Monthly Archives: December 2009

Happy holidays

Just noticed last post was on my birthday, so figured I should do one for xmas as well. Not got a lot further with the third story. I have the subject, approach and layout but not making a lot of headway with the writing. Wrote the first two sections but then deleted them and went back to my notepad. Have restarted but still not too sure I’ve got it right. I was just about to start work on the second section (while wife & daughter work on xmas lunch; I’m keeping well away: wife thought they were aiming at 2pm so did the roast potatoes for then while daughter thought 1:30pm and was aiming the chicken to be ready for that time) when I thought to write this.

Will hit that section now while on second glass of bubbly: need to drink it all today: left one in fridge lying down – only way it’ll fit – couple of days ago and it exploded, emptying everywhere and stinking the fridge out so was only allowed to have second bottle (Tesco Cava as recommended in G) today if I finished it – bottle is on back step keeping cold and I keep going and topping glass up – sort of explains this post I guess.

Ho hum and bah humbug – happy xmas to all.

On my way?

Yesterday I finished my second short story, well the first draft of it anyway. The first one was done a couple of weeks ago but I did not rate that a significant achievement. Firstly, doing something once does not mean I am going to stick at it: this I know from LOTS of previous experience. And secondly, it was not what I considered publishable, or, not worthy of sending off to a publisher. The story started well but ended up going nowhere. The one real significance of that effort was more that I finished it given that I was only about 3k words in when I knew it was not worth sending out and it ended up being 7800 words long. In the past I would have simply given up on it at that stage but writing it did teach me stuff about writing.

The second one felt right from the outset. I’d had the idea for some time, sitting in my very long list of ideas. When the first story was nearing completion, I looked into that list for the next one to start on because I knew that if I delayed even a little on starting the second, I might never do so. About the second day into thinking about it, I thought of a twist that made the story work, that better said what I wanted the story to say. That was when I thought the story would be worth sending out. Of course, that made me extremely nervous.

Halfway through writing the story, I thought of a way of wrapping it up that I hoped would improve it, that would let me keep all the action to a single day but still properly ‘conclude’ all the characters’ arcs. This, of course, made me even more nervous and I blocked for a few days. It ended with driving up to the motorway junction, grabbing a coffee, and sitting there until I broke the block. I finished the last 2400 words in two days.

Now, though, I look at the story and wonder if the plot ‘twist’ is naff and the mode of keeping it all to one day is overly pretentious. Ho hum! I guess I’m never going to be a very confident writer 🙂

Time to dig out the ideas list again (yay, Evernote).

Bye, bye, redundancy money :)

Well, my redundancy money is pretty much gone now. What did I spend it on? Not books as those who know me well would assume.

First was a new camera. I already have a Nikon Coolpix P50 which is fantastic for carrying around in a coat pocket and a Nikon Coolpix 8800 which Vicky is now using but I wanted to go the DSLR route. As is obvious, I’m a Nikon fetishist so the new one had to be that rather than the other brand which does not begin with an ‘N’. And the price could not be such that Maggie dropped dead right on the spot (so leaving out the D3X and D300s, drool!). I settled then for the D90 and really love it: the speed, the feel, the ease of shooting, everything about it.

Next came a new PC. I wanted to start seriously manipulating my photographs so wanted kit that would enable me to do this to the best of my ability (limited) and budget (even more limited). I checked out the reviews at the PCPro website. They do a great job on tech reviews. I didn’t find anything that leaped out at me but I did notice that Chillblast seems to always be near the top of the review list. I looked at their site and, right on the front page, was a machine aimed at photographers the Fusion Photo OC III. Really nice looking piece of kit: 12Gb memory, i7 chip, 80Gb SSD and 2 x 1Tb drives. I did some research on monitors as well, using the expertise on DPReview mainly. Looked like I needed some sort of IPS technology based monitor and the DELL 2408WFP offered by Chillblast was one such: very expensive though. In the end, I stuck with the Dell and just cut out all the extras I was planning to buy with the computer.

The PC arrived a week ago. It was bigger than I imagined so is now under the desk rather than on top as I’d planned, which is fine. Lots of pretty blue lights as well 🙂 I’ve now got it pretty much set up with Win 7 64-bit Home Premium, all the necessary software and loads of peripherals plugged in (Logitech Wave keyboard/mouse, Logitech 2.1 speakers, Wacom Graphire 4 pad, HP 4850 scanner, Canon iP5000, Airport and Belkin USB Network hub).

Only thing missing from all that, if I’m going to write, is a laser printer. Again looked around and found a pretty cheap one, Brother HL-2037 (black version of 2035 AFAICS) on Amazon. That arrived yesterday and is now plugged into the Belkin hub so we can use it from any other computer in the house.

Anyway, that is pretty much it for the redundancy money. Now to earn it all back selling stories and photographs (where is a smiley for wry hopeless grin when you need it?).