A - Amber's Alphabet
The idea is I'm trying to find 26 things that are important to me for my very own Alphabet.
A for Amber, obviously! I'm 27 (though don't always remember it. No really. Got banned out of a bar once, because I couldn't remember. I was with my MUM at the time...), tall and broad. Blue eyes, light brown hair, surprisingly tidy eyebrows, complete inability to do division or percentages and a love of learning odd talents. I'm currently working on wriggling my ears and writing left handed.
B - Books
I love to read.
I'm rarely found without some form of book about my person. Currently, I'm practically sat on one (Marian Keyes, "Watermelon"), and have about three on the go at most times: Stephen Hawking "Universe in a Nutshell", Jasper Fforde's "Shades of Grey" again - NOT the mummyporn - and Mobius Dick.
I like an eclectic mix of extreme realism, marvellously obtuse and fascinatingly scientific, as is probably obvious from my current reading list! (I have some three hundred Doctor Who books tucked away in the guest bedroom.) I'm a member of Bookcrossing, that is, when I'm not sending books straight to people.
Books are a practical entertainment form... and often contain:
Or, more accurately, graphics novels. And online comics. Yeah... I'm no purist. But I do know that Iron Man is way cooler than Batman. And "V for Vendetta" was a really rather good movie adaptation of the graphic novel. And yes, I do have both. And no, I don't care if you don't agree - that's YOUR problem, you weirdo. I bet you think "Firefly" is stupid too - and you'd be WRONG.
And YES! Yes there are Firefly graphic novels...
And yes, of course I have them. Who d'you think I am?!
Now, if anyone wants to buy me some Iron Man graphic novels, I'd be highly appreciative...
My best mate. For goodness sake, don't actually tell him he's my best friend or I'll never hear the end of it, and he'd never get through doorways.
Just in case someone DOES tell him, or he actually reads my blog - I've chosen THIS picture just to try and make sure he doesn't get too bad a case of "I'm AWESOME" disease. The wig is mine.
But seriously, cynical and self-aware-of-own-awesomeness though he may be, he's a pretty nice guy. And he can fall down an entire flight of stairs without spilling his Guinness. Most of my mates meet these minimum standards!
eBay is awesome. Between the reptile keeping, oddities collecting and junk shifting over the years, it has saved me a small fortune.
I've picked up some remarkable bargains over the years, including correctly betting a seller was a gambler (and thus securing myself a cool £100 off my brand new telly), grabbing two vivariums for half the price I could get anywhere else, and a diamond ring possibly worth nearly a grand and a half... for a fraction of the price.
I've sold a cracked glass and a broken plate for £30, an old vivarium for £50, a set of UV bulbs for as much as I bought them for and a thermostat for nearly twice as much as I paid for it.
I don't know anywhere else I can buy UV bulbs as cheaply, whether singly or in bulk. If you do know anywhere else, then please let me know. I love a good bargain!
F - Family.
Mum won't let cameras near her, so this is my stepdad, in "Warthog" mode. He's pretty darned awesome and I'm lucky that he accepts me as family too! He does have his own kids with Mum - I've not ever thought of them as anything other than my brother and sister. Well, occasionally as monumental pains in the backside, but point me out a sibling that doesn't and I'll show you a weirdo.
I have quite a large family, what with my mother and father both having remarried, and all the aunts and uncles and cousins that come with the situation. It also gets a little complicated - due to the fact that my mother's parents are cousins... which makes my mother my second cousin, and my siblings my cousins once removed. I think...
Most Saturdays, we have games night. We play anything from Tetris Linkup to American Modified Rummy, Monopoly or Rummikub... to Whot!, Zombies! Risk! and other games with exclamation marks in.
It's a good excuse to get together, have a giggle, and make sure that the students among us get at least one proper meal a week, whether it be Dale's Insanity-Pizzas, my Mexitalican, a full roast dinner or tasty steak...
His Lordship is even developing another of his own games on a roleplayer format, inspired by Martin's requests that we should try Dungeons and Dragons - which probably was inspired by playing DooM.
We really ought to get on with that, actually. His Lordship hasn't been able to update the DooMblog in some time...
Our house might only be little, but it's all ours and awesome. It's a cute little three bed end terrace that needed a touch of work, but was a bargain - with immense thanks to my wonderful grandparents for helping so much in securing and repairing our home.
Actually, it's more than a bargain - it's my best bargain of all time so far; having been listed up at £86k, I'm rather proud to say we brought it on down to £54,000 - just about what I could afford on a mortgage!
It has a teewee little patio'd garden with raised beds, just screaming to have herb beds planted in them, as well as our superawesome new blue, silver, cream and grey kitchen - not to mention the most beautiful miniature bathroom in shades of travertine marble with a perfect white P-shaped bath.
The source of many wonderful things.
It is where I met himself, it is where I met all kinds of fascinating people (like Rupert in the picture - he's helping our friend Ben take his turn at Risk, on gamesnight.), where I've picked up some fantastic bargains from my telly to my house, and an endless source of information for all the things I find fascinating.
I've rescued animals through it, talked to big names through it, helped charities through it, improved myself through it. I don't know how people manage without it - I would not like to have to be without my internet.
Every year, I try to raise some funds for charity. Causes I've helped include the RSPCA's "Pet-a-pet" cause, worked for the National Children's Homes for three years at weekends, even gambled my hair (and lost) with the #hairsyourchance "Shave or Save" votes. I've also helped raise money for Children-in-Need, Marie Curie, Jeans4Genes, WearItPink... I've lost track actually!
I'm also on-call for other dragon rescuers and I'm the treasurer for the Samaritans. It's a lot more work than I had anticipated, but I'm sure it will be very satisfying when I get the hang of it. If I get the hang of it. It's only been nearly a year...
The world is a better place with Key Lime Pie. Or cheesecake in general. Cheesecake is my version of Prozac, or Zoloft, or antidepressant of your choice. It doesn't actually fix problems, but it makes them much less stressful. Everything is so much nicer with a slice of cheesecake.
http://www.englishcheesecake.com/ - these guys do the best cheesecakes. I mean, literally the best. I adore their "honeycomb", as pictured. NOM!
L - Lizards!
I have six Bearded Dragons and a Crested Gecko. The other animals are not lizards, and they're still awesome. However, the lizards and I come as a package. Love me, love my dragons.
Rich discovered this when he first met me. Thankfully he thought Kyle was awesome, and she thought he was great.
The rest have all turned up since then, one way or another, and they all have distinct individual personalities, likes and dislikes.
Lizards are just the most supercool creatures ever.
Who doesn't love a good movie? I like smart comedy, inventive sci-fi and peculiar "cult" films. Oh, and Raspberries.
Raspberries are films that are SO bad that they go all the way through bloody awful and somehow land at freakin' AWESOME. http://www.razzies.com/
Mega Python vs Gatoroid was pretty epic(ly terrible!) and I'm looking forwards to watching DinoShark. Frankenhooker was almost as bad as it sounds, and we have quite a list of terrible films to track down...
My favourites include Kung Fu Hustle, Serenity, Death Race (actually, most Jason Stathams. He ain't pretty, but he does a damn good movie) an the Iron Man movies. Or actually, most superhero movies.
N - Neopets
Whilst I'm not a big "gamer", I have been a proud Neopian for ... good grief, more than twelve years! I'm no big star or anything, but I am noodling along quietly, picking up the things I find most shiny along the way.
My account is interesting enough to have people try hack it occasionally! Heh...
The world is a better place when chocolate orange alternatives for things are available. They are becoming ever more rare I notice, which strikes me as an awful shame.
My favourite thing used to be Thornton's Seville ice cream - a delicious combination of slightly sour, zingy orange sorbet, coupled with the creamiest, smoothest chocolate icecream.
Marvellous stuff. I once bought an entire industrial tub. Took up half Nan's freezer and took me MONTHS to get through. Ice cream for breakfast?
P - Pastafarianism
My religion of choice. Pirates, Pasta, Peacefulness - how many more P's do you want?
If P's aren't good enough, how about a Beer Volcano (more accurately known as "Volcano of Many Beverages" - but you try saying that when drunk)?
I'm an ordained minister, and take it as seriously as it is possible to. After all, it does have some wonderful basic structures as described in the "I Really Rathers". Cracked did a pretty good summary, though they have missed out Bobby's plight. His letter and the origins of Pastafarianism are easily found HERE.
I love/live to question stuff.
Isn't it fun when you ask "what on EARTH is that?" and strive to find the answer? Aren't mysteries fascinating? What better in life than to educate yourself and to find everything around you, heck, in the WORLD fascinating?
I'm always going to be scientific. I like knowing how and why and what - and more importantly, I like learning how and why and what.
I find it incredibly satisfying, to take a puzzle and work it out.
Here's a photo I took for you to wonder about.
What is it, do you think?
R - Rich
One of the most patient people I know. Probably a good job too, being as he has to live with me.
My favourite person in the whole world, and he has been accepted as a member of the family ever since this event - "The Gimping".
To his immense credit, he giggled throughout and didn't ask for help, thus providing quite some entertainment as he struggled to get back out of the entire reel of sellotape from top to toes.
Yes indeed, His Lordship - a brilliant person, in the literal terms of the word as well as descriptive.
Yeah, I'm a pretty big fan. I'm still working on memorising the table of elements, and I have some really funky sciencey-based things in my collection, from my neato USB microscope (hours of computer pictured miniature fun!) to my stormglass (not particularly handy for predicting the weather, but interesting) and the croc clamp magnifier (much to Rich's amusement. I think it's great!).
T - Treating people fairly
Because, if you think someone should do something, you should be prepared to do it yourself. Well, that's one of the ideals behind it, anyway. It's something I have to do every day at work, and try to do the same at home.
Treating people fairly is about looking at a situation, and trying to work out what you'd want, if you were in that position. In THIS particular case, I'd want a nice drink to wash away the flavour of the special toothpaste my mother was trying out.
It tasted like arse.
Yes, I tried it too.
I just thought the picture of Himself was funnier!
U - Universal Life Church
Actually, I started collecting suitable/compatible ministerial certifications a little while ago - and it's turned out to be thoroughly entertaining, and not a little educational.
So far I am registered as a Pastafarian Pastar, a ULC multidenominational minister, a Discordian Priestess, a Secular Humanist minister and a Reverend of the First Atheist Church.
I have considered Dudeism, though it doesn't quite fit me, and IPUists has long since maintained an understanding with Pastafarians - there are too many differences for us to reconcile, but we appreciate each other.
If anyone else has any other compatible ministries, let me know - I am certainly interested.
Virus is one of my original designs. I made the preliminary sketches at work, age 16, and it stuck with me ever since then. The original designs were dots, or lines, or angular - and then I blended the whole lot and got this rather tribal, Aztec-y, circuitry looking lizard design.
You'll notice he's on my logo, he's on my background, he's on my C.V., heck, he's even on ME as a tattoo.
He's pretty much my trademark. I have no idea how I knew I'd love lizards, years before I even thought of actually owning one.
Never look back!
Every Sunday morning, I treat myself to a catchup session of each of the different webcomics I follow. These are some of my regulars:
Well, medical science and scientific technology in general. Seeing stuff you can't normally see. Electron microscopes are my favourite things (other than super colliders) but sadly you can't have either of those in your home at this time.
Currently I'm making do with the awesome copies of my pets x-rays that my great vet lets me nab snaps of, data from NASA and CERN available on the interwebs (and through spectacularly techie friends, like nanoengineers!) and my lovely little Bresser USB connective microscope.
Actually, I recommend most Bresser stuff. It's cheap and cheerful, but surprisingly good for the price. I've just picked up a nifty USB solar charger from them for just £12.99
I have to say thanks to my friend Pete Graham, for kindly giving me his old IP webcam. It finally gave me the hefty kick I needed to start working on a dream I have had for a while - making my lovely lizards globally accessible.
I haven't released the details on this yet, as I haven't finished work on the website (yes, I have built a proper site, secured my own cool domain name and am cracking on with developing all sorts of little options) and I am waiting for my upgraded camera to arrive.
Pete's Y-cam proved my concept possible - the new camera will have a much lower bandwidth usage, higher quality image and hopefully I'll even be able to set it so that people can have a look at different dragons themselves, rather than waiting for me to adjust the view.
Watch this space - I'm working hard and I hope to have it all done in the next few days. Well, if the postal service hurries up!
I love my bed.
No, really, I LOVE my bed. We actually decided against going on holiday and spent the money on a supremely amazing bed instead - and I don't regret a minute of it. Two weeks abroad, or ten years better sleep? Hardly worth debating.
It is lushness in a squish of lush, deliciously smooth dark chocolate leather and a 100% memory foam mattress. And £210 off, which was nice. Always worth asking, you know!
His Lordship? "Mmmmmmm. Splootchy."