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I really need to do something about my Twitter feed.  It feels like lately it's been seeing the worst of me, and vice versa.  This means two things: 
I should probably do a rigorous cleaning of my follows, expand my mute list, and be a little more positive on there myself.  Which led me to the idea I had earlier this morning: to try to go a month tweeting nothing but positive things.  I don't mean just posting pithy inspirational tweets or retweeting cat pictures -- although there's nowt wrong with the latter, of course!  But I'd like to be more actively positive, this way I'll get myself out of that reactionary rut I've found myself in.

I don't want to ragequit social media, for multiple reasons: I'd be losing touch with my friends, and I'd be losing a viable avenue for publicity of my books.  Plus, it would feel like the jocks and the popular kids won and I'll be the nerd crawling back in his hole and feeling sorry for myself.  I did that route as a teenager, I'm too old for that shit now.

ANYWAY.  I'm curious to see if I can pull off this positivity thing.  We shall see!

In other news, I've also been thinking about bulking up my whiteboard schedule again.  It's fine now, but I think I need to push my boundaries once more.  Assign myself little exercises to expand my knowledge and expertise.  Drawing in a different style.  Recording the little riffs I've come up with and writing songs around them.  Get out of the 'safe' guitar chords and learn new, more complex ones.  Post here more often!  I know this is something I usually think about at the end of the year as my form of New Year's resolutions, but why not start now?

I'm curious to see where this will lead.  Last time this happened, I came up with a few new novel ideas, one of which I'm close to finishing! :)

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I was thinking the other day about how I've been listening to music over the last few years.  As far as expensive habits go, at least I'm not collecting cars that I won't drive, or picking up housewares that I'll never use.  And I've always been pretty frugal about it, very rarely spending an absurd amount on something.  The more tunage I can get for my money, the happier I am.  But at the same time, I think I've made some purchases where I'd probably be better off keeping them as streams.  There have been some albums that I liked but don't listen to all that often.  I think the first clue when this happens is when I''ll listen to an album I like the sound of, but the songs don't stick with me in some way.  [I'm a listener who picks up on the melodies before the lyrics first, so sometimes the sound fascinates me, but the song as a whole doesn't make an impression.]

I was also thinking about some of the radio stations I'll listen to online.  There are some that have an interesting mix that keeps my interest, and there are others that adhere to a set rotation to the point where I get bored easily.  [One particular station I'm thinking of was a favorite of mine, but now I rarely listen to them because they've been playing the same songs for the past 2-3 years that I'm not really a fan of.  I get the idea of set rotation, but it needs to be recycled after a few months otherwise you'll lose a portion of your audience who really doesn't want to hear that same damn Lumineers song for the 374,539,453rd time.]

I also feel like I'm not quite immersed in the sounds when my listening habits are stretched too thin.  Don't get me wrong, there are some years where a ton of great albums come out and I love them all, but there's only so many hours in the day where I can listen to the albums.  Not to mention that I'm not listening to current albums all the time...sometimes I want to listen to something from a few decades ago, or a different genre altogether.  For instance, I've been listening to the Beatles channel on SiriusXM lately because a) c'mon, it's the Beatles, and b) it was a refreshing change from all the noise I've been trying to escape.

Perhaps my collecting gene is getting the best of me.  There are moments where I'll be a little too focused on trying to find a band's entire discography and not enough on their music.  The idea that I'd listen to their full work is there, but it doesn't always work out...it really does depend on how connected I am to the music.  I never really wanted to be a music collector for the sake of owning something -- I find that a bit wasteful and pointless.  This is precisely why I'll pass on collectibles if I already own the songs.

Is this partly due to wanting to recapture the excitement of turning to a station and hearing favorite songs?  Who knows.  It might be part of it.  But I think it's also partly my collecting habits getting the best of me sometimes.  I need to rein it in again.
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If you haven't heard by now, a huge swath of the North Bay here in Northern California is battling wildfires that started very late on Sunday night.  Still no concrete cause found as of yet, as trying to stop the fires from eliminating a number of towns is of more importance right now.  The thing that's getting me -- well, one of them, anyway -- is that I'm familiar with a lot of these places that are now being burned.  We don't go up to the North Bay all that much, but we're very familiar with Santa Rosa, Sonoma, Napa, Calistoga, those towns big and small.  There are a lot of small micro-communities up there in between the slightly larger towns, a lot of wineries and businesses that are under threat, or are already destroyed.

We'd been woken around midnight or so by one hell of a strong wind gust that kept pushing the door against the frame and waking me up.  But minutes later we could smell really strong smoke.  It had happened before, with other wildfires in the area in past years, but never to this extent.  It was strong enough that we thought it was local, that somewhere in our own neighborhood was on fire.  [That's when I checked my Twitter feed and found out what was actually going on.]

The thing that brought it home to me was Monday morning, when I woke up to use the small bathroom, and saw ash on the white tile floor that had fallen through the skylight.  Bits of plant matter, unidentifiable material, an insect wing.

There was also ash on our rear window sills.  We keep our bedroom windows open a crack when it's warmish just so we can keep the air fresh.  There was also a swath of ash in the front of our building, where dust and small bits of trash tend to collect from the wind sometimes.  And the back hall to the garage, where the back door has a gap at the bottom, was full of ash as well.

We've had the windows closed all week, and we've rarely stepped outside.  The air is breathable out there now, much more than it was earlier this week, but it kind of feels like I've walked into an extremely dusty concrete garage that's just been swept.  It's not stifling, but it leaves a chalky feel in the mouth and throat. The entire Bay Area has put out air quality warnings, suggesting that people stay inside if they can.  We're both feeling some cabin fever something fierce, so we're breaking our self-imposed bunkering by going to see a few movies this weekend.  We're hoping we can go to the gym again soon as well.

We're doing okay; maybe a bit congested because of the bad air, but otherwise okay.  A's parents up in Petaluma, just west and south of the conflagrations, are doing okay as well.

The fascinating thing is that despite all of this, my neighborhood is still vibrant and not a ghost town.  I've had to do some errands outside and still saw a lot of the locals walking around.  The stores are open and people are doing their shopping and visiting and chatting, despite the bad air and the horrible news.  This is what community's all about, and I love that.


And yes, I am in fact pissed off that the Fuckwit has not said one goddamn thing about it.  Hell, I'd take the vapid 'thoughts and prayers' at this point, but he hasn't even acknowledged that it's happening.
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Back from a week-long visit to New England to see family and friends.  Our return flight took off at 9:30ish ET last night and we finally landed in SFO at 1am, and we were in bed and out like a light by 2:30.  Did I still wake up at 7:30, as I always do on the weekend?  Yup.  Stayed in bed for another two hours, though.  Surprisingly not exhausted and reasonably awake.  Unfortunately our refrigerator is coming close to bachelor-level emptiness so we'll need to do some food shopping today.  Thankfully the half and half didn't go off so I could have my coffee!

The trip itself was fun -- saw a lot of people and went to a lot of places, took a good number of pictures!  The only real downside there was that I didn't get a lick of writing done!  I'm hoping I'll be able to get back on that horse starting today.  I did read a few chapters of Meet the Lidwells, something I hadn't done in one go for a while.  It definitely needs some revision, but all in all I think it's pretty good so far.  It's not my Huge Epic Science Fiction Story mode, and I'm kind of proud of myself for being able to write something so much lighter in mood (and word count!).  I'd say at this point I think I might actually be done by the end of October.  [Which, by the way, would be a record for me, taking 6-7 months to write a full novel instead of a full year.]  I'm also participating in Inktober this year (I'm posting the drawings on Twitter and Instagram), and with the exception of yesterday I've been right on schedule with that.

So how about that internet detox I was talking about a few weeks ago?  Yeah, well, that didn't quite go as planned.  I've been quite lazy about enforcing it.  I need to break the Pavlovian habits something fierce.  I'm hoping working on the Inktober drawings will break me of them.  Do I need to start muting a lot more things on Twitter?  Maybe I do.  [Not necessarily people, just subjects.  The avalanche gets overwhelming sometimes.]  We shall see how this plays out.

In the meantime, I'm hoping to get more stuff done today -- at least once A finally wakes up, heh -- and being that I have tomorrow off too, perhaps I'll be able to get caught up again.  I did a few mini-marathon writing sessions for my blogs before I left so I had them scheduled to drop at their regular times, and that came out quite well.  I'd like to continue with that, as it gives me more time to work on other things during the week.  [It also keeps me from writing overly long navel-gazing posts about things people may or may not be interested in!]

Hope everyone's having a good weekend!
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It's probably not a good sign when popping up on Facebook or Twitter feels more like a drug fix than like curiosity in what friends are up to.  Maybe it's time for me to take another extended vacation from those two platforms for a bit and detox.

I'll still be here and at my Wordpress blogs, of course.  I'll just be spending far less time on FaceTwit for a few weeks, probably at least until mid-October when we return from our New England trip.

It'll of course give me more time to focus on actual productivity. :)
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Early yesterday morning I drove A to the airport -- she's in New Jersey for the week on business -- and after that, I drove to the Trader Joe's in Westlake to do some grocery shopping (note to self: 9am on a Saturday is prime time for shopping there, as the parking lot is half empty and the only people at the store were young parents with their toddlers).  All in all I was home by 9:30am and had the rest of the day to myself.

So what did I do?  Spent the rest of the morning doing laundry (per A's suggestion), did some local errands after that, and...screwed around for the rest of the day.  Arranging a few things in Spare Oom.  Doing some PC things.  And getting f*ck-all done creatively.  Chalking that one up to a mental day off.

So today's Sunday, I don't have anything on the docket that needs doing other than a spot of house cleaning (although watching a football game or two is tempting).  It's a kinda-sorta nice day outside, but I really don't have anywhere I need or want to be, unless I want to spend a few hours dithering around Green Apple Books.  [Yes, I'm even bypassing the temptation to go to Amoeba and spend time in the dollar bins again.]  I might go for a walk later, but other than that, I don't have anything planned.

Which means I REALLY should use this time to get as much done creatively as I can.  I've got the Meet the Lidwells note cards staring me in the face, asking why I didn't get any work done last night.  I've got a few other projects that need updating.  Hell, I still need to restring a few of my guitars!

So basically what I guess I'm trying to say is that I need to get my ass in gear.  Yes?

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August 31:  Yay!  Looking forward to a busy and very creative September!  Can't wait!

September 1:  *hot day*  Whew!  I don't work well on hot days, but hey, let's do this thing anyway. *gets work done*

September 2: *OMFG extremely hot day*  Bleeeegh. *goes to East Bay where it hits 112°F*  BLEEEEGH. *takes day off*

September 3: *not as hot but muggy as hell*  I'll...try to get something...done. *barely hits word count* *goes outside anyway*

September 4: *kinda sorta back to normal weather* *day off from work* *goes to see movie* *barely hits word count*

September 5:  FINE.  Let's get this started already, shall we?  Eesh.  *(hopefully) does All The Things*
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First of September already!  Time for me to recharge and aim high once more on my writing goals.  Ganbatte!

Doing some e-cleaning this morning during the slow moments of my Day Job...lots of email subfolders (both personal and work) that needed sorting out, deletion, or archiving.  Keeping a positive spin on it all, hitting all the daily goals as I can and minimizing the distraction.  Doing it Now instead of When I Get Around To It.  The forward motion is definitely an excellent motivator.

Listening to the new tunage that's out today but being a bit more choosy about what I download now.  (Sure, I say that now...)  A suggested we start budgeting ourselves a bit more, and I agree.  I've always held back a bit with my weekly music purchases...during the days when I'd do my weekly run to Newbury Comics, I'd make sure I didn't spend more than $70.  (More often I'd spend more like $40.)  Now that my purchases are all digital, my weekly cap hovers around $50 but is usually more like $35.  Still, I do find that I'll download albums I like the sound of, maybe listen to it for a few weeks, and then not touch it for quite some time.  Not that it's necessarily wasteful, as I'm putting money in musicians' pockets, but I have to remember that unlike my cd buying days, I can't bring mp3s to a record store for cash or credit if I no longer want them.  And besides, I'm signed up for Amazon Prime, so I have unlimited streaming going on.  If I'm on the fence on certain albums, perhaps I'll listen to them a bit more and make a choice sometime down the line.

ANYHOO.  In other news, San Francisco is getting hit with a heatwave and none of us here, especially on the normally cool and foggy side of town, are used to it.  It's ridiculously warm right now, and I may just break out my shorts for the first time in however long it's been.  It's not often that it hits close to 80F here in the Richmond. 

SO! 

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Okay, where was I?  August?  Right.

Doing the best I can to reorganize myself.  Taking two weeks off in a completely different time zone really screwed with my inner clock for a few days there when we returned, not to mention the multiple Day Job headaches that ensued as soon as I returned.  I pretty much let myself coast for the rest of the month and let some of the more superficial things go by.  I'd start fresh come September. 

Which is apparently this Friday?  How the hell did that happen?

Anyway.

At least I've been getting some decent word count on Meet the Lidwells in the interim.  I'm doing my best not to rush to the end, even though I can see that light at the end of the tunnel now.  My brain is already gearing up to do the revision work, so I have to keep that in check while I wind everything down.  At least I've calmed down a bit on the Secret Next Project for the time being, just so I can focus on what needs focusing on!  Although, I should mention that during my daily 750 yesterday, I may have accidentally come up with an idea for another (completely unrelated) story in the SNP universe.  I'll have to put that one aside for the time being, though at least I'll have something to play with if need be!

Sort-of related:  The other day I heard Soul II Soul's "Back to Life" on the radio this past weekend, a track I haven't heard in probably over a decade or more.  It seemed to fit my current mindset. :)
 


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So. 

Friday morning one of the Day Job's server systems went kerflooey.  It caused me to lose internet access to said server.  I had no idea there was an outage at the time, and I've been having connection issues off and on lately (I found out later on that it wasn't just me but numerous people).  I figured, OK...let's do the reboot, that should reconnect me, yes?

Except for the fact that my PC chose that very moment to push through a system update.

Which, as I would find out a little later, was doing more harm than good to a lot of people's systems.

So...upon rebooting, the bad update not only borked my connectivity, it also completely crashed my VPN software.  And considering that I work at a job that needs that as a safety precaution (not to mention needed for compliance), I pretty much had no work internet for the rest of Friday.  The last hour or so this morning I've been with our support team to get it fixed, and just now I was able to reconnect.

This was all on top of a week's worth of wasting time manually sorting emails because my department's Outlook rules had completely vanished.  One of my managers is working on rebuilding those this morning.

The bizarre thing is that this really underlined my annoyance at Plans Thwarted.  In reality I'm fine with having to adjust when things don't go as planned; it's the 'I'm just trying to get something done but THIS BIG FAT OBSTACLE KEEPS FUCKING IT ALL UP' that aggravates me to no end.  Suffice it to say, last night's stress dreams were all about dumb obstacles.  Including an incredibly fat man trying to sit on me.  (Yeah, I'm not quite sure about that one.  That one was just weird.)

Anyhoo, the work PC is back to normal and I can finally get back to work.

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Ah, back to the grind.  Fun fun.  Thankfully there were no catastrophes at the Day Job while I was away.  Systems have been known to go kerflooey and cause a landslide of issues when I'm out, for some reason...but this time everything behaved!  So yeah, I'm quite glad that I didn't have to spend most of yesterday cleaning up any fallout.  Just back to normal as if nothing happened.  Woohoo!

[EDIT, 1:53pm PT:  Seems I spoke too soon.  Apparently sometime this morning all the email sorting rules in Outlook decided to go on strike, so EVERYTHING is falling into the main Inbox.  And the person who usually fixes it is on vacation this week.  Not a catastrophe, but a big pain in the ass that slows me down considerably.]

Meanwhile, I managed to get back on the writing horse with minimal delay.  Sunday I updated both blogs for the Monday-Tuesday post, and yesterday I got some decent word count done for both the Daily Words and Lidwells.  Still looking to get more, but all in all, not a bad count to hit after two weeks off.  I need to focus more on that particular project at the moment (and thankfully I've gotten past the "ooh shiny new project let's spend all our time on this one" with Secret New Project).  I'm still worried that I'll go past my deadline, but I'm not going to rush it if I go past it.  It'll be released when it gets released.  It's also looking to be a short novel, as I think it might only hit about 75k in word count.  This is another new thing for me, considering Balance of Light was superlong at 125k! :p

So yes...back to the grind.

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As I said to A on the way home last night, it feels weird to have been on Twitter the last two weeks before nearly all of our friends were awake, and going back to being on Twitter a few hours after they've signed off.

Time zones are weird, and jet lag sucks.  We're both still tired (we still forced ourselves to head out to buy groceries this morning, as our fridge was at bachelor-level emptiness) and A is currently napping.  At least we were able to unpack our stuff, do some laundry, and put things away.  I'm sure I'm still going to be feeling this until about Tuesday.

And having had two weeks off, we're both planning on logging onto our work PCs, if only to clear out our inboxes.

On the plus side, the vacation was a LOT of fun, we got to see some great friends, and I even got to see and pet some cats!  Yay! 

One more day, then back to the grind...
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Woo!  As of yesterday afternoon, A and I are officially on two weeks' vacation!  No thinking about work at all.  Just a trip to London (again!) to hit the sights, the pubs, the palaces, and the shops.  We got tickets to see Shakespeare at the Barbican as well as one of the proms at Albert Hall, but other than that our schedule's pretty much open.  We plan on doing a lot of walking and sightseeing (and yes, most likely I will be crossing Abbey Road *again*...).  We may even take a day trip out to Salisbury to see Stonehenge if time permits! 

Which reminds me, I need to make a note of my music shopping list before we go.  There are some import cds that I've had my eye on that I'd like to pick up, of course!

Not sure if I'll have the time/bandwidth to update here, but we shall see.  I am, however, taking a few notebooks and notecards to start pre-production work on Secret Next Project.  Yes, I know, I really should be working on the Lidwells project -- I'm SO CLOSE to finishing it off, probably a matter of a month or so, if I keep up the work-- but that one's been written straight to the PC and the only computer stuff I'm bringing is my Nook and my tablet, and neither are all that good for writing for me.  I'm contemplating writing SNP longhand anyway, so I may as well get a head start instead of futzing around not writing, right?  [Noted: Really, the only reason I'm calling it SNP is that I haven't come up with a title for it yet. ]

Other than that...nothing else planned.  Just two weeks of enjoying our time off! 

Until then, see you in a few weeks! :)
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At this point next Sunday, A and I will be preparing ourselves to head out to the airport and catch a plane to London again!  Yes, once again we're heading out to our other favorite city in the world for a few weeks to see the sights, visit friends, and hit all the pubs.  And maybe buy a bunch of books and tunage, heh.  Bur seriously, we've been looking forward to this vacation for some time now.  We've both been overly busy for the last month or so with our Day Jobs, so this will be a very welcome reprieve.  Looking forward to it!

Once again we're in Kensington near the Earls Court tube station, at a 'boutique apartment' not that far from the hotel we stayed at previously.  We do like that neighborhood as it's within walking distance of a lot of really cool museums and shops, not to mention easy access to the Underground that can get us pretty much anywhere.  Plus it's relatively quiet at night!

In the meantime, we have one more week of Day Job drudgery and getting (reasonably) caught up before handing the baton off to one of our coworkers for a few weeks.  I'm hoping I won't have a crapton of things thrown at me this week, but given the last couple of weeks, I wouldn't be surprised.  Still, not going to worry if I don't get to all of it.

I'm actually more worried about not doing any work on Meet the Lidwells for a couple of weeks!!  I'll be bringing my tablet and Nook so I can do a bit of reading of what I have so far and maybe taking notes for what I can do for revision, but that's about it.  I *might* also bring a spare notebook or two and work on Secret Next Project, though...that one's coming along a lot faster than expected so perhaps kicking off a longhand rough draft of that might be in the cards.  As for my blogs, I'll most likely be doing fly-bys in the interim, as blogging from my tablet and/or phone isn't always the easiest thing to do.

And of course we have All the Packing to do.  Which I'm sure we'll have done by Tuesday, even though we won't be flying out until Sunday afternoon. :p

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Related to a few previous posts.  Been thinking more about my current adjustments in time management.

Noted, giving myself reminders has always worked well for me: keeping tabs open for the blogs and the daily words, and closing everything else unneeded or unnecessary.   Jumping in on urges to work on something rather than 'I'll get to it soon enough.'  [This last one can be tricky during Day Job hours if I have fires to put out, but it there are slow moments, I can usually at least sow a seed or two that will bear fruit when 
I fully focus on it later.]

Going through the motions of time management for necessary evils.  (In some respects, the slower, more automated moments of the Day Job, where I'm just answering emails or doing minor research.  If dedication and focus is needed, it'll be provided.  Otherwise, I'm Going Through the Motions.)  Less stress, less concern about things I don't necessarily need or want to be concerned about.

I seem to be doing the same with social media.  I no longer want to be #LIVE and #BREAKING.  Things are much calmer and more serene that way.  Just me, some tunes, my creative projects, and maybe some coffee or tea, and I'm golden.
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Sometimes I feel like I'm in a holding pattern.  A slow loop around the airport, waiting for my turn to pop into the queue so I can land.  I used to feel like that in high school, waiting for that bit of compulsory education to be finished so I could move on to the college thing.  It's like a slow waiting period I have to go through before moving closer to my goal.  I took it with patience instead of impatience...just something I had to get done.

Currently feeling the same way right now for a few differing reasons -- upcoming vacation, writing situation, long-term career outlook, that sort of thing.  A lot of personal reasons as well.

Today I was thinking about this, and realized, wait...why am I waiting, anyway?  I mean, sure, some of this wait is due to hard and fast dates (like the vacation, two weeks away) or needing to actually finish the cycle (that is, finishing the first draft of Meet the Lidwells).  I'm talking about other things.  Why am I future-dating my plans when I could start some of them now?

Sometimes this holding pattern is of my own making, and the landing strip is wide and clear.  Perhaps it's time to land.

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After a frustrating week on the Day Job -- no stressful situations, just a ridiculous volume to slog through -- my best laid plans for having a writing session on Friday evening fell by the wayside.  Instead we watched the insanity that is Nichijou (a good example of the inherent absurdity of this anime can be seen here).  Ten out of the thirty some-odd episodes.  It's quite ridiculous and fun.  And the opening and ending themes are very catchy!

That said...having a nice relaxing weekend so far, recharging and planning ahead.  We'll be heading to London for a few weeks at the end of the month so we're both going through our projects to see what to bring along and what to put behind.  I will most likely be working on Secret Next Project during this time, as I won't be bringing my laptop but will be bringing along my tablet and/or Nook.  Sure, I'm a little nervous about being away from the Lidwells project for a couple of weeks, but I'll at least have access to it via Dropbox so I can give it a read-through and make notes on things I need to fix/revise 

In other news, recently I did a bit of cleaning up and rearranging in Spare Oom, straightened up a few book shelves (and pulled off some titles I can donate), broke down a lot of boxes, and put away things that needed putting away.  The access to the closet is a bit wider now, and the guitar stands have been angled to take up less room.    Now I just need to get myself back into the habit of playing that keyboard more often instead of using it as a temporary table to put things on!  [Come to think of it, I should probably change the batteries in it as well, as I'm sure they're old and on the verge of getting sketchy.  Also: do we have a power cord for that thing?  I should see if I can find it, or order one from somewhere...]

This ties in with my plan to get back into my other two creative loves: art and music.  I still fiddle around a lot on my guitars, but I haven't written many new songs in years.  I'd like to try my hand at laying down some new tracks with some cheap mixing software, just for the fun ot it.  And for the art, I'm hoping to get back into that as well.  It's been far too long since I've done any art of substance other than maybe a few maps and whatnot.  I have the supplies and the art pads...I just need to do something with them.

That's in store for the latter half of 2017: time to come back to my love of writing, art, and music, and dedicate more time to them.

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No, Jon.  Making plans to get stuff done today and then doing the exact opposite is NOT what you should be doing.  Eesh.  You're done distracting yourself?  Good.  Now GET TO WORK YOU LAZYBUTT.
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There's a small bird that I think as nested on our roof that Will. Not. Shut. Up.  No specific birdsong other than a consistent 'chip....chip....chip...chip...' all day long.  It'll start up at first light, start up again in the afternoon, and once more in the evening.  Suffice it to say, I was up by 5:30 this morning and up and making coffee by just before six.

Meanwhile, it's finally dawning on both of us that we'll be heading off to London in just a few weeks for vacation!  We've both been making soft plans for places to hit -- including a possible day trip outside the city -- as well as a few definites like going to see one of the Proms at Albert Hall (we were both pleasantly surprised at the affordability of the tickets!).  I don't have that many requests of places to hit other than a few record stores and Waterstone's in Piccadilly.  I do love stopping by Sister Ray every time I'm there, as it's a fantastic shop, but this time out I'd also like to check out Rough Trade's Brick Lane shop as well, as I've heard many good things.  Other than that, I'm open for anything.  Visiting a few of our our friends there is also definitely in the cards!

Also noted: the Hugo voting is due by this Friday.  This was a rare year in which I'd already read a good portion of the titles that ended up getting nominated, so I didn't need to cram this time out.  There are definitely some strong stories that I really enjoyed that I'm hoping will win.

Writing:  I believe I've just entered Act 3 (of 3) for Meet the Lidwells, which means I'm doing pretty good.  Already having thoughts about things to fix in the revision...good things to make it better.  For a first draft it's coming along quite nicely anyway, so most of the revision work will be to make it stronger and tie it all together.  Also: the Secret Next Project has a lot more world building than I expected.  I may have to resort to some flash fiction for it just to keep it fresh in my head.  Also: trying something old again for my poetry/lyrics -- experimentalism.  I'd started it off that way so many years ago but along the way it became more introspective (and that was partly why I put it aside late last year...I had to grow back out of that).  More on that later.

Plans this weekend?  Not much, other than looking for new sneakers and grocery shopping.  I'm thinking we may have to do something outside, as it's supposed to be quite a nice couple of days!

jon_chaisson: (Default)
I've been listening to a lot of Cocteau Twins and other bands from the 80s-era 4AD label lately.  I blogged about the band over at WiS but it occurred to me afterwards that their music always evokes a certain time of day for me.  Specifically, right around 4:30-5pm during the fall semester.  I'm quite sure it's because that's about the time I'd be wrapping up most of my homework after I got home from school.  My radio would be on from the moment I got home until I went to bed that night, and it would always be stuck on WAMH.  Blue Bell Knoll, their 1988 album, was getting some serious airplay then, having been released mid-September.

I'd be wrapping up my homework - or at least finishing up part of it - and my mom would be getting dinner ready.  Dad would be coming home from work.  The sun was setting behind the treeline behind my house.  Sometimes I'd look out there, listening to the echoes of traffic of the highway about a mile south of us, everyone heading home.  It was the end of the work day and everyone was coming home. This was ages ago, when the far edge of Massachusetts seemed so far away, and the rest of the country was a vast unknown to me.  I had images, but I could only imagine. 

It was that stretch between the end of the day and the start of the evening, two separate lengths of time.  The intermission before prime time television, or in my case, the evening radio shows.  The afternoon shows were brighter, more exciting, but the evening shows were stranger, more experimental.  Those later shows were where I'd hear the industrial, the punk, the weirder side of college rock.  I'd listen to these throughout most of the evening while finishing up my homework and working on whatever story, poem or lyric I was writing at the time.


I think about this now, looking at my present daily schedule.  It's more of a blur now, given that I have music streaming from the moment I log onto my home PC, and my Day Job is a work-at-home situation.  That afternoon entr'acte sneaks up on me, where I log off the Day Job at 4pm.  Sometimes we'll head to the gym or walk around the neighborhood, sometimes we'll just sit around and watch something on Acorn or PBS until dinnertime.  Come 6:30 or 7, I'll head back into Spare Oom for an hour or so of writing.  More tunage playing, often my own collection.

I suppose that mystical reverie I once felt with the time and the music hasn't really left me, but it's certainly been muted by maturity and distraction.  There were many years between then and now when Real Life took precedence.  I've also become a bit more worldly in my years and the Earth isn't as beyond my mental grasp as it once was. 

The reverie will come back now and again in odd places and times, and most unexpectedly, and I always embrace it, each and every time.

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