Sunday, 31 May 2015

Kites, Kosh and Kindred Spirits

The word of the week is propensity.

May 25 – Phoenix Redux

Two years ago, I experienced magic.

Not a slight-of-hand kind of magic, or other similar kinds. No, this was the magic that comes from ending a journey, of finding yourself in the right place, at the right time of your life, to move forward.

Each of these pic-snippets tells a story...

Such a place was Phoenix, AZ, where I was from May23-25 2013 attending the Phoenix Comicon 2013. I went there alone on a hair-thin budget, unsure of what I’d find in a strange desert city.

To my surprise and joy, I found myself:

Afterwards, I remember going down the street to the little pizza place that I've been several times before. I felt more at peace than I've ever felt in my entire life that night, as though imagined and departed spirits both were resting their hands gently on my shoulders to tell me that there were no longer any more burdens to bear, that I was free. I remember ordering two slices and beer at the counter and the girl who had served me several times before looked at me as though seeing me for the first time; perhaps the peaceful feeling that filled me was so evident that it radiated for all to see. I know that as I sat outside, enjoying the night air and watching people pass by, I felt as though I was seeing the world through new eyes with a balance that I'd never had before. I was content to just be in the moment and enjoy feeling no burdens, no cares, just a vast calm fulfillment that I'd finally finished a very long night and was now waiting to see the dawn.

It was perhaps the most fulfilling experience I’ve ever had in my life to date… not bad, for a trip I never thought I’d be able to make and had no idea what would happen.

How grand a trip it turned out to be!

May 26 – Win for Writers!

Holy macaroons, Scifi author John Scalzi just scored the holy grail of publishing deals today!

The author of Old Man’s War just made a 10-year deal with Tor Books, for an incredible $3.4 million US dollars, setting an incredible new benchmark for scifi writers.

Bottom line: it gives me hope that I can be paid decent sum for my own writing, be it worthy.
Over the last 5 years, part of doing research for my book has been to see who the writing markets work and what authors are getting paid for their creations. Obviously, not everyone earns the same and for the purposes of comparison, I’m only thinking about traditionally-published authors. 

Luckily, John Scalzi’s been writing scifi since 1999 and was kind enough in 2007 to publish this rare insider’s view of what he earned up until that point from his writing. As of 2005, he had a 3-novel contract, which was earning him a very respectable income:

That’s the kind of thing that takes time, though. Scalzi is well-known for his prolific blogging, which has really helped him connect with his readers( he even talks candidly about his writing income! )as well as make him a household name. Now that he’s got a 13-year multi-million dollar contract to attach to his name, you can bet that even more people will know who he is.

Which is almost as important as being a good writer, in the end.

May 27 – Oops Crossing

Some mornings, I really need to pay more attention...

I use my walk to and from work as thinking time, quite often running things through my head about the writing I need to do for my books. It's a short walk, about 10 minutes either way, longer if I stopped somewhere or detour for breakfast or dinner on occasion for a variety.

On this particular morning, I had stopped for a breakfast biscuit and was making my way towards work, with thoughts in my head whirling around particular concept I was working with. Glancing up, I saw that the light had turned green and I checked the oncoming traffic reflexively; everyone was stopped at the white line. I was good to cross the street.

I'm not dumb enough to use my phone while crossing, at least..

A few seconds after I stepped off the curb, my forebrain finally kicked in and yelled at me: the light I had looked at was for the wrong direction. The stopped line of cars began to move towards me as I skipped inelegantly across the remaining distance to land on the sidewalk as the vehicles proceed into and through the intersection.

Not my best moment for proving that I was paying attention to the world around me.

Looking back at that slight moment of silliness, I think a combination of morning lethargy and inattentiveness due to concentration on my writing thoughts were to blame. If I'd looked at the crosswalk sign instead of the light, then I wouldn't have made a potentially dangerous mistake - of a type I rarely, if ever, make.

Lesson learned: save more concentration power in the mornings for the walk, not the writing.

May 28 – Trolling?

Apparently a comment I made this week online annoyed someone... +1 to me, unintentionally.

Which, in itself, is such a comment occurrence on the internet that it should require no notice, save that it was my comment and I’m not quite sure why someone would take minor umbrage to it:

I do not agree.

What’s with this guy, I wonder? Does he have a valid point to make, or is he just trolling his opinion out there attached to my comment, because my admittance to not being vulgar somehow offends him? Do I care that some random stranger has a nit to pick with me, in the end?

Not really.

I chose not to respond, because I couldn’t picture a scenario that ended well, or at least without a profusion of profanity. In the end, I stated my opinion on the subject and that’s good enough for me; if it wasn’t for this other guy, then that’s his problem, not mine.

I have better things to do, I swear

May 29 – Scifi Sizes

A poster of mine died suddenly today.

To clarify: I have a number posters up on the wall at work, all of them depicting various science fiction vehicles. Unfortunately, one of them was not as well secured as I thought to be and when a coworker slid in to visit, they ripped the poster almost in half as it caught on a pocket of theirs.

It's a big, BIG poster... 1 pixel=1 meter

Cue sigh and immediate thoughts of replacement: the poster( as shown above )was an incomplete earlier version of the massive compilation of science fiction starships, so it's loss is not a total disaster.

I've actually been eyeing the ships on another website, one that has quite a few different size comparisons across many sci-fi universes, including Babylon 5. The creators of the Starship Dimensions site had this to say about what guiding principles went into in creating their site:

Everyone should read "Contact", then see the movie. Carl Sagan was a genius, and is one of the inspirations for this website. Per his example, we strive to get people to love science fiction, so that they feel inspired enough to try to bridge the gap between Science Fiction and Science Fact.

Personally, I love anything to do with sizing up starships and/or spaceships. It's a step towards making them seem more real, to taking things that exist only in the imagination and grounding them with dimensional data so they can be compared to other sci-fi ships or real world ships.

Next week: building a full-size Millennium Falcon…

May 30 – Kards and Kites!

I gamed with friends at noon today, for the first time in a long while. It was great fun!

We played Smash-Up, a fun and fast card game that uses eight different sets of 20 cards to create themed decks of creative combos. Pirates, Aliens, Dinosaurs and other factions can all be combined in pairs to create unusual ways to win. Players attack bases to gain victory points: the first player to 15 points wins and some creative strategies emerged today along with some rather amusing ones as well. My two friends and I managed to get three entire games in over the course of three hours and we thoroughly enjoyed each one for the unique gameplay that occurred with the random combinations of decks.

I also learned that I really, really dislike Zombies.

In the late afternoon I went with my lovely date down to Clover Point, to see the 2nd annual Victoria International Kite Festival. We’d brought along a kite, one I’d purchased a month ago but not yet flown; I was waiting for the right opportunity and this was the perfect time! We spent a blissful time in the strong winds watching the kind bob and weave at the end of the line, in a sky filled with many other kites of all shapes, sizes and colours. It was a lovely start to a great evening and we both thoroughly enjoyed the time we spent together.

If someone ever tells me to go fly a kite, I’ll pick today as an example of how good it can be.

May 31 –Part Deux!

Why date just once a weekend? Well, my date and I had such a good time yesterday, that we met for breakfast again and spent a good part of the day outside, enjoying the wonderful weather in good company. We didn’t end up flying any kites again, but there was a good deal of Babylon 5 and a park in there, so all in all I’d count it as a Second Successful Date Day. 

Send me more of these kinds of weekends, please!

It’s been a few weeks, but I have to mention Game Of Thrones, because tonight’s episode was a doozy.



Okay, even knowing that Winter Is Coming and all that, it still was shocking to see that Winter did indeed come knocking in tonight's episode, a lot earlier than any of the characters in the show might have thought it would happen. Apart from the violence-heavy scenes, there were some fascinating nuances( big and small )in the episode which I appreciated, most of them to do with figuring out exactly how the White Walkers operate and speculating on what might happen next.

Is he wearing a tie? So formal!

I'm definitely a big picture person and this is really feeding into my guesses as to what's going to happen next. Not having read the books, this is quite exciting for me and I'm really looking forward to the next few episodes to see how the season gets wrapped up. Having successfully avoided any spoilers online, I really expect myself to be on the edge of my seat for the finale.

Winter is coming, you know…

A busy week, with two wonderful weekends to bookend it... how can I not smile? I could say a lot more, but I'll leave with just this: life's been really good to me this month!