The picture of Dorian Gray, perfect November read?

I don’t even know why I remembered this book, considering I was never too much into classics. But I thought with its content, it might be good fir for the gloomy November days. It was. I took my time with reading it, but enjoyed it all the same. There’s no better time in the year for reading a book about vanity, sinfulness, guilt and regret than it was now.

Since I doubt the point of doing reviews of classics that are well know, this is going to be more like a jumble of highlights and thoughts.

Continue reading

November daydreaming

Oh, it’s this time of year again. The wet and dry November, not cold enough for snow, but cold enough to make rain feel more unpleasant than ever. Luckily there was not that much of it. But these darker days tend to take my mind away from the reality.

For the past days, before Blizzcon, they were occupied by speculations about what will be announced, for me especially about World of Warcraft next expansion. Now, a week later, the speculations are dying down, limited to thinking about some more vague statements and what could be true (while there’s still the possibility that it’ll change anyway before beta).

So, my mind moved back where it usually is: my own world. Since the decision I made some three weeks ago to completely change my approach to the beginning of the story, I finally wrote another chapter, and quite a short one. My visible progress is now close to zero, something I don’t expect to improve much in the coming weeks. I am in the stage where more progress is done thinking about how to solve the troubles and plotholes that appeared. I guess I might look even weirder than usually, with the gloomy weather, my wild facial hair and absent-minded neutral face.

I guess that contributes to the fact that I might get to revisit some darker stuff in the coming days, starting with re-read of ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’ which I plan for the next week. I think with the theme the book has, it’ll be quite nice match for the darker November weather and the brooding mood that comes with it.

“You might like this”

So, today, I am to share my thoughts about one of the things that can be useful, but can also cause you to facepalm hard. recommendation systems. What made me wonder about this more the last days? YouTube.

I was watching metal covers of game and film soundtracks, so as good as it could be, it recommended things to watch next. Since I have some other related things in my watch history (like best-of scenes or videos showing making game/film weapon replicas) it went quite well on pointing me to what I might know. Heck, I found some really good stuff there. Since I was in the rare mood when I felt like actually giving a thumbs up, I was logged in for all of the time.

Fast forward three days. I watch one of those things again. And that’s when the hilarity kicks in. Many of those were in the recommendation with the usual text “you might like this” (in my language). You don’t say? (I was so tempted to insert the Nicolas Cage meme…) Of course I might like this, I played it 10 times in a row the other day…

Continue reading

Writing thoughts: prejudices

So, it’s a bit over two years since I started working on my story, and well over five years since I went from “maybe one day” to “seriously thinking about it”. I still don’t feel ready to talk about it much, and I do here because of the partial internet anonymity. Even that took time.

Truth is, I am still afraid what people around me might think when they learn the truth, which is the reason that I am still quite picky about those who truly know what I am up to (including that it is me, and by that I mean knowing me at least somewhat). Being gamer and generally shy person who sticks to himself most of the time, I was often considered a bit strange. How worse could that be if those around me knew the truth?

Continue reading

Various thoughts: Culture overload

In the last few days, I kept myself quite busy. From Wednesday to Sunday, I went for a hike, read two books, went to cinema, visited music festival, wrote two chapters and sorted out my thoughts for several more. I’ll post the book review in the coming days, hopefully.

As for the film I saw, it was Valerian and the City of a thousand planets. Since I have great memories of Fifth element as a great and often quite hilarious Sci-fi by Luc Besson, I decided to go see this. I never saw the comics it was based on, so for me it was just going to have some easy fun with a film that was from trailer very likely to be a lot about shiny graphics and myriad of alien creatures. The intro was touching, the multi-dimensional bazaar chase was interesting and fun. I am not sure if it was just me or if that part was a weak spot, but for some reason I knew who the traitor is when the command room of Alpha was attacked. From there, it was mostly about if/when/how he’ll be dealt with more than about finding out who it is. Still, good one.

I won’t say much about the concert. I will say that my neck and hands are still a bit stiff, something my fellow metal enthusiasts will understand. I was not exactly in the front row all those 10 hours but I was not holding back either. RAISE YOUR HEAVY METAL HANDS!

Anyway, for a person who likes ‘normal’ and quite regular sleep habits, two nights with this disrupted (returned around 23:30 from the cinema and 3:15 the next day after concert) I was quite sleepy the whole Sunday as the sun and heat did not allow me to sleep for long. There was a hint that colder days might be coming – and by colder I mean 22°C down from 30+ but that hope lasted maybe two hours.

Anyway, they were fun days definitely.

Writing thoughts: hiker’s inspiration

This will be kind of crossover post about how I sometimes get inspiration for my story while walking through the hills. It might not be just the landscape, but anything. The weather could be a factor as well. Reading books can be good inspiration for duels or battles but for the atmosphere, just going out to the hills works better than anything else.

Nature is often magical. It’s good to have some inspiration just from walking around and being able to think, undisturbed. It’s even better when the landscape itself gives you ideas. Here are a few times it happened to me.

Continue reading

Writing thoughts: distractions?

A few days ago, I was reading a blog post about writing, and one of the points was to avoid distractions. Today, I was writing again and after being done, I decided to think about how much of that time was actually spent writing. I was not using stopwatch or seriously tracking it (as it would be another distraction and would slow me down even more) but as some guess it should work well.

So, my progress was one chapter. Okay, 90% of it, I’ll need to finish its ending when I think out the details. Anyway, it was around 3000 words and took me something around 4 hours. How much of it was actually spent writing?

There is a bit of time lost when I switch to music player to add something to the playlist (I’ll probably make a blog post about my choice of background music at some point). But the main point is alt-tabbing to internet browser. I rarely prepare any facts I might need in advance and so it often happens that when I need to check something on the internet.

That can be something as simple as spelling or meaning of a word (I verify that by reverse translation and synonyms), something I used several times to make sure I use a word correctly (this is mostly when using a work I’m unlikely to use in daly life).

Most of my time spent not writing while writing is spent tabbed out to wikipedia. There were times when I was checking the usual habitat of a plant or animal just to make sure it is not misplaced.

Today, my search included various articles from felines through rodents and even seagulls as I was writing a chapter where several characters explore tropical rainforest islands. Eventualy it brought me to look up bow fishing (first question I had: is it even possible?), ability of birds to eat and eventually catch fish as well as some searches related to volcanoes (which are present on the islands).

I guess that of the four-ish hours I spent maybe one hour looking up stuff. By the way, capybara meat is supposedly tasty. I chose bow fishing over hunting rodents anyway.