Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Rockets and baby steps. We haz them.

Found upon Googling "old car on rocket fuel".
Thank you Hemmings Daily.
Castagna-bodied 1913 A.L.F.A. Aerodinamica
After a rough bit of a start this morning...sort of like a spluttering, coughing old car...I finally got moving on notes for my book ideas, a list of all the book ideas and as much notes as I could remember.

I was rocketing along, ROCKETING I tell you, a good fifty minutes! And then I had to get ready for work. I wanted to scream. I sincerely felt like crying and fully and completely resented the fact that I had to put and clothes and NOT WRITE FOR HOURS AND HOURS. I only had ten minutes to get ready for work. I decided last second to take my laptop with me.

"Yeah, but you know if you take it you probably won't have any time to work. You'll be fully scheduled."

It's a bit of a bother to disentangle the laptop from my desk and pack it up.  Then I'd have to reconnect everything when I got home. Really only a few extra minutes though. Stop whining! You're doing so well right now and you need to make these notes. You know you're brain keeps losing things! Look what happened when you had figured out how to close that plot hole in the space station story. It was a really annoying, glaring plot hole that sort of made the whole story contrived, a hole about the artifact and why it was where it was and how it affected everyone.

 And when I figured out the brilliant solution I didn't write it down because I thought surely something THIS big I'll remember! And yet...I didn't. I'm certain since I worked it out once I can do it again. But if I'd written it down that would save time of me having to, since I'm getting such a late start at this book thing.

I did it, disentangled and disconnected everything and luckily my computer bag was right there and I even remembered my mouse, without that I'm screwed because I turned off the internal touch pad because reasons too long to go into.

I did all this quickly, almost the second I rejected the first objection, before my brain really had time to tell my body NOT to do it. I mean, really, is it that hard? It ain't rocket science. It ain't even regular science. It's unplugging some stuff and stuffing that stuff into a bag and remembering to take the bag and using the stuff once you get there.

Pictured: The thing that it was not, fifties style.
Remington Rand Computer, San Diego Air and Space Museum Archive:
My laptop came to work with me and lo and behold, the muses, or gods, or spirits, or luck or something hath smiled uponst me. My schedule, 9 AM to 2 PM is so far completely empty. Not so great for my pocketbook, but it means after splurging on a triple espresso with two pumps of toffee nut syrup and a pumpkin scone (I'm eating it in very small bites, dear god the sugar in these things, I'm not used to it anymore) from SBux I got all set up and now am rocketing along on this blog entry. The list is open in my Word program, ready to get back to, but I need to keep up my blog. Also there's some notes in some of the early entries, basic stuff but must keep everything in one place. I haven't been and that's hampering progress.

The Bay Psalm Book, 1640: first book (believed to be) written
and published in what is now the United States.
In November 2013 it sold for $14,165,000.
I want to try to keep up my daily blog entries too. Trumpeting my steps to author-hood to the world, even if the world isn't paying attention, is healthy, healing progress for my self-worth and self-esteem. Keeping up my blog helps me take baby steps into the idea of self-promotion, which will be necessary for selling the first book. I doubt I'll get fourteen million dollars for it.

In fact, I don't want even a million. Too much money is too much hassle. Enough to be fairly comfortable and not have to work if I want while I write the next book and save some for retirement. Which if I'm writing for a living I'm not going to be doing, retiring that is.

 Really, just enough to be comfortable and write as a lifetime vocation. Bliss.

Also, sharing silliness and random stuff is fun. Someone, somewhere may stumble across it and have a laugh for the day. That's a good thing.

Just have to remember not to get too sucked in to my work. I have to glance up at the schedule monitor every fifteen minutes to make sure I don't have a last minute session. I am supposed to be earning money and helping people while I'm at work.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Maybe Mondays should be "Wall of Text" day.

I’m trying to make myself stop using the word “so” to begin a sentence. Is there anything inherently wrong with the practice? Well, it can be annoying. Also I should try not to use the word “well” to start a sentence.

I often write like I speak. Conversationally, as it were. Or at least I write like I think. My thinking and day-to-day speech if filled with a lot of slang, cursing, quotes from both pop culture anything and everything, quotes and references to more obscure things only a few people might get (probably the people that would get them are never going to read whatever it is I’m posting that day).
It’s hard, knowing I’m toiling in obscurity. I’m trying to avoid the habit of using the pronoun “you” when I mean “me”. Do you understand what I mean? An example would be as in the first sentence of this very paragraph. I first typed, “…knowing you’re toiling in obscurity.”

Do you think “toiling in obscurity” is cliché? Hey. My Word 2007 program just added the little emphasis mark over the “e” in cliché. Okay, that’s too many quotation marks now; it’s getting on my nerves.
So, what do YOU think?

What do YOU think, faceless mob of readers?

I don’t know that the phrase toiling in obscurity is necessarily cliché in use, I haven’t seen it used that often, but perhaps it is cliché in that it lacks original thought. But if it’s the perfect phrase for the way I feel, why should I originated something that will probably be convoluted (as I so often do) when I can a phrase that is precise?

What do you think, unknown intelligent persons reading my at-least-five-minutes-a-day for today?

This is my practice, my daily homework, my stream-of-conscious pressure valve where I spew things. Here I keep them (because I tend to cling to every thought, hoping one day something will be the spark I need to launch me into the…

Into the…what? Not rarified air, I don’t pretend to be a budding Tolkein, Martin, or Hobb.

Or even a…what’s the name of that guy…Robert Asprin. I used to read his M.Y.T.H series. I don’t have the patience for it anymore. Oh, it’s funny alright. Great fun. But I need my stories to be a bit meatier now. Even if the book is rather short, I need the story to have weight, rich texture, and depth. I just read Starship Troopers (yes, I only just got around to it, bite me). That was delicious. Like a sweet and savory cake, a crafted recipe. A good deal of Asprin’s work is, for me, more like doughnuts. Very tasty, well made doughnuts. But doughnuts none the less.

After all…I can make up my own silliness. I do it all the time. I don’t use it for my own stories because honestly it bores me. It’s too easy. Was that mean to say? I worry over that. Is Mr. Asprin dead, so that he may never, ever find out that I said that in any bizarre set of nearly impossible circumstances? And is stating his work tastes like tasty chocolate covered whipped cream filled doughnuts speaking ill of the dead?

Well, this bit has gone nowhere fast. I’m trying so hard to purge my writing of the markers of modernity. Words, phrases, and…what do you call something that starts a sentence but doesn’t really add anything? I’m trying to stop using words like and, so, well, see, and the like to start sentences.

Add okay to that list, because I just started this sentence with it and then removed it. Where am I going with this again? I am trying to remove slang and poor grammar and lazy turn-of-phrase from my writing because…

Add using ellipses to that list.

….because too many people are already using it. But how to find my own voice, how? HOW I ASK YOU!

Add using all capitals and too many exclamation points to that list.
How to write in my own voice without removing my personality from my conversational language?

Do I even really want that to be my personality?

I am emphatic, emotional, often erratic, sometimes irrational (C-c-c-c-combo breaker!). Shut up, that was fun. How to convey my fascinating personality without typing in a way I feel conveys said personality.

I know I need to add giving up the rambling sentences and paragraphs.
Sigh. Should that even matter in a space where I should feel free to explore things that I need to ruminate on? That I need to examine and analyze and dissect and beat to death so all the bits are broken up and I can pick them all up and inspect them and then obsess why each and everyone of them is there and is thing a gestalt or something else?

I just used the word gestalt! I feel I’ve grown as a person and a writer. I hope I used it correctly. I dislike precision.

I think that’s part of my…not problem. I don’t think it’s a problem. Difficulty? I feel  the way I write when mulling things over is part of my need for precision. I want to thoroughly express my every thought. Because it’s not something I do in everyday life. Much. I’m an introvert. It’s part of my thing. It’s how I roll.
I like that one, I’m keeping it.

But…but…but…if everyone is doing it, the slinging of slang and silly references to things they think are awesome (and lot’s of people are) I’m not unique! And if I write like people wrote in the past, I’m still not unique, because just dredging up something old and using it isn’t original!

Derivative! Save me from a literary life of derivativaty and non-orginalness!
Fuck, fuck, fuckity, fuck. It appears I do have a few fucks left to give. I’ve been saving them up.

Pah. Bah. Today is supposed to be my Quiet Monday. I can feel illness creeping up on me. I get a full body exhaustion and achiness sometimes, where I feel like I have the flu but I’m pretty sure there’s no virus. It’s just my body trying to purge cortisol I think. That’s a stress hormone. I’m not even sure if that’s a real thing, the body making itself feel flu-ish to get a person to rest when they need it. But that’s what it feels like to me.

I had a bit of a stressful weekend. TheDaughter had a friend over for a sleep-over. Having someone in my house that isn’t usually in the house stresses me. I feel it necessary to stress and fuss over appearances, cleaning and food and stuff. And there’s a presence, an energy there that’s just not usually there. I have to be aware of it, because the person has needs that must be seen to and the people who live here can often see to their own needs. Even if it’s people I love dearly, relatives and best friends that I don’t really need to worry about cleaning for, I still need to make sure there’s more food and meals prepared and a variety of snacks and where are they going to sleep and we only have one bathroom and the house is too small, too small, too small. It’s too small really for just three.

Check your privilege, bitch. You need to be grateful for what you have.
I am grateful! Doesn’t stop or mitigate my automatic stress reaction!
Enough! I’m going to post this now and then play Dragon Age Origins for many hours. And there’s no one here that can stop me, ha!

I really hope I can get back into the Korcari Wilds after this first battle is over. I have three side quest items that have to be done there. The guard at the gate said I could get back in, but can you really believe an NPC that doesn't even have a name? 

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Friday 5 for September 25, 2016: Mood

I haven't done a Friday Five in a long time. Today's questions are coincidentally appropriate to my life.
When did you last spend kind of a long time in an unpleasant mood?

Well, there's a loaded question. Depends on what you mean by "unpleasant mood"? Having a mood disorder, that happens quite often. Fortunately now that I have learned how better to manage it, bad moods have less effect on my day-to-day life and rarely overwhelm me. Hm, that's overstating. They overwhelm me less often than they used to. Rarely is too strong a word.

I digress. Answer the question. The last time I spent a kind of a long time in an unpleasant mood was...this past few weeks, ending somewhere around 8:30 pm during the advanced section of my mixed martial arts class. A specific situation that had been eating at me for a while was...not solved...but lessened considerably in the hour before class. Then advanced class burned most of the rest of it out of me.  Even if it was just practice and my opponents weren't really resisting much because the objective was how to apply the move, it's interesting how putting young men half your age in choke-holds can lift my mood.

Like this. Except my arms and legs aren't nearly that long so I had a bit more difficulty.
Her legs are supposed to be wrapped around her opponents waist on the floor hold.
No Gi-Grappling/Submission Wrestling Tutorial
When you’re in a bad mood, what are strategies you employ for either dealing with it or shaking it?

You mean besides choke holds? Breathing. Well, if I'm in the middle of a busy time at work or I simply can't stop what I'm doing and my bad mood is interfering with my focus, focusing on breathing for a few minutes can help. Full lung breaths, I think they're called four part breaths. Let me check.

Okay, there is a thing called four part breathing, but that's not the breathing I was thinking of. Just slow, measured breathing. Focus on the act of inhaling, filling your lungs all the way to the bottom, and exhaling all the way. Not too far, don't make yourself light headed.

But that's a very short term measure. As I said it doesn't shake the bad mood so much as shake the bad mood's currently disruption of my focus on what I need to do. I'm a massage therapist, so not allowing a bad mood to disrupt me in session in crucial in helping my clients.

Repeat as needed.

Often I have found I just need to ride out a bad mood. Sometimes shaking it requires more energy than just acknowledging it and riding it out like a wave instead of struggling to get out of the ocean. "It'll pass, it'll pass, this too shall pass," is a mantra I use. I do things that help make it pass faster, like limiting as much as possible the demands of energy made on my body and brain. Sandwiches for dinner because Mom had to lie down for an hour after work. Buying only the essentials needed for the next few days at the grocery store instead of the entire shopping list.

If I have plenty of time to spare...usually I don't, but if I do...horror movies often help. Or horror/fantasy crossovers. I don't use food, that's a dangerous road. Using food to adjust mood is NOT a good idea.

I am almost always in the mood
for chocolate covered bacon.
What’s a meal you enjoy only when you’re specifically in the mood for it? Well, there's meals I have to be in the mood to prepare. I have to want to make my special meatloaf, it takes extra preparation. If you're in a bad mood when you prepare food it affects the food. Hey, I totally believe that spiritual stuff in this case.

I don't think I have meal like that. Do I? Trying to think. If someone were to say, "Hey, let's go out and get _______," what would it have to be for me to say, "No, I have to be in the mood for that." 

I've often said, "No, I'm not in the mood for <insert whatever here>." But I don't think there's any one food or...genre?...of food I have to have a specific mood for.

When you’re in an especially foul mood, how are those close to you most likely to detect it?

Lightening bolts and storm clouds? Usually I just tell people. I work with very intuitive people, massage therapists are the bomb at reading body language and feeling energy, 'cause that's the job, bitches. So if I'm at work it's usually not necessary to announce it, someone will generally say, "What's wrong?"

But I try not to make other people have to detect a bad mood, I let them know. Also...if I'm in an especially foul mood and I'm at home...I often just go lie down, or hide with a book or the mini-DVD player until I feel better. That's how they know too.

What external forces seem most to influence your mood?

Hm. Seem to MOST influence my mood? External forces...what you mean like the world at large? Having to drive a lot, and dealing with other drivers. The days I have to do that often affect me more. Listening to and reading about the news of the world at large, both in our own country and the world at large, can seriously depress me.

Seems to be so much bad stuff happening all over the planet. Global climate shift, turmoil in the Africa, the Middle East, and spilling into Europe, the current presidential race (and it's not even the election year yet), sometimes it's all too much. I'm one of those people that's not very well-informed, because it affects my mood so deeply that I can't function if I know all about it. I do listen to NPR but I don't study most things in great depth. I'm one of those people who can't recognize the vice president (the fact that he hasn't shot anyone while in office makes him fairly unmemorable).

Nope. Not having it.
So no, I don't keep up with the daily political stuff of our world. But I don't watch television either. Any television, no news, but no mind candy either. All those shows that so many people think are so important, that they spend so much time planted in front of the television or computer screen for? I don't do that. So I get my superior on that way.

Not that I've NEVER been a television watcher. I've just...grown out of it. It bores me. None of it seems really worth the bother. And when a show does come along that's really good, that is worth my precious time and energy? IT GETS CANCELLED!!!

I miss them so much.

/That's my Friday Five. Except now it's Saturday. But I did work on it for over an hour both Friday and Saturday, so good writing was done. Woot!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Complaints about complaints and excuses.

I don’t have the time. When I do have the time I don’t have the motivation and inspiration and when I do have the motivation and inspiration I don’t have the time. What the fuck, what the fuck, what the fuck?

I must leave here in forty-five minutes. I have a weekly lunch date with my son, Dexter. I worry about him. I will not miss it and goddamnit I will not be late this time.

That’s not really his name. No, it’s not a nickname from that horrible serial killer show. Sickos. It’s from a cartoon, Dexter’s Laboratory. He used to love that show.

I don’t have time today because I got up late. I don’t even have time to write and do strength training. I can do strength training later today. I could probably write later today in a paper journal and do strength training now, but I think I’m relying too much on the paper journal. Yes, the idea is five minutes of any type of serious writing (exercise, self-reflection, story, etc. …MMA training logs don’t count) and to start with some paper journaling is okay. But the end goal, the real goal, the ultimate goal… is sitting down at the keyboard every day, every morning like a real job (because it will BE a real job, damnit) and writing real stories for the rest of my life. My martial arts are not a career.

 I stayed up too late reading last night. That is not uncommon. I’ve had some stress lately. I’m getting better at dealing with stress and getting my stuff done too; I don’t play video games nearly as much as I did. For instance, the stress has not gone away, but I am still here at the keyboard completing my five minute commitment instead of playing video games until the very last second before I have to leave. But bedtime is still hard. If I’m not completely, totally exhausted when I turn off the light, so that I fall asleep immediately…my brain stews. It won’t shut down. So I can either lie there in the dark not sleeping and being miserable. Or I can lie there with the lamp on, reading Starship Troopers until the book is sliding out of my hands. Last night the sliding started at about 11:30 pm.

Now, some days I can still drag myself out of bed at 4:30 or 5:00 am, but not today. So I did not get to see my husband this morning before he left. And tonight, there will be more stress! That stress is of a certain age that rhymes with spleen, so that's not going away any damn time soon, I MUST FIND A WAY AROUND THIS. I have to take some melatonin tonight. And use some yoga breathing. And do some tai chi before.

I keep going over this, and over this, and over this…this same damn problem of never really enough time. I’m so fucking sick of this. This entry is all complaints and excuses. But I’m getting better, by slowly crawling inches. Well, maybe by millimeters. No, I think we can say inches. I’m getting better. So I got that out of today. I’m getting better, I’m setting my habit, I’m truly facing my ineffectiveness and realizing I really do want to do something about it. That’s progress.

No time for pictures today. That’s hard for me, I really like including pictures and captions. But I have a commitment to Dexter too. Also, I made a commitment to stop being late so often. I need to be on time to things, all things, all the time. Not just some of the time. I know there will be construction traffic and school buses. I need to leave, no time for pictures.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Duplos, see-meants, cinders, granite, boulders, Appalachians, Rockies, Alps, Hima-fucking-layas...

Blocks to the left of me, blocks to the right of me, blocks ahead of me...blocks behind me I already clawed my way over, no way I'm going back there.

Oh. Gross. Cat made a stinky. Just now.

(This is stream-of-consciousness. Yer gettin' yer feet wet.)

I had to get up just now and clean, because gross. But I'm used to it, because it happens a fair amount. Less than it used to, but more than I'd like. Which is any. Any hall poop (or non-box poo) happening is more than I'd like.

It was in her pan at first, I could hear that. Her pan is twelve feet down the hall in the bathroom. How does it the stink travel so far so fast?

Then I heard it again, turned my head to look behind me down the hall, and I see the front half of her body. So I know she's making a stinky pile of poop in the hall now too.

She's old. Geriatric old, which is different from senior old.

Now, two minutes later, she has already forgotten. Not me, Princess Poops A Lot. Not me.

Yes, I've taken her to the vet. Numerous times. I don't really want my five minutes writing today to be about my magical pooping cat.

I don't want that any day, really.

Blocks. I got 'em. I don't want my five minutes to be about that either. But at least I'm typing. I do so love the sound of my keys click-clacking.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Five will get you fifty...sometimes even more.

What shall we write about today? We have a commitment to keep.
Look up. What's there? A jelly fish. 

There is a floppy, stuffed toy jelly fish sitting on the books just behind my laptop. It’s from the Beanie Buddies collection, but we didn’t buy it for that. My kids were little and SpongeBob SquarePants was big. Jelly fishing!!!

Now my kids are no longer kids. My older son is twenty-three and my younger son will be twenty-one this November. I don’t know why I kept the darn thing. I am a sentimental person, but usually only sentimental about things my kids were attached to themselves. They liked the floppy pastel multi-colored jelly fish, but it wasn’t a beloved toy. Mostly it sat on one or the other’s bed.

Property of United Plankton Pictures
and Nickelodeon Animation Studios.
But there is a happy associated memory. I remember driving in the car, both of them in the back seat and hearing a commercial for the some summer special of SpongeBob cartoons. Many of them involved jelly fishing and they talked about it in the commercial. Catching (and then releasing) jelly fish was a favorite hobby of SpongeBob and his friend, Patrick Star. ‘Cause that’s how they rolled. Occasionally they were grudgingly accompanied by Squidward Tentacles, SpongeBob’s and Patrick’s neighbor. Squidward lived in an Easter Island head. SpongeBob lived in a pineapple. Patrick, who was a starfish, lived under a rock. A starfish living under a rock is the least insane thing I just told you about.

It is my considered opinion that the people who create this shit are all high as balls, all the time. Ceaselessly high. Or perhaps simply very, very creative on the fly. I can do that, spout funny nonsense without being high. It’s when I’m trying to make something more permanent that I have blocks.

Hmm. Created by Stephen Hillenburg, who is a marine biologistcartoonist, animator, director, producer, writer, and voice actor. Okay, so probably it's the creative thing.

ANYWAY…After the commercial for the summer special was finished, we’d sing the SpongeBob SquarePants theme song. All three of us, together. It was pretty awesome. A totally happy, anxiety free moment with children when they were little. Those are rare for me, totally pure happy memories. My brain manages to infect a lot of my happy with unhappy, telling me I was not a good mom. So I kept the floppy jelly fish because it  reminds me that we had happy. I have never fully analyzed that before, the keeping of this particular toy which seemed to have no deep sentiment attached to it.

"This is where I chill. Where I relax. Where I chillax."
- recent jelly fish attributed quote. I think he got it from somewhere else.
He's like that.
Interesting what can happen when you sit down to write for five minutes because you made a commitment...because you want to write all the stories you have in your head and sell them and be paid to write more and having a bit of money would be nice and you know this is your thing, your lifelong thing so why can't you just DO IT ALREADY...I'm getting off track.

Interesting what can happen when you simply begin typing about the first thing you see when you glance up. And I thought this would be a dull prompt. I made it up myself, this prompt. Just today! 

I don’t remember if we ever named the jelly fish. For some reason I refer to it as he. Jelly fish do have genders. However…they do not have brains.

And that sort of explains the whole earth experience, in my considered opinion.

I leave you with this:

Seriously, what the fuck, Outdoor Swimming Society?
What the hell is that freaky mask?

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Clackety-clack-clack, how I love the sound of my own fingers machine-gunning away at the keyboard.

Motivation. I don't haz it.
Check the video at the link, I'm not the only one using that metaphor.
I'm mildly surprised, but there is no new thing under the sun.
Old Fort Typewriter Co.

I can't get motivated to write today. Write as an exercise I mean, with a prompt from one of my books.

The television is on in the background and it's grating on my nerves, dear god, how many times can a person watch the same damn Teen Titans episode? But said person was very prompt about her chores this week and helped me a lot on Friday without complaining once.

The laundry is laundering. The dirty dishes are sitting. The cat pan needs cleaning. The cat needs feeding. The unorganized stuff...bills and receipts and sewing things...need organizing. I need to order some massage supplies and there is a book that I feel is important to order today. The dust is gathering the and the floors refuse to sweep and vacuum themselves, lazy bastards.

I have tai chi class today and maybe karate class. On Wednesday night, during advanced MMA class, while sparring with one of my instructors, I got a very solid knee to the left ribcage. Fucker hurt like hell, I wanted to push through, just baby it and keep sparring because in a real fight (meaning if someone attacked me) I wouldn't get the option to stop. But I had to stop, the pain was too sharp. I tried switching to southpaw but it was no good, I had to stop for the night. I hate stopping. And I didn't even get a decent bruise to show for it!

That was Wednesday night and I had to work Thursday at Unnamed Massage Therapy Franchise Clinic but I took off Friday at the chiropractor. I rested a good part of Friday morning and then did errands the rest of the day, with my step-daughter to help me.  But I feel lazy not even going for a walk. I'm itching to get on the mats so I'm hoping I can at least go through the motions at karate class, to keep up my muscle memory.

So...little motivation to do a proper writing exercise. I'll have a bitch of a time getting started but then I'll finally get into it and then I'll have to get ready for tai chi class at 9 am and that's half an hour from now.

But here is my "at least five minutes" exercise. I've been writing in my paper journal on the days I didn't have time to sit down at the computer. Clackety-clack-clack, I love that sound.

Okay. What I DO have motivation for is to get some of the household stuff done (mentioned above) this morning before I have to get ready.

~Ernest Hemingway
Somebody else knows exactly what I'm talking about.
Hemingway knows exactly what I'm talking about.
Except I like my sounds, they're not ugly.