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Becoming Superman

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“No, not gone. Now we make our own magic. Now we create our own legends. Now we build the future. Now we stop–“

“–being afraid of shadows.”

Delenn and Sheridan (Babylon 5: Into the Fire)

I like to read. I usually read about 30 books a year but I rarely talk about them here. When I say read I am including audio books and maybe that is fudging the data somewhat. Then again I think my brother includes the children’s books he reads to his son. Given that I am 8 books behind schedule for my 39 book target maybe that is something I need to do – although I don’t have children so it might be a bit odd.

Photo by Lukas Hartmann from Pexels

I have recently finished Becoming Superman by J. Michael Straczynski. It is his autobiography and it is amazing. I listened to the audio book while walking to work and I must look like a complete imbecile as parts of it are literally laugh out loud funny. Although maybe that is just because I am a writer – unknown and unpublished but still a writer. To me though some passages were most amusing.

I will not sleep, eat, drink, nothing! The words and I will be locked in mortal combat until one of us surrenders

G’Kar (Babylon 5: No Compromises)

Becoming Superman tells the whole story of JMS’s life. It talks about his abusive upbringing and goes on to his career as a writer across many areas of creativity. He was had an amazing career and the volume of scripts he has written is phenomenal. I find myself rather envious that he has been able to do that full time – even with the financial struggles that came with it.

Ask ten different scientists about the environment, population control, genetics and you’ll get ten different answers, but there’s one thing every scientist on the planet agrees on. Whether it happens in a hundred years or a thousand years or a million years, eventually our Sun will grow cold and go out. When that happens, it won’t just take us. It’ll take Marilyn Monroe and Lao-Tzu and Einstein and Morobuto and Buddy Holly and Aristophenes .. and all of this .. all of this was for nothing unless we go to the stars.”

Commander Sinclair (Babylon 5: Infection)

JMS is a man of incredible integrity – on more than one occasion he left working on a TV show because he refused to adjust it to what, in his mind, would be a detriment to the work and to the characters. He also kept a promise made to his wife even after they divorced. A promise that she would never have to work in a closed in office if that wasn’t what she wanted. It was wonderful to reed about a divorced couple that still cares about each other after the end of a relationship. The common wisdom of the world would suggest that that is impossible but it is not.

It doesn’t matter if you stand completely alone. Fight for what you believe.

Captain Sheridan (Babylon 5: Objects at Rest)

I have used quotes from Babylon 5 in this review for three reasons. Firstly it is what I know JMS from and it is a work I very much admire, secondly I don’t have a hard copy of the book, and thirdly he puts his feelings in to the mouths of his characters. He describes this idea in episode commentaries of how his character creation can be based around a particular trait of his.

The quote above is very important and it is echoed in Becoming Superman. It is the idea that a writer, or any sort of artist, well have their naysayers. These are the people who say ‘Get a real job’ or ‘You’ll never make money doing this.’ While tenacity and dedication are no guarantee of success the important thing is to keep going. To try every day to make a step towards your goal. As the old saying goes: ‘A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.’ And a novel of 100,000 words begins with a single word. Even a 500 words a day will get you a first draft in less than a yeah. So keep going and fight to achieve your goals. That is what I take from Becoming Superman. It is a book about the struggles of life and what is important. It is quite simply an excellent read.

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: https://www.patreon.com/unstableorbit

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It is Time For Plan…

We have a plan B?”
No … but it’s time for one

Carter and O’Neill (Stargate SG-1: Orpheus)

I am far beyond plan B when it comes to productivity. I actually have no idea what letter of the alphabet I am up to in my planing. I have used several different apps, notebooks, and other assorted methods that I seem to have forgotten as it is 0630 when I write this and I have been up since 0400. There may not have been other methods but writing rules say that examples come in threes!

Photo by Jessica Lewis from Pexels

Do you remember being in school and having a revision timetable? The cliche is that you spend so much time making a pretty timetable that there is no time left to actually study.

I couldn’t find a clip of Rimmer taking his exam so this is always good for a laugh.

It is a new day now. I wrote up to the last paragraph a few days ago – and started today with this video. In those few days I have not come any closer to a plan. I have at least defined the problem. What I want to do in a week would take more time than actually exits in a week! (That is when you consider having to fit it in around a full time job.)

This is no time to argue about time. We don’t have the time!

Troi (Star Trek: First Contact)

Releasing this issue is the first step. I have no idea what the last step is. Now if you’ll excuse me I am going to get to the next item on my ridiculous list of things to do. I think I almost miss boredom.

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: https://www.patreon.com/unstableorbit

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I Have No Plan

Yes. I have no plan for life or for this blog. Having no plan doesn’t always work out that badly though.

Any excuse to share Doctor Who

I seem to muddle through like a writer in search of a workable metaphor. I might be a bit mad as I have too many things I am trying to do and so none of them get done very well. Hence why the laundry tub is overflowing – I need to get rid of some clothes too. It is 1249 as write this so only five hours and ten minutes before you will be able to read it.

https://www.pexels.com/photo/banana-cold-embrace-enjoyment-323190/

For today I am going to share a short story. This was written for a competition at my writing group. It had to contain the words: Facebook, Banana, despot, and kettle.

The Banana, the kettle, and the Despot.

There was an old man seated at the other end of the table. He wore a smart, but not expensive, grey suit was bald, and he was stroking a banana.

Siobhan had made it very clear I shouldn’t laugh at her grandfather but in this situation it wasn’t easy. “So,” he said. “You like my granddaughter?”

For a man stroking a banana he was somehow able to make the simple question sound threatening.

“I do,” I said.

“I hope that you are prepared to one day say those words in a more public setting and you are not just… using her.”

“I am not, sir.”

He smiled and continued to run his hand over the banana. “I am sure you are wondering why I have this banana.”

“Yes.”

“Simple,” he said. “I am allergic to cats.”

I had seen a picture of him early in Siobhan and my Facebook conversations and now that I looked at him he did bear and uncanny resemblance to Donald Pleasence. If he was despotic Blofeld did that make me Bond? If Bond was overweight and had difficultly talking to women. I chanced a question. “So you are some despot wanting to end the world?”

“No. However your world will end if you hurt Siobhan.”

Suddenly a woman was led into the room by a man wearing black fatigues, with a water-pistol on his hip and carrying a kettle. I recognised the man as Siobhan’s brother and the woman was her best friend.

“This woman put the milk in first!” Had the words not been so ridiculous it might actually have been scary. Siobhan’s grandfather had been a small time actor.

The woman was staring at her shoes. Siobhan’s brother barely touched her with the kettle and she stage fell to the ground. He then fired his water-pistol at her soaking her black shirt.

“You see the consequences for disobedience?” Her grandfather stared at me and I gulped in spite of myself. I wasn’t sure what this man would actually do if I hurt his granddaughter but I was sure I didn’t want to know. Somehow his gaze lost no power in spite of the fact that all I had seen was a woman shot with a water-pistol and an old man stroking a banana.

The End.

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: https://www.patreon.com/unstableorbit

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Doughnut Today – Holiday Tomorrow.

Photo by Tim Gouw from Pexels

So today I want to talk about…

I thought about going with ‘Money’ by Pink Floyd – but decided on Shania Twain on the grounds that I actually own this album and mixed up Pink Floyd with Supertramp.

On Thursday I wrote in my journal about how I misspend my money. Then later in the day I went on to misspend my money. Yes. I started the day saying I need to spend less and ended the day spending £50. I bought shower gel, from Lush, a Thermos, and some food.

…thermos, meaning hot, if you don’t drop it…

Michael Flanders (Introduction to First and Second Law)

The shower gel is a luxury item as I could pick up something cheaper. I like Lush, not sponsored, but I could save on that. The Thermos is more of a necessary item. It means that I can take a hot meal to work. I have another one but it never held heat between making the meal and eating the meal. I now realise that that might have been due to my lack of understanding of thermodynamics and having insufficient liquid. The last part of the £50 was spent on food and this is my Achilles heal.

Ah, beer, my one weakness. My Achilles heal if you will.

Homer Simpson (The Simpsons)

The problem with food is that it is nice. I admit it might also fill a void but I don’t want to talk about my mental state. So having a treat of one sort or another seems like such a small thing. It is individual but have you ever sat and thought about it collectively?

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If I spend £20 a week on unnecessary food that is £1040 over the year. When you are standing at the pretzel shop, about to spend £3ish, that figure seems so far away. It is true though if I ditch the teats I could save enough to go on holiday. Travel is going to make up the vast majority of my bucket list. I could practically list every county in the world on that list. So why don’t I do it? Why don’t more people do it?

Photo by Tobias Bjørkli from Pexels

…because it is such a nebulous future. Incidentally the picture above isn’t a nebular but look pretty lights. The pretzel, doughnut, chai, or milkshake can be in my mouth now. The holiday will be a year away and it is difficult not to equate the deprivation of a treat now to seeing something amazing in the future. On Thursday I failed to follow through. Will tomorrow, my next day off, be any better? I can’t say. It may only result in me eating the same stuff only this time feeling guilty about it. Only time will tell. Perhaps I just need a budget.

I am obviously not the first person to put forward this idea. Some people, I am sure, spend a lot more than I do. For the time being I will probably just be feeling guilty. Still I hold this fact in my mind. Even spending just £0.30 a day on a doughnut or some such thing would be £109 over the year. That could be put towards a flight to somewhere. So can I avoid temptation no doughnuts and a trip instead? Well not so far. I need to work on it though.

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: https://www.patreon.com/unstableorbit

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I Have Been, and Always Shall Be, Your Friend

Using those words for this post might be a bit on the heavy handed but they are also appropriate. Today I said ‘Goodbye’ to a friend of mine. She and her boyfriend are moving to Denmark and it may be some time before I see her again.

As I was heading to her place I wasn’t entirely sure I remembered the route. I only took the one wrong turn. As I got back on track I was thinking how I would remover it for next time. I also passed a bike hire station so I could have cycled. I thought about how I would remember that too. Except I don’t need to remember as on Saturday she will be off.

Goodbyes are always difficult. The first major time it happens is in high school. The school is the glue that holds you together. In the absence of that you drift apart like two lifeboats with the tether cut.

My friend and I, I think, will keep in touch. After all your friends in school are determined by the alphabet and in adulthood it is other factors. Ironically had we been at the same high school we would have been in the same class given our surnames. I wonder if we would have been friends then too.

So I will miss her. Given how busy our lives were, and my working weekends, we might only have met once or twice a month. Quantity is irrelevant for friendship. We always had fun conversations and she was good to be around.

The good news is that now I have extra motivation to travel. So in a few months, maybe a year, when she and her boyfriend are established I will go and see them. I have only ever seen an airport in Denmark and I would love to experience the country proper.

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What is it?

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I don’t know what this blog post will be about. My mind is a bit on the blank side at the moment. It probably doesn’t help that I am doing three things at once at the moment, this, a YouTube video, and texting.

Multitasking simply doesn’t work. Yet I keep doing it. Why? Probably because I have all the focus of a cat in a field of catnip.

Photo by Wojciech Kumpicki from Pexels

…or it could be that there are so many things I want to accomplish that I am trying to do all of them. Even though none of those things I mentioned are really accomplishments. And all that happens is each thing edges forward at a very slow rate – and this takes far too long – I need help.

https://www.pexels.com/photo/black-and-white-clouds-dark-dark-clouds-557782/

My novel seems to be going well. Reading chapters out, almost, weekly is useful as it means the chapter’s are expected and I am, sort of, accountable to someone else. There may have been a few too many conditional clauses in that statement.

https://www.pexels.com/photo/low-angle-photograph-of-the-parthenon-during-daytime-164336/

I’ll give you a little titbit of information. Consider your character’s history. I am writing a section with centaurs and kelpies. It is so easy to put human characteristics to this beings. However a nod may not be a ‘Yes’, a shake of the head may not mean ‘No.’ and a thumbs up is not possible if the beings don’t have thumbs. Even those examples mean a completely different thing in different parts of the world before we even get in to a fictional world So in closing remember…

The Truth Resists Simplicity.

John Green.

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: https://www.patreon.com/unstableorbit

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Holiday

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood from Pexels

Packing for a holiday is a strange thing – especially for one like me who could make worrying a sport. As I leave the house I always feel concerned that I have forgotten this or forgotten that. In my mind it is a big issue. In reality if I have forgotten something it can always be acquired. There are only three things you need to have: money, mobile, and your house keys.

https://www.pexels.com/photo/mountain-ranges-covered-in-snow-714258/

Naturally that assumes that you are going on a regular holiday and are not planing to climb a mountain or something else of that sort.

Yes. I have just come back from my summer holiday in Tenby. It was a lovely trip and the weather was beautiful. The choppy sea meant that boat trips to Caldey couldn’t run but that didn’t matter as there were other things to do such as visiting Barafundle Bay – most importantly just stopping for a bit. Tenby is the one place I can truly say I relax. There is something magical about a beach.

Unfortunately I was ill for the trip so I didn’t get any writing done but that is okay as it mean I completely stopped. And my parents were in the area too. It was nice to spend time with them.

I am a very stressed person and I think I would find a new place stressful. If I had paid a lot of money to go somewhere there is pressure to get out and do things. Going to the same place every year is nice. You can do nothing and it not feel wasteful. I didn’t want to come home – but reality beckons.

I hope that you have a wonderful holiday planned for this year. See you next time.

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: https://www.patreon.com/unstableorbit

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