What’s Up Wednesday? Call me a Shriner

September 17, 2014

What’s Up Wednesday is a weekly blogfest to share the answers to a few simple questions… Join us! Looks like there’s a header tweak in WUW-land this week. Inspiration is out and perspiration is in! 😉

What I’m WUWMaple65%2reading:

The second Richard Kadrey Sandman Slim book, “Kill the Dead.” I’ve also started reading some new short stories from Beneath Ceaseless Skies and an old Crossed Genres collection. And on Audible, I’m nearly at the end of “Annals of the Heechee”

What I’m writing:

Gotta Have That Look! I did my Short Story Shrine for the new revision on Saturday, and I’ve nearly finished writing my ‘hot mess draft.’ 🙂 The Shrine outline was different enough that it’s pretty much a page one rewrite (again,) but I’ve got a good sense of the characters that is helping me hit the ground running, even if their circumstances have changed.

What works for me:

Still working on the bus; I’ve brought the Alphasmart to work yesterday and today, and got quite a lot of words done on it. Also, the Shine process is something that really works well for trying to plan a big revision; setting aside all of the critiques and just finding the true story in my heart, writing that down.

What else I’ve been up to:

Not that much, it’s been a pretty quiet week. Dropped by my Mom’s place to help her out with her new iPad. Made it out to a write-in on the Pier Sunday afternoon. Played around with my music rating stuff and put the new refurb laptop through its paces. It’s looking pretty reliable so far. Oh, and I’ve been watching “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” finally!

What about you? Click here to join the hop or check in with some other great writers.

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What’s Up Wednesday? Changing Things Up…

September 10, 2014

What’s Up Wednesday is a weekly blogfest to share the answers to a few simple questions… Join us! Looks like there’s a header tweak in WUW-land this week. Inspiration is out and perspiration is in! 😉

TreeWhat I’m reading:

Mostly “Victory Conditions” which I just finished today. I also finally got to the end of Richard Kadrey’s “Sandman Slim”, which I first picked up from Audible in January. Hmm, I thought that was longer. Possibly that’s because it was on my ‘to read’ list for longer than that.

What I’m writing:

Still not that much. I did a little work on revising “TimeBubble Blues” over the weekend.

What works for me:

Well, in general, finding time to work on public transit is still a good one, though exactly what I spend that time on is a little scattered lately. But I’ve got some good critique work done on the bus lately, and even some preparation for a Nanowrimo ML prep meeting. (It’s only seven and a half weeks to November!)

What else I’ve been up to:

Earned myself another ‘Most Productive Critiquer’ award with the critters.org workshop, and walked the charity 5k in around 52 minutes, which I’m pretty proud of. Ordered yet another refurb Dell laptop, and this one is doing pretty well so far, no defective drives or really any problems that I’ve noticed. Tried doing another sketch exercise over the weekend, from a still TV frame, and got frustrated with myself and gave it up. I think I may try again this Saturday and pick a different video ‘model’ 🙂

Keeping up with Doctor Who (yay!) and still watching the Harry Potter movies. This afternoon I finished the Prisoner of Azkaban.

Oh, and I signed up for a new Storywonk class, Sufficiently Advanced Magic. I’m really excited to be part of Alastair’s first live course, and it sounds like a great way to help flesh out two book ideas for Nanowrimo this year. I’ve got one idea so far–Tricia Colt, touched by Nox and Lethe–but I want to have two partial manuscripts so that I can pick whichever one is working better to submit to Kij Johnson’s workshop next February.

What about you? Click here to join the hop or check in with some other great writers.


Presto card fun, one more time

July 27, 2012

Okay, as some of you might remember, I’ve ranted about the Presto transit card here before, but I’m mostly satisfied with mine lately – at least I haven’t had to worry about overriding the default trip on the GO train lately.

I still couldn’t get a monthly pass for Hamilton on it without taking time off work, but then again, I haven’t needed to. And I think that I’m going to be using it more in Hamilton, because I’ve belatedly figuring out that paying by the ride four times a week is cheaper than the monthly pass, since I never ride the Hamilton bus anymore except going to work and back. (And usually less than four times a week on average, too, now that I’ve got the car.)

And I haven’t used public transit at all in weeks, since the Toronto CSTS screening, the day before I left to go to Kansas in June. Since I got back from Kansas and Polaris, I’ve been driving to work every day, and walking to the store when I can. Partly this is because I didn’t get a July bus pass before I left town, and partly because the Block revision material is spread all over my table, so I couldn’t easily pack it up and work on it on the bus anyway, and having time to work on a writing project is part of what I like about taking the bus. If I’m driving, I can spend part of that time working at home, and the rest behind the wheel listening to an audiobook or tunes.

But I wanted to take the bus today, because it’s been so long, so I checked that I was still carrying the Presto card, and got up early enough to catch the 7:50 bus. This was the first time that I’d actually used the Presto on a Hamilton bus, but it wasn’t a different process than using it in Burlington. Swipe the card, the reader goes beep, and tells me that it’s deducting two bucks and my remaining balance is two point thirty-something. That wasn’t good, because if the cash fare to take the Burlington bus home from close to my office was two dollars fifty cents, and it was supposed to rain this afternoon.

Wait a second. Didn’t I reload the card on the Presto website before I left for the airport?

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It’s nearly 7 Friday evening, and I just wish I was home from work…

May 25, 2012

Feeling a little sorry for myself just at the moment. 😉 At least it looks like I may not be stuck for much longer.

Work wasn’t too bad today, was just kinduv watching the clock until a little after four thirty, a bunch of new little requests for one of our customer got sent out. (And yes, that could have been worse. I could have been the one stuck in a conference call all afternoon listening to the customer complain and trying to figure out what they wanted, but anyway…)

So, it was ten after five by the time I could finally get out of the office – not too bad, all things considered. I took public transit in today, so I walked down to the bus station near Lakeshore drive, and that was pleasant enough. Hung around listening to ‘Dogs and Goddesses’ on my Audible Otis player until the bus driver showed up to let us on, and at the stroke of six o clock, we were back on the move.

The next hint of trouble was at the Canada Center for Inland Waters stop, just before the bridge. Bus driver hung around for a few minutes there, and I wasn’t really sure why, until she drove out and onto the bridge road. The lift bridge was going up.

We’re on the other side now as I’m typing this – after waiting nearly three quarters of an hour for one sailboat and two cargo carriers, as far as I can tell. Guess when I get home, I’ll be wanting something quick and comforting to eat, watch a bit of television, and maybe I can get to bed reasonably early and get an early start on my weekend tomorrow morning.

And on the plus side, I managed to get more done than if I’d been stuck in traffic driving Ghost:

  • Nearly finished lesson 16 of ‘How to Revise your Novel.’
  • Finished a first read-through of all my critters.org stories for this week.
  • Watched half an episode of ‘One Tree Hill’ 🙂
  • And I’m posting this blog entry thanks to my iPhone personal hotspot!

What’s your worst memory of being stuck or delayed in transit?


Dad

June 19, 2011

My father was born in Liverpool, England in 1937. His parents ran a post office there.

When he was in the local high school, ‘grammar school’, he was one year away from Paul McCartney, who he thought was a nice chap and always thinking about his music.

Dad got a Doctor of Philosophy in Applied Mathematics from Oxford, and came to Canada to work. He was hired by McMaster University here in Hamilton, and met my mother when he started attending the same church as she did. When McMaster got their first computing machine, my Dad was one of the first faculty transferred to a Computer Science department.

From my first memories of him, Dad was always very soft-spoken and calm. He walked a bit slowly, had a permanent hump or hunch in his upper back, and didn’t drive because he was blind in one eye and didn’t have any depth perception. He would get from our house on Stanley avenue to campus and back every day, though, and I think I got some of my attitude about public transit from him. For a while, when I started going out to special schools with gifted programs in Westdale, near the university campus, we would sometimes be on the same bus in the morning or afternoon.

In the fall of my senior year of high school, Dad fell when trying to climb back up the basement stairs, and ended up in hospital, and caught a bad infection while he was there. He ended up with a tracheotomy and got a little portable text-to-speech machine with a keyboard because he wasn’t able to talk any more, and he could never really get around entirely on his own after that. But he still had a great attitude about life, especially once he got back home.

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My problems with Presto

June 4, 2011

Here in south-central Ontario, they’ve been talking for a while about introducing ‘the Presto card’ for public transit – it’s a single plastic card with an RFID chip in it, that you can use for lots of different local bus companies and other transit agencies. It’s a good idea, and I’ve had one and been using it for nearly a year now, I think, mostly with Burlington transit buses and the GO commuter trains, because those were the systems that I used that adopted it first. I thought it worked quite well overall, but just recently I’ve hit a few annoying ‘this should be working better’ moments.

First, Hamilton Street Railway went online with Presto in May, though there wasn’t a big announcement beforehand that May 1st was the day that all those Presto readers in the bus would suddenly switch from testing-only to live. (There were a lot of general info ads about them popping up in the shopping malls and so on, but I knew that it wasn’t live on the day that I first saw an ad, so they really weren’t that helpful specifically.)

But as May came to an end, I started to wonder if I should forego getting my usual plastic monthly pass for June and just go with Presto. A bit of digging, though, revealed the following issues:

  1. It seems that to get the monthly pass price for Hamilton on Presto, you can’t just load it with money as usual and have the system cap you out once you’ve used enough money on HSR fares to equal the monthly pass price. You specifically need to buy a digital ‘monthly pass’ and have that loaded onto your Presto card.
  2. The digital monthly pass can apparently only be purchased at the HSR ticket office in the GO center on Hunter street.
  3. The HSR ticket office in the GO center on Hunter street is only open from 8 to 4 on weekdays.
  4. I work from 8 to 4 on weekdays.
  5. My job is in Burlington, at least 20 minutes away from Hunter street in Hamilton.

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National Novel Editing Month update, week 1

March 7, 2011

But first! A scheduling update, as promised.

I said that I’d be adjusting the Kelworth Files schedule, and the fact that I’m not doing a Crusader spotlight tonight is evidence of that. I’ve finished off another series, “Blog the Cat” screenwriting, and there’s a few short features that I want to start for March, and a scheduling conflict with Wednesdays. So, here’s what the rundown looks like for the next few weeks, before A to Z hits and leaves the entire blog a mash of Frenzied chaos…

Nanoedmo updates will be Mondays, as the month of March started on a Tuesday and thus each week ends on Monday, so I can do roundups for week 1, 2, 3, and so on.

Similarly Script Frenzy preparation will be covered on Fridays, as I can do ‘3 weeks until Script Frenzy is here’, ‘2 weeks…’ etcetera, since the 1st of April will be a Friday.

The ‘Wizard of Mars’ chapter reviews will be staying on Wednesday for this week, and then moving to Sunday, since there are two upcoming blogfests that are scheduled for Wednesdays. (I suppose that Sundays will also leave me free to continue doing reviews in April without needing to worry about alphabet letters, if I have the energy to, otherwise it may go on hiatus until May.) Do stay tuned to A wizard of Mars, as some very interesting things are coming up in the next few chapters!

In light of all of this,  the Crusader spotlight feature will be moving to Tuesday. It looks like off-topic Thursday is staying put, and sharing exercises moving to Saturday, though either of them might get bumped in favor of Crusader business.

Okay, with all of that explained, let’s get to Nanoedmo.

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