Monday 30 November 2015

Nanowrimo victory

At the start of this month, I signed up for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). I'm pleased to say I have succeeded in its objective, and written 50,000 words of fiction in the month of November. I've even done it with one day to spare.

I bashed out roughly 11,000 words on the 29th of November alone, so this is not a high-quality piece of writing. If you said it was mad to attempt this in the first place, alongside baby care, cat wrangling, and a full time job, I would not disagree. But there's a strange kind of masochistic satisfaction to having done it. I do have a better idea how my story will work, if I decide to develop it further.

Regular blogging will resume next week, I need a rest from writing anything that's not strictly necessary.

Edit 2015-12-01: This makes my fifth Nanowrimo win: 2008, 2009, 2010, 2013, and now 2015.

If anyone's interested, this year's opus is a science fiction tale with working title The Great Beyond. Main characters include a cynical, disillusioned spaceship captain and treasure hunter; an aristocrat's servant who is not all she seems; and a soul eleven thousand years old in a body which is ten years younger than it should be.

It would be hard to overstate the amount of work this needs before it's fit to see the light of day. But I like the setting and some things about the characters and plot, so I might try and move it forward. It's the same science fiction background I tried to use for Nanowrimo in 2012 and 2014. Both those attempts crashed out long before reaching the 50,000 word target, so this is some kind of progress.

Friday 27 November 2015

Cute Cat Friday 2015-11-27: Belle

Queen of all she surveys (except Joni).

Introductions between Belle and Joni are going pretty well. There was a setback on Wednesday when a face-to-face meeting ended in a short scuffle, but both cats backed off quickly enough. Since then they have observed each other through barriers, a bit of hissing has taken place but on the whole we think they are getting used to each other. We won't rush things; but we're optimistic that in a few days, or at most a couple of weeks, they will be content to be in the same room together.

Friday 20 November 2015

Cute Cat Friday 2015-11-20: Introducing Joni

Here is Joni, who we adopted and brought home on Wednesday:

She is named for Joni Mitchell, a fine musician and great Canadian.

Joni is a very friendly and playful cat. It's hard to get a good picture of her, because she won't stop moving for long enough! She has settled into the spare room well, but is very curious and already eager to explore the outside world.

Joni was pregnant when her previous owner had to rehome her, and brought her to the Blue Cross. She birthed a litter of four beautiful kittens and spent the next few months caring for them, but now all have been adopted and it's their mother's turn to find a new home.

(Joni has now been neutered, so she won't be having any more kittens. They would be adorable, but we couldn't keep them and there are a lot of cats needing new homes as it is.)

After the misfortune of Freddie, we were very careful about choosing a new companion for Belle. Joni is three and a half years old, about the same age as Belle. All else being equal, an older female will be much less territorial than a younger male like Freddie. Joni is used to contact with other cats and not known to be aggressive.

In the end, how cats get along depends on their individual personalities, so we don't know for sure if this will work out. But the odds seem much better this time and we're willing to give it a try. Belle was happy living with Dexter, and we think it will be good for her to have feline company again, especially since we're busy with the baby and can't play with her as much as we would like.

We're taking the introductions slowly and carefully, as it should be with any two cats. Watch this space for reports on progress.

Tuesday 17 November 2015

A few thoughts on the Paris attacks

After the terrorist attacks in Paris last Friday, I feel tremendous sorrow for the victims, and anger at the perpetrators. The attackers struck at ordinary, peaceful people who were enjoying food, drink, sport, music, and the company of friends and family.

All of us, especially our leaders, must temper anger with wisdom. I hope our nations react with courage and resolve, but also with restraint. In particular, we must not allow a backlash against innocent Muslims, including refugees who are fleeing the very sect which committed the Paris attacks.

At this time, our commitment to freedom, justice, and democracy is being put to the test. History has demonstrated that discarding our principles will not make us safe.

Eiffel Tower image by Jean Jullien.

I'm still on a blog break for Nanowrimo, but I will have more to say in December. Sadly, the consequences of the Paris attacks will be with us for a long time to come.

For now: Vive la France. Liberté, egalité, fraternité.

Friday 13 November 2015

Cute Cat Friday 2015-11-13: Belle

Following on from the pre-claw stretching last week, a ruthless four-pawed attack on the scratching post.

Friday 6 November 2015

Cute Cat Friday 2015-11-06: Belle

A late afternoon stretch before assaulting the scratching post (with all four paws).