Monthly Archives: December 2018

And so it begins…

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Tomorrow is New Year’s Eve. Are you ready? What do I mean by ready? Ready for the Earth to pass some arbitrary point in space? Normally for new year I am sleeping as I usually have work the next day. Not this time though – owing to dumb luck I have New Year’s Day off. Not that midnight is in anyway special to me. I end up seeing it almost every night owing to my inability to do what is best for me and go to bed.

As far as new year is concerned it means I can go out and get drunk!

I don’t want to do that. To me going out and getting drunk isn’t actually fun. It feels more akin to going to an exam that I haven’t studied for. I don’t like crowds as it makes moving around more brain intensive. It could also be that I am short and therefore it is easy to not be noticed.

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A friend of mine made me pinky swear that I would do something for New Year’s Eve. ‘Something’ covers everything of course – although probably doesn’t include sleeping. What does an introvert do for a party?

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At the moment I’ve got nothing. It would be nice to go out somewhere. I have this bad habit of wondering around aimlessly in the evening. So there has to be an aim. And it shouldn’t involve too much food. I am sure I have put on weight over the Christmas period – I haven’t had the nerve to check how bad it is.

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I could eat soup on New Year. That is doing something. And no that is not a complete non-sequitur I got a soup maker for Christmas so I would be using my Christmas present. My friend might feel she was being cheated if I said: ‘Yes I did do something on New Year’s Eve – I ate soup.’

What about you? If you’re like me and like to avoid the noise and the crowds what do you do for new year?

I just wanted to say that I have checked this post. I really have. Unfortunately my particular combination of dyslexia and dyspraxia makes it really hard for me to spot typos. Please enjoy and I’ll try not to make too many errors.

I have a Patreon page. I hope you will consider supporting this blog:

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Christmas 2018

Christmas Everyday would lead to bankruptcy.

I feel, almost, compelled to write bah humbug here. There is something about Christmas that is so weird don’t you think?

I am not a Christian so, for me, this isn’t about religion. For me Christmas is about spending time with family, good food, and the giving and receiving of presents. Those are all good things so why then the bah humbug?

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…because it sometimes seems like you can’t enjoy Christmas your way. I am guilty of that too. I would find it weird to hear that someone was having a lasagne on Christmas day. If you like lasagne then why the hell not?

Someone asked if I was having a Christmas tree and the answer is no. They seemed to find that strange. Firstly my flat is tiny so the tree would have to be up all year, and secondly I am not going to be in the flat on Christmas Day anyway

I still don’t entirely understand all of this song.

While I like the Christmas songs shown here the music every year is the same songs. And if you are shopping, or work in retail, you will here songs like Rocking around the Christmas Tree so many times it makes you want to say: ‘I’ll tell you anything you want just please make it stop.’

The songs are also so jolly. Can’t I just have a regular level of happiness? In my case it is more like a regular level of okness.

I protest I am not a merry man.

Worf (TNG: Qpid)

There is also the problem of talking about the new year. It is always done so with the expectation of hope but we know it will be largely the same. There will be good and bad in the new year just like every other year.

Probably my favourite Christmas song. He just wants to be home

I do not say all his to be down on Christmas. I wish we could do what is said in so many songs. Stop war and really make the new year fundamentally different to the years that have gone before.

No snow so far – just rain. Lots and lots of rain.

I am rambling here. I think it is because in spite of what I have said in the last two posts I do feel like I am on the verge of a new beginning.

Next year I want to find a new job. I want to finish many stories. I want to continue to post here. It may be that the earth is soon to pass an arbitrary point in space but still there is the feeling of an end. And on Sunday 22nd December 2019 – I want to be able to tell you all some amazing things.

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Whatever you have planned for the 25th I hope you have an amazing day. This has been a rather morose post as my mind is working through some stuff in the background. My next post will be the last one of the year. Thank you so much for reading.

I just wanted to say that I have checked this post. I really have. Unfortunately my particular combination of dyslexia and dyspraxia makes it really hard for me to spot typos. Please enjoy and I’ll try not to make too many errors.

I have a Patreon page. I hope you will consider supporting this blog:

Leave a comment

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2019 Two Weeks to Go

Don’t Panic

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Also Corporal Jones (Dad’s Army)) 

Today, as I write this, my mind is in a complete jumble. I get like this from time-to-time and it is a difficult to put the feeling into words. 

This picture is a good representation of how it feels sometimes. My mind is starting to calm down but earlier it was like there was this fog of thoughts. And I can’t even completely put into words what I was thinking about. 

Thinking about what you can’t control only wastes energy and creates its own enemy.

Lieutenant Worf (TNG: Coming of Age) 

Yesterday (Monday) I did some Christmas shopping. Naturally it was very busy indeed. I do not like crowds. I have to put in extra mental energy just to walk as I find my way through.

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Shopping offline is a nice thing to do at Christmas time but sometimes I like the idea of just ordering from Amazon. (Other enormous companies are available.) There are no crowds and it is just easier.

I haven’t been sleeping too well lately – or maybe I just haven’t been sleeping for long enough. Despite what I said last time this upcoming new year does feel like a place for a new beginning and I know that that is an illusion. 

Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so. 

Douglas Adams (The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy)

What am I going to do? I don’t know.

One thing I have achieved is a meditation streak of 241 days. I would like to think that that has helped me but I am not sure. The jumbled feeling in my brain is still there. 

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This post is my way of working through some stuff and it has not been entirely successful. It is now Friday for me. I have some time off over Christmas and maybe that will give me the opportunity to work things out. I at least want to reach the point where, at the end of a given day, I feel happy about what has been achieved rather than annoyed and what hasn’t. For today writing this post has been an achievement. 

Sometimes the most adult thing you can do is ask for help when you need it.

Rupert Giles (Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Seeing Red) 

I just wanted to say that I have checked this post. I really have. Unfortunately my particular combination of dyslexia and dyspraxia makes it really hard for me to spot typos. Please enjoy and I’ll try not to make too many errors.

I have a Patreon page. I hope you will consider supporting this blog:

Leave a comment

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2019 Three Weeks To GO

Let’s See What’s Out Their.

Captain Picard (TNG: Encounter at Farpoint)

At the end of the year many people set resolutions and review all that has happened in the year. We see the new year as fundamentally different than the one before when, in every meaningful sense, it is not. 

Make now always the most precious time. Now will never come again.

Captain Picard (TNG: The Inner Light)

A yeah can begin at any point at all. So can a week. We don’t have to wait until January or Monday to begin the new diet, life plan, or exercise regime we can start now. In the western world we are approaching 2019 – other calendars are on other years and indeed start their years at different times.

If I was designing the calendar I think I would separate Christmas and New Year. I think March would be a far better place to start the year – as in fact it once was. Then the year would start when the weather had started to improve and maybe it would feel more like a new beginning. With our calendar we have Christmas and Boxing Day – then three normal days before new year. I know I am not the only one who finds this a bit weird.

This must be Thursday,’ said Arthur to himself, sinking low over his beer. ‘I never could get the hang of Thursdays.

Douglas Adams (The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy)

I am writing this on Thursday and it is a good excuse to use that quote because, oddly, I know what he means:
Monday is the start of the week.
Tuesday is the continuation and not very important.
Wednesday is midweek and the weekend is in sight.
Friday is the end of the week – just one more shift!
Saturday is a  day off and you can sleep in!
Sunday is a day off but you have to prepare for work and try to get to bed at a good time.
Thursday is just sort of there.

This year I am not making resolutions as I always fail. There are also two things, no I won’t be more specific, that I have not got around to that I have been meaning to do for a year. It is a bad habit of mine. If it is not on the to-list it doesn’t get done. Sometimes it doesn’t if it is on the to-do list but that is a separate problem.

The one thing I have managed to achieve this year is being consistent hear! There was a bit of a shaky start but for most of the year I have posted every week. And that is something I am pleased with. 

So what have you achieved this year? I hope it has been a good one. See you next week.

I just wanted to say that I have checked this post. I really have. Unfortunately my particular combination of dyslexia and dyspraxia makes it really hard for me to spot typos. Please enjoy and I’ll try not to make too many errors.

I have a Patreon page. I hope you will consider supporting this blog:

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FLT, Universal Translators, Artificial Gravity, and My NaNoWriMo Experience

Spinning is so much cooler than not spinning. I’m the General I want it to spin”

General Hammond (Stargate SG-1 “200”)

When writing science fiction there are two basic types – hard and soft. I tend to be more drawn to soft science fiction. I love Star Trek with its transporters, shields, and the deflector dish which seems to solve so many problems.

Soft science fiction requires willing suspension of disbelief and everyone has a different threshold. The Star Trek transporter is something I am fine with – a star drive powered by mushrooms I am not.

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The funny thing is that while a transporter is impossible anyway I would find it weird if it could beam up a standing person and rematerialise them in a sitting position. To me that seems more impossible. Can you have degrees of impossible?

And speaking of the threshold of disbelief… Threshold is also an episode of Star Trek: Voyager – where we lean that travelling to infinite speed leads to being transformed into a salamander! And still more believable than a mushroom star-drive – well maybe.   

Hard science fiction is based around our current understanding of the universe. In some ways the limits of space exploration are down to budget more than possibilities. Think what NASA could do if they had the US defence budget. An example of hard science fiction is The Martian. Which in my opinion is one of the best films ever made. It was so refreshing to see a science fiction film with out a villain. I was literally on the edge of my seat for parts of it and I had to remind myself a couple of times that it wasn’t based on real events – that is how well done it was.

For my own writing I like to go for a balance between the two. I don’t want the vagueness of energy shields, not that they don’t look cool, but I do want FLT for what I want to write it is essential.

As well as FLT I feel the need for a universal translator. Without such a device the story becomes about the language. There are films and TV shows that have done that to good effect but I want to sidestep the issue. That said I want a plausible universal translator. It can only translate languages programmed into it. For races not previously contacted it might take hours, or even days, to be able to build up a translation. Perhaps the computers of us and the aliens could talk to each other and work out a way to  communicate.

For my writing FLT and a universal translator are essential – but what about artificial gravity?

In film and television science fiction artificial gravity is often just there. It is not explained and is accepted as a science fiction staple. The reason is obvious simulating zero-g would be prohibitively expensive. 

A book doesn’t have that issue. In a book you can do anything. Except that you still have to think about the physics of the situation. And physics is not one of my strong suits. 

A good halfway house is to have your star ship, or space station spin. This creates the effect of gravity and, while not being quiet this simple, the writer can basically forget about it and get on with the story. 

However in writing for nanowrimo I still found that the physics of the situation confusing. My brother does understand these things but I can’t be calling him all the time. So I am wondering should I just give the ship artificial gravity and maybe inertial dampeners and have down with? I haven’t decided. Anyway here are seven things I learnt from doing nanowrimo.

One: Have a plan. I launched into this with out one of any kind of plan. As such a lot of what I have written may prove useless. Still 50,000 words have now been put together in a way not done before and that, if only to me, is worth something.

Two: Consider the merits of different types of narrative. This is connected to the first one. I wrote my novel in first person. My protagonist was a low ranked crewman. That was fine until I realised that there were important plot points that she would not know about. It seems the story would work a lot better in third person.

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Three: Focus on the novel. I try and do too much most of the time. We all have so many calls on our time it is difficult to juggle them all. I left myself with a situation where the ending was rushed. Early days of NaNoWriMo had very few words written. Next time the words should come first and then the other things. The key? Smash through the target on days off so days in work, with greatly limited time, are easier to manage.

Four: Think of food. My diet is, in general, not great. That is a bigger problem that I need to deal with. For nanowrimo it has been worse as I have not wanted to take the time to cook. Next time I need to have a meal plan to stop this from being an issue. I have put on a bit of weight from this month.

Five: Don’t neglect the body. Work obviously gets me out of the house but days off need to be considered too. It is all too easy to stay in for most of the day writing even if it is not going well. Staring at a blank screen is not going to help. Exercise is important. Yes the guy who can’t resist free cake, it happens at work sometimes, is telling you to be healthy!

Six: I don’t need to be linear.  One of the things I struggle with most in writing is bridging sections. Characters need to get from one place to another but you can’t put every detail i.e: being welcomed into someone’s home, removing shoes, coat and banal greetings for example. When dealing with nanowrimo if Chapter 4 isn’t coming together you can do Chapter 5 or 6 or any other part.     

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Seven: Relax. This is very much a ‘do as I say not as I do’ situation. At the end of the day Nanowrimo is about you and you alone. And if you don’t get the words it is not a huge deal. If you are anything like me though you probably feel as pressured by internal deadlines as you would by external ones. So if life gets in the way, or the words aren’t flowing, don’t worry about it. Take some time to relax. Even if you only get 10,000 words that is still an amazing achievement.

So how did your November go? Were you stressing about something too? For December I am going to do more writing but with a much more manageable word count of around 20,000 words.

I just wanted to say that I have checked this post. I really have. Unfortunately my particular combination of dyslexia and dyspraxia makes it really hard for me to spot typos. Please enjoy and I’ll try not to make too many errors.

I have a Patreon page. I hope you will consider supporting this blog:

Leave a comment

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