A Friday roundup.

March 1, 2013

I’ve got nothing big to blog about today, so I’m just going to quickly share a few things that have been going on in my life and writing lately:

  • Finally got the car back today! When I took it in for collision repair on Tuesday morning, I was hoping I’d be able to pick it up Wednesday evening, but what with the somewhat wet weather they didn’t get the paint dry until this morning. It’s so pretty though! And it was interesting to go through a few days without having access to the car–I’ve been relying on it more and more lately, especially being able to use it when I have appointments or the weather is bad. Instead, I had to struggle with public transit through one day with messy weather, and one day with a dental filling in the afternoon, sigh.
  • I got my last summer workshop application sent in: Synopsis and sample pages of “The Gnomes are Missing” emailed to Kij Johnson for the CSSF Novel writer’s program. I’m looking forward to hearing back from all my workshop opportunities, and big thanks to Rinelle and Elizabeth Twist for critiquing my synopsis several times and making it much better!
  • The final revision pass of “Won’t somebody think of the children?” is finally done; one day late, compared to my target, but there was a lot to do, especially taming my crazy punctuation. I have a tendency to use a ‘space hyphen space’ combination in my writing for a brief pause, and in fact I used it twice by this point in the post, but went back and changed them. Because that is a combination that is wrong according to every style authority I can find, I’m putting myself on a zero tolerance program for it in my revisions; I can use proper M-dashes, I can use colons or semicolons or commas or periods or ellipses, but no hyphens as pauses. So I started off NaNoEdMo this evening by fixing a few hundred hyphens-as-pauses from ‘Children.’ I’ll be sending off the completed draft to two critters.org critiquers in the morning.
  • I’m really pleased with my progress in my ‘February month of drawing.’ I still have a few sketches to share with you, more negative space stuff, (a basketball pose and a chair from life,) but I haven’t taken the workbook in to work to scan them yet, so hopefully that’ll be Monday evening.
  • Didn’t do so well with ‘How to Think Sideways’ – I got started on lesson 1, but didn’t have time to finish it, and it might be a while before I get back to it, what with NaNoEdMo and Camp Nanowrimo and what-have you.
  • I may be loaning the Kindle to my mom, because she’s been wondering about getting an E-reader of her own. It’ll be odd not having it around for a week or so, but I’m happy to help. 🙂
  • And it’s only a week until the Trek TNG reunion Comicon in Toronto! I’m not hugely excited for this one, because money’s tight and I’m a bit tired of the high prices, but I’ll be heading in for Saturday, checking out a few Q&As, and looking for Buffy season 9 graphic novels.

So – what’s up with you lately? How’ve ya been?

Advertisements

Six Sentence Sunday – Geek at Heart 3

April 22, 2012

First six. Second six.

Okay, we’re still in the introductory scene of my script, showing the main character Harry, who’s dressed up as Luke Skywalker, and his friends waiting to get into a convention.

See you next week!


Toronto Comicon wrapup

March 12, 2012

So, I’m feeling a bit under the weather this afternoon – combination of a cold coming on, lack of sleep with the Spring Forward, and tiredness from the convention weekend. But still I’m really pleased that I went, and in general satisfied with my choice of strategy for Toronto Comicon.

A little background – since I first started going to conventions in Toronto, two years ago, I’ve always made reservations for hotel rooms close to the venue, to stay in the big city for the duration. And I usually tend to pack heavy, both for what I take to the hotel, and even what I take from the hotel to the convention itself, though I’ve been trying to moderate the latter, since lugging around too much as I hurry from panel to panel or make my way across a busy sales floor is really tiring.

This spring, I decided to break all of those patterns. I didn’t stay overnight in Toronto at all, and I tried my best to restrict what I put in the messenger bag that I took with me on the bus each day – a half-dozen digital gizmos, including iPhone, work blackberry, and ipod nano, some handy snacks, sunglasses, and a clipboard with my tickets and the con schedules. That was pretty much it.

The days were on the long and tiring side – I had a lot of fun, both at the convention and watching videos while on the move, but leaving my apartment around 8:30 and getting home around 8 in the evening made for a long day – and then, I was struggling to log some NaNoEdMo time and do a few other things while I was home.

I still think it’s better than taking out a hotel room for a little two-day convention at least, so I’m going to try the same strategy next month for Wizard World. (There’s a Browncoats shindig the Saturday night of Wizard World weekend, and so I’ll probably be rushing to order my food quickly, pay quickly, and get home so that I can get up to bus back in on Sunday morning.)

Oh, the sacrifices that you have to endure while saving up for a car. 😉

Let’s see, what other memories from Comicon can I share with you since Saturday’s post? Read the rest of this entry »


Coming soon to a business card near you…

August 15, 2011

For a while, I’ve thought it would be good to have business cards for the blog, that I can hand out at writer’s meetings or conventions to interested people, that kind of thing. With two big conventions coming up around the end of the month, I decided to actually get moving on it.

Getting a card design actually started at the print-online website for Staples Copy and Print Center – I looked through some of the stock designs, didn’t really like any of them, and ended up creating my own layout based on their requirements for uploading your own business card design:

And a little blurb on the back:

Read the rest of this entry »


Lost notes from long-ago conventions.

May 26, 2011

Well, I went through the memo pad files on my Palm tungsten handhelds this evening, looking for more material on Ad Astra, but when I realized that I had some notes from even longer ago, I thought that I had to share them first. I’ll try to edit for a bit of clarity when I can, but these will generally be very rough, just what I managed to type down at the time. Please reply with questions in the comments about anything that intrigues you, and I’ll answer in more detail if I can, or speculate otherwise.

This first memo I don’t honestly know where it’s from, but it could be from Polaris 2010:

How to write
worldbuilding – know how things work and where things are
map of dystopian ontario – civilization around hydro plants, cancer pollution zones
writing a story in 24 hours – with prompts from strangers and libraries
outlining a story before starting the first sentence
have to be willing to kill characters off, even if you like them and they don’t want to die
two characters running around a building in opposite directions but not meeting
to master the art of outlining… Or not?
character driven writing – know their skilllsets, and then make them go beyond
appendectomy with a spoon and first aid training
wars and the aging of characters – retconning your history
computer tools – custom dictionary spell check, massive internet research, excel file for character bible, search and replace, macros for italicizing ship names
chinese font issues – pdf submissions
preparation details that don’t get into the book – lots of them
helps you live in that world
the grist mill – after being in one when it was working, the feel was wrong, needed to rewrite
tinker’s plague, triangular trade deficits, drove some of the plot
writing programs – ms word with all auto functions turned off, simple good manuscript format
Read the rest of this entry »


The waiting list

May 10, 2011

At this point, I have officially been on the waiting list for the Odyssey workshop for nearly a month.

I’d love to get a chance to attend, but it’s been oddly stressful waiting for news. At this point, I think I’d appreciate finding out for sure that I’m not getting in nearly as much as an acceptance, just so that the waiting is over, and I can go ahead and make other plans for my vacation time. Dragoncon 2011 is looking like it would be a lot of fun, and Atlanta area hotels are already booking up for labor day weekend.

And then, in looking for ‘writer’s conferences’, I found some interesting events that look like Odyssey-lite or Clarion-lite; again fairly small events so I wouldn’t necessarily get a spot, but only 1 week or 2 weeks long. Viable Paradise is one that looks really good, and the CSSF Writer’s workshop

There are lots of people who I’d love a chance to get to see at a sci-fi convention or something similar, (Nathan Filion?) but haven’t seen an opportunity so far.


Toronto

April 23, 2011

T is for…

Well, I’ve already dedicated H to my true hometown of Hamilton, but Toronto is sort of a half-adopted hometown, a place that’s also very dear to my heart. I didn’t really pay it that much attention for the first eighteen years plus of my life, except for a place to occasionally go to ride up the CN tower or see a baseball game or get government records, and really I suppose I was really ignorant of the benefits of living so close to such an amazing city. But then, I was young.

I moved to Toronto, to the suburban wilds of North York at least, for university, in the fall of 1995, and spent four years at York University, commuting back home to crash at my parent’s place every other weekend or so. (For some reason I still have dreams about finding my way across the big city on the TTC and looking for a new room to rent in Toronto.) I spent the first year, including the summer, in residence, and then spent the regular school term in rental places found on the housing board and summers back in Hamilton.

After seven months spent trying to find a job with only a bachelor’s degree and no work experience, during the consolidation days of the Y2K scare, I ended up going back to school in Toronto, taking the applied IT course at the Herzing institute in the Eaton center, and commuting into the city and back every day from Hamilton on GO transit – which would have been much more stressful, except that regular classes only lasted for four hours a day when I wasn’t doing teaching assistance or tutoring or grading for the school, so a lot of the time I could head back to Hamilton early. It was really a worthwhile experience, rounding out my university education with some more marketable skills, and also giving me a few useful connections, including the referral that led me to the job that I’m in now, (indirectly.)

Read the rest of this entry »


Browncoat Ball 2010 – Reprise

December 9, 2010

I know that I’ve already blogged about my experiences at the Browncoat Ball, but I was going through some files on my flash drive, and found a bunch of notes that I must have made while I was in Charlotte on Saturday morning or before I could get to bed Friday evening. Since it doesn’t look like I consulted this before making my other post, I’ll include some of my thoughts here:

Browncoat ball memories – day 1
Drive-through breakfast with Russ – french toast dipping sticks, hash brown bites, and apple juice from Burger King
15 minutes waiting at the border crossing on Peace bridge
Throwing out toothepaste before going through TSA
Difficulty getting room the safe to work – front desk called a maintenance guy for me, and he actually called in ANOTHER maintenance guy because he couldn’t figure out to open the safe after the last guest left it locked.
Presentations:
Self-defense…
Breaking a grip from behind, (pressure on thumb, forward with hips to make use of leverage, hooking the leg from behind, hooking their arm with yours.)
Breaking a bear-hug grip, (stepping back, creating a window to move one of your arms under theirs. Also stepping on toes often works.)
Fancy sparring demonstration at the end.
Civil war history.
Lots of stuff about taking care of your musket, also pocket watches.
Fencing:
three kinds of swords, each with their own rules.
saber for ‘cutting’, everything above the waist.
foil as the most delicate training weapon, only the torso
epee is a slightly thicker pointing weapon, target is anywhere. NO RIGHT OF WAY rules. Large handguards, because the sword arm is a valid target.
Footwork practice – en guarde position, advancing, retreating, and lunging.
Reflex practice on the target.

Whedonverse book authors – buy the rest?

Wash luau… mostly waiting for the KARAOKE! also the team exercises, coming up with the alliance cruiser heist

Folk songs:
Jayne’s favorite things
The cautionary tale of Yo-Saff-Bridge
Kaylee’s song for Jayne, hehe
Travelers and dreamers.
Build new worlds
The ballad of Malcolm Reynolds

Pajama party screenings, winning the pony in pajamas, (with his teddy bear.)


Recap – Browncoat Ball 2010

October 31, 2010

The Browncoat Ball is a Firefly fandom gathering that different cities take turns hosting every year. As I understand the process, there’s a sort of national ball committee that runs the bidding and selecting process… there’s a list of requirements that you need to satisfy to put together a bid as a local organizing committee, including suggesting a hotel that people can stay at, different Firefly-themed events that you could run in your city, and the quotes for how much you’d charge for tickets and how much the hotel rooms would cost people, and the National committee picks the venue based on that. There’s probably already people sketching out their bids for the 2011 ball.

I flew down to Charlotte from Buffalo on Friday morning, with my brother giving me a ride to the Buffalo airport, and back again. There were classes on Friday afternoon, including a fencing demonstration that I really enjoyed, where they had us do some basic footwork exercises, put on the mask and pick up a sword one at a time to practice with an automated target. I sang at the Karaoke, (the books were labelled Klingon Karaoke but it was officially Shiny-oke for Firefly,) and there was a woman singing Firefly ‘verse folk songs that she wrote herself, and a screening of two Firefly episodes on DVD. I won a pony in pajamas in a random drawing, and got to bed after 2am, which is really late for me.

Saturday was the field trip-ey day. We rode the Charlotte light rail to a pub for lunch, with burlesque dancers for entertainment,  and then split up into different tracks. I was on the ‘tour the core’ track, which basically involved going to a few museums in the city. The ‘museum of the New South’ was interesting, a lot of local history stuff since after the war. The film footage they had about people who had participated in lunch counter sit-ins during the sixties was very moving.

I also got to chat a fair bit with Reba on Saturday, who’s from around Toronto, but lived in the Charlotte area for years with her husband and just moved back recently after her divorce. She’s interesting, I’m glad I got to meet her and hope she starts coming out to the Toronto shindigs soon. And I met Leila, the woman who helps run the Karaoke. She actually dresses up as a Klingon to go to conventions, and told me several times that she was adopting me as the son she never had.

Dressing up in my Simon Tam outfit for the banquet on Saturday night was fun, but I didn’t stay out that late, because I still felt low on sleep from the night before. And there wasn’t that much of note on Sunday, except that a bunch of us who’d taken the airport shuttle together ended up finding each other again after going through the security checkpoint, and all had lunch and drinks at the Chili’s together, sharing stories about other conventions and meeting stars and what-have-you, until it was time to show up at the gate for our flights.

It was a really fun weekend, and I think it helped to charge my creative batteries for Nano!

Photos available from Flickr


Fan Expo Diary – Part Three

September 5, 2010

Okay, Sunday at Fan Expo, this’ll be shorter than the others, but it was a good day.

Woke up, actually had a chance to unwind a little in the morning, got a bit of writing done on the Roswell/Pern crossover fanfic, my first new words since Thursday on the bus, and went over to Dunn’s deli for a pancake breakfast, yum.

Packed up my bags at the hotel, reshuffling everything because of the heavy swag I bought on Friday, and moving some dirty clothes and power cables into the garment bag with the blueprints as overflow. Headed down to the Convention center nearly an hour before the doors opened, wondering how many other people with orange bracelets had the same idea.

Enough to put me back under the railway bridge on lower simcoe again, sigh, though closer to the front street side of the bridge. It was a long wait for the line to start moving. The guy in front of me had a T-shirt with an ‘eye chart’ made up out of fandom abbreviations and leetspeak, that kind of thing. I asked him if I could take a picture of it, and he didn’t mind but thought that was funny, since the day before he’d been in a much more elaborate costume, and figured that nobody would ask to photograph him if he was just wearing a novelty t-shirt.

The line did move pretty quickly once the doors opened, and I was inside around eleven twenty or so. Thought about going up the escalators and trying my luck with the signature lines, but then thought about all the people who were in line ahead of me outside, and how many of them were probably waiting in the slower autograph lines. So I checked on my Summer Glau photo, not ready yet, and showed up at the RPG game room for my Serenity session. The woman who was running the game was happy to meet me, and generously looked over my personalized character before telling me that I should pick one of the generic ones that she’s drawn up for the campaign. It was a little while before we actually got the game going – I checked on the pictures again, and tried going up the escalators for some food that wasn’t too far away, gave up on it.

The game session was fun, though much shorter than I’d expected. We started around quarter after noon, and were wrapped up by two PM. I played the first mate of a Firefly transport, an ex-Browncoat guerilla, very devoted to the captain, who was also a Browncoat during the war, and also a computer expert. We had a pilot and a ‘heavy thug’, and NPCs for mechanic and doctor. Our crew took a bunch of passengers from Hera to Greenleaf, and one of them, an old noble gentleman who’d been an Alliance commander in the war, turned up dead. One thing that I remember was that the captain was always telling me to deal with the passengers, but my character was light on personal skills, so I was often failing my roles and letting things get worse – including freaking out a bit and exciting the civilians during a near miss encounter witha Reaver raiding party.

But between us, we managed to figure out who the killer was, though we couldn’t prove it, and the Alliance would have kept the reward anyway. But we got paid on Greenleaf, so that sounds like a good day to me, keeps us flying. And once the game session was over, I picked up the Summer Glau picture, and got to the bus platform in time for the 2:30 bus home.

A few interesting things about that bus trip. One was that a girl in a wheelchair came up just at the driver was about to pull out. It did take a little while before he could get everything set. I’d never seen the wheelchair-accessibility functions in use for a GO transit bus, and I got a good view because I was right behind the wheelchair spot. First off, the driver needed to shift some of the seats forward, close enough together that nobody could actually sit on the seats behind, but clearing enough space for the wheelchair. Then a panel of the bus wall actually slid aside and the wheelchair was lifted up to the same level as the rest of the bus seating, since there was no way to get it up the narrow stairs that everybody else uses. It was interesting to see, and I guess I’m glad that they have a workable system for the disabled. I started to wonder if the girl in the wheelchair paid the same fare as the rest of us, and whether it would be fair or not for her to, considering how many seats she was effectively taking up.

The bus also went off onto the 407 toll highway from oakville to burlington, for no reason we could see – leaving me wondering whether the driver had heard of a slowdown on the Queen Elizabeth Way somewhere ahead of us, or was just curious about how long that detour would take.

But I got home around four-thirty on Sunday afternoon, early enough to go to the store, stock up on some provisions, and make a beef and pasta soup to take into work for lunch.

And that was Fan Expo.


%d bloggers like this: