Sunday, 24 April 2016

Beards, Blocks and Bardic Birthdays

The word of the week is inoxerable.

Apr 18 – Blocks

It's spring, and sound is in the air.

Birds, bees and bikes - no surprise at any of those, really.

As you may well imagine, I've been looking for another place to live for many months now, but with little success. Since we( my sister and I )are on a month-to-month lease, we can technically move any time but to be honest, the only thing really bothersome about this place is how loud it gets in the summer as it's next to one of the main north-south roads leading through to the waterfront.

Apart from the overall noise level from sheer traffic volume, it's always a few jerks who have to 'sound off' their tricked-out rides that spoil it for everyone else, including other riders. I was pleased to recently discover that there are bikers on the Island who are more than considerate in keeping their bike's noise down to acceptable levels while in urban areas:

As always, there's a mix of those who care and those who could care less and it's the latter who managed to annoy the most people with the least amount of effort. I completely understand that motorbikes are a passion for many on the island and the excellent year-round weather here means that we probably have more than our fair share of bikers on Vancouver Island because of that fact.

Yet as a writer, I can't create with motorcycles passing by my window almost every minute of the day during the good weather and so I'm hoping that an upswing in the property market this year will result in more rentals becoming available in this area. One or two blocks back from the main street is all I ask, as it makes an incredible difference in the sound levels, often on the order of 20 dB or more compared to the main road. Finding a rare three-bedroom( or two plus-den )place would be ideal, as I need a workspace at this point in order to accommodate both my writing and my home business in the near future.

Come on property-ladder people: buy, climb on and free up some good rentals!

Apr 19 – Forge Delayed? Good!

Sometimes you never know what will appear in your e-mail inbox these days.

For example, I received something from the makers of my yet-to-be-built GlowForge today, which is odd as I haven't received much from them lately. It was a long e-mail and the second line read like this:

Due to schedule delays, we plan to ship your Glowforge by December 2016 instead of the original date of June 2016.

After a few seconds of disappointment, I suddenly felt lighter as I realized that I had been given six additional months of worry-free time to devote solely to my writing this coming summer and fall.

This actually really helps me, as I no longer have to try to hurry up and get my business details solidified in the next 60 days. I can spend more time working on my website as well as other marketing materials and plan on launching everything in early 2017, which is a far better timeframe for me overall.

Now I can work on my novels without juggling too much on the side. Sure, it would have been great to get things going earlier than 2017, but in terms of priorities I'd rather be finished working on my stories then try to fit them in around my home business... although making more money every month is always a good thing too.

Like I said, sometimes you never know what will happen that will improve your year!

Apr 20 –  ARMeY Storage

Tidy, tidy, tidy.

That's what I've been doing this week: putting away everything that has been crowding my place for months, mainly due to working on my costume for the now-past Emerald City Comicon ten days ago.

Paints, foam, brushes, templates and all the other supplies / paraphernalia that was needed for the build went into the storage unit down the hall instead of taking up space in my closet or even under the bed. Combined with the cleaning-out I did last week, my place now looks almost completely normal again.

Almost. I still didn't have room for this guy:

So after some more tidying of the storage unit, which included drilling holes in the wooden surround for screws to hang things, I managed to make some more space. Enough to be able to hang my costume on ARMeY and tucked him into the storage unit with room to spare. As an added bonus, he's 'guarding' my bike, which is securely locked to a conveniently-located drainpipe in the ceiling.

I feel much better now that the costume is safely stored and not getting crushed or otherwise damaged in a box. It's also nice not to have a person-sized mannequin taking up a corner of my room, even if it is dressed in a cool USMC outfit.

Apr 21 – Hormones?

As the cat's been a real pain of late, I've been going to bed far earlier as I'm waking up around 6am on average, about when he starts yowling for food. 

We've managed to get him to sleep most of the night though by purchasing something called a Feliway Diffuser, which vaporizes oils containing natural calming hormones that cats unit when they rub their faces on their territory. This seems to have settled him from waking myself and / or my sister 3-5 times every sleep, due to what I suspect is a case of partial blindness / deafness that makes him feel like he's been abandoned if things are quiet during the night. We're both hoping that this solution( pun intended )acts as a foundation for a few other things we are trying to modifying his eccentric and oftentimes annoying behaviors so that we can live our lives in our apartment with minimal annoyance when he's awake.

I wish they had these for humans, it'd have helped me of late...

Waking up early at 6am most days  hasn't been so bad, as I can get ready for work without feeling like I'm rushed and even feel relaxed by the time I stroll out the door around two hours later. It even allows me to go out for breakfast if I feel like it, which is a nice feeling once in a while is a treat before an anticipated busy day at work. It also means that I'm up with the cat and he doesn't startle me out of a sound sleep, which nobody enjoys.

As well, the summer's here, meaning the dawn's arriving a little earlier every day and the sunset's a little later as well. This time of year I have found myself to be at my most productive creatively and I'm hoping that this feeling will carry me through not only editing my first novels fourth edition but getting a good head start on finishing the second half of my second book.

Who knows what the cat thinks of all that.

Apr 22 – Facing Anxiety?

Boy, was my face red yesterday after work.

Really, it was red, and not in a good way.

As some of you may recall, this past August my face became severely infected when I failed to moisturize after shaving before heading out for the day - who knew that could happen? Ever since, I've been extremely conscious of any changes in the skin of my face, and yesterday raised some red flags - no joke intended.

All around and under my beard, skin was bright red and painful to the touch; it felt like my face was being stretched tight whenever I tried to smile or open my mouth wide. Ouch.

This wasn't good for my anxiety, let me tell you.

I'm somewhere in the middle of these examples...

But I went through my mental checklist in order to gauge the severity of what I was seeing, especially since it seems to have appeared out of the blue the last two days. As far as I could recall, I haven't used anything on my face that might cause a reaction, nor eaten anything that could provoke the same. I thought that perhaps I have had a little more sugar than normal this week and that may have led to an inflammation of irritated skin on my face; it's hard to tell, even with all sorts of resources available online.

In the end, I took a long cool shower that helped moisturize my face, then I rubbed substantial amount of antibiotic into all the red areas, which also seemed to help. I half hour after that I layered on enough aloe to revive a fossilized iguana and kept a close eye on my face for the rest of the evening, about five hours later.

By this morning, the redness was noticeably reduced, enough so that I went to bed feeling as though I cleared a hurdle. I repeated the same treatment process before he went to work and again after I got home, with noticeable results by the weekend: my skin and return to its normal color and I breathed a huge sigh of relief. While I don't know what caused it, I don't think it was the same thing as last summer; even so, I'm quite grateful that I managed to clear it up on my own.

I can't be too careful, considering last time this sort of thing happened, I had to be hospitalized!

Apr 23 – Bard's Birthday, and a prize!

After spending a good part of the day getting a whole lot of things around the apartment seen to, my lady and I went out for the evening... to City Hall.

Why there, you may ask?

Today is the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's passing, and to mark the date tonight the city held an event called 'Waking The Bard' to celebrate his life and accomplishments:

It was a packed house, with well over 100 people crowding into the Council Chambers-turned-meeting hall, to the dulcet tones of the Banquo Folk Ensemble, dressed in period garb and playing some lovely tunes of centuries past. The event was hosted by Victoria's current poet laureate Yvonne Blomer, who was a treat.

Four University of Victoria Fine Arts students performed an amusing original play inspired by Shakespeare’s works, and six guest poets created and performed  responses to Shakespearean sonnets. Joining Yvonne Blomer will be Youth Poet Laureate Ann-Bernice Thomas and local poets Iain Higgins, Sonnet L’Abbe, Anita Lahey and Troy Sebastian. Elizabethan music will be performed by the Banquo Folk Ensemble. The event included complimentary cake, beverages and door prizes donated by local businesses.

The first half of the evening was an excellent tribute to Shakespeare, with selected poems and the play by the University art students which was amusing and offbeat all at once.

The second half of the evening was less successful, begun by Anita Lahey with a lackluster "I am not a fan of Shakespeare so bear with me" preface to her poem, followed by Sonnet L'Abbe whose work was preceded by about 20 minutes of preamble... and none of her THREE poems had anything to do with Shakespeare. Zip. To be honest, I found them tiresome and from the expression on Sonnet's face she saw that she had lost most of her audience halfway through; my girlfriend felt the same way.

Thankfully, the highlight of the evening followed immediately after, when during the door prize draws I one a spectacular 'Signature Edition' of Romeo and Juliet - yay for me! It's a gorgeous book, with laser-cut inserts that are incredible - what a prize:

What luck! This will be a great read...

Apr 24 – The Good Ol' Stories

I was feeling tired today, so I just stayed in.

It was actually nice to just spend the day at home, doing some reading and even a little writing. I even played a little bit of MWO, which I haven't done for months and I did really well in most of the games I played. I do like MWO, which is run by a Canadian game company, who I am glad to see have a sense of humor that permeates their game:

Alas, poor Snow Fountain, we will miss you...

I'll still picked up some excellent used SciFi anthologies at Russell Books yesterday, including one that I'm quite eager to read( time permitting )over the next little while:

Golden Age science fiction is important to me, as it's what I grew up on as a reader: fun adventure stories in places far away, what more could a boy with a massive imagination want? The stories contained within the book above are exactly the kind of stories that I love and have led me to enjoy a similar genre such as Space Opera and related speculative fiction. Whiling away a bright sunny afternoon reading this book with the team nearby is my idea of heaven, which could only be improved by having my lady love with me... and a hammock, of course!

I have nothing on my docket this week whatsoever in the evenings after work, so I can devote all my time to my writing projects. It's this kind of simplistic focus that I work best in, free of most distractions and time commitments that always pull at me. Now that I know I have more than six months before I need to get back to my home business plans, I feel much lighter inside.