Merry Christmas

25 12 2009

It wouldn’t be Christmas with out a bit of Slade. I can’t quite bring myself to post the obvious and I also wanted to give a shout out to my sister in Australia. This seemed appropriate:

Merry Christmas, Eleanor. And Stephen too. And all of you.

Have a good one.





Return

14 12 2009

I’m back, like the proverbial bad penny.

Somewhat frustratingly my Internet connection is not and so I am writing this on my handheld. It’s OK but not good for lengthy posts.

Small mercies 🙂

Anyway, when last seen I was slinking off to lick my wounds but this didn’t really help. What I finally figured out was that I had too much on and so I have spent the last fortnight trying to Lear the decks.

That pretty much means decorating, getting the house from the point where we still needed the majority of the rooms done to where only the hall does. That one we are getting a specialist in to do because it’s so high.

We’re nearly there. In fact I need to get back to it.

Pictures to follow when BT pull their finger out.





Don’t try this at home…

10 08 2009

I still have a lingering head cold/sore throat.

No, it’s not swine flu: I have no fever and nothing aches except my throat. However I am finding it all rather tiresome now and with my holiday fast approaching I don’t really want to go to spend my week off feeling like some one is ice skating down my throat.

And so, for your delectation and amusement, I shall be trying a natural remedy each day until this thing goes and report the results here.

First up, in a few hours, the Cayenne pepper gargle.

I will probably regret this.





Knots

5 04 2009

I shouldn’t be blogging. I should be writing. No, they’re not the same thing.

More to the point I should be writing or at least working on Forever but I have got stuck again. Shocking, I know. This project is in trouble; real trouble and I think this is last chance saloon for it. If I can’t get myself back on track soon it will be time to move on to something new. Blogging about it is a way of organising my thoughts on what might be wrong. Sometimes you just need to talk through things whilst your fingers try to unpick the knots.

What, you may ask*, is the problem?

Well, as near as I can tell, the structural changes I tried to make are too dramatic and break the perfectly acceptable layout of the first draft. This points towards the original story design (despite the fact it wasn’t designed) having a premise that I am mangling by jiggling things around. (Still with me?) Anyway, that seems to be it but now I am not sure what the premise is anymore.

This is dangerous shifting sand for me and if you’d have described me being in this situation twelve months ago I’d have laughed. Forever was the one I knew about, The Scarred God was the one I worried about, that I struggled to articulate to others. Now it’s the other way round. TSG is about death, life and the paradox of belief. It’s also about a kick ass heroine who refuses to be a victim, just so you know I haven’t disappeared completely up my own posterior. I used to say Forever was about love and certainly it is a theme but I don’t think it’s at the heart of the story anymore.

Oh, I think I may have it…

Yep, definitely onto something. I’ll report back later.

* You may of course not a care at all. It’s your call.





Shiny

29 03 2009

Prayer for the Shiny:

Shiny, who art encased in metal or plastic,
Hallowed be thy circuitry.
Thy functionality amazes.
Thy reassuring weight soothes,
In pocket as it is in the hand.
Give us this day our free firmware patches.
And forgive us our hacks,
As we occasionally forgive those who leave bugs.
And lead us not into Microsoft,
But deliver us from DRM.
For thine is the shiny,
and the power-charger, and the eyestrain,
for ever and ever.
Ah, where’s my credit card?





Along the river

22 03 2009

A short one this evening as I have some bits to do.

I’m pleased to report the ride to Greenwich went well following a shaky start. My lack lustre fitness and the cold weather this morning meant I was really feeling it by the time I got a short mile down the road to Plumstead, I wasn’t sure I’d even make it to Woolwich. However, a bit of sun goes a long way and by the time I reached the rather more forgiving flat runs between Woolwich and Greenwich (OK the slight downward incline helped) I was enjoying myself. The weather was glorious by the time I got to Greenwich.

It was that fun time of day in London when the sun’s been up for a few hours but most of the city are still in bed and so Greenwich was quiet. I meandered down by the river for a while soaking up the rare rays and watching the rowers go past on a training run. If I had any foresight I would have brought a book and lain down on the hill in the park for a few hours. But I don’t have any foresight and so I drank my rest drink and hit the pedals to go home. Oddly the ride back wasn’t as taxing despite being nearly all up hill. It felt a little like I’d broken the cobwebs off my legs.

Anyway, it was pleasing to have the endorphin rush from actual exercise and I amused myself with an afternoon at the flix (review to follow later in the week). I have realised my assertion yesterday was correct: I’m not fit enough to attempt a regular city run yet. But I survived and next week I may even venture further afield.

Now I must get back to G – haven’t seen her all day.





Grown Up

16 03 2009

Sometimes, being grown up is about sticking a third of your income into a bank account because, like everyone else, you’re really twitchy about whether you’ll still have gainful employment. Or siphoning some of that money off to pay for a kitchen that you plan to go ahead with anyway because, if the worst happens, your best chance of hanging onto the house is to have it finished enough to rent out. Adult responsibilities include dealing with the gas board when they balls up your billing for nearly a year, or chasing government agencies who owe you money and too much paperwork.

Being grown up can suck.

Other times it means staying up too late, buying albums and books with your lunch money, whilst eating an entire tub of haribo (other sweets are available) and chipping away at a new story just because you can.

I’m aware I’m easily pleased.





Top five 4AM Whisky Songs

10 03 2009

OK, so I was going to be lazy and post a music video again.

I had one of those Monday’s where I just want to stay up until the wee hours, sipping whisky and writing. Alas, I cannot do that but one of the songs I would probably stick on, if I were to stay up until 4AM is Be My Downfall. Of course when I tried to stick it on here I discovered YouTube was having yet another spat with the record companies and it wouldn’t embed.

And so in true Nick Hornby style I thought I’d post my top five 4AM Whisky Songs:

5. Be My DownfallDel Amitri (For the bad ones you know were no good but miss anyway.)

4. The Town that I lovedThe Dubliners (Hey, they were banned once. For the morose, the-past-was-drizzled-in-honey-and-grease-and-I-liked-it stage.)

3. Need Your Love So Bad – Fleetwood Mac – original line up (To truly enjoy this you need a whisky in one hand and someone close on your arm dancing round a nearly empty bar, slow.)

2. God is in the HouseNick Cave & The Bad Seeds (For the I-think-it’s-whisky-but-I’m-not-sure, I-finished-the-other-bottle-and-this-was-at-the-back. As-long-as-I-have-both-ears-in-the-morning-I’m-good.)

1. Je n’en connais pas la finJeff Buckley (Some would go for Hallelujah but you can practically taste the cigarette smoke on this one and of course that’s what it’s for. Sitting at a piano you can’t play, smoking cigarettes when you don’t actually smoke and nursing that last whisky that will send you to Dream.)

Actually, this could also easily be a top five songs to slit your wrists to. 4AM whisky music is a bit like that, fine lines. By way of lifting the mood of the list, I’ll point out that I Google You (written by Neil Gaiman for Peri Lyons – because she asked for a song not, as Neil points out, because he was googling her late at night – and recently covered by Amanda Palmer) narrowly missed out on making the list. Balls, that was a messy sentence.

Moving on. What’s your 4AM whisky music?





Llama

2 03 2009

There are days when I hate London. When the rain comes down, the train’s overcrowded, you get abuse from the train staff and an endless litany of traffic attempts to revoke your oxygen privileges. You know: days like that.

Then there are the days like today: an easily obtained seat, enough energy to read my book all the way into Charing Cross, a brilliant sun and azure sky as I walk through an empty Covent Garden to work. And the guy holding the lead to a Llama whilst attempting to feed the parking meter with coins.

No, I don’t know how much it costs to park a Llama either.

Still, I was smiling about it all day and my only regret is the absence of a camera.





Tender bits

15 02 2009

Twitter followers will know that I had a small accident last week.

I have been trying to take a little bit more exercise recently as I’ve discovered it seems to help my energy levels in the evening. On Wednesday I attempted to, as per normal, use the exercise bike but at the same time – because it’s next to the bike – I tried to put a book on the bookshelf. And because I’m a gobby shite when I want to be I was also talking to G.

In short: I wasn’t paying attention.

I slipped, swinging round and grappling with handlebars of the Not Screwed Down exercise bike in an attempt to stay upright. Gravity took over at this point and I hit the floor, colliding with our coffee table (otherwise known as a solid wood chest full of old computer manuals), moving it two feet with the force of the landing and bringing the bike down on top of me. I was more or less OK, suffering just a few bruises. However, my lower back is quite painful. Thursday was the most sore but, somewhat oddly, the best day as because I was so bruised I was careful. By Friday the pain had subsided to the level where it only kicked in if I sat down wrong, which I have been doing frequently since I keep forgetting I’m hurt.

See: exercise is bad for you.

Work on Forever has gotten into more of a routine this week and I am pleased with the progress I’m making. I have sent two more of my inventory of short stories out to markets and I’m thinking about a new short story that I hope to write in the next few weeks. Oh yeah, I’ve noticed that it seems to be quite hard to shift stories over five thousand words, anyone else picked up on that or is it just my imagination?

Valentine’s day was good.