Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Here's Mud In My Eye

I don't feel like a winner. My NaNo efforts this year were junkier than ever before. Worse than I remember of last year's which was so bad that I've yet to reopen that file to abuse my eyes upon it. That feeling of disgust combined with the death of my laptop just a few days later followed by several weeks of zero access to my files contributed to my not writing any fiction (except for a few days dabbling with a script concept for Script Frenzy in April) for eleven months. So here's to my barfing up another 50K of muck for my mind monkeys to make mud balls to throw at me.

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Monday, November 29, 2010

How to Keep a Cat Happy

u mus pay toel 2 turn page wut iz toel? jus gess til iz happy or bored


Your guess is as good as mine.

My Merlin is giving me fits. He is constantly on or grabbing at whatever item I'm trying to use (book, netbook, crochet thread or hook, mouse pad, headphones, pillow, blanket) or at my hand or arm. My right hand is covered in scratches. He's got food and water. He even has freedom (after 0pm) to leave the room and roam about the living room and kitchen, drink from the doggy water, sleep on Bruiser's bed, the couch or any one of four cushiony chairs. But no he has to plant himself by my right hip and play cat and mouse with my elbow as I type or mouse-click.

I guess he's feeling neglected.

As I type this, 24.2 hours left of NaNo.

Don't know my word count. Don't want to know. Haven't looked since my birthday on the 13th.

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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Sunday Serenity #206

Sunday.  Teh Day of Rest  let meh showz u how

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Saturday, November 27, 2010

I Been Knotty

I BEEN KNOTTY


Just spent three hours on Joanne.com and made a big order of crochet thread. Big for me anyway. 13 new balls of thread. Each one different in color or style.

See I ran out of my favorite shade of blue several weeks ago. A bright turquoise called Parakeet. Ever since I'd been watching for another free shipping promo coupon in my email. Have received them twice before this week but they did not coordinate well with paydays until now. And then this one was only good for orders over $35. So even though I only really needed 3 or 4 of them at this time I splurged.

Nearly all are items I can't get in the stores the only exceptions being a couple of the bamboo thread colors but I ordered every pastel of the bamboo except for the blue I already have as I have a project in mind. Ever since I first worked with the bamboo a year ago I've had in mind making a baby blanket with it and was only waiting to learn of someone in my circle expecting. Just learned my niece is in March. So I ordered pink, green, yellow and lilac to go with the blue and white I already have. I can usually find all but the lilac in the stores though not always all of them at any one time. I'm sure I'm going to have to augment before the project is complete but there is time for that.

Besides the Parakeet blue there were two other size 10 solids: Aqua and Dusty Rose. I have seen none of the three in the stores and the last time I made a Joanne order I tried to order the aqua and dusty rose but they were out of stock so they were high on my list.

Another size 10 was a variegated in blues and purples much like the yarn the cat has in the LOLcat above. It is called Monet Multi.

I ordered a size 20 in black. Size 20 is a finer thread than the 10 and makes a lacier product. It is also more expensive and harder to find in stores. Also harder to find in colors other than neutrals. I hope to someday start collecting them in the entire rainbow but they are spendy at over $4 per ball and sometimes the ball is still less than 100 yards. This one was 400 yards for just under $5 so I splurged. I have several whites in 20 and 30 and 50 weight which came from my mom's or Ed's grandma's sewing stuffs and have been picturing how black would look in the various bookmark patterns.

Last summer I ordered as an experiment a variegated blues and purples called Caribbean in a Lizbeth Cordonnet Cotton and I absolutely LOVED it and have been really hankering to order more even though it is nearly $4 per ball and only 210 yards (compare to the size 10 bedspread weight at over 400 yards for under $3). But not only do I love the selection of bright variegated color combos, I adore the way this thread holds its shape. No blocking has been necessary even after the project has been practically wadded up in the bag or purse while under construction.

So no surprise that I was planning to put one more of the Lizbeth Cordonnet in my next order. I'd been planning one called Red Burst which is a blend of dark and bright reds. But since I still had room in my order when I reached that page and had already included all of the priorities, I went ahead and included two more--a bright turquoise solid and a turquoise vari called Turquoise Twist. That will make it possible to do one of the two toned patterns with a Lizbeth Cordonnet.

Do you get the idea I like turquoise?

Another experiment for this order was a Rayon thread which I'm curious about as it's texture is described as being appropriate for baby clothes. It is fairly spendy too but I've had my eye on one of it's variegated called Fairy Tale which looks to be several pastels..

So now I wait. 10 business days or so. Which means probably at least Wednesday of the week after next.

Then I have to figure out where to put them all. The two drawers I've been keeping my thread collection in were stuffed to the gils before I put together the three project bags several weeks ago--the vase mat/bookcover; and the two coaster sets. A forth bag, the wrist bag, holds two or three for bookmarks which I knock off in an hour or so and which have a high turnover rate with balls shuffling back and forth between bag and drawer. But the mat and coaster projects are commandeering 13 balls between them. One coaster set has colors in common with the vase mat so both of those projects are in the new craft bag I got for my birthday.

I'm on the last of the purple coasters so those four balls will be going back in the drawers soon. I could very well be done with the blues and white mat and the blues and browns coaster set by the time the Joanne order arrives. So where in the world am I going to put 13 more balls.

At least only 4 are the typical largish size. The Lizbeth are the size of a toddler's fist. The bamboo are the size of my fist and squishy. But the size 10 thread are the size of a man's fist. I find that tradition annoying as the thread is wrapped around a tube I can fit over my fist and slide up my arm. It is a ridiculous waste of space whether for shipping, storing or schlepping around while on the hook.

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Friday, November 26, 2010

Turkey Day Was So Purrific!

Humorous Pictures
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I tried the turkey dive and did a belly flop now all that's left is falling asleep...purrchannce to float upon dreams.

4.2 days left of NaNo. 50K still long way off. Tempted to write it off instead of writing scenes. Wonder how many times I can type the words 'turkey dive and belly flop' over the next four days?

OK so that's probably the morning after blues or the up-against-it angst talking. Darkest before the dawn and all that. Sigh.

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Thursday, November 25, 2010

Gobble, Gobble

Funny Pictures - Thanksgiving Cat
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Thanksgiving.

A day for food, family, fun, fellowship, food, fixins, fussing, fullness, food.

Oh and did I say food?

I'm the turkey now. Stuffed to the gibblets.

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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Yesterday's Snow



If you slept in you probably missed it for by noon it was all but gone. i got these pics shortly after dawn by standing on the back porch in my slippers. I'd been doing laundry all night and about an hour earlier had spotted the snow on the neighbor's car when their security light popped on while I was at the kitchen sink. So I got my camera ready and waited for dawn.

It's just as well it is gone and the winter storm has moved past us. We've got family on the roads all weekend and the passes north and south of here are no fun to drive in the snow. Plus snow events make the logistics of Ed's job on the shipping dock extra hard what with trucks delayed and snow in the shipping yard. So as much as I love snow and want to see it, I feel guilty for wishing for it

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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

I Feel a Bit Like Something the Cat Drug In

Funny Pictures and Gifs - Cat Runs into Wall
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Or like I've been slammed into walls and drug down a flight of stairs by malevolent forces.

Untitled


Between Monday afternoon about 3 and Tuesday afternoon about 2 I did four loads of laundry (sort, prep, wash, dry, fold & put away)sorted two junk boxes, organized the closet, switched out summer for winter clothing in the more accessible locations, decluttered my 'office' aka the 3x2 foot area beside the bed, showered and shampooed, sorted and reorganized a bushel or two of craft and sewing stuffs, cleaned up the kitchen from the several meals and snacks we had separately fixed in that time. All of this involved a lot schlepping of stuff back and forth between living room and bedroom, bedroom and laundry room and bedroom and bathroom and bedroom and porch, bedroom and kitchen and kitchen and living room.

I had hopes as I wrote of my progress and plans in yesterday's post to be all done and heading to bed about 10am this morning which would be about four hour late on my current schedule. Yeah right. I still had bunches of stuff in the living room, bath room and kitchen and a load in the dryer when Ed folks got home from their overnight trip at 1pm. So Ed helped by schlepping the stuff out of the living room onto the bed where I still had laundry, crafts and clothes from the closet I was trying to get put away. This made it more difficult and take longer than if I had been able to bring the stuff in as its 'home' was prepared.

It didn't help that shortly before my in-laws arrived I'd been walking on the bed in order to put crafts stuff and books back on the shelves and had stepped off it like stepping off a giant stair step and landed my heal on the bed frames coaster instead of the floor. Oh and shortly before that I'd been putting craft stuff away on a shelf above my head and a sewing kit in a box fell off onto my face, smack onto my nose and forehead, knocking off my glasses. Both of these incidents caused pain of the quality that make you want to run for the toilet but you can't move.

I'd already been stiff and sore from an incident of colliding with the hall door jamb on Sunday afternoon moments after waking up which had left me feeling whiplashed from neck to ribcage to lower back and hip. Because of the stiffness and dizziness left over from that the 20+ hours of chores had been an adventure in minor and major klutz events. Stumbles and stubs and fumbles and flubs. Like when I was sorting one of the junk boxes and an attempt to salvage the beads off the handle of a damaged-beyond-useful plastic pouch, I cut the string and dropped it and about thirty tiny beads went skittering all over the living room floor, I spent fifteen minutes on hands and knees with a flashlight retrieving them.

So I didn't lay down until after 2pm and then couldn't sleep until I got up at 3 to take three ibuprophen. I then slept until nearly 10pm. I immediately took 2 naproxin or I'd probably not be able to type this. That was over two hours ago now and I'm about ready to take two more. I should have taken 4 in the first place.

BTW it snowed this morning between 4 and 8 am. As soon as it was light enough I went out on the back porch and got some pics. I just now remembered that or I would probably have made this post about that instead of this long whine.

But after relating the event of the day I'm wonder what in the world I was thinking going out on that ice slick step with treadless slippers while being the only one within earshot awake. Must have had an angel on my side of the battle afterall.

I'll prep those pics for posting tomorrow. It was the closest a trailer park ever gets to wonderland. Most of it was melted by noon.

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Monday, November 22, 2010

It's That Bad

Have u ever smelt a smell so bad that your nose  tried to hide inside your head?


Between the clothes in the full hamper in the closet directly behind my desk and the litter box at the foot of the bed my nose has been beleaguered by the aura of hell. I hate to confess for how long. Between NaNo and this swing shift Ed is on I've had more than the usual difficulty finding an opportunity to do laundry and other room chores.

Ed folks had not gone out of town overnight for a couple months which is my preferred set up for tackling the room chores. And no it has not been that long since we tackled them. But it has been hit and miss since late September for it is hard to find the time when these prerequisites hold long enough to sort, prep ie stain removal, wash, dry, fold, put away one or more loads: 1. Ed is awake. 2. I am awake. 3. Ed's folks are awake. 4. The washer and dryer are not in use. 5 Ed's Mom is not doing chores that have her moving about the house (with my eyes there isn't room in this small trailer for both of us to be moving about--especially up and down the hallway) 6 I have the energy.

Today Ed woke me on his way out the door for work about 2pm to tell me that his folks had left town until tomorrow afternoon. Since that moment over ten hours ago (actually over 12 hours ago as I wrap up this post) I've been working at laundry and room clutter. I began by moving my netbook and books and sewing out to the living room where I'm set up to work or play while waiting on loads. Then I sat with my coffee and breakfast to watch a movie and wake up thoroughly before pulling the laundry out of the hamper and sorting it and treating stains.

My efforts today have been slow going and frequent breaks required. I've been hampered by the effects of a jarring Monday afternoon when I bounced off the door jamb moments after waking up. I hit it sideways with my right shoulder and today I am sore from neck to hip from the whiplash. Stiffness and pain throw me off balance. I have some dizziness too but am not sure if that's related to the jarring, sinuses, or the inactivity of the last several weeks.

At any rate, I've got one load out of the dryer with the second one just beeping its ready for the dryer and two on the floor. I need to get a shower before I do those two loads as I'm wearing things that need to go in them if I'd like to have them available again before the end of the year. :)

Ed is home again now and already asleep so I can't mess around in the room until he gets up after 8am. I usually try to lay down between 5 and 6 so I can be awake before he leaves but if I lay down before he gets up he'll have to call me by 10 so I can move everything back into the room and put it away. Since I'm usually quite inefficient if not an accident waiting to happen for an hour or two after waking, I'm probably not going to lay down until I get it all put away. Which probably means at least 10am.

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Sunday, November 21, 2010

Sunday Serenity #205

funny pictures-It is not every day that we are needed.  But at this place,  at this moment of time,  all mankind is us,
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Saturday, November 20, 2010

Birthday Bonanza



My birthday was a week ago today. I posted about it then and described the gifts Ed got me and promised pictures soon. Had thought a day or two. But here they are. Finally.

At top is featured the craft bag that served as a gift bag. Ed was so pleased with himself over that. I've been using used gift bags as craft bags for my crochet projects for a year and a half now and before that, since the mid eighties at least, I used them for other crafts and a variety of other things including storage containers. You could say I have a thing for gift bags. So when Ed saw the craft bags shaped like gift bags but with the addition of pockets and a zippered top he knew I'd love it.

The bag holds 9 full balls of crochet thread with enough room on the sides for slim items like pattern books and the clear plastic zippered pouches I use to hold small projects in process and as project tool kits. The tool kit pouch is sticking out the side pocket in the picture but usually is inside. That pocket has a Velcro fastener. The pocket on the other side zips closed. Then on the narrow side there is one of those net pockets with elastic rim which can hold a water bottle or baby bottle. I've seen bags like these used as diaper bags but this was being sold at a craft store



The lavender thread was one of the items in the bag as I had been talking about a project I needed it for. There was also a size 6 crochet hook which I meant to put in the picture but forgot. I had lost my size 6 a couple weeks before. Probably under the bed on the wall side which would make it irretrievable without moving the bed which can't happen without moving the bookshelves on the other side out of the room which isn't going to happen until we move into our own place. So Ed replaced the hook.

The projects pictured are not the usual bookmarks. The blue and white one folded inside the pouch is the mat or book cover I posted about a few times already. It is about 3/4 finished now. At least in terms of the crochet. There will be the tail tucking and there are a lot of those. 2 per stripe. There will be around 30 stripes.

The other projects seen there are coasters. Two different sets of four intended as Xmas gifts. They are shaped like mini throw rugs and will have fringes on each end made of embroidery floss. The two on the right are in shades of purple and the one on the left is browns and blues. No two will have the colors in the same order.

This coaster concept came out of my imagination as I worked on the bookmarks and was trying to come up with something I could make for the non-readers on my gift list. The effort involved in each one is about double that of a bookmark.



OK these weren't in the bag but came in the mail inside the birthday card from my Mom and sister and nephew. Mom writes that she saw and wanted these for me as she knows I collect baby dolls and dolphins and she thought these might be useful as bookmark decor. With the babies I could probably thread a narrow ribbon or braid between their crossed legs but the dolphins will need to be pierced somehow to create a secure attachment. I thought maybe a noose of thread around the tail but that would probably not hold for long.



And here are the headphones. The real gift from Ed--the craft bag being 'just' a gift bag and the thread and hook 'just' something I needed and would have been picking up soon anyway bday or not. The headphones tho are the 'big ticket' item which he'd had in mind for weeks as I had been complaining for months about the tinny sound (also tiny) of the ear buds and the way ear wax had to be cleaned out frequently and of the way his cheap headphones I occasionally borrowed felt like they were slicing my ears off.

I can't remember the last time--if ever--I've had headphones this nice. Not only is the sound better than I've had in a long time, they are so well made in other ways. Especially the cord between the appliance and the phones. It is well reinforced in all the places that typically short out after a few months use in cheap models . Besides which the cord is thicker, stronger and more pliable so it would take a lot of abuse to break the wire inside.

I have been using them more than my crochet hooks all week and that says a lot. Sort of. Since most of the time I'm crocheting I'm also listening to music, an audio book, a news pod, a YoutTube playlist or watching a movie it doesn't take much use without a hook in hand for it to exceed that. But point made.

Not to belabor it but I can say I've been wearing them more than my eyeglasses all week. Now that is really saying something.

FYI if you're curious about the brand and model: Sony Dynamic Stereo Headphones MDR-V150. And this is not a quid pro quo product review. We paid for them.

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Friday, November 19, 2010

Careful What You Ask For

careful what you ask for


NaNo 30-19

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Thursday, November 18, 2010

Contemplating POV

It's all in your point of view

Point of view has been much on my mind this NaNo. I feel I am on verge of an insight. I went looking for a picture to caption to make my point that story is all about point of view: who is looking and from where and with what bias.

When I saw this pic on cheezeburger.com it was so perfect I instantly 'saw' several possible captions. I couldn't choose so I made them all.

That seems to be the story of my stories too. I keep seeing them from multiple POV and can't settle on one long enough to finish it.

Try to see it  from my perspective


Dude!  That's twisted!


whats your angle?


de eye of beholder  i haz it


watcha doin?

Obviously I'm procrastinating.

NaNo: 30-18

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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

But That's a Good Sign Actually

she starz at dis fing 4 hours muttrng n clawing at her face ai fink it be time 4 interfensun

You better 'fink' again.

Don't get between a writer and her voices. Not if you value your face.

Don't mess with what works.

NaNo: 2nd day of 2nd half. 13 days to go.

mutter mutter mutter mumble hmmm mutter mumble umm mutter mutter mutter

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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

You Thought I Was Kidding?


A while back I posted about my issue with hoarding and mentioned that one of the things I save are the thread clippings off my needlework projects. That's a picture of the collection of ends clipped off the tails of my crocheted bookmarks in the last several weeks. Actually that picture was taken a couple weeks ago and I've tucked a lot of tails since then so there's even more in that envelope now.

Saving these sixteenth inch to two inch thread pieces began as an attempt to keep the litter off my clothing, the floor and the furniture especially since I carry small portable crochet, embroidery, cross stitch or needlepoint projects with me to other people's homes and cars and in public where it would be rude to leave my droppings indiscriminately.

So I began putting them in envelopes or small plastic bags kept in my sewing kit to keep until I was near a waste basket again.

Ha.

It wasn't long before the build up of the colorful little threads began to look too pretty to me to just toss. I concocted a number of theoretical projects for which they might be used: laminated bookmarks, book covers or greeting cards; decoupage fridge magnets; decoration on any number of items--mostly small containers, say pencil holders, jewelry box, picture frames, even wall art.

So I stopped throwing them away. At times in the past two or three decades I've had fistfuls of these floss, thread and yarn leavings scattered throughout my sewing projects. But have I ever actually made anything with them?

Guess.

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Monday, November 15, 2010

Like a Cat Chasing a Fly



I had some vague notion of comparing chasing after NaNo daily word quotas to it but really I just wanted an excuse to post this video. It's truly ROFLOL.

Still there is something to the analogy.

Even more apt maybe? Chasing after our story's characters. Who do seem to tease and taunt, flit away the second you lay a paw on them, or play dead and then buzz bomb your ears when you're looking elsewhere. And it is a rather messy task. Then once you catch them, subdue them and feed them to your reader how much thanks do you get?

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Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sunday Serenity #204

funny pictures
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It does seem that if God has a voice discernible by human ears it must sound like music. Like maybe Beethoven's 9th symphony?

Anyway. I'm enjoying music with my new headphones this weekend. It's been years since I've been able to listen to music with good speakers or headphones cranked to full effect. Ear buds just don't do it. Neither do $10 headphones. So I was thrilled when my husband presented me with new quality headphones for my birthday yesterday.

The experience of music is the most effected but they've greatly enhanced the movies (DVD or streaming) as well as news pods and audio books. I noticed that it was the highest and lowest tones I'd been missing before. And everything in between had sounded tinny and diluted.

Sometimes I forget I have them on and begin to feel as though I'm inhabiting the music (or soundtrack) or it me and its hard to believe that no one else can hear what I'm hearing. Nor can I hear the TV in the other room, the dog barking, the fan, the furnace, the music of cranked car stereos going by outside or Ed's game music just 20 inches or so away.

Heaven.

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Saturday, November 13, 2010

funny pictures of cats with captions
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Yep,it be that time again.

Ed got me new really excellent headphones. I listened to music on my netbook for hours and then watched the first episode of Castle Season 1. All three discs of season one arrived in the mail today from Netflix. I set it up that way as a kinda bday present to myself. And to give me something to watch over the weekend when Ed commandeers the broadband for gaming so I can't stream Netflix until he's asleep and I don't have any DVD out of the library this week and am all caught up on my news pods.

I'd never seen an episode of Castle but had seen teasers commercials and drooled--a novelist of murder mysteries teams up with a detective to solve crime with a romantic undercurrent between them? What's not to drool for? And I wasn't disappointed Better than bday cake. (With about the same nutritious value but so what right?)

Also in the gift bag were a ball of lavender crochet thread for a project I'd been talking about and a replacement size 6 hook for the one I lost somewhere in this room, most likely under the bookshelves between the bed and the wall which can't be retrieved without standing the mattress and boxsrings on end and that's not going to happen until we move into our own place.

I like the 'gift bag' Ed presented my gifts to me in almost as much as the headphones. Shaped like a gift bag but made of durable waterproof fabric with bright stars on black and pockets inside and out and a flap across the top that zips shut. I've moved the crocheted mat project into it as there is room for all six balls of thread with room for two or three more for a bookmark project and for the zipper pouches that hold the misc of the projects from hooks and scissors and needles to cut tassels and fringe pieces awaiting attachment and bookmarks off the hook but still needing their tails tucked.

I'll try to post a pic of it soon but right now I'm champing at the bit to get back to Castle. But first a snack. Ed's going to cook a steak dinner for me later this evening and I need to take care not to spoil my appetite but I can't wait until then to eat something as I was so enthralled by me presents I forgot to get my breakfast.

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Friday, November 12, 2010

Storytime

Let me tellz u a storee  Heerz wut happened

OK this here is one of those lazy-can't-be-bothered posts I warned about a few days ago. Too preoccupied with other stuff. It might not be true at all times but at this time I'm finding it impossible to do both the daily blog posts and the daily NaNo quota well and find that unless I purposely put one or the other in second place both will suck. So I choose NaNo. After all it is only one month out of the year and there is only 2.5 weeks left. And either my art (story) is primary and this blog in its service or not and if not there's no point in blogging.

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Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Dysfunction of Multifunction

ai fot u cudnt play wit me cuz u wuz bizee writn storee but u playn wit deese fwends who cant eben tank u with a nice nose nip

What to do, what to do. When the tool the writer uses to write is also an entertainment center, game room, social hangout, news outlet, real time communication tool, researching and reference resource etc etc ad infinitum.

In its war against self-discipline procrastination has advanced its arsenal and escalated its tactics. Will self-discipline hold its ground? Does it need weapons R & D? Or only better use of the tried and true?

Maybe it would help to create a separate account on the computer that does not have admin privileges and then deny it access to the net and all but the minimum number of aps--word processor and dictionary and mind map say--using the parental controls.

But one would still have to have the self-discipline to log out of the admin privileged desktop and onto the 'child's' and not switch back. And there are still plenty of things one can do on a word processor that amounts to nothing but procrastination.

Sigh.

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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

NaNoNeurosis?

The voices in my head might not be real...

Please excuse me if for the rest of November my posts are little more than a picture, video or LOL with minimal wordage. I'm significantly behind on word count and its hard to shut the story world voices up to get a post figured out and then harder to lure them back. I'm beginning to understand Robert Olen Butler's resistance to writing non-fic for fear his fiction will suffer.

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Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Nudging That NaNo Muse

oh hai iz got sumfing 2 say u gotz tyme 2 lissun?


In last night's post I talked about switching out of the POV you are using for your novel into any of the others as an exercise in warding of writer's block. So, say if like me you favor limited third person you could switch to omniscient (which I discussed yesterday) where a global perspective of your story allows you to write about any setting, character, plot point, event, examine relationships among them, muse about theme. The point is not to generate words that will stay in the story but to keep words flowing and stay open to ideas that will inform future scenes, that may resolve a sticky plot issue or give you insight into a character's motivation and personality which will make that next dialog they participate in easier to write.

Speaking of getting to know your characters. A good way is to let them, one at a time, hog the stage for a lengthy monologue to rant, whine, piss and moan, preen, brag, gossip, muse, pontificate, remember, dream etc. etc. etc. This would be first person of course and not intended to stay in the manuscript. At least not right there where you detour away from the stuck place. But I believe they are fair game for NaNo word count. Its purpose is to keep the words flowing and get to know your characters.

I had good success with this two years ago with my NaNo novel Mobile Hopes. I'm going to repost Gerta's moologue here as an example of what I mean. Note the repetition of the phrase 'I don't know why...' That was another gimmick to keep the words flowing for every time I paused to think for more than five seconds I would start a new paragraph with 'I don't know why...' The whole think took little more than half an hour and at 1300 + is less than 300 words short of a NaNo daily quota. Since then I began to keep a list of phrases like that to give a character for their monologue.

Well, here it is. I confess I did subject it to some minor editing but for the most part this is what flowed off my fingers that night two years ago.

Gerta's Rant

I don't know why I'm here. It's too hot. It's too crowded. It's too noisy. All those pops and whistles. The yammer yammer. And all those kids running and yelling. The mouths on them too. Land's sake. It's like they got not much more than a four word vocabulary and the first three are Me, I , and You. And the forth one. Land's sake my Papa woulda made em chew the bar of soap! My skin wants to crawl right off me. I don't know why I can't just go home.

I don't know why that loony Lucy picked this dress for today. Too fancy. Don't see no need for fancy on such a hot day. A day like this Augustus would say no need for a dress atall. We would walk about in our birthday suits inside our house. The house we first lived in 1932 the year we married. And every house after that. There were four more in three different states before the house he built with the help of his brothers and my father that hot summer of 68. The house the sheriff took away from me last month. I don't know why.

I don't know why I can't just up and walk on back over there. It's not that far from here. I used to walk tween here and there all the time especially on hot days like this. Bringing the kids on down to the creek to wade and splash. But that was before they put in this trailer park and the malls and all those streets and painted lines on them and put up signs and signals. Stop Go Cross Don't Cross. If Agustus were here he'd say it was time to move on. House or no house. He'd build another if he had to. In another big field with acres separating us from neighbors. I don't know why he had to go.

I don't know why I don't just join him now. It were up to me I'd a been there before now. If that looney Lucy would drive me back home I could at least be in the rooms where we used to be together. Our house had big wide windows everywhere to let in the light and the breezes. Only air conditioning we had 'sides that was a few old fans. Didn't get the new fangled cold air blowers til sometime round the time that Bedtime for Bonzo guy got to move into the White House. Remember thinking How'd a guy with a dirty monkey get to move into that nice house. Agustus would have been gobsmacked by it but he was gone by then. I don't know why I hooted and pointed at the TV that day and told Agustus to look at that monkey's uncle now.

I don't know why looney Lucy won't let me go outside. Its too hot she says. What does she know about hot? I can see those trees moving. She can't tell me a breeze like that under the wide sky wouldn't be better than the stinky one that box in her bedroom window blows through this big tin can. I just might go anyway. I can wait until she is sitting on the floor in front of that ridiculously big TV with her nose trying to sniff her own butt crack and I'll say I'm going to the bathroom but I'll go out the back door. I don't know why I need permission from a looney Pee Lotta Teas teacher anyway.

I don't know why she doesn't cut that hair of hers. I've told her and told her til my teeth bout fall out that hair like that begs to be grabbed like a rope and swung. I tell Carl nearly every night he needs to take and drag her back to the bedroom with it. I offer to cut it for him if he'd only hold her down for me. I don't know why all he does is grin and say "What a card you are Grandma."

I don't know what he thinks he knows about cards. Now his grandpa. He was a card. That man would put worms in a peanut butter sandwich and serve it to one of the kids. Tell them that eating worms was how fish got gills so they could breathe under water. Only kid who ever fell for it and actually took a bite was Carl. The last of all our babies and grandbabies. He wasn't yet three that summer. I don't know why Agustus didn't wait til he was near about Kindergarten age like with all the other kids.

I don't know why Agustus couldn't watch his mouth around the babies. I don't know how many times I told him if I had to soap one more child's tongue for something they heard him say, I was going to stuff the bar in his mouth and make him chew it. Wasn't it that same day he gave Carl the worm sandwich that I came closest to doing it too? It was the summer we were building the house. It was the day Agustus dropped the roof beam on his foot. I heard him yelling clean out to the garden where I was picking green beans for lunch. I yelled back "What you want Agustus?" and Carl who was swinging on the tire swing hung from that tall maple yelled over to me, "Grandpa says 'Frost my balls' Grandma." I don't know why I didn't drop that basket of beans.

I don't know why these teeth won't stay in my mouth. When I fall asleep in this here chair, my head hanging tween my collar bones, I often wake to find them gone. Then the great denture hunt begins. Found them tween my titties once. Found them tween the cushion and chair arm many times. Once looney Lucy found them in the cats' water dish in the kitchen. I don't know why she thinks I put them there just to get her goat.

I don't know why she dotes on those three cats like they was her own born babies. Now Agustus he liked his dogs but I never once saw him kiss one of their noses. Nor hug on em like they was one a his grandbabies. He wasn't much for cats either. Said they were too fulla themselfs. Said they held thier noses so high cause they were so fulla of it and couldn't get their noses outta the stink. Speaking of stink. They used to keep that litter box right beside the toilet. No matter how much gagging I did while in there they couldn't be convinced to find a better place for it. Not until the day anyway that I lost my lunch along with my teeth right into it. I don't know why they couldn't find a better place to move it then the floor of their room right under the window the cooler sits in.

I don't know why they make such a fuss when I go out the door. That loony Lucy thinks she's my Mama or somethin always askin 'Whatcha doin Grandma?' What's it to her what I'm doing? What's it to her if I want to go sit on the porch and watch the hummingbirds swarming the flowers? What's it to her if I want to get out the hose and water the flowers? Leave it up to her and they would wilt. Just lay their heads on the grass and die. I don't know why a grown woman can't step out the door and get the mail without answering a hundred questions.

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Monday, November 08, 2010

NaNo Muse Nudge

get in a glow ball  purrs peck dove

I prefer the limited third person POV--only what my POV character knows or thinks or witnesses is allowed even though he, she, they is used instead of I. But that is a very limiting viewpoint to be stuck in for a first draft effort. It means a lot of interrupting the word flow to make notes outside the draft whenever something occurs to me that ought to be in the story but can't be imparted via my POV character. Those interruptions tend to trigger a blockage of the flow for hours if not days or more.

So I'm experimenting with alternating POV to whichever suits the thought I need to note the best and making whatever observations necessary right in the draft with full knowledge that these sentences or paragraphs won't remain in later drafts but I can be confident the thought won't be lost.

When the thought involves general elements of plot or setting or theme I switch to omniscient third person. I find it freeing to know these sections are destined to be cut. But more important, I find that this swooping out of my POV character's head and into the stratosphere of the storyworld where no fact, event, place or time is off limits helps me see the story as a whole, to turn it like a faceted jewel between thumb and forefinger.

Or, for an alternative metaphor, to zoom in and out like in a Google map or a CSI 3D graphic--in to the level of electron orbits inside molecules and out to the orbit of the moon. A global perspective.

I'll talk about how I find switching to first person POV helpful in another post. Maybe tomorrow. Maybe later this week.

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Sunday, November 07, 2010

Sunday Serenity #203



Hanging with two of my favorite things.

In Merlin's case that would be the fluffy blanket and the fluffy string.

In mine that would be Mers and the crochet fluffy string or not.

The pic was taken yesterday as I was setting up shots of my current crochet projects for yesterday's post. I spread the blanket as backdrop to cover all the ugliness of the unmade bed. Merlin seemed to be under the impression that I was making a bed for him as he walked into the middle and lay down every single time. And every time I lifted him off he hooked a claw into the blanket dragging it with him.

Finally he became distracted by something going on in the neighbor's driveway and stay up n the widow long enough for me to get the shots of the bookmarks and the place mat which may become vase mat, book cover, notebook cover, or netbook cover since I'm no longer sure I want to commit to four more of something that forces me to work for fifty, sixty hours apiece with the same six colors.

So I got three shots set up and taken before Merlin took interest again and when he got in the middle of spreading out the blue shawl I gave up and let him be in the shot rather than risk a snag or waste more minutes not to mention the aggravation.

That skein is what is left of the forth one. My original plan was to crochet rows to the end of the forth skein and buy the fifth for the fringe on the two ends. But I balked at the $6 that skein would cost seeing how I'd only use a few yards and then have the rest left over which isn't enough to make anything except maybe a hat which I don't know how to do and am not about to practice on this textured yarn. So I decided to wait and see how long the shawl was by the time I got close to the end of the forth skein. Maybe I could take the fringe yards off the end of it or maybe do without a fringe or maybe the sale price which we paid for the first two skeins would return closer to the holidays.

As it happens I think it is now nearly long enough so I'll either stop after a few more rows and start making the fringe or I'll go ahead and put in the rows until I reach the end and then take them out one at a time until I have enough for the fringe. That last option would ensure I had nothing left which is optimal as I hope never to work with this type yarn again.

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Saturday, November 06, 2010

Tucking Tails



Oh, did you think this was about the fallout of Tuesday's election? Nah. It's another peek at what I've been up to with my crochet projects in the last several weeks. The bottom picture illustrates the status of the tail tucking. Lots and lots have been done but I continue to create more tails at a steady rate. Besides the average of 1 to 2 bookmarks per day which could have a minimum of 2 and as many as 22 I've started work on what I was intending to be a set of four place mats with matching napkin rings and coasters but may just stop at one and call it a vase mat.

I settled on 18 by 11 inches and two basic stitches--the half-double and the cross stitch based on a similar pattern of stripes I used in a bookmark last summer. It turns out that each row (and some of those stripes have as many as four rows) takes me 45 to 55 minutes to crochet and there will be over 50 rows before it is done. That navy blue stripe at the top is the half way point. Every stripe generates 2 tails so there are going to be around 60 tails. Tails take me 1 to 3 minutes to tuck depending on how much the needle eye fights against the thread.


Hmmm. I started imagining it as a book or notebook cover too. It's a bit big for this book though as I had to tuck two inches on each end inside the cover and that's a waste. It actually appears to be the perfect size to cover my netbook.

Or I could keep on going until it is six feet long by 18 inches wide and I'd have a runner for a table, piano or bookshelf top.




I'm getting a lot of encouragement to start making my bookmarks available for sale and it just might be feasible as from first chain to dressed in tassels, ribbons and beads there is an average of 60 to 120 minutes of work in each one so I could conceivably expect to get something close to minimum wage for my efforts.

Another type of item that might also pay to make for sale is cat toys. I mean if my Merlin's interest in the bookmarks is any indication, cats would go gaga. After it is string and ribbon. Attach a bell instead of a keyring or bead...

But when it comes to projects the size of the place mat and bigger it isn't likely I could get my time compensated enough. So my mind wandered to another possibility. What about a PDF of some of the patterns that I've created? Could there be a market for that?

I know that to make something like that useful I'd have to start keeping better track of how much thread of each color it takes and which hook creates the best gauge. And I'm still struggling to read patterns so I'm not sure if I'm qualified to write them.

Any thoughts?

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Friday, November 05, 2010

I Want My Keith TV

Yowling for Olbermann won't neber stop til Keith's back


I've been seeing black fireworks against red sky since I opened the email announcement this afternoon. I've spent the following six hours peering through that haze while exploring angles of the story online.

Keith Olbermann was suspended without pay indefinitely by MSNBC today. Ostensibly for donating to three Democratic political campaigns this year without getting prior approval from his boss. I don't believe for a second that is the true reason.

For one thing the rule he supposedly violated is one that hasn't been applied to MSNBC pundits for years. It is meant for those journalists at NBC who need to avoid the appearance of conflict of interest or bias as objective reporters of the news. It has long been obvious that no MSNBC anchor (or other talking heads on there for that matter) are unbiased. They are all pundits/editorialists. Opinion is the product MSNBC has been selling.

The very fact the personalities on MSNBC are up front and even in your face about their biases is why I watch. I'm not watching for the news. By the time they are talking about it I've already seen some version of the story online and attempted to follow it as close to its primary source as possible and if I'm interested enough, followed discussions about it in a number of blogs or other online sources whose integrity I trust. Let me be clear, that does not include any of the networks on or off cable TV.

There's a lot of speculation out there that it has something to do with the imminent acquisition of NBC/MSNBC/Universal by Comcast. Though Comcast denies it currently has any role in policy or decision-making at the organizations.

Me I'm having de ja vu from when they dumped Donahue in the lead up to the wars and I'm wondering if GE, the parent company, is going to start banging the drums again and is acting proactively to free their soap box of opposition voices.

But it doesn't need to be about war. There are any number of agendas the corporate media might want to silence opposition about. Net Neutrality say. The privatization of social security. The repeal of the health care bill and the Wall Street reform. The tax cuts for the top 2%. Attempts to bring back the rules against media monopolies that would prohibit deals like the Comcast acquisition of NBC et al and Murdoch's acquisition of The Wall Street Journal . The fallout of the Supreme Court ruling equating corporate donations to political campaigns with free speech that resulted in massive untraceable money flowing into this year's election efforts for the first time.

I could go on and on. In fact it has surprised me how long the corporate kings had been putting up with their court jesters like Keith--those willing to speak truth to power from a core of integrity and wisdom that those in power have often forfeited.

After Donahue's dismissal I stopped watching MSNBC until late 2006 after I caught a clip of one of Keith's early special comments. I'm stopping again until he returns. Sorry Rach, I'll follow your blog and maybe scavenge clips off the blogsphere but you must realize that if it is either Comcast or GE behind this, they won't stop with Keith. You, Ed, and Lawrence will follow like falling dominoes. The voices with large audience share, like you four, advocating for the common man, the vulnerable, and the voiceless are dwindling alarmingly. What happens when they are all gone?

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Thursday, November 04, 2010

NaNoWriMo Methodology

How to Win NaNoWriMo



Day 4 on the wane and still zero words. Reaching waaaaaaaay out for solutions.

Thinking of writing Dear John letters to each of my characters. All 100 plus major and minor. And then observe their reactions. See which of them will wave goodbye in relief and which beg to remain in my good graces.

Or maybe send them each 'Wish You Were Here' postcards.

Or ask each one to audition on stage for their part with a five minute monologue.

Yeah. I'm really reaching.

The best bet is still the cat. To bad all his words sound like the same word with alternate pronunciation.

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Wednesday, November 03, 2010

NaNo Day 3: This Not What It Looks Like

i try c if grabity bringz betr ideaz 2 mai mind

Beats banging head on keyboard.

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Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Whatever You're Doing, It Can Wait. GO EXERCISE

YOUR RIGHT TO VOTE

watevr ur doin it can wait GO VOTE

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Monday, November 01, 2010

NaNo Day 1: Kitteh Tips

why u bang hed on desk? so u need 1667 wurdz by midnite dis how u getz dem in five minutes

First day of NaNoWriMo not going so well. Total fail. Blank screen won. Zapped me with nap attacks every time I faced. The story is trapped inside the naps--vivid, complex, thrilling, But the minute I hold my fingers over the keys it all flees.

*yawn*

...so it's not just the NaNo file screen. Even this one wields the nap zapper....


zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

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