Star Patrol in audio!

January 12, 2013

Okay, I’m going to try something a little different today.

This morning, I finally got around to taking a bunch of electronic gear down to the depot, which I feel very virtuous about and pleased at the empty spaces that have opened up in my apartment.

One was a Brother Word Processor – a somewhat queer device like an electronic typewriter with an LCD screen and a 3.5″ floppy disk drive. The drive would only work with drives that had been formatted with some proprietary format that no other 3.5″ disk drive could ever make sense of. It served me well from when my parents got it in 1992 or ’93, (so that I could actually do homework instead of distracting myself with games on the family PC,) all through my York University years, until I finally bought my first full laptop computer, the Windows 98 Compaq. But I haven’t really used it since. Nine or ten years ago I found out that the printing attachment no longer worked even after I procured a fresh new ink ribbon, so the only way to get anything from the floppy is by reading it off the screen.

DSCF8032 (Large) DSCF8033 (Large)

Before I got rid of the Brother, I had to search around the floppy disk still in the drive to see if I wanted to keep it. There were four files full of indexes of home VHS tapes, which I scanned through and typed quite a lot of search terms into the Alphasmart, to see if I can find some of those movies or TV shows online, or on DVD. (I also took my broken VHS player down to the dump.) There was a personal note from a friend that I think he’ll get a kick out of hearing about again.

And there was this passage from a ‘Star Patrol’ file that I must have written sometime between 1996 and 1998, as a sort of coda tacked on to the end of the really old chapter 1. It involves a flashback where my four intrepid space cadets share their darkest secrets, including Melissa Dempsey’s bombshell about living a lie.

I read this off the screen into the Voice Recorder app on my LG Eclypse android, and then converted the .3gp file to MP3 format. There’s a few places where I stumble, or where I’m deliberately correcting a typo from the original text. I hope you enjoy listening.

A short dialog exercise.

January 21, 2011

I went to a Brian Henry workshop on Dialog last weekend, and I’ll be seeing him again tomorrow for a workshop on Plotting a story. Last Saturday was a great experience, despite the somewhat trying weather – there was just a small group of us at the Saint Catharine’s library, and I learned a lot of useful tips, as well as being able to talk with some other aspiring writers.

Since sharing the ‘Devin’ short story went over well last week, I think I’ll post the dialog writing exercise that I typed out on the Alphasmart Dana for that workshop. Again, this is copyright Chris Kelworth, and I’d love to hear your opinions on it:


“Okay, come on, give me the details.” My brother Derek pulled out his android phone and sat down on the couch, ready to thumb-type, with the corners of his nose wrinkling slightly.

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Laser printer – yay!

December 30, 2010

So, both my brother and my sister’s family gave me gift cards for ‘The Source by Circuit City’ (formerly known as Radio Shack Canada,) for Christmas. And, Christmas morning, I tried to print out a little home-made coupon to include in my mom’s card, “good for 1 copy of Documents To Go for Blackberry.”

It took 3 tries, and the highest quality setting, to get the coupon legible – there were bands in every row of letters where the print faded out entirely. Since this isn’t the way the Canon printer usually behaved when it was running out of ink, I decided that the printer itself was starting to die.

I also managed to put the wrong date on the fake ‘coupon’, so that it expired last September instead of September 2011, whoops.

But anyway, I needed a new printer. A laser printer, since I’d heard that they were much cheaper on a per-page basis, and I’m fed up with going to Staples for nice copies of my stories to take to the local writing group.

I looked at the Source’s website, and didn’t find an affordable black laser printer there, the only entries in the ‘laser printers’ category were expensive all-in-one deals. But I took my gift cards down to the mall on Boxing Day anyway, to see what I could get with them.

And there was a Brother black laser printer on the bottom shelf, marked down on sale!

I actually went back home with the model number and looked it up before purchasing, just to make sure that it was a decent unit, but I did get it, and after sitting in the box in my bedroom for four days, I finally got it installed tonight. Works really great, I like it so far.

I did think that the first question in the optional survey after registering the printer was a bit revealing:

“If you’re not planning to buy one of our other products in the next 12 months, we don’t want your survey!”

And as a final note – WordPress has a fairly good statistics package, and I always like seeing some of the things it can tell me about who’s coming to take a look at the blog. And I really got a big smile when I saw that somebody had found me by entering the following search term:

‘including priests in writing fantasy’

I wonder what they thought about the Father Ismay series.

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