Monday, June 16, 2008

Welcome to the Dark Side. Now when I say "Dark Side" I am not implying that you are evil, or that I am evil, or that reading this blog in any way endorses evil. Its just that, in this part of the world, we are coming up to the shortest day of the year. For me, that means two weeks when I don't see my home town in daylight - except for the weekend. I like daylight. I like my home town. I like to see these things together. But with my train departing just as the sun starts to rise, and arriving home well past sunset, these are dark days indeed. Not bad days, just dark. Its about this time of year that I start to really look forward to spring. I have to get my Vitamin D hit at lunch time. Fortunately, winter in Victoria often affords beautifully cool yet sunny days. Today is one such day.

I finally finished my novel last year and put off the inevitably first edit, but after many delays completed that as well. This year I resolved to further refine the first few chapters with a view to sending it off to potential agents. After procrastinating for several more months, I managed to crawl across that imaginary deadline as well. Now they tell me I have to write a bloody five page synopsis and a cover letter! Don't they know how good I am at procrastinating?!? I'm actually writing this blog instead of writing the synopsis. And I'm supposed to give away the ending without all the pretty words that get you there. What's that about? Agents, publishers, editors! Its like they want you to write the book AND make it good or something.

My problem is I wax and wane in my own feelings toward the manuscript. Sometimes I think its great; other times I'm pretty sure I could wallpaper the house with the number of rejection slips I can expect. Obviously the publishing houses would have to send me several rejection slips each but I guess they have to be thorough. They wouldn't want me thinking there was hope because I only got the one rejection slip. Actually, my real problem is that I haven't gotten any rejection slips. That would be because no publisher has seen the novel because I don't have an agent because I have approached an agent because I haven't written the bloody synopsis yet. This could on a while.

One of the many things I use to distract myself from writing said synopsis is my new obsession, photography. I am trying to teach myself the finer art of using the manual controls. I read lots. I look at lots of pictures taken by people who know lots. I read some more. I take my camera into the field and promptly forget everything. I then take five or six hundred shots of one flower and then trawl through to find the one shot that doesn't look like I fell over while the shutter was open. I am finding my retention of crucial information such as f-stops and film speeds and how they relate to each other and the shutter speed to produce an exposure to be somewhat lacking. Also, I can't frame to save myself. If someone pointed a gun at me and told me to take a picture of a barn I was standing in, there is no guarantee the barn would actually appear in the picture. But I am getting better, and that's important.

I still haven't had a decent night to do much astrophotography but I think I've figured out a better way to mount the camera. My moon shots turned out kind of ok, but as I mentioned before, I forget all the basics as soon as I start taking shots, so I had the ISO speed wrong - again! Oh well. I guess I'll just keep going until I either become proficient or I fill up all the available hard drives I have. At this rate, I've got until the end of next week.


Thought for the Day: All is not lost! I just misplaced it a little.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Back so soon, eh?

Ok, so I kind of glossed over the whole ten years of marriage but I would like to jump back to that now. DW and I got married on the 28th of March, 1998. It was a cool, late Autumn day and the morning was pretty bleak. It was raining and I had a hangover from my impromptu second bucks night the night before, courtesy of my groomsmen and my sister, whom I shall call Air, to protect her identity. Fortunately it wasn't one of those stick-your-arm-down-your-throat-because-even-that-will-feel-better-than-this kind of hangovers, just a regular one. We had a few things to do before the wedding, which was scheduled for after lunch, so I had time to recover. The rain dissipated and we headed out to the church. As is customary, we arrived before DW and her entourage, though technically she wasn't DW then. Amusingly, her nickname up to that point was "Butch", but I won't go into that. Suffice it to say, she prefers DW.

While we were waiting and people were arriving and looking nervous for me, my groomsmen kept shoving chocolate and lollies and OJ at me. DW had apparently worded them up on my little "low-blood-sugar" problem. Its not really a super-power as such, but it does allow me to faint spectacularly at precisely the most inappropriate time. Combined with the copious amount of coffee I had consumed earlier, the sugar rush had me humming. I don't mean humming as in singing with my mouth shut, rather I was vibrating so fast I was slightly blurry to the naked eye.

When DW finally arrived, she looked decidedly upset, but she told me that she was just so happy, and it wasn't because she was only marrying me because I was her last option. She assured me I wasn't, which I have taken as a compliment.

Though it was pretty cold and quite windy, the day went very well. We headed off to have some photos taken by our "professional" (so-called) photographer and then over to the reception, which was also very nice, though I don't remember much of it. I organized three video cameras to film the event and I had every intention to cut a nice, concise wedding video together before our first anniversary. As it happens, that became my 10th wedding anniversary present to DW, though I must say, while ten years to edit a wedding video does seem a little on the long side, the technological improvements that have occurred during that time have meant a far better video in the end. Still, I got it done, for better or worse.

So here we are, ten years and two kids later, and we still like each other. Certainly enough to bother celebrating our ten years. It has been a lot of fun, and has had all the hallmarks of a good marriage. We laugh, cry, fight, make-up, work, play, relax and go crazy together still. And that's a good thing.


Thought for the Day: I wanted a sign that says "Beware of the guard squirrel. It goes for the nuts" but DW said not unless we actually get a guard squirrel, which she knows I will never do.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Good morning. Time to start blogging again.

I noticed this morning that it was February when I last posted a blog. It is now nearly the middle of the year. Looking back over the last few months, I can see why I haven't been blogging. So much has been happening, both at work and at home, that I haven't been taking the time to focus on my writing - at least with respect to this blog.

So, what in the world has happened?

Well, Princess is learning to read. Little Man has truly committed himself to the role of "two-year-old terror". DW and I made it to the big "Ten Years of Marriage". And I developed a brand new obsession. Now I know what you are thinking. Learning to read is pretty cool.

Its been a very interesting journey for Princess. She absolutely loves school and has really immersed herself in the joys of learning. Her reading has dramatically improved and she even explained to us recently how cannibals used special forks to eat the brains from their victims. I suspect she is learning as much from her classmates as from her teachers. At least Santa and the Easter Bunny are still safe.

Despite the new routine and excitement each school day brings, Princess is finding our less stimulating home environment something of a bore. She nags either for food or for interactive entertainment. This doesn't mean she wants to play on the computer or our non-existent PlayStation 3. No, she wants DW or I to jump about like an idiot for her amusement. DW steadfastly refuses and fair enough.

One of the games the two kids LOVE to play is Tickle-monster. Its a pretty simple game which involves me lying on my back on the floor and occasionally grabbing them when they get close enough and growling "tttttiiiiiiccccckkkkkkklllelllele MMOOONNNSSSTTEEERRRRRRR!!!!" We have been forced to establish the toilet rule which involves Princess going to the toilet BEFORE we start. As soon as Little Man forgoes his nappies, he to will be subject to this rule.

Mostly Princess is too nervous to come near me very often so it actually takes a bit of cunning to catch her. She WANTS to be tickled but can't bring herself to be subjected to it easily. Little Man has a slightly different approach which involves him jumping up and down on my chest or stomach until I get sick of it and tickle him. I have learned to keep my knees up to protect my groin - it mostly works. The only other rule is that the game ends when one or both kids start crying. The game doesn't last very long.

Little Man has gone through that dramatic phase of discovering the power of language. I don't mean its over and he now talks like an adult. But he has gone past the simple expression of emotions and words, to communicating far more complex thoughts, even if they are a little disjoint. I suspect there is probably a technical psychological term for it but if you have seen a child go through it, you would know what I mean. Princess went through it and it was a joy then too. While even babies have personality, it seems quite muted in comparison to this sudden burst of self expression. Of course, now he has so much personality we can't shut him up.

DW cops the brunt of Little Man's new found enthusiasm for expressing every damn thought in his head, along with Princess' need for entertainment as well as her near exhaustion from running around entertaining everyone at school. Little Man is still deciding if he is going to give up his day sleep or not but I suspect it will happen soon. But DW keeps it all together and keeps the house running. Next year Little Man starts kinder. Seven months seems like a long time.

Well, that's it for today. If you want to know about my new obsession, hop over to and check it out. For those that can't be bothered, my new obsession is photography. DW and I purchased a digital SLR for our ten year wedding anniversary (we bought the analogue equivalent when we got married). I have selfishly dominated the use of this new toy and some of the photos will go up on SplutterBang!.


Thought for the Day: Yesterday is tomorrow's day before yesterday. Does it know that?