Archive for category Updates

Quick drive-by and update

No… not quite lost, although I have been a bit swamped on some other projects.  Here’s a really quick recap of the recent past, and I promise to do some proper updating soon.  Oh, and about the videos… I’ve got those re-queued for several weeks to come.

In February, I submitted an abstract for WorldCon… in April I was notified it was accepted.  (In March, I presented a draft of the same paper for the Graduate Student Conference locally, to give myself a trial run in advance of the acceptance.)

At the end of May, I was part of the Graduate Student Reading experience for all of the graduating Creative Writing MA students.  Several of the audience members that were at the March conference were stoked about my WorldCon announcement.

I have applied for Viable Paradise for the fall.  Jury is still out on acceptance (they accept submissions until mid-June) so we shall see.

I will be going to see Uncle Orson in August, but only for the two day session.

I have been plotting my next stage of academic pursuits, pinning down which PhD programs I want to aim for… at the moment there’s one in the US and three in the UK, but we will see how that might change between now and the end of the summer.  My goal is to have most of my applying done or “almost” done by the end of August for 2012 admittance… wherever it may be.

I’ve finally started climbing out of the “post-hyperproductive-crash” that hit me after my last semester (from December) – when my two classes and thesis brain-fried me.  I’ve been kicking ideas around, but I’ve not been in a state of mind to try working with them until recently.  (Last time I was in a similar slump was right before the thesis, but before THAT my last similar creative funk was from about 2000-2007: a few blips on the radar, but it wasn’t as much of a priority for me then.)  I’m working on some plotting for 5-6 projects to see what strikes me as ready to run, including expanding three of the pieces I wrote for classes.

That’s all for now… more soon… really… there will be.

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Please Excuse the Mess…

As I mentioned before, I’m fiddling with the design and layout here at the Echoes…  And you’ve probably already noticed quite a change already with the new layout. 

Along with the presentational changes, I’m also experimenting with some of the back-end features that Blogger has added.  Don’t be surprised if things end up changing some more (which they will, but probably not as drastically… for a few days, at least).

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More updates…

Forgive me readers, for I have sinned, it has been almost three weeks since my last posting…

And there have been mixed results along the way… The class has been going well – four weeks in and three books (model novels) down… we had to submit the other”exercises” that we have been working on last night, and will be meeting individually for conferences with the instructor next week.

I have decided to try “double dipping” for the sake of the course project… trying to tackle two projects at the same time. My personal goals are to finish (drafting) the existing project by 20 November (before I leave for a vacation), and to have about 30k words logged for the “class” project by about the same time… That’s been a process of slower going than I had anticipated, but I do have a schedule sketched out to help guide me along… I’m also trying a couple of other techniques (plotting, pre-planning, etc.) with the “class” project that’s got me slowing down for a bit there…

Off to Winston for the weekend, with plans to find a quiet hole (sometime) to burn out at least one more ink cartridge…

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July 1 – Halftime…

Today is the first day of July… Half of the (calendar) year is now officially history… Time for a brief recap of things, so far…

Books: While I haven’t (technically) finished it, I’ve only got one “chapter” left for Watchmen, which I intend to finish tonight… With that finished, I will be at 18 books read this year, and on a good track to fly past the 26 book target. (I already have the next three books picked out, ready for the beach trip that we’re taking this weekend…)

Movies: There’s been a surge, of late, to churn through some Netflix items. Still a long way from the “100 Movie” target, but I think I’ll get more in than last year.

Writing: Still working on “Book Project #1″… I’ve tried starting over (to flesh out the beginning), but it didn;t seem to get me too far. I’m thinking I may need to try a different tack – jumping ahead, or identifying some plot events as my beacons to aim for… Consider it like driving along with certain points of interest in mind, instead of just driving and getting lost. I’m hoping to be “mostly done” by the time classes start in the fall, so I can hopefully “finish” through the projects of the class I will be taking.

Speaking of which… I have some pages to type up…. back to the Word games…

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2008 Review – The last update…

As I mentioned, I have some notes regarding the cruise, and how it impacted by Reading and Viewing lists…

Books first…
I finished Gaiman’s Fragile Things, and it was a very good collection. There are a couple of notes that I made (while reading) that sparked some possible story ideas for me… based on a line, or image, and not a other support documents. (Right, you follow that?) Technically, I did not finish until after the 1st, but all things considered, I credited it towards 2008. (Last year’s holdovers actually had other books read at the same time, instead of being read straight through)…

Despite my hopes and plans for my travel reading (LOTS of airport time!), I only got through the one book while I was gone.

So, that brings the 2008 books read to: 23 (new), and 2 carry-overs.

Movies….

They were plentiful on the ship, with some being shown at night on a huge jumbotron-type screen, and others being shown on rotation onthe television channels. We watched several snippets of a lot of movies, and managed to add about a half-dozen to the “watched” list…

Journey to the Center of the Earth (2008) – was handled better than I was expecting… an interesting twist on what has now become an almost cliche movie idea…

Kung Fu Panda (2008) – Also very good, with several subtle story points and ideas that can appeal across generations.

The Dark Knight (2008) – No, I did not see it during its (original) theatrical run (I hear there’s plans to bring it back out for a possible Oscar run for Heath Ledger)… But there was something really cool about watching it in the middle of the ocean, under a clear night sky… Very good movie, that lived up to most of the hype.

Hancock (2008) – Mixed reviews prompted me to avoid the theatrical run, but I thought the idea was very good. I thought the “really big plot twist” worked, but it also felt a little off by the end of the movie… that it went from being about “Hancock” to “Hancock and the others”… Not a bad movie, but I am kinda glad I didn’t try to take in the theatrical run…

There were snippets of other movies that were watched, but not the complete films, to mention some of them, and the fact that several will probably show up on the Netflix list at some point in the future: Baby Mama, Across the Universe, Sex and the City, Golden Compass, Juno, Devil Wears Prada, Alvin and the Chipmunks, Wall-E…

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I’m Back…

Just in time for the new year… well, not really, since we’re almost a week after the ball has dropped… but I (we) have returned from our South American honeymoon. To many things that I would like to try and post, but I am and work, and don’t have everything lined up that I would like to say (including pictures, etc.)… so that will have to be pending….

I also need to make some corrections and updates, with regards to the “movies watched and books read” items, but that will also come in the “recap” post. As will the “2009 Resolutions” be in the works… I’m working on the “To Do” list as I type this, and it is just going to take a bit of time to put it all together…

Right, now it’s off to Flickr, to get a space ready for pictures…

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Halftime…

Here we are, on the first day of July… half of the year is officially over. It is, at this point, that I decided to do a quick recap/update of things from the year (comparing to my “resolutions“).

Significant progress can be reported in a few areas, not-so-much progress in others… Specifically:

Reading – I have completed (first time reading) 11 books, 2 of which were started in 2007. I am currently working on number 12. Overall, this puts me almost on track to make the 26 book mark for the year…

Cleaning – I have bought a house and moved, so a lot of that has been “mostly” done… there are still some residual items that need to be moved (from the attic), and a garage that is screaming to be exposed (once again)… but the items (as listed in the resolutions) have been addressed.

Movies – There has been virtually no change in my NetFlix queue. There are three movies at the house that I have had since February (moving does put a damper on some movie watching, with mail changes, etc.), so I am a long way from clearing 100 movies from my list.

My writing regimen has improved, which is the point for several of the items previously listed. I have written a couple of short stories, and about half of the script for “Corners”… and I have the other works that are in progress… I just need to finish them…

Which I can be working on now… sort of…

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General Stuff, and Other Things…

So, I’ve already mentioned that I’m stoked that Boston has won the NBA title… but there are other things going on, too…

I have signed up at GoodReads, after reading about it at Neil Gaiman’s site. I’m not sure how frequently I will be updating it… it would take me a loooooooong time to try and track through all of the books that I have read, and have in the collection to read, but I can definitely see updating for the “Have Read” section as I complete books.

The “script” writing group met last night, and things went well… we each selected a prompt idea to work with for one of our July meetings, and discussed a couple of short stories that were submitted. There is another group that I am going to be checking out late next week (which is why I use the “script” label – as we were all in a script class together).

Have I mentioned that Boston won…. title number 17?

And I have been making some steady progress towards “the 300 club”… which I plan on continuing this afternoon. I’m currently working on a script, inspired by a song that I like… more as an exercise for me, than anything else… I’m not quite sure about it being produced (rights, etc.)… not to mention the length may be a little off… on the shorter side… but it’s something that’s been rattling around (for a while, actually), so I feel it’s best to try and get it out… and I have a really big reason to, now.

Oh, and “the Boston Celtics are once again the world champions.”

On a serious turn… really… Today would be Jenn’s birthday… she would have been 28. I know her mom has really been having a bit of a rough patch for the past week…

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Updates and Moderate Grumbles…

It has been a few days since my last tidbits on information, so here’s the new skinny.

I have finished my first 10 pages for the “Four Corners” script project. Already starting on that item from my resolutions list. I say “my” as opposed to “the”, since I am not really going chronologically. I am writing in scenes and segments that I will later be piecing together in the correct order. I know the general story line (have for years, actually), but there are certain scenes that beg to be written at different times. How it will all turn out, I don’t know, but I am enjoying the ride.

At the same time, I am using Final Draft – a software package that was suggested by Ben (and others), and that I got back in the summer. I honestly cannot think of an easier way to learn the form (at least, from a layout perspective). I tried using another piece of software the other day (after first using Final Draft), and while the interface was similar, I had already been spoiled. At least I know what I will be using for drafting my scripts. Enough of the commercial, time to do more updates.

I had my first massage last Thursday night. MC had arranged one for me as one of my Christmas gifts. Ugh, I did not realize how tight my back was before I went in! If you’ve never had one, I highly recommend the experience.

There has been significant progress in another item in my resolution list: the office. I have managed to clear 75-80% of the “stuff” that was on the floor. I actually had more completed, but with some of my school items, I have had to sacrifice a little, for the short run.

There is one thing I am not thrilled with about academia: reading patterns. I like reading, but I like to (try) and focus on a single work, going from beginning to end, and devoting my full attention to it, immersing myself in the world the author is trying to create. If you notice my “Currently Reading” list (which, as of 24 Jan 08), has four titles “in progress”. That bugs me a bit, because I have to stage my reading time a bit better. Of course, the other side is that if I don’t layer my reading, I could easily end up stuck with things unread for class. Like “Grapes” – at about 450 pages, if I don’t start now (knowing how dry, no pun intended) that read may be, I may not finish but the time it’s time to be discussed next month.

And about my readings: Yes, I am rereading HP Sorcerer’s Stone. It’s been years since I have read it (after the movie came out), and it is required for my “Film” class. And, no, I have never actually read either Grapes of Wrath or Huck Finn before (also for class). So, in that respect, I guess I am also putting a dent in my reading goal, as well.

And on Tuesday, before my class, I ran a sub-10 mile. And I still had a little bit of spring left! I still have a long way to go, if I want to try and actually last through a biathlon or short (5K-ish) race, which I would like to do.

Which pretty well catches us up… I’ve already gotten a couple more pages written for the script, and am working on arranging another trip for later this year, as well as some “lighter entertainment trips”…

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New Service…

I have now officially switched services… I know, it’s been a while since I’ve posted an update, but there has been a lot of things going on…

I am officially in a relationship (yes, with the same woman I have mentioned a couple of times before), and we have been doing a lot of side trips (a trip with my sister to Smithfield a couple of weeks ago, a trip to PA with one of MC’s friends over the holiday weekend, and a trip up to Virgina Beach this past weekend)… which transitions to…

I have gotten the Mini (finally). Mary Catherine and I drove up on Friday night, and after a brief visit with her brother on Saturday morning, we went to the dealer to pick up the car. Unfortunately, they did not have the bonnet stripes on the car, so we will have to go back up for them to be added later…

And then there is this (which is, actually the reason behind the post name)… I have changed my cellular service. After about eight years with US Cellular, I have changed to Verizon. One of the features that helped push the decision was blogging – namely Verizon supports Mobile Blogging, while US Cellular did not. Add in the fact that the calling plans that were available have been constantly shrinking (at one time, I could have coverage over the entire east coast – no roaming – and not on a national plan; now I am roaming anytime I pass the I-95 corridor, or go too far north and get closer to Virginia). Add in a “State Employee’s Discount”, and the odds just started stacking in favor of moving.

The picture is actually one of the stock images from the phone… but now I can play with photo updates on the fly – which includes some updates during trips… which will be useful when I am not able to get to a computer.

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