Tuesday, November 30, 2010

I HAVE CONQUERED

So at around I think 9:30? last night, I earned the right to run around in circles with my fists in the air, yelling "WOOOOOOOOOOO" at the top of my lungs until someone beans me with a coaster and I get asked to leave. I didn't, mostly because a) I can't actually run, and b) I wanted to finish my sandwich. But my point still stands! Fifty thousand five hundred and eight-five Fifty-two thousand, four hundred and ten words, baby! (The Jack crossed the line over the weekend -- yay!)

The most fun part is that with six-point-five-ish chapters to go, I don't have to call it a night just yet! (And that's 6.5 yet to be written -- there's another nine to be published. You lucky readers, you.)

WOOOOOOOOOOO!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Ow my brain.

My brain cells ... my precious, precious brain cells! I can hear them screaming!

NaNoWriMo Update

We're up to chapter seven, folks, almost to the halfway point. Will _____ ever reach _____? Is _____ going to learn the truth about _____? What will happen when _____ finally _____ with the _____ and _____? If you'd been reading, you'd have some idea what I'm talking about! (And I wish you'd let me in on it, because I'm switched if I know. I just write the dang thing.) Have fun!

Some observations

1) The Jack makes a mean, mean chili.

2) The emphasis is on "mean". I finished my lunch half an hour ago, and my face is still flushed.

3) I kinda really don't care. It was that good.

I Am Not A Fast Cook returns next Monday with all new recipes! I'm sure you'll all be walking a tightrope between barely controlled excitement and girlish screaming until then.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Currahee!

If you want to help erect a statue of Dick Winters from Band of Brothers in Normandy, click here.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

I've got two hours 'til I go home and I'm feeling lazy

so I'm giving you a link post. But I think it's a good link post:

The shortest horror stories ever.

It pays to know your Bible.

Family tradition says my great-grandfather knew his Bible so well, he could out-argue a Jehovah's witness. Now that's something to strive for ...

Follow-up, following a one-up

So last night I broke the 40,000-word mark in NaNoWriMo, woo! Excited am I. I will hit 50,000 easy, barring incident.

And on that note:

Yesterday's post talked about my tendency to subconsciously sabotage myself when it comes to other people, and last night at the NaNo write-in I had a moment that serves as a perfect example. We were all sitting around the table at Starbucks, comparing our word counts, and when someone said their count was higher than mine, my first thought was ...

... anger.

I was angry that he was ahead of me. I was on track -- even a little ahead -- and I had no reason to feel inadequate. But I had a distinct flash of "If he's ahead of me, then I'm behind; and if I'm behind, I'm one down; and if I'm one down then I'm a loser, and that means I'm worthless. And that's his fault, so I have to put him in his place."

I reacted out loud in a nasty way before I realized what I was doing. When I did realize a moment later, I tried to tell myself it was just competition, but I knew that wasn't true, and I felt awful about it. There was no excuse for my reaction; it was just plain mean-spirited one-upsmanship, mixed with the persistent remnants of my not-so-old insecurities. That same looped tape was running in circles like an eight track in a car stereo*, staying in the background until my knee bumped the volume knob and it hurt the ears of the person in the passenger seat.

That's what I meant yesterday when I talked about self-sabotage; I get close to something good and I get scared because a lot of things in my life that were supposed to be good ended up leaving me on the rocks. I get scared and I go into self-protection mode; I lash out and I come out in spikes all over, like a hedgehog, because if I'm all spiky nobody can get too close, and if they can't get close they can't hurt me. Getting myself to uncurl is one of the hardest, scariest things I've ever had to do, because I keep expecting that same old ton of bricks to fall on my head and make sure I stay down. I'm so used to being forced lower to make the person next to me feel better than I'm scared to climb up to the level myself -- I always got pushed off every time I tried. So I'm scared. And scared means little hedgehog spikes all over until the scary thing goes away.

At least, it used to.

I don't want to be curled up anymore.




*Le gasp, I do in fact know how an eight-track works.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

It's like a looped tape, going around and around and around ...

Lately there's been an old thought popping up that I'm not allowed to let people close to me because I don't deserve to be wanted. That I'm ten pounds of fail in a five-pound bag and that nobody will want to be around me because all I do is fail and fail and fail. That if somebody is unhappy with me, it's always my fault for not making things better. That I need to always think about others, all the time, and never about myself and what I want. All of which is rooted somewhat in healthy behavior, which makes it harder to derail that particular train -- yes, nobody likes a whiner, but I am allowed to consider and stand up for myself, instead of only reacting to outside forces. And that's the part I struggle with, because what I want (according to the old tape) doesn't matter.

I have a pattern of sabotaging friendships because it it's easier and less stressful to be alone. I don't have to take any chances that way. Likewise, if someone is angry or upset with me, that's better than nothing and more familiar than the alternative. Eventually I will disappoint the other person, and since disappointment and failure are forever, it's better to get it over with quickly. (This is mostly at the subconscious level.) Let the other person see what a loser I am as soon as possible -- which, long-ago experience tells me, is what they're expecting -- and then I won't have to worry about it anymore because they won't want to be around me and I can go back my nice, dark, familiar Pit Of Lonely. Nobody judges me in the Pit Of Lonely. It's just me.

I have to remind myself that I don't have expectations (positive or negative) to live up to anymore. I'm no longer The Failure; I'm just Me. And Me deserves better than the Pit Of Lonely. Me is doing her damnedest not to fall back in there again. Me likes it up here on the surface, where there are people who Like Her Anyway.

It's sunny out here. I am determined to get a tan.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Random for the Monday

Eight days left in NaNoWriMo, and I'm on track with 37,274 words written so far. Of course, I'll have another 30,000 to go in December, but that's the awesome part of the book so I'm looking forward to it. Also, two of my three plotlines have passed where I left them in the original half-assed draft, so I'm in (as my fellow WriMo put it) "Here There Be Dragons" territory. Again: Fun!

It's three days before Thanksgiving, and it's 65F outside and rainy. This should not be. It should be cold and drizzly, not balmy take-your-jacket-off weather. I'm starting to get scared. *whimpers and waits for the front to move through*

And on the subject of NaNoWriMo, Chuck Wendig has the Penmonkey's Paen: I am a writer, and I will finish the %@#$ that I started. (Rough language, but in a drill sargeant-ish kind of way. Contains the sentence "My confidence is hard and unyielding. Like a kidney stone lodged in the ureter of a stegosaurus." Yeah, he's that kind of writer.)

Stop Shouting has the ultimate Rebuttal to a Progressive who Admonished Me to Play Nice. Fix bayonets, indeed. (Come to think of it, I have a bayonet we should all just play nice and get along because that's what "bipartisan" means, right? It means the loser plays nice with the winner?)

If you're wondering why I posted the link above, read this link and watch all attendant videos. You may want to take your blood pressure medication first. Our freedoms (freedom of movement, in this case) are being curtailed, not by men with guns, but by bureaucrats. And they are the scarier enemy, because they do not care.

I just opened a new jug of milk this morning, and I think it's already gone off. I'll have to pick up more on my lunch break. Eh, I was going out anyway ...

This week, I attempt for the first time ever to roast a turkey (or maybe a turkey breast; we haven't decided yet). The point is that the combination of bird + pan + oven is a new one for me. I am eager and ready for the challenge! Yargh! *shakes basting spoon above head* I'm also making pumpkin pie, but that's old hat. I licked that one years ago. (Now watch as it bursts into flames on the cooling rack, or something. Lessons in hubris tend to abound during the holidays!)

Monday, ahoy!

NaNoWriMo Update

Chapter Five is up, hooray, and The Jack has started posting his NaNo novel, as well. Is very much fun, and for whole family!

(I *heart* Higgs.)

Friday, November 19, 2010

I left my English-to-Blarg Blarg dictionary at home.

Which is too bad, because "Blarg" is about all I feel like saying right now, and it would be a shame if my coworkers couldn't understand me. I've had a nagging heaviness in my chest for about a week now (it's worse in the mornings), but it stopped short of a full-blown cold so I didn't bother with it. Then, this morning, it decided to begin its final metamorphosis into a concrete illness with definable symptoms -- to wit, overactive sinuses and a nagging cough. (And just in time for the weekend, too.) I'm cheerful enough, if draggy, but my mind is going, Dave, and by this time tomorrow I'll want to just curl up in my recliner and veg. I won't, because I have things to do, but that's what I'll want.

Blarg.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Well, that didn't take long.

Via Uncle Jay: A traveler punched a TSA screener during a security check. And at our very own Indianapolis International Airport, too!

Given the upcoming holiday, I predict one of two things will happen: a) Massive, possibly violent revolt at airports across the country; b) Massive, definitely violent revolt at airports across the country. Something in my gut tells me there's a preference cascade coming, and that people are fed up and would rather miss their flight, miss Thanksgiving dinner and risk fines and jail than watch some minimum-wage wanker with a whole 60 hours of training fondle their kids.

Should my gut be proved right, we will again have two possible outcomes: a) People will be arrested and fined, only emboldening the rest of us; b) People will be arrested and fined and the government will come down on them like a ton of bricks, in an attempt to intimidate the rest of us and drive our anger underground. This will likely backfire.

"Fly the Friends-With-Benefits Skies, Or Else" isn't much of a slogan. I've made the point before that you can fiddle with the concepts of liberty all you want as long as Joe Schmoe is allowed to go about his day largely unmolested. Revolutions, armed or otherwise, are a hassle, and Mr. Schmoe has the van in the shop and the kid's orthodontist appointment and a meeting at 8 a.m. tomorrow, and it's just not worth it to try and fight the bureaucracy. But when compliance becomes more of a hassle than non-compliance, that's when the lesson about straws and camels' backs comes into play.

My only quibble with Mr. Punchy up there is that he claims he was just joking around. I can't speak for his circumstances, but this strikes me (no pun intended) as a Go Big Or Go Home-type deal. This guy could become a folk hero, like the "Don't touch my junk" guy in San Fran, but not if he tries to walk it back. I hope he stands his ground. I'll back him if he does.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

You're either in the boot, or under it.

Ray LaHood, our benign overlord in charge of transportation, has unveiled his latest suggestion: cell phone jammers in automobiles. Leaving aside the inevitable "It's for your own good" lectures, the biggest question so far has been: "What are we supposed to do in an emergency?" Even if the jammers only work while the car is running, or in motion, if you're crumpled like a wad of tinfoil at the side of a busy road, the jammers in the cars going by will likely prevent you from making calls. And God help you if you're trying to call the hospital while rushing to the emergency room, or trying to call the police while outrunning someone bent on mayhem.

Ray LaHood would likely tell you that you should have called an ambulance, or gone to a safe, well-lit area and then called the police. It's not your place to take care of yourself; that's what we have those services for. To which I say, go and soak your bottom; I'm not about to make myself helpless when I don't have to be.

I think I've guessed the next logical step: Require OnStar-type service in every new car (and probably require retrofits for used cars manufactured past a certain date). Then you can still call for help in an emergency, plus you get the added benefit of a faceless web of bureaucrats knowing your every move and having the ability to operate or shut down your car by remote! It's a win-win for everybody!

These people saw Orwell as a challenge, not a warning.

*headdesk*

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Hibbity jibbities. I mean all over.

Protip: When investigating information about a recent surgical procedure, make sure you turn the image search option off. You will not enjoy the things it shows you. You will not be a happy camper.

Brrrrr.

Let him go; he's rolling.

Okay, I admit it: I really, really, really want to see this movie. I have a lot of respect for insane and ridiculous projects that know they're insane and ridiculous and not only don't care, but revel in it. (See: Transformers.) It looks like a thumping good ride, and if nothing else I get to see Daniel Craig running around looking badass in a cowboy hat.

And also shooting aliens.

Yeah.

Monday, November 15, 2010

I'll have what she's having.

A comment I left at Tam's regarding what to do during a TSA gropefest:

Start flailing around like a small child, screaming "Bad touch" and crying for your mommy. Bonus points if you actually wet your pants. You can claim it was a repressed/delayed reaction to an incident involving a department-store Santa when you were four.

I figure it's either that, or sucker-punch 'em and claim it was a reflex. You see, I'm just so ticklish ... The former, of course, is much less likely to land my violated self in jail.

Finally, Dante provides a similar take on the subject.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

NaNoWriMo Update

Chapter Three is up. Look, you know it's pulp, and I know it's pulp ... the point is that we're all having fun.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

If wishes were (sea)horses ...

Conversation at work:

Cube neighbor: "I don't know what they want us to do; we've got all these contracts and this report was supposed to start today."

Me: "Yeah, well I'm supposed to be in Fiji with a guy named Raul bringing me Mai Tais, but obviously that ain't happening, either."

Highway 61

Og put up an interesting post yesterday, discussing the nature of God's request to Abraham in Genesis 22 that Abraham offer his son Isaac as a burnt offering. His assertion (and Pascal's, from a much earlier post on his own site) was that God wasn't really asking for a human sacrifice, per se, and that Abraham never intended to actually kill Isaac.

I think this is inaccurate.

That Jehovah does not require human sacrifice is well established; He specifically says so in several of the "quit yer sinnin'" passages in the prophets. God doesn't need anything we sacrifice, really; what matters is the heart of the person making the sacrifice. Isaac is, essentially, the first MacGuffin; had there been a non-human something of equal value to Abraham, God could have requested it be sacrificed instead. Isaac, being the literal embodiment of God's promises, was probably the one and only thing Abraham might have hesitated to offer. (Whether human sacrifice is itself right or wrong is irrelevant to this discussion; it was an established societal mode at the time of the event, and one that Abraham would have recognized and understood. Again, the sacrifice itself was not what God was after.)

This brings me to my next point, which is that I believe Abraham would have gone through with the sacrifice, had he not been stopped. Verse 10 says "Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son", which (to my mind) really can't get any clearer in demonstrating Abraham's intent -- and Abraham's intent was the point of the exercise. God didn't mean to Abraham to kill Isaac (as demonstrated in v. 12), but he did mean for Abraham to mean to kill him. Anything less than complete commitment would have been unsatisfactory. Faith (trust) of that depth requires active forward movement to be fruitful, even if that action seems to fly in the face of everything you've ever believed to be true about God. At that time, there was nothing to show that God didn't require such a sacrifice; Abraham was setting precedent, stepping into the unknown. His only guidelines were that God had promised him descendants through Isaac, and that God kept his promises; Abraham's faith was tested in that he did not withhold Isaac based on his own understanding of the larger situation. He was willing to do whatever God asked of him, based on nothing more than his belief that God would not break his word. That's the nature of true faith, and the nature of true sacrifice -- being willing to let go of ourselves and our own ideas so that God can work. Yes, the incident has larger symbolism and meaning -- acres of it -- but the primary lesson comes from Abraham's intensely personal demonstration of his faith in God.

My $0.02. Your mileage may vary.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Who knew the ball and chain was made of brass and rivets?

Quick, somebody marry me so I have an excuse to get a steampunk wedding cake.

(I'm not desperate, I'm practical. I can't eat that much cake on my own. Also, robots.)

Actually, that last one sounds like a fun evening.

Fresh from the NaNoWriMo Procrastination Station, The Five Stages of NaNoWriMo (as put down by WriMo "Matzah Pudding"):

1. Anticipation
In the build-up to November, in the planning stages, or (if you've failed to plan) in the moments before you write the first sentence that comes into your head, you'll feel excitement writhing inside of you, and you just know that this year is It. This year will be The Big One, the novel so brilliant that someone from Penguin will read your excerpt on your NaNo profile and send you an email begging to be allowed to publish a work of such almighty genius. Savor this feeling; you won't get it again until this time next year.

2. Terror
May also strike in the planning stages, especially if you have no good ideas. Will definitely strike as you confront that blank page and realize that you could write literally anything. Seriously - "hammock pancake cheesecake folderol, bebop in the clown's competitive jugular" is probably a sentence in somebody's novel this year. What if you're reduced to that? Get used to this feeling. It will be your constant companion this month.

3. Exhilaration
Oh my God, this is IT! Inspiration is striking you like lightning at all hours of the night and day! You are the greatest writer the world has ever known, and this novel is the most scintillating work of literature ever conceived! Every sentence that flows from your fingertips is an ambrosial delight! Every new plot and character development is being emailed straight into your brain by God himself! This stage will not last very long.

4. Despair
Why are you wasting your time on this steaming pile of feces? You are the worst writer the world has ever known, and this novel is a suppurating pustule on literature's rear end. You will never write anything worthwhile. You are wasting an entire month, shirking your duties and biting your friends' heads off in an overcaffeinated frenzy, and all you have to show for it is the febrile drivelings of a witless dunderhead. You should just give up.

5. Insanity
Cheesecake folderol in the clown's bebop flibbertigibbet!!! Everybody's doing it!

It's more fun than it sounds, I promise. (Back me up here, The Jack. I'll give you cookies ... )

Is it hot in here?

I don't know jack about video games outside of their influence on popular culture in general, so I don't really pay attention except when they run commercials for Halo games and I say "I wanna see that movie".

On that note, the cover art for Fable III? Damn. I don't care if it is just an illustration, he could buckle my swash any day.

Can somebody open a window?

I really hope I don't get a knock at the door for posting this.

Got this via e-mail from my Grumpy Unca in OK:

George W. Bush and Barack Obama somehow ended up at the same barber shop.

As they sat there, each being worked on by a different barber, not a word was spoken. The barbers were even afraid to start a
conversation, for fear it would turn to politics.

As the barbers finished their shaves, the one who had Obama in his chair reached for the aftershave. Obama was quick to stop him, saying, "No thanks, my wife Michelle will smell that and think I've been in a whorehouse."

The second barber turned to Bush and said, "How about you sir ?"

Bush replied, "Go ahead; my wife doesn't know what the inside of a whorehouse smells like."

Ba dum dum.

An open letter to Stephen Moffat and Mark Gatiss, writers and creators of the BBC miniseries "Sherlock"

Gentlemen,

Having just finished episode three of your excellent series, I can only say

WHAT

*gnaws on the furniture in anticipation of the next series because nobody but nobody can write a cliffhanger like those two*

Sunday, November 07, 2010

NaNoWriMo Update

Chapter One is up. (Link goes to the main page.) Feedback welcome. Chatper Two is scheduled for noon on Thursday, with updates every Sunday and Thursday until the story's done. Enjoy!

Thursday, November 04, 2010

I have little squares shaped like laptop keys indented in my forehead.

Blogging has been light and will continue to be light for the foreseeable future because of NaNoWriMo. I'm headdesking up a storm and it's only four days in, but I've got Chapter One done and now it's on to Chapter Two.

Of sixteen.

I can't complain; I did this to myself. That's like going to get a tattoo and then whining the whole time about how much it hurts. (Not that I have any experience in that area, but hey.) I really am having fun, honestly truly; it's just fun that looks suspiciously like The Great Evening-Eating Monster. (It can only be slain by furious typing and large bowls of sweetened oatmeal.)

And now I'm off to plot some more! Novelist, awayyyyyyy!

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Welp, I got that did.

I done voted. And if you ain't done voted yet, get yourself to the polling place and vote! Vote like your wallet depends on it.

Because it does.

Monday, November 01, 2010

IT ... HAS ... BEGUN!

NaNoWriMo 2010 is off and running! Consider today's post a teaser, something to both whet your appetite and tide you over until next Sunday. In the meantime, I! Am off! To write!