NaNoWriMo Countdown T-01 (OMG!)

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Being laid-off and being the only person in the company who can do what I do has made the last few days a bit busy. A part of me feels like I shouldn’t care since, clearly, the company I work for doesn’t care about me. Still, I have pride in my work and always tend to rise to a challenge. Not surprisingly I’ve had some trouble sleeping lately. Junior has been nice enough to not poke me in the eye in the mornings and letting me sleep a bit later than usual.
It should also not come as a surprise that I’ve been a bit lax in the updating department. That is, until I looked at the calendar and saw that tomorrow is November 1st! Holy sassafras! I haven’t even finished all my prep work. 
I don’t make it a secret that I’m agnostic. I would like to say that there is or isn’t a God (or, hey, Gods; why not?) but I’m not firmly convinced either way. I’ve seen some good, I’ve seen some bad, and in my mind the whole argument could go either way. 
But I never thought there was a reason why evolution would have to be proof that there wasn’t a God. To me, it’s a lot more elegant to start off a creature and, through clever programming, have it end up as a multicelled organism years later. Or even just dropping an egg in the ocean and letting it go higgledy-piggledy and see what happens. It seemed a lot more clever to me than just waving your hands and ending up with a man and a woman. 
I didn’t listen to it but I heard about The Pope’s thoughts on the matter and was fine with it. Because, you know, I give my blessing.
I hope you all have your typewriter’s oiled up, your pens greased, and your pencils chromed. You probably should have some paper, too. Or one of them computer thingies I keep hearing about. 
It starts tomorrow.

NaNoWriMo Countdown T-07 (No Thought)

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One week. That’s what’s left. One week and then it’s November. And at midnight, that moment when it’s between October 31st and November 1st the writing will start. 
And I’ll be older. Again. It’d be nice if there was a day when you could get younger. I suppose that’s not too far away. Probably the day after I kick the bucket.
Lately I’ve taken a couple of days to work from home. I can do that because I can get my email, be on Skype, and do my work from the apartment here. One of the downsides of living with a mimic is that she does a really good job of making the noise that Skype makes when a message comes in. So I’ll be happily working away when I hear that noise and start looking for the Skype window with a new message. Which isn’t there. Because it was Zoey.
On the other hand, having a pet that talks is nice because I can figure out what she likes fairly easily. For instance, Tooka will eat just about anything. Zoey is very picky. Finding a snack that they both like can be difficult. But I brought home white (although they look green to me) grapes and gave one to Zoey. She snatched it up and said, “Yum!” I gave her a red grape a couple of days later and she didn’t say “Yum!” She didn’t say anything. She just dropped it. This has made my life so much simpler.
This. This is what my life has come to.

NaNoWriMo T-09 (Salad Dementia)

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It should be down to single digits. But it isn’t because I prefaced the important number with nothing. So it’s still single digits. Stupid zero.
But instead of panicking I’ll be calm because my birthday is still in the double digits range of being away. I still have time before I make another circuit around the sun. Sort of. I guess. Really, I don’t know because of the goofball way our calendar is set up. 
I should say that if you don’t have pens and paper by now (maybe even a pencil) now is the time to rush out and get some. I should say that but how many use paper and writing utensils anymore? I do, sometimes, but not often enough. 

On an unrelated note, I sometimes worry about my sanity. I live alone with a cat and two birds. One of those birds is a mimic. Even though I’m technically alone, I still have creatures to talk to and, sometimes, conversations. Living with a mimic is interesting in itself. Did the smoke alarm just go off or was it the bird? Is someone messing with the microwave? Did someone knock on the door? Worse, my apartment is full of gadgets and geegaws that make noise. Android tablets, iPhone, NAS things, and a multitude of computers. So I always hear some kind of noise, like a Skype notification, but never see anything. Why? Because Zoey the parrot makes those noises and she makes them excellently. In a way, it keeps me on my toes. 
That has nothing to do with my thoughts on sanity, though, other than to demonstrate that I’m becoming that wacky old man that talks to animals. No, what worries me is the kind of thing that happened to me yesterday.
After work I went to the store and felt that I was in the mood for some salad. So I bought lettuce, carrots, cucumbers, black olives, croutons, bacon bits, shredded cheese, and whatever else. I bought enough to make giant salads that would last a couple of days.
When I got home I started up dinner and, while that was cooking, started putting together my salad. I ripped up lettuce, sliced cucumbers, moved other stuff to containers after heaping some of it in my bowl, and put stuff back in the fridge. My dinner wouldn’t be ready for a while yet so I put my salad back in the fridge and continued watching How I Met Your Mother on Netflix. 
When dinner was nearly done I cooked up a cob of corn, sliced off a couple of rounds and gave them to the birds (after they cooled down). I also microwaved some vegetables. Dinner was ready at that point so I put it all together and ate.
Later, I took the birds out of their cages, gave out snacks, and wandered around thinking that I was still kind of hungry. I didn’t know why I did because dinner was kind of heavy on the veggies. But I thought, hmmm, I could make another salad. After all, that’s just a bunch of lettuce for the most part. I decided that was a good idea and went looking for my salad bowl which should have been in the kitchen. But it wasn’t. And then I remembered that I never ate my salad. It was still in the fridge. 
I had spent all that time and energy putting it together and somehow thought that I had eaten it even though I hadn’t. On the one hand I was pleased that I wouldn’t have to make another but, on the other hand, what the hell? 

NaNoWriMo T-10 (Nemesis)

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Everyone should have a nemesis. An arch-enemy. A person who can be blamed for random events of nuisances. Someone that you can curse for no good reason whatsoever.
I have a nemesis, even though she has no idea about it. I’m certain she doesn’t even know I exist. It’s better that way. I’d be embarrassed if she knew.
And why is this particular person my nemesis? Why her and not, maybe, someone who knows me? Simple: She’s famous and I’m not. Sure, all right… But why her and not someone else who’s famous? Because we went to school together.
This is the face of my nemesis:

If I stub my toe, it’s Jane Krakowski’s fault. If I get stuck in traffic I wave my fist in the air and say, “Curse you, Janie Krakowski!” Not loudly, mind you; I don’t want people to think I’m a lunatic. 
Now, when I say we went to school together I should point out that I’ve never met Ms. Krakowski. I did see her once, though. She walked into geometry class, handed the teacher a note, and then walked out of the room. Presumably to fly back to California or whatever with her tutor. 
Even though she’s my nemesis I don’t really have anything against her. Actually, I kind of like her. But I need a nemesis to keep me going because someday, someday, I’ll be famous. Also. Maybe. 
So get yourself a nemesis. Pick a celebrity. Or a hobo. Whatever. And make sure they don’t they’re a nemesis. Especially not yours. If anything happens to Jane Krakowski (God forbid, etc.) I’m sure some serious looking people will come to have a chat with me. That’s not the way I want to be famous.

I use Scrivener to write. I figured I would try using the other program by Literature & Latte called Scapple. I have no idea how to use it, really. So I just load it up and stare at it. Maybe I should learn how to use it and do something for it.
That’s the same problem I have with Evernote. I sort of use it but I’m probably not using it the way it should be. Same goes for OneNote. More than likely there are a lot more programs that could really improve my life that I just have no idea how to use. I’ll just have to read up on them and figure ‘em out. Because that’s what I’m good at. Figurin’ things out.

NaNoWriMo Countdown T-11 (Disappointment)

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Life is full of disappointments. Sometimes it’s the little things, like the store ran out of your favorite cookies. Sometimes it’s something a bit bigger, like, maybe the store ran out of your favorite cookies. You get yourself all keyed up and, bam! Nothing. Let down. Bummer.
Maybe it’s worse than that. Maybe you don’t know they’re your favorite cookies. You went past them in the grocery store and saw them and thought they looked pretty good but you never picked them up. They sat up there on the top shelf in nice packaging but you didn’t have time to grab it. Or you didn’t want to spend the money. Or you thought you really didn’t need a package of cookies. Sure, you thought about it, maybe you even picked them up and tried to sniff them through the wrapper. Then you chickened out and put them back on the shelf vowing that next time you would get them.
And then the day arrives when you decide to get those cookies. You go to the store and wheel your cart down the cookie aisle. You feel butterflies in your stomache as you approach that magical area where your cookies sit on the shelf, waiting for you.
But they’re gone. You stand on your toes trying to see if there’s a package stuck at the back of the shelf but, no, they’re all out. But the shelf still has the price sticker so they’ll re-stock. Probably in a couple of days. So you go back but they’re still not there. After a few trips you notice that not only are the cookies not there but the price sticker on the shelf is gone, too.
It’s over. They’re gone. Maybe they’ve been discontinued? Maybe they’ve just been pulled from your market? Gone. You will never know if they were any good. You try and make yourself feel better by thinking, Hey, maybe they weren’t so good after all. Maybe the packaging was so good but the actual contents were less than flavorful. But it’s all hollow. And now they’re gone. Forever.
There are eleven days until November 1. Now, you may be thinking that I’ve been continuing to put off my planning. You’d be right. But I do have a basic outline done and it looks like this:

A) Introduce Main Character
B) Stuff Happens
C) Show ramifications of MC’s actions

Okay, it seems a bit sparse but it does follow the time honored convention of the three act story. I could probably even go a little deeper.

A) Start of Story
1) Introduce main character
2) Set up catalyst
B) Stuff Happens
1) Set up conflict
C) End of Story
1) Kill character Resolve Conflict

Yep, that looks pretty good. It shouldn’t take much to get a story out of that.

NaNoWriMo Countdown T-13 (Fashionista)

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I’m not a fashion person. I don’t buy clothes on impulse and, for the most part, only buy stuff when something else wears out. Every week I do, more or less, wear the same clothes to work.
At the end of the week it all gets washed. On the rare days that I feel like hanging up shirts I would always end up with either one hanger extra or one hanger short. Always. It drove me nuts so I went to Wal*Mart and bought a 10 pack of plastic hangers. 
Yesterday I did the laundry (I think I mentioned that yesterday). This morning I started hanging my shirts. I counted the hangers. I have ten free hangers. How did that happen? Why was I always one up or one down, but now that I have enough hangers to cover the short days I’m not short. Unbelievable.
Lately Junior has only been drinking water from my glass. Well, really it’s a plastic double-walled thing. I fill up my cup with cold water, turn my head, and Junior has his face in there. Sometimes he even dips his paw in there and then shakes it around. I don’t really mind; after all, he is my best buddy. The only problem is that I  know where his tongue has been. And his paws. So I end up dumping that cold water and getting another cup of warmer water because I use a Brita pitcher.
So I thought, hey, I have an identical cup (except for the color) so I put water in there and put it in front of him. In typical cat fashion, he ignored it. I suppose I could switch and use the other cup but I suspect that if I’m not drinking from it, he won’t either.

NaNoWriMo Countdown T-14 (A Day In The Life)

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And now it’s Saturday. Not quite 8am. I’ve been up and down since around 3am but I reckon I’m up for good now. I’m going to make this one of them all day affairs where I just add to the post as the day goes on. This will give you, the reader, a good idea of how my day goes. I am sure you’ll be as enthralled as I am every day.
Now that How I Met Your Mother is off the air (I think) I figure it’s a good time to watch all the episodes on Netflix. I’ve made it to the second season. I like to eat dinner while I watch it but maybe that’s not such a good thing.
I need some more canned air so maybe I’ll run over to Fry’s and pick some up. It turns out that living with two birds and a cat creates an awful lot of dust. Either that or I’m some kind of magnet for dust. I think that’s what it is. A trip to Fry’s is a dangerous thing because the place is, essentially, a toy store for guys. If I’m going to be coming into some lean months then it’s not a place to hang around. Thankfully, I can be one of those people who focus on getting one thing and run in, grab it, and run back out again with a minimal loss of wallet girth.
Speaking of high technology, I’m enjoying Yosemite. It works. I don’t have too many problems with it. Google Drive gave me some issues but I managed to iron them out. Pretty exciting, right?
Barnes & Noble keeps sending me emails about the massive settlement I got from that class action lawsuit a while back: $0.73. It can only be used online. I have no idea what to spend all that money on. If only they sold bubblegum online. 
Bugs bother me. As far as I’m concerned anything that looks bug-like is a bug. I don’t care if they’re insects, arachnids, or even sea creatures with an exoskeleton. In these parts we get what I call “Cricket Season.” It’s when billions and billions of crickets magically appear. Sure, they’re not especially dangerous but they can be reallyl annoying. To combat them I’ve gotten into the habit of closing the drain in my shower. And, yet, I don’t like to see the poor little bastards get killed. I once convinced a guy at work to catch and release a cricket. I also saved a moth. I felt proud of myself.
Lizards I don’t have a problem with. For a while we were getting a  few small lizards running around our meeting room. My fear of bugs has given me a highly sensitive sense of vision when it comes to small things running around. 
It is now 8:13am. Aren’t you glad I started typing early?
Now it’s 1:23pm. I was supposed to make sure my suit still fits, on account of me having a job interview coming up, but I figured: When is the best time to try on clothes? After a two-mile walk! So I went on a two-mile walk. Then I came home, had a Black Forest ham and jalepeno Monterrey Jack cheese sandwich with a big old glass of water.
Now it’s 1:45pm. I have decided to do laundry. I’m glad I finally got my own washer and dryer because it’s way better than lugging my stuff down to the apartment laundrymat to be stolen. I also played a game of ‘bird’ with Zoey. That’s when I walk into the living room and she says, “Bird!” Then I say, “Bird!” Then she says, “Bird, bird, bird!” And I say, “Bird, bird bird!” Then she gets tired of that. The laughs never stop around here.
2:31pm (14:31): So I was going through the pictures I took. One would think, what with my fear of bugs and all, that there’d be crawly things all over the place. But, much like with birds and mammals, they all take off when I try and get a picture. I did get a dragonfly. And a worm of some kind. It’s kind of disappointing but not disappointing enough to pour honey all over my body. If you’re interested in looking at the few that made the cut you can find them here
3:22pm (15:22) The problem with using a wireless keyboard and mouse is that the batteries die, eventually. Seeing how the mouse and keyboard work off their own batteries, when they both go low at the same time it’s a little inconvenient. I’m not sure if I should commit this now and spend the rest of the day charging the batteries or charging the batteries and submit this later. You know, in case something exciting happens. It could happen.
4:06pm (16:06) Nothing exciting has happened yet. 
4:14pm (16:15) Exciting news! One set of batteries has charged and I’ve replaced the mouse batteries! I know, right?! 98% suckas! Wait. I just took them off the charger so why are they at 98%? Oh well. Time to charge the next two. Also, I think I’ll feed the birds. They haven’t started making a ruckus yet but why wait for Tooka to ring the bell?
4:23pm (16:23) The battery level of the keyboard is pretty low so I’m not sure how much longer I’ll be able to update. I do have another set charging so it shouldhat was about the time I jumped through the window. The brawl was still going on strong behind me as I ran across the street, through door hanging off the hinges and ran up the twenty something flights of stairs. Now I’m not saying that life is brilliant, but when you’re hanging from a ledge twenty stories up. Oh, hold on. It looks like there was a gap in time from the time I changed the batteries and the keyboard actually started working. Well, I sure don’t feel like typing all that back in again. Sorry folks.
5:58pm (17:58) Dinner is done. The great thing about leftovers is that’s all you have to say.
“What’d you have for dinner?”
“Leftovers.”
“Ah.”
It doesn’t matter what was leftover it’s just accepted. Now it sounds like Zoey is channeling the spirit of Bing Crosby.
7:41pm (19:41) Looks like Zoey is in the mood for the some grapes. She’s a bit iffy on her food. Sometimes she likes stuff and then doesn’t eat it ever again. I was rinsing off some grapes and she practically flew down my arm to grab one. I handed her one and she said, “Yum!” 
7:50pm (19:50) Well, hey, it’s not quite 8pm. You all have stuck with me for somewhere around twelve hours. I hope you all found it incredibly interesting.

NaNoWriMo Countdown T-15

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Yesterday was the 16th and there were sixteen days left until November 1st. Today is the 17th and there are fifteen days left. It’s a wonderful mathematical kind of thing. I’m not a math person, by the way. Even long division looks like complex mathematics to me.
You may wonder why I’m obsessing over the amount of days left until November 1st. If you are wondering then it’s kind of silly of you because that’s the entire idea behind writing these things. It’s exciting watching the countdown because I am running out of things to talk about. The sooner November gets here the sooner I can start freaking about writing a novel in a month.
In addition to that, my birthday is in November. Many people try and avoid their birthday. It’s become hip to ignore it and act like it doesn’t matter. The whole, “one year closer to death” thing, I guess. But for me, my birthday is my day. It’s all about me! Which is a damn shame considering I’m completely alone. If I were smart I would ignore my birthday. I certainly wouldn’t do what I did a couple of years ago which was to shame forty candles in a cupcake and then light it up. It was amusing in that the birds started making smoke alarm noises but, more to the point, it was kind of sad. 
So speeding towards that day and then sliding right past it sounds like a pretty good idea. Being alone and possibly unemployed also means plenty of good, quality, writing time. I could wake up, roll into the chair, and start typing away! Like a mad man! Insanity.

NaNoWriMo Countdown T-16

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     Sixteen days. That’s, like, two eight days. If weeks had eight days it would be two weeks. Luckily weeks have seven days so it’s slightly more than that. I still haven’t gotten much ‘planned.’ I’m still thinking about it, though.
     To make matters worse, this weekend there are three events going on. One is some sort of Day of the Dead parade, which sounds interesting. Another is a Celtic celebration. Finally, there’s a chili cook-off festival thing. 
I don’t know if I should stay home and be serious or grab the camera and take some thin slices of life. And heartburn. I like going to these festivals. Sure, there’s a lot of food and drink but it’s also interesting to see a bunch of people getting together and enjoying themselves. Usually I don’t take pictures of people if I can help it because I’m afraid of being force fed my camera, but lately I’ve been trying to get a few folks in frame. When you’re dealing with festivals it’s really hard not to. 
I don’t get out much so it’s nice to get out and about. On the other hand, I would like to do better this year getting to 50,000 words. Last year, I basically had a one sentence idea that I tried to build an entire story around it and, much like a Saturday Night Live sketch getting the movie treatment, it didn’t really work. This time around I would like to get more of an outline going. Some sort of structure to follow. 
You know, take control. That way it would be a whole lot more fun when it goes out of control during the course of writing. 

NaNoWriMo Countdown T-17 (Auto Erotica)

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As you know, this year I’m planning (ha ha!) a science-fictiony kind of story for NaNoWriMo. Thus, I’ve been bending my mind towards the future trying to figure out what human life and human technology will be like in the far future. I haven’t quite gotten there yet but last night I had an epiphany. An epiphany about self-driving cars.
    Self-driving cars aren’t, I think, as unexpected as other technologies. We’ve been dreaming of flying cars forever now. I think making them drive themselves is a natural progression. It’s not surprising to think that in the near future electric cars will be ubiquitous, roadways will enable them to be charged wirelessly while in motion, and smart roads will keep track of where all the cars are.  
    One might leap to the conclusion, then, that the great American Road Trip will return. Families will pile into the car and go on long trips. Families can drive to places and interact with each other in ways they never could before. But we all know that the only thing that kept Dad sane during those trips was that he could say, “Martha,  you need to get those kids under control! I’m concentrating, here! And get me a sandwich from the cooler.” 
    I think there’s also a misconception that cars will get smaller and more efficient. I’m pretty sure that’s not going to happen. Granted, right now electric and hybrid cars slant towards the small and economic side but I think that’s mostly because bigger vehicles would require larger or more batteries. Once these things have induction charging through the roads, though, the battery becomes less important. Anyway, right now we have two major self-driving cars: the Google koala car and the Tesla Model SD.


    But there are aspects that other people aren’t taking into account. When the self-driving car becomes common then humankind will realize they are now free to do three things:

  • Get Drunk
  • Sleep
  • Have Sex

Think about that. People can now go out and get stupid drunk and still get home without getting a DWI (eventually; it may take a while for enough trust to build up for that to happen). If you wished you could have just ten more minutes of sleep you can now do that on the way to work. Feeling a little randy before the morning meeting? You can now have sex while getting there. Car pools will become a lot more interesting. The question is, do you want to sleep or get jiggy wid it in the back of a Prius? Or a SmartCar? Or a KoalaCar? Would it even be a good idea? Could you see yourself on a road trip with the family and come up next to a Google car? “Look kids, it’s a cute KoalaCar! Just look at… Oh my God! Kids, look away from the KoalaCar! Close your eyes! How in the world could you even do that? They must be double-jointed! I mean, wow… Just look at that. Not you, kids! Look away!”
     Probably not. So, ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the Vehicle Of The Future:


    That’s right. The “custom van,” the “make-out van,” the “shag van” will come back in style. Salespeople won’t be selling cars based on horsepower or gas mileage; instead they’ll be sold on the virtue of their groovy side graphics, dry bar capacity, and whether they have a water bed or memory foam mattress installed in the back. Condom dispensers will replace cupholders. Surround sound stereo systems with large screen roll-up LCD TVs will replace the infotainment systems. In truckstops around the nation, old moldy boxes will be opened and bumper stickers that read, “If This Van’s A Rockin’ Don’t Come A Knockin’” will fly off the shelves like a flock of startled pigeons. 
    That’s the good news. There will be some negative effects, though. I think the general idea is to take vehicle ownership away from the individual and use them as ‘on-demand’ taxis. This will work for some people, but not folks that don’t want to share a mattress.
    Since the cars will be self-driving and smart traffic will decrease. Extremely friendly carpools will also bring down the amount of vehicles on the road which will also bring down the amount of traffic. Commuting times will hit an all time low. This will be good for men. They will jump out of their cars, tuck in their shirt tails, and be a lot more relaxed at work.
    Women, on the other hand, will become more aggravated. While the guys stand around talking about fantasy football and World of Warcraft raids, the ladies will be gathered around that back table holding their thumb and forefingers together and hissing, “I was this close!”
It wouldn’t surprise me if cars continued to grow to the point where we’ll all be driving around in RV-type vehicles, lounging in Laz-E-Boys and drinking fresh brewed coffee while on the way to work.

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