30 Dec 2015

Greetings from the Black Forest

Guten tag alles volk!

If my previous post did not inform you, allow me to do so now: I am in Germany—in the Schwarzwald, aka the Black Forest—on what I suppose may be termed a holiday. Though in truth things have been chaotic.

But first: the good news. I have taken a number of photographs; some are indeed quite beautiful, although I do say so myself. I’ve uploaded a few here; if you wish to see more, click here.

Now: the second piece of good news, I suppose, is that I have written more on the Ark. Not too much, alas; for I have been busy. Nevertheless, books do not write themselves. (The writer’s old adage, that is.) Completing the Ark will doubtless take more time and effort, but, hey; the effort is worth it. I am quite excited, I daresay, with the numerous important plot points coming up.

As for my progress? I have written over 40K words, and I believe I am close to halfway through. That said, I suspect some revision will be in order—certain scenes are too verbose, or unnecessarily detailed, or unnecessary. Period.

As for the bad news? I’ve been involved in a car crash. Somehow, we managed to hit another car coming from the opposite direction. The front-left side of the car is mangled, with the tyre unusable. The repairs are costly.

I can’t say too much about this, unfortunately; the German law actually prohibits me from doing so (until the case is resolved legally). Nor am I particularly keen on discussing it. Although I escaped with a bruise, the incident brought to height my natural caution of cars. It’s dangerous business, is driving. Numerous people are killed every year; in fact, the single-largest cause of death for males aged 17–24 is drink-driving, here in the UK and much of the developed world.

I harbour a strong dislike of lax driving because of this. Drivers vastly underestimate the danger the car poses to them and others around them—a collision at 40mph with a tree, for example, is usually lethal. Drive at eighty miles an hour (the legal speed for most of the autobahns here) and things get four times worse.

What makes the situation unpleasant is that the insurance company, curse them, claims we only have basic cover in Europe (as opposed to comprehensive, in the UK). This means that if the ruling does not find us innocent, we will pay a €130 fee and the insurance won’t pay for repairs. We’re fortunate that my grandparents are willing to give us their car—they hardly ever use it, old as they are—and so we can avoid dishing out thousands for repairs.

But getting their car here could take a week or more; best enjoy the sunshine and hope for snow, eh?

Lighter Matters

Anyway: onto some light-hearted observations. Having spent more time with my new phone, I’ve noticed a few more imperfections. I dislike the positioning of the audio buttons next to the power key—it’s too hard to hit the right one, especially in the dark.

I’m also mildly annoyed that Sony doesn’t sell any models with more than 16GB of storage. With the number of uninstallable applications Sony has preloaded, along with big GPS maps weighing in the gigabytes, much of my internal memory is unavailable for storing music and video. I have managed to buy a micro SD card with a 32GB capacity; this is great, but I shouldn’t have to do this. I hate micro-SD cards. They’re too tiny. Too easy to lose; and fragile.

To top it all off, the phone sucks up about 7% of its battery over the ten hours or so that I’m in and out of bed. This is despite Sony claiming over a month of standby time. I suspect the phone’s active mobile connection, along with WiFi, are sucking up battery.

Still: these are minor flaws. For £250, you get an impressive phone. It also has some nicely thought out features, like a torch mode—useful if you’re without a flashlight.

Finishing Off

Much as been going on, as you can see. As always, I hope to make the best of it. Do take a look at my photos; and keep following for more on the Ark.

Until then...

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