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Mirror Mask Competition

emoticon:newspaper I'm very pleased to be able to announce the Voidspace Mirror Mask Competition. Very Happy

In association with Noise Marketing, and to celebrate the awesome new Mirror Mask Film - we are offering lots of prizes. We have large movie posters, action figures, busts, postcards, etc to give away.

In order to win you need to send an email to with answers to the following three questions :

  1. What is the name of the character dream in the Sandman Graphic novels ?
  2. Name one of the children's books that Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean have collaborated on ?
  3. What is the name of the main character in MirrorMask ?

Don't forget to include your full name and postal address in the email.

The competition closes on 14th October and we'll be notifying winners on the 17th October.

For the full details, and the small print Wink , see the competition page.

For more info about the film check out :

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Posted by Fuzzyman on 2005-09-29 12:56:56 | |


May I Beg Your Leave

emoticon:halt A few weeks ago [1] I blogged about Delia's experience of Romanian bureaucracy.

Well, now we have our very own, home-grown, English version. Very Happy

To be fair it's partly caused by our odd living circumstances, but it's still frustrating [2].

Delia and I got married just over two years ago now. Delia is a Romanian national [3] and as they are not part of the EU yet, after the wedding she needed to formally apply for leave to remain in the country.

To attempt to weed out marriages of convenience they first issue a two year temporary leave to remain. After the two years, if the marriage is still intact, you're entitled to permanent leave to remain (and not long after that British citizenship if you want it - given Delia's problems trying to get her Romanian passport renewed she might just do that).

So now it's time for Delia to apply for permanent leave to remain - she's downloaded the relevant multi paginated form and we're going through it. The funny thing is that the Home Office aren't interested in whether we're married or not, nor even if we're of differing gender [4] !

In order to prove that our relationship is intact, we have to provide ten official documents; in my name or hers, at the same address (and the marriage certificate doesn't count). The sorts of documents they accept include :

etc. etc. Now I can just about manage a driving license; but because we live in community - we just don't have any of those things. All the bills are in the name of the common purse - not us. Mad aaaargh......

Naturally we've taken legal advice. It turns out that what the law says is [5] :

if after two years you still reside together, and intend to remain together permanently, you are entitled to permanent leave to remain.

The requirement to provide ten official letters is only the home office's interpretation of the law. If we can prove that we meet the requirements of the law - it doesn't have to be the way that the Home Office lay down. We've got a letter from an elder of the church, and the common purse, explaining the situation. We've also got residency records for the last two years - one page for every week, this is some package we're sending them. Very Happy

Even if they reject the application (which is unlikely) we have a valid appeal under UK law and (apparently) to the ECHR. Despite that it's still a bit nerve wracking until we get the final approval, which could take months. sigh Sad

[1]Has it already been that long Question
[2]For a better reference you could do worse than
[3]I'm pretty sure she didn't just marry me for a passport. Wink If you're interested you could read my article on Life in Romania.
[4]How thoroughly modern.
[5]Or words to the effect of.. Wink

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Posted by Fuzzyman on 2005-09-28 18:04:10 | |
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Keep it Quiet

emoticon:eyeballz Over the last few months I've done an interesting piece of collaboration with an Italian gentleman called Nicola Larosa. Now this isn't my Techie Blog so I won't bore you with the details - but we coded a very nice configuration file library together called ConfigObj. Not only did Nicola do me the great favour of lending me his programming experience - but he also introduced me to the musician Julia Fordham. As you'll see from below, that means I'm triply indebted to him. Very Happy

Along the way somewhere we nearly had an interesting conversation with him about spirituality. As you may know, I'm a Christian - but I had an interesting dalliance [1] with Buddhism when I was younger. I learned to meditate with an organisation called the FWBO. The meditation I enjoyed most, and had some interesting experiences with, was a breathing and concentration meditation called The Mindfulness of Breathing.

When I was chatting to Nicola I hadn't actually done much meditation for a couple of years - but I'm still an enthusiastic advocate. He inspired me to write an article describing the mediation [2]. Even more importantly he inspired me to start meditating again. For the last few weeks I've been averaging about twenty minutes a day.

The point of the meditation on mindfulness is that the human mind spends most of it's time thinking about rubbish and burning nervous energy. This meditation gives you the chance to chill out and stop the endless mental chatter. As soon as you step away from this you'll realise how much you actually appreciate peace. Laughing

I really recommend you try out the Mindfulness of Breathing.

The article is really just a walk-through of what is quite a simple mental exercise. I've been doing it for a few weeks now, and although I've enjoyed it, just like the article says - it's only the last week or so that it's really become mind blowing. The really nice thing is that I find worship so much more fulfilling after meditating. Not only do I get the refreshing peace and mental quietness of the meditation - but my connection to God in worship feels so much more alive. I guess clearing out the mental clutter has lots of benefits.

[1]The rest of the dalliance was part of an excruciating and damaging time. This part of it was valuable though. Smile
[2]I couldn't actually find a simple description on the internet.

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Posted by Fuzzyman on 2005-09-28 18:03:29 | |



emoticon:videocam It looks like one of my heroes is finally getting some more recognition.

Spread the word about the upcoming Jim Henson Company film release, "MirrorMask," by creators Neil Gaiman (American Gods, Sandman) and Dave McKean (Cages, Pictures that Tick). It hits select theaters Sept. 30th.

Neil Gaiman writes fantastic stuff - he captures the essence of the dream world in a way I've not seen anyone else do. So the film should be a real treat. Unfortunately there's no release date in the UK yet, but American readers can catch it from 'select cinemas' (whatever that means) from the end of this week....

The press release blurb says :

MIRRORMASK tells the story of Helena (Leonidas), a fifteen-year-old girl working for her family circus, who wishes-quite ironically-that she could run away from the circus and join real life. But such is not to be the case, as she finds herself on a strange journey into the Dark Lands, a fantastic landscape filled with giants, monkeybirds and dangerous sphinxes. On her quest to return home, Helena searches for the Mirrormask, an object of enormous power, which is her only hope of escaping the Dark Lands.

A dark fantasy with elements of THE DARK CRYSTAL and LABYRINTH, MIRRORMASK is a thrilling new chapter in the celebrated careers of Dave McKean and Neil Gaiman. Filled with imagination and unforgettable imagery, and fully realized with the help of CGI, MIRRORMASK is a visual and psychological menagerie of dreamscapes, nightmares and otherworldly creatures.

Sounds good hey - click on the logo below to see some screenshots :

MirrorMask Logo

See the trailer or go to the MirrorMask Film website.

What's almost as exciting as the film, is that tomorrow I'm hoping to announce a Voidspace MirrorMask Competition - offering some MirrorMask goodies to give away to the lucky winners. Stay tuned for details Wink

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Posted by Fuzzyman on 2005-09-28 12:19:30 | |


The Old Blog Archives

There was so much ancient wisdom distilled into my old blog, that I couldn't let it just creep ignominiously into the pages of cyber-history. More to the point I'm still getting some hits from google with the old entries. Here are the archives of my previous Blogger based blog.

The Old Voidspace BlogThe Old Techie Blog

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