Category Archives: Uncategorized

Take a Free Trip to Egypt…

I’ve read both of the She books, and they’re great reads. Grab a free copy while you can. You won’t be disappointed!

Harry, gone but not forgotten

This is Harry, the Bengal tiger stalking his prey.

This is Harry the pianist.

But this is how I remember Harry the best – lapping up the adulation of his fans. “Be sure to get my best side!”

Harry was also one of the most loving cats I’ve ever known.

Update: apologies, I didn’t understand the difference between a ‘private video’ on Youtube and an ‘unlisted’ one. I also forgot to turn comments off. So much for being a baby techie. :/


Working out how to get lost… ;)

And no, not that kind of lost, the real kind.

I’m actually very good at getting lost, but until two days ago, I’d never thought about how it happens. Much thinking later, I have a theory!

“Oh, Meeks, you clever thing. Do tell!”

Ok, as you ask so nicely, here goes.

I think our brains are conditioned to see a straight path as the right – i.e. correct – path. When we’re paying attention, we automatically over-ride this conditioning in order to get to our destination. But what happens if we’re distracted and come to a fork in the road?

which way would you go?

I think that when we’re ‘on auto’ – i.e. not paying attention to our surroundings – we are liable to keep following the path that seems more straight.

Of course, there’s also the problem of habit. Have you ever set out in the car for destination ‘X’ and suddenly realised that you were actually heading to destination ‘Y’ because ‘Y’ is where you go every day? -mumble- I have -mumble-

Anyway, the reason I needed to work out how I, and others, get lost is that I needed a realistic way for one of my characters to get into trouble after becoming lost. Me being me, I wasn’t happy with just an insight, I had to go make a map, didn’t I?

The blue path is the ‘correct’ path. The pinky-purple path is still safe, but the red path is the one that leads to disaster:

Map of Needlepoint Eyrie

You can see the two points where the character went haring off on the wrong path. Both appear to be kind of ‘straight’.

Unfortunately all of this is pure speculation. If anyone has any real info. I would really love to hear it. I might even change the map. 😀


Tech Woes

We just got the internet back after what feels like a month but was only 24 hours. Talk about addicted. 😦

The problem was our internet router. It gave up the ghost after just 2 years, and I’ve been scrambling from place to place trying to get a new one. The first one I found didn’t work at all. The second works, but setting it up so it would talk to my ISP [internet service provider] required an hour on the phone with the Internode support guy. He was incredibly patient and knowledgeable and we finally got there, but now I’m just knackered.

I’ll catch up with everyone tomorrow,


BPPV, Blood Pressure, and Salted Peanuts

I’ll start by saying that I’m fine.

However, I did not feel fine during a recent, early morning visit to the emergency department of our local hospital – a huge vote of thanks to the wonderful staff at Maroondah hospital!

I woke at about 5am that morning feeling nauseous and horribly dizzy…in bed.

That’s the BPPV part. BPPV stands for Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo:

‘BPPV causes brief episodes of mild to intense dizziness. It is usually triggered by specific changes in your head’s position. This might occur when you tip your head up or down, when you lie down, or when you turn over or sit up in bed.’

Almost an hour later, the triage nurse at the hospital took my blood pressure, and it was 180. I’ll get to the peanuts in a moment.

For me, the BPP vertigo happened when I rolled over in bed. The doctor at the hospital made the diagnosis after a slew of other tests came back negative – no heart attack, no stroke, no tumour etc. That diagnosis was confirmed when the phsyiotherapist came down and fixed the problem. Apparently, little crystals get dislodged from their correct position in the inner ear and move around, eventually causing the BPPV. This is the positional exercise she made me do:

I admit I was a little sceptical at first, but the physio did a test that made me feel as if someone had hit me with an anti-gravity machine. I literally had to clutch the sides of the bed I was so dizzy. After the exercise, though, it was all better. Weird but true, and I haven’t had an episode since – knock on wood.

When I asked about the blood pressure, however, the doctor kind of shrugged and said that blood pressure tended to increase with age.

I am getting older, but I’m not sure that diagnosis is 100% accurate. Yes, BP may increase with age, but I’m almost positive that the gradual increase in my blood pressure coincides with…ta dah…salted peanuts. Don’t laugh! Seriously. 😀

When it comes to food, I’ve always preferred savoury/salty over sweet, so when I decided it was time to cut down on all the gum I was chewing [ex-smoker, don’t ask], I opted for salted peanuts instead. It would have been a reasonable decision if I hadn’t started binge eating the damn things. It took my local GP to point out that too much sodium – i.e. salt – could raise your blood pressure.

Long story short, I stopped eating the peanuts and started chewing raw almonds instead. That was over a month ago now, and I do feel better generally. I’m still not sure what sent my blood pressure sky high the day I went to the hospital, but I get the shivers whenever I think about how high it might have been if I’d still been guzzling all that salt.

“But how can you be sure it was the peanuts?” I hear someone ask.

The answer to that is simple: we eat very little processed food, and I always under-salt when I cook. I prefer to add a little salt directly to the plate rather than hide it inside the food. I guess that’s one reason it never occurred to me that I could be ingesting too much salt. I’m still clueless about why I had such an awful episode of BPPV, but I’m almost certain that the higher-than-normal blood pressure was caused by too much salt.

I still miss my salted peanuts, but I don’t trust myself not to binge again so the almonds are here to stay. Not only are they no-salt and little fat, they also contain magnesium, which is also supposed to be good for you. -sigh-


Holly Carter Madej

Holly’s Mum and I were pregnant together, and our kids were born just a couple of months apart. We shared Boxing Day picnics and food and laughter for decades, now Holly is gone. But she won’t be forgotten. She was an artist in stone, a mason recognized by her peers. This is her legacy:

That glorious window is something Holly created. With her own hands, and a sure eye for beauty. I’m proud to have known you Holly. I’ll never forget you.

Holly Carter Madej – 12th January, 1987 – 1st March, 2022

Happy Easter Bunnies!

I’ve lost complete track of time this year so I thought Easter was next week. Doh. You could say it’s caught me on the…hop?

Ahem. Wishing you all a safe and happy holiday with lots of Easter eggs and no indigestion. 😀


A twentieth-century dictator fighting a twenty-first century war

A view of Ukraine, and Putin, from Chris James who lives and works in Poland. Not a happy read but an important one.

Chris James's blog

If you’ve ever read about the First World War and marvelled at how civilised societies tolerated their young men being flung at fixed machine gun positions only to be mowed down in their thousands, wonder no more. In 1914, military commanders adhered to nineteenth-century tactics, but it was a twentieth-century war with far deadlier weapons. And despite heavy losses, the generals could not accept that tactics they learned from the middle of the previous century and earlier had become redundant. In today’s idiom, they ‘doubled down’ and kept throwing away young lives.

Today, Putin’s unprovoked attack on Ukraine carries a similar parallel: a deluded mind wedded to an outdated mentality that twentieth-century imperialism is right, where smaller countries are fair game for absorption or, if they resist, destruction. That the 69-year-old Putin is both strategically out of date and tactically incompetent matters little to the Ukrainian civilians currently dying under…

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Tech Thrillers You Won’t Put Down

Jacqui Murray writes the kind of tech thrillers I love to read, and now she’s reviewed all three books of my Innerscape trilogy.

If you have a moment, please pop over to Jacqui’s blog and read what she has to say. I’ll give you a hint – I can’t stop smiling. 😀


I recently finished the tech thriller trilogy, Innerscape, by acflory. What a read this is–a future that could come to pass if the virtual world takes over. I’d compare it to Star Trek’s holodecks, but under Andrea’s creative pen, it’s more far-reaching, more believable, and more frightening. Though each of the three books does tell it’s own story, I think readers would benefit from reading them in order, starting with Book 1, Miira.

I’m a geek at heart and love well-drawn, intricate tech thrillers. Acflories delivered this so for all books in this trilogy, I award them 5/5:

  1. Miira–Miira Tahn trades a life of pain and limitations for the future of her dreams, lasting until she dies.
  2. The Godsend–Miira finds out that, though Innerscape is a fictional construct of a massive AI, it doesn’t mean it’s without danger
  3. Nabatea–The conclusion to this tech-nastic thriller


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Authors versus Our Demons

I’m a reader first and foremost, and I really, really loved ‘This Plague of Days’, the post apocalyptic story that first introduced me to Robert Chazz Chute.

This man writes well with a capital ‘W’, and his 70 tips for Indie writers is a must read.

And yes, there really are 70 tips. You’re welcome. 🙂


C h a z z W r i t e s . c o m

If you overcome your demons and publish, more demons await. Keep these 70 pithy tips in mind when the unholy fanged ones come for you:

  1. Write for a particular person or write for yourself. Just choose the right audience.
  2. Some go to the drugstore for coconuts. Ignore them. Write for people who read your genre.
  3. When you give away free books, some readers who would never read your genre will snap it up. Lower ratings often ensue.
  4. Write for people who actually like to read.(Yes, there are posers.)
  5. Feedback from chosen supporters is helpful.Not all supporters can help in a measurable way, but boosting your morale counts, too.
  6. A slim minority of reviewers think snark is sport and heckling is intelligence. They’re mistaken, but who’s going to convince them otherwise? They’ll only know if they ever dare to write their own book.
  7. Listen to your editor and yourself…

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