Sunday, 31 July 2016

Workweeks, Writing Worth and Window Women

The word of the week is saccharine.

July 25 – Onwards

It's nearing the end of July, and work on my first novel is still going slowly. Like anything worth doing, you have to have perspective on it.

Late in 2015, I set a deadline of August 31 2016 for completing my third draft, not knowing the fun times I would have facing anxiety and financial frustration in the next long while. Not to mention just having recovered from a serious bacterial illness while trying to finish the first draft of my second novel in the trilogy...

Like I said, fun times.

In any case, completing my first novels fourth draft one month from now might still be attainable, though I don't think I'd be happy with the results if I tried to rush things along in order to meet an arbitrary deadline that I've set.

I want the work to be completed, not just finished: there's a distinct difference.

When I finish my fourth draft, it will be the best and most polished version of the book I can produce without professional help, as I've said before. It will be the version that I will be sending out to publishers as well as agents to represent the best of my writing abilities to the world.

You can rush that, and while I realize that I can sit here and polish things until there's nothing left underneath the shine, I can't just bring myself to quickly buff up a fourth draft to send out.

I'll make it the best draft I can, however long that takes in 2016.

July 26 – A Worthy Sequel???

What great timing!

After watching The Rocketeer this past weekend with my girlfriend, I was pleased as punch to hear today that there's asequel in the making - NOT a reboot, which quite frankly I'm getting tired of hearing since NONE of the movies made to date in such manner have been worthy of the originals.

The hero of the new Rocketeer is an African-American woman.This new version will be set six years after the original film. The first Rocketeer has disappeared fighting the Nazis, so an unlikely pilot takes up the mantle and battles the scientists who are trying to mass produce the rocket technology for the enemy.Writers Max Winkler and Matt Spicer are penning the script and it’s being produced by Brigham Taylor (The Jungle Book) and, weirdly, athletes Blake Griffin of the L.A. Clippers and Ryan Kalil of the Carolina Panthers.

Unfortunately, there's not much more to tell than that, but that's okay for now: movie development is like that and will hear more through the grapevine as soon as it's available.

In the meantime, here's a picture of a great Rocketeer crossover: Bobateer!

July 27 – Whew, Work!

This week's been pretty tiring at work, more so than most.

It's because too many people are on vacation right now and it's the end of the month, which is nothing surprising but I'm still working my butt off every minute of every day this week. Today already feels like I've been working five days in a row yet I still have one more day to go before my week is over tomorrow - thank goodness for EDO's.

Essentially, I'm on the incoming phones all day while keeping on top of our e-mail Inbox too, answering questions and requests to try and keep things within a 24-hour window for responses. It's quite tiring and mentally taxing, though generally stress-free, apart from the occasional Silly Person who wonders why they had to wait 20-30 minutes longer than usual for us to get to them. Hmmm: it's BUSY at the end of the month, perhaps?

I'm also training three new people for our team, which is wonderful: we've been operating understaffed for 3 months now and it's going to be great to get some qualified help who will stick around to get better every day under the tutelage of more experienced Admin  staff such as myself. I put a few of them on the phones today and although they only got a few calls here and there, it was enough to make a significant difference in everyone's stress levels, color and staff both.

Next week should be even better with everyone from our team back from vacation and raring to go. The rest of the office has felt fairly empty as various staffers take their vacations during the summer, which is made many people's jobs more difficult when some staff just aren't there to answer questions that we can't.

But that's all part and parcel of my current workplace. At least I can leave it behind at the end of the day and just dive in again in the morning, without anything being on my mind in between.

July 28 – Another B5er Gone

Why? Sixty is WAY too young!

Actor Jerry Doyle passed away today, taking us to a total of FIVE Babylon 5 alumni who passed away far too early in the last 10 years.

This sucks.

Much like the close family of Star Trek, all of the surviving alumni of B5 are reeling from his loss, which was quite unexpected. When Andreas Katsulas passed away in 2006 he at least was able to say goodbye to many of his friends, as his battle with cancer did not take him suddenly, as did the death of Richard Biggs in 2004: another great loss.

The creator the show, J. Michael Straczynski, was eloquence in his words about the passing of Jerry Doyle today:

So dear sweet universe, if you are paying attention in the vastness of interstellar space, take a moment from plotting the trajectory of comets and designing new DNA in farflung cosmos, and spare a thought for those who you have plucked so untimely from our ranks...and knock it off for a while. 
Because this isn't fair. 
And Jerry Doyle would be the first person to tell you that. Right before he put a fist in your face. Which is what I imagine he's doing right now, on the other side of the veil.

Say hello to the others out there Beyond The Rim, Jerry. RIP.

July 29 – Bang, Bang, on the Window!

Tonight, I had to call 911.

I was out with my girlfriend, as well as her parents and grandfather who were visiting from the states. We'd just finished dinner at Vista18 and were walking in Beacon Hill Park, when my sister called me: the Crazy Window Woman was back!

Last night, a woman started searching around in the bushes outside my bedroom, loudly looking for something that she seemed to have lost. She was only there for a minute or two, then wandered off lamenting her loss( ? )and came back again a few minutes later, at which point I called the police nonemergency number, as she seemed to be in some sort of mental distress. I couldn't see her because of the lack of light outside my window, and by the time the police got there she was gone.

Tonight she was here again, banging on my bedroom window hard enough to rattle the glass bottles I keep on my windowsill, so that my sister heard her down the hall and through the door of her own bedroom. My sister went to my bedroom and loudly told the woman through my locked window that she couldn't just walk up to the wrong  people's windows to bang on them and had to go away now. Then my sister called me, remarkably calm but obviously at a loss what to do...?

So I called 911 from the park, as the police had advised me last night if the woman returned. They dispatched a unit, and this time I was able to give them a description of the woman, who had again by this point left to disappear in the dusk of the street. From the ramblings that my sister heard, it appears that this person was looking for someone in another unit, possibly to perform some kind of illegal transaction, but there's no real way to know that as she vanished so quickly. The police were unable to find her, which was no real surprise... I hope that's the last we see of her.

From what I gather, the woman is probably homeless, staying in the Tent City only two blocks away towards the downtown, making for quite a few more homeless people wandering the neighborhoods in downtown Victoria in the last few months. Given the lushly overgrown nature of many of the landscaped gardens around where I live, it's no surprise that some of the homeless are using the cover for their own purposes, and it's unfortunate that my window area is one such.

I'll be writing up the incident officially for my landlord, to see if some security lights might be able to be installed on the cheap. As Tent City is scheduled to be finally shut down in less than two weeks, I'm not sure anything will happen, but I certainly don't want to be jolted out of bed by some crazed woman smashing on my window while mistaking it for another unit.

July 30 – Ancient CGI

As a lifelong fan of Star Wars, I love the original trilogy in its unaltered format, and oddly enough the design of the Death Star is one of my favorite parts - especially the 3D computer graphics that were revolutionary for the time.

Just announced this week: John Knoll, ILM wizard for the upcoming Rogue One Star Wars movie has done some incredible work in re-creating the CGI graphics of the Death Star as shown in the original Star Wars film, faithfully reproducing them with modern technology:

You can see the entire 1-hour panel from Star Wars Celebration Eurpoe 2016 below, where John Knoll discusses an incredible amount of 'Star Wars Archaeology' to some very lucky people earlier this month:

July 31 – The Sounds Of  Summer

It was another beautiful day to be outside.

My lady and I spent a few hours down at the model boat pond, chatting with the other boaters while running our Haulin' Trawler off the space-backup battery, as the backup LiPo cell decided it was having a bad day and cause the boat to drift into the concrete side of the pond - paint scrape, dang it! Then we spent a few hours enjoying ourselves on the patio at Garrick's Head pub downtown, next to the sunday market there which is perfect for people-watching.

It's actually our favorite spot in Victoria, and we had a glorious time there together.

For dinner, we had a double-header, watching 2 episodes of the original Samurai Jack series( still only on the first season )as well as 2 episodes of the first season of Star Blazers, which were further ahead on( about 8 episodes in )and that I love to watch, especially with such appreciative company. Star Blazers takes me right back to my childhood and never fails to put a smile on my face as I watch. It's always a bonus that it's a great story and a healthy inspiration for my own writing.

As we were both feeling pretty tired, we didn't go to the Victoria Symphony Splash this year, down in the inner harbour area. Trying to find a seat in the shade among 40,000 people just didn't appeal to us, to be honest, despite the allure of a live classical symphony orchestra playing. Maybe we'll rent a pair of kayaks next year and float in front of the stage, though again will have to have some sort of some cover to avoid looking like lobsters by the time we're done.

And so I'm now writing my blog, a few hours later than usual. It's actually easier for me now to write just after dinner on Sunday nights, compared to post to my blog closer to midnight as I did for the last nine years previously. The shift in my bedtime has been fairly profound in going from 12am most nights to around 11pm; it doesn't seem like much, but it's all about when I start to get tired...

Well, it's after 10pm and I'm pretty darn beat, though not as tired as I was Thursday night: that was a LONG day after a long week, despite it being only four days long. I still have another day off tomorrow( BC Day! )and I'll be using the opportunity to get some more work done on my draft, plus just plain ol' relaxing. July's done with, I'm a year older and I've a lot of work still to do...