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Learning experience

That’s what this is. Importing a computer is a learning experience. I should have just sorted it myself. I knew that if I bought a computer from overseas I would likely have to organize some Customs paperwork and such. But, when I saw a company offering to help with buying items from overseas I thought it would be so nice to have someone else take care of it for me. As it turned out, all they did was provide a US address to have items shipped to (for purchasing from buyers who wouldn’t ship outside the US)… Well, there were plenty of sellers who would ship worldwide, but, since I thought I had this nice easy option, I used this company… to no avail. I am still having to deal with Customs paperwork, but instead of getting it sorted I am doing it all after my computer landed in the country, so it is me that is holding up getting it.

Now Customs want a breakdown of the freight paid… do you think any of my receipts have a freight breakdown? No. Not the ones generated by the company I went through,  and not the Paypal one (and fair enough). Big hefty sigh. It is simply a case of “I should have done it myself”.  Have sent an email off to the company for a breakdown. Although, the nice Customs lady did say she could make an educated guess ok. She was lovely. I don’t know how much the fact that I had my baby with me, am full up with a cold and was a little teary-eyed (tired, frustrated, feeling stupid…) influenced her manner.

Of course, all this would have been averted if Asus had just brought the computer into NZ as it was (and I had been given a couple of dates by two different companies several months ago… so they did at least think about it…).

Maybe by next week I will have my shiny, new drawing tool…


Waiting, waiting…

I hate waiting. My tendency towards impatience rares its ugly head… ugh!

So, I ordered my computer on the 14th November. I ordered it from the USA, cos, well, Asus in their infinite wisdom decided not to release this particular model in NZ. Yes. I am going to rubbish them for that. And then I am going to write glowing reviews of how wonderful it is to draw on with each picture I create on it… So be it.

Waiting is distracting. As is work, and a child, and now a head cold… mumble mumble. Also, major re-writes do hit progress hard. And I know that some might say “Forge ahead anyway”. But, I don’t feel that I can. My rewrites involve really understanding my character’s motivations and reactions to some pretty major events. And it impacts on the plot. Kind of important. This is the problem with just writing without a plan to start with. I did sit down and do an outline a few months back, and that helped. Except, that now I feel that it messed with my characters a bit. I didn’t take their backgrounds into consideration quite enough.  Now I am about to go back and tackle a scene I had thoughts on months ago (I have notes) – possibly a year ago – but I had dismissed it for some reason… I forget exactly. But, now I realize that that version of events is the best choice. And now that I have the scene more firmly in my head (Just need to flesh out the dialogue) I feel nearly ready to tackle it. No point right this very second as my son is due to wake up any moment (in fact, he was due to wake up about an hour ago, but I think he has the same bug as me).

What I have been doing lately has been writing my outline again. And writing a side-line document of the history for a couple of characters. And in the process of both it has got me asking question about some of my more minor characters, and I realize that I don’t know them as well as I should. It’s less fun than playing with the main characters, but I need to sit down with these guys and nut them out. I need to know them so I can write them.

Anyway. The computer is tied up in Customs at the moment. It’s waiting for me to get an importer number, so it can be released. DHL sent me the forms to apply yesterday afternoon (I would have done it sooner had I known… learning experience, see?). I filled them out and took a photo of my passport (I don’t have a scanner) and sent it back almost immediately (as close to, given the time it takes to fill in forms etc). I got a call just before asking if I’d received the form. I said yes. So I opened my email programme and resent my filled in form and photo of my passport. Within minutes I get a response saying they will forward it to Customs (that was a response to yesterday’s email), and minutes later another message in response to my second message, sent today… So, with Customs getting two applications, hopefully things will get moving now… I won’t expect the computer tomorrow, though… sigh. I’ve been sneaking looks out the cat door for the package since Friday…



(and yes, I do know it’ll be sign-for thing… very, very unlikely to be left sitting at the front door… still doesn’t stop me checking.)

Exciting times…

Soon to come… PICTURES! Yay (o:

See, I used to draw all the time. Mostly horses, and some people, but draw a lot, I did. I never did too well with colour, though. Paint, pastels, etc just flummoxed me. I don’t know. They just did. At least, I couldn’t get the results I wanted to achieve. And then came computers. I like graphic art. I really do. But, it’s SO hard to do with a mouse, or a trackpad. And not a whole lot easier with a graphics tablet (maybe with a good one, but I’ve never had the money). Plus, I’m just used to drawing directly on the medium… so, what to do, what to do? Well, many years ago, I wanted a tablet PC. But, they were way too expensive. So, I got my laptop. Not for graphics, just for computing. Still wanted a tablet, but was being realistic. Well, these days tablet PCs are a lot cheaper than they were. Still not cheap, but cheaper. I’m also poorer (with a baby and a mortgage and I ain’t going into all the insurances, blah blah). However, I still seem to be lucky. I have often had a knack for getting what I want. Not always when I want it, mind, but still… So, what is happening? Yesterday, I ordered a tablet PC. An Asus EP121 to be exact. It comes with Artrage on it (a NZ made programme, but the way). I am EXCITED. I still have to wait two weeks… but, hey, there’s a due date (ish… two weeks-ish)!! How did I wrangle this? Well, I don’t want to go into it too deeply. But, it is a business expense. It will be a work computer… that I can draw on… yeah! It will be helpful, because there are some scenes I’d like to sketch out for myself so I can write them better. Plus, I just want to make this place prettier!

Can’t wait…

Read more…Exciting times…

Review: Joe Abercrombie – “The Heroes”

The HeroesThe Heroes by Joe Abercrombie

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I read this book after someone recommended I read “Best Served Cold”. My book-buying budget has dried up, so I had to go to the library. “Best Served Cold” was out, so I picked “The Heroes” up instead (and had to drive to the Mosgiel library to get it as even this one was out at the town library). I still plan to read “Best Served Cold”…

It took me a while to read this book (end of September to early November). This is due to my inability to prioritize my reading in a busy schedule, rather than a poor read. There were nights I read another book instead of this, but those were nights when my bed-lamp would have disturbed my husband’s sleep and so I read an ebook under the covers, instead of the paperback (ebooks were good when the baby slept in our room, too…).

(5 November 2011) Finished. And, I liked it. While there were several word choices and turns of phase that threw me out of the narrative a little, it was a good read. The characters were well developed and I kind of liked most of them. I was saddened, though, that the only character that I truly got excited about whenever he turned up in a chapter ended up dead. Part of me guessed he might, but I had hoped… and the way he died… tragic, really. In fact, on the night I read that part I stopped caring about any other character until a few nights (my time) later. Yes, I was that gutted. So, I guess that is a sign of good writing when a reader cares that much for a character. It’s just a shame there was so much left to go.
A lot of the characters didn’t think too highly of themselves and, while it’s preferable not to be stuck in some egotistical idiot’s head, it does get one down as a reader.
This book was basically a collection of character arcs, with little in the way of plot, strictly speaking. There was a war (we don’t even know exactly what started it, not that that matters) and it lasts for three days, then is over. That’s it. The point of the story is to follow the characters and see how they get through it (or not).

Read more…Review: Joe Abercrombie – “The Heroes”