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The Jerk Store Called
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25th-Nov-2010 01:47 am - STATUS UPDATE KABOOM
travelling, stony
STATUS BAR GOCollapse )


This margin of success was very recent in coming. For the first 22 days of November, it was pretty slow and plodding. At the end of Monday, I had successfully edited up to page 109 of 301.
Tuesday, the partner was off on a double shift -- I avoided all social/work engagements and made it a day of coffee and complete and utter isolation. At the end of the day: 182 of 307 pages.
Today, while I didn't quite achieve yesterday's success, I am ending the day with a respectable 210/312.

(The rising page count is a result of the few tiny sections throughout that hadn't been written. It's all getting written now! ALL OF IT.)


As I was locked away with the novel today a lot of things came into my head that I decided to write down. You did not ask to read these things. Here they are anyway.


-----------------
-The biggest challenge with what I'm writing right this second: How do I convey the dialogue of a woman that's constantly shouting without turning my story into a Kevin Wong novel?


-And, all right, seriously. I know a lot of editors who are against the exclamation mark, but how am I going to write a heated mother-son yelling argument without it?!


-Never mind the argument excuse. Let's be honest. This whole story is fucking peppered with exclamation marks.


-So, one of the story's key characters is named London. He's missing an eye. I just edited the chapter about it.

Eye of London.

I'm a fucking idiot.


-Re: Me being a fucking idiot:
This one time, I wanted to name this crowded residential street in the poverty-stricken part of my main character's home city. I knew it had to be called "(Something) Row." I wracked my brain for a while until it spit out "Cannery." "Cannery Row." Sounds good.

It took me 3 weeks to figure out what was wrong with that.


-These people live in a world whose technological advancements probably make it equivalent to the early 1800s, by our reckoning.That said, is it super inappropriate (language-wise) if one of my characters tells another to "keep it in your pants"?


-Pretty much my main character's favourite thing to do ever is to go "PFFFFFF!!" at things that other people say. How do you describe this in words?!? I generally describe it as a snort, but it doesn't feel quite right...


-"I said enough with the tomfoolery, Darvish."
This is an old sentence made me laugh aloud when I read it. In part, because tomfoolery is a hilarious word, but especially in conjunction with the name Darvish.

It's a name that my partner once spat out when I absently asked him this girly, hypothetical question: what baby names does he think are nice?
His general response to this girly question: make up horrible names, ostensibly to discourage me from constantly thinking about babies. (For example, he keeps insisting that his first son will be named "Skrud.")
On one occasion, we had this conversation-

N: All right, fine. What else, other than Skrud?
D: Darvish.
N: ...What else?
D: Darvish!
N: ...What about for a girl?
D: DARVISH!

When I had to name an unimportant background character for this story a while back, the first thing that came to mind was Darvish and I inserted it there.

Maybe I shouldn't be surprised that Darvish has since developed into a crucially important and slightly sinister presence in the side characters of this book. Still, every time his name comes up I giggle. Sigh. Maybe I should change it after all.


-Part 3 chapter 6 is a total re-hash of some backstory stuff that I wrote, supposedly occurring way before the main storyline. And I totally love it. Reading it makes me smile and nod. This -- nestled amongst the many moments of total shit -- is what writing this stuff is all about! AM I RIGHT!
-----------------

102 pages left to edit.
(+ what's to be written, though it will hopefully be pretty balanced by what's to be cut)

Then I do one final, master edit -- which will feature me reading the whole stupid goddamned thing to myself aloud.

Oh god.



SO OKAY HOW ABOUT YOU??? Update me, you lovely people!
travelling, stony
November is usually the month where I am frantically writing along with everyone else who has novel-type inclinations. This time I am not.

The last time I skipped Nanowrimo (back in 2007) it was because I was "too busy" for it. That decision ended up being torturous and I resolved never to miss NaNo again, for fear that I might be pushed "to the brink of depressed insanity and, in a moment of panic ... drop out of university with a semester left to go, strip all of my clothes off, run into the woods, slit my wrists with a twig and write my story in blood on the tree trunks..."

..... That's a direct quote from this very journal in 2008. Who the fuck comes up with this stuff?

Anyway, though. I'm surviving this month without any crazed, naked, forest-related shenanigans because I have another novel-related thing on my plate: editing the novel that I've already (mostly) written. It would be hard to turn my brain on to something else at this crucial juncture in the novel's growth, so it's "NaNoEdMo" for me instead. I still hope to finish for November 30 -- so I can recapture the great feeling of closing out November with a bunch of novel-stuff accomplished.

(November 30 is historically a good day for me... the date of several NaNos finished, and also the anniversary of my romantic partnership -- whaaaat? Two years this year, somehow.)



But I found it hard to force myself to mass-edit in the same way that NaNo generally forces me to mass-write. My (speak of the devil) partner suggested I keep track in the same way, to which I snapped at him that you couldn't keep numerical track of how much editing needed to be done, it was more subjective than that, and bla bla.

Well, allow me to eat my words.

After a few days of no progress, I decided to take his advice and created a status bar file in Photoshop that I can easily update depending on how far through the novel I have gotten. It is currently my desktop background. NO MORE PRETTY DESKTOP PHOTOS FOR YOU, SELF. JUST THIS PLAIN STATUS BAR UNTIL YOU FINISH.

It goes from red to yellow to green depending how far I get! Whee!Collapse )



Turns out everything is easier when it's quantified!


How's NaNo going for you?
travelling, stony
I've been sick since last Tuesday. That makes this day 7. The whole time, I felt too sick to drink coffee--that's depressing point #1. (I did have one latte, and while it was delicious, I immediately regretted it! Instead I've been making do with hot water, ginger, and honey.)

Even worse was that I haven't been able to write this whole time. My brain was too clogged.
I've had a scene in my head for days and I would write it in my head in that space when you're lying in bed but haven't fallen asleep yet (that's how I flesh out most scenes--that's also how I lull myself to sleep most nights). But I couldn't get it on paper. The process was like pulling teeth. I forced myself to do a little the last two days, and it's really horrendous. Really bland, boring, straightforward prose.


Today I finally feel almost human again, and so this afternoon I ventured out to the cafe down the street to have another go at drinking a delicious latte and attempt to do some creative work.

I achieved regular status at a few cafes in Halifax and so I've become familiar with the process. My first one was aided by the fact that I knew someone who worked there, but subsequent ones were done on my own.

It pays to be a regular, especially if you like to be that "jerk with a laptop" in a cafe. Here are some steps on the way to regular status:

1) Be as unobtrusive as possible with your laptop--in other words: pick a small, out-of-the-way table; try to have your laptop charged ahead of time so you're not running power cords everywhere; wear headphones and keep the volume low (or keep the volume off, failing that), etc.

2) Renew your good standing in the cafe by buying something every hour or so. I never like to be sitting there with no signs of purchases in front of me. As soon as they've cleared the empty cups/plates from the table, in other words, I start feeling the pressure to buy something new.

3) TIP THE SERVERS! (And generally be nice to them!) The way I look at it, included in the price of the coffee is permission to sit in a comfortable environment that makes me productive. All things considered, what's another 25 - 50 cents? I throw in a little tip with every drink I buy. It can only be good if servers know you as a habitual tipper.


I've been doing all of these things for a while at my local cafe, and lately I've been showing up once or twice a week (this past week excluded). Some of the servers have begun to recognize me. They're nicer to me every time I go in, it seems. Today, I reached a breakthrough point: As I was leaving, one of the servers I see the most often said "WAIT!" and gave me a free coffee! A sure sign of barista goodwill!

I feel great about it. Regular status is around the corner!


And I wrote a ton of pages. It was a bit rough at first, but after a little dragging of my feet, the character's voices were back to flowing. Fantastic feeling. Now that I'm home, I'm going to put some milk and honey in my free coffee and continue what I was just writing.


I wonder if caffeine is the key to my creativity? That's a little pathetic.

Whatever. Wheeee!
lame, leaning
My companion and I, after 7 months of living together television-less, finally decided to purchase such a machine so that we could dust off our video game consoles (and watch Gordon Ramsay yell at people on a bigger scale). Like everything else we do, we managed to make it happen in the most ridiculous way possible.



First, the deal: My companion is an obsessive deal-getter and he hates to purchase anything if it isn't on sale (even if it's something we would never purchase otherwise, or the deal is objectively terrible--IT'S STILL A DEAL, DAMN IT). The past few days, he trolled the Internets for sales, then finally found an unbelievable one: a giant, man-with-a-small-penis brand of TV for almost $250 off its Walmart price (let alone its regular price). He is more electronically concerned than I am and so I left the TV decision in his hands. The aforementioned deal is what he decided we were going to get.


The store: Some hole in the wall near Dundas Square. We called them, they confirmed that they had such a TV at such a low price--FIRST COME FIRST SERVED--and we immediately embarked on our journey.


The logistics: We don't have a car. But my parents do. They live in Toronto's West End, and we live in Toronto's East End (for the record, that is quite a distance apart).



STEP ONE: Get car.

At 1:35 PM we leave for my parents' house. We take the subway, arriving there at about 2:40. After consulting with my mother for a while and figuring out the plan for the car's return, we take her car and drive downtown.

STEP TWO: Get downtown.

The operation is smooth until we get to Yonge street, where we enter the typical nightmare that is downtown-Toronto-by-car: stupid drivers, back-ups at lights, construction, congestion, and reckless pedestrians. It gets worse when we reach the store at around 3:30 and attempt to find a parking spot. Street parking near Yonge and Dundas? At 3:30 in the afternoon? Who would be so presumptuous?

Finally, we settle for a spot about 4 blocks away from the store. As (true to my gender stereotype) I am pretty bad at carrying big, heavy things, I begin to get nervous.

STEP THREE: Get TV.

We enter the sketchiest store known to man. It is a convenience store SLASH tourist souvenir place SLASH discount electronics shop. We walk in and look around, confused, at the line of people buying sodas and smokes, then walk down the aisle to the back to discover a sea of TV boxes, microwaves, Blackberries, and other such things. Big yellow pieces of paper with exploding prices printed on them are taped to each box. We locate a little mustachioed salesperson and inquire if he has any monster 42" flatscreen TVs at a ridiculously low price? Yes, he says, and pulls out a big box from one of the shelves. The box is in rough shape, and the top has been taped shut.

"Uh," we say. "Okay. Great." He and my companion carry the box to the front, me trailing behind, and we get in line between someone buying a pack of Belmonts and someone with 4 Pepsis. They type in a code on our big yellow price paper, we pay for the thing, then look at each other, shrug, pick up the box and lug it outside to the sidewalk.

STEP FOUR: Get TV to car.

Here we are with a giant box. It's something like two-and-a-half feet tall, three-and-a-half feet long, and one foot wide. Fortunately, the TV being a flatscreen, it's not too heavy--maybe 50 pounds. The two of us, with a few hitches, are able to lug it a few blocks through downtown Toronto with little trouble--though we do get a lot of stares, and whoever is stuck carrying in front tends to be hit in the back of the legs with the box by the other, no matter which of us does which. Eventually, however, we get a rhythm down, and aside from some achy wrists things seem to be going well when we arrive at my mother's car.

STEP FIVE: Get TV in car.

We put the box down next to my mom's little Chrysler and quickly realize the problem.

We can forget about the trunk--much too small for this box. Instead, we attempt the back seat. The box will not go. It is about 2 centimetres too tall to fit through the door. One person on either side, we attempt to maneuver it in every possible way, but it will not go.

Next plan. We try folding down the back seats so that we can push the box, on its side, into the trunk and have it poking into the back area. (It takes us a while to figure out how to fold down those seats--finally, I call my mother, and she says "pull on the fabric loop." Oh.)

While we were doing this, some asshole parking a white van decides to pull up as close to our back end as possible, despite there being no one behind him. Doing our best not to smash one of his lights with an errant corner of our gigantic TV box, we attempt to stick the thing in the trunk. And it gets stuck. It is too big, so it gets wedged in halfway and we are unable to push it through despite having folded down the seat. In the process of pulling it out, I narrowly escape tripping over the hood of the white van, but we come out unscathed.

We are becoming increasingly panicked, because it is getting close to 4:30 PM and the monster that is Toronto Rush Hour is quickly bearing down upon us. My companion starts responding to our predicament in the way that he most likely got from his father, who does the same thing in any tough situation--free-for-all cursing. Amidst streams of "shit fucking cock sucker mother fucker," we attempt to squeeze the box through the car's back door one more time. We shove it in almost halfway, and then it sticks. Progress is impossible. It takes some intense shoving and wiggling to un-stick it and get it back out on the sidewalk.

By this point, my companion has reached the point where his frustration makes him incapable of real action. He continues to swear while I come to the conclusion that we need to unpack the box. I say this, and he swears more. Taking this as consent, I start ripping tape off the box and open it up.

The box is 70% air inside. Figures. We pull out the TV and put it in the back seat, then toss the plastic bag of instruction manuals and accessories in the trunk, along with the bits of packing Styrofoam. Finally, I flatten the box on the sidewalk, and we toss that in the trunk as well. Hooray!

STEP SIX: Get TV home.

The TV safely stored in the car, my companion quickly calms back down to rational levels, and we set about driving home. It is about 4:40 PM. We weave through the thickening city traffic nervously, beating around streetcars and fearless bikers and jay-walking old men. We live on Queen street, one of the busier streets in Toronto, even at the far east end where we are. Our only option is street parking, and it's generally packed. However, when we arrive home, we see the unthinkable, an oasis in a car-filled desert: A spot right in front of our door. We are beside ourselves with glee and we pull into the spot at 5:00 sharp, the starting gun of real Toronto Rush Hour.

STEP SEVEN: Get TV upstairs.

I have decided in the car that the best thing will be to wait out rush hour and return my mother's car afterward, especially since our route back to Etobicoke is the traffic nightmare that is Gardiner Expressway. We purchase parking until 7 PM and begin unloading the car. It's a quick operation and finally we can be happy about our purchase.

"Look at it," my companion crows. "It's huge!"

It is huge. It is huger than we would or ever will need. It was a hassle to get home and it was probably stolen off the back of a truck somewhere. But it was a DEAL, god damn it, and it is OURS.

Our giant black cat seems wary that we have brought home something more black and giant than he is. Still, nothing can dampen our spirits. We have a TV! As I call my mother to negotiate the returning of her vehicle (home-bound until we return at dinnertime, she requests lettuce and mushrooms as ransom), my companion carefully perfects the angle of the television on our dusty TV stand and starts connecting our various other machines to it. And then he stops.

"Where the hell is the power cord?" he says.

We just stare at each other, because we opened the box on the street and took everything out and we both know for certain right then and there that there was no fucking power cord in that box. It's too much, and we both sit down and laugh.

STEP EIGHT: Find cord.

What good is a TV that you can't plug in?

German-bred pessimist, I immediately assume that they have ripped us off and will never give us the cord. "It's still a great deal," I say. "There's no way the power cord can cost $250, right?" But my companion, Canadian-bred optimist and deal-seeker, begins calling the store to demand an explanation. No one answers. While I pop out to the grocery store to pick up my mothers' requests, he continues to call with no answer. Finally, they answer, and they invite us to return to the convenience-tourist-electronics mart to rectify this issue.

STEP NINE: Get back to store.

6:40 PM. We get back in the car, turn it on, and it peeps at us that it's running low on gas. No problem--there's a gas station down the street. "I will pay for the gas," I say confidently, and then I realize that my wallet left my bag for the grocery trip and never returned.

Turning around on Queen street is a nightmare, even at this hour. My companion pulls into a parking lot and I run the two and a half blocks back to our house, grab my wallet from the kitchen counter, and run back, feeling like an idiot.

Okay. No big deal. We fill up the car. We head back downtown. Despite getting lost for a second where Gerrard splits, we eventually make it back to the store, circle again, and park four blocks away in a different direction this time. We enter the store, seek out our mustachioed salesman from earlier, and explain the situation.

"Okay, no problem," he says. He splits open another poorly-taped box, takes out that TV's power cord, and hands it to us with a smile.

STEP TEN: Return car.

7:45 PM. We fight our way through downtown Toronto trying to find the on-ramp to the Gardiner. It's smooth driving once we finally do find it, and we get home around 8:15 PM, minutes before my father, who is getting home from work. We return the car and deliver the vegetables to my appreciative mother, who makes us all a big paella and a big salad.

STEP ELEVEN: Get home.

We spent a long time at the dinner table with my parents, and we catch a bus at 10:18 PM. When we get home, it's a few minutes past 11. WHAT A DAY! We plug in our TV with the pilfered cord and turn it on with much excitement. It works! After experimenting with it by turning on my Gamecube and loading up Mario Party 7, marveling at how Toadsworth appears to be bigger than my fist, we shut it off and call it a night.




That was yesterday. Today, we are still not used to it, and we feel a little surprised every time we walk into the room and see the giant thing in the corner. "It's so big," we keep saying to each other. It is. It's way too big. But--GOD DAMN IT--we earned it.

photographic evidenceCollapse )
27th-Apr-2010 02:29 am - OH RIGHT
travelling, stony
I promised you some doodles, didn't I.

WELL HERE YOU GO.

In order to not spend my entire life on this, I restricted myself to a maximum of about 5 minutes for getting something on paper, then maybe another 10 of poking at it in Photoshop to make it colourful. Which is indicative of the quality. I mean, 15 minutes per... I'm sure you can tell what that means.

IT MEANS FUCKING GRADIENTS MOTHERFUCKERSCollapse )



In terms of life:
I have started a new unpaid internship. I'll talk about that more at a later date. For now I will say that it's fun! Very different from my last one. And it's part time, which means I have time for self-indulgent activities such as the following (and the above, I suppose).



I have thrown myself into working on my story. As always, it's as good and satisfying and beautiful a feeling as it is discouraging and terrifying (well, all right, no--the former obviously outweighs the latter, else I wouldn't be doing it. But they both factor in). I'm determined to finish by October. Right now I sort of have one foot in the editing stage, while still dedicating a whole bunch of time to rewriting large chunks to make everything cohesive.


It's so scary. Because I love these characters. They're extensions of myself by this point. I don't have writers block with these people; there's never a time where it's hard to write for them. A scenario pops in my head and their dialogue just spills out. It's like second nature to speak in their voices and to feel what they feel and think what they think. (One drawback is that I become very withdrawn when I work this hard with them because I'm too busy speaking to them all the time to be very good at socializing in the real world...)


The real problem is that I don't know that this is a worthwhile story to tell. Is it even a story? It's just me giving space and a voice to these people who grew up inside me and I've grown to love. I love them so much and I think you can tell that on the page but that doesn't mean it's compelling, interesting, worthwhile, whatever--I really have zero concept of this. It's scary to be so subjective.

I want to give them a reason for being. I feel they deserve that, only I have no idea if what I'm writing achieves that or not. In the end, anyone other than me who reads this might just feel like they're watching someone else's home movies? Hopefully not, but I'd like to be prepared for the worst.

Criticism, when it comes, will be very enlightening. And very heartbreaking. But that's just how it'll have to be. Trying to look at it this way: I know the characters are worth sharing, and they're what's at the heart of this. If the story isn't interesting to read then I haven't failed entirely, I've just failed at properly expressing what I know is there--and I'll just have to work harder at it. For the characters' sakes, of course.



...Now was that unbalanced enough for you? Jesus fucking Christ GET A GRIP
travelling, stony
Do five people even read this journal anymore?! Whatever, who cares, here is something I lifted off my friends list:

The FIRST FIVE HOWEVER MANY PEOPLE to comment in this post get to request a DOODLE of any character of their choosing. In return they HAVE TO POST this in their journal, regardless of ability whatever I don't really give a shit.



I am trying to improve my drawing through doing it a lot! Trying. I have a lot of work on my plate right now though and I don't structure my time well. I need to work on that.

Anyway, right now I'm trying to get a comic going for that reason. Also because I've been trying to get it going for years... I've had a lot of false starts, but this time I've actually made progress, so... we'll see. I think I'm going to make myself get through the first chapter before I start posting it on the interwebs, as a test of commitment. But then... to the interwebs it will go! And we'll see what happens then.


I have minimal faith in my own abilities, as always. But my companion has been helping me with the flow of the comic (dialogue comes out my ears and it's easy to scribble faces to go with it, but the pacing is something I'm less sure of, and he's been a great help in figuring that out) so I'm feeling okay about it right now.


That, and he and I just read the first volume of The Walking Dead together over the past few days and... wow. This is a popular printed comic? It was awful!

Okay, not AWFUL. But really, really mediocre for the following reasons which I will share with you though you did not request it:

-You feel no engagement with the characters whatsoever. All the men feel the same and all the women feel the same. And when he tries to add some extra qualities to people, it feels extremely forced/transparent.

-The plot lumbers. In fact, I'm not even sure what the plot is. It just kind of jumps from event to event. This might be less problematic were the characters more interesting--it's supposed to be character-driven, according to the reviews--but they just aren't there, so the lack of plot becomes glaringly obvious.

-It's ridiculous in a bad way. Sharp-shooting 7-year-old? Yeah, all right, whatever. And don't get me started about the ridiculous gender roles. (Despite being a [closeted] feminist, you know I wouldn't throw down the term 'gender roles' willy-nilly. In this case, however... Even my companion noticed how ridiculous it was--he even mentioned it without my having said anything--and if you know him, you know he's pretty far from being a feminist [we fight about it]. Yet even he said "wow, this is stupidly sexist." I was very proud of him.) Women just bitch and do laundry and scream and let men rescue them from the zombies...

-It's zombie-centered... but they are the shittiest zombies ever. Often they just kind of chill out and wait for you to kill them. It... it really takes away from the tension.

-Also, the pacing is way off (part of what is making me take a second look at my own work). Rather than work at building any tension (isn't tension the point of a zombie scenario?), zombies are just kind of plopped in and out, and then they spend pages and pages talking about what they're about to do. In particular, the main character is fond of addressing the rest of them and dumping all the practical details on the reader at once. It's awful.

I could go on! The point is that this is a massively popular published work. So, maybe I need to stop being so hard on myself?





Finally.... I miss being a troll scholar. That was the best thesis ever.
travelling, stony
JUST THINKING: Often times, people laugh harder at my jokes than I think they ought to. I think this might be because of the sound of my voice?

To me, when I speak, I hear it pretty much the same way I hear the voices of all my female friends. It sounds comparable. Expressive and girlish. When recorded, it becomes clear that this is NOT the case--my voice is very low and monotone. Thus I must deliver my jokes much differently to the outside observer than I can tell from my inner hearing.

WOW FASCINATING.

This helps in another way: Sometimes I make jokes and no one laughs, but I think most of the time because of the tone of my voice no one realizes that it was supposed to be a joke, saving me from embarrassment. HIGH FIVE, SELF. (Or maybe they are just ignoring the pathetic attempt at humour for my benefit. Whatever, I prefer self-delusion!)



I am recording this because I often have these dumb thoughts and then forget them. WELL, NOT THIS TIME.



MORE IMPORTANTLY, I am currently working on something that forces me to have to read articles about Canadian economic history. OH MY GOD, YOU GUYS.

Have you ever read something so boring that it made you angry?
I HAVE NOW.

Seriously, it's hard to describe this feeling. I pick up an article and read a few sentences. The words jumble through my brain without sinking in. I notice this and go back, forcing myself to read each word at a time. Half of the words are economics jargon whose meaning I can't be entirely sure of, and this frustrates me, partially because I don't have the time to look up each and every term, and mostly because it is something that I care so little about that I don't WANT to devote the time to finding out what it is. By the time I complete a paragraph, the frustration has compounded so much that I have to throw the article to the ground and pace through the house once muttering "FUCK!" repeatedly, hating the fact that I have no choice but to pick up the article and resume reading it once my angry stomping is completed.

Bore-rage.

I don't recommend it.
travelling, stony
Oh, oh, oh boy, oh boys and girls!

It has been some time... Not that I am much in the business of keeping this thing constantly up-to-date these days. In fact, I often have to stop and think about why I continue to do this at all. There was a time when almost all of my closest friends were on here, so it made sense to saturate this thing with my thoughts and feelings. Now, not so much. The majority of my friends list is semi- to fully-abandoned journals. There are still a few of you out there (HELLO) but you are only a sliver of the people who I care to keep appraised about what I do, so babbling here seems an inefficient method of communication.

Still, I feel compelled to write here every so often. Why is that? I guess because it encourages verbosity, and verbosity is something which I am very much FOR and the emerging technology of our day seems to be very much AGAINST. (For example, MSN increasingly limits the word count for each message--why, I remember a day when I wrote novels on there, yet these days you can't even fit a paragraph! And then there's Facebook statuses, and don't even get me started on fucking Twitter... etcetera etcetera, kids these days, why I never, get off my lawn.)

So! Back to the good old days of verbosity. What has happened to me since... uh... November 16? Jesus.



-I did finish NaNoWriMo--with 36 hours to spare, even. It was even easier than the previous year, which seems odd.

In 2008, I had 12 hours of class a week, plus 16 hours at my part-time job, plus homework time (minus the fact that I was able to do a lot of homework and novel-writing while at work).

This year, I was working 40 hours a week, plus 6 hours a week of class, plus homework time (with absolutely no time to do anything but work at my job).

It's because of my theory of self-organization, which has been scientifically proven in 100% of individuals studied (i.e., myself):
The more my time is structured, the more I make my remaining time work for me. If I know I only have X amount of hours to write X amount of words today, there is more pressure on me to get it done, thus I will be more likely to do it. This is why I started getting better grades when I got a job, and why being unemployed makes me late to everything.


I am still writing the same story, and this year's NaNoWriMo was another part of that. The first part. I am finally at a stage now where the bare bones of the story are laid out and will not do too much more changing on a structural level (I think). Now it is time to fix the delicious, fleshy details.

The fact that I am studying editing as I do this is immeasurably helpful, and I think vice versa. The two processes play off each other quite nicely, and I find myself constantly borrowing knowledge from one to use with the other.

Last time I finished NaNoWriMo, I went on to post some out-of-context lines from what I'd written that I felt had appropriately captured what I wanted them to. It is a bit harder to do that this year, both because my dissatisfaction with my own writing increases with my ability to edit, and also because I've "tracked changes" all the fuck over it since then. Still, here are a few contextless bits that cut my jib in the appropriate fashion:

Pieces of Nano 2009Collapse )


-My internship finished last week. This probably explains why I am suddenly taking the time to post again (as well as the reference to me being late to everything while unemployed--seriously, everything). I was sad to finish, and I feel genuine regret that I can't continue on with the projects that were just starting as I left. Still, it's good to take more time to concentrate on my creative projects for a while.

I seriously don't know how I'm going to balance that when (?) I make the transition to real adulthood (??). Nothing else in the world seems as real and important to me as working on my writing, yet it's not something that can support me. I'm certainly not confident enough in it at this juncture to think it will ever be published, let alone achieve financial success. AND YET, I dedicate whole days to it and feel fulfilled. Why?

I've yet to come up with a good answer. ALTHOUGH funnily enough, yesterday I wrote an exchange between two music-playing characters on this exact topic. But I failed to realize that I was totally talking to myself about my own issue until just this second. Jesus.

Just thinking about that is reason enough. I can put my garbled thoughts and feelings through my writer's mind and editorial eye and it comes out addressing problems that I didn't even realize I had when I started. What could be more beautiful?


Anyway, internship...
I had no illusions about this internship leading to a job. I was in a small division with no conceivable room for a new employee, so I can't say I'm disappointed. One of the people I worked for told me that they would love to hire me if they had the money, so what more can I ask for? It's a huge validation, for sure. I still sometimes doubt that I've chosen the right career path, but that I can apparently do a good job at it, and enjoy working hard at it, is a good sign. I'd be content doing it for a while to come.

Right now I am just considering my options. Unfortunately they are rather limited in this industry at this moment. However, I'm not yet concerned. Thus far in my life, things have had a tendency to work out. I am a bit like Jerry Seinfeld in that respect (ALWAYS EVEN).



-Want to make fun of me a little? Sure you do.

I was at my parents' house with my companion this weekend. While there, I sent myself a bunch of essays I wrote in high school off an old computer. Two words: Oh god.

Actually, they are not too bad. Mostly. There is one, however, that stands out in how horrid it is. It is my final essay for Theory of Knowledge class.

Some context: Theory of Knowledge was a "philosophy" class that we had to take as part of our IB diploma. It was taught by a drama teacher who was on the brink of retiring and couldn't give a shit about philosophy. (There was also a short while when it was taught by a philosophy student from York U who was an unabashed idiot.)

After dicking around all year, we had to write a big final paper for the class. We weren't really given any direction or help on this matter. The teacher claimed that he was "not allowed" to give us any help with the substance of these essays. Literally, that is what he said. So, that might have something to do with how shitty it is.

But also I distinctly remember frantically typing up this thing the morning it was due, in typical IB fashion, without even bothering to read anything over. So that's not good either. Probably it would be less horrible if I had, you know... thought about it in any way, shape, or form.


I would post the essay itself, except it seems that I have a shred of dignity left in me somewhere that prevents me from doing so. However, after reading the conclusion aloud to my companion and both of us holding back vomit over it, I scribbled this little comic. (It's on free Oxford stationery... and also, it was done in the dark / while in bed / in 2 minutes... hence the quality. Man, I always have to qualify everything, don't I!)

The comic features me and Snickerbot, the mean, joke-cracking robot that my companion and I invented together. (Snickerbot pretty much symbolizes our relationship. I think I realized I was in love one time while we were laughing hysterically over a dumb fantastic Snickerbot joke...)

Anyway. Here you go:

a sort-of-comic about my horrible essayCollapse )

Yes, that sentence really does appear in the essay's conclusion. Yes. Really.

Permission to hate me: Granted.
9th-Sep-2009 12:13 pm - I see what you did there
travelling, stony
OH hay internets

There is a storefront below me which is under construction. Not sure what it's going to be yet... It would be nice if it turned into something cool! But I am not hoping too hard, because last time we did that we were sorely disappointed (asked for a Harvey's, received a skater/surfer clothing store for douchebags).

The point is, though, that they always do their loudest constructing right at 8 AM and it's irritating. Seriously, every day at 8 AM they'll hammer the tiles off the front of the building (shaking my entire apartment, my bed included), or use a power drill in the ceiling (i.e. the bottom of my floor right below my head), etc. Then they'll kind of chill for the rest of the day. I THINK THEY ARE DOING IT ON PURPOSE. I kind of want to ask them what they are doing and when it will be finished, but I am kind of afraid to.

Some countdowns:
5 days until I finally start classes and thus have a purpose to my meaningless existence!
16 days until my partner moves in! co-habitation!!!

some dumb photos accompanied by a lot of ramblingCollapse )
10th-Aug-2009 02:58 pm - HELLO! it's fucking HOT outside
vacant, break
There is a bar across the street from the cafe I'm in that has a big patio, and right in my line of sight I can see this big lout sitting there. He's one of those chubby fellows with a dark five-o'clock-shadow and an inherently smug, obnoxious face. He has one arm flung casually over the patio fence. His white shirt is open almost down to his belly, exposing his chubby chest and scraggly chest hair. He lolls his head back and forth in a self-satisfied manner. With his free hand, he alternates gesticulating wildly and stuffing handfuls of food into his mouth.
The arm over the fence is clutching a cigarette which he occasionally brings to his mouth, inhales delicately from, and then puffs out a deliberate cloud, in a way that indicates that he is only smoking because he thinks it makes him look pretty fucking badass. Then he flings the arm back over the fence and stuffs more food into his mouth with the other hand.

I can't stop staring in his direction. GOD, I HATE HIM!!!!! Good thing these windows are one-way.

(OR ARE THEY? Perhaps he's looking at me too: "Oh fuck, look at that girl with her laptop in some indie cafe with some stupid unpronounceable fancy drink and her dress over pants and scarf in the fucking summer and shit. I HATE HER.)

Okay, I'm not actually wearing a scarf today, but you totally know I would. Fucking cafe kids.


...Honestly, since living in Halifax I feel naked without a scarf. Next place I move better have constant scarf-weather...



But seriously, you'll note I linked to the same clip twice in the above rant. I highly recommend watching it, and reaping its wise hilarity. My partner-in-emotions introduced me to Louis CK recently and I have decided that he is my new god. HE KNOWS JUST WHAT I AM LIKE INSIDE!




Oh, and I guess I turned 22 a little while ago. It's a nice, round age, so that's good, I guess. I'm hoping this will be an age for growth, but it's a little early to tell yet.
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