caper_est: The grey wolf in the red gloaming. (three katherines of allingdale)
Finished the first scene in the revised Fairfields Arc.  It was at least 50% erase-and-start-again.  I gave Luke's hosts better sense in how to deal with obviously traumatized and very very dangerous patients, and I gave Luke a better apple than he got last time.  Also, Makepeace Hall and its bit of land now have an actual - if very crude - map in my workbook, and an approximate daily routine against which everything else takes place.

Chief credit for helping me make sense of the Hall's domestic economy goes to:

- my mother, Jean Woodland, for many nerding sessions and pointed questions that have rendered many previously invisible things visible;

- that invaluable sourcebook, overview, and jumping-off point, Life in a Medieval Village, by Frances and Joseph Gies;

- [personal profile] green_knight and her many thoughtful postings on the writing process, for persuading me into the following excellent habit: When in doubt, map it out!

Oh, and the apple?  Here is the apple of awesome which I found out about while messing around, and immediately scrumped for my own use because it is such a perfect fit for this setting.  Read 'em and drool!


caper_est: The grey wolf in the red gloaming. (three katherines of allingdale)
I caught one! Right at the beginning of Katy Elflocks, before I knew or thought I'd need to care about the details of the wider kingdom, I had Luke's father give him his ridiculously destructive magic sword as a parting gift - and it is explicitly the case that the old king has borne it into battle and knows what it's like, albeit clearly he doesn't think it's that useful a treasure for a modern monarch. But in the light of the way the worldbuilding subsequently develops, this is slightly more out of context than Henry VII's handing over his invincible Excalibur to his frisky younger son Hal.  I shall have to revisit this, one way or another.

Went through the Puffin Superior's plotline before bedtime. Huge amounts of detail there which will never make the story, but give me a better handle on and a better set of questions about that enigmatical and seriously pivotal character in the latter chapters of Kate. Since I didn't foresee her in Katy, and used her Sisterhood only as a background detail in another context, that's going to be one important place for me to work on foreshadowing and incluing in the earlier story. Also, major worldbuilding chore: finally sorting out to my own reasonable satisfaction how the wider local religion works, both officially and in practice. That turns out to be another matter on which my ideas have changed considerably during the telling.

From last night's belated birthday treat, the memory of a large and luscious Chez Gérard steak followed by pear in red wine syrup is still suffusing me with feelings of tenderness and bounty towards the wide world.


caper_est: The grey wolf in the red gloaming. (golden kate)
Killer-Kate and Luke Lackland: 430 words.  The Young Duke is tripping over vestal virgins at every turn, and generally feeling like a fifth wheel in his own castle.  It's worse than having the decorators in!  And then he finishes by tripping over something else I left for him to discover three or four chapters ago - little to his delight, and much to mine.  Now we can get back to some serious drama again...

I spent a deal of today in and around a castle myself: Beaumaris of the Beautiful Swamp, maze-walled and moated, now a home to ducks and swans.  Fast Eddie Longshanks never even got around to calling the decorators in there, but it's still a mighty sight to behold.  Later I scored my best steak all year in the Fat Cat at Bangor: on the rare side of medium, juicy and scrumptious, smothered in a garlic and horseradish butter which complemented it excellently, and served with shoestring fries and grilled tomatoes.  A Shipwreck IPA proved just the right accompaniment.  I record these matters that I may gloat and drool over them in future, for a steak of quality is a joy forever, and the world is insufficiently full of them. 

caper_est: I dreamed all knight... (dream)
I assisted at the harrowing of H___ by Emma Woodhouse.  This was planned with all the unerring foresight one might expect.  I was not Mr Knightley, but I might as well have been, except for the 'not marrying her at the end' bit and the 'being too busy running around trying to stuff Lamia and the Three Stooges back where we found them for any of that soppy stuff' bit.

This comes of eating devilled eggs in the evening.

I shall now attempt another hour of shut-eye, and hope that this nap leaves me less tired than I started out, thank you kindly Emma!
caper_est: caper_est, the billy goat (Default)
After a pleasant week of Family Stuff, I returned to work to discover a defrosted freezer.  The contents, which were mostly liver and lights, had reached the stage of sending out miasmas and pseudopods.  The Offaly Civilization has now been destroyed, but long shall its memory be green.  Crimson, purple, billy-brown and black also.

My back is staging demonstrations for shorter weights and better pay.

My home access to LJ seems to have mostly gone away, hanging forever whilst contacting "userapi.com".  Some folk report solving a similar problem by forcing their router to grab them a new dynamic IP address.  Doesn't work for me.

In a more encouraging development, I've finally achieved my perfect sausage risotto - my previous standard being mediocre at best.  The secret, such as it is, involves more chilli and garlic, more carrot and coriander soup, and the introduction of small quantities of olives and tomato salsa.  This advance was achieved by one part instinct, three parts advice, and nine parts blind ridiculous luck.

Aaaand it's time to get writing again.
caper_est: caper_est, the billy goat (Default)

Yay!  I have my main computer back again!

When that I was and a little tiny boy, I was inspired by superhero comics and my dad's passion for electronics to build my own computer.  So I made me a diagram of circuit symbol salad, corrected it to allow for the rather limited number of components I actually possessed, and built it in a lunchbox.  My prototype boasted a big old screw-top 9V battery, a bunch of wires, and a large space in which to plug in processing unit upgrades.  One wrote out one's questions on scraps of paper, posted them through the lid, and they were answered with robotic and logical infallibility on the reverse side of the paper.

The output feed turned out not to work, so I was compelled to remove the scraps myself.  I then discovered a general output error, viz. the reverse sides were still blank.  So, until I had figured out the details of the improved processing mill beyond "I suppose the Mark II ought to actually have one!", my only way was to calculate what the computer would have written, and fill the answers in myself.  Applying these to reality, I found them to lack computerish infallibility despite the rigorous calculation and the battery, and abandoned the whole project of computer-building in disgust for the next decade.

Nonetheless, I still sometimes help computers to generate oracles for me.  So taking last night's titular message as a broad hint, the rest of the updates are:

Tired of poncing the help off other people at need, and yet still being unable to read Homer or Sappho in the original, a couple of weeks ago I finally began the study of ancient Greek.  It wants a bit of work.  Still, I progress, and already if I ever need unexpectedly to inform Socrates that the pirate is leading the hippopotamus away from the river, I shall be ready to roll.  Had my class been given material like this to work with at school, we'd have probably ended up speaking all the French and German anybody could ask for, not counting that special species of Parisian who could only ask for us not to.

Another hippopotamus in the room discovered for my Libertarian Challenge: OpenOffice added to my 'free stuff I ought to give something back for' list.  The solution to this is not like the others, and I shall post about it presently.

I am still working, or something, on Kate's great speech, because it is hard and my brain is soft.

I have very nearly refined the art of the meat pie to my personal satisfaction.  A dash of Worcester sauce in the mince-and-onion filling was what it wanted.  The pastry is nice enough, but wants some final tweaking.  Also, I want to find some Brussel tops, and see if they're as much better than regular greens as I remember.

Many travels to arrange over the next fortnight.

I need to research a Do The Housework cantrip.  There are clearly not enough hours in the day for other methods to keep up.

Hog Wild

Mar. 22nd, 2011 08:01 am
caper_est: caper_est, the billy goat (Default)
Back on Sunday from a big family gathering in Gosport, for the seventieth birthday of my eldest aunt - a witty fellow-scribbler who shares something of my penchant for fantasy.  Hampshire is nearly on my doorstep, but it isn't a county I know at all well. What I've seen makes me wish to amend that in the near future... It was a merry meeting, as they say. My mother and I stayed with a cousin who lives on what used to be a small farm, and has made a very fine place of it by the woody banks of a swift shallow river. High-tech comfort within, amiable shaggy wildness without, and dogs of the biggest and friendliest. My cousin, an ebulliently energetic businesswoman of many enthusiasms and a great affection for beasts and trees, is talking about bringing in a couple of pigs in the near future. That would be Hantsome of her!

Continuing with what is going to be a bigly piggy theme, I don't think I've eaten or - especially - drunk so lavishly since the cast-iron digestion of my first youth gave out on me - or had such a liking to do it. It was that sort of gathering. Possibly just because it was that sort of beano, I appear to have escaped any consequences, even a significant hangover. I've noticed such effects before. The eupeptic effects of good company and jolly mood are nearly as underrated as the dyspeptic effects of the reverse are notorious. In the mood for a quiet week now, though.

In that quiet week, my next job is to finish my festively-delayed chapter, with Kate's rallying of the Blancmange Army against the Bad Baron.  Whose much-despised token is... the blue boar.  The next chapter's events will be remembered in many folksongs, of which I wrote one of the more locally popular - The Hunting of the Boar - late last week.

Finally, with the turning of the year, it's time to begin a personal challenge that I've been working up of late.  I have a political and social theory that liberty can only increase in communities whose members are increasingly practising bounty rather than hoggishness.  In accordance with my related theories that advocates of freedom have less right to preach what they don't practise than advocates of authority, and that libertarians who don't willingly take on more responsibility than statists for general goods are witnesses against their own cause, I've been looking afresh at my own contributions to the common weal - and I am not satisfied with the tale.  I shall be blogging about the nontrivial parts of my solution, and no doubt exhibiting various pratfalls in the process, over the coming months.  More anon!

caper_est: caper_est, the billy goat (Default)
They don't always get on with one, as I am occasionally reminded.  On a medicine now that will hopefully pacify them.  I see much bland eating and even plainer drinking ahead for... some time.  I suppose small frequent meals does mean more variety, which is spice of a sort.

I slept reasonably last night for the first time in a while, which is probably why I didn't wake up fresh from the memory of roping James Stewart, Cyndi Lauper, Nicholas Nickleby and Campaspe into an amateur Anglesey production of You Won't Believe It!, the smash-hit musical based on The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant.

Yet.

Killer-Kate and Luke Lackland: 410 words of critically urgent instant diplomacy, and Elegant Elder Sister, who is not the sort of person who speaks much of 'guts' at all, nonetheless turns out to have even more of them than I thought.


caper_est: caper_est, the billy goat (Default)

My indigestible food was indigestible, so I was condemned to spend long midnight hours awake, with neither the power to sleep nor the energy to rise.  Therefore I entertained myself with thoughts of Keynes and cargo cults, and whether limited companies have owners, and how to stimulate the grassroots economy without spending a dime, and many other like matters which it will behove me to have mastered when soon I rule the entire world.

The way I figure it, when one's digestion is temporarily spoiled anyway, there can be no better time to contemplate the controversies that might otherwise spoil it when it is fab.

I did get in 460 words on the novel before the more creative and empathetic centres of my brain packed up for the night.  Dance, characters, dance!

And... this afternoon the six-week summer vacation begins.  YEEEE-HAWWWW!

caper_est: caper_est, the billy goat (Default)

Departmental beano last night.  If you should ever happen to eat at Vito's Bar & Ristorante in Battersea, prefer the admirable seafood, and shun the frumious gnocchi.  The goat has spoken.

Peroni's Nastro Azzuro lager is better summer drinking than I remembered.

My formerly excellent ISP PlusNet has now reached the point of prolonged broadband outages nearly every week - another one kicked in last night.  I am going to have to speak to them firmly.  I notice they're in the middle of a heavy expansion campaign at present.

250 words of Killer-Kate this morning: pipe and tabor, a barnadine dance, the man in the barnacle hat.

caper_est: caper_est, the billy goat (Default)
Got back last night from a thoroughly revivifying week with the Mam in Anglesey.  Heard our first cuckoo, by the feet of Holy Mountain!  Saw our first puffin, clowning around by the great cleft in the rocks of South Stack!  Ate sea bass with banana and tomato chutney at the tiny, unpretentious, but ever-delicious Harbourfront Bistro!    (The chutney is infinitely more scrumptious than it sounds, and complements the bass to a nicety.)  Began my crisp-leaved new copy of Grand Central Arena on the train home! 

The one thing I did not do was add wordcount to the novel.  Instead, I lolled, scribbled, quaffed, and let my mind range over the possibilities for rewriting the current arc into a clean and solid draft.  Still ranging, but back to the writing again now.

Life is good.

caper_est: caper_est, the billy goat (Default)
Wholemeal loaves make rubbishy eggy bread. Learn from my fall!

Also, I'm only another 300 words on with the yarn, and not particularly happy with them. Think I'd better just slog on, hope to catch fire again, and otherwise wait for the serious round of revision that beckons before I finish this arc.
caper_est: caper_est, the billy goat (Default)
I'm just finally starting to come down off my culinary high from the 'Nameless Fish Curry'(!) I had last night at the mighty Punjab Restaurant, at the corner of Neal Street and Shaftesbury Avenue in London. It's one of the West End's longer-standing and lesser-known institutions, and thoroughly recommended to every Londoner and visitor with a taste for Indian grub.

What I want to know is, how does it come about that my brain is still perceptibly marinating in fishy chilli bliss sixteen hours later? No other dish ever does this so well. I know that fish is supposed to be good for the brains, and that chilli stimulates the old endorphins something special, but this is really out of the ordinary.

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