about this blog

This blog documents my staying at home and writing (and the subsequent whatevers to that writing). It also serves as an online journal for friends and family. It is more-or-less guaranteed to be sans intérêt to most anyone else.

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2004 Reading List

Being a list of books read during the current year.
Sourcery
Hogfather
Moving Pictures
Pyramids
Soul Music
Mort
Faust Eric
Small Gods
Carpe Jugulum
Jingo
Men At Arms
Feet of Clay
Maskerade
Lords and Ladies
Reaper Man
Witches Abroad
Guards! Guards!
Interesting Times
Equal Rites
The Last Continent
Wyrd Sisters
The Eighth Colour
The Light Fantastic
Dark Side of The Sun
Strata
Only You Can Save Mankind
Johnny and The Dead
The Discworld Companion (with S.Briggs)
- Terry Pratchett
A Child Across The Sky
The Wooden Sea
The Land of Laughs
From the Teeth of Angels
A Marriage of Sticks
- Jonathan Carroll
Northern Lights
The Subtle Knife
The Amber Spyglass
I was a Rat!
Clockwork
Count Karlstein
The Ruby in the Smoke
The Shadow in the North
The Tiger in the Well
- Philip Pullman
Charmed Life
The Lives of Christopher Chant
Witch Week
Howl’s Moving Castle
The Magicians of Caprona
- Diana Wynne Jones
What a Carve Up!
The Rotter’s Club
A Touch of Love
The Dwarves of Death
The House of Sleep
- Jonathan Coe
The Empty Sleeve
Smith
The Sound of Coaches
Blewcoat Boy
- Leon Garfield
The River Styx Runs Upstream [Le styx coule à l’envers - Nouvelles]
Ilium
- Dan Simmons
The Black Book
Set In Darkness
The Hanging Garden
Hide And Seek
Black And Blue
Bleeding Hearts (Jack Harvey)
Witch Hunt (Jack Harvey)
- Ian Rankin
The Wish List
Artemis Fowl [2]
- Eoin Colfer
Smoke and Mirrors, Neil Gaiman
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, J.K.Rowling
The Shining, Stephen King
Eastern Standard Tribe, Cory Doctorov
Free for All, Peter Wayner
Desolation Point, Dan Brown
Darwinia, Robert Charles Wilson

2003’s reads can be found here.
life
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caveat lector

I sent a mail to a soon-to-be-published writer, Tamara Siler Jones, [found through Neil Gaiman’s blog]. The letter pointed out a mild blooper on her site [since corrected] and asked a couple of question arising from my quick read of the sample chapter of her book Ghosts in the Snow. She replied, quickly and politely—I was very touched—telling me that these were not mistakes but her intention, that there had been debate and hesitations, but there were no mistakes. This is fine. These are her words, and she has obviously enough spent years on them; she should know what she wants to do with them. I appreciated the possibility of being able to just fire off a mail, ask a sincere question, and get a reply like that. Thanks.

And, this morning, as I was doing the washing up after the very nice curried noodles that Ludivine had made for us last night—her brother and Akio came over after they had all gone swimming—and trying to freshen the house up in order to survive the day, I was thinking over this, while composing the entry about the heatwave in my head.

I have read blogs that are beautifully crafted. I can imagine—not only because I’m like that, but also because I have met people like that—some of these bloggers and writers just dashing off a quick piece, and hitting the ‘publish’ button without doubt, hesitation, nor a spellcheck. And I hate those horribly talented people, most sincerely.

I sweat over each comma. And that’s not just because it’s so hot…

I determined that if I wanted to ‘write’—that is, let this be more than just a hobby—then I should do just that. Everyday. 1000 words on the current novel, or die. And the blog. Use this to practise different pieces, styles, to throw out ideas. The sandpit.

So there are two types of writing here; well, three in fact, but I’ll come to that…

So there are two types of writing here: there are the diary pieces [“Today it was hot, I only wrote 418 words. Life is rough.”]; then there are the set pieces where I try to say something, with a point of view, a bit of effort, a start-a-middle-and-an-end, perhaps a chuckle along the way. Now these may end up looking like the journal entries but being just a bit more laborious in tone… I don’t know. In fact, the set pieces are divided into two categories: the quick ones, that I dash off, generally touching on a film, an event, a happening. And then those that I write, rewrite, correct, chop and change, read out loud, and generally chew over until I find them acceptable, and I can copy them out of BBEdit and into Pivot.

But there is one thing that should be clear. This is about ‘Writing’; it is not about ‘Truth’. I’m not worried about leaving an accurate trace of my home life, my writing life, my—ahem—working life, or whatever. I am concerned about working on the rhythm and the flow, the words and the style. If, when I am writing this, I feel I need to twist the events in order to better make a point, to milk a joke, or just because I prefer it like that, then… I will. With no hesitation.

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about
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come on in, make yourself at home

Nevermind the mess. Yes, just brush those off onto the floor, and sit yourself down. How you doing?

And so here’s the news. I have just finished incorporating the photo galleries. At the moment it is basically test material up there, but I hope to get an Amsterdam gallery up to accompany this old piece over in the stuff section. My next plans concern adding some more old material to this section; I’d like to integrate the poems and other stuff—currently over at Writing—as well as dig out some short stories that are cluttering up my hard drive, and make them available as downloads in .pdf format.

Please note: the photo section and stuff are not added to the front page—unlike all the other sections. This is because stuff will probably contain old material for a while and I like the home page to be up to date; and because photos can take up quite a bit of bandwidth, even though I do severely compress the pictures, and I don’t want to inflict that on slow modems. [Remember that I haven’t put in preloading for the galleries, scrub the mouse cursor over the previews, but wait for the images to load; it can take time depending on your connection.] And, for obvious reasons, neither photos not stuff appear in the RSS/ATOM feeds.

Today will probably be a clearing up day on the real plane—my desk has got very untidying during these last few days of coding. And I will be reading over Pirates to try and get a good grip on it. I started to severely lose confidence these last few days as I read some really good books and extracts, and wondered if my work was good enough.

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system
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was it worth it?

I have now spent about four days, completely revising the design of this little blog. I’m still getting used to it; ‘it’ being both the design and the tool—Pivot—that I use to do all of this. We will see how things go…

Warning: these pages have been verified on my usual browsers, Safari as well as Firefox and, even though I say it myself, they show up pretty nice in both. I have just remembered that I also have a version of Camino on my drive, but as this and Firefox both use the same rendering engine, what passes in one, should also work in the other…
Please note: I have checked the pages in neither IE Mac [and even less, IE PC], nor have I seen fit to take it for a ride in such as iCab, Opera, Konqueror or even Omniweb. If you do see problems in your favourite browser, please let me know, but be warned, if the problem is in your browser, I don’t intend to break my code for non-standards compliance—Thanks, and Move ForwardTM.

So why change?

Good question, my poor tired hands and wrists also ask. There is the issue of standards compliance, but there are, in fact, two major answers:

  • the old version was flawed, the navigation didn’t always work, the code was not optimised, the search and archives haphazard, as I had just hacked into the default themes available for Pivot, without necessary understanding. [To that extent, redoing everything for Kim’s pages was a great help.]
  • and I wanted to get more of the newsprint or old-printed feeling to the place.

This version also sees the final arrival of the little power factory drawing up in the top right-hand corner. It has been hanging around for years. Sometime I might take the time to explain where it comes from.

There is also a new section called Paris. I will be reclassifying some old material on this, but my objective is to try and write around 1000-2000 words every two weeks or so on things that have been happening here in order to give those you are not—or no longer—here, the feel for the old place.

There are other changes in the pipeline; I would like to add a photogallery section, as well as bring some older material online. But for the moment, I need to sleep.

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about
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Operating Instructions

Parents just phoned. Discovered that this blog—set up with them as the ‘audience’, a means of keeping in touch—is ‘too difficult’. So here is a Operating Instructions entry, for my parents and any others.

A ‘blog’ is a contraction of ‘weblog’, that is a log—a journal of things as and when they happen—on the web—here. One of the particularilties of a blog is that the page starts with the most recent entry and then proceeds back in time, like an archeological dig. This can be disconcerting and annoying at first until you get the hang of things. This also encourages people to read a blog everyday, then just the top entry is read. Blogs are also sometimes available as RSS feeds. In order to use these you need a RSS reader. If you don’t know what this is, then don’t bother. If you do, then use the links on the right of the page; you will find rss or atom .

If you want to catch up, there are monthly archives. These are available on the right also. The 2003 material is old stuff that I put online when I started this in March 2004. You might like the account of the trip to Amsterdam last Summer

In this journal I blog most days, some days more than once. Most of the entries cover my attempts to write and to get published. I also not material on different subjects. For this I use categories. These are:
Journal
Writing
:: Juliet :: Died :: Pirates :: Stuff
Life
:: Home :: Work :: Rant :: System
About

Entries appear automatically in their parent category. And all entries appear on the home page—Journal. Thus, an entry posted in Home will appear also in Life and on the Journal page.
While I try not to overdo this, an entry can be posted in more than one category.

Some categories have special uses.
System for example, deals with my attempts to get this blog up and working.
About , where this will be posted, concerns all the entries about using, reading, consulting this Journal.

If someone is only interested in one category of entry—say, Writing, or Home—it is perfectly possible to just connect in to that page. The links are provided above; just bookmark these.

The Search box—top right—can be used to seek out words or phrases used in the entries on this site.

Links appear as an orangey-red. If the link goes to somewhere on this site, then it will open in this window; use your back button to get back here. If the link goes to another site, it will open a new window. This is a feature and took me some time to program correctly.

Also on these pages, although this will change as I get time and the inclination, is a booklist of current reading. As I finish a book, I add it to the list. Booklists for past years are archived. I also note links to other blogs or sites. I intend to update and improve this.

I would also like to add a ‘Wishlist’ page, where I can note, generally, books that I want to get. This is most selfish, the idea being that anyone wishing to offer me a book can then look at the page and know what is currently desired. [Thank you in advance, if you do do this.]

I count that things are a little clearer now.

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system
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navigation update

I finally managed to get categories together, thanks to someone named madjo over at the Pivot forums .—Thank you, sir.—This means that rather than being one bleak and long list there are categories and subcategories.

I explain.

Everything gets published on the Journal page. It is posted in standard blog format, that is, most recent at the top and then goes down. Then there are three categories: WRITING, LIFE and ABOUT. The last is just for info about me, and about the navigation, like this post. Usually material that is posted in this last category is not considered ‘news’ and so will not appear on the front page unless, like this post, it is also crossposted in another category.

WRITING lists all my posts in that category. There are four sub-categories: Juliet, Died, Pirates and Stuff. All material posted in one of those categories also gets posted on the WRITING page. Please note that some material may just be posted in the WRITING category. Similarly LIFE has four sub-categories: Home, Work, Rant and System.

Any page can be accessed directly just by using its URL. This would be http://www.thepowerfactory.com/journal/ and then the category name, in lower case, followed by .php.

So, to go to Juliet you would need to type http://www.thepowerfactory.com/journal/juliet.php

Or to go to WRITING, you would need to type http://www.thepowerfactory.com/journal/writing.php

You can also use the RSS or the ATOM feeds (over on the far right). In that case, either you know how, or you don’t. And this isn’t the place to learn. Yet.

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about
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who am I? ...and why are you reading this?

This is the weblog of one Jonathan Munn in which he, that is I, chronicles various matters being most particularly, but not exclusively, how he, that is I, is or am writing his (my) books. Or more likely not, as the case may be.

I think that I’ll cut that third person stuff.

My name is Jonathan Munn. I live in Montreuil, near Paris, in France. This is my weblog where I chronicle different things, but principally the books that I am attempting to write. I also cover such fascinating things as what the family get up to, and such forth.

If you wish to contact me then you can use the mail address: general dot dogsbody at thePowerFactory dot com

...and as to the last part: obviously you either have a glut of superfluous leisure, or you are seriously lost.

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about
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Quick glossary of terms used in this blog

Juliet – this is a novel of about 50K words. It was first written in French and then completely rewritten in English. I am currently revising it. Both the writing and the revising were harder than I thought.

Died – this is a project. It has been sketched out. At the moment it doesnít know if it is a novel or a short story. Neither do I.

Pirates – an adventure story. It keeps finding new chapters which worries me as it hasnít been written yet.

At some point I may also write about Monsters or Bill. These will be explained as is and when.

. . . . .

It should also be noted that each entry has a category. Once I finally suss out how to get categories to work these should get separate pages. Until then these are:
Writing – my writings
System – chronicling my fights with this blogging system
Work – how I pay the rent
Home – when Iím not trying to pay the rent
Rant – whatever rubs me up the wrong way
Life – the universe and a collection of small, furry animals gathered together and grooving with a Pict in a cave… That sort of thing.
About – this page.

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