Sunday, 22 March 2015

Living, Locks and Lava Lamps

The word of the week is beamish.

March 16 – Generous Karma?

It’s funny how things can change for the better at the drop of a hat.

Last week, I had my bike stolen - bummer.

This week, I was loaned a bike by a friend to use - wow!

The generosity of such an act doesn’t cancel out the pain of the theft, but it does mitigate it somewhat. Obviously I will have to look at a fair price for the loaner, should I keep it, as it’s a fine machine and a lot less rustier than my sad-departed former ride. I also don’t have anywhere to KEEP the loaner safely; right now, it’s under my bedroom window, crowding my space with kind karma until I figure out where to put it.

I’m most certainly never locking up my bike outside again overnight, or with a cable lock of any kind. Speaking of which, I was searching through videos on bike locks this week to see what was recommended and what wasn’t in terms of demonstrated effectiveness. Wouldn't you know that I came across my failed lock in one of the first videos I watched? Apparently it’s considered ‘crap’ despite the great ratings it had at the time when I purchased it:

It just goes to show that you need to keep on top of these things and upgrade your equipment once your knowledge increases, especially if there's the risk of theft in your area rises over time.

March 17 - Green Lava?

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

It's not really my thing anymore to go out for St. Patty’s Day, but I do still love the holiday, if only for the fact that the colour green is everywhere. It’s my favourite, I have to say.

Also my favourite: lava lamps.

You may not know it, but I've had a lava lamp for almost thirty years now. The same one has traveled with me from home to home, faithfully adding a unique ambiance to every place I’ve called home. It’s an unusual lamp, as I’ve never again found its particular combination of black outside and blue water. Most lava lamps are garish, but this one manages to be subtly cool:

That's ol' Faithful in the middle... and left.

That pattern, I tell you… it’s always something new and I find the wax movements calming. By now I can’t imagine calling any place I live in a home without a lava lamp; it’s a sort of mobile sculpture that flows in slow motion, never distracting but always entertaining.

Maybe I should get another one, with green colouring? Hmmm.

March 18 –It's a dumbphone, now...

Ah, the foibles of smartphones: sometimes they’re suicidal.

My dad called me yesterday using his home phone line to say that his ‘new’ HTC M7 was doing strange things: a red triangle had appeared on the screen and it was stuck on a boot loop.

Insert techie sigh of anticipated time wasted trying to fix it…

When I got home yesterday I have a look at the phone and consulted the Internet for both probable causes and fixes. For what I determined, an over-the-air update from HTC had gone horribly wrong and soft-bricked the phone – rather effectively, as I found out, after attempting to repair it for hours. 

Not wanting to lose my sanity in endless loops of repair efforts, I called it quits and resolved to bring it into Blackapple Cell, a local store downtown that specializes in cell phone repairs. They have a look at it today and think they can fix it for less than $100, depending on how soon I need it back( well, my dad needs it back )which is better than I’d hoped.

In the meantime, I activated my old LG 8700 flipphone on my dad’s account, which he's perfectly happy with:

In some ways, my old phone is just perfect: it makes calls, it texts and it looks darn good with a battery life on the order of a week of general use. What’s not to like? We’ll see if my dad’s M7 decides to step back from the edge of its self-immolation in a week or so – apparently that’s how long it’s going to take, with endless restarts.

But: there’s hope! And as a bonus, I'm not spending time trying to fix it myself!

March 19 – Too Helpful?

It's been a little rough for me here and there at work this week, despite mostly smooth sailing overall. Today I did invoices for the whole day, kicking back mentally with my headphones and letting the music soothe my creative side for around eight hours with epic non-vocal tracks.

These sorts of days almost always lead to creative breakthroughs and I had several today all at once – more on those later.

What I also had today was a gentle talking-to about being too helpful to callers.

Ummm, okay?

I pay close attention to how I do my current job, both interacting with people over the phone and with my coworkers. For the most part, both types of interaction have been smooth, but I've noticed this week that several co-workers have cut me short when I came to them with problems to solve and in both cases I realized I was giving too much information without offering any solutions.

This leads into today’s conversation, which centered around me helping a particular caller in their problem with one of our service providers. Long story short: the client ended up quoting me fairly verbatim in a letter she wrote to the service provider, which I was both amused and annoyed by, as I always phrase my assistance as my personal opinion or such when it’s not within our ministry’s purview. Being a smart fellow, I do what I can to make people’s lives easier, but sometimes it backfires through no fault of my own or the caller’s intent; that’s life.

So I’ll be less helpful, more succinct and try to avoid infodumps in the future, I guess.

It’s still the best job I’ve had, by far

March 20 – Trigun!

Today was a long but most fruitful day!

I was in to work early and left late, catching up on processing items and enjoying the day overall. We’re shifting the whole floor around to accommodate departmental mergers, so staff are moving around and there’s a lot of new faces. Thankfully, I don’t have to move out of my Corner Condo!

I spent the evening watching anime with a friend, starting in on a new series: Trigun! Have a gander at the first episode, entitled The Sixty Billion Dollar Man:

The protagonist of this very popular late-90’s anime series is a travelling warrior who, according to story in the first few episodes, gets confused with a legendary warrior who was said to have destroyed entire cities single-handedly. The plot antics that result from this confusion are quite amusing and cover a much deeper storyline which I quickly came to appreciate. More, please!

I also received more feedback from my friend tonight on the entirety of the first four chapters of Book 2… almost all of it extremely positive!

To date, that makes three different writer pals( whose opinions I trust )all of whom have read all of Book 1 as well as up to Chapter 4 of Book 2...  and all of whom enthusiastically want to see more along those same lines…

I can think of no better endorsement for getting down to writing Book 2 again!

March 21 – Gettin’ It Done!

Some days, it all just seem to flow, like today.

Waking up fairly early for the weekend, I met a friend for breakfast and then plowed through the morning’s tasks; before I knew it, it was already time for lunch.

As the weather was excellent( lots of sunshine and only few clouds )I packed up my lovely little laptop and headed down to Moka house, where I ensconced myself and my usual corner of the patio. Donning my Parrot headphones, I submerge myself in some inspiring music and got down to writing.

What a wonderful few hours it turned out to be!

Some days, when the conditions are right, my Muse grabs my hands and runs with it. Today was such a day and I made fantastic progress in plotting out the details of upcoming chapters which I've been having some difficulty focusing on the last few weeks. By the time a chill wind had blown up and it was time to head back, I was feeling drained but very happy with the day’s results.

Thinking about the kinda of ‘trance’ I went into today while writing, I recalled Stephen King saying something of the same a few years ago:

Days like today inspire me to keep at it on those other days when creative thought seems fleeting and far away. Getting to sit down when my mental ducks are in order and flow-writing without distractions - ‘in the zone’ as it’s sometimes called - is heavenly and most satisfying.

It certainly gets the job done!

March 22 - Making Dreams

It seems BC is in for a bit of an economic boom in the next five years.

Not where you’d think, though… it’s all in film and TV production, of the kind near and dear to my heart: scifi and fantasy! Many of the current popular crop of scifi and fantasy shows are being filmed right here in BC, along with production on their F/X and related work. It’s a regular boom-time for Hollywood North, which I’m glad to see!

Ah, Scully and Mulder... where does the time go?

Many of the shows I’ve loved over the years were filmed in BC, like X-Files and Stargate SG1, among others. One of the reasons I like being on this coast is, in part, holding onto the dream of one day writing something that will be filmed here in Canada, along the lines of a scifi epic.

One has to dream, but here in BC, it seems like you’re a little close to them some days…

That’s all for now, folks. Now that Spring has officially arrived as of the 21st, things are going to get pretty busy around here. See you next week!