Katherine Hayton | 2015 February
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February 2015

28 Feb / Updates

I remember a day not so long ago when I sat down on the couch with a new box containing GTAV and decided to open it right then and there and play it.

There were a couple of dozen different other things that needed doing. Things to organise, things to write, things to edit, things to clean. As per a typical day off work the amount of work-like things that still need doing seems endless, when all you’re looking forward to is a bit of a break and a bit of fun.

Luckily, I’m well equipped to ward off feelings of guilt about writing deadlines going by, and I tend not to notice things need doing around the house until they’re forcibly intruding on my life; such as not being able to see the TV screen for dust.

So I gladly ripped off the wrappings and fed the disc into the mouth of my hungry wee PS4.

A couple of PS and Xs later the game was loading up. It was then that the trouble started.

One hour. That’s how long it takes GTAV to load up the first time you go to play it. Unlike some genders I don’t appreciate an almost naked cartoon lady, or view it as an entertaining immersive viewing experience. An hour is too long to stare at one.

So I’ve learned my lesson. The Order 1886 arrived this week. Today I went in and updated Playstation (because it requires that each time I turn it on) and then I inserted the disc. I then updated the system again, and installed the game, and then waited for it to load, and then updated the system to be able to play the game because God knows why but the previous update didn’t get it updated enough.

Then I turned it off.

That was actually me physically turning it off, not the system turning itself off so it can reset and then turn itself on again and then update and turn itself off to be able to turn itself on again properly.

I plan to play it tomorrow, and was already planning that when I went in today. This way I may have wasted time today, but I haven’t wasted playing time.

Sorted.

I’m beginning to think this is why Farm Heroes on my phone still holds such sway over me.

Now the only danger is if the game is complete crap and I stop after fifteen minutes shaking my head in dismay. But then again, that’s probably not my Playstation system’s fault.

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26 Feb / I saw the light

Last night my darling and I tried something new.

We went out on a school night to a pub on the wrong side of the tracks to see a band perform songs that haven’t really been performed live since the lead singer topped himself thirty years ago, and which only one of us (me) enjoys.

I have not been to a pub in a very long time. We’ve been in restaurants that pretend to be pubs while really being places that people gather to eat and talk. We’ve been to restaurants that just happen to have a bar service (no matter how many ye oldes they put in their signs), but a proper pub that exists solely to sell alcohol to the general public and support people’s addiction to TAB betting? It’s been a long time man.

But I breathed in the smell of many people, some unwashed, crowding into a small space which a couple of manual fans were really not well equipped to keep cool, and I cradled my Coke Zero in a fancy plastic cup close to my chest until the ice melted.

The good news was that the band was due to start at eight, and the songs I wanted to hear were due to be played first. That meant, all going well, we would be heading back out the door at eight-thirty and hailing a taxi home.

Apparently bands are not known for their punctuality.

I waited, and grew accustomed to the fact that it was going to be standing room only. My knees locked into place to hold me upright, unused to being utilised in such a way for such a long time. I wasn’t looking forward to when they unlocked.

But then the band came out and began to play. My darling inquired after one song if I knew it and if I liked it, in a way that implied incredulity.

Eight songs later, and we were out of there. We asked the doorman if there was a taxi stand nearby, but from the confused look on his face we gathered we were on our own.

My least favourite thing is to talk to people on the phone, but since it was my night out I swallowed my anxiety and dialed up the taxi company.

The lady dispatcher said that she’d send a call out and a taxi should make it out there soon. I was slightly concerned at the implication that a taxi might fail in the attempt to make it across the wrong side of the tracks, but one did eventually arrive.

All up, even though we’d ventured out from the safety of home on a school night, we were tucked up in bed a mere half hour later than we’d usually be.

So, a night’s disruption, a couple of painful knees, a two-hundred and ten dollar investment for eight songs lasting just under half an hour. Was it worth it.

To see and hear Joy Division songs performed live in front of a crowd of people my own advanced age? Sure it was.

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25 Feb / 99c sale

Hardly counts as a blog post, but still…

99c Sale now on for Skeletal. Available anywhere good books are sold, as long as you’re shopping on Amazon, and you’re based in the USA.

‘Cause I don’t like to discriminate.

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24 Feb / Presents

A received a very nice surprise for pre-Valentine’s day this year (yes, I am aware the date is now a distant memory). Or should I say, several nice surprises.

There was a beautiful bouquet of flowers delivered to the office in the morning. This was Friday morning, hence the pre-Valentine’s because there’s no use sending them to a home address. No, the purpose of flowers is to flaunt them in front of all the people you work with every day who don’t waste money on such gorgeous extravagances and therefore live much duller lives. But retire earlier.

There was another surprise in the afternoon, courtesy of an overworked delivery driver’s inability to fulfill the requirement to deliver prior to midday. Fudge. This is what you need from your darling when everyone else is strenuously avoiding the fact you’ve gained yet another twenty pounds you’re probably not going to lose. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

I love surprise presents where you’re not sure about the whys or the wherefores but just get to sit back and thank the giver for the giving, and the present for the being present.

Today I took home another present, which wasn’t a surprise because I knew I’d ordered it, but was a surprise due to being order on hotpoints (credit card scheme) thereby arriving on a schedule unknown to anyone but the bankers that be.

It is a wonderful quiet boil kettle which is coloured a deep dark red with a sheen of polish over top of it so that it glows like the finest enamel jewellery.

I suggested that the proper thing to do now is to redecorate the entire kitchen to match. It was an idea whose time has not come.

Another nice surprise present was announced on my phone at mid-morning. A lovely antique chinese nail guard in cloisonne and silver. I wondered for a moment who had bought me that, and then vaguely remembered at one in the morning when I was still awake I’d decided to comb ebay antique jewellery for a distraction for not sleeping.

Ohhhh, you shouldn’t have.

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Big BrotherBig Brother by Lionel Shriver
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh, this book led me down the garden path nicely. I was so surprised at the turn this book took after the first half and, beguiled by Lionel Shriver’s beautiful language, I followed it merrily along growing more and more frustrated that it just didn’t seem like a Lionel Shriver tale AT ALL. Thankfully, I then careered headlong into the relief and satisfaction of a wonderful ending.

Big Brother tells the deceptively simple tale of a sibling relationship that’s strained in more ways than one when Pandora’s much admired older brother Edison falls down on his luck and moves in for an extended visit.

Years having passed since she last laid eyes on him, Pandora is taken aback to discover her brother has grown far wider than he’s grown wiser.

Bored with her successful business venture, and constantly irked by her husband’s overzealous health kick, Pandora mounts a challenge to her brother. She’ll devote her full attention to him, including moving out of her family home, as long as he follows her exact instructions to lose the weight he’s gained. All 223 pounds of it.

This is a sometimes uncomfortable read as Lionel Shriver confronts head-on the taboo that society has constructed around its overweight citizens. No one gathering the courage to confront an overweight person directly, while at the same time feeling the right to comment and pass judgement behind his back, all in the guise of concern about health.

Delightful, ambitious, and a completely fulfilling read. My favourite book so far this year.

View all my reviews

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22 Feb / Rain check

This morning I woke up to the last morning of my holiday, and discovered to my delight that it was raining.

I was delighted because me and my darling have been very good this holiday, and have been going for a lot of long walks up steep hills most mornings.

Due to this the following parts of my body now hurt each morning:
Ankles
Knees
Buttocks
Lower Back
Ribs (and no, I don’t know what they’re doing when I’m walking either, but they do hurt so I presume they’re involved somehow)
Upper Arms (ditto)
Neck

I’ve also had a headache, but I have a feeling that’s a reactionary thing trying to ward off further damage by making me too unwell to go in the first place. Certainly, once I’ve got in the car it recognises defeat and immediately dissipates.

I’ve somehow managed to hide the crippling effects, because when my darling said, ‘It’s too wet to go for a walk,’ I immediately replied ‘Thank goodness.’

So emphatic was my response that further inquiries were necessitated and I explained I’d been in a certain amount of pain almost constantly for the best part of five days. My darling did point out that I could always say no, but I pointed out that in that case he would win and we can’t have that.

And before you ask, if you don’t know why he would win then you don’t understand spousal-like relationships and I can’t tell you. And yes that is the relationship advice version of “if you don’t know what you’ve done wrong then I can’t tell you.”

So I’ve had a nice day lolling on the couch, thinking of things to do, and then thinking of extravagant excuses for why I won’t do them. And watching Watership Down for the first time since I was eight and got upset at the fight between Bigwig and General Woundwort despite having already read the book and knowing perfectly well how it ended.

Then at two o-clock I said ‘Oh look, the sun’s coming out,’ to which my darling responded, ‘Yes, I thought we could go for a nice walk once this ended,’ (referring to the episode of The West Wing we were watching).

And you know what? I could hardly say no then, could I?

So we went for a “lovely walk” and now I can barely move because of the checklist shown above.

I am so glad that I’m going back to work tomorrow. We don’t hold with long walks in my office. Sitting is all the rage.

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21 Feb / Saturdays

I don’t know why, but when you’re on holiday and it gets to Saturday it all seems like such an imposition.

We went out for our morning walk on the Port Hills this morning, and there were a whole lot of other people who hadn’t been there during the week.

We went out during the day, and the roads were full of cars.

At our neighbours’ houses there are children laughing and playing. Before 3.00pm!

Honestly, I usually love Saturdays as much as the next person, but they’re like the world’s holiday. When you get used to having just your own little holiday going on, it’s just too crowded.

Not to mention that it also means there’s only one more full day and then some people are probably expecting me to turn up to work. In the morning. In a fit state!

Hmmmmm. I bet next Saturday feels a whole lot better. This one just seems like a bit of a waste.

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20 Feb / Grass is greener

At the moment I’m trying to force myself to type 80,000 words, more or even more (I can’t use the word less there otherwise I might start to take it too seriously and I’ll end up with another trunk novella), at which time I can survey it for the nub of some kind of story and write another 60,000 words making that work.

Despite the fun that this sounds, I miss editing. Having all the words written down has the great advantage of HAVING ALL THE WORDS.

Simple, really.

On the other hand, I seem to strongly remember a feeling I had the last time I was editing which was something along the lines of, God I wish that I was writing words down at random right now trying to shape a story and capture characters instead of checking to see whether ass or arse is the accepted New Zealand spelling of arse (it turns out).

Maybe the bit that I really miss is where an idea comes up in my brain (ideas do appear there often, too often) and doesn’t get immediately shot down.

That’s really fun. It appears out of nowhere in particular (like all the best ideas should) and keeps me occupied for hours while I test it to see if it’s got legs.

The only drawback is that the nowhere in particular it appears out of always tends to arrive just as I’m about to fall asleep, and therefore the hours of occupation usually take me through until well after midnight. Waking up at 5.30am to go to work is never a joy, but there are some things that inevitably make it worse.

So then there’s definitely the bit where I just put a new book on sale and wait to see how the first sales and first reviews come in. No, not that. That there’s the stuff of nightmares. And waking at 5.30am after a sleepless night full of terrors is another in the inevitably worse category.

So now I’m pretty much back where I started. Could it really be that this bit that I’m not enjoying at the moment is actually the bit that I enjoy.

Hmmmmm. My day job is looking pretty good right now.

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Curly Bear looked the little baby bear up and down, then shook his head. He was so confused.

‘Why is he here?’

Fluffy Bear looked taken aback. ‘You didn’t expect me to leave him at home alone, did you?’ He inquired. ‘My baby boy is only a few hours old.’

Curly Bear shook his head again. He just couldn’t take it all in.

‘I didn’t realise that you were, hmmmm, expecting?’

Fluffy frowned. ‘Then what were all those cracks you were making about me being extra fluffy lately?’

Curly Bear felt even more confused. None of this made any sense, and everything he said just seemed to make it a little bit worse.

He looked behind Fluffy to where Skeletal was taking pride of place in the bookshelf. He should be out flogging a few copies so that people could discover its genius. That was his job, after all. He understood that perfectly.

He’d take one last crack at understanding why there was suddenly a little brown bear in their midst, and then he was going out to sell. ‘How is your partner feeling about all this?’

It was obvious from the fury on Fluffy Bear’s face that he’d put his paw into it again. Curly’s head drooped as he waited for the onslaught.

‘You know I don’t have a partner,’ Fluffy said curtly. ‘It’s hard enough being a single mum these days, without you rubbing it in.’

Curly sighed, then balanced a stack of books in his paws and went out the door. Signed paperback copies of Skeletal were only $20.00, and an unbelievable $3.99 on Kindle.

It was much better to just concentrate on his job and put everything else out of his mind. He shook his head one last time though. He could’ve sworn that Fluffy was a male bear.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Skeletal by Katherine Hayton

Skeletal

by Katherine Hayton

Giveaway ends February 28, 2015.

See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

Enter to win

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