1 Mar 

Does it count as writing if you've had the file open for the last hour and a half, but spent most of your time thinking about writing, surfing the net, and playing solitaire? Sure, it doesn't add to your word count, but still?

No, eh. That's what I thought.
The esteemed palinade, who is way more knowledgeable about this stuff than I'll ever be, recommended I set my projected word count for 100k instead of 120K, thereby increasing my productivity by .6% without writing a single extra word.

I told you she was good.

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
3,500 / 100,000

2 Mar

          I'm going to Ad Astra today. Neener neener neener!
          While there I will no doubt hang with other worldly, sophisticated and intelligent individuals.
          So there. Thptttt.

6 Mar

          Okay, since you all suck at con reports, I guess I'm going to give you mine.
          Ad Astra was fun, and as E's friend Laura put it: "The people at this convention were nicer looking than at most cons I go to. The attendee pool was even more prone to bathing and acting like adults than I am used to seeing at cons."
          It's cause we're Canadian, eh.
          As usual, E (an honorary Canadian) was the first person I met when I got there on Friday, and she'd brought along a couple of friends--the aforementioned Laura, and Hans. Both were bright, funny, and amiable, but then what else would you expect from friends of E.
          We spent most of Friday night at the bar, of course, and I spent a lot of money time in the dealer's room talking with the lovely Bakka-Phonix people: Chris, Leah, and Simmone (Aurora?), after which I dragged everyone to a chocolate tasting. (Yeah, right, major arm-twisting there.) Once we'd sampled a gazillion bits of chocolate (Aztec? I don't know what's in it, but it burned my tongue!) I sniffed out some more chocolate three floors up. Well, okay, it was a Harry Potter Party, but they had a chocolate fountain, so that counts. Of course we all had to be sorted under the sorting hat first. Chris, being a boss and all, was Slytherin. As a matter of fact, most of the women were, which just goes to prove--they're evil. I could have sworn I was sorted into Chippendales, but everyone else assures me it was Hufflepuff. Oddly enough, Aurora got Hufflepuff, too, so apparently we can kick your ass--you just have to ask us real nice like.
          By Saturday the rest of the folks showed up. Karin arrived, as did Derek Molata--who I'd never met before, but now I have, and I'm glad of it. He's funny, and big--so he clears a crowd nicely and I don't have to shove anyone when I walk behind him.
          Lesley (Livingston) and Caitlyn (Sweet) showed up to do their thing for the Sunburst Auction, and this time brought a third femme fatale with them--Adrienne Kress. The auction drew a big crowd (Oh, okay, the girls drew the crowd!) with Leslie doing her schtick, Caitlyn setting her up, and Adrienne playing Vanna White. I'm sure Peter Halazs was beside himself. (Well, actually, he was beside the three girls, a lot, and I have the pictures to prove it. *g*) I made myself useful by letting them use my room to change in. (I made the mistake of going back there later to get my Convention Badge, and it looked like the Pussycat Dolls had exploded in there.)
          Later, I went to Karin's reading, and one (two?) of her panels, and one of Caitlyn's, and somewhere in there I ate lunch--I think. Then Scott (Bakker) showed up, which was nice because no one was expecting him. (He only let a couple of people feel the dent in his head this time--but he did tell fart jokes the next morning at breakfast, so it wasn't all bad. *g*)
          Sometime in there Guy Gavriel Kay showed up, and Rob Sawyer (who sat on Guy's knee, along with Scott and Peter?--and there are pictures to prove that, too) Caroline Klink, and Elizabeth (from down south) and Laura, and Jeffrey AB, and Martin Springett, and Terry, and, and…
          Okay, sometime in there I got hungry and a bunch of us went to a Japanese place for some teppanyaki, which was good, then it was back to the bar, where we talked until two in the morning.
          The next day I got up and had breakfast (See above for reference to Scott's fart jokes) and then, basically, left.

13 Mar

Sure, why not?  
You scored as Blade. Thats right you are the booty kicking you cross me and I will stomp a mudhole in your butt type. Sexy and a great fighter with mad fighting skills

Deacon Frost

Whose your Vampire personality? (images)
created with QuizFarm.com
          And in keeping with the vampire theme, I went for blood tests this morning. They took 9 (count em, 9!)* vials. (Okay, I originally wrote that as "viles", which, if my blood was vile, would explain a lot.) And I have to go back this afternoon to give more.
          I mean, I can't let those vampires have all my blood, can I? If I did, there'd be none left for the zombies me.

*you'll have to count em; I'm too weak.*

14 Mar

          Zack Snyder's hit 300, about the Greco-Persian Battle of Thermopylae in 480 B.C., has drawn the wrath of Iranians for showing their ancestors as bloodthirsty "savages," the Agence France-Presse news service reported.
          (Yeah, as opposed to all those Nancy-boy, tea-toting Spartans.)
          Iranian press, officials and bloggers have united in denouncing the film as another example of "psychological warfare" against Tehran by its American archenemy at a time of mounting tension over its nuclear program, the AFP reported.
          You morons! 99.9% of Americans had no idea the Iran used to be Persia. Hell, they can't even find their own town on a map. So thanks for pointing that out.

          On a totally unrelated note, (nice segue, huh?) I'm the Base Duty MCpl today. No, it's not as exciting as it seems. Basically I get to make sure no one gets into the mess hall unkempt (You have to be very kempt to eat in CF mess halls) or lock themselves out of their rooms or something.
          Hey, when I said I wanted to serve my country, I didn't mean lunch.

16 Mar

          So I arrived home from Base Duty yesterday morning at around 07:35, apparently surprising Pen who was asleep and hadn't expected me home until much later. I guess she thought someone was breaking in.
          I gave her a stiletto, which she keeps under the bed, and I have this big bowie knife and a short sword hidden there as well. So what does she come out into the hallway armed with?
          One of those bean bag heating pad thingies. Didn't I teach that woman anything?
20 Mar
          So the new budget is out. They spread out 10 billion dollars, and as far as I can tell, none of it will help me out one bit. As a matter of fact, I think I'm going to pay about $300 dollars more a year in taxes.
          I think the average Canadian would be thrilled if the finance minister got up and said, "Listen, we're going to spend most of the money on lowering income tax and providing for education, health care, and affordable homes. After that we'll just divvy up the rest amongst whatever's left."
          You know, prioritize.
          See, that's the kind of budget we'd get if they actually cared about what the people need, instead of what the people who might vote for them need, or the ones who support their campaign. (A huge chunk of that budget is headed for Quebec, because try winning an election without them. And no doubt the rich and Big Business will do just fine.)

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
4,700 / 100,000

21 Mar

          I am the proud owner of Kung Fu: the Complete First Season. You know, the one with David Carradine. No, not the junk that came after, but the original with the whole, "Pass me the hibachi, Grasshopper."
          Of course, I haven't had a chance to watch it yet, but I will, soon.
          Kung Fu came out in 1972, I think. It was probably one of the main influences that got me interested in martial arts. I'd been taking Judo for about a year by then, but once I saw it I just had to learn to beat up people in an all-new way.
          Hey, I never said it was a positive influence.

22 Mar

          Mimzy comes out this weekend. Now, I have no idea if the movie is any good or not, but it was one of my favourite short stories when I was younger. I seem to remember the story having a somewhat darker tone than the movie trailers would have us believe, but I could be wrong.
          Oh, and that Lewis Padgett guy they say the story was written by? Well, that's the pen name for the husband and wife writing team of Henry Kuttner and C.L. Moore. Oddly enough, Kuttner was my favourite short story author, too (Well, at least for sci-fi.) and wrote the kind of story I tried to emulate. (Which is when I discovered that no one was interested in that kind of story anymore--or I was doing a lousy job of emulating them.)

23 Mar

That's just the subdural hematoma.  
Your Brain is Purple

Of all the brain types, yours is the most idealistic.
You tend to think wild, amazing thoughts. Your dreams and fantasies are intense.
Your thoughts are creative, inventive, and without boundaries.

You tend to spend a lot of time thinking of fictional people and places - or a very different life for yourself

26 Mar

          I had to wake Pen up for work this morning, which is a task akin to waking a puppy up to kick it. I mean, she looks so peaceful when she's sleeping, and to have to wake her up just so she can go to crumby work?
          Anyway, I woke her up, and was downstairs putting on my combat boots, when she comes trundling down and instead of heading for the shower wanders over and sits on my lap, snuggling into my shoulder.
          Don't get me wrong, it's nice and all, but I know it's just a ploy to swindle more sleep. So our conversation went something like this:

Me: Okay, no more drooling on my shoulder. Time to get your butt in the shower.

Pen: *grumpily heads towards the bathroom* I wasn't drooling. I was giving you extra hugs. I know guys who would kill for extra hugs.

Me: Yeah, but I doubt they'd kill to have you drool on them.... okay, wait a minute.... I take that back.

27 Mar

          I've always had this affinity for Irish/Celtic music, as if it's melodies and rhythms touched on something deep within my psyche, bringing back memories I've never had: singing and dancing around a campfire at night, listening to the fiddles, whistles and drums; charging over a hill, sword drawn, into a melee; battling my way out of an inn with pistol and rapier; waylaying a coach and calling out, "Stand and deliver."
          If ever I was a believer in past lives, I'm sure this must have been one of them.
          Still, I had the same affinity for the ruins at Chichen Itza, drawn to them somehow as if I had lived there before. I felt certain that if ever I were to visit them I would experience an awakening of sorts--a flood of old memories, some cosmic knowledge, something.
          Yet, when I finally made it there and strolled along the Templo de los Guerreros (Temple of the Warriors), and stood atop the Temple of Kukulcan (El Castillo), other than the awe at the beauty of the ancient ruins surrounded by primeval jungle, I felt...nothing.
          Maybe I read too much F&SF.

28 Mar

          I had the strangest dream just before waking this morning. I dreamt I was a Sergeant (okay, I guess that classifies as a fantasy) and I was giving drill. The lesson went something like this:
          Sgt: Look straight to your front, Private! Everything you need to see for the next 40 minutes is standing right in front of you."
          Pte: "Yes, sir!"
          Sgt: "Don't call me sir! Do you see any stripes on these arms?"
          Pte: "Um...no...Sgt."
          Sgt: "That's right. These are chevrons. The chevron is a phallic symbol, and the one with the most penises wins. None of those namby pamby crowns like the warrants have, or those girly man stripes the officers are sporting. Right now you recruits are a bunch of dickless wonders, but on the slim chance that you graduate, you might just earn your first hook. Corporals get two, as do Master Corporals--they just fancy theirs up with some artsy fartsy maple leaf. But look at these babies. That's right, three penises on each arm--six in total. Sgt's are the biggest dicks in the Canadian Forces, and don't you forget that."
          Pte: "No Sgt."
          Sgt: "I can't hear you."
          Everyone: "NO SARGEANT!"

          Apparently I miss my recruit instructor days. And, for the record, all you Freudians had better keep your fraking mouths shut. *glares*

29 Mar

          Writers are sucking the life out of my reading experience.
          Okay, let me explain. I saw a brief interview with George R.R. Martin on the Space Channel the other day, where he said (basically) that he hates it when people criticize a bit of writing by saying that it "doesn't advance the plot." To which his reply is, who cares? I'm afraid I have to agree.
          Since when did telling a story become about getting from point A to point B in the most quick and efficient manner? What's wrong with taking a little side trip now and then to explore those little boutique shops down that back alley? Sometimes that's where all the cool stuff is hiding.
          Who told us that's the way it has to be, and why are we listening to them?
          The more I talk to writers/editors, the more I realise that they get all tangled up in things that readers don't notice, don't care about, or disagree with in the first place.
          In critiques, writers often point out what they perceive as shortcomings--things like this didn't advance the plot--that the average reader never notices, or worse yet, loves.
          More and more I think there's a disconnect between what writers write and what readers read, much like there's a disconnect about what movie critics like and what the movie going public wants to see.
          What do you think?


          Today is my wife's birthday. I think she's about eight years old--at least mentally. She's really a big kid at heart. Luckily she's a tad older than that physically, cause, you know, child molesting is not my thing.


Happy Birthday Pen!!!


30 Mar

          Okay, so the general consensus seems to be that "doesn't advance the plot" is code of "this part was boring." The only problem with that is that definition is rather subjective. What's boring to one person is riveting to another, and vice versa. And, as E noted, in longer works (i.e. multiple novels) you never know what's going to be relevant until it's over. In George R.R. Martin's interview, he stated the series was going to run about 7 books. So far he's written four, so who's to say what's relevant and what's going off on a tangent?

          So I read Elizabeth Bear's Carnival, and I have to say, I liked it. But…
          I don't know if I can accurately explain my thoughts on this. It had great world building, neat aliens, cool tech, a fascinating society, intriguing history, lots of well-done spy and covert stuff, a mystery you couldn't unravel in the first 20 pages, and an ending you were never sure of until you actually reached…well…the ending. I liked the characters--yes, even the homosexual protagonists (says defiantly hetero me).* There was lots of action and loads of well done fight scenes. In fact, it was pretty much right up my alley.
          So why did it take me a month and a half to read it?
          I don't know. There are those books you can't put down, every chapter coning you into reading the next so that you just have to keep turning those pages until you reach the end and you finish it in a day. Carnival should have been one of those books, but for some reason it wasn't. And I can't for the life of me tell you why.
          And still? I liked it. Go figure.

*Homosexual: "Try it, you'll like it."
Me: "No."