BuJo (Vol.1)

I used to keep a diary (or journal if you're from the other side of the Atlantic) and sometimes it was quite detailed. But I stopped doing it quite a few years ago now. I think partly because even if I had a boring day it would take me 15 mins or so to write up my day and thoughts and while looking back at them now they were okay to read I felt those 15 mins could be better spent. Or something like that.

But I have missed it in some ways; it was always nice to be able to go back over events (and dates of when they happened).

Over the last few weeks I've seen a few people on Twitter mentioning Bullet Journaling. And the idea has piqued my interest. As well as my previous love of writing a diary journal thing I'm also a bit of a sucker for a list. So the idea of BuJos seem good in both ways.

I've been on a few websites looking at how it works and think I've got to grips with it. But it is a shame none of the websites seem to have a single page 'cheat sheet', which surprises me as the websites suggest the idea is a bit clunky - and it's not really.

After a quick look at the websites today I realised I had a spare empty notebook so I thought I'd give it a go and see if I can keep it up. At least after a fashion.

If you are interested have a look at the BuJo website.

I may well put up a 1 page cheat sheet/background up here at some point soon.

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Much More Class Ryan et al

Just updated the next ten songs on Buffer for the upcoming days with some fab tune age. Disappointed how little decent live footage (or even official videos there are of next week's class act). Ho hum. Some bands don't get the coverage or investment they deserve. Ryan Adams week has come to an end there was no probs finding decent vids and lots of live stuff by him. Biggest problem was refining a selection down to seven songs. Been listening to lots of the CDs in the van this week, whacking them on loud. Let's face it I could have just put seven tracks of Gold or Heartbreaker up. Me thinks I'll be having a second Ryan Adams week later in the year.

The seven songs I chose for Ryan Adams week were:

  • I Love You But I Don't Know What to Say
  • Two
  • When the Stars Go Blue
  • Do You Still Love Me?
  • Let It Ride
  • Come Pick Me Up
  • This Is It

Really I could have picked seven other songs and been equally happy with the selection. So many good songs in that man's heart.

Ryan Adams

Putting ten songs in Buffer means I've selected the first three songs of the following week too and again the biggest problem with that act is getting the number down to seven songs and I can see me definitely having a second week for that artist too.

Thinking of presenting the Class Song of The Day pages on the website differently now that this year it is split into weeks. Watch this space...

Anyways, been good to keep it going and enjoying the videos and performances myself even if not many of you guys have been clicking yet (though happy to see Sal has been enjoying Ryan today!).

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Have Laptop Will Travel

It was time today to get some writing done. I thought I'd nip out for a few hours into town and give it a go in a few places and see what worked in terms of getting a fair chunk of the Deadcades story progressed for Infernal Clock.

I had just under 1400 words already written and the ultimate aim for these stories are around 5000 words. Having given the initial 1400 words a re-read at the weekend I am pretty happy with them. Although it has started as a police procedural largely and horror is yet to surface (if you don't include simple dead bodies as horror). My aim for today was a minimum of 1000 words.

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I first headed for the coffee shop downstairs in the Liverpool Central Library - I was in need of some caffeine before starting after all. That went really rather well. In just over an hour whilst perched on a soft comfy sofa with my Americano I got 1000 words done in one sitting. Jeez. But I was on a roll so it was time to go onwards and upwards up to the Picton Reading Room after bladder emptying (those medium coffees really are quite large aren't they?).

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The cafe had been busy enough downstairs but the Picton was packed with largely university aged (children I tell you!) boys and girls filling all the central tables. A bit of a shame as I've always liked working on those tables. Anyway, needs must and all that so I ended up getting one of the single seats around the periphery and plugging in my laptop there. It really is a nice environment to work in - even if again I had the laptop on my lap rather than a table. An hour and twenty five later and I had down another 1400 words. Bloody hell, flying!

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It was now time to redeposit some more of that caffeine and then pop out for some lunch. I couldn't avoid the unbeatable All Day Breakfast at the Shiraz on Williamson Sq. I'm a sucker for it. Then it was time for at least a little more of the writing whilst on the roll. This time I went to somewhere where it may prove a bit more difficult (beers and music) but it had some advantages (tables and plugs) - I headed to The Head of Steam on Hanover Street. And yes, bang! Another 1150 words in a little over an hour.

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I'm sure the last 1000 words will prove the least useable but they in any case do sketch out how the story will go.

So whilst I left the house wanting to do 1000 words I ended up doing 3600 (i.e. I've got 5000 words of a 5000 word story). Job well and truly smashed.

Now I've got to get it printed, read, redrafted and then again and again. It's good to feel it moving; even if it proves that only the first 1400 words are still any good. What have I learned from an afternoon of writing in three quite different environments (albeit two being in the library - the Picton is different to the cafe I can assure you). Well, I can write anywhere really. I dare say attempting to write for more than an hour or two in a pub would be the most difficult in terms of the music background (in some pubs) and the consistency of the writing (after a couple of stronger beers). Whilst in all three locations I almost wrote a 1000 words an hour or so the key finding is probably that if I ensure I set aside an hour a day then 500 words a day or more really is very attainable. And I should do that.

I should. But will I?

Thanks to the Head of Steam I even managed to update my website with this wee blog. And I have a Titanic 'Iceberg' to boot. It's a win, win, win. Huzzah!
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2018 Reading

According to Goodreads I'm one book behind 'schedule' for this year's target of 40 books. I'm pretty fine with that. Hopefully get up there in the end. Need to plan my reading out a bit for the next few months.

Predictably I've read a couple of Terry Pratchett's, along with a lot of SF and some modern and old classics including Colson Whitehead's 'The Underground Railway', and Paul Bettany's 'The Sellout', Kurt Vonnegut's 'Slaughterhouse 5' and Conrad's 'Heart of Darkness'. The reading so far has included some excellent books I dare say the next seven months will include some similarly excellent tomes - and no doubt some more Pratchett too!

Eight out of the thirteen books were bought from second hand shops. I'll have to get back to reading some of the other things which are already on my shelves before filling them out with more ...

2018 Books Read

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On the Shoulders of Giants

There was fab news this week in Liverpool about the fantastic French Giants returning once more. Who'd have thought 'big puppets' could be so enthralling and illicit such emotions. But if you haven't seen them live then you'll be in for a treat if you do get to see them this time. We were lucky with the weather in June 2014. In fact it was so hot the puppeteers had to keep stopping to keep hydrated (it is heavy manual work moving these lovable monsters).

Took lots of shots and some came out okay. But it is difficult getting a good position with such enormous crowds. I was made up to get one of my photographs in the official book about the event 'On the Shoulders of Giants' (the fourth photo below).

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Gran Boat

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Zen & The Art Of Typewriter Maintenance

It's hard to believe for any youngsters (and not so youngsters) out there but back when I was at Uni we didn't have many of these computer things (or access to them) and I actually typed my dissertation out on an old typewriter with laborious two finger typing. Some students paid typists to type out their dissertation for them, but I wasn't flush. This means I've not got it to hand other than in hard copy including faded letters where not I've not pressed down hard enough or doubly dark from retyping (not to mention the white flakes of liquid paper/correction fluid). The dissertation even included hand drawn figures.

I'm a faster typer now and these days when I mistype there is not the issue of type-bars sticking and with the magic of computing the letters reorganise themselves into words instead of becoming botched smudges with dots of red from a sticky ribbon.

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There was something quite enjoyable about typing on a typewriter though. Can't put my finger on it. Maybe you feel closer to it, having to be in the zone with the ribbon and the type bars, making sure that the type pressure was even and making sure each letter was right. The play of the keyboard and the noise and the return at the end of each line was all part of it. Perhaps typing on a typewriter as opposed to a computer is equivalent to the difference between driving and riding a motorbike. I should reread the first chapter or two of 'Zen & the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance'. I reckon there must be an equivalent 'Zen & the Art of Typewriter Maintenance' out there.

Contemplating retyping the dissertation onto my computer. Perhaps I'll put it on my website (maybe under the Memoirs pages). Retyping it would make me revisit what I wrote back in the 1980s and discover the things I knew back then about the subject and have long forgotten. Haven't said what it was, have I? Well it was an unusual one and not a subject I've seen much about since (or indeed ever);

'The Origin of the Carbonatite Magma'

Now you know that, I bet you can't wait for it.

Ol Doinyo Lengai
Ol Doinyo Lengai

Carbonatite is a very rare igneous rock and the only currently active volcano with a carbonatite magma is Ol Doinyo Lengai in the African Rift Valley. But hey, if I get around to typing the dissertation up you'll soon know that.
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Drafting: DeadCades

Started writing the story for the final instalment of the Infernal Clock trilogy: DeadCades.

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Already it has changed from the story I thought was going to write. I'd said before that I had a good idea for a story setting which I thought I could use for this almost as a testing ground. However that setting is probably a few decades later and would also, at least as a first tale, warrant a bigger story. In any case whilst driving along minding my own business the other day another story came into head apparently from nowhere. I think it must have been floating through the cosmos and got to somewhere in north Wales around the A55 whilst I was driving past and 'hey presto!' it popped into my coconut head. Story particles are like that; I reckon they'll find story particles in the Large Hadron Collider at some point. Fairy Tales will prove to be fundamental particles. Probably.

Anyways, I think it's a good idea - well of course I do!

However I am only 1200 words into a 5000 word story and I can feel it may need 15k words to tell it so I'll have to see where it goes. I haven't got to any scary bits yet, which is a bit of a worry in a horror tale (though there are two dead bodies).

Good to put pen to paper (well plastic keys into aluminium shell) and get it started. I'm using Scrivener but to be honest I could just type it out into any word processor with this length of story. But I'll find a few things out about Scrivener no doubt whilst I'm using it so it's worth using it rather than Pages anyway.

This morning I also blasted out a quick rough and ready story for Microcosms for the second successive week. Not sure I'll be writing that frequently for it, but I got told there wasn't a route (i.e. work) for me this morning so I had the time (even if I didn't want to have the time). Ho hum.
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Counting Crows Week

CLASS SONG OF THE DAY YEAR TWO: COUNTING CROWS WEEK

"When everybody loves you,
Oh, son, that's just about as funky as you can be"


It is Week Three of my Class Song of the Day Music Weeks and following on from Warren Zevon and Wilco it is another of my big lovely favourite bands, the wonderful Counting Crows. I fell in love with them straight away when I first heard them on the new Virgin Radio through 1993 and 94. At the same time I fell in love with Cracker who (I think) toured with the Crows around that time in the UK. I didn't see them on that tour but I have been lucky enough to see them three or four times in the UK.

Adam D

Given how long they've been going it is a bit surprising that they've only released seven studio albums:

August and Everything After (1993)
Recovering the Satellites
(1996)
This Desert Life
(1999)
Hard Candy
(2002)
Saturday Nights & Sunday Mornings
(2008)
Underwater Sunshine (or What We Did on Our Summer Vacation)
(2012)
Somewhere Under Wonderland
(2014)

If you haven't got August and Everything After then you really don't have a CD collection at all, so get it sorted. Mr Jones is one of the most perfect pop songs ever and don't get me started on Anna Begins.

August Hard Candy Desert Life

If you don't like listening to Adam Duritz singing and baring his soul then you, my friend, have no soul.

Happy listening.
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