The Holidays Approacheth

I can always tell when the holidays are getting close – my free time evaporates.

This year we hosted Alasdair’s parents for Thanksgiving, which was lovely. They don’t like cornbread, and do like pumpkin pie, which I consider a victory.

And then of course, there’s Dragon Age Inquisition. Which I’m trying very hard NOT to take up my every waking weekend hour. So far, so good, but I’ve still logged close to 30 hours since launch. More posts on that later. My current interaction with the game is … complicated.

While I struggle to balance household chores with saving Theda, enjoy this lovely Pat Cadigan story, “Cody”, which I narrated for Clarkesworld.

Thomas Edison Weekend

There’s a story about Thomas Edison and inventing the lightbulb, and how it took him over 500 attempts. The last three days have been a lot like that – learning things by making a spectacular mess of them.

I was in a three day advocacy training course this week. Most of it I enjoyed and thought I did rather well at. The closing argument I prepared? Not so much… I choked. I managed to recover at the end enough to at least offer some rebuttal, but yeah – spectacular argumentative face plant last thing on a Friday.

Then this weekend, I thought I’d make a batch of Nadine’s amazing pumpkin pie fudge. What I learned after the 60 minutes of failing to reach the correct temperature, followed by too rapid of a temperature change, was I’d forgotten to double ALL the ingredients in the recipe for this double batch. The resulting disaster smelled amazing, but wasn’t even viable as a sauce.

Success and failure are only half of the equation. The other half, the HARDER half,  is what you do when you screw it up.

The Last Big Project

Alasdair and I are trying a new approach to projects this year: a cut off date. And of September we officially closed the doors to any new conventions, projects, collaborations or other new work. One month later and it’s already have a big impact on our free time. Namely, we have some every single weekend, and the projects still on the boards are making steady progress to complete by the middle of December. It’s a simple, glorious hack.

Of course it meant a few last-minute “quick get this in the wind!” emails, but so far none of those have come in to roost. And since the big one for me (a Law and History track of programming for next year’s Nine Worlds) has months and months yet, all the better.

This last couple of weeks was also the end of THE big project – my visa. We’re squared away for another two years, and all the paperwork has been carefully archived for if it’s needed again. A huge psychological sigh of relief, followed by a lunch of tapas and cipriani.

This weekend was another gloriously relaxing, rambly couple of days. The bikes have been given an overhaul and are ready for some dry weather to go out and explore MK’s Red Ways. We found a great new Indian restaurant, and I’ve read THREE novellas in the last week. I can see actual physical progress on my To Be Read bookshelf, it’s a miracle!

I love taking on new projects. And this time of the year, when it feels like the world is ready to sleep, it feels just as good to finish them up and put them down.

 

Published in: on November 2, 2014 at 18:43  Leave a Comment  
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Two Out Of Seven

Weekends haven’t been a thing I’ve been able to enjoy the last two years. Between studying and podcasting and the training contract application process, they were just an extension of the working week.

And boy am I glad that’s over with.

I missed sleeping in, and to do lists that shrink instead of growing ever longer. I missed having time to let my brain wander while I walk home, and whittling away at my To Be Read shelf. Second pots of coffee over comic books on Sunday morning. Not constantly pushing. Planning, instead of reacting.

I’ve watched three movies in the last four days, two of them in the theater. For the curious, Mazerunner was excellent and Dracula Untold was boring / ridiculous. I’ve been planning out a possible November spa weekend while Alasdair’s at Thought Bubble. And I’ve resolutely refused to make plans for my two weeks off at Christmas beyond experimental baking and Dragon Age: Inquisition.

This year, as the world slows down and prepares to rest through the dark months, I’m going with it.

Published in: on October 19, 2014 at 17:21  Comments (1)  
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Home Sweet Home

After a busy weekend of shopping for all that little stuff you forget about while packing, my third move in three years is a done deal. And so is my brain, if the grammar of that sentence is to believed. Sheesh.

It’s been an absolutely breathlessly busy couple of weeks, but the tide is finally turning. All our things and people are in the same place now (hurray!) and as soon as the cardboard clears, we can start moving forward with older stuff that’s been on the cards a while. No new stuff. Alasdair and I have both promised not to take on any new projects the rest of the year, and I aim to stick to it. Having a garage means the ability to set up another permanent recording space, plus keep the bikes out of the wet weather. In the mean time, it’s exploring all the home stores and nearby shops and excellent, excellent burger joints.

I love having a commute again. I know some people hate it, but for me the transitional time to start to plan out my day, or unwind and leave work-things away from home, is more than just useful, it’s precious. It means my podcast backlog is evaporating, and I’m already starting to take a look at the medium and longer-term project list for Cast of Wonders again.

The new job is fantastic. My first transactional work in a long time, it’s challenging and exhausting and exhilarating and confusing and I love every minute of it. Sitting open plan is equal parts challenge and joy, and it will be interesting to see how that evolves as we transition to laptops.

One quick piece of legal news. As has been widely reported, the Kirby estate has settled with Marvel. While on one hand I’m delighted the dispute has been resolved, on the other I am a bit disappointed the “work for hire” question won’t be addressed at the Federal level. Unsurprisingly there are no public details of the settlement. We’ll have to see how Marvel handles attribution moving forward, and guess at the dollar figure.

Published in: on September 28, 2014 at 17:52  Leave a Comment  

T Minus One

Tomorrow’s the big day – the first day of my training contract (or “period of recognized training”, as it’s now known). I’m nervous. I’m excited. I’m not enough of either of those things, and too much all at the same time.

Mostly I feel distracted and worried about all the logistics we’re juggling: the move, the visa, etc. I viewed another house last week and applied over the weekend, but of course the referencing and such will take a few days. Part of me knows I’ll be extremely busy (and therefore distracted followed by exhausted) during the coming week, but still… I can’t help but long for things to be more settled than they are right now.

And that’s leaving aside the entire ball of emotions wrapped up in bed-sitting / living apart from Alasdair again. With luck it’ll be short – two weeks, maybe three. If not, it’ll be weekend visits and more house-hunting until we can nail down the move. Doable. Sustainable. Undesirable.

On top of all THAT, tonight is the Parsec Awards – airing at an East Coast time which should see me fast asleep. They’re not a tremendous contributor to the overall emotional rollercoaster, but they’re still a part. It feels like Cast of Wonders is right on the cusp of starting to gain more mainstream recognition. I’ve done a lot more commentary and community involvement recently, and am starting to look at panel attendance in next year’s convention circuit.

Then there’s FantasyCon this weekend to finish preparing. It’s all in very good shape, just a matter of finalizing and printing and such. This weekend while I’ve packed for London, I packed for York at the same time.

One step at a time. Finish one project at a time. No new personal projects this year. And a quiet Christmas in a new house with, if we’re lucky, enough space for a tree. Just gotta stay on target, and remember to enjoy the ride!

Phase One: Complete!

One international move, two years of intense work, nineteen examinations and more applications than I care to count, and it’s all over.

The paperwork has been signed. It’s official: I’ve accepted my training contract with Olswang, and I start September 1st!

I cannot adequately put into works how excited I am. Not just to be moving into the last stage of training, but to be doing so immediately. I had resigned myself to a two year gap, and of course made plans to use the time productively. I’m ecstatic to abandon them.

For the last several months, The Future has been one big constantly shifting order of operations puzzle. When and where do we want to have the wedding, and is that timing dictated by my leave to remain visa application? (It’s not. Whew.) When should I start looking for full-time employment after exams? Are we going to move? Where, and when? What does that mean for Alasdair’s employment? How are we going to schedule all these conventions when I may have interviews and assessment days? On and on and on. Many questions, few answers.

These last few weeks it’s all started to click into place. This will be our third move in three years. Where hasn’t been decided yet, but we’ve got a likely candidate, RightMove saved properties and tentative plans for a scouting trip along with offers of help from friends and family alike. But we’ll make it work. We always do. Not to mention the HUGE job possibilities this makes possible for Alasdair.

But one thing at a time. Nine Worlds this weekend (#DragonLadies! Swordfighting!). LonCon next (US friends!).  Then house-hunting and FantasyCon (Redcloaks!).

Onward, to bigger and better!

Last Big Push

As I lean in for final charge on the 2014 training contract application deadline, here’s a few projects and interesting cases I’ve been keeping an eye on these last couple of months. A more in-depth personal update once they’re done and before the (awesome) August convention marathon kicks off. Enjoy! (more…)

Tanned and Ready to Go

Welcome back, true believers!

As I write this my final beach day sunburn is just starting to peel in the last spots. While outside, we’re being treated to drizzle before the weather is supposed to climb to the perilous upper 20’s later this week. Hoodie and lovely new tea one day, shorts and tank tops the next. Ah English weather, you do like to keep me on my toes. (more…)

Seeing Green

Let’s talk about She-Hulk.

Those of you who follow me on Twitter know Jennifer Walters is my homegirl. Superhero, lawyer, socialite and all-around solid friend, Shulkie takes no guff from anyone. She stands up to Doom to defend his son in an attempt to seek asylum and wins. She can match banter with Iron Man and his legal department. Her current run is being written by Charles Soule, a lawyer himself. Issue four has her visiting Matt Murdock, i.e. DareDevil, ALSO a lawyer, for some advice on the aftermath of a case. When Iain and I were mediating, I used Jennifer Walters as my alias. And she’s green, my favorite color.

So when DC’s new it-director David Goyer calls her a “a giant green porn star”…

Goyer’s claims are as disgusting as they are mired in the ancient and erroneous All Boys Club of comic history. “An extension of the male power fantasy” and a sexual conquest for the Hulk – her cousin?! Please.

The backlash was immediate and from all angles. Even the grandfather of the Marvel universe, Stan Lee, put Goyer in his place. The Scriptnotes episode host, Craig Mazin, attempted to row back from his Goyer cheerleading / slut-shaming with this non-apology.

Marvel’s Phase One and Phase Two have made it abundantly clear that the modern world of superheroes has stepped firmly away from its white-washed origins. Three out of Nick Fury’s right-hand agents, between the movies and the television series, are women. The Bechdel Test is passed consistently.

Meanwhile over in Goyer’s DC camp, we hear the claim audiences won’t connect with a female lead, which is their excuse for there not being a Wonder Woman anything. She’s been announced as a cameo in the Justice League movie, should it actually ever take the screen around yet ANOTHER Batman / Superman project.

Marvel, meanwhile, offers us a gun-totting raccoon, a black Spiderman, and a young, female, Muslim Ms. Marvel.

The defense rests.

Published in: on May 25, 2014 at 12:51  Leave a Comment  
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