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

July 3, 2014

Periodic reminder that I yet live

I should be writing. This is my free time and I should be using it productively, because otherwise I won’t feel productive. Because all I managed to get to today was a job interview, a business lunch, a school presentation by six year old kids on ecological conservation, a stack of tax forms, a month’s worth of tax reconciliations and two loads of washing.

I don’t know if I’m doing this “time away from the workforce” thing right.

Speaking of which, a status update if anyone wants it – I’ve started properly looking for work now. Nothing so far. But quite a few more employment consultants (aka job pimps) now know my name. They all seem nice.

Anyway, I also managed to sock away twenty minutes to scrawl some notes for a short story which I’ll probably start writing in a few minutes, not that I’m warming up to the task. (Thanks for hanging around while I worked through this nonsense).

Here’s some things going on around the interwebs, just so you don’t feel like you’ve completely wasted your time by clicking on a link:

Apex Magazine has a poem by Rose Lemberg that sat just right with me. I don’t know much about poetry but…

Tansy Rayner Roberts is doing a science fictionalised retelling of The Three Musketeers (in Space!)  and it is fabulous. I am currently foreswearing all forms of crowd funding during my hopefully-temporary period of careerlessness, but Musketeer Space is on my to-patronise list when I feel free to spend money again. I heartily recommend this project to everyone – it’s just plain fun, and Tansy’s take on the Dumas classic doesn’t suffer from gratuitous padding in the way that the original paid-by-the-installment serial might have occasionally fallen prey to.

Another podcast that has assumed the loftiest status in my playlist, namely “play it the second it downloads” is the terrific Rachel and Miles Xplain the Xmen. It’s exactly what it sounds like – two highly engaging and cheerfully sarcastic X-fans attempt to clarify nearly fifty years of ridiculously convoluted X-men comics history in small, digestible chunks. All the temporary deaths. All the retroactive continuity. All the fashions (oh, the fashions). All the inexplicable love for Scott Summers and highly explicable love for Katherine Pryde. My favourite bit is their opening schtick where they briefly summarise some character’s ludicrous history, honing in with surgical precision on the exact moment the character jumps the shark 🙂  If you have any love for the X-Men, but like me and probably everyone else you’ve ever met would not have the slightest idea where to begin to understand their freakishly complex back story – or if you just like listening to people enthusing about something they love while still finding positive ways to engage with its most stupid and problematic elements – then I really can’t push you any more forcefully towards this show. But if you need encouragement, they recently interviewed one of my personal comics gods, Greg Rucka, about his current series about the young version of Cyclops having space adventures with his absentee father Corsair, who is an intergalactic pirate. COMICS ARE SO GOOD YOU GUYS!

And just while I’m on the subject of podcasts, Welcome to Night Vale just broadcast its two-part second anniversary story (a recording of a live show with a small army of guests stars, so slightly off-format from the usual). It’s really good, is all I wanted to say. I still love it to bits. I don’t really drink liquor, but if anyone wants to get me one of these “If You See Something, Say Nothing and Drink to Forget” hip flasks, know that I will love it and you unconditionally. (Don’t though – shipping is probably a killer).

And now I think I’ll go to bed, because my to-be-read pile is teetering on the brink of instability, and that’s before I even think about the fifty-odd unread titles on my kindle.

Next time, I promise to write something that’s actually about something.


May 10, 2014

Tick tick tick

I know this blog looks neglected lately, but that’s just not the case. Why, I delete several hundred spam messages practically every day. (Seriously, what is up with that? Somebody out there in Russian or Lithuania is under the very mistaken impression that I can help them shift metric shitloads of what I presume are knockoffs of brand-name sunglasses, handbags and antidepressants. Boy, have they ever come to the wrong place).


As I continue to cruise gently towards  graceful exit from the APS, with the first intention to make a complete career change, weird doors have begun to open. On Thursday I went to my first job interview in years (or decades, if you make the reasonable assertion that within-public-service promotion interviews are a different beast). Since it was a job I had absolutely no knowledge of thirty hours earlier, in a field in which I have plenty of experience but almost no emotional investment, for a government department that I have never considered working for, it was a pretty cushy interview.

I think I crushed it – whether I get the job will probably depend more on whether they have money than whether they have interest in my services (although there would be more hoops to jump through to actually land the position). Not feeling that anything important is at stake is a great help in calming interview nerves, that’s for sure. If nothing else, that interview has given me a bit of confidence that I should not feel intimidated by the next one. And the fact that the opportunity emerged unbidden from the ether has given me at least a little confidence that I needn’t be discouraged by early failures, because something will probably come up.


I’m still ignoring the novel in favour of getting a few short stories under my belt. I finished a strange, literally-episodic little piece about high school ghost hunters last week, and this week I am drafting a story that has been percolating for about three years. I’ve rededicated myself to the idea that a writing streak keeps me at my most productive, that is, making sure that I achieve a minimum word count absolutely every day. The actual minimum I’ve set myself is 400 words, which is usually in the vicinity of an hour’s work and normally not difficult to achieve. Most sessions I crank out a little more than that, and so far on the current streak of 14 days (not counting today) I’m averaging a shade under 700 words. I’m pretty happy with that.

The other thing that I am trying now is writing from outlines. Instead of using a dot-point “this happens, then this happens, then this happens, then explosions, then The End” methods, I am trying a method that I got from listening to the guys at the Self-Publishing Podcast. They call it writing story beats, which involves (at least as I’ve interpreted it) writing the story out in a shorthand summary fashion, noting the plot and setting elements and describing the characters’ emotional arcs, scene by scene. Outlining, in other words, but by telling myself the story rather than trying to develop an architectural design.

The main advantage of this approach is that it helps (far more than a sterile dot-point plan) to identify where the slack or boring bits of the story might be. It makes fixing those much easier than doing a structural edit after the fact – 100 words of outline is a lot easier to fix than two chapters of misconceived fiction. And because it’s a relatively easy commitment to write two or three pages of outline, I don’t feel any anxiety about ideas that aren’t working yet. I can just put them on hold and turn my attention to something else, tinkering with the outline when I get a new idea or figure out a fix to a problem.

So far it’s working. Whenever I sit down for a writing session I can glance at the story beats and know exactly what I have to write. That helps me to cut through my usual procrastination rituals and get straight to writing. Writing the story beats out beforehand satisfies my inclination as a pantser/discovery writer, by letting me explore the idea and tell the story without committing to five or ten or ninety thousand words first. At the same time, a loosely sketched-out outline with which I have told the story to myself leaves plenty of room for discovering the tone and the characters and the smaller nuances of the piece. It seems to hit the right balance for me.

It’s a method I aim to experiment with more. I have a rough idea for a three-novel science fiction adventure that I plan to develop using story beats. Unless I have another idea that jumps the queue in the meantime, I’ll probably make that the next project in the pipeline, starting with developing the characters and figuring out the story beats, and then (if and when I have the energy) seeing how long it takes to turn that into an actual story.

…probably a long time though.

November 7, 2013

TMoRP Day 14 – Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff Podcast

Yesterday’s entry got really long and rambly. Sorry. This will be shorter.

Ken and Robin Talk about Stuff (KaRTaS) is a weekly podcast by tabletop game design luminaries Kenneth Hite and Robin D Laws. Each show is divided into four segments of roughly 15 minutes, with a general remit of discussing tabletop roleplaying games – designing, running or playing them. In practise, the subjects expand in every direction – they discuss real-world geopolitical events like Syria, Libya and the NSA spying scandal, political issues like the internal wrangling of the Republican Party and the lunatic escapades of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, more bizarre ideas from the realms of conspiracy theories, odd subcultures and the occult, and numerous topics from across the whole stretch of human history. All these are at least nominally grist for the mill of the gaming table and/or fiction, with the presenters mining their subjects for inspiration, using them as launching points for campaigns and stories. You get the idea.

The hosts are funny, erudite and endlessly curious. Even if you don’t have a particular interest in gaming or writing fiction, the sheer scope of their subjects is reason enough to tune in to the show. In one section they might be talking about water rights in the Middle East, and in the next they will cover little-known figures from the lunatic occult fringe of the Nazi Party (apparently there were elements of pre-war Germany that were too crazy even for the Third Reich, the revelations of which are somewhat eye-opening). I don’t recall an episode where I didn’t learn something about which I had previously never heard.

Ken and Robin are charming, amusing hosts who present their material like a cheerful discussion over a tasty cheese platter and a couple of good bottles of red wine. Their conversational style, their easy wit and the sheer breadth of their knowledge (or at least the quality of their research) makes for fun listening, very worthy of an hour out of your week. There’s no particular continuity (other than their occasionally revisiting an earlier subject of discussion) so you can easily start with the latest episode and see what you think. Give it a listen.

October 20, 2013

TMoRP Day 4 – Welcome to Night Vale Podcast

Welcome to Night Vale is a bi-weekly podcast by Commonplace Books. It is presented as a radio program from small town America in the middle of a desert somewhere. If you remember the “Chris in the Morning” radio program from Northern Exposure, or Minnie Driver’s show in the deeply wonderful Gross Pointe Blank, it’s a bit like that – folksy, easy listening community news and chat.

It’s also flat-out some of the best surrealist comedy you’ll find anywhere. Because the eponymous Night Vale is crawling with absurd horrors – mysterious hooded figures, sacrificial altars, sinister and anonymous government agencies, angels, a dog park nobody may enter, look upon or know about, and a mayoral candidate who is literally a five-headed dragon. Presented with a completely straight face (so to speak) by the warm and thoughtful narrator, Cecil Baldwin, who would use the same intonation to describe an interdimensional incursion by bloodthirsty monsters as he would to outline the changes to parking regulations outside City Hall, Welcome to Night Vale is never afraid to take a crazy premise and run with it all the way.

A typical episode presents a bizarre, horrifying event descending upon Night Vale (or crawling up from its deeply unsettling past), escalating into chaos, destruction and usually mass casualties, and then more or less dying down again. Impressively, the show doesn’t discard the insanity of past episodes, but builds on it to create a consistent (if not especially plausible) continuity that rewards long-time listeners.

Look, I can’t really do credit to Welcome To Night Vale. It’s dark and unnerving, but once in a while it’s also genuinely moving and thoughtful. There’s a touching love story woven through the episodes. It’s almost always funny – I love the deadpan references to household blood stone circles, the way that local law enforcement is always referred to as “the Sheriff’s Secret Police” and the nightmarish reality of municipal buildings in Night Vale.

It encompasses comedy, existential horror and the banal brutality of unchecked authority, all against the backdrop of small town America. It’s wonderful, and I’m going to go and listen to the latest episode right now. (And I might also queue up Grosse Point Blank to watch sometime, because damn I love that movie).

March 6, 2013


In the absence of particularly positive or useful things to say about my writing month (hoo boy), I’m going to do some quick shout-outs to the podcasts I’ve been listening to lately. I’ve already spoken of my abiding love for the world’s most dangerous comics and pop culture podcast, War Rocket Ajax, the amiable rambling of the Coode Street podcast that range far and wide over the speculative scene and the sublimely delightful feminist Aussie spec-fic chat show, Galactic Suburbia. Those are all still regular, much-anticipated items in my podfeed. Here are some of the other things keeping me sane while I clean up the front yard with a mattock, a shovel and a desperate awareness of my own physical limits…

Doctor Who: As all persons of wit and discernment are aware, this year marks the fiftieth anniversary of the greatest television program ever devised. No, not bloody Landline, I mean Doctor Who. I’m managing to indulge in a reasonable amount of Who fandom at the moment without actually watching any episodes. For one, I’ve just ravenously devoured the first two volumes -covering the William Hartnell and Patrick Troughton eras – of Philip Sandifer’s collected essays on the program, compiled from his epic blog TARDIS Eruditorum. They’re great, offering in particular an insightful perspective on rewatching the program with modern sensibilities. I’ll probably do a proper review at some point, but hey, I recommend them if you’re interested in what was happening when the show started out.

Meanwhile, the Splendid Chaps podcast is celebrating the anniversary year by producing a monthly podcast, starting in January, which covers each of the eleven Doctors and will culminate in a final episode to be broadcast on 23 November. This is a really fun show, not least because the presenters, John Richards and Ben McKenzie, are the creator of Outland and a successful stage comedian respectively as well as being dedicated Who nerds. Episodes are recorded in front of an audience, the guests are smart, thoughtful and funny, there’s a chirpy and witty MC voiceover from Melbourne singer/actress Petra Elliott, and there’s (so far) a ribald fan song at the end of the episode [1]. Splendid Chaps is great fun. Oh, and they assign homework, recommending episodes to watch in preparation for the next themed episode.

Verity! is another Doctor Who podcast, with an all-woman panel. Six of them, in fact – including Galactic Suburbia’s own Tansy Rayner Roberts – though generally only four or so will feature on any given episode. It’s a round-table format, as you would expect, full of gleeful squeeing and thoughtful chat about all things Doctorish. What’s most entertaining and distinctive about Verity is the range of fan experiences and views represented (Old series! New series! Shipping! No snogging in the TARDIS! Trad vs Rad! Frocks vs Guns!) and the fact that in every discussion there’s at least one dissenting voice who completely disagrees with everyone else. Not only does it avoid becoming a pontificating echo chamber but it also makes for an excellent representation of Who fandom in general. And I do love my Who fandom when it takes a fierce delight in the show.

Writing: Another fat chunk of my listening time, goes to following podcasts featuring writers talking about writing. Shut up, that’s often much more interesting than it sounds!

ThrillerCast is a show ostensibly about thriller and genre fiction that in practise often goes off on interesting and sometimes gossipy tangents about writing and topics affecting writers and readers in general – which publisher is going under this week or Amazon’s latest atrocities or some author’s foot-in-mouth/social media-fail moment. Neither presenter – American David Wood and Australian Alax Baxter (who is local to this area and is a member of the CSfG, not to mention a lovely bloke) – is a worldwide international phenomenon, but they are both working writers with solid followings and a heavy investment in knowing which way the winds are blowing in the publishing world. They know their stuff, in other words, and if the business of writing is of any of interest to you – even if the presenters’ particular fields are not to your tastes – then I recommend ThrillerCast.

Nerdist Writers Panel. This is a fantastic panel show hosted by Ben “I’ve written for the series Supernatural and Supah Ninjas” Blacker. Every week, he assembles a power lineup of LA script writers (typically ones working in television, but it varies) and grills them about the business, their influences, their daily writing routines and their careers. Once in a while he breaks up the formula and speaks to comic writers as well (Ed Brubaker, Len Wein, Erik Larsen and Robert Kirkman have all been on in the past few months). Blacker is a great interviewer whose easy rapport with his guests overcomes any introvert tendencies they may have (as a few do, but fewer than you’d probably expect). No doubt it helps if you have at least a passing interest in the conventions and production of US television (or films, or comics, or off-Broadway plays sometimes) but the broad discussions are fascinating and, for me as a writer, very useful.

[1] I didn’t care for the song at the end of the first episode, but the one for the Troughton episode more than made up for it.

October 25, 2012

MRP Day 23 – The Coode Street Podcast

Filed under: podcasts,the month of relentless positivity — lexifab @ 12:20 am

I call myself a science fiction fan, if anyone asks. But secretly I know that in that highly unlikely theoretical scenario, I am fudging my answer, because I am not really a science fiction fan. Not really and properly in my heart.

The reason I say that is – well, it’s a bit hard to explain. In my head, “proper” science fiction is largely dictated by that first word, which is intimidating as hell to me. In the definition in my head, science fiction means hard science: complex physics, engineering, maths, chemistry and biological concepts explored speculatively but plausibly and consistently. It means speculating on big ideas and it may insinuate a sense of wonder, but it also requires the author to understand the physical and conceptual ramifications of this engineering marvel or that tricksy gene therapy. To write “real” science fiction, an author can’t just fudge physics and hope for the best – or rather, she could, but only if she understands the implications of the fudge.

To my distorted way of thinking, science fiction requires knowledge, applied with discipline and challenged with rigour. It might be a bad writer who shows his working – and tediously explains the physics of tethering an orbital platform to a Lagrange point, say – but woe betide the author who hasn’t done the thinking behind the scenes. Loose threads and sloppy science both stick out like sore thumbs, and the internet has taught us that the weak will be torn limb from limb for the crime of showing their weakness.

My point is, while I am pretty sure I could get up to speed quickly to write about some reasonably complex biological processes (as long as there’s no serious maths involved), on the rest of the broad spectrum of science discipline, I am utterly screwed. My maths is feeble and the intersection of physics with everything else baffles me. I tried and failed to follow Hawking. I can’t think about physics in any depth, I struggle to read about it and I sure as hell can’t write about it.

Which is a long-winded way of saying that I am rather in love with a podcast that celebrates science fiction and discusses it in depth: the Coode Street Podcast, hosted by Johnathon Strahan and Gary K. Wolfe. Strahan and Wolfe are obviously lifelong science fiction fans, deeply steeped in the traditions of the form. They are academics and critics well-versed in both current and historical works. And they get the science, or if they don’t, they have mastered the art of sounding convincing.

Coode Street is a weekly podcast discussion on science fiction and fantasy (more of the former than the latter, although they have wide ranging interests). It’s erudite, insightful and fascinating. They grok science fiction, they care about the field and its wider place in literature and society, how it informs and is informed by technological change over time and they like to speculate on where it might go in the future. I don’t consider myself a real fan of science fiction, because basically I don’t feel as smart or as informed as these guys sound. Basically it’s like listening to two awesome teachers talking. Recommended (in particular for Clams).

Next day edit: I sound like I’m putting myself down all through this, which means I should learn a lesson about attempting to write with relentless positivity after midnight. (I won’t). In ideal circumstances I would scrap the whole post and try again, but – eh, it’s out there now. So instead I’ll try to restate my point and see if I can make it a bit better this time.

I should clarify that I see a distinct difference between hard science fiction and the rest of the field. It’s hard SF that I am trying to describe here – the challenging, scientific SF of a Greg Egan or a Stephen Baxter (sometimes) or a Kim Stanley Robinson. And I am not complaining about writing which is dry or overly technical. All three of those writers use very accessible prose and convey their ideas well, and I have no doubt that there are others as good or better.

My problem – and I want to stress that this is a problem with me rather than with the field – is that I feel like I can’t appreciate great works of hard SF. I am acutely aware, when reading a speculative work that proposes some breathtaking concept that I lack the frame of reference not only to figure out what is being described, but also to catch the nuances and to comprehend the broader implications. Stumbling across incomprehensible scientific revelations happens to me all the time. Perhaps I’m not a sufficiently attentive reader (that’s very likely, in fact). Perhaps it’s the author’s job to spell those out, I don’t know, but I would hate to imagine an author hamstringing their elegant fabrications just so scientific semi-literates like me can get the point.

And the thing is, I know that I have a better and broader understanding of science that 95% of the population of earth [1]. I do. I’m well read, I retain at least most of the basic principles I learned in high school and I stay at least roughly abreast of the latest popular science news. I like Big Science ideas. I am intensely interested in what’s coming next and what that means for the human race. I am ravenously sci-curious.

But I don’t feel like I can ever be in that club, because I don’t make the height requirement. Even though I’m probably the only person who thinks there is one.

Further edit: Nope, still failed to be positive.

How about this: I want to love hard science fiction in the Egan-esque vein. Somebody please recommend something great.


[1] Within my own circle of friends and acquaintances, I am almost certainly in a much lower percentile…


October 8, 2012

MRP Day 8 – Galactic Suburbia

Filed under: podcasts,reviewage,the month of relentless positivity — lexifab @ 10:04 pm

Today I turn the Month of Relentless Positivity spotlight onto the Galactica Suburbia podcast. GalSub, as I think probably nobody calls it, is a much-anticipated regular feature on my listening queue. Some ‘casts I will allow to back up, so that I end up listening to two or three episodes back to back, but (like War Rocket Ajax) Galactic Suburbia is one that I tuck into as soon as possible after I finish downloading it. Why?

Galactic Suburbia is an Australian podcast of speculative fiction news and discussion. The three hosts are Tansy Rayner Roberts (specfic author and soon-to-be crime writer), Alisa Krasnostein (small independent publisher at Twelfth Planet Press) and Alex Pierce (who does excellent review-blogging). The discussions roam all over the speculative fiction sphere, from the latest blockbuster SF movie or fat fantasy trilogy to obscure book launches, the latest controversy sending fandom into conniptions on the internet or who is winning what awards this month. The hosts look at their subjects particularly from a feminist standpoint, analysing gender issues, biases and behaviours and calling out examples of problematic choices and old-fashioned misogyny in the spec fic field.

That might make them sound like shrill one-note critics finding fault with everything, which could not be further from the truth. Galactic Suburbia is a fun podcast. While their news segment often focuses on some rather unedifying stuff – crappy publisher behaviour, stupid things writers says in response to critics, flamewars and dogpiles on the internet etc – the hosts usually find the funny or positive side of it. And speaking personally, they’ve introduced me not only to a lot of authors I might never have read or even heard (especially Australian writers, both men and women) but also opened my eyes to a lot of issues – race, gender, disability, religion – that might not otherwise have occurred to me to think about. They’ve helped to expand my field of view, they’ve shown me new things to be interested in and they’ve had a considerable influence on my reading list. Not to mention they get a few laughs along the way.

I couldn’t ask much more than that from a fortnightly podcast.

October 3, 2012

MRP Day 2 – War Rocket Ajax

Filed under: podcasts,reviewage,the month of relentless positivity — lexifab @ 12:11 am

The War Rocket Ajax podcast is a weekly roundup of comics and pop culture news sponsored by the Comics Alliance website [1]. Presented by Chris Sims (the self-declared world’s leading Batmanologist, a claim supported by his almost inhuman command of Batman-related trivia) and Matt Wilson (co-author – with King Oblivion, PhD – of the recent Supervillain’s Handbook, which is still on my to-read list), WRA is a terrific hour-plus show that centres around the week’s comics industry news and an extended interview, typically but not always with an artist or writer.

Sims and Wilson clearly have a great time making the show and their sense of fun is infectious. Their interviews are cheerful and friendly, often hilarious, but they are solid interviewers who ask well-researched and thoughtful questions. I suspect their gift for putting their guests at ease leads to far more insightful and personal discussions than most interviewers manage.

Apart from comics, common subjects include Midwestern barbecue (which I am given to understand in this context refers only to pork-based dishes), wrestling (a subject that they manage to make sound compelling despite my lifelong disinterest) and playing computer games from three years ago. Hey, I mostly only play video games from three years ago too!

So today’s cheerful thumbs up goes to War Rocket Ajax, a show about how great comics are that doesn’t shy away from making jokes about how bad they can be as well. If you’re interested enough to listen to a couple of episodes, I recommend that after that you go back and listen to last year’s Christmas special, in which Sims, Wilson and guest stars Adam Warrock and Matt Fraction review the Insane Clown Posse’s horrible, horrible Christmas-themed album. It’s rough going at a little over two hours – but I honestly spent nearly the whole time I was listening to it doubled over with laughter. It’s a very bad album, and they have a very good time with it. Highly, heartily recommended.


[1] Comics Alliance is my preferred venue for comics news. They have a consistent editorial policy of celebrating the fun and the cool in comics, while calling out the less salubrious elements of the culture. Plus they actually make a point of highlighting cool independent, small-press comics, some of which I will get to in this month.

September 10, 2008

A survey for gamer-types

Filed under: friends,geekery,podcasts,the interweb she provides — lexifab @ 4:13 pm

MizEmma and her podcasting cohort Liz have just put up a survey probing roleplaying game players for their thoughts about how they like their fellow gamers to behave. I presume that they will discuss the data collected on some future episode of their inimitable Natural 20 podcast.

They’re looking for as wide a spread of respondents as they can get. I’ve clicked a whole bunch of boxes, why don’t you do the same? It took around about the same amount of time to complete the survey as it has to type out this blog entry, so an enormous imposition on your time (which may well be more precious than mine, but is insignificant nevertheless!) is not demanded.

May 23, 2008

Idle thinks for a Friday afternoon

  1. Hmm. In fact every single podcast I listen to on a regular basis was not suddenly and simultaneously being recorded at incredibly low sound levels. This revelatory comprehension burst forth yesterday afternoon, moments after I purchased a new set of earplug headphones for my mp3 player. Turns out the old ones had more wrong with them than having a slight crackle.
  2. It’s astonishing how surprised I was by the discovery of point #1.
  3. Linda and Chris have apparently secured new lodgings, which is jolly good news and a complete relief. Now all that’s left is the mucky business of packing up, moving and cleaning, but at least the main problem is done with, the rest being logistics.
  4. Fi has instituted a solution to the sleep deprivation issue over the past few days, which, while not entirely satisfactory because it involves me sleeping on the couch for half the night, does achieve the critical goal of allowing me to get at least five or six hours of rest a day. This comes at a small cost, you may perceive, but it should hopefully just be temporary while Joey’s current hobby – twisting and bellowing for half the night – runs its course.
  5. I’ve been neglecting a lot of things lately (no, not my child!), including but not limited to: my writing, my job, my gaming, my enthusiasm for activities more energetic than watching early morning variety shows, this blog. Lots of good reasons for this, not at all unrelated to point #4, but with renewed vigour comes a renewed sense that I could be using some of my time a litttle less unproductively. However, The Lord of the Rings Online presents a compelling case to the contrary.
  6. I am never so strategically-minded as when I am participating in a work planning day. Seriously, if my team want me to be more productive – and given the extent to which I have been otherwise over the past few weeks I would be surprised if they did not hold this view – they should just hold a planning day each Friday morning, throw together a random agenda, and just let me spout off with opinionated verve about what’s wrong with the world. I swear, I have solved all our problems today.
  7. Other Doctor Who stories which may be feeling slighted after I declared ‘Blink’ to be their First Among Equals include (in no particular order) ‘The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances’, ‘The Robots of Death’, ‘The Pyramids of Mars’, ‘The Caves of Androzani’, ‘Remembrance of the Daleks’, ‘Terror of the Autons’, ‘Army of Ghosts/Doomsday’, ‘The Aztecs’, ‘Terror of the Zygons’, ‘The Tomb of the Cybermen’, ‘The Curse of Fenric’, ‘The Seeds of Doom’, ‘Bad Wolf/The Parting of the Ways’, ‘Enlightenment’, ‘The Horror of Fang Rock’ and ‘The Carnival of Monsters’ (shut up, I liked it!). However, they must grudgingly bend a knee to their emperor, for life is short and ‘Blink’ is hot.
  8. I really, really like Doctor Who. Discuss.
  9. Our first attempt to get some financial advice around property investment – with an accountant on Wednesday afternoon – was a bit of a bust, although probably useful from a taxation point of view. We’re not completely clear about what we need to know, apart from establishing how much we can afford to risk early on, which to be honest we will likely end up figuring out for ourselves. It seems, however, that guidance on translating general advice to our specific financial circumstances is not quite so easy to come by. We have another session on Monday which is more promising, but which will probably involve someone trying to sell us their prepackaged option. Still, should be something useful in it for us, and if not then we’ll just take the bull by the horns and get one with it ourselves.
  10. The new edition of Dungeons and Dragons comes out in two weeks. I am infeasibly excited in a way that can only possibly end in disappoitment and bitter recriminations, or at least more Burning Wheel. This reminds me that I started that ’10 great things in gaming’ series of posts a while ago and never got back to it. I may attend to that if the current resurgence of enthusiasm for blogging continues for the next week or two.
  11. It is time for beer. Past time, in fact.
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