She lived alone, and few could know when Lucy ceased to be;
But she is in her grave, and oh! The difference to me.
A slumber did my spirit seal – I had no human fears. 
She seemed a thing that could not feel the touch of earthly years. 
No motion has she now, no force; she neither hears nor sees – 
Rolled round in earth’s diurnal course with rocks, and stones, and trees.

This is a companion piece to the blog entry I’ve just made for NaNo London. If you’re not interested in NaNoWriMo, there’s probably not a lot here of interest. But if you’re interested in how I find inspiration in music and elsewhere, read on…

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24th October 2012Permalink 1 Comment

Arthur C. Clarke’s Mysterious World

Do you remember that old T.V. show,
Arthur C. Clarke’s Mysterious World?
Well if ITV make a new series,
They ought to come take a look at my girl.

I don’t understand her,
She doesn’t make any sense to me.
I don’t understand her,
It’s like she’s speaking in Swahili.

Blimey, has it really been six months? Time flies when you’re having a blast, I guess. But what have I actually been doing with my time? To tell the truth I’m not entirely sure. There was NaNoWriMo for a start. That was one of the hardest Novembers I’ve had since, well… ever. At 30,000 words on day 20, I had 7,500 on day 21. Thanks OpenOffice/Ubuntu/Asus, whichever of you conspired to eat my work. I finished on time – day day ahead in fact – which while being bloody amazing, knackered me entirely. Not sure I’m happy with the result, though, which makes the score so far 3 good, 2 need work and 1 failure. Overall, I’m still winning, I think.

I celebrated the win with a trip to IKEA. On what turned out to be one of the snowiest days of the year. It took me 15 minutes to get there, and five hours to get back. I wish I could say that the trip was worth it, but all I bought were a couple of picture frames…

Since then, what’s happened? Work. Then there was work, and work. And did I mention the work? Seems all I’ve done since then is the daily grind. And I’ve decided that that has to end. There is more to life than work, and I intend to swing the balance back into my favour. So here I go. Sleep Away The Afternoon is back. I’ll try to update more often, though I already know that anything approaching regularity is out.

I’ve noticed that Scrivener for Windows is now available for Linux too, so I’ve started work on editing some of my old stuff. It’s so much nicer than a regular word processor – polishing and rearranging each bit at a time seems so much easier and at this rate I might have something I’m happy with by Christmas (though we’ll see).

And finally, and most importantly, I’m planning a holiday. The first proper one in a couple of years. Hopefully with all this, and more stuff that I’ve no doubt not thought of yet, I can stop marking time and get on and do something. Seems like it’s time for something to happen.

Assume the Perpendicular

We’ll walk the grounds by Capability Brown,
Get lost for days inside the manicured maze.
We’ll bump our heads jumping on a four-post bed.
And we’ll ride for free
On the ladders round the walls of the circular library!

I can’t abide a horizontal life –
It’s time to rise, assume the perpendicular.
Jump up and down, make wild ecstatic sounds,
And talk about nothing in particular.

It’s been a week since we moved in. Seems like no time at all, and while I’ve managed to get a couple of things done, like putting up curtains in our bedroom and fixing a leaky tap in the bathroom, there’s still so much more to do – much of the time after moving in before going back to work was spent cleaning the old flat. Off the top of my head:

  • Curtains / blinds for my office and the lounge
  • Shampoo carpet in the lounge
  • Dismantle the wardrobe in the dining room. No joke, it wouldn’t fit up the stairs!
  • Finish unpacking boxes. Mostly the stuff left is DVDs and odd bits and pieces. There’s half-empty boxes everywhere.

That’s not including any of the bigger stuff to do, like redecorating most of the house, sorting out the garden. We have no interwebs yet, relying on a 3G USB modem (which made for an… interesting day working from home recently) but mostly it’s all good. Just need a few more years and we’ll be unpacked.

Songs of Love

Pale, pubescent beasts
Roam through the streets
And coffee shops.

Their prey gather in herds
With stiff knee-length skirts
And white ankle-socks.

But while they search for a mate,
My type hibernate in bedrooms above.
Composing their songs of love.

Slow progress on the house. Initial draft contracts have been approved, and our solicitor has sent “Additional preliminary enquiries” on to the vendors, whatever that means. No news yet on an exchange date, much less a completion date. Ah well.

In the meantime, though, I’ve made a start on clearing out all the junk I’ve accumulated, both over the last 5 years living here, and in the years before. When we moved in, a whole bunch of stuff was chucked, still boxed, in the study. If I were being truly ruthless, I’d chuck it without looking through it. Fortunately though, I’m not quite that insane. There’s a whole bunch of stuff in there of interest:

  • 10 free tickets to Satan’s Hollow nightclub, Manchester (use by 31st December 2000). I went there for the grand opening and nearly knocked Richard O’Brien flying after drunkenly stumbling into him. He was utterly gracious about it. Good times.
  • Entrance tickets to Empire State Building, International Visitor’s Invitation to the US Senate, and assorted other stuff from the first time we went to America in 2002. Been back several times, to different parts of the country, and thoroughly enjoyed myself every time.
  • A large collection (upwards of 100) of “Free dial-up internet” discs. I started collecting these when they were common in the belief they might be valuable some day. In fifty years or so I’ll see if I’m right.

Stuff I won’t be keeping includes:

  • Every payslip I was issued, July 1999-June 2005. Puts what I’m paid now into perspective all right. Whether I’m underpaid now, or was then, or whatever, I’m amazed that I managed to survive on so little. Then I remember I survived by getting into huge amounts of debt I’ve only recently paid off. Time to shred these, I think.
  • Half a dozen assorted PCI and AGP video cards, along with a small mountain of other PC components, including a CD-Rewriter drive that must have cost me a week’s wages, and a DVD-ROM drive. There’s a couple of hard disks here too. One I can’t access and the other seems to be a backup of my PC Circa 2004. Straight to the bin for this little lot, except for an 802.11g WiFi PCI card I don’t remember buying. That might still be useful some day.
  • A Compaq T1500 Thin Client PC! For a short while this acted as a box to display video on my TV. Now there’s more processing power in my mobile phone.
  • A stack of videotapes. I’ve no idea what’s on them, not having owned a VCR in about four years.

Amazing the stuff that just gets put away in the belief it might come in useful some day. In recent times I’ve become a lot more pro-active about getting rid of unnedded cruft. Just as well, it seems. I’d have run out of space to live in if I’d ket accumulating it at the same rate.