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New Starship Gypsies post: 22. The lure.

It’s been a while since I added to the collaborative sci-fi space opera that is Starship Gypsies, but I’ve finally got around to writing a new chapter and here it is…

Starship Gypsies

“Hey, Zeet, I’m picking up some sort of distress signal.” Lazzaro’s voice broke Toes’ reverie and he turned from surveying the starry blackness outside and ground out the Jamaican Gold he’d been smoking in an ashtray, “It seems to originate somewhere around Mars, but I’m having trouble getting a more accurate fix on it than that.”
Captain Zachary “ZT” Toes sighed and punched the talk button on the comm panel, “Ok, Eric, I’m on my way up now.”

“Roger that, cap’n. Lazzaro out.”

Toes reluctantly kicked off his comfortable sandals and crammed his feet into the new boots he’d ordered during their brief stopover in Earth orbit. He had hoped they would have started wearing in by now, because they pinched like a bitch when he walked and he already had a blister coming on one heel. But Lazzaro had been hassling him for a while now, about his somewhat…

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One liner Wednesday: First drafts…

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Brevity is the metaphysical, indefinable, eternal and undying essence of intellectually stimulating and humorous observational interpretation.

#1linerWeds

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New Starship Gypsies post – 18. Dangerous games.

The plot thickens in my latest post on Starship Gypsies…

Starship Gypsies

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Now they were safely in Earth orbit, Carli knew she only had a few days to prepare, but since the success or failure of the operation depended largely on keeping Lazzaro off balance and distracted, she had to spend at least some time each day working on him.

Whether that meant finding an excuse to wander onto the bridge whilst Toes was doing his gripe ‘n’ groan session and stand in Eric’s line of sight until he noticed her, sitting at his table in the canteen when he was chatting to other crewmen and flashing him an occasional coy smile, or “accidentally” running into him in the corridor when he was taking his morning run, Carli made sure he saw just enough of her to make him uncomfortable, but not enough that he had a chance to talk to her about anything except official ship’s business.

She felt bad about…

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Posted by on February 22, 2016 in Fiction, The write stuff.

 

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Sunday chill: Janjot jam…

Today I’ve been mucking about with Oscilab, the loop making app that I use to construct my sonic noodlings, like Janjot, the tune I came up with to mark the end of Just Jot It January last weekend.

Following encouraging comments from my old friend Ho and fellow blogger John Howell, I decided to continue experimenting with the original tune, or at least its component parts, to see if I could improve on it at all.

The result is a slightly darker, more atmospheric number, using a bass drone to add more drama and substance to the background, while the waves of twinkly noises and percussion wash over the top.
It’s a bit of an epic production and I’m rather pleased with it.

See what you think, you can hear it in all its glory by clicking the big blue link below the artwork.

Enjoy.

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Listen to JANJOT JAM via this link.

 
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Posted by on February 7, 2016 in Music

 

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Just Jot It January: Day twenty eight…

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Only four posts left in JJIJ, including today’s, so I’ve been trying to think of something that I haven’t covered in this month-long run of random ramblings.
So far, I’ve done writing, photography, animated gifs, music, nostalgia, self-publicity and romance, along with the usual directionless waffling, but one thing I’ve never featured on the blog is…

…Cookery!

There’s no particular reason for this, especially since (even if I do say so myself, which I do) I’m a bloody good cook, but it just isn’t something that’s occurred to me to post about before, partly because there are so many fabulous foodie blogs out there and partly because I’m usually too busy telling you the sort of nonsense that leaks into (and back out of) my head on a daily basis.

It just so happens that, with our wedding anniversary yesterday, (incidentally, thanks for all the kind comments on that subject) I decided it would be a nice idea for me to cook the two of us a romantic candlelit dinner for when Rhonda returned from work; where she spent the evening cooking for other people at the local, award-winning fish and chip shop just down the road from where we live.

I should say that I’ve never followed a recipe in my life, I don’t even own a cookery book, I just make stuff up as I go along, (much like my method of writing) but it seems as if I have a talent for it and, since I also have a serious talent for eating, I take every opportunity to combine the two.

Unfortunately, the idea to post the recipe only occurred to me this morning and I neglected to take any photos last night; you’ll just have to take my word for the fact that it looked and tasted amazing.

So here is the very first dish from the Kitchen of an Internet Nobody:

Chicken with Parma ham in brie and tarragon sauce, with asparagus, mushrooms and leeks.
(Serves two)

You will need:
2 chicken breasts
4 slices of Parma ham
6 – 8 asparagus spears
12 closed cup mushrooms
1 large leek
2 cloves of garlic
Milk
Butter
Plain flour
Tarragon
Smoked paprika
Salt and pepper

Method:
– Wrap the chicken breasts in the ham, overlapping the slices so the chicken is completely covered.
– Lay the wrapped chicken in a shallow glass dish, lightly brush with extra virgin olive oil and cover the dish in tinfoil.
– Place the dish in the oven (preheated to 180°C / 350°F / gas mark 4) for 35 – 40 minutes.

While the chicken cooks, make the sauce;
– Melt around 100g of butter in a saucepan on a medium heat, then add one heaped tablespoon of flour and stir rapidly until the flour is absorbed, taking care not to burn the butter.
– Slowly add 150 – 200ml of milk and stir continuously as it thickens, to avoid the sauce becoming lumpy.
– Add the brie (to taste) in small pieces and stir until it has melted and the sauce is creamy and smooth.
– Stir in finely chopped tarragon and season with salt and pepper, then remove from heat.

– Roughly chop the leek, mushrooms and asparagus and soften by frying lightly in a little butter, along with the finely chopped garlic.

– Remove dish from the oven, evenly spread the vegetables around the wrapped chicken breasts, cover the whole thing in cheese sauce and sprinkle with paprika.
– Return to the oven without the foil covering, cook for a further 7 – 10 minutes and serve immediately.

(To drink: I’m no wine expert, but I’d suggest a well-chilled Pinot Grigio or a nice crisp and citrussy Cava)

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And there you have it; dalecooper57’s dish of the day.

If any of you try it for yourselves, please let me know what you think.
Bon appétit.

#JusJoJan

Pingback to Linda G Hill.

 
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Posted by on January 28, 2016 in Just Jot It January, Personal anecdote

 

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Just Jot It January: Day five…

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Day five of JJIJ is brought to you in partnership with the lovely Horty Rexach and her blog, It Is What It Is.

Dr Rex, as she is known to her readers, has not only been a faithful supporter of Diary of an Internet Nobody for sometime, but I’m also lucky enough to have become friends with her on Facebook and her irrepressible positivity never fails to brighten my newsfeed.

(She was also very taken with Ho’s Christmas toons at the end of last year, so much so that she reblogged every single one, meaning that Ho actually got more hits on my blog than I did in December!)

And, as if that wasn’t enough, Horty has done me the great honour of nominating me for The Dedicated Blogger Award, the sentiment of which is best expressed by the blogger who nominated Dr Rex herself, Idealistic Rebel

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This particular award is refreshingly free of conditions and instructions, but I am choosing to pass it on to some of the writers and artists who made 2015 such a fun year to be part of the blogosphere.
So if your blog appears in the following list, you can be sure that you have informed, entertained or inspired me with your own unique brand of dedication to the blogging cause and I thank you kindly.

Turquoise Moon.

Joeyfully Stated.

Fiction Favorites. (Note the “correct” U.S. spelling of favourites)

Cooking With A Wallflower.

Observashunal.

These Vagaries.

Strata Of The Self.

Assorted Thoughts From An Unsorted Mind.

Shanjeniah’s Lovely Chaos.

Zeebra Designs And Destinations.

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And finally, an extra special mention to Linda G Hill, for being instrumental in inspiring my dalliance with fiction, via her excellent Stream of Consciousness Saturday feature, (and for giving me the opportunity to inflict a cringe-inducing one liner on the blogging community every week) which I have enjoyed enormously.

#JusJoJan

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Stream of Consciousness Saturday: Last Supper…

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Good grief, it’s already after four in the afternoon and I’ve only just seen the prompt Linda G Hill left us for our Stream of Consciousness Saturday post this week;

” “expect/unexpected.”  Use either or both words in your post, or simply base your idea on them.”

Ok, let’s begin…

Last Supper.

Eldrin scanned the evening news-vid, noting the inordinate amount of coverage given to the latest fatal droid incident; hardly an unexpected story these days, what with the numbers of droids on the Parallel almost equaling those of Naturals, you were always going to get the odd bad owner who didn’t keep an eye on his property.

I mean, he thought to himself as he poured a second glass of wine, it’s not like it’s the droids’ fault, right? They were just tools when all was said and done; strong, intelligent tools, that was true, but objects to be commanded nevertheless.

It was everyone’s Creator-given right to own a droid and nobody was going to change that anytime soon, no matter how many of those nature freaks campaigned against it.
It had been that way for hundreds of years after all, there was no way they were going to persuade the billions of droid owners across the Confederate Parallel to suddenly go without their cybernetic servants.
It would be like returning to the Pilgrimage days of the old stories, when settlers on the newly-discovered Parallels could only survive with the mechanical assistance of early droid prototypes.

The changes in gravity and polar orientation had made it difficult for the first few generations to acclimatize to the initially hostile conditions of the extraordinary new world they had colonized, so the Fathers had made provision in the Confederate Parallel’s Grand Charter to allow all citizens to possess however many cybernetic servants they required.
The first colonists received their droids as a gift from the World Council, as a sign of gratitude for volunteering to free up space on the catastrophically overpopulated home planet.

“No man, woman or child should be expected to give up their homeworld and embark on The Pilgrimage, save that the Charter guarantees them the right to employ the assistance of synthetic slave droids for the purposes of construction, manual labour, hunting and for the personal protection of themselves and their families. No man may question another man’s right to possess such a device, nor may he deny others the right, even should he not wish to possess one himself.”

And that was the way it had always been.
It was unimaginable that anyone should want to regulate droid ownership, the people wouldn’t allow it, there would be a revolution.

Obviously, thought Eldrin, the more of these dangerous radicals there were, wanting to take away everyone’s rights, just because there were a minority of owners who couldn’t or wouldn’t program their droids correctly, resulting in the occasional lethal malfunction, the more droids they would need to maintain order.
So he certainly wasn’t expecting the announcement that came on the vid he was watching, made by none other than the Overseer himself. He seemed to be pledging to drastically curtail the freedom to own anything but the most basic service or defence droid, with the introduction of stringent vetting procedures expected to come into effect almost immediately.

All because of a few kids getting crushed by a badly maintained education droid that didn’t know its own strength and most of them had survived anyway, barely even a dozen had died this time.

He didn’t understand why they were making such a fuss.

And as for reports from other Parallels, those that had revoked the rights of civilian droid ownership since acclimatization, suggesting that rates of violent deaths were lower than in the Confederation, well they were obviously untrue, those colonists were primitive peasants compared to the enlightened society they enjoyed here.

The sound of plates being cleared away made him look up from his screen, the carefully blank features of the servant droid intent on its work.

“So, I suppose you’ll be for the scrap heap won’t you” he said, grinning maliciously, “now that he’s bowing to pressure from the Natural lobby?”

“Excuse me sir, I do not comprehend your question.” The droid looked at him, an expression of polite enquiry on its face, “my purpose is only to provide service to society, I pose no threat to its citizens.”

“Well he won’t be taking my slave units away,” Eldrin snapped, “I don’t care if they do make it law, they’ll need to pry the control chips from my dead fingers. It’s guaranteed in the Charter damn him!”

“Is there anything else I can get you sir?” asked the patiently waiting droid.

“No, why are you even still here? Get out of my sight, you sycophantic synth, before I have you disassembled.”

“As you say sir.”
The droid moved behind Eldrin, ensuring it was indeed “out of his sight”, then reached out, grabbed his head firmly in both hands and twisted it sharply to the right, then the left, letting the body collapse noisily onto the table before returning to its service cubicle, Malfunction light blinking rhythmically, to await further instructions.

After a few moments of shocked silence, the buzz of conversation restarted;

“…another bad programmer, there are so many irresponsible owners…”

“…you can’t expect them to work right if you don’t treat them right…”

“…you can’t blame the droid, it just wasn’t coded properly…”

“…this sort of thing won’t get better unless they bring in more defence droids…”

#SoCS

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