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

January 1, 2014

I’m not ready for 2014

Filed under: administraviata,fitter/happier — Tags: — lexifab @ 10:14 pm

Happy New Year (aka “shit, is it that time already?”)

I made a kind-of resolution to get back on the writing wagon after a couple of long breaks (or one long break with some notable interruptions). Now it’s the evening of the first day of the new year, and it’s apparent that I’m not yet ready for that kind of commitment.

My general health has improved but I still tire easily and by the end of a typical day my brain is in a complete fog.Today I painted a wall for a couple of hours and now my arms, legs and back are a mess. I could do with a bit more stamina. And to be able to hold on to a though for more than thirty seconds after eight in the evening.

My state of employment is in flux right now. By the time I have some sense of how it’s going to play out, maybe in a couple of weeks, some potentially better options will have vanished. On the other hand, if I pursue those options, I may be dealing myself out of the running for something that would be riskier but far more satisfying. And I suck at making decisions. No, to be precise, I suck at reconciling myself to live with the decisions I make. I’d be happier if there were one clearly optimal path instead a collection of vague and unsatisfying alternatives. Wouldn’t we all? I hate the waiting game.

2014 should be a year in which I reinvent several important things about myself. I’m a little frustrated with myself for not coming out of the blocks a lot faster.

To share that feeling around, I’m probably going to blog with a high degree of incoherence over the next week or two as I sort some of the stuff in my head out. In particular what I hope to achieve in 2014 with my writing, about which I am (you may be surprised to learn) somewhat undecided.

October 29, 2013

TMoRP – Break in transmission

Filed under: administraviata — Tags: — lexifab @ 4:29 pm

Here’s something a little less than 100% positive – it appears that the household wireless router is a bit stuffed. For what be as much as the next week or so, I probably won’t have access to the internet from home. So while I will probably be doing quite a lot of writing, I don’t think I’ll be updating the blog much.

See you in the future. They have functional hardware there.

September 9, 2013

Are we doing weekly updates now?

Filed under: administraviata — Tags: , — lexifab @ 2:37 pm

They say that blogging’s dying, killed off by the pithy wit of the tweet and the versatility of the whatever you call a Tumblr entry (a tumble? a tum? neither of those sound right). Looking around at my usual internet haunts, it’s not hard to see some truth in it. Apart from the paid sites, where bloggers are contracted for regular content and paid by the mouseclick, everywhere I look I see less and less didactic rantery, bellicose pontification and general blathering. Arguably that’s not a bad thing. Doesn’t mean I don’t miss it though.

I’m probably just looking in the wrong places. The blogs I’ve followed are all slowing down, presumably as their authors move on to other projects, become busy with the rest of their lives or just lose interest. I expect that there are countless vibrant, witty and informative blogs out there, and the problem is just that I’ve become too lazy and jaded to hunt them out.

(Suggestions are therefore welcome – what’s good out there?)

This blog was probably the most obvious casualty of my sleep disorder. In retrospect it should have been the canary in the coal mine. Around the middle of last year, the frequency of my blogging dropped off to a trickle of book reviews and the last few Lost Season 2 recaps. I think those were happening more out of a self-imposed sense of obligation, rather than for the fun of it.

I honestly have no idea whether I will pick up the pace again, or if I even want to. I like having a blog, I like writing in a kinda-sorta diary-esque format. I make no claim to be much good at it but that’s beside the point for the most part. It’s more about thinking out loud and occasionally having a conversation with a few friends. On the rare occasions it turns into anything more than that, I’m always surprised.

Where was I going with all that? No idea. I’m still thinking about it. Slowly.

March 27, 2013

I didn’t know you were missing

Filed under: administraviata,wordsmithery — Tags: , , , — lexifab @ 7:43 am

In answer to the question that nobody has proposed or probably even entertained, I have been knuckling down on Ms Cole’s Arrangements for the past few weeks. It’s a cold hard slog down in the word-mines. Output is slow, self-imposed deadlines loom and self-doubt nips at the heels like a murderous pack of rabid foxes. There’s not much time in the schedule for diversions, at this point.

To coin a catch-phrase almost guaranteed to enjoy universal adoption, blogging is the first casualty of authorial diligence.

I need to have a working manuscript by July for the critiquing group. I’m aiming to have it finished well before then so that I can revise the earlier chapters, which contain various contradictions and bits where I’ve just put some lazy marker like [insert character description here] into the text. If I have to, I’ll go to the crit circle with a raw draft, but I’d consider it more polite if I at least fix up the obvious errors. For that matter, if I don’t fix the glaring stuff, there’s a chance that the simple mistakes will distract people from detecting the really egregious (logical, structural, character) flaws. From what I’ve seen my group is quite diligent at calling out the deep-seated problems – I have certainly tried to be for my own part – but there’s no call to make it any harder than it already is.

Anyway, things are going to be quiet for a while, at least until I feel like I’m getting ahead of my goals. At the moment I am optimistic that will happen sometime before July.

Oh, and while I am making excuses for a lack of blog productivity, there was that whole thing a couple of weeks ago where the site vanished for several days. (I think maybe two people noticed). At first there was a thought that it was Ukrainian hackerz, but actually it was just miscommunicated security advice from the ISP and whatnot. Nothing to worry about. Your comments are safe.

February 27, 2013

Protecting your eyeballs

Filed under: administraviata — Tags: , , — lexifab @ 3:10 pm

Moderator note – I was *severely tempted* to allow through the spam comment from the crackpot plugging his self-published handbook on identifying sinister Masonic works.

Now that I have typed that sentence I have no idea why I deleted the message at all.

Let this be a lesson to all would-be spammers: You must be *more awesome* than Mason-hunting whackjobs before I will clear your deranged jibber-jabber into my blog comments. Consider that the entirety of the official Lexifab style guide.

January 13, 2013

Productive hiatus

Filed under: administraviata,wordsmithery — Tags: , , — lexifab @ 6:09 pm

Things have been quiet here this week while I divide my evenings between catching up on the household accounts – which are finicky and time-consuming because of the investment thing – and tidying up a short story for sale. It’s another failed competition entry that I couldn’t quite get right within the three thousand world limit. Having added a few hundred more has cleared up the murky situation-building, but perhaps at the expense of the pacing. I’m doing another pass tonight to try to tighten everything up.

I’m taking a break from the novel while I rework the outline. The last couple of chapters have meandered because I was winging it under the assumption that I could get away with it. Not so, it seems. The last five thousand or so words represent probably two thousand’s worth of action and relevant description. The rest of it is overt statement of characters’ thoughts and unfocused dialogue. I’m not the best judge, of course, but I suspect that I’d be repulsed as a reader.

I’ve decided to extend the break from the manuscript for another week (mainly because I still haven’t caught up on the accounts, and there are real-world ramifications for not keeping them up to date). Instead of short story writing as my backup activity, I’m going to nail down the outline at a chapter by chapter level, after which I will break down at least the next few scenes to their vital components in terms of plot, character and setting development.

Outline-first is an interesting way of working with which I am still not at all comfortable. I’m absolutely convinced that it’s necessary though, at least for this project. I find it much too easy to wander off the road and go bush-bashing when I don’t have the road map right in front of me. So, one more week of prep and planning, and then (I hope) a charge at full speed towards the finish line. I still have hopes of making my self-imposed deadline of the end of March for a finished manuscript, if for no other reason than that will give me a window to take advantage of the CSFG’s novel-critiquing group this year. Having my peers brutally tear my precious text to screeching shreds is highly desirable, apparently.

In an administrative aside: I’m finally going to start using tags, as of this post. For some reason I’ve never bothered before, but the Category list is now getting cumbersome. If I were very diligent, I would convert a bunch of Categories to tags, but that may be more effort than it’s worth I’m willing to make.

July 30, 2012

Checking back in

Filed under: administraviata,news of the day,wordsmithery — lexifab @ 9:41 pm

I am back from a week in Port Macquarie. Did I miss anything? [1] .

July has been a total fizzer when it comes to getting stuff done, if I’m honest. No particular reason – a few unusual things got in the way but the main impediment was sheer slackness compounded by a dip in self-confidence. My crash-or-crash-through attempt to make the competition deadline at the end of June landed in the vicinity of a near-disaster. I made things worse for myself by submitting the resultant mess anyway. Ever since then I’ve felt bad about it – annoyed with myself that I couldn’t make the story come together in time, and somewhat embarrassed at my decision to submit. I have conspicuously failed to write anything much this month. [2]

But no personal failure should go unexamined, so I am taking away two lessons from the whole experience. First of all, it’s clear that I will use any excuse whatsoever to not write. The so-called blow to my ego, caused by submitting what would probably prove to be a reasonably coherent story if I could bring myself to look at it again, cannot be considered a reasonable motivation to do no productive work whatsoever for a month.

Casting my eye over my Steam statistics for some more compelling explanation, I notice that I have played rather a lot of Team Fortress and Tropico in July. Oho. Moreover, as my monthly book count will shortly attest, I did get a fair bit more reading in than I usually do. So, the lure of playing video games and reading books rather than working is strong, is it? Not exactly a revelation, but something that I do need to acknowledge and pay closer attention to. I might need to set myself a curfew or something – no computer games until after 10 pm or 1200 words or something. I’ll think about that one.

The second observation is that I cannot afford to show my work until I am satisfied that it is ready. The obvious risk is that I will resort to gratuitous displays of angst and melodrama at the unmitigated shame of exposing myself as a fraudulent hack, an impulse I need to overcome if I am to make a go of myself as a fraudulent hack or better.

Less obvious but still a compelling argument for the exercise of some discretion was this point raised at a recent CSFG discussion: that professional editors -of whom there are few enough overall and within Australia are a vanishingly small pool – tend to remember your name if you consistently send them crap. I would guess that if an editor feels that reading some or all of your piece has been a waste of their time, they will be less likely to respond favourably to seeing your name on a future submission.

It’s important not to overstate the point – I imagine most editors read a lot of things and don’t commit every detail to memory. But I know that if I were in a position of having to read a slush pile taller than my head, I would not respond with a kind smile to some semi-readable tosh.

There were positives from July too. I submitted a story for publication. The story was as ready as I could make it and works pretty well, I think. Also, I had two holidays, so I can’t really complain about that, can I?

Work in August is going to be insane. Squeezing in any writing at all is going to be a challenge. So that’s pretty much what I got to do now – challenge myself to step up and get my momentum back.

[1] Answer – a decent shower and a critical component in the coffee maker we took with us. A tragic story for another day)

[2] I have spent some time mulling over a couple of new stories, outlining them in my head. I’ve also continued to wrestle with the problematic plot of the novel, but without a decisive breakthrough as yet. I’ve done a couple of reviews and I am beta-reading various bits and pieces written by friends and associates. These things relate to writing without themselves being writing in any meaningful sense.

May 25, 2012

Short story – Team Evaluation (Happy 500th post!)

Filed under: administraviata,fictionchunk,wordsmithery — lexifab @ 12:50 am

For the hilariously meaningless milestone of the 500th Lexifabricographer entry since its rebirth as a WordPress site in 2006, I was going to post a short story told entirely in Twitter(-like) captions of up to 140 characters. Luckily for the sanity of anyone suffciently hard-up for entertainment that they would read such a thing, I’m still working on a second draft of that one.

Rather than renege on my promise, I wrote another story, which I just finished writing. I hope you like it.

(With apologies to Linbot, who inspired certain elements of the story)

Update: Some minor typos edited (thanks again to Linbot! And Clam, again!)


March 8, 2012

Spamwave and Linkage! (They Fight Crime)

Filed under: administraviata,geekery,the interweb she provides — lexifab @ 4:21 pm


Woah. I just checked the Lexifab dashboard. Anyone wanna hazard a guess about which link I added or trigger-word I used in the Books of February post to attract a dozen brand new spam commenters? (All tragically deleted now, and may the good Lord ha’ mercy etc)

I will open the betting with “steampunk-themed torture porn”. Any takers?


So that this piece of bloggerel [1] is not a complete waste of your valuable internet time-wasting time, here is an extremely valuable link. I am almost certain that it does not come from the spam comments mentioned earlier.

Against Big Bird, The Gods Themselves Contend In Vain  – Scott Lynch, who will hopefully someday overcome the significant difficulties standing between him and the completion of the Gentlemen Bastards series, has contributed to the intellectual discourse on popular culture with this insightful analysis of the most insane Sesame Street special ever broadcast. I don’t recall ever seeing this one, but it’s hard to believe it’s stranger than the time they all went to Hawaii and discovered that Mr Snufalupagus is the walking dream-avatar of a sleeping mountain. Really. The late ’70’s were a great time for bogglingly weird children’s television.


[1] Yup, pretty sure that’s a word now. Your OED will update automatically.

January 10, 2012

The Lexifab Method

Filed under: administraviata — lexifab @ 2:28 pm

I am having the most ridiculous difficulty writing at the moment. Not because I can’t string a sentence together [1] but because I can’t seem to think of anything to write *about*. It’s like my brain has spun onto a slow wash cycle instead of its more usual state of dizzying spin (or hot rinse, hey hey! [2]).

My usual response to this condition, which is pretty common for me – stemming from a deep-seated insecurity which I refuse to believe every writer ever doesn’t suffer from as much or worse than I because that would make me less than special and rob me of all my excuses – is to splurge forth something quick to flash-fry the cobwebs.

Lately that’s meant a semi-coherent throwaway piece of punchline-driven short fiction or a review of the work of someone who can actually finish what they started. I might also throw together some vague commentary on a current news event, marshalling a collection of unresearched guesses and random prejudices together into a mildly invective and logically deficient statement which will go on to represent my firmly held opinion only for as long as it takes me to finish typing. Or perhaps you would like to hear in excruciating and yet uninformative detail about some game I played recently? Or have me recite oddly remote and pseudonymous anecdotes about the behaviour and/or wellbeing of my children?

Oh, but I bet the thing you’ve really been waiting to hear about is how my writing is going? Right? That’s what everyone is really tuning in for here [3]  Well, I could tell you some stories –

Oh. Well, er, obviously not. But if I could tell you stories you can bet they would be unmissable tales of not being able to tell stories. It would get very meta. Post-modern. Whatever.

Oh, oh, wait, I just thought of a thing. Story. Anecdote. One of those illustrative wossnames that’s about one thing but really is about another thing, like how talking about chess is really a good way of explaining how boring everything is. Or something. I had a hold of that for a second but I think it got away from me.

Our dishwasher has stopped working over the past couple of months. Much of the time it will work fine but intermittently, with no discernible pattern, it will run through a full wash without heating. At the end of the wash, the plates and glasses come out all covered with thin films of grease and caked-on washing powder. It’s pretty gross and usually means that everything has to be washed by hand or run through another cycle (if we’re feeling lucky). Lately it’s been happening more often, to the point where even the second wash was becoming a bit of a risk. Thinking that we were probably up for a new thermostat or heating element – if not a whole new dishwasher – we finally called in a guy this week. The guy checked everything out and ran a diagnostic [4]. He said that all the instrumenets and sensors and things were working as they should. The problem was a gritty, crusty lime residue in the base of the machine, blocking the pipes and preventing enough water getting through to trigger a particular sensor.

After casually informing me that he had no idea what the substance was and that this was a problem he had never seen happen to anyone else [6] he gave me some caustic calcium scale solvent and wished me luck. “Don’t use it more than a couple of times a year,” he said, “or your pipes will dissolve”. We duly ran a full hot wash with the descaler, then another with some vinegar and then yet another with commercial dishwasher cleaning liquid. Somewhere along the lines the coral buildup in the pipes seems to have declogged. I am cautiously optimistic that it won’t happen again. At least, not for a while.

Anyway, that’s how my writing’s going right now. Send more solvents [7].


[1] Feel free to take a well-deserved shot here. I may or may not respond in the fashion of a drunken standup trying to wrest control of the audience back from a talented heckler.

[2]  On second thought, let’s forget about that one.

[3] I think it’s pretty obvious at this point that I have no idea why anyone would read this blog 🙂

[4] Yes, he used those exact words. And he recorded the whole job on his iPad. All of which would prove that we are living in Star Trek, except that he was wearing King Gees and a polo shirt instead of an uncomfortable body suit and I think he said his name was Greg or Geoff. Either of those is a pretty anti-Trek name.[5]

[5] I guess he could have been from the Mirror Universe. I forget whether he had a goatee.

[6] Based on the general underlying condition of our house and my personal high standards in delusional paranoia, I personally diagnosed the problem as calcified shoggoth. I did not share my assessment with the uninitiated Greg/Geoff.

[7] I secretly hope that someone will treat that as a metaphor for gin and tonics.


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