Paper Boy – Concord – Brunch time!

Coffee, coffee coffee time!

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I learnt about Paper Boy from one of my go to baristas at Left of Field. He was moving over there to support the café opening it in its early days. If he was moving there, there was bound to be good coffee. After chatting about the place, I got my usual takeaway and mulled it over. I got out google maps and realised it was a car trip. This was a bit too far for an excessive walk (Says the man who jogged to the city). I brought up the menu and saw a variety of tasty things. I was soon won over by the idea of tasty food and coffee. Coffee, I’m there. New or interesting food, I’m there.

Now to win over my Missus.

My Missus wasn’t too sure about the idea at first if they used the same coffee. Sadly she doesn’t like the taste of the coffee blend at the Left of Field. But I quickly explained Paper Boy would be using the paradox blend, which whilst from the same supplier, is more of an Italian style coffee blend she loves. I then started listing off menu items. Missus won over. Check.

That Sunday, we piled into the car and went on our expedition. With a warm welcome, great coffee and tasty food, it was an amazing success. I mean although it requires driving there, for me, I don’t mind. I would drive to the ends of the Earth for good coffee.

 

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Milk Bar Burger and the dreaded chip thief caught in action. Joking aside, it normally comes with egg, but they kindly left that out for me. 

 

 

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The Ruben Cuban

 

Another awesome thing is Paper Boy do their weekly specials, something I would love to see available on weekends.

Anyway, my Missus and I left happy and this has become a go to place for us. Definitely well worth it.

Paper Boy – Concord’s website: http://paperboyconcord.com.au/#pbmenu
Paper Boy – Concord’s Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/paperboyconcord/
Address: 18 Tennyson Road, Concord, NSW, Australia.

(I’m not associated with Paper Boy or any staff in anyway. All thoughts are my own personal view.)

 

Some Points of Submission for Science Fiction – A List for Writers

The quest to be a science fiction author at times can feel a bit daunting. In my experience here in Australia, it can feel like perpetually digging in the hunt for a point of publication. It isn’t that Australians don’t read science fiction, it is just that there seems to be as much appetite for its publication, especially for short stories in the genre. After crawling through the Auslit lands, I found an oasis at the Aurealis Magazine in Melbourne. In the early days of trying my hand at writing, Aurealis has been my main point of attempted submission locally.

So does the quest stop at the white sandy beaches? No. It takes off in a virtual aeroplane or boat and explores the world where there are a lot more opportunities. Here is a list of points of submission I have tried around the world for short science fiction works:

Submission Point Word Limit Rate
Analog 20,000 8-10c per word
Asimov’s Science Fiction 1,000 – 20,000 8-10c per word up to 7,500 words and 8c per word after that
Aurealis Magazine 2,000 – 8,000 $20-$60 per 1,000 word
Clarkes World 1,000 – 16,000 10c per word up to 5,000 words and 8c per word after that.
Fantasy and Science Fiction Magazine 25,000 7-12c per word.
Intergalactic Medicine Show 17,500 6c
Interzone 10,000  
Strange Horizons 10,000 8c

I hope this table of submission points is useful. I will continue to add to it as time goes on.

 

Amber Room – A little bit of Hong Kong

I have never been to Hong Kong. I don’t count passing through the airport twice in my life as a visit. However, if the food is like the Amber Room in Wentworth Point, I’ll pack my bags now. There is a great culinary experience to be had.

I didn’t know what to expect at a Hong Kong style restaurant, but the Amber Room delighted me. There is a diverse mix of Asian and European dishes on the menu, with some great daily specials on their blackboard. To add to this joy are also many interesting drinks to try. What I love beyond the diversity of food is the portion sizing. The food serves are a generous amount. I have never left a hungry man or gotten home and gone to my fiancée; I am hungry again (Haha the usual response being we just had dinner).

All the staff are welcoming, attentive and friendly. It is really relaxing just sitting out the front with a cool breeze off the river in warm weather and inside with the cheerful vibe of the restaurant. I have been to the Amber Room quite a few times since it opened and am enjoying exploring its menu. I can easily say I will keep coming back.

Here is some of that yummy food:

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Satay Beef Sub – From their specials menu
I would absolutely love a whole plate of this yummy satay with chicken and rice. Satay dishes are one of my all time favourite treats.DSC_0499

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Curry Beef Brisket on Rice
Sadly I smashed the neat pile of rice already and took a picture as an after thought.DSC_0522

Homestead Chicken Fillet
I chose to have it with the mustard sauce.DSC_0527

Singapore Noodle
20180308_184555(Image curtesy of my Fiancée – The Nail Chronicle)

My Fiancée and I have also had other dishes like the Katsu Curry and Pepper Noodle. I really love how the Katsu Curry came with a side of steam vegetables, it really rounded off the dish. Haha, have you had your two fruit and five veg? A must mention also is their soups are really yummy! Their soup of the day is a great add on course to your meal.

Anyway I had a lovely time eating here (Writers do eat, when not writing). Feel free to like or comment. If you have you been here too, I would love to hear your experiences.

Links to the restaurant if you want to check them out:
http://the-amber-room-restaurant.business.site/
https://www.facebook.com/amberroomonpierside/

If you are into nail art or want to see more pictures. My Fiancée’s website is here:
https://thenailchronicle.com/
https://twitter.com/NailChronicle

It’s dead Seb. Time for a new T.V. Samsung MU7000 – Unboxing and Early Experiences.

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It’s dead Seb! After nine years of faithful service, my Sony Bravia gave up the ghost. You kind of get used to your T.V and it isn’t something you really think about having to buy again. Well at the very least it is not something I ever thought of having to do again. It had become one of the more eternalised pieces of furniture, like my fridge. Every time I have moved house, it has been there.

Well onto a new T.V, just like turning a page.  I was looking for just a normal TV, not a smart TV. Something that doesn’t have a mic, the potential to be hacked,  does everything my other stuff does or tries to hold my hand while crossing every road. All I care about was decent picture quality, a 200hz refresh rate and a TV doing what a TV does.

Why do I want 200hz refresh rate? Well sometimes PC or console gaming is done on the TV, and you need a good refresh rate, or you get ghosting and other visual distortion joys. I’m not sure human eyes can see beyond 200hz refresh rate. I personally don’t notice any difference, so that is the hard criteria for me. I am not actively going to pay for beyond that, and I’m not going to buy a TV without it.

The criteria for a UHD TV with a resolution of 3840 X 2160 pixels is because I wanted to buy a bigger TV. My original TV was 1920 X 1080 pixels over a 40″ panel, which that did a marvellous job. If I got a HD TV with the same resolution, it would mean stretching those pixels and making them bigger to fit the larger 55″ panel. Whilst I think higher than 1920 X 1080 is kind of irrelevant on a computer monitor, it does kind of make sense on something like a large TV. I personally do find a UHD resolution or higher does make a difference on anything over 55″ screen, but you might not. So it is always best to eyeball a TV set in action before you buy it.

Sadly what I found after I began perusing TVs online and in stores (You really do have to look at them and decide in person I feel), was that if you want the higher end model,  they tended to be a smart TV. Ho Hum. But in the end, I decided, making the best of a bad situation that is ok. I just won’t connect the TV to the internet or activate its smart features. So easy solved. After much research and a price scouring, I went with a Samsung series 7 MU-7000 55″ UHD, which I picked up for $1300. If memory serves, it originally had a recommended retail price for about $2499 on release in 2017, so not minding last years TV that is a price win.

The most important specs:
Resolution: 3,840 × 2,160 pixels
Upscaling: UHD
Refresh Rate: 200hz
Panel: 54.5″ measured diagonally from corner to corner.
Height: 782.7mm
Width: 1226.1mm
Depth: 246.1mm
Weight Assembled: 17.9kg
Energy Consumption: 407KW/Year
HDMI Inputs: 4
USB Inputs: 3
Network Connections: Ethernet and Wifi.
Processor: Quad-Core
Smart TV: Yep it’s got everything you need, if you are looking for a smart TV. Browser, apps, microphone and Bluetooth etc….

Ok time to get this TV home. This is not one of those public transport adventures. Oh no, this is one of those can we get a 55″ TV into a small Yaris hatchback kind.

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It was a very tight fit. I am so glad my fiancée and I didn’t opt for anything bigger than a 55″ TV. I might have been walking home. Optimistically it wasn’t like transporting home the TV cabinet years ago where I was squished tightly in the back, and we had to run it through to the front passenger seat. Alright now let’s get this home an open.

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Opening the box time, this is always the exciting part. I mean I am still tad annoyed my old TV carked it, but oooo new TV.

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I am getting dejavu. See those little feet. They just clip together then click into the base of the TV, just like my Samsung computer monitor. I was a bit nervous when I first experienced this style of legs, but have grown to like their sleek, efficient design. Goes to show things that are aesthetically pleasing can be sturdy too. Now if you look at that little black box towards the back left of the TV cabinet. That is a Samsung one connect box that comes with the TV. All your cables connect in there, and a single cable goes onto connect to your TV. That little box makes life so much easier; I used to have to wrestle cables around the back of the TV. It was even worse on the old CR TVs (They way a Tonne).

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Cable management is neat. The connect one cable and power cable, run down the spine of the TV, alongside the base and are concealed inside the left leg. Black plates clip on the back of the TV to conceal the cables.

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It’s alive! It is stunning. We weren’t able to see free to air or videos being played on the screen in the shop. Instead, we got a rather amusing security feed run through it, which was rather comical watching a gazillion people running around on the screen. It was a bit like watching ants running around a very busy ants nest. This was a tick of approval in my book because there was no ghosting for any of the fast moving feed.

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The remote is a simple, sleek design. When I first saw it, I was kind of shocked. Where are all the buttons! After a moment of fiddling about with it, the remote is very intuitive and easy to use. Change channel or volume flick the rockers up and down, want the electronic TV guide, press in the channel rocker. Tired of navigating by hand and have setup the smart TV settings, press the mic button and tell it what you want.

So how do I feel after a couple of weeks of using this TV? I would have to say I have no complaints. The image is crisp with rich colours, and there has been no ghosting or any visual issues. Old content looks a little bit stretched, but that is to be expected. Not all TV shows were made HD back in the day, and I experience similar issues on my old TV. To the TVs credit, it seems to do a reasonable job of upscaling, and I don’t see any issues in the viewing experience of older content. The onscreen interface is very zippy and intuitive. Sound quality is good; there is a comfortable amount of bass with loud speakers. I almost don’t need the front facing surround sound speakers. This TV does everything I need, so I am very happy.

 

NZXT Noctis 450 – A New Era Begins

So I had a crazy adventure idea on public transport from the city to home… After much intensive research, great debate and a little hand wringing I decided on a computer case. Between the NZXT Noctis 450, NZXT Phantom 820, Corsair Graphite 760T and Corsair Crystal 570X, I finally chose to go with the Noctis 450. It’s sleek with plenty of fan space, including all the bells and whistles you would expect. Now I am getting dejavu of similar misadventures including the 25kg weight set, the cd stand from Ikea, the coffee machine and a mates weight set (I must be a masochist for weight sets).

What quickly became apparent on the way to the shop was that I was getting sick and that after I bought the case, a box fitting a 220mm X 567mm X 544mm case weighing 11kg is unwieldy in a crowd. But temperature spiking, I claimed my prize.

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I should have brought the car. I should have brought the car…

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So trekking through the suburb of ultimo with this box about a third of my height, I took a moments pit stop, then took on the densely packed pedestrian tunnel to the train station. A 2hr round trip and I got it home. Then the joy of opening the box began.

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I have to give NZXT their due, as the case was snug as a bug in its box with its two polystyrene guardians. Neither guardian appeared to have been felled in global transportation by violent postman, courier or sheer bad luck because we all know accidents happen. Now for a better look.
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I am keeping most of the plastic on because it is now time for it to go back in its box for a little while longer. I did have a quick moment of fun double checking my graphics card would fit into hard drive bay zones, but it is not quite time for my case to shine.

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This entry marks the beginning of a small pc construction series, as I go along the journey of building a new gaming rig. The Noctis 450 is a foundation stone. It looks sleek and starshipesque, which fits the bill for me. This is going to be a fun little project, so hopefully, you guys can gain something out of it too.

Collected components so far:
1X NZXT Noctis 450 Case
1X EVGA 850 P2
1X NVIDIA 970

 

Names, did someone say names?

Naming characters has to be without a doubt one of the more harder things to do in writing. Well naming in general is one of the more harder things to do. Once a character has a name, they are generally stuck with it. A name isn’t just an arbitrary thing, you can’t just go right you are Bob and you are Helen. The name has to be right for the character, as it is much a reflection of them as their actions. It is a bit like naming places in that sense, you wouldn’t call a flat barren area Mt. Heavens. You also have to think a bit about the character’s background, their ethnicity or race and if the created name is consistent with the style of their language of origin. There are probably many more aspects that go through my head when creating names, but those are the immediate things that come to mind.

So how do you come up with names? There are lots of ways one can go about coming up with names. Sometimes it can come from research other times it can come from letting the mind do its own thing. Most of the time I find it is a little bit of both. I tend to find translation tools helpful to see how English words appear in different languages. This is usually followed by speaking them aloud, merging words, toying with alterations in the spelling and speaking the aloud. I tend to get a short list going of words that sound nice and fit the character and their linguistics of the character, then start the splicing of words and ideas anew. By the end of it, I always give one last final check to make sure I am happy with the name and that it feels right with the character.

A great example is when I create names for one of my alien races. Their language tends to be more lighter and musical so there tends to be a lot of I’s, E’s and A vowel sounds in their names. For most of the time, I tend to lean on Latin and French languages with occasional German endings for individuals of this particular race. A current name in the conceptual process has started with the latin word luceat (shine). It has undergone modifications such as Iluceat, Iluciat and Iluciet. I am trying to move the sounding away from that latin chet ending to sound more like combining the c in Lucy and the iet in Juliet. I am not certain yet if I want to combine more into the name, so we will just have to see.

It is definitely a lot easier dealing with human names with real world nationalities. The conventions and concepts are already there. You need to focus more on research and era. Creating names for aliens and fantasy races is harder in it requires a lot more work from the grounds up. It tends to take a lot longer, but the difficulty of the task definitely seems to feel a lot more rewarding. You have to wonder how parents handle the task, it isn’t easy and unlike fictional characters we get stuck with the end result.

Anyway hope you are all having a good week so far. There is my two cents on naming for the day.

 

 

Out of Points of Publication for Short Stories – What to do, what to do?

It was bound to happen eventually, but yes it looks like two of my short stories have run out of places to submit for publication. There are only finite points of publication for short stories and they are very competitive. It kind of leaves me in a curious predicament of not knowing if they are publishable or not, if they are flawed in anyway and need improvement, if they just aren’t what the point of publications were after or if it was just a matter of someone slightly more skilled than I got in.

They have both seen an editor and received positive feedback, but that doesn’t necessarily constructively help. I think perhaps a publisher’s editor might be a bit harder or rather brutally honest. Which although the editor you hire directly helps immensely, you might not get the same level of feedback. It kind of leaves you asking the same why did this occur and how to make it better for next time questions.

What does running out of points of publication really mean? Well it means going back to the drawing board. So what is my new stratagem for these two science fiction short stories? Well as far as I am aware of I still have a few options open to me, but they all have pro’s and con’s, but here is what comes to my mind.

Option 1. I publish my two short stories on my website here and spread word about it or just give a few extracts.

Pro’s:
+ People get to see my work.
+ I will hopefully have encouraged at least one more person into reading books in general.
+ I’d get satisfaction of someone reading my work
+ There would be greater exposure to my work and I might get commissioned to write something in the future.

Con’s
– I would lose all future ability of my work being properly published.
– I would not be paid for my work.
– It would set a bad precedent for myself and potentially others for not getting paid for their work.
– Someone might steal my work or use its ideas.

Option 2. I compile an anthology of short stories, which these short stories could be apart of. This anthology could then be sent off to bigger publishers.

Pro’s:
+ People get to see my work.
+ Potential to get properly published.
+ I’d get satisfaction of someone reading my work

Con’s
– Cost of time.
– Potential to not be picked up by a publisher.
– Might be hard to fill an anthology if other works get accepted in magazines.

Option 3. I self publish these short stories as part of an anthology or on their own electronically. (Something like on Patreon, Smashwords or Amazon etc.)

Pro’s:
+ People get to see my work.
+ Seems easy enough to organise
+ There would be greater exposure to my work and I might get commissioned to write something in the future.
+ Potential to actually be paid for my work.

Con’s
– I would lose all future ability of my work being properly published.
– Marketing falls on me. Like social media stuff, it takes away from writing time.
– I’m pretty sure I have to give away my rights to my work.
– I don’t get the benefits that a publisher brings to the table.

All three options have their positives and pitfalls. I will probably have to have a hard think on what to do. There are plenty of people who have gone through this before, so I would be interested in hearing thoughts and advice on my strategy ideas or your own experiences when you have run into this sort of wall.

Anyway, back to working on my novel. I shall ponder my current options.