Justin Cawthorne (dot) com

read, write, ramble

January 14

In a break from normal Saturday tradition I get up early and write, finishing off the third draft of the haunted carousel story–it’s not yet finished, but it’s getting much closer to a state of me being mostly happy with it.

I dither for the rest of the morning, resulting in me not being remotely ready to accompany Rach into town for a cut-price ear piercing (her ear, not mine). This proves fortuitous as the salon is hideously overbooked and she ends up spending the rest of the morning in the city. I, alternatively, watch Gremlins 2 with the kids. It remains a perplexing film: perfectly enjoyable, but such a tonal contrast with the first film that it’s amazing the same people were behind it.

Rach and the Elderbeast head off to the cricket later in the afternoon. The Kinderbeast and I watch The Little Mermaid and then Toy Story 2, interrupted occasionally by some card games.

Having deprived myself of wine the night before (see: being sick) I have a couple of glasses once the Kinderbeast has retired (Ingoldby Shiraz Grenache – much better than the $10 price tag suggests) and attack some blue cheese too for good measure.

For my evening’s entertainment I have already determined to watch one of the later Hellraiser sequels (having just finished Paul Kane’s book all about the Hellraiser series). I settle on Hellraiser: Hellseeker (which sounds like it should be an AC/DC album by rights). This choice is mostly determined by the return of Kirsty Cotton, which at least gives the entry some sense of continuity. The marginally positive reviews also offer a compelling reason to indulge my apathy and avoid the effort of making any other decision.

In the end the film is reasonable. Reasonably well made, reasonably well acted, and tells a reasonable story. There is little to damn it with, but little to suggest non-Hellraiser fans should go out of their way. Ironic, given this entry started life as a non-Hellraiser script.

I try to stay awake until the other half of the family return, but eventually have to accept defeat.

January 13

I wake up reasonably certain that I am sick. As the morning progresses I become increasingly certain that I am sick, to the point that I decide to skip my 2pm meeting in the city. I could probably manage it, but I’m loathe to make anyone else sick, and equally loathe to make anyone else sit in the company of my hacking cough for the rest of the day.

I retreat to my bed for the afternoon and finish reading Paul Kane’s book about the Hellraiser movies. I come away from the experience with a–probably–unhealthy desire to watch some of the higher-numbered instalments.

Our friend Seb is unable to attend Fridate; it is definitely the week for being sick. The Kinderbeast settles unusually early and the rest of us continue our Sherlock odyssey. Tonight it’s The Sign of Three (a.k.a the wedding episode). I remember it fondly from my first viewing, but it’s probably even funnier than I remembered. The two stars’ drunk acting is so effective that the Elderbeast declares that he feels drunk just from watching it (he has, of course, never actually been drunk – those joys are yet to come).

We cap off with an episode of Blackadder, specifically Ink & Incapability from Blackadder The Third. I realise that I have neglected to introduce the Elderbeast to Blackadder until now and am delighted when he immediately declares: “I should watch more Blackadder!”

January 12

I suffer death by presentation for the first half of a day: over four hours of watching vendors show off their products. The presentations are perfectly engaging, and there is both morning tea and lunch, but sitting in a hard plastic chair for half of the day virtually kills me. I am a slothsome wreck for the afternoon. Today is definitely a reminder of exactly how tiring a simple day at work can be.

We have pizza for dinner and then sit down for The Empty Hearse. I love this episode, and the way it neatly bypasses providing a complete and authoritative explanation for the ‘fall’. I also love the cheeky way it manages to nvlude the various fan theories. I’m surprised when I realise that it’s written by Mark Gatiss, rather than Steven Moffat–it seemed far more Moffat’s style.

January 11

I wake up still headache afflicted. I get up and do my writing anyway. A 10am meeting in the city affords me a relatively leisurely start to the day. I do worry whether I’ll be able to make good on my promise to take the Kinderbesten swimming in the afternoon. I dislike swimming. I dislike public swimming baths. I dislike the very in-British heat we’re currently enduring. It’s confusing to be worried that won’t be able to do things I typically don’t want to do.

Ultimately the headache passes. We go swimming. Much fun is had by all. The Elderbeast expresses his amazement that even I have admitted to having fun. He knows me too well.

Finally we reach The Reichenbach Fall in our Sherlock schedule. Still a tremendous episode. I’m struck how, like Bela Lugosi with Dracula, we ultimately see very little of Andrew Scott as Moriarty, and yet his presence and performance dominates the show. The Elderbeast is appropriately baffled. A body double is his leading theory.

January 10

The day starts in the way one always hopes, with a near-collision into the rear-end of a transporter truck. I’m heading into a right filter lane, behind the truck. The truck enters the lane and then … stops. Luckily I manage to stop in time. The truck then attempt to reverse. I hammer the horn and it stops. I pull out and see that a car has stopped (or stalled?) in front of the truck. I don’t know what’s going on. I’m just relieved to be able to make to work with both myself and the car in one piece.

My Work Tolerance Factor is currently standing at slightly over 4 hours: this is the amount of time I can currently tolerate being at work. It’s to be expected after the lengthy Christmas sojourn. I’m still getting things done, and it’s still better than sitting at home and sticking knitting needles in my eye, but back half of the day is significantly more strugglesome than the early half. I’m sure this will change (eventually the entire day will become strugglesome).

For the evening we settle down for Sherlock once again. This time: The Hounds of Baskerville, which has always been a slightly unsatisfying instalment. As we watch it I try and figure out why: it’s a perfectly good episode-had it been a one-off drama it probably would have been considered excellent. Then it strikes me: it’s the structure. Watching Sherlock back-to-back you realise how much glee the writers take in messing with the structure, in making Sherlock as twisty-turny as they can. The Hounds of Baskerville, in comparison, is relatively linear.

I’m plagued by a headache for the latter part of hte day. I go to bed hoping it will have disappeared by the morning.

January 9

Monday. Shit …

The early morning chill and a fruitless search around the house leads me to conclude that I left my beloved GAP hoodie at Yahava yesterday. I remember taking it off and leaving it on the back of my chair, and have no memory of being in its company after that. This breaks the Order Of Things and, as such, is mildly depressing and equally mildly inconvenient. I consider contacting Yahava to see if the hoodie was found, and weigh up the inconvenience and benefit of returning to the Swan Valley next weekend to retrieve my hoodie. And also drink delicious coffee.

A few hours later I find my hoodie in the back of the car. I remember leaving Yahava with it wrapped around the back of my head to protect my tender skin from the brutal lunchtime sun.

Memory is a treacherous thing. We shouldn’t trust it. You definitely shouldn’t trust mine.

More Sherlock for our evening’s entertainment. I will happily keep watching until the Elderbeast grows bored or we run out of episodes. The latter is the far more likely outcome. Tonight’s episode is A Scandal In Belgravia. Laura Pulver’s performance as Irene Adler is so good you almost forget about Moriarty entirely.

January 8

A drive up to Yahava Koffeeworks in the Swan Valley starts the day. I regularly require vigorous coercion to leave the house, but the promise of excellent coffee is sometimes all it takes.

Our Christmas tree still stands. I fear it may be next weekend before it is packed away. This is, in fact, perfectly routine for our household, so there’s little reason to panic…

Apex Magazine email me to tell me they’ve decided to pass on my story ‘Til Death. Disappointing, but the odds are always against you in this game. I’m still pretty stoked to have gotten a second read. Onwards and upwards.

The Sherlock rewatch continues with The Great Game, in which we finally meet Moriarty. All previous memory of the episode has been completely eclipsed by Andrew Scott’s performance, and he’s still the most captivating thing in an otherwise perfectly excellent episode. To date the Elderbeast claims The Blind Banker as his favourite episode. We’ll see whether that changes with series 2, next week.

January 7

Saturday is Designated Lie In Day, which is pleasant as always. I consider doing some writing anyway, but eventually decline the invitation.

Twitter is entertaining as always. Trump continues to insist there was no Russian involvement in the US election. Given Trump’s character and reputation this definitely means that not only did Russia interfere in the election (as everyone keeps saying they did) but Trump was fully aware of it. When I was younger even the suggestion of something like this would bring a politician down. Now it seems they can get away with anything.

Further amusement is provided by Wikileaks voicing outrage over security documents being leaked. Yes, exactly. I’m sure their outrage has nothing to do with their fears over their involvement with the Russians being exposed. I love the smell of irony in the mornings.

For our semi-regular Saturday Morning Cinema Club we watch Gremlins 2. I still can’t manage to love it anywhere near as much as Gremlins, but it’s inoffensively entertaining.

The rest of the day resists productivity of any kind, which I find acceptable for a Saturday. We finish off with more Sherlock (The Blind Banker episode) at the Elderbeast’s request. I’m already looking forward to seeing his reaction to the end of series 2 … and wondering how long I can get away with withholding series 3 from him. After all, the rest of us had to wait: why shouldn’t he?

January 6

A poor choice to wear my t-shirt to bed last night (duped by an unexpectedly chilly evening) leads to a poor night’s sleep. The Kinderbeast, predictably, wakes me up before 6am. I have also resurrected my alarm. As always, a bumpy introduction to the day is alleviated by my morning shift: further work on the spooky carousel story, which is improving with each draft, though I have yet to reach the section that needs the most substantial gutting.

Some good news. My story “Til Death” has been held for ‘further consideration’ by Apex Magazine. It may go no further, but I can at least assure myself that I’ve finally written something worthy of ‘further consideration’.

Friday night is Fridate, which means we get to see Seb, who is everybody’s favourite person in the world. Unfortunately Rach has a headache, but Seb and I entertain ourselves by pulling apart and cleaning my work keyboard, talking about all matters ranging from drugs to gardening. We cap off the evening by watching The House That Dripped Blood, which is especially memorable to us for the sight of Jon Pertwee turning into a vampire.

It is not the critic who counts …

Shortly before Christmas I was introduced to Theodore Roosevelt’s ‘man in the arena‘ speech. It’s something that resonated with me quite strongly, as does (to paraphrase) “it is better to try and fail, than to have never tried at all”. Consequently I’ve decided to adopt this as something of a mantra for 2017.

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