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Bad bike; some books; I killed a man

I think something is wrong with bikey. Rather than driving smoothly in first, she sort of goes "hurr hurr hurr" and pulls unevenly unless I'm really revving. It's possible she was overheating, as I was driving around a labyrinthine business park at the time, going really slowly and staring about at all these buildings like DUDE EVERYTHING LOOKS THE SAME I'M NEVER GETTING OUT HERE, but I dunno.

I checked her oil, which is fine, pumped up the tyres and lubed the chain in the hope it randomly has something to do with those things instead, but if it persists when I head out again on Wednesday I think I'll be forking out money I do not really have for a garage visit. Sadness, I have it.

In other news, I decided to go against recommendation and read parts two and three of the Hunger Games trilogy.

I have to agree with the books' detractors: a lot of what makes Katniss so brilliant in the first book is diminished in these. She isn't as resourceful and she isn't as hellbent on survival, either - at least, not as cleverly. The personality traits that tripped her up before (her stubbornness, her weakness on the stage) seem overdone in this. There is no great sense of character progression, and the rut she languishes in annoyed me because she seems so unwilling to tackle it. She skives training; she relies on others and gives little back.

That said, I still enjoyed both books. In fact, I enjoyed Mockingjay immensely. I stayed up until five in the morning reading it, and then I was so pumped up on it afterward that I was awake until seven writing my own stuff.

Alright, Katniss isn't her brilliant self in either book, but a lot of that's down to Collins' commitment to the reality of oppression and violence. Katniss doesn't naturally think out of the box because she has been taught, like all of Panem, to keep her head down; she fears the Resistance because she has so many people to lose; and her experiences in the Hunger Games have scarred her deeply with PTSD and depression.

War is relentless in Mockingjay. People are killed; allies stoop lower and lower for vengeance. I don't want to spoil anything if anyone else has been as late to the party as me, but there's a scene down in the sewers that I thought was fantasy horror perfection. The final blow of the war forced me to stop reading and digest for a good fifteen minutes before I could push on. Collins really doesn't hold back: if something more dreadful could happen, it does.

I found the romance elements (I'm actually dead sketchy about calling them romance, if I'm honest. The boy trouble elements) neutered the finale, mind you. In fact, the way Katniss was jerked back out of the action to heal up in a bedroom while everyone else handled the fallout bothered me too. But, yeah, by the end of that book I did not feel she should have been with either of the love interests. I think it would have been braver to set her free of both of them. Alas, 'twas not so.

So: good for war and world building and oh-god-make-it-stop relentlessness. Maybe not so good if you're hoping for Katniss the survivalist.

Aaand, in further news, I hit a hella snag in my novel the other day. The sort of snag that is going to take me maybe a month to work around. The kind of snag that would be better described as a massive rip the size of Saturn. I was sufficiently crushed by this that I ended up physically sick, which was great.

Fortunately, the rigour of my 2k a day January took me to the toilet to vomit up my woes, then back to my desk, where I took out a completely different story, Shadow Ascending, read through its existing chapters, thought "hm", and promptly spat out a full plan for the rest of the story.

I am not good at planning. My novel sports the scars of this fact. For the vast majority of a story to just plop out of my head... that's just unheard of.

I'm writing it up properly now, and I've just reached the point where one of my characters dies. You know what? I haven't killed a character in ages. I'm so much out of practice that when I came to describe it I felt odd about the whole thing. I used to relish knocking characters off. This time I felt for them a bit.

Maybe I should just kill the character who forms the snag in my novel. Maybe that's a good way to deal with all problems I face in life.


My phone camera is terrible but it triiiiies.


Last night's experiment: me being a bit wangsty.

Today's disbelief: I woke up to 6k words and an addition to my plot plan that finally makes it completely coherent.

I have nooo intention of turning drunk-writing into a habit, but what. Whaaaat.
Hard work and sobriety have been getting me nowhere, so tonight I am going to write like I'm motherfucking Hemingway: shitfaced. And I have Wood's 100 proof navy rum right here to see me through.

Dirge of the elderly laptop

I imagine most people with ageing PCs know that noise they make when they lock up while y'playing music... It sounds a bit like an ill engine.

Well, I was on the elderly laptop today when it decided to sing me a song. It wailed on long enough that I actually had time to record the tail end of it.

Arrogantly I assumed I had heard every anguished sound a Windows computer could make, but this was new to me!
I am so sick of this awful novel right now!


I wrote 8k words in two days and my brain has just fizzled out. D: I have quite a strong urge to write something else, however. Maybe a short story or something. I don't know.

What I do know is that my mother just gave me £350 to pay the electrician tomorrow. I asked if it was cake money; she, not paying proper attention, said yes. So I'm definitely popping to the shops to buy a cake, drape it in gold tinsel, and leave it out with a £350 price tag on it for her to find when she gets home tomorrow.


Too close to victory to give up, so far from victory that my brain hurts. I'm going to have to write about 2.3k words a day if I want to finish on Friday. I have no idea if I'll manage it.


My bike

Yamaha YBR125 Custom


Carsington Water

My bike in nature

YBR125 Custom at Carsington Water

I spent today writing and watching sheep, which is not a bad way to spend a day.


NaNoWriMo hooooooooooo

Set up a blog to house my daily entries; stocked up on winter things for writing outside; writing my main novel character's backstory from her mother's point of view; EVERYTHING IS GOOD.

I get excited about NaNoWriMo in the way Christian children get excited about Christmas.


The contents of my life at present, conveyed in two images:

I should add that I am so ready for NaNoWriMo.


Hi sadly neglected journal! Here's a weekend away in pictures!

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Alternate universe

So Jon wrote two excellent pieces about his RP characters, based in a completely divergent universe where world events are massively different. It inspired me, to the point at which I essentially wrote this in one sitting, with a pause for SLEEP in the middle.

I warn that this is pretty crass in a lot of places. Sort of the same Miriah and Lydon as ever. Only... not.

I have an interview today at the jobcentre where I'm doing my work experience. It's for a temporary placement as a full signer-onner, lasting until March, and I find I want it. I've been thinking extensively about the sort of thing they might ask me, but at this stage my main fear is that I'll step into the interviewing room and freeze up. This is what happened when I had that super casual interview to get the work experience placement in the first place.

I want the job because I want to stay on, basically. For years I've suffered some pretty terrible anxiety around people, offline and online both. My best friend in sixth form told me I was a good listener, and that's kinda the only social praise I've ever had. So! I thought I would suck in this role. I thought I'd be panicky and terrible and be unable to look people in the eyes.

Instead I've risen to pretty much every challenge. I've helped completely computer-illiterate people get email addresses and learn how to use them - well enough that one woman has now had three appointments with me, over the course of which she's picked up all the skills I've tried to transfer and has gone from hating computers to wanting to buy one... and after that third session my manager wanders over and tells me that particular customer has learning difficulties, too.

I'm completely comfortable meeting people as they come in the door, redirecting them to advisers and answering queries, or providing them with forms, or helping them on the phone, or telling them that no, we can't help their 17 year old son until he is 18, but I could maybe give them this sheet, right, which they didn't get from me, right, which has all the websites on it, and maybe he would like to sign up for some job alert emails?

I've reordered the form storage system; I'm developing a program to help with reordering; I've labelled everything ever; I've patched up broken files; I've made up a million of the customer information packs; I've made over 700 cover sheets; I've compiled a progress report on the state of the Internet Access Device; and I've just generally kept busy accepting tasks from people and thinking up tasks for myself. More importantly, I've developed a self-analysing tendency that allows me to work out what I've done well and how to fix what I've done poorly without feeling crap about it, and I regularly ask for help from other members of staff. I feel sort of like, I don't know, a balanced person.

The people are lovely too. I took my first emotional suckerpunch from an unexpected source on Tuesday and actually shed a couple goddamn tears in front of a colleague, and when I tried to apologise she's all no, don't apologise for being human. Then on Wednesday she and another colleague took me out to the charity shops at lunchtime and were incredibly rowdy. x) She entered one shop, went straight to the shopkeeper, pointed out the other two of us and said we were trouble, keep an eye on us. So the shopkeeper's apprentice was following us around all KEEPING AN EYE. YOU LOT BEIN' TROUBLE? THINK THAT'S BEING TROUBLE, LOOKING AT THAT SCARF. It was quite excellent.

I think I'll be good at the advisor job because my work experience placement has been slowly building me up to it, and I have yet to fail the challenges it's put in my way. I will have to give people bad news if I'm signing, it's true, but I think I can. We'll see if boss agrees. D:

11th Sep, 2012

can I just say

working in a women-only office

is kind of the best thing ever

Stupidity and me

I had a casual meeting at Belper jobcentre today, not to sign on but to take up a job experience opportunity overseeing what is essentially nothing more than a new computer terminal, but involves sufficient planning and supervision to be referred to as a "job seeker communication project" that I will be "leading."

I wasn't at all nervous heading in, even though the trains were at awkward times and my Googlefu had failed me so I wasn't entirely sure where in Belper the place was (turns out I couldn't find it properly on Google maps because it's set back from the rest of the shop fronts for no discernible reason).

I am bloody nervous now. It doesn't make any sense, being nervous after the meeting, but apparently my brain is as stupid as I am. Which shouldn't be a surprise to me, I guess. My thinking is generally along the lines of oh god I made such a fool of myself because of my stupid plummy voice and oh god everyone I help will know I'm shy and useless and apparently I take up religion when I'm self-hating.

I start on Monday, anyway, and they have a casual-but-no-jeans policy that has me buggered at present. I will have to hit the charity shops in search of something that fits, but I am a UK size 6-8 depending on the cut, and that is not a size-range that's often well covered by the charity shops.

Look! I'm terrible! I'm assuming the charity shops are full of middle-aged ladies with cats.

Everyone I am going to work with will know I am the sort of terrible person who lets god and stereotypes into my heart under times of stress.

Terrible terrible times.



Which may be an ongoing issue.


Fanfic competition

This is terribly written but has actual prizes, so if anyone has any WoW fanfic lying around on their computer, it's prolly worth throwing in on the off-chance. What isn't too awesome is that the entries are being shortlisted by comments and favourites, so it's a bit of a popularity contest. But, well, I guess that makes me feel a bit less like a lousy cheat when I say heeeey, do us a favour and like this and this. I will... love you... forever?

My ears would, anyway, if I won. One of the prizes is a headset and all of mine are deaf in one ear. I need to be less deaf in one ear!