rattfan: (Default)
2017-07-16 04:31 pm

Not Just Me - Documentary review

I just saw a local documentary, Not Just Me, produced by Jonathan Messer and featuring four local transmen.  I’ve met David in person a few times and at least recognise the names and photos of the other guys.  This film was part of the Revelation Perth Film Festival at Luna Leederville.

It was great to hear local transmen talk about being trans, often echoing my own thoughts and experiences, and to see the local scenery as the cameras followed them around Perth.  All up, the film had a sense of hope and optimism about the future, that one day it will be accepted that people come in more varieties than was originally supposed.  For needle phobics, here’s a warning that there are also several scenes involving a very large needle being applied to various backsides.

The quality of the segments featuring each transman varied drastically, I presume based on the person’s availability for filming, because one covered experiences of a year, two for six and four months and one a single day.  Now, only hours after the viewing, I’m left with pretty clear images from the two best presented, Simon and David, and only vague memories of Max and Logan’s sections.  Logan’s sections were self-shot with a very jerky camera.  I’m one of the people who can’t tolerate watching jerky camera footage without feeling sick, so I had to stop watching whenever it switched to these segments.  The scene of Logan talking with a friend was outside and very noisy.  While it began with dialogue captions, this didn’t continue and there was quite a bit I couldn’t catch.  This could have been remedied with a bit more captioning and also guidance from the producer.

All the guys depicted were twenty-somethings, which made me groan a bit, because that’s a constant problem I have as an “older” transman, that everyone sees this as something young people do.  Older folk are invisible.  This meant that quite a bit of what they were talking about was not something I could really relate to, so I would have liked to see a bit more diversity.  The director talked (in an earlier interview) about being surprised that there was a “strong culture” of transmen in Perth and that it had taken him a long time to acquire subjects because of “gatekeepers.”  I’m honestly not sure what that means.  I can only say I didn’t have a problem finding and meeting trans people.

Still, the fact that it was made at all is definitely a plus and hopefully we’ll see more on this subject down the track.  Maybe a mini-series?

rattfan: Quote from Seanan McGuire's Incryptid series (Incryptid quote Seanan McGuire)
2017-06-29 05:36 pm

Perth calls this winter

It's cold now, by Perth's definition of chilly:  One needs to haul out the heater and wear actual pyjamas.  Well, a tracksuit.  Finland should feel quite comfortable when I get there in early August for the Worldcon in Helsinki, by which time Perth will be frigging freezing.  Yes, I know, heaps of sympathy from those of you in Canberra, or the USA or in Nordic countries already.  But as the Helsinki Complaints Choir laments;  your ancestors could have found somewhere more sunny to be, but they didn't.

I'm hanging out for my trip;  got the rest of this month and next month to go.  I'm doing some reading, that's one method of maintaining mental health.  I picked up Cat Sparks' Lotus Blue while at Supanova Comic Con last week.  The event was a severe disappointment apart from the chance to chat with Cat and also Alan Baxter, who were hiding behind tables piled with their books.  It's taking a while to get into the book but it is pretty good.  Cat mentioned a problem with the book's blurb, which calls it "A Canticle for Lebowitz by way of Neuromancer", two books apparently unknown to most of the fans who populate Supanova.  I think it's an age thing;  most of them seem to be in their 20s and below, so the other comparison with Mad Max means more to them.

geekery about wolves )

I restarted my Netflix account, because navigating around the pirate sites can be a pain and also they get hunted down and closed at regular intervals.  I've just watched two seasons of 12 Monkeys, which was pretty good once I got into it, though the time-travelling really messes with a person's head.  So long as the writers keep the whole thing straight somehow, that's ok with me.  Two seasons is all Netflix has right now, so I figured I'd wait till they got the rest, and checked out quite a few things which failed to hold my interest, until I got to Homeland, which I'm enjoying so far, four episodes in.

The rest;  well, plenty of gardening which is of interest only to me.  Trying to keep exercising.  Trying to write stuff.  I've a story on foot, Pylon!, which Leece prompted me to write, but I'm also dealing with trying to reduce my antidepressant, so things move slowly.  If anyone else wants to hand me a prompt, feel free, but my head is not being terribly obliging right now.  

I'm also considering getting some baby rats from an actual rattery (ie somewhere that has bred them with some care so they don't have lifelong health problems like my rescues have had) when I get home from Finland in mid August, but at the moment, anything beyond Helsinki and Worldcon is vague and indistinct.  Like the world when I remove my glasses.

rattfan: (Default)
2017-05-14 05:06 pm

Considering Helsinki

This weekend has been a bit boring and I haven't had any human interaction to speak of, but that's all right, means I saved $ and it is all needed for Finland.  I realise now that WABA (boardgaming club) was on but did not come to this realisation until around midnight of Saturday.  Saturday is when I do my housework jobs and some garden jobs and try to get in some exercise.

On Sunday I had to call my mother for Mother's Day, since the customs of the tribe mean I would feel intensely guilty if I didn't.  There wasn't a lot to say, as it's only a week since I called before, but since I generally have to repeat everything, that still takes awhile.  M had to go through how wonderful it was to get flowers from my brother and his family, but all in all, not too bad.  When M answered the phone, I greeted her in my best Indian call centre operator accent, and did well enough that M almost hung up on me.  One has to get entertainment where one can. :-)

I messed around online, made Scrabble moves and wrote a bit of Pylon.  Am in the middle slump, i.e. not sure of a good ending, feeling that there's too much standing around and talking heads, so I arranged for a sea serpent to eat a surf boat.  Some rain was swept in this afternoon; it has now moved on, but there was enough to give everything in the garden a decent drink.

I've started to consider what things I may do when I get to Helsinki.  I will have four days to tourist before the Worldcon starts, not including the afternoon/evening of arrival when I expect to not do much at all.  There's the expected hop on/hop off bus, which can be combined with a ferry trip, plenty of museums, markets, the Finnish Parliament, the Botanical Gardens and the zoo.  Since I figure my chances of seeing Finnish wildlife are probably fairly remote, the zoo is my best bet, and the same goes for most of the plant life found in the countryside, so the Botanical Gardens sound like they would be worth a visit.  I also like the look of a tour called the Sustainable City tour, where they use the trams and buses to show you around.

One offering from the Worldcon peeps themselves is this trip to a nuclear power plant, which I include here for attendees not on Facebook. [Rob and Leece, looky here!]  I thought (a) when else am I ever going to see one and (b) it's a longer tour outside Helsinki, so I'll get a look at the aforementioned countryside :-)

Would you like to visit a nuclear power plant in connection with your trip to #Worldcon75?

We're organising a visit to the Olkiluoto power station on Tuesday, 8 August, the day before Worldcon officially begins. The trip starts at 8 am from Helsinki and return in the evening.

The tour of the site would be done by bus, as visitors aren't allowed into the reactor building for security reasons.

If you are interested in participating, please sign up or message pr5questions@worldcon.fi.

More info about visiting Olkiluoto here:


rattfan: (Default)
2017-04-30 05:44 pm

Rail Replacement Buses and other Chaos

Today there were no trains, only Rail Replacement Buses between home and the city.  I reminded myself today that they really are a lot more chaotic than the trains they replace!  I accidentally got on the wrong one, since both leave from the same area, same side of the train station.  Then one sailed past me while I was desperately trying to get across the road to head back the other way, without being flattened.   I made gestures at it, but to no avail.

After I finally caught a bus, I heard the driver ask what station we were next to at one point and then, the bus stopped very neatly so that its back door was exactly opposite two large red bins.  Old bloke trying to get off complained loudly - but squeezed himself between the bins before the driver could move the bus.  Then on the way home, the driver wouldn't let a couple with a pram get on because they already had two prams aboard.

Yeah, I know.  If I'd been paying attention, I would have remembered the trains from Midland weren't running today.  And a person with brains would probably have given up and gone home, but I'd said I'd go to the Trans support group today, so figured I had to.  Was a bit tired but had slept ok, so no excuse there.  I like to show up now and then as a visible reminder that not everyone in the group is around 20 years old, which tends to bug me now and then.  There was one other person my age and three of the 20 somethings in attendance.  One of the latter was moderating the group.

I don't really know what I can do about the focus on youth.  It's not just this group, it's everything in the media.  I don't want to bring in more divisions, we have enough of those, but the focus needs to widen.   And then when I was talking about the problems my mother's generation has in accepting the idea of transgender people, and I placed her in time by saying she had been a child during the Blitz, I realised that one of the 20 somethings had no idea what I meant by "the Blitz."   "Bombing of London?  World War 11?"  They did at least flicker at the name World War II, which was something, but geez.  What do they teach them in these schools?  It would have been an American school, but they teach this generation about that, don't they?

rattfan: (Default)
2017-04-26 02:11 pm

I'm baaack!

Terry, the guy from Telstra, has been and gone and my Internet is back.  It turns out the guy who was sent out the first time did not properly investigate the situation, not even examining the lines over at the pillar (node that links to the phone line exchange).

One of my theories as to why my connection was dropping out turns out to be correct.  The NBN digging is not involved, nor are the roadworks.  It was line fault due to age, further affected by temperature.  All the lines close to the surface are faulty, Terry said, so he transferred my connection to one lower down in the earth, which turned out to be all right.  My only problem now should be, if I upgrade to the NBN, whether they do something stupid.  They're still using the old copper to link to the houses, so it's not going to be anything super wonderful, the way Iinet and other ISPs are telling us.  

You know, I don't care about super speed.  I just want the speed I have, which is fairly decent, and for the connection to work.
rattfan: (Default)
2017-04-23 05:35 pm

Science is going to fix this, damn it

 Cue Twilight Zone music:

I've started to keep a log of when my Internet connection checks out and when it comes back, since noticing there seemed to be a pattern.  It's not precise, but since the problems began early this month, the long dropouts happen in midmorning to early afternoon and the connection comes back in the late afternoon/early evening.  Every day since about 16/4, when the connection began checking out for most of the day, and we're now at 23/4.

So.  Is it something to do with the installation of the NBN cables in this suburb?  Or is it a problem that happens at a certain temperature, which could explain the fluctuation between, say, yesterday it came back at 5.50pm and today, a cooler day with even a bit of rain, it came back at 5.24pm.

Given that my modem is new and manages to work all night (or at the points when I woke up and looked, and I had insomnia badly last night) I don't believe it has a problem.  Everything is plugged in that ought to be and has been tested according to instructions from Iinet support. There's already been a line check and I was told a fault had been found and fixed.  Uh uh, I don't think so.  Second check happens on Wednesday.  Whatever else they are, Iinet and Telstra are at least prompt in responding to wails from the populace, or such has been my experience this time.  The first check was done on Easter Sunday, no less, with the guy saying;  well, they didn't have much work so they were doing it early.

Folk are free to check my logic, but I feel weirdly reassured that I am finding a pattern.  It suggests there is something wrong there to be found!

Then again, not sure how reliable my logic is.  I'm the person who spent about two hours last night trying to print a PDF attachment that wouldn't.  Thought my printer was out of ink until I worked out that Windows 10 apparently has a problem with letting you print out such things.  And yes, I eventually hammered through to finding out how to do it.  It was my acknowledgment from the Sokos Pasila in Helsinki that I had a room booked for Worldcon, btw.

Also; my shower head fell off in my hand on Friday while I was trying to superglue a crack where it met the wall.  The lesson for today is that Selleys superglue does not work on showers, and you will get a lot of water sprayed in your face if you are an idjit who forgets to turn off the water first.

Thank Whatever for bathtubs.  I'll sort that problem out next week!

rattfan: (Default)
2017-04-17 05:15 pm

Rescue by way of Mumbai

I'm knackered. [To non-Australians, this only means exhausted.]  Swancon, the Perth sf convention, has been happening this Easter.  Since I'm saving for the Worldcon, I was only there on Saturday but enjoyed it a lot.  Ok, I was there for the Aurealis Awards on Friday since I had been asked to be one of the presenters, but this was more like work.  They said, after I'd done my bit, that it was being live streamed to Facebook so I guess it's still findeable there.  I'm the geek in the purple shirt and the tie :-)

Yesterday and today I have been engaged with making my home Internet happen.  My connection has been terrible, moving to nonexistent late last week, and so it dawned on me that maybe this was personal, not a general "we have all crashed" event.  I've had two lengthy phone calls with Iinet and to give credit where it is in fact due, I had little trouble getting hold of the technical assistance geeks.  Yes, Indian call centre, but they knew what they were doing.  Luckily, as a court transcriber, I have to deal with a lot of accents, and I'm sure that helps with this kind of thing.

 More trouble following instructions which is why I'm so tired.  I had to focus like mad to be certain I did everything correctly.  I'm a writer, not a tech.  

On the first call, we arranged that the line to the house would be checked.  Since it was Easter weekend, I wasn't expecting anything till Tuesday or Wednesday.  

Well.  The Telstra guy got me out of bed this morning.  Easter Monday.  The check was done; the line was fine, very good reception, as a matter of fact.

I staggered out of the house afterwards to get somewhere where somebody else could cook me an excellent omelette, which I inhaled, with mushrooms, cheese, spinach and coffee.  The coffee was not with the other ingredients until I finished all of it.

Still could not get online.  Today, talked with Iinet again on their instructions, after the Telstra guy called them.  Messed with everything.  Had to call friend to ask about modem connections.  After all the messing about and unpluggings, I could no longer remember the basic fact of where to plug in on the modem.  Also trouble with own name.

Iinet promised that the second fault check should be done and things sorted out by the 19th, but whatever they have done so far has helped a lot.  I no longer know wtf is or was going on.

I will be back at work tomorrow for a nice rest.

If I fail to respond to any online messages after this, you know why.  I don't think there's anything urgent out there, so my remaining brain cells will be standing down.

rattfan: (Demons)
2017-04-08 10:41 pm

Still trundling along in a mental fog

 I'm going to keep my LJ going for the time being and just watch carefully for awhile.  I don't like doing anything in haste and I'm not a fan of change in general.  I *hate* saying de-friend because that's not right;  I'm just going to remove names - that's better - on my LJ list of those who are moving to DW.  I'm still not sure whether I've done the import thing correctly either.

In other news, I had my flu shot on Thursday;  it still feels sore and I still felt fuzzy today, though that effect is usually only for one day.  It didn't seem to affect me at work, but it did when I was playing board games at WabaCon today, which probably says something about the degree of concentration required for each activity.  

I am rattfan on DW
rattfan: (Default)
2017-04-05 10:27 pm

Here are Dreamwidth's details

With thanks to [personal profile] LEECETHEARTIST for the link
For those who are considering a back up or transferral to a less intrusive site than LJ has become:

https://www.dreamwidth.org/support/faqbrowse?faqid=127 ;

rattfan: (Default)
2017-04-04 08:46 am

Russian agreement

 Real quick because I have to go to work, but on LJ today; up comes a new user agreement courtesy of the Russian Federation (that now hosts LiveJournal), that you have to agree with or it won't let you continue, and which I personally found quite confusing in parts.

How can I agree with something referring to laws of the Russian Federation when I don't know them?


I hope some of my flist might consider moving to Dreamwidth, because not sure aobut staying with LJ now....

More later

rattfan: (Default)
2017-03-08 03:29 pm

Raised By Rats

I've updated my two journals, Livejournal and Dreamwidth; basically making them one journal, updating the info in my bio and also choosing a new journal title: Raised By Rats.  I don't have any rats right now, but I want to acknowledge all they've done for me :-)  

I hadn't realised I never filled in profile bio info on DW but anyway, it's there now.  Or people can ask me stuff :-)  

I'm on holiday at the moment; decided to take a few days after the long weekend to just chill and do things I never seem to get to on work days.  Like last night I went to book club; a club run by Stefen of Stefen's Books in Perth.  We discussed Robert Charles Wilson's The Affinities, which I have to admit I read on Kindle as I am trying to keep my book spending (and any spending) way down until after I go to Finland in August.  Most of my reads so far this year have been from the library, with two Kindle purchases only.  

Anyway, The Affinities was such that I was glad I didn't spend full actual book price on it.  The writing style was passive, the protagonist rather forgettable and the premise of a scientific method to create what are basically fraternities - for only some of the population - is dubious.  Yes, it would be wonderful to be part of a group who absolutely understood you, but the idea of creating new exclusivities struck me, and some of the book club, as designed to fail.  The phrase "A class theme with a B class author" resonated through the evening.  I like Wilson, have several of his books including Darwinia and Julian Comstock, but I think he missed the mark on this one.

I added an account of visiting M but then my comp froze and I lost it.  M was on best behaviour, but memory is increasingly crap.  At least M now seems to be aware of it.
rattfan: (Default)
2017-03-02 02:53 pm

When Writers Talk

 Yesterday I attended a public forum of writers, librarians and others at WA’s State Library, organised by Writing WA, to put their case and present a petition to three Western Australian politicians, with the WA State Election set for 11 March 2017.  The politicians were from government, shadow ministry and the Greens.  Writing WA wrote that the forum was:

To enable members of the writing sector and wider community to hear from the Liberal, National, Labor and Greens Parties regarding their policies concerning writing in particular, and its place in arts policy more broadly. 


or those not informed on Western Australian politics:  Liberal is our conservative/private sector party.  Their guy wore a suit on a 37^C day with horrendous humidity.  Labor is the party seen as representing the labour movement.  Greens is pretty much the same as Greens anywhere.  Environmental concerns and social change.  Please don't jump on me for my definitions.  These are only broad sketches for the assistance of any readers who don't live here.

Neither of the actual Ministers for the Arts were present.  The State Government [Liberal] has the Hon. John H.D. Day as Minister for Health; Culture and the Arts.  He was represented by the Hon. Mark Mischin, Attorney General; Minister for Commerce.  This probably explains why he kept talking about KPI.  I could not remember what this stood for and had to look it up afterwards.  Google told me it was this:

Short for key performance indicator.

"by setting KPIs the company enables the team to make smart business decisions about the direction of all current projects"

It hurt my brain to try to think about writers centres and supporting writers in these terms.

Labor did a bit better, in my opinion, fronting with Dr Bill Leadbetter, an historian and Labor candidate for Hasluck.  Majorly into the Roman Empire, which for me is a win J and actually better than if the actual Minister had attended.  This is the Hon. Michelle Roberts MLA.  Look at her swag of portfolios, with the Arts coming in last.  Despite what Dr Leadbetter said about her passion for books and reading, it’s hard to believe she’s got much time to consider either.  She’s the Manager of Opposition Business; Shadow Minister for Police; Road Safety; Crime Prevention; Culture and the Arts.

Third was the Hon. Lynn MacLaren MLC, of the Greens.  Much though I like the Greens, all Lynn could really do was agree that writers were a necessary part of a creative society and promise to raise the questions which were asked, though being a burr in Parliament is certainly a necessary task, in my opinion.

I got rather lost in the talk about numbers and dollars and how much funding was actually being offered as against what was needed, and whether the Premiers Book Awards needed to be every year or every two years for the sake of funding.  It boiled down to “We’re already doing a great deal and we don’t think more is actually required” or “If we get elected to government, we will throw money at this, this and this.” 

A sitting government has the advantage; the connections and the inside information, plus the key to the treasury.  An opposition government does not, which leaves them open to accusations of “You can’t say that, because you don’t know these figures.”  That could be true;  they won’t know for sure if and until they’re actually elected.  So all I could really glean from the speeches was that all of them know there are these people here, who are anxious for more support and who will fight to keep what they have.  The pollies have been reminded that writers are out here, both by the packed theatre and by the petition which was given to all of them at the end.

The forum was being recorded, but it’s probably too soon for it to appear online.  That would have been at least three hours of transcribing there [my day job] but I’ll try to locate it and update it to this post.  Part of my reason for writing this is to see how well I could do on a couple of hours work, fairly soon after I went to the actual event. 




rattfan: (Peace)
2017-02-23 04:23 pm

Small post about Stephen King

 I haven't read a lot of recent Stephen King; have rather lost track of the recent ones, but one of the latest I did like was the title that's a date I can never remember without looking: 11.22.63.  I guess somebody into the history of the Kennedy assassination would know it better.  I loved that book;  have my own actual paper copy, and just the other day realised that a television version had been made, produced by J.J. Abrams, no less.

I've begun to watch it and it seems really good, and even better, it's from the local library, which I'm continuing to use to keep my entertainment costs down.  Most of the Stephen King works seem to translate well to the screen and I have hopes for this one.  I'm wondering if he'll do his usual cameo role somewhere along the line!

I've managed to keep my Kindle purchases down since the start of the year; only one, which is Ready Player One by Ernest Cline.  I got that because it looked interesting and was on a list of genre works supposed to cheer one up, which I rather need at the moment.  Really enjoyed it and got a lot of the '80s references in it, which is a nice change from trying to figure out the decade we're currently in.
rattfan: (Default)
2017-01-29 02:14 pm

Money saving measures

 Now that I've decided to go to Helsinki, Finland, for the Worldcon this year, I have to make sure I can pay for it and not be totally broke afterwards.  So I am doing my periodic entertainment of working out ways to save money.

Read more... )
There's not much to report in RL; back at work, doing okay so far.   It's still pretty quiet, no frantic pleas for overtime (just when I would have taken it, too!)  and quite a few people are still on leave, or going on leave.  I still haven't managed to get off the anti-ds (shrug, may try again later).   Did lose another couple of kilos and the rest is firming up some, more muscle definition which I am very happy about, but why do I have to have hairs up my nose?

Supernatural is back and I watched the re-start episode on Friday with a couple of fan friends, on a really nice big screen TV.  It wasn't a bad episode, but I was doing a lot of "why didn't they do that?" or "That was too easy," in my head.  I think I've been affected by the very realistic violence of SOA, which I'm not enjoying as much as I was for the first few seasons, but am persevering because there's only one more season to watch.  I think they should do a SOA/Walking Dead crossover; it's the natural progression!

I see in the news that there is a move in California for secession.  I would have said this was crazy and never happen, but then, this time last year I still thought the reason they want to secede would never happen!  Scary shit.  Hang in there, everyone I know in America.  Just....hold on.

rattfan: (Default)
2017-01-10 03:28 pm

intermittent internet is still intermittent

I was disconnected again last night; still on an hour's wait plus for a call back, but fortunately it connected again about half an hour ago.  Definitely Iinet's prob, which I seriously hope they can fix sooooon and that I don't get another major drop out.  Needed to go out anyway, despite another hot day, to buy a new phone cable - wasn't causing the problem but very old and mouse-chomped, so preemptive maintenance - and hit the library to stop me buying more ebooks.  I'm also waiting for a book to come in from Book Depository.  It's called One Year Later, sequel to One Second Later by William Forstchen; one of the best 'emp attack destroys civilisation" books I ever read.  He's coauthored books with Newt Gingrich, who provided the foreword for the first novel.

I've mostly been on rereads so far this year, all 10 days of it, except for Joshua Guess's This Broken Veil, a zombie apoc with real characters!  I reread Simon Scarrow's Under the Eagle, which may possibly have been before New Year, and then the Timerider series by his brother Alex, who also borrows Simon's Roman military characters for one of those books :-)  It had been sufficiently long that I couldn't quite recall the ending of the Timerider series, so they could stand a reread.  So today, new books:  J.D. Robb's Apprentice in Death and a thing called The Romanov Cross by Robert Masello, which seems to feature Rasputin and also a modern day threat from a buried source of the 1918 flu in Antarctica.  Being a thriller and not an apocalypse novel, I can predict that the reawoken virus won't destroy the world, but one can hope :-)

This being summer; Perth is hot and crowded, particularly with children, since they haven't been safely locked up yet, so I headed home soon as I finished the cable shopping and library and rations gathering.

Good news; read a post by Mark Sheppard yesterday announcing that Supernatural had been renewed for a 13th season. 
For possible Supernatural season 12 spoilers )
rattfan: (Default)
2017-01-09 04:03 pm

The intermittent internet company

I'm a little on the phobic side about phone calls, but today had to make one of the worst; a call to my Internet service provider to ask wtf? I had been trying for several hours to get online without success, so there was no alternative.

Their stated delay before calling back was one hour; it was more like three before they finally did, and then they made me jump through idiot hoops. Yes, it's plugged into the wall. No, I cannot get online. How am I supposed to tell you invoice details when those are online? If I had another modem, I'd be using that, not beating my head against a wall as I talk to you. The whole emphasis was that it must be my equipment failing. I asked directly in the end and then the minion admitted that iinet did have issues and that those could have caused my difficulties.

Once "something" was done and I could get online, I realised the difficulties were widespread, and more than iinet were saying. Reading the comments was more helpful. I especially appreciated the person who suggested that the II in iinet should stand for "intermittent internet" because that's what I've been dealing with for months. Today was just the icing on the cake. It's a pity; they used to be a very good service.

Probably wasn't the best time for them to send me an email requesting customer service feedback . . .
rattfan: (Default)
2017-01-07 06:00 pm

Ravens in the garden

Cleaning up the back yard is pretty well endless, with two large trees in the throes of "bark season" - Australian trees drop all their bark in the summer and start again - and all the smaller plants doing their best to help. One is the "widow maker" lemon scented eucalypt and the other a rose eucalypt, or similar name; Eucalyptus Grandii. Fortunately I like gardening :-) So today was much pruning and raking, from around 5.30 pm to nearly 7pm when the sun was low enough. I had tossed out some elderly bread (still ok but dry), so the ravens were lurking, waiting for me to get out of the way so they can go get it and wash it in the bird bath. They've finished raising their chicks - I think there were two - in their nest at the top of the grandii and turfed them off to join the gangs of teenaged ravens who hang around the train station.
rattfan: (Default)
2017-01-05 02:11 pm

Who am I?


For the benefit of the new friends I’ve gained via St Aurafina’s friending meme and anyone else on my flist who doesn’t want to admit that they can’t remember who I am and why they friended me….

My name is Alex and I live in Perth, Western Australia. We’re the world’s most isolated capital city and people in other parts of Australia sometimes bitch about being transferred here for work.

This is put together from my profile on LJ, where I’ve been blogging since 2004. There I’m ratfan. I got rid of my DW journal a couple of years ago in an intense fit of depression and rather than sort through the electronic paperwork to get the name back, I just added another “t” to the ratt. About the depression; well, I’ve been on Lexapro on and off for about 12 years and I think I’m stuck with it. I tried lowering the dose this holidays and it didn’t work too well, so I’m going to give up on that. Better living through chemistry.

My day job is audio transcribing for our State and Federal courts, which means I learn a whole lot of stuff I am absolutely forbidden from using in writing.  I've got a good grip on libel legislation.  I blog/bitch about my job, my mother, conventions, roleplay and boardgaming, gardening, books;  anything that comes to mind, really.  No partner or kids.  Working on my fitness at the moment, though my low sugar/low salt diet got blown out of the water this New Year's and I discovered you could actually suffer a sugar hangover.

I'm a pet owner [sadly have no rats, here at the beginning of 2017. Probably will get more...]

science fiction fan

writer [original and fan.  Have written in Star Trek, Babylon 5 and Supernatural; currently huge fan and would-be minion of Crowley, King of Hell].

gamer [GURPS, V&V, online Scrabble via Facebook]


transgender person [Prefer he/him pronouns but some people can’t get used to it and honestly, I hate making people uncomfortable, so it's not an issue].

My most recent creation is Nightsiders, a collection of stories set in a future Perth abandoned when climate change becomes too severe to tolerate in Western Australia. I'm writing a novel in this world. I may be writing it for some time as it stalled last year. At the moment, for my own amusement, I’m inflicting the zombie apocalypse on my beloved city. There will be a scene in Parliament with poli-zombies led by Premier Basket Case. Do you think the real Premier Barnett will notice?

I don't watch a lot of live television but have adopted Netflix. My growing list of favourites includes Supernatural, The Walking Dead, The West Wing, Jessica Jones, Fringe, Helix, Lost Girl, I Zombie, Sons of Anarchy, The OA. Netflix is my friend. Happy to receive recommendations.

I got a camera last year and went mad with photos, which can be viewed at

If this link doesn’t work properly, let me know. My computer operation ability sometimes cuts out on me.  There's only a couple there so far as I remembered my other collections weren't public and I needed to begin another one!

This journal is dedicated to my pet rats past and present. This is one diary you guys can't gnaw!

This original LJ line is a bit outdated since I lost my beloved Barnaby on 10 December ’16 and for the sake of my finances, am waiting a few months until summer eases. I don’t use anything like the amount of electricity on airconditioning that I do when I have rats.

Anyway, nice to meet you and may there be much journal writing and friendship this year.

rattfan: (Default)
2016-12-28 04:24 pm

Book Blog: Autumn The City by David Moody


 This book is the sequel to Autumn and above is the link to the review I did for that, since I haven’t much new to say about this one.  I hoped for more, is the gist of it.  As indicated, it takes place in a large, nameless British city and features various people who start off on their own, surviving an apocalypse which came about when a lightning fast disease struck down most of humanity.

The resulting ‘undead’ are referred to as “the bodies” and they kill by sheer pressure of numbers and random violence as their aggression increases.  They don’t actively hunt and eat the living, which probably isn’t an awful lot of comfort when you're being steamrollered by a horde of them.

 It felt like I was waiting for most of the book for the whingey survivors to actually do something.  They literally sat around and ate whatever junk food they could find, waiting for somebody else to take control and arguing with one another.  This is no survival of the fittest; survival by accidental luck would be more like it.  One survivor, a sales clerk, was so annoying and whiny that I felt a sense of relief when he died in a particularly stupid manner.

There’s a military base at the edge of the city with a population of soldiers who aren’t immune, but survived because they were sent down into it at the outbreak.  They don’t seem to know what to do either and they wait for somebody…you got it.  One soldier on a scouting mission finds out he is immune from the plague that still lives in the air, by a freak and horrible accident, and while not exactly a leader, he is, finally, the catalyst for the survivors to move together.  These include Michael and Emma from the first book, though I don’t think it’s essential to read that, as at least the first half of this book is almost a duplicate of that, with different characters in a bigger metropolis. 

 I’m not sure I’ll bother continuing with this series, which has several more books in it.  Three and four are titled, respectively,  Autumn Purification and Autumn Disintegration, which sounds like more whingeing and despair to me.  The first one begins with the surviving survivors still stuck in the military bunker to which they fled, leaving their city to hundreds of thousands of mindless walking corpses.  Zompoc British style.