Thursday, July 31, 2008


Back when I was in fifth or sixth grade, the town I grew up in went through it's sesquicentennial anniversary. There was a bit of fanfare as I recall. I didn't really care much about it then and I still don't, but I always thought the word was pretty cool.

This morning I finished book 3 of the second novel and it's one of those books that I just want someone to read right now so I can gauge their reactions. Ideally, someone should read it and after finishing they should decree aloud, "Oh, that's kind of sad." I just want to see if that's the reaction I get. Alas, it'll be some time before I get to test that hypothesis.

I generally use these points to take a little stock in my progress (for now, that's numerical observations) and I was surprised at how many "perfect" stopping points today represented. First off, I stopped with 6015 words so far for the week. Pretty cool as I wasn't looking to break the 6000 word barrier at all and certainly not so closely.

I also started a file that holds all of the chapters of the second novel. Checking the word count, I have 46187 words completed so far, not so cool until you add that total with the words for the first novel, 103914. Giving a grand total of 150,101 words. (That's why sesquicentennial popped in my head.)

Now that's pretty cool. As you can see, if I was actually going to finish the main story in two novels, I'd be approaching the half way point of that second novel. As it stands, I have no idea how close I am. I suspect I'll need that third novel and thirty years or so will have to be skipped between the second and third. Bummer.

Still, I have little to complain about considering I have written 27,000 words in the month of July. A pace I'll have to hope continues. If I want to have any chance of finishing this story before I get kicked out into the street, that is.

Honestly, I didn't think, at first, the pace that I have been writing would be sustainable for very long, but I feel that I still have a long way to go before I get burned out. The truth is, I feel as though I have finally gotten myself into a solid routine. It may not be the typical nine to five job like routine, but I write pretty much every day and the days that were average when I moved out here, I find a little embarrassing now. The few days that I do take completely off are generally the "in between" days after finishing a chapter or book and I am in preparations for the next one.

I guess for now, I continue to feel mentally strong. It won't last forever, but I am good at riding the wave once I get it going. If I weren't, I never would have finished that PhD thing.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

I Was a Bad Wittew Boy

I was pretty lame in my writing yesterday, giving up after less than 450 words. And tonight, I was falling asleep at my keyboard after a mere 700 words and change. I felt it was time to break the glass and pull out the emergency tools. Well, actually, I gave myself the choice. Either go for the caffeine pills again, or walk down the street to get a soda. It was 4am, so I just went for the pills.

Which do you think is less healthy? All that super sweet sugar along with the caffeine, or just the caffeine straight up, knowing that I'm taking a double dose compared to a soda? It's a tough call.

Anyway, once again, I can't complain about my secret weapon's results. I followed up that 700 words with another 2500. How can anyone complain about 3200 words in one night?

I know. I know. My addictive personality may get the better of me and I could start to rely on the magic motivation. Mmmmm! Wouldn't that be nice! Think of all the work I could get done before I actually had a problem. I could stop just before then. I can handle it. I'm an adult.

Come to think of it. I'm 2700 miles away from my closest friends. There's no one here to stop me even if they wanted to.

Alas, it doesn't matter either way. Even though my last dose was what? Five? Six days ago? It didn't quite have that same jarring high the previous round had. The quickly diminishing returns would have me quitting in no time. It's so sad. As addictive as my personality is, I'm too lazy to get addicted to something I would so quickly find physically, emotionally, or mentally unsatisfying. How pathetic. Looks like I'll have to stick with becoming an alcoholic.

Next year...

Sunday, July 27, 2008

And How Was Your Week?

On paper, this was probably my most productive week since moving out here. I did indeed hit the twice revised goal of 7000 words and even dogged it a bit at the end so as not to write too much. Why would I do that? Well, I'm not sure if next week's goal of 5000 words is attainable. I have one chapter left to write before finishes the third book of the second novel and after that I am at another impasse about what I'm going to write next. Mind you, what I want to write next is easily a novel unto itself. So I have to boil all that information down to my standard 3-5 chapters that I have been keeping the books at. I can't wait to see what I come up with.

Is that a good excuse for not writing as much as I could have. No, of course not. Mostly, I just don't want to burn myself out. So what was my end of the week work dodging? I finally finished a book I started years ago. I had only managed to get through the first quarter so I went back and read the whole thing. I won't bother mentioning it because few would be interested.

Next on tap, a book people may be interested in, is a steam punk novel by China Mieville called "The Scar". For those that don't know what steam punk is as a genre: it is a sci-fi/fantasy classification made up by people who are too self important to think that their work falls into the general category of sci-fi/fantasy. The unifying characteristic of the world settings in these types of stories are typified by a lack of fossil fuels, and as a result, steam is the form of energy usage that was developed through the ages. That explains the steam. The punk comes from the punk ass bitches who think their work is anything but a mix of sci-fi and fantasy.

Cullen bought me the book after loaning me the first one, "Perdido Street Station". I think the most interesting thing about that book in particular was the main character is actually the city itself. Mieville goes to great lengths to describe the city and everything about it, he has effectively personified it into a character that effects the actions of everyone in the main story. As a result, his descriptions get a little verbose for me, but they are not as oppressive as Charles Dickens or Anne Rice. I think the main thing I like about his writing (and this is based on the first book) is his vocaulary. It is rare when I have to look up a word; either out of curiosity as to it's exact definition or it is a word I haven't seen before and his writing caused me to look up at least three or four. It was nice to read something that was written with an educated audience in mind, so I suspect the second book will be equally interesting.

This week, I also read some Japanese manga. I have mentioned an anime to a number of friends called Naruto. Oddly enough, I don't recall if I have mentioned it here. If not, I do recommend it. It's a great story with a lot of character development to a lot of interesting characters. Anyway, I wanted to see how much the manga deviated from the show. As it turns out, not at all. The anime recounts the manga perfectly. Well, actually the cartoon has a number of story arcs that are just filler because the cartoon episodes can recount the stories faster than the comic. Other than that, everything in the manga appears in the anime.

Also, I have been watching a great deal of the Tour de France. Today is the last stage, but I am 2-3 stages behind, so I have a few days before I learn the identity of the winner. Watching the stages is a true time investment as I am downloading the full stage coverage. Even without the commercials, the mountain stages run over four hours long. The flat stages are less interesting in some ways and last 2.5 to 3 hours. I am a bit disappointed that the American hopeful, Christian Vandevelde has slowly become eliminated, but considering he wasn't expected to place anywhere near the top, his current 6th place (based on what I've seen) is a pleasant surprise.

I am still pretending to be a vegetarian, but since I bought some cheese and a half gallon of milk, I can no longer claim any ties to veganism. I think today represents the end of my third week as a vegetarian. Though, I suppose purists would not call me a vegetarian. I checked the ramen noodles I have from time to time. The noodles themselves seem fine, but the salty seasoning that comes with it, depending on the flavor, appears to contain powdered chicken or powdered beef. I would be willing to question how much meat actually goes into a chicken pulverized into a powder, but it's just not that important to me.

All in all, I guess it was a productive week....

Friday, July 25, 2008

It's That Time Again

I'm sending off the latest batch of Blog posts to my mother and grandmother. This bunch actually runs from June 2 until this post, so it's been a while. I hadn't wanted to let it go so long. Mostly because the file is now some 36 pages. The paper is not an issue I have a ton of that lying around. It's the ink. I don't know if I have enough ink to print off 72 pages.

Sorry mom, you might have to borrow the end of grandma's copy.

The cartridge was brand new as I printed out the last batch, a whopping 30 pages because I included the Michael Crichton speech I link to in one post. I have no idea if one cartridge can print 130+ pages in total. I'm sure you're all quite curious now, but you'll have to wait until tomorrow to find out! That is, if I blog tomorrow.

The reason I mention this stuff is I have been thinking about my grandmother and the stuff I have been sending her and all I can think is, "What must she think of me now?"

Some of the stuff I insinuate or flat out discuss is not something one discusses with their grandmother. Many other references she couldn't possibly understand. I doubt many but the most elite friends of mine catch them all. You know who you are. Hopefully, because I don't.

Anyway, I guess I'll find out at Christmas time when I go back to that boring desolate land where I grew up.

Since I tend to think a little more broadly and abstractly, what would someone I did not know at all think of me if they simply started reading my blog from the beginning until now? How would they describe me? Arrogant, pedantic, elitist all spring to mind. Ribald, dismissive, scornful would probably do the trick. I guess all that would even be correct.

Imagine a grandparent thinking all that of you.

I'll tell you what it's like in January.

Thursday, July 24, 2008


Warning: My last post was about eight hours ago, so you may not have read that. For the sake of continuity, you should read that first.

After my last post, I set about frying myself up some veggies. I know, third day in a row and I'm not sick of it yet. About five minutes before I started eating, I decided to go for the caffeine hit. I had struggled through writing some 280ish words before I quit to write my blog entry. So I really wanted some inspiration. I took three tablets, 600mg, or the equivalent of four Starbucks espressos. I wanted it to hit my empty stomach a few minutes before the food arrived. I know I'm a glutton for punishment.

I don't think many people realize that if caffeine weren't so ingrained in our culture prior to the creation of the FDA, it would never have received the okay to be sold over the counter. It really is a drug and that much caffeine at one time, when you haven't had any in a while will really give you a high. A genuine high. Sometimes it can give you the jitters as well, but to me, it's all worth the high.

Tonight, I got the pure high with no jitters.

It was a beautiful thing. And if you don't think caffeine can be the water for the seeds of inspiration please note that it has been about eight hours since my last post and I just finished writing another 2268 words. Best of all, I really like what I wrote. In fact, day four of this week just started and I have already written 5512 words, so it's already been a really good week with me hitting my 5000 word goal. As long as my judgment is impaired, I suppose I should reset this weeks goal to 7000 words just to give me something to shoot for.

Sorry for the bragging. I feel great. I can still feel the rush within me. I do think I am tapped out on the writing for one day though.

Other side effects: Aside from the obvious rapid heartbeat and diuretic effects, like most amphetamines, caffeine is an appetite suppressant. I haven't eaten in well over seven hours and I can't figure out if I'm hungry or not. In fact, because I took so much I have that "not right now, but I'll probably throw up in another two or three drinks" feeling.

Perhaps a nice glass of diuretically natured cranberry juice will help me decide. It'll also help push the caffeine through my system for those who are worried about me after reading this post.


I can already foresee the crash and sluggishness that will be in store for me tomorrow. I'll probably have to take the day off to recover. I'll be sitting around dreaming of that next hit and how wonderful it'll be. Oh well.

Good thing I'm not addicted or I'd never feel this great.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Where For Art Thou Caffeine?

I have now had the opportunity to try the braintoniq elixir eight times. I feel this is an adequate number to give my impressions. Honestly, I miss the caffeine. Actually, since I went veganish I haven't had any caffeine at all and I really miss it when I am writing. But getting back to the braintoniq, it doesn't seem to have much more effect on me than a glass of orange juice. It's a shame. I had high hopes for it. These things vary from individual to individual, so feel free to check it out for yourself when it comes to your neighborhood.

There is a joke among mathematicians that states a mathematician is a machine that turns coffee into theorems. In my case, it is more appropriate to replace coffee with caffeine since I don't drink coffee. As I previously stated in my "Some Coke and a Smile" post (I'm not going to link it, I am too lazy to look it up.) I really like the feeling I get from caffeine. I also said it is not uncommon for me to skip it for a few weeks every now and again, and for those that didn't believe me, the past couple of weeks is an example.

No wonder I got sick. No meat, no caffeine, how's a body to function?

Sluggishly, that's how! I did buy a bottle of double strength Jet Alert a few years ago. Oddly enough they still have almost two and a half years before they expire. Who knew raw caffeine could sit around so long. I get a kick out of the label saying it is non-habit forming, but then I still have a half bottle left, so who has the last laugh on that matter? Perhaps they assume the people with weaker minds, who somehow manage to get addicted to the stuff, won't use their product.

I mention the Jet Alert because I really feel like I need a hit. I'm still not in the mood for a soda, but I do feel like I want some caffeine. I suppose once I get around to having breakfast I'll pop a couple of inspiration pellets and see where it takes me. With my luck, it'll put me to sleep.

I guess I do have an update. I wrote the head of the math department at UNLV about teaching in the fall or the spring. For those that didn't know, it is a state school and at the moment the state (just like NY) is in a hiring freeze and nothing is available. I have been reading about the slipping economy and when people can no longer afford to go on vacations, it really hits this area hard.

There are a bunch of other colleges in the area, but all the non-state ones are DeVry/ITT Tech type schools that I would never teach at unless they made it well worth my while. Since they won't and since these kinds of barely accredited schools keep math on the far end of low on the totem. I'll just say no right now.

For kicks, I looked into doing some secret shopper gigs. I did a few of them back when I owned the restaurant, only theater checks as I recall, and it turns out there are quite a number of things available in the area. Not surprising considering the amount of customer service that goes on in this town. As always, there was a catch. Apparently Nevada is the only state that requires a person doing this type of work to have their private investigators license. I looked into said license and let's just say, I'm not apprenticing for five years just to be able to snitch on Burger King employees.

Looks like it's back to writing and becoming destitute in six months....

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


I have to say my second batch of soup was not as successful as the first. I really love that Creole spice and without it, the soup just isn't the same. It's just too bland for my underachieving palette to cope with. Of course, I can't alter my upbringing and couldn't bring myself to throw out a gallon and a half of soup no matter how lame, so I drained the stock, put most of the vegetables in a container and fried up a serving in a skillet with butter, salt, garlic powder, and paprika. My food is back to being yummy again because, as we all know, dog shit would taste yummy if fried up properly.

I was thinking earlier about my current vegetarian kick, and it occurred to me that I am actually eating vegan, or mostly anyway. Aside from a little butter, the only possible exception is the two packages of ramen that I consumed in the past week. I don't know what the noodles are made of exactly. I have never checked; mostly out of fear. I think it is safe to say that if I am eating food that looks as though it is stamped out into bricks, I don't really want to know what it is made of.

My only comment on vegan eating: Do vegans really defecate this much? I greatly prefer offering up a healthy tribute to the porcelain god once or twice a day. Instead my oblations are spaced out 6 or 8 times a day and are completely unworthy of the effort. Fortunately, the porcelain god is merciful. I am somewhat curious to see if this behavior evens out after some time.

As for my meat addiciton, I think I am well past the woods on that one, but I fear it will be like my alcoholism (once I officially become an alcoholic that is). I will always crave that next form of meat based product. Fortunately, I am past the point where eating a serving of veggies is unsatisfying. Perhaps it is the frying of them in butter.

I have been reading a lot the last couple of days, so I guess I don't have much of anything to offer other than my writing continues to go well. Two days in for the week and I am at 2100 words. It looks like a good start to achieving my goal for the week. Speaking of which, I have been thinking of pushing my goal to 5000 words a week.

A number of factors have pushed me accept this, most importantly is the realization that I may not have much of a chance of finishing my main story arc by the end of the year. I had hoped in the beginning to be finished in two books, and as I mentioned before, I am not convinced this will be happening. In either case, I see no reason not to push myself just a little bit harder. Besides, I have hit the 4000 word goal five weeks in a row now. It's not much of a goal if I continue to achieve it. Goals are intended to be achievable while pushing the envelope.

Come to think of it, I see no reason I shouldn't start with that goal right now. Five thousand words should be effective. During my five week streak, I managed it the first three times, but the last two weeks I barely squeaked by. This will give me a good excuse to push things a wee bit more.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Interesting Week

Well, it was an interesting week for me. Alas, no one else would find it so. I did a whole lot of relaxin' to recover from being sick. All things considered it was a pretty mild illness. I did, however, manage to tough out a few words a day which was enough to get me my 4000 word goal (4224 words).

Why was it interesting? I don't know. First, I still haven't eaten meat, so that's like 10 or 11 days. I haven't kept track. Not that this is really a great accomplishment considering I have gone 18 days without solid food, so I guess technically, that's 18 days without meat. It was probably closer 25 days considering the time it takes to reawaken the digestive tract after a liquid diet of that length. I'm actually planning on making another pot of soup tonight.

Second, I have been enjoying the Tour de France. It has been a wild race; very unpredictable. Which is saying something considering one of the top favorites is leading the race. Of course, it's only by one second after 11 days of racing. (Shhh! I'm a couple days behind, don't tell me if it's changed.)

Third, over the last two weeks I watched a cancelled series called Arrested Development. I watched more this week while sick, of course. I don't usually like half hour sit-coms, but I'm not sure I'd call it a sit-com. It was a really high brow comedy. So high brow, I can't believe it lasted two and a half seasons. That and the fact that it had a continuing story arc over the three seasons, I would have guess it would have been cancelled in about a half a season. I don't really endorse much television, but if you have the chance to check this show out I do recommend it. But do understand you can't just watch any episode because of the continuous story arc. The narrator does a good job of bringing you up to date, but it is best to start at the beginning. Rent the DVDs and see how it goes. Since its cancellation, the show has amassed a great cult following. There seems to be plans in the works for a movie.

That's really about it for the week: sleep, writing when I could, Tour de France, Arrested Development.

I think it was an interesting week because I was so well entertained. Usually, I have to seek my own entertainment, and since I try to avoid addicting amusements, this can occasionally be a challenge. It was nice to sit back and relax with some exciting and intelligent entertainment for a change.

I guess it is time to get back to work in earnest tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


I think I am going to take a little vacation from the blogging. I think I am coming down with something; a cold probably. It just doesn't pay to have contact with any other people at all. As a matter of perfect timing, I received two things I was expecting today. First, my BrainToniq arrived, but if I'm getting sick I'm not so sure I want to try it for fear of skewing the results. That sucks...

Also, I had a note taped to my door telling me that management is coming tomorrow for a maintenance inspection to make sure the smoke detector is working and the like. Normally I wouldn't care, but I'm sick and I was just complaining on Monday to Vicki and Moose that I haven't cleaned in a month. So now I have to do that while sick. It just goes to show, don't put off until tomorrow unless you know for certain you can really put it off until tomorrow.

Well, I guess I feel well enough (for the moment) this morning (actually, it's three in the afternoon) that I'm going to get some writing done before I begin the cleaning that is over due. Then I'll relax for a few days and get back here.

Monday, July 14, 2008

It is Inevitable, Mr Anderson

I have quite surprisingly managed to blog every day for the past eight days and I suspect this ninth post may be the last in that trend. I have discussed many times my ever shifting cycle of seeming to live on a 25 to 26 hour day. It is likely not so noticeable for the readers, but for me, my posts this past week have come earlier and earlier in my own personal day and I can only assume that in the next day or so, I will miss posting in an actual calendar day even though I won't actually skip blogging for a day personally.

I know. My life is so dull, how could I possibly pass up on giving everyone that info?

Today was indeed an interesting day. I was awoken by a call from Moose. Naturally, I called him back an hour or so later when I was done sleeping because my days are getting later and later relative to everyone else's. He was calling to tell me about how he purchased a new $220 headset/microphone. Something I would love, but there is the price tag, and the fact that I don't quite need it yet.

What do I mean? Well, in my dealings with Skype and trying to record the conversations, the ultimate point is to really learn more about computer audio. Next year, hopefully, I will start releasing my book online in a serial and if I can become educated enough about the medium, I may even read the book aloud to make it a podiobook. Basically, an audiobook made into an .mp3 file as opposed to a CD or cassette. (Does anyone under the age of 50 really use cassettes any more?) There are other concerns, namely, my voice talent and such. I am good at enunciating the words, but can I read it all in an interesting way? We'll see, until then I'll stick with learning more about the medium of computer audio.

For the record, I have had very little success using Audacity in recording Skype conversations. Skype is just too proprietary and takes over my sound card controls, so it appears I'll have to look for a program written for the purpose of working with Skype rather than the best free audio studio on the internet. Of course, the fact that Skype doesn't have such an obviously useful function built right in is another gripe, but considering how well it works, I may have to see if I have any additional uses for it, other than allowing Moose and I to spread our own special brand of verbal diarrhea encrypted through the internet. Of course, if I use Skype more, I'll definitely need a headset with a better microphone. See, that's the circle of life in action on a blog post.

After contending with Moose, I wrote my recommended daily allowance and then, as if divinely inspired with her timing, Vicki called me and she and I talked for some 105 minutes. I don't know why I remember such details. She is another one who thinks my actions this year were courageous. People need to stop telling me that. I just might get a big head.

Finally, I did a few other things that I guess I'll have to plead the fifth on. I can't blog about everything I do.

So with that said, I suppose I should point out that today is the third day where I haven't eaten any meat. I rarely go into these things with a plan on how long I will do them.

How long does it take to break the addiction of eating meat?

I'll just keep going for now. I've done harder things, just to prove to myself that I can.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Surprise Success

As you may well imagine from the title of this post, I was indeed successful in hitting my 4000 word goal this week. I must say that it is quite a surprise to me seeing as how it was such a tough week of writing. I will take these small victories when I can get them.

Last night, I finally downloaded and installed Skype and then created myself a user account. For those don't know what Skype is, it is a program that allows one to make telephone calls over the internet. Calling other Skype users computer to computer is free and if you want to call from your computer to someone else's land line or cell phone, there is a nominal charge. I have a cell phone for my communication purposes, so I certainly won't be wasting any money on Skype, but I suppose it is an option for people who want to contact me. I have a handful of friends who use Skype and if they desire, I'm sure something can be worked out.

For kicks, I looked into seeing if Audacity (the open source recording studio I have mentioned several times) could be used to record Skype conversations and indeed it can. It didn't take long to set it up to do so, but I suspect I will have feedback problems between the sound coming over my speakers and my cheap microphone. If it becomes necessary I suppose I could invest in headphones to prevent this from being a problem. But I don't anticipate using Skype all that much and recording said conversations even less.

As I said, I have a cell phone for communicating, I don't need to run my conversation through my computer. One interesting thing is that it is encrypted and secure. For the moment, it is out of the purview of the illegal wire tapping that the Un-Patriot Act currently allows. That's just for the citizens out there who are worried about the FBI listening in on their communications with impunity.

If you don't believe that kind of stuff happens, here's a little food for thought. I've never been sure what to make of this anecdote. One time I was talking about similar topics with my father, in particular, the illegal wire tapping, listening in on conversations featuring buzzwords, and the like. I then spouted ten or twelve buzzwords like Al queda, Islam, terrorist, Muhammed, etc. all in a row and about 15 or 20 seconds after I was done, I heard a click on the line. This was a little odd considering we were both on cell phones, and then the connection went dead. I then had to call my father back. I'm sure the timing of the disconnect could very well be coincidence, but it was a very timely coincidence.

This is how conspiracy theories get started. I'm not much of a conspiracy theorist. I am sure conspiracies exist, but they are not nearly as prevalent as many like to think. But then, that is a topic for another day.

Okay, I have to say it: All you Bozo's out there, we did indeed land on the moon. Please learn a little something about science before you allow grotesquely ignorant people to convince you otherwise.

Yes, well, now that that is out of the way. I suppose I can get back to the subject at hand, Surprise Success.

Hmm, I guess I was done with that. I was just rambling.

I guess I am done.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Much Improved

I can't say as I slept great last night, but I do feel a bit better today. Perhaps this cool weather is suiting me well. That's a bit of a joke as it's been "rainy" the past couple of days, and by rainy, I mean I heard thunder last night and I think I noticed a wet sidewalk not due to a sprinkler today, but I'm not sure. I am sure that two days ago was the first day in about 4 weeks where the daily high did not break 100 (it was 98) and today the high maxed out at 92. I took advantage and went to the grocery store, knowing I wouldn't evaporate on the way. The last I'll say on the matter, is that opening the doors late at night to let in 81 degree fresh air, is not that refreshing. At least the refreshment level did not justify the number of bugs that manged to find their way in even with the lights off.

Yes, I sit in my apartment all alone late at night with the doors open and the lights off.

I called Moose while I ate breakfast this morning. I was complaining about my lack of inspiration of late. I was also complaining that I didn't think the pacing of the story was going fast enough. He feels it is going fine by the way, but I still feel as though I need to move things along at a slightly faster pace. There are a lot of major events I am skipping, but seeing as this is a sort of 100 years war kind of thing, I really can't cover it all directly. I'll wait to see what my two alpha readers have to say before I worry about it enough to lose any sleep on the matter. Wait...

I did manage to push ahead and write close to a thousand words today. In fact, I finished the second book of this novel. I wasn't expecting to be quite so inspired today, so I called Moose back and we talked another 93 minutes. Now mind you, when Moose and I talk, it's like two friends talking over a round of explosive diarrhea. You just never quite know what's coming out and in what state of matter it will take form, but suffice it to say we talked about a lot of things and not all regarding the book. Most notably, he's trying to get me to start playing an online game, so we can team up at it. Despite it's freeness, I wasn't buyin'. I told him I have a tendency to make games a habit and my addictive personality makes me waste too much time at them, so I keep the number I play in close check. In particular, one at a time. Since I am already playing a game where I am in charge of a little battling alien, that's enough for me.

I did discuss my idea for the next book and the next character. I made him name her because he complains about the names I come up with. I keep telling him they're just place holders and he can come up with anything he wants. I vetoed his first try, a Vulcanesque name. I wasn't buyin' that either. I can't stand those stupid Sci-Fi names with apostrophes in them. I accepted his second attempt, Hedra. Without much prodding, he was very good about honoring my convention that female names end in a vowel. Actually, almost all of them end in "A", except, Vertu. I didn't realize this until a couple of months ago. Apparently, my subconscious thinks names ending with "A's" or vowels sound more feminine. I certainly didn't think of it consciously, but now that I have noticed it, I'll probably stick with it.

Now that I have a new character to construct, for some reason I am excited about starting her story. I normally take a day off between books to catch my bearings to find where it needs to go, but I did a lot of that this afternoon, so I suppose I'll start writing, "The Programmers" tomorrow. I have in about 3400 words for the week, so I guess I have a good shot at hitting my 4000 word goal. The way the week started out, I wasn't expecting to get there, but maybe luck was on my side.

Speaking of luck, I am surprised at how prolific my blogging has been this month. I had expected a decrease due to my daily viewing of the Tour de France. Perhaps my lack of writing motivation has guilted me a bit and I made up the difference on my blog entries. If that is the reason, it seems I need not have felt so guilty. I know this week is not going to be over 5000 words like the last three weeks, but I can live with the 3400 I have now considering the writing week I've had. The fact that I may yet hit the weekly goal is just icing on the cake.

Friday, July 11, 2008

TV Rant

Here is a little rant of mine in regards to the way television is run. I'm sure it's odd coming from someone who doesn't even own a TV, but whenever I see stupidity I have to say something. Also, the comments are very general, so obviously they can be nitpicked in regards to individual shows. I am simply commenting on the trends I have seen.

With that in mind, someone please tell me why this past decade or so, TV execs have been running around like their heads have been regrown with pixie dust? At first, I liked the way the cable companies were shifting their television seasons. Due to a more year round audience and the increased prominence of cable TV, summer reruns were being replaced with new content. In fact, because of the cable viewer model, it seemed as though TV was heading toward a true three season television cycle. A big improvement over the fall, spring, summer rerun schedule I grew up with.

The cable companies came out with 12 and 13 episode seasons, and I wasn't a big fan at first. I mean, that's a short season and an eight month break between seasons is a long time, however a season aired week to week without any real interruption and I came to feel it was a fair trade off for the near year round new content.

This new model also struck me to be ideal for DVD sales. A year of viewing would run as follows: four months on TV, a six month wait in anticipation, hit the masses with DVD sets 6 to 8 weeks before the next season, tempt them with deleted scenes, maybe a preview of the upcoming season and everyone's charged up and ready to go.

For a while, I even thought this model, once the networks picked it up, might actually lead to fewer cancellations for new shows. My foolish reasoning assumed that a 13 episode season was not as big of a commitment as a full 22 episode season, so execs could let a series play out in hopes of drawing in a larger audience to see if the show caught on. If not, viewers and creators could be reasonably happy that at least they got to finish out the season.

Unfortunately, even though the cable channels seemed to be doing well with this model the networks couldn't seem to get it. I swear cancellations on the networks are announced sooner every year, though I feel this is more likely due to their antiquated system of counting their viewership. Which prevents them from making informed decisions and they wind up canceling shows based on inaccurate numbers. Nevertheless, the networks, rather than picking up this same model, tried to make a hybrid with their old model. They ended up airing fewer midseason reruns, thus increasing the time between the fall and spring schedule from 8 to 10 weeks to 16 to 17 weeks, while at the same time preventing people without DVRs from having the opportunity to catch up any episodes they missed.

Very quickly, people began complaining about watching 8-10 episodes, waiting four months on a mid season cliffhanger and if the show wasn't canceled, then they get the last 10-12 episodes. I don't blame viewers for getting annoyed.

Then we get the next evolution of problems, namely, most of the cable channels are owned by the networks. So rather than trying to fix the networks scheduling model, they start fiddling with the cable channel's model.

And what happens?

They start splitting up cable TV shows seasons. You end up with crap like, Battlestar Sopranos where they wait to present the last season, then it gets delayed, then we have a writer's strike to delay it longer, and then just to really rub salt in the wound, they split the last season into two parts, where the second part gets played next year.

I remember way back in the days when they called maneuvers like that something else: Season five.

A lot of cable shows are still having success with the short 13 episode seasons. I still can't figure out why the networks haven't jumped on this with a little more passion. I can see why they're reluctant to change. If you have a successful show, you want that 22 episode season. But the truth of the matter is most shows can't pull off that 22 episode season. They end up giving you those really awful filler episodes that don't progress the story and just leave you unsatisfied and annoyed. A 13 episode season is just so much tighter in its presentation, and hell, if you need to, throw in a few two parters and make it a 16 episode season.

Of course, I am neglecting two things: Reality TV and those crappy half hour sitcoms I stopped watching as a teenager because I grew up. Both of those are nothing but fluff from start to finish. There's no rule that says they can't have two 11 or 12 episode seasons a year. Hell, It's worked for Survivor and may even be enough to convince the TV execs that this new model isn't quite so scary.

Thursday, July 10, 2008


I suppose I should revise my estimate about my pot of soup feeding a family of 12. I have had 6 bowls thus far and have eaten more than half. I guess it feeds a family of 10, with no leftovers for Papa.

After eating so many vegetarian meals the past few days, I have come to two conclusions, one obvious and one not as obvious. The obvious conclusion: My stool, though still a solid, is much softer. (I didn't say it was an interesting conclusion.) The not so obvious conclusion: I'm addicted to meat.

I mean that in all seriousness. I think I have meat at every meal, except for when I eat cheese pizza. And since both places out here where I have ordered pizza have two toppings included on their respective specials, it's been months since I've had a cheese pizza. My two favorite toppings: pepperoni and ham.

This veggie soup is worse at curing hunger than Chinese food. I know people joke about being hungry an hour after eating Chinese food, and maybe they are, but I'm usually good for 4-5 hours. Literally, within 90 minutes of eating this veggie soup, my body says, "Hey! You forgot something!" and it tells me I'm kind of hungry, but I know I'm not. The problem is I'm not, or rather my body, is not satisfied. It's looking for that protein burst; something just a wee bit more substantial, I suppose.

Naturally, I can't let a situation like this stand. I don't know what it is about me, but once I have a realization like this, I feel the need to fix it. If my body is crying and whimpering for some sort of meat based food product. I won't let it have it. Or at the very least, not at every meal. So I've decided to have meat only once a day for a few days and then maybe even go a couple of days without any meat at all to break my body of this expectation.

I think I do things like this to let my body know that I am in charge. My decrease in meat consumption could very well be the reason I have been a little off in my sleeping and motivation. Which is a bit weird, considering vegetarians accuse meat eaters of being more sluggish overall because their bodies are continuously forced to break down the animal proteins. It's likely my body is just rebelling at the consumption of too much healthy-ish food. If that's the case, I'm sure it won't need to fear too long.

For those that don't know, proper vegetarians tend to live longer. I throw in the word proper, because it is hard work to be a vegetarian. You've got a lot of requirements the body needs and it isn't always easy to get them in this day and age, what with all the food being doped up on more hormones than a person preparing for sexual reassignment. For the record I applaud those who opt to eat organically. I buy organic whenever I can. It is usually well worth the added expense.

Anyway, I guess that's it for my dietary plans for the next few days. I suppose I'll continue to be grumpy. We'll see if I can mange to get in my 4000 words with this week being so tough, because you know, my life is so difficult.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Fart Onomatopoeia

As I was trying to come up with a title to this post, I wanted a "fart sound" followed by "Ow! My Brain!", but I could not come up with a suitable word to emulate a fart sound. Perhaps someone out there can post in the comments a suitable onomatopoeia.

I slept better last night, but still not terribly well. I woke with a slight headache and that generally uninspired mood, but since I took yesterday off, I just couldn't justify it two days in a row. I know how hard many of my friends work each week, so it's hard for me to whine about feeling goopy when a days work averages less than four hours for me.

Nope! I can't even muster up sympathy for myself. So I consumed 3 ibuprofin, a 5 hour energy shot, and a glass of Pepsi. A true breakfast of champions! All I was lacking was a box of little chocolate donuts and I'd be ready for the Olympics this summer.

This concoction seemed to do the trick in terms of getting rid of my low grade headache and providing enough energy to write 850+ words. Sometimes, you just need the right drug cocktail in the morning to get things going.

If you think my poor diet is likely the biggest contributor to my morning yuckies, I submit that I felt pretty good this past month until I made the yummy, delicious, and healthy vegetable soup a couple of days ago.

For those of you that said right away, "Hey! It doesn't logically follow that the soup is making your mornings crappy."

Congrats! You're learning. Give yourself a gold star. Now go away kid, yer botherin' me.

Back to the issue at hand, fart onomatopoeia. Why would I need such a literary device? Well, one of the main things I intended to blog about today was the fact that my supply of 5 hour energy is running low. After this morning, I have 4 bottles left. See? Now it all comes together. that's why I wanted a fart onomatopoeia followed with, "Ow! My Brain!".

Last October, or maybe it was November, I bought a half case of the stuff; 72 bottles. Why so much? Obviously because I'm cheap. The stuff is expensive, so I bought in bulk to reduce the price by 30%. Also, it has lasted me more than half a year, so it was well worth the investment. Being down to four bottles it seemed that I had to decide if I wanted to reinvest.

I cannot deny that this stuff works for me, most of the time anyway. It took a little bit of learning to find when it was most effective so I could utilize it only at those times, but I definitely like the effects. Also, I tend to only get 2-3 hours of quality time rather than a full 5 hours, but then I am usually maxing out my vast brainpan which is twice that of normal puny human so it makes sense that it only lasts half as long.

I like the fact that 5 hour energy is made up mostly with vitamins and minerals rather than sugar and other crap. I won't go crazy and call this healthy for you because, at the very least it has caffeine, but I don't think it is terribly unhealthy when you consider America's typical liquid repast, coffee. I also like to try new things, so when I went online to order a new helping of brain enhancing energy elixir, I decided to try something different. In short, I wanted to find something with similar effects without the caffeine. I would then deem such a product to be healthy. Despite my penchant for eating crap, I will often make the right choice when it presents itself.

After a little researching and a timely recommendation from a Leo Laporte podcast, This Week in Tech, I settled on a product called BrainToniq. By all means check the link. It is not readily available everywhere just yet, so I ordered 24 cans online. Bigger discounts can be had with larger orders, but I wanted to try it before I go crazy.

After I test it out, I will let everyone know if it is a worthy replacement to 5 hour energy or if it has as much value as ylang ylang.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Idle Pointlessness

I slept really quite awfully last night. I'm not sure why, but I was up every couple of hours, I had some weird dreams (that are now forgotten), and it was pretty much the worst sleep I've had in weeks. It must be a subconscious thing, because all of my writing the past five weeks or so has finally caught up with me. I have reached a juncture where I'm not sure what I want to do with a couple of minor characters.

I am in the middle of the second book of this novel, and when I finish it, I'm not sure what I want to come next. I had made plans on what I was to write next, but now I am reconsidering. Things are moving way too slowly in this novel and with the pace that I am setting, it almost seems like I am going to need an entire third novel to finish things off. This may happen in the rewrites, I don't care there, but I wanted the main story arc to be done in two novels the first time around.

I took Sunday off after writing 5800 words last week, and yesterday, I updated my character sheets because I have been writing so fast I was getting behind. As it was, I wrote 700 words in my character sheets. Trust me, that's a lot. This morning, after sleeping so poorly, I gave Moose a call to see if I could bounce any abstract ideas off him (I knew he would not be caught up due to the holiday, so the ideas I was throwing out had to be a bit on the abstract side). Sadly, it didn't really help, like it often does.

I tried to come up with some ideas, but most of the day, I ended up watching the Tour De France. I watched the preview show and the first two stages. I have been looking forward to this, so it was a day reasonably well spent, even if the tour was used to keep myself awake long enough to go to bed at a reasonable time without napping and causing myself to be up all night. If I did that, I would invariably get nothing done tomorrow either.

Why? I don't know. It's just the way I work. I figure I'll start writing tomorrow and see where I go from there. With any luck the writing process, even forced, will cause an epiphany or two. I'll probably have to rewrite my timeline. I think that is one of my problems. The original timeline that Moose and I created to get the ball rolling has gotten a bit outdated in some ways, so I need to reset things I guess.

I am not so surprised as to the slow down. It was a bit inevitable, though I was particularly enjoying the productivity. However, there are other forms of productivity and it seems I am in need of working on them for the time being. Alas, it won't add to my precious numerical data that actually shows off my progress.

And if all that doesn't work tomorrow, I still have stage three and four to watch.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Earth Soup

Cullen wanted my jambalaya recipe and I was too lazy to write it down in detail, but then I also haven't made it in a while. When I do, I'll write out the recipe and post it here with the exact measurements that I use at the time. That way, I won't have to write out "Family Guy" measurements like a "hammock of rice" because when I cook, I just throw a bunch of stuff in a pot and season until it tastes good.

Yesterday, I decided to make myself some veggie soup. Yes, it was 105 degrees out, but I wanted soup. I had to open the door to let out the heat if you can believe that. Anyway, here is my recipe for veggie soup. I call it earth soup because I find vegetables have an earthy flavor and when I make this soup I like to use more earthy flavored spices.

First, note that I cook in a 16 quart big ass pot, so when I cook something like this I make enough to feed a family of 12 with some leftovers for Papa, so you may want to halve the ingredients that I list here.

Start with a big pot adding about 2.5 quarts of water. I'll start to heat this slowly so that I don't have to wait so long later when I want to bring things to a boil. If you're halving things this is not necessary. Also, if you want to add chicken to make this a chicken veggie soup then you may also want to replace some of the liquid with some canned chicken broth. Now honestly, how many of you have made homemade chicken stock? I've done it, but not often since I just don't cook enough. Try it if you ever get the time, I felt it was worth the effort.

Anyway, Dice up the following and dump it into your cooking pot:

8 scallions
2 oz. of fresh cilantro
2 oz. of garlic (minced is preferable to dicing)
1 large yellow onion
1 green pepper
10 large carrots
1 bunch of celery
1/4 pound of string beans
3 medium potatoes

It's important to note that I don't like tomatoes, so I didn't add any. Feel free to add them even though they are a fruit and not a vegetable. And please, no comments about peppers being a fruit. I know, but I like those.

Also note that I don't put a lot of potatoes in the soup even though I like them. As a lazy fat man I know my body does not play nicely with carbs, so I keep them to a minimum. Feel free to double the number of potatoes.

As far as spicing goes, add whatever you like, but I like garlic so I prefer to add more in the form of garlic powder, NOT garlic salt! You can also add more minced garlic, but it increases the number of random little floaties in the soup, some days I don't care, other days I do. My minced garlic in a jar was running low, so I used the powder to supplement.

As long as I mentioned salt, a good soup has plenty of it. Personally, I rarely add salt to my cookings directly. I tend to replace it with some form of mixed spice that contains salt. For this soup, I add a Creole Spice that I picked up at the dollar store in Hannaford plaza. It's main ingredient is salt, but you also get the benefit of a handful of other spices. Unfortunately, I used my last of it and threw out the bottle so I cannot clue you into the individual spices that it contained. Anyway, I recommend this as a fine salt replacement and use it to salt to taste.

The final spices that I consider "earthy flavored" are rosemary and thyme. These are more "dull earthy" to me as opposed to the cilantro which is a bit more "sweet earthy". I used these two to even out the cilantro, so maybe an ounce each. I used less because they were dry as opposed to the cilantro which was fresh. If you can get them all fresh then all the better.

Bring this concoction to a boil and then let it simmer for an hour. At the half hour point, check the broth and add any spices you feel it is lacking. Do the same at the one hour mark, but also try a potato. If you add more spices, cook for 5 to 10 more minutes. When the potatoes are done, the soup is done. The total cooking time will vary dependingon the size you cut your potatoes.

Please note, I prefer my soup to be much more solids than liquids. This will make a soup with less broth than what comes in a can. If you like more broth, add more liquid at some point, but there's no need to add it at the beginning. Feel free to add it at any time throughout the cooking process.

I also like noodles, so when I heated up some more for lunch today, I added a packet of ramen noodles to my bowl. This, of course, can be done during the original cooking process, but I don't usually add them until I am ready to eat.


Sunday, July 6, 2008

Ylang Ylang

It never ceases to amaze me the kind of nonsense businesses will do to sell their crap and yet I can't always blame them. I recently bought some dish soap. Naturally, I get what's on sale because why spend any more than I have to?. This time it was Ultra Palmolive Aroma Therapy featuring Lavender and Ylang Ylang. I didn't think much about it at the store, but now that it is sitting on my counter awaiting use and I am forced to read the ridiculous label over and over, it occurs to me, I don't even know what ylang ylang is.

Here is a link to the Wiki article on ylang ylang.

I'll give you the highlights: It is a pleasantly odious plant native to the Philippines and Indonesia. It has since been replanted to grow in Polynesia, Melanesia, and Micronesia. I can only assume this is because it is "esia" to exploit the local people as a workforce.

As hinted at by the name of the product, ylang ylang is an essential oil in aroma therapy. It is purported to relieve high blood pressure, normalize sebum secretion for skin problems, as well as being an aphrodesiac. Apparently, it is also a common ingredient to MotionEaze, a motion sickness medicine.

I have no reason to doubt that this information is correct for the wiki has been found to be (statistically) as accurate as the Encyclopedia Britannica. I have only four things to say about this wiki information:

1) Thank God, I am not going to secrete sebum all over the place! Well, at least not right after I do my dishes anyway.

2) What in aroma therapy is not essential? If our herbal specialist, who went through days and weeks of training in their lifetime, told us the truth that "Herb X" was not essential, but might almost be somewhat, kind of enjoyable in its placebo effects; would these saps runout by the drove to buy it?

3) What in aroma therapy is not an aphrodisiac? You know, I think people are just horny. It's a bilogical process. You don't need to sniff flowers to get it up or to get it off. They're called hormones. If you want to do it more often, get an injection of hormones. Just don't come crying to me when you're half way to becoming the opposite sex.

4) How is something a "common ingredient" to something with supposed medicinal value? Isn't their secret formula as sacred as the Colonel's eleven herbs spices? What? Do they allow their employees the freedom to sit back, not add the ylang ylang, and joke about how everyone's sebum is going to get out of control on the plane?

Well not this man's sebum! I don't get motion sick, so I'll be sure to do my dishes before I get on a plane.

Of course, I can't blame Palmolive for selling to these Aroma Nuts. The Colgate-Palmolive corporation is just trying to make a few bucks. As anti-big business as I am, I can't blame them this time. I blame the suburban weed sniffing nut jobs that are too self rightous and "scientific minded" to believe in Jesus Christ, but they think smelling the extract of a flower picked in xxx-esia by some little boy for four grains of rice is going to improve how in touch they are with themselves and the rest of the world.

Well let me just tell them that I am in touch with myself on a daily basis and I never needed ylang ylang to accomplish the task! If you have all that disposable income to over inundate your nostrils, why don't you just increase your self importance in the world the old fashioned way. Send that little boy a bag of rice so he can take a day off and then you can have something worth bragging about.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy Birthday

The Fourth of July has never been much of a holiday to me. I'm not sure many people think much about the fact that we treat it as this nations birthday. I'm sure a fair portion could tell you if pressed in the same way they could tell you Christmas is supposed to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, but I don't think people consciously sit down and think about the 4th of July as the birthday of the United States. Maybe it's just me.

My friend Scott really seems to enjoy this holiday. In fact, he has told me that it is one of his favorites. Primarily for its social aspects, the cookouts with friends and the communal fireworks and so forth. And that's nice. It's a good reason to like the holiday and I'm glad he enjoys it so much.

Unfortunately, I'm just a jaded old stick in the mud. I like fireworks as much as the next guy, but it doesn't bother me to miss whatever local fireworks may be going on. They're just fireworks and I've seen them a million times. I haven't even checked to see what is going on locally. I suppose I should have, but it never came up during or after my writing sessions this week. Which is going quite well by the way. Even with the losing of a day this week because I have switched back to a day time schedule (It's one of those living 13 waking days in a 14 day time span thing) I have almost written 5000 words this week. I could likely hit 6000 before I'm done.

I will indeed miss the social aspects of the holiday. Probably for the first time since I've moved out here. Fortunately, I received an email from Charles to rub my face in the fact that I'll get to miss out on tonight's Knickerbocker karaoke. I'm not much of a singer, and that's high praise for me, but I enjoy it nonetheless. Mostly because I like to sing with my friends. Singing by my lonesome is okay, but even I don't like listening to myself. I would much prefer to screw up a song with someone I enjoy passing the evening with. I'm sure I'll miss that.

And, of course, I'll miss the opportunity to put away another session toward becoming an alcoholic. It was apparently unwise to set such a goal in a year when I'd be living alone and not surrounded by friends who can let encourage me to drink once a month or so. Perhaps next year.

I woke up this morning at 3:30am and it is now 2pm. I guess I might even be going to bed before the fireworks start. It wouldn't surprise me. I went to bed at 8pm last night. The reason I mention this, is I don't know what to do with myself for the rest of the day. I've written my 1500+ words and have done pretty much everything else I had expected to do today and now I'm kind of tired. I feel like I could almost go to bed now, but I also feel as though I ought to be going out to find something to do.

On days like today, people expect more than the standard amount of socialization out of other people. I suspect that is more imagined peer pressure though. I don't feel the need to go out and find some strangers to spend the evening with. In fact, I'm sure I would be too tired to put any effort into enjoying it, and thus, would seriously not enjoy it. So I think I will stick to my standard actions of not succumbing to peer pressure and stay in for the rest of the day.

If I had someone to socialize with I guess I would, but I don't, so I'll just go to bed early. I do want to say that I hope all my friends out there have an enjoyable and more importantly a safe holiday. May you all enjoy the day as much as my friend Scott.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Day Off

I didn't eat for a while prior to going to bed, maybe 9-10 hours, and then I slept for 7-8 hours. After waking up with a migraine approaching due to the lack of food and water, I decided to take the day off and relax for a bit. I thought it reasonable after writing so much the last couple of weeks.

I drank a nice glass of orange juice as well as a 5 hour energy. Not that I needed energy, but I have find that the vitamin boost can be a decent preventative measure if taken at the right time. It worked, I managed to stave off the headache.

In the middle of the night, I decided to do a little shopping. No stores were open but fortunately is open 24 hours a day. I've never actually ordered household items online before, but I've run out of Brita water filters and decided it was time to do something about it. Of course, I decide these things in the middle of the night and can't do anything about it right away. So I figured as long as it was my day off, I'd check to see what prices I could find online.

I managed to find a 10 pack on sale at a price that one could find at Walmart or Target and any orders over $50 get free shipping so it seemed reasonable to go ahead and order it. I found that my variety of toothpaste was also on sale, if I bought 2 tubes, and since I brush my teeth once or twice a day. I figured what the heck. I threw it onto the order and sent it off.

Later it occurred to me that I could probably use some more razor blades. I don't think about them that often. In fact, I probably shave about once for every 30 to 40 times I brush my teeth, but I decided to look into it anyway. Lo and Behold! They were on the best sale yet! Nearly 40% off! And since I buy one of the more expensive razors on the market, it meant they were probably regular price.

Alas! I had already sent in my order and I couldn't get free shipping on just a simple order of razor blades. One of the most annoying things about ordering online, and this has happened to me at least a half dozen times, is that there is no obvious way to add to an already executed order. It's really quite annoying. Most places it can be done, but you have to call customer service and if there is one thing every American consumer knows is that the customer service is not there to serve the customers. At least not willingly.

For whatever reason I went back to review my order to longingly lament its lack of razor blades when once again, Lo and Behold! There was an option to edit my order. In fact, I could cancel it outright since it hadn't been processed yet. I was amazed! I have never seen this before in online purchasing and it is wonderful to see that websites are finally giving customers some control. I now have razor blades on the way.

It may seem like a trivial comment, but it really shows that online shopping is getting better. It is unfortunate that ten years ago, so many people were suckered into believing that online shopping would change the world overnight. I still remember those tech commercials touting those companies who dump money into their online presence would earn it back five fold by the end of the year. (They ran that ad for a couple of years so I'm not sure which year they were talking about.)

They should have told them the truth, namely that the companies would earn their money back within a decade. I guess it was like gold fever; people just weren't thinking rationally. Hey, look on the bright side. At least it bolstered and over inflated the economy for a few years and spawned great ideas like the Underpants Gnomes.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Social Dynamics

I have been maintaining a pretty constant focus the past two (and more) weeks. My days typically begin with me writing for 3-5 hours, and then, after writing one to two thousand words, I'm too mentally tired to write anymore. Some days I think about what I'll be writing the next. If only for a little while. But mostly, I am trying to get through the day so I can go to sleep and become fresh enough to write some more.

It may seem a bit odd that one would want to just while the day away in anticipation of the next one, but I don't feel as though I have anything else to do. Mercifully, the Tour de France will be on soon.

Yesterday, just for a change of pace, I decided to read Chapter 6 aloud. I recorded it for Moose, so he could listen to a chapter with someone speaking in a real voice instead of the computerized text to speech voice. I don't talk as fast as I did in my youth, but I'm still pretty fast. Now everyone can rest assured that I used my voice for the week.

Summer is an interesting time in NY. People are out and about all the time because, well, the weather is only going to be nice for so long. It is a little different out here. Granted this is a city that never sleeps, but it does slow down a lot after 2am and now that it is summer, it has slowed down just a little bit more. I'm sure that's to be expected. I've kept everyone apprised of the temperatures around here. When the overnight low is 85 degrees and it is 100 degrees plus from 10am to 10pm (give or take a half hour either way) I guess it is to be expected that things will slow down a little.

My current schedule is quite annoying. I've been sleeping evenings, 2pm to 10pm. The only worse time slot to be sleeping is 9am to 5pm. That ones a real day killer, but at least I can give people a call in the evenings if I wish. Sleeping away the evenings like I have been keeps me from calling most people. Moose and Kim are probably the only two I can call in the early afternoons (late morning for me) and possibly not be bothering their work schedule. But even so, it is summer and people are looking to get things done.

As a result of this phenomenon, I have noticed a breakdown in communications over the summers. Again, this is to be expected with everyone looking toward being busy, active, and locally social. But I have noticed that over the years, it takes longer and longer into the fall schedule for people to get back into the habit of staying in touch.

I remember getting back in touch with people in September immediately after the summer time ended, but then that eventually got pushed to October on the pretext that school was starting and I needed to get into the swing of things. I have been fortunate in some ways with my birthday being at the end of September. It has forced people (from time to time) to contact me before going to long into the fall season. But even so, whether it was my laziness or just growing old or whatever, eventually, it took to almost Thanksgiving to catch up with people.

I see in movies and TV shows that middle aged "old friends" contact each other annually around Christmas time. I always thought that was some sort of convenient fiction, but I can't help but notice the trend of it getting later and later in the year before I contact old friends. If there has been one distinct change in my own personal social dynamic it is that I have made much more of an effort to contact the friends that life has decided to put physical distance between.

I'm glad I've had the opportunity to call John 2-3 times in the four months I have been here. I haven't normally gotten the opportunity to talk to him more than 2-3 times a year. I am overdue to to call Scott again as well as Kim and Cullen. I guess I'll have to get my sleep schedule back on track so I can do all that. It'll be difficult. People just don't seem to be around as much during the summertime.