caper_est: The grey wolf in the red gloaming. (three katherines of allingdale)
In Elder Days, in years of yore, I was revising this set of cuneiform tablets collectively titled Three Katherines of Allingdale, and posting the odd shard about it to this journal.  At the beginning of this year, I was comprehensively stuck, and turning to other projects until some idea or other worked loose.  My life then performed several unscheduled triple back somersaults before landing in a marvellous better place (waves to [personal profile] green_knight across table).  And now the long-awaited missing clue to the Kateverse has finally turned up, and I'm writing in it again...

Okay.  Three Katherines in its first draft presently consists of The Deed of Katy Elflocks, a fairy-tale novella with which I'm almost wholly satisfied; and Killer-Kate and Luke Lackland, a chunky low-fantasy novel which brings all the chickens home to roost thirty years later, and with which I'm not satisfied at all.  I'm unsatisfied although, or more likely because, I think Killer-Kate has the elements of being the best story I've ever told.  The issue is that there turns out to be far too much backstory essential to its unfolding. 

A grand epic fantasy driven by timeless destinies and history-mastering heroes might get away with skating lightly over a generation or two, even if great matters and dreadful reversals have occurred in the interval.  This is not such a story - although it is partly about its greatest hero's lifelong struggle to keep stories like that from happening anywhere around her, for much the same reason that she works to keep  plague, famine, and other similar disasters from the door.  In the first draft, I put the history into the story as it touched it, and the resulting datadumps proved both unlovely and hard to redact.  In the abortive second, I tried to wrap the true story artfully around the tale not directly told, somewhat as Tolkien did to The Lord of the Rings and the Tale of Aragorn and Arwen.  I got some myriad words in and bounced hard, either because I'm no Tolkien, or because Three Katherines and the untold 'Tale of Foxfires' are no such a pair of stories, or I don't know what else.  That left telling the Tale of Foxfires in full.  I've attempted this several times in the past, and broken every time upon the undeniable fact that it is a messy history rather than a proper story of its own.  What to do?  I was out of ideas I hadn't tried, so I let it lie fallow for a bit.  Now again, I think I've got it.

I've identified the actual stories I think need telling in the gap.  The real key was discovering that some of them have no direction to the Foxfires matter at all, and that Katy Elflocks as a character spends far too long completely out of scope.  So my new, improved, revised version of Three Katherines should end up looking something like this:

1) The Deed of Katy Elflocks - Novella; essentially complete for many years.
2) The Bridge to the End of the Night - Novella; set several years later, telling of a border-quarrel and what came of it.  Work in progress.
3) The Wain of Winter Stars - Novel; set immediately afterwards, following an exodus from slavery and war into regions dubious and uncanny.  Not yet written.
4) Crown of Foxfires - Novel; set ten years after the Deed, telling of the fall from grace of two heroes, and a contention for a kingdom.  Exists in scraps and many incompatible versions.  Will have to be completely rethought, now that the extraneous matter has been hived off into its own tales, or else placed in question.
5) Roger Rock Candy - Long novella or short novel, set about eight years later, telling of an ill-fated peasant uprising and what lay behind it.  Not yet written.
6) Killer-Kate and Luke Lackland - Long novel set twelve years later, telling the last great deeds of all three Katherines and their comrades, and how a new popular rising changed the days of the Northdales, and brought all ever-afters home.  First draft finished; in need of much revision, and probably no little shortening.

And that is where things stand at the moment.

caper_est: I dreamed all knight... (dream)
Are BARRED from my dreams until with strange aeons, even Death shall die. And they shouldn't get up their hopes too much then, either.

Apparently the Crawling Chaos looks a lot like a network manager I used to know, only with charisma upgraded to Maximum Evil, and bringing the Apocalypse instead of the Inconvenience. Also he ate somebody's brains in front of them, which apparently one can do if one has the top level cheat codes, and which I am fairly sure that the Nameless NM never did in any strictly physical sense, or on purpose if it comes to that. Moreover Nyarlathotep committed many other breaches of the rules of cricket, including the one about not sending ravening mobs through the streets after me; and generally degraded the quality of my unplanned nap quite a lot.

The less arseholish student and I eventually stuffed him and the Hasturpocalypse back into their box by timey wimey wish-lawyery woo. Nyar hah!

Nonetheless, I feel no urge to revisit this or any potential spin-off scenario at any time in the foreseeable future.

Dream rating: Two poppies - the second being for technical excellence, and actually having something approximating a plot, which ended better than could have been expected. The three poppies not awarded are for all the myriad ways in which the experience was otherwise objectionable.

I sign off in haste, to read a great big sugarload about kittens and Drones Club doings before my just bedtime.
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: caper_est, the billy goat (Default)
Killer-Kate and Luke Lackland: Set down thirty years of the Royal Court's agenda in the remote and boondocky Northdales, and the dales-folk's frequently underwhelmed response thereto.   As I mentioned here, this is all important for the shape of the tale, but not particularly obtrusive.

Raised a few questions, received no big surprises, caught no big howlers.

Off on a belated birthday outing with my brother and sister-out-law now, so probably no more work today.

caper_est: caper_est, the billy goat (Default)
I've found I can't keep re-writing this, because it gets every way worse each time, and there's nothing I really ought to change in it; so here's a few words re-posted from my comment on John Scalzi's tribute thread to the late Anne McCaffrey, one of my great influences from my early teens: -

I was twelve, and in various ways less than happy, when I first encountered Dragonflight: the start of a long literary affection, and an eye-opener in a lot of ways. Lessa was my first bookcrush, and what a crush she was: it wasn’t until much later that I stood far enough back to notice that she just happened to be the first female protagonist I’d ever met who simply pulled me straight into her viewpoint and kept me there to the last gasp of the race. What this particular character identification says about me, who knows?

This was only the start. Anne McCaffrey also introduced me to, among other things: science fantasy; dragons as I’d desired them to be since I was knee-high to a grasshopper and heart-hungry for dinosaurs; the concept and necessity of fanfiction; the powerful domestic (esp. Harper Hall) and romantic (everywhere) strains in a genre I’d always seen overwhelmingly in terms of the heroic, epic, scientific, and high-political… I can’t even go on. Today she has far less direct influence on my style and tastes than almost any of the other writers who captivated me in my personal Golden Age – but her characters still show strongly among my friendly ghosts, and there are images from those books that have scarcely dimmed on me in thirty years remembered.

Oh, aye: there goes one I shall be missing. Wind to her wings.

And here's what I wrote when I caught the bad news on Making Light. It is not as good as I'd have it, but it will have to do in the pinch.

Lessa's Last Word

"He'll shake me!" she said,
Who shook him into shaking
Their world's mean Alexander from his roost atop High Reaches –
Who shook his heart, and in the aftershock
Their age,
Their ways,
Their me - a small mean singer from an eminence of twelve,
Borne up to be, to love her, in a storm of stone-musk wings –

"He'll shake me!" she protested,
Still shivering from shaking
The wide world's tree for redfruit: new days, new flights of old
Whom she had moved to leave for after times
Their age,
Their ways,
Their selves – that small fierce vision, from a child's height and the sky's –
Spent, shivered, frozen – home, with all the wide world's price on wings!

She shook us, then.

Between our worlds seeps chill.
The breath that bore her flight up's fallen still.

caper_est: caper_est, the billy goat (Default)
Due to the severe degeneration of my lifestyle during the final push to complete my first draft, I shall be devoting most of this weekend to clearup and recovery. Last night I got my first really decent sleep in more than a week, so I'll take that as a good beginning. Much or little blogging may fit into the corners.

I was going to illustrate this post, but either Dreamwidth or Picasa has stuffed up most hopelessly, and I can't be bothered to sort it out. Here's a link to the Old Masterpiece that speaks most eloquently to the state of the artist.

caper_est: caper_est, the billy goat (Default)

Spent an interesting evening upholding the funky monkey side of a friendly debate between Pan narrans, the Storytelling Chimp, and Homo faber, Bob the Builder.  A rum do rather, what with my being the science technician, and the other party the theatre manager.  The venue was the lobby-bar of the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel, that magnificent folly of a cathedral to Being Elsewhere Soon.  Bright Young Things seemingly fallen through some rift from the Twenties flitted through the dim spaces, in tuxes of unvarying shadow and ballgowns glowing every colour will-o'-the-wisp flame - until at last an enormous invasion of bagpipes put all other sights and speech to rout, ours included.  I think we each concluded that the environment had pretty much illustrated the perspectives we came in with.

It is hard, though often rewarding, to communicate across that deep narrow divide between those of us to whom Secondary Worlds are things in themselves, and those to whom they are only tools for producing a desired effect in the Primary. 

This was a good session in a setting I'm glad to have discovered, and will certainly nick detail from for any number of purposes before I'm done with it.  I do wonder, though, how anybody actually manages to feel comfortable in a place like that - for all the excellent physical comfort, pleasant service, and intelligent layout it has to offer.

I think I must always be a bit of a peasant at heart.  Explains something, above and beyond my more mutable beliefs, about the kind of tales that draw me.

Killer-Kate and Luke Lackland: 250 words.  The party for the final venture assembles, and comes down to the Duke's town of Garton.

caper_est: caper_est, the billy goat (Default)
Stone and cloud from the Schilthorn

Just back from a week's goofing off in the Bernese Oberland of Switzerland. Mountains such as the Ogre, the Monk, and the Virgin I never saw before, nor their high glaciers and the streams that tumble from them. It is also something strange to see hills feathered by great stands of conifers, each rising up to a third or half of the hill's own height. As for the most formidable meals, the mountains are plainly necessary in order to walk them off.

Killer-Kate and Luke Lackland: The Family Fight chapter has not so much split, as required me to step back in time and write another chapter from the Young Duke's viewpoint in Alland, simultaneous with all the late shenanigans in Langdale. Better far than trying to infodump it into Kate's big return scene, whose flow I now follow a lot better. The Duke can here emerge as the man I began to develop in the middle chapters, rather than the vain and callow boy of my vaguer original vision three years back. The tragedy he teeters on the verge of is just as wrong-headedly catastrophic as it was then, but much less stupid and more interesting.

He will need his runup for that, though; and the Puffin Superior, moving onto the board at last, gets to establish herself in some serious action before her fateful collision with Kate. And so the last of my important characters walks on stage.

Also I composed a folk ballad, Two Fair Maids of Alland, which has been earworming me all holiday and which I can at last record and drive out again. This one I can't post any time soon anywhere, because despite its wild inaccuracies it contains a major spoiler for the Family Fight.

A more friendly family meet-up for me now, and more travels immediately afterwards.  Then a summer which should see the... resolution... of the mortal struggles in Allingdale, and then only one last full-on chapter to go back to work on: the climactic showdown with the Big Bad, and its epilogue.  I'm working on the assumption that the first draft should be done and dusted by October, and the intense revision phase finished by the end of the year.

This is quite consistent with the pace so far.  It is also a very strange feeling indeed.

caper_est: caper_est, the billy goat (Default)
South Stack
South Stack from the cliff-stair, by Goat in the Machine on Flickr.

This sort of thing is why Killer-Kate and Luke Lackland is not progressing as lightning-fast as it might, just now. Nevertheless, 580 words yesterday on the Chapter of Battle. The wide-view, lord's-eye prospect shown: next to see the few more things that show up for those trudging on foot or riding in an ass-cart. Beneath the Bent of Carrowglaze, the people are pooling at last.
caper_est: The Liberty Bell strikes! (liberty)
To recap once again on this month's challenge, it is:

Paying My Moral Debts
I'm going through the list of all the free stuff I, personally, am currently getting only because other people are enthusiastic and generous. Then I'm seeing how much I can commit by way of fair return, and how much of that should or can be financial. The coming month is for sorting out the financial side.

But this is where I ask: is the idea of financial moral debt a trap in itself?

On one level, clearly not. If I promise to give somebody some money, then even if there is no legal evidence of the debt, or the law allows me some way to weasel out of it, I'm obviously bound by my word. Moving out a bit, if somebody helps me out when I need a gift or a loan, and then further down the line they need some help from me, I think I owe them morally whether I've promised anything or not. And if Croesus helps me out and won't take anything back, even this confers on me a kind of soft obligation to pay the favour forward to somebody else at least once. All these kinds of moral debt, I'm quite happy with.

But taking the notion of 'debt' too literally, risks damaging the very gift economy I'm trying to do my part in.

There is nothing mean, and often something quite charming, about the ideal of always paying one's way and not owing nuttin' to nobody. That is a strong strain in the way I was brought up. Its danger, though - and hence the danger of projects like this - is that it may instil a kind of Janus-faced and flinty righteousness. On the one face, a pride in having paid all one owes (unlike, perhaps, some of those other people). On the other, a stubborn unwillingness to take stuff one can't pay for (ditto).

The proud face is almost certainly wrong. Here I've reckoned up a few moral debts that are too obvious to overlook. But were I to look harder, I should certainly find some more. And some of the best free stuff I'm probably benefiting from may be so transparent, and work so well, that I scarcely notice it, and have no hope of quantifying it. If I could quantify monetarily all the labour I benefit from without charge, it's not at all obvious that I could pay it. Nor would everybody even want me to pay it - assuming they were set up to receive payment in the first place. Payment in kind or in labour doesn't necessarily help either - same deal. The gift economy is not, on first blush, very much like the market economy at all.

The stubborn face may now incline to say, "Okay - I won't take any more free benefits than I can help." This is wrong in another sense. If Mr Stubborn refuses to take advantage of a benefit, it doesn't follow that the benefactor gets back any of what they spent to provide it. All that happens is that a little grace is lost from the world, and a little utility dropped into the entropy bin. It's surely wrong to be an ungrateful freeloader. But it's no better to be a surly curmudgeon. I've mentioned before that I believe mutual bounty to be an essential element of a working libertarian society, just as surely as legalistic gaming is a poison to it. But if there is to be bounty in giving, there must logically be no less grace in receiving. The temptation to maintain the moral 'credit' of a Lady Bountiful is ultimately as selfish and status-seeking, as the temptation to live the lush life on somebody else's tab is selfish and greedy.

So how much should I pay, and what should I take advantage of?

In the market economy, we know where we stand. A known value is offered by a particular person, and a known value is given in return by another. Plain dealing and precise reckoning are the market's breath and bones.

In the gift economy, value must still be given and returned. But even with the help of guide prices and suggested donations, the aims, rules, and consequences are very different. The same fundamental economic principles must apply, but in very distinct ways. I have a hazy idea of how to take some of the simplest issues forward, and shall attempt to do so in subsequent posts in this series. Taking the case where payment must be financial - this month's narrow target - I want to show how that quality I call gaiety, a sort of genial flexibility about various specifics of how good things are paid for and provided, can improve on either the legalistic market approach (take all you want, as cheaply or freely as you can get away with) or the moralistic market approach (don't take anything unless you can afford to pay the least you think it's worth) when dealing with goods freely offered. And I want, too, to examine its limits, and the places where market-like punctilio about specific obligations is required to keep the good shows on the road.

It's proving no simpler a project than I expected, and as always, I welcome any insights anybody has to offer.
caper_est: caper_est, the billy goat (Default)

Not the post I'd expected to make next, but an important one.

Contributing towards free resources with cash has one inarguable side-effect - one has less cash afterwards.  This isn't an acceptable net result for me, for several reasons.  Firstly, I don't earn a lot of money, and I'd rather not look for a less congenial job in order to achieve some modest improvement.  I'm not saving enough for my liking now.  Moreover, I see hard times ahead and more need to scrimp and save than before.  Finally, there are straight questions of both goodwill and freedom involved - the more financially secure I am, the less likely I am to need to touch other people for their hard-earned, and the more able I am to tell the government/my employer/whoever to go to blazes, if they start behaving as if they belonged there.  Since relative self-reliance is presently an option for me, it would be a really bad idea to do anything to undermine it.

There are limits to this sort of thing, and very stringent ones, because financial narcissism is a disease illimitably creepy and always morally fatal, and it is one to which some perfectly decent traits in libertarians' worldview render us dangerously liable.  But that is another discussion, or several discussions, for other occasions.  For the moment I want to focus on one modest and essential part of the project: funding every commitment I make as I go along.  In other words, every part of this challenge has to leave the resulting lifestyle at least as sustainable for me as the one I went in with.

A sad story of an unsustainably charitable friend )

So, coming firmly down to earth, how am I going to pay for all my new commitments to pay for that lovely free stuff I've been lapping up?

One simple economy will pay for more charges than I've yet managed to identify.  Except to sound out a new place for some social gathering, in future I shall only dine in Indian restaurants when in company.  My own inordinate curry-cravings must otherwise be satisfied either at the work refectory, or by my own hands.  This will have the happy side-effect of forcing me to learn many more curry recipes than those few I've already mastered.  I estimate this will save a good £150 a year.

So with a last ceremonial butter chicken and saag aloo at the admirable Punjab restaurant in Covent Garden, the resolution is sealed, and my formerly-free subscriptions are now funded!

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.

caper_est: caper_est, the billy goat (Default)
Having set myself a not very demanding challenge for the next month:
Paying My Moral Debts
I'm going through the list of all the free stuff I, personally, am currently getting only because other people are enthusiastic and generous. Then I'm seeing how much I can commit by way of fair return, and how much of that should or can be financial. The coming month is for sorting out the financial side.
I've now ponied up for all the things I said I would. Somehow I expected this to involve a lot more time and hassle than it did. If this were just a question of settling moral accounts for the year, the matter would end there.  It would then have been needless for me to have posted about it at all, except possibly - as with my writing wordcount posts - to use the fact of public commitment as an encouragement to Get On With It. Which it probably has been. But that is not the main point of this extended challenge, at all.
Firstly, I want seriously to look at reasons for paying or not paying for goods, where one has the choice - and get to grips with the issues I haven't satisfactorily figured out.

Secondly, by the end of the month I should like to have started on regular habits in these matters that make better sense in terms of the code I believe in, and the budget I have to work with.

Thirdly, I want to see how far some of my fine-sounding ideas survive concentrated application to reality, and report on the results. This is one very low-stakes and easily controlled practice arena.
Fourthly, I want to look at structural and technical obstacles to useful voluntary payment practices, and swap actual and potential workarounds for them.

Fifthly, I want to make a case for the necessary link between libertarianism and liberality, which I think is systematically underestimated from both perspectives. It would be nice to convince some other people of it. It would be quite enough of a victory to convince myself, to my own practically expressed satisfaction. Worst of the acceptable possibilities is that events, or other people reading these sketches, defeat my argument because it is wrong. I question whether I could be persuaded that either free agency or free-handedness is overrated in itself. I am, though, open to being convinced that they are independent or even conflicting virtues, or that the same social institutions are unlikely to embody both. Either way, I wish to begin this argument via some simple bread-and-butter issues here.

My next post in this series will examine the boundaries and dangers of my starting notion of 'moral debt', and cast about for promising alternatives.

caper_est: caper_est, the billy goat (Default)
My desktop at home just died, and I can't bring it back again.  Many things will now be delayed until I've restored or replaced it. 

I am now extremely glad that I bought my external backup drive when I did.
caper_est: caper_est, the billy goat (Default)
In which I begin to put my beliefs systematically to the test.

An easy and fairly painless one, first.   I'm going through the list of all the free stuff I, personally, am currently getting only because other people are enthusiastic and generous.  Then I'm seeing how much I can commit by way of fair return, and how much of that should or can be financial.  The coming month is for sorting out the financial side.

The question turns out not to be an easy or a simple one at all, which is one of the reasons (or excuses) for my not having answered it very well previously.  The easy and simple question I'm trying to answer in this challenge is: what am I going to do about it, right now?

For each problem I solve, I will allow myself one short post about one of the many issues behind this phase of the challenge, and the various questions, answers, and bewilderments in which it involves me.  All feedback, as ever, will be gratefully received.  Likewise, if any of my researches or mis-steps should later prove useful to anybody else, this challenge log will have served at least one of its principal purposes.

My immediate list of projects I believe I ought to be funding, but am not:
  • Dreamwidth, via paid membership.  (I believe the LiveJournal community deserves my support in other ways: I don't feel any urge to support its administrators financially.)  All I need to do here is sort out a technical issue with my card payment - hopefully possible this evening.
  • Wikipedia.  Yes, I have problems with it.  No, that hasn't stopped me making extensive use of it.  So...
  • Project Gutenberg.
  • The Center for a Stateless Society at the Molinari Institute - a political resource, here considered purely as a spring of much freely-given education and mental profit.
  • Diane Duane, for the freely webbed version of her The Big Meow.
  • Spybot Search and Destroy, that  most excellent labour of love against the evil malware.

Several other things from which I benefit, and for which I am grateful, but which I presently expect not to be funding, will also come up for consideration.

'Ere we go...

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!

Eyes Right

Mar. 11th, 2011 08:57 am
caper_est: caper_est, the billy goat (Default)

Follow-up eye examination yesterday, to January's laser surgery for an incipient retinal tear.  Discharged with verdict of complete success, and the strong hint that next time anything suspicious occurs with my eyes, I report straight to the Eye Hospital's casualty unit instead of futzing about through my GP.  Which is certainly not the sort of song UK health managers and their bosses are trying to put on for mood music!

There was a trainee opthalmologist sitting in on the session, and for whom I performed some minor guinea-piggery afterwards.  She was both polite and an obviously enthusiastic learner, so the experience was pleasant in particular, as well as being a very light price for getting ocular medicine immediately and in the next generation.  There was one thing she did not seem to have learned yet, and which I'd never even considered, until then given occasion to think it out on the way home...

Opthalmologists at work should probably array themselves blandly.  All the others I've met, have done so.  Being a negative, this is not something which I found especially remarkable at the time.  But when you're depending on your patient's ability to hold steady focus in arbitrary and often unnatural directions, swirls of colour and glints of silver and cleverly styled cascades of shining and shifting curls are not unmitigated assets.  This is actually worse as an attendant than as a principal actor: I think this is because Butterfly Person is then more often in peripheral vision, where reactions to movement and shiny are less likely to pass through consciousness first.

What I have seen eye doctors use to effect is a stud ear-ring as one convenient point of patient focus - "Look at my ear!" being almost a watchword with these folks under many circumstances.

So I learned a little bit yesterday, too.  And was a very great deal relieved, at the continuing lights of my world.

Writing?  Naw.

caper_est: caper_est, the billy goat (Default)

Killer-Kate and Luke Lackland: 190 words.  Bah.  Luke's plan explained in full, and the Slight Setback recounted.  I am tired and manky and peevish, and I was badgered in my sleep last night by the Governor of Wisconsin.

caper_est: caper_est, the billy goat (Default)

The Popinjay - 700 words yesterday.  Beauty's father finds a creepy mansion.

Killer-Kate and Luke Lackland - 110 words this morning.  Slept ill, and had no time to drop the lightning-bolt.  My last scene before switching to unplanned-but-needful new point of view for a bit.  This will be the first time we see things from eyes neither Kate's nor Luke's.

I may be even more torpid than usual in commenting for a while, since:

1) Kate & Co. are calling; and,

2) Important RL stuff is calling; and,

3) Lobelia Sackville-Baggins has called already, and walked off with most of my spoons in her umbrella.

caper_est: caper_est, the billy goat (Default)
I should be returning to netly life real soon now, but there is a last unexpected delay: both my home computers are indisposed, and the prognosis for the laptop's looking grim.  Off this evening to buy a new WLAN card for the desktop.  If the subsequent surgery does the trick, then I shall resurface over the long weekend.  Otherwise I'll submerge again until my next tea-break - which, at the beginning of a school term, may be some time coming.

Not much writing this summer, as it turned out; but a very great deal of everything else.  More anon.


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August 2015

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