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

October 30, 2010

Less than a week to go

So, with my resolve to resume daily blogging in its usual post-resolution tatters, I will pick up the commentary with a slapdash collection of links, half-baked anecdotes and the usual apologia for a lack of updates.

All done working

Fi and I both finished working yesterday, in anticipation of the Wombat’s [1] arrival next Friday (Remember, remember, the fifth of November [2]). Oddly, my job became quite interesting and stimulating in the last couple of weeks, to the extent that I’m actually a bit annoyed to have to leave it dangling for the next ten weeks or so. The last few months have been frustrating in that I had a lot to do and not enough time to do it properly, while all around me the rest of the team was shrinking to about one-third its original size (with little corresponding decline in responsibilities, naturally). When I get back to it at the end of January, the team numbers should be somewhat restored and much of the work that has been annoying me in the latter part of this year will have passed.

Fi, on the hand, was very much ready to chuck it all in and walk away for the better part of a year. I can’t blame her. She’s *very* pregnant! On top of that, there are dramas at her work that she’s better off well away from.

Live music!

Simon and I went to see a live performance of Dire Straits’ Brothers in Arms album last night. The first half of the show was a straight performance of the whole album, and then after the intermission was a collection of greatest hits. I really enjoyed the show (hopefully Si did as well, since it was his slightly-delayed birthday present), but then again that was practically pre-ordained. BiA is *the* album for me – the formative one from my youth that basically set the course of my musical tastes. Such as they are. The highest praise I can give the performers is that they made ‘Calling Elvis’ – a song I can’t stand – one of the standout numbers of the show. And their extended encore arrangement of ‘Sultans of Swing”, with three leads playing the ridiculously guitar-wanky solo together, was exhuberating and kind of hilarious.

After last night I’ve decided that I really want to watch more live music. However, the next concert that I have tickets for is The Wiggles at the AIS Arena. Hrn…

These are links to things that I think people should look at

Scenes from a Multiverse – This is a terrific daily webcomic. Each episode is set in a different universe. Sometimes it has cute bunnies, because the artist lets people vote on where the comic will be set once a week, and they keep voting for bunnies.

Tour de Holmes – If like me you haven’t read the Sherlock Holmes stories since you were about ten or twelve, you may get a lot out of this accessible series of analyses of the whole Holmes canon. Eddy Fate (now the line developer for the White Wolf games, unless I’m misdescribing his job) clearly loves the great detective, and does a pretty good job of debunking some of the more egregious Holmes myths (like the one that Watson’s a complete bumbling prat instead of the hardarse war veteran portrayed in the recent Guy Ritchie/Jude Law and Stephen Moffat/Martin Freeman interpretations)

I’ve been playing some new games lately:

  • FreeMarket (also known as Project Donut) – the newish roleplaying game with some distinctive pedigree – it’s by Luke (Burning Wheel, Burning Empires, Mouse Guard) Crane and Jared (Lacuna[3], inSpectres) Sorensen. It’s a neat game about life and society on a data relay station orbiting one of Saturn’s moons, where basic human needs are met and everyone is an immortal with nothing that they particularly need to do. The game is essentially about building social capital and finding a functional place in a deeply strange society (so, you know, actual science fiction). It’s also diceless, using a clever card (-counting) mechanic to resolve conflicts. We played a short session earlier in the week that points to a game which encourages wild and imaginative play with some surprising depths.
  • Dogfighter – I generally dislike flight simulators and flying games in general. But I make a major exception for games that replicate the slow-turning, climb-and-stall aerobatics of WWI-era planes. Your Sopwith Camels and Red Baron Fokkers and suchlike. Dogfighter is such a game, but it has online multiplayer, achievements and powerups like rockets, cluster bombs and invisibility. What’s not to love?
  • Assassin’s Creed II – This is a game about running around the rooftops of Medici-era Florence, doing crazy parkour jumps, falls and rolls, and bloodily stabbing the bastards in league with the Borgias. On top of that there’s a centuries-spanning Templar conspiracy, the hitherto-unrecorded supertech of Leonardo and some weird genetic pseudo-time travel shit going on. Hell yeah, I’m down with that too.
  • Batman: Arkham Asylum- Like AC2, this is a year or two old. I’m pretty slow at getting down with the new gear. In this you get to be Batman, and you get to kick arse, Batman style. There should be no question as to why this would be a good thing.

Of course I know that in a couple of days I am not going to have any time to sit down and play games any more. Oh well. Luckily the cricket tours are about to start, so I should have somehing to watch all day while I am circling the room trying to soothe a distressed Wombat.

Writing taking a back seat to writing about writing

I now have about five incomplete short stories on the trot, two of which involve triffids thanks to last Friday night’s viewing of the most recent remake. One of these days I will knuckle down and actually finish something, but don’t hold your breath. On the other hand, I do have several pretty good half-stories under my belt! [4]

[1] Thanks Pol. That name’s working out just fine.

[2] Wombat is lucky in that her dad is such an anglophile history nerd that her birthday should not ever be forgot [sic].

[3] Or rather, to use its full name, Lacuna Part 1: The Creation of the Mystery and the Girl from Blue City. I like that.

[4] Does anyone know of a good drug that makes you just sit down and finish shit? Because if it’s alcohol, I can see why so many writers hit the sauce for years at a time.

October 16, 2010

What I did on my ‘holidays’

Filed under: family,friends,news of the day — lexifab @ 9:26 pm

It has been a bit of a while, hasn’t it, Lexifab? I’ve neglected you outrageously. In my defense, I’ve been busy and you’re not really a very high priority, are you? So belt up, have another guzzle of scotch and wait patiently while I try and sort through everything that needs covering since the last entry.

WEDDINGS

So the main reason that I have not been all that diligent with the diarising is that we’ve done an unusual amount of travelling since the end of August. We’ve had two trips away to attend wedding during September, which is more air travel than I’ve had in the previous four years, I think (Fi’s been away a bit more than that for work, but I’ve been mostly stationary).

First up we had ten days in Cairns for my cousin Marney’s wedding to her beau Michael. The two of them have been together for even longer than Fi and I, and have three kids now, so it’s about time they got around to tying the knot. Of course what it really was for most of us was an excellent excuse for a big family reunion – the Marsh girls and the Versace boys basically grew up together, and it’s been much too long since we were all in the same place at the same time. As it was Ian and his family couldn’t make it, so it wasn’t quite a clean sweep, but it came pretty close. The details are starting to fade into a blur, but it was a glorious chaotic and loud mess of cousins, friends and a truly bewildering number of kids (I almost called them nephews and nieces but that’s not technically correct, which is why I’m not required by law to be able to recite their names and ages. Which is good, because I’m still not clear on which ones belong to which of the five Marsh sisters).

The wedding was an outdoor affair, held at – of all places – a bungee jumping centre (which was much more picturesque and charming than I could possibly make it sound). Marney was freaking out all week about the looming weather, with some justification – the Davis Cup tennis tournament was being held at the same time, and several days of that were washed out – but on the day of the wedding it was pretty much clear and beautiful. And then began the canapes, the flowing booze and the very very loud dance music. Ah yes, it was every bit what I’d hoped for from a Marsh wedding.

We also managed to cram in an overnight trip up to the tableland to visit Mum and Dad at the property. The Joey got to acquaint himself with all the farm animals – cows, chooks, guinea fowl at Mum and Dad’s, and down the road at my uncle and aunt’s place there were goats, horses, turkeys, dogs and more cattle than he could count. He was, I think, delighted, though for some reason he found the turkeys rather intimidating.

It was lovely to visit Mum and Dad’s place again – he haven’t been up there since our honeymoon tour of Queensland, which was eight years ago. I guess it will probably be the last time we lay eyes on the place – or rather, I hope so, since they’ve put it on the market and plan to move down to the NSW north coast-ish area to be closer to we kids and our families. Probably won’t happen in a hurry, since it requires a fairly specific kind of house-hunter, but hopefully they won’t still be up there for too much long.

The other wedding, a couple of weeks later in Brisbane, was my best mate Evan’s. This time we abandoned the Joey at home with his Auntie Quack, which should have meant that we actually had a bit of a relaxing trip away. That was a bit optimistic, as it turned out – I tend to forget how exhausting travel is, and with Fi at about the seven month mark in her pregnancy, it was pretty hard work for her. For my part, I was fretting with increasing fervour about my best man duties, which I shared with the inimitable Andrew. Specifically, I was a bit nervous about our speech at the reception, which was a bit of a comedy routine, because of course it would have been a ghastly misstep to actually attempt to compose and perform a musical tribute without Ev on board to carry us vocally and instrumentally. Luckily I took the unusual step of confronting my nerves about public performance by rehearsing rather than clapping my hands over my ears and succumbing to the siren lure of sweet denial. In the end we only blew about three lines, and none of the properly funny gags. The rap was a touch ragged, but I think that helped sell the joke anyway, so that’s okay.

The wedding was held in a sweet little chapel in Paddington. I would like to post up some photos, because Sara-Jane and her bridesmaids looked gorgeous, and Evan and we-two-his-groomsmen scrubbed up okay in James Bondesque threads. I say I’d like to share the photos, but unfortunately I can’t, because as it turns out the lens on our camera was on the way out, and nearly none of the shots Fi took are in focus. Mind you, there was nothing wrong with the sound pickup, so Ev’s performance of “All You Need is Love” (along with the whole congregation, of course) came out pretty clearly. If you squint at the visual, that is.

It was a lovely, relaxed and cheerful affair, as you’d expect. Ev and Sara-Jane are a wonderful, wonderful couple and I couldn’t be more happy that they’ve found each other. It’s terrific to have such fantastic friends, and it was a privilege to share the occasion with them. Even if I did squander the honour by accusing Ev of being a sherbie-pop junkie in my speech.

There was also stuff happening on the home front, but you know what, I might try to get that into another blog tomorrow. I need to start catching up on my sleep. Only 20 days to go until the baby arrives – which isn’t a lot of time to come up with a suitable internet pseudonym. Hmmm.

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