delphipsmith: (KellsS)
Heartfelt thanks to you all for your kind and comforting comments on my last post. Mr Psmith and I are slowly getting used to the house without our beloved Demi; it's tough and it hurts, but she's always in our hearts so we feel like she's still close to us.

On a happier note, [profile] sshg_promptfest is open for claiming! There are some wonderful prompts this year, so go forth and stake your claim :)

SSHG Prompt Fest
delphipsmith: (weeping angel)
Yesterday we had to say goodbye to a loving, faithful, sweet-natured companion. We are not good for much today, what with this big hole in our hearts. *snif*

"When the Man waked up he said, 'What is Wild Dog doing here?' And the Woman said, 'His name is not Wild Dog any more, but the First Friend, because he will be our friend for always and always and always.'" -- Rudyard Kipling

(click for more)

delphipsmith: (its so fluffy)
Our dog turned 11 last week. This is VERY old for an English mastiff! This is how she looked when we reminded her of her birthday:

delphipsmith: (its so fluffy)
It looks like a T. Rex bone, but the pet shop assures us it is in fact a bovine of some sort. Be sure to turn the sound up to get the full effect. Also, note warning which appears about 50 seconds in :)

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delphipsmith: (zombies)
[ profile] talesofsnape, [ profile] rivertempest, [ profile] toblass and [ profile] madeleone have given me pandas!!! How lovely to get all those big fluffy bears -- thank you, m'dears :)

[ profile] lady_of_clunn has an interesting meme on her post today, full of questions about one's house. One can learn a lot about someone from their house -- much more than from "Coke or Pepsi?" and "Croutons or bacon bits?" (Surprisingly, however, there are no questions about books or bookshelves; whenever I go into someone's house the first thing I do is prowl their bookshelves.)

I was amused to discover how many of my answers would be either "the cat" or "the dog." For example:

8. What is on top of your refrigerator? => the cat
9. What colour is your sofa? => same as the cats
32. Is there anything under your bed? => the cats (it used to be the dog as well, but now she's far too massive)
37. Is there anything on your kitchen floor right now? => the dog
43. Do you keep any kind of protective weapons in your home? => just the dog
44. What does your home smell like right now? => the dog
45. Favourite candle scent? => Not Dog?
55. What style do you decorate in? => Early Dog and Late Cat

I'm reading a very interesting book at the moment called Lord of the World. It's post-apocalypse -- well, it starts pre- and right now we're in medias res, so I guess it's full-on apocalyptic, not just post-. At any rate, it's quite fascinating. The author was an Anglican (is that the right word for C of E?) priest who later converted to Catholicism, and the book is an exploration of a near-future world in which Humanism has spread throughout the world and religion is regarded as a mildly embarrassing joke. The two main characters are Julian Felsenburgh, a myteriously charismatic American who becomes President of Europe, and Father Percy Franklin, a Catholic priest who recognizes the profound attraction of the secular world's temptations, achievements and beliefs but whose faith remains strong. Although I'm quite certain that the author is on the side of religion, he does a wonderful job painting the positive aspects and deep appeal of both sides.

But one of the most lovely things about it is its beauty of language. The book was written in 1907 and has all the lush, elaborate detail that one used to find in novels in general, but which is all too sadly lacking these days. For example, here is his description of the Pope, when Father Franklin first meets him:

It was a very upright old man that [Father Franklin] saw in the chair before him, of medium height and girth, with hands clasping the bosses of his chair-arms, and an appearance of great and deliberate dignity. But it was at the face chiefly that he looked, dropping his gaze three or four times, as the Pope's blue eyes turned on him. They were extraordinary eyes, reminding him of what historians said of Pius X.; the lids drew straight lines across them, giving him the look of a hawk, but the rest of the face contradicted them. There was no sharpness in that. It was neither thin nor fat, but beautifully modelled in an oval outline: the lips were clean-cut, with a look of passion in their curves; the nose came down in an aquiline sweep, ending in chiselled nostrils; the chin was firm and cloven, and the poise of the whole head was strangely youthful. It was a face of great generosity and sweetness, set at an angle between defiance and humility, but ecclesiastical from ear to ear and brow to chin; the forehead was slightly compressed at the temples, and beneath the white cap lay white hair. It had been the subject of laughter at the music-halls nine years before, when the composite face of well-known priests had been thrown on a screen, side by side with the new Pope's, for the two were almost indistinguishable.

Isn't that gorgeous? Nobody writes like that these days, or at least very few.

In an odd coincidence, one of my current freelance jobs is a book on Masonry, which includes a section on the Catholic Church's historically extremely negative attitude towards it. That same attitude is all over this book. The priests regularly talk about how Masonry has been the force behind the rise of Humanism, and at big gatherings they play the "Masonic Hymn" instead of some antiquated thing like a national anthem. Intriguing.

It's a cracking good story so far, too. None of your Left Behind sensationalist crap, but a slowly creeping horror. I have no idea how it will end but I've very much enjoying the ride. It's available for free on Project Gutenberg, if anyone is interested.
delphipsmith: (wibble)
Thanks to everyone who contributed most excellent names for Lucius' dogs -- he may have to start a breeding program (for the dogs, not for himself) in order to use them all!

In the absence of anything sensible to say, after several many glasses of wine (which seemed appropriate on the verge of a four-day weekend), I give you...MANLY TEA.

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delphipsmith: (GotMilk)
Lucius has deerhounds, or maybe wolfhounds; we all know that, right?

And he's French -- he's got that certain je ne sai quoi, right? So I need a good name for a big French dog or two. And yes, I know, neither deerhounds nor wolfhounds are French, they're Scottish or Irish or something, but don't pester me with details. I looked at this list but it's giving me issues. The names that je comprends are dumb (Floffy? Floppi? Lucius would DIE of mortification) and I refuse to use a person's name (pas de Belle, pas de Sebastian) and I don't want to use a name je ne comprends pas (Fripouille? Guimauve? WTF?).

So somebody who knows French, or is French, or has French friends, help me out here: if you were French (or proud of your French heritage) and had a big deerhound (or wolfhound) or two, what would you call them?
delphipsmith: (George)
If you're having difficulty persuading your friends to celebrate St. Patrick's Day with you, try the following:

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delphipsmith: (ba headdesk)
We started off the Christmas festivities with a bang, in the form of emergency surgery for the dog early in the day Christmas Eve. The incredibly expensive diagnosis listed on her discharge sheet three days later when we brought her home was "Malposition of abdominal contents" which means...well, basically this, but I'll let you imagine. Suffice it to say that for the surgeon it was a bit like untangling thick skeins of Christmas lights. So all those Christmas checks from family and friends? Spent. Completely.

After that there's really nowhere to go but up. Did the usual family thing on Christmas Eve complete with hordes of small jammy-handed children running/screaming/yelling. When they were finally unleashed on their Christmas presents it was like watching a school of sharks frenzying in a pile of chum. We had fun but were pleased to get home to our own house, which has NO small jammy-handed children. Then Christmas Day, the other usual family thing, but this time with fewer jammy-handed children (two) and large quantities of my great-grandmother's infamous and highly potent egg nog, so that was a Good Thing. The kids liked their present: an enormous two-level cage for their family of gerbils (which is quickly increasing due to a delay in sexing and separating the last litter). The cat seemed to enjoy it as well.

The dog is home now; no appetite but then if my innards had been rearranged I probably wouldn't be hungry either. We're glad she's home, though we're trying to not think about how much poorer we are now than we were three days ago -- pound for pound, I believe the dog is now as expensive as white truffles LOL!
delphipsmith: (prepare to die...)
Winding up the last of Stephen King's Dark Tower series. It's much better, and Roland is a much more sympathetic character, than I remembered from my first reading four or five years ago. Definitely worth a revisit; even if King does suffer from verbal bloat on occasion, it's all so vivid you don't really mind being led round the mulberry bush five or six times before getting to the point. However, Spoiler involving something not a dog but very much like one ) which is a tad annoying.
delphipsmith: (NoSparkle)
Finished The Strain. Very creepy, very visual scenes, as you'd expect from the director of Pan's Labyrinth, but at some point halfway through I realized that the creepiest scene of all -- the opening one, with the dead airplane -- was a) completely unworkable for at least four different reasons and b) required stupid-on-cue from at least three different people. That annoyed me, though not enough to stop me being up until 3 am tearing through it to see how many people end up D-E-D.

Minor spoiler involving dogs )

I liked the Russian rat-catcher, and the old Romanian dude; very impressive arsenal, especially the UV mines. Buffy could have used those. Am also pleased that the sun does not make these vamps sparkle, it just makes them Crispy Critters. Nor are they decayed nobility with an interest in art, literature, music, or introspection, unless you count examining the inside of other people's arteries. That, they're super-interested in. Repeatedly. And violently. It's kind of like I imagine the Volturi might have been in their younger and less-inhibited days.

I do think it was nothing but a marketing ploy to make it a trilogy, though. So far seems like it could easily have been tightened up and published as a single book.
delphipsmith: (PIcard face-palm)
Not a good weekend. Had an idea for SSIAW Week 3 that worked well in my head but turned to complete crap once it hit the page. Up until midnight every night with two freelance editing jobs, prep for "guest lecture" for second class Monday, final reports due for a couple of groups I'm in at work, and...something else, my mind has turned to mush. Then tonight our massive dog (190 lbs) trod on my finger as I was wiping up the copious quantities of water she relocates to the floor every time she gets a drink, and I actually almost barfed/passed out from the sheer agony. I've heard of this phenomenon but never experienced it (and hope never to again, thank you very much).

Oh, and it snowed today.


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