Tuesday, November 25, 2003

It is Finished.
Yep. Done. Finito. El Fin. Completed.


I have just validated my official word count for Lizzy Hated Pantyhose written for Nanowrimo 2003.

The final word tally is: 51,571 words!

You can see my name on the winner's list by clicking here, and scrolling down the page a bit. See that purple bar that says 'winner' on it? Yep. I'm a winner.

So, to sum up, I started writing this novel on November 4, and completed it November 25. That's 22 days. Over 51,000 words. My t-shirt arrived yesterday. I can now wear it with pride.

I also get a certificate, which seemed to crash my printer, so I'll try again later. And my name is on that website list.

Yep. It's all worthwhile.

Seriously, I loved this project. When I first started, I didn't think I'd finish. I struggled with the idea for the story. I didn't think I had the discipline to keep at it. But, I made the story last for 51,000 words, and I didn't even have to add any superfluous sentences of nonsense to make it stretch.

I've been really excited about this, even though it was a spur of the moment thing. I love the story, even though it likely won't appeal to many. But I had fun. And I definitely want to write more novels.

It's just really cool to say I wrote a novel, even if it never goes any further than this.

As soon as I can, I will try to work out making it available for viewing. It may be awhile, but I can't wait for people to be able to read it. I'm just really excited about it.

Thanks to all of you who encouraged me, helped me with the idea (even if you didn't know it), were patient with my lack of non-Nano blogging, and who had confidence in me that I could somehow spit out 50,000 words and do this thing.

I guess being long-winded, silly, and cynical can actually be used for good, rather than annoyance.

Writing on,

PS: Merry Thanksgiving, everyone. I'll be out giving thanks for awhile.

Monday, November 24, 2003

The End is Near
Sounds dramatic, doesn't it?

Folks, the end of my Nanowrimo novel is near! I didn't write as much as I wanted to write over the weekend, but I made some good progress. I am now at 47,974 words! Less than 3,000 words to go to meet the goal. And truthfully, the story may go a little longer than that. Not much, but a little.

At this point, I plan to finish the story, and not just the amount of words. Technically, the novel can be total crap as long as it's at least 50,000 words. But I've had so much fun with it, and it's actually turning out to be a pretty decent piece of work, considering it's my first piece of writing that's a made-up story and longer than a blog entry. I figured I might as well finish it up as well as I can, and make my first novel something people might actually want to read sometime.

Well, at least something I would want to read sometime.

Tomorrow is my personal deadline to finish. I will at least get the word count validated so you can all see my name on the winner's list. Hopefully the story will be finished by then, too.

After that, I'll try to figure out how I can make it available for people to read. It may take awhile, pending time availability. But I'd love for people to be able to read it. . . for a short time before I try to make some money off of it . . .

Here's another excerpt. Heee heeeeeeee.


Is this for real?
Ok, I'm a fan of The Bachelor and all. But I stumbled onto something yesterday in a sale paper that I'm having some trouble understanding.

Is this for real? And if so, can it possibly be a good idea? And if so, since when does everyone on a reality television show suddenly think they can sing or act or be a commentator or a spokesperson, or that they deserve continued limelight after their reality show has come to an end?

I fear the true reality of Bob's CD is that no good can come from this. He's a mortgage broker, he's a Bachelor that chose the wimp's way out of the decision situation, he's got weird hair.

Why does this mean we want to hear him sing on a CD?

It doesn't.

And by the way, look for my new CD to come out sometime before Christmas. Great holiday gift.


UPDATE: And I just noticed this, too! He's a singer, he's an author. Make it stop!

Leaf Control, Out of Control
Having two big trees in the backyard is great. They provide lots of wonderful shade for the yard, they are beautiful, they are home to many woodland creatures. But when fall comes, the leaves fall as well. In huge, massive, blankets of leaves. Tumbling down by the second, covering my yard in a thick layer of leaf.

Saturday was the one opportunity I had to take care of the leaf situation. To exercise some leaf control. It was warm out, I had to be home to wait for the cable guy, anyway. Perfect opportunity to tackle the leaf problem.

Of course, it was also the windiest day of the century, which only compounded the situation. What was once a fun idea as a kid, to rake up big piles of leaves, then jump in them and crunch around through the leaves for awhile, turned into a nightmarish job of chasing leaves around the yard while trying to scoop them up faster than they would blow into another section of the yard.

I thought about giving up, but this is the one day I had available to remedy the leaf plague. It had to be done, despite the tornadic winds. I had no choice.

I decided to mow the leaves, instead of rake, using my mulching lawn mower. I'd heard that shredded leaves are great for mulch, so my plan was to mulch the leaves into the lawnmower bag, then dump the shredded leaves out on my flower beds and around my plants. This seemed like a time saving plan, also saving me the hassle of bagging and hauling around big bags of leaves. Plus, it was an earth friendly plan. Even though the earth and winds were not being very friendly to me at the moment, I decided to be friendly, anyway. I'm such a giver.

So, I began to mow. After just one or two laps across the yard, I could see grass again where leaves used to cover the ground! I also noticed the mower bag was already full, so I detached it and headed over to a flower bed to dump out the shredded leaves. They proceeded to blow up in my face, courtesy of the wind, although the leaves did mostly land where I aimed them. This was turning out to be a dusty, messy job.

A few more laps across the yard produced a few more bags full of leaves. I mowed, and dumped, and mowed, and dumped. Pretty soon I ran out of places to dump, but still had most of the yard covered with leaves. And there was an increasingly strong wind blowing leaves back over onto the parts of the yard that I had already cleared.

I finished mowing, packing as much leafy goodness into the mower bag as possible, then made one last bag dump in the far corner of the yard behind my shed. Sure, it definitely needed mulched leaves back there. At least they were out of my way.

Then came the giant fig leaves underneath the fig tree, in a land where no mower could go. This would require the rake and bag approach. I climbed around under the tree, dragging the rake along with me. Pretty soon I had some nice piles of sweet-smelling fig leaves, ready to be bagged. The only problem was holding onto the bag without it blowing away, and trying to stuff the leaves into the bag before they blew away.

It was a challenge, and I'm sure it provided a humorous Clark Griswald-esque scene for any neighbors watching my yard antics. But, I was determined to get those leaves into the bags. Finally, I bagged up enough leaves to consider the task complete.

I thought I was finished, but as I gazed back towards the house, I noticed an over-abundance of leaf-age crammed into my gutters. Well, I thought, since I'm de-leafing today, I might as well do everything that needs to be done to properly de-leaf the entire yard and house. I grabbed my ladder from the garage and climbed up to the gutters to assess the situation.

Many, many leaves. A plethora, if you will. I started grabbing them by the handful and dropping them to the ground. So far, not a problem.

Then I got to the clogged part of the gutter, and I suddenly understood why this was such a disgusting job that people usually pay gutter cleaning people to do. Wet, moldy, black leaves are quite possibly the most disgusting thing on the planet. They stink, they stick together, they coagulate. They drip with black leaf juice. As I dug into the clogged area, I was consequently covered with black leaf juice, which was made much worse by the pounding wind that took the opportunity to spray leaf juice right in my face.

I stuffed the leaves into a bag, which I held in one hand while it flapped in the wind, as I hung precariously to my ladder and also flapped and flailed in the wind. I have a very nice roof, which I'd never seen from close up before. But I vowed right then and there to never get that close to it again. Fun in the wind on a ladder with swirling moldy leaves is not actually so much fun.

As I go through many first time experiences in the ownership of my new house, I come across things from time to time that definitely should be jobs for a boy, and not a job for me. I now see why gutter cleaning is a Boy Job. Girls just shouldn't do that. Ever.

I finished the gutters, sprayed some water up there to clean out the muck, and then surveyed the entire leaf-in-yard situation. I had successfully cleared away the thick top layer of leaves all around the yard.

The trees, however, had continued dumping a new layer of leaf-age, with much more leaf dropping to come, as I noticed the trees still had an amazing amount of leaves clinging to the branches.

Good heavens, that's a lot of leaves.

I called it a day.


Friday, November 21, 2003

Home Nano Stretch
Apologies for the Nano-intensive blogging lately, but I have to devote most of my free writing time to the novel project, and it has consequently consumed most of my brain. Hard to think outside of Lizzy's world, and it will be for a few more days.

I'm now at 40,706 words, meaning I have less than 10,000 words to go! Woo-hoo!

I hope to get the bulk of that done over the weekend. Maybe even finished. Who knows. I just hope I can stretch out the story for another 10,000 words.

Keeping up with the tidbits of the story? Click here for more.


Thursday, November 20, 2003

Nano Freaks
Ok, so I was feeling pretty good about my progress on my Nanowrimo novel. My word count is now 36,811, putting me two days ahead of the count for the day. Friends, that's impressive. Not to get too excited about it, because I still have a long way to go, but being ahead of the game for a change is a grand feeling.

Then, I went to the Nanowrimo website and stumbled onto the winner's page. This page lists the names of the people who have already completed their novel. Today is the first day eligible for validating the 50,000 word requirement to be considered a winner.

I expected to see a few names there. No big deal. Some people are just over-achievers, and that's totally fine. What I found, hoever, was TWO pages already full of people who had completed 50,000 words or more. And by 'or more' I saw a listing or two of over 100,000 words.

And one big freak who listed a novel at over 500,000 words. Big Nano Freak.

Can you believe that? Not only has this person ridiculously gone overboard with something likely equivilent to the length of War and Peace, it is being flaunted, finished earlier than the deadline, and just truly heartbreaking. No way that was done only since November 1.

Incidentally, I didn't start my novel until November 4. And I'm now two days ahead. And I have to finish early because I'm on vacation part of next week. That's impressive, right?

Anyway, to make myself feel better about my measly 36,000 words, I rewarded myself by ordering a Nanowrimo t-shirt to celebrate the success of my surely-to-be completed novel. Now I have to finish the novel because otherwise I will not allow myself to wear the shirt, and it will be a total waste of $14.00.

Read more of my not nearly 500,000 word novel here.


Wednesday, November 19, 2003

A Little Nano Music
Yes, I think I need a Nano fight song. A song of victory, if you will.

Ladies and gentlemen, I have successfully come from behind in this uphill battle to cram 50,000 words into 30 days. I am now actually almost a day ahead, at 33,024 words. If I keep up this pace, I should be able to finish in plenty of time.

I won't brag about this amazing feat quite yet. But I will in due time.

Read more nano novel here.


Un-mixing it up
I don't really know why I buy trail mix. I love trail mix. I love the individual parts that make up what is known as the 'mix'. Yet I inevitably pick it out of the bag to eat it piece by piece, therefore ruining the whole 'mix' affect. Plus, I'm usually left at the end with a bag full of the pieces that I don't like, which I have picked out of the good stuff and consequently left for dead.

Do they make trail mix parts? So I can non-mix my own mix? Of course, that seems hard.

I think I'll stick with my system.


Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Nano Milestone
I'm pretty sure I should be hearing a very loud round of applause right now. And possibly some angelic singing.

I have passed the halfway point of my Nanowrimo novel!

Today's word count: 28,477 words.

No joke.

I am now technically less than one day behind, but since I will be unable to write for much of next week (giving Thanks and whatnot), I will have to pack some serious writing into the next few days and into the weekend in order to finish by midnight on the 30th.

The hard part now is to keep the story going. I have no idea where it's going from day to day until I sit down and start writing, so who knows where my reality show girl will end up at 50,000 words. Should be fun.

Read more novel fun here.

Write on.


Things I've Learned from B.S.
I've learned a few things after accidentally catching parts of the recent Britney Spears television specials. Don't think I'm weird because I watched them. You know you did, too.

1. I definitely need a pair of shiny, black, tight pants.
And I might as well get a shiny hot pink tank top to go with the pants, while I'm at it. Britney and her dancers all wore the shiny black pants last night during her special on ABC, and I have to admit I didn't feel as cool as they looked while sitting on my couch in red, non-shiny sweatpants.

2. Watching MTV at my Grandma's house just feels wrong.
I caught part of Britney's MTV special on Saturday while visiting my Grandma. She had gone down to dinner with her old people friends in her old people village, but I had plans to eat at my aunt's house. Which meant I had total control of a TV with cable for an entire thirty-two minutes. Fate would direct me to Britney on MTV, even though I was actually hoping for a Newlyweds rerun. And even though Grandma was nowhere to be found, it just felt wrong to watch Britney that way.

3. If you can ignore the fact that it's Britney, and if you can get past her singing, some of the songs from her new cd aren't that bad.
Yeah, you heard me. The songs are actually pretty catchy, if you don't listen to the words and tune out the Britney Factor. Not that I'm going to go buy the cd or anything silly like that. But if I accidentally ended up with it as a gift or something, I might listen to it for awhile before getting rid of it. You know, just so I don't offend the person who gave it to me. And I proudly stand by that.

4. If Britney can be Glamour magazine's Woman of The Year, so can I.
Although I definitely need the shiney black pants for that. It's the one thing holding me back.

Britney is In The Zone today. Are you?


Monday, November 17, 2003

I've made a little more progress on the novel. Nearing the halfway point in word count, even though I'm a few days behind time-wise. I'm now at 23,371 words.

I printed out a hard copy of what I've written so far and read most of it over the weekend. One, it was pretty cool to sit and read something I've written that took as long as reading part of a real book. And two, it's actually kinda making sense and flowing pretty well. It held my attention, so that's impressive if I do say so myself.

One word to describe the masterpiece so far? Craptacular. Definitely craptacular.

More of my novel here.


I started a post earlier about how I feel done today. Not 'done' as in something I've accomplished. But 'done' as in drained, worn out, tired, sad, unenergetic, irritated and generally apathetic. It was an effort to get out of bed today, and even more of an effort to not leave work right now to go crawl back into bed.

But my computer froze up in the middle of the post, and I lost everything I'd written. It wasn't much, mostly the tale of my weekend adventure to yet another cousin's wedding in Tulsa. Background information about why I'm done today. It was a crazy, good, sad, long, tiring, weird, adventurous weekend with my crazy, white-trash family. Family that includes my 50+year old aunt who won an amateur bodybuilding championship in 2001. Seriously. She hugged me and I'm pretty sure she crushed one of my ribs.

Since the computer freeze up and complete loss of my literary brilliance, I have spent yet more time on the phone with SBC, still trying to straighten out billing issues as related to this incident. In case you're wondering, they continue to screw things up every month, and today's friendly representative launched into some sort of explanation about oranges and money, as though I don't understand how money works. Eventually, she rambled on to discover it was still their error, and I owe them much less money than they try to steal from me every month. She 'corrected the problem', as they always do. And, as is typical, she tried to sell me more services. Yes, please, Company That Can't Handle the Simple Things. Add more stuff for us to toy with.

But, case in point about being done, with the loss of what I already tried to write, and the ridiculous (and probably too loud for my office) conversation with another SBC Automaton, right now the thought of trying to start over and remember what I wrote in all its wit, charm, and deepness is too frustrating.


Because I'm pretty much done today.


Friday, November 14, 2003

Nano Nano Boo Boo
I wanted to hit 20,000 word before the weekend, and so I have. 20,618 to be exact. This puts me only about a day and a half behind, which is good since I won't be able to write much over the weekend.

I am also well on my way to killing a vast number of trees. Upon the first printing of the first 20,618 words, I'm at 34 pages typed, single-spaced. Yikes.

I'm very optimistic that I'll make the 50,000 words by November 30. And my novel makes me laugh, so that's a bonus.

Read a bit more of it.

Nano out for now.


Having read this by emergingminister, and having been apart of what I consider a blogging community for several months now, I have to say that my take on community and people is that they are things I sort of stumble into, not really intending to go there, rarely understanding it or them, but more often than not, surprisingly glad when I'm there.

Communities in my life seem to change more often than I'd like. Not so long ago, my core group of friends was almost a completely different group than I spend most of my time with now. I didn't plan on that, but communities inevitably change as people change. What I can say about that is that I was blessed then, and I am blessed now. And I've learned the importance of being in community with others even if the communities in my life can't stay the way I'd like them to stay. As a self-admitted hermit with a general fear of getting close to people, this is not an easy thing to learn or accept.

Then, there's this blogging community that I find myself in, even though it doesn't have a name or a core group or really any sort of rhyme or reason. I've purely stumbled into it, as many of you have simply stumbled onto my blog. I list a few fellow bloggers that I commune with on the right, but that list is not nearly complete. I have blogs I check regularly, and I find myself interested in the lives and thoughts of people that I don't know and may likely never meet. I smile when I see them on my blog. And somehow, it seems to make sense, even though explaining it to someone not familiar with blogging may not quite understand the cool thing that happens when someone starts a blog and starts exploring other blogs.

I'm generally surprised and confused when people (in the blogging world or in the real world) have an interest in me. Maybe that comes from too many people not being interested, or losing an interest they once had, or only being interested in some parts of me, but not other parts. Being hermit-like, I tend to blend in to the surroundings more often than I make an impression. Sometimes, I can't understand why people keep talking to me, or keep coming back to read more of my blog, or keep wanting to spend time with me, or make efforts to get to know me. I love it, and I'm grateful for it. But sometimes I have to wonder if they are truly seeing me when they look at me or talk to me, because I'm not necessarily sure I'm all that cool, or fun, or entertaining, or kind, or helpful, or enjoyable to be with.

I'm basically a huge dork of a hermit. And the fact that some people can see past that and insist on getting to know me, I'm floored by that. Wonderfully blessed and highly amused and extremely grateful and hopefully reciprocating the effort, but not sure quite what to do with that when it happens. That may have something to do with why relationships are difficult for me. It's hard for me to get past the 'why' of why people could possibly dig me. Even when I may completely dig someone else.

So when I read something like this, which quite honestly could possibly be one of the nicest, coolest things anyone has ever said about me, I am frankly completely blown away. I don't know this person, Daisy. I didn't pay her to write what she wrote. I didn't even know she'd written this about me until her husband thoughtfully emailed me to let me know I'd been 'mentioned'. (He neglected to say I was the subject of an entire blog entry) But, upon reading it, it probably made my day today. And it makes me glad to be in community with other bloggers, even if I don't know them, may never meet them, and I'm shocked to discover that my simple little blog appeals to someone in such a way.

Daisy, thanks for the props. Welcome to the community.


Thursday, November 13, 2003

Nano Roll
Yes, I'm on a roll with my Nanowrimo novel. My word count is up to 17,586. Fortunately today I had a big print job to do on my printer, so that (alas) left me with a lot of time to write as I watched the printer print. So convenient, if I do say so myself.

Another excerpt you say? Okay. If I must.



Telemarketers, beware
I have big issues with telemarketers. I hate them. All of them.

I am thoroughly offended by people who don't know me, calling me during a peaceful evening at my home and asking for my money.

Be warned, that doesn't mean I enjoy people who do know me, calling me at home and asking me for my money. But you'll have a better shot of getting a happier Tyrant on the phone if I know you and have given you permission to call my phone number.

I've long since done away with Caller ID on my home phone. It's expensive, and most of my calls come to my cell phone, which is thankfully still mostly telemarketer-free. But unfortunately, since I can't tell who is calling when the house phone rings, I have to answer the phone upon ringing. I can't stand the suspense of waiting for the machine to get it. And I hate when the machine picks up and it's someone I want to talk to, but I can't figure out how to get the machine to stop going. It's embarrassing.

All of my phone numbers are on as many Do-Not-Call lists as I can possibly find. Who knows if those are working now, or will ever work in the future. My recent move and change of telephone number has helped cut down on the number of telemarketing calls I get, although lately more and more have found me and the phone has increased in telemarketing calls.

I get a different variety of calls now, being in a house that I own. In the apartment, I would get the usual credit card sales calls, newspaper subscription calls, and other silly things like that. Now I suddenly get calls from people anxious to test my water, or offer me better mortgage insurance. Test my water? Seriously. Do people really buy into that stuff? As long as it ain't brown and it tastes okay coming out of my Brita pitcher, that's all the testing I ever need on my water. Stop calling and trying to make me feel like my water is toxic if you don't come test it for me right now.

Last week one of the plethora of fliers stuck to my front door when I got home one night was apparently a flier from ChemLawn. I throw all of those away, usually without looking through them, as I am equally offended by people who come on my property to decorate my front door with paper that I do not want. A few days after I had apparently received this flier from ChemLawn, I received a message on my machine from the man who said he put the flier on my door. He was calling to schedule a time to come 'chem' my lawn or something. I didn't call him back, of course. My lawn is fine. I take care of it myself.

Last night, he called again. Later in the evening. While I was home. I cursed myself for answering the phone, but I couldn't help it. He asked if he could have the privilege of treating the weeds in my yard. First of all, how offensive is that??? My lawn is relatively weed-free, due largely to the fact that I've spent a lot of time on it, so that it can be weed-free. So for him to call and ask if I can pay him to come take care of my weedy yard seriously ticked me off. Even if my yard was 99% weeds, I would not let him anywhere near it. Thank you very much.

In fact, maybe I will let it get super weedy so he can drive by and wish he'd found a better way to not offend me about my yard.

Now, I understand telemarketing is these peoples' job. But seriously, does it ever work? And do they have to be so annoying about it? I have never purchased from or given money to one person or company who has cold called me, asking for stuff. I hate it. It's all I can do to be polite on the phone long enough to get them off my phone.

The worst is non-profit agencies. They are (for some ridiculous reason) exempt from all Do-Not-Call lists and other rules about telemarketing. They can call anytime they want, as much as they want, apparently.

I am not insensitive, or completely without a heart of compassion. I give money where I think it is needed most, and where my heart really believes. And in fact, I work for two non-profits that thankfully have not adopted the 'calling everyone in the metroplex for cash' campaign, in order to raise funds. But seriously, if these charities really intend to get my attention long enough for them to get me to consider their plea and fork over some of my hard earned money to their cause, there are several rules they should logically follow. These only make sense, and I can't believe so many charities blatantly ignore common courtesy when it comes to cold calls:

1) Never call me on a weekend to ask for money. - Sure, I may be easier to get on the phone on a weekend, but my weekend is MY time to be free from the demands of others, unless I so choose to devote my time to others. Do not invade my serene weekend by asking me to donate money to your fundraiser.

2) Never call me on a weekend BEFORE NOON. To ask for money or otherwise. - Seriously, when my phone rings at 9am on a Saturday morning, and it's the voice of someone I don't consider friend or family, you will endure my wrath. You called and asked for it, so be prepared.

3) Know who has already been called. - This is for all charities and other telemarketers far and wide, but it especially goes out (with love) to the local police department who called me last weekend, once at 9am on Saturday, and then again at noon on Sunday. If I was not interested in giving money for your fundraiser at 9am on Saturday, then you can assume I will not be interested in giving at noon the very next day, even if a different person calls me to ask if I find it important to support my local police department. I do find it important, but I find it more important not to harrass me twice in one weekend about it. And don't ask me if I am sure it was someone from your organization who called yesterday, like I am mistaking you with another charity that called me early in the morning asking me for the very same thing. Yes, I am sure. And I am angry.

4) NEVER EVER call me on a Sunday. - People, this is the Lord's day. If I ever wake up on a Sunday with a yearning in my heart to give you some of my money, I will call you. Save yourself a phone call, and just don't.

There are many more rules that can help this situation, but these are just a few of the major ones.

Remember, a happier Tyrant is more likely to be a generous Tyrant. If the Tyrant ain't happy, you for sure aren't going to be happy with what you get from me.

Much love,

I'm annoyed with work again. Actually, I don't think my annoyance level ever really goes away. It just gets covered up by other things sometimes, so I don't notice it as much. That, and I truly think most of the time, the eight hours that I spend in my office everyday send me into a numbing, yet somewhat functioning coma, enabling me to do my job, but not allowing me to notice how much I'd rather be elsewhere. Those are the good days.

I'm snapping at people at the office. Well, not really snapping, but just not offering more than incomplete sentences or cordial pleasantries of pointless conversation. Mostly I'm just not talking to people. I'm hiding in my office, only venturing out for the necessities: bathroom and food, in no particular order.

I'm doing my stuff, but only what I need to do to say I've done it. I'm overwhelmed with projects that need my attention, but I'm more overwhelmed with the intense desire to not do any of them.

It's the weather. It's the shorter days filled mostly with no sunlight. It's the traffic that seems increasingly thicker and slower everyday. It's the sadness of looming holidays I will again have to endure through a thick shroud of grief, masking what used to be fun times that I looked forward to. It's the colder temperatures. It's the daily reminders that I am not doing what I want to be doing with myself, even though most aspects of my life suprisingly have me very happy these days. It's my job. It's fish served for lunch when I swore off fish after getting sick from it a few months ago. It's people that I miss. It's things that don't make sense.



Wednesday, November 12, 2003

More Nano than you realize . . .
Today's word count is a major milestone. I have surpassed 10,000 words. In fact, I am now at 14,152 words, and feeling pretty good about that. Nope. I'm feeling great!

Sorry for the light blogging, and almost complete lack of witty blogging. But I'm trying to focus my illegal work writing time on the novel, although I hope to get in some good blogging here and there, too.

Here is another updated excerpt. I hope you are enjoying reading the snippets as much as I'm enjoying writing the whole novel.

I have never had 14,000 words about anything in my life . . .


Tuesday, November 11, 2003

More Nano
Ok, so I intended for the recently passed weekend to involve quite a bit of writing time devoted to catching up to the word count total that I should be fairly close to by now. But alas, it didn't. I discovered doing a whole lot of nothing was much more fulfilling.

But, I have made some progress and I'm now up to 9,599 words. It's no use making a note of how far behind I am. I write in big chunks, so I feel confident I'll eventually get enough chunks together to make 50,000 words by the end of November. And I'll be behind everyday until then.

Don't doubt me.

Read an updated excerpt here. Since it's hard to keep continuity going for readers who are checking out my excerpts, as you only get a glimpse of the story, just know that the basic story is about Lizzy, who is intrigued by reality TV, and who incidentally falls asleep and wakes up in a different reality show everyday.

It's an amazing story of good versus evil, triumph over adversity. Or something.


Ask and Ye shall Receive
Of course, it may take several weeks to happen. But I'm happy to report that we finally have clean bathrooms at work this week, as well as a new guy who is very enthusiastic about keeping things clean around here.

I no longer have to fear the toilet. Thank God for obsessive-compulsive people who clean. Often. All the time.


Monday, November 10, 2003

The other night I dreamed that my sister lived somewhere in North Carolina. She showed up one day having apparently been gone for quite awhile, and somehow it came up that she'd been living in a town I'd never heard of in North Carolina all this time. The whole thing was very real, and seemed to tie up all the loose ends of her absence for so long.

That was disturbing enough, in and of itself. My sister died over four years ago in a car accident, so needless to say when I woke up, I was a little upset because her being in North Carolina is not really the answer to why she's been gone for so long. I was sad to wake up and realize it wasn't real.

In the dream it was all very matter of fact. Like, where have you been? Oh, I've been in North Carolina. That's why you haven't seen me in four years. It made sense to every one.

But what was more upsetting to me about the dream was that in the dream I immediately felt like I didn't want to move to where she lived in North Carolina. For some reason I was about to move, but hearing that my sister lived in North Carolina suddenly made me not want to live near her. Just like feelings I'd had when she was still here and we had our sibling rivalry thing going on.

I don't know why that was my first reaction in the dream. She looked just like she used to look, and everything seemed perfectly normal. But if the dream were something that could actually be true, I don't doubt at all that I would actually be extremely excited to learn she'd only been away in North Carolina for four years, instead of gone completely. I know I would be glad to see her because I can't even put into words how much I miss her right now.

I don't know why I had that dream this weekend. I dream about her fairly often, although not as much as I used to. She's been on my mind a lot lately, with holidays coming up and whatnot. The next few months are a difficult time for me and my family.

But maybe the dream was a way of reminding that even though she seems far gone, she's not really that far away. I've always really only 90% believed she's gone. She was always very dramatic, unpredictable, always able to get attention in some bizarre way. 10% of me has always wondered if she pulled the biggest prank of her life, and maybe she really has just been in hiding somewhere for the past four years, fooling all of us. I see people on TV, or out somewhere who could look vaguely like my sister, and I wonder if that could be her, four years later, waiting for the moment when we'd least expect it to make a grand entrance back into our lives. We could pick up where we left off.

I know that's not true. She's really gone. But still, 10% of me will likely hold onto the hope that the whole thing could possibly just be a big joke on me.


Friday, November 07, 2003

Nano Nano
Hee hee. So, I've done very little actual work today. Of that, I am not proud.

But I am proud to say I'm up to 5,684 words of Lizzy Hated Pantyhose, quite an accomplishment seeing as I was miles behind on my word count. I calculate that I've gained a little ground, and while still definitely needing to catch up, I'm now only about 6000 words behind. Not bad, if I do say so myself.

Read an updated excerpt here. I don't want to give too much away, in case anyone is thinking of stealing my fabulous idea. But it's pretty fun. Hopefully I can make it work.

In a really bad novel idea sort of way.


Thursday, November 06, 2003

Yes, I just invented a new word.

Ok, I seem to have resurrected my Nanowrimo novel. Thanks in part to Tim's observation in the comments of this post below, I became inspired and have shifted gears and started a new story, not unentirely (also probably a word I just invented) related to said post. And it's also not entirely un-autobiographical, in a "that's not me, but it could be construed as possibly based on some of me" sort of way.

It's about a cynical girl, unhappy with her job, intrigued by reality TV.

You can read an excerpt of it here. I cranked out 1707 words in about an hour or so, so as is the goal with Nano, it's not quality, but quantity. It's tentatively titled, Reality: Pantyhose vs. Television.

I'm now only about 7900 words behind. But I'm definitely well on my way to a really, really bad novel.

It's so cool!!


UPDATE: I've changed my title to Lizzy Hated Pantyhose. That works better for me.

Handy Project #57
I was very glad we finally got some rain around here yesterday.

After several weeks of noticing how horrible my windshield wipers had become when trying to wash off the windshield of the Jeep, I finally got around to replacing the wipers on Sunday.

Having grown up watching my dad wrestle with putting new blades on all the cars in our family, I had put this off with the Jeep because I was dreading the whole experience. He would spend hours out in the garage with the pliers and those wobbly rubber blades, forcing them through those tiny grips, cutting up his hands and fingers in the process. I remember one time he had recently replaced the blades, and as we traveled through a rain storm in the family car, one blade slowly inched it's way off the end of the metal wiper as the blades went back and forth across the window. Pretty soon, the blade was flapping in the rain and the metal wiper was scraping on the windshield. The rubber blade eventually broke off and we were stuck in the rain with only one good blade. Dad was a little mad, of course.

I had never done this blade replacement job myself. My last car went three years with the same blades because I knew at the end of the Smart Buy agreement on the car, I'd be turning it in, bad windshield wiper blades and all. Why put myself through the frustration of replacing the blades on a car that isn't really mine?

But, the blades on the Jeep needed replacing in a bad way, and the Jeep is a keeper. So I swallowed hard and headed to Wal-Mart this weekend to purchase new blades. Dreading it every step of the way.

When I hit the windshield wiper aisle, however, I was suddenly sent into a fit of joy. Well, actually I just kind of smiled to myself. The aisle was full of 'dad' type men looking at automotive things. I didn't want to appear silly or too happy to have discovered what I just disovered. 'Joy' seemingly isn't something to show when hanging out in the automotive section of Wal-Mart.

Anyway, apparently you can buy THE ENTIRE WIPER BLADE, metal part and all!! Why has no one told me this before? There were rows and rows of them! Sure, it's a couple bucks more than just the rubber thingies that slide into the metal part already on you car. But to me, it seemed worth it to replace the whole metal part, rather than wrestle with trying to shove that rubber thingy onto the blade. I looked through the handy Winshield Wiper Blade book to figure out which size blade would fit the Jeep, and I got the heck out of there. I was very excited about my purchase.

Then, I got home and looked at the blades I'd just bought. The thought hadn't occured to me that it might be more difficult to take the entire blade off and put a new one on to the Jeep. As I looked at the instructions, I realized the pictures weren't very clear, and I would really prefer my Dad to do his 'dad' job and get the blades onto my Jeep.

Of course, he lives in an entirely different state than I live in, and would probably not be available or willing to hop on a plane to fly down here and change out my wiper blades. Not to mention, I was now slightly embarrased that I had spent a little extra money on blades that I did not know how to put on the Jeep, when he would probably have told me to save some money and do it the hard, old-fashioned way like he used to do.

Of course, he also drives a Lexus now and probably has Automatic Wiper Blade Replacement coverage that includes people to handle wiper blade maintenance for him.

Anyway, I buckled down and analyzed the drawings on the blade packaging, comparing it to the blades on the Jeep. The first step was determining which blades I had, and which instructional picture they fit on the package, since the replacement blades were designed to fit no less than 108 different varieties of wiper blades on any given automobile anywhere on the planet, which can fit on a car in 108 different ways.

I went inside to get my toolbox, thinking that this was going to be a major project. I saw pins and joints and wires and whatnot, and I knew this was a job for some of my handy tools. It would take some time and effort to decipher the instructions and skillfully extract the current blade, then replace it with the new blade. But I was up for the challenge. After all, I successfully painted my bathroom, which nearly killed me. I can handle wiper blades. What a sense of accomplishment I will feel when I have successfully switched out my wiper blades! I probably would deserve some sort of award. At least a plaque. Maybe a gold star . . .

I lifted the first blade from the Jeep and carefully examined the mechanism. It appeared intricately attached to the vehicle, finely crafted and exquisite in every detail. It was hard to tell exactly where it attached to the arm, and it was definitely unclear how I would maneuver it off . . . .

Oh wait. I think if I pull this way, yep, it just slides off with a neat little 'click'. Huh. That was easy.

And yep, the new blade just clicks right into place.

Ok, so 1.5 minutes later, the old blades were off and the new ones were on. Literally the easiest car maintenance thing I've ever done.

And after yesterday's jaunt in the rain, they seemed to stay in place AND effectively keep the rain off my windshield.

Handy Project #57: done.


Wednesday, November 05, 2003

My own reality show
After watching way too many reality tv shows than I should, I've decided I need to have my own reality tv show. Why? Because I just don't know what to do with myself anymore. I don't like my job, and I'm not sure what job exists that I would like at this point. If television teaches us anything, I have learned that people followed around by cameras are instantly well-known and probably making at least a little money at it.

Take our beloved Jessica Simpson, for example. I read an article earlier (I forgot where it was or I would link to it) that told the tale of how Jessica was tired of being the pop princess that "wasn't quite Britney or Christina". So to set herself apart, she let cameras follow her around, and that's how Newlyweds was born. A huge hit, and you can bet no one mistakes Jessica for Britney any more. All the show consists of is the 'glamorous' life of two people. We simply watch Jessica and Nick fart around the house.

I can do that.

So, here is my show: It's called Absolute Nobody, since no one knows who I am. I will find someone with a camera or two to just follow me around for awhile. I can do all the things Jessica does, but I am also way funnier in real life anyway, so this is bound to be a hit.

I can mistake grits for cream of wheat. I can do laundry wrong and then cry about it. I can act confused while trying to start my lawn mower. I can stare straight into the water hose and wonder why the water isn't coming out until I accidentally trip over a kink in the hose, after which I get sprayed right in the face. I can cook dinner for a really long time then make some poor guy eat it. The opportunities are endless.

The world can get to know me as I go to work, driving and screaming at traffic. They can watch me hate my job while I'm at work. My facial expressions alone are at least one whole episode.

I can go on adventures, like to the grocery store. Or to Home Depot. I can do projects around the house, like try to refinish my front door, or clean out my gutters.

I can talk on the phone. I can stare at the tv. I can vaccuum. Toilet cleaning, or house cleaning in general will be fascinating to watch on the small screen.

I think the season's highlights will revolve around killing a giant bug in the kitchen, and taking out the trash when the weather turns cold. A Christmas party hosted at my house will also be a highlight, maybe even something that carries over into a two-part cliffhanger. I'm thinking a surprise guest at the party will liven things up a bit.

After the first season of my show, I will be very famous. I will be the spokesperson for toilet cleaner or grits. And then my acting career will take off, because naturally being able to act like myself all the time proves I can act in general. My first role will likely be the role of 'Jo' in the big screen adaptation of the 80's television show The Facts of Life.

Soon I will be on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine, after my CD of Jessica Simpson cover songs debuts at #1 on the Billboard chart. I plan to wear nothing but a water hose and go-go boots, with a feather boa to cover what the hose doesn't cover.

Season two of Absolute Nobody will continue to follow my life after I've moved to L.A., buying a large house next door to Nick and Jessica. We'll have BBQ's and talk about shoes and bringing back velour leisure pants. Mid-season I will be Punk'd by Ashton Kutcher in an elaborate scheme involving finding someone who looks almost exactly like me claiming to be the real me in my reality show. I will freak out and throw things into my pool, then chase Ashton around the house while Demi throws darts at my head for coming within ten feet of her man.

The season finale will capture my wedding to some other guy in 98 Degrees, and I will then officially be related to Jessica and Nick. Season three will be the birth of our children, mine a boy, theirs a girl. I see several episodes involving poopy diapers and crying, more from the adults than the kids. Jessica and I will hunt for the matching Louis Vuitton diaper bag to go with her other bag, wallet, and coin purse.

Wow, I have a lot to do. I'd better get started. Anybody got a camera I could borrow?


Tuesday, November 04, 2003

Novel Hiatus
After some careful thought, I am officially putting my Nanowrimo novel on hiatus. No, I am not quitting. I am just taking a break.

You may ask, how can I take a break if I haven't really started? Well, it's all part of my creative process, dear readers. I work best at the last minute and under pressure anyway. So I figure if I'm on hiatus, I can return to it at any time, or postpone it til next year. Either way, I'm still technically working on it even though you will likely not see any daily progress.

Never underestimate my ability to come from behind and produce a massive amount of words to form a horrible piece of writing.


Reality TV May Have Finally Gone Too Far
I know, it doesn't seem possible. Especially coming from me, a huge fan of reality TV. But last night I accidentally watched a show that may have gone too far in messing with people on national television: Average Joe.

The premise of this show is that a beautiful girl goes on TV to find true love amongst sixteen eligible bachelors. Sounds like every other 'bachelor/bachelorette' show on the tube, right? Well, this time the pretty, young, naive girl thinks she is meeting sixteen hot guys, but instead she gets to meet a bus load of average guys.

And by 'average', NBC managed to pick out a bus load of nerds and freaks and bullies who pick on each other, then decide to like each other, then hate each other again.

Now, this might even be kind of funny if everyone understood the premise of the show from the beginning. However, it turns out the sixteen studly men had no idea that the lovelorn woman has no idea that they are not hot off the cover of GQ. They think she knows what she's in for. She thinks she's about to spend the next several weeks with hot bachelors swooning over her. It's a tragedy of immense disappointment waiting to happen. Not even I am cynical or cruel enough to find this funny.

The host of the show, none other than Kathy Griffin, joins us poolside to greet our swimsuit-clad gentleman. She explains what's going on to the guys, who take it surprisingly good humored-ly. She makes them feel special for being average, but knowing her sense of humor, I keep waiting for her to say something mean in a way that the audience gets it, but that these guys don't get. I truly felt bad for these guys. They are flat out told that they are nothing special, and that's what makes them so great. Is that a compliment??

Now, I didn't watch the entire show. But as far as I could tell, no one ever told Miss Beauty Queen that the joke is on her. She nervously walks down the steps of her TV mansion, waiting the arrival of the dudes. Where most shows deliver the contestants in a limo, these guys are delivered in a big bus. Which we find out later is to haul in the last guy of the bunch, a very tall, very non-underweight gentleman.

We see Miss Beauty Queen's face drop as she watches these guys stumble off the bus one by one. She doesn't quite know what to do as these guys each begin to realize that they have just hit the jackpot, meeting the girl they have all been dreaming about during chess club and while watching reruns of The X Files.

But, props to her because she handles the whole thing with an extreme amount of grace. She's nice, she accepts their gifts, she didn't freak out and run away. Later, she joins the party with all the guys and props to her again for showing up at all. These guys are not what she expected, yet she's out there trying to get to know them. She takes pictures with them. And genuinely seems to be enjoying their company. I have to hand it to the guys, too. They were quite charming for a bunch of misfits.

To me, this is where the show should end. One episode. Isn't it cruel to keep going with this? I mean, these guys are all in love with her, as evidenced by their camera interviews throughout the party. The four guys that were already ejected from the running were crushed. Is it wrong to toy with the emotions of these guys who have experienced rejection all their life?

But no, the previews for the rest of the season show Miss Lovely hanging out with these guys, even making out with some of them. Wha-huh? Is she for real? I mean, what did NBC tell Miss Lovely when she signed up for the show? Obviously the guys are getting what they anticipated- a chance at a hot girl. But Miss Lovely seems to be getting the raw end of the deal, even though she is trying to make the best of it.

Truly, I don't know who to feel more sorry for. These are nice guys. She seems like a nice girl. This show just seems really, really mean.


Monday, November 03, 2003

Another Nanowrimo Update
Since I know you are all waiting by your computers, holding your breath in anticipation of my novel writing activities, I will give another update.

I have, within the last few hours, had a fit of inspiration. So I now have 663 words written. But it is so far turning into a terribly sad and depressing somewhat autobiographical tale that I am not sure I will stick with, much less be able to stretch into 50,000 words without sending myself into a cavernous depression by the end of November. While it is quite a masterpiece so far, I will have to find a way to lighten it up a bit, if that's possible for the subject I'm toying with at the moment.

Otherwise, I will have to scrap it for another idea. I was hoping to make a poignantly funny first novel, so we'll see if I can't get there, yet.


Tyrant's Nanowrimo Update
I am totally drawing a blank for a good novel idea. I have so far written not one word towards my novel. I've discovered that my brain seems to function in short episodic spurts, much like my blog writing. Thus, I'm finding it hard to come up with an idea that I can write 50,000 words about. I have lots of writing ideas. They just begin and end in short story fashion.

So, now being 2.5 days and around 4800 words behind on the novel writing, my options are this:

1. Keep trying to think of a good idea for the next few days and hope I can catch up in a major moment of literary brilliance.

2. Start writing today about anything that pops into my head, and somehow drag it out into 50,000 words.

3. Quit right now.

I'm not ready to quit, yet. I still like the idea of doing the novel in November. And, I just don't like to quit stuff that I have officially committed to doing. Yes, I officially signed up on the Nanowrimo website.

But I'm also already weary of the pressure to do something for 30 whole days that is an unexpected major commitment requiring me to be dependable.

If nothing else, this novel writing project will help me work through some personal issues . . .