper:

The head shape was drawn with the aid of a nice photograph in a volume (from the Collins publishing offices) entitled 'Birds: A Complete Guide to All British and European Species'.

The illustration is not really so sepia-toned as it appears here, but it is in essence the same.

Monday, 11 April 2011

Regarding a Very Special Meerkat

It is with great sadness that I have received this news: Zaphod, the oldest meerkat ever to be studied by the Cambridge team, has passed away. He saw countless victories and defeats over his lifetime, and led several different groups. His legacy will, I hope, remain strong in the generations to come. I have written a tribute poem to him, as he fully deserves one. It is as follows:

The skies today are dull and grey,
and shepherd's trees are whisp'ring to the wind.
Their mournful wails and tearful tales
can only mean one thing:
the longest life has finally come to an end.

While others sleep, the Aztecs keep
and wait and watch the stars all through the night;
now comes the dawn, but their leader's gone,
and no-one sees the sun
or revels in its rays of oft-beloved rosy light.

The sun is bold, but the sand is cold,
and so the hearts of all those standing still -
Monkulus grieves, and yet she receives
no comfort to her wounds:
no grooming, not a lick; no greeting trill.

The world seems bleak - but the spirits speak
of brighter times gone past and yet to be:
Zaphod is gone, but his children live on -
the future lies with them;
the desert is a kingdom for this monarch's legacy.

Those left behind will quickly find
that life can suffer loss and still go on.
Indeed, up above is a once-lost love
of Zaphod's very own,
and Flower seems as though she'd never gone.

So ends his story, but never his glory:
the Aztecs and the Whiskers will survive.
They fight in his name and speak of the same
in legend and in song:
in the soul of every meerkat he is very much alive.

x Elinor Blackwood 9 April 2011

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Regarding Wednesdays

Having slept with my window slightly open, I awoke this morning to a gentle chorus of finches and the high-spirited calls of jays. There was something else, as well; a pattery ticky-tocky sound. It took me some time to realise, but this was the sound of rain.

The skies are grey, and this is good: for it is Wednesday, the holiest of all days. On Wednesdays, we have no obligations. We are going to the book-store today, and that does not count as an obligation because it is by choice and not a grueling task.

You may recall, dear reader, that I have decided to rid myself of Much Clutter. My mother has adopted an excellent strategy: throw out One Thousand Things. I shall certainly attempt to assist her wherever I can.

Thursday, 31 March 2011

Regarding the Coming of Spring

On the first of March, a large flock of spring birds arrived in the area. Now everything is coming to life. It is intensely wonderful. This winter has seemed a long one to me, and though I do not resent it, I do not mind its passing.

I am looking forward to the Removal of Much Clutter from my house and basement. We have many boxes of Things Which We Do Not Need, and these must be disposed of. I have come to realise that once I have let something live in the basement for six years without missing it, I probably have no use for it anymore. I hope to be rid of many things over the weeks to come; then, perhaps, we can move far, far away.

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Regarding the Weather of Late

There came a point, about two or three days ago now, where I began to believe that the cold grip of winter had almost released us from its grasp and spring was on its way. In actual fact, the truth was nothing close to my assumption.

It rained for perhaps fifteen hours (I was asleep for some of this presumed time) in fits and starts, and then rained a bit more. But when the snow had nearly melted from the persistent downpour, the air became cold once again and the drizzle turned to fluffy white flakes! Now we have several inches of snow on the ground and it shows no sign of wishing to melt. I am mildly confused, but still looking forward to the inevitable spring rains which must be on their way.

In regard to poetical and artistic endeavours - I have been most unproductive in these respects. I am ashamed to say that when I sit down, pencil in hand and notebook on lap, the words seize up and refuse to arrange themselves in a rhythmically pleasing fashion. I hope that this affliction shall soon be eased, and when it is I shall be sure to display the results of my flood of creativity.

Saturday, 26 February 2011

Regarding My Musical Endeavours (and a Recently Acquired Book)

I have been playing the pianoforte for extended periods of time during the past few days. The result of this is that when I now close my eyes, I see the notes and keys in my mind as though they are before me once again. But another result is that I can now play a particular new piece quite well, stumbling only two or three times during the song. I hope to soon have it memorised to the point that I may play it and think about other things simultaneously. If I can manage to serenade myself as I compose poetry in my head, it may improve my productivity. I shall look into this.

On an unrelated note, I have recently begun to read the book 'Foundling' by a D. M. Cornish. It is the first volume in a series entitled 'Monster-Blood Tattoo' and is quite to my liking at the time of this writing. I hope it shall continue in just as pleasing a fashion. The author's illustrations in pencil are rather aesthetically appealing, and this adds to the overall charm of the book. It has also inspired me to attempt some graphite drawings of my own invention. Perhaps these will be available for you to view here at some near future time.

Monday, 21 February 2011

Regarding a Certain Nocturnal Escapade Performed by my Sister

I am sure that you all are familiar with the tales of my sister Kristebel's behaviour during her varying stages of light sleep. For those of you who are not, you must simply know that she has a tendency to execute odd behaviours and take up strange conversations while she is apparently sleeping. Last night there was another occurrence of this strangety.

At about three o' clock in the morning, she sat bolt upright and looked about wildly with a panicked expression on her face. "I cannot think," she intoned desperately, leaping to her feet. "I cannot think of anything!" And with this remark she took leave of the premises and fled from my room.

There was a cat between me and the side of my bed; I know not how I managed to leap over him without causing him harm. But as soon as my feet were on the ground I took up pursuit of my troubled sibling and followed her to the top of the stairs where she stood, apparently ready to fling herself down the steps.

"I cannot think of anything," she repeated, and then a new panic lit in her eyes. "I CANNOT FEEL MY ARM," she declared loudly, and proceeded to implore that I rub her arm for her. As I acquiesced to this request, some sort of calmness and understanding seemed to come over her and she relaxed slightly. Eventually I was able to direct her back to my room, where she sat down as if nothing had happened and went back to sleep shortly thereafter. I, meanwhile, stayed awake for some time, my heart pounding with residual panic.

When I now speak to her regarding this matter, she says that she does not remember all of it, but can recall standing at the top of the stairs as I caught up with her. I am simply glad that I managed to take hold of her before she tripped down the steps and did herself some great injury.