Sunday, August 31, 2008


It seems even after taking the first three days of the month off and then another five at the end of last week and the beginning of this week, I managed to achieve all of my goals. It took another 1399 words to finish the second draft of the first chapter. Again, almost entirely new material. I finished this week with 8138 words. A second best all time effort to my 12,020 words in the first full week of this month.

Those are two damn good weeks and were sufficient to boost the month's output to 28,077 words. A total that breaks last months record by a thousand words. It wasn't as consistent an effort as July's (I took four days off completely in July and twelve in August) but the binge writing was apparently equally effective.

If I were to seek to continue this pace of bettering my accomplishments, I guess I would go for 30,000 words in September and up my weekly goals to 6000 words, but unfortunately, I have to set non-numerical goals for this month.

My first goal, will be to finish the second draft of Part One: The Policy Makers. As I said, I just finished the first chapter and I have three to go. I think I will set the second novel aside completely as I have the past couple of days and finish this goal, or attempt to finish this goal in the next week to ten days. In the revision process, I will be trimming the manuscript from 23,000 words to 15,000, give or take. I don't expect this to be too much of a problem seeing as it has been a complete rewrite thus far. Maybe it was just the first chapter that was so sucky...

Yeah right, well, I know there's one or two nuggets of gold in the next three chapters. I remember Cullen complimenting a couple of things in particular. That means I have at least two sentences that are salvageable!

The second goal, apparently the goal that begins sometime the week after next, is the job hunt thing. I am tempted to set this as the main focus, and relieve myself of all writing obligations for a couple of weeks. In fact, I may as well declare that now. A two week moratorium on writing so that I can focus solely on getting my teaching portfolio and "junk" put together. Otherwise, I'll write to avoid making up the job materials. I'll need to start looking at the job postings and selecting which ones I'll want to set my sights on. Quite likely, I'll be sending in my registration for the joint meetings in January.

What are the joint meetings you ask?

The joint meetings, and yes they really are called the joint meetings, are the annual MAA and AMS meetings. They hold them together for efficiency. Leave it to mathematicians right? Anyway, the joint meetings are also the first step in the applications process for a great number of teaching positions. There is an entirely separate section of the meeting devoted to...

Hmm, it seems my friend, Larry DeMarco had a baby today. He just sent me a picture to my phone. I'm sure his girlfriend probably played a major role. It takes two to tango after all.

Anyway, Congratulations! Yeah, the miracle of birth and all that bloody rot. I'd get more excited, but little Rosemary wasn't named after me, so I can only get mildly electrified.

I'm sure I was on the short list, anyway, where was I? Oh yeah, an entirely separate section of the meeting is devoted to the cattle-like rustling of unemployed teachers through a slaughter house of 15 minute interviews with representatives of schools looking to fill vacant positions. Like every labor market in this country at the moment, there's far more interviewees than interviewers.

I believe my friend Amy went through 28 of these short interviews during her three days at the event. From this, she managed to get 7 on site interviews, and 4 job offers. Such is the benefit of being a woman with a math PhD. If I can get 3-4 on site interviews and one job offer from about 30 interviews. I'll be doing pretty good for a honkey mofo male. Thank God I have all the advantages in our society, or I may not do that well.

This year, the meetings are being held in Washington D.C.. This is quite convenient seeing as I have two good friends in the neighborhood, Scott and Moose. Perhaps I can move out of Vegas in December, put my crap in storage, and bum off those two for a couple months. Eventually working my way down to South Carolina where I can hang with John for a couple weeks. Oddly enough, the last time I stayed with him was during the joint meetings in '06. In late March, I can make my way back up to Albany after all the shitty weather is gone. Guess I'll have to start planting the seeds for my pathetic trip of mooching and begging.

I guess that leaves the last week of September unaccounted for. Perhaps, that's when I can plant my moochy-beggy seeds. Who could say no on my birthday? I guess I'll play it by ear. This is going to be quite the transitory month. With luck, I'll be starting applications and the second layer BS for the job stuff. Also, with a bit more luck, Cullen and his secret weapon friend will have a great number of wonderful suggestions on improving Part One. Maybe I can start a third draft. I need to polish that first part up for a writing grant application. (Yeah you caught me, I don't know how to spell his friend's name and I don't want to misspell it here. Those in the know, know who I'm talking about.)

Also, as I have mentioned before, the end of the month is my birthday, so I'll probably take a few days to let myself out of the lair. After I finish that second draft it will have been a pretty intense three months of deep undercover work. Hopefully, temperatures will cool back down into the 90's so I can get some comfortable outdoor time. Maybe a tan.

Anyway, here's a rambly post to make up for all the short ones this week. By the way, this was also my best month of blogging yet. Not only did I manage to post on 25 days, there's 16,000 words in this months postings. That makes 44,000 for the month. Pretty cool...

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Comfortably Numb

You know. I really don't care for Pink Floyd. They're just another band in a long line of '60's and '70's bands that just needs to be permanently retired because their music is just too old.

Anyway, I stuck solely with the second draft today. It is the priority after all.

Today was another long day of struggled writing. People say writing a novel is a marathon, not a sprint. Some days, it feels more like a battle. I guess that is the price I pay for retraining myself to a (hopefully) better style of writing.

I managed 2286 words over the course of 4-5 short sessions. I would guess 85 to 90% of it is new material. That's another thing that slows me down: Trying to determine what little is worth saving.

My brain feels numb, so I guess this'll be another short post, but I did want to pass on a little nugget of internet interestingness.

I learned of this website in one of the skeptic podcasts I listen to. (The podcast is called "Skepticality" for the none of you who are interested.)

I'll explain the website first. It's intent is to provide documented anecdotal evidence that sometimes seemingly innocuous things can cause harm. Granted, "documented anecdotal evidence" is a bit of an oxymoron, but it does serve it's purpose of providing information and examples.

The theory behind the website is to show people that things like naturopathy, which is often considered, at worst, benign in its effects can occasionally have serious ill effects. It's a site that tries to show comments like, "If it's just snake oil, then it's not really hurting anyone except in the wallet" are false claims. Like any good skeptic site, it does not discriminate against topics, so some may be offended by a few of the categories, but I'll let y'all make that determination for yourselves.

As for "skeptic podcasts", the skeptic movement is a scholarly movement that is attempting to get more people to think critically about everyday and not so everyday topics. Too many people accept inaccurate information and anecdotes as evidence for a lot of nonsense. This movement/mentality tries to get people to ask questions and challenge that nonsense.

I'm too tired/lazy to go into more detail. Feel free to check out the home of the Skeptic's Society:

I can't fully endorse this particular website, as I have not perused it too much, but I did sign up for the newsletter. What's the harm in signing up for a free email newsletter? Since it's not listed as a category, it must be okay.

Friday, August 29, 2008

OH MY! No! No! No! No!

I started the morning off with 624 new words in the second novel and then set about reading my first draft, so I could begin the rewrite.


I thought you guys were my friends. Why didn't anyone tell me the first draft was so horrible?

I know a writer is his or her own worst critic, but man does it stink! Even I wanted to stop reading after the first few paragraphs.

So I started the second draft which, in this case, means I'm saving almost nothing and starting over. I wrote another 791 words toward that end. A little shy of what I wanted for the day, but I may go back and write a little more before going to bed, so I guess that might be up in the air.

I wasn't nearly as tired today as I have been the past few days. Guess I'm over my lack of caffeine lull. Sadly, I spent more butt time in the chair writing than I normally do for so little production. I guess I was thinking quite a bit as well. I suppose that is to be expected when starting a new project. Hopefully, this next attempt won't be so painful to read eh Cullen?

I've been out here close to six months. I am just starting to feel the crunch of a lack of time. Up until the past few days, I was writing as though I had all the time in the world and it came with a little diligence. I have no complaints with my work efforts up to this point. Now, I feel as though I have to insist upon myself to get stuff done and it feels like things are just starting to get difficult.

I'm not talking about the pressure of impending deadlines. It's rare when I get bogged down with deadlines (assuming I don't forget them entirely, which has been known to happen because I get so lax with them). I'm talking about working harder to take things to the next level. I felt I was asking a fair amount from myself before, but now I seem to be asking for a little more.

I guess, as they say, this is show time.

Thursday, August 28, 2008


I managed another 1000 words today. So progress is good, but not great. I also printed off part one of the first novel. I've decided that I'm going to start my rewrite of the first volume in the next couple of days. This project is going to take priority over continuation of the second novel. I want to make sure I put in a solid effort on that 50 pages (give or take) and I need it to be ready for a December 1st deadline.

Part one is Taveson's introduction and I figure I'll probably end up rewriting most of it. When I first started I didn't know how to begin so I pretty much vomited whatever I could manage onto the page. Now that I have a clearer picture of the universe I am working in, and a solid direction of where I need to go, things will be different. Later parts may change less, but I'll worry about that when I get there.

Looming on the horizon is also my job packet nonsense. I had planned on working on that stuff a little throughout August, but my writing has continued at a high level. Poor excuse I know, but I've always been one who needs to wait for deadlines to be more imminent before I can effectively address them. If a deadline is not right around the corner, I tend to place other projects at a higher priority. I won't be able to do that for much longer. I'll need to get serious about job searching this coming month, so writing on the second novel may have to halt entirely as I focus on the job hunt and the rewrite.

Also approaching is my birthday. For those that don't recall off hand, it is the last day of September. I have not given any birthday gifts to anyone this year, well, like most years. I'm not a big believer in the thought that birthdays are special, but because of this, I forbid anyone from sending me any gifts or money or any form of anything. Feel free to give me a call. Knowing that you care enough to call is all the proof I need to, once again, confirm that my friends are better than me, because I don't usually even do that. Heck, I don't even know most of my friend's (and family's) birthdays to even make the effort, so that's how bad I am at the birthday thing.

I'm not sure I have much more on the horizon. I've been pretty good at keeping my lifestyle focused on so few agendas it seems like a good nights sleep is one of my daily goals. Who consciously thinks about that without first having a poor nights sleep?

Oh well. Sorry for the second short entry in a row. I guess I've spent too much time discussing BSG with Kim a couple posts back.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Back on the Chain Gang

Okay, after five days of R&R I put myself back in front of the computer for the purposes of working on the novel. I wrote 1417 words and then took a nap for an hour and then I updated my character sheets. Something I haven't done in a while. I put in 598 words there, giving me over 2000 words on the day.

I had a goal set for this month to surpass last months 27,000 words and I am quite close. As of today, I have 21,954 of 28,000 completed. Thankfully, I had that 12,000 word week early in the month to make up for my recent rest period. Alas, even if I do manage to set a new production record, there is little hope of me breaking it next month since I'll be starting the employment preparations. I'll have no complaints. This summer was extraordinarily productive.

After a bit more than eight hours sleep and more than an hours nap, I am still incredibly exhausted. Granted, I've had no caffeine for three days, but I'm saving that as a last resort for Sunday. If I need a few thousand words on that last day, I'm hoping a caffeine burst will help put me over the top.

The real issue with today's loginess stems from the fact that I have no new writing plans for tomorrow. I haven't yet managed to come up with the next chapter and I wanted to do that today. Perhaps, I'll have to take another nap to sharpen up my mind and see if anything pops in. I don't really want to do that, but I don't see how else I'm going to make it through the day.

I'm going to keep this short today. I had some low fat, low sodium, ramen noodles and they turned my stomach. So much for pretending to eat not as unhealthy as I normally do.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


Moose seemed to disagree with my assessment of Starbuck being a coward. He was judging her based on her external actions and effects and, of course, I was judging her based on her internal struggles and causes. The fact that her behavior is predicated on the internal issues she refuses to address, effectively running from who she really is, in my opinion makes her a coward. You can't run from who you are forever. Those that do, are indeed cowards.

He also didn't like, but could not refute my complaint that the characters never seemed to truly grow. I found their actions very predictable based on the character models I had mentally created for them from the first season or two and they never particularly deviated. The only time the characters experienced any serious change was during the year that passed in the last episode of the second season. Alas, once the story picked back up, all the characters devolved back to their previous archetypes. You can make niggling little arguments for change here and there amongst the crew, but nothing of consequence until four of the final five Cylons are exposed. And then, only their characters, and for obvious reasons.

Gaius Baltar changed the most, progressing from a self serving, hyper-rational intellectual into a faith seeking messiah. But Admiral Adama, in my opinion, changed/grew in the most constructive way. He managed to release a repressed side of himself. Demons he tucked away from his failed marriage. I found it refreshing that the writer's opted to place more of the blame for the failed marriage on the wife and her selfishness. As they say, it takes two to tango, but it was clear that writer's were making her out to be the wedging force that split the marriage. I was glad to see this because it is ridiculously cliche to make the husband's devotion to the job, the reason for failed military/police marriages in movies and on television.

I was indeed disappointed by this overall lack of character growth. I was hoping to witness how this set of characters changed, but it turns out, even the skeletal characters that I have written into my book grow and change more than these characters. Oh well, we can't always get what we want. Speaking of which, it appears Moose and I still disagree with the religious elements I want to add to the story. I think he confuses my intent with his preconceptions of the word religious. I'll have to write it and see how it goes.

I have heard a number of speculations on who the final Cylon will be. I never paid any attention since it was all out of context for me. Having just finished the series so far, I still haven't given it much thought since I wasn't watching the show with such speculations in mind. Personally, I would like to see Romo Lampkin as the fifth Cylon. He was Baltar's lawyer. I don't think it's really him, but I liked his character and wouldn't mind seeing him pop in for a few more episodes.

Of course, if you believe history repeats itself, you can deduce the final Cylon. There is another show that has followed a very similar path that BSG has followed. In particular, this other series had its last season delayed, and then as they started showing the last season, they decided to drag it out and split it into two parts, the second of which was to be presented a year later. Cullen's guessed it already. I'm talking about the Sopranos. In the last episode, just as they're about to show the final Cylon, the screen will cut to black.

I am simply making known my criticism of the show. Critiquing requires that. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the show and will likely watch through it again as it has more value than simply garnering a different sci-fi viewpoint as I did. It's worth watching for its own sake.

Monday, August 25, 2008


I have managed to get my way through the first two seasons and a short way into the third this weekend. I imagine I'll be able to finish the series in a few more days. In short, I am enjoying the series. I'll refrain from giving any in depths thoughts on the show as I am sure no one cares.

Quite possibly the biggest surprise of the show was all of the religion. I had no idea the show was so speculative and ingrained with religious content. I wonder what the Christian community thinks of the "evil" Cylon machines representing the monotheistic side of religion? Of course, there is no open admission that the Cylons are worshiping a Christian god, but it is obvious that that is what they are trying to mimic. They have, after all, quoted the first commandment enough.

If we pretend for a moment that they are worshiping a Christian god, I find it interesting that they misinterpret the religious messages in the same way that people do, but with a bent in the direction of machine thinking. Essentially, the Cylons misinterpret religious ideals as though those ideals are absolutes, and then they seek out loopholes to get around the evil they are doing. A machine version of the rationalizations that humans make with their own religious beliefs. It's an interesting presentation.

I am sure I am not alone in that I would like to see someone shoot Starbuck in the head. She is the most annoying character on the show, and no matter how much the writer's try to make her character sympathetic, I can't seem to get past the fact that she is nothing but a whiny coward. Sure she may seem heroic in her deeds, but they are all in an effort to kill herself because she was abused as a child. She's too much of a wimp to kill herself, and based on my next comment you can't claim that she ought not to on the grounds that suicide is a sin, because it isn't. Anyway, she ought to just kill herself and get it over with rather than continue to hurt the people she claims to care about. Again, she's just a useless coward in that she can't seek help or seek an end; she's pathetic.

Of course, many of the human characters have lost the traditional rightous path, President Roslin comes to mind, but this is in some ways forgivable when coming from the humans because they are a "heathen" culture with their polytheistic beliefs in the ancient Roman/Greek gods. Or so we are supposed to think. They don't think so. I do like the fact that the writer's don't hold the humans to the standard Christian model. If they did, I would be grumbling about it now.

Like the references to the Earth born animals, e.g. the Lion's head nebula. How do they know what a lion is? Of course, if this is the best I can complain about, they are obviously doing a reasonable job with the consistency of the show. As a member of any audience you have to accept that the story is in some ways a translation of an event made suitable for your own culture. I'm sure the show wouldn't have lasted long had they invented their own language, made the actors speak their lines in it, and then subtitled everything. Only an idiot would make a film using a made up or dead language. Right Peter? Right Mel?

Hmm... Those might be bad examples.

Anyway, no need to go on about this here. For those that have seen the show, I'd be happy to discuss my thoughts in depth at a later time.

As for this being a weekend of R&R, I think it worked out well. I can't say as I have been given any new ideas for my own story, but it has given me plenty to think about in terms of the character development. When we first started this project, Moose and I didn't agree on how religion should be presented, so I have mostly left it out. In fact, I have only just started adding religious elements into the second novel.

In reality, this isn't a religious story so it won't play a major part at any point, however, it is a story about a special group of people and their roles in a galactic event. The whole point of the presentation is about character development, so after watching BSG, I am feeling much more confident about adding religious elements to my characters.

I'll probably spend the better part of today finishing up the BSG series. That may bleed into tomorrow a bit, but I am not concerned about that. I am a bit concerned with how I'll continue writing. Watching this show has made me itchy to start my rewrites. The main point of this first draft was to make a set of skeleton characters who filled in the gaps to the high points of the main story. I am now dying to fully flesh and clothe these characters. And in all good stories, the world itself is an important character. I want to fill in more about the Federation as well.

We'll see how it goes. I do need to rewrite the first volume in the next 5-6 weeks. So, I'll probably spend 2-3 more weeks working on the second novel in hopes of finishing it, and then I'll go all the way back to the beginning. If I don't finish the second novel in that time, I may have to set it aside for a short time. We'll find out soon enough. I'll probably start writing again tomorrow.

Friday, August 22, 2008

The Week Ends

I am calling today the end of my week. I wrote close to 2000 words this week and it has been torture. Last week was supposed to be the week where I'd break for a few days and not write enough, but that turned out not to be the case. I'm going to give myself the few days I probably ought to have gotten last week or even earlier this week seeing as I know I said this a few days ago. I tried to push through my doldrums despite knowing better, but I really do need some down time doing something else.

This became clear last night as I watched the movie "Jumper". I realized I was only paying half attention (much more than I needed to follow the movie) and the rest of my focus was working on my old writing project from when I was 18/19. That project was a fantasy book about jumping dimensions. I was working on a six element cycle for the magic system.

Not a good idea! Eventually, I realized what I was doing and decided a new writing project would be an unacceptable short term project. First, it's not short term, and second, I don't need to be doing any more writing than my current story and my blogging. So the question becomes what do I do with myself? I decided I'm going to watch another TV series. Though it pains me to waste a few days on such a marathon it does have its advantages.

First, it's free, and we all know I'm seeking to save myself a few bucks. Second, it effectively allows someone else gets to do the creative thinking for me for a few days. An element of my brain that I suppose is due for a little R&R. Third, a number of my Sci-Fi friends have been trying to get me to watch this show for five years, so I can finally present my thoughts on the show. Fourth, I can use it for a little bit of research. After all, it has been the highest rated Sci-Fi show for five years. They must be doing something right, so if I can garner a few good ideas from the show, it will have been time well spent. (Unlike the time I spent on Stargate SG1.)

At this point, many of you know which show I am talking about. Today, and this weekend, I plan to watch the first two seasons of Battle Star Galactica. Thus, I will either not be blogging this weekend, or I will blog my thoughts on that show. I'll have little else to talk about, unless people want to hear detailed adventures of me going to the grocery store tomorrow.

I didn't take any caffeine last night, so after my movie, I ended up taking a three hour nap. I'm sure part of that was due to the movie, but anyway, I'm hoping I can use BSG to force myself to stay up most of the day and get off this sleeping through the evenings nonsense. Hopefully, I'll be able to stay up until 6 or 7pm tonight and pretend I'm on a more normal schedule.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

A Few Phews!

Phew! Progress!

As I edited in my last post I came up with a revelation that pointed out why I was having difficulty writing. I was randomly changing the point of view of one of the volumes and it was clunky and unnecessary. Once I consciously realized the problem I saw new avenues and began working them tonight.

So I chucked out the 650 words that I had written the last four days and started anew. Unfortunately, I only managed to cannibalize one sentence, so it looks like most of it will go to waste (in a sense). I may be able to utilize some more of the ideas, but I think the writing itself is dead in the water. Tonight I managed 1332 words. Twice the last half weeks output.

I will keep the trashed words as part of my weeks tally. Not all of my words that I count end up in the book. My character sheets are one example. Speaking of which, this week will be a good week to catch that upseeing as I haven't in close to a month. I may need the bonus words to get myself over that 5000 word mountain this week.

Phew! Cool!

The overnight low reached 79 degrees tonight. It's officially the coolest it's been since early June. Roughly 10 weeks give or take. Even when it's rained overnight it has stayed in the mid '80s.

I took a dip in the pool to celebrate. Strangely, I haven't utilized the pool as much as I would have thought. I think this is because I don't like to use it during the day. It's too sunny and hot to be outside at all and even at night the last two months I've used the AC to keep myself cool so there's been little need for me to use the pool. It is indeed a bit odd, but as I have mentioned to a number of friends, this has been one of the coolest summers I've endured simply because every place, including mine, is air conditioned.

Phew! I've got friends!

I have talked to a number of my friends the last week or ten days and it is a relief that I have so many good friends. I'd love to list them all here, but they know who they are, and many of them know each other so there's no need.

Or is there? I suppose I can give the highlights.

Let's see, there's Kim, who would give me a place to stay and work with me so that I can stay there. So as much as I speak of impending homelessness, it is not really going to happen unless I choose to live on the streets.

There's Cullen who has agreed to help me get a proper draft of my first volume ready for a writing grant. He may have his work cut out for him if in the event I am deluding myself that my writing is salvageable.

There's John, who named his child after me and if it wasn't for the fact that he has a wife and kid to take care of, he'd probably lay down in traffic for me if it was necessary. He doesn't know it yet, but he's going to be one of my beta readers. That's the price he has to pay for putting his family first.

I suppose I have to throw Moose in the mix. After all, I probably talk to him 4-5 hours a week on the phone; more than anyone else. He keeps my momentum going by allowing me to brainstorm off him. Though I do 100% of the writing, I would not have made half the progress I have made thus far without his input. He definitely keeps me focused. And if Kim had no place for me to stay, Moose would certainly put me up somewhere. He wants this project to be successfully completed as much as I do.

Phew! Blessings!

I recall a time when I went to church with Rebecca. I was going to give myself the opportunity to pray and give thanks before I flew over the Atlantic. A ritual I like to perform to make sure all my spiritual affairs are in order before performing such a death defying feat, like crossing an ocean.

At one point in the service the priest gave everyone a few moments to pray and give thanks, effectively allow people to count their blessings and so forth. Then he asked people to stand up and say, "Hey," to their neighbor. So everyone around me stood up and began introducing themselves, shaking hands and such while I continued to pray. I continued to do so for some time.

After the service, Rebecca mentioned the incident. I don't think she was offended or anything, but was curious why I continued to pray while everyone else took the few minutes to socialize. I said, "The priest only gave us 15 or 20 seconds to give thanks for all our blessings. I have far too many to recount in such a short period of time."

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Las Vegas Vacation

I still didn't have too much in me to write tonight. I managed 222 words before midnight and another 117 after I got home. I may push myself to do a little more later. Clearly I need a little break, but am unwilling to do absolutely nothing.

To give myself a bit of a break, I walked over to the Mirage around midnight to order myself a sandwich at the Carnegie Deli. It's money I didn't want to waste, but I did need to get out of the house. I ordered the "Woody Allen" and a side of fries. This translates to an entire platter of fries and a sandwich that is nothing more than two pathetic slices of rye bread with a pound (or more) of corned beef and pastrami stacked about 6-7 inches high. Calling it sandwich is a bit of a joke. It's really two 8 inch tooth picks piercing twin meat stacks (they are nice enough to cut it in half for you). Leaning these faux kabobs against each other is the only way they can stack it as a sandwich and keep it from toppling off the plate.

The one meal/sandwich cost me three days of food budgeting, but I now have a close to a pound of corned beef and pastrami in the fridge. I'll be able to add it into my breakfast burritos that I've been making for myself this week.

It was indeed good to get out for a few hours. The overnight temperatures are finally breaking into the low '80s. I may have to start going for more walks. Actually, I'll have to. I'll need to give myself something to do, if I'm going to force myself to take a few days off.

Perhaps, I'll have to hit quark's bar for breakfast tomorrow night...

EDIT: I think I may have figured out my writing issue. It is entirely possible that the scene that has been screwing things up for me is simply being told from the wrong point of view. I'm not exactly sure why I was trying to force this one random scene in there with someone else's point of view when I can simply stick with the character that I've got and bring about that info through dialog.

I guess we'll see tomorrow if I'm right...

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Eddie! Half!

The title's from an old Eddie Murphy stand up movie called "Raw". It came from a joke about Eddie marrying a "Bush Bitch" to keep a wife from taking half his money. I never thought the joke was all that funny. I found it disrespectful and he drones on with it for ten or fifteen minutes. It is unfortunately true, but the truth isn't always funny no matter how much you swear it up. I never did figure out how a woman (or man) was entitled to half the family possessions from before the wedding. You would think California of all states, would have things set up differently just for the hollywood types.

I miss the old Eddie Murphy. Unfortunately, it seems with age he learned the cardinal rules of entertainment. Namely, it is grotesquery that gets you famous, but it's family entertainment that brings in the cash. I never did bother to find out if his ex-wife got that pre-nup revoked. (They divorced a year or two ago after ten or twelve years of marriage.) I can't say as I'd be disappointed, the guy's not that respectful as a family man, so it would have been poetic justice if his wife managed to get half. After all those rancid Disney movies, it's simply karma balancing out the world.

Speaking of marriages, Portia de Rossi just married Ellen DeGeneres today. It's sad. I had hoped she'd marry me, but after thorough analysis of my dating strategies, I guess there were two fatal flaws with my machinations. First, Portia de Rossi is a lesbian. I knew that'd be a bit of problem, but I was willing to overlook our differences and work things out. The second, it occurred to me that I probably ought to have met with Portia about this at some point.

That's the thing. Up until now, we had a perfect relationship. I was looking for a relationship where I didn't have to put in more than half the emotional resources for a change. It'd be nice to be with someone where I wasn't contributing the vast bulk of the emotional energy and intellectual enthusiasm. I thought Portia and I had that. Up until now, we had both put forth the exact same amount of resources into our relationship. It was indeed perfect, but I guess I'll have to accept that it is now over.

Anyway, what made me think of that title was my word production for the week. I only managed a paltry 270 tonight, which put me over the 6000 word mark for the week. I may try another session, but I won't get to that until after midnight, so it'll rightfully go on next week's tally.

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention the point; 6000 words is half what I wrote last week.

My motivation has been slipping the latter half of this week. I may have to caffeine overload the next few weeks to finish up this second novel. I want to do that well before my birthday.

Oh yeah, my birthday... I'll have to make a post about that at some point soon. I have been constructing a certain set of rules for it this year.

As I said before, I'll be job hunting shortly after finishing the second novel. I also want to perform the rewrites of the first volume. It'll have been a good 15 months since I wrote the first draft. Now I have plenty of material to plan ahead for so I expect the revisions to be quite involved. I need to get them done in early November.

Thus, it looks like I'll be calling Cullen to beg him for his help, though I'll likely have to offer him up a second draft first. There's no sense in getting his suggestions on stuff that I already know will be tossed.

I'm actually feeling a bit more awake now. I guess it's time to get started on that second session.

Saturday, August 16, 2008


I am at a point in my sleep cycle that I find to be least favorable. I am sure I have mentioned this before, but I really hate sleeping the afternoon early evening segment of the day. It really cuts off any chance I have at any sort of contact with people. Granted, 14 times out of 15 I'd prefer to not be bothered at the initial stages of the day so I can work, but I like to have the option available.

Today for instance, I woke up about 6:30pm and I just didn't feel like writing. I have work planned, but feel like today is a day where I need a break. I think I need to take a day to grab some perspective. I didn't even realize it was Saturday, until maybe a couple of hours ago. I've just been so focused of late the days slip by and I don't know where they've gone. Since I have stuff planned out, I am sure I could take a couple pills of motivation, but I'm just going to let it go today. I haven't gotten more than 6 hours of sleep all week, so perhaps I am just getting worn down. Too much caffeine this week no doubt. It wasn't my fault. There was a sale on Pepsi products at the 7-Eleven.

Ah, now I feel better. Like a good American I am pushing the blame of my actions on someone or something else. What a great period of history we live in, not being responsible for even our own actions. Thank you psychology! Your science knows no bounds in finger pointing, and I appreciate that. It kind of brings tears to my eyes.

Oh yeah, yeah, naturally that's tears of joy. I thought I didn't have to point that out.

Anyway, I guess I have nothing useful to post and am simply wasting time. I am pretty sure I'll start the second novel in that podiobook series I mentioned earlier this week. It's obvious I need to recharge a bit today.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Blah Blog Blah

I figured today I would just make the title what everyone reads anyway. Oddly enough, a lot has happened in the last couple of days, but I'm not sure I can explain it all in a simple blog post. Maybe I think too highly of myself. Okay, that's a given....

As I started working on my plotting of the next volume, I managed to conceive of two one scene chapters. The separate chapters are necessary because the point of view will change, but they were long scenes, so I figured they would likely end up being close to normal chapter length for me. After planning these two chapters I couldn't seem to come up with anything else, so last night I decided to start writing what I had planned in hopes of coming up with something later.

Tonight, I finished the first scene. It was 4000 words, so about the size of a typical chapter for me. Maybe even a touch on the long side. Some of it was scientifically technical, most of it dialog; it made for some slow exhaustive writing. On the other hand, I have now written 5850 words for the week, so I guess I needn't have set any provisos at the end of last weeks brobdingnagian efforts. I don't think the next scene will be quite as long, and it may not even be the only scene in the chapter, but I still have not come up with a plan of what's to follow.

I think the only other writing comments I have are my new time goals for finishing the second novel. It seems my best efforts are paying off in that I expect to finish the second novel well before my birthday. Likely, two to three weeks before my birthday. Once I finish this volume and the next, the second novel will be complete.

If you recall, my intent was to finish the second novel by the end of November. Of course, the second novel was supposed to finish off the entire story, but now I am hoping to finish things in three. I still don't know if that's going to happen. Thus, in the grand scheme of things I am behind schedule, but I suppose it is unfair to draw this conclusion since the project has effectively been altered. I will call the completion of a second novel, so early in the calendar year a clean victory.

This will also allow me to take a few weeks, possibly a month and solely focus on employment without guilt for not writing. Not that I should feel guilty for taking a break on my writing so that I can prevent that impending homelessness issue. I do have other plans in the works that aren't job related, but may help alleviate the concern of insufficient funds. Oh what I wouldn't do to meet someone who wanted to pay me ten grand to sublet my apartment as a meth lab for two weeks.

The job hunting news will likely begin slowly. Starting to look for teaching jobs this fall means employment next fall. That leaves me with a gray area called "Most of next year" without any income. I'll also be applying for jobs all across the country, so once my money does run out, I won't actually become homeless per se, more like my days as an urban hermit will be over and my life will become a traveling circus.

I wrote my resume two nights ago. It is so sad that as much as I have done in my life, so little of it is allowed on a resume. Don't worry. I wrote it in such a way that that special nature that defines me came through loud and clear. And I didn't even need any of those annoying buzzwords that people are supposed to regurgitate to make themselves look attractive as an employee, but never seems to delineate them from the competition. Now I just need to find an employer to read it that is smart enough to see how it still says all those things without actually using all the buzzwords.

I remember the first resume I ever wrote. I was in my early twenties. I don't even know when it was exactly. All I know is that I never ended up using it because I was either in school or going to school; probably the latter. I loved that resume as well. After my name and address at the top, it started out in big bold words, "I am..." and them continued on not unlike a normal resume. Tell me that wouldn't have caught an employers eye. Of course, it's pretentious, but every employer will certainly remember you. One way or the other, they'll remember you. Of course, catching their eye amidst all the static in the pile of other resumes is necessary. My current one is not nearly that pretentious. I am much more sophisticated now, or so I say myself. Hopefully, it is equally noteworthy.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

New Age Role Reversals

My thesis work is based on research from my adviser, Michael Stessin and Alec Matheson. Dr. Matheson was an interesting character to talk to, and I say was, because unfortunately he passed away a couple of years ago from cancer. Anyway, one of the things he was talking about one day was how the creation of TeX and later, LaTeX, had turned mathematicians into secretaries.

I guess this needs explanation in several arenas. First, TeX is pronounced "Tech" because the X at the end is actually the greek letter chi. Thus LaTeX is pronounced "Lah-Tech". Anyway, TeX and LaTeX are markup languages that were created so academics could publish using the necessary math symbols (and other symbols) required for mathematical and other scientific publishing. Mathematicians, at some point prior to writing their thesis, are expected to teach themselves LaTeX so they can publish their work. (By the way, a markup language is a computer language that allows one to define ways to present text. Other examples are HTML and XML which are used to format webpages on the internet.)

Dr. Matheson was complaining that twenty or thirty years ago, a mathematician would write up their work and pass it off to a secretary to type up and do all the necessary formatting. In short, he was complaining that technological advancements, essentially making himself more knowledgeable, had effectively regressed his station in life and created more work for himself, and he was now a secretary and a publisher.

He was very down to earth. His comments weren't meant to offend secretaries or publishers. He was merely pointing out how improving scientific literature had actually made scientists work that much harder. And for what? A little more whiz-bang in the presentation of their work? It didn't make their work any more credible or reliable. All it did was take the work away from the secretaries and the publishing journals and lump it on their own shoulders.

I have been looking into making myself a new website. I took down my old one over a year ago. I found it to be very funny and maybe a little offensive, but decided it was time to move on. Especially since I hadn't updated it in five years.

Anyway, I am noting similar role reversals. In this era of New Media, I am finding that everyone involved, in an effort to do things their own way and in a new and creative fashion, they are taking on the roles that ought to be left for other people. To promote my book, I'll need to teach myself to create a website again. Only now, it's been six years since I have done that stuff and things are much more sophisticated now. I'll need to teach myself podcasting, so I can get people who are too busy or lazy to do any actual reading, to listen to the book.

Of course, I then have to self promote, but that is nothing new. Even modern publishers do very little promotion for their authors, unless they are a mega-superstar like Stephen King, the author is left the task of getting word of their work out into the cold cruel world.

If I want to call myself a writer, I am supposed to write at some point aren't I? It seems the modern writer is going to have to be a website designer (or become rich enough to pay for someone else to do it). They are going to have to be a reader, so people can listen to their work.

Thank goodness some things never change. I still get to be my own publicist (or become rich enough to pay for someone else to do it).

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

My First Podio Book

In my efforts to avoid all forms of writing related stuff, today, I decided to start listening to my first podio book. I do not recall if I have explained yet what those are. I suspect I have, but I'll do it again anyway. Podcasts are essentially downloadable radio shows; podio books are books that people have written, who either read or have someone else read aloud. Effectively, they are homemade audio books. You can download these for free at

Most of them are from authors who are yet to break into traditional publishing and simply hope that their stories catch on well enough that they can tell a publisher that X number of people have been following the story online. The goal is that this knowledge will help publishers take their work more seriously and publish them.

It is my understanding that the quality can vary, but that is to be expected from anything that isn't commercially done. There are reviews, so you can read before you even download if people are complaining about the audio quality. The one I decided to start listening to is as good as any professionally done audio book that I have heard.

Many of these podio books are serialized and you have to wait week to week for the next chapter. It kind of makes them ideal in that you only need to invest 20-40 minutes every week or two, but then, if the story is interesting enough, you want to hear more, so it is indeed a double edged sword.

If I want people to get involved with the release of my story, I will eventually have to do something like this as well. I don't relish the thought of recording myself reading the story, but we'll see.

Getting back to podio books in general. They've been around for years, so there is no need to listen to ones that are incomplete if you do not wish to. I am not one for listening/watching at a creator's pace. This is why I'll rarely watch a TV season before it is over with. I prefer to sit down and check them out in a row. I am doing the same thing with my first podio book. I started listening to:

7th Son: Book One - Descent

That is the link to the book on I actually downloaded it from the author's website since it supposedly had a few extras compared to the more main stream release version. The author is
J.C. Hutchins and his website is located at "Descent" is book one of the 7th Son trilogy and all three books have been completed.

Anyway, if I am to listen to this sort of media more conveniently, I decided I was going to have to get myself an .mp3 player. Obviously, I can't afford one, but those who know me, know that I don't let money get in the way of what I want. I have been saving up sales points on my American Express card for years and it is finally time to use them. I have one picked out and since I find the iPods to be insanely annoying, I am going with a
Philips GoGear SA5285. The fact that it has less features compared to an iPod and is also $50 cheaper, made it particularly attractive because I can get the thing without paying a penny. This one's on Amex.

Yes, you read that right. It has less features than an iPod. I get so annoyed at all the ridiculous additons these modern electronics have. I just want it to play .mp3s. I'd rather have more memory storage, as opposed to the ability to play videos (who wants to watch 1.5 inch video feeds?), as opposed to accessing the internet (that's why I have a computer!), I'm done. I'm in too good of a mood to bitch anymore.

Anyway, thus far, I have listened to the first seven chapters and it has been pretty good so far. I can only assume it will get even better. If you like listening to sci-fi audio books, you'll enjoy this one. And if you like audio books in general, I'm sure podiobooks has something for you. And as always, if you like the work, donate to the author. You can donate to them right on the website.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Time for a Break

I finished up volume 11 tonight. I wrote a total of 1862 words today; the late session yielding a short one scene chapter of 424 words. So that makes one volume in 8 days, 11 if you count the three days of planning that went into it. Tomorrow starts a new planning cycle.

Or maybe a day off, I don't know. I suppose I could use one. I suspect I will likely take the rest of the week off to do my planning as well as start work on my teaching portfolio. I had wanted to start that in late July or the beginning of August right after the Tour de France, but I've been writing up a storm for the past 6 weeks or so.

Of course, that means I have to start thinking about a job. What a depressing thought? How do people make it through the day knowing that they have to bust their nuts to make someone else money, and for the honor, they get paid crap, disrespected, and treated like they're disposable. Oh wait, I still remember how it feels.

Congrats to those who like their job, get paid appropriately, and are treated as an asset.

I have to admit, teaching on the college level was easily the best job I ever had. Obviously, that is my main goal for employment though I will look at other options.

I like the whole college scene, mostly the communal aspects, wrapped in an environment of growth. I like the perpetual self improvement. I couldn't handle an industry job for more than a few years. They are way too repetitive and stagnating. At least the college environment is ever dynamic, with new students and evolving attitudes.

But like any office environment there are politics that clash and egos to endure. I was mercifully sheltered from most of this as a grad student. Essentially, my thoughts and opinions didn't matter. I was simply left alone to teach and learn. It was very nice. If I manage to get a professor position I will be forced into the bane of office politics.

I wonder if it is better or worse than your standard office politics? My guess is that it is merely different.

As you can see I have a bad attitude. Or so I would be labeled. Not because I don't have a similarly large ego to throw around, but a lack of desire to match it up against anyone else's. I'm content with my own self improvements and my own projects to focus on. I don't need to seek out other people to validate my ego like most people do, and once they realize I don't like to play, especially in an office environment, then I get labeled (somewhat appropriately) as someone who is not a team player.

And it's not that I am not a team player, if someone has good ideas I'll go along, it's when people start creating work for the sake of looking like they're accomplishing something that I get annoyed. I've got my own projects to keep me occupied, I don't need to be encumbered by someone else's ideas. As far as I am concerned, if they have an epiphany, they should attend to it themselves.

Are they going to write a few chapters of my book and let me take 100% of the credit? No, of course not! Their egos are too big.

So why should I have to deal with their ideas and let them take all the credit? Isn't it enough that I just teach well? Isn't it enough that I manage to get a large portion of my students excited about math of all things? Ugh....

Yup. Looking forward to the whole job thing....

Sunday, August 10, 2008

A Quark Walks into a Bar...

I know, sounds like the beginning to a physics joke, but it's no joke. I've been meaning to blog about this for a month, but didn't want to guilt anyone into coming out to visit before the end of August. I knew no one would come out to visit before the end of summer, though I had hoped that I'd get at least one visitor before it closed. That seems quite unlikely at this point.

The Hilton has an attraction called the Star Trek Experience. I've always wanted to go, but when I came out with Walt, he's not into Sci-Fi and the two of us never really came out to the Hilton much, so I never bothered asking him to go. The attraction is closing at the end of this month, maybe September 1st, and I can't bring myself to go alone. What's the point in going to see a goofy Star Trek homage, if you can't be silly with someone else who can appreciate it?

At the end of the attraction is a pub called Quark's Bar. I may go to the restaurant part just to pay my respects and to consume a beverage known as a Warp Core Breach. I don't recall what they are made out of, but I don't think they sounded all that good. For whatever reason they are popular. Maybe I'm remembering things wrong. I'm still thinking about whether I'll go or not. I can't seem to get over the patheticness of going alone, but then I have made my own bed and must now lie in it alone.

Speaking of lying in bed: I couldn't seem to get to sleep last night. I was tired, but no sleep was forthcoming. I finally took some melatonin around 2am and fell asleep within twenty minutes or so. I then forced myself awake at 7:30am. I am trying to insist on the daytime schedule. I figured it was time to give it another shot.

I was atypically hungry when I got up and about, so I made some eggs and then had some mountain dew to get myself going. No matter how tired I was today, I forced myself to keep writing. Aside from a lunch break and about fifteen minutes of resting my eyes in my chair, I wrote from 8am to 4pm. It was slow going but I managed to squeeze out 2774 words. The scene ended, so once again the timing was purely coincidental, but I finished the week with 12020 words.

So there! For those who think I never put in an eight hour day. I just did, and it was Sunday no less.

I am too tired to be bothered to call anyone now. Even though I have to force myself to stay awake for another 5-6 hours. I'll probably just watch the rest of that season of Moonlight.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Crisis Averted

I took yesterday off from just about everything. The caffeine I consumed a couple days ago kept me up until 6am the next morning and just to see if I could keep on cycle I only allowed myself to sleep from 6am to 10am. I declared a national holiday in PatLand and relaxed without concern for writing or anything for that matter. It was a good day in that sense but the lack of sleep forced me to keep idly busy so as to not fall asleep. I chose to watch a canceled TV show called "Moonlight". It's your typical TV vampire fantasy stuff. I've always enjoyed that sort of thing so I figured I'd check out the first and only season. I watched the first 8-9 episodes while multitasking a few other banal tasks and went to bed at 11pm. I allowed myself to sleep until 7:45am, as I said, in hopes of keeping the day schedule intact. It is now about 8pm and I feel as though I'll be ready to sleep in few hours so I may well have saved my day cycle for a change.

As for "Moonlight", it was solid as far as vampire shows go. I didn't find it Wowwing in any way, but it was entertaining and probably didn't deserved to be canceled. That's just the way things go in the homogenization process that is modern TV. Niche shows just can't draw enough of an audience to convince TV execs to keep them around for long.

Now that I've rambled away at a confusing opening, I'll talk about today. Today was a good day. I wrote 1500 words giving me 9250 for the week. With any luck, I can get close to 11,000 for the week with my work tomorrow. Certainly, I'll hit 10,000, so no complaints from me. I expect to finish the 11th volume by Monday or Tuesday. Then I'll have to take some time to plan the next volume. Don't have much in terms of ideas at the moment, but I'm sure something will come to me. And if not, I'll call Moose and we can brainstorm some inspiration that way.

The rest of the afternoon was spent on the phone. I called and talked with John, Scott, and Moose, for about four hours total. I'll have to see who else is around tomorrow seeing as I've decided to make it a reach out and touch someone weekend.

I suppose I should mention that Kim has bought a new cell phone. Probably her fifith in as many eight month periods. Silly me. I exaggerate. It's more like her fifth in as many years. Anyway, it was an AT&T phone so I can call her for free just like Moose. I strongly encourage everyone to switch to AT&T for this purpose. Of course, the fact that AT&T and T-Mobile phones are the only ones that can also be used over in Europe make their services particularly attractive.

Seeing as the European Union is so much more economically viable than us, we should be using their cell phone standards rather than our own. I mean what if they want to buy us out and sell us off in smaller more profitable chunks. Our cell phone infrastructure could be one of the deciding factors. Keep your fingers crossed. I'm REALLY hoping Europe buys, cuts, and flips us for profit. I think our country is too big, but that's another post.

Anyway, getting back to AT&T. I think I slightly preferred T-Mobile's service, but as yet, I've had no complaints at all with AT&T. I guess the rollover minutes made them more attractive in the end. Since I'm such a sporadic phone caller, I have about 1000 minutes in storage for a rainy month.

That's just a metaphor. If I actually waited for it to rain out here, I'd probably call my friends even less. Okay, time to make tomorrow's list....

Thursday, August 7, 2008

3809 Words

Don't worry. I'm going to try to not name any more of my blog entries after the number of words I manged to write that day. I do feel vindicated over yesterday's abysmal effort though. I started the morning off with about 2200 words in about 3.5 hours of writing. All the while I was still feeling quite exhausted, much like I have all week. I could understand if I felt mentally exhausted. I have been writing quite a bit. It would make sense that my brain would be tired, but it's all physical.

Afterward, I took a nap for about an hour and woke up to the sound of a thunder and lightning storm. As always, a quick rain shower is a nice change of pace around here. Since I didn't feel any more awake than I had before my nap, I decided it was time for a soda. I took a nice walk in the rain, since everyone likes walking carefree in the rain, but it was interesting in that as I walked I could feel the rain trying to cool the desert air, but it wasn't quite able to win. I could feel pockets of cool air and hot air alternating around me. The two dichotomies mixing without completely coming together.

Victoriously, I hauled the soda back to the apartment and made myself lunch. I finished eating about 4:30pm and decided I had to either complete another round of writing or find something else useful to accomplish. As I said before, I seem to be looking to avoid actively seeking a job, so I decided to give the writing another shot. Another three hours of writing produced another 1600 words for a total of 3809 on the day.

It's my best effort ever, I should think. And that includes the writing days I had back when I was eighteen and working on that project that remains unfinished to this day. I think John is the only one who knows the title of that effort. Now that the Harry Potter books have become so popular, I'm not sure I want to go back to writing that story. Maybe I'll finish it for John. I already know how it ends. He's been waiting 17 years to read the ending. Getting back to today's writing, I've had entire weeks where I haven't written this much. Now, I'm not so physically tired thanks to the caffeine, but I am quite a bit mentally tired. Finally,....

That's probably not a good thing. Oh well. I think I'm a little more than half way done with the 11th volume. I've written 7750 words so far this week, so I think I'll modify my 5000 word weekly goal to finishing the 11th volume by the end of next week. This is actually a safety measure for fairness. I can see myself finishing this volume by Monday or Tuesday and then needing a few days to organize the next volume. It hardly seems reasonable to write 10-12 thousand words this week, only to finish the volume with another 2-3 thousand words at the beginning of next week, and then calling the second week a failure for not hitting my 5000 word goal. This way, I can keep writing the next three days if I want rather than forcing myself to take them off simply because I already achieved my goal for the week.

The caffeine will likely keep me up half the night. I've messed up my daily cycle, but those are the breaks. I may cut my sleep short and take the day off from writing in an effort to maintain the cycle. I'll see how I feel. At the moment, I am mentally tired enough that I may just fall asleep at my normal hour.

Sorry for the second post in a row that's so meaningless, but yesterday I was embarrassed; today I'm just tired of writing.

I'll try to do better tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

376 Words

I put that in the title to let everyone know how embarrassed I am at my progress for the day. I've always worked well against negative reinforcement. It sort of drives me to work harder. I have always found it strange how it has the opposite effect on most people. I seem to work well with positive reinforcement also, so I guess it has less to do with the outside effects and more to do with what's going on in my own head.

In my own defense, Moose called me today and we talked for a couple of hours. His call interrupted my work at the 376 word mark and I never got back to it. Since he bought his precious iPhone and as a result was forced to switch to AT&T, we have the same cell carrier making it free for us to call each other. It seems the two or three days when I'm between volumes I call him and use him as a sounding board for ideas and for the in between two or three weeks when I'm writing these ideas, he's the one calling me out of boredom.

Once I decided I'd be lazy and not do too much work today, I felt I had to do something useful to make up for it. I did a couple loads of laundry and vacuumed the apartment. I also did my duty and ordered myself a Family Special #11, which apparently has changed in the six weeks it's been since I ordered one. It no longer comes with three XL pizzas with two toppings and a two liter of soda, it's just two XL pizzas with two toppings (and no soda!). I guess it's for the best. I don't need to be eating pizza every other meal for a week.

But come on! Who doesn't want to live like that?

Alright. I admit it. I'm just a Frat boy who doesn't like to party with anyone else 99% of the time. And thus, the pizza ended my one month and one day binge vegetarianism. I had wondered if going so long without meat would have any adverse reactions to my stomach and indeed it did. It was so yummy and delicious I just had to cram one extra slice into it than I normally do.

Anyway, getting back to beating myself up for not writing enough. If I had had another good day, I could have hit my 5000 word goal in three days. Now, I guess, I'll have to make do with four days.

I really think I have finally hit a "writing groove". Admittedly I have a day like today now and again where I decide to let myself get distracted, but I think I have really fallen into a certain mode for writing. I feel I have been much more serious about it the past five weeks and it has shown.

Last year, I read some advice from a writer I had never heard of, but the advice was sound. To paraphrase he said something along the lines of, If you're going to be a writer. Just write. Don't make excuses for why you're not writing. Just write. Everyday you write, because that's you're job.

I feel like that has how things have been for a while now. I just get up and write because it's my job. Too bad there's no money in it. At least, not when you're doing the actual writing, and well, for 98% of the people who do finish writing something, there's still no money in it. Go figure.

Oddly, the work is it's own reward. I honestly don't care if I make money doing this. It'd be nice so I could write as long as want, but I just don't care. I am simply enjoying the moment of just telling this story. I'm sure I'll look back on this time as an incredible experience, though I understand most could not lead such a solitary life. I really do spend days at a time ignoring the outside world only to realize, "Oh, it's Thursday. Guess I'll check the mail since I haven't yet this week."

As a result, I have been putting off preparing for the inevitable job hunt. I think I know once I start that process, I'll be less focused on my writing. Heaven forbid I actually get a job. I have no idea how that will ruin my progress. It's depressing to think about. I'll stop.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


I said yesterday after my lengthy writing session was over and the plumber had worked his magic on my sink I decided to take the rest of the day off. That wasn't exactly true. I was hit with a pretty tough case of the tireds. I forced myself to stay up until a decent hour. I didn't want to throw my cycle off by taking a nap.

I slept last night from about 11:30pm to 7:15am, so a decent nights sleep, but I just couldn't get myself going today. Strangely enough, I did a good day of writing, 1300 words (exactly!). I didn't care for what I wrote. It was a bit boring, but it served a minor function and I guess not every scene can be average or better. If not for the occasional bland scene there would be no comparison I suppose.

Anyway, I am still just ridiculously exhausted. I can't seem to figure out why. It's not even 8pm and I feel like going to bed. I'll probably waste another hour or so first. I guess that clock will start tickin' once I finish this blog post.

About the only exciting thing I can comment on is my purchase of some new printer ink. I know, that's pretty sad if that's the best I can muster up. I am always leery of buying printer ink that's not from the manufacturer, but decided to try some of the recycled cartridges. I know, I've heard the rip off stories too. Who would have guessed twenty years ago that printer ink would become such a cut throat business today?

I suppose I could mention my full month of not eating meat. Actually, it'll be one month and one day tomorrow. I think I am going to order a pizza with my ham and pepperoni favorites. Don't worry, I'll be sure to savor this lard pack, but good!

Okay, I think I'm really out of things to mention now. I may just have to get some caffeinated beverages with that lard pack and throw my cycle off. Maybe it's all this day time living that's tuckering me out.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Not For Everyone

Sorry Kim, this post isn't for you. No need to read any further. If you do, I can't be responsible for anything negative you may read into it. You've been warned.

Today was a really good day. I started off with an 800+ word writing session. Talked with Kim and Moose on the phone for a bit. Ate breakfast, and then set out to do my dishes only to discover that my kitchen sink was leaking. Rather horrifically in fact. I'm not sure what precipitated the issue, but it was a serious problem nonetheless. I went to the rental office about noon to deliver the bad news and the secretary punched the report into her computer.

Within 90 minutes a maintenance guy was in my apartment and within another hour, he was finished with the job. He even replaced the head of the faucet so that it would run faster. I was stunned. It was so nice to have instant service. I was in such bliss, I took the rest of the day off.

Before that, the time prior to and during the maintenance call, was utilized for more writing allowing me to finish the day with 2269 words. No caffeine, I swear!

Gee, could it be that all this time the key to writing was inside of me and not in that magical wonder drug called caffeine?

Don't be ridiculous. The true secret was actually due to the three days of planning I did prior to the writing session. I always write a lot when I have a bunch of stuff worked out in advance rather than having to figure it all out as I'm staring at the computer screen. Funny that.

Later, a notice was posted to my door letting me know that a seal on the "chiller" for my cell block (I'm assuming they're talking about the air conditioner) partially ruptured. (I'm also assuming this is independent of my sink troubles.) The air conditioning will still be available until tomorrow morning 4am, when the special order for the seal should arrive and the healing will begin. They say the air conditioner will be offline for about 8 hours, sorry for the trouble, feel free to stop by the clubhouse to enjoy the air conditioning where we can read, socialize, or watch TV and eat the pastries they'll have available for us.

That's service! I love it. I have said for years I'll probably not own property again and this is exactly why! All this shit goes wrong and I barely have to lift a finger and it gets taken care of by someone not so lazy as me. (Thank God for industrious legal and illegal Mexicans.) If Kim were reading this post, but she's not, she'd tell everyone what a hassle owning property can really be like!

Of course, the worst part about the real estate boom that's been happening for a number of years is the property taxes boom. I doubt those are going to go down. All you suckers that own property. HA! HA! I'm free of all that nonsense! (Real estate booms always happens when the economy is in the toilet because people think property is a safe investment. However, this time the economy has been taking a shit for so long, even the real estate boom has been declining.)

What a good day. Perhaps tomorrow morning, after my air conditioning has been off for 5-6 hours and the temperature in my apartment rises to the unbearable low 80's, I'll go to the club house with my laptop and write there. It's been a while since someone offered me pastries in the morning.

Right Kim?

She's not reading....

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Horrible, Just Horrible...

Last week I downloaded Joss Whedon's, "Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog" and this weekend I had the opportunity to watch it a couple of times. You can guess from the fact that I watched it twice, I enjoyed it very much. I've always had a penchant for musical's, but they have to be clever in some way. I have sat through a number of those old Rodgers and Hammerstein classical musicals from the '40s, maybe they were something innovative way back then, but man are they boring today.

Moose asked me today if I was jaded coming out of the womb. We were discussing movies made in the '60s because there is a character in "Dr. Strangelove" he wants me to incorporate into the book. That movie is 45 years old. EGADS! I have never seen it and told him I really didn't like the old '40s, '50s, and '60s movies because of the lame theatrical acting. Films became ten times better once the method actors took over and kicked out that old crappy style of overacting. There's only two actors I like from those years and they were Vincent Price and Danny Kaye. Sadly, I haven't watched enough of their work because I really don't the actors supporting them.

(That's not the full context of Moose's comment. We were also talking about the cold war fear of the Russians from back in the '50s and '60s, a la Dr. Stranglove. He said as a child that grew up in the '80s I should have an inkling of understanding, and I simply do not. Back then I never understood the old or new shows that portrayed this irrational fear of the Russians and no one ever sufficiently explained to me why I should have been afraid or why the average american was so afraid of that propaganda in the '80s or earlier. I guess I really was jaded as a kid. Either that, or just too smart to buy into the bullshit even at that age.)

Anyway, back to Dr. Horrible. The musical was created specifically for free distribution over the internet. Whedon financed it himself and expects sales on iTunes and DVD sales to pay for it in the end. Basically, he is being a pioneer in the new media system of getting people to pay for something after they've gotten to see it and enjoy it, rather than trying to sucker people into paying to watch something metiocre before watching. If reasonably priced, and I am sure it will be, I will probably buy the DVD to support the new model. Hopefully, it will encourage other people to be pioneers and offer up some quality entertainment rather than the boiled down to the lowest common denominator crap that we currently see on TV and coming out of Hollywood.

People can still see it for free on the official Dr. Horrible website as well as on

I am sure there are people out there saying, "If it's available for free, why pay for it?" Again, it is for the purpose of paying for good quality entertainment. If you don't feel it's worth paying for, then don't. You can stick to the metiocre stuff you're already paying for. Me personally, I don't watch much of that stuff anymore. Over the last ten years, the supposedly best and most intellectual shows on TV (e.g. CSI, Law and Order) have slowly jaded me to the point where I can only nitpick the ridiculous parts. These shows, CSI in particular, have noticeably dropped in quality since their beginnings. Their efforts to wow the average audience, have put me in a stupor because they botch the science in the process. To me, these shows are not worth paying for anymore.

Actually, as long as I am recommending stuff. I really recommend Showtime's original TV series, Dexter. A quick synopsis of the show would be that Dexter Morgan is a serial killer who only kills other people who are sufficiently bad. He is a truly frightening sample of vigilante justice. The first two seasons of that show were nothing short of stunning! For the record, I believe that USA is running edited repeats of the show with all the "graphic" stuff cut out. I have not seen an edited episode, but even without seeing them, I can assure you, don't waste your time on them. (Also, each season is a twelve episode story arc so you can't come in during the middle.) Taking out the intensity of the show is akin to cutting your own achilles tendons and trying to run a marathon. Don't do it! Buy the DVDs you won't be disappointed.

And finally, for a quick writing update. I have plotted out the next book, so I should be in good shape to start writing again tomorrow. For the record I think I am going to start calling them "volumes" instead of "books". I think this will help in some of the people's confusion on the matter. Plus it'll sound better once I start releasing it as a serial.

After a long weekend of three days off (that is, if you don't count prep work as work) I guess I'd better be ready to get back into the grind.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

January in July!

Just two days shy of being out here ignoring the rest of the world for five months, and I guess if I want to go three more days, a full month of eating no meat. I'm not really sure if the latter is any real milestone, but then, neither of them really are.

Despite it being August 2nd, I was waiting to get a day where I really had nothing else to report. Two days ago, I received a card from my Grandmother. It said on the front, "You're on my mind..." and on the inside it said, "...because I'm wondering what's on yours."

It was very sweet. She also wrote that she loved me and all her grandchildren, so for those of you who only know that their grandmother loves them a bunch through peanut butter sandwiches, HA! HA! (Thus explaining the January in July part. Assuming you read the blog post from last Friday.) Obviously she is on my mind too, or else I wouldn't mention her from time to time.

The rest of the post may not appear so nice to those that don't realize that I can simply state observations without malicious intent. I have been known to draw return fire from friends and family that I didn't realize were unready to accept my cold observations. Alas, it almost looks as though I am verbally attacking my Grandmother and that is, obviously, not the intent.

My Grandmother also said that before I do anymore religious commentaries, that I should read the Bible. I'm not sure I have the time these days for anything that heavy, but when does any of us have time without working hard to make the time. Honestly, I would love to read the Bible, but don't want to wade through all the bullshit. It's just too long a read for antiquated wisdom that's over 2000 years old. I understand that the vast majority of it is timeless, but I don't need to learn the exact lessons of the bible, when I could just as easily watch a Twilight Zone marathon and get most of the same lessons in a fashion that's only forty-five years outdated.

As I have said before, I don't really care to discuss religion because people are usually just looking for a fight. Sadly, they sit and talk about it all being immune to reason because it is faith based, yet they express their faith as though it were fact. But the simple fact is, their beliefs are no more valid than anyone who studies Wicca, Buddhism, Hinduism, Shinto, and all the rest not on Gilligan's Isle.

I'll say that more simply: There's no way to convince me that any flavor of Christianity is any more valid than any other flavor, or indeed, any other religion.

Everyone seeks the means to fulfill the spiritual side of their psyche. How they do that, in the grand scheme of things, is immaterial. If a person does not seek to find something spiritual inside themselves, they are unlikely to grow as individuals. Those that leave this side of themselves in a wasteland, leave a significant part of themselves to wither and die or never be born. Fill in either metaphor as you feel appropriate. I have my own personal form of Deism and I'm happy with it. I like to think, in general, I am a good person. I seek to do the right things and I feel spiritually fulfilled by what I do.

I also like to think I'm pretty arrogant. In fact, I'm kind of proud of it because I feel better than 99.44% of the time, I can back it up. However, I am not so arrogant as to think that what fulfills me spiritually is what everyone, or even anyone, needs to make themselves spiritually fulfilled.

Please note there is no logical implication here that I am implying that my Grandmother is arrogant for telling me to read the Bible. I say this only because it is precisely the fallacious conclusion that many mundane people would jump to, especially after I've worked so hard to teach the blogoshpere to avoid it.

Back to the discussion: She's right. I should read the Bible. I should also read the Koran, Buddha's teachings, and so many more. All of them have spiritual value and one day I may need to delve into one or more of them to move to the next level of my own spirituality, but for now, I'm good.

Friday, August 1, 2008

This Is My Day off?

After doing so much work the first four days of this week and being in between books, I figured today would make for a good day off. Unfortunately, I have been focusing so intently on my writing the past month, it just doesn't shut off like that. I did manage to get myself to the 7-Eleven to buy myself a soda. My first in about four weeks. It was a pleasant treat.

It was also nice to get up at 5am and not immediately start cranking away, so I guess I can revel in that, but I chose to call Moose at 8am (that's 11am east coast time) and update him on my progress. I let him know that the latest book was available for him to listen to. I normally send him updates every chapter or two, but this time I finished the book before letting him in on the fun because I wanted to make sure it had a certain level of consistency.

Anyway, we talked about the next book and it gave me some ideas which is a good thing. After all, that's why it is a semi-collaboration. I plan to start outlining tomorrow and writing on Sunday. Hopefully, all goes well in that department. If I can start writing and eek out another 1000 words it could be my second week in a row with 7000 words. Keep your fingers crossed.

I have recently been thinking ahead to the point when I plan on starting the second draft and final draft. My original plan was to come out here and write as much as I could by the end of November/early December and start serializing to the web in January. Some things have popped up that lead me to believe I may want to change that game plan. Namely, the iphone 2.0.

I'm sure most people's initial reaction is: "What's the new iphone got to do with your book?"

The short answer is: "As much as I want."

In a nutshell, the new iphone "system" allows people and businesses to create their own applications to sell for the iphone. They are then sold in the istore for people who want them. One of the apps that people are coming up with are ebook readers. And since I am looking to serialize my book as an ebook,... you get it yet?

That's right, I've spent all morning looking into publishing information for publishing my serial for the an iphone. Alas, after several hours there is little information on the subject because it is such a new topic of interest. I'll likely have to ask an expert directly.

A serial is the perfect medium for telling a story on the iphone. A long 120-150 thousand word novel I can only assume is a bit daunting on such a small reader, but a story that is broken down into small 13-17 thousand word chuncks is a lot more palatable and a bit more ideal for, what I suspect, will be shorter reading sessions.

The basic reason I started looking into this is precisely because it is such a new topic. I figure there is no sense in waiting six months when I can be a part of the ball as it's starting to roll now. The worst case scenario is that I won't be given a shot because I am unpublished and I go back to "Plan A" of releasing it online myself.

As for the title, I question this being my day off essentially because after several hours of research, I feel more exhausted than if I had been writing all morning. My next stop: send a voicemail to that expert I mentioned above.