Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #47



Thirteen Things About My Wretched Wednesday


  1. It didn't start wretched if you count the hours between midnight and 1PM during which I had a very good--exceptionally good session--first spending several hours creating my second official post on my new Wordpress site and then visiting the recipients of the award I was passing on. You could say I was riding a bit high during those hours. I ran into a few snags as I fumbled my way around a new platform but each time I solved the problem I felt a little tingle of pleasure. I do not handle change well at all so I expected to be anxious and I was. But the fun associated with receiving the award and anticipating visiting the ones I was tagging in return to alert them of the award and at the same time of Joystory's move kept me motivated. Scroll down to the post below to see a crummy facsimile of the post I'd created.
  2. In fact, I was so motivated that I was still riding a high when I finished making the rounds. I seriously considered starting a draft of my TT immediately. The prospect of having my TT ready to go before noon on Wednesday was rather appealing. Because of the time constraints on use of the PC, I've been encouraging Ed to use my laptop for his TT on Wednesdays from whenever he gets home between three and five to whenever he is ready to give it up. Which means that since I seldom have mine ready to go by early afternoon, I seldom get it posted before late night. So it was really tempting to go ahead and use the energy of that high to at least get started on it and if possible have it ready to go in draft so that I could use Thursday evening to start my visiting rounds.
  3. But I bowed to Sven instead. I wondered what might happen if I applied that energy to my story world instead. I made a deal with myself to give Sven at least one hour of sweat before moving on to the TT post. And that hour went so well I didn't want to stop. It turned into seven. Yes, I said 7. Now most of that wasn't directly applied to writing narrative and dialog which can be counted toward the 70 Days of Sweat challenge but some of it was. I guestimate 1500 to 3000 words. It is hard to do an exact word count on two counts. One has to do with deciding what qualifies as actual story versus ramblings and musing about the story, characters, plot, theme, motives, descriptions of people and places etc etc. AKA notes. Stuff that will make it into actual drafts of scenes is all mixed in with the other stuff because it tends to come spontaneously while I am musing in a rambling fashion. The second has to do with the application I am using which allows me to have up to fifty topic windows open at once. It allows me to tally words for individual windows or a selection of windows. So I can see the words accumulate. It is just not possible to keep perfect track of each day's new words. I can barely keep track of which all topic windows I visited let alone what I might have added or subtracted from them. One of these days I intend to do a post about this ap with screen shots to illustrate what I am talking about.
  4. I reluctantly quit working at one. I knew I had to get a few hours of sleep in before dinner if I wanted to get my TT up by midnight. I was very reluctant to quit though as the pattern has been for every excellent session like that to be followed by a day or two of struggle both with pulling my head and heart out of the swamp where sleep takes me and strings of events difficult to cope with, which are probably more to do with the swampy head than bad luck but which feels at the time like life is just taking delight in sucker-punching me.
  5. And sure enough if it didn't happen again. I swear, if there was any way to get away with it, I would swear off sleep like a bad habit. Waking again--and by that I mean, fully conscious and engaged in life--might take anywhere from an hour to twelve or more hours. In the meantime I am down fifty IQ points and so physically klutzy I'm not safe to be in my own company. Add to this 95% plus visual impairment, over 50% hearing deficit and moderate to severe joint pain. Sometimes, like just recently, it can be weeks before I get back to a state of mind I can call truly awake and with it.
  6. Actually though, today was one of the good days in the sense that it only took me a couple hours to pull out of the swamp and start to feel mentally and physically energetic. That was most likely because I only slept a bit under three hours and it wasn't really deep and continuous. I was thinking/dreaming my story world, the neighbors were talking and clanking (working on a car?) right outside my window and the sun was too bright. Ed woke me up when he got home about three-thirty but I went back to sleep for another hour or so though I kept waking up enough to be cognizant that he had not taken off with the laptop. I was tempted to get back to work but I didn't want to get started only to have him come ask for it. So I daydreamed and dozed off and on until just before five when he brought me my coffee which is also when he told me he was too beat and was waiting until after dinner to do his TT. But by then it was too close to dinner to start on anything.
  7. So I spent that time reading news online while watching/listening to news on the TV. Probably not the best waking up activity. In the forty minutes before I was called to the table I heard or read stuff about the trapped and dead miners in Utah, the downed helicopter and dead soldiers in Iraq, the path of Hurricane Dean, the floods in the Ohio River Valley, the earthquake aftermath in Peru, the Katrina victims still suffering, the rising suicide rate among our soldiers, campaign gobbledygook, and a woman named Joy who had dropped a spoon while stirring something on the stove and bent to pick it up just as her house exploded around her, which probably saved her life but...
    ...which got me to thinking that I would have rather not have survived it. Not if it meant starting over again with nothing. I've told the story here before about losing the contents of our apartment/house twice during our marriage so I won't go into it again. But that is one of the reasons why watching news about disasters that destroy peoples homes is so distressing for me. I don't have to imagine too hard to know what it must feel like. Our losses were due to combinations of personal and macroeconomic mismanagement but the stuff was gone all the same. You can say it is just stuff and stuff is replaceable but sitting here six years after the second such loss still living with my in-laws, still being called to the table most evenings like any teenager I see that stuff as symbolizing an autonomy that is much harder to regain than accumulation of new stuff or replacement stuff. Which is what I see as the most egregious suffering inflicted on the Katrina victims who are still essentially homeless two years later!!!
  8. So this was what was on my mind when I was called to the table. I sat and ate in silence, probably resembling nothing so much as a sulky teen. I noticed that conversation around me was more subdued than usual as was everybody's appetite and struggled not to think it was my fault somehow. Then I realized my father-in-law was wincing repeatedly and a glance at his arm where the ping pong ball sized growth had been removed last Monday, revealed a dressing oozing with blood and fluids. He had just gotten the staples removed yesterday and everything had been fine. It wasn't until his folks left the table that Ed told me what happened.
  9. His Dad had driven over to his Mother's house where his sister has been house sitting since Grandma died in June. She had taken on the care of Grandma's elderly dog Spot and had called to say Spot was refusing to stand up this morning. So Ed's Dad, who wasn't supposed to be using that arm yet, had driven over and as he got out of the car he bumped his arm on the door and broke open the incision. Meanwhile, a trip to the vet with Spot revealed extensive cancer in her hip. So they had to put her to sleep today. Another grief whammy for the family. I had a hard time finishing what was on my plate after Ed told me. I might not have wanted to eat at all if I had know before I came to the table. While Ed was filling me in, his folks left to go after supplies to redress his Dad's arm. As I began clearing the table, Ed went after the laptop and brought it out to the front porch where he prefers to work. (Because he is free to smoke out there is the main reason. But whatever.) Meanwhile, as I cleared the table and washed the dishes, I began planning a memorial post for Spot. I had lots of memories from all the time I spent sitting with Grandma over the last two years. I had a general plan and felt good about it by the time I was done in the kitchen. So as my summer habit has been when the weather permits, I took a book, an iced-coffee and our cat Merlin out to the back yard. Merlin ate grass and rose petals while I sat and read Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince until I lost the light about eight. Gads but wasn't it just last week, I had enough light until after nine? I guess it must have been more like a month.
  10. Anyway. Ed's practice has been to join me out there for a chat before he goes to bed and then help me and Merlin across the dark yard, but on Wednesday's sometimes he doesn't get finished with his TT before Merlin or I loose patience. Such was tonight. Merlin began pestering me to go in twenty minutes or so before I was ready. He kept climbing my bare legs, meowing incessantly and grabbing at my hand on the arm of the chair which sometimes was holding my tumbler. I'm sure he was hearing the ice but I didn't want to fish one out and suck the coffee off before giving it to him while holding a book that didn't belong to me. Forget about putting the book down. About the time I was loosing the light, he grabbed at the bookmark and managed to sling it far enough away I had to stand up to retrieve it. He took off towards the back porch at such a clip that when the leash ran out he about did a backwards flip. I gave in. As I was hooking Merlin back up in the bedroom, Ed was returning with the laptop. He said he would meet me in the back yard after I got it plugged back in since he had something to tell me. I didn't like the tone I was hearing in his voice. Ominous is not an exaggeration.
  11. I wasn't imagining it. He hadn't been working on his TT all that time. He had been trying to fix a problem he had created for me. He had discovered that my new site had been suspended for four days because he had forgotten to insert a piece of code in the footer. There had been no warning. Personally I think that sounds like abysmal customer service even for the free level. Let me clarify that Wordpress is not to blame here but the host site which I am being careful not to name in this rant for fear of Teeing them off while they are holding my content hostage. Ed has been signing up for and testing free host services for nearly a year, trying to find one that will accommodate the plans we have: that will give him access to PHP and CGI and other webmaster goodies; that has above 90% percent up time; good customer service; allows multiple accounts from the same IP; has plenty of room to grow for several months in terms of both storage and bandwidth; and all of this at the free level which is all we can afford. See, this isn't just about moving Joystory. It is about finding a place where I can host all four of my thematically related sites and weave them together into a single entity: Joystory, Joywrite, Joyread and that one I'm being secretive about though I've mentioned it obliquely like this a few times. That last one is the one with the potential to get huge fairly fast once it is up and running. Ed estimates 100,000 visitors per month within 3 to 6 months. Which causes us to pin our hope on it helping us regain that autonomy I mentioned above. To think of having that shut down without warning when a simple robot email could have issued a reminder. Ed was teed by the guy in the site forum he dealt with who sounded a bit like Snape to me. Unforgiving. Just, You had seven days the rules are what they are. Seven days might seem like plenty of time for someone who spends fourteen hours per day on this or has a team of techies to do their bidding, but for someone with a day job and other restrictions on access to the net, seven days can mean as little as seven man-hours. So this was a blow.
  12. Yes, it is probably just a temporary setback but its timing really gave my paranoia pucker power. (For the kiss of a Dementor for all you HP fans.) That whole fundamentalist training which maintains that such setbacks are God's way of punishing rebellion just wakes up and snarls every time stuff like this happens. Then there was the issue that I hadn't really wanted to make the move until after 70 Days of Sweat was over September 20. But Ed had been so pleased with himself for what he had put together for me, I hated to dampen his mood by being my usual timid change-resistant, she-who-gets-wet-one- skin-cell-at-a-time. So I took the plunge Monday night and posted the announcement on both blogs. And now this. Just what I had been afraid of when Ed started talking about moving Joystory. Which was a good part about my anxiety issues. But, I had watched him putting up and abandoning a number of his own blogs and websites as he 'researched' the parameters of hosting. I knew how his initial enthusiasm blazed only to flame out without warning. I did not want to subject my audience, myself or my content to that instability. And sure enough if Ed isn't unhappy enough to be unsure if he wants to invest any more loyalty to this site. I think it is only his knowledge of my aversion to change that keeps him from outright saying, I'm outta here.
  13. So I cried a bit and ranted a bit and then we stood in the dark yard and hugged for a bit before heading back in the house where I proceeded to redo (sort of) the awards post from Tuesday night (see below) and then got started on this TT which was supposed to be an easy, short, recounting of this day's woes. Ha. When have I ever done short. But the woes weren't finished with me yet. When I pasted the TT code into Blogger, the blue background of the table I have used every week for nearly a year now was missing in sections. Blogger was rewriting the code after I switched over to compose and changing the tags to ones I couldn't decipher. I tried for an hour to get it to work and finally decided that now was as good a time as any to abandon the blue table as I had been contemplating ever since I started working with Gimp and began to imagine what cool TT headers I could create. Well I haven't time to create one this week but I might as well take this opportunity to ditch the table. I fished out the code for the header graphic and the official TT code below and started typing.
That was five hours ago. If you think this is long you should have seen it before I cut about half of it out. Give me another two hours and I could edit it down by half again. But what's the point really. Besides it just goes to show what I was talking about in point #3. See I have no trouble at all generating 5000 words per day. I just have trouble judging the relevance of it. What counts as genuine story narrative and what is just rambling musings, wild tangents, and idea jottings. This isn't as rough as it gets but it is rough enough I am reluctant to post it which is why I am still typing....


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