Category: Work

Poetry! Poetry! Poetry! (by )

The first ever Gloucester Poetry Festival is almost upon us - Saturday (21st Oct 2017) sees events starting off with an extra special Food for Thoughts at the Cafe Rene 2-5 pm. This is followed by the Gloucester Waterstones Villanelles on Sunday 2-4 pm complete with Poetry Roulette and me co-hosting!

Then on Thursday the Festival proper begins with a plethora of events 🙂 So check it out!

And then of course there is the really exciting news! The Gloucester Societies first ever poetry collection has arrived and is a gorgeous book!

Poetry Without Pretension The Gloucester Poetry Societies Poetry Collection

Copies of Poetry Without Pretension will be at all the festival events and are also purchasable from my publishing group The WigglyPet Press.

Poetry pouches containing limited edition Poetry Festival 2017 badges will also be being given out at events until we run out!

Spoogy Woogy Oooogy! (by )

Monday night I inflicted my childrens poetry on an audience in the Waterstones Cheltenham as part of the Villanelles series run by The Gloucester Poetry Society.

Sarah reading The Little Book of Spoogy Poetry at Waterstones Cheltenham

This beautiful photo of the reading was taken by Kurt Schroeder Photography which is a challenge as I can't really do flash photography and the light levels were poor!

The Little Book of Spoogy Poetry

The The Little Book of Spoogy Poetry has been getting out and about again - Last weekend saw me take the baby yeti (Alaric) to Cheltenham Library along with El Nosy Rat for the Fun Palaces Event.

Sarah Snell-Pym reading from The Little Book of Spoogy Poetry at Cheltenham Library

It's interesting to note that the outfit Alaric is wearing is the reason there is a poem with the line "One Daddy dressed as a Yeti" in it and now he puts the outfit on for the poetry readings! It was originally made for a Yeti Hunt when we first started up the Cranham Scouting sections 🙂

A Hiding Baby Yeti at the Cheltenham Library Fun Palace Event 2017

At the poetry readings he is a naughty baby yeti who is also very shy and has a habit of hiding until the children call him to come out! This time the baby yeti stole Jean's shoes! When I took him to the climbing wall he kept hanging upside down! That baby YETI!

El Nosy Rat entertaining small child at the Cheltenham Libraries Fun Palace 2017

El Nosy Rat also features in one of the poems which he is a bit disgruntled about as it feels it gives rats a bad name! He is a relatively new member of the performance team and is also known as Ratty The Plague Rat/Black Death Rat when he comes out on Cuddly Science outings 🙂

El Nosy Rat and Mummy Eating Cherry Pie Cloth Patch

He is a big hit with the kids and talks with a bit of an Eastend twang. In the photo above he his holding on of the lovely cloth patches of the Mummy Eating Cherry Pie (one of the poems and illustrations from the book). I had these made last year and they are in some of my surprise pouches! These were made by White Wizard Purple Elf who also made Jean's beautiful dark fairy hoody. Talking of surprise pouches I did kind of forget I they were also glitter bombs so covered the Children's Library in glitter 0.o

Halloween and Autumn Colouring In sheets by Sarah Snell-Pym

Last year I also spent ages tracing some of the pictures from the book so that I could turn them into black and white colouring sheets. The idea is that eventually all the illustrations will be up for free down load and maybe even as an actual colouring book. I tend to be a bit slow going with this as I do a little bit every September and October. But it did mean that this year I had lots of pictures ready for digital clean up and conversion to colouring in sheets 🙂

I am steadily popping them all on WigglyPets Press - including the older ones I made which have some colour traits like the pumpkin outlines being orange 🙂

There are still quiet a few to be traced and scanned still but that along with new audio files will have to await my new computer!

And talking of audio files don't forget you can listen to the poems on my bandcamp though it is still missing it's story and song to be a proper collection 🙂

Or you can watch a much younger Jeany reading the poems and a baby Mary trying to join in 🙂

I only have about 20 of my original print run left, after they have gone the book will be a more expensive print on demand thing on Amazon. And a second volume is also wending it's way to completion 🙂

But that will be a tale for another year!

But before I leave you I shall explain why it is the Spoogy book and not a Spooky book - when she was 4 yrs old Jean asked me if we could make a poetry book for halloween and so we did about topics she picked... that book was all hand drawn and written and did not contain all ten poems that later appeared in The Little Book it also got a cup of water knocked over on it shortly after it's creation as Jean has it in her tray table next to her bed - the tray table where she was allowed her night time water as if it was spilt it would all stay in the tray!

The 4 yr old Jean could not say Spooky - 4 yr old Jean said Spoogy and the book was for her, I've been asked to change it for "proper" publication but the poems are what they are - first and for most for my kids and the Spoogy bit is an essential part of that. If you are interested here is the blog post from when I made the book back in 2009.

Computer Woes (by )

My poor too old to update laptop is once again thwarting me - Etsy is still not working (prob. due to laptop this time), Pinterest is shaky, LinkedIn is crippled, drawing programmes cause regular crashes, FB keeps balking, garageband is now not working and the speakers are crackling like they have half the Sahara in them :/ This is really frustrating as today was the day I was going to finish off the Spoogy Collection on Bandcamp i.e. finally upload the story and the song but that is a def. no go 🙁 Thanks to Patreon and working all the worky stuff I should be able to get a new desk top that can do the graphics and sound stuff in November but.... ARRRRG!

I'm actually pretty hacked off about this - the laptop still functions (bar the speakers which either have got something in them or are on their way out due to Mary liking My Little Pony Thrash Metal mashups and playing them loud and repeatedly in the mornings) but due to the way Apple work it is now obsolete and has been so for ages now. It is too old to get updates so though it works it steadily can't work as it can't support stuff anymore - you'd think this would only be a problem for the web stuff which indeed it is a big problem for - I am slowly watching everything not work quiet right, work a bit and then die or just not work in the first place. I have no GIF bar on FB, I can't have Pinterest buttons installed...

But actually I could get round most of that with my phone interface though it is perilously old now two and is getting to the edge of obsoletion too and that is a great shame because again it works fine!

However my frustration is the automatic updates mean that all the applications are slowly dying on my laptop - iTunes was the first to go, this meant that last year when I put the poetry up for The Book of Spoogy onto Bandcamp I had to do some techno wizardry to get the files I had already made out of iTunes and into a programme my computer could still use and then put it all up on Bandcamp - a simple job that I had already laid the ground work too thus was a complete nightmare and took ages. This year I can't even do that... there is no work arounds that me and Al can find this time - I just can't upload or record new things at the moment 🙁

To me this is horrendous, it is part of driving a wedge between the rich and poor (it is the Robots movie, it is iRobot (yes I know the film wasn't true to Asimov I think we'll be waiting a long time for such a film but I still look forward to it!) but it is also bad for the environment - it is forced obsoletion, it is taking tech and making it not work so that it has to be scrapped - this electronics with their increasingly rare metals making up their components and the chugging fume costs of the PCB factories. They are often sealed units so that when there is a hard ware failure they are almost impossible to fix....

If I was starting from scratch knowing what I know now - I would go Open Source I would go for some sort of UNIX thing... but I am content locked... my stuff is in apple programmes, and due to head injury stuff I kind of want to stick with stuff I know how to use. One good point about the apple stuff is I've always found them far more intuitive to use than Windows machines. I will I think try and have some sort of duel system going so I can wean myself from apple dependence but the next machine is still going to have to be some sort of Mac.

I am highly frustrated at the moment especially as it has basically taken me two years to save up with help (bitcoin yummiiness) for this damn new computer - I still have stuff stuck on an old out of date drive as well - but I had to choose between paying for data extraction on that and getting a new computer so I can continue to work. And that is another rub - there is potentially something we can do to the laptop to make it work nicely again but it might break the laptop and as it is currently my only computer that is most def. a no go. Once I have the desktop we can attempt to salvage the laptop and then I'll have a mobile computer again I can take to coffee shops and write ins and meetings and hackathons and so on - right now I don't really like moving it incase I drop the damn thing - this completely negates the point of it being a laptop!

Yes I've tried using tablets - even with external key boards I think my eyesight just isn't up to long data/word entries on such small screens.

Anyway - just finding the whole damn thing a little chaffing right now! There are so many projects that just need that final push and I can't do the final push because of tech problems!

Kitten Technologies and OhBot Supporting Ada Lovelace Day (by )

Robo Rob part of the programming board game designed for Cuddly Science

Really wonderful news, the Cuddly Science event Ada Lovelace's Coding Time at the Museum of Gloucester on Saturday 14th Oct 2017 is not only having a wonderful OhBot Robot but also Simple Graphics by Kitten Technologies 😀

Kitten Technologies

This event is aimed at kids and is ticketed at £5 per child, there is puppet story telling, colouring in sheets, Robo Robs Jobs the board game as well as the OhBot programmable robot head and the simple graphics programme. I am very excited about how this event is shaping up 🙂

Oh Bot programmable robot head at the Cheltenham Fun Palace 2017

Ada Lovelace’s Coding Time (by )

11 am to 1 pm Saturday Oct 14th 2017 I shall be taking Cuddly Science along to the Museum of Gloucester for an Ada Lovelace Day celebration tix £5 - the event is aimed at kids and will contain:

Ada the puppet explaining about herself and the technologies of the victorian era leading to modern day computing.

Ada Lovelace the puppet reading Equal Rites by Terry Pratchett

Colouring in sheets I have drawn of Ada, computers and other sundries - the photo is of the currently finished ones but there will be more before the weekend 🙂

Ada Lovelace Day Colouring in

Ada's friend Oh Bot Robot - a programmable robot head which the kids can complete programming tasks on including composing poetry!

Oh Bot programmable robot head at the Cheltenham Fun Palace 2017

Robo Robs Jobs - a board game that teaches children about the fundamentals of programming with out any scary numbers or computers 🙂 Very important to help engage all levels of understanding and expertise and the game can get a difficult as the players want!

Robo Rob part of the programming board game designed for Cuddly Science

Other bits and bobs 🙂 We are very excited about this Ada Lovelace day is an annual celebration of women in science, technology, engineering and medicine (STEM) and has events going on both nationally and internationally. These range from talks to shows to interactive events - check out where your nearest event is on the Ada site.

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