Sunday, December 29, 2013

A sense of expectation

A few random updates as 2013 draws to a close...

On the writing/publishing front, I've been filling in some gaps and lining up preparations but holding off on anything involving actual expenditure until January. As we are so close to the end of the year I decided to formally launch the business in line with the new tax year.

But meantime I've been putting together cover blurb and author bio, and have located a couple of book designers and some photographers here in Victoria. I felt that a local presence was important, because I want to discuss things face to face - especially the book cover. I'm looking for critical artistic advice, not just font and technicalities of layout, so I need to feel comfortable that the designer has relevant experience and value to offer and that we can work effectively together.

Things have returned somewhat to normal on the health front after my earlier scare. After a week off resting, I was cleared to return to work. So far, test after test is coming back negative or all clear, which is a mixed blessing. On the one hand, I appear to be healthy. On the other, it leaves the cause unexplained and nothing specific to tackle.

Slipping into seasonal mode, we enjoyed a quiet family Christmas with Ali's parents visiting from the UK. The leftover turkey lasted another two meals and is now gone, apart from a few liters of turkey stock in the freezer for future soups. We enjoyed a dip in the pool at the local leisure center today, and I'm trying not to get too addicted to Candy Crush after spending far too much time watching Ali gnash her teeth over some of the more difficult levels.

How was your Christmas?

Saturday, December 21, 2013

When will we learn to get along?

Traditional nativity scene
banned from park

Multi-culturalism and tolerance does not mean saying "you can't" all the time and neutering your own beliefs because you're shit scared of offending some small-minded bigots.

Multi-culturalism and tolerance means saying

You can ...
And you can ...
And you can ...

And rejoicing in the richness this brings to all our lives

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

More nerdish stuff

The Minecraft battleship is finished. I don't want to dwell on medical stuff right now*, and everyone is posting about seasonal stuff if they're not doing their regular writing-related posts, so I thought, what the heck, today just to be different you get a tour of the ship.

First off, a general fly down the length from stem to stern. I'm slightly hampered in getting an overall view because the pocket edition of Minecraft only renders things up to a certain distance away, then it vanishes into fog.

So far, a lot like building in Lego. But now the advantage of computer-based work shows. You can land on the deck and take a walk around on and inside. Here is a view of the aft turret from standing on the quarterdeck.

The interior of the ship is all detailed, from the sumptuous admiral's quarters in the stern... the spartan mess decks huddling between the forward turret mountings.
Through a maze of windowless corridors...
To boiler rooms...
Engine rooms...
And workshops...

There's lots more, but that is enough for one post. Another time I might post a more detailed tour as a separate blog page like the others listed under the banner.

* BTW - thanks for your words of support this week. Still awaiting test results but no further symptoms so fingers crossed that will be the end of it.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

MIA due to TIA

I paused a while before posting this, then I decided that not many people visit this blog anyway, and the ones who do so regularly I like to regard as friends. This is something I choose to share with friends.

Thursday night I had a serious wake-up call. I suffered a minor stroke - a Transient Ischemic Attack.

As such things go, a TIA is quick and leaves no lasting damage. But it is a warning - not to be ignored - of possibly more to come.

The event itself was strange and disconcerting. I was about to drive Matthew downtown but hadn't yet left the house, which was frighteningly lucky.

I turned to put something down on the stairs, and was surprised to see this strange arm reach around in front of me. I turned to see who was there...nobody. But...there was that arm again. It took me a few seconds to recognize it as my own. The recognition was purely visual and intellectual, there was no feeling of ownership there. I felt utterly disconnected from what I was seeing.

That scared me, and told me that something was wrong. I called for help. My voice came out slurred. That's when I suspected a stroke.

The ambulance arrived a short while later, and while the paramedics checked me over and asked lots of questions, the symptoms evaporated leaving me shaken but unharmed.

Off in the ambulance for a long evening of more questions and tests. All clear - whew! - but leaving one huge big elephantine question unanswered: what next?

So, now I'm walking around gingerly, trying to avoid stress and exertion, feeling like I'm carrying a ticking bomb in my head. I haven't yet figured out how to come to terms with that or what in practical terms I can do about it. And of course my family is freaked out.

To put things into perspective, though, we all carry our ticking bombs around with us with a greater or lesser chance of setting them off. And I must have been carrying this one with me for a long time. I just didn't realize it until Thursday. This could be just the first of many episodes leading up to a serious and lasting stroke, or I might never experience anything like this again. I just don't know.

Meanwhile, I'm treating this as one of those perspective-altering moments, time to decide and act on what is really important in my life...while trying to persuade everyone around me that I'm not a bloody invalid!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Way to make me feel old!

It's come to my notice that much of the civilized world is celebrating the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who.

That brought back fond memories...

Then a pause for thought...

Then the realization...

50 years? But...but...I remember those early days.

I was one of those kids hiding behind the couch when the Daleks first glided onto the screen. They were bloody terrifying! They must have traumatized a whole generation, because I remember them!

OK, I can't have been too traumatized, because I also remember that I spent many long hours happily drawing them.

Who are you calling "old", punk?

Monday, December 2, 2013

So this is where November went

No - not NaNo :)

Just over a month ago, we started on a renovation project that we've been talking about for a few years. The kids' bedrooms open out into a basement room that we turned over to them as a playroom. There was a bathroom in one corner, so they had a small self-contained part of the house to themselves.

Trouble is, the main room was also where all the plumbing for laundry was too.

Not good for them. Not good for us, shoveling piles of crap out of the way whenever we needed to do laundry. The situation needed to be remedied.

This is the playroom right now.

We have professionals doing all the tricky stuff, but to save cost we are doing whatever we can - mostly running around buying materials, and things like painting. Their bedrooms are relatively inaccessible, so they are camped out in our room, and we are in the guest room. With all the upheaval, November seems to have disappeared in a blur.

The laundry-room-to-be is taking shape. You can see that we don't hold with the typical Canadian interior decor of "fifty shades of beige". We like our color, and we've learned to trust our instincts and be bold.

And next door, a rather stylish bathroom is starting to emerge.

Things are starting to come together. Trouble is, we are wondering what to call this newly-revamped space. Somehow, "playroom" doesn't seem right for teenagers. Any suggestions?
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