Archive | Writing

Life goals (amended) …

Here are my life goals for the foreseeable future:

  • Get a novel length work of fiction onto the Kindle and iBooks stores for people to buy or, if they feel it warrants it, ignore!
  • Do a Science MSc degree part time with the OU.
  • Get an album of my own music onto iTunes Music Store for people to buy or ignore!

That’ll keep me busy during the Times of Austerity we are entering 🙂


Twitter is my journal/diary

I’ve tried keeping a diary a few times. Even bought MacJournal for Mac and a Maxjournal for iPad to do it in. I used MacJournal for a few months last year, but I never stuck at it.
I’ve realised that I don’t need to. Twitter is my diary. I usually tweet where I am and what I’m doing. Combined with a backup of the tweets via the BackupMyTweets website I have a record of what I was doing on most days, if I should ever need it, or want to read it, in the future. Combine that with longer pieces here on the Soapbox and I have what I was using MacJournal for anyway.


Going to go walkabout…

I’m planning on going Walkabout for 6 months or a year in 2011 into 2012. I’m hoping to spend several months in the USA and Canada moving about via train and bus. Maybe live for a few months in New York and drive around New England, then go to Toronto for a bit, then across Canada to Vancouver. Then down the west coast via Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles to San Diego. Then across the interior by train over the Rockies and Colorado via train to Chicago in Illinois. Then back to New York and Europe.

I need to do this. It’ll mean leaving my job, but I want to do that anyway! I’m going to go indy and be an IT contractor working for myself after the North American trip. I’ve been working for 28 years. It’ll be 30 years in 2011. I left school at age 17 to get a job to buy a motorbike and stuff. I’ve been working full time ever since. Except for holidays and 7 weeks off when I got sick. I know everyone else is in the same boat with work. Still, I’ve had it for a while and am going to pack it in and go walkabout.

I’ll also sell my house before heading off. I’ll buy somewhere else near the sea when I get back to Northern Ireland. If I come back of course. I probably will as I love Belfast. I’ll also spend some time in Scandinavia I think. Given the brilliant music that comes out of Sweden. I’ll keep a journal of the travels and thoughts. Maybe I’ll get a book out of it.


Halfway to Hollywood: Diaries 1980-88 by Michael Palin

Just finished reading the 2nd volume of Michael Palin’s diaries. A good, interesting read. They cover the period from 1980 to 1988. Indeed, this volume finishes on the evening before Palin embarks on his trip for Around the world in 80 days. I’m not sure this volume is as interesting as the original volume. Both volumes are certainly worth reading.

I’ve been keeping a diary of my own for the last while as a result of reading this volume. I’m doing it electronically in MacJournal. Really enjoying it. It’s a very cathartic process getting the events of the day documented as one of the last things before bed. It’s also good practice for writing in general and contributes words towards meeting the one million that David Gerold reckons you need to get under your belt as practise, if you want to be a writer. See tip 4 here. I’ve been writing a lot recently. In the journal, in various fiction projects in Scrivener, and in documents for work. I like writing.


Lyric – Serial Killer

Another lyric. WIP.

Serial Killer

He walks this fearful city
Looking victims for his blade
Unknown and unpredictable
Is he on some evil crusade?

(Serial killer) – is on the loose
(Serial killer) – fear in his wake
(Serial killer) – if he comes down your street
(Serial killer) – death will be your fate

Closing in on you now
There’s no place left to hide
The stench of fear it clouds you
You’re about to lose your mind

(Serial killer) – you know he’s there
(Serial killer) – but you can’t say where
(Serial killer) – cause you smell his breath
(Serial killer) – and you hear his step, yeah

The darkness is your enemy
Hides this hunter from your eyes
A whisper of sound behind you
Now it’s time to say goodbye

(Serial killer) – he got you
(Serial killer) – another notch on his knife
(Serial killer) – just five seconds of violence
(Serial killer) – is all it took to end your life

He got you.
He got you.
He got you.
He got you, yeah!

©Ian Robinson 2009

Lyric – Be Happy

Here is a lyric I’ve been working on for a while. I think this is close to something I can stop tinkering with. Lyrics are never finished, you just have to stop tinkering at some point!. Anyway, thoughts (including negative) welcome.

Be happy

You’ll never find me searching when you’re not there
I’ll never waste my time hoping that you care
You’ll never find me looking for a love that’s died
I’ll just make do with the love I can find

Be happy with the world
Smile at passers by
Be happy all your life
Lift your face up to the sky

Be happy with the world
Smile at passers by
Be happy all your life
Lift your face up to the sky

You don’t need to be melancholy in any way
Just grin and bear it from day to day
You only get one shot at a happy life
Just don’t go wasting it on religion and strife

Be happy with the world
Smile at passers by
Be happy all your life
Lift your face up to the sky

©Ian Robinson 2009

The plan

I like to set goals. I’m not that keen on keeping to them, but I like setting them as targets and frameworks to work with. I’ve got a set of personal and work related goals that want to work to over the next few years. Sort of my own personal Soviet style 5-year plan.

Work Stuff

Become the go-to guy for VMware VI3 questions and also for Mac OS X integration into Windows environments. Also be the person people search out when they have questions about current and new technology.

Personal Stuff

Learn mathematics. Using this selection of self study books:

mathbooks Click picture for larger view

I want to be able to read Penrose’s The Road to Reality and understand the mathematics in it.

Do several Open University courses to finish a BSc I’m doing with them:

S366 Evolution

SXN390 Science in Society Project

Do the Open University MSc Science and Society. As long as they let me in. [Update: They did!] I’ve pulled out a few courses recently and they have a rule that stops you registering for new courses. Which is fair enough. They don’t get paid by the government if people don’t complete the courses. In any event I’ll be doing something in the science communication field (including many more posts here on the Soapbox) as we need to fight the hoards of superstitious nut jobs. We can’t cede any of the ground won in the last 400 years with rationality and the scientific method.

Continue to work on some science fiction stories I’m writing. One is set in a space opera scale universe and the other is set in the Frank Herbert Hellstrom’s Hive universe.

Music – I’ve got about dozen songs in various stages of work (all have full lyrics). I want to continue to work on them and maybe package them together as an actual album. That’d be cool 🙂

Write a cricket match scoring system for Macintosh and iPhone using Cocoa. Unless someone else develops on that meets my needs first. I’d be happy if they did. Programming projects always bore the tits of me after the initial requirements specification and design are done! [Update: I’ve also had an idea for an app that uses the Twitter API]

We’ll see how I get on…

Soapbox and Twitter

Since I started Twittering I’ve been posting things that used to appear here on the Soapbox, like Song of the Day, as tweets instead. I can see this increasing with Twitter been used for short posts and this site being used for longer screeds. My 3 latest tweets also appear in the sidebar on the right here. If you are not on Twitter then give it go.

Moleskine notebooks

I decided that I needed a small notebook to jot things down in when they occured to me. Things like story ideas, song snippets, general notes; anything really. So I ordered a Moleskine Pocket Plain Notebook after seeing Simon Wolf with one at WWDC. It’s perfect. Fits in the pocket, has a sleeve at the back to store a few items, has a ribbon bookmark and an integrated elastic to hold it closed. Cool. I also ordered a Moleskine Large Plain Notebook for more copious writing and note taking. I liked them so much I’ve just ordered a Moleskine San Francisco City Notebook for use on WWDC and Macworld trips. The city notebook has a map, which gives an overview of the city, along with 36 pages of zone maps, which provide large scale maps of the city centre. A 96 page tab separated personal section allows you to keep hotels, shops, addresses, places of interest and facilities organised. A further 76 blank pages let you jot down thoughts, stories and memories of trips. Excellent. Basically the city notebooks let you build up your own guidebook for cities you visit regularly.

There are editions of the city notebooks for about 20 major cities so far. See the full list at the Moleskine site.

More praise for Hellstrom’s Hive

I finished listening to the audio book version of Frank Herbert’s Hellstrom’s Hive yesterday. God, I love that book. It is so crying out for a sequel. I want to know what happened next, then over the following few years, decades, and centuries. I’m now reading the book again. On my Sony Reader of course. I created a LRF version of the book from a PDF I “found”. I’ve bought two paper copies of the book and an audio version. I’ll buy an authentic eBook version when I can.

I might take some notes and jot down some thoughts of possible sequel ideas in Scrivener as I read it this time…

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