felis_ultharus: The Pardoner from the Canterbury Tales (Default)
So, yeah. It's been a quiet birthday. I worked all day, so I'm pretty tired. I might go out to a cafe later and get some writing done, but that'll be it.

The party is next week.

Normally I don't mind working weekends, though this time it could've fallen on a better weekend. I have the office to myself, usually. I keep the ancient fluorescents off and work by natural light. And I get to choose my own soundtrack (The Hidden Cameras and Rufus, today). I find data entry meditative.

So yeah. Otherwise, I'm about three-fourths through my outline in preparation for my eighth (and hopefully final) re-write of the novel. I'll be started on that before June. Sending in my novel this years means that the birthday is free overall of existential angst. It actually feels like I'm doing something with my life, for once.

And the next version is going to get published.
felis_ultharus: The Pardoner from the Canterbury Tales (Default)
Earth Day

Yesterday was Earth Day. Most media didn't notice. The environment has fallen out of our collective narrative again - it just won't stick. CBC noticed, but hardly any of the papers I read in the cafe at the office before work seemed to be aware of it.

Metro newspaper noticed, though. For the occasion, they dyed their dead tree pages green like it was Saint Patrick's Day. I watched a man throw it in the garbage as I left the metro on my way home, after he'd finished his Sudoku puzzle.

Meanwhile, one of BP's oil rigs marked the occasion by exploding in the Gulf of Mexico. An ecological disaster, undoubtedly, though they're still tallying up the damage.

Also In The News...

Dear Thailand: the world stands with you in your fight to restore free and fair elections, and overthrow the military dictatorship that holds your country. Naturally we prefer to stand over here where we don't have to do anything but offer advice.

And may I offer some advice? You might want to name your pro-democracy movement something other than the Red Shirts. We Star Trek fans know what happens to Red Shirts. It sounds defeatist.

Might I suggest a more optimistic name - one more likely to suggest survival? Like the Two-Weeks-to-Retirement Squad? Or the Gay Men, Black Men, and Women Who Have Sex in Horror Movies Battalion?

Work

Today I worked out of our accountant's office. It's usually messy, but today it looked ransacked. I try not to look, but a drawer was hanging open in front of me. And of all the things I expected to see in our accountant's office, the last thing I'd have guessed was the poetry of Sylvia Plath.

I feel that it's not a good sign for a company's finances when your accountant is reading Sylvia Plath.

Medieval Witch-Hunters

This week I encountered the most disturbing image ever committed to print. And I speak as someone who's read The Naked Lunch, Beautiful Losers, manga, the comments on news sites, and the /b/ forums on 4chan.

It was in The Malleus Malificarum, the medieval witch-hunter's manual. It was made all the more squicky by the fact that the authors seemed to think this was the sort of thing you were likely to encounter in real life, during - say - a walk in the woods.

I almost posted it, then thought better of it. Too disturbing even for the internet. For anyone interested, it's in the Malleus Malificarum, Part II, the first Chapter VII - Part II has two chapter sevens, for some reason - about two-thirds of the way through.

I take no responsibility for those who find it, and will not pay for brain bleach.
felis_ultharus: The Pardoner from the Canterbury Tales (Default)
We're looking for an English teacher willing to trek out to a distant town called Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu - "Saint John on Richelieu." So far no takers.

I've been on the internet too long. My first thought was, That's a crack slash pairing if I've heard one.

After all, everyone knows Saint John was an uke.

I've recovering from the mad rush to send out stuff for the CBC literary awards. I'm behind schedule for sending out my novel - I've prepared half the required materials already and reformatted my manuscript.

Tonight I'm finally going to tackle that "marketing analysis" thing this publishing house wants.
felis_ultharus: The Pardoner from the Canterbury Tales (Default)
I've been quite silent this week. I'm working lots of extra hours, and have been on my feet a lot otherwise. There are currently five cats in my care, instead of the usual two. I had blisters for the first time in years. I marched in a second pride parade (Ottawa) this week with beblistered feet.

(Which was fun, in spite. The rain held off, and the crowd was better. And as [livejournal.com profile] montrealais points out, that one guy who's there every year with the big sign quoting Leviticus gets sadder and lonelier every year. I got to carry a flag.)

There was also a wonderful Pet Shop Boys concert. I was close enough to see Neil Tennant's white hair, but everyone was packed in so close in the pit that I dancing on tiptoes. But it was visually amazing. No one puts on a show like them -- amazing props, dancing, visuals. Of course, since most of my favourite musicians have the piano as their instrument of choice, dancing is a little impossible for them.

I haven't time for anything else, except writing. I'm trying to balance full-time writing with full-time work. I'm still on schedule for sending this monster of a novel out before the end of the month, which remains my goal.

(Though it means stuff like editing 19 pages - one-tenth of the novel - before I go to work, which I did this morning.)

Once I'm done the novel, I'll start sending it out to the big publishing houses first, and get to work on material for the CBC literary awards. I want to enter both their poetry and prose sections this year.

I've also been reading a lot as I move from place to place - Douglas Coupland, Émile Nelligan, Elsa Gidlow. But I'll have to save that for a future entry.
felis_ultharus: The Pardoner from the Canterbury Tales (Default)
I've been offline much of the week. Mostly this has been because of writing. I edited 45 pages on Wednesday, which I *think* is my one-day record. I have to have it printed tomorrow in the early afternoon. I've only done 15 of the 51 pages I had left as of this morning, but my get-up-and-go has got up and left.

Work has been stressful. I won't go into details here, but I think it's the cause of some of my distraction. I'll know next Friday how bad it's going to be. I'd rather not have to look for work elsewhere -- I've grown rather attached to that job. It's the only one I've ever really liked.

Also, I've been seriously addicted to Fullmetal Alchemist. I've read all 18 volumes mostly in English, and volumes 19 and 20 in French -- the French is a year ahead of the English. I've decided the manga is infinitely better than the previous anime. I'm looking forward to the new series.

The seven sins are much better in the manga. Envy and Pride are both good examples of why the term "nightmare fuel" was invented.
felis_ultharus: The Pardoner from the Canterbury Tales (Default)
It hasn't been my best day, but far from the worst. Work was pretty quiet, mostly because they're installing new computers and a new server so we weren't able to work for twenty- or thirty-minute stretches. One of my co-workers made a fudge cake, and I got a signed card from everyone.

I wish I didn't have to work tomorrow. I'm at a critical point in my writing, and I'd really like to have a full day to work at it. Eight pages left on the heavy edit, and I probably won't have a chance to finish it before Tuesday. After that, I have a couple of short edits planned.

Still not entirely satisfied, but I like it better than anything else I've written so far.

I'm reading American Gods right now, and I'm about one-third of the way through. I also finished Death Note, which is one of the best animes I've ever seen. I'll put up a review sometime when I have the time.
felis_ultharus: The Pardoner from the Canterbury Tales (Default)
(comments screened because of the meme)

I've been running on empty, lately, so I took it far too easy on Tuesday and Thursday. It's still a bad sign when you're looking forward to going to work, because it's less tiring than all you've got to do in your spare time.

Still, things are chaotic at work, too. I work in a school, and it's September. But my writing's progressing faster than expected.

On Wednesday, I saw The Sound of Music for the first time. It was okay -- they all had great singing voices -- but I suspect it's one of those movies that has to be part of your childhood to be really liked.

Now, though, that goddamn goatherd song is lodged in my head (not worksafe unless your workplace specifically allows yodelling).

It's really bad. While I was reviewing government instructional videos for financial agents in elections, my brain was adding "The Lonely Goatherd" as a soundtrack.

Of course, I listen to the CBC, so hearing financial law recited to the sound of Julie Andrews yodelling is pretty par for the course. I think David Wisdom devoted a three-part series just to just that on his Sunday-night Pearls of Wisdom show.

A questionnaire meme, for anyone who wants to fill it out )
felis_ultharus: The Pardoner from the Canterbury Tales (Default)
I'm in the office again, and I've been listening to CBC most of the day while I work.

I couldn't handle Brent Bambury today, but momentarily caught him, when I switched back after running out of Sigur Rós CDs. I caught the final few minutes of his "superhero show" which pitted him against Stuart MacLean, playing a villain named the Vinylator.

Stuart MacLean must be really hard up for cash.

After that, on Quirks and Quarks, they were interviewing a woman who was exploring the relationship between the coloration of male barn swallows, and their testosterone levels -- the darker they are, the more testosterone, but they weren't sure which was cause and which effect. So they captured, tagged, and coloured male barn swallows, and released them back into the wild.

The high-tech technology they used to change their colour? Non-toxic black markers.

I want that on my résumé: "2008: coloured live barn swallows with black magic marker for science."

Naturally, when I went into Tim Horton's right after hearing this interview, the radio was playing "Ça fait rire les oiseaux."
felis_ultharus: The Pardoner from the Canterbury Tales (Default)
So yeah -- last night we had a marvellous rit for Yule -- my first true Yule ritual in far too long. [livejournal.com profile] montrealais whipped up a feast, and we exchanged gifts. I'm in BC usually for the actual Solstice, so I tend to miss it every year.

I'm a little dead right now. I'm on lunch on my eighth consecutive work day -- I did a six-day week at my usual language school, a day of work at my twice-a-year moonlighting job, and now I'm back to my regular one. Actually, I can barely see the screen.

Oh, and here's a profile of the Tomb of the Hairdressers, which I found in a metaquotes thread. It's an ancient Egyptian tomb for two men (the Pharoah's head manicurists) who are frequently shown in intimate embraces.

So far, there is no word on the long-lost Tomb of the Broadway Dance Choreographer.
felis_ultharus: The Pardoner from the Canterbury Tales (Default)
So, yeah -- I'm on my seventh consecutive day of work today (today at my twice-a-year moonlighting job, after six days at my regular) but I shall be home in time for the Yule party this evening.

Nowadays I'm mostly writing poetry in my scant spare time, and I'm already working on my re-write even before I get the copies of my novels back -- there's a lot of structure here to work on, and a lot is going to be cut out and recycled into future works. I want a less epic novel, with a more manageable scale.

Here's the scariest clock in the world. Want to cross-reference deaths from AIDS, species extinction, oil extraction, and forest loss all on a single page? Now you can! Just a little something in case your day isn't depressing enough.
felis_ultharus: The Pardoner from the Canterbury Tales (Default)
A quiet day in the office. As always when I work on Saturdays, I'm listening to CBC, and contemplating campaigning for a memorial statue dedicated to the victims of Brent Bambury's Go.

I'm reading Children of Húrin right now. You have to admire J.R.R. Tolkien -- I hope I have the stamina to keep writing thirty-four years after my death.

As a fantasy novel overall, it's okay so far, but the racism has really astonished me. Not that it's there -- anyone who's read Lord of the Rings as an adult can't miss it -- but as the book was ghostwritten by his son in 2007 from his father's manuscripts, you'd think someone would've pointed out during the editing process that parts of it read like British National Party propaganda.

It's not even just a moral issue but also an artistic one -- it really detracts from the unfolding of a story to predict how good a person is going to be by how pale they are (dark skin = evil, dark hair but white = imperfect or unstable, blond = good).

On the other hand, the way some of the scenes are written, I have to wonder if Christopher Tolkien is playing to a slash-writing audience. I may post some of these another day.
felis_ultharus: The Pardoner from the Canterbury Tales (Default)
It's been a good day. I got two pages written this morning on a short story, and I came into work to find out I'm getting a slight raise and paid vacations/sick days as of next year.

This will mostly offset the fact that I now have student loans to pay back, so money's not going to be quite as tight as I expected.

Yesterday, I managed to get about 80% of my Yule shopping done.

(I like that the city's three independent English bookstores, one quasi-independent, and two big Canadian-based chain bookstores are all within a ten-block radius -- the Argo-Concordia-McGill-Paragraphe-Indigo-Chapters hexagram, if you will. With books, I'm able to cover the majority of my friends.)

After that, I had a lovely evening at [livejournal.com profile] foi_nefaste's, who, as usual, was able to conjure a great meal (especially the apple crumble) ^_^
felis_ultharus: The Pardoner from the Canterbury Tales (Default)
'Twas a stressful day at work. Things are still crazy in that environment, even though September ended a month and a half ago. Yet the paperwork just keeps building up.

So today, I just relaxed. I did finish a short story, but otherwise I've been completely goofing off. I did find a book review by Margaret Atwood reviewing Brave New World that basically makes the point that we're almost living in Huxley's world now.

So, uh, yeah. Probably the fault of Phoenix Wright, but I've been reading up on a lot of crime statistics the last few days, and every time I do that, I'm struck by how completely detached from reality perceptions of crime tend to be -- most people are shocked when I tell them that violent crime has been dropping for thirty years, that re-offence rates are extremely low for convicted criminals, and that children are in far more danger from their families than they are from strangers.

On this and so many other things, reality is so detached from "common-sense" perceptions, and it's usually those who think they have the most common sense, especially when it comes to matters of crime or economics, who are the most astonished by the numbers.
felis_ultharus: (Hisoka)
TGIT -- Thanks the gods it's Tuesday. I've worked five days, and Wednesday and Thursday are like a weekend this week. It's been crazy here, lately.

Life is good -- it's been pretty quiet. I've been working on short stories and poetry. I have the skeleton of a really good fantasy story, but I realized I couldn't think of a single English-language magazine for short fantasy fiction in Canada.

(I know of a French one, and I know a company that's happy to publish full-length fantasy novels).

Now for the anime-goers, are we meeting this Thursday? And if so, where?
felis_ultharus: The Pardoner from the Canterbury Tales (Default)
"At last I know what I really want to be," Duncan said into the suddenly quiet room. 'an amoeba.'"
--- Margaret Atwood, The Edible Woman


For some reason, I've been thinking more and more about this quote during my shifts at work.

It hasn't been all bad. One of the new teachers at our school is gorgeous, sweet, and (unless my spider sense is in need of repair) gayer than $3.141 bill -- I have such a crush on him.

Editing goes well -- I hit the two-thirds mark yesterday in my massive edit, the seven-tenths today, and I expect to be three-quarters done tomorrow. At this rate, I should be donw my massive edit by October 24th, and all editing by the 27th or 28th.

It was also a misty morning this morning, which is always nice. Montreal never gets mists like BC, and what we do get comes more rarely; but it was still the first in a long time, and it made me happy.
felis_ultharus: The Pardoner from the Canterbury Tales (Default)
I have a vicious head cold that is making it hard to breath, I didn't get much sleep last night, and I am the only one in the office on the Saturday of a Thanksgiving weekend.

On top of it, one of our salesfolk has created a crisis that he passed off on to us -- meaning on to me because I'm the only one in the office this weekend -- and which can't be resolved until Tuesday, by which point it'll be too late. This is in addition to the data-entry task that brings me to these quiet halls today.

I've also fallen a little behind on my writing, though not seriously. If I can edit 104 pages on Monday, I can get caught up, and still make the end a few days before Samhain.

ETA: I just had to cancel going to Thanksgiving dinner at my friend Matt's. Too sick. This is going to be a really miserable weekend.
felis_ultharus: The Pardoner from the Canterbury Tales (Default)
Heya -- for the anime group tonight, I was assuming it was our usual at my house at around 6 pm. If that's in error, let me know.

Meanwhile, in my writing, I restarted my massive edit because I'd made so many adjustments to the novel. I've divided the novel into ten chunks of 27 pages, each of which I'm going over three times -- for a total of thirty sections.

To keep my self-imposed deadline (before October 31), then, this means editing 3 of the resulting sections every 2 days, or 27-54 pages a day, around a busier-than-average work schedule.

As I've also been sick this week, this means all this is a bit of a marathon run, but I've been keeping to this schedule since Sunday and I'm only slightly behind.
felis_ultharus: The Pardoner from the Canterbury Tales (Default)
I haven't been posting too much lately, but I continue to be alive. Work is chaos, and I almost feel guilty enjoying my lunch hour.

Morale is being sapped a little by the fact that with several of these courses, we know that we're bringng order to chaos in something that will probably spin back into chaos by the time next week is out.

Writing is going well, though this much culling is painful.

I've also been reading up on 19th-century Canadian women authors for my next historical post on Sunday, which is a disturbingly obscure subject -- disturbing because there were a huge number of them publishing a lot of material, much of it good, and even most specialists in Canadian literature I've met probably could not name four of them without looking them up.
felis_ultharus: The Pardoner from the Canterbury Tales (Default)
A miniature non-update on my blog, explaining the lack of updates. I've been goofing of all week, except for at work and on my novel.

As for my novel, the relaxation in other areas seems to have really helped in that one. I passed the 75% mark on my massive edit. If I can keep up my current rate, I'll be four-fifths finished in three days.

Other than that, it's just been Kingdom Hearts -- which is very fun, and the Disney elements (which still make me cringe) decrease as the game progresses. I'll post a review when I'm done.

Next week, I'm working extra hours, so there'll be little time for video games. I want to finish my novel this month, because my goal is to start sending it out by the end of October.

I also really have to get cracking on my research -- I didn't go into the archives this week, and still have a good 50 years of Montreal indictment records to go over.
felis_ultharus: The Pardoner from the Canterbury Tales (Default)
I've posted George Herchmer Markland on my other site. Not as well-researched as Alexander Wood, but still an interesting story.

I'll finally be three-fifths through my massive edit today or tomorrow. And I may not have to give up my whole weekend after all, since I'm way ahead on the work I usually have to give up a weekend for.

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