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It’s coming along nicely (my book) May 9, 2011

Posted by pacejmiller in Blogging, Misc, Novel, On Writing, Study.
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So I met up with my supervisor again recently, and the feedback was good.  Much better than I had anticipated.

To be honest, it was a bit of a lazy effort on my part — not in all the sleepless nights I had trying to think of different ways to approach the writing and the countless hours I spent piecing it all together — but rather, in terms of the actual amount of time I spent writing and editing.

After our first meeting, I dumped what was supposed to be the first chapter and started again.  Looking back at it now, it was the right decision because it wasn’t what I wanted to write.  It didn’t matter if it was any good.  What mattered was that it wasn’t the type of book I intended.  So out it went and I started over.

This time, I just typed down whatever came to me.  It was easy and I sped through it.  I think it was as close to ‘free writing’ as I’ve come in a long time.  It’s been a really long time, considering free writing was one of the first things I wrote about on this blog like two years ago, and I haven’t done much of it since.  I just belted out the story without worrying about form or structure, deciding that I was not going to worry about it now and will fix everything up later.  The only bit I put a bit more effort into was chapter one, but even that was a pretty casual effort.

As it turned out, it was the best thing I could have done.  The result was a little raw, somewhat rough around the edges, but it was the type of book I wanted to write.  Finally, I was getting close to discovering the right voice.  And my supervisor was happy with how it was progressing.  Joy.

It’s going to be a busy few weeks coming up.  I still have to finish a couple of books I borrowed from the library, plus another book I bought from the Book Depository — all three will supposedly help me with finding my stylistic mojo.  I have a book launch to attend at an upcoming writers’ festival (And yes, it’s MY book!  Well, mine and a bunch of other people’s, but it’s still MINE!), and most of all, I need to do a lot more writing with the project deadline coming up in a little over a month.

The next step is to write a bit more (I have a few chapters lined up, actually), but because the project does not requre me to finish the entire book, I will have to do some serious rewriting shortly.  The key is to develop the humour so that’s punchier, more even and with less cheap shots (I have a tendency to go for the low blow) and craft each chapter so that it can stand on its own, almost like a short story.

A weird analogy here but I’m looking for inspiration in some of the shows that Larry David wrote, such as Seinfeld and Curb.  I’m in awe of David’s ability to create various strands in an episode and allowing them to intertwine before bringing them all together at the end and making the story go full circle.  That’s the type of legendary stuff I need to come up with.

PS: On another note, on one sleepless night I came up with a new idea for a book. It’s not a novel, but is a potentially lucrative idea.  Or so I reckon.

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New Past Time: Reading Screenplays May 7, 2011

Posted by pacejmiller in Blogging, Misc, Study.
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I’ve developed a new hobby: reading screenplays.  I never realised how much fun and how educational it be.

I read a few when I did screenwriting last year, but I kind of considered it a necessary learning experience and didn’t read as many as I should have.

A couple of weeks ago I was at the university library looking for a book that was conveniently ‘misplaced’.  It was listed as available but was nowhere to be found.  Typical.

Anyway, I was huffing and puffing from all the running around looking for it and desperately needed a break.  So I rested against a shelf of books and randomly decided to pluck one out.  As it turned out, I was at the screenplay section, and the one I picked was ‘The Contest’ episode of Seinfeld, possibly one of the greatest half hours in sitcom history.

I found myself laughing out loud as I read it, gaining a new appreciation for Larry David’s (and Jerry Seinfeld’s) genius, and the genius of the actors to be able to pull off those lines.  It was quite astonishing, really, putting anything I have ever written to complete and utter shame.

I used to think screenplays were just for the lines, but reading a good screenplay is a very enjoyable exercise in itself.  And a lot quicker than reading a book too.

I’ve grabbed a few more screenplays to read at home, just for fun.  I just got through the screenplay of one of my favourite films, Fargo, which has a phenomenal screenplay, a well-deserved Oscar winner.  The way the Coens write dialogue is just ridiculous.

I’m looking forward to doing more, when I have the time.  I do also have plenty of books I still need to read as well, not to mention a whole heap of writing to do.

Which screenplay should I read next?

I’m Back, Baby! May 5, 2011

Posted by pacejmiller in Blogging, Misc, Study.
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It’s been a while since I blogged (by my standards), probably one of the longer stretches of inactivity since I started this thing. A lot has happened since my previous post — Osama Bin Laden was killed and Karl (‘Who the Heck’) Stefanovic won the Gold Logie.

But I’ve finally finished my cringeworthy essay (painful, painful memories — is it just me or do other people always manage to finish assignments at the very last second, no matter how long they have or how many extensions they get?) — so I’m back baby, and I’ve got a bunch of posts lined up!

Better get started.

For no reason, here is a George Costanza tribute.

Element Fresh (Shanghai) March 25, 2011

Posted by pacejmiller in China, Food, Reviews, Travel.
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It was a good flight to Shanghai.  I ate both meals aboard the plane (a rarity, even for a non-vomiting me), so I was not particularly hungry.  However, I couldn’t just waste the opportunity of a meal in Shanghai, so we went for a late snack on the town.

The place we chose was called Element Fresh, a popular cafe-style joint popular with expats (because there are English menus and the waiters speak English).  They have a pretty creative menu, with a variety of sandwiches and a mixture of Asian and Italian-influenced dishes.  Their fruit smoothies are also apparently quite popular.

Anyway, I’ll let the photos do the talking. We had the seafood pasta, the Thai noodles (pad thai), the eggplant warm sandwich, and the Big Salad.  For dessert, the chocolate mud cake with ice cream.  For the beverage we had a Blueberry Hill, which is a delicious blend of apples, kiwis, bananas and blueberries.

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I wasn’t hungry but I still polished off the dishes pretty good.  True to name, all the dishes tasted fresh.  The service and interior fittings were quality.  On the whole, Element Fresh was nothing exceptional, but it’s not a bad place for a get together and food you really can’t go wrong with.

7 out of 10

For more information including the locations of its 8 restaurants in Shanghai and 2 in Beijing, check out the website here.

PS: Oh yes, I did say Big Salad.  Accordingly, see video below.

Bieber to take on Costanza at 2011 NBA All-Star Weekend! February 2, 2011

Posted by pacejmiller in Basketball, NBA.
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The NBA All-Star Celebrity Game which will take place in LA this year is going to be a cracker.

Forget about Hall-of-Famers Scottie Pippen and Bill Walton playing — they have just announced that teen heart throb Justin Bieber (who may or may not have hit puberty recently) is attending, along with my favourite TV star Jason Alexander (aka George Costanza from Seinfeld).

Bieber, despite his diminutive size, actually appears to be a pretty good little baller.  Check out the videos below.  The first one is him playing one-on-one against Usher, who looks like he absolutely tanked it against his protege.  The second is more believable and shows a young(er) Bieber playing in a tournament.

As for Costanza, from what I remember from Seinfeld he was a bit of a ‘chucker’.  I wonder if he trained with shoes from the clip below.

The thought of a Bieber vs Costanza duel makes this year’s All-Star Weekend a must watch.

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