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So, I'm throwing this dinner party in a diner. One of the ones where prefabricated formica-on-laminate booths are crammed as closely as possible and the space has all the charm and feel of a jetliner.

I take a breather aside and find Dalen has peed on the floor under the children's desk where I'm seated. I rush to clean it up, but there aren't enough paper towels and a clot in the urine breaks open and suddenly there's blood all over the floor. So I try to let my dinner-guests know that I need to take care of my dog, and they're all sympathetic to the poor beast.

But then the phone rings and I answer it while Cara Sposa is checking Dalen, and it's an artist-colleague of mine who needs to know ASAP what was going on. I ask "what with", and he starts to talk and I remember he sent me an email earlier about a scene in the TV adaption of Dune IV. I say I haven't seen it, and it's not really a good time, but somehow he's made the wall into a projector, and the email opens up with the clip from the video itself playing. I watch as Baron Harkonen pushes a shopping cart through what looks suspiciously in a low-budget SF sort of way like a modern mall. They've got him camped way up, even more so than the SiFi Channel version, and he's strangely similar in gait to Jabba the Hut. He turns to the camera and says something with well-rounded vowels.

"What's that?" says the colleague over the phone.

"I don't know," I reply. At this point, I'm no longer in the McRestaurant, but in the mall itself. I nudge the shuttle to the left and replay the sequence, focussing on the actor's lips to follow what he's saying.

"Could be Hwee, like the Hwee Noree who leads to the death of the..." but then I realize I'm spoiling and end, lamely, "...well, you'll see. She's an important character."

But it isn't Hwee. It's "Howells". I know because it's in the voice of Gaenor Howells*, the BBC World Service anchor who rhymes "house" with "mice".

As I open my eyes to the alarm clock, a voice in my head says "and tomorrow, we'll find out what happened to those shiatsu needles."

Zen in the morning. I'm looking forward to tomorrow.

*ETA: I've never seen her name in print, but this is apparently the proper spelling. I like it better.