Virge's blog

Axiomatic

These Greg Egan short stories (Axiomatic) are good - short enough to fit my limited attention span. By my estimates they average just over 400 calories long. (This becomes less confusing when you understand that I like to read during a brisk walk on a treadmill.) Each story explores a potential future scenario and highlights the effects on real people in a believable, concise plot. In each one I usually catch a couple of glimpses of his dry wit hiding in the drama.

Inertia

It may sound like an idle fantasy but I'd like to be able to write for a living. A number of people whose opinions I respect have encouraged me a lot and taken a particular interest in what I write. (There are others who appear uninterested, but I know I can't please everybody.)
So what's stopping me?
There is a little voice of realism saying: "You have a family and a mortgage. You can't give up a full time secure job unless you have alternate means of support. The most you can devote to writing is a small part of your time. You would be trying to compete with authors who have devoted their lives and risked their futures on a writing career. For you, it is just a hobby and can never become more than that."
There are a babble of voices of self-doubt saying: "You can start things with bright ideas, but it takes a finisher to see them through. That's not you. Are you going to put in the huge effort required to write a book, only to have it rejected by publisher after publisher? Sure, your writing gives a few people a chuckle. Why do you think there are people who aren't interested in what you write? There are heaps more where they come from. In fact there's a world full of them."
Every now and then I hear from a little analytical voice. It says: "You will need to change. You can't afford to take a softly-softly approach. You must be prepared to promote yourself. While it's a hobby you can post your writings and let anyone who's interested read them. If you want to be a writer, you have to make people read your work or else be swept away in the torrential flush of words on its way to the treatment farm."
For anyone who's still reading, my current focus is on light humorous verse. I think I'm capable of writing a collection of verse and/or short stories targeted at the 8-12 year old market. If I'm wrong, then at least it shouldn't take years of toil to find out. I need to improve my writing habits, or even this foot-in-the-water approach will dry up. The gymnasium wall asserts: "Motivation is what gets us started. Habit is what keeps us going." It would be nice to think that inspiration and burning passion were the drives that kept me going. In reality I either need habit or external encouragement to keep me going, and until I get some better material completed it's only one or two close friends who provide the latter.

Queen's Birthday Holiday

Time to raise our glasses and toast our glorious monarch. Yeah. Right.
Well, it was a public holiday. I thought it'd be a good day for some creative writing. I planned to sit quietly and free my head of mundane thoughts... but no. Instead I'm the homework Hitler - the Anti-Fun. I did some housework. I read for a bit. It was easier to put thoughts in than to try to get them out. I was chuffed later when I got an apology from the current leader of the procrastinati. But where had the day gone?

A little bit different

".end the at start to like just I, No"
"?dyslexia with write to
sexier was it think you Did
?comprehend can't we that verse with
trend new a start to trying you Are"

Palindrome

One of the biggest disappointments in the English language is the word "palindrome". Talk about a missed opportunity. It really smacks of laziness - ripping off the Greeks - stealing a hard-earned word that they had been using for a slightly different purpose. (Mind you, it could have been weeks before they even noticed it missing.) With just a little bit of effort we could have had a much more palatable word like "palindromordnilap" or even a short, punchy word like "palap".
Is there a word for a word that fulfills its own meaning? How can we describe words like "polysyllabic" and "mispelt"? Maybe there should be a special name for the class of oxymoronic words that defy their own meanings. "Palindrome" could feel right at home in this group, along with "abbreviated", "inelaborate", "monosyllabic" and "unprintable".

Depressed light verse

I've tried writing a humorous tragedy and a nightmare love poem, so now it's time for some depressed light verse.

There once was a poetic thug
who wrote about needing a hug.
It was pitiful verse
and it made him feel worse
so he dumped the idea with a shrug.

There once was a grease-painted clown
who painted a smile on his frown.
He used this expression
to hide his depression
but his friends still knew when he was down.


It's not hard to see why there aren't too many published works in these genres.

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Shrugs

We went to see Whale Rider this evening. It was an enjoyable, feel-good movie. It had whales. It hed Kiwi eccents. Inter-generational tension started at the beginning and dominated the film, but was very credibly performed. The fairy tale plot was highly predictable and seemed to be just a vehicle for telling a character interaction story. The pacing was a little slow for me.

Unwind

An early night last night + a sleep-in this morning = headache for the first half of today. Fortunately it faded this afternoon. This is a long weekend. Monday is a public holiday to celebrate the queen's birthday (even if it is nowhere near her actual birthday).
The wind has died down and left a damp, cool winter's day (down to 8C overnight and up to 15C by mid afternoon). Left to my own devices I would describe it as a cold day, but I am reliably informed by a diametrically opposed friend that I cannot regard such mild weather as "cold". I accept the word "cool" as a reasonable compromise. Thus am I cured of my meteorological relativism.

I dropped into the library today to borrow Douglas R. Hofstadter's Godel, Escher, Bach : an eternal golden braid after hearing that it was a strong influence on the Wachowski Brothers' Matrix Reloaded. It must have been 10 years since I last read this book. I don't hold much hope that GEB will shed any light on the more confusing aspects of Reloaded. I just remember it being a good read with a lot of food for thought.
I've been reading short stories from Greg Egan's Axiomatic collection at a rate of just one per day. I've only read six so far. I really enjoyed The Hundred-Light-Year Diary despite the scientific flaws in its premise. His descriptions of human behaviour and the process of rationalisation flowed with a sense of bitter inevitability. The Caress was worth reading, just for the surprise factor. Axiomatic, the title story, deals in neural implants for augmenting or modifying the human brain (seemingly one of Greg's favorite subjects). He paints a sordid picture of a society where neural implants are packaged up like videos or computer games and sold in stores like body piercing shops. Implants range from instant willpower to synaesthesia; from sexual preference to religious faith.

Need a laugh? 5.5Mb of download gets you Gollum's acceptance speech for the MTV best digital performance award.

Wind

What wonderful weather -
Wind wailing wickedly, whistling woefully,
Whipping wires,
Whomping my cable connection!
Conversation cloven, clipped, curtailed.
Cable... connect. C'mon... connect!
Inclement conditions are common.
Can't communications companies cope?
Cutting costs castrates customers.

In my suburb there is a high-tech possum superhighway. It provides above-ground dog-proof access to the trees on the other side of the road. The barriers are now down for the global possum community. We are only just beginning to see free sharing of possum thoughts between possums from different sides of the road. If the possum traffic keeps building up I may have to consider getting a higher bandwidth roof.
This network of elevated possum-paths also serves to carry TV channels and broadband internet to the most patient and tolerant of humans - sometimes.

Do you ever find yourself "overinterpreting" signs? Do you look for literal meanings of signs or take their words out of context?
Bonehead Of The Day Award

"You won't die," promises one vendor... "You should try it at least once ... a lifetime experience."
The Latest Drug
Boy, am I missing out!

Did you know there is a band named "Totally Gourdgeous" who play instruments made out of gourds.
Well, you know now, and try as you might, you'll have a hard time forgetting that fact for at least the next 30 seconds.

Why Blog?
It's the need to express without having a particular target for that expression. It's a passive medium of self expression.
Nobody is forced to read. People will only read if they want to. If I buttonhole someone and tell them my daft thoughts they may not want to listen, but they have little choice (at least for a short while until they think of a polite way to get away). If I leave my thoughts regularly in a single place, then those who are genuinely interested can read whatever parts they find interesting. If nobody reads at all, then they are at least something I can look back on in years to come.

Only 10:30 and I feel drained. Ultra-early night required. Goodbye 6th June.

Pseudo-random

Today I sent a message backwards in time. That's history now. I've put it behind me.

What do you get when you cross two creatures with very similar characteristics e.g. when both creatures express the Procrast-L8R gene? What will their offspring be like? Why am I even asking questions like this? You'd think it was important to me for some reason.
I'll tell you later.

This is Mr Lucky here. Mr Lucky has been invited (with partner) to attend a gold-class theatre viewing of Matrix Reloaded on Friday 13th. Nibblies and drinks will be provided. I was wanting to see it again. This does sound like an excellent opportunity.

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