A lot of my attention in the past two days has gone to the new blog I’m setting up. After quite a lot of useless head-banging over the past couple of months trying to revamp this one, I looked for a different strategy.
Setting up a whole new blog … a second blog that will be … for my Lego interests … I will learn enough to re-do this one. At least, that’s the plan. [‘That’s the plan’ is a quote from Serenity (2005) a western-style science fiction film. One of my favorites.]
Above is the banner pic… I got it out of the trashcan just then. Completely unsuitable. One thing I learnt already. Too busy. And as is often the case with my photos these days with an encroaching age-related tremble, it isn’t sharp. That aspect fortunately has one of the easier solutions. Like, use a tripod for pity’s sake! And I will. Next, I need to build a lightbox. Thank you, BrickNerd, for your instructions.
[Wayne Thomas is my latest follower, for those of you not graced with his cheery first page, though I expect his first post to be a mass mail out situation]
Where’s the Comments section?
How can we talk about this initiative? I’ve got questions.
Are you a wetware entity called Wayne Thomas pretending to be a software entity called AICHATBOT? Or are in you in fact the aforenamed software entity? Or are you that software entity pretending to be the Wayne Thomas entity?
There are more possibilities but those will do as it is still before-breakfast in my house.
Canteen scene with Drew barely visible on the left, washing dishes; Tim and Trish in the right foreground, sharing their stories; and Wendy, in the right-side rear having a break from the cooking.
About Starting a Second Blog
Inevitably, when an activity starts to take more of the hours in my week, more of the effort I have available, more space on my dining table, it starts to look like an obsession. I’ve been there before. Twelve years ago I lost a beautiful tung nut tree in my backyard to an excess of rain. As the rotting trunk was chopped down, I comforted myself with the idea that I’d be able to see a parade of fungi taking hold of the wood one after another.
The rain continued. Dozens of fungi species helped rot that stump down. I learned about fungi wherever I could find the information. Over the wet months of the El Nino weather pattern, more than a hundred species helped me become obsessed. I took my camera out for walks and recorded the ‘chitinous critters’ wherever I walked.
Fungi cell walls are made of the same stuff as insect exoskeletons. Fungi have more in common with animals than with plants, despite having been umbrella’ed by ‘Flora’ since Linnaeus. Fungi have no chlorophyll, they need plant food to survive. They don’t move around in the same way that sponges don’t. I could go on and on. Have, in fact, given talks about them; walks and talks; I’ve done guest speaking at high school science classes; written articles; IDed fungi on FB, entered fungi sightings on ALA and iNaturalist. Citizen science stuff.
But I’ve probably only seen about four fungi species in the last two years. I have much less energy. More sedentary time. I’ve become rusty on names. Chemo fog didn’t help. It was the right time for a new obsession.
So. Lego seems to be it. With so many platforms where I could post up my finds, I never hankered to set up a separate blog for my fungi finds. Although there are quite a lot of platforms for Lego too, they don’t tend to encourage what I’m interested in. Stories. I like to write about my discoveries while building, and I like to write stories from within the building process.
Though I could write on this blog about my discoveries, I haven’t found a good way to format the stories in this blog’s existing structure. Hence. Designing and planning a second blog.
But keeping this one going is a thing. Usual stuff. Life and about life. Fiction and about fiction. Earth versus World. About media and about reading. Blogging and about blogging.
Although I began writing this series well before the others, the Lodestar featuring was always the alien spaceship. The people making Souzadelay Island their country had no inkling of the Lodestar’s reality. They saw it as a peculiar stationary star that sometimes grew bigger, as when it came nearer to Earth, and sometimes shrank.
At the end of the Back to Earth series, the alien spaceship-in-a-doughnut situation resolved itself the hard way. It was Kosi Lionhair’s uploaded mind, you may recall, who in a moment of boredom, wedged the alien spaceship in the center of the Ark Ship’s torus.
When the amalgamation touched the Earth’s atmosphere, the torus tore loose. Parts of it burned, parts fell to Earth. Jeb and some of her people landed on Aerk Island in the Australia Archipelago where they then lived for millennia, watched over by Kosi in the starship that, with time and forgetting, became known as the Lodestar.
Remember that this is all imaginary, Space Opera ‘science’? Though Earth is, of course, a real planet!
The series begins with the SkinGifters, an unfortunate people who had to make more and greater sacrifices than seem possible for them to continue to exist.
I: Ahni SkinGifter is the main character, as well as the title of her story.
This gig … of dumping 20 years worth of my work online … is turning out to be harder than I thought it could be. I had real trouble today just going to a File, saving it as a pdf, then inserting it here. This morning I first trapped myself thinking up a good title for this project. “A Broken Universe” sums it up quite nicely, I decided, since I could never get the timeline to gel.
I spent a couple of hours chasing through my Documents File for the long version of the Half Shaman in Space for Installment 3. As if it matters whether I post long or short, or anything in the order of the events, or anything.
But it does. There seem to be a few readers out there. Installment One did quite well.
Could only find a very short version. And I edited a couple of Files. And I did Delete a few odds and ends. Not a wasted day. Finally found what I was looking for in the Trash. Did retrieve it.
I’ve been reading quite a bit about the ‘ideas debt’ (Jessica Abel) that many creatives allow themselves to be burdened with. Me included. And what to do about it as new creativity is slowed, and even stopped, while you figure out what to do with all this material that owns you, and what you owe it.
A form of emotional blackmail that you lay over yourself, I’ve started to think. Include here the people who know and love you, who know how much you invested in your project. There’s a chorus. But? But?
In my case this is where I spent twenty years learning to write novels, and then writing about a dozen interlocking science fantasy novels, most set in the same universe if not time span. Only one, maybe two, have been published. I see that I’ve left them behind so far already, that I don’t even recall whether I published that second one or not? Tch tch.
The recent two year gulf, gap, hiatus in my life put paid to any more work in that arena. I have no energy for finishing them … most are in the final chapters, or as far as beta drafts. The getting ready for marketing, and the marketing itself … exhausting.
I wonder if I have enough energy to turn each one into a pdf and post it as a blog installment, for example? Prefaced one and all with the same little letting-go story?
The minute I saw a Lego base-plate, I knew I’d have to find an alternative.
Most of the building I’m doing is on my smallish round dinner table. When I have guests stuff has to be able to be moved easily to shelves. Just how weak and bendy the original base-plates are was amply illustrated to me by Darryl of Bevin’s Bricks on Youtube cutting one up with a box cutter.
I already searched through possibilities like glueing base plates on cardboard and building on ordinary plates and joining those with other ordinary plates. Neither of which attracted me. The first because it’s hard to stay accurate. The second because of heavy and awkward builds springing apart when you least expect it. I’ve read about builds grievously falling apart while being transported from one table to the next. Not ideal, in other words.
Then, on one of the FB groups I joined, I saw mentioned the MILS plate as the next development in the search for a strong base plate. Following that up, I saw a good explanation on Bevin’s Bricks. [Though I have again forgotten what ‘MILS’ means. I have a life-long memory glitch in relation to acronyms.]
Me constructing a ‘proper’ MILS base plate right now would’ve meant ordering the required parts, and weeks of waiting on covid-struck postal services in several countries. Even getting supplies by post from my local brick resales outlet a few suburbs away, usually takes a couple of weeks.
Not helped this week that I’m house-bound again, waiting to be told whether I have covid or another lurgy. Well, I know I have a lurgy. Ten days of coughing.
But … I have six alternate-lego base plates, lots of blue 2×2 bricks and red 2×2 bricks that I have no idea where to use, a few 30-year-old Technic 1×6 bricks, and a bunch of blue sun-damaged plates of all sizes. Can I achieve something with them?
I could. Very likely the ordered honeycomb of professionally built MILS base plates is not present in the internals of my sandwich base plate (below) because I spaced the reds and blues according to need, not design. I’m very happy with it and am aiming to put another one together tonight.
Despite the optimistic style of the title and subtitles, this is a story about ‘trying’ to publish a bric-fic fantasy. It’s been a zig-zag journey of dead-ends, so far, and I wrote this paragraph last because even WordPress is not productive when asked to do something a little different.
I’ve always wanted to name a new genre, and here it is. Little did I know it’d be in the arena of AFOLs (Adult Fans of Lego) but that is also what I am. An AFOL.
The genre has been in existence for a while, I’m sure, since the Lego Group has been going 90 years, and I can’t be the only one who’s ever seized on these bricks and the mini-figs to tell a story. But it’s hard to find them, to compare my work, without a genre label.
Let me know if there is a term already out there?
After producing a slideshow on my desktop, I’ve been trying to find a good place to publish. I’ve tried a FaceBook Page, an Instagram account, and a WordPress slideshow with varying success rates. None of them more ideal than daily FaceBook posts on my Feed.
The slideshow block on this site likes photos, but finds captions harder to deal with. It’s another learning curve of the two-steps-forward-one-step-back variety. Something like a muddy path.
A gallery of photos and text boxes may serve. We shall see.
You can see in the third pic that the caption continues beyond the bottom of the page. Conclusion? A gallery will not do. The ‘captions’ are often too long.
I need a structure to input once, not one that needs me to scroll to the place where it exists, for every photo and every caption, copy, then scroll back to where it’s wanted. Wondering now if a table will work …
Nope! A prefabricated WordPress table does not stretch or accommodate photos and long captions, the way a word processor table does. Lucky last for today, I’ll try the column block:
“After I dump the foundation blocks, fetch what?”
“Park the run-about and help me install the blocks.”
“But Boss, the scaffolding is cluttering up the yard. I should get that first.”
“But Dan, nowhere here to put it until we get the blocks in place.”
Beep. Beep. Beep.
“Tip them out. Dan, I’ve got Drew here to help me. You go wrangle the forklift attachment. One of the sparkies will help you get the electrics connected.”
“Right-ee-oh, Boss. Hey Drew, don’t let him run you ragged!”
“Boss and I are good, Dan. We’re brothers.”
“Well, that’s good to know!”
And that is it … the ‘column block’ feature stops working after two photos. It lets me input more text, but refuses another photo.
These almost-gone tulips startled me with their sere beauty. A good metaphor for how I feel sometimes … almost-gone; learning to love myself in better times and worse.
The previous couple of weeks or three I sat around with a cold, fatigue, a heart scare, more fatigue. Knitting was it while I was forced to sit around. Fatigue is a thing to be borne. There’s no hurrying it. It can be calculated. Six days of sickness, 12 days of fatigue.
In between all that, I spent the day in an Emergency Department to have my heart checked. Which meant blood tests and an ultrasound on my legs to check for blood clots. Nothing eventuated. It was just a scare, that’s all, I was told. These are the kind of diagnoses meant to comfort a patient.
This patient went home, not forgetting to ask for a copy of the the blood tests. Getting that was the best part of the day. The blood results confirmed to me that my continuing semi-isolation is in a good cause. My white blood cells are still well below what’s needed to fight off disease, platelets also very low, and red blood cells only just dragging themselves into the average range.