Thursday, 31 May 2012

Can't Hug Every Otter

Remember when I used to do posts about stuff I found on the internet and wanted, no, NEEDED, to share with the world? (link here Well, you're in for a treat, because this post is exactly that sort of madness. I promise at least one of the below will make you glad to be alive in a country with internet access, and more than one may make you wee yourself in sheer unbridled joy.

First up - this amazing classical/rock version of Game of Thrones. It started normally and then hit new levels of awesome that made me go all wide-eyed and twitch excitedly.

If you've been reading this blog for a while, you probably already know that sometimes I find it hilarious to be an utter dick to my friends. It's one of my favourite hobbies. I have therefore included below a picture of me "Rueing" my buddy Wetsoks during one of her naps. You know, "Rueing" - that Hunger-Games-inspired art of finding a sleeping person, covering them in flowers, doing the three-fingered salute and taking a photo to capture the moment forever. This picture is dedicated to Kristin over at Taming Insanity (link here for more awesomeness, who has not yet done this to her children and therefore obviously has much, much more self-control than I will ever possess.

It's okay to be a dick to one particular group of my friends, because we all pick on each other equally without malice and things are always done with a good natured vibe. The Cublet, for example, has a crush on actress Clemence Poesy (who appeared as Fleur in Harry Potter, and a lot of other stuff I was forced to watch at various times and have deleted from my brain), for reasons unknown and inconceivable to the rest of us, especially because in a lot of her photos Miss Poesy appears to be totally cross-eyed. This has led to the affectionate nickname 'Pontoon Poesy'. So naturally it's totally normal for me to email the entire group with links to ebay auctions of taxidermied foxes simply to point out how much said stuffed fox resembles good old CP. I must admit, I have an urge to start my own collection of taxidermied woodland creatures - partly because of the below link to the Bloggess and her post about a fabulous stuffed weasel, but also partly because I'd love to recreate scenes from various films with the inanimate cast of The Animals Of Farthing Wood.

And finally, to top it all off, a woman who is incredibly sad about the idea of her not being able to hug every cat in the world, ever.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Postcards to Zombies

Good morning all! Just a quick note to say that one of my (very) short pieces was accepted over at Postcard Shorts, link here -

It's only four lines, and it's basically about zombies, so you've got no reason not to clicky. Come on. I even made it obnoxiously yellow so you couldn't help but notice it. Clicky. You know you want to. Clicky. Just hover your mouse over the link and... almost... yes... clicky! Thank you.

I appreciate all your support and lovely words of encouragement. I will of course keep you all updated on future stories, whether short or long. I accept praise, constructive criticism, outright criticism with no sugar-coating, backhanded compliments, and pie.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Formal Misery: RSVP

My good friend Wetsoks has managed to do something awful to her lower back over the past day or so, and has been in agony. This seems to spike drastically every time she laughs, which is unfortunate because she's been around me daily and we have a multitude of hilarious in-jokes.

Wetsoks: You know this pain in my back? Well, I think it might be a new kind of pain.

Me: How can you tell?

Wetsoks: There's no word I can think of that describes it properly. It's not stabbing. It's not shooting or prickling or throbbing. The closest I've come to finding an apt description was 'informal misery' as suggested by Google.

Me: Huh. I wonder how you upgrade from 'informal misery' to 'formal misery'.

Wetsoks: It's not the kind of pain where you want to cry, either. I mean, if I stabbed you, you'd cry, right?

Me: I'd cry if you sent me a strongly worded email.

There was a brief silence. All I could hear was the frantic tapping of keys.

Me: Don't send me a strongly worded email!

Wetsoks: Too late, buddy. Anyway, I meant to say earlier, because I thought you'd like this - there's a butchers in Edinburgh who now apparently stock some odd things - crocodile meat, zebra, kangaroo and so forth. I saw it on the way home from work.

Me: That's AWESOME. The Cublet asked me what I wanted to do for my birthday. Now I know. Brace yourself, here comes the best idea ever!

Wetsoks looked afraid, possibly because I've said this a lot and sometimes it has turned out that my idea of fun is not always everyone's idea of fun, or normal.

Me: I want an Exotic Meat Birthday Party.

Wetsoks: ... You.... want....

Me: Possibly an Exotic Meat Birthday Barbecue.

Wetsoks: Um...

Me: Possibly also featuring zombie facepaints?

Wetsoks: Okay. I'm in.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

A Tale Of Two Otter Blogs

Before I even begin this post properly, I'd like to note that the Cublet followed my previous blog post with a text asking if we could make a TV show called 'Pimp My Cane'. My friends are wonderful, if slightly unhinged, people, and I really do adore them all.

Now, onto some serious stuff! I have had my second story accepted onto Ether Books - the first, if you recall, was  'Hook and Line' which also sneaked onto an ebook by Raging Aardvark (which should in fact be published shortly on Smashwords as a free download, which I will shamelessly cajole/bribe/blackmail my friends/readers/random pedestrians into downloading) - and the new one is called 'Locks'. It's slightly more of a horror story, but in a more traditional way than 'Hook and Line' was. You can only get the Ether Books application on ipods and iphones at the moment, but there is some talk of branching out into Android at some point this year.

I'd be grateful for that move since I am attached (read: fused by the fingers) to my HTC, but I know some of my readers are rich enough to afford such exotic luxuries as iphones - mostly because I like to check the blog statistics to see what kind of operating system my readers are using, and how they found me (note to people who stumbled upon this blog by Googling phrases such as "penis tortoise" or "hot Irish women" - I apologise that I presumably did not provide the satisfaction you sought, and can only hope that you were at least faintly amused while you were here). So please do check out my stories here at and you will receive many, many otterkisses if we ever meet.

I've also been contemplating something else; another blog. Woah, I hear you cry, in oddly harmonious unison. Woah there, little Otternator! You've got a day job and a day blog and you already don't sleep nearly as much as you should, which admittedly still isn't giving you the wrinkles you require to venture out into town ID-less, but we think Moar Life and possibly Moar Sun could help with that. Anyway. Is this wise? And to you, I'd say...well, probably not. But when have I ever chosen the wise option? I thought perhaps it could be another twitfic or perhaps even flash fiction site, but with the difference that I'd handpick the pieces myself. I already have an excellent name in mind - Does Your Mother Have Ninjas? - chosen from the excellent Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. What say you, readers?

Monday, 21 May 2012

Mighty Morphin Power Otters

My friends Cublet, Sarahnator and Wetsoks went to London last weekend to visit the Harry Potter studios (which they described as, amongst other gushing praise, a "magical experience") and brought me back an otter handpuppet, which might well be the greatest gift anyone has ever bought me - excepting of course the singing Justin Bieber toothbrush. I am amassing quite a nice collection of otter toys, and even given that my 27th birthday is fast approaching, I see no reason to stop this. During their trip to Harry Potter studios, Wetsoks and Cublet discovered what I can only reasonably refer to as 'Lucius Malfoy's Pimp Cane, You Know, The One He Has In The Films That Looks Totally Badass'. I'm going to assume you all know what I'm referring to. The below conversation requires you to keep the Pimp Cane in mind, as well as have a rudimentary knowledge of children's television from the 90s.

Me: Thanks for the otter handpuppet, guys. You rock! I haven't named him yet, but I'm thinking maybe King Fluffy the Third, or The Hulking Judginator, or Steven, or something.

Cublet: There is a surprising lack of otters in shops. You almost got a seal. Thankfully I pointed out the difference between seal flippers and what otter feet look like. Not sure what this says about our friends and their anatomical knowledge of animals, or possibly the quality of toys these days.

Me: Yes, there is a worrying merge in the seal/otter toy department. I noticed this previously and thought maybe it was just me. Even though the internet has promoted a love of otters in recent years, it seems that designers have not quite cottoned on to the idea.

Cublet: Are we on for our Glee catch up on Friday, by the way? It's a special cubter activity. Get it? Like Cublet merging with Otter?

Me: Cubter, activate! I imagine that we’re making like a Power Rangers figure by standing in front of each other awkwardly and kind of leaning, like that time you were in my parka with me.

Cublet: OMG - that should be our Power Rangers move—zipping into one parka…!

Me: Yes! Genius. Can we somehow include the pimp cane? SO HAPPY.

Cublet: Totally. We hold the pimp cane: you at either end, me in the middle (not yet sure how this will work with the zip as my hands really need to reach out from there). So we have the might of 2 pairs of uncoordinated!hands. That’s twice as many as normal. And four times the lack of co-ordination. Stand aside, Batman…there’s a new hero(es) in town…

Wetsoks: I thought it was Transformers who joined together?

Me: Wetsoks, I’m appalled, and feel like I don’t even know you anymore. Cublet, that’s a good idea re: the pimp cane. We can work out the fine details (read: actual logistics) later when we actually have it. I think this could become an awesome webseries, or at least a series of horrific Facebook photos…

Wetsoks: Sorry but I’m super busy.

Me: Busy like a Power Ranger?

Wetsoks: Yes. But not the pussy pink one.


Wetsoks: Mediocre.

Me: Take that back!

Wetsoks: Name one thing that made her stand out from the other 4 or 5, or however the hell many of them there were?

Me: She did gymnastics, you bastard. OH MY GOD, YOU DONT EVEN KNOW THE FIRST GENERATION NAMES!

Wetsoks: They were just another Steps - only instead of singing and dancing they did karate and bad acting

I’ll end this here, because at this point I was reduced to raging incoherently without using many words one could appropriately use, say, before the watershed in hell. I hope that those of you who watched the original Mighty Morphin Power Rangers can sympathise and remember it fondly, even if it was totally plotless and exactly the same thing happened in every single episode.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

An Otter Abroad

I had a lovely time in Portugal last week (so much so that I genuinely considered not returning home, before realising that much to my annoyance, I have various things that I can't just pick up and leave, including two rather heavy cats who possibly would not appreciate being forced into quarantine without an explanation). Many amusing situations occurred as I'm sure you can imagine, because normally I am a walking basket of disasters even in a country with a language I can speak fluently, but the below was one of my favourite exchanges to date. My Portuguese and I were out in an area called Bairro Alto, which is an awesome night spot in Lisbon.

Me: So, what do you recommend I drink?

Portugal: Caipirinha!

Portugal's Sister: No, you should have a shot.

Me: I like the sound of that. Look at all these drunk people! It feels like home.

Portugal's Sister: So, there is a shot called... I don't know how you translate this. Um. A kick in... the...  (she gestures at her crotch)

Me: Vagina?

Portugal: Yes, that! Except, it's worse than vagina. Is there a worse English word?

Me: (suppressing hysterical giggles) I can't think of one right now.

Portugal's Sister: (seriously) Are you sure?

Me: (straining my jaws to keep the laughter in) I ... simply can't imagine what that could be. I'll let you know if I find out. English is such a limited language. Ahem.

It was a great few days and I visited many interesting locations in Lisbon, got seriously hooked on the tiny coffees and pastel de nata (best cakes in the world, I promise you) and generally had an awesome time. Upon my return, I discovered that I'd been made Runner Up in the Flashbang fiction competition (which you may remember I mentioned in a previous post). Please find my story linked here and do comment if you feel that it deserves any praise or whatnot -

In addition, one of my stories has been accepted into the Raging Aardvark's Twisted Tales ebook for National Flash Fiction Day on Wednesday 16th May! This is amazing in itself, but I also discovered that the lovely people over at Ether Books are going to publicise my story as a free download on both 16th and 17th May. When I know more I'll update with a link. It's been very busy over here in Otterland, but I'm enjoying every moment of it.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

1001 Books You Otter Read

This week I've been going through the rather dubious list of 1001 Books To Read Before You Die. I actually spent some time on this, checking off the ones I had read (78 in total, which as a lifelong avid reader I find very surprising) and was disturbed to find that I am missing out on a large chunk of modern literature. Over half of the books I had read on this list were written before 1900. I have vowed to correct this, although I'm damned if I know where I'll find the time. I agreed with certain choices from more recent centuries - The God of Small Things, by Arundhati Roy, Life of Pi by Yann Martel, and Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by the late and great Douglas Adams - but some choices stood out as awkwardly as a toddler in a police line-up.

I realise when people say things like "in my opinion" and "it's not for me to judge, but" - it usually means they are about to be dicks. With that in mind - it's not for me to judge - but in my opinion the following things are important facts when considering this list:

 - All of Sarah Waters books were vastly overrated and in fact I would rather read Kafka's The Castle again than any of them (see link to find out exactly how bad that statement is -, excepting perhaps Fingersmith whose only triumph was that I did not feel like someone was grating both my eyeballs into a mixing bowl for the entire duration of it. You have been warned.

- While I don't doubt that Maya Angelou did in fact contribute much to society and literature in her other books, my lasting memory of I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings is that she wee'd herself a totally implausible amount as a child, although I did read this a decade ago and may be a little hazy on the details.

- Everyone should read The Master and Margarita, Pride and Prejudice (the version without zombies, and then the version with zombies, just to squeeze the full comedy potential out of it - it is very pleasing to discover that in the zombie version, Elizabeth Bennett rejects Mr Darcy and then roundkicks him satisfyingly into the fireplace, smashing the mantelpiece, which I'm almost positive must have been in the first draft of the original. It also has ninjas, and Lady Catherine is just amazing. Go and read it now) and The Last Temptation of Christ at least once. I enjoyed each of these books immensely.

- Why the absolute sodding hell was there no Terry Pratchett on this list? This is no joke. Terry Pratchett's works have shaped me both as a writer and a person. I would quite literally give any limb to have written Thief of Time. In fact, Mr Pratchett, should you ever read this - I still offer said limb, if you can find any use for it around the house, whether as a doorstop or teacup-holder or similar. I regularly reference his books, to the bewilderment of most people around me, and have been known to yodel my own version of the Hedgehog Song after a particularly debauched evening out on the town. I consider myself a combination of Captain Carrot's steadfast honesty and loyalty (and misplaced sense of justice) and Granny Weatherwax's implacable conviction that she is correct in all things even when the current situation does not reflect this. (I suspect that people who know me would also throw in a Casanunda comment at this point, which I shall ignore but be amused by)

In addition, as I did promise an update, I have now been shortlisted for the Flashbang fiction competition. It's all very exciting as there are now 10 of us and 3 prizes plus 5 runners up. Paws crossed, otterlings!