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

November 26, 2009

Notes from the start of the summer

Filed under: cricket,property magnatism,the renovated life — lexifab @ 11:50 am

Thursdays and Fridays are ‘playschool’ day for the Joey, so for the next couple of weeks until I go back to work (sigh), I have a bit of time to get some work done around the place. Of course, today is also the start of the first Test against the Windies from the Gabba, so I am in a quandary.

For the moment I have resolved it by slapping some plaster over the cracks on the front wall. Now I have to wait for an hour or so while it dries before I can paint on the undercoat, so I have little choice but to sit down and take in the action from the first session. Shane Watson’s already done his best to make that seem like a very poor use of my time by getting out without scoring or offering a shot, but I will perservere here for a bit.

My resolution to get the patio finished before the start of summer is on pretty brittle footing at this point. I have, what, another four days to get several more layers of paint applied, erect a climbing frame for the plants, dig out the garden and get the roofing back on. Don’t think it’s going to happen somehow – especially not if the predicted all-weekend storms actually eventuate. But they won’t, so I should be able to make a fair fist of it.

The other major distraction at the moment is the return of the house-buying rigmarole. Fiona has found a little place in Western Australia and had an offer accepted, so now comes the march of inspections, finance applications, quantity surveys, interviewing property managers and the million other little jobs that need doing to get the purchase across the line. We’ve made life difficult for ourselves as usual, this time by timing the deadline for our finance approval at 25 December. Oops, that could be a little awkward – hope we can get it done early. But from my point of view the timing is excellent – it would be very difficult to get all the fiddly little jobs done once I returned to work.

This will be the last property purchase for a while, probably at least a year. We’ve leveraged all the equity that we’ve built up in our own place, so now we need to sit back and wait for some capital growth to take effect. That will probably take a while (that’s sort of the point) and I can imagine a certain amount of impatience creeping in during the lull. Fiona has thrown herself into the research quite aggressively this year – getting us some very good deals into the bargain – and I am anticipating some withdrawal pangs gnawing away while we’re not in a position to do any shopping. For my part, I get to do the monthly reconciliations and property management, so nothing will change for me – I still get to pore over bank statements, credit card bills and scads of invoices for several hair-pulling hours every month…

November 13, 2009

Various things

Filed under: fitter/happier,geekery,joey — lexifab @ 11:20 pm
  • The Joey is perfectly happy being abandoned at childcare. I’m torn between relief that it’s not a drama and mild offense that he isn’t more traumatised by my absence. Nah, not really. It was nice to have a quiet cup of coffee this morning. When I picked him up, he was cheerfully sitting at a table with the other boys and girls, eating lunch and neither crying nor gibbering nor beating his neighbour with a sippy cup. I’d call the experiment an unmitigated success so far.
  • I got the doctor’s verdict on my cholesterol tests today. To my utter lack of surprise I am just over the safe zone for the bad* cholesterol and I could stand to lose about five kilos. This having been true for probably the last fifteen years, I was less than flabbergasted. Still, I suppose it means I should abandon my recent experiments in choux manufacturing and stop lusting after the perfect chocolate eclair (but the miserable failures are so yummy!)
  • Games – a couple of my favourite game designers teamed up a while ago for a secret collaboration codenamed Project Donut, which has recently been revealed as Freemarket, a game about social network dynamics in a transhumanist utopia – or maybe it’s actually about growing really big pumpkins**. I mention this because Luke Crane and Jared Sorensen are really smart, and make games that I really like, and because for a limited time they have made a beta version of the rules available for download. They are planning a similarly limited print run of the finished product (which I believe will be a box set with rulebooks and cards sets). I’ve been quietly socking money away all year to make sure I have the cash handy when it goes on sale. I’m giddy with excitement.
  • A couple of weeks ago I actually set foot inside a video store and reactivated my account. The amused guy at the counter said I hadn’t been in for 65 weeks, which sounds about right. I have decided it’s probably time I caught up on a few of those movies that I’ve been meaning to see for, you know, ages and ages. So far I’ve ploughed through Die Hard 4.0 (verdict: has ridiculous moments but overall was entertaining, and oddly beautifully shot; but should have been released under its US title of Live Free or Die Hard, because four-point-oh is bland and crappy), The Bourne Ultimatum (verdict: Matt Damon has almost no lines in this film, and the fight scenes are edited for maximum chaos and inducement of nausea, but it was fun) and Wall-E (verdict: dunno, the disc wouldn’t play properly). Now I’m going to cheer myself up for the weekend with that feel-good classic, Children of Men (life-affirming tag line: “No children. No future. No hope.” Should be good for a few belly-laughs).

* Whichever one that is – trans fats, maybe? Can’t remember. This paragraph could really have stood a few minutes’ research, huh?

** Not only can you do this in the game, it’s actually used throughout the rules as an extended example of how the game works. It succeeds not only in explaining the systems, but also subtly asserts that this game is so much fun that even small-scale agriculture is an exciting goal. I admire that.

November 12, 2009

Nervous Parent Day

Filed under: joey — lexifab @ 10:00 am

The Joey is spending the morning having orientation at the childcare centre (or “playschool”, as we dubbed it for the sake of convenience).

There were some hints of tears as we departed, but I think we mostly managed to comport ourselves with dignity. Meanwhile, he played with a box full of toy trucks.

On the advice of the centre manager he’s only going to be there an hour this first day (so I will just have time to write this before I go and pick him up again). We will gradually increase it to full days over the next few weeks, so that hopefully he will be fully acclimatised by the time I…ugh…go back to work in mid-December. I daresay he will adjust better than I do.

November 8, 2009

Things are looking up at this end of the weekend

Filed under: family,the renovated life,Uncategorized — lexifab @ 8:59 pm

Looks like we might have got a child care place for the Joey, and at one of my preferred venues, even better. The news couldn’t come at a better time – I’ll have some time before I have to go back to work to polish off the numerous annoying little jobs that need doing before we can use the patio this summer. We actually knocked over one of the most bothersome ones today – putting up a six-metre long fascia board to cover up the insightly picket-fence style across the streetfront face of the patio. Now to paint everything a virulently jaunty tangerine shade and whack the roofing back on (and paint the wall, and clean out the roof gutters, and erect the climbing frame for the jasmine, and plant the end garden, and…etc).

I’m a little bit sunburned, but damn it was worth it to feel like I actually got something useful done.

November 5, 2009

This is me, getting my words together

Filed under: wordsmithery — lexifab @ 12:43 am

This year away from work, during which I laughably imagined that I would work with diligence and energy on a novel, I have complained a lot – mostly to myself, but regulars here won’t be unfamiliar with the theme – that I haven’t really achieved much. With less than six weeks left on my leave, the imaginary deadline I dimly recall setting for myself is looking tenuous.

That I didn’t get very far is wholly unsurprising – I’m much better at imagining things like well-crafted output than I am at assessing the labour requirements and applying effort accordingly – but on the whole I am less disappointed about that than I expected to be. Of the two novels I have in various stages of pre-production, one requires considerable research, and the other requires characters, a plot and a slightly less sketchy setting. Oh, hang on, the first one requires that stuff too, but the research is the real sticking point. Two problems there: I still have too shaky a grasp on the historical period in which it will be set, and I can’t read more than about five pages of non-fiction at the moment without slipping into a coma. With fiction I can maybe make it to ten pages, but don’t ask me what they were about five minutes later – you’ll only be embarrassing yourself, or rather me.

I have on occasion flitted in and out of writing a short story which is veering dangerously close to its second anniversary. It has not exactly grabbed me by the throat and demanded that I sit down and write it, although it does make the occasional pathetic appeal to my senses of self-respect and personal ambition. They have so far resisted its overtures for the most part, though I imagine (pay close attention to that word) that I’ll knock it over some enthusiastic afternoon.

Oddly, for all of this lack of creative energy, I have actually thrown together some ridiculously large chunks of writing. The trouble is, it’s hard to count them as productive, since what I am talking about are after-play writeups of my fortnightly Burning Wheel (and now D&D) game. I’ve developed a rather odd compulsion that demands I faithfully report in as much details as possible the evnts of each session, both in the game fiction and in terms of the decisions and discussion of the players involved. You can read about them here, if you are so inclined. By a quick back of the envelope guesstimate (roughly 1300 words per writeup by 16 sessions reports so far) I have pumped out more than 20000 words, or perhaps a third of a shortish novel. And I did another one the other day for our new D&D game, for which I got a bit carried away, so add another 2000 words in there.

I say that it doesn’t count because for the most part it’s just reportage interspersed with commentary rather than anything especially creative. I was just one particpant of four in the game, so it’s not as if I did any of the scripting or plotting. To be sure, I occasionally embellish bits of dialogue to make them sound cooler and more coherent, and I edit out irrelevant discussions and tangents, but for the most part it’s more or less a straight recounting of game events.

Now that I come to add it all up, it’s a surprising body of work, if not a particularly compelling one (the game is great, but I don’t expect that anyone would come to the forum thread to hear about our cool game and then stay for my scintillating prose). I suppose one could argue that doing all that (somewhat unnecessary, if not actually pointless) game reporting has eaten up valuable writing time, but it’s probably not true. The reports are writing on easy mode, since I have game notes to refer back to and, other than having to try to remember the stuff I missed or interpreting my sometimes cryptic notes, I really don’t have to think that hard about what I’m writing.

On the other hand though, maybe it would feel good to be 20K into a novel at this point.Hmm.

November 4, 2009

Long weekend

Filed under: green-ish thumb,the renovated life,Uncategorized — lexifab @ 12:01 am

So, I guess a horse probably won a race in Melbourne, but being out of an office environment and away from people with a genuine, if temporary, interest in the ponies made it very easy to stay largely ignorant of the outcome this year. I understand that there was a startling late scratching and a surprise winner, which makes 2009 the functional equivalent of every other year I can remember.

The weather forecasts threatened showers and storm all weekend, one of which finally eventuated on Monday night sometime around 11:30. By that time it was rather late to take back my decision not to finish painting the patio. This would have been the prefect opportunity for that, so it’s a pity that I put it off for nothing. Still, I did get time to plant this year’s crop of assorted herbs and (most important) six separate cherry tomato plants, which should just about keep the insatiable maw of the Joey quiet for at least some of the summer. Over the past couple of weeks we’ve also cleared several tonnes of green waste from about the place – after a few wet weeks in early spring the whole garden was pretty much completely out of control. Mind you it’s not quite cleared up yet, but we were under some time constraints to get as much done as possible before Fiona’s dad moves to Shepparton and takes his trailer with him. The place does look marginally less disreputable now though, so it has been worthwhile. Gotta get back to finishing the patio though – Joey needs a safe outdoor play area and we are very soon going to need somewhere outside to sit and drink beers on hot summer afternoons. We’ve already had some days creeping up past 30, which is disagreeable for a Canberra spring.

Agh. I’m blogging about the goddamn weather, aren’t I? Time I was sleeping, probably.

I’ll try to get better at this again soon.

Powered by WordPress