31 December 2012

Teeth and Angels

While working one of my jobs Thursday night, I was hit unexpectedly by a pain in my mouth. Now, I'm not talking about a little twinge of pain or a random broken tooth that ached. This was almost enough to bring me to my knees. For the remaining four hours of the shift, I stuck it out and kept working. However, I called in at my other job, telling them not to expect me the next day. This freed me up to set a dentist appointment for any time the office could take me.

On the way to my Friday appointment, I got sick. I kept trying to eat since dinner the previous night hadn't been til after ten pm, when I got off work. Everything I ate came back up almost as soon as it hit my stomach. My girlfriend, who was so sweet to drive me to the appointment, said I probably had an infection. At the office, in the chair, I found out she was right. After a brief examination and several x-rays, I was told my wisdom tooth was impacted and infected. I was given a shot for the infection, some painkillers, and some penicillin. I was then referred to a dental surgeon to have the tooth removed.

There's something strange about leaving the dentist's office and still being in the same amount of pain you were when you walked in.

Now, I'm continuing to go to work every day, trying to keep any cold air from my right ear, which also hurts. Every evening around six or seven p.m., the temperature drops and I enjoy a fresh dose of pain. Since the holidays are upon us, I have to wait at least three more days before the dental surgeon's office is even open. When scheduling the surgery, I'm not even going to let myself look at my work schedule unless I absolutely have to because this needs to be done. I have got to get this tooth out of my head.

I was working yesterday, distracting myself from the ache and pain really, when a customer came to my register. As I'm ringing up her merch, she asks how I'm doing and I'm honest. I explain about my tooth and how it hurts and how I'm trying to ignore it. She asks if I have any pain reliever or anything to numb my mouth. Yes on the pain reliever, but I'm not taking it yet because it tends to make me drowsy. No on the numbing agent because oragel doesn't last long and I have no orabase. I'll probably go to the business next door and get some on my dinner break. Wouldn't you know it, ten minutes later the woman walks back in with a freshly purchased tube of orabase? I thanked her so many times and here, I'll do it again.

Thank you for proving that angels still exist.

16 October 2012

The Nerd Factor

“…because nerds like us are allowed to be unironically enthusiastic about stuff… Nerds are allowed to love stuff, like jump-up-and-down-in-the-chair-can’t-control-yourself love it. [...] when people call people nerds, mostly what they’re saying is ‘you like stuff.’ Which is just not a good insult at all. Like, ‘you are too enthusiastic about the miracle of human consciousness’.” -John Green

I am a proud nerd. Always have been. For fun today, I thought I would mention a few of the things that my nerdy side revels in.

Harry Potter - Rowling's series has always been one of my favorites.

The NeverEnding Story - though the film(s) were good, I'm talking about the book. It has been my favorite for as long as I can remember and is still the book I love most on my shelf.

Les Miserables - If I had to get rid of all but one of my VHS videos, the one I would keep, no contest and no questions asked, would be my 10th anniversary Dream Cast edition of Les Mis. This is the first musical I saw performed on stage long before I knew anything about theater.

Magic School Bus - Yes, Ms. Frizzle was one of my teachers. No, I am not in the least ashamed to admit this.

Wayside School - The school was supposed to be one story tall with thirty classrooms on that story What they got was a thirty story building (with no thirteenth story) and one classroom per story. I think the altitude may have affected the students at the thirtieth floor.

Vlogbrothers/Nerdfighteria - one of my newer obsessions, the Vlogbrothers are John and Hank Green who completely revel in their respective nerdy sides and encourage others to do the same.

Animorphs - I own almost the entire series. Still. I also can't wait to get them out of storage.

NaNoWriMo - the insanity inducing challenge I take up at least once every year. Thirty days, 50,000 words. I've been participating for six years and intend to take part again this year.

Pogs - No, I'm not a 90s kid. (Still own these.)

Gigapets - Totally not a 90s kid. (Still own one of these.)

Furbies - I should have one of these guys still. Somewhere.

Game Boys - Yeah, I had all the Pokemon games to go with them. And owned a regular Game Boy and a Game Boy Color. Those I think I finally gave away, which was a big move for me.

Monty Python - British humor. Love it.

Star Wars - yes, yes, yes, a thousand times yes.

Star Trek - I'm a big fan of Next Generation. I also consider myself part Vulcan - I'm far too logical to be completely human.

Lord of the Rings - ah, my favorite of all my nerdy fandoms. I was a late comer to this one, particularly The Hobbit, which I didn't read until last year. My favorite thing about The Hobbit - the story doesn't just end when Smaug is defeated. It keeps going.

Rocky Horror Picture Show - a musical I have not seen live, I'm sorry to say. It took me three viewings to make sense of what I was watching, but I finally did.

Holocaust studies - Yes, I'm a sick sick puppy. This is my favorite period of history to study.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer - a new obsession on my list. I'm still trying to decide exactly how I feel about some seasons of this show. So far, season three is my all time favorite. Favorite character is tied between Spike and Oz.

Well, there you are. A (short) list offering a glimpse into my nerdy side. Do you have a nerdy side? I'd love to hear about it.

11 October 2012

National Coming Out Day

The act of coming out for gays, bisexuals, and lesbians, is always considered a big deal. It's a little sad that it has to be such a big deal, but it is. For a lot of people, coming out is a deliberate choice and a deliberate action. For me, not so much.

My first girlfriend and I were friends first. We got together when I was sixteen. It all started as experimentation and things went from there as feelings developed. One day, I woke up to hear my mom reading a letter aloud. It was a love note my girlfriend had written me. I'd left it in the living room the night before without meaning to. Cue my laying in bed having a total heart attack. No, I didn't get out of bed. I was too numb, unable to believe what was happening.

Later that day, after I managed to swallow my heart and get it back to my chest where it belonged, Mom commented out of the blue. "I found this note and I think she's in love with you." She asked why I had hidden from her and I apologized and said I'd had a stupid moment. I had known from moment one that my Mom would not care and I was proven right.

From that day to this, my mother has fully supported me even in things she does not agree with or understand, such as my religious beliefs. I am so very grateful for my numerous parents, all of whom support me fully. 

Have you ever had to "come out" with a big issue that you thought might change the way people saw you? How did that happen?

Friends Paying it Forward

This is a guest post from Crazed Mind

To kick off Crazed Mind's 2012 Christmas Gift Guide I wanted to share.  Share with you and share my friends.  And I am doing this by hosting a $100 Gift Card giveaway!  I mean what gift is better than friends helping out friends.  And gosh, who can not use an extra $100 to help out with the Christmas budget?

You see when I first started this blog I had the help of a very good friend, Nessa of Texas Housewife.  She spent so much time with me sharing the ins and outs of blogging and social media.  Little by little I grew.  Then I shared with some of my friends and they did with theirs too.  That is how this whole community grows so.  We meet others while hopping from blog to blog and before you know it we have been sharing our lives for 3 years now.

Well when I first started out every single new follower was the most exciting thing.  IT was like Christmas every day.  So I wanted to do just that....make Christmas every day for others.  So with the help of my friends and then add in the friends they want to support we came up with Friends Paying It Forward.

It is really easy.  Just meet the following bloggers.  Then enter via the Rafflecopter below.  We ask that you leave a blog comment here.  That you follow the friends via GFC (that is the Christmas part!).  Then you can follow also on facebook or twitter if you wish.  It will give you extra entries.  Oh and of course you can tweet!  That is an extra daily entry!  On November 1st a winner will be randomly chosen.  They will be notified and when they respond within 24 hours they will win $100 gift card via pay pal or through the mail with a Visa or Master Card gift card of their choice.  The physical gift cards may be broken down into two $50 cards.

So meet my friends!

and of course you know me, Crazed Mind.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

01 October 2012

Goals in ink

My apartment is finally set up. Work has been busy, as usual, which is one reason I have not been blogging. Despite this, I still have my goals in mind. They are actually in arms reach right now, written up and taped by the desk. Some of them include:

One published novel (minimum) in the next five years
One NYT bestseller in ten years

It's no surprise that my focus is still my writing, even when I don't have the time I'd like to dedicate to it. Now, it's a question of making time. I grew up hearing a phrase so important to me that I'm considering having it tattooed on my arm. The entire saying is one my mother cites often. "You have time for what you make time for and you make time for what's important." The second half of this saying, "you make time for what's important," is what I intend to have as my tattoo.

I spent this weekend recovering from a virus and was so glad my apartment was clean. To be there sick and dealing with the mess would have been too much for me. Now, after a full recovery, I'm back to work and my schedule is, for the moment, back to normal. What's normal, you ask?

Job #1 I work most days, usually morning shifts that end in the early afternoon. Here, my hours have been crazy because we've had people quit and have been training new hires.

Job #2 consists of closing shifts on the weekends. The past few weeks, I've been scheduled extra hours here because a co-worker had to take some time off for personal reasons.

Yeah, things have been crazy. Last weekend, I believe, I worked 58 hours over four days, pulling double shifts (one at each job) Thursday through Sunday. I am so proud of myself for making it through those difficult cluster of days - and a little not shocked that I ended up getting sick. Now, I'm back at work and trying to set more goals for my future.

Hopefully, I'll be able to blog about more than work. Anything interesting happening to anyone right now? Please share!

22 July 2012

A Full Plate at Life's Buffet

Do you ever feel like you're standing at the buffet of life, holding a plate overflowing with food? That's kind of how I'm feeling right now. The problem? I can't seem to stop putting food on my plate. This, I think, is one of my biggest character flaws/weaknesses. I get fantastic ideas (thanks, ADD) but tend to fall apart when it comes to follow-through. Again, thanks, ADD.

Work continues and has been going very well. Working two retail jobs isn't exactly the glamorous life, but it means I have money coming in. I'm also (still) trying to teach myself to use my spare time to my own benefit. It seems like my free time keeps getting filled up by little, insignificant things that I enjoy in the moment, but afterwards... Yeah, it was enjoyable, but there's still all this stuff I want to do that I could've worked on instead. Continuing my buffet analogy, I think these impulse quick-entertainment to-dos are like the dessert bar. Lots of fun, good at hitting the pleasure center of the brain, but it won't keep me going.

Things at work have been a little crazier than usual, but I've kept at it and been working both jobs for almost two months. The manager at one job unexpectedly walked out, so we are in flux there while waiting for the company to transfer/hire someone new. At the other job, we have inventory coming up this week and the manager on vacation next week. This means I'll be getting some extra hours, which is all manner of shiny.

More good news: at the end of this week/over the weekend, I will be moving into my own apartment! Yes, I've had an apartment before, but it was at school and on campus. This time around, I get to pay my own bills and set everything up the way I want and I am SO EXCITED!!! I've been ready to do this adult thing for a while, so I'm really looking forward to these final steps. In terms of bills, I actually lucked out: all I have to pay (besides school loans, car payment, cell phone, etc.) is rent and electric. That's a fantastic deal in my book.

Right now, as usual, I'm doing as much as I can to load my spare time down with projects. Here are just a few of the things on my wish list of to-dos.

Moving - mentioned above. Duh. This is a must do.

Packing - Priority one after work and chores and... Yeah, it's on the list.

Novel in progress - a fantasy/horror piece; the initial idea was in my head for about a month before I started committing words to paper.

Screenwriting - my newest brain wave. Instead of seeking a Masters degree in creative writing (paying more money, taking literary criticism classes I really don't care about) I'm going to try my hand at screenwriting. Not sure yet whether I'll be learning on my own through reading and doing, trial and error, or taking online classes.

Media reviews - this morning's random brain wave. I've recently started watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer (FINALLY!!!) and have been loving it. I'm going to try and write up some reviews to be posted on this blog. From there, I may branch out to other tv shows/movies as they pique my interest. If I can keep up with this, I may set up a blog dedicated just to these reviews. Time will tell.

Vlogging - This is always on the to-do list. I'm going to set up a studio of sorts in my apartment. planning for the day I own an actual video camera, external mic, etc.

Blogging - Doing this today. Finally. For once.

Running - I miss this. It needs to cool off in Texas.

BDV history - a never-ending project that I may never get to.

RP posts - bottom of the to do list, but still very much there. There are days it seems more like work than play, but it's writing, so this doesn't shock me. Still, it doesn't exactly help with the motivating.

Camp NaNoWriMo - this is becoming less of a priority. Would it be nice to earn a NaNo win while working two jobs? Yeah. Still, not sure I need a 50k/31day deadline looming. It seems better that I write on my own time as I'm able to.

Yeah, my plate is pretty full. I know I do it to myself. Maybe because of the ADD. I don't know. Anyway, that's just a few of the things going on in my life at the moment. I'll post a tour of the apartment on YouTube once everything is set up.

How do you avoid over-loading at life's buffet? Or do you grab way too much like I do?

16 May 2012

Graduated & off to Camp

One of my (possibly odd) prevailing thoughts this weekend involved spelling. Did anyone ever notice that graduate (the verb, the ceremony) and graduate (the noun, the person going through the ceremony) have the same spelling, but different pronunciations? I thought that was strange.

Bizarre spelling quirks aside, I did graduate on Saturday. The ceremony was good and it didn't rain on us, thankfully. I got to graduate with another member of my theater fraternity - my big. A big, for those who may not know, is an established member of a fraternity/sorority who acts as a mentor to one other new member. Usually, bigs and littles don't graduate together, so I thought that was really cool. I graduated wearing shoes made of purple canvas that, I was told, turned a lot of heads. My shoes could be seen from the stands. Both the photographer and the university president commented on my shoes.

Sunday was the party, which was nice and relaxing. The prep for the party was, of course, chaotic and stressful, but everything was great in the end. Family members and friends showed up and, despite some irritating last minute cancellations from some guests and others who simply didn't show, I did like the party a lot. There was plenty of good friends and good food - we're still figuring out ways to re-invent the leftovers so we can keep eating them!

Yesterday, I got more good news when I checked my grades - I made Cs in Spanish and Speech (classes I was expecting Ds in) and As in my theater classes. I've graduated college with a 2.73 GPA overall. I'm pretty happy with that. My first semester of college, I ended with a GPA of 0.93, which just proves how far I've come.

Still trying to decide on next steps. The ideas I'm kicking around include teaching or nursing, both of which involve a return to college, which will at least let me delay the repayment of college loans. Beyond that, my ultimate goal is to write, so I'm working on building my writing portfolio and, as usual, gearing up for Camp NaNoWriMo.

What is Camp NaNoWriMo? It's the same as NaNoWriMo, which takes place every year in November. The difference is that Camp NaNo takes place in the summer. I took part in it last summer and achieved my first NaNo win. The purpose of it is to write a 50k word count novel in one calendar month. That first win, last summer, I ended with a final word count of 50,066 words. In November of 2011, I got a second win with almost 60,000 words. This year for Camp, the people at NaNo are holding two sessions, as they did the first year. Last year's sessions were in July and August, back to back; this year, they have changed it to June and August, which I think will be better. With a month in between to recover, it increases the odds for participants to take part in both sessions and win both.

Besides my plans for Camp, I'm working on searching for a job, either in a theater or not at this point. I'll be getting back into blogging and vlogging regularly - a link to my YouTube channel can be found in the sidebar on the right. Look here for more updates on my life!

05 May 2012

Love to Mothers

This is a guest post from Crazed Mind

Mother's Day is right around the corner.  Are you ready?  I know I am...Not!  No not yet...but am working on getting there.  You see I need to know just how do I tell my Mom how much I really do appreciate her.  Hallmark has a new commercial....Tell Me.  It makes me wonder just how to do that.

Let me paint you a rosie pretty picture of my childhood with Mom baking cookies and patting my head.  Or let me tell the truth.  Mom was a busy working woman raising 5 kids that were loud crazy and out of control 90% of the time.  Mom taught me the home truths of life....work hard so you can pay the bills so your kids never worry about the lights being turned off.  Love someone that you have seen their ugly side as it will be the one that is snoring beside you in the middle of the night.  Hug your babies tight because there is a day they wiggle away to play with their friends instead.  And use sun block...you will wrinkle...you will age....you will not like it but you can accept it when the grandbabes run to you screaming....NONNIE!
My Mom taught me that as children we are protected and as adults we protect.  My Mom was tough.  She fought for us as much as we fought with each other.  My Mom most often fell asleep in front of the TV right after serving us dinner because her days started at 5 a.m.  And my Mom did without meals, new shoes and at times even transportation so that we could have what we needed.  I want to tell her....

Thanks for bringing me into this world.

I appreciate all you have done to raise me into a strong woman.

Your beautiful because of the lines in your face.

I love you!  I respect you!  I want to be just like you!

And this year I am just trying to figure out how to get it all written on one lil scrap of paper that will unfold out of a red rose.

We have one of these to share with you too.  One that will be able to tell your mom or special person just what you want them to know.  Now all you have to do is figure out just what you want to tell them too!

02 May 2012

Writing again

I've spent a good portion of my day, it seems, getting everything in order for my final end of term conference. It's a one on four meeting between each theater student and the professors during which they review how that student has performed in the previous year. Because this is my last time to meet with them, I'm making a point to gather everything I can - particularly samples of my writing. I've managed to locate one of the monologues I wrote and both the ten minute plays. I'm also going to print out some of my poetry, some of my blog entries, and some of my RP posts so that I will have them in my portfolio if they're ever needed in the future.

Finding the monologues and the poetry had me running all over campus. I also got my paperwork in order from the show I stage managed and pulled together old projects from theater classes as well. On top of all that, I've entered a poetry contest. Now that all that is finished, I need to get my mind off of English and onto Spanish. I can't believe graduation is so close!!!

01 May 2012

Coffee Cravings

I am a total coffee addict.  It is like a life line to me.  I do not need it to get going but love it for the flavor and warmth.  Also what a great way to wake up in the morning!

But as a dedicated coffee drinker, I have to have times where I can get it on the go.  And who does it best?  Your right....Starbucks!

So today I am thrilled to offer Two $10 Starbucks e-Gift Cards for giveaway.  I am sure you can find a way to use them in no time at all.  This giveaway will run from May 1st to May 15th.  I want to thank all the blogs that are jumping in on this bandwagon to share.  Great group...I know because we all hang out together over on facebook.  A bunch of chatty patties and pauls we can be sure.  It would be fun if we could all get together at a Starbucks and share.

Here are the girls and boys of the band who brought you this giveaway!


27 April 2012

Again with the goals

With graduation two weeks away (!!!) I've gone and set more goals for myself and given myself more personal projects on top of my school work. Smart decision? Probably not. Nevertheless, I'm going to try and get everything done. The current project is a writing portfolio. I'm a little surprised I don't already have one pulled together. However, I'm not precisely shocked, which is somewhat unfortunate. Clearly, I know myself too well and don't always work hard enough on shaking myself out of old habits. With that fact recognized, I'll move on. Discussing my own shortcomings is not the topic of this particular blog entry.

The first thing I need for this writing portfolio is more samples of my writing. I do have a few things - research papers written for class, two one act plays I wrote, poems from creative writing, etc. - but I really need to punch it up and show the range of my talents. I'll be pulling entries from this blog to show some of my personal, non-fiction writing. I also plan to lurk some of my own character posts over at a few of my RP sites (more on this later.) Beyond that, I need to figure it out. I could add my NaNoWriMo wins, but am not 100% sure at the idea of including unedited manuscripts that were written in thirty consecutive days and still aren't finished. Besides the sheer massive outpouring of writing for word count's sake that is NaNo, I don't have the means at present to print out those monstrosities. Maybe I could skim some favorite sections and offer them with a summary of the previous action.

For a lot of the writing portfolio, I intend to pull heavily from my favorite RP site and the one I've been on the longest, Big Damn Verse. I've been a member since before that particular site existed and have served as a member of the admin team since fall of 2007. Going into our seventh year, the site has maintained a lot of the same core group of members and a lot of the same staff. We have seven years of original story lines, characters, etc. built up and plenty more to come. If I'm going to be pulling samples of my writing, I'd be stupid not to be pulling from my other online home.

My other big BDV project is a constant work in progress that I need to get caught up on. It won't happen until after graduation, I'm sure, but it's not impossible. That project is the BDV history. I came up with the idea back in 07 or 08 to summarize each of the episodes the ships run through. This would allow new members to know more about what each ship had been through and what sort of characters might fit in with existing story lines. It would also give veteran members a chance to re-read and examine character story arcs away from the massive amounts of collaborative writing that take place in the in-character threads. It seemed like an easy way to step back and make sure we didn't have too many identical SLs running or spot running themes or view a running storyline arc on its own, etc etc etc. I think I kept up with the project for six months, but that guesstimation might be too generous. Now, I feel like I need to dive back into it because 1. it's a project that can, in theory, be "easily maintained" once it gets up to speed, 2. I still think it would offer new members a tremendous advantage, and 3. bragging rights. If I'm able to catch every BDV history thread up to speed on my own, I will be able to say without any doubt that I've read every IC post on the site. That's the theory, anyway.

So, there we have it, the list of things I'm going to work on when I'm not doing homework or packing or cleaning the apartment. Ha! Wish me luck. I'm afraid I'll need it.

Disclaimer: Big Damn Verse is a Firefly/Serenity based RPG. ALL Firefly, Serenity material including characters, Firefly/Serenity photos & graphics belong to Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, 20th Century Fox, and Universal Studios. The Big Damn Verse is NOT affiliated with any of the above. We make no profit, nor do we ever intend to. Disclaimer text copied from BDV main page.

21 April 2012

Freaking out over future plans

I graduate in three weeks. Oh my god. Oh. My. God. 

Because graduation is approaching a lot (read: every spare minute) of my free time has been dedicated to my studies, classes, homework, etc. My days have fallen into a pretty regular pattern. Wake up, get breakfast, go to class, eat lunch, go to class, go home, do homework, eat dinner, do more homework, go to sleep to do it all over again the next day. 

A lot of things have had to fall by the wayside, including my writing, my blogging, my vlogging, and my RPing. I'm less than thrilled, but school has to be my priority because if it isn't, I may not get out and I have to graduate. Six years at one school is long enough.

There are other concerns, of course. I'm getting zero response on my job search and am beginning to get scared. I'm not sure what to do if I don't get a job. The plan, I suppose, would be to seek a masters in theater (most likely in stage management) or seek a masters in creative writing. The advantage to the latter, aside from the strong appeal, is that I could easily get that degree through online classes. 

As for where I'll end up, I suppose only time will tell.

16 April 2012

The best laid plans

Today, I had every intention of getting a lot of things done. I made plans to get a vlog recorded. I worked on my mountain of homework. I wrote more cover letter drafts that I will read and send out tomorrow after a good night's sleep. What I actually completed today, on the other hand, included the updating of my resume, an hour long nap I did not plan on taking, and the mountain of homework. Since I wasn't able to vlog today, here's a blog entry. Personally, I'm just thrilled the homework is done. This means I get to spend tomorrow cleaning the apartment and packing as well as taking a Spanish test and writing a speech. Fun times. Always.

14 April 2012

A Director's Initial Thoughts

Today was my first directorial debut. I think it went very well. My actors put in three weeks of hard work and they did a fantastic job. The show I chose to direct was "Same Time, Next Year" by Bernard Slade. I decided to focus only on the second act because I felt it had a better story to it and could stand alone if necessary. Right before my show was set to begin, I was so nervous. Despite the nerves, everything got set up in time and Mom, Dad, Other Mom, and Poppa were all there - all parental units accounted for. I have to say, one of the coolest feelings was the moments before the show, when we were getting the stage set. Everyone was helping everyone else, which is how things always work in my theater department. The cool feeling, for me, was when my peers were looking to me, as director of the show, to find out what set pieces I needed and exactly how they needed to be placed, etc. It was a very surreal moment that justified the authority I had as director of the show. There were a few flubs during the performance, but they were fairly minor and it all ran smoothly. I am so very proud of my actors for their hard work and dedication. This is one of the best ways I can imagine to cap off my final semester of college.

13 April 2012

Showtime Approaches

Well, here we go. The play I've been directing opens for its one performance tomorrow at 5pm. I'm really looking forward to it. My actors know their lines and their blocking and things are going to be awesome. Next week will probably be difficult. It seems like a lot of things are being put off in the department because of the one-acts, which means that next week we get to pull everything together for the next main-stage production. After that, the semester starts winding down and then all I'll have to worry about are finals. And finding a job.

The job hunt is a big concern right now. None of the theaters I've been contacting have responded. I'm going to start calling on Monday to follow up. I'm also sending out even more resumes. My goal for this week is to be able to work on my writing as well as keeping up with homework and passing my classes. It's been a while since I was able to write and I miss it. What I'm going to write I'm not sure yet. Only time will tell, I suppose.

10 April 2012

Update from a soon to be college grad

Well, this has certainly been a busy month. I'm directing a one act play that performs this Saturday and am I ever nervous! When I'm not in rehearsal, I'm working on homework, which has not led to much in the way of blog fodder. Having time to blog is, of course, an issue in itself. Since I'm sitting in the green room waiting for class to start, I thought I would type up a quick entry to show that I'm still around. I can't believe I graduate in a month!

20 March 2012

Habits for Life

I will be twenty-five in nine days. For the last month, my approaching birthday has alternately been a cause of stress (twentyFIVE!) and a passing thought (while I freak out about homework instead.) Because I'm growing bored of all this freaking out, I've decided to make a list of some of the habits I've developed that I'm grateful for. A lot of people my age (generally referenced as "twenty-somethings") are spending a lot of time "finding themselves" through working, attending classes, or both. Frankly, I'm more than ready to begin the next stage of my life and it's thanks to many of these habits that I know I am ready.

Sleep schedule - I've seen people look at me like I'm crazy when I use this phrase. I don't understand why, cause it's not complex. I don't stay up til four a.m. and then drag myself to class after just a few hours of sleep. I don't stay up all night working on a homework assignment or studying for a test. I get at least six hours of sleep a night.

Budgeting - There's still money in my bank account! Win! I know how much is there! Double win! When I spend money, I do still have a habit of over-spending, but my shopping sprees aren't very common. After a shopping spree, I spend nothing for several months. Of course, I also live in an on-campus apartment and have no bills, so that makes it easier to spend no money.

Finishing things on time - To be fair, there are times I finish things right before they're due (I am still a college student) but I am breaking that habit. I can say, proudly, that I have never stayed up all night to complete a school assignment.

Focusing my energy where it's needed - I'm not a partier. Never have been. I'm not a big fan of clubs or bars or anything of the sort. Because of this, I'm able to focus on what I want or need to focus on. My attention is on school or my writing or my goals, not on going out and getting bombed.

Relationship drama not found - Okay, story. My freshman year a friend asked me for advice. I told her, honestly, that she didn't want my advice. After saying this three times, I gave in and allowed her to tell me the problem. What it amounted to was "I like this person but he doesn't like me and this other guy texted me and I don't know what he means and etc. etc. etc." Me: "Keep in mind, I told you that you don't want my advice." Friend: "Yes, I do. Please." Me: "Okay. You asked for it. First of all, the person you like doesn't like you. Does not like you. You're wasting your energy. If you want to know what the text message meant, ask the guy. To his face. Also, we have a test tomorrow, so you might want to study for that first." Yeah, I can be a little bit of a wet blanket, but my feet are on the ground and I'm not crying over some break-up or whatever.

Determination and follow-through - If (WHEN) I pass my classes this semester, I graduate in May. I've been here since 2006 and I graduate in May. In one year (after a semester of suspension that led to my ADD diagnosis) I brought my GPA up from a .93 to a 2.6 and now I graduate in May.

Yes, I am ready to get out of school and start the next phase of my life. Maybe with these habits, I can make it in the real world.

08 March 2012

Chicken Soup Epiphanies

During a study break, I opened one of the handful of Chicken Soup books I own. Shockingly, it was one I hadn't read - an entire book dedicated to resolutions. I started flipping through, reading some stories and skimming others, when perspective crept up out of nowhere and slapped me across the face. Resolutions, if you think about it, are nothing more than setting goals. This is something I always try to do, but don't always succeed on.

Two stories in particular caught my eye. In one, the writer resolved to stop watching television. She estimated that she had added six years to her life by filling former tv time with other activities. In the other, a writing student passed on the wisdom of his teacher. "[A rejection letter is just] proof that you're writing." As I read this, I heard a click as the truth of the simple statement sunk in. Now, this statement is over my desk in the hopes that one day I will begin collecting rejection letters of my own.

It seems both interesting and ironic that I should read a story about gaining free time and about the craft I so love on the same night that I made a significant move to clear my own schedule. No, I didn't drop out of school. I narrowed my personal extracurricular activities, specifically my involvement in online role-plays. If I can get up the guts to make the big leap, as of tomorrow I will only be on one RP site. I will only have one online distraction/commitment to maintain and I know the people there will wait for me.

In making this decision, I'm dropping about ten RP characters (the number would have been unthinkable had I done this six months ago.) As an avid RPer, this is a pretty big deal for me. I've been taking part in RPs for ten years. Am I ready to quit entirely? No, but I don't think I'll ever quit entirely. Today, however, I've decided to move away from any RP groups I participate in that I don't get anything out of. If playing my characters is nothing but a time-filler, the sort of thing I could do with my eyes closed or in my sleep, if I have no plots to play or characters to build off of, I'm leaving that group.

It's time I take my spare time seriously and do what I actually want to do.

05 March 2012

Enough Already

I'm beginning to wonder if there's some law nobody told me about that says a person's body has to fall apart before they turn twenty-five. It could be some sick, twisted coming of age thing, a test to see if I can face the rigors of adulthood - since, apparently, six years in college with ADD isn't enough. Even if this isn't true, it doesn't change the fact that I've been sick for almost a week and the timing just plain sucks.

On February 29th, exactly one month before my 25th birthday, I started feeling a little ick. Flu like symptoms, very sore throat, and a dry cough. I started taking vitamins, took a couple days off from school, and figured the weekend would help this blow over. Now, it's been almost a week and I'm still sick, running a fever, and suffering from random nosebleeds that aren't really unusual, just annoying. Nosebleeds I'm used to - except the one I had Saturday that lasted over an hour. That wasn't fun. Still, it can be worked around. I'm keeping towels nearby and some saline to keep things from totally drying out.

Today, I gave in and went to the doctor. Basic questions were asked and answered - multiple times. My ears, nose, throat, and breathing were all examined. I was told I had a viral infection and a sore spot in the roof of my mouth. A prescription was written and I took it to get filled. Now, I get to take bactrim (in generic form) and cough syrup with codeine and have instructions to return if my symptoms have no cleared up by Friday. I know I can only take the cough syrup at the end of the day because codeine turns me goofy. The drugs I'm not sure about. I know it won't hurt me to take them. Then I read this on a website: "[This drug] will not treat a viral infection such as the common cold or flu."

Um... What?

Anyway, I'm now taking a drug that may or may not help me and looking forward to spending my evenings in a codeine laced stupor. Other than that, I'm digging myself out of the growing pile of homework and generally just trying to keep myself together.

24 February 2012

Awesome speech project

In a week or two (we have not been given specific dates yet, which makes planning difficult), I have to give an informative speech in my business communications class. Because it's better to speak on something you're interested in, I've chosen to give a speech about vloggers who use YouTube to promote their businesses/charities/personal ideologies/philanthropies. I'm going to limit my 4-6 minute speech to a focus on people whose primary fame is on YouTube; namely, Alex Day, the vlogbrothers, John and Hank Green, and their Project for Awesome (P4A) and StickAid, co-founded by Charlie McDonnell (charlieissocoollike) and Myles Dyer (blade376). I will also include, in the beginning of my speech, a brief overview of the history of vlogging.

Hopefully, I'll be able to record/recreate my speech on my own youtube channel, InkandGrit.

I don't think I've ever been more excited/nervous about a simple class project. Wish me luck!

17 February 2012

Busy, busy

Wow. Blogging. I remember this.

Life has been moving on and doing it so fast I'm just trying to keep up. I spent all of last week (was it only last week?) as a pledge for Alpha Psi Omega, the national theater honors fraternity, and was officially inducted on Sunday February 12. This was actually my second invitation to join, though it was my first time to become a pledge. I am so thrilled to finally be a part of Alpha Psi Omega! Another cool piece of news: I will be graduating with my big (the fraternity member who is acting as a mentor while I'm new to the group) in May. I thought that was really cool.

After Pledge Week ended, everybody started focusing on the musical we have opening next week. A bug of some sort has also started circling the department, which isn't cool at all. Once the show closes, I'm hoping to get a chance to go home and visit my parents, my pets, etc. before insanity descends again.

In March, I face my advanced directing class senior project. I get to direct and design a forty minute one act play with a maximum rehearsal time of forty-five hours over four weeks. That should be interesting, to say the least.This weekend, as usual, I get to live in the theater while we enter into the mad dash to get everything finished before opening night. Next week, during the run of the show, there'll be a lot of the same. I'm on light crew, running a spotlight, and on the hair and make-up crew. Here's hoping everything goes smoothly.

Glad to be back to blogging. I hope I can make more time for this and get back to doing it regularly.

30 January 2012

Life in a Soundbite Society

In my vlog this evening, I talked about a comment that was made by one of my professors. She claimed we live in a soundbite society, that many people these days are so bombarded by technology and constant streams of information that we're essentially drowning in it (my words) and, because of this, we can only pay attention to brief snippets. These brief snippets are essentially what causes us to form our opinions about much bigger issues (her words) and this isn't necessarily a good thing - more on that in the vlog.

Another big issue I have with today's no attention span society is the prevalence of buzz words like attention deficit disorder. I myself am diagnosed with ADD and have been learning how to live with it for the past six years of my life. In my experience, it seems like every time I share my diagnosis with someone on campus, there's always That Person. "Oh, wow. I think I've got ADD too. I mean, I can't pay attention to anything for very long."

Excuse me? You think you've got ADD just because you have a short attention span? Please educate yourself before lumping the two of us in the same group. There is more to ADD than an inability to focus. Hyperfocus, for example, is one of the truly awesome things about ADD. If the only evidence you have re: your "diagnosis" is an inability to focus/multi-task, I'm sorry but I'd appreciate it if you butt out on my disorder.

In my experience, ADD is turning into something of a buzz word. I'm wondering whether it is, perhaps, over-diagnosed as a side effect of our collective shrinking attention span or under-diagnosed for the same reason. There are people these days who can't pay attention to a fifty minute lecture, who can't wait three minutes for a microwave to cook food, who can't be bothered to read a book and must instead gather their facts from an abridgment, a film, or cliff notes. Do all of these people have ADD? I believe that is statistically impossible, though I've done no research on the stats. It just seems like a far too large number, hypothetically.

So, I wonder: is ADD over-diagnosed because nobody can pay attention to anything longer than three minutes or under-diagnosed because the symptoms aren't always noticed in today's "soundbite society"?

29 January 2012

What I've Got

Some days, things sneak up on you that you didn't expect. Today has been one of those days for me. The icing on the cake was hearing my roomie, in passing, comment that she didn't like our apartment because there was no dishwasher or garbage disposal. I'm sure she was just making a comment and I'm sure she thought nothing of what she was saying. The on-campus apartment I call home (which I think is totally kick-ass) apparently doesn't have some of the amenities she is used to. Her comment got me thinking.

I don't have a dishwasher...but I have running water.
I don't have a garbage disposal...but I have the money to buy trash bags.
I don't have the best looking car...but it gets me where I need to go.
I don't have the newest smartphone...but I got mine for a penny.
I don't have a 4.0 GPA...but I'm still going to graduate.
I don't have any scholarships...but I know how to defend my beliefs.
I'm not part of a clique...but I know how to listen to different opinions without arguments breaking out.
I don't have brand name clothes...but the clothes I have fit me.
I don't own new clothes...but I'm comfortable with my own body.
I don't have the newest game system...but I have more books than my bookshelves can hold.
I don't have a large group of friends...but the ones I do have I wouldn't trade in for anything.
I haven't got much money...but I know how to save up for what I want.

I'm not sure when it became a trend to complain about what you don't have. I've got good health - I very rarely get sick. I have the most supportive family anybody could ask for and four amazing parents who I know I could talk to about anything under the sun. I've got two dogs at home, both of whom are in great health and love me as only a pet can. I have amazing talent as a writer and I have the ability to recognize my own worth. I've got a roof over my head with no worry about monthly bills since I'm in on campus housing. I have the opportunity to go to college and spent the next 15 years of my life paying back loans. I'm going to leave this place with a degree in hand, a degree I worked to earn. Why do so many people talk about what they don't have and only focus on areas they're lacking in? I don't understand it. I guess I never will.

25 January 2012

Thoughts on Good Deeds

I, like nearly everyone else on the planet, would like to think I am an inherently good person. I try to do the "right" thing and help out those around me. I try to give sound advice only when I am asked for it - which can be a challenge in itself, as anyone who knows me can tell you. (I'm too diplomatic for my own good. Lol.) I try very, very hard to think before I speak, which doesn't always work, but I'm only human.

Today, out of the blue, I started thinking about good deeds and heroes and people who do good work and leave their mark on others. This category of "good" people spans so many groups. Friends, family members, celebrities, singers, internet celebs, writers, on and on. I got to wondering: is it ever weirdly awkward when a fan comes up to a celeb, artist, etc. and says "your work saved my life." I'm sure it's flattering to hear that kind of thing, but it strikes me as a feeling that would come after the fact, especially if the person in question has never heard this particular statement before. If someone came up to me and said "something you wrote in your book saved my life" I don't know what my response would be. A statement like that suddenly puts a lot of weight on the shoulders of the person on the receiving end. Something you did literally changed someone's life for the better by ensuring they are still around. How much pressure is attached to that idea? Seriously, think about it.

I'm not saying it wouldn't be a tremendous honor, but my god it would strike me, in the moment, as so awkward! Then again, I suppose that's a part of human nature. We're trained, programmed, conditioned, whatever phrase you want to use, to shy away from such issues as our own mortality. That feeling of awkwardness when the issue of mortality is pointed out to us is a pre-programmed response. How do you fight that? What do you say other than "wow"? How many lives can one person or one work actually save? Do some people say those kinds of things in exaggeration or to bring forth that awkward moment? Do they do it in order to deliberately give more depth to the person or thing that did the "saving"?

In my opinion, not to belittle the base idea of inspiration, if the thing that "saved" you was a work created by someone else that was not deliberately created for you, I rally don't know how much the creator had to do with your being saved. You attached significant meaning to the work, whatever it may have been, and that significant meaning you brought to the work caused you to make a change in your own life. Is this a bad thing? No, of course not, but you made that choice. Nobody made it for you.

Yes, I'm probably doing a lot of generalizing and maybe being a little overly cynical. I tend to overthink things and that might be the case today. Nevertheless, there it is. Today's random thought. Hope somebody found it interesting.

22 January 2012

A very simple request

All I wanted to do tonight was get a vlog recorded. I managed that, then went to edit so I could post it on youtube, only to discover that the audio and visual were not synched at all. The camera (a logitech webcam c110) was recording my lips every three words or so, if that, while the audio raced ahead. This is the second webcam (different brands, models, and prices each time) I've purchased in less than a week and both had the same problem. This leads me to believe my computer might be the problem, but I have no idea how to fix it! I need this to work so I can vlog again! This camera has totally FTBA (forgot to be awesome). I miss my vlog!!!!

21 January 2012

An Experiment in Free Writing

Most lies are not big. They're small. They look harmless. Until they multiply. The first lie comes, a spot of jam on a tile floor, a small imperfection that needs to be covered. Put something over it. Now, a stool sits in the corner, covered with a bright floral fabric. The stool has been moved. Something has to take its place in the living room. The coffee table gets shifted, then something is added to occupy that extra space. Because it wasn't there before, it gets accidentally knocked over, the pieces swept under the rug. This creates a lump, an obstacle, that someone may trip over. A chair gets moved, its legs acting as sentries around the lump of debris. Now, there's a chair in the middle of the room. Another tripping hazard placed too close to the couch for it to be comfortable. Wouldn't it be easier to tell about that small spot on the kitchen floor than rearrange the living room? Covering a lie causes more mess. Better to tell the truth right from the beginning and take care of the problem while it is small.

A winner announced!

Congratulations to the winner of my first give-away! Robin L. Scott, I hope you enjoy your $10 Starbucks gift card! Please contact me in the next 24 hours to claim your prize.  Thank you so much to everyone else for entering! I plan on having more give-aways in the future - here and on my vlog. Keep watching!

18 January 2012

Textbook Torture

This evening, I decided to be a good college student and do some homework. Once I found my textbook. After tearing my room apart, I found it, which was fantastic because this meant I wouldn't have to spend $100 on a new copy of a book I already owned. The book in question is for my Spanish class, which I am taking as an online course and am required to complete with at least a D in order to graduate college in May. (No pressure!) After a good ten minutes (and a bad even more minutes) of searching, I finally found the unbound textbook and stuck it into a bigger binder than the one it had been in. No, I did not destroy the textbook by ripping it free of the binding. This is the new trend - unbound textbooks are, apparently cheaper and can't be returned for any kind of refund once the semester is up. Yay for keeping books you'll never need again!

Anyway, I find the book and get online and go to the site where the class is and read up on all the information and am thrilled that I now don't have to spend $100 to purchase another copy of this textbook. I got my refund check earlier today (helped pay bills at home) so I'm not flat broke, but $100 is a lot of money for one textbook! Especially when it's a book for a class outside my major field of study and outside any field of interest. I'm taking the class because they're making me. So, I go online and I look at the information and I realize I need a book key. A book key is a 19 character one time use only code that registers your copy of your book with the site. It comes with the book when purchased new. I'm pretty sure I bought my book new...but I can't find the book key.

Resume the tearing apart of the room I'd almost had cleaned. I'm looking for a piece of paper covered in printed type with the code on it that I need to register my book online. Without the code, I can't do any of my work or even see the assignments. I check everywhere - all my bookshelves, under my bed, my trashcan, even my car - but, alas, it is nowhere to be found. This also means that the solid paper and ink book sitting on my desk is of no use to me. I check the site and there's a question there. "What if I bought my book used and don't have a book key?" I check the answer - and the link provided takes you right back to the spot where you can pay $100 for a digital copy of the book, required code automated so it will work with no trouble.

I start searching the internet, ranting about the situation, and the like. A friend heard about my problem (because I called to vent my frustrations) and found a place online that sells just the book key for $30. Oh, joy! A way to save money! I purchase the code and get the code and plunk it into the site where I still have not managed to begin my Spanish assignment and it's now been an hour...and the code gets denied. I try again. Denied. I type it manually. Denied. Denied, denied, denied.

Okay. Setback. Irritating setback. Maybe I can get my money back. Oh no, wait. Because the book codes are one use only, it's in the site's rules that no refunds are allowed on those products. Does this make sense? Yes. Am I happy about it? No.

After another block of searching/ranting/searching/exercising some of my vocabulary's more vulgar selections, I swallow my pride and feel my pocket-book tighten. I have to spend $100 to buy an e-book copy of a text I already own so that I can do the required work for the class so I can graduate after six long, exhausting years. I go to the site and type in my information. My card gets denied. Twice. Because it had been used too many consecutive times in one day (what with the bill paying and such) and the activity, understandably, would seem suspicious. You know, if thieves regularly went around paying bills registered to the same address as the card they stole.

Oh, did I mention that this Spanish class is having an online meeting tomorrow for anyone who might have questions about the content of the course? Yeah. I'm essentially meeting with my professor tomorrow, albeit over the internet, and I have not managed to do ANY of the required work and, in fact have no idea what kind of work is in there because I can't get a freaking book key! Tomorrow, after class, I'm going to, again, try to give this company my $100 to purchase an electronic copy of a book I already own so that I can cram in as much work for the class as physically possible from the time my classes end at 2 and the meeting starts at 7.

This is how colleges make their money. They team up with websites/organizations/textbook companies who have no simple solutions, only sticky fingers. I can't wait to get out of here! Give me my diploma! It's been six years!

15 January 2012

Reminders, excuses, explanations

First things first: check out the links in the sidebar to the right! Clicking the first link for the giveaway might lead you to win a $10 Starbucks gift card! Keep an eye on my blog/vlog (you're reading one, the other is linked up on the right) for more giveaways once I get money!

Current giveaway entrants, if you tweet the giveaway, please make sure you return to the entry each day you tweet so that your tweet can be recorded as an entry because if you don't those tweets will not help you raise your probability of winning! Thank you so much everybody for entering! You're all amazing!

Moving on.

I spent part of yesterday roaming around campus with the intention of vlogging. My netbook (the teeny laptop with the built in webcam and very little storage space) didn't want to connect to the internet in my apartment and I didn't want to try and figure out the issue. Therefore, I had to walk the three blocks to get to campus where I could pick up a wireless signal. My theory was that I would pick up a wireless signal and then record a vlog entry from either my iPhone or my netbook.

My theory was severely flawed.

As I discovered, campus was dead. Like, dead dead. Classes start on Tuesday and this weekend everything, everything, EVERYTHING is closed. The library was closed and the student center was closed and the dining hall was closed and it's really creepy to be walking around this moderately sized college campus and see NOBODY walking around ANYWHERE. Well, I did see some people, but they were on a tour of the campus, which told me they were not yet students and caused them to fall from my radar. Okay, it wasn't quite that literal nor that immediate because I'm really not that rude, but hopefully you get my point.

After roaming and prowling my apparently abandoned campus, I settled in to do some vlog recording from my iPhone, which I don't like because it formats weirdly. Yes, I could have used the netbook and let it run off battery power, which would have allowed me to also edit my video before posting it and would have led to no bizarre formatting, but I didn't want the netbook to just run off battery power and with my luck it would die.

I also had no idea what to vlog about.

Interestingly, in my mind, this was the lesser problem. You would think it would be more of a pressing issue, but it wasn't. Instead, I roamed campus some more and wondered at its complete emptiness and lack of visible life. There were times I was thoughtful, like "this is the last time I will be walking around campus on the Saturday before a semester begins because after this I'll have to go into the real world." And then I would wonder what I was going to do out in the real world and why the "real world" has been turned into such a significant phrase. At other times, I would look around and think things like," my god, it's beautiful outside; where is everybody?"

Long story short: I didn't vlog because I didn't know what to say and couldn't find a good place to record. Now that this blog is done, I need to get to the more important things I'm ignoring, like the clean clothes in my closet that are awaiting hangers.

Comment, follow, check out my other ramblings (in both text and video form) in the links to the right and don't forget the giveaway!

13 January 2012

Getting to the Point

As I approach my final semester of college, I find myself wondering about stress. How much of it will I be facing? What sort of jobs will I be given in the two theatrical productions remaining in my collegiate career? What extra work will be required of me as I face an advanced directing class, a theater management class, a spanish class, and a speech class? How much free time can I find for my own writing? Will I ever find my textbook for spanish or will I be forced to purchase a new copy? That would suck. Stay tuned to learn the results of my search.

There's not much that can stop all these questions and concerns, but I'm working on keeping myself calm. All in all, the things that best calm me down are reading and writing. I just finished reading a remarkable book The Fault in Our Stars by John Green and his stream of consciousness narrative style is helping me to explore that idea more in my own writing. You remember my previous post on writing routines? As a writer, a reader, a technician, and a college student, I have trouble functioning without my coffee. I'm sure other people have this problem. Well, if you do, never fear! Just try for my give away.

Redesigned logo used from 2011-present.
Image via Wikipedia

Yes, I am doing my first give away. The prize, now that you've sloughed through my above rambling and round about way of thinking (welcome to the ADD mind!) is a $10 pre registered gift card to Starbucks. Instructions to enter the giveaway can be found below. The drawing will be on Jan. 21, 2011. Good luck! I'm off to get more coffee. a Rafflecopter giveaway

10 January 2012

Home again!

Well, as the title of this entry implies, I've made it home. I missed my little apartment and I'm going to miss it even more when I graduate and they make me leave. There was an unexpected shock when I arrived and learned that my roommate from last semester left. Living room walls empty, her room totally bare, and all her belongings gone. I think she's still in the complex because her car is parked next to mine. I guess she moved in with her friend, who lives next door. I'm not really complaining, but a little heads up would have given me a clue as to what to expect.

Shortly after this shock, I checked my email and learned that I'd be getting a new roommate. Today, therefore, will be spent cleaning and trying to find out where to put everything I came home with. I know I didn't bring enough hangars for all these new clothes. I may not have enough for the ones I took to be washed. Time to get to cleaning and take some sinus meds. This weather is giving me a really bad toothache.

06 January 2012


I love my family, those I'm blood related to and those I'm not. However, I sometimes have to wonder about a few of my relations. We've been having some minor issues at home because my dog Chip, a lab-chow mix, has taken to escaping our fenced in yard. She climbs it. Because I don't want my girl picked up by the pound, we've had to put her on the chain in front of the house. She can reach our shaded porch as well as food and water, so it's no torment for her to be out on the chain if the weather's nice. Chip likes being outside.

I was less than thrilled this morning when I saw my girl limping across the yard with a grass burr in her paw. The fact that she was in the yard meant she'd been put in the fence instead of on her chain and had, of course, gotten out. The entire family was informed of this arrangement yesterday and told that Chip's on the chain punishment would last at least a week. My girl is smart and I know that she knows she's being punished. The theory is that enough time restricted to the chain will make her want to go back to the yard, where she can stretch out and walk around. However, the punishment won't work if there's no follow through from my family members. If she's caught in the front yard without the chain, the dog catcher can come pick her up and we'd have to pay money we don't have to get her out of the pound again.

Dear family, almost everyone in the house owns at least one dog. Let's all work together to keep them taken care of and safe. I don't want to lose my baby any more than you would want to lose yours. Of course, with that thought I can't help but wonder if you really care about your pets at all, never mind mine.

05 January 2012

A Bookworm on Books

E-readers seem to be the new "thing." I'll admit, I've been in on my fair share of fads in my life and I do own an e-reader - albeit an out of date one that I was given for free. I do appreciate my e-reader and I love having it, don't get me wrong. I'm certainly not going to get rid of it or anything foolish like that. However, a neighbor recently got an e-reader (new, brand name) for Christmas. Because she has the e-reader, she seems to have given up on the idea of paper-and-glue books. This baffles me.

Yes, an e-reader is light, but unless you're reading a biology textbook for fun, a book can't be all that heavy. Yes, e-readers are well lit and portable, but that big ball of fire in the sky can illuminate paper as well as it illuminates electrical devices. Call me a purist, if you like. I prefer the term bookworm. I have books on my e-reader that I do not own in print. This does save me money, but looking at my personal library, I know I'm not ready to add much. I'm already taking home a trash bag full of books (also free gifts; can't wait to get into them!) and, as such, can see where the e-reader will be taking up a lot less space in my car and on my crowded bookshelves. Those are two benefits of e-readers I can't deny - they do save money and take up less space.

Still, there are times when I want to really live the story with the characters and you can't always do that with an e-reader. A prime example is my e-reader copy vs. my printed copy of Watership Down. There are footnotes in the book, designed to explain aspects of Lapine life as the author has developed them. In the e-reader copy, these footnotes are contained where the page ends in the hard copy. What does this mean? You're reading and you come across an unfamiliar phrase, but in the e-book copy you can't find an explanation of the phrase until you hit the end of the printed page, which may not happen for another screen. The footnotes appear in the middle of the narrative, in some cases. This just makes for awkward reading.

Another example of awkward e-reader reading is when I'll run across a typo. Well, not a typo. It's more like two words were accidentally jammed together. I have to go back and re-read to figure out which words I'm supposed to be reading. This breaks the narrative and interrupts my reading - do not want!

As I said at the beginning of this blog entry, I do like my e-reader. I enjoy the ease of reading - when I don't run across an amalgamated typo - and I like that I can read multiple books at once. I like having the e-reader, but it has its place. I don't see an electronic device ever replacing my books. I mean, when's the last time you had to plug a book in to charge it before you could continue reading?

03 January 2012

Writing Routines

It's said that a lot of writers have routines, behaviors they repeat every time they sit down to practice their craft. Stephen King shuts himself in his writing room from 9-5, viewing it as his job. Some writers have special emblems or totems or "lucky" clothing. Some only hand-write while others only type. If you think about it, we can be just as superstitious a group as actors. (Some of the actor superstitions I've encountered include an actor who repeated the same pre-show routine from the first tech run to the final curtain to the point he arrived at the same time each evening, left at the same time, and did the same things in the same order. I knew a pair of actresses who would only let one technician tape their mics in place because that was the tech who did it during the first dress rehearsal.) Enough about actors. On to some of my writing habits/routines.

Hot Beverages This habit, I believe, is a throwback of learned behaviors from NaNoWriMo. When I sit down to write and it's not school related, I have to have some hot caffeinated beverage within reach. Even if I completely ignore it til it's ice cold, it has to be there from the start. I end up drinking it cold 90% of the time. Lol.

Energy Drinks If I don't have coffee, I'll reach for my energy drink of choice - Monster. There's not much like the feel of wanting to get up and not letting myself do it. When the only way I can burn excess energy is through my fingers moving across the keyboard, man do I get a lot written!

Change Scenery There are times, I just need a change of scenery - for myself, not my characters. One of my best writing days was in a coffee shop during NaNoWriMo. I wrote over 6k words that day. It's amazing what a simple change of scene can do for your mind.

Handwriting When I'm handwriting, it has to be lined paper and it has to be black ink. That is all.

Talk it Out Proof that most writers are a little nuts. I'll sit and discuss dialogue with myself, talking it all out and visualizing the entire scene.

Dare to Write Badly or The What If Universe When I talk things out, I often come up with a lot of things that, while entertaining to write, I know will never fit the story or the characters. So what do I do? I write it anyway and get rid of it later. Sometimes, it's one small moment in the impossible scenario I've dreamed up that will spark the next legit scene in the story.

Write or Die An amazing online program, a lot of my friends think I'm sadistic because I use Write or Die on kamikaze mode - this means that if I sit with the program open for too long without typing, the program will start to automatically delete words. Talk about incentive.

BICFOK The best advice I've ever received - tied, of course, to NaNoWriMo. BICFOK isn't the newest swear word; it's an initialism. Butt In Chair, Fingers On Keyboard. Sometimes, that's the only way to get things done - sheer force of willpower.

"One hasn't become a writer until one has distilled writing into a habit, and that habit has been forced into an obsession. Writing has to be an obsession. It has to be something as organic, physiological, and psychological as speaking or sleeping or eating." -Niyi Osundare

02 January 2012

Salmon Patties - a fantastic recipe

I thought I'd put together a nice quick blog post today, so I'm going to share one of my favorite recipes. It's kind of my signature meal at home and I love making it. What is it, you ask? Salmon patties. They're super super easy to make and they taste delicious. Here's the recipe.

Ingredients: 4 cans alaskan salmon (any brand)
2 eggs
1 sleeve of crackers
salt & pepper to taste

Makes 2 dozen patties, depending on size

First step: open and drain the salmon (if you own cats, put the juice in a bowl or over their food - they'll love you!) then prepare to debone

Deboning takes a lot of time, but I always make a point to do this. To be fair, if you don't debone, it won't be a huge deal. The bones get soft and kind of powdery if they cook in, so it's not like anybody's gonna choke. Still, I suggest getting your hands in there and picking out all the bones. I also remove all the bits of skin. and, yes, I said use your hands. It's the only way to be sure you've got everything out.

Second step: make sure all bones/skin have been removed from all salmon

Third step: crack eggs into bowl

Fourth step: crumble crackers in sleeve, then add the crackers to the bowl

Fifth step: Mix it in! Again, I suggest using your hands. It won't kill you, I promise. ;)

Sixth step (optional) add salt and pepper to taste

Let the mix sit in the fridge at least half an hour

While the mix is sitting, pour no more than 1/2 inch of oil in a pan and put it on the stove to heat. Once it's popping, start forming patties with the salmon and fry them up. No breading or anything is needed. This recipe is so easy and a sure hit if you're a fan of salmon. Try it out!

01 January 2012

Updates from 2011

Well, here I sit at the kitchen table with a glass of wine in my hand. I'm typing this blog entry up on my iPhone 3GS and liking the convenience. This November, I secured another NaNoWriMo win with a final word count of 58,912 words. I'm going to try to get more writing done this year, as well as more writing in general, and more vlogging. I got a set of workout DVDs for Christmas. Between those, my running, and my swimming, I can't imagine how many calories I'll be burning. I need to watch what I'm eating so that I don't lose weight in my attempts to get in shape. These are a few of my goals for 2012. I'm also facing my last semester of college and that, frankly, scares the hell out of me. I've got to get through the semester intact. Wish me luck.