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Start the slow march, it's time to bring this LJ blog to a close

Sep. 1st, 2016 | 08:21 am

Well it's been a great number of years since I started this LJ blog and it's been a blast, but with the world having long since past the joys of Live Journal and with social media ruling the communication roost, I've opted to bring The Dag Journal to a close.

Considering most people have just abandoned their LJ account, I at least wanted to confirm I shalln't be returning again.

So fare-dee-well oh LJ, it's been great, but this Dag needs to move on.


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And yet ANOTHER ring around the trunk

May. 17th, 2016 | 03:55 pm

Jeepers creepers, it seems only yesterday I turned 48 and now I'm already 49! The funny thing about getting to this age is everyone keeps talking about my 50th! Hang on guys, let me get through THIS year first! LOL

So what's been happening in the past year? Well let's have a looksee.

There's no surprise to learn I'm still a part of Star Walking where we finally got to see The Force Awakens last year which was great for our club.

For myself I'm still editing the newsletter and diligently churning out an issue each month. With that in mind, we reached number 100 back in February and that particular issue I was quite proud of.

Next to that we started our Star Talking podcast which has been a bit of fun to do.

Other than that I'm still hanging out at Austrek and visiting the MSFC now that they've moved to monthly meetings.

Unfortunately the latter half of last year saw a bit of turmoil around the fan club scene which cost a couple of really good friendships. Though the dust has now settled on the kerfuffle and everything is now back to normal, the really sad part is it was all for nothing.

On the plus side though, Con 80 is still building up interest which is great to see. Being my final convention which I'm in charge of, it will be sad to see it come to an end, but I'll also be relieved too (providing it's a success).

No real changes here, though I'm certainly struggling trying to work out what to do next after I leave.

Everything is fantastic here, we finally got all the additional electrical work finished in the house which means we now have a BBQ under the pergola (electrical one). In all my home life with Lynne and Lulu is fantastic.

In Summary
I have to say that my last year was good but nothing really to write home about, especially compared to previous years.

Sure I did things like go on another cruise which was great, but next to that I really can't think of much else to report. Who knows, maybe that's a good thing because it means there aren't any sagas or headaches in my life, but it also means I'm kinda boring too ... which could be a sign of old age LOL

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Jan. 29th, 2016 | 09:23 am

Well the first month of the year is almost complete and already things are starting to take shape.

To kick things off, for the past few months I've been working on the 100th issue of the Star Walking newsletter (The Force) which is due out in a couple of weeks, so I'm rather pleased about that. I know I spend too much time tinkering with the mag as it is, but I do enjoy it even though I'm aware that not everyone in the membership reads it.

In terms of house changes we have three major things planned for the year. One is the installation of ceiling fans throughout the house for the warmer weather, including the pergola outside (oh did I mention we now have a BBQ! It's a small electrical one but it works great). I've never really liked ceiling fans but I can definitely see the benefit of them so by next Summer we'll have them installed for sure.

The next thing is the electrical makeover which is something we've been considering for a while - we need a lot of new powerpoints and stuff.

Finally there's the floorboards. No kidding we were one inch away from organsing a quote from Masters when we discovered the colour we picked had an issue with it (the floor joins/seams would be visible which we didn't want), so we left the store really frustrated only to learn the very next day Masters was in danger of closing down. Talk about being an omen!

Next to all this is my fitness and well being. I've always known I don't do enough cardio exercise, so at the end of last year I started walking a bit more with some Cliff Young inspired jogging (shuffling) tossed in - I can't actually run or jog due to shin splint issues. Next to this I have successfully been able to cut down my daily chocolate intake which was getting out of control for a while. I've also stopped drinking my one cup of coffee at work to reduce my sugar intake.

Has it all helped me? Yeah I think so, but I'm also fighting genetics too as I have some excess weight I simply can't shift. Still, I'm happy knowing this isn't doing me any harm.

Finally I have Con 80. At the end of February we have a stall booked at a local collectors fair which will kick off our official promotions for the event. Considering the con is now only a year and two months away, my focus on it will no doubt increase soon enough.

So in all I'm in a pretty good place. Lynne is great, Lulu is great and I'm doin' what Daggy's do best. 2016 is lookin' good already :)

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It's a good time to be a Dag - a quick update on things

Nov. 25th, 2015 | 02:52 pm

I've gotta say that things for me are going pretty good at the moment. Lynne and I recently finished our two week cruise of the South Pacific islands and we enjoyed the trip so much, not only did we cop a bout of Post Cruise Depression, but we could easily have jumped back on board and headed off for another two weeks - though I doubt our cat Lulu would've appreciated our prolonged absence LOL. In any event Lynne and I have agreed that our next trip will be late 2017.

As is to be expected, Star Wars fever is really starting to pick up and at the moment it's cool to be a fan. For this reason, memberships in Star Walking are really starting to flourish, thanks in part to the new $10 membership deal which is something I instigated and pushed for a year ago. For myself this boost in numbers is a good thing as it means the newsletter I edit is reaching a bigger audience which I'm rather pleased about.

In terms of the house, everything is going pretty good. We recently changed our kitchen benchtop from black to white with a grey "streak" through it - which ironically featured on The Block a month or so later. Aside from the outstanding electrical work on our list, we're seriously looking at changing the floors to much lighter colour. Yep, gone are the days where I wanted black for everything.

In terms of my work here at Toyota, a lot of people have asked about my situation and I can now officially say that yes I will be finishing in around mid-late 2017 which is a good thing (I will have clocked up 28 years by then). As to what I'll do next, well that's yet to be fully decided, though as I mentioned to Katharine a short time ago, I'd like to get into an industry where I can use some of my creative talent. For this reason Graphic Design has popped up as a possible direction though in what capacity I don't know.

Now some would suggest film making or the "movie biz" would be more logical based on my experience, but that's a very difficult field to get into and I don't have any formal qualifications. Interestingly enough, if I was prepared to take some acting lessons, I'd have plenty of time up my sleeve to follow that avenue if any gigs were to come up. LOL

Finally, all I have to say is things are going pretty good. My health is good (though I still can't kick the chocolate); I finally got the gap in my tooth fixed by installing a bridge; I've been spending a bit of time recently watching The Walking Dead which I'm enjoying; Con 80 is going quite well - I'm expecting that by this time next year we'll be heading towards the home straight; and on top of this I've been visiting the MSFC for their monthly meetings.

Good times :)

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A small triumph for me

Sep. 24th, 2015 | 09:04 am

As posted on FB the other day, I achieved a very small victory for The Dags. You see I recently completed my very first (and probably only) feature film movie script.

To provide a bit of background. I made a number of short films from around 2000-2012 (many of which were discussed here in LJ). As I was nearing the end of my short film "career", many of my film making colleagues said that there was no future in short films and feature films were the way to go, something I totally agreed with.

So in 2009 I thought about what feature film I could make, I figured instead of trying to create a brand new story it would be far easier to adapt one of my short films. So I opted to combine the antagonist characters from both The Psychology of Killing and Flair: The Psychology of Killing Revisited. I was so sure the film would be made, I even created a trailer for it.

As time went on I realised making a feature film was never going to happen. The industry is too small, too competitive, too expensive and being a rank outsider, I had no chance in getting a film made let alone distributed.

But I was still keen to write the script just to see how it would turn out. Now you must remember I'm only used to writing scripts that are 15 pages long. A feature film needs to be 100 pages as a general rule and this is where I struggled.

Although I had the basic synopsis - thanks also to Scott Middlebrook who was going to co write the film with me - I simply couldn't work out what the characters were supposed to say.

So for years the script had some elements puts down with some text added in (around 30 pages worth - not even halfway), but the bulk of it was just a big blank screen.

But then earlier this year I figured instead of trying to do it all in one go, what if I just wrote it one scene at a time? The idea being I would create individual scenes and then just find a way to link them up.

So that's what happened. I would just say "what if my character was in THIS situation, what would occur?" And from there the rest just flowed and subsequently was much easier to write.

The end result is a 105 page screenplay which I think has turned out quite good. As I said to a friend of mine, I have no idea if it would make for a good movie, but I think as a story it works really well and it certainly captures the essence of what the original short films were about.

As for myself, well I'm particuarly stoked I successfully completed this particular project, especially considering I had writer's block for so many years. As to what will happen to the script now is unknown, but even if nothing more comes from it, I'm still very pleased with the end result.

Yay for me :)

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It's the eve of yet another ring around the trunk

May. 12th, 2015 | 09:07 am

Tomorrow is my birthday and you know what, it doesn't really bother me. In fact I'll do what I always do on this special day, and that is to take the day off work (RDO not a sickie), kick back at home and enjoy doing what a Dag does best. Nothing.

Well OK that's not entirely true as I'll do SOMETHING, but I know I won't leave the house, especially as it'll be 12 degrees tomorrow, and of course a sleep-in is mandatory. After that I'll find other ways to be creative plus Lynne is cooking a special dinner for me tomorrow night too. :)

OK, so what's happening in the life of The Dags?

A lot of people have been asking about my work situation, because they know I work for Toyota and manufacturing will be shutting down in two years. For myself, I find out my fate in December and I'm quite pragmatic about it. So don't you worry as I'm not worried. :)

Con 80
The kick off time is almost here. This week I'll announce our first team formation meeting to start planning for the event. Even though it's just under two years away, aspects of the con are already being organised and I'm really hoping for a successful event as it'll be my last one.


Star Walking
After languishing in the throes of despair for a number of years, the membership of the club is now starting to pick up. Aside from the upcoming release of the new film in December, I would like to think the new membership pricing structure of $10 has helped which was something I pushed for.

The reason for the cheap price is because for the past two years I've been the editor of The Force newsletter and one of my biggest changes was turning the quarterly paper newsletter into a monthly digital one. It was a pretty radical change, but I'd like to think it's worked well, especially as I've been able to continually produce a new issue each month - below is the cover pic of the May issue to be released this week.

The only downside to being the editor is I now have write all of it as the days of members submitting articles have long since past.

As an added bonus, Star Walking has announced its Force V Star Wars convention to be held in 2017 (yep the same year as Con 80 and 10 years after the last SWI con). Naturally I've joined the committee for this considering I'm the only person who's helped organise every convention SWI has run - Force V will be #8. So 2017 is going to be a crazy year for me.

You may recall Lynne and I were booked for a cruise last year but cancelled it. We're now booked on another one for this year and it's all systems go. The ship leaves on Halloween for the South Pacific islands and we're all paid up and ready to go. Geez it's gonna be great.

I tell ya, all I want to do is stand on a clean sandy beach on a Pacific island with palm trees and blue sea water. It'll be my own Gilligan's Island moment. Gimme that and I'll be happy, the rest of the trip is just a bonus.

For the most part I really can't complain, though I'm still unable to kick the chocolate habit (you can thank Lynne working for Cadbury for this LOL) which doesn't help my weight plus I don't do enough cardio exercise which is my biggest failing.

On the plus side my non soft drink life is going well (been a couple of years now without touching a drop), I also eat multi-grain bread instead of white bread, and I have two pieces of fruit per day. On top of this is Lynne's wonderful cooking which is something I always enjoy. So in all I FEEL pretty good despite being slightly heavy and I guess something must be working 'cause a guy at work thought my birthday tomorrow was for me turning 42 not 48.

As you know I finished my Starforce section and I'm now working on my Austrek history, wow what a BIG job that's turning out to be! It certainly doesn't help that I'm the longest serving active member of the club - yep I'm STILL attending Austrek meetings after 30 years. So this equates to a LOT of memories.

The good news is I have at least made a start on it and though the entries from the 80s are longer than the late 90s or 2000s, I'm still doing what I can to cover off every piece of detail. It'll be a slow grind but a worthwhile one for sure.

Ultimately my fandom memoir will be the closest I'll ever get to writing a book. I guess the sad thing is it'll be a book no one will ever want to read, but that's OK 'cause if in years/decades to come it helps me remember my great fandom life, it will have served its purpose. :)

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A sense of achievement

Apr. 1st, 2015 | 12:17 pm

OK, so in the end Con 70 was a great success despite having 11 less members than Con 9. On top of all this we broken even which meant Con 80 came to life almost immediately (http://www.con80.com). So from my perspective the world is good on the convention front.

But that's not what I'm here to celebrate.

As some people will know, I've spent the past couple of years writing my fandom memoirs because quite frankly I don't want to forget my wonderful fandom past as I get older.

Though I have a LOT of details jotted down, the big challenge will be to rewrite it all properly which will take some time. The good news I can now declare I've officially finished Chapter 1: Starforce (no not Skyforce).

Starforce was an amateur theatre group made up of Sci-Fi fans that existed from 1984 to 1988. It was my first real introduction to fandom and holds a lot of good memories for me. So what I've written is a cross between a history of Starforce and my specific memories from it (including photos).

So will I publish this chapter anywhere? I don't know. Being a memoir everyone is mentioned by name, some in a good light some in a not so good light. In the end it's a history I saw through my eyes and I'm really pleased with how it has turned out.

Chapter 2 though will be a dog to do! Why? Because it's about Austrek. Considering I've been actively involved with Austrek (as in regularly attending meetings) for 31 years now - yep I still hang out with them - that's gonna be a LOOONG chapter. Still, the good news is I've already started writing :)

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T'was the night before Con 70

Mar. 5th, 2015 | 09:50 pm

Well, OK it's two nights away as I write this.

The funny thing is after months and months of working hard on the show, as of right now I've got nothing more to do in terms of organising the event. Tomorrow will obviously be different when I pick up our hired van and start collecting all the gear (stage, AV, displays and so on) and then from tomorrow night we'll be moving at full speed getting things ready.

The only downside to the entire event is the lack of support we've received from the fan community. Con 70 is the only non-profit, non commercialised Sci-Fi MEDIA convention going around, so when I hear people moan and complain about how the ProCon circuit has killed traditional fan Media conventions (note I'm not talking about the pop culture expos which are another matter entirely), it confuses me when a fan run con does pop up, why the numbers for it are low.

Make no mistake, we've had to bust a gut to get the word of Con 70 out there, yet there are still many fans who are staying away even though our convention is the cheapest you'll find (per day) anywhere. I guess this proves fans really DO prefer the ProCon single day setup with the Guests, Autographs, Photographs along with a distinct absence of any substance. In short, there simply is no place for traditional Media cons like Con 70. Ahhh well, if you're a Lit con organiser you'd be having a pretty good laugh right about now.

Con 70 isn't a little fish in a big sea, instead we're a little fish inside a big fish.

In any event in two days we'll be kicking our show off, even though our numbers are far lower than we expected - my poor disco in particular has been hit hard in this area. What I find really ironic is when people say to me "I missed the last one but I'll go to the next one". Ahhhh that's the point of it sunshine, there is NO NEXT ONE!

Anyway, that's the end of my rant, Con 70 here we come! :)

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A magical moment.

Nov. 17th, 2014 | 08:08 pm

Before you ask, no I'm not just sitting in it, I actually took it for a drive.

Ironically I didn't even have this on my 'bucket list' because I just never thought it was ever going to happen. Fortunately it has an Auto mode so that helped a lot as I wasn't sure I'd do the whole manual thing with the paddles justice, but I tell ya ... it was just pure magic. :)


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Another quick Daggy update

Oct. 7th, 2014 | 08:36 am

After cancelling our cruise this year we've now booked another one for October next year. It's the same cruise line and even the same destination, however, we made the booking through the Cruise expo a month or so back which allowed us to get a couple hundred dollars off the price. One thing is for sure, this time we WILL be going on it.

As for everything else there isn't too much to report. Lynne's had a few health issues of late so we're just working our way through those. I also discovered a lump on my back where I got sunburnt last January and though I had it removed it turned out to be just that, a lump of no significance.

About the only big news is that as of today Con 70 is exactly 6 months away, so you can bet that time will fly pretty fast. We have our table booked for Armageddon which will be our last big promo push at an expo, so we're hoping our table looks good when it's all decked out.

Speaking of which I've now finished the flyer for our Disco.

Discon 70 ad

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