What’s In A Name

I joined Twitter in 2009. Like everyone does, I picked a username that matched who I was at the time. Time passes and people change, their digital identities often lagging behind.

I had a wonderful opportunity to job shadow with a local firm for two days this past week, and one of the suggestions I received was to consider changing my Twitter handle. Chaos and the law don’t exactly compliment each other.


Published in: on February 22, 2014 at 18:31  Leave a Comment  

Much Exam


Much exam.

Very tired.

Done Friday.

All the sleeps.

Translation: Apologies to anyone trying to reach me the last or next weeks, I’m revising for and taking my big exams. I’ll be finished on February 14th. On which I intend to sleep in as late as possible, followed by a lovely quiet day at home of cooking for Alasdair and playing and/or watching videogames. Thanks for all your encouraging thoughts!


Published in: on February 9, 2014 at 14:09  Leave a Comment  

Operation: Muffin

That’s been the code word. Whenever one of us wanted to talk about “The Thing” without saying “The Thing”.

When we met with an immigration attorney this summer before renewing my student visa, it was part of Operation: Muffin. Just to get some ideas.

When a big freelance project pay day happened in November and he wanted to take me out for dinner sometime in January to celebrate.

When a gift certificate for a manicure was in my Christmas stocking, I had an inkling, but I was busy revising for exams and working on training contract applications.

Friday, if you missed the announcement on Twitter, Alasdair proposed and I (of course!) said yes!

19 IMG_2304

We’ve received a staggering number of well wishes and congratulations, and I only wish I could say thank you to everybody in person. It really does mean the world to us!

Since I have to get back to coursework and Alasdair is busy miraculously juggling part time employment and full time freelancing, we put together this quick FAQ for everyone.

The Courtship

  • We met via the wonders of Twitter. Alasdair is the host of Pseudopod, a premier weekly horror podcast, and I am (still!) a huge fan. We struck up a casual conversation and realized we had a lot in common, from movies to music to books.
  • The relationship deepened as we both went through difficult personal circumstances. Through it all, we provided support for each other over 5,000 miles and 8 hours time difference.
  • December 2011 we met for the first time in person. We spent a three week holiday together in London, my first trip abroad. We made side trips to Bristol, York and Edinburgh. We dressed up and attended the London Symphony Orchestra in Davies Hall where Sir Neville Marriner conducted Beethoven’s Fifth and Ninth symphonies (my dream live concert).
  • We started talking about who was going to move where; at the time I was in the Bay Area and Alasdair was in York. I was in a unique place at work in that my current boss would be retiring soon, eliminating my position in the near-future. Going further with my education had always been a goal, so I started investigating my firm’s London office and law schools both in the US and UK. We talked to immigration attorneys on both sides of the Atlantic.
  • Videogames were played via PlayStation Network. We lived on FaceTime and Gchat.
  • Alasdair’s then-job ended in May 2012 at the same time his lease expired. We wanted to give both countries a fair “audition”, so he came to California (via an amazing weekend in New York) for the summer. We went on several smaller trips including GenCon in Indianapolis; Austin to see his best friend and now-fiance; San Diego, Yosemite, and of course Disneyland!
  • In September 2012 we moved together to Nottingham and I started the GDL at Nottingham Law School. We moved to Beeston in November last year, and I’ll finish the LPC in May.

The Proposal

  • When?
    Friday, January 10th, after my solicitor’s accounts exam. *chuckle*
  • Where?
    Las Iguanas, one of my favorite local restaurants.
  • Did Alasdair go on one knee?
    Yes. (I’m not sure why people keep asking that, but they are…)
  • What music was playing?
    “L-O-V-E” by Nat King Cole.
  • The ring?
    Currently in my head. Alasdair is wise enough to know how … particular I am. (Diamonds=no) We’ve met with a jeweler to put together some sketches and source stones for an engagement ring and wedding bands.
    In the meantime I have a lovely charm for my charm bracelet – a heart lock and key made from an antique British penny (I love keys).


The Future

  • When’s the wedding?
    We’re not going to do any significant planning until after my LPC elective exams in May. My studies come first, end of story. If you have a fantastic brilliant idea that you’re just dying to share I would LOVE to hear it! In June.
  • Where will the wedding be?
    See above. Preliminary thoughts are one small event here, and another small event in California, to save everybody airfare.
  • Where will you live?
    We’ve always planned to remain in the UK. We love the little house we live in now and would love to buy it. The majority of our friends and professional contacts are here. I’m diligently applying for training contracts to complete my qualification. In addition, I’ll seek full time legal employment this summer and start racking up CILEx qualifying time.  And we have lots of options for visiting the States whenever circumstances allow.
  • If money was no object, what would you do?
    Purchase, reassemble and charter Eureka to take us to The Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite National Park. My family’s been camping in Yosemite forever, and it holds many important memories. Then we’d enjoy the park for a week with lots of hiking, bike riding, canoeing, stargazing and rock climbing. And we’d bring all our friends and family with us. :-)
Published in: on January 12, 2014 at 19:00  Comments (1)  


Ahhhh, Christmas break. So far I’ve done tons of things around the house and very, very little schoolwork. It’s been glorious.

One of the things I’ve FINALLY had time to do is use the lovely Soapasaurus products Alasdair is reviewing. He’s writing his own review of these products as part of a bigger “bath and beauty geek products” piece, but this one is mine, ’cause you know… they were open… *grin*

Friendship CubesFriendship Cube

These lovely little gamer’s friends pack a heck of a scent punch for their meager two inches. The pink one especially reminds me exactly of pink Starburst – somewhere between intense strawberry and a unnameable tropical fruit. They lather extremely well, but I recommend a sisal bag or something similar because once wet they’re inclined to slip out of your hand. There was zero residue after rinsing, and my skin felt comfortably not-dry, and not-moisturized.

What I particularly enjoyed about the scent was both its strength and the complete lack of residue. It’s great having a product where you can take an intensely scented bath or shower, but not have to worry about your soap scent clashing with deodorant, lotion or cosmetics when you’re finished.

Sugar WhipFestive Fall Handmade Sugar Scrub

Oh my god. Imagine the best coconut cream pie you’ve ever smelled, thick with graham cracker crust. Add pumpkin pie spice and a healthy dollop of maple syrup. Now whip it until it’s frothy and creamy with just a few hints of brown sugar chunks and rub it all over your face and don’t eat it because it’s soap but you’ll want to it smells so good!

Lovely creamy texture without a hint of residue. I was expecting something a bit more exfoliating I think, because of the name “sugar scrub”, so this won’t replace my normal face wash, but it’s a fantastic supplement. It has a bit of a lingering scent as I write this about an hour post-shower, so I think I’ll put this in the weekly treat category as opposed to daily wear. Plus I had to ask Alasdair to smell my face and that made him laugh and then lick my forehead.

The little green tub it comes in has a fantastic texture that lets you get a good grip on it with wet hands, and the screw-top lid is water proof – I stuck it under the running water with no leaking. Once I’ve used up all the product I’ll keep it and store other soaps.

Blue Sky CrystalBlue Sky Crystal

This was the first of the products we tried, and I could smell the intense blueberry scent hours after it was used. You’ve GOT to have some way of containing these little shards, though, or you’ll drop half of them and they’ll slip down the drain and you’ll be sad. For these little pieces we use a shower glove, which lets the thick lather through but isn’t as hard on skin as sisal. Scent-wise this is the most intense of the lot and the one I’d recommend the most for children because it’s an immediately identifiable smell. If Soapysaurus wants to branch out into bubblebath, they could do worse than start here.

Flying Update

Two more weeks of classed until Christmas break and the pressure has ramped up significantly. Apologies for the bullet points, but I need to get back to Wills revision.

  • The Doctor Who 50th Anniversary “Day of the Doctor” was fantastic. Going to see it with hundreds of other fans in costume in the theaters was amazing. Peter Capaldi’s eyebrows owned the Internet last night.
  • Thanks again to The Cheesecakes for hosting me while Alasdair was in Leeds for Thought Bubble.
  • One flavor of Jelly Babies is icky. Now that I’ve got the rest of the bag home in lighted conditions, I will investigate further to discover the guilty party.
  • The house is mostly unpacked and I’ve just set up a couple of reusable ceramic dehumidifiers in the two less-well insulated windows. There’s several small projects left, but first I need to learn how to properly install hanging things in these types of walls. This may involve the purchase of power tools. Heaven forfend.
  • Our housewarming / late Thanksgiving / early Christmas / Great Swap party is scheduled and the menu being planned. Alasdair wants to make tamales. YUM.
  • The mediation competition has advanced to the semi-finals this week. It’s fascinating being on the other side of the table this time, and I’m developing whole new sets of skills.
  • I’m hoping I might get to do my first community mediation over the Christmas break, but I haven’t heard back yet.
  • Speaking of the Christmas break, we are officially going to take 10 days off towards the end of the month. I’ll post about it so people can help keep me honest.
  • My latest narration is up at Cast of Wonders – “The View From Stickney Crater” by Rick Kennett, our latest Cy de Gurch story.
  • I think I’ve located an international foods market that carries fresh Ancho peppers. I need to get some and roast them to confirm. Because that would mean green chili and cheese tamales. YUM.

Right. Back to work!

Fall Back

Five in the evening and it’s already dark. No matter how hard I try, I never fully adjust. There are plenty of evening hours, but they all feel like they’re closer to midnight than dinner time. Ah well.

The move is complete, the old house has been cleaned top to bottom (it’s cleaner now than when we moved in!), and the new place unpacked enough to be functional. Both offices are still a mess, but at least all the furniture’s in the right places. Which is SO much easier to accomplish when the house is only two stories instead of four! Alasdair’s even had a chance to play the first part of Arkham Origins – life is slowly returning to … well, what we call normal anyway.

Monday is the commercial mediation competition kick-off, and I’m equal parts excited and nervous. I can’t wait to compare and contrast with my community mediation training, and strangely I’m looking forward to the chance to practice my note-taking. I didn’t realize how many different -ways- there are, depending on your focus. Yes, I’m dorking out about note-taking. Geek in all things, right?

Back to business prep and unpacking!

Quick While My Recording Uploads

T-minus three days and counting until the move and things are in good shape. The living room is nothing but cardboard boxes, but at least they’re labeled! Just my office left to tackle, which I’ll start after my final community mediation training session tomorrow.

And I may have found green chilies… Watch this space for a full report once the kitchen is unpacked.

Published in: on November 1, 2013 at 23:01  Leave a Comment  
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Running To Stand Still

The forty-two days between my last post and this should give you some indication of how busy things are at the moment. So busy that I don’t have time to go see Ender’s Game, let alone write the blog post detailing my approach to seeing it in theaters without (according to my calculations) a red cent of my money making its way to Orson Scott Card’s pocket.

But after a diligent “one on, one off” reading week I still have ten lectures to consolidate, two sessions’ worth of preparations to finalize, 2/3rds of the house to pack, my wife to murder, and Gilder to frame for it. I’m swamped.*

That’s right, we’re moving. Long story short, it was now with control, or next summer in the middle of exams without any control. You’ve met me and my deep and abiding love for order. No brainer, really. This way we’ll at least beat the snows (tonight’s Uber Storm non-withstanding) and will have time to settle in before exams start end of November. That’s in about a month. Already. Wow.

Other than the full time LPC (which is keeping to its promise of being less overall work than the GDL), community mediation training, the upcoming commercial mediation competition, and moving, things are swell. Alasdair’s current Kickstarter project is about to close and has done quite well, and he’ll be Red Jacketing at World Fantasy Con next weekend.

I will be at two all-day back to back training seminars.
And packing.
He’s promised flowers and dinner out. Wise man. :-)

Cast of Wonders is doing amazing. Between the Parsec win this year and the Camp Myth: Phoenix Watching project I think the show is really starting to hit its stride. We’ll be running Staff Picks in January, the month we traditionally go dark, and I’m starting to look at 2014′s line-up. We have some fantastic stories headed your way.

Until next time!

*This is a quote. You all know it’s a quote. But as application season rears its head, I find it safest to clarify I’m not advocating murder.

One Week And Counting

Back to school already, huh? Well, I can’t say the weather hasn’t telegraphed the change in season. I think it was literally beautiful one day, and gray and miserable the next. Ah well. We’re still having occasionally nice days, and I’m using them to get as much of the last of the yard work done as possible. We’re in decent shape, I’d just like to get the pile in the back finished off before the rain becomes unrelenting.

I wasn’t successful in securing a training contact this summer. Technically I have yet to hear back from one firm, but given how late it is in the recruiting cycle I think I’m unlikely to at all. Which is just plain rude, if you ask me. I know firms are being inundated by applicants, but how hard is it to send a mass “thanks but no thanks” acknowledgement? I do it with all of the Cast of Wonders submissions.

And speaking of which, take a look at this:

2013 Winner Badge
Cast of Wonders won its very first Parsec award! We’re so thrilled, Graeme even introduced our latest episode with the phrase “award winning”. I can’t wait for my statue to get here.

The Isle of Man / York trip was fantastic. We had beautiful weather, smooth crossings, and lots of time to catch up with family and friends. You couldn’t ask for more from a late summer vacation. :-)


-Summer is nearly over, and I go back to school in a mere 22 days.

-As of Thursday, I’ll have lived in the UK a full year.

-I’ve narrated both Hugo and Parsec nominated short stories.

-Forget March coming in like a lion, autumn seems to be taking September out at the knees!

-This academic year I’ll be studying one form of mediation while teaching another.

-I’m about to restart aikido training. I’m nervous, but also excited, especially because I’ll have not only a partner put potentially classmates joining me as well.

-When you’re waiting for decisions that will dictate the direction and schedule of major life decisions for the next four years, six weeks is a very long, anxious period of time.

-Picnics help immensely.

-I can devour over 150,000 words of fiction in 36 hours. Yes, the Hunger Games were THAT good. Completely worth the “book hangover” the next morning.

-Next month I’m going to Batman’s house to watch a movie.

-I still owe the Mutherfudger a guest blog on Mexican food that doesn’t involve chili.

-Vacations always feel amazing because of the amount of work that not only precedes them, but goes into making sure you come back to a clean house. Wash All The Things!

-My life may be uncertain and less padded than I’d like, but I’m happy and in the end, that’s what matters most.


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