“Sheep’s End” 2.0

I finished the next draft of “Sheep’s End”. It’s 108 pages, 16 pages longer than the previous.

The new scenes that start off this draft are more active than the last revision. There’s also an extra battle scene at the end.

Most of the additional pages are character development. I find Hawthorn an difficult character to communicate in words. He’s terse, stoic, subtle. His dialogue and actions remain guarded, so I tried to get his emotions across in motif. I hope this draft makes that more apparent. I also tried to etch the jeopardy more starkly.

Here’s the first scene, one page long.


In the hallway of a medieval manor house, HAWTHORN races out of a sumptuous, feminine bedchamber. He pulls the door closed after him, holds it shut.

He’s a man whose strength grows more from a hard, wiry frame and experience than sheer bulk. His hair is cut short in a practical military style. This is not a man who spends time in front of mirrors.

He wears simple linen and wool, out of place in a luxurious nobleman’s home like this one. Fine tapestries line the hall.

Hawthorn winces as he hears something porcelain smash to bits against the other side of the door.

He braces to keep the door tightly shut.

Muffled by the stone wall and thick wood, an angry young woman shrieks incomprehensibly.

The yelling stops. Hawthorn relaxes… until another delicate object breaks against the far side of the door.


You asked me to be honest!

His comment ignites another angry feminine rant.

As the yelling continues, Hawthorn cautiously withdraws. He knows how to retreat.

He tiptoes backward, while facing the door. He periodically glances back at the stairway he’s moving toward.

Just before he makes the stairway, the bedchamber door opens. Out steps ISABEL, a smoldering girl in her late teens. She’s disheveled, and angry. She wears an unflattering high-waisted dress, and she holds a small ceramic pitcher.


Hawthorn? Hawthorn!

Hawthorn backs to the first step down.



Isabel shrieks, heaves the pitcher at him. He ducks down the stairs. The pitcher explodes right where he stood.

Isabel storms back into her room.

I admit it’s a bit cliche, but it works in the context of what follows.

Bad news comes in fives

Nearmiss and I received an update from Marior, who is directing the short we wrote, “Time and Space”. He’s not pleased with his work. For technical reasons, he wasn’t able to watch the dailies until recently and he doesn’t like what he sees. He doesn’t think the product should be submitted to film festivals. He won’t reshoot, but he will finish.

The news disturbed Nearmiss. I’m disappointed, but I did my job well and what happened after it passed out of my hands doesn’t bother me. It’s a resume stuffer at worst. Like I told Nearmiss, maybe the next director will have access to a roof.

What does bother me is that I won’t be teaching JOUR 428 next year. I’m part-time faculty in the Journalism Department (at Concordia University, for you latecomers to the blog), and full-timers get to teach what they choose before the department calls for part-time applications.

Before the department released its list of courses this week, a kind insider had already tipped me off that a full-timer had snatched up JOUR 428, Online Publication.

That pisses me off. From a technical standpoint, nobody in the department knows HTML/XHTML or CSS as well as I do. From a practical standpoint, nobody has run an e-zine for a dozen years, like I did. I’ve had students come up to me this year to tell me they had registered for next year’s course because I was teaching it. Now they’ll be stuck with a less qualified instructor.

Although students provided me with mostly positive feedback, I’d have graded my work on 428 this year as a B. It was my first year with it, and I only had the syllabi of past teachers on which to base my lesson plans. I learned a lot, and next year’s course was going to be better.

This isn’t a demotion or a critique of my work in the course. It’s simply a case of greed or ego or both by whoever took over the course, and worst of all it’s not in the best interests of the students.

Yesterday, while I was pecking away at “Sheep’s End” (good news interlude: I’m up to page 98 and will finish tomorrow), a Videotron rep called me to tell me that we had exceeded our allotted bandwidth over the last two months and racked up extra fees.

We pay an annual bill, so I wouldn’t see these charges unless I looked up the usage – but I was downstairs on the laptop and my links were upstairs on my desktop. We have exceeded our allotment in the past, when we’d leave aMule/eMule running. It’s possible that a malware infection could have turned a Windows box or two into a zombie, which is what I assumed when the rep said we spilled over our cap.

The rep offered to covert us from Videotron’s High-Speed plan to the unlimited Extreme High-Speed for a reduced price for two months. I agreed.

Upstairs, I checked our usage. We’ve been nowhere near our bandwidth limit.

I got in touch with Videotron customer support through the online chat function (it didn’t work in Safari, so I fired up Firefox). The support rep reverted our plan and left a complaint for the first rep’s manager. I gotta say, every time I’ve had to deal with Videotron’s tech or customer support, I’ve been pleased with the outcome. Sales reps, on the other hand….

Another bit of bad news is that Elvi wasn’t selected for a two-week intensive course in transmission electron microscopy this summer – er, winter, since the course was in Chile. The course had 200 applications for 48 places, so it’s not a kick in the teeth, but Elvi was hoping to go.

Lastly, I am mildly perturbed that my Irrational League fantasy team has fallen out of first place. Thanks, Odalis Perez. Worse, it’s Frank Cavallaro who’s now in first. My rankings:

.305 batting average (1st, and a phenomenal number, 2nd place is .282)
42 HR (2nd)
146 RBI (3rd)
13 SB (tied 9th)
3.65 ERA (2nd)
1.18 WHIP (1st)
13 wins (tied 2nd)
10 saves (3rd)

My team is 4 HR, 2 RBI, 0.12 ERA, and 0.5 total points behind Frank’s. His pitching can’t sustain what it’s done so far, but I’m still looking for stolen bases.

I have 25 free minutes

And I can’t do anything productive in 25 minutes, so I might as well blog while I wait for people to return my calls.

I spent the morning at a Holocaust remembrance ceremony in which Child One took part. The ceremony took place in the synagogue to which my grandfather belonged. His name is on a donors plaque on the wall. I didn’t lose any close family in the Holocaust. All my grandparents were born in North America except my father’s father, and he moved to Montreal with his father, mother, and brother in the 1920s.

Trace back along my brother’s family tree, and you can see the Holocaust fatalities among the family that stayed in Europe.

I didn’t mean to blog about this when I started. I was going to ask for help finding a shirt. It occurs to me that I could title this post “Hey Jude”, but that’s tacky, even for me.

On to business….

In Houston, I bought a beautiful new black suit and a beautiful new tie. I know which beautiful new shirt would go with them, but the store (K&G;) didn’t have my size. Neither K&G; nor Geoffrey Beene sell any selection at all online, so I have to look in the retail channel.

Specifically, I need a Geoffrey Beene Wrinkle Free Solid Dress Shirt – Point Collar (style A30B0862) in kiwi (colour 329), in a size 17.5 collar/32-33 sleeve. That kiwi is the perfect shade of green. I looked for other green shirts but they all lacked this shirt’s subtle brightness.

If you happen to see one like that, let me know, please.

Oh, and I’m up to page 89 of the draft. I only really have one more battle sequence to write – the rest is polish.

Bonus shout-out:

Happy birthday, Child Three!