Lexifabricographer For when the right word just won’t do…

September 27, 2007

Crappy stupid beautiful spring weather

Filed under: fitter/happier,geekery — lexifab @ 10:08 am

Yeah, I blame the weather for the fact that I’ve been laid up in bed since Monday night with sneezing, coughing and embolism-inducing sinus pain. The official verdict – which took me two days to get because every damn medical centre within ten kilometres of here is booked out for the week – is that I have a cold. Clearly this is a euphemism for “extra-strength bubonic plague”. Or perhaps I’m just more than ordinarily bristly because of the ten-minute sneezing fits that leave me too sore to see to my body’s fervent wish to vomit, or the hacking coughs that induce colourful spots in my vision and searing hammer-blows to the temples.

But to be positive, at least I for once actually waited until after the end of our weekend away to Bowral before coming down with whatever. And the weekend was hard work, but quite fabulous, so it will get its own blog entry elsewhere. I’ll keep this one for strident whining and unimportant trivia.

Such as: having nothing better to do all day because I can’t concentrate on the book I’m reading (A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century by Barbara Tuchman) for more than a few minutes at a time, I grabbed the chance to watch the second half of the third season of Lost. We’d sort of let it drift off the radar earlier in the year, because it was getting a bit slow and muddled and not really seeming to go anywhere. But watching the whole thing in a block really underlined that the writers were building to a plan, and that (most of) what happened at the start of the season was leading to the conclusion. I’ll say nothing about that, except to observe that in the usual Lost style it answered a bunch of what seemed to be important questions, only to ask new and potentially more interesting ones. Oh, and there were the requisite explosions, twisted reveals and surprise deaths. So that was good.

Today I’m going to knock over the rest of Battlestar Galactica, which was also suffering from serious mid-season flab when we stopped watching it with about seven or eight episodes to go. I expect it not to disappoint me by continuing that trend.

Also, I will drink tea and chew Vitamin C tablets until I turn orange. It’s good to have goals.

September 21, 2007

Out of town

Filed under: fitter/happier,news of the day — lexifab @ 10:05 am

Fi and I will be heading to the Southern Highlands for a long weekend retreat. Actually, we’ll be attending a “calm birth clinic”. I hope it will instill a sense of reassurance and general positivity before we go to the hospital antenatal clinics and hear all the usual birth horror stories.

Normal service will resume on Monday or Tuesday, depending on when I can drag my overly relaxed arse back to the computer. Have a good weekend, interweb!

September 19, 2007

A writing frame of mind

Filed under: wordsmithery — lexifab @ 10:50 am

I’ve just brain dumped nearly a thousand words of strategic management contemplations in less than half an hour. While it’s mostly undifferentiated chaff, it’s pretty obvious that I’m in a writin’ mood (hopefully at some point later on I will be in an editin’ mood, because nobody really needs to see what I just wrote in its current form).

The sensation of having the creative glands (which I imagine to be somewhere near the pineal) suddenly swell up and build up pressure until I unblock the word-valves (right, that’s more than enough of that clumsy analogy) is not an unpleasant one. It’s fun just pouring out a mess of semi-formed thoughts onto the page or screen, building ideas as I type, haring off in random and unexpected directions as vague notions occur to me, catching some specks of inspiration and getting them into the chloroform jars while others flit off and are instantly forgotten, straying away down unexpected paths and (maybe) eventually finding my way back to the point…

But I am conscious that while all of that is amusing and somewhat essential to my writing process, it’s not necessarily the part that will make or break my hopes of becoming a professional writer.

It’s the rewrites that will try to kill me. I already know I can open a vein and let the words flow freely. What I need to find out is whether I can teach myself to administer an intravenous cannula and just drain off the words that matter.

I probably also need to work on my analogies.

September 17, 2007

Hey! Internet! Gimme back my blog entry!

Filed under: administraviata — lexifab @ 9:01 pm

WTF happened to the entry I wrote a couple of hours ago? The one where I talked about sports and not going to work today?

Grr. Filthy internet. Eat your own damn posts! Leave mine alone.

September 14, 2007

If it ain’t beer o’clock it oughtta be

Filed under: Games,news of the day,workin for the man — lexifab @ 6:03 pm

Things are moving too fast for me to follow today. It was another morning where it took me forever to wake up – arguably I still haven’t – and I’m not sure I’m taking everything in. The small side job that my boss gave me on Friday afternoon took all week, and every time I got close to finishing it, it went all Xeno’s Paradox on me and blew out again. Yesterday it turned out that it had all been moot because some other area were doing exactly the same piece of work with apparently better information, but today it appears their information was based on faulty assumptions so I needed to swing back in and reconcile stuff. Bleary as I am, I still have no idea whether I did that or not, but the boss wandered off seeming satisfied. That will have to do.

As I expected the boss is hesitating to say yea or nay on the part time work until he gets a chance to talk to his (new) boss, with whom I have worked in the past. My guess is that she will clear it eventually, though not necessarily in a timeframe that suits me particularly and not likely with a gracious blessing. If so, I won’t be able to blame her, really. This work area is understaffed as it is, so it’s not really in anyone else’s interests to reduce the numbers even by a fraction. It’s in mine, though, so I won’t be dropping the subject.

One subject I have dropped at long last is World of Warcraft. My account subscription expired sometime today (in theory it might still be active, but I’m not going to check). I went though my characters last night, finished a few quests, tinkered around with a bank tidy up and sent various useful bits and pieces to other people I know who are still playing (mainly Jimbo, truth be told). It’s a bit weird to admit that I will miss the characters – especially Vash and Fancy – more than I miss playing the game itself.

Mum and Dad are, somewhat unexpectedly, home again. Dad’s blood tests appear to be fine, and the doctors have been swearing all along that they had no intention of releasing him before he was well enough to look after himself, so things are fine, I guess. I talked to him this morning – he sounds pretty worn out but glad to be home, of course. They lost their three cows while they were away – maladies relating to eating frost-affected grass, it seems – which was of course very upsetting. But there’s no doubt that they will both be happier to be at home in their own space.

Okay, that’s been a long enough week. I’m going to go home and try to get some sense of equilibrium back. I’ll go back to raving incoherently about roleplaying games in a day or two.

September 13, 2007

Heart starters, deckchair shuffling and diary management

Filed under: fitter/happier,now playing: anything,workin for the man — lexifab @ 12:07 pm

Started the day feeling ridiculously tired, but the advantage of walking in to work is that it at least gets a bit of blood circulating about.

Actually, I tell a lie. the real advantage is that it takes me past a host of coffee shops, one of which has done all the heavy lifting vis a vis waking me up with a double shot capp.

I’ve been getting home and pretty much crashing as soon as I walk through the door all week. Gaming on Tuesday night aside, I’ve been pretty much out of it by ten every night, but between Fiona’s hacking cough (hopefully now on its way out) and baby-related rolling about, I don’t seem to have had a decent night’s sleep all week.

But whatever – my good mood is pretty unshakable at the moment. It looks like the part time thing will be able to happen, about which I feel suitably cheerful. There are still some obstacles though. I still have to navigate the tricksy straits of bureaucracy of course. The latest twist is that my current senior manager, who is a bit of a soft touch and would be quite relaxed about me reducing my hours, has been suddenly and unexpectedly transferred. Worse, he’s been replaced by one of my old bosses, who is a bit of a hard-nosed stickler for the rules and who may not see eye to eye with me on this. Then again, I may be misjudging her, since she’s certainly always been fair with me in the past. We’ll see.

(Alert: Nerd cut inserted as hereafter I descend into a meandering monologue on the subject of game scheduling, which is wholly unrelated to the above material)

(more…)

September 10, 2007

Yawning

Filed under: news of the day,wordsmithery — lexifab @ 12:47 am

Trying to decide whether to go to bed at what I can still just about pretend is a sensible hour, or stay up and watch South Africa beat down Samoa in the rugby. Given the likelihood that the conclusion is forgone, it makes much more sense to crawl off and catch up on all that sleep I spend so much time complaining about, doesn’t it?

All right, fine. But if I miss a really big upset, I’m blaming you.

The internet, I mean.

But before I go, a To Do list:

  • Use blog to practise writing – I’ve been out of practise, I need to toughen up and rebuild my writing muscles. It’s a little early to be setting word count targets, but as a general thought I’m going to try to get back into the habit of actually getting something creative down on ‘paper’ every day. Note that habit may well not commence immediately. Tonight, for example, I’m going to bed instead.
  • Read some of the large stack of books I bought last week as research materials. Even if I don’t end up using them for what I am currently planning, they’re probably useful in some way
  • Think more about crazy positive-reinforcement network notion. Decide that it would probably involve too much work.
  • Use the Doctor Who Serial Title Generator for inspiration!
  • Get something published. (It doesn’t hurt to keep reminding myself that there is a specific goal here, even if it isn’t necessarily an easily achieved one).
  • Finish those podcast library reviews.
  • Try not to let hopes get too high.
  • Get through another week with sanity intact.

What will you be up to?

September 7, 2007

Oh good, I wouldn’t want to have become bored

Filed under: workin for the man — lexifab @ 9:52 am

I should have known that starting the morning with a positive attitude would get me in trouble.

I arrived at work to discover that I have been given a week to update a document that took three months to develop the first time around. In theory it will be possible, but I expect to be in an utter frenzy of “research and regurgitation” speed typing for at least the next few days!

(Although I must remember to take some time during that period to speak to my director about that whole part-time thing, and to get started on the paperwork. Apparently I have to give four weeks’ notice before I can switch over, so I had best get started on it).

Incidentally, I have decided that the thing I’m doing at work will now be formally identified (in this blog at least) as The Mandelbrot Job, so named because every time I look at any part of it, it decompresses to reveal awe-inspiring new levels of complexity. And urgency.

September 6, 2007

Grim outlook for the Copernica system

Filed under: geekery,now playing: anything — lexifab @ 3:16 pm

Met up last night to (at last!) start John M’s Burning Empires game, or at least to finish the preparation prior to commencement of the game! Set in the (frankly doomed) Copernican system, the five players – T as the merchant government magnate, G as the crime boss legitimate businessman, DC as the mercenary company commander, S as the research scientist and me as the theologian-astophysicist – are up against such menaces as a wizened old criminal godfather-type, a bigger and presumably better-resourced mercenary army commander, and the power-hungry and degenerate mouthpiece for a (spit!) socialist democratic reform movement.

What seems most amusing from the setup is that virtually all of the PCs have a shared interest with at most one or two of the others, and are diametrically opposed to the ambitions of the others. Which means that while we *should* be securing the planet’s defenses against an insidiously stealthy infiltration by mind-controlling worms, what we will actually be doing is backstabbing, denouncing and otherwise interfering with each others’ plans, laying our home bare to the evil scourge of the Vaylen.

Excellent!

The first maneuver (BE has a unique structure in that inidividual play sessions are broken down by a set number and type of scenes to ensure that not only does everyone get a fair go, but that everyone *has* to have their turn before things can wrap up) gets underway in two weeks. I will spend that time preparing my plans to thwart the populist machinations of the despised leader of the democratic revolution and to infiltrate my inncer circle cadre of pulsar-worshipping astrophysicist-priests into the mainstream theological orders. Mwah hah hah!

(PS: And yet we are still the good guys, because the mind-controlling alien worms are *really* bad).

One possible future as a wordsmith

Filed under: wordsmithery,workin for the man — lexifab @ 1:40 pm

The mad scheme looks a bit more promising. We still need tio sit down and work out what the real impact will be on our financial state long term, but it does look as though it might be more or less affordable for me to reduce my hours at least somewhat. There are tradeoffs and a few hurdles to jump, but it might be possible. And it might be possible that the tradeoffs aren’t actually all that serious.

This feels weird. Working part time and dedicating a workday to writing has been a kind-of fantasy of mine for years, but I’d never really taken the idea that I can actually do it in any way seriously. The fact that it might actually be able to happen without doing serious damage to our standard of living is as daunting as it is exhilarating.

If it happens, it means I have a responsibility (to myself and my family) to actually take my writing seriously and apply myself hard to developing my skills and learning my craft. I mean, I don’t think it’s sane, let alone reasonable, to expect that I can earn a living equivalent to what I would be giving up – let’s face it, Australian public servants are gratuitously overpaid (he said with only a slight smirk) – but what does matter to me is that I can give myself to explore the possibility of writing for something other than personal satisfaction.

And there’s always the dream that, having taken this small step, sooner or later I will be in a position to take a second and a third and…

Next stop, dancing.

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