That’s my planet!

Gliese 581 e, rocky extrasolar planet.

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Last year, I wrote an SF story about a planet in the Gliese (gleesh) system, first identified in the early 2000s as an extra solar planetary system. Today, the first potentially inhabitable extra solar planet was identified – in the GLIESE system! OK, so my story, ‘Journey Home’, didn’t cut the mustard but heck, there’s got to be points for being on the astronomical button!
Where’s the silly-big-grin icon when you need it?(*). Here’s the story at PopSci. ‘Asimov’s’, you could have had the story first – I know what these people look like!

Abbey Road crossing

A zebra crossing in Abbey Road, London. This s...

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Had to just put this up here because it’s so completely FAB! The Abbey Road crossing where people pose and traffic waits. You get live web cam and archive footage of some of the best moments. What’s not to like?

No idea what it’s about? This is the recording studio where The Beatles made their later albums and the crossing outside is the one on the cover of their album ‘Abbey Road’  which many believed predictive of John’s death as he was dressed in white.

Blog tag game (thanks, Dragon lady!)

The Revelation of St John: 4. The Four Riders ...

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I’ve been back to Here be Dragons twice now, citing incapacity, incompetence (or was it incontinence?) and a sudden sighting of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse as reasons for not quite getting on with this tagging business and so, while I sit here poised to scare the bejabbers out of my visiting rats (I’ll tell you later but it involves a remote spray, an infra-red control and better eyesight than I can claim), I’ve decided to stop procrastinating.

So this is the deal, I answer a series of questions in an entertaining manner not necessarily fully acquainted with the truth and you have a good giggle. Then I zap you with a tag so you have to expose your own inner twitchings in a like manner on your own blog. Gettit? Good, here we go then:

1. If you could have any superpower, what would you have? Why?

That’s got to be the beamy uppy thing, the ability to instantaneously travel between two points without having to take an umbrella or an Oyster card (London reference, I don’t have one and don’t know how to buy tickets in London because I don’t know what the zones mean. Fix it, Boris!)

2. Who is your style icon?

Definitely Joanna Lumley. I’d like to think I can make the distinction between her and Patsy but it isn’t always that easy. Glamour? Tart? Tart? Glamour? Hm. Trouble is, I can fall over without the alcohol so the thing about sheep, lambs and public hangings rather leads me to go for self-expression and deal with the flak later.

3. What is your favorite quote?

Sophia Loren, asked how she managed to look glamorous at her age (70s and there’s no record of what injuries were sustained by the reporter who asked) said ‘Stand up straight and don’t make old people noises’. I’m reaching the stage where this is becoming relevant, particularly in light of #2 above.

4. What is the best compliment you’ve ever received?

My boss, without warning, told a conference of professional clinicians and scientists that our department had in it a number of notables with national reputations and that mine was international. I burst into tears!

5. What playlist/cd is in your CD player/iPod right now?

Kasabian, Nine Inch Nails, Kings of Leon, the Baseballs, Faithless, Lady GaGa, The Burns Unit, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Gorillaz, and the BBC Dr Who Prom. In case you aren’t from round here, we like to keep the plebs away from classical music except at prescribed times. These times happen during September each year when the Royal Albert Hall is opened up (foot baths and nit-combs are available at the entrances) to The Great Unwashed of the country and we get to hear the likes of Elgar, Mussorgsky, Puccini, and, latterly, Murray Gold who writes the scores for Dr Who. No kidding though, ‘Song of Freedom’ is just exquisite and the version sung on the night by Mark Chambers is quite remarkable. Tonight is the (in)famous ‘Last Night’ when flag-waving, pogo-ing, and random balloon-popping accompany The Sailor’s Hornpipe, Land of Hope and Glory, and something nobody will understand that involves hitting percussion instruments with bits of industrial debris. Avant Garde, I think they call it. Very worthy.

6. Are you a night owl or a morning person?

When I started training to be a nurse, I remember looking at the shift schedule and thinking ‘There are two 7.30s?!’ I’ve since managed to order my life to allow for a more natural rhythm and what has emerged, largely due to the elimination requirements of dogs, is a nocturnal preference interrupted by early enough mornings to avoid a mess on the carpet. It works for me.

7. Do you prefer dogs or cats?

I have both but I suspect I identify more with cats. Just keep that to yourselves though, would you? My dogs are watching…

8. What is the meaning behind your blog name

What is my blog name? Oh yes, conboy-hill-fiction. Well, it’s tediously obvious I suppose but I came to it with great trepidation as I hadn’t ‘outed’ myself as a writer and, indeed, could offer no evidence that there was anything worth ‘outing’ so it was a bit risky when set alongside my other life (international reputation, dontcha know!!). However, one OU course under my belt, another about to start, and the tiniest of publications out there in the wild (theNOT) and I’m ready to front it up – verily, I do write fiction! And I don’t mean my court reports and scientific papers thank you!

So, that’s my offering, now it’s your turn. Brace yourselves Linda Cassidy Lewis, Sweepy Jean, Amy Nichols, Christie Craig, and  Cathryn Grant, seems you’re up next!

Meanwhile, I’ve been looking for somewhere to park this ruddy cat and I’m delighted to award it to Here be Dragons for providing me with a distractor while lurking behind the double glazing with a zapper to scare a couple of cheeky rats off my bird table!

In case the text is a mess of arcane scribble from where you’re sitting, it says ‘Blog award for cattitude, scattitude, or downright scattalogitude’. ie. feisty, funny, or flippin’ mucky! No idea how to deliver it though so contain yourselves please..

In the post today..

Creative writing class-fine arts center (40269...

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..a large, brown, cardboard package containing letters, CDs, a study guide, a study calendar, a TMA form (a what?!), and a Serious Looking Book. My Open University Creative Writing course is about to kick off.

So what was it about signing those papers, ticking the box marked yes and sending off a fat-ish cheque made them think I meant it?!

Got NOT-ted!

Chris Anderson is the curator of the TED (Tech...

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Look at that, two watershed moments in one title! The first, the NOT, is a bit of news I’ve been sitting on for a couple of weeks now – an actual, whole, bona fide ( or in this case, more aptly perhaps, bony fido) *publication!! Ok, so another 79 people won the competition too but what good company my junior offering is in! Fancy a look at a real feast of bite-sized fiction? Get yourself over to Michael J Solender’s blog ‘NOT from here, are you?’ and download the e-chap. The out-and-out winner was Sam Adamson whose story ‘The Pit of Hades’ is a beautifully crafted and neatly tailored piece of work which also contains the word NOT in capitals twice. Clever, that. I’d have over done it, if I’d thought of it at all, and it would have been a convoluted macrame of a tale. Good thing I left it in the capable hands of a fellow Brit, a northerner to boot, which combination allows me to glow shamelessly in (possibly) unwelcomed allegiance!

The second part, the TED, is an ambition that has been creeping up on me, tapping me on the shoulder and sneaking off again, for about a year now. Oh what wouldn’t I do to be invited to give a TED Talk! That’s my other life; the one with the research, the virtual worlds, the writing that makes a different kind of difference. What luck that I can take a shot at both and that whatever I learn from one, is likely to enhance the other. It doesn’t get much better, does it?

*’Rory’s Tie’