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Big SurRight, so I’ve just watched Wrestlemania 32. All 27 hours of it. I was going to tweet stuff, but I ended up writing so much that I figured it would be easier to post it all here in chronological order – and that way anyone who’s not seen the show yet won’t get spoiled by a tweet.

That arena is vast. VAST. I can’t even comprehend being in somewhere that HUGE with so many people in it. Just a sea of humanity. And props to WWE, because it looks top class too. The star stage with animated floor, the constructions above and around the ring, the lot. Fantastic. This is a spectacle. The shows of shows. I’m excited. 

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20160224_233439I finished editing the book last night. I don’t know how to feel about that.

Part of me is happy and proud because, hey, I sat down and wrote a book! Then I sat back down and pored over it, draining a red biro of its ink, making notes and tweaking words and re-writing sentences and asking questions. Another big effort, another hurdle. Another step closer to the thing being done.

It’s something I’ve wanted to do for years. I’ve tried it twice before, and it all fizzled apart, but here I am. It’s written, and now it’s edited. I’m actually doing it.

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20151006_121417Blimey. The first draft’s done.

It’s felt surreal, this whole time – I knew that I was close to finishing, especially when I was ticking off smaller tasks from my to-do list, but having the first draft completely done and then having it printed makes it a little more real. It’s a big slab of paper – about 300 pages, and around 103,000 words – and I wrote all of them. 

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7640361202_c758fda063_oI posted earlier this week about the challenges facing me in several areas of my professional life. That went a bit on a bit longer than intended – so I thought it better to update about novel progress in another post.

I’ve not done this since April. Back then, my word count stood at 66,461, and now it’s at 98,124. That’s a big jump, but the fact it’s taken so long to get there takes a bit of the sheen off. Writing a novel is never a quick process, but there we are.

My intention was to write the main chapters before editing, to avoid bogging down in tiny tweaks and ongoing revisions. That’s worked, and the main chapters are now done.

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16023731It seems odd to be able to remember exactly when you started your first proper job out of university, but I know it was November 25th 2007.

I don’t remember the date when I left, exactly, which reflects on my mental state at the time. I do know I’ve been freelancing for just over two years.

Whether freelance or on-staff, I’ve been doing the same job for nearly eight years. Only recently have I felt burnt out and disillusioned for a longer period. I don’t think it’s just because I’ve been doing this for so long – it’s the impact of changing life goals, too.

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I’ve not blogged on food before but, well, anyone who knows me will know that I like the stuff – and I love living in Leicester, because it’s got a great food scene that’s expanded over the past couple of years. The area around St Martin’s Square had been neglected up, but that’s changing. Several interesting new shops have moved in – including Deli in the Square and lush cocktail lounge 33 Cank Street – and one of Leicester’s three Pizza Express branches has closed and will shortly be replaced by Grillstock. I’m super excited about that. St Martin’s Coffee has been one of the square’s stalwarts and we’ve popped in a couple of times, but I wasn’t a regular despite its top-notch reputation. I saw a tweet a couple of weeks ago about the expansion of its Crafty St Martin’s pop-up into a permanent restaurant and, well, I knew I had to get…

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This month feels like it’s been really busy but, when I look at my spreadsheet, it looks a little quieter – and then, when I look at my calendar, I can see why. I had a long weekend in Aberystwyth, there’s been a bank holiday and I took most of the day off for my birthday. This month’s been a little lop-sided, too. All of that stuff was in the first half of the month, which proved quite disruptive, and I feel like that half of the month was dominated by more mundane stuff – sourcing kit, running benchmarks, making notes, getting ready. It’s also been dominated by business kit. The second half of the month has been turning that lot into reviews. There’s been Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 Carbon Ultrabook, which is a fantastic business laptop that faces strong competition from consumer-friendly rivals. I’ve also reviewed the Dell Latitude 12…

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Saga 25, 26 and 27 I burned through the first four volumes of Saga rapidly, and it’s so good that I’m not waiting for volume five – I’m buying the single issues instead. I bloody love it. The new arc’s first book, #25, crammed in reintroductions of key characters, and Hazel’s narration lyrically recapped Saga’s history alongside Staples’ smooth, elegant art. The story resumes with terrorist Dengo leading Hazel into freezing snow, but not much happened in #25; Alana and Klara argued as writer Vaughn recapped their situation, and we joined Marko, Prince Robot and the brilliant Ghus in their spaceship – also arguing, also recapping. The methodical #25 fed well into a busier #26, with a first-page fight illustrated by lurid colours that help this issue stand out. There’s surprise when Gwendolyn, The Brand and Sophie catch up with native wildlife, and fear as Alana and Klara deal with Dengo’s revolutionary friends. Marko, struggling with being apart from…

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IMG_0470I’ve seen a few other people do this, and I thought it’d be a good idea to collate what I’ve been working on over the past month – just to show what I’m doing, and to help myself track progress.

It’s been busy for gaming hardware. Nvidia’s monster GeForce GTX Titan X graphics card deployed the full might of the Maxwell architecture, and it’s the first time that a single-GPU card has had 12GB of RAM.

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motog3
If you’re into smartphones it was difficult to ignore the Motorola Moto G in September 2014. The second iteration of Moto’s mid-range handset upgraded with a bigger screen and a better camera, and its £145 price was tempting compared to Samsung and Apple phones at four times the cost.

It was universally praised. One review said it was “another cracking budget phone” that’s “a joy to use”, and another said multi-tasking didn’t “bring the Moto G to its knees” thanks to “impressive performance”.

This affordable, well-received phone ticked the right boxes: enough power to use Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp and Reddit, and fresh from the factory – I’d cracked my Nexus 4’s screen badly enough to stop it working, so I need something fast. Gaming and other intensive tasks were deferred to my Nexus 7.

It’s six months later, and I’m pining for a new handset. I can’t wait to get rid of the Moto G.

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