Sunday, November 30, 2008


....and that is all. NaNo's word counter shorted me by 22 words after I tried to validate with 50,001 the first time, but it was all good. I crossed the finish line at just after 10pm and am now basking in the glory of having written 20k words in two days to finish my novel in the sloppiest and least coherent manner I have ever written. But it's ok, because I'll be editing it in January, I swear...

Along the way:
I made some new friends, drank more tea than I had all year previous to November, used Write or Die several times to meet with great wordcounts each time (something about the screen turning red on kamikaze mode before it deletes your words with as much gusto as a machine can muster really kept me typing!), ate lots of muffins, canned spagetti-o ripoffs and assorted other microwaveable foods, worked 20+ hours a week the first 3 weeks, managed to get all of my paperwork done, kept the dishes washed and the laundry done, nearly stabbed my laptop screen, punched my laptop, dropped it, carried it around with me like a baby, stayed up late to write, thought I would quit 3 times, and finally had my laptop die on me.

Yes, it died. Or rather, the LCD died. Not sure quite how but I think it started with the screen warping when I left the poor thing on overnight a few times several months ago, and it only got worse from there. I never did diagnose the problem, but it had been getting worse (displaying lines down the screen, fuzzing out, going shades of white or purple and freezing up, etc) and could generally only be fixed by a chip clip in the top corner of the screen. Of course it had to completely die on the last day, or more accurately just a few hours before validation was set to close. Talk about frustrating... I might have hit it a few times, but it was already entirely dead so it's not like that hurt it much. Guess it's time for a new laptop. :/

But at least I won National Novel Writing Month for the first time since I started participating six years ago. Whew, what a month.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Aw. Naturally as soon as I took this he rolled over!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Today was one of those days that I can only describe as "AAAAARGH."

In short, my client screamed a lot, was uncooperative except for a half hour in Kindergarten, and then fell asleep at 1:30, leaving me with another 1.5 hours of unbillable time on my hands and a gregarious temp aide who decided that since I wasn't with a student I must not have anything to do. I didn't get any paperwork done. Nor did I get any writing done for the third night in a row, and it's now 10pm, although to be fair I did sleep from 5:30 to 7:30. I've had a confusing sleep pattern the last few days, too. I've been going to bed early, sleeping in as much as possible in the morning, and dozing off for hours during the afternoon. It doesn't help that I'm -always- cold, and the bed is the warmest place in the house except in front of the mini heater, and this morning I woke up with the left side of my sinus cavities completely congested.

Oh, and the landlady is now showing the apartment all week long, and we've had to spend time cleaning it up properly for showcasing the lovely large kitchen with its sloping floor and the door that we stuffed foam around and masking-taped shut because otherwise there's a draft coming in around it that feels like someone turned on an industrial fan and pointed it at the house.

I hate winter. I think I should be allowed to hibernate.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Just another NaNo update...

Write or Die is my NaNo salvation:

I'm now at 28,088 words and am going to write a bit more before bed to give myself a comfy little cushion on which to lean back during this week, as I expect I'll be starting 4 more hours of work this week with a new client so I'll have far less time to write. But more money is a good thing, too... this novel probably won't make any, after all.

Thursday, November 13, 2008



50wpm for 40 minutes straight isn't too bad after a full day of work and being sleepy besides. I think I might actually make it to 50k this year... and I'm having an awful lot of fun with my characters' internal monologues.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

...did I mention it's NOVEMBER? :D

...and that means NaNoWriMo!

My total word count so far is 8,815 - slightly ahead of the Nov. 5 goal of 8334. I got a good start over the weekend of the 1st, went to a write-in, enjoyed myself and have settled into a pace of about 1500-2k words per day now, which if I keep it up should ensure a win. Of course, I'm depending on having weekends free for catching up (and doing paperwork) as needed.

I'm excited; this is the 10th anniversary of National Novel Writing Month, and there are hundreds of thousands of participants. Even my lackadaisical town has popped a few budding authors out of the woodwork (mostly college students - gotta love english majors!). So this year I have more of a support net as well as more of an idea. Here's hoping for few plot holes and lots of tea... speaking of which, the water's boiling! :D

Oh, and while we're on the topic...

(This will make more sense if you read the previous post first.)

Oh, and on the topic of change being bullshit - it's bullshit because Obama can't do very much from the white house. Our president is a figurehead. He can veto bills from Congress, he can suggest things, but he can not singlehandedly change anything (probably including the White House light bulbs). This being the case, I don't know why we always fall into the trap of campaign promises only to look back at 4 years of a presidency with disappointment (or we simply forget the promises because we're busy fighting over the "issues"). If Obama gets enough support from the Congress and Supreme Court, then we may be in trouble... but even then, Obama can create change only if we allow it.

People seem to forget that we are in a democracy except once every 4 years. The supposed definition of democracy is: "a form of government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised directly... or by their elected agents" ( Democracy is Rule By the People, For the People, and Of the People. This being the case, why do most of us have a bad case of "It's someone else's problem!"? Trash in the street? Someone else's problem, even if it's two steps from the can. Notice that your neighborhood civic center could use a fresh coat of paint? Someone else's problem. Schools in your city understaffed with overworked teachers? Someone else's problem! Other people's problems bother you all the time, but it's never -your- problem to fix, because the minute it becomes your problem, it also becomes your responsibility. Remember that quote: "With great power comes great responsibility." Yeah, that one. Well, if we're supposedly the ones in power in this great country, why aren't we taking responsibility for it?

I know I complain A LOT about the educational system, about food prices, about just about anything there is to complain about - I'm convinced it's human nature to complain, and if there's nothing to complain about we'll complain that things are too good to be true. But at the same time, a blog post by an acquaintance of mine made me remember that complaints won't get things done. Actions speak louder than the best campaign promises. So even though I didn't vote, I feel like I make more of a difference every day than some people have made in their entire lives.

I garden (as much as I can fit on a tiny, crowded balcony) for some of my own food. I help people when I can afford to (time to listen, money for good charities, volunteering to help out with projects, or just a smile on the street to someone who looks sad). I try to live a decent life and encourage those around me to do the same. I'm not perfect and I certainly could do better, but the point is that at least I try, for 365 days a year, every year, to be a good person, the kind of person I'd like to see running my country. And the way I see it, the best way to become proud of America is to live as an example for other Americans. So while a lot of people voted this fall, and wanted to see our new president (whoever he might be) bring Change to the White House, why don't we get busy now, and invest all that positive energy from the election into volunteering at our local schools, growing some veggies, making cookies for the neighbors, tutoring our children, fixing up our bicycles and doing our best to live good lives. Obama might make a good president (I have my doubts, but four years will tell), but he can not live our own lives for us, nor can he ever bring change to those who are unwilling to accept it.

Think on that for a while next time you get all excited about what someone else is doing for the world, and remember: to a lot of people out there, you could be that someone else.

Well, that's over...

Congratulations to our (almost) President-elect. My mother apparently called me last night at 10pm, wanting to know why I was still in the voter register in our county back home and wondering if I had indeed voted. She said, and I quote: "because if you haven't, I'll kick your ass." I'm sure she wants to, and I'm sure a lot of other people want to do so as well.

Well mom, you better get driving, and Rick will put you in my appointment book when you get here, because I'm a little bit busy figuring out how to survive through the next few shitty paychecks to get my ass kicked at the moment and you're not helping my stress levels. I'm glad you've come over to the American Way of taking out your annoyance on people through violence. Take a ticket, have a seat, wait in line. I DID NOT VOTE. I ABSTAINED.

And guess what? I DON'T CARE.

I was sick of this election four months ago and stressed then, too, and trying to figure out how I was going to be eating in another month, so you'll excuse me if I didn't get around to trying to re-register until October when I was told it was too late. And it wasn't too late for an absentee ballot, but New York wouldn't have given me one, because I'm technically a permanent PA resident now and have no plausible excuse to write on the application. So I couldn't register down here and I sure as hell wasn't driving back to New York after 6 hours of work, even if the polls had been open late enough to allow that kind of nonsense. Sorry, voter registration wasn't exactly the first thing on my mind this year.

But the reason I really don't care is because this election was not really that important, despite all the bullshit about Americans electing our first black president (you'll notice he's still half white, and you'll also notice if you check the exit polls that Americans didn't elect him - BLACK Americans did), about "Change" (Same shit, different color), and about how much was going to happen when we finally got Bush out of office. I'll say it again; that was BULLSHIT. Half the country knew who was going to win two months ago, because Americans follow very distinct voting patterns just like all other "democratic" nations, and it was pretty obvious the pendulum would be swinging Democrat this year. So in that respect, even if I had voted, my vote would not have counted against the near-guarantee of a Democratic win. I'm almost sure that even if Hillary, Miss Divisive herself, had run for office against McCain, we'd have taken her rather than let the Republicans have the presidency for another 4 years.

Now, I wasn't even planning on voting for either candidate. Let's say that one again. I was not going to vote Democrat and I was not going to vote Republican. I still was not sure, as of last night, WHO I would have voted for because even the third party candidates I looked up online, some of whom weren't even eligible to be put on the official PA ballot, didn't support what I think this country needs. If anything, I would have written in some kind of joke like Charles Darwin, it would have been the only vote for that person in the entirety of the nation, and my vote would have been lost in the other hundreds of thousands of stupid write-ins and mistakes - essentially I would have thrown my vote away in an effort to tell people how much I hated my choices this year. But at least I would've voted and that's what counts, right? (/sarcasm)

It's not that I think my vote doesn't "count" in the most abstract sense of the word. I think that even if I vote for the least likely candidate for office, if I am voting true to my own beliefs I have made myself heard, so my vote counts. Of course I'll never see my chosen candidates get elected, but I think there is a great deal of weight sitting on the shoulders of a minority who actually do vote third-party - they are the ones who tell the people running this great shithole of a country that there are people out there who are still unsatisfied and don't buy into the war hype and the tax cuts (or in this case, increases, unless you're living below the poverty level with me), and who want to see more change than a hopeful slogan and a new skin color in office. BUT I do think that while my vote counts on some great abstract level, in this year's election, no one lost by a single vote, so in terms of statistics and logic my vote counted about as much as a pea in a mountain of soybeans.

I think that I could probably feel horribly guilty about not voting, too. But I don't. I'm not going to let everyone else tell me that I should feel guilty for not voting, because my vote was one of millions to be silent this election and silence is just as good an option sometimes. I'm abstaining from "running the nation" because NO ONE this year stood for sustainable development, overhauling the education system, paring down unnecessary government, reducing our goddamn budget deficit instead of cutting chunks out of school funding so we can keep spending on the war, and improving the chances of single young adults in getting health care. They were all worried about poor Joe the Plumber, Mr. Everyman. I'll vote when a candidate steps up who is more scholar than warrior and who knows the value of a real-life education instead of standardized testing, of letting kids be kids (I swear if I hear any more paranoia about poisoned Halloween candy or pedophiles lurking in suburban bushes I'm going to start throwing bricks at mothers' heads), and of giving this nation some flexibility and forethought instead of knee-jerk reactions and predictability. THEN my vote would really count toward what I want. In the meantime, the line for my ass-kicking starts over there. Enjoy your wait.