briarwood: (Dollhouse Sierra Phone)
...did not exactly take place as planned.

But before I get into that...holy-moly what is the weather up to today? First thing this morning it was icy. By early lunchtime it was so sunny I needed to close the blinds (though not warm-sunny, just bright-sunny). By the end of lunch we had hail and thunder! I don't mind winter weather, in fact I kinda like it, but geez, weather-god, make up your mind!

Anyway, about that presentation... )
briarwood: Sentinel: My Kind of Justice (TS Justice)
1. Today I learned that my new job has penalties for doing things too well.

I finished up a report I've been slogging over for two weeks. It was irritating work, because my part depended on collating a lot of information that other people were supposed to give me. And mostly didn't. So I ended up doing a bunch of the analysis myself, downloading the statistics myself and pretty much guessing what would be in some of the missing papers. I explained all of the parts I'd imputed (that's what statisticians say instead of 'guess') when I handed the report over to my manager for approval.

She promptly passed it to her manager, who passed it to someone else. I came back from lunch to find J waiting for me. "This is excellent work," he told me, and I thought, okay, this is cool. Then he dropped the bomb. He wants me to present it to the frigging board at a meeting on Monday!!!

(Note: while normally this would be a real vote of confidence, I am conscious that the board are not going to like the content of my report. It concerns this big project and between the lines I'm basically saying they're going about it all wrong.)

2. Today I learned that The Sentinel is my happy place.

Well, I kinda knew that already. But it's nice to be reminded.

I started writing Sentinel fic with stories about serial killers. Wild Justice has possibly the most odious villain I have ever created (and, yeah, I include my SPN fics in that); I still feel the need to scrub out my brain after re-reading those murder scenes. And Predator took a hero and turned him into a serial killer. (Actually I am amused by how close Dexter has become to my Dark!Jim. I wasn't even aware of Darkly Dreaming Dexter when I wrote Predator and the TV series hadn't been made.)

Anyhow, my point is Sentinel used to be a place for my darkest side to come out and play. My creative brain has been in a dark place lately. No light and fluffy stuff for Morgan, I've been all death and addiction, betrayal and PTSD, the-light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel-is-the-headlamp-of-an-oncoming-train kinda dark. My Yuletide assignment fit that perfectly, which is probably why I found it so easy to write. More serial killers and betrayal, though I did manage to squeeze a positive ending out of it.

Tonight, I have written 2,000 words of Sentinel. It's a little angsty, but it's basically two guys in love, trying to live a normal life. It might turn into might not. But it's like a pallette cleanser for my brain. I'm back in a happy place.

Very cool.


Sep. 9th, 2011 05:37 pm
briarwood: (TS Jim DL)
It's been a weird week.

Work was hell, because it was publication day on Tues and the first time publishing on the new website. It wasn't quite a disaster. Part of the publication went out with the wrong date on it because that one component of the new web software reads the date in US format instead of UK. So what's I'd entered as 6/9/11 got translated as 9 June instead of 6 September. And it took most of the day to get it sorted because all changes have to be approved and - naturally - my bosses were in meetings all freaking day.


In other work news, the HR meeting to go over the transfer requests was due to take place today. My request was in the pile, I hope. I never got any acknowlegement from HR. With any luck, I'll hear something next week.


Today is the premiere date for Riley Parra season three. No, it's not a TV show - it's a series of stories written by Geonn Cannon. I provide the cover art and do the technical stuff. Season one is free to download from the site, or can be bought in paperback or Kindle format from Amazon. Season two is also now on Amazon: you can see the story summaries on the site but they're no longer downloadable from there. And season three begins today!

The Riley Parra stories are a mix of traditional detective story, gritty urban fantasy and lesbian romance: Riley is a detective in a world where demons and angels battle for control of her city, and she's right in the middle of the war.

This isn't intended as a sales pitch, but if you're interested here's the link:


I have a plot bunny forming for a Sentinel story. As if I don't have enough to do! Weirdly, this is inspired by an episode of Murder, She Wrote: it's practically on a constant loop on the Alibi channel and I've been watching it a lot, though I rarely manage to see a whole episode. Anyhow, in this particular ep, the murder took place in a crowded room, but in complete darkness (it was a rock concert, kinda, and the darkness was an effect at the end of a song). The killer had used flourescent tape on the victim's chair to give him something to aim at in the dark. My immediate thought was of Sentinel - had Jim been in the room, he would have seen it clearly, of course. But how could he ever prove what he'd seen when a roomful of witnesses would testify that it was pitch dark?

My idea is to structure the story as a courtroom drama, with what actually happened in flashbacks as each character gives their testimony. There would have to be some key piece of evidence they are still looking for during the trial that will let them prove what happened without Jim having to reveal his sentinel ability. I haven't thought much further than that, though and I'm really not good at mystery-type stories. Don't know if I'll be able to turn the idea into a story.
briarwood: (SPN John Grey)
Monday I had to give a presentation at work. I was nervous as hell. I actually woke up at 3am with a blinding headache, and I was glad because it meant I'd have to call in sick. Unfortunately, the painkillers (and another hour's sleep) did the trick for a change, and I ended up doing it anyway.

It went...okay. People understood what I meant, and they said I spoke from the heart, which I guess is good (I guess it also means I'm real good at writing fiction *s*). But it remains to be seen whether it will produce the effect we wanted, which is to get more people to actually buy in to the concept. A bit of a losing battle there, but I gave it my best shot.

The job vacancies for my level are going up on the 11th. I really hope that there's a job there I'll want...and that I'll get it. I simply can't bear to stay where I am much longer. It's not a bad job. It's just that I've been in post since August 2006 and there's no damn challenge in it any more. And I don't want to go for promotion. Not yet. A level move is what I need.

Speaking of work, there was a request recently for ideas for how we can restructure the branch to work more efficiently. I suggested removing the branch head, since as far as I can tell he doesn't actually do anything except get in the way of actual work. Apparently I wasn't the only one. And apparently he was a tad upset. The man is a terrible manager, though. I mean, he's a brain, sure, but he has no idea how to manage a team. He doesn't share information until it suits him, he moves deadlines, he never shows an interest in what we're doing until things go tits-up, and he expects 150% from people already giving 140%. Anyhow, I guess this means he'll be glad to see the back of me if/when I can find a new post, since the suggestions were not anonymised. Even if I wasn't the only one, I was probably the most, ahem, forceful in my opinion. What? He asked!

Tomorrow I get to work a half day, dog-sit for the afternoon and post my big bang at last!!! The waiting to post is always the hardest part of a big bang for me. This time around has been more fun than most, because I've loved watching the artwork take shape. It's incredible! But more about that tomorrow :)

Oh, btw. I can't reveal much as it's a locked post, but if anyone is on [ profile] snailbones's flist - care to join me in a scientific experiment related to her latest post? I seriously want to know if certain thoughts can indeed improve the efficiency of automated machinery, but "me" is not a statistically significant sample *grins*
briarwood: (BTVS Willow Sex)
6.30 am It seems to be the first day of winter - last night as I travelled home from an evening out, the sky was almost completely clear of cloud; the moon so bright I'm sure I could have managed without the street lights. This morning there was frost on the cars I passed and the sky was still clear. To the east the sun wasn't yet visible but there was the early light turning the haze orange and the sky above was a shade of blue that was almost turquoise: an effect I only see at this time of the year, after the autumn equinox but before winter really sets in. To the west, the sky was darker, but still blue, not black, and the stars were still clearly visible. It was cold, my breath white in the air as I walked, but not yet the bone-deep cold that may come.

7.30 am We're so lucky where I live; our climate is mild, we get a lot of rain but snow and ice are rare, brief visitors. An hour later it's beginning to cloud over an the clouds are tinged with pink...traditional wisdom predicts poor weather later, but I think we may escape more rain.

12.00 I see a lot of cummulus clouds but there's still some blue sky visible. More than I expected, and as a result it's become quite warm, not "Indian Summer" warm, but a definite change from the wintry start to the day. This is the kind of weather I remember in early September when I was at school. Climate change has really messed with the seasons around here. I'm neutral on "global warming" - I'm not a sceptic but I don't understand the science enough to be sure of my position. On "climate change" though, I'm quite clear, because it's noticable in my lifetime. This is an example: less than 30 years ago, there was a distinctive pattern to the weather in the first few weeks of the school year. Mornings were blue skies and very cold but by the time I left school at the end of the day it was cloudy and warm. This no longer holds true in September but the same kind of weather instead shows up closer to winter. British weather is notoriously unpredictable but I'm convinced it has become more so during my life.


Last night I saw Despicable Me with Mel; a fantasically funny film. Though aimed at children, many of its jokes are ones kids wouldn't get - such as the visual gag on the "Bank of Evil" sign (small print saying "formerly Lehman Brothers"). I also found it amusing that I was sitting next to the only person in the theatre who understood the Spanish joke (not a joke about Spanish - the gag was in that language, and although the gist of it is clear it's never actually translated).

I love the story - aspiring supervillain Gru needs to steal a shrink-ray back from rival supervillain Vector (it's part of his master-plan to steal the moon), and adopts three children whom he's seen selling cookies in order to use them to gain access to his rival's fortress. It's a "having children makes you good" tale, which would normally be rather sick-making, but this is done so well and with such a fantastic sense of humour that it really works. I think it's because most of the humour comes from things that are incidental to the plot itself - the core plot is actually a very serious (if preposterous) story with its themes of child neglect, poverty and exploitation, but humour is injected everywhere it's possible - the sign on the bank, the minion who took the anti-gravity potion floating in every now and then, the elderly mad scientist who misheard 'cookie' as 'boogie', the werewolf who is mid-howl when the moon vanishes and abruptly
transforms back into a man.

I had one WTF moment toward the end which sort of ruined it for me a little - it has to do with how the stolen moon is returned to orbit and left me wondering whether the writers understand gravity at wouldn't have been so jarring except the context was one that rather depends on gravity working the way it's supposed to. But that's a minor flaw in an otherwise excellent movie.


There's a moment in that movie where Gru, having been refused the bank loan he needs to finance his moon-heist, has to explain to his minions (yellow pill-shaped creatures with arms, legs and goggles for eyes - they're really cute) that there is no money to pay for anything. I remember thinking, I'm going to be listening to that exact same speech at work tomorrow. I wasn't wrong. Yesterday, for those not following UK financial affairs, the government announced a particularly brutal round of spending cuts, across every department including the one I work for. Though things aren't too bad in my department - it sounds as if my job is safe, at least for a while, but the next few years are going to be unpleasant at best. The union are doing their usual pointless blustering; I wish they'd learn to pick battles worth fighting instead of wasting time on stuff that's either doomed or actively making the workplace worse. I totally support the principle of collective action but this lot are a really good argument for banning them altogether.


*Sigh* And this was meant to be an upbeat post. I guess I'm tired and cranky. Time for some sleep...


Feb. 8th, 2010 03:47 pm
briarwood: Supernatural: Jo Fights Like A Girl (SPN Jo Fighter)
I managed to forget until this morning that I'm training in work all week. As in, every single day this week. And I'm not being trained - I'm the trainer.

Which means super-stress, and working late every day this week (except today) because I have to make my data delivery deadlines this week as well. Doing all this training doesn't get me out of business as usual. If I'm really, really lucky I might be able to finish at my regular time on Friday.

Why exactly did I volunteer to do this? I'm having trouble remembering.

Actually today's session went fairly well. My trainees said so, anyhow. I mucked up a few times and I never did get the hang of writing on a white-board, but so far the feedback has been good. I'm confident of my written material - it's the face-to-face thing I'm not so good at.

Roll on the weekend!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

On the bright side, Mum just offered to treat me to Chinese take-away tonight - because she's craving one and this way she can make me go and get it instead of paying for delivery. I don't think the math works out in her favour, but I'm not complaining *grin*
briarwood: Supernatural: Sam Winchester (SPN Sam Hot)
I want to tell y'all about my not-a-date, but can't decide how much to tell. I'll post later today, but probably under flock. Doesn't seem right to talk about someone else in a public post.

My Great Room Clearing Project - last night I sorted through all my books. I didn't think I'd be able to part with any books, though I'm still desperate for the shelf-space. But I've filled four bags with books I'm willing to part with. Some I've owned for years but never read; others I've read and disliked, or didn't like enough to want to keep. Now, of course, they're cluttering up my floor until I can take 'em to the charity shop. Unless sis will drive me it's going to be one bag a week or something: books are heavy.

I may skip the cinema this weekend: I've looked at what's on offer and there's nothing that really interests me. The George Clooney film, maybe... But everything else interesting I've already seen.

I'm back to being snowed under at work as my team is one member down for a few more weeks. There are some big changes going on with the technical side of what I do, and I'm once again being asked to take the lead with that. Which is okay, except I'm really not the expert the boss thinks I am. When it comes to software, if you give me something that works I can usually figure out why it works, but that doesn't mean I can write it from scratch. And the data aggregation system we've got is so ancient there is no manual in existence. Oh, this is gonna be an adventure...
briarwood: Gal Godot as Wonder Woman (BTVS WillowSex1)
Last week was out LGBTT awareness week in work. Which is why I've been kinda quiet: I've been working my ass off getting stuff ready for that. I had to do 'most everything in my own time, not because my manager wouldn't let me have time to do it (she's been very supportive, actually) but because I've had too damn much to do during working hours. My choices were stay late at work to do it, or go home and do it. Staying in work would have gotten me credit for the time, but honestly, I'd rather use my own PC where I won't run into the office firewall every time I try to access a lesbian site.

(The office firewall is homophobic. Seriously. You can get into gay activist websites like Stonewall, but not anything with "lesbian" in the keywords. Not even information sites. It stinks.)

Anyhow, we ended up with a nice, colourful display, with plenty of literature for people to read. The office Starbucks franchise did a special offer coffee for us on Thursday: with raspberry and almond syrup which turns the coffee pink. I know, it sounds disgusting. I meant to try one but I was so busy that day I just didn't have time. But it was a cool idea, and if nothing else it got people talking, which was the point.

Thursday I spent an hour or so handing out leaflets to folks as they walked into the building, and had my obligatory confrontation with a so-called Christian who just had to stick his oar in where it wasn't wanted. The jerk told me there's never any homosexuality in the animal kingdom, so I told him to go google "gay penguins" and then come back. When he refused to believe there was any such thing I told him not to waste his time talking about god to me and despite the pentegram around my neck he assumed I was an atheist. Son of a... I've got no time for jerks like that.

I'd also agreed to talk about my experiences at work as part of the open training that day. So, naturally, I spent most of the day, and Friday, battling a migraine. Stress, I suppose. But I got through it. I know some people went away thinking I was being over sensitive, but the way I see it if even one person left that room thinking about what I'd said, it was worth the headache.

In the second session, one of the attendees, I probably shouldn't give his name. A guy I confronted a couple of years ago about a homophobic joke he told during a training session. He apologised (publicly) at the time, so I let it go, but I never felt he really understood why his joke was so damned offensive (because he'd implied that gay men are predators). Seeing him in that session I was really, really tempted to include that incident instead of the one I'd planned to talk about. But I didn't. I hope him being there means he does get it now, or at least that he's trying.

Anyhow, it was a successful, if stressful week.
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