Friday Plant Blogging! A prickly pair

Enjoying the heatwave, no doubt.

Friday once again rolls round, and with it the most enthusiastically ignored meme on the intarwebs – it’s Friday Plant Blogging time! And this fine (if somewhat suggestively shaped) brace of cacti are this week’s offering from the Hall of Mirrors plant collection. They were donated by an ex-girlfriend – exactly how long ago escapes me, but it has to be about five years, at least.

They came with another one, a little kinda lumpy-conglomerate-cactus thing, one of those ones with the very fine spines that look almost exactly like the white hairs on the chins of the elderly (just more numerous). The little thing declined all of a sudden, collapsing in on itself and going brown, and eventually a whole bunch of insects flew out of it, so the death wasn’t too great a mystery.

These two seem to be doing rather well, or they have been for the last few years – I think I finally have the watering regime and placement sussed. I must be doing something right, because both of them develop a crown of neon pink flowers every spring, which is something that I assume (in my ignorance) unhappy cacti don’t do. I could be wrong…maybe it’s a cry for help.

I’ve always rather liked cacti, but my travels in Mexico cemented that into a deep love for them. Granted, I didn’t see any like those two out there, but there were plenty of others, especially the ubiquitous prickly pears (or nopales, as the locals call them). Here is a big one in full flower, in the beautiful remote village of Real de Catorce:

This thing was nearly fifteen feet high, you know!

Lovely. I would go back right now, if I had the means to make a living out there. Someday…until then, happy memories. If you’ve been to Mexico, you know what I’m on about. If not, and you ever get the chance, just go. It’s an amazing country.

So, what’s been going down this week? Let’s see…my motorbike sold for close to £200, so that was a good result, and a healing balm to the overdraft too. Oh yeah; I finished Starwater Strains on Wednesday night – my review has to be with the Interzone reviews editor by Saturday evening. The only downside to reviewing books for magazines is that I have to wait before I can post them up here; I leave a two-issue gap with Interzone, so you’ll see this review in four or five month’s time. For the impatient, here’s a hint – a very unique collection. No-one writes like Gene Wolfe…sometimes, not even Wolfe himself.

In related book news, my first review job for Vector arrived on Monday. It’s Horizons by Mary Rosenblum, an American author who is new to me, but not to the scene (Hugo award finalist, Azimov’s Readers Award winner, according to the blurb). Early signs seem to indicate I’m going to get on quite well with it – lots of extrapolation, good science and technology, action, good characters. It scored early points by involving space elevators from chapter one!

Writing type news…it would appear that I have been promoted to Essays Editor at Futurismic! If you’ll give me a brief moment of abandon, ZOMFGWTF!!11!1!11!one! How stoked am I? Very stoked. Yet also a little scared; it’s a big responsibility (and it adds to my already large workload of writing-for-reputation), and I hope I can live up to it properly. Now all I need to do is find some new essayists. Hmmm…

Looks like I’ll be doing some more writing at work, too; I forwarded this article from to the Head of Directorate who controls the library service I work for (you know, one of those ‘hey, check this out, thought you might find it interesting’ type emails), and he now wants me to write up a proposal for how we might implement it here in Velcro City. Blimey. If volume of work means anything, I must be worth paying for writing by now. If I only had the time to scout for work with a pay-cheque!

Well, that’s all my self-congratulation for this week. Time to get some food and do the daily RSS binge, before hitting the pub later for Friday beer-and-rock-music with my mates. Thanks for reading – VCTB is important to me too, and it’s a source of great pride to know that something close to sixty of you are coming back here every day. You people rule.

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