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!

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…)

Wrong Kind Of Burn

I would happily trade all this delightful near-burnout on revision for some toasty pink skin. The weather has turned GORGEOUS and here I am, studying away. Le sigh. Just one more exam to go.

This is me, at 0:55.

Here’s a few news articles from the tech legal world to keep you entertained while I bang my head against competition law:

-Google faces the EU music in the recent “Right to be Forgotten” decision (full text here), and is reportedly already hard at work on an opt-in scrubbing tool.

-Amazon Technologies has been awarded a patent on… a plain white room? Perhaps a green-screen alternative for digital motion capture, but the claims appear to be for a fairly standard photography set up of surround lighting. I’m curious to learn what the commercial significance is behind the filing. Unless, that is, Amazon plans to get into the patent troll business…

-Rock legend Led Zepplin is finally, officially being sued of the opening riff to Stairway to Heaven by the last surviving member of Spirit, a contemporary rival. We’ll have to wait and see if the Wayne’s World prediction comes true.

Eighteen Days and Counting

“I should be revising” will be my constant refrain for those next 18 days, but in the meantime here’s some tidbits from the Geek Legal world this week:

May the Fourth Be With You. Which is about all I need to say on that subject, not being the world’s biggest Star Wars fan. Expect announcements today. And if there ISN’T a female lead role casting announcement today, expect commentary on its absence.

Warner Brothers may be shelling out millions to Tess Gerritsen, author of “Gravity”, the novel she claims the recent hit movie copied. Her lawyers claim there’s substantial evidence not only of copying, but of overlapping staff and a lapsed option contract.

-Kickstarters beware: AG’s are looking your direction. Washington state’s Attorney General Bob Ferguson has initiated a consumer protection suit on behalf of 31 residents of his state who have yet to receive any of the rewards promised them by Altius Management’s 2012 pledge campaign to print a deck of “retro-horror”-themed cards designed by a Serbian artist. Kickstarter has suffered criticism in the past for being unable to take action against deadbeat pledge campaigns. It’ll be interesting to see how this suit progresses and if other jurisdictions follow suit.

Back to administrative clauses for me, catch you in 7.

 

Flying Update

Two more weeks of classed until Christmas break and the pressure has ramped up significantly. Apologies for the bullet points, but I need to get back to Wills revision.

  • The Doctor Who 50th Anniversary “Day of the Doctor” was fantastic. Going to see it with hundreds of other fans in costume in the theaters was amazing. Peter Capaldi’s eyebrows owned the Internet last night.
  • Thanks again to The Cheesecakes for hosting me while Alasdair was in Leeds for Thought Bubble.
  • One flavor of Jelly Babies is icky. Now that I’ve got the rest of the bag home in lighted conditions, I will investigate further to discover the guilty party.
  • The house is mostly unpacked and I’ve just set up a couple of reusable ceramic dehumidifiers in the two less-well insulated windows. There’s several small projects left, but first I need to learn how to properly install hanging things in these types of walls. This may involve the purchase of power tools. Heaven forfend.
  • Our housewarming / late Thanksgiving / early Christmas / Great Swap party is scheduled and the menu being planned. Alasdair wants to make tamales. YUM.
  • The mediation competition has advanced to the semi-finals this week. It’s fascinating being on the other side of the table this time, and I’m developing whole new sets of skills.
  • I’m hoping I might get to do my first community mediation over the Christmas break, but I haven’t heard back yet.
  • Speaking of the Christmas break, we are officially going to take 10 days off towards the end of the month. I’ll post about it so people can help keep me honest.
  • My latest narration is up at Cast of Wonders – “The View From Stickney Crater” by Rick Kennett, our latest Cy de Gurch story.
  • I think I’ve located an international foods market that carries fresh Ancho peppers. I need to get some and roast them to confirm. Because that would mean green chili and cheese tamales. YUM.

Right. Back to work!

Fall Back

Five in the evening and it’s already dark. No matter how hard I try, I never fully adjust. There are plenty of evening hours, but they all feel like they’re closer to midnight than dinner time. Ah well.

The move is complete, the old house has been cleaned top to bottom (it’s cleaner now than when we moved in!), and the new place unpacked enough to be functional. Both offices are still a mess, but at least all the furniture’s in the right places. Which is SO much easier to accomplish when the house is only two stories instead of four! Alasdair’s even had a chance to play the first part of Arkham Origins – life is slowly returning to … well, what we call normal anyway.

Monday is the commercial mediation competition kick-off, and I’m equal parts excited and nervous. I can’t wait to compare and contrast with my community mediation training, and strangely I’m looking forward to the chance to practice my note-taking. I didn’t realize how many different -ways- there are, depending on your focus. Yes, I’m dorking out about note-taking. Geek in all things, right?

Back to business prep and unpacking!

Running To Stand Still

The forty-two days between my last post and this should give you some indication of how busy things are at the moment. So busy that I don’t have time to go see Ender’s Game, let alone write the blog post detailing my approach to seeing it in theaters without (according to my calculations) a red cent of my money making its way to Orson Scott Card’s pocket.

But after a diligent “one on, one off” reading week I still have ten lectures to consolidate, two sessions’ worth of preparations to finalize, 2/3rds of the house to pack, my wife to murder, and Gilder to frame for it. I’m swamped.*

That’s right, we’re moving. Long story short, it was now with control, or next summer in the middle of exams without any control. You’ve met me and my deep and abiding love for order. No brainer, really. This way we’ll at least beat the snows (tonight’s Uber Storm non-withstanding) and will have time to settle in before exams start end of November. That’s in about a month. Already. Wow.

Other than the full time LPC (which is keeping to its promise of being less overall work than the GDL), community mediation training, the upcoming commercial mediation competition, and moving, things are swell. Alasdair’s current Kickstarter project is about to close and has done quite well, and he’ll be Red Jacketing at World Fantasy Con next weekend.

I will be at two all-day back to back training seminars.
And packing.
He’s promised flowers and dinner out. Wise man. 🙂

Cast of Wonders is doing amazing. Between the Parsec win this year and the Camp Myth: Phoenix Watching project I think the show is really starting to hit its stride. We’ll be running Staff Picks in January, the month we traditionally go dark, and I’m starting to look at 2014’s line-up. We have some fantastic stories headed your way.

Until next time!

*This is a quote. You all know it’s a quote. But as application season rears its head, I find it safest to clarify I’m not advocating murder.

One Week And Counting

Back to school already, huh? Well, I can’t say the weather hasn’t telegraphed the change in season. I think it was literally beautiful one day, and gray and miserable the next. Ah well. We’re still having occasionally nice days, and I’m using them to get as much of the last of the yard work done as possible. We’re in decent shape, I’d just like to get the pile in the back finished off before the rain becomes unrelenting.

I wasn’t successful in securing a training contact this summer. Technically I have yet to hear back from one firm, but given how late it is in the recruiting cycle I think I’m unlikely to at all. Which is just plain rude, if you ask me. I know firms are being inundated by applicants, but how hard is it to send a mass “thanks but no thanks” acknowledgement? I do it with all of the Cast of Wonders submissions.

And speaking of which, take a look at this:

2013 Winner Badge
Cast of Wonders won its very first Parsec award! We’re so thrilled, Graeme even introduced our latest episode with the phrase “award winning”. I can’t wait for my statue to get here.

The Isle of Man / York trip was fantastic. We had beautiful weather, smooth crossings, and lots of time to catch up with family and friends. You couldn’t ask for more from a late summer vacation. 🙂

Vignettes

The last two weeks have been busy, sunny, warm and amazing. I’ve spent less time at my computer, and more time reading, narrating, in the garden and with friends. I appreciate all the extra effort the late-blooming summer has made, as do my bumper-crop of freckles.

Here are some thoughts, impressions and experiences, roughly in reverse chronological order, or the last couple weeks. No bullets this time; I don’t like how unresponsive they are to formatting.

-Today in Florida, George Zimmerman was acquitted of the death of Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman was charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter; the all-female jury of six found him not guilty of both charges. The racial significance of the case was discussed. Insightful commentary was offered as to the future battles Zimmerman faces. Oakland rioted. The American legal cornerstone of innocence until proven guilty continues to stand side-by-side with centuries-old bigotry in a country that doesn’t have the courage to follow Australia‘s footsteps.

Pacific Rim is fantastic, a lovingly prepared cross between a WWII drama and a kaiju anime. I loved every shiny, explodey, gigantic moment of it. Why couldn’t the Transformers reboot have been like this?!

-I’ve finished two books in the last week, both of which deserve their own longer reviews. “Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore” is the novel-length version of the original short story, and “The She-Hulk Diaries” gives a Carrie Bradshaw lens to the Avengers’ lean mean green attorney. Both are highly recommended.

-My first visit to Edge-Lit was a wonderful chance to catch up with my entire authorial Twitter feed face to face. Despite the record temperature’s attempts to bake us, a good time was had by all. There was baby-holding and plenty of cake to share, plus Adele put a dog-nose and ears on Alasdair at her Noir Carnival launch.

-Speaking of Alasdair, things have been very diverse for him lately: some ups, some downs. There’s been lots of deep thinking and long talks brainstorming about the future. I’m incredibly proud of how hard he’s working and the many directions he’s exploring. Great job, love.

-He and his parents spoiled me rotten for my birthday. I have a new blouse, a fantastic magnetic bulletin board with a map of the world and little arrow magnets, a culinary blow torch (s’mores!), chocolates, a new African violet for my office, and the Apple Jack My Little Pony comic. Plus I treated myself to a manicure and a day of random window-shopping. Just wonderful.

-The day before I got my exam results and passed with flying colors. Yahoo! Exactly the pay-off I was hoping for after a hard, hard academic year.

-Our Fourth of July dinner with friends and neighbors was fantastic, plus I have macaroni and cheese squirreled away in the freezer for emergency homesickness alleviation.

-Several new projects are in the works for Cast of Wonders which should start to see fruition as early as next week when we debut a new flash fiction segment. I’m also doing a lot of behind-the-scenes organization, such as finally search tagging the back catalog, setting up a Pinterest board with all our episode art, and preparing a database of our author and narrator contact information. The Parsec finalists haven’t been announced yet, but my fingers remain firmly crossed.

-The one area I’ve been less than stellar has been completing the rest of my training contract applications. I’ve started the final batch, but the summer heat has proved excellent inertia on dotting the I’s, crossing the T’s, and pressing send. Now that I don’t have the excuse of waiting for exam results, this next weekend’s project is to knuckle under and get them finished. I hate leaving things to the last minute, and while I technically have a few work-days after my vacation scheme finishes, I’m sure those recruiting managers would appreciate me finishing earlier rather than later as well.

Next time, either my strategy for how to see “Ender’s Game” without a bigot profiting, the before-and-after photos of my summer office reorganization, or a Mexican food recipe for people who don’t like chili.

Study Playlists

Anyone who knows me knows I love music. I own gigs and gigs of it, everything from dubstep to classical to videogame and movie soundtracks. I have easily two dozen playlists in iTunes depending on mood, season, and purpose.

Of course, I built a different playlist for each subject I was studying. I generally prefer non-vocal music for studying a non-math subject, and the more familiar the tracks the better so they fade comfortably into the background.

Quick before I finally take the iOS 6.0+ plunge, I’m going to list them here.

  • Constitutional – Chicane’s “Far From the Maddening Crowd” and “Behind the Sun” albums.
  • Contract – A variant on my Eclipse Phase RPG music, lots of Wall of Sound favorites like Mogwai’s “Happy Songs for Happy People” album, Geomatic’s “Blue Beam”, “The Earth is not a Cold Dead Place” by Explosions in the Sky, and my Monstrum Sepsis albums, especially “Deep Sea Creatures”. That reminds me, I need to see if that Xx track “Intro” would work on that list…
  • Criminal – I started off the school year with Elbow, but I found Guy Garvey’s amazing voice too distracting for finals revision and switched to the Deux Ex: Human Revolution soundtrack.
  • EU -Philip Glass. And it almost broke me. I only have one of his albums and they’re all lovely, but I spent a LOT of time on EU law… I haven’t played any since.
  • Land – Daft Punk’s “Tron: Legacy” soundtrack, including both the Amazon and iTunes exclusives. I was very good and DIDN’T load in the “Reconfigured” remix album because I was afraid the new quality of the tracks would be too distracting.
  • Tort – By the time I got to Tort I was pretty sick and tired of quiet stuff, I needed some energy. So I busted out my ambient upbeat go-to – ATB. I have about a dozen of their albums and remixes, but good old “Movin’ Melodies” and “Addicted to Music” were frequent repeats. One day I’ll manage to track down the remix collection what that fantastic “Don’t Stop” version. ONE DAY!!!!
  • Trusts -Dvorak, especially the New World Symphony and the B-Minor Cello Concerto. I have a lovely recording by Yo-Yo Ma and the Berlin Philharmonic. I’m surprised I managed to keep from humming during the exam!