Sunday, 21 December 2008

Christmas in Udaipur

Off to Agra again this weekend and then flying to Udaipur for Christmas. This city was featured in the Bond film Octopussy.

I'm trying the email updater feature of Blogger so - should be able to email blog updates on my travel. After Udaipur we head to the desert at Jaisalmer, then to the mountains in Darjeeling (in search of He-Man 9000 Super Strong Ultra Beer) and then to the beach at Orissa before returning to Delhi.

Saturday, 20 December 2008


yWriter 5 has just come out of Beta. This free novel writing software is fantastic. Support from the programmer is some of the best that I have seen with new features added on an almost daily basis. He is also a writer so he knows what he is talking about.

You can read all about it at:

If you a writing Flash fiction then check out yEdit 2 from the same author.

Features include:

  • Organise your novel using a 'project'.
  • Add chapters to the project.
  • Add scenes, characters, items and locations.
  • Display the word count for every file in the project, along with a total.
  • Saves a log file every day, showing words per file and the total. (Tracks your progress)
  • Saves automatic backups at user-specified intervals.
  • Allows multiple scenes within chapters
  • Viewpoint character, goal, conflict and outcome fields for each scene.
  • Multiple characters per scene.
  • Storyboard view, a visual layout of your work.
  • Re-order scenes within chapters.
  • Drag and drop of chapters, scenes, characters, items and locations.
  • Automatic chapter renumbering.

Sunday, 7 December 2008


Bits and Pieces, some culture and unrelated drivel...

In an earlier post I discussed the meaning of names. Apparently "Such" in Hindi means truth - which i kinda like and it is certainly better than the anglo-saxon derivation which means "tree-stump."

There is a term used often over here - "This Is India" - often abbreviated to TII. It is used to explain everything and anything that does not work as you expect. Power shuts down in the national capital 6 times a day - TII.

Traffic lights are an interesting phenomena in India. The accepted wisdom is - "Green is compulsory, red is optional." TII.

I also think that I have decoded the traffic rules, if you get your nose in front of the other car then you have right of way. It doesn't matter how you do this but once you get a mm in front all rights revert to you!

It has been a fairly quiet weekend so I have managed to pen a couple of Flash pieces which I am trying to place. My current acceptance ratio is 74% - though it can take up to four attempts to find a market, I can usually tell now whether a piece is likely to get up (ultimately). By trial and error I am determining which markets are into the Such style. I think it may be an acquired taste.

I will also try and finish off "Lucky Penny" this weekend - it is a longer horror/suspense bit which was inspired by a trip to Brisbane a few months ago. I'm not saying Brisbane was horrific or the trip for that matter, it was actually quite nice, I got the idea from a few of the odd characters that populate the market adjacent to the Brisbane river.

Time for some more Indian culture ...

On March 30, 1699, Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth Sikh Guru founded the Khalsa - a brotherhood of saint-soldiers
. Khalsa is derived from a Persian term which means "pure." The Khalsa Sikh's can be identified by the "five K's." These are (from
  1. Kesh - Uncut hair on any part of the body for men and women is considered sacred. It is mandatory for both Sikh men and women to wear a turban to protect and cover the hair and head, which is also a spiritual crown.
  2. Kanga - Wooden comb for hygiene and maintenance of the Kesh.
  3. Kara Iron bracelet: - Physical reminder that a Sikh is bound to the Guru.
  4. Kachera - Specially designed cotton underwear:- Naturally comfortable and dignified attire reflective of modesty and high moral character.
  5. Kirpan Strapped sword: - Worn to defend one's faith and protect the weak, reminding one of his or her duty as a Khalsa. It is worn to show bravery, not a mere weapon.All baptised Sikh's have the surname/middlename Singh (for men - means lion) or Kaur (for woman - means Princess or lioness).
The 10th Guru had an interesting recruitment strategy. He addressed the folks from his tent asking for people who were willing to lose their head for their Guru. He had to ask 3 times but eventually one fellow volunteered. He took him into his tent and then came out with blood on his sword and then asked for another volunteer. He did this 5 times. All five then emerged from the tent unscathed and apparently resurrected. These dudes are called the "five beloved ones" and were the first Khalsa Sikh's.