Friday, December 31, 2010

Incoherent ramblings, or, The importance of having something to write about

Well, the new system seems to be working more or less swimmingly; some slight hesitance on Windows’ part to recognise the formatting of the text file, despite me using the supposedly linux-friendly metapad for editing; it still copied and pasted into wordpress just fine, though.

Also figured out how to turn off the typewritery sounds this editor makes while you type. It’s cute and all, but I suspect it’d drive you batshit within a matter of hours if you left it on.

Which just leaves something to write about today, which is where I'm pretty much drawing a blank. Its New Years Eve, of course; no plans for tonight other than getting home before the firing of guns in the air commences. Yep, it’s that kind of neighbourhood we’re in, I’m afraid. Luckily we have a lift home, which means we should be in a goodly while before midnight. Work is impressively random as to the volume of calls coming in. At some points, we have calls queuing in double figures, at others, it’s completely dead. I suspect as the night goes on and we get into the hours where the places we answer for are normally closed, it’ll quiet down entirely. As to what it’ll be like tomorrow, I have no idea. Saturdays are normally hell, and people seem somehow gloriously unaware of national holidays, but if I had to predict anything, I’d say probably marginally quieter than the average weekend shift.

...Somebody has just suggested we might get our asses kicked by our client that has a chain of stores selling overpriced childrens clothing to people with more money than sense (or at least, more credit than sense) might well be starting their new year’s sale tomorrow. If that’s the case, the three of us who are there after 8.30pm are going to be well and truly fucked up the ass by the volume of calls. Again. Frankly, though, this is such a common occurrence on a Saturday that it’s lost any kind of meaning a long, long time ago.

Apparently there were multiple tornado warnings and much storminess this morning, to the point where the emergency sirens were going. I couldn’t honestly say, as I slept through the whole damned thing.

Finally seem to be getting over the horrible chest cold I’ve had for the past week or more. I’m actually able to breathe without wheezing, and coughing doesn’t seem to be a potentially fatal event any more. Kit... seems to be improving, though she started with it all a couple of days before me.

Finally, really, really have to get a little more organised as to what the hell I’m going to be typing here every day. I’m pretty much clutching at straws today for anything to write about. I have a couple of half-assed ideas for articles in the near future, but they’re not something I can just pull out of thin air. Might also have a look on the news and see if anything remotely interesting is going on that I work up a commentary/editorial about on AC.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Time to try an entirely new setup for writing my stuff and nonsense.

Prior to about a week ago, my setup for writing stuff on the go was the following: Type it up on the Psion, using either the horrible featureless version of Wordpad it had, or the even more clunky and likely to crash Wordmaker. This done, I would then pick a format likely to succeed in being ported over (usually HTML, oddly), save it, save it again on the oddly difficult to detect SD card, and cross my fingers.

When I got home, more fun would ensue. My PC has no slots for SD cards, which I have never been able to fathom, as Kit has the same model PC from the same place, and it has a plethora, a plethora I say, of slots for every card you could conceive of. Undaunted, I would unplug one or two of the USB devices I have installed to accommodate the rather wide SD card adapter I have, open the file on the card, and cut and paste it into wherever I was posting to.

As systems for writing went, it stank to a fair degree. It was time consuming and awkward, and working on files over a period of days was tedious as hell. In fact, it was enough to actually put me off writing things except on my days off, and frankly, on my days off I’ve either other things to do or other things I’d like to do.

In the last week or so, however, I’ve acquired Kit’s old laptop, the one that really hasn’t been used in at least two years. It’s a brand spanking new little Acer laptop, upon which I’ve dual-partitioned with Ubuntu as well as the Windows XP it had already installed, mainly for aesthetic reasons. I’m typing this up on a program called Focuswriter, which is rather like Q10 for windows or Darkroom (I think it’s called) for the Mac; a basic text editor which fills the screen and does nothing else, a nice plain screen you can put text onto without all the fripperies and editing tools that something like OpenOffice or Word throws at you.

When I’m done typing, I save the file into my dropbox folder, another major innovation I’ve only become aware of lately. When the lappie gets in range of a wifi hotspot it can connect to (i.e. at home), it will upload the file to a remote server. My desktop PC will automatically sync with it, and get a copy of the file, ready to go. In other words, the only thing I need to do to share my files across the computers I use is turn the laptop on at some point when I’m home.

Hopefully, all this should see me posting a great deal more online. IF I can actually get into the habit of writing something. Which is the other reason I’m typing this up right now; I figured I’d get started on a New Year’s resolution a couple of days early, see how it sits with me.

So, my resolution is - On workdays at the very least, possibly even on days off, I will attempt to publish at least 500 words online. These will mostly either be on Associated Content, or in the cases of rambling diatribes even I would blush at publishing to try and winkle pennies out of Yahoo, will appear on this blog. If I deem it capable of earning me a few cents and stick it on AC, I’ll link it on the blog anyhow. I’m a very bad judge of what’s worth anything on there anyhow, painstakingly crafted articles seem to earn fuck all, while piles of crap I typed up in two minutes for Helium have gotten 20,000 pagehits. Go figure.

On paper (well, pixel), it sounds doable. We shall see.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Good lord, is this the first article to get posted on here?

Nope, it's a poorly disguised editorial masquerading as an article, partly because it seemed worth writing about, partly to see what AssociatedContent^H^H^H Yahoo! Contributors will let me get away with being paid for.

(Read more...)




Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Think I only mentioned this on facebook rather than here, but Nano died its usual death of falling behind on schedule for various exotic reasons I won't go into again. The plus side is at least it did it early, and left me the rest of the month to play around with other writing.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Oh, and as for scrivener

It's rather nice, more or less designed with me in mind. Or at least, it does what I want it to, which might not be what the designer had in mind in the first place.

But then, at the last possible minute...

...the author threw out the plans he had for NaNoWriMo next month, and decided to go with something completely different!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Finally got round to finding a decent picture of the Dales to serve as a header for this blog. Enjoy.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

A reminder on how to survive the working day

However many bizarre, otherworldly rules your workplace may come up with; however many asinine customers you may have to handle that day... remember the following.

Your job is not who you are. Your job cannot define who you are, unless you allow it to. Your job can move the goalposts every day, but they cannot make you give a damn. They can make time appear to pass more slowly, but they cannot stop the clock moving.

Keep smiling, pay token homage to their rules, and remember they can do you no lasting harm.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Note to self:

Looks like a Windows beta version of Scrivener is being released shortly before NaNo this year, ready for testing and use. This is the bookwriting software that Mac users use to beat down their hardons in the morning, and I've heard nothing but good about it.

Be sure to snag a copy as soon as it's available.

The State of Play

I think of the stuff I write as being in two categories, the serious and non-serious. The latter are the things I do for Associated Content and the like, and the former are those I actually want to have some quality to them. There IS a certain pride in a decent AC piece, especially one that actually drags in the hits (somehow), but at the end of the day I'm crunching words for a Yahoo! owned website that's universally reviled by most news sites. Some of my more popular ones on there have been the ones I cut and pasted from throwaway pieces of crap I originally tapped up on the horrible Helium. I learned some time ago that carefully crafted and considered pieces invariably get less than a hundred hits, and things I consider garbage seem to go viral unexpectedly. Bizarre, but true.

I seem to knock out far more of the non-serious than the serious at the moment, at least in a publishable form. That is to say, it seems to be the only things I finish right now. I'm hoping this will pick up next month, as it's NaNoWriMo again in November. Right now, I'm wracking my brains to see if I can come up with any concepts, any imagery that'll be fertile enough to drag 50,000 words out of it. If I manage it, it'll be the first time I ever have. This will really be the focus for the rest of the month. Going to try and make passing reference to it here if possible, and certainly going to try and develop this blog throughout that month.

And that's how things stand at the moment. Lots of thinking, not much writing, much optimism. Sick and worn out and stressed, but otherwise things aren't so bad.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

An Introduction

I opened this account a while ago, and haven't ever really done anything with it. Going to be using for two things, really; firstly to post anything I write for the likes of Associated Content, a well-hated site that nevertheless pays me surprisingly well for my incoherent ramblings. You may find something that interests you, you may not. I make no guarantees. Click on the links either way, though, I appreciate the page hits.

The second use will be fairly trite, in some ways. I hate to sound all 1980s pop-psychology, but I've come a long way from being myself, or who I consider myself to be. Somewhere along the line, amongst jarring changes in the culture I'm living in, and various other circumstances, my trains of thought have drifted off from what I'd consider my normal, happy self. The self I used to have when I was writing, and posting random shit to my journal. I think I've spent the last few years reacting to being a foreigner in a decidedly odd country, rather than acting like me regardless of where I am. I need to get back on my home turf, even though my home turf is about 4,000 miles away. The home turf of my state of mind, as it were.

Hence the title of this blog. If anything anchors me mentally, it's typing until things make sense. Writing is an enormous outlet for me, a way to rail against the things in life that piss me off, a way to gather my thoughts. A way to a place where I should be, and where those around me deserve me to be.

A way home.