Monday, May 04, 2009


Q: So, walkinghomefromthethriftstore, you haven't been posting much. What's up with that?

A: I dunno. Not much was going on, I guess.

Q: Is it because you got sucked into Facebook, and that took all of your posting energy?

A: Mmmmaybe.

Q: What do you think of Facebook?

A: Like so many other intertubes gifts, it's a double-edged sword.

Q: How so?

A: It creates the illusion of intimacy without actually building relationships. You can confirm existing relationships through the FB medium, but you can't build new ones without some level of person to person real-life interaction. So it's like eating twinkies - tasty and distracting, even addictive, but ultimately the opposite of nutritious.

Q: Isn't that true of any intertubal communication? Why call out Facebook?

A: Ugh, hasn't this already been adequately addressed in the media? In fact, hasn't everyone moved on to deconstructing Twitter?

Q: I guess so. Any thoughts on Twitter?

A: Emphatically no.

Q: Ok. So let's move on - are you still writing?

A: Not really. And by not really I mean no.

Q: Why not?

A: Cuz it's hard?

Q: Yeah, but...

A: Um, I don't know. It's a habit I fell out of.

Q: Got any plans to fall back in?

A: Sure. At some point. Hopefully soon-ish.

Q: Ok. So what else is new?

A: I got an A+ Certification For Dummies book!

Q: Um... ok, why?

A: Cuz I love any test that gives you an A+ just for passing!

Q: No, really.

A: Cuz I have crushes on all the Helpdesk boys?

Q: Come on now. Why, really?

A: Well, because I work for an IT firm now, and I barely know my ass from an OS.

Q: What's an OS?


Q: So, what exactly is the A+ certification?

A: It's an international, vendor-neutral certification recognized by major hardware and software vendors, distributors and resellers. CompTIA A+ certification confirms a technician's ability to perform tasks such as installation, configuration, diagnosing, preventive maintenance and basic networking. The exams also cover domains such as security, safety and environmental issues and communication and professionalism.

Q: Did you steal that from a website?

A: Yes.

Q: So... you want to work for a helpdesk? I thought you were like a software librarian.

A: I'm in IT Asset Management, which is like being a software librarian, yes.

Q: So why didn't you get an IT Asset Management book?

A: There aren't any.

Q: Really? I find that hard to believe.

A: Well, ok, there are a couple. But the IT Asset Management specialization just hasn't existed for very long. I mean, think about it - laptops and software as necessities to business haven't existed for very long, so the need for someone to manage the associated costs and licensing is in its infancy. And it takes a while for the teaching and publishing industry to recognize the trend and teach/publish to it.

Q: Ok, fair enough. So, um, how do you know this won't be like the time you got the editing book? Or the screenwriting book?

A: You callin' me a quitter?

Q: Hey, you've called yourself that many times.

A: Fair enough. No, I don't think I'm going to quit this endeavor. For one thing, my work has a pretty good education benefit, and this is the closest thing I can take classes in at community college that work will pay for. Also, I really am embarassed on the daily about my lack of computer know-how. I feel like I need to catch up.

Q: What about technical writing? Wouldn't they pay for courses in technical writing?

A: Yes. However, in order to write something of a technical nature, you first have to have some knowledge of the information.

Q: Hmm, good point.

A: I know.

Q: Isn't computer stuff really hard though? I mean, computers pretty much work by magic, right?

A: Surprisingly, not at all. Upon reading the first couple of chapters, I found it all fairly straight-forward. Even the terminology, once you crack the acronym codes, makes more sense than a lot of other industry-specific jargon.

Q: But networking - that works by magic, right?

A: Yes.

Monday, March 23, 2009

I Call Do Over

Last week I had a not so good, fairly unproductive day at work. I came home and allowed as how I wanted a do-over. The next day I came in early and got lots done, so the do-over worked.

Now I'd like to call a do-over on the last five days. I didn't write and I ate a ton. A ton!

Instead o' writing, I watched Serenity and Firefly and a doc on Hulu about the folks who dress up as superheros and take pictures with tourists on Hollywood Boulevard for tips. I enjoyed it, but new stuff ain't written, and drafts ain't revised.

The eating thing... I had a sales lunch on Wednesday. Salesfolk have a budget for wooing clients, and said wooing involves swag and taking clients out to lunch at nice places. Our salesman took us to Clyde's, which has an extensive and delicious menu. Calamari was ordered, and while I could have had a nice salad, I opted for the cheesy shrimp and grits, cuz I don't get free lunches that often and I'm not going to waste them on lettuce.

Then on Friday the hobbits invited me to go with them to Outback, cuz they had a gift card. Bloomin' Onions were ordered, and cheesecake for dessert. It seems I have no bravery in the face of restaurants.

Saturday was pancakes with Atomicate day. We went to the O.G. Pancake joint, and come on. Like I'm not going to have pancakes at the pancake place.

The final straw was seeing Watchmen on Sunday. Lil' Italiand Redhead snuck in a bag of Cadbury chocolate eggs and I got a bunch of popcorn. I have no justification here, other than I was hungry and I like popcorn and those chocolate eggs are rilly good.

So this week is going to be a do-over. It's back to nightly writing and salads. So say we all.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

8 pounds and 3 pages

Hmm. My weight loss appears to be progressing faster than my draft revision. Doctors, scientists and MFA grads will have to combine forces to research this phenomenon.

On the weight loss issue: I usually have 500 calories left when I go home for dinner, and dinner is usually 300 calories. However, what with it being lent and all, sometimes it's more like 200. It seems crazy but it's true - when you have vegetable soup and sweet potatoes for dinner, that's about the right number. Stupid minimal-calorie vegetables. Anyway, I am not one to let 300 extra calories just go by the wayside, so I've been eating them in the form of cookies. Girlscout cookies, to be exact, and Samoas to be even more exacter.

It occurred to me, looking back on a week filled with late-night samoa snacks, that this might not be the very best thing to do, seeing as how I'm actually eating more cookie calories than healthy foods calories. But, they are awesome, and I'm still losing weight, so I'm not going to worry about it. Viva las cookies!

On the writing issue: I intended to write an alternate ending to my story last night. I haven't gotten there yet, though. I found that there were many dialogue problems to correct, and that led to cutting more words. It's amazing how comfortable I'm getting with cutting stuff. Once I was able to part with a few beloved paragraphs, I found there were many, many words that didn't need to be there. It still takes a while to do, but I'm thinking I can definitely make this a 5000 word story. Unfortunately I think I'll be getting to the hard part tonight. I did have a flash of 'arrgh, can't do this, everythign sucks' last night, but I brushed the feeling off and got back to work.

And then I watched two episodes of Firefly on the intertubes. Because I have solid priorities in life.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


I finally got back to the story draft last night. As usual, I was scared of the idea of starting, but everything was fine once I started. I focused on cutting the first page. It's a whole page of the setup, so I got comments that it started slow. I took an axe to it, and now the story starts 2/3rds of the way into the first page. So, it wasn't crazy successful, but it's a little better.

So right now, it's 6000 words. I will be very happy if I can get it under 5000, for the simple reason that 5000 is usually the word count limit for longer short stories in most of the online lit magazines I've looked at. I'm not sure if I'll get this story in shape to the point where I'll want to send it out, but even if I don't, I'll probably send it out, because it's just never too early to start collecting rejection slips. It's been a while since I've put myself out there for rejection, and it's something that requires constant practice.

Friday, March 13, 2009

TV helps me read books

TV gets a lot of crap. I know someone who likes saying "Theater is art, movies are craft, and TV is furniture." Funny thing, but this person and I are not close. It's a bs statement. TV is a medium, like theater or film, and what's on it can be art or it can be crap.

I will always defend TV, particularly in this here golden age of awesomeness. Here's one reason: TV helps me read books. Example: Stephen King's The Stand. In my youth, I loved me some Stephen King. I read every book of his I could find as a kid. (I still read him, but I remember discovering and then devouring his books back then.) With one exception: The Stand.

It's a huge book, firstly. It chronicles a plague apocalypse, and then the survivors battle it out, representing the forces of good versus evil. Now, plague apocalypse: SO up my alley, especially when I was a kid and was obsessed with the end of the world. So I read the first section, no problem.

Then we get into the survivors battling it out. Ok, there are too freakin' many of them. There's like, fifty characters, easy, and we're expected to care about all of them. I had issues. Also, I believe the post-plague part deals with my least fave character - the one who's starving in jail before the devil shows up to barter for his soul. And the devil barts with him for a while, and I'd get bored, and stop reading.

Then, some time in the 90's, the powers that be decided to make The Stand into a four-part TV series. And it was effin' AWEsome. The opening credits pan over the military super-flu creators, who are all in various poses of ACK-BLAH-dead, while Don't Fear the Reaper plays. Kick-effin'-ASS!

And then the fifty or so important characters are played by actors, who all look different, so I know who they are. I don't have to work my tiny brain to visualize. And then, mirabile, I went back to read the book, and was like, Oh yeah, that's the character played by that chick from Just Shoot Me, and that's the one played by that Gary Sinise, ok, ok, I got it. And I read it all and loved it.

Maybe I'm dumb. But if so, it doesn't change the fact that TV helped me read that book. So there. Suck it, haters!

Next up: Lord of the Rings. I got never read past the endless elf-poetry. Elf-poetry that was notably ABSENT from the kick-ass movies... Maybe I can finally get through it, nay, enjoy it, now. So let us all bask in TV's warming glowing warming glow.


I think I finally got enough. Yesterday I went to bed at 8pm, and actually woke up just a couple of minutes before the alarm. Sweeeet!

Getting enough sleep is muy importante to me, because ever since Back Pain: The Sequel, I've been cutting calories to lose weight. And sleep-deprivation = more feelings of hunger. Yesterday I was esstarvink, and ate more than my allottment of 1500k. Good thing I passed out shortly after dinner or I'd have kept on eatin'.

I had been doing Weight Watchers online, and it wasn't working for me because I was doing it half-assedly, so I got and read Carol Lay's The Big Skinny. It's better than most diet books because it's a graphic novel. So anyways, rather than counting points I'm counting calories, and eating 500 less than it takes to maintain my weight, which is 1500 per day. Now that I'm ok'd for exermacise I'll be doing that too, starting... tomorrow. Not today. Tomorrow sounds good. Anyways, without daily exercise, I've lost 6 pounds int he last 3 weeks.

I am trying not to think about it too much, as thinking about it gets real tedious real fast. I'm happy with my progress so far, so I'll say no more about it for now.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

So tie-tie...

I got critiqued and survived. Yaaaaay! Well, I had my story critiqued, not me myself, but same difference.

It went well. I got some useful comments in terms of things that I absolutely need to change (confusing dialogue, continuity errors, formatting issues) and also some thoughts of things that maybe probably should be changed (lots of back story on the first page, story-story doesn't start until second page) and then thoughts on what people think I should change but I may or may not change. Did I just use the word change like a million times? Yes. Yes I did.

Happily, there were at least four people who said they really enjoyed reading it, which definitely didn't happen with the first story I brought to the group. One dude really really liked it; he said he was reading it and had to stop to pick the kids up at the bus stop and then was running back to read the rest. And what more can you ask for than that? That's an amazing compliment. I was gratified and apparently my subconscious was THRILLED cuz I went home and fell asleep and totally had a dream about a three-way with him and one of the ladies from the group. The dude is married and the lady is probably not bi-curious so I woke up feeling the like the biggest perv in the universe. Go me and my crazy brain!

The downside to writey group is I have a hard time winding down afterwards; it takes me a while to fall asleep and so now today I'm all kinds of tired. Boo.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Excuses excuses

So, tonight my 2nd short story is being critiqued at writey group. I posted the draft last week, and have been studiously avoiding writing anything ever since.

I want to work more on this story. I like it more than I liked the first short story attempt. Maybe I like it too much. Who knows, but my thinking was I'd see what everyone thought at writey group and then go back and work on another draft.

According to most professional/awesome writey writers, this is the wrong thing to do. What you're asposed to do is put one thing aside and immediately start working on something else. So in other words, you should still write every day. Because I haven't followed this advice, I think it'll probably be hard at first to work on another draft. Such is life. I'll still do it and everything, I just think it'll probably suck for a while.

In other news, I went to the back docker and he told me to go ahead and do any kind of exermacise whenever, since I can't make the herniation worse, and it'll go away in a couple of years. My first reaction: AWESOME! My second reaction, ah, crap, now I really do have to exercise. Starting an exercise routine again after doing nothing for months is going to suck much more than taking a week off of daily writing. Look for me to be sore and grumpy for a while...