Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Photos of monsters?

Hey, you! Yes, you. Do you have photos of monsters you've taken? Are they made of win? Would you be willing to give them to me to use in a book of The Event? It doesn't matter if the background is not ideal - we can photoshop in scenes from around Wellington later. If you've taken photos of sea monsters in front of a green screen that'd be ideal.

Also if you have photos of Wellington locations we could use as backgrounds for the monsters that'd be cool :-)

- The waterfront
- The bucket fountain
- Any inconic Wellington locations
- Storm clouds over the harbour
- rocks at the shore

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The marvellous CG

The Exquisite Corspe that Hix put us on to has lead to us getting back in touch with Chris, who is writing some hilarious (and spooky) short fiction on his blog:

DadCo - an awesome proof for a pamphlet for DadCo.
Who are we and what do we do, we make plastic lawn furniture. We make round white plastic tables and plastic chairs in sets of four which come with. There’s a whole in the middle of the table and we make “sun-brellas” which go in the whole. They come in three colours. White with yellow and purple stripes, White with yellow and blue stripes, White with yellow and orange stripes.
That’s all we do. We make them in Hamilton and we send them up as far as Auckland and down as far as Tokoroa. We used to make BBQs but the contractors we had for the gas tanks were useless, it was a nightmare. & also safety regulations.

You are incorrigible - a children's story about a boy at a train station and NOTHING OUT OF THE ORDINARY.

Problems with our elephants - a report from the zoo about some odd elephant goings on.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Week's writing

6486 / 15000 words. 43% done!

1180 words this week, plus 478 words of The Event. Not a huge amount but on track!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Event Update

My part two is up. So are Jenni's Part Two and Debbie's Part Two.

I am loving The Event. So much fun!

Half way to week's quota

5937 / 15000 words. 40% done!

If I do some more during Dom's nap tomorrow I should meet the week's total nicely. Been doing some marking in the evenings, procrastinating on other nights. Not a great start to the term writing-wise but still on track for my modest goal.

Now to write the next bit of The Event!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Space Cadets

Debbie mentioned in a comment over on Jenni's blog that one of the things we've been enjoying this week is panel shows. QI is one of our favourite shows and this week we've been dipping our TV watching toes in 2 shows - Never Mind the Buzzcocks and Space Cadets. Bill Bailey is a common element of both, as is the unimportant nature of the questions. Really, it's all about cracking jokes (in the case of Space Cadets) and taking the piss out of panelists (on Buzzcocks).

By far the best thing about Buzzcocks is the ruthless mockery of the guests by the host. It's especially good when other members of the panel join in.

We've only seen one episode of Space Cadets so far and it was a fun, geeky distraction. Bill Bailey and Craig Charles are the team captains with Greg Proops as the host in a sci-fi quiz. There were possibly more questions in this show than in the episodes of Buzzcocks we watched, though there was a similar amount of mucking about making the funnies. It's not brilliantly funny but the first show did feature a very good-natured William Shatner as a guest and had enough giggles to keep us watching.

We've grabbed the next 6 eps from Youtube and will watch them over the next week or so :-)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Event Kicks Off

Debbie has organised a group writing thingy which has so far been a lot of fun. It's called The Event and will see five writers following five characters through a life-changing event in Wellington. The writers involved are Steph, Jenni, Chris, Debbie and myself. OK, so I probably don't need to link to my blog from a post on my blog, but I wanted my name to be a link too.

Each of the five of us are going to write 5 short pieces of fiction following our respective protagonists. The characters may well meet up, interact, kill each other, whatever, so we'll be trying to play nice (where nice means giving each other room to move and have fun, not actually being nice to the characters).

The first installment from each of us is up in one big post over on The Event's blog. Future entries will probably be of the one-bit-of-writing-per-post type. Probably.

We haven't collectively decided what the event is actually going to be. I may be pushing for an alien invasion. Or talking cats. Or a plague that makes people slowly melt into organic stew.

Hopefully the rest of the group have some good ideas ;-)

Saturday, July 18, 2009

One more day to go

5306 / 15000 words. 35% done!

Tomorrow is the last day of the holidays. So far I've written 10, 523 words this holidays. I have marking to do tomorrow (I made a start today but haven't done much) but will try to do a little more writing. Then it's term time with the modest goal of about 1000 words a week :-)

Operation Monarch Rescue


Two days ago we spotted 15 monarch butterflies in the park on our morning walk. Yesterday there were still a number of butterflies flitting about in the park and one sad little fellow stuck in the water. Dominic rather enjoyed watching the attempt to remove the butterfly from the water and give it a fighting chance, and the mission was a success (in that the butterfly was removed from the water without me falling in).

Slightly bedragled but not drownded, the butterfly was carefully placed on the grass in the sunshine to dry out.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The view from our lounge

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Up before 5am today

5005 / 15000 words. 33% done!

Tidied during Dom's nap rather than writing, so have done an evening writing session. Good practice for next week :-)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Off to work I go

4270 / 15000 words. 28% done!

Now to collect marking.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Om nom nom

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Time running short

I think I'm going to have to do some marking in the next few days which is going to slow down my writing considerably. Well, it's going to force me to write in the evenings when Dom's asleep, at least. His naps are about 90 - 120 minutes long, which is a great amount of time to have a cup of tea, clean up the morning's dishes and mess, maybe put a load of washing on, and get a solid 45 minutes writing done. If I want to get an hour of marking in during each of his naps for the rest of the week that's going to push writing back into the evening.

On the plus side I think I work faster in general when there's something I want to do when I'm finished. This week it'll be spending time with Debbie in the evenings and watching The Shield season 4. It's a very compelling show! So I think if I can squeeze in a productive half hour each evening I should still be able to make some good progress, even if I am marking during Dom's naps.

3698 / 15000 words. 25% done!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Incremental progress

2965 / 15000 words. 20% done!

Spent yesterday reading Kiki, visiting family, and recovering from our expedition, so did zero writing. One of my goals for Term 3 is to try to do *some* writing every day, even if it's only ten minutes. Little bits add up to good progress pretty quickly, and I'll be aiming to write for more extended periods during Dom's weekend naps.

Season 4 of The Shield is very compelling - we ended up staying up past 10pm last night to finish an epidose. Past 10pm! Wild crazy partying, for sure :-)

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Operation Bathblocks

For the grandmothers :-)

Operation Bathblocks from Matt Cowens on Vimeo.

Saturday morning

2367 / 15000 words. 16% done!

Potato, kumara and another big orange vegetable are in the oven roasting. Mmmm, roast vege salad for lunch.

Drew another pic inspired by Debbie's current project:

Better go turn the veges over :-)

Friday, July 10, 2009

Evening writing update

1623 / 15000 words. 11% done!

Short writing session today

961 / 15000 words. 6% done!

Might do some more in the evening. Did read several chapters of Kiki (Jenni's novel) though. Chapters 21- 24 I think? Good stuff, jumping between the 3 main characters as they're separated in the city. Good paciness and interesting description!

And then I played with this for a few minutes:

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Dad standup routine - first gag

This is the first one that I'm writing down anyway:

"There's no way I'm ever going to get my kid a DIY time machine kit for Christmas. I just know he'd spend the whole holidays putting it together, testing each part to make sure it works, staying up late and slaving away just so he could go back in time to a week before Christmas, kick me in the nuts and tell me to get him a better present.

And then if I did it would create a paradox which would destroy the space time continuum.

I'm sticking to socks and lego."

Hah! Look for more of my standup routine roundabout never.


I've been drawing a few monster pictures lately inspired by a story Debbie's writing.

I like adding shadow and highlights with the burn/dodge tool :-)

Term 3 writing goal - commence!

640 / 15000 words. 4% done!

I've started a new document for this section - the first one is 15,240 or so words. That's chapters 1 - 8 (first half). I think I divided Camera Shy into 4 files as I was writing it, then combined them all at the end. It saves a lot of scrolling down to find the bit I'm up to :-)

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Writing goal #1 met

5217 / 5000 words. 104% done!

Now to start on my Term 3 goal:

0 / 15000 words. 0% done!

I think I'm aiming for 50,000 - 60,000 total. So that'd be getting past the half way mark by the end of term.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Still on track

4092 / 5000 words. 82% done!

Monday, July 06, 2009

Hard to comprehend!

These 3 people:

Weigh less than this person:

By about 2 kilos :-)

A sharp knife's a good knife

When Debbie and I got married (9 years ago this Wednesday) we got lots of presents, as is traditional. One of the presents we got was a voucher for a shop where we ended up getting a knife block with lots of knives. We still have them and it's a very useful thing to have picked up. A few years ago I was a little frustrated with the state of the knives. We'd bought a 50c chef's knife from the Warehouse which was hella sharp and easy to sharpen. The more expensive knives were heavier, thicker bladed, and didn't seem to sharpen up so well using a steel.

Then I bought some chisels to fix up a door latch. They came with a sharpening stone. I used it to sharpen the old knives and they were reborn, sharper and more durable than ever before!

There were two things I had been doing wrong in my previous efforts to sharpen them:

1. Using a steel to try to sharpen a knife.
2. Drawing the blade along the steel backwards, instead of forwards.

Here's's explanation of what a steel does:

Contrary to popular belief, a sharpening steel does not sharpen a knife, instead the purpose of a steel is to align the edge of the knife. As a knife is used, the edge will become curled. While you can't see the curl with the naked eye, a microscope reveals that the edge is askew. The tiny microscopic fibers bend over and dull the edge of the knife. The sharpening steel will straighten or re-align these fibers. Regular steeling is recommended. The more often you steel, the longer the sharp edge will last. Steeling is an effective way to help maintain your knife's edge between sharpenings. Eventually though your knife will become dull and need to be sharpened.

Which would explain why I wasn't having much success sharpening a big knife with a steel.

It turns out sharpening a knife with a sharpening stone is pretty easy, quick, and best of all effective. Not only did a dull chef's knife become useful for cutting meat again, it can slice a tomato like nobody's business :-)

Monday writing

Dom fell asleep while we were dancing today, his head on my shoulder. It was pretty darned cute.

3304 / 5000 words. 66% done!

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Writing day 2

Been up since 4:30am. Early nap for Dom = early writing. May do more later. Can always update then. Wrote car crash scene today. Am quite happy with it in current sleep deprived state.

2209 / 5000 words. 44% done!

Goal looking achievable :-)

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Writing - day 1

876 / 5000 words. 18% done!

Photos of books for Steve

The 129 page 6 inch by 9 inch paperback cost US$7 per copy (though discounts kick in at 2 copies, 5 copies, 10, 100 etc). It's printed on cream paper. Postage was about US$9.50 for the two copies.

The Kapcon book is 8" by 11" and is US$8.15 (zero creator revenue - that's just the cost of the book itself). Printed on white.

The binding seems to hold up pretty well.

Holiday writing goals

1. Add 5,000 words to current teen novel (current word count 10,024 words)

2. Reread Camera Shy (kiwinowrimo teen novel). Look at what needs changing.

To make number 2 easier I splashed out $36 on two 9 by 6 paperback copies of the current manuscript from lulu (one to lend a couple people at work who were interested, one for Debbie and I to read). Took about a week and a half to arrive and they look pretty good. It's a nice way to reread something - much easier to handle than an A4 printout. The postage on one copy was the same as for two, so the second copy only added about US$6 to the order.