Sunday, 29 June 2008

Welcome to the weekend

I took a break from my recent clean-living regime this weekend in honour of two very important things: meeting up with the guys and gals from Twitter/SL and a day of raucous fun with Best Mate.

The first of those involved spending an evening in Wagamamas and Oxygen in Leicester Square with Loaf, Roxette, Johan and Loudmouthman.

Now I'm a bit of a heathen with Japanese food, so I spent most of the week whining at poor Loaf that I didn't understand the menu. His attempts to introduce me to sake also went down like a suspiciously regarded lead balloon.

But I did give it all a go, and in future will be haunting the local Wagamama branches just for the ginger and white choclit cheesecake. Proving I am nothing if not an adventurous ignoramus. And that Loaf was right. But we won't tell him that bit.

Oxygen was its usual cornocopia of cocktails and, three or four jugs of them later, tongues were loose and much gossip was exchanged. Plus I think I managed to spill at least three colours of alcoholic concoction down myself... and probably other people. I still blame the straws, they give you an awful lot of straws.

Anyway, it was marvellous to meet everyone I spend all day talking to when I'm supposed to be working, I had a fab time and I can't wait for the next one, though I have already decided I will be bringing more tissues.

Yesterday began with the Sex and the City movie, which Best Mate and I have been looking forward to forever and a day as we used to watch the episodes back at university and harbour secret wishes to join the cast.

It was fantastic, I wasn't expecting it to be such an emotional experience - much sorting out of the eyeliner was required afterwards. We also had to refrain from talking about it because, every time we did, Best Mate burst into tears, especially at a particular scene where Samantha spoonfeeds a devestated Carrie, because that's something we would do. Cuz we wubs each other <3>

The rest of the evening was spent guzzling wine in the pub, scoffing pizza, wittering endlessly, being drunken at the Twitter party on SL (sorry everyone!) and having a girly moment with some black eyeshadow, hair grips and a handy camera.

Best Mate is my secret personal stylist and I was rather in love with the result of her ridiculously talented tinkerings, explaining why I have liberally plastered this post with pictures of it. Vanity, thy name is kirby grip.

Saturday, 28 June 2008


Considering how my week's gone thus far, the results of this quiz are more than a little comforting...

You are The Star

Hope, expectation, Bright promises.

The Star is one of the great cards of faith, dreams realised

The Star is a card that looks to the future. It does not predict any immediate or powerful change, but it does predict hope and healing. This card suggests clarity of vision, spiritual insight. And, most importantly, that unexpected help will be coming, with water to quench your thirst, with a guiding light to the future. They might say you're a dreamer, but you're not the only one.

What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.

Wednesday, 25 June 2008

What's in a name?

The other day - while discussing the letter w, I believe - WillowZ revealed the origin of her Second Life name over on her blog. She chose both halves for personal meaning, which got me to wondering whether we all do the same.

For those who've never had the pleasure, when you make a Second Life account you are given free rein to pick a first name, but a finite number of surnames to choose from. The list changes regularly, the original idea being, common wisdom says, to bond people into 'families' within the world.

I picked my own name equally carefully. Willow, as I suspect will surprise nobody, came from the Buffy the Vampire Slayer character of the same name, just as WillowZ's did.

Caldera I picked because it was the name of a little town in Morrowind, my all-time favourite pc game - I might well still be playing it now if my hard drive hadn't crashed, burned and dissolved, taking with it 3 years of saved games. My little dark elf really did kick some arse by the time I was done, but that didn't save her from silicon hell.

So what made you pick your name, was it random or did you have your reasons?

Monday, 23 June 2008

I told you this would happen...

Remember I warned you I was almost certain to receive regular Big Brother updates, with or without permission? Well here was tonight's...

Willow Zander: "blah blah walks in on blah blah and sees him washing his genitalia in a cup"
Willow Caldera: WHAT?
Willow Zander: they are about to "talk" to him about "said cup"

Just what are you meant to say to that?

Sunday, 22 June 2008

If only to faun

It's taken me an awfully long time to build up to watching Atonement, and for very good reason: the book is my all-time favourite novel and I was concerned they might bork it. Also I'm not especially keen on Kiera Underbitely and didn't want to change the Cecilia in my head to match her emaciated frame.

Having recently suffered from a burgeoning crush on James McAvoy, however, I couldn't resist it any longer. What better place to watch his beautiful emotes than in the most romantic tale I know? It's something of a step up from the until-now top secret fact that both Lorna and I found him highly attractive as a faun in Narnia. We must never speak of this again.

It wasn't the disaster I thought it was going to be, they didn't smack the book around and stick it in a shredder, so I can't complain too much. But a movie was never going to capture the strength of the novel - that ending was like a punch in the face, it shocked me completely and I actually burst into tears on the bus to work. It stayed with me for weeks, no other book has ever so profoundly affected my mood.

(Except possibly LOTR, which I had to give to my mum to look after when I got to the bit with Shelob because I was very small and very distressed.)

I wasn't sure they would be able to pull that off and I was right: it's a good movie, Mr McAvoy is delicious and Underbitely doesn't drive me as far up the wall as she usually does. But it wasn't my Atonement, because that story is a league apart.

Saturday, 21 June 2008

Whispering Falls

Second Life hasn't been the same for WillowZ and I for a long time now. Back in the day, when there were far fewer of us populating the virtual planet and those who had already popped into existence roamed in happy, loyal herds, things were much simpler. The sl00ts were always there waiting when we logged in, ready to have nonsensical fun and look pretty in a pack.

But, as with all things, the novelty wore off and, one by one, they all slipped away. Until finally there were just the two of us, two sad and neglected Willows, a little lonely and slightly bemused.

In the end, even we succumbed to the inevitable. The second version of our lives was no longer as interesting as the first, so gradually we gave up trying to recreate the good times and spent less and less time in pixel form.

Eventually, Second Life turned into a workplace, something that provided blogging and article opportunities and the odd spot of shopping. It wasn't enough - the time I've spent inworld over the last year that hasn't involved something 'official' would barely add up to a couple of evenings.

That was a while ago, and since then there have been plenty of high points, and lots of good friends and happy times, but nothing like as much everyday, unplanned fun as the early days.

So WillowZ and I have bought some land, just for us, in a little island sim called Whispering Falls. Within half an hour, Fred and Hallie had joined us, and that was 4 of the sl00ts back together right there.

It's going to need a lot of work to make it as pretty as we want it to be, but it's already looking gorgeous with its Straylight landscaping. We're a bit on the lazy side, I'm completely useless and we may get sidetracked by fluffy toys and chicken dances, but at last we have a haven, for new friends and old. And a unicorn...obviously.

Thursday, 19 June 2008

Arty Farty

Apparently I'm doing something right after all: I entered a couple of the SL-based pictures I've made recently in a competition set by Fleur Skins. The theme was swimwear and the idea, I believe, was to look as heavenly as possible in one of their skins.

I came third with this entry and got an honourable mention, and very pleased with myself I'm feeling about it too. Perhaps my artistic muscles haven't completely atrophied after all.

You can see the rest of the winning entries by clicking here.

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

The Loneliest Piece of Popcorn

Today I was very brave indeed: I went to the cinema all on my ownsome. I've barely considered the idea before, but it struck me that I walk past Richmond Odeon on my way to and from work every day of the week, but not once have I wandered in. Talk about failing to take advantage of a good thing.

So I decided to see The Happening as an after-work treat. It wasn't meant to be today, originally I was supposed to see Sex and the City with Best Mate, but we made a bit of a pig's ear of that plan (despite what can only be described as a monumental effort). So, having been denied one movie experience, I treated myself to another in its place.

And I did enjoy my solitary self, though I was a touch bored waiting for things to start and I missed having someone to jab excitedly during the trailers.

As for the movie, unlike a lot of people, I quite like M Night Shamalayadingdong and his strange little brain. I like the twists and turns he takes, I enjoy the stories he dreams up and, barring a couple, I tend to be more than satisfied with what he does with them. I loved The Sixth Sense, Signs and Lady In the Water (please don't disown me), though I could take or leave the rest of them. Mind you, I'm more patient than most when it comes to movies - I'll watch any old rubbish.

I won't say too much about this one, except to confirm that it is, as many have commented, a very odd movie. Unusual characters, which is always refreshing, and a novel idea. Not flawless, by any means, but I think I liked it.

Or, at least, I did until my brother texted me the ending halfway through.

I'm gonna rip his nads off when I see him next.

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Huff Doo

I try to limit my grumpy days one a month, but occasionally the grumbles run away with me. As has been the case since Saturday, when for no apparent reason I entered a state of extreme lethargy and began to waste time on an epic scale.

Now, as previously discussed at some considerable length, the wasting of time is something I do not take to lightly. When my brain decides it's had enough of being helpful, the rest of me tends to enter into panic mode at the very idea of not doing anything productive and then the whole lot freezes up and becomes incapable of useful movement.

Add to that a hell of a week, one or two (dozen) highly aggravating people, the tax man wanting to take me for every penny I have and various other exciting little experiences and the grand result is: a grump.

One that Best Mate single-handedly managed to lift.

Texting me on my way home from work, she expressed her affection and concern for my irritable state. I wrote back to say I was going home for a grumble and that I felt like one of those trolls, only with flatter hair.

To which she said:

"I am also imagining you as Scrappy Doo...Huff Doo."

Thanks to this startlingly amusing sentence, Huff Doo has this evening proofed 50 pages of Tim's book and 21 pages of her own and written this blog and will be heading off momentarily to read more of her Dreamweaver idiot guide. The bitch is back.

Friday, 13 June 2008

Are we nearly grrrrr yet?

I wasn't going to blog about The Incredible Hulk, but then I got home and sat down at the pc and remembered I have to find something mildly entertaining to write about for the BBBC, and that was the only interesting thing I've done today.

Now, if I'm going to be absolutely and truly honest, I really only went for the company - Yaz, Tim and Lorna are choice cinema companions, whether pretending to be a monkey at a wheel (Tim), confusing panda arms for boobs (Lorna) or announcing pleasure in having talked so loudly that the people next to us moved and freed up the arm rests (Yaz).

As for the movie, I wasn't expecting a lot from it. I didn't bother to see the first one because I don't find the Hulk a very inspiring character - once he's gone green and felt a bit angsty about it, you've kind of seen it all. Bruce Banner isn't very interesting because he's just a weedy, whining bloke (even if he is Edward 'women want to mother me' Norton) and the Hulk isn't very interesting because he's just a big green thing that bangs stuff.

You can even see it in the poster - one thing wanders about menacingly, the other mopes a good'un. Perhaps you need to see both halves at once - Spiderman and Ironman manage to do personal choice-making while kicking arse. Or maybe it's just that the Hulk's a touch on the predictable side.

So, while there were mixed opinions as to whether the movie was utter bollocks or kind of alright, I'm pitching my flag in the hole that says: the experience was fun, it made me laugh, it was better than I thought it was going to be (which was never going to be hard) and, all in all, I'm glad I went.

Thursday, 12 June 2008

Years of Primping

Some time around last Christmas, a curious change came over my mother: she became absolutely fixated on beauty products, especially those from Neal's Yard. Visiting home turned into a bath oil assult course of epic proportions, it really wasn't like her.

My Christmas presents, it didn't surprise me to note, were awash with pampering liquids, including - count them - SIX Neal's Yard gift boxes, twelve odds and sods from the Body Shop and Marks & Sparks and some random items that caught her magpie eye. Believe me, this picture shows just the tip of a very sickly-smelling iceberg.

I now own a million beauty products and have no idea do with them. I've never been a particularly girly girl, I can't quite get my head around the excitement of smearing stuff over myself on a regular basis for... ta da! Absolutely no discernible result. Nope, I'm a girl geek, my spare cash goes on Battlestar Galactica box sets and my latest plan to replace my Buffy videos with DVD. I'm vain about my avatar, but very seldom myself.

Except with my hair, I'm very vain about my hair. That gets more attention than your average diva - an ex used to call my Mason Pearson the 'comfort brush', because I was seldom seen without it. He was right, it's in the same room as me 24/7.

My new mission is to use up all this bloody liquid by Christmas, just in case she's got a new batch waiting. I applied my first ever face mask the other day and am thrilled to report that there was absolutely no discernible result. And I've applied so much body, face, hand and foot lotion that I'm in danger of sliding off myself.

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

Words for the Day

Today I would like to teach you two new words, which you may take away and use to amuse, please, educate and surprise your friends.

This was our team name at the pub quiz last night, with which we scored a respectable 65/80 (many thanks to Best Mate and her affinity with Wikipedia). It confused the merry hell out of the landlord, who came over to ask how he ought to pronounce it. When he asked Yaz where the quote came from, she looked at him utterly straight faced and said, "I believe it was Schwarzenegger."

For yes, this word dates back to the mighty Conan the Barbarian, who was once heard to say that he planned to invade a country and "beschnuffle their women and children". We're assuming, in our collective innocence, that it's something to do with nuzzling.

A long-standing favourite, rekindled by the rediscovery of this picture. I think we can probably all think of a few people we would like to send the bunny a-visiting.

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

The real story

I'm fresh out of posting inspiration today, which isn't especially helpful on only the third day of my Big Bad Blogger Challenge. Not even the questions Alicia has so thoughtfully thrown out as brain stimulation are floating my boat this evening.

Instead, I'm taking my cue from a poll on CeN's blog that got me thinking earlier today: would you ever meet in real life someone that you know from SL?

The answer is a resounding yes, I've done so plenty of times. I went to the London meet-up a couple of years ago, I used to work for Fizik at Rivers Run Red and I'm (still) planning a visit to Las Vegas to bother Vicious.

Then of course there's Canimal, who was sunshine in my world for quite some time when she moved over here to London - still missing her, there were so many scrapes we could have gotten ourselves into :( Someone remind me to bug her about coming over for a summer holiday...

And then there's WillowZ, who I first met almost four years ago and swiftly made the transition from Second Life acquaintance to real life best mate. I still call her sis, for reasons of ancient pixelised history, and I shall be gracing her with my presence within a matter of weeks for more bellowing into microphones and breaking of everything in sight.

I have my sights on others, of course. I will not rest until I've dragged Laura into the city and there's a meet-up planned with various Twitterati soon, to which I'm also determined to drag Kitty.

So, when it comes to meeting your friends in reality, I'm all for it. After all, where the hell would I be without all that little lot?

Monday, 9 June 2008

Digital Versatile Doom

A couple of weeks ago I splashed out on what, for me, amounts to musical porn. My favourite band released a limited edition (I have number 1900) live DVD and CD package, which also came with a nifty flickbook that made me very pleased for at least 20 minutes.

Now, very few people have heard of HIM - full name His Infernal Majesty - because they're a bit doom, gloom and gothic eyeliner. Plus they're from Finland, which is only on the musical beaten track if you're particlarly interested in operatic metal. Which I am.

Being female, I do have to admit my interest is partially driven by lust for Ville Valo, who is beyond all doubt the most attractive man I have ever laid eyes on. The man rocks eyeliner better than most women.

I also have to admit that they've gone a bit downhill over the last couple of years - HIM is the only band to have released an album on which I like every single song. And not just once, either. But the last one was nothing like their usual standard, which I have peevishly attributed to Ville falling in love. You can't be cheerful and make this kind of music.

And now for a video moment, for anyone in the mood for lusting over His Gothicness. Or appreciating some marvellous music, of course.

Sunday, 8 June 2008

BBBC Sunday...any excuse

I'm generally a little slow on the uptake, so it's taken me a couple of days to notice Alicia's newest blogger challenge. Frustrated by not having enough to read, she's challenged everyone to manage a post a day for the next week.

Well, despite having failed already, I'll give it a go, if only because I made this pretty picture and I need an excuse to stick it on here because I think it might be my best yet.

Today's help-us-all-get-going question from Alicia was:

If there was one thing on the grid that you could snap your fingers and it would be gone forever, what would it be and why?

My answer is unverified accounts, because allowing people to remain utterly anonymous doesn't exactly have a track record of leading to exemplary behaviour and friendly treatment of others. Perhaps I'm old and cynical, but things seemed a lot more genuine before the sudden influx of anons.

Or possibly Copybot, because it's already been responsible for one creator on my favourites list upping sticks and I can't imagine she's alone. That damn thing will slowly erode the fashion community - these days I'm suspicious of every skin maker I don't know, which is a crying shame.

So that's my two cents, now everybody please regard my lovely picture and be astonished. Thank you.

Friday, 6 June 2008


Richard, breaking off from his work as something vital occurred to him, said to me this afternoon: "I have an important question to ask of you, one that will affect our working relationship for the next two, maybe three months."

I stared at him, heart a-flutter as possible scenarios involving sackings, extra pressure and imminent creative bickering ran through my head. "I need to know," he continued, "Whether you will be watching Big Brother?"

Because yes, it's that time of year again: Big bloody Brother is back. Richard was making sure, with a carefully aimed interrogation, that I won't be subjecting him to daily updates that will make him grind his teeth.

Now, aside from the how irritating absolutely everyone involved is - and I don't just limit that statement to the housemates, because they seem to have outdone themselves with aggravating presenters this time - the beginning of the Big Brother season means just one thing to me...

It's time for this sentence to ring through cyberspace and the mobile phone network on a daily basis: "ARE YOU THERE OMG TELL ME YOU'RE THERE". A sentence I grew used to hearing during the last cycle because WillowZ finds the whole thing even more stressful than I do, but still insists on watching it. Which I'm pretty sure was the cause of her late pregnancy high blood pressure.

We watched the opening show last night and I can't claim to be optimistic that there will be anyone worth watching. And, quite frankly, I'm mystified as to why anyone auditions any more. Were I to be accepted as a housemate, I would be immediately insulted, because they I would know they had categorised me as either weird, psychotic or pig ignorant.

Naturally, I assured Richard that I wouldn't dream of putting myself through the torture of watching this year's show. Which means I will be quite incapable of inflicting a daily update upon him, as I will have no date to up.

But I do have to admit...I probably lied.

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

The Sting of Jambition

It turns out (and this will surprise nobody) that I'm not nearly as clever as I think I am, and Tim and Yaz are little better.

Mind you, when we decided to do a pub quiz this evening, we brooked no jambiguity (you'll have to ask Tim about the jam obsession) as far as our chances were concerned.

Consequently, the team names bandied about as suggestions included:

1) Bucket of spackers
2) Mummy's Special Little Angels
and my personal favourite (because it was my idea)
3) There's only two of us and we're both stupid.

(There were three of us.)

Eventually, we settled on Da Speshuls. We didn't do too badly, all things considered - better than the middle-aged women next to us, who CHEATED at the end and gave themselves a higher score (I knew their bloody results, I had to mark their answers, the cheek of it). So we were announced as last place and given a condescending round of applause, but frankly we think 52/70 wasn't bad for a first try.

I did cheat a bit and text my dad and Best Mate for one or two answers. Best Mate, who is like a walking map of London, saved us from mucking up a Monopoly question, but my dad wittered something about aquariums and was no help at all. Tim, meanwhile, was paying absolutely no attention and doodling all over the pictures round.

MummyC then texted her consternation at not being consulted, so I asked her which wading bird is named after its shellfish dinner. "Duck-billed Prawnpuss," came the reply. If I ever go on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, I'm calling Best Mate for my phone a friend, the parents are clearly imbeciles.

Next week, we're going for Rendezvous With Dramarama, or possibly Rendezvous With Bananarama. Which will only make sense if you're an Arthur C. Clarke fan. Or weird.

Alternatively, if we're feeling rebellious: Shit, Crapple and Plop.

Monday, 2 June 2008

Warped Thinking

Everything about this post is going to be weird, it's only fair I warn you before you get started. It's not even my fault, which you might say is weird in itself.

It all began, as these things often do, with a small airborne creature.

I was walking to work not long ago when the aforementioned mini-fly aimed itself successfully at my eye. As I was smack bang in the middle of Richmond Bridge and some considerable way from a mirrored surface, I came up with the cunning - though admittedly weird - plan to take a photo of my eye so that I could check whether the fly had stuck around.

I then took this picture, which was of absolutely no help. I downloaded it from my phone yesterday, looked at it on a larger screen and have only one thing to say:

What. The. Hell.

Sunday, 1 June 2008

Time Fear

During a bit of recent self-reflection, I concluded that I have spent my adult life suffering from a condition I like to call Time Fear.

Because of this, I have become a multitasker par excellence. At this moment, I am both writing this post and watching the tellybox. I have paused writing twice already, once to take a photo and once to write an email about another topic entirely, because even my thinking is going along two paths at once.

Such is my dedication to the art of doing-as-much-as-I-can-at-the-same-time that I have cunningly set up a mirror next to my desk so I can touch type while I watch the latest episode of Lost.

Time Fear, you see, is typified by a constant panic that I am wasting time, which in turn means wasting life, which I believe to be the worst of all cardinal sins. I dislike going to bed if I haven't achieved anything during the day, whether that be writing, reading, learning, experiencing or something else I deem 'worthwhile'.

I feel edgy if I'm not doing something constructive and find it very difficult to relax with a good TV show or movie, because I can't help thinking I could be doing something more useful.

(Cue gratuitous barely linked PS artwork shot, just because I want to.)

It all goes back to my formative years, as these things tend to do. Whenever I announced exam results to DaddyC, his response would be the same: "That's great, but what's next?"

Of course, none of this dual attention-giving means I get things done any faster, it just means I don't enjoy the relaxing side of life as much as I'd like. So bugger it, I'm going to take a full two hours off tonight, force myself onto the sorely underused sofa and watch the Lost finale, overexcited fingers be damned.

(But only if I've written another 1000 words of my book by then.)