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Archive for August, 2017

Posted by Dirck on 17 August, 2017

This Week’s Pens Inks How Much Novel Written
  • 17 manuscript pages.

Say, that doesn’t seem like a very productive week, does it? Well… let me counter that impression with a couple of pictures.  The first is slightly misleading.

Why is this misleading?  Because it implies a mathematical precision exists in the growth of what is, really, an organic structure.  We don’t look at a basketball player and say, “That person is 114.3% tall,” right? So, on to the other, more completely accurate picture:

Yep. END.  The story has run its course, the protagonist slumping off to face the rest of his life in the wake of the harrowing events laid out on the preceding 802 pages†, and I get to have a beer to reinforce myself at the prospect of the second draft (which I was already dreading as part of an entry in May).  It may only be 97.9% of the projected length, but for someone who hasn’t a lot of novel-ing experience, and who a couple of times thought the plot was gurgling out of him much too briskly, I’m fairly proud to have landed that close to the target.

I’m trying to decide now whether I give myself a bit of a break and work on a short story or two, or if I should just get onto the smoothing of this roughly-gouged bit of word-granite into something that actually looks like a viable novel.  I believe that I’ll decide this at leisure, over the course of the weekend.  Under the influence of large beer and strong drink.  You know, like those writers you see in movies.

 

†You see the format of all those pages, of course.  If my estimates are near correct, that’s just shy of 300 pages of legible, typed material.  I ain’t no Stephen King, nor any George R.R. Martin (yet)‡.

 

‡This parenthetical barnacle may be considered a sign of raging hubris.  I’m sure I’ll get over it as the magnitude of the work ahead of me becomes apparent and notes from my helpful readers begin to appear.

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A Brief Response to Current Events

Posted by Dirck on 14 August, 2017

This popped up a lot over the weekend.  It’s a little dated, and a little stilted perhaps, but it’s still worth a look, especially if you find yourself uncertain in your thinking on events in Charlottesville .

I try to not use language here, but I’m stealing a policy statement from another, much better known, blogger:

Fuck this fucking Nazi bullshit.

And to expand a little, because I like to think of myself as a tolerant guy, I’ll point you to an article which I agree with on the subject of tolerance.  Some behaviours which are inherently intolerable.

Today’s angry pen: A Waterman not quite old enough to remember the last world war
Today’s ink with a name which slightly distresses in the current context: Herbin Vert Empire

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Non-pharmaceutical Psychotropics

Posted by Dirck on 11 August, 2017

I have a friend who starts a lot of conversations with “you know what’s weird?” We have come into gentle dispute on this topic, as I don’t find the failure of a cat to sleep through the night or the way sales tax applies to clothes really qualifies as weird.  I usually offer a counter example, like magnetic putty, the Heisenberg uncertainty principle, or the US healthcare “system,” all of  which prompt her to suggest that the use of the word has shifted among Millennials (of which she is not one).

Be that as it may– this week’s film is weird.

Of course, this would be more amusing if world events had not taken their current turn, but let’s enjoy the mild dissociative state old cartoons induce, eh?

Today’s pen: Parker Senior Duofold
Today’s ink: Waterman blue (vintage)

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Posted by Dirck on 10 August, 2017

This Week’s Pens Inks How Much Novel Written
  • 17 manuscript pages.

A short week, we having celebrated “OK You Can Have A Long Weekend In August” Day on Monday.  That last entry was actually run out at home, making it one of perhaps a half-dozen generated there.  I expect I’ll be doing some work on the novel tomorrow, rather than my usual lunch out, to satisfy my own sense of devotion to the work.  Here, have a look at how things stand:

I am, as it happens, right in the middle of the climax.  This is fantastic, from a standpoint of the climax landing just about exactly where I’d hoped it would, but it is also amazingly frustrating because I have all the words surging about in my head right now, and if I could actually convince the whole world to ignore my existence for… I’ll say a solid five hour block of time, I could get it all out in a single session rather than stuttering along for a few pages before Mr. Slate yanks the pteranodon’s tail to announce the end of lunch.  And I can’t just say to the family “I’m not actually here” in the evenings, because my wife has a role in a stage production of A Turn of the Screw and rehearsals are every damn  night this week– the son wants a companion and the wife can’t drive.  I got duties.

But enough lamenting.  The end is nigh!  Hoorah!

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Basic Maintenance

Posted by Dirck on 7 August, 2017

I came to discover recently that I have been letting my site slide into squalor.  Of course, with a vast media empire such as mine, it’s not surprising that some elements suffer occasional neglect from the not only the owner, but even the managers and frontline staff.

…all of whom is me.

A couple of weeks ago I got an email from someone seeking a thoroughly incomplete but slightly helpful set of data which resides on my page for Swan pens.  Or rather, it should reside there.  The sender of the note had been disappointed to find instead a sullen note from Dropbox that they’d stopped letting all and sundry wander into the castle, tracking up the carpets and pointing in an ill-bred manner.

Oh, dear.

I thanked this confidential informant and set to work on fixing the problem.  Once I had it sorted on that page, it struck me that I was using Dropbox for several useful little tidbits, mainly scans of instruction booklets from ages past that I wanted to share with the world.  The problem had become a hydra.  Then, as I landed on another page that needed attention, I found a deeply unlovely image where there should have been a picture:

Do NOT go to that URL

On the older incarnation of my site, I had trouble uploading images, so I relied on… the service named above.  At the time, that service was fairly benign.  When I committed the overhaul of the site, the uploading of images was not longer a challenge and I had taken fresh pictures in which one could make out little details like “Which end is the front?”  What I forgot was that there were several images over on that service which I deemed at the time sufficiently adequate in illustrating a point to bring over.  Thus, as word that this service I decline to name (to keep from helping their search engine score) had ceased to be benign and was in fact a heaving mass of pop-up ads and annoyance filtered into my consciousness, it never occurred to me that I should react.  It is also likely that the lazy element in my subconscious glanced at the news, decided it would be too much work to do anything about, and concealed it from the more active parts of my make-up.

“As ye sow, so shall ye reap” is not quite apt here; the usual crop of laziness is loads of extra work, and I don’t see the equivalence.  In any event, when I realized what a dog’s breakfast some of my pages had become, I grasped the nettle and did what I could to put it right.  If you flip through the site, or indeed the back issues of this little enterprise, you will find no other reproductions of that nasty extortionist of an image, and so far as I can discover no disappointing billets doux from Dropbox.

However… I know that the real solution is to host my own images, and this I have not done.  My brother and I both have lamentably image-intensive sites, and neither of them brings in vast heaps of money (his more than mine), so I’m loath to suggest that we pay for more storage, and even more loath to suggest that I take over more of what’s there.  Thus, I’ve made a problem for another day by stuffing all these things on what are currently benign third party storage.

I just hope Google and WordPress don’t get all grabby about their monetization, the way… that other service… did.

Today’s pen: Hero 100
Today’s ink: Herbin Poussière de Lune

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Lights Out, Everyone

Posted by Dirck on 4 August, 2017

That is the catch-phrase for an old radio programme, called Lights Out, which presented listeners with creepy stuff.  What stands in for this week’s film is not an episode of that; it is, however, a reading which I think you would do well to listen to in a dark room with no other distractions.

Isn’t that a corker?

Todays pen: Waterman Whatsit #0265 (no, that’s not really its name)
Today’s ink: Herbin Vert Empire

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Posted by Dirck on 3 August, 2017

This Week’s Pens Inks How Much Novel Written
  • 22 manuscript pages.

If you hear a slight humming noise, it may well be me in my excitement at being so close to finished the first draft. The climax is not quite underway, but the fuse on it is burning and about to enter the touch-hole.

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