Tag Archives: Steampunk

A Winter in Review

Well, hullo then.

I haven’t used this blog in some time – a few months in fact. There are several reasons for that, though most of them are feeble as excuses. The first and most poignant was NANOWRIMO. For those who are not aware, the acronym in question is a national novel writing competition. The goal is to write a fifty thousand word book within the month of November. Such a task required the majority of my attention. Afterwords, well, followed much less productivity than I would have liked.

And so, a winter in review;

As I mentioned, November began with my second attempt at a thirty day novel. I managed to pull a basic story idea involving a historical/fantasy plot that was based around the court intrigues of Elizabethan England. (Why I am consistently foolish enough to start deadline projects with ridiculously complicated stories I shall never know.) On the whole, the novel writing frenzy began with the wind at my back and my sails propelling me forward with great haste. Contrarily, it ended with a slow sinking into the black waters of northern seas after being viciously and suddenly attacked by Nordic pirates.

I barely made it halfway, though I did churn out some decent chapters here and there. (At the end of my last attempt, two years ago, I at least managed to make it to forty-thousand words) Sadly, I allowed three very long shifts at work exhaust me. Never managing to catch up on those sad, couple-hundred-word-count days, my novel petered out and was no more.

At first, I was all afire to start another writing project – one that was less hurried. Unfortunately, I am one of those people who works best under a little pressure. So my daily writing habits slowly declined into, well, no writing habits. In fact, I have fallen into a horrific tendency of doing absolutely nothing with the first three hours of my day. For this I feel no end of shame.

On the plus side, I did spend that uncreative time altering my diet and exercise routines. Rather I should say; maintaining the alterations I made at the end of the summer. Currently I weigh less than I ever have in my adult life, and have kept a sufficient amount of my muscle mass in doing so. In fact, I am very nearly able to say that I have actually achieved the more vain aspects of my fitness goals. That is, however, all I shall say about that. After all, there is nothing more boring than listening to someone talk about their own weight loss. I suppose, as un-stoic as it is, personal improvement seems more relevant when it is made known to others.

How insecure we all are.

As to the subject of martial arts, that tale runs along similar lines. While I find the time every few weeks to visit the open fight nights at Academie Duello, I have no practice of my own anymore. The Friday fencing bouts keep me adept and satisfy my cravings to stab at people, but I do miss both instructing and learning the material to which I am most inclined. Bartitsu, in particular, is something I would love to be able to work on again. And sabre.

(Incidentally, there was also that whole Steampunk Self-Defence Manual plan. That book, by the way, was actually completed as far as the text is concerned, and still sits waiting on my computer. However, the disbandment of SCG’s regular classes left me without anyone to help demonstrate the techniques in the photos. And so…)

Perhaps, once the weather becomes more clement, I will try and re-start an outdoor practice of one of these things. If I really put effort in I might be able to secure one student. Maybe two. The real issue is figuring out what I actually want to do with martial arts. What focus do I want to take? I have no clue really. It’s been nearly a decade since I first started training, and all my plans to make a living out of it have become somewhat prone to failure.

Yet I refuse to be maudlin. I still have almost ten years of experience, some of which is in branches of fighting very few people are familiar with. That is certainly nothing to sneeze at. I just need a plan. I’ve always been able to concoct schemes within a set of parameters, but when it comes to plotting out the rest of my own life… That, I must admit, has me at a loss more often than not.

The threat of my thirtieth birthday looms ahead like an ominous sunrise of full adulthood. I’d be lying if I said that fact didn’t terrify me almost as much as the notion of… dancing. OK, that was a bit maudlin.

And on that note, I need to go and try and find a new job now.


Here we are then…

Here is a secret diabolical truth regarding this blog; in many ways it was created to be an ingenious way to procrastinate from doing ACTUAL work. Muahahahah! I have two major projects on the go right now, and it’s good to have something semi-productive like this blog to distract myself with when I get bored.

Project 1 is the Steampunk Self-Defense Manual that us folks at SCG are planning to release this spring. It’s been a lot of fun writing it at times, though at other times it has been the grueling process of describing combat in a simple, efficient, and entertaining way. And oh, what pretty, pretty pictures will our book have. We shall be the belle of the Dirigible Ball with this book. That’s not an actual thing… I made that up. It should be a thing though. Well, then again, drinking on a airship seems like a bad combo. Nobody wants steampunks plummeting from the deck of a fabulous sky pirate vessel after a touch too much of the captain’s rum. Nonetheless, if I had such a craft I would definitely be holding shindigs on it. We could tether the more inebriated folk down. It’s a bully idea. Bully.

Anyway, I drifted a bit there. Awww, that kinda came off like a horrible pun, please god ignore that.

Project 2 is the research related to the finalization of our curriculum at SCG. We have put a lot of work into making our classes the most effective form of training possible, and that has meant looking at what other people all around the world have been doing in the field of violence. We are now deciding exactly what we want our students to be, and how we are going to shape them into the perfect martial artist. So as a result, lots of super-fun happy research on other martial arts to see if there is anything we might have missed. This week has been Silat and Silek – Indonesian martial arts. There is some interesting stuff there, even if much of it seems rather too fanciful to be really reliable. There are elements of it I do like though, and you have to respect the amount of agility a good practitioner has.

Anyway, it’s time for food now. I’ve had little more than a scone and some coffee today. Food, then possibly actual important working-type stuff.