Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Vampire Diaries

I write this at 2:48am in a tolerable state of alertness. This has something to do with the two cups of tar-like coffee I consumed a few hours ago but mostly due to my new schedule as a nightshift worker. Monday morning, I was awake until 6:05am before I could crawl into bed with the ardent longing of the most passionate of lovers. Once I hit the sheets, I wouldn't have climbed out for the apocalypse.

This new Nightwalker schedule is tolerable so far, and I foresee an impressive amount of creative work in these wee hours. Since most mortal souls are peacefully asleep at this time, I must devise my own amusements. So far this night/early morning, I've edited two chapters, cleaned my craft room, and added some extra touches to my Valentine's Day steampunk costume.

A friend of mine suggested draping the pearls across the front, and I quite like the effect. The pearls have a claps, so I can undo them on one side to facilitate putting the corset on. And of course one must have a pocketwatch for steampunk! Next on the list is a hat - I need to make one in the next two weeks. All I really need to do is buy the hat form, then it should be fairly easy to put together.

I didn't accomplish much writing last week due to my new work schedule and a death in the family: my maternal Grandma suffered for nearly a week before passing on, and our family had a noisy funeral on Saturday. In the midst of it all, a new nephew was born, and my parents and I were watching my two year old nephew during the week. However, the madness of the week has finished, and I can refocus on Steam on the Horizon.

General evisceration has been the name of the writing progress as of late - I have been ruthlessly ripping out paragraphs at a time while cursing myself for my incurable wordiness. Part One has already shrunk by a couple thousand words, and several thousand more are in dire risk of the chopping block. Good thing too - there are too darned many of them hanging around cluttering up the draft.

One particular steampunk inspiration is this song by artist Thea Gilmore. It is entitled "Pirate Moon" and while its style is not along the lines of Abney Park or Steampowered Giraffe, I cannot help but think of airships drifting across a bank of clouds under a full moon whenever I hear this song.

Last morning, several vital steampunk revelations hovered on the edge of my subconscious but sadly most of them fled with the approach of the sun, leaving me with nothing but the vague recollection that I had a slew of awesome thoughts that I can no longer remember. However, one piece of information I took away was that my engineers for the Horizon are most likely hard of hearing since they spend all their time around droning engines. My only hope is that I recall the other revelations later, because they were particularly useful and need to be integrated into Steam on the Horizon.  

Oh yes, I remember another revelation: I talk about "tons" of weight in Steam on the Horizon, and it wasn't until last morning that I hazily recalled that the Brits have a different weighting system. Here is what the Online Conversion webpage has to say about that:

The British ton is the long ton, which is 2240 pounds, and the U.S. ton is the short ton which is 2000 pounds.

Both tons are actually defined in the same way. 1 ton is equal to 20 hundredweight. It is just the definition of the hundredweight that differs between countries. In the U.S. there are 100 pounds in the hundredweight, and in Britain there are 112 pounds in the hundredweight. This causes the actual weight of the ton to differ between countries.
To distinguish between the two tons, the smaller U.S. ton is called short, while the larger British ton is called long.
There is also an third type of ton called the metric ton, equal to 1000 kilograms, or approximately 2204 pounds. The metric ton is officially called tonne. The SI standard calls it tonne, but the U.S. Government recommends calling it metric ton.

Also, there is the confusing use of "tonne" vs "ton" which the Grammarist says:

In American English, a ton is a unit of measurement equaling 2,000 pounds. In non-U.S. measurements, a ton equals 2,240 pounds. A tonne, also known as a metric ton, is a unit of mass equaling 1,000 kilograms.

So, I am currently not exactly sure if I should use "ton" or "tonne" when talking about how much weight the Horizon can carry. Quite frankly, the dialogue I have for my characters in Steam on the Horizon is fairly Americanized: I've been to England twice and spent a month studying at Oxford, but I don't pretend any competency in "the Queen's English". However, I should at least get the main words right. Come to think of it, I think I also refer to pounds in weight when I really need to use stones. I think I have the currency correct, but I am not sure.

I am, however, sure that I am babbling incoherently and for all I know, I could be writing in Sanscrit. I think it is time to walk around a bit and count off the next 42 minutes. I promised myself a 4:00am bedtime, and I need to hold on until then.

1 comment:

  1. Maybe reference some Steampunk books by British authors and see how they handle the measurements? (Philip Reeve, perhaps?)

    Or turn to an Englishman for a little help? I'd bet Jon Gibbs would be happy to help. He writes middle grade fantasy, not steampunk, but he is "An Englishman in New Jersey" who is a very nice guy & always has a helpful word! (I follow his blog) http://www.acatofninetales.com/