PeterMBall

It’s a shiny new year

So many things I planned to blog about today, that I even made little mental notes to blog about because I thought they were interesting, and instead I’m just kind of popping up to say “damn, not enough time” before launching into another salvo on the exegesis. I’m resisting the urge to do a year-in-review post at this point, simply because I’m in no position to look back at 2008 and see it in any kind of objective light. Despite the various good things I managed, both professional and personally, it remains a year characterized by all the things I didn’t get done rather than all the things I did.

Today I unravel the sticky knot of what my exegesis is supposed to be doing. Tomorrow you get subjected to exegetical rumblings (which, really, isn’t that big a change from usual for me). Hope everyone is well and bounced back to acceptable levels after the New Year revelry

You know it’s too damn hot when…

It’s been rather hot here in Brisbane, and my flat has a nasty tendency to be one of the warmest places I’ve found in the city unless the breezes’ treat me favourably (of late, they haven’t). I don’t know the exact temperatures, but I do know that I burned myself with *shampoo* when I had my shower this morning – not badly or anything, my palm just had this mild sunburn like sting all day, but still…overheated shampoo. Being scalded by the “cold” water in my taps I’ve learned to prepare for, but this is a first for the hair-care products.

I can’t wait for winter.

I’m back

Christmas...it brings the unexpected

Christmas...it brings the unexpected

…though I’m still in the process of picking up speed now that the holiday season is over (New Years doesn’t count, I’ll be hammering away at the PhD deadline, but I hope everyone else has a good time). I think I managed to get most of the angst about the exegetical process out of my system over the holiday, so now I can actually do productive things like formulate a plan and write things out.

In case you’re wondering, those are the hand-knitted bananas in pyjamas bed-socks my grandmother gave me for Christmas. And while a sweet gift, the cognitive dissonance gives me a headache every time I try to work out the logic of it – I consider them yet another reminder that many people in the world think in a very different way than I do.

Well, I’m off.

Okay, folks, I’m off to the Gold Coast for Christmas, Library books, and several long hours of locking myself in a room and being antisocial while working on my exegesis. This will actually be a nice change from locking myself in my flat and being antisocial while reorganising everything I own (a job that was finished yesterday, and so I am now organised).

I’ll be back some time after boxing day and, hopefully, resume regular blogging then.

Mental Reset – Day Three

I have but to rearrange the folder archive of my writing files (to better distinguish between “do now” projects and “percolating for ideas” projects) and tidy up some boxes, then the study is done. Not complete, for there are still projects that remain long-term on the organising front (filing cabinet, wardrobe full of crap), but done enough that I know what needs to happen on all front.

I have, however, sorted through seventeen decks of playing cards and tossed those that are no longer complete. I also found a movie ticket for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film that I felt the need to archive once upon a time. No, not the recent one; I’m talking about the first one.

Both the ongoing projects list and the very next thing that needs doing lists are getting out of control, but I should be able to burn through the majority of the entries over the weekend. Still,  I move onward to the bedroom now, and hope remains that there’s some chance I can get through this process in the appointed amount of time.

Continuing the mental Cntr-Alt-Del

It’s day two of the great purge-and-reset, and I’m yet to get out of the office. Twelve straight hours of sorting files and making mental notes on projects yesterday (which proved surprisingly exhausting) and I’m finally down to the last box of lost papers/books and a two-drawer desk-caddy that’s got loose papers in it. I figure I’ll have the study finished tonight, then it’s on to the bedroom.

Oh, the things that have been tossed out over the last twenty-four hours. I’ve made seven trips to the bin thus far, each time loaded up with an arm-full of paperwork I no longer need, and what remains is still a pile large enough to animate and give sage advice to fraggles should it so desire. Among the many things tossed out: tax records from 1995; hard-copy of seven chapters from a fantasy novel draft I’m pretty sure I didn’t write – I think it’s Sean’s, from back before I spooked him out of asking about things like that and WoW devoured his life; stacks of notes from sixteen different RPG campaigns I barely remember running (three I remember with fondness were kept for archival purposes); seven different drafts of the Unicorn novella; a metric butt-load of e-book print-outs from my CGW days; 30 or so notebooks full of shorthand recording student presentations from the last seven years. None of these things should have been kept, not really, but I’m a stacker by nature – things get put in piles and shuffled around, without ever being dealt with, and thus the bottom of the piles tends to get a bit archaeological when they’re finally reached.

I do have three of the four primary e-mail address sorted now, though; if you’re expecting an e-mail from me about something and I haven’t gotten back to you, it might be a good time to drop me a line and remind me that I owe you an answer about stuff*.

I think I’ve also got a more-or-less accurate list of all the writing projects that are taking up mental real-estate lately, which I’ll be going through and sorting in current-near future-far future piles to make sure the focus goes where it needs to once the purge is done.

*Random note, since it appears some people don’t know and have been following the journal since the con: I no longer have access to the old gen con/eventions address. If you’ve been trying to get in contact with me that way and haven’t gotten a reply, leave a message here and I’ll send you an e-mail from a more reliable address.

Doctorate and stuff.

Just got my latest creative project draft from the associate supervisor (aka our gatekeeper, since he’s the one coming at the work fresh and without two years of living with the stories). It looks like I’m correcting formatting and doing some minor line-edits, with a few spots that need a little more clarity. The rest is largely a thumbs up and an “it’s all good and it’ll earn the degree; now finish your exegesis.”

Plus the possibility of teaching work is back on the cards after a long absence, so I may be eating something other than two minute noodles come march.

Now I’m going back to the to-do list from hell.

Because ambivalence wasn’t working for me…

So last night I ran down the list:

– Feeling like there’s too much to do, yet doing nothing of note? Check.
– Spawning new projects I just have to do because “they’re so damn cool” instead of finishing old projects? Check
– Not sleeping? Check.
– Avoiding blog-posting? Check.
– Resurgence of interest in both wrestling and gaming, with a hyper-focus on my favourite wrestling-sim that often supersedes sleep and food*? Yeah, that’s there too; check.

Yep, all the signs are there and my customary ambivalence in the face of things that stress me out remains ineffective. It’s time to hit the big old mental reset button and start reworking my to-do list from the ground up. I’ve given myself permission to do nothing but get my life in order for the next four or five days, ransacking the house room-by-room and establishing a workable model for getting done all the stuff I want done. A physical and mental sorting of stuff, if you will. It’s already underway, and it’s starting to frighten me, just a little.

Allow me to introduce you too the big ol’ pile of stuff that wasn’t in the right place and now takes up half my office – it mostly consists of unfiled papers, books that have crept off bookshelves, shoes and unusable computer gear. If you need a sense of scale, that gray thing on the top-left of the screen is the plastic bag full of dead ink cartridges that hangs off my doorknob. There are parts of this pile that sit around waist high, and I’m pretty sure every room in the house will have an equivalent pile (except, maybe, the bathroom, where I’ll probably just deal with unsorted junk that comes up to knee height instead). I shudder to think that it might serve as a decent-ish metaphor for my subconscious approach to what I’m meant to be doing of late, but it’s probably close enough.

So today I conquer the study and the unsorted projects my subconscious associates with the room (novel; thesis; wrestling). Tomorrow I deal with the bedroom and the projects that live there, mentally speaking (reading; short fiction; DnD). And so on and so forth the day after that, until I’ve got a good grasp on exactly what it is I’m doing again. Which, yes, I acknowledge is a form of procrastination, but it’s a form of procrastination that works for me in the long run, unlike 72 hours of obsessive wrestling consumption and computer games.

*This, for the record, is the reason I will never go *near* World of Warcraft or anything similar. I lost three days over the weekend to a simple data-base run wrestling simulation; WoW would devour me whole the first time I started to stress out. People would have to come and find my dissicated corpse after I starved to death beside my computer, or exploded after eating too much take-away pizza.

Quick Posting from the Trenches

At the QWC online promotion seminar, which is very cool but hitting a lull now that folks are learning to set-up wordpress and I already know. After lunch we return to the learning off stuff, but until then:

  • A belated public congratulations to the most awesome Jason Fischer (he of the zombie camels and much other coolness) whose newborn son has arrived in the wide world of late.
  • Do not discover the Middleman series the day before you have to get up at seven am to go to a workshop. It virtually guarantees you’ll get no sleep. That said, I’ve not been this eager to see the next episode of something since, oh, Season Two of the new Doctor Who. Or Buffy.
  • No writing of note lately; it’s too damn hot. But I heard back from the supervisor, who says very complimentary things about the first story in the thesis collection
  • And since it needs to go here somewhere, it appears I now have a Technorati Claim. It doesn’t actually do anything visible, but apparently it’s important.