Yes, no blog posts for rather longer than intended, I'm sorry. I moved house, and then Telstra decided to demonstrate their spectacular incompetence, in not only completely losing my relocation order, but adding in a bunch of orders into my account that made no sense whatsoever (We need to remove a landline that doesn't exist, and then add it in, and then delete your cable connected and give you 200Gb of data allowance for a non-existent connection) and stuffing up my account so much that the technicians wanted to just cancel the whole account more than once.
It's still not fixed, but thankfully they've so far left my mobile alone. Touch wood. Everyone look the other way in case they realise I have a mobile account with them...
Honestly, I've not had much to say the past few weeks anyway, my brain cells have entirely realigned into car-tetris calculators, to the point where when talking with some friends, it proudly announced to me that it had worked out how to get all my friends into one box, though it hadn't the foggiest clue what they'd said.
Also, the movers broke my fridge and have so far been unbelievable bad at getting a technician to come look at it. Said technician's car even apparently broke down on the way to my house. I borrow my brother's teensy six-litre fridge to tide me over, got it home to discover it doesn't work, either.
I don't know what deity I pissed off, but I wish I knew how to appease it.
BUT the point of this post is that there is a convention this weekend, from Friday to Monday, called Continuum. It's a speculative fiction writer's convention, has some good panels and things going on, and in one of those panels on Friday afternoon, yours truly will be talking about intensive writing workshops--what they're like, what the deal is, the good, the bad, the insane. The full programme is available here, tickets are available at the door.Write comment (0 Comments)
... because I'm moving house. Well, I'm packing, I'm not moving right now. And if whatever weird secret embargo that's preventing any moving company from calling back with a quote doesn't lift soon, I might not be moving at all.
Before I'm packing, I'm culling my stuff, because I've had a three bedroom house to myself for years, now, and I have a lot of hobbies (not to mention a home gym) that now have to fit in a two-bedroom apartment. This is a difficult process, because the "but you might need this someday" mentality is well-ingrained in my family, along with a loathing of 'wasting' things. Because it's not at all wasted if it's sitting in a cupboard somewhere never to be used.
Though it will be well worth it to have somewhere where the walls don't move if you lean against them and the carpet doesn't disintegrate if a vacuum so much as looks at it and you can't smell the refuse dump on damp afternoons.
I did discover I seem to have an entire cupboard devoted to storing candles, musical novelty mugs, and plastic bags. This is what happens when you have too much room; you keep crap you really don't need.
I also discovered that, even after living in a three-bedroom house for years, 80% of what I own still comes down to books and things that store books. Today I learned that if you use every breath of space in a 2005 Corolla sedan... you can still only move about 60% of my library at once.Write comment (0 Comments)
Did I miss a week? I may've missed a week, my schedule's gone a little haywire. I've decided to move further into the city, and Easter week is when everyone and their dog has their open-for-inspections, plus I've been trying to cull my belongings so I can fit my three-bedroom-existence in a two-bedroom apartment. Which is largely refreshing; it's amazing how much crap you accumulate just because you have the room. I have an entire cupboard that's pretty much full of nothing but plastic shopping bags. Just because I had somewhere to put them.
Insert analogy for how your story gets stuff full of things if you don't respect appropriate word counts...
But onto the actual post: a friend of mine sent this to me: a historical thesaurus. It's a nifty little site when you're looking for historically appropriate words for things. For example, all the different words that women-who-served-tables-in-inns-and-taverns have been called, at various points in history. For the historical (and historical-based fantasy) writers out there, it could come in very handy, not to mention just being interesting in and of itself.Write comment (0 Comments)
I am especially happy that CComment (which I switched to for the lightweight Ajax design and the fact that it didn't clutter up the bottom of my page with GIANT COMMENT WIDGET HERE) seems to have picked up the comments from JComments (my old comment extension, which had to be retired when its useless captcha permitted so much spam it rendered my comment feature untenable) all by itself, without even asking, so it turns out I haven't lost old comments. How nice!
The site rebuild / redesign is slowly happening, one teensy tiny feature at a time as I slowly get to them, a lot of them behind the scenes. I've been nailing down a simpler, more light-weight and mobile-friendly design that I want to use (much as I still love my layers-over-smoke-spirals thing, it's very heavy especially on mobiles and I think it's time for something new) and investigating which of the zillions of Joomla extensions both serve my purpose and won't block my upgrade to Joomla 3 down the path, and looking at some ways I can achieve some things I want to do that aren't currently served by existing extensions.
For the curious, next up on the list will be subscription options (newsletters, RSS--if there's another way you'd like to receive posts without having to navigate here, please do use the brand new comment system below and tell me! I'm still an RSS girl myself, but I'm happy to provide!) and social media sharing, the CSS redesign and a rather dull addition of necessary content (I am now running a techwriting business, after all. There should be more actual techwriting stuff here).
Then I have to figure out how I want to do an idea I'm really excited about, which involves posting free fiction and having fun. I don't want to say too much, because I haven't quite ironed out how it's all going to work, but it's my carrot at the end of a long-and-annoying upgrade process.Write comment (0 Comments)
So I had to have an MRI of my brain and eyeballs for Reasons. The MRI itself was uneventful. I changed into a giant purple cloth-paper bag, and they asked me if I've I'd ever had a pacemaker or brain surgery so many times that I started to doubt my own answers and wonder if I was, in fact, there for Alzheimer's. Then they put a cannula in my arm for the contrast dye they needed for one of the scans, and put me in the MRI.
It pretty much looks like it does on TV, except the rest of the room is not so gorgeous and glamourous as House MD's MRI room. There's also no way in hell you can understand more than about three words in a sentence when they speak to you, and I now laugh at all the mid-MRI conversations the doctors were having with patients. Nor is there, as far as I could see, a camera inside, though they do put a little mirror on top of your catcher's-mask skull-cage so you can see down your body and who's coming into the room.
It's not as claustrophobic as they make it look on TV. I'm fairly tiny as a person, and also not claustrophobic, but while the skull-cage is right in front of your face, there's plenty of room in the MRI itself.
Nor does it sound like it does on TV. Far from the classy "kerrrTHUNKTHUNKTHUNKTHUNK", it varies with the scan being performed, from a jack-hammer or machine gun, through a casino slot-machine, a number of seriously perturbed dot-matrix printers, a broken massage chair, and sounds that came straight out of a 90's rave or a crashed 80's game.
For the large part, it's mostly rather dull. Noisy, but dull. They give you headphones, which provides some entertainment in trying to guess what song is playing from what you can hear through the noise while the scan is running. But largely it's half an hour of lying very still to loud noises, rather like a hangover but without the fun beforehand.
But the cool thing? The really cool thing? The thing that had me completely geeking out about this? You get to take the scans home, and the scans are freakishly awesome, and awesomely freakish. And, for the truly squeamish, below the cut:Write comment (0 Comments)
New blog category, though I don't have an icon for it, yet. Whoops. This post is late because I've been completely distracted this week with a severe lack of sleep and a new programming project.
But: I got all excited about MadCap Flare 10's supposedly 'frameless' 'responsive' HTML5 publishing target. I was contemplating having to build my own skin to get around the many bugs in their existing HTML5 publishing, and the prospect of not having to build one ground-up was understandably appealing.
When I upgraded, to my dismay, I found there was nothing 'frameless' about this new help. I tried multiple skins--and maybe it's just the skins themselves haven't been updated, or maybe I never happened across the right magic one that had--but they all still used the iframes to load content, making said content invisible to google.
Not to mention, all the other bugs that had been there earlier were still there. I was back to writing my own skin.
Then I happened across a project called FlareStrap, which was attempting baby steps in the direction I wanted: removing the skin altogether from Flare by embedding the navigation and everything else in each published HTML page. It was incredibly rudimentary, hardcoding the navigation as an HTML list instead of using Flare's own published data, but it showed me the path of baked-in non-Flare navigation using Flare's master pages.
So I now have the beginnings of my own navigational system--no widgets, yet, that's this week's project. Nor have I experimented with a wacky project so that the parser can handle all the variations of how Flare might output its nav structures, but it's a good start.Write comment (0 Comments)