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Of merriment and good cheer [11 Jan 2012|01:28pm]
Today, I am perfect.

Short of some spectacular advances in technology, this is the last year I'll be able to say that.

Yesterday, I was a cube. That won't be true again until I'm Paul McCartney.

In a year, I'll be in my prime again. The last time that was true, I was living on my own in Bromley.

As regular readers will be aware, this convoluted load of nonsense is how I traditionally announce that it's my birthday. I'm 28 today.

Last year, instead of New Year's Resolutions, I compiled a list of things I wanted to get done while I was still 27. It almost amounts to the same thing, with my birthday being so early in the year, and it seemed like a good age at which to achieve things.

There were two things on my list. I managed neither of them.

In fairness, I did get justifiably distracted by one particular side-quest.

 



 

I think I'm entitled to shunt my other priorities back a little to make room for stuff like falling in love and getting engaged.

So, apart from continuing to be awesome, the things I aim to achieve this time while I'm 28 years old are:

1. I'm going to finish a novel. Writing and redrafting, start to finish, to a state where it could start being sent out to publishers, or at least to beta-readers. I've got several part-completed projects which could satisfy this one; at the moment my delayed NaNoWriMo project is at 31,000 words and coming along nicely. So, it's looking tentatively promising.

And, alongside my efforts at completing a lengthy magnum opus:

2. I'm going to sell some writing. A novel, some short fic, a drabble, an article for a magazine specialising in snarky geekdom, whatever - someone is going to pay me moneys for some words I done wrote.

I've already written stuff which may possibly qualify here. But this is going to involve familiarising myself more with paying markets and the actual professional side of writering, beyond the simple bit of sitting down and typing words. ("Simple" in that, logistically, I understand how it's supposed to work. The physical processes are relatively uncomplicated. This is not the same as "easy".)

As an afterthought, I suppose I should tack on the secondary aim of getting a job at some point. But pfft, details.

So, that's me. Happy birthday/un-birthday (delete as appropriate) to you. I'm off to eat more cake.
2 deep thoughts| share and enjoy

[10 Jul 2011|06:33pm]


As you'll know if you've seen this already on Facebook, I'm a bit rubbish at personal introductions and whatnot.

So here's a photo of me with my girlfriend.
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April 1st Public Service Announcement [01 Apr 2011|12:01am]
Do not believe anything for the next 24 hours. Except this.

That is all.
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Progress report [11 Mar 2011|06:52pm]
Ummm.

Shit, it's been another month. I'm a sixth of the way through this bollocks. By the time Kurt Cobain was my age, he'd shot himself a fortnight ago.

So. I've slowed down a bit from a very successful launch. Things I have achieved in the past four weeks include:

1) I have forgotten how to write a book.

2) I am onto the third draft of my ~11k short story, which is still going to need some serious trimming but is shaping up into something potentially not all that sucktastic.

3) I've redrafted the other short story, attempted to rewrite the ending so that maybe something actually happens in it, but not really got very far with this latter point.

4) I seriously don't seem to remember anything about how to write a book. It feels like I have most of the story down, but I have to find another 50,000 words of plot and it's just not there.

5) And I have successfully procrastinated from solving the above-mentioned amnesia by, among other things, pointing a camera at my face and talking some words into it. Yeah, I'm on YouTube. Talking about religion n stuff. I've done two so far, and I'll try to embed them below the cut so you can avoid them if you'd find that more fun.

My face is under the cut, which sounds like it should mean something similar to 'under the knife' but it doesn'tCollapse )

Well then. See you next month.
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Progress report [10 Feb 2011|10:26pm]
A month ago I had this crazy idea about getting my shit together and achieving some things with my life.

So how's that going?

I'm not going to lie to you Marge, the first week sucked. Or I sucked in it. There was me, and a week, and some sucking, I forget the precise arrangement. It wasn't a great start, is my point.

Then I introduced this new thing called Operation TTWBWSGPFAC.

This stands for Treat This Writing Business With Some Goddamn Professionalism For A Change. So I have been. Nearly every weekday since January 19th I've been getting up at 6:00am to be creative for an hour before my day really gets started.

Some of you who've known me a long time may need to read that sentence over a couple more times.

I've never been a morning person. And I'm still not. In fact, this experiment has made emphatically clear just how much of a morning person I'm not. But in some ways that's helpful. I know, for instance, that if I've dragged myself out of my comfy warm bed to stumble blearily across the room and stare at a blank page at a quarter past ridiculous in the morning, there had better be a fucking good reason I'm there.

So I make sure there is. By writing lots of words. Specifically, so far I have:

1) finished a short story I'd started in December but stalled on, which now stands at around 11,000 words,

D) written another complete short story based on a one-line description I'd jotted down a couple of years ago, standing at 7,000-ish words,

%) started and mostly finished another short story, which comes in at 1,500 words and doesn't really go anywhere,

69) nearly completed a redraft of the 11k story, which has tightened up a lot of the writing and usefully slashed some chunks of tedious exposition from the middle,

XYZZY) and re-read most of my ~25%-finished novel to remind myself what it's about and prepare to work on that some more once I'm done with this round of shortfic.

I'm going to go ahead and call that a successful month's work, especially given that it all pretty much happened in three weeks.

In the next month, I'm hoping to:

A) complete a second draft of at least the first two of the above-mentioned short stories,

G6) submit something to a paying short fiction market,

KTHX) try not to let my head explode over the fact that my brother is turning 21,

5318008) and spend at least a couple of mornings adding to the first draft of the novel.

That sounds like enough, I think.

So. How have you been?
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Why can't we live forever? [11 Jan 2011|10:31pm]
Time for my standard round of mathematical observations.

It's 11/1/11 (or 1/11/11), and today I am exactly twenty-seven, which = 11^11 in binary.

If I were exactly four years older, my binary age would be 11111 on 11/1/11.

Anyone born on the 11th November 1948 will be aged 111111 in binary on 11/11/11.

I'm a cube this year, for the first time since I was eight, and for the last time until I'm sixty-four.

Next year I'll be perfect. For the last time ever, barring phenomenal advances in life-preserving technology. (The first three perfect numbers are 6, 28, and 496.)

I'm also running out of time to become a dead rock star.

I don't really want to be one of those, but I do want to get certain things done, before this first round of what are officially my late twenties is over.

I pretty much settled on these goals a few months ago, and they still seem good now, so here is the short list of things you should all feel perpetually entitled to hassle me to get done while I'm still 27:

1. I'm going to finish a novel. Writing and redrafting, start to finish, to a state where it could start being sent out to publishers, or at least to beta-readers. This is going to require actually settling on a significant project and sticking to it. There are several I'm sort of in the middle of, which I could choose to focus on this year. I should probably pick one sooner rather than later, and resolve not to flit onto something else when it starts getting difficult.

And, alongside my efforts at completing a lengthy magnum opus:

2. I'm going to sell some writing. A novel, some short fic, a drabble, an article for a magazine specialising in snarky geekdom, whatever - someone is going to pay me moneys for some words I done wrote.

I've already written stuff which may possibly qualify here. But this is going to involve familiarising myself more with paying markets and the actual professional side of writering, beyond the simple bit of sitting down and typing words. ("Simple" in that, logistically, I understand how it's supposed to work. The physical processes are relatively uncomplicated. This is not the same as "easy".)

So, there we are. I'd better get started.

Should probably have some tea first.

(P.S. This.)
1 deep thought| share and enjoy

moved [27 Nov 2010|11:18pm]
I lived in Bromley for over four years. Longer than I lived in Exeter. And now I don't any more.

This is weird.

So very tired.
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Halfway [15 Nov 2010|10:31pm]
Two weeks ago, I was sure I wasn't going to do this. Then started making some notes on it almost as a joke.

Now I've written over 20,000 words of a novel.

A terrible, terrible novel.

Day 15: 2116.

Running total: 20222.
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[14 Nov 2010|08:06pm]
Day 14: 2028.

Running total: 18106.
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12 & 13 [13 Nov 2010|05:51pm]
Day 12 & 13: 2485

Running total: 16078.
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11 [12 Nov 2010|12:40am]
Day 11: 1146.

Running total: 13593.

I'm falling way behind. I'm supposed to have hit 20k by the end of tomorrow. But, I've found somewhere to live next week. Swings and roundabouts.
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9 [09 Nov 2010|11:36pm]
Day 9: 1012.

Running total: 12447.

Sod off, I'm tired.
1 deep thought| share and enjoy

[08 Nov 2010|10:34pm]
Day 8: 2222.

Running total: 11435.

I'm going for the high score.
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7 [07 Nov 2010|11:10pm]
Day 7: 2019.

Running total: 9213.
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This still counts as day 6 [07 Nov 2010|12:13am]
Day 6: 2027.

Running total: 7194.

Still a few thousand behind schedule, but I'm gaining ground again slowly.
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Back on the wagon [05 Nov 2010|11:01pm]
Day 5: 1049.

Running total: 5167.

Blah.
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NaNoo NaNoo [02 Nov 2010|08:23pm]
Day 2: 1944.

Running total: 4118.
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Oops [01 Nov 2010|09:08pm]
I appear to have made a foolhardy error.

I've accidentally started doing NaNoWriMo.

Day 1: 2174.

Running total: 2174.
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The Day I Found The Grail [04 Jul 2010|09:03pm]
On Thursday evening I was at the theatre, and I got dragged up on stage, where Marcus Brigstocke and a bunch of other actors sang a song about me.

See, if I told the story linearly, it'd start out really boring and you'd lose interest by the time I got to the interesting part. But now that I've teased you with that, I'll backtrack a bit.

I went to see Spamalot this week, the stage musical lovingly ripped off from the film Monty Python and the Holy Grail. And it was good fun. Not every set-piece that was lifted straight from the movie worked perfectly, but a lot of them did and were nice to revisit. Things like the Black Knight battle were executed rather well, and the original material (mostly the songs) was inventive and fun. I thought Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life was crowbarred in rather awkwardly, but I can see how some people might feel cheated if they've paid money to go to a Monty Python musical and don't get to whistle along with that, even if it's from completely the wrong film. The cast all did a superb job, too.

It's not been universally acclaimed, especially by some fans who think it betrays the Python spirit. Towards the end of the show, I was reminded of one particular criticism I'd read ages ago in an online review. When encountering Tim the Enchanter, one of Arthur's team says, "'Tim'? That's not a very scary name."

The reviewer rightly pointed out that this line wasn't in the film, and seems to needlessly and laboriously explain the joke, and he cited this as representative of the way the stage show entirely misses the point of the madcap creativity of the original Python gang.

A part of me can sort of see the point, but I wanted to defend it in some ways too. I'm not sure that Spamalot ought to be a piece of avant-garde, surrealist humour in the way that Monty Python's Flying Circus was, and it's perhaps best that it wasn't really trying to be. It's aiming, rather sensibly, to be an accessible and family-friendly (the occasional swear word notwithstanding) musical comedy. It's funny, and whimsical, and nicely self-aware, but doesn't feel the need to be dangerously subversive or anarchic all the time.

I suppose you could ask, if you want to make a show that's funny and whimsical but not especially subversive or surreal or avant-garde, why you'd choose Monty Python as a basis for it. I'm just not sure it matters so much. I thought it was quite fun, is all.

Anyway. Towards the end of the show, Arthur and his knights do the bit where they defeat the killer rabbit with the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch, and they then find the word "Done" carved onto the cave wall. (You really don't need a spoiler warning for any of this. I mean, come on.) They speculate on what this could mean for a while, until one of them suggests: "Maybe it's supposed to be read as 'D one'," at which point I started praying rather fervently to nobody in particular that they weren't going where I thought they were going with this, because I knew what seat number I was sitting in.

After a while they realise what this means, and then suddenly there's a spotlight pointing at me, and King Arthur's faithful servant Patsy (played by Tucker from Grange Hill, if that's a reference that means anything to you) is running over to "find" the Holy Grail beneath my seat. (He actually brought it over himself, dropped it by my feet, then lifted it up in "discovery".) And there was much rejoicing.

And then I'm being told to go up on stage to celebrate my glorious achievement. And I'm shaking hands with and being congratulated by most of the cast, except King Arthur, who understandably doesn't want to be touched by an unwashed peasant. And I was told that I'd won the Best Peasant award for my services, and given a certificate signed by King Arthur to prove it. And also a tin of spam. And I had my photo taken with the cast, and tried to look proud and honoured but humble as they crowded round me facing the audience and sang the not-quite-closing number about how the Grail had been found with my help.

And it was all a bit terrifying but rather good. I just decided to go along with it and not think too hard about what would happen if they asked me to do anything I really wouldn't be able to handle, but it was mostly just a matter of standing in the right place. And then I went back to my seat, and Marcus commented on my rather scruffy check shirt and cargo shorts ("It's always nice when people dress up to go to the theatre, isn't it?"), and people laughed, and I laughed, and there was another closing sing-along to Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life, and that was more or less it. A few people congratulated me on my excellent peasanting on the way out.

And there we are. If I can persuade my scanner to work again at some point, I'll show you the photo. It doesn't look that bad, considering.

I'm off into London to see Penn & Teller in a couple of weeks. I plan to be hidden very discreetly in the middle of the audience for that one.
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It's still not an html tag I'm comfortable with [27 Jun 2010|08:14pm]
<fanboi>

So about Doctor Who.

(Yes, this really is what I'm using my first LJ post in months to say. It's what like 98% of this site is for already, and given that nobody is actually interested in listening to my thoughts on this subject, this seems as good a place as any to dump them.)

Spoilers, duh, so I suppose I'd better do thisCollapse )

In case of tl;dr: I think the main point of my thesis is that head Doctor Who writer Steven Moffat is impressive in his near-unique ability to write convincing relationships between characters well, and yet I'm sure he used to be able to do plot too.

So. How's everyone?
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