Archive for November, 2008

Classes…

Are drawing to a close… The requirements for the semester have been to submit three stories (and then final revisions for at leat one story)… After last night (when the last of my three stories was discussed in class), all that remains for me now is to edit at least one… but I am thinking about doing two of them.

I am feeling better about where I stand as a fledgling writer, based on some of the feedback that I have gotten… Two of the stories were generally well received, and would only need some minor tweaking. The third, the started portion of novella (as I initially envisioned it), I knew was going to need a lot more work and detail, butthe premise was one that several people would have liked to have more of (or, more pages, to see how the story continues… which I took as a good sign).

I think the second story (the Lovecraftian werewolf story), was the best that I submitteed this semester. There was a student in the class said he didn’t really want to give the copy back, and that I pegged a lot of the Lovecraft style (which, honestly, I have to admit I have not really read any Lovecraft, but I guess I have read enough works that have been influenced by his stories that I could feel things out)… and that felt good.

In class conversation, the instructor made a few comments that I didn’t really hear given to any other works discussed this semester – that he felt it was very close to being publishable. AndI think that is going to be one of my first projects for the beginning of the year – starting to shop the story around [after re-editing the story, and compiling a market list].

Next semester, though, will be another story, as both classes that I will be taking will be more”academic” than “creative”, which will make things all the more fun and enjoyable, but more on those at a later date. And yes, the sarcasm there was intentional.

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Wii Fit, Patterns and Changes

After several weeks (nay, months) since initially trying to get a Wii Fit, I was finally able to get one over this past weekend (Sunday, actually)… I like Best Buy, I really do, but they really frustrated me over the last month with some of the video game sales policies (it seems like some kind of internal thing, but more explanations in a moment)…

Going back to gettingthe Wii, then a few weeks ago with Mario Kart Wii, you had to time the visit right. After one visit, when I was trying to get MK Wii (after seeing it “available at store” online), there were none on the shelf, and I was told, “We’re not able to sell it right now…” The next night, I have a thought, and decide to experiment… I go online, order it, and stop by an hour later to pick up the game. The two visits were no more than three (3) days apart, and did not cover a change in flyers… needless to say, that logic confused me.

So, seeing a Fit in this week’s flyer, I stopped by Sunday afternoon (about 2pm), and again was told, “Nope, sorry, we’re out.” I had a few other errands to run, and on a whim decided, “Meh, why not” and stopped by a GameStop that was near my other stops. Lo, there on a shelf overhead were three, preserved like precious fruit, crying “Take me” like someone had left the Grail light on again.

I waited in line, and asked for a Wii Fit when it was my turn… and the clerk went to the back to get one. The back!? They had more than three in stock! What a novel concept, just like opening a business with the intention of making money. I claimed the box, and scampered joyfully to my car so I could return home. (Well, not really scampered joyfully, but I was happy that I was finally able to find one…)

Later that night, MC and I tried it out, and each did about 20-30 minutes… mostly playing (withthe balance games) and doing a little bit of Yoga, although I did do some of the Strength exercises. We haven’t tried the Cardio items yet.

In the process of “the setup”, though, it does some basic checks (based on weight, projected BMI, compared to age, height, etc.), and based on those figures it calculates a “fitness age”. I am sad to say that mine was listed at about 45 (and I am SOOOOOO not near there in real life)… which means I am overweight and out of shape… by a lot. By comparison, MC was also listed as older than she really is, but only by a hint… and I am taking the very PC stand of “Never ask a woman her age”…

So we have both set some goals, and have another (actually entertaining) way to help us try to get there… I’ll post some updates as time goes on, for those that might be interested (either in how we are doing, or in some running feedback for the software)…

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Movies…

This past weekend was a busy movie weekend… finally watched the two movies that had been sitting on the mantle, waiting to be viewed so they could be sent back… (Once and Miracle Match)… I enjoyed both, and would recommend them if you IMDB/Netflix them and realize if they might be up your alley.

There was another movie, though, that was brought into the house this weekend that we also watched. After viewing my queue, turns out I had it listed (way, way down on my list…. somewhere near the #200th item in my queue)… So, in a convoluted way I get to strike another line off of my queue. Yeah…

The third film (which, was actually the first one watched over the weekend), was Children of Men. Overall it was a decent enough movie, and the storyline/premise was interesting enough, but there are some scenes that I could have either done without, or at least leving details as “inferred”. The favorite moments in the film actually feature Micheal Caine – sporting a very “late Beatles John Lennon” look… I would suggest this with this warning… some of the violence that bubbles up, while plausible for the story, could be difficult to watch after a while…

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A Little Bit…

Grouchy… And I’m not quite sure why… MC and I had a pretty lengthy conversation about a story that was submitted to the class (submitted a few weeks ago, and reviewed last night)… and that happened to be a boiling overpoint for me…

MC and I are very similar in how we think in terms of work… The managers should be able to get in and run with the staff/crew; If something needs to be done, do it – don’t scurry under a rock. Learn how to tell time – running late every once and a while is fine (things happen), but almost everyday and there is a problem. When you are at work, work comes first – check the personal stuff at the door until the work is done (this means web surfing, cell phones, etc.)…

A lot of that mindset (being a non-trad Grad Student) carries over to how I approach the class… which goes back to the story. It was a short story (barely scaring three pages), and was virtually all dialogue – with no tags. Several other people commented on the lack of tags, which means it is safe to say, he was sloppy with the story. Punctuation was spotty, at best (note: sentences in prose should end with some form of punctuation, not white-space…). In short, I felt that the work was waaaaay below the expectations of a graduate level class. And here’s the kicker – it was turned in late. Not only that, but it was the second story that this person submitted late. And the last round of stories were due last night, and… yeap… this person’s story was nowhere to be seen, and is supposed to be submitted next week (late again).

But I’ve been getting edgy when driving, which isn’t good for the long-term… confused by people that don’t understand the principle of right-on-red when there is no traffic coming, or the perception that one must come to a 5-mph crawl when trying to navigate a turn. And the one that really gets me is trying to figure out when the meaning of traffic lights changed… While I have been operating under the understanding of “Green = Go”, things have apparantly been changed to “Green = Slow Down/Prepare to Stop”.

Maybe it’s due to the recent full moon. Maybe it’s due to mental/writing constipation. Maybe it’s getting frustrated with myself over my self-inflicted, growing list of things to do, and wanting to be as productive as possible, coupled with the overwhelming sense of, “Oh, crap” when I do start to do things that the morale goes to jelly, and I seek something that I can be passively involved with, instead of active.

Maybe I needto get started looking at the projects due next week…

[Edit to add: Maybe it’s sleep, or a general lack thereof, lately… too many days of 5-6 hours of sleep aren’t good for me, long term… and the last couple days have pushed those limits… *sigh*]

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NaNo…

I am trying my hand at NaNaWriMo again… I am trying a Gaiman-esque approach this year, and hand writing (in a journal, with a fountain pen), to see if I can disconnect the internal editor, and just put words on the page. I do realize that I will need to go back and type the whole things up (so I can track the word count), but it’s trying something different for me…

And the whole point in NaNo is to get a book out… it doesn’t matter if it’s a good book, as long as it is a book… Maybe when I knock this out (and, it is on my list of things for this quarter) I will have cleared through some wall or barrier, which should make things easier to get through in the future. (Yes, each book would be different, and have their own timeline to create, but finishing one book means that others can be finished as well, so the “Spectre of Non-Completion” can be exorcised, and sent for coffee and doughnuts when the internal editor gets cranky.)

I managed to write a chapter the other night (about 13 full pages, in a 5×7 journal)… the idea for chapter 2 is hanging around, probably having a beer and smoking a joint in order to avoid being put on the page…

But that’s okay, because I’ve been trying to hammer out a story for class [that is supposed to be turned in on Tuesday]… At the moment, that is more important (and easier to generate while at work)….

So…. right… back to the trench…

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Post-Elections…

I’m not thrilled at the outcome of the Presidential election… I’m not devestated and heartbroken, but I am not thrilled. In the beginning, I actually was pulling for Obama, but as time went on and I did some research, there wasn’t much that I could align myself with.

While I do think this year became an issue of race in the public eyes, more than the “real issues”, I just didn’t like his platform, or how there are too many questions marks over his political history. If Colin Powell had run, I can almost guarantee that he would have had my vote…

We are standing at a very critical time in this country, and all I can say is that it is time to “wait and see” how things will play out. The thing that so many people fail to understand is that just because someone is elected President, it does not mean they can actually get anything done [they have to go through Congress, and get them to get something accomplished]. It will also take more than a couple of years to fix anything (like, say, the economy – the whole “housing crisis” now started back during Clinton’s reign, er… time in office, and has snowballed).

As I said, it’s time for the “wait and see” approach… and depending on the next four years, the people will be able to speak again… and he will either be a 1-termer, or allowed to continue, depending on how he handles himself…

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