NaNoWriMo — Day 20 (2,059) (WTHH)

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And here we are at day 20 and I’ve got not much to show for it. Granted, a large portion of this month has been filled will illness and pain. And, because of that, a serious lack of sleep. All in all, it hasn’t been a good month for writing.
I am disappointed. I had hoped to do things differently this year and to really keep on track and, hopefully, end up with something I was kind of happy with at the end of the month. 
There are many times when I do something for someone else because I don’t want them to be disappointed. I’ll do whatever I can to make someone else happy. 
This year I’m faced with quite a few problems. This illness, my cat’s health problems, the fact that I’ll be laid off in a few days and, because of that, will be spending my holidays doing nothing, going nowhere, and not spending any money. 
Last November I set a goal for myself. Not too many people cared about it, but I did. I worked hard to meet that goal. When I finally hit 50,000 words I was ecstatic because I had done what I set out to do.
This year, again, even though it’s not important to anyone else, I set a goal and failed. Miserably. I disappointed myself and I’m having a hard time reconciling that. Sure, I’ve got reasons why I didn’t make it but, in retrospect, they sound like excuses. Maybe having my face split at the seams is an excuse, maybe not. It’s just hard to take at this point what with everything else falling apart. 

NaNoWriMo — Day 03 (2,059)

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One of the problems with working is that it cuts into the writing time. Not that I’m complaining; I’d rather have a paying job than writing a book that won’t make any money. I’ll all for art and all but the bills still need to be paid.
I wish I was the type of person who could just say whatever is at the top of my mind. I can’t, though. Anytime I open my mouth I’ve already run through a conversation and tried to assess what the ramifications would be. Would it be good or bad for me? Would it affect someone else? What will the person I’m talking to think? Should I be honest? Should I sidestep something? What was the question again?
I think, for better or worse, I’d be better off just blurting it all out and letting whatever happens happen.
Not much writing got done today. Technically I’m two days behind. Am I worried? Not a bit! There’s still a lot of time left. Oodles of it.

NaNoWriMo — Day 01 (1,700)

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And so it begins. It took me a while but I finally got to 1,700 words today. I think it took about three hours. I don’t think it’s a good sign to be struggling this early in the month but, hey, maybe it’ll get easier.
I went to lunch with a friend of mine today on account of it being my birthday tomorrow. I thought I’d shave. What a mistake. I ended up making the smallest of nicks on the side of my nostril. It bled like a fountain for about an hour. I tried sticking pieces of toilet paper on the wound, which, by the way, was probably less than half a millimeter in length, but the flow of blood just made it drop off.
Finally, I decided that no matter how stupid it looked I would put a bandage on it. I don’t have any of those small round corn bandages, though. Worse, I couldn’t find any normal sized ones, either. I had to use the gigantic “I gots a boo boo on my elbow” bandages. Now, the cut was on the bottom of the nostril, right where it meets the lip. I positioned the bandage as best I could so that it was only partially blocking my nasal passages. It also covered my mouth, that’s how big this bandage was. 
Boy, did it look stupid. I probably should have put a tourniquet around my neck. I walked around for a while like that, getting dressed and all. When I finished getting ready I ripped it off and was instantly glad that I had already shaved. Thankfully, it had stopped bleeding and I was able to get a good look at the cut. Or I would have if it were large enough to be visible to the unaided eye.
This goes along with the other day when I re-smashed the toe I smashed a while ago. And that bled for ages, too. There was blood all over the place. I can’t imagine having emergency people show up and looking at my pale, lifeless body and thinking, “This guy went out by stubbing his toe and getting a micro gash on his shnozz.” What a way to go. Luckily, that didn’t happen.
I went to lunch and it was great, as it usually is. The server even gave me a goodie bag, which was leftover from last night. For the kids. That reminded me of when I first moved into this apartment. When my birthday came around I found a balloon and a bag of candy tied to my door knob with a note saying, “Happy Birthday!” The candy, it seemed to me, was leftover from Halloween. It’s not often one gets candy corn but when one does it’s almost surely Halloween.
Then I came home. I made sure not to turn on the Windows computer because that would mean games. So I fired up the laptop and typed away. I was interrupted a couple of times, but that’s all right. Sometimes a breather comes in handy. 
Hopefully tomorrow will go just as smoothly and I can crank out another 1,700 or more words. I’d kind of like to build up a buffer of extra words now so that I can slack off later on. 
My strategy this year will be to write the big important bits that I think of first and then somehow connect them. This seemed to work for me well last year, even though I think that story is an utter travesty. I should probably go back and read it. I’m sure it needs editing but I suspect the entire thing will need to be re-written.
Well, Happy November to ya.

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.

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