Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Sixth Novel Update

It still takes me aback, momentarily, whenever I happen to land on the fact that I'm currently working on my sixth novel (and ninth book).  It doesn't seem possible, somehow, that I've managed to stick with that many writing projects over the past almost-decade.  And yet I have, with a lot of help from people like Vicki, my brother Rich, editor Ernesto and many others.

Which brings me back to novel # 6, now into its second chapter of writing.  Much to my delight, Tammy offered to act as the initial editor on this book last month.  Her workload is more reasonable at the new job with the Ontario Securities Commission, allowing her to commit to something as time-consuming as editing a book in her spare hours.  I know from past experience that she's an excellent editor, having gotten the benefit of her critical eye on No Brother of Mine, way back when.

For that reason, I was quite excited to receive her edits on Chapter 1 of the new book yesterday.  Vicki had read it already and offered some valuable feedback, but I knew Tammy's review of the material would go much deeper... and it did.  She spotted and excised dozens of redundant phrases, pointed out both the strongest and the weakest passages, and gave me reason to think I might actually be on the right path once again, for a first draft.

It's become increasingly clear to me that this is going to be my longest and most in-depth story to date, and I wouldn't be surprised if it weighs in at over 400 pages by the time I'm done.  (Chapter 1, for example, is a chunky 30 pages).  As always, I'm firmly convinced that this is going to be my best novel yet, as otherwise - what would be the point?

More updates later, as usual...

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmas Eve Bike Ride!

This afternoon, with no snow to be seen and a temperature right around 8 C, I was able to make the bike ride to the comic store probably as late in the year as I ever have: Dec 24th!  I could've done without the 50 km/hr wind gusts that slowed me down at various points along the way, but overall it was a beautiful day for it.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Potentially Huge Climate Agreement Struck In Paris Last Week

The Paris Agreement on the reduction of greenhouse emissions could end up being one of those things that most people ignore while it's happening but which future generations consider among the most significant events of the 21st century.  Good on the world leaders for being able to make it happen!

At the very end of the article there's mention that

"All the countries agreed on demands from the US and European Union for five-year reviews of their emissions reductions – an exercise that had been resisted by China."

This seemingly trivial detail may turn out to be tremendously important, as it provides a framework for what's known as "inspection and adaptation" in the Agile software community.  The inclusion of a frequent, recurring process for seeing how you're doing, what's working and what isn't, allows you to adapt your methodology as you go along.  It takes away the necessity of getting everything just right from the start and empowers you to use whatever you learn along the way to do a better job.

On the other hand, it's particularly sad that the U.S. government is currently so dysfunctional that the agreement had to include wording to prevent the Luddite Republican party from vetoing America's participation in the deal.  Many Canadians like me were embarrassed by PM Stephen Harper's head-up-his-ass leadership over the past decade, but I can't imagine how awful the life of an intelligent citizen of the US must be these days with Donald Trump as the poster boy for one of the ruling parties.

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Prime Minister Trudeau In The New York Times

Here's a pretty good article on PM Justin Trudeau from the Times, written by an expat Canadian who clearly knows his history.  And when he states that October's election was "nothing less than an existential struggle over what it means to be Canadian," he absolutely nails it.  Harper made a lot of us ashamed of our country with his pandering-to-the-wealthy, xenophobic, fear-mongering governing style that George W Bush would've approved of.  I don't profess to know how well Trudeau will do as a leader just yet but at least his espoused principles are much more in line with my own, something that clearly wasn't the case with his predecessor and his cronies.

Sunday, December 06, 2015

December Biking

Somehow the original post about this got deleted today, so I'm just putting a Reader's Digest version back out here for my own personal records:

I got a bike ride in on Thursday this week, heading downtown for lunch with an old Canada Trust friend.  The temperature was just above freezing but it was sunny and clear, and it doesn't get much better than that in December.  I may even get another ride in this week coming up, as it's supposed to be slightly warmer still.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Last Bike Ride Of The Year?

Today I did the 25-km round trip downtown to the comic store, picking up 3 weeks' worth of comics (5 books) and getting in a substantial bike ride for the first time over that 3-week stretch.  Now that I'm no longer doing a weekly spin class, I really feel it when I get back onto the road after a layoff like that.  I can only imagine what it's going to be like in the spring when I've had several months off...

Anyway, today was a beautiful day for it: 10 C, sunny with a moderate amount of wind to cool me down whenever I needed it.  I don't know if I'll get any more opportunities before the snow comes for good, but if today was the final ride of 2015, at least it was a really good one.

Friday, November 06, 2015

Six Months Til Captain America: Civil War

I'm ridiculously excited about the May 6th debut of Captain America: Civil War.  I really liked the first Cap film, and then absolutely loved Winter Soldier, so I've probably got unrealistically high expectations about CW but I can't help it...  Captain America, when done right, has always been one of my favourite comic book characters, dating all the way back to him being in the first comic I remember buying.  So how can I not be jazzed that the next installment is now only half a year away?

Thursday, October 01, 2015

9th Anniversary Of This Here Blog

While it certainly doesn't get the traffic that it used to, Kimota94's Place is still up and operating, 9 long years after I started it with a post entitled Misadventures in Blogland back on Oct 1, 2006.  A lot sure has happened since then:
  • I've enjoyed 7 years of retirement so far, and have never regretted getting out of the rat race at 45 for even a moment
  • I've written 8 books, starting off with 3 non-fiction before moving into the much more satisfying task of novel-writing
  • Vicki has joined me as a retiree after about 15 years of off-and-on contract work
  • Tammy's graduated from Western (and the Ivey School of Business) with an HBA, become an accountant and even lived in Australia for almost 2 years
  • We've been fortunate enough to get the best cat ever, as Jonesy joined our family a little over 3 years ago
  • I've finally tired of being a comic collector, deciding last year to begin selling off and giving away some of the 30,000 comics I'd accumulated over the course of 40+ years
  • I've managed to keep in touch with the work friends who meant the most to me from both of my last two jobs, even after 14 and 7 years, respectively
  • Life has gone on, as it always tends to do
Anyway, I'm not sure how much longer I'll continue to 'maintain' this blog, even at the reduced level I've sunk to lately, though it's already outlasted any reasonable prediction I might've made about its lifespan way back in October of 2006.  So that's something, anyway.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Blue Jays Win American League East!

My last post was about the Jays ending their 22-year playoff drought, and now, less than a week later, they've clinched their first AL East title since 1993.  It was very impressive to me that the team simply went about their business over the past week or so as all the talk about 'clinching' this and 'magic number' that began to heat up.  At one point Josh Donaldson (I think) asked one of the TV guys how many games they needed to win in order to clinch, and the commentator started to explain how the magic number involved a combination of Toronto wins and Yankee losses... only to have Donaldson say, "No, I don't care about other teams and what they do.  How many wins do we need?"  That speaks volumes about this edition of Blue Jays:  they focus on the job at hand and play hard every inning as if it were the most important inning ever.  I can so get behind a club with that kind of mindset!

With today's 15-2 win over Baltimore and resulting title clinch out of the way, the only regular season goal left to achieve for the team is finishing 1st in the American League, ahead of Kansas City.  They currently lead by 2 games, with 5 games to go, and Toronto holds the tie-breaker if the two teams finish in a dead heat.  If the Jays can finish 1st, they'll have home field advantage throughout the playoffs (for as long as they last) because the American League won home field for the World Series by taking this year's All-Star game over the National League back in the summer.  Considering how well the Jays played at home in 2015 (53-28), that could end up making a huge difference in how deep they go in their first postseason run since 1993.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Blue Jays End 22-Year Playoff Drought

I was beginning to think I might never get to see the Jays in the playoffs again, after seeing them live in Game 1 of the 1993 World Series (the last time they were in a playoff series).  However, an incredible 2015 season which saw not one but two 11-game winning streaks for Toronto has now culminated with the team clinching a postseason berth with their best performance since 1993.

Additions such as Josh Donaldson, Troy Tulowitzki, Russell Martin and David Price to a roster that already boasted Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion has allowed the team to finally achieve the potential that so many have seen in them for several seasons now.  It's been a heck of a ride so far, even managing to push coverage of exhibition NHL games to the back burner during late September here in Canada.  I don't know deep they can actually go, but at least this year the Jays won't be breaking out their golf clubs after their 162nd game is over. 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Hour Of The Wolf Has Arrived!

The books sat in Atlanta, Georgia for about 24 hours, and then I was hit with duty charges that I wasn't expecting, but none of that matters now: Hour of the Wolf copies are finally in the house!  I'm happy to report that I have books to sell at last, so if you're looking for one, please let me know.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Life In The Serial Killer Capital Of The World

I wasn't actually living here in London, Ontario during the 50s through the early 80s, and now I'm kind of glad that I wasn't.  This chilling Guardian article details how our lovely little city was once the serial killer capital of the world, a distinction no city would ever want to hold.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Hour of the Wolf Is Almost Here!

Over the past several days, I've finished the print draft of Hour of the Wolf, ordered and received copies in the mail, checked them over and made a few minor changes, and then placed the big initial print order for the book.  I'm not sure how quickly they'll get here, though I'm cautiously optimistic that they may show up next week.  I'm using Amazon's CreateSpace print-on-demand service as my primary printer on this project for the first time, and so far each of my experiences with them has been very positive and quick.

As you can see from the left-side bar on this blog, I've added a couple of links to the new book.  It's all set up on CreateSpace and Lulu now, so anyone who'd rather get a copy through the mail can choose between those options and order it as of right now.  I'll also be putting a version up on the Kindle store, probably tomorrow, for those who like to read eBooks.

And of course, as soon as the printed copies show up on our doorstep, I'll be getting those into the hands of any interested parties.  Stay tuned.

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Nothing Good Ever Lasts: Scene Points Edition

As Tammy pointed out to me this morning, it sounds like Cineplex is soon going to be devaluing their Scene point system!  Premium tickets will soon require 1500 points and VIP 2000 points, where both had previously only needed 1000 for a ticket.

For years now, we've been building up 100 points per General Admission movie that we paid for, and then redeeming 1000 points to attend a VIP screening (usually on opening weekend) for some big budget blockbuster like Avengers or Captain America: The Winter Soldier.  The economics of it worked wonderfully, as we'd spend between $70 and $110 on 10 General Admission tickets (depending on how many cheap Tuesday shows we went to) and then redeem our 1000 points for a show worth about $20.  I sort of knew that was too good to last, and now it seems I'll soon be proven right in that assumption.

If you've got points built up right now that you've earmarked for a VIP show, you may want to use them before Nov 4.  Unfortunately for us, that rules out Star Wars Episode VII (December), Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (March 2016) and Captain America: Civil War (May 2016).  Bummer!