Sunday, 11 January 2015

Resignations, Roleplaying and Routine

The word of the week is neoteric.

Jan 5 – End Credits G33kery

Yesterday's Simpsons episode had a wonderful ending to it!

While the episode itself was well executed in its own right, what really tickled my gears happened after the episode, during the end credits! Have a look:

Simply wonderful and totally g33ky, they were the perfect start to my week. I spent the evening prepping for writing my second book, getting scenes in order and generally putting a little more organizational polish onto my plans.

Bring on the words!

Jan 6 – Museum and Writing Book 2!

My day off today, it was quite a full one: I went to a museum AND started writing again on Book 2!!!

Although I wasn't initially feeling well due to a bit of a sugar rush, thanks to a bit of breakfast that I didn't pay close attention to, I was fine( more or less )an hour later… just in time to visit the museum.

Despite having lived here in Victoria for seven years, I've never actually taken the time to traipse through the Royal BC Museum. It's always been there, next to the IMAX theater that I've been to half a dozen times but somehow I've never really set aside a day to visit. Until now; a friend and I went for a lunchtime trip that turned into three hours of playing tourist.

What an amazing place!

The first thing I noticed was that the museum is a much, much larger place than I had guessed. Spread over two floors, the exhibits are housed in extremely large spaces, which make excellent use of the available square footage. The first exhibition we saw was “Wildlife Photographer Of The Year” which showcased the top 50 images selected from over 42,000 entries. There were some stunning pictures there:

After that, we toured through the Natural History and First People’s galleries, each of which was vast and filled with fascinating, detailed exhibits. I was stunned by the quality of the displays as much as their quantity; my last museum visit was decades ago to the ROM in Ontario and I don't recall those displays as being nearly as well thought out as what the Royal BC Museum has.

The real gem of the museum is their Old Town section of the Modern History Gallery: it's a faithful re-creation of a turn-of-the-century town, one that you can actually walk through parts of! You can stroll down the street and window shop, taking in the displays and feeling as though you've just stepped back a century in time. We've all heard that phrase, but today I really experienced it first-hand, like a perfect period film set:

This is only PART of Old Town...

I was flabbergasted and had a smile on my face the whole time I was in Old Town.

Once we were done, I got on with the rest of my day off( plenty to do! ) But in the back of my mind I was already planning to return to the museum again soon.

Feeling energized by my trip, I was in a good mental place when evening rolled around and it was time to start writing. I had a scene in mind and the writing started out smoothly, to my surprise, the words flowing rather well, just as I remembered doing last year. Before I knew it, over an hour had passed and a new scene was completed, one that I'm quite pleased with overall.

A few more months of having writing sessions like tonight and I should be finished Book 2's first draft.

Jan 7 – Sleep Shifting

Routine is good, except when it’s bad.

That doesn’t sound like it makes sense, but it does for me at this point in my life, especially as I’ve come from a previous job that was all over the place in terms of work hours.

Essentially, what I’m saying is this: I’m happy to be working 9 to 5 now.

I get tired earlier in the evening now, starting around 9pm… which is a far cry from when I sat around at midnight hoping I’d be able to sleep before 1am and having to be up at 6am the next day. With the job at MMart, my shifts varied so much that I was in a constant state of flux, living on sugar, caffeine and stress hormones so much that my body clock never, ever got settled.

That’s a bad way to live, and I did it for far too long.

I’m much better off now, getting used to rhythms that make sense, at least to me. Admittedly, figuring out this no-sugar dietary lifestyle does make me second-guess myself sometimes, but for the most part, I’m close to snoozing around midnight and up around 7am each and every day. It seems to work, I don’t feel exhausted as much as simply tired from working hard and I can get through a busy week without needing half a day off at the end to simply crash / recover myself.

Routine also bodes well for my novels: I’m all set for getting in 2-4 hours of writing a night before I run out of steam, which is perfect.

All part of the plan for 2015.

Jan 8 – Reading Is Good For You          

It seems I should still buy a few 'real' books, now and then.

Apparently, people don't retain nearly as much when reading electronic publications, such as my Kindle. While convenient, a recent study has shown that people who read actual paper books are much more likely to see benefits in memory retention:

The tactile experience of a book aids this process, from the thickness of the pages in your hands as you progress through the story to the placement of a word on the page. Mangen hypothesizes that the difference for Kindle readers "might have something to do with the fact that the fixity of a text on paper, and this very gradual unfolding of paper as you progress through a story is some kind of sensory offload, supporting the visual sense of progress when you're reading."

The study doesn't say much about the smell of books, which I also think is important. Memory is often tied to smell and even though my own olfactory senses aren't the greatest, the smell of books is one that I covet and occasionally crave, for the memories it evokes.

Time for a trip to the bookshop soon, I think...

Jan 9 – Personal

The first week of my new year has still been pretty busy.

Even so, it's not been as crazy as December, for which I'm grateful. Although I haven’t been sleeping wonderfully this week, thanks in part to my cat’s penchant for early wake-up yowls, it’s been fairly decent. Monday and Tuesday were crazy at work however, being the first of the month AND of the year, so it was a relief to see things wind down back to normal by today.

I also had several personal disappointments this week, but as neither of them affect either my work or my writing, in the slightest, then on the scale of things they don't really matter. As I've reiterated numerous times already the last few months, my focus is on getting my books done and having my day job means that’s possible now. Should anything socially happen in the meantime, I'd actually have to try and find time, so going out now and then is really going to be a weighty choice.

Other than that, it's full steam ahead to a very full rest of the winter season and onto a very busy spring.

Jan 10 – Campaign On Hiatus

Finally, a solid day off that I put to good use.

Rather boring use, but vitally necessary all the same; I don’t like to play catch-up with my weeks, but days like today are going to be the norm for 2015, I think.

Tonight was a bit of a wrap-up, too.

My gaming group got together for the last time for the next 6 months, as our game master is due to deliver her child in the next few weeks. Obviously, she and her husband are going to be rather busy after that, so our group will have to shift gears somewhat in the next short while. More than likely we’ll be running a mixup of boardgames and RPG games in short doses, as none of us really want to just stop getting together cold turkey - which is gratifying.

I really enjoyed the game group that I have played among for the last year. It's been extremely relaxing to be among so many friendly g33ks, especially as they enjoy my sense of humor as much as I have enjoyed theirs. Movie nights may also be part of the mix coming up; who knows? 

All I know is that I have to make some time for when I need to g33k out.

Jan 11 – Resigned

As of today, I’ve quit my weekend job - YAY ME!

Technically, I gave notice today: an entire month's worth, when it comes down to it. I typed up a short letter last night and handed it in first thing this morning at the beginning of my shift. The manager didn't even bat an eye, so I believe I was quite correct in surmising that they've been expecting me to leave for quite a long time now - so have I, truth be told.

Right now, my time is better spent writing then earning an extra hundred( maybe two )a month at a low-paying job that gobbles up my weekends. If I was completely crazy I could work seven days a week between the two jobs, but the return for the retail end of things would be rather minimal compared to the energy outlay and I need to save that up for my writing.

Needless to say, I really enjoyed the rest of my day. It's a good feeling to know that every minute that I work there gets me that much closer to leaving a job that's no longer relevant to my life. I am quite grateful to have worked with so many good people there, for the most part, and I'm pleased that I’ve formed friendships with a good number of them outside of work. I'm also quite happy that I no longer have to care even a moment about any idiotic paperwork mountains that I've been dodging since the summer; all that silliness will be done with in a month’s time.

It’s a good, good feeling, to know that I’m moving onwards.

Back to the regular this week: work the day job, write in the evenings and prepare for the time when my weekends will be completely my own again. It’ll be nice to stop playing catch-up and simply live life by my schedule, at last… it’s taken me long enough to get here, after all!

PPS - my blog passed 30,000 hits this week! *applause*