Tuesday, 3 May 2016

X is for Xena

Ha! I bet you thought I was going to have trouble coming up with an activity today. But no! I have the whole Xena Box, and I haven't watched any of it since year before last. Now I am justified in taking some time for it. It's the last day of my little holiday that I granted myself for finishing Operation Camilla, so I'm looking forward to a fun, relaxing day.

For any benighted souls who do not know who Xena is, this is Xena:

It's an awesome show, a kind of cross between Buffy and Homer. Xena fights with the speed of Hermes and the strength of Ares, and she also has an amazing superpower - when she takes off her armour and fights in her shift, her underpants automatically change colour from black to white. So much more impressive than my own superpower of giving pills to cats - although I comfort myself that mine is really more useful.

I don't expect Louis to like it, because of Xena's war yell, as he was so upset by the Valkyries, but as soon as the television starts he leaves his armchair and moves onto my lap, and he watches the show with apparent enjoyment, even when Emily drops a stuffed raccoon on his head.

Prince Louis Catorze
Stuffed raccoon? No problem. Delivered right to your head.
It's a beautiful sunny day, and I'd like to take Emily out, but it's blowing such a gale that I can't stand it. I take a few minutes to chase up the plasterer and organise a quote for my renovations, then it's back to Xena. I'd forgotten how much I love this show.

I've made it a rule when I'm binge-watching anything that in between each episode I must get up and do something useful. So after another episode, I message my friend who's expert in folklore. I want to get hold of the original Cinderella story. You probably know that I love to experiment with different styles and genres in short fiction, and I've decided to try my hand at a fairy tale retelling. They always seem to be popular with readers, and I love reading them myself. If I do well with Cinderella that will be another tool in my kit, and I may do more. I've chosen Cinderella rather than my personal favourite, the Frog Prince, because it seems to be the generally most loved of them all.

My friend is awesome, and before I can even finish telling in here about my query she has sent me a link to the earliest written version of the story. Thank you Ashley Hunt! You're a legend! Watch out, people, for Ashley's own folktale retelling, Scarlett's Moon, which will release later this year. I've read an advance copy and I can tell you it's a good read.

Another magical episode and I need to do something else useful. It must be my day for interacting with colleagues, for this morning I received a review copy of Cathy Jackson's new book, Five Days. This is a Christian Fiction book, in the same series as Five Coffees, which was an excellent read; see my review HERE.

Get it at AMAZON
 So I load Five Days onto my Kindle, ready to start reading. I'm so looking forward to it!

There isn't time for another episode before Emily and I will need to leave to meet my friend for coffee, so I have a little reading time. I'd like to finish what I'm currently reading before starting on Five Days, because I've been wading through Jordan's The Fires of Heaven for what seems like months, although it's really only a couple of weeks. I don't normally take so long even for a big book, but there's something about the Wheel of Time series that makes my mind go numb and long for sleep.

After having coffee with my friend I watch another episode and it's time to do something else productive. My friend has given me a review copy of his new CD - it really is my day for this stuff - so the next task on my agenda is to rip that so I can listen on my headphones. The Switch software wants me to pay again, and I demur - I've already had to pay for new copies of the software five times, and enough is enough. It's just a scam. I go on the hunt for a free ripper. I find FreeRip, which I've used before, but this also seems to be a bait and switch job - the free version is non-functional and only brings up the website where you can buy a paid version - ironic considering the name. I find this essentially dishonest, so I look for another one.

While that is downloading, let me tell you a little about my friend Bernie. He's a songwriter, but doesn't perform many of his own compositions. I have reviewed several of his albums on this blog, and you can find my reviews of Bernie Manning's Greatest Hits VOL IIVOL III, VOL IV, VOL V with these links. The new one that I have is VOL VI, and I'm very much looking forward to seeing what this talented team has produced this time.

The dvdvideosoft product is utter crap, and I resort to ripping the disk with Windows Media Player. This causes me no trouble at all and I regret the hour I've just wasted on ripoff merchants. There is not time for another episode of Xena now, as I am expected at another friend's house to see his litter of Italian Greyhound puppies. I may be sure at least that this friend is not going to give me anything to bring home and review!

How lovely it is to visit the home of a fellow dog person! So comfortable and normal. The puppies are adorable and I have a great time. I'm not sure whether there's time for another episode of Xena before my husband gets home and expects dinner, but I decide to give it a go - several glasses of wine at my friend's house have rendered me too lazy to do anything else useful. And with that I will close my account of this most restful and enjoyable day, ready to resume work on the morrow, energised and encouraged.

Tomorrow will be brought to you by the letter Y.

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