Monday, September 10, 2012

The Beginnings of a Very Bad Science Fiction Movie

The office chair has been purchased. If I had the funds I'd get two or three more. I checked out my backsliding ways and decided that I've slid far enough, it's time to get back to the grind. I haven't been dedicating myself to writing the way I should, so here I am. There's also a facebook group/yahoo group/loose federation of writers on the internet that is nudging me every now and then, so more regular writing and (gasp!) even more fiction writing is on the horizon. I'm keeping a pad and pen by the bed so I can jot notes down as I'm getting ready for bed. For some reason that's my most productive idea time right now. It probably has something to do with my penchant for last-minute stuff. The short story I'm working on has been kicking around in my head for a while, so it's time to get it pixelated so I can move on to developing other ideas.

Right now, in between bouts of computer surfing and blogging, I'm dealing with a run-away sourdough starter. The fungus that develops both breads and beers has to be kept fed and in an environment that will keep it happy, so every day I add a little flour and a little warm water and stir vigorously. However, I haven't had any time to bake in the last few days, so right now I have probably half a gallon of sourdough starter, maybe a little more, and the beginnings of what looks like a very bad science fiction movie. Today there will be baking, even if the Banshees aren't going to be available to eat much of it (yes, you guessed it, chores not being done, personal hygiene either barely or non-existent, lots of Monster High play time. I loathe Monster High. Have I mentioned that?). I don't know how many loaves of bread or batches of sourdough pancakes or -- hmm, I wonder if sourdough crackers would be possible? -- whatever else I can dream up to get the starter back down to the size where it can fit back into its little quart jar. Sourdough bread takes me a little while longer than my usual add everything together, mix vigorously, let rise & bake regular white bread. I add flour, water, and starter. And wait. Then a little more flour and a little more time. Then a bit more flour and a wodge of salt and a smidge of sugar. And wait. Then a little oil and the rest of the flour, and if I've read the starter right and the moon is in the seventh house and all the stars are aligned in the heavens, it will rise into a real live loaf and I can pop into the oven and actually get bread. I've been working on sourdough on and off over twenty years and mostly it has been off. Way off. But I think I'm improving and from lots and lots of experience I really don't think I'm going to let it go until I'm either dead or routinely successful. It took me more than 25 years to figure out how to knit (self taught from books and woefully stubborn), so I know that some problems I never truly let go of, even if I've thrown them in the back of the closet for a couple of years (knitting, not sourdough. There are limits, even for me.).

The One Thing I did yesterday was get the weather-worn-out tarps and one disintegrating pool into trash cans and out to the curb. Yay! The Wilderness still is weedy, overgrown, junked-up and unappealing, but it is less so than it was yesterday. Today I need to finish up cleaning our little ice chests and putting them up and I'll probably put the soaker hose out where I need to dig post holes. Tomorrow...well, tomorrow I hope I've got the wherewithal to actually dig a post hole. I've got the rebar. I've got the cement. I've got the bents. I've got chicken wire and bird netting and every other darned thing necessary to get started with Chez Quackers II (except the ends. No doors or framing for doors or experience in framing for doors or hanging doors, but by the end of CQII I'll have experienced every how-not-to-do-it possible, so there's that) and no excuse at all to not do anything.

Okay, maybe one excuse to not work as vigorously as I'm used to. A couple of weeks ago I started up with a not-so-much lower back pain as a really-high-up pelvic pain, as in, it hurts where the pelvic bone joins to the spine. After three or four days of that, I got a little sharper than ache pain all the way down my left leg. And the day after than, no pain but numbness all the way down the outside of my left leg down into my foot. It's very bizarre not being able to feel bits and pieces of yourself. It's probably sciatica, and I'm doing a round of ibuprofen, ice, and gentle exercise. My favorite activity of sitting in front of the internet all day is probably out for a while. Or should be. I still indulge far more than I should, but I'm trying to be a good person about it all and pare back. I think the universe is gently poking me and reminding me about all of the time I retrieved since I went on strike, and suggesting that I quit wasting it by checking G+ and Facebook and Andrew Sullivan nine zillion times a day. Okay, universe, I'm listening. Or trying to anyhow. Maybe I should do some before, during, and after pictures of The Wilderness as I try to persuade it to be Hopping Goose Farm.

I'm still stumbling along with the whole Teach Your Banshee Drafting Techniques. Part of that is that I have to go check the metal shed to see if my old apprenticeship books are out there, and if so, how badly I want to battle the black widows for possession. I'm temporizing by seeking out lettering and drafting technique books on the used textbook market and finding, I'm hoping, some amazing bargains. I have no issues with thirty-year-old texts; right now I can't afford Autocad or any of its cousins so all of the texts on those are moot. A thirty-year-old text is right about my technological level. Besides, my Banshees already know how to deal with computers. They really need to learn how to control a pencil better and the lettering should help with that.

Yesterday I realized that I may have stumbled upon a unit studies sort of situation. Technical drawing has applications in any direction you care to throw a rock at. MB wants to build a full-scale Dalek and I have been tearing my hair out in frustration trying to explain the concept of detailed drawing to the boy. Ah. Hm. Perhaps learning the ins and outs of technical drawing might help? The idea I had to teach them how to imagine and draw up a floor-plan has morphed into the idea that, with the proper drafting techniques, we could attempt to draw up and then build just about any building in history, from ye olde mudde hut to the Great Pyramid at Giza. Sounds like fun to me, although I'm more likely to work on barrel vaults and domes. Architecture has a reason behind most of its idiosyncrasies, and I'd like to know more about what lead up to those characteristics. VoilĂ , history!

I'm still turning it around in my head. Like welding, technical/mechanical drawing touches every aspect of our lives. I don't know how or even if I'm going to be able to get this up and running. It is, however, a subject that I find very interesting and that may be the best way of dragging the Banshees along for the ride. Find a subject, light a passion, feed the fire. If done right, if the fire gets lit, there may be very little dragging involved.

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