Friday Photo Blogging: Shelob Junior the portly spider

OK, just in case the title was enough warning – arachnophobics should probably scroll right past this image before it loads. This big lump of a spider has taken up residence out front of the house my flat is in:

BigFatSpider 002

Sorry for blurriness – for one thing, I don’t have a macro lens (another reason to jealous of Jeremy), and for another, the wind was blowing enough to make the web oscillate. That shot (like the other one I’ve stashed on Flickr) was the clearest of about thirty attempts.

Shelob was distinctly unimpressed by being photographed, hence the strange suspended pose in the other shot – she kind of skulked off to a corner of the web in a fit of pique. Models, eh?

Totally scary blogging moment (brief digression)

It’s odd, this blogging thing: you are aware, consciously, that people read the thing, but – with the exception of the people you know from comments, web-connected work or having met in meatspace – you tend to lump them into this abstract group of people who … well, who are just a number, in a way. You have no sense of their real-ness, as actual individual people.

So when you’re at work, and some chap comes in asking for directions to the other branch of the Admiralty Library (it’s elsewhere in the Dockyard – don’t ask, it’s complicated), and you tell him, and then he cheerfully tells you he knows your name because he reads your website … well, suffice to say it’s as momentarily frightening as it is flattering.

So, to the fellow in question (whose name I was far too stunned to be polite enough to ask for): thanks for saying hello, I hope you’re still reading, and I hope next time we meet I won’t be doing my best impression of a landed cod.

Reading, writing, and stuff in between

I may have cleared the decks of major projects over the course of last week, but there’s still been a lot of minor things to sort out this week, and some other catch-up business here and there, like meetings and appointments.

Hence, no blogging here at VCTB – though I have about five half-finished screeds just waiting to be rounded off and posted. I’m building up a safety net of content so that I don’t go totally quiet when my non-blog life gets a bit hectic, basically … as well as slowly learning the principles of self-management and discipline by luck and flaw.

I’ve also been attacking the reading pile. I’ve finally finished my first pass through John Meaney’s To Hold Infinity, and have made a healthy start on Karl Schroeder’s Queen of Candesce … as well as actually reading some poetry for the first time in what seems like months. wh00t!

Heavy labour at the day-job

Well, not so terribly heavy, in truth. The RNML is having a book sale tomorrow, so the last couple of days have involved moving a lot of dusty old books out of the store and getting them ready for the buying public … whom we hope will be numerous, because we could do with shifting the old stuff to make room for titles we actually need to keep.

The upshot of this being that yours truly is racking up the overtime hours tomorrow afternoon, manning a table and taking the cash. The best bit is that I can read during quiet moments – and there’s nothing better than being paid to read a novel, as far as I’m concerned.

So, if you’re in the Portsmouth area, and fancy picking up some naval history bargains, get thee to the Historic Dockyard between midday and 3pm tomorrow!

Books and magazines seen

Another slow week; the only magazine to arrive was Talebones #35, which has (as always) a lovely cover:


Also picked up a couple of non-fiction titles from the book-sale selection (as mentioned above); general naval history, nothing too focused, just useful background reference titles at a fraction of the cover price:

These are titles I refer to all the time at work, and a great introduction to matters nautical. While I don’t think I’m going to become the sort of hyper-focused enthusiast historian who attends the RNML, I’m definitely developing an interest in naval history as a broad topic. Lots of story ideas in there, too …


There’s your slice of my life for the week, which has been brought to you by Windows Live Writer Beta – that rarest of things, a free Microsoft product that doesn’t totally blow goats. They’ve really upped the feature set, so if you’re looking for a free blogging client, give it a try. It’s not as bells and whistles as Ecto (though it can extended with plug-ins), but nor is it as utterly bug-ridden.

(To be fair, I’m told the Mac version of Ecto is rather fantastic. But the PC version is only worth the money if you need certain features impossible to get elsewhere, IMHO. Note: Mac users leaving smug comments will be mailed a packet of fresh sea urchins first thing Monday morning.)

So, time for The Friday Curry, and then lots of writing to do that I’d normally be doing tomorrow afternoon. What the hell, I could do with a Friday evening indoors, and I have a review copy of the new Oceansize album to keep me company!

I hope the weather holds out, and that you all get the best out of your own weekends. Hasta luego, amigos.

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