Archive of November 2008

November 30

Bad Sex awards (they're for WRITING about it!)

As I near the end of my NaNoWriMo writing one of the things I might need for my ending is a sex scene (no, it is not gratuitous!), but I am no fool and do not underestimate the potential for a literary prat fall here.

So perhaps you can imagine my interest when I read in the paper that it is that time of year and this award has been given again, this time to [[Rachel Johnson]].  You can read all about it on the Times Blog here.

[[Literary Review Bad Sex in Fiction Awards]] were inaugurated back in the nineties and I think I may have made mention of them to someone on nano, or on a blog comment or something.  So it was nice to join up the dots and find them splashed on the paper.  I think they make for some hilarious reading, and literary greats are not imune from these shortcomings, John Updike was nominated four times (and I respect him greatly as a writer, perhaps all the more because he does not shy away from sex scenes in his writing).

I hope this may have made one of the more amusing blogworthy posts, I enjoyed adding it.  I remain puzzled as to exactly WHY it is that WRITING about sex should be quite such a difficult proposition though!  I'll have to think on that, my only hunch at the moment is that it is a deeply personal experience, unique to everyone and entirely personal (yet how is it that we share it by  definition with another person!).

04:04 PM | 0 Comments
November 28

My NaNoWriMo work looks set to complete.

Well, with November drawing to a close it seems I can indeed manage to write a work of literature that runs over fifty thousand words in a month.  I am not going to pretend it is easy.  I am definitely not entirely happy with the literary standard I have set (and what I have written is a rough first draft, not a polished text).  BUT I seem to have very nearly done it.

I'll admit to being a tiny bit proud of that.

The about nanowrimo link on the right will take you to a site where the entire work is hosted, or you can click here if you wish.

There are no comments allowed directly to the text there - so if you would like to say anything about it then please do feel free to comment on this post.  I'm very open to any comments or criticism.

11:42 AM | 0 Comments | Tags: , , ,
November 18

My aim is true

Well good folks, something I did not tell you about earlier is one of Lithuania’s more renowned citizens.  This was a man who made his mark in history, a man whom I feel commands respect, whose name lives on and probably inspires respect or even perhaps fear to this day.

Who do I speak of?  None other than Mikhail Kalashnikov, creator of the infamous AK-47 assault rifle, probably the most renowned firearm in the world today!

I happen to regard it as part of a modern man’s “armoury” (pardon the pun) that he should have the skill of shooting.  Naturally I long ago mastered the English shotgun, and many a fine pheasant I have enjoyed as a result.  But the AK-47 is quite a different beast.  I must admit to a certain fascination and I have hopes I shall lay my hands on one soon and experiment with my abilities and the weapon.

Please do not misunderstand, I am a peaceful man and a gentleman.  But I admire the machinery and functionality of the Kalashnikov.  Who can doubt that to be a crack shot is an asset for any man?  But one can never know what the future holds, and if I were called to arms I should like to be able to defend myself in some style..

So it is that I and some friends are planning to embark on a trip.  I'll keep this post brief, and so you can read all about it here.  So soon enough I shall be leaving these shores for a suitable venue to practice with the weapon that has become synonymous with modern day combat.  Doing so in the place where the weapon originated is an added bonus.

02:49 PM | 3 Comments | Tags: , ,
November 08

From Matlock; thoughts and the first Elgar performance

Goodness it is lovely here!  I am really enjoying just the feeling of fresh air - no doubt with the excitement of the concert still to come.  There will likely be libations to the Gods of music and choirs afterwards and that should be fun - I allready have plans to delegat my designated driver status away perhaps.  We shall see what I can arrange.  Over at my Chyrping blog you can see about my wifi troubles!  I shall be returning to this blog post after the concert, sobriety permitting and insomnia facilitating.

I am in a hotel lounge now and there is a conversation going on which I should join in - I shall publish and go and hope I can get some pics tomorrow (Google Arkwright mills and Matlock if you like for images).  Actually i should have mentioned Alison Arkwright because we are staying in Alison House and it is superb!  So beautiful here, like a complete rejujination for the senses.  The venue for our singing was NOT inspiring, but apparently anywhere other than the school gym hall local to the area would have meant we could not fit the orchestra in!  There was one awful moment in the concert when I left a dangling ESSss on a phrase and it was quiet and I am SURE someone MUST have heard me mess up... My current fear is that Stefan Reid will have noticed and mention it at rehearsal on Monday!

05:39 PM | 0 Comments | Tags: , , ,
November 07

Greetings from Fehrnzeit

Hello World!  I am sure many of you reading this will know me , or know of me.  I am Anton Ferhnzeit and of course with a name like that if you have met me you will not have forgotten me!  But then, you would not forget me anyway, would you?  I have such a lively, engaging, and frankly quite brilliant mind and such charm and wit combined with my devilish good looks.  I know modesty does not become me, you would only detect the false misplaced sentiment behind it if you knew me.

So - to those that know me - "Felicitations! You know what to expect and can enjoy my presence in the Blogosphere just as you have in my more mundane, everyday circles"

And to those that do not "Greetings!  You have come to the right place to be stimulated and amused! I intend to lift the quality of the blogosphere to new heights"

How much further should I introduce myself - well I have given this some thought.  A picture could be misleading and make you judge me to be vain, so you shall find none.  A lengthy description is unlikely to do me justice either.  My reputation precedes me if you know me already, making such a thing unnecessary.  If you do not know me, then with my charming wit and repartée you soon shall and will be a richer person for it!

On to matters more interesting than myself then!  Yes there are some, even to me!  Of course now that I have deployed my not inconsiderable intellect here I need a subject and a blog post to start this blog rolling.  Speaking of which - impress me sufficiently and I shall award you the honour of a space on my blogroll - but for now it is gloriously empty.

The subject of the moment is POSSESSION.  You may find that a little odd for me, you may have noticed my generous nature.  But there is more to possession than that.  For example I possess a great deal of self-composure.  I believe the Devil posesses the souls of those that do not hold on to their own.  And last but not least I have found that when I meet a member of the so called "gentler" sex they invariably seek to "possess" me!  Incidentally there is an excellent book of that name by A.S Byatt.  I commend it to those readers who have not already enjoyed it.

They say that possession is nine tenths of the law, and there's good reason for that.  I say that if we took the observation that "the love of money is the root of all evil" and changed it to the "desire to possess" (for surely if money is anything it is a tool for the purposes of mans' possession?

Of course, myself I am fortunate enough to possess more than ample resources to possess more or less anything I desire (including a member of the fairer sex if I set my mind to it!).  But I may surprise you if I tell you that I aspire to relinquish the DESIRE to possess.  Certain fundaments I insist that I not only possess but have complete dominion over, these include my wits and my sanity!  Certain others I insist upon shunning and have a desire to dispossess, such as trouble and strife (and these are chosen with a view to the Cockney rhyming slang also, since I cherish my bachelor status!).

I must leave you for a moment now - my manservant is drawing me a bath and I do so like it to be at the perfect temperature.  Please could my fledgling audience consider what they possess and what desires possess them - I shall return when bathed and fed to consider further...


... Returning to my screen after a splendid repast.  I find my possession of my senses most necessary!  And I am mindful of a poor chap who owes his life to the wonderful RAF emergency service.  I just heard on the wireless that he suffered a stroke mid-air and lost his sight!  Believe it or not he survived despite being alone.  Coming to his senses (sans sight!) the poor chap radioed for help and an RAF crew were scrambled to intercept him at altitude and "talk him down" this they managed to do.  The man was heard to grumble that he was concerned his landing was a little bumpy!  But he did thank them for saving his life!

There is a good tale to end my first blog posting on - so fellow readers of the Blogosphere, retain your senses and relinquish your possessions I say to you!  It is clear which has the more value, to me anyway.

Until tomorrow - Anton.

04:46 PM | 1 Comment | Tags: , ,
November 05

Excited to write! (Why?!)

This post will be brief, because the writing I am excited about is not blog posting, but more a little light coding and then NaNoWriMo (or nano as I sometimes call it for short).

The coding part is putting the finishing touches to this new "blog" site I have set up for my book! (I want to remove or lighten the sidebar for easier reading).

I know one person who will be thrilled to see this appear at least.  But what confuses the bejeezus out of me is why I am excited about it?!  You see if a publisher came up and offered to publish anything I had written (not something I believe to be even a remotely possibility!) then my reaction would be trepidation, suspicion, and vague concern (lest I become widely read, celebrity is something I would not wish upon myself or anyone dear to me, unless they sought it out as part of their nature).  So the only explanation I can offer myself is that the internet readership is a different ballgame, you retain anonymity (or is it the illusion of that?).  Your audience is selective and you can be too (it is technically possible to restrict the content and then ban people you do not want to see it, only those you trust can see it).

Also, to be quite frank the coding does interest me more than the writing - so there is that.  After this it is the last possible online activity of any length I should allow to be a distraction from my nano!  I hope you like the link, I'll put it on the "About NaNoWriMo" page too and until I have done that coding it may have mickey mouse content, but soon enough it will get (daily?) updates to become in December my nano novel online!   It runs on the latest and greatest chyrp release too (RC3), so I feel good about that.

12:09 PM | 0 Comments | Tags: , , ,
November 04


For whatever reason, I had one of those clearing out the loft moments going through ancient boxloads... and I turned up this exercise book that had something in it I wrote years ago intending it to be a childrens story perhaps for my daughter (she was just a babe at the time).  I thought I would type it up as a post.  Wish there was a way I could incorporate it in my novel (have to think on that!).  Here it is anyway:-


There's a wind that blows, and it starts over Spain.  In Spain the sun shines so hard it makes the rocks very hot in the day, but the sea keeps cool because it's so big and blue.  Then, when night falls, the air rushes in from the cool sea to the hot rocks and a special wind is born.

It starts from the sea to the rocks as a gentle breeze, only just enough to blow a crisp packet along.  But as the night gets cool it blows a little stronger and starts to blow its way further up the hills.

The hills in Spain can be very steep indeed, and in some places they are like mountains, except that they are flat on top.  As the wind blows up these hills it gets very strong and can even blow some small trees up the hill if they haven't got their roots into the soil properly.

Here the wind often helps birds to climb up high into the sky without even having to flap their wings - it is like an up escalator for the birds. They soar high into the early morning sky, because that's when they start their hunting.  It has taken all day and all night for the wind to blow from the sunny seaside to the top of the hills in Spain.

Up at the top of the hills in Spain it is called the plain.  It's called the plain because it is very flat, but it also happens to look very plain indeed because the sun burns so brightly that not much grows.  Here the wind gets tired in the midday heat, just only blowing hard enough to make the grass sway a little and ruffle the manes of the horses that play there.

The wind pauses and thinks of a place where it blows into the Americas; here there are ponies too.  Some of these ponies have come all the way from Wales a long time ago.  They are very pretty ponies and their owners still speak to them in Welsh.  This place is called Patagonia and the people who live here have to live a simple life.  When the wind blows they are glad because it often brings some rain.

On and on the wind blows across the plain, leaving the rain behind as it blows along.  After another day the wind reaches the end of the plain and here there are mountains rising up high into the clear blue beyond.  The wind gets thin and cold as it goes higher and higher to pass through the Alps.  It gets so cold that the rain that's left turns into snow and hail.  The wind finds gaps to blow through in the rocks that make the mountains, whistling as it blows higher and higher and thinner and thinner through the mountain passes. It seems to be calling out a sound which might be the name this wind is given in Spain.  Here it is called the Scirocco.  Or perhaps it just got the name since it blows from the sea to the rocks of the Andes mountains.

After a while the wind blows right up to the tops of the mountains - here it is so fierce it can turn the snow into the hardest ice in an instant.  If a man stood up straight when it was blowing its hardest he would be blown straight off the top of the mountain into the valley below.  There is a rumour that a creature called the Yeti can stand up here without getting too cold, because the Yeti can live here - but no man has seen such a creature and lived to tell the tale.

The next day the wind blows down the other side of this mountain range into a new country, far from the sea where it started out all those days ago.  This country is called France, so here the wind has a new name.  It is called the "Mistral" and it brings the cold weather that is the start of winter for the countryside of France.

The people in this French countryside are used to a wonderful long hot summer, so it is a big shock when this wind arrives from the mountains blowing along lots of snow and ice.  All the French farmers rush inside and put their heating on at full blast to keep warm in the storm as the Mistral blows through.  If any of them have left their grapes still growing on the vines then they get very upset because it's too late to harvest them when this wind blows and brings the cold to freeze them on the vine.

After another day and night the wind has blown all the way across France and left the cold of the mountains far behind,  It blows over the channel and picks up plenty of rain to worry any farmers who haven't finished making their hay or harvesting their crops.  But this rain only falls on the hills where the sheep are feeding - so the farmers can relax and the sheep can enjoy nice green grass for pasture.

After another few days of peacefully breezing over the English countryside - where the wind is known as Gale if it gets too strong - then the wind blows up to the lowlands of Scotland where the land starts to rise and the wind gets a little bite to it again.  Because Scotland is lucky at this time of year the sun is shining and the wind gets warm again in the lowlands.

Then after another day and a night the wind gets up to the Scottish mountains where the Golden Eagle nests in the mossy crags at the top.  The eagles fly out from their eiries (that's what these big nests are called) onto the breeze, which lifts them up high over the plains below so that they can hunt baby sheep and rabbits.  Here the wind blows so peacefully and quietly that it hasn't even got a name - or perhaps its name is just forgotten in the peace and quiet.

Eventually the wind reaches the sea at the end of Scotland.  Here the land is quite barren and rocky and the wind blows more strongly with all the open sea and islands ahead.

This is where the wind blows over the sea to Skye (which is one of the islands) and it once took a Prince to hide away on an island - but that's a story for another day.

As the wind blows out to sea at the end of its journey, and at the end of summer too, it lets out a long sigh after blowing so far and falls gently off to sleep on the softly rippling waves of the deep blue sea.  Just like you and me at the end of the day when we go to bed.


I remember being happy with it as a bed time story for a child at the time.  Now when I read it I feel less than satisfied with my writing and unsure how a child would receive it, but I still like the idea behind the story... Perhaps I'll print this post and try reading it to Isabel tonight... Perhaps a reader or two may like to try reading it to their children?  If you do any comments from them would be appreciated.

08:31 AM | 2 Comments | Tags: , , ,
November 03

The plot thickens

This morning the reason my NaNo word count jumped is I finally managed to thrash out some sort of a plot outline with a few sketchy details.  In the process I realised where I planned to intersperse some of the blog posts that fit into the book.  This is where it gets interesting...

It occured to me that in addition to the main character(s) blogging or emailing I would also involve some comments from the blog.  So dear readers this means that in future you too could become part of my NaNoWriMo novel!  I have not thought it through - perhaps I have to add an "About Nano" page with all sorts of disclaimers that I retain rights to use comments... I am not sure if that is required, have to look into it if I have time.  Of course no comments may come - then I shall have to create my own log ons and make "faked" ones!  Oh what a tangled web we weave!

I had to dash then to practice the Elgar - on returning I descended into many matters geeky (reformatting external Hard Drive, finalising laptop recovery and more which I forget)... Before I know it now it's the wee small hours and I am still awaiting the format of the drive (well, it is 320GB!).

So far as I can see the idea still holds water... I shall make a page and paste the writing I have so far into it - this will have notes so that you can get the gist of it.  Of course i should warn you that if you intended to read whatever I manage to produce then the notes would give you a pretty good idea what is going to happen!

Rather than pages I could put all the writing to another blog at a different domain (effectively using the blog as a publishing engine of sorts).  This idea flies better then pages (although i shall make ONE).  BUT it will take up valuable time to implement and I really need to try to focus myself into my writing far more.  It is bad enough that I have to drive to Derbyshire to sing the Elgar this weekend, though I'll take the laptop and try to snatch what moments I can for writing (and, of course, making a blog post!).

- maybe even make a page for the Nano book - but that would need some sort of "read more" function built in and i am not at allsure that can be done at page level....

07:43 PM | 1 Comment | Tags: , ,
November 02

Displacement activity

OK well, so I sang the Verdi and that was great fun.  The best part is that unlike the first time where I went through months of weekly practices learning the piece and practicing (along with some singing lessons as I was new to singing then) this time it was one rehearsal a week in advance, then a rehearsal in the morning and sing my heart out for the concert in the evening!  What fun!  My stepmother says I am getting a "repertoire" and I tell her that is pretentious nonsense!  But it is lovely to get the chance to sing something you enjoyed again.

That recording is from a personal MP3 player with on board mic that I slipped in my pocket at the last minute - highly experimental and I am amazed I got ANYTHING!  There were mics all over and I'll probably HAVE TO buy a couple of CD's for family and friends (they'd kill me if I didn't).

But all of this is displacement writing!  I am MEANT to be making a start on my novel writing month!  You would not believe the things I have found that I just "have to do" before I sit down with the document open and type!  I have taken the rubbish out (early), done three loads of laundry (one a half load), formatted a laptop for a friend, burnt a knoppix DVD for testing, tidied my cable suitcase and filed a laptop charger...phoned a friend... emailed Quaker friends! All of these things I would normally leave for a more appropriate time or leave until they HAD to be done.

And now I am writing to my blog, because I have the dual excuse that this is also NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month) where I am supposed to post daily for November.  That will not be hard to do (look at the count for October in the Archive!).

My NaBloPoMo profile 

Oh yes - I also wasted time changing a poem to "draft status" and seeing if I could install the Chyrp extension so that I could link you guys to a file where I'd put my novel to date - luckily for you that is broken but I may still do it by hand... esp. if there are more than a couple of comments expressing interest in that.

Last but not least at Quaker meeting I was (finally) able to take responsibility for the website! And I even repaired a linkback to it from London Quakers - so some of my displacement activity has been useful.  That site will start to get overhauled as soon as I have come up with content and it has been approved by the elders.

But enough keystrokes blogging - they all need to go to my novel really!  I have a name for the lead character - he is going to be Frederick Allsop, but he will prefer the Pseudonym of Anton Fehrnzeit!  So when things look weird on here with some blog entries if those names feature (or Lydia Dypchyk, the comic love interest!) then you can guess it is a "novel" blog.  I shall tag them all Fehrnzeit - if that helps...

05:23 PM | 0 Comments | Tags: , , , ,