Tuesday, May 31, 2011


I've upgraded my wireless broadband, and received a Pendo Pad as a bonus. It is evil. EVIL, I tell you.

While playing around with it, I downloaded a couple of games - and then... it was hours later. The old "I'll just finish this level..." gambit. I am now addicted to the 'jewels' game; all those shinies and explosions, and whirling jewels. O_o

I need to focus on writing. So...

Woman's Arse Size study...There is a new study about women and how they feel about their arses...The results were pretty interesting.
30% of women think their arse is too fat. 10% of women think their arse is too skinny. The remaining 60% say they don't care, they love him, he's a good man and wouldn't trade him for the world...

And now, back to writing the last story for the marathon. Phew.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

A Three Hour Tour...

I've had a busy few days.

The moozeum has an exhibition opening on Friday and one of the co-ordinators damaged an ankle and hasn't been able to do much; so, for some insane reason, I volunteered to help out. Sheesh.

Anyway, I was invited to a photo shoot bright and early on Saturday morning:

Hmm. Up before sunrise for a morning out on Jervis Bay. The photo shoot was for a local dolphin and whale watching company. A group of us boarded a fast tourist boat to scoot around in. This boat has the photographers aboard.

It's been years since I was out on the Bay and it was a beautiful day to re-acquaint myself - I've also never been beyond the Point. Fishing inside the Bay seemed a much safer option in a little runabout.

So off we went, across the Bay and out past Point Perpendicular - a name that speaks for itself and continues the Australian tradition of stating the bleedin' obvious:

Once you get to the Point, you can see the rugged coastline. Shelves of slowly eroding sandstone all the way with large chunks of rock littering the sea floor and towering cliffs. Abseilers love climbing up and down because of drop and the many handholds. Curiously, I didn't see any seabirds nesting in cliff face.

Of course, that might be because the Navy uses a part of the penisular for target practice.

And... since this was a dolphin and whale watch tour, and... since it is the start of the whale watching season, here's a whale:

A humpback whale, in fact, travelling north to the Great Barrier Reef for some R&R. They sometimes get a little confused and end up in the Bay, rather than continuing up the coast. But it's nice, safe harbour for the smaller whales. This one is moving in a circle - either to get away from the boat, or to come around and give us another look; I vote for the second. Overall, we saw five of them and a playful pod of common dolphins. The dolphins were too quick for the camera, unfortunately.

I don't think I've ever had three hours pass so quickly. And if I get another invite, I'm there!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Of cake and wine

Fortunately, I wrote my story this morning - thank you, Marina, for the inspiration.

A friend of my mother's, Ld, called up last week and said the third of the triumvirate, Lr, was heading this way for a Garden Club Reunion.

Now, all three have been friends since, ah, the late 1950s, so it's a long time friendship. Due to retirements, each moved hundreds of kilometres away.

Ld said to expect them on Monday. I made cack... sorry, cake; chocolate, in fact. ("Lr doesn't dobought cake," my mother said.) And so, we waited. No sign of them - and no, Lr isn't the kind of person to ring and say they'll arrive on such-and-such day at such-and-such time. I also arranged for a wine salesman to come on Wednesday, figuring 'if not today, the friend will turn up tomorrow.'

Tuesday, and we finished off the cake, made another. And so, we waited. No sign of them - and no, we didn't know where they were staying, nor their phone number.

Today. I made a nice butter cake, with cream and chocolate frosting - urg, licking the bowls gave me a monumental sugar rush. And we waited - my mother happily watching the television, me, curtain twitching. Two o'clock came and went, then three. I asked the parent whether she'd like to come into the other room to wait. I kept watch on the door while printing out some old photos for her, and we chatted. Finally, four o'clock arrived. My mother gave up and went back to her room, since the wine man was due at 4.30.

And lo, the weary travellers did turn up - at a quarter to five, while I'm sipping a rather bland French white.

The wine man wasn't sure whether to arrange another day, or stay and listen to the reminiscing. I urged him to stay and he settled back, occasionally pouring from a new bottle, that we briefly discussed while the other conversation continued. Lr's husband chimed in with comments every now and then about the wines he wasn't tasting.

Lr and husband declined coffee and cake, and stayed barely an hour. They left with promises of long letters. The wine man stayed another fifteen minutes or so, since he had another appointment.

I bought some rather nice Aussie wines, the story is written and all is right with world after my time with various wines - and there's still cake.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Name lag

I'm halfway through the marathon, and I've finally resorted to the baby name book.

Seventeen stories so far, with an estimated 51 characters, and just over 40,000 words. Why, if this was NaNo, I'd be well on my way! But, I digress. The stories have no fewer than three characters in them each, and that is a lot of names to come up with.

Sure, I could jumble up the letters of simple names to come up with fanciful ones, but, like any marathon, the middle is where you drag and you wonder why you bothered. In fact, I think I've used a couple of names twice, but I'm not re-reading to find out - that will come later.

So. Fourteen more stories to go and I'm hoping for some easier prompts. I think I need to watch some sci-fi, or read a fantasy book to get the creative juices flowing a little better. Some stories just arrive, waiting to be told; others hang on to obscurity until you pry them loose.

I want the former, but it feels more like the latter. Ah, well, tomorrow is a new day, just waiting to be explored.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Stop, go

Well, that little experiment failed utterly.

I figured I'd reduce my time on the internet and limit my book readin' in an effort to boost my concentration on writing and editing and creative stuff.

What I found was that staying off the 'net gave me more time to write, but reducing my novel reading also reduced my creativity. Worse, I began to have editing issues, wondering whether something was right, when I knew it was.

I have found that, if I watch a movie, the imagination sparks; if I watch the news or documentaries, or sport, empty-headed blandness is the result.

All I need do is read what I've written for the story-a-day marathon to see the best stories have been written after watching something fun.

I have felt vaguely lost and out of sorts, as if something was missing. Now, I know what it was: the imagination of others.

So, while I'm writing these stories, I'm also working on my historical piece for the museum, a book I promised a beta reader some time ago, and, in my spare time, I'm going to find something to post - it's been too long and I need the adulation of my fan... If I still have one.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Spoons and garlic

Writing a short story every day does have it's interesting moments; starting with the prompt.

It takes a while for the issues - theme, character, where, when and an important item - to jell into a cohesive idea for the beginning of a story, but there is always something I bumped up against later on.

For me, this is about free writing from the prompts, but I have to wonder where some of these ideas come from.

I thought today's story fine at the time, marinating my heroine in a vat of crushed garlic to escape the villains. But then an important question arose: how do you get rid of the garlic smell?

And off I went to research appropriate methods. Ah, the wonders of the internet.

Colour me surprised by the answers. A stainless-steel spoon rubbed on the garlicky area? Wow, I'll have to try that one, but not appropriate for the story. Personally, I'm not using coffee (it's precious to me), or lemon juice (what if I'd cut my finger chopping the garlic?)

So I found my solution and carried on. It has taken me nearly ten days of writing to complete a story I really like. Since I'm writing thirty-one, that means a month of work for three worthwhile stories.

Not much of a success rate, as it stands, but I hope to improve that number.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Word up

Okay, I'm over the rush of triumph from yesterday's news, and it's back to work on the marathon.

It's day three and I'm one story behind. Worse, or better, depending on how you look at it, the two stories written so far are fairly long. It can't possibly be a hangover from Nano, so I guess the stories just need that long to be written.

I'll have to work harder to catch up. Like Nano, I prefer to have extra work done - just in case I can't write on a day or two.

There are plenty of generators to chose stories from. The Seventh Sanctum is my favourite. It has plenty of variety and complexity.

Time to write another - maybe not so long, with a little humour? Joss Whedon suggests at the darkest hour for a character, to have something funny said or happen. I'm still working on that.

Monday, May 02, 2011

O BLah

For too long have we seen pictures of Muslims celebrating the deaths of so-called 'infidels', of Jews and of victims of suicide bombs.

Now, it's our turn to celebrate.

I've been watching Al Jazeera and listening to a man who interviewed OBL (I didn't catch his name). He said that with every success, OBL became more vain, began to believe he was a new Messiah.

To me, he became a coward who believed his own press, who sent brain-washed people out to kill innocent people with only the promise of better things in the afterlife and for no other reason than they believed in different things. For ten years he hid - some hero - spent time in caves and on the run, but always with a 'do as I say, not as I do' attitude.

What he has caused to be done in this world is abhorrent; all the murders, the violence, the terror. All because the Saudis didn't want him to go after Saddam and chose the U.S. instead. All because he thought he single-handedly defeated the Russians and therefore Moscow. Thought himself special enough, he could destroy the U.S. and Washington. Yeah, not so much.

The fundamentalists will turn him into a martyr and continue to kill in his name. The West will continue to fight and kill the fundamentalists in the name of justice.

But for now, the scum-sucking bottom-feeder is dead.

Osama Bin Laden, is now O BLah.

Marathon time

I am back from sunny Canberra, and missed the rain on the coast.

It feels like I've been away for longer than ten days, but we had a good time.

I spent some quality time at the National Library fondling century-old documents. I love history, especially touchable history; snuggling up to Hadrian's Wall, walking the WW1 battlefields, kissing the Blarney Stone, touching Roman antiquities... or is that just me?

I'll get over the squealie fan-girl in a moment.

So. It's time for the Forward Motion story-a-day marathon.

I've written half a story so far. I spent yesterday morning cleaning up and the other half driving with the end-of-the-school-holidays traffic (unbelievable amount of idiots out there) that added an extra hour to the journey.

I confess to being ill-prepared to write. The first story the generator came up with seemed like a good idea at the time, but now... not so much. It might have been because of tiredness, but I shall persist and finish the story and another later today.

A good shot of caffeine should help the neural synapses spark.