charamei: NaNo is Coming... (NaNoWriMo: NaNo is coming)
NaNo is coming. I will try not to fail so spectacularly this year.

Unless something incredibly inspirational happens between now and November, I guess I'm doing the first draft for [community profile] asexual_fandom's upcoming bang? There are vampires in it. Asexual ones! Because literary metaphor swings both ways, or in some cases, doesn't swing at all.

I'm sure I should provide some kind of update on my life, but there kind of isn't one? Life is being rather dull. I may be getting the keys to the house on the 28th (provisional on paperwork, lack of natural disasters, etc) and then maybe there will be things to do, but until then not much.

Also, SJA S05 has started, which makes me excited, sad and apprehensive all at once.
charamei: Eighth Doctor (DW8: Eight)


From a friend.

/\/\/\

Steve Grand has a blog! And he's working on a new game:
The creatures’  limbs have elastic muscles and the weights of different parts of their bodies have an effect on inertia and balance. It’s quite challenging getting one that has a fair chance of learning to walk and doesn’t fall over when it glances sideways!
Welp. Better go RSS-up my childhood science hero. ILU STEVE.

/\/\/\

Holidays this year: Galloway Astronomy Centre, which is a B&B run by two lovely people with a telescope out the back. (In fairness, it's a very large telescope.) There were meteors, and the Milky Way, and a very fruitful trawl through some second-hand bookshops in Wigtown which turned up an Historical Grammar of Greek (circa 1890, best Greek grammar I've ever seen) and an 18th century book of scholiasts on Euripides. I may have spent the entire day geeking out and wondering how fast I can learn Latin so I can actually read the non-Greek portions of it.

Also, Stonehenge and the Bristol Balloon Festival.

/\/\/\

Bank holidays this year: medieval festival at Herstmonceux Castle.

/\/\/\

House-buying update: solicitors are sloooow. And non-communicative. I nearly fell over in surprise when one of them actually called me voluntarily to give me an update.

/\/\/\

Nice thing about writing a species that periodically changes sex: when I changed their whole biological model so that the majority of the characters for this year's NaNo were suddenly female, not one of them complained.

/\/\/\

I have read books. I can't remember all of them any more, let alone review them all. Some were good, some were bad, some were meh. Aren't I helpful?
charamei: Ten grins: funny is like this (DW10: Funny Is Like This)
Actual conversation with a project manager today:

Me: "Who's going to buy this over-expensive product anyway?"
Her: "Perverts. But we're marketing it at birdwatchers."

Company and product name omitted to protect my job the innocent.
charamei: (Default)
Just not rocking the online presence very much at the moment. Reading, not responding.

Oh, and I have (a) a mortgage, (b) an accepted offer on the Rather Perfect House (for £6000 below the list price, too!) and (c) a solicitor.

When did I get this grown up?

Besides that OH MY GOD MASSIVE THING, not much happening.
charamei: (EGS: Ellen Reading)
Made an offer on the rather perfect house yesterday, having sorted out mortgage shenanigans. (I have a mortgage agreed. That's terrifying enough in itself.)

And I have had the opening theme from The Poddington Peas stuck in my head since I walked into the bank.

I have no idea in what way these two facts are related, but there you have it. Buying houses = pea-based cartoons from my earliest childhood memories.

Now we just have to see if they'll accept.
charamei: Mystery Science Fiction 3000: These are just random sentences, folks. (MST3K: Random sentences)
In an effort to combat RSI, I'm trialling handwriting recognition using a graphics tablet. I'll be rechecking as carefully as I can, but there may be some incomprehensible sentences on the way.

(More so than usual, I mean.)

If I leave you a nonsense comment, don't worry - I haven't been taken over by spambots, it's just that Windows has odd ideas about the English language.
charamei: Ten makes a frowny face: not funny is like this (DW10: Not Funny Is Like This)
The police contacted them about my card being compromised, so they've stopped it.

That's fine.

I found out that something was up when I tried to move money into my savings account, held with another bank, and NatWest declined the transfer. That's fine.

Of course, it's a bank holiday weekend, so my only recourse is the 24-hour helpline. That's fine.

First person: "Okay, you need to tell the operator that your savings account is with another bank, this is the wrong department." Dumps me back into the queue.

That's irritating, but OK.

Second person: "You can't make a transfer out of NatWest with any other website, ever."
Me: "Yes, I can."
Him: "No, you can't."
Me: "Yes, I can. I've done it dozens of times before and I can do it right now while you're listening to me."
Him: Okay, I'll pass you over to someone else.
New person: Okay, you still can't do that.
Me: Yes, I can, and I'd rather do it via [other bank] than NatWest because I hate your card-reader thingummywhatsit.
Her: *hangs up*
Me: *curses*

Third person, after going through thew queue AGAIN: "Okay, you're using the right card, you've got enough money in the account... oh, it's the fraud squad. I'll pass you over."
Me: Hallelujah.

I go downstairs, and what's on the doormat but a letter of apology from the bank for the débacle that ensued last time I tried to get them to do anything.

I mean. Hanging up on me. Customer service at its finest, y'all.

IN HAPPIER NEWS, I may have found a rather perfect house, if I can only scrape a slightly higher mortgage together.
charamei: Inconvenient cutscene to the cat being dull. (EGS: Inconvenient Cutscene)
What did I ever do to it?

It's about twenty years old now: I've had it since I was four or five. And last night it finally broke.

I've been having trouble turning it off for a while: the alarm unset button kept sticking. Last night, my lovely old alarm clock went off at 1:30 am (despite being set for 6:30), and wouldn't shut off at all. I ended up switching it off at the plug and getting my phone.

Good news: because of this, I still had an alarm to wake me up at 6:30. No accidental lie-ins, no missed work. And despite the interruption, I slept surprisingly well.

Bad news: I liked that clock :(

Onwards!

May. 11th, 2011 08:01 pm
charamei: (NRFtW: Red grins)
Huh, apparently I stopped posting for a month there. Catch-up time, I guess.

- Book reviews: one day. Honestly, I'm in a really bad habit right now of trying to read two or three and then review en masse, which doesn't work because I forget what the first one was about before I have time to post it. No duds in this batch, anyway.

- Everyday stuff: still looking for a house. Thought I'd found one, but then the owners decided to sell to someone else through another agency, so I'm back to looking again. C'est la vie. I've signed up for a proofreading course with the Society for Editors and Publishers, whose training looks fairly intensive: they even do a mentoring scheme for aspiring freelancers. (Not that I'm saying I will freelance. Feels like every time I make a plan for my life at the moment it gets torn down, so I shall attempt to exist in a state of flux and thus outfox it. This also keeps Alice Cullen at bay.)

- Went down to my mum's on the royal wedding weekend and met some of the people from the homeless centre that she volunteers at, who are all lovely.

- The various results of Nick Clegg's Black Thursday make me sad. I'm glad to see the Lib Dems finally getting their political act together; I do worry that it's too late for the country as a whole, though. (This is the first time in my life that I've been genuinely worried about our political future, I think. Things are starting to feel less like 'minor buffets that are fundamentally really boring for history students' and more 'Big Things are happening'.)

- Have started playing The Sims: Medieval using the characters from our most recent DnD campaign, who mostly fit its hero roles perfectly. Doing this has made me appreciate Sims 2 all the more for storytelling: I can usually get a couple of decent pictures in TS2, but the Sims 3 graphics are so... muted. And puddingfacey. I've caught two humorous moments in all my play time so far, and I didn't even get one of them on camera: I unpaused to try to get one Sim into a slightly better part of his animation cycle and the other two wandered off. (Relatedly, I really miss the 'boolprop testingcheatsenabled true' cheat.)

- Glee makes me happy. No particular reason, it just does. (There won't be fic, though, ever. A large part of why it makes me happy is that it's completely cracktastic. I am incapable of taking it seriously.)

- Started Regan and Meredith, for reals this time. I have a plot arc and everything! And everything is mostly working. I'm writing at a snail's pace, but eh.

- I haven't forgotten that review of the 8DA finale, but it seems to have morphed into a fairly involved piece of meta, so give me a bit more time to think through what I want to say...

86?!

Apr. 15th, 2011 07:41 pm
charamei: (NRFtW: Red grins)
...yeeeeah, 86 registry errors might be causing those BSODs I've been having...

I'm somewhat impressed by the number. The Windows drive has been running Avast and ZoneAlarm, and Firefox 4 with Adblock and NoScript, since forever (forever being a little over a month, remember). Quick scans from both Avast and AdAware have revealed naught but four cookies. I'll scan deeper overnight, but it's unlikely I'll find anything IMO.

And basically nothing has been installed on this drive except Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, Oblivion, The Sims 2 (cracked before SecuROM infestation could occur), Office 2010 and Spotify.

I'm forced to conclude that either (a) disk swapping is somehow mucking up the Windows registry, which it shouldn't, or (b) the computer came with most of these registry errors preinstalled.

Also every time I am compelled by fate to shell out for Registry Mechanic I am astounded at the lengths the company goes to to make its product appear as sleazy as possible. This time around, a popup appeared while I was entering my credit card number to ask me if I wanted to pay for tech support. I AM LITERALLY IN THE PROCESS OF BUYING YOUR PRODUCT, PLEASE LET ME GIVE YOU MY MONEY.

Anyway. Off to play Oblivion again and see if cleaning the registry has indeed defeated the BSOD.
charamei: Skience! (DW10: Science)
Friday before last: Office break-in at work. Most laptops, some Macs stolen.

This Monday: New laptops arrive, spend all day setting them up. Everything's working fine except they won't connect to the office WiFi. I am baffled. So is my boss.

Tuesday: More ineffectual prodding at the WiFi. Spend two hours on the phone with Dell's tech support. They are also baffled.

Today: Boss gives up, gets another router out of storage and I spend all morning* setting up a temporary connection for just these six laptops.

*Mostly due to my own lack of knowledge about how to set up WiFi, as I've never done it before. At least one of those hours was spent trying to debug 'Your Ethernet cables are in the wrong holes'.

This evening: get home, boot Oblivion. Oblivion bluescreens twice: UNEXPECTED_KERNEL_MODE_TRAP 0x0000007f. Most likely cause is corrupt RAM, according to Google.

Ah, well. At least stage 1 of this debug is 'Play Sims 2 to thrash the memory, then try to find some way to thrash it on Linux as well', as I'm not convinced it is a hardware problem. (And if it is, I'm reasonably certain the computer's still under warranty as it's only a month old.)

ETA: Oh, goody, Sims 2 crashed while unloading from memory. This is the sound of me not being a happy bunny. I'll test through Mint tomorrow...
charamei: (EGS: Ellen Reading)
The Russian blogosphere looks so interesting from the Latest Things page, I'm half-tempted to have another go at learning Russian so I can follow it.

...because clearly, what I need is another alphabet floating around in my noggin.

At this rate I'm going to end up learning Mandarin, I just know it.
charamei: Busy li'l elf (DW10: Busy Li'l Doctor)
I bought a new computer a couple of weeks ago, out of a combination of 'I'd really like to play Dragon Age some time this decade' and a slight worry that if I move out this year (hopefully...) then by the time I'll next be able to afford an upgrade my current one will be eight or nine years old and dead on its feet. (It's already four or five years old, hence the Dragon Age problem.)

But of course I'm me, so rather than 'buy new computer, transfer data, plug in monitor, go', it's:
  • Buy new computer
  • Buy disk caddies and spare hard drive for new computer
  • Set up Linux boot in secondary caddy (ultimately to be primary caddy)
  • Transfer data: Linux to Linux
  • Transfer data: Windoze to Windoze
  • Realise that vital data got lost somewhere. Repeat previous two steps until done
  • Back up old Linux home directory, just to be sure (can't do this with Windoze XP, because it strews files all over the place)
  • Attach monitor
  • Go
Well, last night the caddies arrived (but no disk yet), so I finally got to have the case off my new pet and look at its insides.

I'm still a bit surprised at how smoothly it went. In particular, I've never known a desktop case open and close so smoothly. No awkwardly-placed hooks to line up, no putting all your weight on it to get the top to slide back in properly, no 'you know what, I think I'll just leave the case off, it'll be easier for next time'. The only time I had a problem was when, being lazy, I tried to put the second side panel on without moving round to its side of the case. The second I was correctly positioned, it slotted back in very nicely indeed.

I am, however, still giggling slightly at the way my new caddy drive arrived with the keys locked inside the drawer. It's just as well I bought the same model as I had on my old tower, otherwise I'd never have got them out.

This time next week, I'll hopefully have the new hard drive and two(!) 64-bit Linux discs, because my dad objects to me torrenting large amounts of data and I want to make a proper decision between Ubuntu and Mint. Ubuntu seems to be trying to mimic the OSX GUI of late, and I'm not terribly fond of the results.
charamei: Remy from Ratatouille, trapped in a jar: Let me out plz (Ratatouille: Let me out)
So, that flat I took my dad along to? It's got a severe damp problem. Severe as in the ceiling is about to come in. The good news is, the estate agency didn't know about it, so

And today I wound up crying at work again. One day I'll find the trick of not weeping, but probably not any time soon.

I just... I want someone to make me feel wanted and useful and good for something, just once, without that person being my mum and the conversation happening over a phone because I called her at some stupid hour to say, "Hey, I'm still miserable." It's no wonder I can't write for shit and I'm burying myself in Sims, because hey, at least good things happen to my Sims occasionally! They have hopes and dreams and zombie apocalypses caused by evil witch serial killers.

(Comments are disabled because this feels horribly like fishing for attention, and I'm really not trying to. I just needed to vent.)
charamei: Remy from Ratatouille, trapped in a jar: Let me out plz (Ratatouille: Let me out)
Amazing, the parental dichotomy here.

I spend Saturday with my mother. She's exhausted and it's pissing it down all day, but we still contrive to have a good natter, accidentally go to three shopping malls* and just possibly find me a house.


*Had lunch in one, got lost in another, looked at furniture in a third, bought nothing... it's a long story. Her long-standing feud with the sat-nav was briefly involved.

I spend two hours on Sunday with my father. I alternate between being ignored and talked at. It's apparently a massive gift on his part to not cook my vegetables (seriously, it's less work on your part, what is the problem). I have to explain everything five times because he won't bloody listen. And now I'm on the verge of tears. Again.

One to ensure I know I'm special, one to ensure I know I'm worthless. Is this what well-balanced parenting is meant to mean? And why can't I be living with the good cop?

Still! Houses and mortgages and grown-up stuff, oh my.

Good cop, bad cop episode 2: banks and estate agents! )

Okay, that's not entirely fair on him, the reason I'm taking him along is that he's an engineer and he'll be able to tell me how much really needs doing to it. But that does basically boil down to YOU, PLEASE NITPICK MY LIFE SOME MORE, so...

I have book reviews piling up. I should do something about those.
charamei: Busy li'l elf (DW10: Busy Li'l Doctor)
So, when I was three or four years old my dad threw a tantrum about the state of my room (because, oddly enough, toddlers don't tidy) and went through it with a bin liner, thereby instilling in me a lifelong fear of throwing anything out.

Thanks, Dad.

As a result, now that I have to downsize when I move out, there aren't enough charity sacks in the world.

Over the past few months I have chucked:
  • Three, soon to be four bin liners full of clothes

  • Two charity sacks full of empty ringbinders and notebooks (and I still have a mountain of the latter to wade through)

  • A bin liner full of DVD cases (kept the DVDS, just chucked the cases to make space. Will probably do the same with Big Finish in the future)

  • Boxes and boxes of books
And you still can't see the floor properly. Partly this is because the horrible placement of my fitted wardrobes means that, if I want to be able to see what garment I'm holding, I pretty much have to use a laundry basket instead. There's plenty of new space in trunks and on shelves, just... nothing's coming off the floor. Yet.

And yeah, I'm hating it. Seeing a clean floor after I tidy isn't rewarding for me, it's scary and unpleasant. But at least I can now stand to have a charity sack in my room without crying, so that's definitely an improvement over my seven-year-old self.
charamei: (Default)
I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I'm doing a course on set design for film and TV. There are several reasons:
  • I'm determined to get out of the house more. Not because I'm lonely - I'm not - but because I'm fed up being the awkward shy one who hovers around gatherings never saying a word, and the only way to develop social confidence is to get out and meet people.

  • I'm still vaguely considering trying to get a job in the industry, and I have no practical experience whatsoever.

  • Even if I never do anything about getting that job, knowing how to design a set for atmosphere and character would be a useful skill to have as a writer of any stripe. Also, model-making could be handy for more complex scenes.

  • I'm interested.
And here are the problems I knew I had going in:
  • Drawing? Hah! I laugh in the face of visual representation! And straight lines, and scale, and people who are not the shape of potatoes with mittens for hands!

  • Very little practical experience, and none of it more recent than AS level. Unless you count drawing up groundplans for stories so the rooms don't all move around, that is.
Unsurprisingly, I have more problems than just those. I'm not much good at composition (though I'm better at it than I am at drawing, due to understanding some basic photography principles), and the project we're doing is for a chat show: none of my relevant writing skills apply. Still, I knew it was a steep learning curve when I signed up. I wonder how much of a curve it'll be for everyone else though...

Ramblings: Fine Art, suspension of disbelief, and patronising teachers )

An update

Jan. 8th, 2011 11:41 am
charamei: Critical failure! (Rolled a 1)
I'm fine. No visible bruises, although I do have a combination cabbagey ear/swollen and grazed eyelid on the right side of my face and a shoulder that won't rotate properly. Still kind of shaky, too.

The moral of this story is: when your swing rope has been going clunk, clunk at the joint for over five years, do not assume that it's just a bit loose and will be fine. It is in fact filing its way slowly through the shackle below it.

Today is mocking me by having lovely weather. Guess where I'd like to be right now...?

Ow

Jan. 8th, 2011 12:57 am
charamei: Critical failure! (Rolled a 1)
Just fell off my swing. Still in shock a bit. Dad's gone back to sleep, so I'm mostly typing this to keep myself awake for another half hour or so in case of concussion. (It's one a.m. here. Yes, I have odd garden habits.)

Rope broke at the top: I think it was that loose joint that's been bothering me for ages. I was fairly high up and I'm pretty sure I flew right out and landed in the middle of the garden.

I'll have a full injury tally in the morning, I'm sure, but so far: nothing's broken. Any concussion is probably mild, but I'm not risking it. Shock's fading, apparently I function quite well through shock (odd, since I freeze in an actual crisis). One swelling eyelid, which'll probably be a proper shiner by morning. The same eyelid is grazed, that's an interesting experience. I can see fine out of it, though, which is just as well since it's my good eye...

Bit of a headache, bruised shoulder, whiplashed spine/neck. Could be much, much worse.

But hey! Only recently, I was bemoaning my lack of first-hand experience for writing characters in pain. That scene's going to be awesome now.
charamei: (Asexual: Ace)
Apparently yesterday I got a year older or something. I can't say I really noticed, what with having Sims 2-induced insomnia* the night before and it being my first day back at work. I spent most of it trying not to fall asleep at my desk.

But! While I was trying to nap on the train home, and drifting in and out thanks to the extremely chatty pair of girls next to me, I drifted back awake to the strains of 'I mean, how can he know he doesn't like sex if he's never had it?'

I think what happened next went OK. I don't think I was rude, although I was probably more abrupt than necessary (I usually am in these situations; I'm naturally blunt and I get nervous talking to strangers, you do the math). At any rate, at least one of them seemed to understand my example of 'How do you know you won't enjoy sex with women if you've never slept with a woman?', and I think her friend got it in the end too. And then we moved on to asexual relationships, briefly, and then one of them had to get off the train.

Success for two reasons:
  1. A teaching moment that went reasonably well

  2. On a more personal level, I talked to some strangers and the world did not explode, nor did they laugh at me or pull my hair or, I dunno, eat me or anything. If nothing else this was a win against social anxiety.


*TS2 is the most addictive game in the world for me, I am not kidding. I once completely forgot to go to a lecture because I was so engrossed - didn't skip it, just forgot I had one at all. Storytelling tool + no limiting factors like typing speed = engrossed Charamei whose brain WILL NOT SHUT OFF. Also, eight-hour playing sessions. (Eight straight hours on a computer is pretty rare for me outside of office situations: I like fresh air too much.)

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