Sadness is a funny thing.  It has an ebb and flow that’s impossible to predict.  I am finding infinite thanks in one thing that is as predictable as the turning of the earth – there will always be new music out there, somewhere.  The planet may be groaning under the weight of seven billion people, but from that vast cosmos, that universe of minds and souls, will always spring new music,  new art.  People will always find new ways to tell their stories, to lay their hearts bare.  One of the things that’s keeping me sane right now.  One of the few addictions in this world that seems to have no down side, except that you can never be truly sated.  But then that’s life, isn’t it.  The moment you stop searching, stop yearning, stop reaching, then all that’s left is stagnancy and static.

Driving home on the day, we saw a young girl smoking, and both of us, independently, could not believe the sheer stupidity of it.  Life is short enough, hard enough, fleeting enough as it is.  How anyone can thoughtlessly risk cutting that thin bright ribbon short on something so utterly pointless, is baffling to me.

I want to devour the world, and I have only this damaged anomaly of a vessel to do it in.  I’ve already wasted a huge amount of these four decades on laters and what-ifs.  I’d be kidding myself if I pretended this will all mean a shining brand new start, a renewed vigour and unswerving dedication to reaching those peaks before the grey sets it.  But I’m going to at least give it a damned good try.  It’s all well and good to say, fuck the world, I’m going to leap into the abyss with eyes wide open, in the surreal dream-zone of the after-dark hours.  Waking to daytime always finds mundane reality has once again taken its stubborn hold, caught you in its dull unrelenting grip.  Finding ways to break free, that’s the tricky part.  But as long as I can close my eyes, and find an infinity of possibility on the inside, maybe the outside might give a little, now and then, leaving a hollow or a crack here and there to squeeze through.

That’s optimism for you – more curse than blessing, but what can you do.  There’s still love in the world, as long as there are lovers in it.  And that’s something.

 

Average Rating: 4.7 out of 5 based on 275 user reviews.

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Because you really are the devil incarnate.

I kind of think I might just love that crazy little troll.  The three amigos managed to pull it off, to my genuine surprise.  They went in a completely different direction for the first two – and then they did it again for the third.  If proper writing is about takings risks, they went there in spades.  Whether it paid off, is ultimately up to the viewer, but at least no one can say it was the same old, same old.

If I learned one thing today, it’s that there’s nothing more satisfying than when music comes together – I mean, I have to keep writing.  I have to keep writing, and get better, because if I manage to surprise someone, anyone, even just once, then it will all have been worth it.

Oh, and that nod to the Empty House (you know the one)… We love you for that too.  It won’t satisfy all those disappointed Moran fans, but it was a nice touch all the same.

(By the way, I wrote that only 68 minutes in to an 86 minute show.  Done now, and it’s still true.  Although the bit *before* the cliffhanger would have actually made a better cliffhanger, to be honest. ‘Til next time…)

Average Rating: 4.9 out of 5 based on 183 user reviews.

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New Couch (2013): Dude Approved

Comfort, Bohemian style.

Sometimes things appear when you least expect them. In the case of our newest acquisition, we were nearing the end of a woefully unsuccessful bookshelf hunt. As one is wont to do when in a furniture store, we were wandering around listlessly, gazing wistfully at all the ridiculously over-priced things we could never possibly afford, when we espied a comfy, homey-looking couch that looked just right for a brief respite. We sank into it, and noticed with surprise the $88 price tag. Obviously that couldn’t be for the couch we were sitting on, unless there was some glaring structural integrity issue (especially given that there was an identical couch across the room marked at $799).

New Couch (2013): Just Arrived

Before adornment.

On a whim, we flagged down the nearest sales guy, and asked what the deal was with the mark-down. Could it really be because of one little tear in the front left-hand corner? As it turns out (the friendly sales guy explained), their latest advertising scheme proclaimed discounts up to 90% off. So, to skirt any potential nasty legal issues, there had to be at least a couple of items in the store that genuinely were reduced by 90%.

Still wary, we pressed further. No structural issues, no bad smell, no stains. It was, indeed, what it said on the tag. We thought about the sad, sagging, ripped-up, disintegrating thing that our old couch had become; I thought about how I had (more than once) considered tossing said old couch out on the lawn and setting fire to it. We looked at the price tag.

Alien demon cats take over the new scratching post.

Invasion of the alien demon cats.

A few minutes later, we were signing the paper and handing over the cash. A few days later, two cheerfully robust moving guys were hauling it up the steps into our house. (We were both amazed to notice that the younger of the two did most of the hauling on his own, with the couch literally over one shoulder; that’s what lugging furniture around for a living does for you.) The old couch was unceremoniously shoved out onto the porch where it now resides in its temporary role as cat-paw-warmer, and the rest is (admittedly very brief) history.

It may not be the most beautiful colour, but it’s amazingly comfortable, and laughably tall when compared to the other chairs in the room (think Gandalf sitting with hobbits; at last, something made with long-legged people in mind!). We think the plethora of colourful blankets adds a bit of bohemian flare, although they’re mainly there to discourage Dude from scratching the new fabric (he’s partly the reason the old couch looks the way it does). It has been nap-tested, lounge-tested and bounce-tested (from a seated position only), and so far has passed with exemplary marks in all categories.

(Oh, and we did eventually find a bookshelf. Even with shipping and taxes added, the couch still came to less – and was a far more satisfying story.)

Average Rating: 4.8 out of 5 based on 226 user reviews.

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We let our backyard go a bit wild this year (life got ahead of us, in more ways than one), but the flowers and pond plants seem to be happier than ever. We have a ton of bees this year, which is heartening to see, given how hard up bees are world-wide lately. You can see one of them (if you look closely) in the second picture down. (Click for hi-rez)

Purple flowers in sunbeam

Purple flowers - with visitor

Coneflower (Echinacea) and False Sunflowers

Pond Lillies - August 2013

Backyard Pond 2013

Average Rating: 4.9 out of 5 based on 226 user reviews.

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Our highest grape yield of any year so far – thanks to a complete and utter lack of any sort of pruning for two years straight. I suspect that’s not the way it’s supposed to work. This year, the grapes got especially friendly with our resident cedar trees (click for bigger).

CedarGrapes 2013 Look Waaaay Up...

CedarGrapes 2013 At home in the trees

CedarGrapes 2013

CedarGrapes 2013 Getting friendly with the other vines

CedarGrapes 2013 ReadyToEat

Average Rating: 5 out of 5 based on 217 user reviews.

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The cats enjoying their brand new outside room.  Click for bigger.

Miss Kitty Fantastico in her new outside room

Miss Kitty Fantastico looking pretty on her new perch.

Miss Kitty trying out the new shelves

All three cats love the new shelves, but MKF has totally owned them. To be fair, she totally owns the entire room; the other two are just tolerated guests. ;-)

Miss Kitty in the new outside room,  May 2013

Look ma, no leash!

Dude and Miss Kitty

Mister Grumpy (aka Dude) hangin’ with the wee lass. She’s keeping an eye on him, as he’s had a tendency to swat at anyone who comes nearby. Still needs to work on his outdoor etiquette.

Jake and Miss Kitty

Miss Kitty and her best bud. Jake is still a little freaked by the new space, but likes being back in the fresh air again. And the shelves are pretty darn cool, too.

Average Rating: 4.6 out of 5 based on 178 user reviews.

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Planet Shadow by Mark Harrison

Blue Planet Reclined by Mark Harrison

Comicbook Planet by Mark Harrison

Heading Home by Mark Harrison

Click on pics for full-size image.

Website: www.magpiedesign.net

Average Rating: 4.4 out of 5 based on 238 user reviews.

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solar powered rockerIntroducing the SOFT Rocker: The solar powered rocker that recharges your electronics.

Article here.

Upgrading everyday objects to produce power is hardly a new idea.

Edison famously had a turnstile installed at his summer estate that all guests were guided through.  When they wondered why so much effort was required to move the turnstile, Edison replied that each rotation of the turnstile pumped eight gallons of water into a tank on his roof (although more conservative estimates put it closer to three).

Average Rating: 4.5 out of 5 based on 213 user reviews.

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Excellent and inspiring article, with some tips on how to stay focused:

http://writerunboxed.com/2013/02/01/the-writer-as-inventor/

Average Rating: 4.7 out of 5 based on 296 user reviews.

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Photo: Andrew McFadyen/Al Jazeera

http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2013/01/2013110111039373166.html

Yes, it’s an article from Aljazeera about a CO2 harvester in Aberdeen, Scotland.   Gotta love the Internet.

(photo credit: Andrew McFadyen/Al Jazeera)

Average Rating: 4.9 out of 5 based on 243 user reviews.

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