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Below are the 10 most recent journal entries recorded in the "couchspudprotem" journal:
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Darrell and the Archers|
Those of you who follow The Archers will know that there's a storyline at the moment about a character called Darrell who has lost his job and his home and is now spiralling downwards into crisis with mental health issues.
Those of you who follow me on twitter will know that on Sunday mornings I tend to tweet extensively with the hashtag #thearchers, along with a number of other people who listen to the programme on weekly catch-up and tweet sarcastically and amusingly about the characters and plotlines.
However... The Archers the programme and the Archer Project, the homelessness charity, have an obvious connection for me through this storyline, and I started getting annoyed at the impatient tweets. So I said:
And it got re-tweeted a few times, sometimes with an endorsement and a request that people join in, and then I thought, oops, I'm asking other people to donate and I haven't done myself, so I went over to the Archer Project's just giving page and bunged them a fiver. And then the writer Michael Moran, who has fifteen thousand plus twitter followers, also retweeted it.
Not exactly viral on the Justin Bieber scale but not a bad old result for a quick tweet on a Sunday morning.
So then I went back to the Archer Project page to see how much money the archer tweet along had raised since my fiver...
…Zero. Zip. Nada.
Sigh. So much for the awesome power of social media!
I was getting all excited at the thought of building myself a bitcoin mining rig and then sitting back and enjoying all my free money.
And then I realised I didn't know what a bitcoin was, how you mine them, how you turn them into spendable money, or indeed the meanings of more than half the words in the article that started me off on the train of thought.
Ah well. Back to writing the next Harry Potter.
It shouldn't be hard. I mean, I'm retired and all, remember? The tasks I have set myself are to write some words of fiction (however few) each day, answer tax consultations on my tiintax blog, and read a chapter or an article from my academic reading list every other day. It's maybe three hours of work I'm not completing. Where DOES the day go?
Not on my tai chi class (I haven't taken any proper exercise all summer, but I'm determined to start back next week, honest).
I suppose I have been working on My First Academic Paper (which I'm going to deliver at a proper academic conference in a fortnight - eep!).
I have written an unfinished, 11-episode-and-counting, dark!gregor, Vorkosigan fanfic of nine and a half thousand words and counting, I suppose.
Oh, and today I'm going on a glass jewellery making workshop.
I think I'm going to start keeping some kind of scorecard - words written, submissions made, blog entries published, articles/chapters read and exercise taken.
Sigh. If only I knew how to insert tables in blog entries I'd actually publish it, so you could do some collective arse-kicking.
Maybe I need to add "learning how to work my tech" to the list?
Ellen Kushner is running a competition here tied to the launch of the audiobook of The Fall of the Kings. She asks for recipes set in the Riverside world of the books and, as they're my favourites, I thought I'd have a go. Here, then, is the recipe for Cherries Tremontaine:
Take some stale leftover cake (or a packet of trifle sponges) and a cup of stolen cherries (or a can of cherry pie filling if you prefer) and mix them together in a big stoneware dish. Include some cherry brandy or brandy if you have any lying around that Alex hasn't finished. That's your base.
Then break three eggs and separate out the yolks and the whites. Keep the whites in a clean bowl while you do the next bit.
Break the yolks and mix them with a little sugar (about two ounces) and a little vanilla essence or the scrapings of a vanilla pod, if you have them. Then warm about a pint of milk in a pan and slowly mix it into the eggs, (adding a little cornflour if the mixture curdles) When the warm milk and eggs are mixed together, heat them gently in the pan till you have a smooth custard. Pour it over the base.
Finally you'll need a pair of strong wrists and a big fork (or an electric mixer) to beat the egg whites - remember them? - till they stand up in stiff peaks. When they're stiff and twice the volume they were, gently spoon in a final ounce of sugar if you still have some, and then spread the meringue mixture on top of the custard.
Bake in the oven on a low heat till the meringue is crisp. It isn't going to be dry and white and boring but brown and chewy; the custard will be hot and sweet and the brandied cherries will warm your bones.
Write-a-thon final week|
Just a quick note to say that I'm still writing - the productivity isn't enormous, and there was that Weekend of Which We Do Not Speak when I, er, forgot, but otherwise there have been words every day. A couple of thousand words a week doesn't sound like much, but it's a couple of thousand words a week more fiction than I've been writing for the past few months. Yay me!
And now back to your regularly scheduled programming!
Writeathon week two, and I am still keeping up my self-imposed task of writing every day. Admittedly the word count was a bit slender again today (and only JUST scraped under the midnight wire!) but it was a productive day. I went into the university to print out the Spreadsheet That Ate June. I blogged at tiintax about the prospect of MPs awarding themselves a humungous pay rise (spoiler; I'm not in favour). And then tonight I went to the Crosspool Festival Scribble event where I read Mrs Jai to an audience of, well, some people. Petrified! But I did it.
And the keep-uppy continues.
Week One completed|
I have written every day for seven days. I have written FICTION every day for seven days. Yes, I'm horribly depressed today and only managed 15 words, but there WERE words.
Now. I appear to have agreed to read something I have written, in public, on Monday night. Leaving aside the WHAT WERE YOU THINKING and the WHY WOULD ANYONE DO THATs, what shall I read? More to the point, I need to practice.
Ten years ago today...|
I'm not sure what the actual date was, but today marks the start of this year's Clarion West writers' workshop and ten years ago I was lucky enough to be there myself. So let's say it was ten years ago today. Where do the years go?
This year I'm having another go at the Clarion West Writeathon, the virtual workshop that takes place alongside the actual workshop. The reasoning is that I've spent much of the past year establishing my tax blog, TIINTAX, and working at the first year of my PhD thesis on the relationship between tax simplification and better regulation, but this feels as if it has been partly at the expense of my other writing. So for the next six weeks I want to get back into the habit of writing fiction every day.
I have a dropbox shared with some trusted friends where I'm putting my words each day as I write them, in the hope that this will keep me honest and make me write some words - however few! - each day.
This morning I opened up Write or Die and set myself the task of writing 250 words.
I think I was sailing towards the 500 mark when I inadvertently hit something on my laptop that highlighted and then instantly deleted a big chunk of text and I couldn't get it back. So I copied the remaining 314 words and pasted them into my dropbox document....
...where they appeared as a series of hieroglyphics, and not words at all, and I can't get the words back however hard I try.
So my dropbox shows I did my best to write 314 words today, but no-one will ever read them. Meh. It's the first day. The workshop itself doesn't start till tomorrow.
OK I just left a two hour meeting at the one hour and something point. Because, reasons. Well, people, actually. I just can't seem to do People, or at least People En Masse, any more.
Which is a bit difficult, as I only joined the thing that produced the meeting so that I could meet new people.
I'm semi-retired now. It's OK to be a recluse, right? I mean, right?
Today I was sifting job applications, deciding which applicants to interview.
Just FYI, if applying for a role, don't describe it as a "roll".
Distinguish between your practice and the skills you practise - and between a noun and a verb.
If you have no practical job experience don't tell me you gained "vast" experience in doing your preliminary degree.
Don't spell believe "beleive".
Don't tell me that you want to tell me about this at interview - you aren't going to get to the interview if you don't score against that competence here and now.
The application form is not the appropriate forum for your critique of the organisation to which you are applying.
Why are you submitting a handwritten application telling me about your mad tech skills?
And, please, don't apply in comic sans!
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