Snow day in Ontario

February 8, 2013

When the weather gets snowy, my instincts are to hole up somewhere warm – work from home, venture out when it’s blown over

But today, despite all the warnings of the big winter storm, I brushed Ghost down and drove carefully into the office. We had a really big team deadline today, the sort of thing where communication is important, so I thought it would help if I was on-site. Ironically enough, the point man on the team wasn’t able to make it in, because the roads in his area weren’t plowed all morning, but its a good thing that I was in the office because I could help him work from home and find the memos he left on his desk.


Now I’m sitting in a train on my way to Toronto.

20130208-175827.jpg There’s a Buffy / Angel fans meetup at Cafe Mirage in the Yonge Shepard center, and that’s always a blast. I love their pizza, and I’ve been saving room for it all day. It’ll be good to see the fan crew too, even if most of them were at the shindig after Warm Bodies last week.

Calendar of Goal Tracking 2012 wrap-up

December 31, 2012


Happy New Year’s Eve!

Since it’s the last day of 2012, I thought I’d take down my Big Bang ‘Calendar of Goal Tracking’ to see how I did. (I took pictures of every page, though, to share with you, though it’s a little hard to make out the letters from the photos.)

Some overall thoughts:

  1. Counting hundreds of little letters from a calendar is hard! I’m sure I’ve made some counting errors, but I’m not worrying about 100% accuracy tonight.
  2. This has really been a good experiment for me, and a great way to motivate myself to do time-slices, especially for things like exercise and cleaning that I have a hard time motivating myself for otherwise.
  3. There were quite a few letters missing that I was able to work out from other evidence, including several R’s, one E in March, a D on a Sunday in November when I know I went to a write-in, and so on.
  4. I’m definitely going to try something of the sort for 2013. Since I’m trying to save money where I can, and I got a decent looking ‘Muscle cars’ calendar free from the oil change shop, I guess that’s my goal tracking calendar for next year!

Details about the goals I tracked:

  • B for Blogging: I marked a B to indicate a day that I posted a new blog post 297 times. This seems low compared to my annual report, even taking into account that I never went back and updated the calendar for the 2 weeks I spent in Kansas (and at Polaris, the weekend after I got back from Kansas.) I suspect that several times, I did a blog post last thing in the evening, went to bed, and never went back and marked my B.
  • C for Cleaning: I got 166 Cs for a timeslice of at least 20 minutes cleaning, tidying, or organizing things around my apartment. Occasionally this was a double C in a single day, if I was feeling exceptionally cleanergetic.
  • D for Driving. 197 days got the letter D for days that I drove, either driving practice before I passed my licence, borrowing a family car, or just driving in Ghost once I’d bought my own car.
  • E for Editing. I have 251 of the letter E marked in the calendar for working on my own editing. 50 of them are in March, where I was using one E to indicate one hour logged for National Novel Editing Month. Otherwise, it’s any significant amount of time, at least 20 minutes or so, one E per day.
  • L for Losing.  Each letter L represents a half-hour time slice of walking around outside or other cardio exercise. Could be double Ls in a day. I got 335.
  • Read the rest of this entry »

An eventful day of snow and driving

December 29, 2012

Winter has definitely settled in on Hamilton over the last few days, and I’ve been learning quite a few things about winter driving that you don’t learn until you have your own car in the winter. Like how important it is to have a snow shovel, especially when you live in an apartment building and park your car in the open lot out back.

I went to the local mall this morning, being careful to brush the car off very carefully before – luckily there wasn’t enough snow that I needed to actually dig it out. Walked around the mall enough to get my exercise for the day, picked up my groceries, got back to the car, brushed it off again. Turned on the ignition, wiped off the windows, noticed that there was some ice on the back windshield that I hadn’t brushed off, so I grabbed the scraper/brush, got out again, took a few seconds to go scrapy scrapy…

and the door wouldn’t let me back in. I was locked out of the car, with the engine running, my groceries sitting in the front seat with the heat going.

Luckily, I had a cell phone in my jacket pocket, and I was able to call CAA. It was a long wait for the guy to show up, brushing my car off again every fifteen minutes or so, but finally he showed at the mall entrance, followed me to my car, with the wipers still going every so often, and pulled out the tricks of the trade. One little doo-hickey that inflated itself with air to pull the passenger side door open, just a little up near the window. A metal wedge to help keep the door propped open just that crack, And a slightly flexible angled bar, which he stuck in through the crack in order to pull the unlock switch.

It took him about half a dozen tries – he kept complaining that the door was unlocking and then relocking itself – but finally the door was open. I dived across, unlocked the driver’s side door, pulled the keys out of the ignition, and then hurried around to get in the driver’s seat. As soon as the tow truck pulled out, I hurried for home to put the meat, the eggs, and the frozen potatoes into the appropriate cold storage.

Later, I drove over to my Mom’s place, to help her get packed and move out of the condo. The drive down the main streets was fine, but once again, the visitor’s parking lot was full. (This happened on Christmas Day, and we ended up parking my car in her spot on the P2 floor of the building while driving her car up to Kitchener.) So I drove around her neighborhood for a bit, looking for a decent parking spot on the curb, but the side streets there looked like they hadn’t been plowed since yesterday afternoon.

I tried to pull off to the side to let a truck go past me on the street behind the condo building, and got myself well and truly stuck. After the truck managed to inch past me, a friendly man out brushing off his own car came over and asked if he could help, and he was able to help push me out of the groove. I kept driving around a little while, and managed to pull into a three-hour spot down the street from the condo building.

Once the packing for the day was done, and Mom and I were heading off to dinner, there was more snow-driving fun. My three hours were almost up, and somebody had parked behind me, cutting off the easiest way of getting out of that spot without driving through a low snowdrift. My mother actually helped talk me through without having to resort to shoveling or salt, showing me how to ‘rock’ the car back and forth, switching between reverse and first gear, something I don’t think I’d been taught before.

I hope the roads are a little less eventful when I head down to the Pier for a modest holiday write-in tomorrow!

Getting back into the swing…

July 9, 2012

Okay, so it’s my first full day back home, and it feels like it’s taking me a little while to get back into my usual rhythm. Had a fairly busy day at the office, but nothing too bad. Picked up where I left off in ‘The Half-Blood Prince’ this morning, and really digging the mystery. 🙂

I decided not to bother getting a local bus pass for July, particularly because my trip out of town coincided with the best times to find passes for sale. So I’ll be driving a lot more, and maybe walking to the store and back on the weekend when I can and such.

And I devoted a lot of this evening to catching up on regular domestic chores – getting some laundry done, and cooking up a meat sauce to take into the office for lunches. (Along with a mix of ditali and Gnocci-shaped shell pasta.)

I need to get started on the Holly Lisle revision stuff soon. Maybe I can review the lesson PDFs tonight before I go to bed. That’s one of my big targets for July – finishing 3 more lessons.

What are your goals for July?

Minor driving woe

May 11, 2012

I got some bad news – a call from my car insurance company – today. Sigh.

I didn’t blog about this because it happened in April and didn’t really fit with the Script Frenzy A-Z-ness, but I managed to back into the side of a company van after getting a new stereo installed in my car. Gave them my insurance info and my phone number, and they said they’d call me after having the van looked at.

They didn’t call, apparently. They just reported it to their insurance, so my rates are probably going to go up at some point. I still don’t really know when or how much, I didn’t even get a chance to really talk to my insurance guy.

I’d hoped to do some critiquing or ‘How to revise your novel’ revising work on the bus home from work today, but getting that call just sucked any creative energy out of me for a while. Ended up watching ‘Community on my iphone until I got home, then having a little DVR marathon. I did get out driving in Ghost again – down to Rosedale, to do some shopping and collect my new passport – whoohoo! And I got a new scene started for a short story I’ve been working on this week, ‘A Prayer for Healing.’

Life goes on, one way or another.

Guess what I bought?

March 26, 2012

The next item in the ‘Spotlight on Chris’ is supposed to be six things I wish I’d never done, but I may just pass on that entirely because of something that I never want to associate with regrets or wishing I hadn’t done…

I bought my car this afternoon! It’s a white 2007 Pontiac hatchback, and even though I still need to pay for it, and wait for the dealership to finish servicing it, and get the insurance all arranged, I’m really excited, and a little bit nervous. This is more money than I’ve ever paid for a single thing in my life. It’s more than a year’s rent!

Erm, I should probably try to calm down just a little. Let’s just say it’s been a big day.

And I’m gonna need to find a name for the car… since it’s white, I’m wondering about ‘Ghost’ 🙂 Whatcha think?

Always look for the signs

March 16, 2012

Well, I got pulled over by a cop car and given a warning for the first time yesterday. And I feel really foolish too, because I’d gotten onto the highway the same wrong and stupid way a few times, and the one time that I clued in that it wasn’t where I was supposed to go to get where I needed to go – somebody was there to catch me and tell me off for it.

If I’d been paying attention and trusted the big sign to actually mean what it said, instead of some vague memory from my brother driving me home a while ago, I’d never have even thought that was the way to go. And if I’d been perceptive enough to spot the sign specifically telling me that what I was trying to do was a no-no – well, you know.

That’s a good lesson to take into our creative journeys as well – of course, there’ll be a lot of people showing you signs saying ‘come over this way’ and ‘you can’t do that’ who really don’t know what they’re talking about, and when it comes to the writer’s journey, following every sign can leave you really really lost. But I don’t think being so focused on where we think is the right way to go that we can’t even see the signs around us is a good way to go either.

You’ve got to look first, and then make up your mind.

Calendar goal tracking update!

January 21, 2012

So, I’m not sure how many of them you can make out, but I’ve written in one hundred and twenty-five letters onto my calendar for the first 21 days of the year. That’s nearly 6 goals achieved per day. Whoo-hoo for me, I think that’s pretty darn good work.

I’ve also added one letter to the ones that I was originally tracking. Since practicing for my next driving test is something that I want to make time for, I’m giving myself a D for every day that I go driving, and I’ve written that in retro-actively for every day that I’m completely certain that I had a driving session. (Including the day of the road test.)

The calendar proudly proves that I am over 20 days for my writing and reading chains, (well over, actually, since I’m continuing chains from 2011,) and I just hit 20 days for a chain of posting a comment to at least one other blog every day, since I started on January 2nd. 🙂

One other item of note is that I haven’t gotten an ‘O for outlining yet.’ I’ve been procrastinating on my goal of brainstorming ideas for a new short story, and ‘The scroll’ has been ticking along pretty well based on the plans I drew up in December. But the O’s time shall come, mistake me not!

(And once again, I can only write in the B for today’s post after taking the picture.)

How are your new year’s goals doing after three weeks?

My drive to get a G2 licence – update

January 14, 2012

So, I took another G2 road test on Monday, and did much better than last time, and somewhat better than the road test I had in November, but I still didn’t pass. Hopefully one more try will do the trick – if I keep devoting time to driving practice, drilling on some of the maneuvers that trip me up, and build some of what I learned from this last try into behind-the-wheel habits.

One of the big problems, which I feel a bit foolish about, was that I’ve gotten sloppy about staying in my lane when turning at an intersection, to the point that I didn’t even think of it as something that I should be making an effort at during a road test. I think that some part of my brain even figured ‘if you just turn into the lane that you’re going to want to be in, then he can’t dock you points for muffing the lane change.’ Probably true as far as it goes, but not much good if you get docked for screwing up the turn! Sigh…

Aside from that, it was mostly stuff that I knew were my weak points before – the ‘roadside stop as if you’re on a slope’ always seems to come back to haunt me, but I’ll get it next time, I really think I will. I scored better for looking around myself and using my mirrors, and did a little better on the parallel park – didn’t tap the barrel behind the parking spot, though I got half a point off for getting too close to it and not looking behind me when I was in reverse.

I want to remember to call the driving teacher from A1 academy this week, so that I can get some feedback from somebody a bit more experienced than my brother before the next test. And I still haven’t booked an appointment for February yet. My brother is picking me up tomorrow for another practice session. I drove home from work on Thursday with him, and that went fairly well.

I just gotta keep at it.

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