Archive for November 2011
I leave on Saturday for a three week trip to the lovely islands of New Zealand, the home of many books and films, the backdrop of The Lord of the Rings and recently the home of Hobbiton. I’ll be back on the 4th of December. As yet I don’t know how much contact I’ll have and whether I’ll be able to write for this blog or tweet or if I’ll be totally cut off from the internet.
I will be out of touch with my phone number, that’s a guarantee. In order to reduce phone costs we’ll be buying a couple of sim cards when we get to NZ and putting our old sim cards away, I’ll respond to any messages when I get back. We might be able to tether one of the phones to the ipad and get some internet connection that way but I’ll be using it sparingly. I will probably have lots of articles to upload on our return as I’ve managed to write quite a lot using the ipad and will continue to write as much as I can, I’ve put lots of books on it so I’ll be able to scribble some thoughts about them…I might actually read them first, they’re a rather eclectic bunch of books.
I’ve managed to link up one email address on the ipad so if you’re really desperate to contact me I suggest you email me as that’s the one I’ll be most likely to check.
I have written a number of articles and scheduled them for your reading pleasure. At the time of writing I’m aiming to have three articles published each week, if I find I have internet access I’ll slot in some more into the gaps.
I’d like to thank Squid Ink for coming out of the depths to share some of his favourite books with us.
I was listening to a sermon on the weekend, I can’t remember anything about the sermon except for the words ‘shame’ and ‘chagrin’. These two words had me thinking. I’ve mentioned before about English being a mongrel language and how it’s made up of many different languages, we’ve taken so many parts of different languages and melded them into one very strange tongue. We have words that look the same but sound different and words that look different to start with but the first sound is very much alike.
Shame is a noun comes from the Middle English, it is akin to the Old High German word ‘scama’, it was first used before the 12th century.
Chagrin is both a noun and a transitive verb, it comes directly from the French ‘chagrin’ and was first used about 1681 as a noun and 1733 as a transitive verb.
These two words illustrate very nicely the differences in word origins. One word comes from the Old High German and the other from the French so the first sound in each is exactly the same. The ‘sh’ and the ‘ch’ both sound like ‘sh’.
One of the many super fabulous books by the dearly loved and recently deceased Diana Wynne Jones. The description of the plot is as follows:
All over the universe, Magids are at work to maintain the balance of magic, using their own talents to push the right people into doing the right things at the right time. And on Earth, the Magids are working hard to coax the world into its rightful place Ayewards, towards magic.
Rupert Venables has been the junior Magid here for only two years when his sponsor dies; it’s up to him to find a replacement. Trouble is, the most promising on his list of five names, Maree Mallory, doesn’t want anything to do with Rupert Venables. And while the junior Magid is trying to track down the other four, the fatelines are becoming dangerously entangled on more than one world and magic starts getting out of hand…
When it comes to describing Jones’ books I find it hard to stop using adjectives. Her writing is spot on, her characters are believable and her worlds make me want to be there. I can’t reveal the twist as you might not want to read it and we can’t have that, but suffice to say Jones manages to get her usual unexpected twist into the book.
What I loved most about this book is part of the setting. She’s set it within a convention called PhantasmaCon, it was awesome. I’m sure she’s been to many conventions over the years, she’s probably been feted at a large number of them. Her descriptions described the madness beautifully. Sitting talking to someone, trying to have a sensible conversation when someone drifts past in some costume and you have to run after them as you need to talk to them about something ‘very important’. I have certain friends I only ever see at conventions or conferences. I adored her descriptions of the costumes and the people, she has them down pat. There’s a bit of madness with the layout of the hotel as it changes continually and the attendees barely notice, when they do they put it down the committee having done a wonderful job.
Just awesome stuff, it’s a good read if you want to attend a convention for the first time as it gives you a good understanding of how conventions work, it’s also a good read for the fantasy aspects.
Typing on an iPad is a very different experience. I learnt to touch type on a manual typewriter, my teacher was of the old school and she expected us to know where all the keys were without looking down on the keyboard. Thanks to her I can now take notes at meetings or conferences without looking at my computer and that makes it very much easier as it means I don’t have to change my glasses in order to read what I’m typing, I can just keep typing while looking at the room or looking up at the white board or screen or just close my eyes. As an aside, I always wonder what people think when they see me close my eyes while continuing to type.
What makes this possible is a keyboard I can feel, with raised dots on two of the ‘home’ keys, the ‘f’ and ‘j’ keys, the ones I rest my forefingers on. I recall in 1980, when Dad bought a Sinclair ZX80 home computer, having great trouble with the keyboard as it was a membrane keyboard and there was very little tactile information coming back to me from my fingers. It was very annoying to type with, I had to look down at my fingers and I had no idea where the keys were (this could be another article entirely). The computer itself was very annoying as it had almost no memory and the only way you could store programmes was to save them onto audio cassette which rarely loaded them back onto the computer, we found it less time consuming and easier on the nerves to type it all in again every time we wanted that programme. We also ran into problems when someone else wanted to watch TV as it used the TV as a display. The fact that there were several of us all wanting a go didn’t help. Anyway, if you want more information about them you can google it yourself and not rely on my fading memory, what I was wanting to write about is typing on the iPad.
The iPad has an onscreen keyboard. It’s a little smaller than a regular laptop but not so small that I can’t fit my hands on it, it’s handy having small hands sometimes. The problem is it has no tactile feedback, no little raised bumps on any of the keys and I get absolutely zero feedback as to if I’m actually hitting the keys, let along the right keys. I am managing to type quite a bit on it but I do need to spend a lot of time looking at the keyboard which is not so good for my neck. One thing I’ve noticed is that I’m starting to spend less time looking and I’m even getting some of the typing right despite not looking at it.
One thing that helps enormously is the predictive text programmed into the iPad. Little things like capitalising the word ‘I’ are challenging as you need to hit the arrow to make the letter a capital then hit the letter then the space bar so it makes me have to think about typing this one letter word. Thanks to predictive text by just hitting the space bar both before and after the letter I find it’s capitalised the word. It also helps in so many other ways often completing the words for me but sometimes it has its drawbacks and gives me a word I’m not wanting to use making the sentence make absolutely no sense.
I’m going to continue using the iPad for typing as it’s really useful while I’m out and about, it’s going to be awesome for my travels in NZ and I plan to use it for writing quite a bit. I have several articles for both this blog and someone else’s blog I’ve been planning for a while but haven’t had time to write so I’ll be taking the opportunity of being away from most of my other activities to catch up on many of these articles.
I came across this rather strange acronym looking rather like NaNoWriMo this week, it was imperative I look it up. They are both interesting words, NaNoWriMo means National November Writing Month while NaBloPoMo is the same but to do with writing blog posts.
NaNoWriMo is all about stretching yourself as a writer and making yourself write 50,000 words in the month of November while NaBloPoMo encourages you to write every day of the month. There are websites out there where you can log in and show off your writing, getting daily encouragement from people all around the world, you can get hints and tips about stretching yourself to actually reach the word count.
With NaNoWriMo it’s all about reaching the word limit or going beyond it, it’s not as much about having good writing as it is about stretching yourself as a writer and writing more in a short time than you’ve ever written before.
I’ve never contemplated NaNoWriMo as I don’t think I have the stamina or the amount of words within me to write that consistently or that long. If circumstances were different and I’d heard about NaBloPoMo early enough I would be attempting it now as I think that is within my reach. I already try to blog Monday to Friday so it’s not such a big step to include the weekends and try to ensure I don’t miss any days. Anyway, I don’t think it’s such a good idea right now, not as I’m doing two courses and I’m about to go to NZ on Saturday week. There is always next year!
Readers, you may want to cover your ears and also cover the eyes of any young readers in the room, I’m going to let out a primal scream.
My apologies for that I do hope I haven’t traumatised anyone, but things are not going to plan at present. I was doing really well after the Problogger Event, writing lots of articles, scheduling them and then moving on to even more articles but I somehow lost the impetus over the weekend. I do have some articles scheduled for next week and the week following our departure to NZ but I’ve been really struggling this week and if you’re a regular reader you would have noticed the glitch yesterday. I now only have five more articles to write for this blog to fill in the gaps before we leave, my other blog is right for half of the time we’ll be away but this one takes more time and thought. I have been hoping to drag Squid Ink from the depths of the ocean and this may still happen.
I’m sure it’s because I’m doing too much but there’s not much I can do about it I just have to let things happen in date order. Next Thursday I have my English Literature exam and then I’ll be finished that class, we do have one more class scheduled but that’s more of a question and answer session rather than a proper class and my teacher tells me there will be chocolate!
Three weeks ago a class came up, one I just had to join, I’ve only been waiting 10 years for this opportunity. During this course we’re learning to chant Torah and while it’s absolutely fascinating and I’m having a ball it’s come at a rather inconvenient time for me, I’m not getting any homework done for it but I know I’ll catch up in NZ. The timing of the class couldn’t be worse as it is scheduled on the same night as my #ausallergy chat so I’ve been leaving most of the chatting to my co-hosts and feeling totally guilty for not being there.
One of the things I am making sure to do is to take the time to fix up some of the glitches on this website, I hope the problem with the categories will be fixed up in the next day or so. I know what the problem is now but I don’t know how to fix it so I’m having to outsource it to an expert. I love experts.
There is more but that’s all I’m sharing. It’s a very busy time for me and at some stage we need to start packing for NZ.
Armageddon, not the end of the world but the pop culture expo held every year around this time, not just in Australia, but also in New Zealand. It’s a weekend of dressing up, meeting your favourite actors, catching up with friends and just having fun. I wrote a few words about it yesterday and you can go back in time to read it here. I promised some photos and a story so here goes.
I’ve seem to have misplaced many of my photos, I was uploading them to Twitpic and some of them didn’t seem to make it.
The following photo is someone on cloud 42, she seems to have totally missed cloud nine. She’s put a lot of work into putting together Ace’s jacket, sourcing the correct badges from all over the world and was happily listening to Sylvester McCoy when someone suggested she get up there for a photo.