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   Friday, April 08, 2005  
Five Failed Attempts at Constructing Robots From Non-Traditional Materials

1. First robot was constructed from foil collected (and carefully de-creased) from a recent Easter egg bounty. Resulting robot was colourful but flimsy. Would not stand up for longer than 3 seconds.

2. Second robot was constructed from sugar cubes, purchased for making champagne cocktails several Christmases ago. An intial prototype was relatively successful, so long as no attempt was made to move the robot (the cubes were unfixed). A more ambitiously scaled sugar robot, however, ended in disaster with the (apparently) accidental tipping of a cup of tea.

3. Next attempt drew on childhood robot-contruction techniques, being made from tissue boxes and toilet rolls. Robot remains unfinished at this point as robot constructor was not allowed to pull cardboard tube out from the centres of the toilet rolls although this clearly would’ve sped up the whole process. Robot constructor must wait until the paper is used up over the natural course of time.

4. Bread roll and grissini robot had pleasingly non-conformist, curved appearance but was destroyed by unknown creature when left on kitchen bench over night.

5. Tofu robot undoubtedly most unsuccessful robot of the five. Have not ruled out possibility, however, that upgrading from silken to firm tofu may make important improvement to structural integrity of the building material.
   posted by *mcb* at 8:30 AM
   

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Contract

Signed the book contract yesterday evening.
Tres exciting.
Redraft coming along nicely.
We are minding Thieu's nephews this weekend, however, so I don't know how much time I'll get to work on it. We are going to take them to the dinosaur exhibition at the museum. I suspect that Thieu and I are more excited about the prospect than the nephews.
   posted by *mcb* at 8:04 AM
   

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   Tuesday, April 05, 2005  
Book

I spent most of last week working on a redraft of my kids' book. It's just over 7000 words and is divided into ten chapters. My book is to be part of a series - aimed at girls 6 to 10. This age group like reading "chapter books" because picture books are for little kids, so the print is very large and interspersed with illustrations (not drawn by me).

It's been quite an interesting exercise - like working on a real book but in miniature. My friend (the commissioning editor) has a very clear idea of what the books should be like and so part of the challenge has been trying to work out the formula. It's not easy writing for this age group either, I've discovered. It's hard to get that balance between telling and showing. I also don't actually know anyone in this age group so I've had to try and remember back to what it was like when I was that age. And that was a long, long time ago.

My editor was happy with the latest draft and while there are still a few changes, she says they are fairly minor, which is a big relief. I thought I was getting closer, but it's difficult to tell. So I'm feeling pretty good about it. It's only a little book but it's a foot in the door. Perhaps I'm being naive but I've been telling myself it'll be easier to get further kids' books published if I have one already published to wave under their noses.
   posted by *mcb* at 8:02 AM
   

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