Sunday, 28 September 2014

Theakerly thoughts: what's making me happy?

This time I’m going to concentrate on what’s been making me happy this week, in honour of the segment at the end of Pop Culture Happy Hour, one of my favourite podcasts. Please just take it as read that my adorable little family is, as ever, making me happy, and that I am thoroughly enjoying my day-to-day work. I just don’t tend to talk about that kind of stuff in detail on here. Because you’re all vultures who would steal my life if I let you.

So, what’s been making me happy?

Expanding my daily to-do lists from ten to twenty items. At the core of it is still the ten big things I need to get done each day, but the other ten give me credit for all the daily stuff that needs doing – dealing with email, my morning pomodoro of writing, taking the kids to school, collecting the kids, and, erm, weighing myself. It’s good. Instead of the morning run being a frustrating obstacle to my tasklist, it’s now a nice simple job to tick off. Best of all, my weekday scores now produce a percentage. (91% last week!)

The Logitech k480 keyboard. Admittedly it’s a bit plasticky, and the T and Y keys on mine don’t work very well (a replacement is on its way), but this is going to be my best friend during November. A groove along the top lets it hold a tablet, and a dial lets you pick between three Bluetooth devices – which might not sound that amazing till you realise that to achieve the same thing with the Apple keyboard you have to power off all the other devices with which it has previously been paired. Really looking forward to taking this out and about for my November novelling sessions, and writing away on my iPod.

The backlog of reviews is finally starting to melt away. Well, it’s down to twenty. Twelve if you only count things I was given for review, and not things I read and began to write about. My goal for issue 50 is to completely clear the backlog, even if it means re-reading some of the books. A pomodoro (25 minutes) of writing each morning isn’t a lot, but it’s a lot more than nothing, and applied to short stuff like reviews it moves things along quite nicely, without getting in the way of anything else.

The new Aphex Twin album, Syro. It’s a lot like the Analord records, and those come very close to my idea of ideal music, so I’m very happy with it.

The youngest of our family gave me some sparkly dinosaur stickers to stick on the side of my PC.

Using my old Kindle again. Reading about the Kindle Voyage make me realise I’m kind of sick of the Kindle Paperwhite, and its damnable lack of buttons. I’m leaning towards the view that touchscreen ereaders are an abomination. The Paperwhite works better than any other I’ve tried (a Sony and a Kobo), but still, it’s a relief to get back to reading on a device that switches pages with a button press.

Nanowrimo is coming and I have an idea! This usually doesn’t happen until October 30. And I learnt a lot from taking part last year, which is going to help a lot in shaping my plans. Even though it was my umpteenth time taking part, it was my first serious attempt in a while, and my first finished novel in a good few years. I wrote a bunch of blog posts about my experiences last year (here, here and here), so I’ll be studying those carefully in the next few weeks. One thing I remember very clearly: don’t start a novel with someone flying through the air over the ocean alone with no way to talk to anyone, because what the heck are you going to write about? This year’s Nanowrimo starts on a Saturday, which is pretty much ideal for getting off to a good start.

If something’s been making you happy, let us know in the comments!


  1. In no particular order:

    1. Charity shops.
    Bargains galore. My old and battered Targa leather jacket stays with my most of the Autumn. I picked it up for £15, and I love it.
    My home town has more than its fair share of Charity shops, and Friday lunchtimes after work I mooch around to see what's on offer. Not only clothes, but anything I think might come in handy for model making - such as old cameras.

    2. Cooking.
    I love tinkering together a meal from ingredients I find in the cupboards. Experimentation is the key - and if my son adopts his 'Oliver' stance, I know I've succeeded.

    3. My old strat.
    She's been with my for over 20 years. Battered and scratched from many pub and club gigs, she still keeps me happy when I have the time to play along to a CD, or figure out a tune I've found in my head.

    4. Completing cover art for TQF.
    My latest piece (issue 49) took quite a few weeks of planning and putting together, and I'm very happy with the result. With a couple of pieces completed and agreed for upcoming issues, I now have the time to write a short story for issue 50...

    5. My local.
    Sunday is pub day for me. Lots of friends, varied conversations and stories make Sunday a day to reflect upon during the Monday grind. Recent subjects have been the latest series of Doctor Who, watches, film soundtracks, Blade Runner and quantum theory. And with the addition of Cornish Knocker to the ale line up, my usual Dark Star choices will now take a break for a couple of barrels.

    6. My kids.
    Mad as March hares, passionate, obsessive, contradictory, selfish yet giving - everything you'd expect from trainee adults. Great fun.

    7. HTC.
    I've been using HTC android phones for many years - and my 'One' does it all - finally a phone that lives up to my expectations! All my interests fed to me though blinkfeed - my email, facebook and twitter feeds laid out just how I want them via HTC's sense software - oh, and the camera's wonderful and the music quality superb.

  2. Will check out the HTC. I'm just about to buy Ranjna a new phone for her birthday.

  3. There are some great deals to be had for the One, now the M8 has arrived to replace it.

  4. Looks really good, but may be a bit pricey to buy for someone who takes so little care of their stuff as Ranjna! Her current phone's screen is the size of a postage stamp and has a million scratches. I'm leaning towards a Moto G. Big step up from her current phone but not too expensive to replace.

  5. Moto G looks great - you may be able to find an Otter Box case for it, which will help protect it - I have one for my one, and it's almost bullet proof.