Friday, 31 December 2010

End of day...

... end of another year.

I have decided to be a boring bastard and not go out to celebrate the passing of the year. Just not in the mood. If anything, all I have a desire to do, is sit in front of the TV at home, have a nice cup of tea. Cuddle on the sofa.

Ok. Skip the last one, if there was someone to cuddle on the sofa when I got home, you know what I would say ? I'd say, 'hey, what the fuck are you doing in my flat ! - and while you're at it, take your god damned shoes off my sofa'.

Or something like that.

2010, wasn't after all the hype and excitement, the year that we found a strange monolith on the moon. No.

2010, was the year that I completed a 100 page script (Retro Rocket), for script frenzy. It was the year Helen and I started working on our next stage play. I wrote another two scripts for Beacon.  I also completed nearly 17,000 words towards my NanoWriMo entry, even though I didn't reach the 50,000 needed to finish, I was kind of distracted by the other massive eventful thing that happened this year, and only occurred in the last few weeks.

Yes, of course, I'm referring to the new flat. Fantastic flat. Yes, the one that due to a distinct lack of internets have not been able to blog about. Yeah, cos that's the reason.

So bearing in mind all the things that have happened this year, and some of them have been way short of what I had wanted, some of them have exceeded my wildest expectations.

Gotta have a plan.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

The Amaz(ing)-on Kindle 3

5.0 out of 5 stars Amaz(ing)-on Kindle (3rd Generation), 3 Nov 2010
This review is from: Kindle Wireless Reading Device, Wi-Fi, 6" Display, Graphite - Latest Generation (Electronics)
I've now had my Kindle for about three weeks, and I can't imagine life without it. I'd understood that there were delays with the delivering of the units, so was entirely surprised when I went to the post office (as I'd not been in when they'd tried to deliver it) to collect what I thought was the less exciting case... but was in fact the Kindle itself. The guy behind the counter in the post office must have thought I was a right weirdo, as the moment I saw the box that is the subject of so many youtube unboxing reviews, my face was beaming. I was excited and eager.

I was due to catch the bus for work in 20 minutes time.... the clock was ticking...

I got home, quickly put a camcorder up to record the opening, as it was a one time event, just in case I felt the need to video a review later on. I've just never gotten round to it.

Just how indispensable I've found the device is demonstrated by what a panic I got into yesterday, when I thought I had lost it at work. Thankfully someone had handed it in. My beloved Kindle was safe and sound.

I have to say, the product is fantastic. In all of about 2 minutes I'd opened the box, turned the Kindle on, connected to my wifi network, downloaded all my books, and was ready to go ! The screen is so easy on the eye, reads well, even in sunlight. I've made great use of being able to email the PDF files of scripts that I'm working on, so that I can read them much easier without having to kill a couple of hundred trees every time.
even without playing with zoom or orientation, PDFs look great

I was also impressed with the 'experimental' browsing experience. Come on guys, don't be shy, there's nothing experimental about it. It works like a charm, does the job for reading text based sites. I also like how pictures that I've emailed to the kindle look on the screen, I've sent a few over just to test the technology out, and I have to say they look better in black and white.

I have yet to actually connect my kindle to a pc. All the books, PDFs and pictures that are now on my device, are there because I emailed them to my '' address. What a brilliant and simple idea,  a wonderfully easy to use way to get anything (that's supported) onto your device. It certainly doesn't need someone tech savy to set that up !

In a world where I am used to charging so many devices every day if I expect to get anything near a usable experience out of them, to have one that I have only needed to charge once since purchasing is brilliant.

One of these pictures is from the 'dead tree' version....

...the other is from the Kindle's screen...

I've shown it to people at work, and there is a gathering of drooling book reading people who just get that it's not an Ipad wanna be, it's an ereader. A very capable ereader that just works, looks and feels great and has a brilliant price point. I've taken two pictures, one of the same part of text in a book, the other, on the kindle itself. I think my rush to take the picture so I can catch that bus doesn't quite do it justice. Hopefully you can see that the Kindle screen is a brilliant reading display. There are no prizes for guessing what book this is. I don't know, to be honest why it would make sense to spend an extra £40 on the 3G version when there are so many free wifi spots around. I also cannot believe that the branded cases offered by Amazon represent that much value for money. (I got mine off Ebay for half the price - I just wasn't convinced that a case that hooks on by those ... hooks is really going to work in the long term, or that the device won't end up damaged if it gets knocked.

What do I love about it ?

  • It fits in my coat pocket. 
  • Its light. Easy to hold. Easy to carry
  • It feels 'right'. The page forward/page back controls are just right.
  • The price point. If it drops below £100 you really don't a reason not to get one.
  • For reading, the screen is so much better on your eyes. No strain. 
  • Battery lasts, like 'forever' (results may vary - I'm speaking figuratively)
  • Document portability. The email files to thing is a master stroke of genius.
  • Wifi connectivity. You're not tied to a PC.
  • 'Experimental' Browser. Understated-ly brilliant for viewing text based web content.

If you read books or scripts, I have one simple piece of advise. GET THE KINDLE. YOU WILL NOT REGRET IT.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

One of the things that I do for Beacon, is write reviews of their stories for their in house magazine (Venturer Magazine). If you want a copy, you'll have to join first ! Anyhoo.. I've decided to post on here my reviews in future. So without further ado... This month's review is the second story in the 2010 season, The Doomed.

The story crafts a well executed connection between the Wilkes' era story 'Lazarus' and the back story of the Crawford children, Max and Sally.

We are treated to very pacey and well put together teaser section, the CGI ship may look a bit on the clean side for my liking, but the interior is very successfully created in the Beacon studio, displaying rather well the maxim that less is more when it comes to set construction. You can feel the annoyance of a group of people that can't stand each other, having being kept in close confinement for far too long. In those few moments the scene is set, intrigue is born and the audience begin to guess what is going to happen next.

What happens next, is the awakening from the dead, as it were, the Churchett and Doidge obsession with zombies. As much as its predecessor, The Doomed is a feast for the eyes, in addition the old time travelling paradox of creating the very thing you are trying to stop, merely by some unintended consequence of your actions is explored. It's a staple of science fiction as old as space rockets and laser beams.

When the 'recovery team' are dropped off, there's a particularly well chosen set of effects as the ship leaves them stranded, doomed you might say. I have to say I found the wobbly shots, round the leaves much to my liking.

It is here, that we get pun no. 1 out the way with the line :- 'I need that signal find the beacon...' Jordan barks at James (Farmer), so then off he trots with his scanner, that somehow has stolen the tri-corder sound effect last used by Lt Sa'avik in Star Trek III. Ah the memories....

Matt McKechnie really does look the part. I think there's something in every man, even me, where they enjoy pissing about in forests dressed in army gear pretending to go round and shoot things. As they get older this evolves into the love of paintball, that's as serious - if that's the word - it gets. Matt was so at home in his fatigues and 'webbing' - I never did figure out what that is - that his disdain for Will Gammon's character makes you think that he really will actually hurt him in a minute.

Will Gammon is the first casualty in the hunt for the theoretical drive. As he's set upon by a small gang of zombies, led by Joshua Ive... they wrestle him to the floor and start eating him. Great sequences, I was disappointed at the lack of a really good scream though.

After James turns on Matt and shoots him, - they were hardly on a corporate team building day now were they ? - he is quickly dispatched by our zombie gang. I am at treated to the scream I'm looking for. If you're going to be thrown on the floor and bitten by four men, someone should at least scream at some point, even if it's from relief.

As Jordan and that odd looking guy with the khaki cap make their way toward the half buried Venturer they even up the score with the Zombies some. At least I'm not trying some half witted accent this time, but the idea of me trying to look all butch and manly with a big gun.. well, I'm even impressed myself.

So.. we get onto the Venturer flight deck.. those cobwebs, aren't they exactly the same ones I nearly set fire to the other weekend ? This is a really important part of the story.. and there's lots of things that Jordan has to tell us. Lots of things indeed.

The editing here could have been a bit tidier.. the shot lingers far too long on my ugly mug, and the shock reveal of the zombified Stephen Brown isn't really much of a reveal, it's not that much of a shock either. We've seen what Ryan looks like some Sunday mornings... and I had a mouthful of the foulest tasting gunge in that that I could supossedly spit out a mouthful of blood.. did that make it into the shot. No. You mean I did it all for nothing ? Pah !

I suppose I best get moving onto episode 2.... or I'm going to have to do the review in two parts...

After such a brilliant start in episode 1, its successor starts with some awkward and wooden acting, the trees being felled on this occassion by Matt Hampton and Katie Whiteland. In fact, their sequences are upstaged by the ones between Ryan and Robo. There's some real gleam in the script here, and for once it's given the chance to shine with some great acting, camera work and editing.

The editting is not as good when it comes to the overlaid audio of an argument between Glenda and Mr Launay. It's just not been treated in any decipherable way, so appears to just have been recorded, and the sound track grabbed and added to the footage for the episode. Churchett's pointless walk out to his car, round it and then back inside is forgiven by his performance later on. He does particularly convincingly at being hypnotised. Maybe a close up shot of the house
number would help us realise how important that is to the story.

We cut back to the last surviving member of mercenaries. Jordan hides something in the foliage, but again, perhaps a closer shot here would help us understand what it is, and know it's relevance to the plot. The zombie hand that creepily crawls after him lets on that it's still firmly attached to an arm....

Back with Ryan, Katie and Churchett the sparkling dialogue comes to the fore again...Churchett bemoans that he's being bossed about by 'one of the pet shop boys' and asks himself, 'what have I done to deserve this ?'. Ahem. Oh dear.

Emma Giles makes an appearance as PA to Launay's distant, evil and manipulative shaddowing figure.... with Emma's accent that reminds me in an unsettling way of Miss Hoolie - from Balamory... Launay's menacing and evil boss act we're distracted upon by some strange idea about shooting people through a fan. Tried for arty farty, and just ended up with farty ? I have to say I'm not a fan ; of the split screen for telephone conversation either, thinking it cuts in too quickly, a bit like the music does at the end.

Episode 3 carries on from where the episode formally known as two, left off. With a nice security cam effect we get to see the interview of John Hampton as Zempho. We could have done with some close ups of Giles and Hampton's faces, missing as we did the punch of some more sizzling lines. Brilliant.

What isn't so fan-tastic is that blasted fan again. Grrrrr. What really is fantastic though is the first appearance of the armless zombie hand. Armless it may be, harmless it certainly isn't.

Some more comedy moments from the cheeky idiot that is Matt Hampton's
Blocklan, even with the boom putting in a minor appearance it's still all flowing very well. Jordan is now holding a rather relaxed Ryan & co hostage until Churchett reveals that he isn't Crawford. Oh dear. Nicely framed shot at the end
of the episode, if only Jordan wasn't hiding behind Churchett's arm.

And then we're on the final furlong that is episode 4.

I'm not sure if it's intended or not, that there's a girl laughing over the footage of Matt playing the the theorelative drive in order to squeeze in a sneaky pint. what's katie laughing for on the sound while Blocklan tries to find the time device thing. It's a conundrum. But not for long.

Realisation starts to dawn the those held at the end of Jordan's gun that somewhere they've made an awful mistake.... I do like the cutting back and forth between them as the dialogue fires along. The shots are well framed, the actors perform well, the lines are well delivered.

As Blocklan's flirtation with space time dynamics begins to come apart around his ears, Matt being chased by zombie.. looking zanny and holding the camera as he runs down the road looking like a deranged idiot is another really good use of camera.

With all this going on, it's nice to see that Ryan has time to get all deep and serious and deliver all his lines to the daisy he's playing with, instead of the person he's talking to. I'm also not quite sure how we get from rushing out to look for the nanites to laying down on the grass like the end of the world isn't a real possibility. Maybe it's a date. It's so distracting the person holding the boom forgets to hold it out of shot here. You can't really blame them, but it's a mere scratch compared to the awkward moment where Ryan hugs Katie after she saves him from being bitten by the very zombie that had been chasing the hapless

It's also a little amazing that Stephen Brown has nothing to say about that. We do seem to jump then straight into the resolution of the story, which I'm not entirely convinced doesn't work.

As stories go, I do rather like this one. The weaker episode of the set is the fourth, but even though it is outshone by the others, it's still a rather good piece of work. Episode one is most definitely the best. I don't know if there's any conclusion to draw from the fact that the best bits are the ones without our lead character. Really. I don't.

On the whole this story has a cracking script, it's well executed all round, great to watch. The acting's on the mark, with some shining performances from Matt McKechnie, Steve Churchett, Matt Hampton, Will Gammon.. oh and those zombies.. all those zombies. NEXT !

...........Just in case the video above doesn't work, you can view the episodes by clicking here.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

NanoWriMo....Time to crack out the post-its

Write here, write now. Well, not now. In just under a week's time, NanoWriMo starts. The push yourself competition that pits you against your own self belief, and challenges you to write a 50,000 word novel in the month of November.

After getting a real kick out of Script Frenzy, (100 page script in the Month of April), and knowing that writing a book is something that I've always wanted to do, but never gotten around to doing, I've decided to have a real crack at it.

Scrub that, I'm not going to have 'a crack' at it. I'm going to do it. Despite the fact that I need to submit a story for Beacon, finish (with Helen) The Fat Cat & The Grafter, write a review for Beacon... and on top of that, oh, yes, I'm moving at the end of November !!! I've also signed up for a shed load of overtime in November, to make sure that I have enough money set aside for the first month in the new flat.

It's all do-able though. Isn't it ? Sure it is. Just requires some focus and dedication.

What I realised when I wrote Retro Rocket for Script Frenzy in April, was that I really didn't feel comfortable writing on the fly. I've read the book, No Plot No Problem, (by Chris Baty) - about launching into NaNoWriMo without so much as a plan or forethought, and just letting the story, characters and plot evolve at your fingertips.

When I'd thought about entering NaNoWriMo, I have thought about having a plan. Having characters, a plot mapped out. At this point, I've got nothing. Zip, nada, bubcuss.

It may turn out to be a great deal more interesting (or stressful, or both), than I had anticipated.......what this space... to see how it goes, and if I'm still sane at the end of the experience.

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Where the hell as half the year gone ? Winter is fast approaching, it's getting colder. As it the nights get longer and darker, there are some very bright shining lights drawing me in.

Well, to start with, Exchange of contracts took place this week. Last weekend, I received a bumper load of paperwork to review, sign and send back. I managed to plough through all of that, and getting Dan to witness for me send the paperwork back to the solicitor. I don't have, at this point a confirmed date for completion. For the move. Taylor Wimpey's office last indicated to me that we are on track for that to be the end of November.

My parents move into their house next week. I had gone for a walk down to the site on Wednesday, taking Helen with me. Some more has been opened up, allowing some new views of the flat as it progresses towards completion (of construction). The roof is on, the framework for the internal walls is in.

It's amazing to see that things are progressing so fast, and so much. It is getting close to the end of October.. just a week left. With any luck, by the end of next month I will be in my new flat. MY. NEW. FLAT. New, not just to me, but newly completed. EEEEKK !!!
... looking like some sort of evil Chav Genie..

The rear of the building. That's my front door there that is.

Parking and access behind my flat.

The two windows for the front room...

Centre: The en-suite window. Right: My bedroom window

Monday, 11 October 2010

The Kindle cometh. I have been salivating over this amazing device since its release last month. I eventually gave in to my desire, and ordered one on October 2nd.

There is a bit of a wait on delivery. Demand has been so great. As a bit of a gadget fiend I've always liked the convenience of e-readers, right back in the day on a succession of windows mobile machines. The modern devices, designed specifically for the purpose, with E-Ink rather than LCD screens. Easier on the eye.

Up until the release of the Kindle 3 these devices have seemed quite cumbersome, clunky and expensive. The third generation Kindle, produced by Amazon is lighter, has a better display and comes in two options of connectivity. The wifi only version comes in at £109 and the 3G version at £149. There's no subscription or connections charges, and this means you can download new books from Amazon's website in about 120 countries in the end. That's a great tool to have, if you expect to find yourself in a place where you will desperately want to download a book and can't get to an open wifi network any time soon, then the £149 model is the one for you.

Me, I plumped for the £109 version. Figuring that the extra £40 wasn't worth that added convenience, and that open wifi networks are only the nearest McDonald's or Costa Coffee shop away.

As for my gift to self. Was dispatched from Amazon's warehouse on Friday. Expected delivery date is October 13th. Can't come soon enough in my mind. I'll write some more about it, and a detailed review once it has finally got here. 

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Time is closing in now...

Pretty soon, there'll be no point in going to have a peak out the window from the show flat... as the walls of my flat will be all that can be seen.

Some of the fencing has been removed, and you can see that the builders are preparing to provide access to the properties that are due for imminent completion (IE mine - and my parents'). Funny looking down on it, and seeing that what was a matter of weeks ago just some buildings seemingly dropped into the middle of a muddy field. Now.. well, now it starts to look like a street is actually under construction.

As far as I know, we're still on schedule for the 'end of November' move-in date. This means two months till I'm living in, what at the moment still resembles..well.. something that you'd make out of lego.

Getting nervous ? You bet.

Went for a bit of a wander round the local area on today's visit up to the site. Discovered a cut through path, and a park that I never knew existed. 

Amazing how the provision of monkey-bars can cause such excitement in my daughter.

I really do have a good feeling about the area, that it will be quieter than here. I know there will be some noise from the nearby A27, but I will not, I hope, be subjected to the regular noise from the cars with music blaring at insanely loud levels that I am here.

Definitely something to look forward to in the colder, darker winter days and nights to come.
Once I'm all settled, (probably in the new year) I'd like to get a couple of cats. Although I do like peace and quiet, sometimes it's too silent, and perhaps the companionship suits me. Sad old git with two cats.

Whilst my daughter was supposedly working on her homework today, I managed to grab some time reading more of 'New Moon', in the Twilight saga. Actually finished the book today. Had I been able to read the whole Harry Potter series in such a condensed time-line I probably would have done so. Twilight, although a similar subject matter deals so much more with the interactions and relationships between the characters, all seen as it is through the late teen eyes of Bella. This contrasts to the action and mystery/adventure driven nature of the Potter books, and their viewpoint being firmly from the pre and into teen eyes of Harry.

There's a definite difference in the target audience for both series. A difference of about 5 years I'd think, in their ages. I do see mostly women raving about the Twilight saga. It seems that it hasn't transcended the gender/age & shame barriers YET in the way Potter did.

Bella's need to be loved, wanted, desired by Edward (or Jake) and her decision to give herself to him fully, and him not wanting to - turn her into a vampire does seem to speak of other things that every teenage girl goes through, although normally in a much more mundane way. It's well written though. I have longed for ages to find a book that I can't put down. It's the 'stickiness' of the book that generates its survival, or in my case, the likelihood that I will actually finish it.

Saturday, 18 September 2010

The sky is clear, the sun is missing. I've broken up with my kebab shop.

Definitely got that autumnal feel today. Such a lovely word, Autumnal. It's just the way it rolls off the tongue.

Saturday's really do feel strange without a list of chores to do. Oh well. I'm sure I can get over it.

Have managed to lose a fair bit of weight lately. I'm now down to 14 and a half stone, which I think still classifies me as obese according to that chart thingy the doctor has. When I came back from holiday, despite all the outdoorsy activity, the walking, kayaking etc, etc, etc I'd still managed to nearly reach the 15 stone mark.

I've hovered around the 14 & 3/4 - 15 stone mark (see-saw-ing back and forth, as you do) for quite some time, so was pleasantly surprised when the scales told me the new result. When I say they told me, they didn't actually speak. I don't have those sort of posh scales that people who are smug about their weight and want anyone in earshot to hear what their weight is. 

I've actually managed to keep the 14 1/2 figure for the week. No fluctuation. So what is the weightloss programme that I've been following ? Atkins ? Weightwatchers ? Have I been counting the calories ? Do I have a chart of book that makes me feel awful for so much as looking at a snickers bar ?


I have the fantastic new 'I don't have any money to buy shit food anymore' diet. Quite simply, because I am watching every penny, (the pounds look after themselves apparently) I'm not wasting funds on buying take-away foods. I don't just mean Chinese or Fish and Chips, or McDonald's. I mean the food from the restaurant at work. They do have a cheap option dinner, which is £2. But £2 a day is much more than I can afford to spend. Certainly not the £3-£4 (or more) meals. Once a week I may get either the cheapy meal, or treat myself to the more expensive one, but by and large, I am taking in something to eat. That's right people, I'm packing lunch. Oh yeah.

Instead of buying food and then throwing half it away a week later when it's given up on looking anywhere near tempting, I am now thinking about buying things that will get me through the week.

Snack foods ? Snack foods around here these days are raw carrots or a bowl of Weetos. I do still indulge in the odd chocolate bar. But certainly not one every day. I've made more of an effort to eat breakfast before I go to work. I used to justify to myself that if I didn't have breakfast, and didn't really have lunch it would be okay for me to have a bacon roll mid morning at work. Bacon is my enemy. Bad bad bacon.

I'm also, freakishly getting excited (I don't know if that's really the word to use, but we'll go for it, until another, more suitable, comes along) at the idea of not spending money.

Last night on the train home, I really wanted a kebab. Not an elephant leg kebab. One of the ones made from chunks of real meat, and salad and stuff. Stuff that staple foodstuff. By the time I'd pulled into Cosham station, I'd reasoned with myself that I had some burgers in the fridge, and some chips in the freezer so I could have burgers and cheesy chips, (I added petit pois cos I felt there was way too much protein going on there). Saved myself the £6 odd cost of the kebab. Sorry Marmaris, Cosham. What you do is lovely. But I can't see you any more. We're going to have to break up....

Anyway, bugger off, I've got 'New Moon' to finish reading.

Monday, 13 September 2010

... and there are walls now...

Paid another visit to site today, to see how work was going on the flat. As you can see, care of Mr Snap-Happy, the inside walls are going up pronto. Chloe is getting rather excited now, as am I.

I really can't wait. No news yet though on exchange of contracts.... surely it must be soon.

Writing for the play on hold whilst Helen is on holiday. Means that I have time to do some work on the Stephen Brown story I am next up to write. It's hard to get motivated about it, when previous enthusiasm turns to such disappointment. The story in question isn't due to be shown to the rest of the group until late 2011, if not later.

Kelly came round tonight, the last time I'm going to be seeing her before she goes off to Australia for 6 months. Hard to think that the next possible time I will see her, such a fantastically wonderful opportunity for her though. Amazingly scary though. But I guess that's the whole point. Do one thing every day that scares you, right  ?

I often wonder about going off abroad somewhere, but also wonder if I would shyly remain in my hotel room the whole time, cursing the lack of internet.  There are so many places to see 'at home' that I don't know that there's a need to go overseas. Then again, the fact that you do it in the absence of need is rather the whole damn point.

Cracking on reading 'New Moon', the second book in the Twilight saga. Finding them very, very, very good page turners... so it would follow, that without further ado, I bugger off to bed and read for a bit before turning to sleep to pass the few hours until I have to get up again and head off for work.

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Write on...

This week has seen Helen come round twice, in order to get some writing done before she jets off on another holiday. We'd started to beat ourselves up a bit about our perceived lack of progress. What we've ended up with, so far, is 25 pages, 4 scenes of the script.

We took some time to have a look at some of the things that other people had suggested they would like to see in characters, and worked on incorporating them. We were hardly deluged with suggestions, but the ones that we got from Liz and Rob we were able to weave into existing characters.

As much as the first scene, in Reception, is mad, daft and utterly inspired by stupidity and farce, scene three provides a return (as if we ever really left) that medium. Trina, the Australian staff trainer, is constantly holding the training session as if she has a room full of students, rather than just the one, rather tested Jamie Blunt. We had allocated 4 pages for this scene, but we ended up with 5 and a quarter, principally because the dialogue just went off in an entirely inspired direction exploring the madness of the situation.

Knowing that our shows are rather pacey, and we direct the lines to be right on top of one another, we're banking that will mean the show doesn't become the behemoth of content that 'What On Earth Is Happening' was. As it was we had to strip about ten pages out of that script no more than three days before the show opened, even then it was too long, and could have done with being about 20% shorter over all.

I am fairly certain (98.7%) that we now have a date for the week of the show, with our get-in being Sunday May 8th, and the show running May 11th-14th. I am awaiting final confirmation of the booking, but we'd provisionally agreed on that week, and were really just waiting on me to make sure that I could get the time off work that week. There's nothing worse than trying to have to organise a show, and having to go to work as well. This date does put us back about a month on our original schedule, giving us, if we decide to use it, another month of rehearsal time.

It may be that we decide the use the extra time in workshops, but I was rather hoping that we would be able to workship prior to Christmas, and then cast just as we break up. Allowing people some time off, in which - we hope - they would learn their lines, and then return refreshed, and ready in the new year to rehearse for the show.

That was the theory. That may all now be blown out of the water by the new date, but these things cannot be helped. The week we had originally asked for, was already taken, and the week prior to the one we have settled for wouldn't be suitable as there is a Salvation Army Concert on the Saturday evening in the church next door.

Not sure our audience will be able to follow the show if there's a brass band playing 20 feet away.

The work we've done so far, I have sent to one of our friends, and he has made some very favourable comments about the script. (Thank you Rob). I still need to figure out how to get properly formatted script onto my blog. It has also been suggested that Helen and I do a Video-Blog (Vlog) about the evolution of the play. DVD extras, if you like, before the play is even finished. It sounds like a fantastic idea, and something I'd really like us to do. The question is, can it be done without hassle and faff. Because I really hate faff. 

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Wooooo September..

It was the 5th of September, a day I'll always remember.....cos that was the day...

After last weekend's disaster on the transport front, (I ended up having to buy my train ticket twice, having left the original at home), I opted for the much more sensible ticket of the rover variety on the bus. This did mean that I saved myself a hell of a lot of money, as I didn't need to get ticket down, ticket back, ticket down, ticket back (effectively 2 returns) as I would on the train. Yipee.

Anyway, entirely without my permission, it turned into September mid week. I've had some early starts this week, so three times, after work, I've come straight home and gone over the park for a read.... (as I said last time). I'd started reading the first in the Twilight Saga and I have to say.. I can't put the book down. This is good thing in a book, well to me it is. Thankfully I live alone, so my immersion doesn't annoy anyone trying to communicate with me. I have, in such a space of time got to page 380.

Worry not, I'm not going to exhaustively blog my progress with the book(s).
My week has seen otherwise empty after the initial excitement of completing the first scene of The Fatcat & The Grafter, with Helen.

My presence was requested at four different events, Friday and Saturday nights. Such demand is by no means the norm for me, but coming as they did at a point when all I wanted to do was go home and spend some more time with Bella and Edward, they actually all got ignored.

A 70/80s party with Beacon, which I reasoned myself out of with the argument that the cost of getting there, buying some alcohol and then wasting half of Saturday to sleep and recovery, as well as the expense of coming back from the ever distant Locks Heath.

One of the managers at work was leaving Friday, she is making a change from a career in a call centre, to being a police officer. I was very torn, she is a much loved and appreciated person, but again, the adding up of the inevitable cost of a journey into town and back, bookending as they would the purchasing of drinks. One or two, never, it seems being enough.

Saturday, was a choice between another leaving do, for Kelly, my exflatmate. Who is bravely disappearing off to Australia for a year, and the house warming party for another colleague.

I don't want to create the impression that everyone at my workplace is a pisshead... but having looked at the facts.. I'd have to agree that there is a worrying culture of alcoholic consumption there.

I don't know why, but I'm just not that into alcohol at the moment. Tea seems to be the only thing I really require. These things go in phases I know, well they do with me.

It all adds up to me trying to save money, as well as look after my body a bit better. Why am I saving money ?...

There is progress from last week... ? Right ?
Well, of course, that would be the all consuming fear that I won't have enough money come completion time for the flat.

There is an article in news recently about how millions of people have been charged incorrectly for their tax. Some will end up owing the government up to £1500, others may actually be due a rebate of £400. What's the betting I'd be in the first category rather than the second. An additional £400 could come in really handy about now, or in about three months time. Could go towards something nice for the flat, or indeed towards the stamp duty. Dammit. (give with one hand, take with the other).

I took Chloe up to see the work in progress that will be my new home today. I had a little collie wobble about the idea of changing the colour of the kitchen cabinets. In the end, I've decided to stick with my original choice. I wish I could afford to have the brushed metal sockets and switches, but alas, this is not to be. I can always get them done at a later date, and for considerably less than the £20 a pop that the developer wants to charge for them.

I'm trying to figure out how I can be really tight by not putting the heating on in my current flat this winter, so that I have such a credit on my energy accounts that I will... well, have some money when I move.

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Weekend without TV

Bank holiday weekend, and I've been working away at the old word processor, well, to to be more precise.. Celtx.

Yes. Celtx. Not heard of it ?  Well if you've ever fancied writing anything, a stage play, a book, a comic, a screen or radio play... then this fantastic piece of FREE, did I mention FREE software makes everything so much easier.

And it's free. My favourite price.

Anyhoo, religious fervor aside, it's really helpful, quick and easy to use. I was using it to help me complete the script that is way way way overdue for The Ninth Man. A new series for the amateur video group that I'm a member of (Beacon).

I've had some motivational issues lately, in trying to find the time, energy and desire to complete the script, that I started what seems like so many months ago, writing in partnership with one of the other key members. Sadly he'd had to go off to Europe to work doing things that involved him working in Europe.. (I'm vague, because I don't really know).

Having finally completed the elements of the plotline into a script at the weekend, I've spent a bit of time 'dabbling' and 'tweaking' the odd bit here and there. I'm not happy with it. Not ready to 'release' it yet. I've had to resort to printing hard copies (I know, dead trees !), as sometimes when I'm stalling infront of a computer, it's easier to review it away from the machine. Review with a great big red pen. I don't have a red pen, but I do have an unforgiving and totally critical blue fountain pen.

While I was in the middle of attacking some of my work, I also needed to submit a review of an episode of The Adventures Of Stephen Brown, the flagship series for Beacon. I had to review 'Dice With Death', which was ironically, another script that I had written for Beacon. This task was made infinitely more hassle than was needed by the lack of oooomph in my netbook, and trouble getting the youtube videos to play seamlessly on my 'old' laptop. Got there in the end.

What was so bloody amazing, was that I had decided that working into the night doesn't really work for me these days, and that actually, I am at my creative best when I attack the computer first thing in the morning. So, at 7am, Bank Holiday Monday, my alarm went off, telling me it was time to get up and go the 'office'.