Friday, May 14, 2004
A brief prevarication about writing
I've haven't done any the past couple of days. I've had sort of good reasons. I may have to resort to pen'n'paper while I'm on holidays (which will be a pain in general, because I can't write while driving owing to my lamearse tendency to get nauseous).
I may have to go on a word bender when I get back, in order to make up for lost time, if I'm going to have any hope of meeting the Olympics-opening-ceremony deadline (especially since I don't think Ev is going to buy my proposed technicality wherein the bet is off if Athens fucks up and doesn't host an Olympics this year, which is looking increasingly like a good bet).
Deep breath. Okay, I resolve to have written at least 75,000 words by the end of June (and 80,000 words if I make that count by 15 June or earlier).
I work best to deadlines.
Desperately trying to get everything at work into shape before I disappear for a fortnight, because there's an outside chance that my job will have vanished by the time I get back. Ships of office politics are undergoing dramatic manoeuvres, and my section appears to be a big fat merchantman sitting square in the lee. There are going to be a number of appeals to higher authorities in the next couple of weeks that could result in our being absorbed back into the IT section. I have serious doubts that that would be conducive to a fitter, happier project, so I might very well be looking elsewhere again by the end of June.
In other words, I'm really looking forward to a holiday. Frog's wedding, Ev's band and two weeks where I don't have to think about the ill-tempered chaos at work: all good.
0 smartarse remarks
Monday, May 10, 2004
I had plenty of time on the weekend to make decent writing progress, but I squandered it playing computer games for hours. I still wrote more than my quota, but not much more. Not nearly as much as I could have. I feel a bit guilty about it, but more because I am having difficulty moving the plot along and don't really want to do too much until I have some dim notion of where it's heading. Having definitely reached and passed the halfway mark by now (if this sucker comes in over 120,000 words there's no way it's going to be done by August), I'm getting wary of tangents.
Happily engaged in relatively undemanding pursuits over the weekend, from a wander about the Civic shops accompanying Ian's winter clothes shopping, to an amiable Mother's day lunch with Fiona's relative yesterday. The highlight was probably rewatching Dirty Harry on TV last night, which in itself gives an impression of being better than it is, but is certainly better than its endless imitators. Also, Scary Movie 2 and Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 are incompetent, dismal films that fail utterly to achieve their intended goals (gross-out/slapstick humour for one and suspense/supernatural horror for the other) and underwhelm at every turn. But my brain needed numbing, and there was no beer in the fridge, so there you are.
0 smartarse remarks
Friday, May 07, 2004
The Greatest Live Spit Performance Ever
Ev's been dining out on this story (well, he's been telling it, at any rate):
I was at a party, when I decided "well, bugger this", and I went and asked the host if I could borrow his acoustic guitar. I opened with Apple Sauce, and it went down an absolute bomb. I told the audience to sing along on the choruses, which they did very easily. Almost before the end of the first chorus they were into it. People love that song (in a live context, at least).
I played Cornetto Girl, and it went down very well too. They liked "Just Fine" very much, although it doesn't quite have the mainstream appeal of Apple Sauce (which surprised me a little bit, because I've always thought Just Fine is hilarious - I suppose it is a bit twisted).
I closed the Spit set with Stuff the Whales, which they loved. And in a sense, I inadvertently achieved Spit's greatest ever success. I was already aware that the guy who was hosting the party worked for the EPA, but I didn't know that he worked on their whale support program. What's more, his boss was there - I don't really know much about how the hieararchy, but my friend told me that this man is in charge of Queensland's entire whale management program. Cool, hey! And he loved the song.
What a swell party it was. Wish you guys could have been there.
Damn, me too.
Thursday, May 06, 2004
More wackiness from the mean streets of Fellport
There's a new chapter of the novel up on the NaNoWriMo page. Go. Laugh. (I'm pretty sure there's at least one laugh in there...oh. Wait. No. That's some other novel, not this one).
I've passed 60,000 words now. Definitely more than half an actual novel....
I'm having problems with my mail accounts at the moment. Someone somewhere has probably introduced a spam blocker, which is preventing outgoing mail, and my clumsy attempts to fix the problem have now blocked my receipt of mail as well. Nice work, internet genius. Anyway, if you need to get a hold of me and can't be bothered phoning, send mail to the Lexifab mail address, using that button on the left there. That sends a duplicate to my work account. And please don't send me any large files, because I can't get at them (I'm looking at you, Mum).
Ah, winter. I've been waiting for you
First real frost of the year today. Also the first chance for the motorbike to conk out because it was too cold. And subsequently my first opportunity to ride the pushbike and get very, very numb indeed.
More words, nearly online
Finally finished writing Chapter 9 of the novel last night, but it was about 1 am by then, so I didn't bother getting online and posting it. Should happen tonight, if the session with Fiona's workmates at the pub doesn't get in the way too much.
I've gotten into a bit of a writing groove (six consecutive nights of 400+ words) and last night I passed the 60,000-word milestone, which is only dismal if you consider that I passed the 50,000 word mark nearly six months ago, so I choose to overlook that factoid and I hope you do too.
I've managed to get myself into a decent writing groove mainly by ignoring the worst excesses of mid-evening television and allowing myself to play computer games after I've completed the word count. Somehow this has not always resulted in my booting up Neverwinter Nights or Temple of Elemental Evil as soon as hit the mark - several times I've knocked off after fifteen hundred or two thousand words. It seems that it's enough for me to know that the carrot is there. Useful trick, if not necessarily painting a flattering psychological picture...
I'm trying not to get too fancy or restrictive on myself in order to keep the writing going, but I do need - at some point very soon - to get out of the habit of building this novel almost entirely out of "two characters talking" scenes. So I think that I will start to throw in more gratuitous violence in order to whittle down the cast and move things along a bit.
You would think, wouldn't you, that it would be easier to write a bunch of mindless action if you didn't have to slow down for all that characterisation and dialogue rubbish? (I originally had "description" in that mix, but I'm already infuriatingly stingy with that, so it seemed disingenuous to pretend that I can afford to trim any more fat off that side). Anyway, hopefully my appalling fondness for the unmitigated tosh churned out by Matthew Reilly will rub off...
High Adventures - in Science!
I found a link to the gem on the blog of arch RPG designer Gareth Michael Skarka: it's a site flogging sculptures of death rays and killer robots. I haven't listened to the movie yet, but the visuals are utterly brilliant...
Tuesday, May 04, 2004
Owie goddamn ow!
Despite my best efforts to the contrary - which involved not doing any significant exercise and indeed drinking a beer to dull my reflexes - I still went overboard in the fielding at indoor cricket last night. I wrenched one of the muscles in my back (the left latissimus dorsi, if Chris is right, and I've no reason to suppose that he's not) trying to swipe a slow block back onto the stumps. Probably wouldn't have happened if I had warmed up properly or been in a bit better-stretched condition to start with. Now I can barely stand up straight or breath properly.
I obviously need to actually cut this goddamn game out altogether or try to get up to a general level of fitness that reduces the likelihood of abject misery every Monday night...
Put on a couple of thousand words last night, in a somewhat inspired burst of energy. It helped that I was writing a scene I've been looking forward to for a while, and it should push things along. But I'm conscious that at the moment I'm writing about three "two characters have a terse and manipulative conversation" scenes to every scene where something actually happens. And it has only just occurred to me that I have about one character in the entire damn story who is working entirely to his own agenda and not being manipulated by someone else.
Not too sure what that means for the story, but the message is clear: it's time to ramp up the action!
Ooh, the new digital camera has arrived. We ordered it a few weeks ago when we realised that we it wasn't worth it to transfer the rewards point accumulated under our old credit card to the one we're attaching to the new house loan. So we decided to blow it on a camera, which we can use for before-and-after snaps during the renovations (and hopefully in the future, for inspections of investment properties).
Basic model is a bit light in the memory and battery life departments, though, so expensive add-ons are probably essential. Looks like we might have to spend up to another couple of hundred for a battery recharger and meatier memory cards. It's a pretty sweet little unit, though. I can't wait to play with it.
Monday, May 03, 2004
We still trudge slowly towards to final acquisition of a huge debt and a potential dream home. The purchase settles on the 19th of May (Soon! Argh!). In the meantime, our place continues to fail to attract any interest from the market. So little interest, in fact, that we have decided to give ourselves a break and stop doing automatic open houses every Saturday. Apart from the fact that each ad costs us about $80, we're sick of whipping around in a frenzy every Saturday morning in order to get the place tidy, only to have no more than about three groups look at it (usually in the last ten minutes of the scheduled open time...). We figure that by now most of the people in the market have seen it, so we're going to focus on only accommodating people who are interested enough to make the effort of calling and asking for a personal inspection time. Of course, that might end up being more work if they need to schedule inconvenient times, but it might at least feel like it's worth the effort...
Comings and Goings
We all said our not-quite-teary farewells to Ted, who jetted off to Tokyo on Thursday, never to be heard from since. We don't know whether he is now, in fact, married.
ChrisT is back and regaled us with tales of mystic Iceland (apparently they farm horses, nothing is ever open and the free heating smells funny when it is pumped directly from a geyser) and Urquhart Castle, which the English trashed when the previous owners not unreasonably tried to reclaim it. A cautionary tale for prospective landlords, to be sure.
Der Simonster has travel plans (or should that be anti-plans, since he's firmly resolved to randomly wing it once he gets to London) and will disappear in a couple of weeks. He and Chris are both on leave right now, the bastards.
Ian and Son and Flynn arrived yesterday, dropping in at the tail-end of our slightly chilled barbecue (so scheduled because after the start of May in Canberra, outdoor activities that don't involve vigorous exercise, preferably with one or more planks of fibreglass attached to the feet, are ill-advised). They looked tired and a bit disappointed that the house they were planning to look at in the hopes of buying something quickly turned out to be located next door to a fire station. They decided that since two members of their household are a curious, fire-engine-loving two-year-old and a deaf, stupid dog respectively, they were better off looking somewhere with slightly less exciting neighbours. I wish them luck in that.
Writing progress seems to be back on track since the end of next week, with four consecutive days of meeting the 400 word deadline (and a decent chunk accomplished on Saturday night, completing an arduous scene that in a future draft of the novel would probably be more pivotal and important than it seems in this version). I can't actually claim to be back into the vibe of the story yet - I don't have any problem with setting scenes up, but I sometimes struggle to work out what their point is, and I'm not sure I always achieve that level of enlightenment - but Andrew cautions against getting too precious about the quality of the text. He's right, bless 'im.