Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Friday, December 11, 2009
I've shelved Project Tevan for the moment. I intend to finish it, but for now it has be off the stove. It will benefit from the new project and the new energy I've tapped into, I'm sure.
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Will it go anywhere? Don't know yet, but I'm excited to see. I've posted the 608 words of my "line-for-scene". With any luck I'll be posting lots more words. I hope you will be too.
Sunday, November 15, 2009
What's your favorite season? Mine is definitely Autumn ( Fall, if you really must). I was sitting in our screened porch yesterday looking up at the trees; Ida knocked about a month's worth of leaves off as she rolled by last week. I don't mind that, and we needed the rain. Anyway, I was looking at the sky through a tracery of branches and leaves. It was simply stunning. The russets and golds and browns catching the sunlight; touches of red from the dogwood berries; the drab greens of the leaves that have yet to give up the ghost entirely; the silver gray of the branches against the brilliant blue sky. A spectacular sight.
You'd have no problem telling that Autumn is my favorite season if you glanced into my closet. Those are the predominant shades there. If I glanced in your closet would I be able to guess your favorite season? Have you stocked up on the yellows and lavenders and violets and bright, fresh greens of Spring? Or are you a sand and ochre and orange and pale blue person who loves Summer. Or maybe I'd find grays and whites and blacks with splashes of red of a winter lover.
What IS your favorite season?
Thursday, June 25, 2009
You would think, given my previous blog post, that I would be doing my best to avoid adding to my frustration level, wouldn't you? If you do think that you clearly do not know me at all.
At work, the next part of the project is to install a new piece into the already vastly complex and complicated puzzle that this client laughingly calls their E-Business environment. This is the kind of thing that I love. I get great satisfaction from installing new software and making it work. So what's the problem? Well. To do the job right on new hardware, did I mention that we need new hardware even though we have about half of HP's server output for the last three years already? I exaggerate, but we already have 26 Linux servers. 26! And who knows how many NT boxes? I certainly don't. And this is not a Fortune 100 company!
Back to the plot.
To do the job right on new hardware it is normal to obtain said hardware several weeks before it will be deployed into Production, so that it can "burn in". Normal is the operative word in that sentence. Needless to say, that is not the way it's going to be. The new hardware is supposed to be on the dock today, racked and powered tomorrow, and the OS installed next week -- if the temporary System Admin can spare the time ( the one that was on permanent staff left three months ago and hasn't been replaced.) I've been given three days to install the new part of the software. Three days is not enough. But as my protestations fell on deaf ears; that is the way it will be. So as I don't like to make a complete pratt of myself in front of an audience, I went out at the weekend and bought myself a cheap 64-bit PC so that I could practice the install and shake out the problems. And that's just fine. I don't mind that at all.
Brought the new PC home and immediately installed Oracle's version of Linux 4 Update 8 and all was fine… until… until I tried to install Oracle's Virtualization software. The idea was to create two Virtual Machines on my new Linux 64 bit computer so I could emulate the exact environment I'll be using in two weeks. I've struggled for 4 days with it and every day is worse than the last. So now I've given up with that idea and I'm going to install the database and part of the application on 64-bit and the rest of the application on one of my 32-bit computers and link them through my tiny LAN. The really annoying thing is that I could have done this days ago, instead of grinding my teeth and wasting all this time.
And still I haven't written a single new word on Project Tevan. I could have tried to do that instead of pouring out this blather. But at least when I blog I'm writing something other than soul-destroying technical documentation with a blow-by-blow account of what I did which is what I have to do every day. And that is good enough for now.
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
When I first decided to write a book in 2006 the words leapt from my fingers, and yes, most of them were complete dross and everyone knows what happened to that story, but nonetheless it was huge fun and hard work and a joy. And at the same time I was happy and fulfilled at work too. Not overly busy, but that was because I had the systems I supported (payroll as it happens and you know how people do like to be paid on time) tied down so tight they squeaked. I was the only DBA supporting them and, as such, I needed to be sure I didn't get caught wrong-footed or called in the middle of the night unless it was an emergency that could not be foreseen. Things changed and I acquired a team of really nice, hard-working guys in India and I shared the workload that was increasing to a point where I couldn't handle it by myself and life was good and busy and I rewrote the original book and was happy and fulfilled. Even when I was editing the second attempt, even though I hate editing with a passion, it was fine.
I picked up other assignments. More work, on the road, busy, busy, busy. Setting up new systems so that they would perform well into the future, helping clients in the short term when they needed additional hands to bring a project to go-live. And then I was assigned to the client I am currently supporting. I love them... well most of them... like family. Great people who work hard and have fun and are a pleasure to work with most of the time.
But their boss, the Director of IT, is so completely inept it makes my skin crawl. He doe NOT want to hear bad news. Does not want to know what can go wrong and how it can be averted. Does not want to hear that things are not and have not been done correctly, and most definitely does not want anything done to correct those past errors. He even pays people to fix the issues they have created and pays them over and over and over again as they mess things up even more. It drives me to distraction and my frustration level is off the charts and getting worse.
That is what is killing my writing. I recognised it over the weekend. I sat for a long time on the screen porch and just stared at the trees and though about what was different now compared to three years ago. And there it was.Frustration at work. There are some frustrations going on in my personal life too that I should have blogged about but haven't. I will. Now that I've written this I think... I hope... that I've broken the barrier. I don't think I'll be able to get back to Project Tevan today nor even tomorrow, but if I'm blogging there's a very good chance that I'll be able to pick up the story again and run with it.
So pass me a glass of water; I need to swallow my little blue pill and get on with what needs to be done.
Sunday, April 26, 2009
You can read the title of this post in lots of ways…
Missing in Action -- as anyone who had taken a look at my word count for the past few weeks -- no, make that months -- knows, that interpretation describes where I've been.
Missing inaction -- which describes how I'm feeling about the amount of stuff that has been keeping my busy. Considering the alternative, it's not such a bad thing.
Mything in Action -- and that's what I'm going to blog about today.
As a fantasy writer ( yes, okay, it's a phrase that has more than one meaning, and both can be applied to me) I get to invent histories and religions and myths as I please. It's loads of fun. It's also a wonderful excuse to wander off into the realm of research for an hour or two. Sometimes I do it deliberately and sometimes it's just happy happenstance as it was this time. My interest was piqued by something I saw on TV, it might have been the Discovery Channel, and then again in might not. It was a program about reading the Bible, the Book of Exodus to be precise, as if it described a military campaign. I was fascinated by the ideas put forward, and one in particular stood out for me as I have long thought it to be only partly true.
We tend to hold onto our beliefs even when we know that they are inaccurate. A case in point would be that microwave ovens heat food from the inside out. Anyone who ever used a microwave knows full well that it is nonsense and has empirical evidence to back up the fact every time they heat just about everything that gets put in the "zapper". If food heated from the inside out then it would be hotter in the middle, right? And it isn't. That's why it has to be stirred and/or left to stand. Even someone as intelligent as the spouse holds to this misbegotten idea. It drives me nuts!
My own piece of illogic concerns night vision. Until now, I have not really understood that if you look at a bright light when you are surrounded by darkness you are effectively blind for a good long time afterwards. I've experienced it. I just didn't register it. In this program the presenter expostulated that Moses led his people away from the pursuing Egyptians by following a column of smoke during the day which I could easily accept; a torch on a pole can be made to give off a good amount of smoke under the right conditions. By night they followed a column of fire. It was the bit about the column of fire that got my attention. After all, if the Children of Israel could see the column of fire, then so could the Egyptians. Or so I thought until now. This guy said that if Moses had torches placed behind their encampment at night, the Egyptians wouldn't be able to see if the Israelites were escaping, nor would they be able to see properly in the dark for up to thirty minutes afterwards. The result being that the Israelites got away. Excuse my mangled retelling of the tale, I'm trying to make a point, not get into a religious discussion.
So last night I was able to test the theory out in a more modern setting. I had to babysit a backup that kicks off at 1:00 a.m. and finishes at about 2:00 a.m. It's been hiccoughing lately and I wanted to find out exactly what it was choking on. So after I'd finished playing about with it, I returned to bed but I didn't try to go to sleep as I usually do. I kept trying to see the various things in the bedroom that I know are there. It took nearly forty minutes before I could really see everything! I'd have bet real money that I would be able to see everything just fine after five. What a great plot point! Or even TWO great plot points. The realization that a long held belief is untrue, and using the newly accepted fact to escape or create a trap or whatever. Lovely.
All this led to another (potentially) great scene today for Project Tevan. I was helping the spouse trench for some new drainage pipe we're laying in the yard this morning and I thought, as you do, Ooohhh! If this was filled with flammable liquid and set on fire at night it would be splendid cover for Varda to make her escape. Not quite sure what/who she's going to escape from, but I have an idea about that too. Now I just need to get her from her current predicament to the next one and then she can end up with a flaming trench and running for her life yet again. This may be written in the first person but I can tell you right now, I wouldn't trade places with her for ANYTHING!
Sunday, April 5, 2009
So what has this to do with writing you ask. And by now you have already guessed that it's my excuse for not getting a single word done this weekend. Tomorrow, tomorrow there's always tomorrow, and yes, it is only a day away. I'm awestruck by the number of words some of the buddies are putting in. And I'm really excited for you all. I have been working on Project Tevan while I've been digging and pulling weeds. If only someone would invent a way to move the words from my head onto paper or into the computer. The Pulse is great but my hands are really too tired to write anything down. I tried Dragon Naturally Speaking, but it doesn't work for me. Great idea but I hate the sound of my own voice.
And now I have to go and make pizza, which I should have done yesterday but left it too late. Write on, everyone, I will join you soon.
Friday, April 3, 2009
Monday, March 30, 2009
Saturday, March 28, 2009
Thursday, March 26, 2009
1. All time favorite -- tidy my desk. This one has legs, because not only do I waste an enormous amount of time doing it, I then can't find anything and so I get to waste even more time searching for stuff.
2. If tidying the desk fails, or if it hasn't been long enough for my accumulation to need removal, I dust. I can while away a merry hour or two flitting about with a swiffer. I really hate to dust so this is a sign of desperation. I give myself extra points for dusting my desk. The spouse is not amused when I dust. He has allergies.
3. Play computer games. The current time-sink is Jewel Quest. It's taken me six months but I'm on the final bonus round. So I have to either slow down or dig out Mahjong again.
Give me something I don't like and I whip it out in record time. I am a very odd person.
Monday, March 23, 2009
When I've uploaded them to the Livescribe desktop? That makes sense -- but they still haven't made it into LSB at that time. So let's say I do it when I've uploaded the session to LSB.
Wait. Not so fast.
I still have to read what I've uploaded and fix the rather squirrelly spelling that sometimes appear during conversion from my awful handwriting to test. And if you think it's not that big of a deal take a look at my post Better than Silly Putty.
the upshot of all this is that yesterday I edited around 2563 words which was my total output for Feb and March. for those among you who are not math oriented let me be perfectly honest. this does NOT amount to 100 words a day. Flog me. I deserve it. Any way. I'll put the numbers on WCB, but not in one huge glob as that wouldn't be right. I have to work out a better method than this though.
And talking about WCB, I'm making some nice progress on the ER. I won't have it completed for a couple of week, but it's definitely on it's way.
Thursday, March 19, 2009
And the best part of the anniversary for me if that new member Bob joined us this week. He would have joined a couple of weeks ago if I had kept my eye on the ball, but he's kindly forgiven me for my oversight.
I've raised a glass to all the Buddies and the incredible amount of words that we've collectively managed to move from our minds to more permanent storage. Well done to all of us, and a hearty pat on the back. I hope that the next year will prove as fertile and that we all find the agent of our dreams in the not-too-distant future.
We ARE writers, even if some of us have been published yet. We hold to the dream, and that, at the end of the day, is what distingushes us from the rest of the world.
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
So why am I saying thank you to Mozy? Because a few weeks ago my laptop, the center of my Universe, ( sad, but true) died on me. Not just died. It popped its clogs on the Thursday before my current client’s go-live weekend. Deader than a doornail. I’m lucky enough to work with a great bunch of folks and our PC guy over-nighted me a new one, which was extremely helpful. Naturally though, it only had the bare essentials installed, and none of my documents; which is where Mozy comes in. Mozy automatically backs up all my changes every night, so all I had to do was to go their website, choose which docs I couldn’t live without for that weekend and download them.
I’ll be totally honest here. I could have managed the go-live without the docs. It would have been ugly but I could have done it. My biggest concern was my writing. But it was all safe and sound. A Shadowed Flame (which looks at me with reproach in its eyes. I know. I still haven’t queried it as much as I should). Project Tevan. Ideas for future projects. They were all part of that initial download. I took me several days more to get all the things that I had backed up but considering that was over 20 Gigabytes worth that’s not big deal.
I’ve just reinstalled Frontpage and that’s the last of my programs so I think I’m about back to where I was on that fateful Thursday.
Thursday, January 15, 2009
Understand that I haven't stall out. I'm not getting much time to write but I am still moving along as and when I can and I'm interested to see where this rabbit leads me.
Monday, January 12, 2009
At 7:30 a.m. I stepped out of the hotel.
I said Good Morning to a man and a woman who were standing out in the cold smoking. Addicts must get their fix apparently. My car was right next to theirs, and they'd already cleaned theirs off. I unlocked my door, started the engine and began looking for the scraper that should have been on the back seat and what do you know? It wasn't there. Cursing beneath my breath, I clambered out of the car and began to wipe the snow from the windows with my gloved hand.
"You haven't got a scraper then?" The man said to me.
Brilliant piece of observation I thought. "No. the rental car company must have forgotten to put it in." I quipped back, sharp as the Easterly breeze that was blowing new flakes in my face.
"Min," the man said, "Get the scraper out and clean up the car for her."
And Min -- I have to assume that the woman's name was Min -- immediately opened the trunk of their car, pulled out a scraper and did just that. While I chatted with the man she cleaned every window, and did a far better job of it than I would have.
"Min," the man said,"Don't forget the hood." He then proceeded to tell me that in Connecticut it's an offense to drive a car with snow on the hood.
I thanked them both, especially Min, and as I drove off I thought This is going to be a good day.
And it was.
Friday, January 9, 2009
The story continues to bubble, the Pulse is glaring balefully at me. I nver knew that an inanimate object could make me feel so guilty.
Sunday, January 4, 2009
Apart from that the spouse hasn't been feeling very well. I'm not the tea and sympathy kind of person ( maybe that's why I'm not in the nursing profession?) but I've been doing my best to cluck solictiously as required. Oh well. He knew that when he married me.
Friday, January 2, 2009
I walked into the Officers' Mess expecting the place to be nearly empty, but several of the tables were already taken. The one that caught my eye was occupied by a lone man. He had his head in his hands, elbows resting on either side of his plate of untouched food. His fingers massaged his forehead and his eyes were tight shut.
I hesitated. Should I sit somewhere else, or go and sit with him? Damnall. Before the attack there wouldn't have been a problem. Tevan would have eaten in the main Mess Hall. But that had been given over to house the civilian population, what remained of them. Now all the troops used the Officers' Mess for eating and for recreation. I walked over to him. Garick had said that I must act normally around Tevan in case he realized that we knew what his game was. Easy for Garick to say, not so easy for me, though. "What's up with you?" I kicked the leg of the table as I said it.
He let his hands fall and opened his eyes. Sea green eyes. I've never seen eyes like them. The furrows on his brow did not smooth out. "Good morning, Flight Captain Varda." The slight mocking note in his voice that was always there when he did not want to be disturbed.
The mug beside his left hand steamed, giving off the odor of willowbark tea. So. Tevan had a headache, did he? I scraped the chair opposite him out from the table making sure it made as much noise as possible. "Were you drinking last night?" I made it an accusation. It didn't seem possible. Haldur had made a big point of forbidding any of us from taking wine or spirits. Plain water or beer was all that they served at dinner in the Officers' Mess now. The beer was not much stronger than the water. Still, Tevan had been know to break the rules before now, and there was no knowing what he may have stashed in his locker.
He ignored the question and began moving the food around his plate. His hands had a film of grime on them, I noticed. So. He'd been up early then, grooming Walmar for our part in the day's ceremony. Typical Tevan not to bother to wash before coming to eat.
"You need to get out of your roughs in short order." I waved at the orderly at the serving table and pointed to Tevan's plate. The man understood. He began shovelling slop onto a plate. "I don't intend to be late today." The ice in my voice must have got through. Tevan winced.
"I will join you, if I may." Garick's voice sounded behind me. It was not a question. He sat down at the head of our table. He was in full dress uniform, brushed to perfection. I doubted that any mote of dust would dare to settle on his black tunic. The silver rank bars in rows along the sleeve with the two gold stars of the Communication Corp arrayed above them, glittered with his every move. The tiny lightning strike embroidered on his high collar denoted his Watcher status, the shiny black thread in subtle contrasted with the matt black of the woollen serge.
Tevan's expression didn't change. He carried on playing with his food and made no attempt to stand to salute Garick as he should have. I kicked him under the table and jerked my eyebrows upward but he ignored me. I kicked him again. This time he shambled to his feet.
"Excuse me, Staff Officer. I have to prepare for my duty."
"Sit down, Pilot, and eat your meal." Garick growled, then shot a glance at me. 'You too, Flight Captain."
Thursday, January 1, 2009
I wish you all the very best of luck, health, happiness and fortune. For the writers among you, I hope you find inspiration and characters that haunt you through the best and the worst of times. I wish your plot lines to be convoluted and satisfying and above all else, I hope you are happy with what you write no matter if it it gains public recognition. And I hope that the editing process is satisfying, because you know it's making your work better.
Cheers, everyone. Here to a fantastic New Year.