Thursday, May 31, 2007

Some Nights...

You just don't get anything done.

Late dinner, toddler with sore tummy, suddenly it's 10:50 and I haven't written anything yet.

Annoying, but there you go. Some nights things don't get done. Like the dishes, which really, really need doing.

Back to work. I might get a page in before 11:30 and bed time.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Now that was a weekend!

My wife and I have just returned from Stratford, Ontario, where we spent Friday and Saturday staying in a very posh hotel, eating very good food, shopping and seeing the preview performances of A Comedy of Errors and King Lear at the Stratford Festival.

And to make the weekend perfect, we left the little one behind in the tender care first of a very good friend of mine then of my wife's mother. Both are excellent caregivers and knowing that they were looking after our child enabled us to relax and enjoy the weekend.

And because I'm in the mood for it, here's a quick review of everything we did:

The Hotel
We stayed in the Annex Inn, which was very posh indeed. The price was high, but the room had a king-sized bed, fireplace, whirlpool tub, and a comfortable sitting area for post-show chats and reading. It was definitely worth the price and we may well be staying there again when we go next year, if we can swing it.

The Food
Bentley's: Good food and nice folks. I stuck to pub grub, Sara had the pasta. Both were excellent. And they make a nice Bruschetta.
Fellini's: Our favourite place to eat in Stratford. We have never had a bad meal there and this time was no exception. Their pasta is some of the best I've tasted, and their lunch special was exactly the right size. My wife had the mussels, which were equally good. And they give you wonderful bread.
The Church: Food as art. Dinner there cost as much as the first night at the hotel. I will probably not spend that much money on a meal again in the next five years. A beautiful restaurant, gourmet food, excellent service. Try the scallops in linear and cubist forms.
Foster's Inn: Both breakfasts. Had the Eggs Benedict both times. Nothing beats a home-made hollandaise sauce.
Let Them Eat Cake: We stopped there for scones to start our morning (we're both early risers, and wanted nibbles to tide us over until breakfast. Excellent scones.

The Plays
A Comedy of Errors: A good production of what is arguably one of Shakespeare's funniest plays. It is a farce, and was played as such. Director Richard Monette chose to set his play in classical Syracuse, then completely ignored the period to very good effect. This play was his Shakespearean swan song (he is leaving his position of Artistic Director this year) and was filled with enough festival in-jokes to keep the regulars rolling in the aisles. Those of us who aren't festival regulars still enjoyed it. If there was one complaint about this show, it is that Monette allowed the glitz and the tricks to overwhelm the text, to the detriment of the production (I should mention that many consider that to be his trademark).

King Lear: Directed by Brian Bedford, this is an instance where trusting the text led to a magnificent production. The production was stark, simple, and brilliant. The acting was supurb for the most part, though I found both Edmund and Cordelia to be slightly one-note (they were good notes, but still...). Bedford was supposed to be playing Lear, which I was greatly anticipating. Instead, we had his understudy, John Innes (and we think Bedford was playing one of the serving men, the sneaky so and so). John Innes acquitted himself brilliantly and deserved the standing ovation he received.

All in all it was a great weekend, a great way to recharge, and on Monday, it is back to work. I'm looking forward to it.

And speaking of work, time to do some writing.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Shrek the Third

Well, I was disappointed.

The animation was incredible. The level of sophistication that has been developed, even since the first Shrek film, is incredible. Hair that moves like hair, shadows changing shape on the ground, water looking like water. The quality was amazing.

Pity the same can't be said about the script.

Shrek the Third had some very funny moments, and was well enough written to make it enjoyable, but was not as good as the first or second films. There were a lot of characters, which didn't bother me too much, but no character development, which did. The moral point of the film was driven home with all the subtlety of the last spike (look, Canadian history reference!), and the ending was as much of an anti-climax as driving home alone after a date.

Between the tickets, the popcorn and the parking, I spent $50, to see that film, and it just didn't feel worth it.

But it did look fantastic.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Geek Link!

Solar wind may owe its speed to helium: study

And so folks know, I'm on vacation this week. Sleep (if I can convince my body to do it), time to exercise, time to watch a movie, and househunting.

I'll be blogging still, but look for the posts to be much more relaxed.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

On Writing

I had a long conversation with a friend of mine last night about the craft of writing. What makes it fun, what makes it frustrating, what makes an otherwise sane person (okay, aperson of questionable sanity, in my case) sit for hours in front of a computer (or notebook or typewriter or whatever) putting together stories that have come out of God knows what part of the subconscious in the vain hopes tht someone will like reading them.

And more important, how do we do it to the best of our abilities?

I realized that this was something I wanted to talk about and to share with others, and so I'm going to start wtiting on writing here on the blog. I don't know that there will be many entries, and I don't know how original, but it should be educational for me, and some of it may even be useful to so some of you.

So to start, if anyone wants to answer, I'll ask, why do you write?

For me, I write because not writing is painful. I feel like all the thoughts and emotions and ideas inside me will explode if I don't regularly put fingers to keyboard.

I also write because I can see these stories inside me, and I want to capture them before they vanish.

...well, aren't I dramatic?

Anyway, that's why I write. Why do you write?

I've just gotten the latest copy of the Dragon Moon Press newsletter, which features yours truly as the lead story.

I recommend Dragon Moon Press (and not justbecause they publish me). If you would like to learn more about what the authors are doing, why not sign up for the newsletter?

DMP does not sell their email list to anyone, and you'll learn all about what's coming up for the Press and for all of us.

And now, I have work to do on the new iteration of my website, and on Cold Magics (yay! writing!)

More soon.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

And It's Off...

I have just finished going over the final proofs for Small Magics. These come looking like the interior of the book, and are the author's last chance to make sure he hasn't screwed up too badly before the book goes to the printer.

While I'm pleased to say I didn't screw up too badly, I can't say I didn't screw up the last edit. Found a huge number of punctuation errors, and some text that was bad and needed fixing in a big way. All of that is now done. The errata is on its was back to Dragon Moon, and I am getting all excited.

And now to write something in Cold Magics, just to show I have started work again.

(Given how tired I am, I'll be lucky if it's a complete sentence)

Then to bed. To sleep, to dream, to get up and go to work.

And those of you who read this before I fixed the typos will know why it is so important to proof your work. And most of all, proof when you aren't tired!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Geek Link!

Today, I have two geek links.

For Science Geeks:

Swiss solar-powered boat completes fuel-free Atlantic voyage

Which is very cool. And while it will be a long time before solar power cargo carriers ply the oceans, it is a step in the right direction. Who knows, if solar energy becomes efficient enough, how much less gunk (fuel, oil, exhaust) we could be putting in our oceans?

For Theatrical Geeks:

Get out your ponchos: bloody "Evil Dead" musical opens in Toronto

And I got to say, who could resist "Evil Dead?" It's a Sam Rainey classic, brought to the stage with with hilarity, a ton of blood, and they give free ponchos for the first row or two.

I so want to go see it.

And a Comic Geek Note:

I am currently reading Buffy Season 8. Very good. Lots of fun, good art and very well written.

And now, I have 4 minutes before work starts. Time to fill up the water and start typing.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Well, I'm All Annoyed Now

And on several fronts. First, because of the Conservatives newly introduced rules for campaign financing, which were written, as near as I can tell, to ensure that only the rich or those supported by the banks can afford to run for office.

Thanks, Stevie, for taking another chunk out of our democracy. And why haven't you disclosed who gave you money for your 2002 leadership campaign?

Second, because I missed posting the ultimate geek post this Friday past. That's right, last Friday was Darth Vader Day and I missed it (two points to the first one to figure out why it was Darth Vader Day).

To be fair, I was exhausted and fell into bed early. And can you believe it? The kid slept until 8 AM. I got 10 hours sleep. It was glorious.

Third, I also on Friday came across a ton of Geek Links to put in, but can I remember any of them now? Sigh. no.

Now, onto happy things. The last reading of the galley proofs proceeds apace. I'm on page 215 and at this rate will be done well before May 15, which is the deadline I set myself. Then they go back to Dragon Moon, off to the printer and soon we'll all be holding books in our grubby little hands.

After that (more happy thoughts) I can start writing again! Cold Magics is pining for me like a Norwegian Blue pining for the fjords, and vice-versa. I am looking forward to getting back to it and getting it done. Not to mention the other two projects I've got on my mind.

Get in shape month proceeds apace. Got five of the six workouts in that I wanted, will shoot to get all six in this week. No swordfighting, but hopefully next week. And I don't know what it is about my workout, but my hamstrings are burnt. Running up that last hill this morning nearly killed me.

And that's all for the moment. More editing to do before bed.

Meanwhile, did you see that they think they've discovered Herod's tomb?

Back to work.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

It's Get in Shape Month!

May is Get in Shape Month!

And what evil person declared this, you ask? Me. I'm chunking up and feeling lumpy and need to get back on the bandwagon. Too much deskwork and not enough swordfighting.

So welcome to Get in Shape month! The goal is to get your body moving and yourself feeling good. For those of us with chronic injuries, it's also about making those things that hurt stop hurting.

Remember: No Pain, Good!

The rules:
  1. NO STUPID, UNREACHABLE GOALS: Losing 40 pounds in a month isn't healthy. Neither is trying to run a marathon in 30 days when all you've done is walk to the store. Impossible goals set you up for failure and make you feel bad. Make any goals you set this month SMART: Specific, Measureable, Action Oriented, Realistic and Time-specific.
  2. NO CRASH DIETS: For exactly the same reason. They set you up for failure. Eat healthily, indulge occasionally, and don't sweat the small stuff.
  3. NO FOCUSING ON YOUR WEIGHT: This month is about getting in shape, not losing weight. That is a side benefit of the getting in shape process.
  4. HAVE FUN: Find things you like to do and do them. No point in picking activities that you dislike, eventually, you will just stop doing them anyway.
  5. HAVE A REWARD AT THE END OF IT: My wife and I are going to Stratford (Ontario, that is) at the end of the month. I'm going to run my 10 km along the banks of the Avon. Also, I could use some new clothes.

My goals:

  • To get back to working out 6 mornings a week (3 days strength and martial arts, 3 days running)
  • To do more swordfighting
  • To make it through my core program without resting
  • To be able to push myself hard through my entire calestenic circuit training

All my goals are achieveable in this time period given my current condition and free time. The side benefit will be to make my pants a bit more comfortable, and make me feel a lot better about myself.

So, who is with me? Who wants to jump on the bandwagon? Let me know and I'll start posting some exercise and diet tips here for those interested.

OK, That's Just Cool

Sometimes stuff is just neat:

Musicians unlock mystery melody in chapel

And this is one of those things that took a fair amount more brains than I've got to figure out. Also, check out the website:

Some neat stuff there.

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