Sunday, 12 March 2017

Publishing, Parking and Passing

The word of the week is prodigious.

Mar 6 – Investing in Yourself

Life sometimes has a way of getting away from you.

It's all well and good to think you're on top of things, but if all you're doing is just keeping up with your daily schedule, then you might want to rethink a few things.

If you're not enjoying your life as it is, it might be time for a change. The list below is an excellent way to take stock of how well you are doing in your own life, and what you can do to improve things for the better. Not to say that my own life is pure dream sparkles, but I know I can always make the effort to do better.

For myself, I've discovered that I'm already doing most of the things on the list, which pleases me greatly. I'm still looking to eat better( as I've mentioned many times before, since it's not as easy as you think to form new eating habits ) and as yet I don't have any idea where I could find a mentor for my writing.

All the same, running across the above list this week has picked up my spirits, showing me that I'm well on my way to bettering myself through my own efforts.

Mar 7 – Passing

A friend I never met passed away this morning.

His name was Steven, and he had cystic fibrosis, succumbing after a courageous battle to this vile disease only a few months after he was diagnosed around Christmas time. He was hopeful to last that a lung transplant would bring things around again, and to see him just vanish was utterly shocking.

I first met Steven online, playing Neverwinter Nights, around 10 years ago. I got to know him through his characters, one of whom, a warrior named Jade, and up spending quite a bit of time with my own character creation, Nichneven. Through our regular character interactions over the years, I came to count him as a friend.

One of the many beautiful images Steven was always sharing...

I am saddened that I did not get to know Steven as well as I could have, though I was fortunate enough to become a FBook friend years ago. He always posted images of beautiful landscapes, had a fondness for funny memes, Star Wars and Star Trek, and from our too-few interactions had a lovely, contemplative soul. He also had an oddly endearing love of squirrels, as well as Disney's Tinkerbell.

I will honor his memory by remembering him, and his deeds in NWN, and by thinking about the kind thoughtfulness he put forth daily into the world. He was a constant in the game world we shared for many years, and his passing is a devastating reminder that our time in this world can all too quickly be cut short.

Be sure you use it wisely.

Mar 8 – Knowledge Gap

Today, I had an odd thought, a variation of what don't we know we don't know?

Between what we believe and what we know, or what is proven vs. what we suspect... it's something I've pondered, in relation to online social interactions, as there are so many assumptions made through the muddle of communication barriers.

In other words: people assume too much, both for themselves and others.

This sort of thinking comes into play in every aspect of our lives. It affects the decisions we make, both for ourselves and others. I believe that our innate assumptions, sometimes referred to as 'gut feelings' are based on a complicated amalgam of experience and knowledge. While you can't do much about experience gaps except to just keep going through life accumulating it, you can do something about your knowledge gaps: you can work on eliminating your assumptions and replacing them with facts.

In the last few years, I've been pleased to discover that my 'gut feelings' have almost always been correct: I rarely over-think a situation or second-guess myself these days. Thinking about it, I believe it's due to my confidence level in my own knowledge and experience having reached a tipping point, likely when I decided to move on from my soul-killing job at MMart, searching for something better. 

My decisions since then have been progressively more solid and despite numerous difficulties, challenges and setbacks, I'm pleased with where I've ended up today, apart from the annoying health issues nagging me.

All because I'm using my brain to think, and to look forward, not back.

Mar 9 – Digestion Liquids

I still don't know what's going on.

It seems I'm going from one health issue to the next, and that's worrying to me. I'm just holding down a day job and trying to get my novel done, these issues are gettting in the way of me accomplishing much.

Since Christmas, I haven't been able to eat a regular-size meal without discomfort, sometimes pain, and that's in no way normal. It's like my stomach's contracted to half it's normal size, which means that with me trying to gain BACK the weight I've lost( mainly muscle mass )it's really, really difficult: I haven't gained a pound in 3 months...

So, what to do?

Well, for one, I'm getting back to drinking liquids with meals, in small amounts. My sister suggested that I don't do so about 6 months back, for various reasons, but for my own health, I disagree: liquids HELP digestion. In moderation before, during and after meals, they're just what's needed to keep things moving, as more solid meals have been getting... stuck of late, just after dining - not fun. And since I don't have a gall bladder any more to store up digestive helpers, liquids are a good choice.

Walking also seems to help, so I'm doing that more, going out of my way to and from work, as well as a solid walk during one of my daily breaks. My Pebble Time's a great tool for this too, as I can easily see how much I've walked in a day.

Building on good eating habits also helps, though increasing my intake of 'liquid' veggies is challenging. I've compromised a bit in having omlettes when I do go out, and generally keeping an eye on the clock: most food exits the stomach in 2-3 hours, while liquids take around 30 minutes, which again helps the system move.

More next week, after I talk to the doctor about some blood work...

Mar 10 – Tidy?

I've got too many books, too little time AND space...

So today I packed up a bunch of books from my apartment, along with many DVD's, to send them to my parent's place for safekeeping.

Much as I hate being parted from my books and movies, there continues to be less and less room in my apartment. My sister and I are ready have two storage units full of stuff, even after several clean-outs in the last few years: we're down to keeping just the useful things that would be too expensive to place compared to just storing them, and quite honestly we're paying a tiny pittance for that monthly.

Maybe by this time next year, I'll have managed to find a place to share with my girlfriend, where we can use the second bedroom as an office / workroom / den. Our ideas to line it with bookshelves, much like the den at my parent's place, though theirs is fancy-looking with French doors - nice touch, that. In the meantime, I'll be less crowded here which will make me better able to focus on doing my own work rather than reading other people's works that I haven't got time for right now. 

This evening, I went to see the new Wolverine movie Logan with a few friends; as my lady had declined, as it's not exactly her kind of movie. Spoilers below.

I found the first part of movie to be most interesting, as it introduced a world that was shockingly like our present day, but further fallen into decay. It was a world bereft of hope, where mere survival was an accomplishment, and done so under the noses of commercial corporate greed taken to the ultimate level.

The characters were the stars of this film. Wolverine facing a slow death from the inside out, and the same happening to Professor X: both of their powers being turned against them, in horrible ironic twists on being aging superheroes.

The real star of the film was Wolverine's daughter, whose unwavering belief in him as a father figure was, in the end, justified by his redemptive actions. We were left with a blossoming of hope as the film closed, with old heroes buried in unmarked graves rather than with the accolades that they should have been laid to rest with.

Very satisfying, and a damn smart film I'll be watching again soon.

Mar 11 – Publishing BS?

Today was another field trip to Sidney!

My lady and I left early, breakfasting at a lovely little café off the beaten track called Toast. It's the kind of coffee shop that writer's dreams are made of: quiet, with lots of room and plenty of good things to choose from while you're working:

There's couches behind me... so cozy!

We were in town to attend a seminar being put on by a friend of mine, Ben Coles, a local published sci-fi writer. It's the first of three in a series introducing writers to the publishing world while cutting away all the BS that people new to the big bad writing world normally must wade through on their own. It was an extremely informative two hours and I'm looking forward to the next two seminars in the series in April and May, to learn all I can about how to get my books published without making any major missteps along the way.
In the evening, we joined forces again to go see Rogue One for the second time... at the IMAX theatre in the BC Museum: six stories of Star Wars goodness! The recently upgraded theater boasts the brand-new IMAX Laser system, which is incredible to watch: there's no frame flicker and the details are stunningly sharp, especially in the CGI scenes which in Rogue One look incredibly realistic. This movie reviewer goes into a little detail about his experience with the new tech:

One thing that was a little off was the 3-D portion of the film. Because of the sheer size of the screen, not every part of the projected image could be in proper alignment with both eyes, and so a parallax effect was noticeable unless you continually turned your head to look at the focal point in each shot. As this is rather tiring, I'll have to remember not to see any 3-D movies until they work out the pictures as it's rather distracting, as though some parts of the film are shifting off into other dimensions.

Other than that, the experience was excellent. Since my lady and I have season passes to IMAX, we can get into any Hollywood feature film for only $5.00, so we'll be eagerly waiting to have more movie nights as the year goes on.

Mar 12 – Driven

Thanks to a friend( hi Kevin! )I had a car to use all weekend.

Though I didn't use it much apart from driving to Sidney yesterday, it got me thinking a little bit about the perks of vehicle ownership versus the downsides. Apart from the monthly cost of a lease or payments, insurance, gas and maintenance, there's one more thing that always crops up with owning a vehicle:


For last three years, Victoria's been known for having a parking crunch, with not enough on-street spaces or parkades to accommodate all the people who want to jam into the downtown district daily. It's tough to find a spot, any time.

Knowledge of available parking is also key: where are there likely to be spots?

Enter Parkopedia, an online interactive website put into Google maps that lets you scout out possible parking anywhere in the world, be it places familiar or foreign.

I used it today to have a look at the parking in and around my doctor's office, which is across from one of the main hospitals in Victoria, an area notoriously difficult to find parking in. I discover that there is an underground lot near my doctor's office which only charges two dollars for an hour: a bargain! Since I'll have my friend’s car tomorrow as well, I'll make the effort to drive to my appointment, since I now know I won't have to leave before 8 AM to have a change in hunting for a spot on the street. 

Then again, I could always just take the bus...

I've had to wear a brace around my stomach this past weekend, as my abdominal muscles seem to strain all too easily simply from sitting vertically for more than 20 minutes at a time; damn frustrating. At least my mostly-liquid / small meal plan seemed to be working in keeping my insides happy, and I'll be putting together a wider-ranging meal plan this week after speaking to my doctor. I need to get my energy levels up so I can start my twice-weekly swimming regimen in April to build up my flexibility and overall muscle strength. At this point, my health levels are too close to sink or swim for my liking.