The Platinum Ticket by David Beynon

The Platinum Ticket by David Beynon
Shortlisted for The Terry Pratchett Anywhere But Here, Anywhen But Now First Novel Prize

Thursday, 21 June 2007

Watching my language

Here's a little secret - after you turn forty you can gain weight by looking at something sweet. Actually, it was going on before I turned forty but I recently saw a photo and yes, I've gained a few pounds.

Lately I've taken up an exercise program that involves a stationary bike and some free weights and am basking in the Atlas-esque results. In the past I've read while on the bike. There's a problem with that, however. If I'm interested with what I'm reading I'll keep going forever, but if I find my mind wandering I'll bring a premature end to the work out.

In an effort toward consistency I've taken to watching TV shows on DVD. I hooked up the little DVD player we bought for long car trips into a dusty little corner of the basement close to the bike. I went through the first (and only) season of Firefly - a great series that was canceled and followed up with an equally entertaining feature length movie, Serenity.

I found that I was getting a decent workout at 45 minutes or so per episode, so I decided to go looking for another TV series. I thought about Carnivale, a lovely little freakshow (pun intended) of a series about a bunch of traveling performers in the Depression Era United States. I've seen the first season and loved it but my local video store doesn't have Season 2 on DVD.

I settled, instead on Deadwood. I'd heard about this series and have been pleasantly surprised. It's an old west epic with a great assortment of characters. The first thing that grabs you in the first four minutes of the series is the excessive use of foul language. It's like repeated slaps in the face to begin with but eventually you get used to it - I am refraining from the spousal abuse parallel that's running through my head right now.

The problem with such exposure to colourful language on a daily basis is that it takes increasing effort to keep that colour out of my everyday language. This morning for example - I had to get a few items from the grocery store so I went early on the false assumption that there would be no one there. I guess Thursday must be a senior discount day because there was a sea of grey hair. I gathered my items then checked the lines. Everything stretched on forever except for the express lane.

Dammit - I had nine items. Looking at the stuff in my basket I shelved an item then headed for the express lane. Just as I got there this old fella spryly slipped into the line ahead of me (He must have a new hip or something and was showing off for the other old folks - usually I'm faster by far than the old guys - especially since I've been working out).

I watched with growing ire as he unloaded 11 items onto the conveyor.

I grabbed him by the shoulder, spun him around and jabbed a finger into his chest.
"Listen here, you fuckin' cocksucker!" I said to him, then pointed to the sign. "It says '8 items or less'. Not nine fuckin' items. Not ten fuckin' items and most assuredly not eleven fuckin' items, you withered cocksuckin' whore-son!
"Now are you gonna shelf a couple of those fuckin' things or are we gonna have ourselves a goddamn situation over here?"

I'm not allowed in our local Zehrs any more.

Wednesday, 20 June 2007

Another week...

It's been a week since I've been here and things are returning to a sense of normalcy.

The basement network computer is ticking along without locking up. All of the computers are networking nicely together, the printer is sharing and the internet is accessible to all. Technologically, everything is great.

The kids and the missus are downing liberal doses of antibiotics. I, once again, dodged the bullet.

The CPAP machine has been an experience. To treat my Apnea, air is forced through my nasal passage via a mask that looks a bit like a cyber-elephant's trunk. The forced air keeps the soft tissue of my throat from relaxing and blocking the airway. According to reliable sources, when I'm wearing that oh-so-attractive headgear, my snoring is a thing of the past. I haven't yet noticed the heightened energy and alertness that is supposed to follow but the literature says that usually takes about a month.

Working on Loremaster right now and have worked around something that needed fixing. I plan to have the complete re-write done by the end of June.

I need to polish From My Father's Hands a bit before submitting it for the Bridport Prize.

On the back burner right now is Nothing's Made to Last. That's unfortunate because the protagonist, Virgil Greene, is just about to have something very interesting happen to him, but I need to get Loremaster put to bed.

I just checked the time and I need to get my daughter corralled and off to school.