jemontague.com

Nov 292011
 

Badges

Today, i’ve been doing research for a pilot I’m making for Uni. it’s a psychic game show.

In the course of my investigations I earned this:

psychic test, psychic development and psychic readings

Which apparently means I am middle-of-the-road at psychicness. I answered truthfully, and the questions were hilarious. I strongly advise you to give it a look if you’re a hard-bitten skeptic with a sense of humour like I am.

 

And here’s another two web badges. The first shows how many words I wrote on any given day this month (the aim is 1,667 a day, green is over, yellow is around, orange is under, and red is none at all).

The second badge is my winner’s badge, because oh my god, I actually did it once.

Yeah, I won. What, did you think I wouldn't?

 

 

 

 

 

 

I want to explain something here. I’m not doing NaNo to write a best-seller. I know my book will never get published. It’s very likely I’ll never submit it to be published (except to the place that offers to publish you five copies of your books if your purchase one, because owning a paper copy of it would be cool). I wrote it because I want to create.

I’m not an artiste, but I am a crafter with an artistic side, and I love to create. When I’ve finished writing and editing this book, it will be good. Maybe not brilliant, or great, but I’d be happy with good. All I want to achieve is a book I can look at and say “that’s the best I can do with writing, all packaged up in that one bundle”.

I also want to do it to prove that I can. This has been one of the most stressful months of my life, with my job and Radio KoL picking up, the first three chapters of my dissertation due in, other Uni work, and general life stuff, but I still wrote 50,000 words (I haven’t actually finished the novel yet – I have another two and a half chapters to complete).

I’m not that good a writer – don’t get me wrong, my grasp of English is pretty good, and I can communicate well, but the actual art of writing is a different thing – and I’m a chronic procrastinator. Not in a “Oops, I meant to do this yesterday and I didn’t get round to it” way, but in a “Oops, I meant to do this in April and only just got it finished in October” way (true example, that one). So to have done this, and everything else, in a month, is empowering (I hate that word).

Some more badges:
Mensa TestMy iq is 118! no wait, 144!
Free-IQTest.net – Mensa Test

I'm smurt

Yes, this was from an IQ test, no, I didn't make it myself.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I answered all these honestly and to the best of my abilities.

What’s the point? Nothing really, other than I like web-badges and IQ tests are stupid.

 

I might keep that one that says 144 though. I think that’s probably the correct one. Clearly.

These get better every time!

My eyes started turning red around day eighteen. And yes, my desk is lilac - it's a set of plastic drawers.

 

 

Nov 212011
 

I haven’t posted in a couple of weeks.

This is not because TVTropes has ruined my life, but because because NaNoWriMo owns my soul.

I’ve written an average of 2,000 words a day, every day, since the first of November.

Two. Thousand. What?

Actually, it’s not quite like that. Some days I write three to six thousand, some days I write three hundred to a thousand. Yesterday I wrote nothing for the first time in this whole months because I had a headache.

It’s pretty good practice, both at getting me working every day and at improving my writing technique which is… technically proficient, but stylistically clunky (which is not the same thing as stylistic suck. What do you mean TVTropes has ruined my vocabulary?).

So, what’s the novel about, I hear you cry? Well, to explain that properly I really need to explain the genesis of the idea.

I was sitting in the university, desperately trying to work out what to write for Nano on the first day. My mind went, as it often does, to Joseph Campbell’s The Hero with a Thousand Faces . I’ve never read it, but I’ve heard elements of it down the years, and it always seemed to me that if you think about it the right way, Harry Potter, Star Wars, and Lord of the Rings have a lot in common.

It’s the story of a boy who has no parents, and is being raised by his nearest living relatives. He discovers that he has power, and is given a magical macguffin. He has to go on a quest, and learn how to use his power along the way. He makes friends, and they become a loyal band. There is a small resolution, and by the end of the first section of his story, he has gained some knowledge, a minor victory, and the first step on the way to his ultimate goal.

So I decided to write the Lord of the Star Potters.

Then I decided that was silly, but had the idea to write a book, but write it from the a perspective you wouldn’t expect. Like, for example Neville’s, Chewbacca’s, or Boromir’s. (Although knowing the Star wars EU that novel probably exists, and the other two are almost definitely existant in fanfic).

So, I made the story of a magical girl, whose mother is wrongly accused of murder. Her mother’s former work partner seeks out her estranged daughter, tells her she’s magical, and together they solve the case. (With a twist. I love twists). Except, this story is about her best friend, who is not magical. She’s just a single mother.

It’s really a very good plot. I with it were in the hands of a better writer, but I’ll make of it what I can.

 

And my head hurts, so that’s all I have for tonight.

Yup, this is exactly how I see characters in my head.

And his name was Frorryuke

Nov 032011
 

The story, the excuses

I’m not an emotional person.

I think most people who know me, if asked to describe me in one-word answers might call me dependable, reliable, sensible, and so on. (Occasionally “Good singer” would probably slip through).

When other people break down, or their world goes to shit, mine tends to stay dependable. I keep my emotions hidden away in the dark and only let them out in lumps, normally late at night, normally when something has happened that has burst the dam and spilled everything else over. I cry, I rant, I tell David how everything sucks, and the next day I’m back to stability.

This is a good system. It’s served me well for many years. But now, I’m not coping well. I’ve never learned how to actually deal with my emotions.

Right now, I’m in honours year at Uni. I have a research paper (dissertation) to write. I have to create a half-hour radio piece, and it has to be perfect. I have to create a trailer for a game show (or other factual program) and do a 20 minute presentation to present it.

I have to read academic books, something I’ve never been able to do. I have to do work every day, instead of the night before; something I’ve never done.

I have to deal with having no money. I have to pay the rent and the electric bill, as well as all the hundreds of little expenses that come along.

I have to do radio shows, and I have to do them well, or I feel guilty. I have to do scheduling for the station, and help people when they need help I have to deal with grievances when I do something badly, or when someone else needs to talk to an admin.

I have to write a novel. I have to record an album. I have to record interviews with creative types.

I’m choosing my words carefully here, because I know many of you are thinking “She doesn’t *have* to do any of these things.” And you’re right. I don’t technically have to do them. But if I don’t do them, I can’t look myself in the face and explain why.

I have to deal with hundreds of little injuries and the fact that I want to leave everything to the last minute. I have to try and keep the house clean, if not tidy.

I quit biting my nails in February. I started eating healthily the August before. I quit smoking the March before that. March 2010.

Except, in August 2010, when I was starting Uni, and I hadn’t been properly enrolled, and my life looked like it was about to come crumbling down around my ears, and I couldn’t cope. I had a cigarette then.

Except in July 2011, when I discovered David had lied to me for about the 8th time and had been smoking again. I took his cigarettes from his hiding place and smoked about a third of one on the front step.

Except today. I’ve had a cold for two months. My creative project needs to be scrapped and started again. I haven’t done the research for my research project that I needed to do. Whenever I come home I never do any work. I’ve skim-read one and a half books of the twenty-odd that I need to for my coursework.  Since I quit biting my nails I’ve put on a stone and a half. Half my family is ill or depressed, and I have no friends (in real life, the sort of friends whose house I could go to or who I could phone up).

 

Last night, lying in the bath sniffling with the cold and crying because I –can’t cope- I decided it would be okay to have a cigarette. All day today, I’ve been fighting the idea, and then, half an hour ago, I went in to the student shop in the Uni, bought ten Richmond Menthol King-size, and a box of Bluebell matches, and walking home from Uni, I smoked two of them.

I felt guilty, I smell awful, my mouth tastes like crap, but I also felt relaxed and slightly stoned.

And I’ve convinced myself that as long as I wait a week or more between them, to let my system get over it, I can have one from this packet if and when I need it.

 

The Rebuttal

My problems are all first-world problems. Let’s call the whaaambulence. So I have to deal with coursework? Everyone else manages it. So I’m emotionally repressed? Not breaking down in classes and at the drop of a hat is a good thing. So I have to read academic literature? Suck it up and see the above “Everyone else” point. I’m skint? And? I’m a spoiled brat. I’ve never gone without like others have, and I’ve a house and food. Radio? Novel? Album? Interviews? All voluntary. Don’t do them. Pride comes before the fall, and that’s all that is. Pride and stubbornness. Injuries? None of them are life-threatening, I’ve had worse before and got on fine. I have to clean my house? Fuck’s sake. Show me someone who doesn’t, and I’ll show you someone rich or clatty.

Not smoking is a case of just not doing it. Eating healthily is mostly a case of not buying crap. Well done on still not biting.

I have a cold? God forbid. I’ll cancel the Whaaaaambulence and just call a hearse.

 

This is how my brain looks on the inside. The excuses, the reasoning, the bitch who won’t accept either of the above.

And… that’s all I can say.

 

I'm not in the mood for teh funnies.

I tried to make this a funny wee drawing, but I'm not in the mood.

Oct 242011
 

I didn’t realise until recently what sort of unspoken cultural language we have about newspapers in the UK.
In the same way that someone from England might watch Fox news and mistake it for the same sort of (mostly) unbiased [comparatively] news coverage we get on terrestrial channels over here, someone from Virginia might link to a news article from the Sun, or the Star, or the Daily Fail, and not realise the context of the paper.

The Sun? It’s not just a paper. It’s a working-class, right-wing, non-intellectual tabloid paper.

The Guardian (Or the Grauniad, as Private Eye calls it)? Left-wing. Liberal. Wishy-washy broad sheet (and my favourite).

The Telegraph? (Torygrpah)? Right wing. Upper class. Broad sheet.

The Star? See the Sun, but trashier, and more sensationalist.

The Daily Fail? I don’t even.

Each one reports stories in their own way. And when you, a smart, cultured, not-politically-extreme foreigner, from America, or Australia, or Canada, link to one of these papers you’re inadvertently making a statement.

Personally, I’d link to the Guardian or the BBC. But I’m left-leaning, liberal, middle class and a little snobby.

(Yes, I made two posts in one week. Don’t worry, I won’t keep it up. I’ve never kept up anything like this in my life. So say my 8 other blogs and journals. Although by all means keep checking back or subscribe to the RSS feed and bully me to post more or just watch me fail.)

My masterpiece of MS paint.

This is a man. On a bench. In a park. Reading a Red-top. Which I didn’t mention in this blog. Which is badly-drawn. RELEVANCE!
Oct 212011
 

I realise that this next is the same level of question as the “Why do foods with LESS fat cost MORE to make”, but I don’t think the answer is the same.

I was looking at Google ebooks and the book on there are generally the same price as paperbacks.

Why?

A hardback book costs, say, £20. The paperback version costs around £8.

I assume this difference in price is because the production process for the Hardback costs more, as does the nice shiny card-stuff they use for the eponymous covers.
(Plus a bit extra on top, because any excuse to add to the price is a good one).

I assume a paperback costs as much as it does because you have to pay the following things:

• Writer
• Agent
• Publisher
• Press
• Cost of Printing
• Distribution
• Mark up for bookstores
I don’t know anything about book publishing, but these categories seem reasonable to me.

So why would the same book cost £8 on Google Ebooks?
The very nature of the e-book would seem to remove the Publisher, cost of printing, distribution, and book shop mark-up from the equation entirely.
So what costs might it add?
• Server space.
• Programmers
• Graphic artist
• Distribution programme
But these things are done en masse. Unlike a print run, which might have a cost of say, 50p per book, you instead have to have a personal page for the book, which might have cost you £30 in man-hours in design, server space and implementation; but this can be applied to all of your books. Or, at least, a lot of them. And just retrospectively; it’s to all the future books too. Apply the cost of this one page across all its uses and the price dwindles more.

So, my question again, is WHY THE HELL DOES AN EBOOK COST THE SAME AS A PAPERBACK.

(In related topics, DRM for ebooks is awful, and why does everything end in 99p in every context?)

A google elf converting a book into an ebook

here is a drawing I did of a google elf making an ebook from a real book. Because you're special.

Oct 192011
 

New site!

 

I hate how it looks right now, and I hate that I had to go with a service to make my site, instead of having control of it myself, BUT this one is *way* more functional than the old one, even if it does look like ass.

 

All the media links should work the same, but now you can comment on things! Cool!

 

Also, there are tags and… stuff. If you have any suggestions or can help make this more awesome at all, please do.

 

No, really, please, please do?

Sep 292011
 

Here you will find the MP3 files of the Echo Chamber podcast!

When TVTropes released a webseries, as a heavy lurker (jojoscotia) I watched it instantly, and every time a new episode came out.
Not content with merely watching the program, I read the blog, the forum thread, the tropes page, and then, when I discovered it, added Zack’s Character on Twitter. Much to my surprise, he added me back, and then tweeted at me. A few days later, Dana Shaw eamiled me, told me she was a KoLer, and would I like to interview the three main cast for Radio KoL. I did a little dance of joy and then said yes.

So, below are links to the MP3s of two interviews. The first, with Tom and Zach in-character. The second, in three parts, is a full interview with the cast, with many hints for the future!

 

The Echo Chamber interview MP3s are below:
In-character interview with Tom and Zack
Cast Interview Part 1
Cast Interview Part 2
Cast Interview Part 3

I have to apologise for my mic quality. I can’t afford a muffler and I was too excited to remember to point my face away from the microphone. But it’s perfectly audible, and Tom, Zack, and Dana are hilarious!

Sep 052011
 

My first memory?

Age 3: Woodchips. A park. The ground. Excitement. Safety.
My mum tells me this is a trip to Edinburgh Zoo when I was about 3. I loved the woodchips, and was not bothered about the playpark things like the slide and the swings.

More memories.
Before I was 4: A double bed in a medium-sized room. Lying in bed with my mum being silly. David comes in, and I show him how I can wink. He shows me he can do it with either eye. I bury my face in the pillow and force my eye closed, showing him the results. He’s so silly, I’m so proud. I then taught myself to wink with either eye, much like I would again in primary three, but with fingers.
Before I was 4: A sofa, in a large room. It’s a fairly bare room, and I am sitting on a three-seater sofa across from a TV eating cerial. This is all of this memory. Not what was on TV, not what was happening at the time, just sitting there.
Before I was 5: Christmas morning. A huge tree (It’s not, but I was small), a me-sized perfect wicker chair, with a giant teddybear in it. he had a chain. It was love at first sight, and the joy I felt then is still in the back of my head, wrapped up in this memory like a special present. I don’t know when, but he came to be known as Mr Ted, and was my constant companion for about a decade.
Before I was 5: A kitchen. A birthday. A Postman Pat cake. Candles.

 

I have one other memory from this time, but it’s probably a bit long and I’ve run out of time. Next time!

CK

Aug 302011
 

Just workin’ on the site tonight, trying to work out how I’m going to learn to integrate a blogging system into this nice site (rather than integrating the nice site into a blogging system), and thinking about RSS feeds.
I’m not working out how to do these things, just thinking about how I’ll learn to do it.

 

I’ve been working on changing over the stock pictures to some I actually own (taken by my father). They’re no more relevant to the site than the stock photos, but hopefully they’ll give it it’s own flavour. Right now I’m also working on getting some more pages up; the news section, the podcast page, and the About page. I get a feeling there’s going to be some repeated information though.