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Showing posts from December, 2016

Fortifying Friday - Resolutions?

I guess it's that time of year. Time to decide my plan for the year ahead. I worked as a planner for a long time and I know how Murphy likes to screw with plans. I've never really been a New Year's Resolution type. Why? I don't believe in waiting until the new year to start on most goals. I mean, obviously if one were to start their list of 2017 books to read before 2017, that would be cheating, but other things? Just go out and do the things. Don't wait for the perfect day. Don't wait until you have hand weights to exercise or you'll go to the store and find they literally only have 1 in stock. Also, I just spent a bunch of time eating junk and drinking more alcohol than usual, so my body is probably saying 'WTF dude'.

Anyway, I know that it's not likely I'll be able to do a specific word count each day. My life has been too unpredictable. I know it doesn't make sense to try to do some exercise programs while also doing martial arts. I d…

Thoughtful Thursday - Life As I Know It

During the holidays, I had a lot of conversations on a lot of different topics with a number of people. I also saw the new Star Wars movie with my brothers the same day Carrie had a heart attack. I wasn't in a good mood for most of the holidays between being laid off close to Christmas and struggling with food. Usually it's not so bad, but everything wanted to be a challenge all at the same time.

Star Wars

Watching Rogue One was a mix of wonder and sadness as I had just heard of Carrie's heart attack not long before. I found the movie to be well done and bittersweet. It filled a void in the Star Wars canon for me as I don't read the books. It was a void I was aware had to have happened, but now I know more about it. Growing up on Star Wars, I've seen the original trilogy many times and Leia was a favourite of mine. I didn't find out until after I had reached home that 2016 claimed her for good and all I want to do is cry about it. I don't think she'd want…

Christmas 2016

As usual, I left town later than I planned, but I received a tip on a possible job from a friend and had to submit my résumé. I was shocked that I didn't have any car trouble on the way as my battery wasn't making full connection with the terminal, so hasn't been properly charging lately. The drive there was pretty easy as mild weather kept the roads clear and since I left on Thursday I was able to avoid heavy traffic.

I ordered pizza and decorated the tree after I got to my parent's. My dad took my car in the garage to begin repairs on a piece I had snagged on a curb. After wrapping a bunch of the presents, my parent's chocolate poodle was obsessed with the Christmas tree. He settled down after I shifted the gifts enough to give him space to lie on the tree skirt. Silly pooch.



Christmas Eve brought me to sushi then the mall to pick up my ticket for Rogue One. I also got a bacon-flavoured treat for the dog.

Christmas Day brought a few movies, a gift card, and donut pa…

Thoughtful Thursday - A Break

It's the holiday season. This year has been a tough one. I'm taking a break except for one post about my Christmas holiday visit to my hometown, which will appear next week. 

During this break, I'll be doing something I'm not great at: relaxing. I think Skyrim may help this. I'll probably do some fiction writing and clean my condo as well as play various instruments because I haven't done that enough this year. 

I have no idea what 2017 has planned for me. I'm just going to try some things and see where they lead. 

I hope everyone enjoys the holiday season in a way that feels best to them. 

I also hope my car lets me get to my parent's house.

Ciao, 

R~

Merry Monday - The Importance of Reading as an Author

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So here is my planned reading list for 2017:

Éric Desmarais - A Study in Aether: A Baker City Mystery
Tanya Huff - An Ancient Peace
Caroline Frechette - Blood Relations
Jostein Gaarder - Sophie's World
Madeline Ashby - VN
Jeanette Walls - The Glass Castle
Margaret Atwood - The Blind Assassin
Thomas Keneally - Schindler's List
Ursula Le Guin - A Wizard of Earthsea
F. Scott Fitzgerald - Tender is the Night
Terry Pratchett - The Colour of Magic
Kass Williams - The Elf Conspiracy

You might notice that I have a fair bit that isn't in any of the genres I write in. Sophie's World is the type that I expect will fundamentally alter my perception of the world. The Glass Castle as well.

I have a feeling I will like F. Scott Fitzgerald because I'm not a Hemingway fan. I like to include at least one classic in my reading list. Last year, I tried Wuthering Heigh…

Fortifying Friday - Rhyme or Reason

Is there any rhyme or reason to being laid off twice in the same year from two different companies? Is this just because it's 2016 and it has been a challenging year for many? I'm still not over the loss of Alan Rickman. But many lost far more this year such as family members.

Most likely, it's the economy and there's nothing much to be done about it. As more and more automation happens, there will be less jobs available. This is why it's so fabulous that PEI is piloting a basic income project. Basic income is the future. With it, we shouldn't need many of the social programs that are currently in place. With it, people who are barely surviving now will be able to put time toward other things like helping solve bigger problems like cancer.

There's a small chance there is some cosmic force directing me to where I'm meant to be and I'll meet the love of my life and birds will sing and blah blah. Sure. It's possible.

I have a few irons in the fire rig…

Merry Monday - Socially Spent

'Tis the season to be jolly, right?

For an introvert, the holidays are extra exhausting. I had three parties over a two-day period. I enjoyed myself, but I was happy to have a warm bath and curl up on the couch with a remote to begin recharging.

It might surprise some people that I'm an introvert. According to the Myers Briggs personality test, I'm INTP and 33% extroverted. That little bit of extroversion is how I survive the holidays, conferences, and seminars. 

Saturday was the annual dojo sushi dinner. Tasty sushi and sake met good conversation. 

Sunday started with another dojo event involving cutting mats with a katana. Next, it was off to a party with other writers where I met an older British woman and had a fabulous conversation about literature. She was also not a fan of Hemingway. We also talked about how you need to read some trashy stuff now and then. Something to read when you're exhausted or as a palate cleanser. For her that means mystery novels. For me it m…

Fortifying Friday - Busy

It was a busy day today for work mocking up web page designs with only the use of Google docs at my disposal and simple tools like paint. Fun. Stuff.

This weekend is a busy one. Tomorrow is the annual dojo Christmas sushi outing, which I always look forward to. Sunday the dojo is doing cutting practice on mats (tameshigiri), but I won't be able to stay for the whole thing because also on Sunday is a Christmas party with some of the other writers in Ottawa. 

I've started work on a short story for an upcoming anthology I'm hoping to get it into. It's a straight sci-fi tale. Straight as in no supernatural elements or sex. I wish I had started sooner, but I didn't have an idea. Now I do.

Anyway, back to work. One more mockup to go then it's writing and relaxing time.

Ciao,

R~

Thoughtful Thursday - Fighting Back

Some days it's really hard to stay strong. There's just so much bullshit in the world.

I got a letter from my condo board claiming I owe them money. When I check through my bank account, their claim doesn't add up. No doubt they'll find some convoluted accounting reason despite my evidence to the contrary. Problem is that if I don't pay it by Monday I risk being charged upwards of $2,000. See how the little person gets screwed over? Oh, I got the letter yesterday. And they only want to accept certified cheques or bank drafts, which I don't think they are allowed to do. I believe they have to accept payment in any format. If I wanted to pay all in nickels, they have to take it.

Earlier this year they *had* to change banks. What company spontaneously needs to change banks? Then they screwed up taking payments for months on end and we had to give them cheques in payment. All my cheques went through earlier in the year as well. In August, they took 3 payments on the …

Merry Monday - Living Life

Here's what I've been up to while I've been spending less time on Facebook:

Writing

I met with my new writers group for the first time on Friday. It's quite different than my old one as we use Google Hangouts rather than meeting in person. I found it works well. Also, instead of having everyone read everyone's stuff, the author reads and then everyone takes a turn giving comments from the notes they made while listening to the reading. Overall, it takes less time. With a biweekly meeting schedule instead of monthly, I think it'll be easier to keep motivated. I'm a little greener than the others, but it seems we all have different strengths and weaknesses, which is a great thing. 

After the meeting, I was inspired to fix the pieces I had read and add some new parts. A Saturday morning fire alarm might've turned into going back to bed if I wasn't still feeling inspired to write.

Christmas Preparations

My first Christmas movie pick of 2016 is Gremlins. A st…

Fortifying Friday - Recovering from Failure

Last weekend was a downer. I wasn't successful at grading. How do I feel about it now?

Well, it still sucks and I'm still sad about it, but I've had so many people come forward to tell me about the times they've failed at something including the Nidan grading that I've realized it's going to be OK.

Part of me wanted to just stay home the other day, but hiding myself away won't get me where I want to be. Black belts are not quitters. Black belts pick themselves up and tweak the plan as many times as we need to.

An outcome of failing is that I feel like I have renewed interest in iaido, so I'm taking things in better. I especially noticed this doing the kata that is like a drunken version of ukenagashi. I've never been able to do that one properly, but it's starting to work.

I'm not really surprised that this happened to me. As a child, I was bullied. Especially in the athletic sense. Except for that one year where I beat several boys at running l…

Thoughtful Thursday - The Caffeine Challenged Writer

So writers and caffeine are supposed to be a marriage made in heaven, right?

For me, it's an unpredictable beast. I can get wonderfully creative bursts that fuel my writing. I can also become overheated and over sensitive to my surroundings. That's what happened a couple of Thursdays ago. I was hoping for writing fuel and instead felt like I was burning up, felt nauseous, felt scatterbrained, and spent a lot of time running to the washroom. Caffeine overload and gluten reactions have some overlapping symptoms, so I learned.

The problem is, I really didn't have time for it. I needed to be at Kendo because I committed to getting something done the following day that required me to get something from someone at Kendo. Yeah, I could've just attended and not done the workout, but that felt silly to me. Besides, I'd been putting off starting Kendo for far too long. Also, given Kendo's connection to Star Wars, December seemed an appropriate month to start Kendo.

As I twi…

Thoughtful Thursday - Social Media Break

I'm taking a break from social media in December. This is for a couple of reasons.

1. I need a break after all the election stuff and from the constant stream of mostly depressing stories people share.

2. I have things to do around my home like figure out how to pull up peel and stick tiles that have partially pulled up, but are sticky enough that they don't want to fully pull up. Also organize my closet. Also figure out how to move my appliances out of my way for cleaning and flooring.

3. Christmas parties and shopping for loved ones.

4. I need to finish the edits on The Page & The Magician.

5. I need to finish writing The Blood Waitress Club.

6. I need to figure out distribution for my books.

7. I must determine my next step with regards to publishing The Page & The Magician.

8. December just feels like a good month to focus on friends and family too. So my closest friends, the ones that don't put drama in my life, will probably see the odd like or comment.

I'll try t…