I miss it there, and I can’t go back

Recently, one of my favourite webcartoonists began a new comic project. It’s called Dumbing of Age, by David Willis. You should probably read it. If it’s anything like his other longer-form works, it’ll end up being a great blend of humour and melodrama (though there won’t be aliens in this one, apparently).

Since the comic went live, Willis has been chronicling various bits of the background process of creating a comic, and it’s left me feeling nostalgic.

Once upon a time, I had a webcomic of my own. It hasn’t been updated in nearly five years, and I can’t imagine it ever will be again. Even so, I miss the process of creating something like that, crafting an ongoing story one piece at a time. I would love to work on something like that again, but I know that I’d be limited to providing words. As an artist, I’m afraid what meager skills I had in 2005 have withered on the vine.

I won’t deny it, I’ve been feeling a bit bummed about that lately. Ironically, I think that this has resulted in a bit of a stall on the writing that I am doing, which is super lame.



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Hey Dave, What’s Up?

Rewriting the previously-mentioned lost writing is proving difficult. I have a good idea where things are going. I know where the plot leads (for a while at least… a good amount still needs shoring up), but I feel like I’m trying to run through syrup to get there. I have to struggle with myself to get anything down on the page. It’s my sincere hope that once I get to parts of the story that I’ve vaguely plotted but hadn’t written before everything got lost that everything will click little bit better. Fingers crossed.

The fact that I’m back on backshift all the time might help there, provided I can get myself to actually write despite the many and varied distractions that can be found on a nightly basis.

Running’s going well. Just finished my first time through Week 4. There will be a second time, as the 5-minute runs are killing me. Either way, time to get to work, try to get some more writing done tonight. Wish me well!

Also, unsolicited random encouragement is always appreciated, if you happen to feel so inclined.

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c25k: Week One Wrapup

Week One Weight Fluctuations

Week One of my experiment in a non-sedentary lifestyle is done. Here are my thoughts so far.

  1. I’m not in very good shape. In and of itself, not a surprise, but I was surprised to see just how much. Alternating just 60 seconds of running with 90 of walking has been taking a lot out of me. I plan on doing the Week 1 Workout next week as well, and I imagine that things will probably get better.
  2. What happened between July 19 and 21‽ I’m guessing that it’s the post-run hunger mentioned in the comments on the last post, but somehow I managed to gain four and a half pounds in two days (and lose it in the same amount of time). I’m gonna call this one a statistical anomaly for now.
  3. Wearing my sunglasses while the daystar is burning is essential. On days 1 and 2, I could barely see for all the squinting I was doing.

All in all, this has been a positive experience so far. I guess we’ll see what I have to say on September 24th, which is the day that will see me actually running 5k without a break, after factoring in the repeat of Week 1 next week.

Also, I’ve set up a set on flickr, keeping a chronicle of my post-run face. It’s more something for myself, to see if any noticeable change takes place as this goes on, but I figured that I’d share it with the series of tubes as well.


Couch to 5k: Week 1, Day One

The Face of exhaustion
Originally uploaded by davmopedia

I am overweight. I’m not happy about it, but I acknowledge it. I’ll spare you the various levels of discomfort I’ve felt with the corpulence that I’ve lived with for pretty much my entire life, though, since that’s not the point of this post. What is the point is that I’ve decided to change this particular bit of reality. I’ve been working over the past few months to improve my diet (with varying levels of success: my big victory has been in the increase of real food I’ve been eating, as opposed to highly processed crap), and now I’m taking the plunge and starting to exercise.

This has been a long time coming, I’ll be the first to say, and to give myself a regimen, I’ve decided to go with the Couch to 5k plan. Basically, get me running, and all the other chips will fall into place like the perfect ouse of cards. Checkmate.

Today was the first day of this glorious 9-week push, and as one can see from the photo on the right, it wore me out. I’m likely going to do the first week twice, just to ease myself into things, considering that I could barely complete what is admittedly a really, really easy workout.

Seriously. Run for a minute then walk for a minute and a half. Repeat 8 times. Not hard, Dave.

Of course, it wouldn’t be me doing this if I didn’t find a way to geek it up. So here’s how I’ll be using technology to help. Firstly, I’ve started a really basic spreadsheet on Google Docs, where I’ll be tracking the data from weigh-ins via Wii Fit. Second, I’ve found a helpful podcast that was designed to work with the c25k program, with handy vocal prompts for when to change pace. Third, once I manage to find one (outside of the “sport kit” which would be 15-25 dollars more for a receiver I don’t need), I’ll be adding a Nike+iPod sensor to my new running shoes.

So that’s where I stand right now. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to shower.


Writing is hard

Rewriting from memory is harder. It’s like math for Barbie hard.

The 2200 or so words I’ve managed to get down in the past week or so have been so much more stubborn in getting to the page compared to their equivalent back in November (which took maybe a night and a half). However, I’ve managed to get going, and I figured I’d take this moment and mention a couple things that have made the process easier.

First, I want to mention One Page Per Day, a website that’s still relatively new, and a bit sparse in terms of features, but what a great idea! Essentially, it’s an online typewriter that links up with either a Google or Twitter account. It sets a modest goal of (wait for it) one page — 400-500 words — per day of writing, though you can write more if you feel so inclined. You can have the system automatically send you “gentle reminders” every day to keep you on task. As I said, it’s new, and it is a bit rough around the edges. However, the people running it are really good for replying to emails, and I actually had one of my longest email conversations in years with one of them, offering suggestions and feedback.

Second, I want to mention Evernote. I get ideas for neat stuff, whether book-related or not, without my brain giving me much respect for where I am. Luckily, using an app on my iPod or a quick Twitter direct message, I can make sure that it’s saved for later. If you’ve ever used OneNote, it’s basically the same sort of thing, but online.

I’d also like to give a quick mention to SimpleText.ws, an online service that I don’t currently use, but would like to at some point in the future. Essentially an online text editor, I’m a big fan of the fact that it syncs with WriteRoom and, importantly, with Scrivener, which is simply a joy to use.

Notably, these are all online apps, which is helpful if I’m going between different machines to try and get my daily writing in (either on my desktop, my laptop, or on a computer at work during a lull). Being able to use the internet in this way makes me so glad that I’m living in the future.


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Writing, Again

So, last year, I participated in NaNoWriMo. While I didn’t hit the 50,000 word target (I only managed about 20,000 by the time December rolled around), I resolved to keep at it.

And I did, sort of. While I lacked the initial zeal that characterized my November, I did continue at it, picking away at it gradually. By late March, I was around the 25-26,000-word mark when I managed to do something monumentally stupid.

I had everything saved on a USB stick, which I had needed for some geeky thing or another, and I had copied its contents to my desktop computer. All well and good so far, right? Well, when I was finished with whatever it was that I had needed the USB stick for, I copied everything back to it, and then deleted the backup (followed by my usual immediate, instinctive, and admittedly neurotic emptying of the Trash).

Of course, silly me, I hadn’t noticed that the transfer hadn’t quite worked, and worse, while I had thought that there was something on my desktop, even if it was incomplete, I made the disheartening discovery that there was nothing.

Half a novel’s work, lost in a flash because I didn’t make sure that a file transfer went through properly. I felt like a grade-a moron, I assure you. Honestly, I was pretty much devastated. all that existed of that initial draft was the first 10,000 words or so, and that is in another province (“Sorry, Dave, but your early draft is in another castle!” says Toad).

So, from memory, I’ve been reconstructing the plot. While I haven’t done much in terms of the actual writing of the thing, I’ve been plotting things out, providing myself with room to flesh things out that needed to be fleshed out, and hopefully I can fix the pacing issues that were present in the initial draft.

But tonight, I actually started re-writing the first chapter, and I won’t deny that it feels great. Hopefully I won’t drop the ball on it again.


Some Addenda

With regards to my previous post, a couple of other things:

  1. I neglected to mention that Saturday, everything else permitting, we’ll be role-playing this weekend. Yay!
  2. I’ve been assembling an outline for the new draft of this book, to start fresh and all, and I think that this one will work out better, so yay!



An Up and Down Sort of Week

…and it’s only Wednesday night.

So, taking the start of the week as Sunday (since that’s what a calendar does and all), this week got off to a pretty awesome start.  We looked at a really nice place in Clayton Park, and got our application in quickly, so things are looking good on that front. All we have to do now is wait for the current tenants to be able to get out of their lease. We should hear back by Friday, hopefully. Not having to worry about where we’ll be living come July will be a huge weight off our shoulders, and the place is utterly awesome to the max.

To the Max, I say.

On the not-awesome side, I found out yesterday that I made a huge mistake a few days ago. It seems that, when restoring backed-up files to a USB key I have, the restore didn’t work 100%. While (thankfully) I didn’t lose my backups of my 2008 tax forms, I did end up losing all of the progress on my unfinished NaNo project from last year, which I had been chipping away at since then.

That’s around 20-25,000 words lost, to put it in perspective.

So, now the plan is, much like the itsy-bitsy spider, I have to start over. At least this time, I’m allowed to plan it out more thoroughly from the start, so there’s my silver lining.


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On Geek-Thought

I consider myself to be rather geeky, which should come as no surprise to anyone who’s known me for longer than five or so minutes. While I’ve never written code, run a server, or other such things that would instantly get me a class specialization of Alpha Geek; I know enough to be able to play around with a computer with little fear of totally ruining things. I think my laptop, Sycorax, really embodies that and provides an outlet for my geek tendencies.

Named after the unseen witch from Shakespeare’s the Tempest (to keep with a naming scheme established by my iMac Oberon and my iPod Puck) and the identically-named aliens from Doctor Who, even the name is geeky. Plus it has an x in it. X is an awesome letter.

In the just-under-a-year that I’ve owned this computer, It’s currently on it’s fifth different OS. It’s run Ubuntu, Vista, Windows 7, Leopard, and, as of yesterday, openSuSE. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve formatted the hard drive in it. A few months ago, with the help of a service manual found online, a really good reseller, and a rather handy screwdriver, I replaced the screen after the original had come down with a rather nasty case of having a giant crack in it.

As frustrating as it can get at times when things aren’t working out quite right (and the sharks are circling), there’s nothing like the elation I feel when I finally get some problem or another solved, and have a working laptop again until I decide to try something else.

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