Monday, November 26, 2007

Novel: day 26

My wordcount right now is 50,050. That's right, I reached the target wordcount. The story is not quite finished, but by the wordcount metric I am officially a NaNoWriMo winner. The size of the text file is 273,958 bytes (267kb).

It actually wasn't as difficult to finish as I thought it was going to be. I wrote close to 3,000 words on the plane (in a Selectum Composition Book). I typed it out on my sister's computer this morning and added a little extra here and there. Bam, 50,000 words.

Now, the revelation that I thought the main character was going to have has not quite happened yet. Certain things have occurred, pushing him very close to the edge. But he hasn't gone all the way over yet.

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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Novel: Day 20

My wordcount at the end of day 20 is 43,082. I think my main character is right on the verge of an important revelation. A revelation that will propel him to act in such a way to bring the novel to its conclusion. I just haven't decided quite what form the revelation will take.

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Monday, November 19, 2007

Novel: Day 19

At close of day 18 last night I had 38,753 words. With a little bit of effort I should be able to reach 40,000 by the end of today. The story is getting a little bit more complicated. For example, there is now a cat in the story. The cat doesn't have a name, though: it's very mysterious.

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Tips for Happy Riding

I didn't think it was going to rain this morning. Well, I thought it might rain a little bit, you know, a light mist or drizzle. But I didn't put on my rain gear. When I left home, it was drizzling a little bit, as I had expected. About half-way to work I had to admit that no, this wasn't mist or drizzle anymore, this was first-class rain. My pants were well on their way to being soaked. My legs were freezing as a result. My shoes (and so my feet) were getting wet, too.

It made me think of Tips for Happy Riding at the Rivendell Bicycle Works website. One of these so-called tips reads Go for a one-hour ride underdressed sometime, because it's good to be really cold on a bike every now and then.

Well, today I did it. I was both cold and wet. Maybe that's why it wasn't very happy -- it only works if you're merely cold?

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Saturday, November 17, 2007

HOT! Be Careful

I bought a large regular (one cream, one sugar) coffee at a Tim Horton's yesterday. Because it is November, the cup had a special winter theme.

On the cup was a fun winter scene, with several children going down a snowy hill on toboggans. There was also a golden retriever dog running down the hill.

Every one of the kids was wearing a helmet. I couldn't believe it. I haven't looked it up but I'm pretty sure that being a passenger in a car is more dangerous for a kid's head than sliding down a hill on a toboggan (or cycling, for that matter).

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Friday, November 16, 2007

Novel: Day 16

At the start of day 16 I am sitting at 31,076 words. If I manage 900 words by the end of today I'll be right on the 2k-words/day pace. And If I can keep that up for the next week I'll be nearly done by next Friday the 23rd (46,000 words).

Which is good, because the last week of November will be a little complicated and busy for me. At this point it's hard to say but I very well may be drunk and/or unconscious for those six or seven days. I'm visiting my family, out of province.

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Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Revenge is a dish... served at a four-way stop.

If you ride a bicycle in the city you have probably been in a situation where a friendly driver will stop and wave you through an intersection. This friendly driver thinks they're doing you a favour. But usually, this driver is in the right-hand lane of two lanes, and the cars in the left-hand lane have no idea what is going on and just keep going (you can't really blame them). So the friendly driver is puzzled as to why you are not going.

Another variation of this happens at a four-way stop. And I turned the tables, in a way, this morning. I pulled up to a four-way stop just after a car had reached it from the cross-street, to my left. I could see the car opposite me, which had arrived at the same time as me, was really itching to go. To jump the order and zip across the intersection from a rolling stop before the car on my left knew what was happening. This little game happens all the time.

So I looked at the driver to my left, and I waved my hand from left to right, saying you got here first, you go ahead. She nodded at me in thanks and started to go. The guy across the way had already started and he had to slam on his brakes. My expression of mock-surprise completed the tableau.

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Monday, November 12, 2007

Novel: Day 12

I just wrote a little bit first thing this morning, to bring my novel over the half-way mark. Wordcount: 25,147. I've got a few things planned that might bring me close to 28 or 30 thousand words. Then the real crazy roller coaster ride of action will begin for the final 20 thousand or so words. I have a vague idea of how the action will start, but I have no idea right now what exactly is going to happen.

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Friday, November 09, 2007

Revenue Sharing

Crackdown on transit crime.

KFalc visited Europe and soiled his pants when he saw turnstiles at transit stations. After returning to British Columbia and changing his pants, he started talking about it. He's also jazzed about SmartCards. They're like regular cards, except they're smart, so they're much better and they create efficiencies.

Turnstiles have been priced at $100 million plus, but Falcon hopes to find a private partner to build and operate the system on a revenue-sharing basis.
I'm confused; why does this have to be some kind of revenue-sharing agreement with a private partner? Ignoring for the moment the fact that the stations were not designed with turnstiles in mind (which makes retro-fitting them difficult?), can't we just buy the turnstiles from somebody, and pay them to install them, and maybe buy a service contract? Somehow we managed to install fare machines and ticket validators without having to enter into a long term revenue-sharing agreement with the manufacturers. If that's not true, please correct me. Maybe some company in Ohio or Manitoba gets two tenths of a penny every time I stick a two-zone ticket into one of those blue boxes (one tenth for one-zone, three-tenths for three-zone?).
Falcon said turnstiles weed out the hang-arounds and reduce the chance of an act of terrorism.
I included that quote because I wanted to tag this post with terrorism. Also, I'm amused by the thought of terrorists whose plans are thwarted because they're too cheap to cough up $2.25 for a skytrain ticket.

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Thursday, November 08, 2007

Novel: day 8

My wordcount as of today, November 8, is 15,867. I'm almost keeping to my goal of averaging 2000 words per day. I have to confess that the quality of the writing is deteriorating a bit, but the story is moving along and that's the main thing at this point. November is for writing, December is for editing.

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Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Novel: Day 7

For various reasons I didn't have much luck writing last night. I just couldn't do it. My wordcount right now is 13,580. I'd like to produce about 2000 words tonight and maybe be withing shouting distance of 20,000 before the weekend starts.

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Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Novel: Day 6

As of this morning my wordcount stands at 12,281. So I am still going at a pretty good clip. The ideas are drying up a bit, though. It would have helped if I had started with even a rough plot in mind, I suppose.

Here's a funny, whiny, elitist blog post by a Writer (note the capital W I used there. That's because this guy is a Real Writer): Why I Hate National Novel Writing Month, and Why You Should Too.

Buddy, I know where you're coming from. I have a Computer Science degree. We'd like the Internet back. Please close the door on your way out.

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$5 Coin

Feds looking into making $5 bill a coin.
There will also be the issue of what to call it - there is the Loonie and Toonie, so maybe a Fivie, a Foon, a Foin?
It's so obvious. Put a whale on it and call it a Fin. Or Finnie.

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Ahead of the curve, Leading the way

The NDP is not messing around. The Conservatives have been talking about Senate reform. Elected senate and term limits, and so on. The NDP is way ahead of the curve on this.
NDP wants referendum on Senate
The NDP has called for a referendum so Canadians can vote on whether the Senate should be abolished.

I can imagine the No side producing a television commercial featuring highlights of Senator Frank Mahovlich scoring goals for Team Canada in the 1972 Canada-Russia summit series. The Big M wants to continue serving Canada as he did in this historic series.

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Um, fourwaystop?

This morning the traffic lights at the corner of Willingdon and Central in Burnaby were not functioning. They were unlit in all directions. I saw Skytrain Emergency Response Vans at both Patterson and Metrotown stations, maybe it was related to the skytrain. If the four way stop rule was being observed it was too subtle for me to notice.

I was standing there straddling my bicycle, near the sidewalk. Also waiting on the sidewalk was a woman with her little toddler, and a woman in an electric wheelchair. I think I was the first one to notice that the lights were out. I pointed this out to my companions as I got off my bicycle and joined them on the sidewalk.

I saw a break in the south-bound traffic so I cautiously pushed my bike out into the crosswalk. My companions followed me, and we crossed the street basically acting as each other's crossing guards. I'm not sure if the north-bound traffic would have stopped for just me; I was probably lucky to be accompanied by a mother-and-child and a woman in a wheelchair.

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Sunday, November 04, 2007

Novel: Day 4

Well, I did it. I just finished writing for the night and the wordcount shows 10,365. I have achieved and slightly exceeded my goal for the week-end. It was difficult and I don't think it is going to get any easier. But I am one fifth of the way there.

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Friday, November 02, 2007

Novel: Day 2

Wow, who would have thought that writing a novel could be so friggin' difficult? I sat down last night for a couple of hours and only managed 500 words. Combined with about 500 from earlier in the day my total is now hovering just over 1000 words. That is well below the pace I need to achieve (and maintain!) for the rest of the month.

Other aspects of novel-writing I am finding frustrating:

  • This morning during my bicycle ride to work I thought of a super-fantastic title for my book. I should have pulled over and written it down, though, because now I can't remember it.
  • The U key on the old laptop I'm using for this endeavor is sort-of broken. If you're not paying attention while typing and making an effort to strike that key in a very specific and forceful way, your keystroke will be lost. So for example the phrase Shut up! is recorded as Sht p!
More updates may follow next week. I'm going into a deep hermit-like seclusion this weekend and I want to hit the 10,000 word mark by Sunday's end. So don't even try to contact me, as I'm unplugging the phone and will only be checking my e-mail 5 times per hour.

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No left turn for you. Not yours.

Another bicycle commuting anecdote. This one is kind of funny and I promise that I didn't do it on purpose.

I was at 45th and Boundary, east-bound on 45th waiting to cross Boundary. I was looking north, trying to see if there was a break in the traffic. If there are only a few automobiles coming up the hill I will wait for them to pass before pressing the pedestrian-walk-button. Because I'm such a nice guy. Note however that if there is a mini-van in the group then I press the button immediately and repeatedly with a sneer on my face.

OK, so I'm watching south-bound traffic when I hear some honks from the north-bound traffic to my right. There's some dumbsh*t in a truck waiting in the left lane to turn left (that is, west) onto 45th avenue. This T-intersection is one of those ones that is "traffic-calmed" in such a way that right-turning cars may enter 45th, and cars turning right or left from 45th onto Boundary may do so. But left turns from Boundary onto 45th are prohibited. There is no sign; a sign would be redundant. You'd have to put your automobile through some elaborate contortions to accomplish such a left turn because of the shape of the concrete median.

Of course, if I hadn't been so considerate towards the south-bound traffic I would already have pressed the button, light would have gone yellow and this arsehole would have been hurtling down 45th avenue lickety-split, traffic-calming median be d*mned.

Looking back I don't know what I was thinking. When I saw the situation I reached for the traffic-control button; I guess I was feeling generous on this crisp Friday morning. I was willing to give this poor idiot a break. But it was too late. He gave up waiting. Quite thin-skinned, that one: just a couple of honks and he crumbled, probably simultaneously peeing his pants and pressing on the gas pedal to go straight through the intersection.

So there ya go, Vancouver. I inadvertently kept a weak-minded fancy-truck driver from speeding down a designated bikeway.

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Thursday, November 01, 2007

I'm writing a novel

It's (Inter)National Novel Writing Month. I've decided to give it a shot. The pressure and taunting from The Filthy Critic was finally too much to bear.

For the purpose of this event, a novel is defined as 50,000 words. That works out to an average of almost 1700 words per day, over the course of the 30 days of November. If I commit to doing a solid uninterrupted two hour session of writing per day, that's about 14 words per minute. I'm feeling pretty relaxed about it because I took touch-typing in high-school and I was clocked at like 70 words per minute. So this should be no problem.

Here is my NaNoWriMo profile, where interested parties can track my (lack of) progress.

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