D4D

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Archive for the category “Thoughts”

Outlining

At the moment, I’ve got several writing plans/projects in my head, but two that are really standing out, and that I want to work on.  And already that’s a fair dollop of progress.

For now though, I’m trying something a bit different – I don’t yet know if it’ll work out, but so far it appears to be doing OK.

Basically, rather than just writing and seeing how things develop, I’m taking some time first to outline it all, so I know what the plan is, where characters will go, and how everything interacts. It’s also interesting, from the perspective of figuring out more about how my brain processes these things.

The only thing that concerns me currently about this process is that I know how I am, that once I’ve written something down or otherwise got it out of my head I’ll forget all about the details, and there’ll be something else to grab my attention instead. Oooh, shiny.

So it may be that doing these outlines is as far as I go on these ideas. Or it may be that the outlines gel everything together so that I know what I’m doing, and then just want to get it done.

And only time will tell which of those options will happen.  Which is kind of cool, and kind of frustrating…

Slight Demoralisation

Over the last couple of weeks, one of the satellite TV channels has been repeating one of my all-time favourite series, “The Closer“, and I’ve been recording and re-watching them. In some episodes it shows its age (it first went out in 2005) with the technology, phones etc., but that’s pretty much to be expected now.

Right from the start I liked it, each episode contained all the clues and ideas needed to solve the crimes, which raised it above an awful lot of the procedural dramas around. It was intelligent in a number of ways, but there was also a focus on personalities, clashes, and idiosyncracies.

I was well into it anyway, and then the last three episodes of the first season hooked me completely.  I won’t go into the details, but the final episode of Season One has the best apology ever seen on TV, and it still makes me laugh, even knowing it was coming.

However, it also has a bit of a downside.  The writing is so sharp, the characterisation so good (in my opinion, naturally) that I watch it – and a couple of other things, particularly “The West Wing” – and just find myself thinking that I’ll never be able to write like that.

I’m going to damn well try, don’t get me wrong, but yeah, it still makes me a bit demoralised about the whole thing. Fun and games.

Dumb as a Rock

Every so often, I do something – usually the same thing – and immediately afterwards think “Wow, that was dumb!”.  And yet I never seem to learn.

Basically, in the building where I work most of the time, the stairwells are fully glazed, and thus seriously bright.  And every so often I go into that brightness, and realise that my glasses are disgustingly dirty.  So I take them off and clean them – while walking down the stairs.

And every time, I put them back on, nice and clean, and think “Jesus, that was stupid”.

I’ve never come to any harm, never even slipped or missed a step.  But if I did, it’d be a significant fall.

In other news, sometimes, I’m a fuckwit.

All Quiet On The Western Front

While there’s been a fair amount going on in current affairs, what with Brexit, Trump, Terrorism, Article 50,  and so on, round here it’s been pretty quiet. (Which is no bad thing – as has been observed before)

Instead I’ve been swallowed up in work, doing stuff for two different clients, plus figuring out some stuff of my own, and the website for my own business etc. etc., which has resulted in the low-to-sod-all quantity of posts here in the last week.

There are things I could moan/write/rant about if I were more in the mood, including

  • Why people leave it ’til the last possible moment to supply really useful/essential work-based stuff, then try to make out it’s my fault that the project is delayed.
  • Why a number of people are incapable of switching off the things they’ve switched on – particularly when it comes to lights etc.
  • How do people live and move so bloody slowly?!?
  • and probably a bundle of other stuff too.

Some of those may still happen, in fairness.  But not this week. I’ve got other stuff to be doing.

Running Into The Flames

Following on from the stories about the terrorist attack yesterday at the Houses of Parliament, the BBC has a piece on the people from St Thomas’s Hospital (literally just over the bridge from the Houses of Parliament) who, on hearing about the incidents, ran to help.  And not just doctors and nurses – I feel a huge dollop of recognition should also be due to Tobias Ellwood, the MP for Bournemouth East, who went to help resuscitate the stabbed policeman.

I don’t care what the hell else is said about those events, but those people are heroes.  Stories like these always remind me of the speech from the West Wing TV Series, (The episode “20 Hours In America, Part II“, if you want to look it up) in the aftermath of another (fictional) terrorist attack …

… and two others are in critical condition, when, after having heard the explosion from their practice facility, they ran into the fire to help get people out. Ran into the fire. The streets of heaven are too crowded with angels tonight.

Gets me every damn time, the people who don’t stand and take pictures, who don’t run away, but instead run towards the danger.  I’d like to think I’m of a similar ilk – but who really knows, until that time comes?

Hamlet, Almeida Theatre, London

As I said before, on Friday I went to see Hamlet at the Almeida Theatre in London, starring Andrew Scott. (Moriarty from the BBC’s Sherlock – which also means that I’ve now seen Hamlet performed by Sherlock, and Moriarty)

Honestly, I’m still not sure what to make of it.  I’m not even 100% sure of whether I liked it or not. I wouldn’t want to go and see it again – which is the usual final verdict one way or t’other – but I’m still glad I did see it.

In some ways, it’s very clever. It’s obviously been updated (or at least the staging has) with events being announced via a large screen, showing the coverage in a BBC News style.  Additionally, rather than being guards on the battlements etc., the the ghost of Hamlet’s father initially appears on CCTV screens in the security office of the castle.

In other ways, it’s rather less clever – or perhaps I’m less clever, and just didn’t get the relevance of things. Ophelia’s madness and grief are just thrown in, with no real explanation or build-up.  It’s handled almost an incidental, which seems odd when one considers how integral and essential it is to the final act.

Indeed, in a lot of ways there seemed to be the assumption that the audience were well versed in the ways of Hamlet – something I’ve found a couple of times over the last year or so, particularly with Shakespearean stuff.

I’m reliably informed that it stuck a lot closer to the original subject matter – I hadn’t appreciated how different some of it was in the Hamlet I saw with Benedict Cumberbatch last year – but that’s fine.  I do feel that I really should probably actually read the bloody play as well, and get it fixed better in my brain.

For me, the final act is a stretch – I’m never overly comfortable with the hysteria and overwrought reactions of grief and betrayal, and find myself left cold by it as a result.  That’s no criticism of the play, or of the actors therein, it’s just it doesn’t sit well with me.

So all told, it was a decent play and well done. I just still can’t quite put my finger on why I’m as ambivalent about it as a whole, though.

Changing Plants

Over the weekend, I spent some time changing the plants and pots I’ve got in the yard of my house.

Some of the things from last year had died off, most having only been expected to live a year, a couple of others just needed to be changed and a one needed to be replaced as the poxy cat had decided that pot was a spare litter tray.  Additionally, I’d changed a bit on what I wanted to try out this year.

For example, last year I had a couple of small apple trees in patio pots. One had done OK, but ended the year overtaken by wooly aphid things that made it look like it was covered in frost/snow/cotton-wool, while the other hadn’t taken at all.  So they were candidates for going as well.

This time, I went to a proper garden centre, and got a bundle of new things – two types of raspberry, a blueberry bush, and a couple of flowering currants.  Once I’d got home, I emptied out the old pots, putting all the residue into garden sacks. Then all the new things got planted, and so far it’s all worked out pretty well.

The final stage was taking all the garden sacks to the local tip, and getting rid of them all in the garden waste.

So all told, quite the successful day – a near-complete change of the plants, and all the rubbish dealt with, leaving the place looking pretty much how it did before, just with new plants.  I class that as a success.

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