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31 December 2012

New Freakin' Year!

New Year's Resolution #1:

Say "Gorramit" more frequently.*

And that works, because the Wheel of Time curse words (which I tend to use while reading the books) don't really have a satisfying replacement for "Goddammit"; there's "Light!", "Burn me!", "Blood and ashes!", "flaming", "burning" and "bloody", and of course, one of my favorites: "Sheep swallop and bloody buttered onions!"
But none of those fills the same meaning-slot as "Gorramit".

I've started reading The Happiness Project, a Christmas present from my mother.  Though I'm starting a little late for starting in January (not much time to think about what my goals for the year are, though I can make them up as I go, if necessary), I think I'm going to follow the guidelines/principles/whatevers in the book.  Starting with making my bed, getting dressed, brushing my teeth, and going to the gym.  You know, the important stuff.

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* Which, of course, refers to Firefly.

01 December 2012

November: Thank Goddess It's Over

I don't know.  I actually really enjoy November, for the most part.  And I think I'm getting better at this whole writing-a-novel-in-a-month thing, kinda the way I kept getting faster during each successive word war or sprint.  At least, this year's novel-in-a-month has a lot of potential, I think.  It needs some editing, but I think I actually finished the story.  Which is way cool.  Lifechanger took a year to write, because I hadn't finished it during November, and I didn't touch it again until the next November.  So, this is an improvement.

But still.  I basically dropped my webcomic (I'm compiling a list in my head: next year, build a month-long buffer, buy enough canned foods for the month, make sure my laundry's as done as possible, etc.... ), and I need to start that again.  (Tomorrow, when I watch Dr. Who, is a great time to draw.)
The house needs some serious cleaning; there are only clean clothes because I talked my husband into taking clothes to the laundromat for me, so we could have clean clothes, and I could catch up on my novel; the sink is full of dishes ... well, there's a lot to get done.
Starting with sleep.

But anyway, I wanted to just state, for the record, that I am ending the month with 50,183 words, having spent 34 hours writing.  It's been a good month.  

24 August 2012

UfYH Progress Report


I'd have put this on Tumblr, but it was giving me problems. So, for background, Unfuck Your Habitat is a totally great Tumblr-blog-thingie (yeah, I still haven't quite "gotten" Tumblr) to help lazy people with messy homes. 
We were given a challenge: pick a fucked-up area of our homes and unfuck it for twenty minutes.  I chose: the bedroom closet (my side, specifically). 

Here's the Before: 

 I finished my intended project (get the clothes off the closet floor so I could put my shoes away, then go through the clothes to find what I wanted to keep, and what I wanted to give to my younger sister) before the twenty minutes was up. So I started a new project. You can't see it in the above picture, but on the other side of the laundry baskets was three zippered men's suit holders (I don't really know what else to call them--you're supposed to hang them in the closet and they keep dust off your suits) belonging to Best Beloved. Only, they didn't have hangers in them, and they had more than one suit apiece (in fact, there was only one suit-set ... the rest were unmatched). 
So, I pulled the suits out, threw away the first suit-keeper, as it had a large tear, and one of the cats had vomited on it long ago (so long ago that it was dry and crumbly, and easily vacuumed up). 
I was in the middle of putting all the pants on suit-hangers, hoping the matching suits would be in suit-keeper #3, when my alarm went off. Twenty minutes were up. 
(And I said, Awww ... but I'm not done!) 
So I kept going. All I wanted to do was get them on hangers (until recently, we stored a TON of extra hangers on the (flimsy) curtain rod above the laundry baskets), and get them out of the way until tomorrow, because Best Beloved doesn't work on Saturday (and neither do I, this week!!), so we could deal with them then. 
As I was hanging the suits on the curtain rod, this is what happened: 


Yep. The curtain rod bent under all that weight (it's only meant to hold a piece of cloth, after all), and the suits, the hangers, the towels and ties and other bits of clothes Best Beloved kept hanging there on a daily basis ... all that fell, right into my arms. So I had to unbend the curtain rod, put it back, and then Best Beloved and I sorted the billion hangers he'd kept for a dozen years (I wish I was joking: BB is a serious hoarder), and then he threw some away. (This is always a big deal.) 
Anyway, we came up with a solution for all the clothes and the dozen or so useful hangers we kept (hanging on the closet lintel), and then I vacuumed some (well, I'd been vacuuming little bits at a time the whole time). And I told Best Beloved that he was not allowed to have more clothes than what fits in his closet and dressers. And I told him we'd deal with that tomorrow. 


So. It begins. We've tried unfucking the house before, but I have faith in this new system (I've cleaned my dishes immediately after using them two days in a row (about to be three days in a row), which Never Happens.) 
I guess we're starting with the bedroom, and we'll probably move out from there, to the bathroom, the kitchen, the living room, my tiny office in the living room, before we tackle the huge monster: The Attic (ought to be the office, but ... it isn't). 
I'm excited. 

15 August 2012

Grim Tales

Grim Tales is back. I've been posting it to Facebook, so maybe everyone who reads this already knows. But, after a super-long absence, I am finally drawing again. Health Month is behind it.
Well, technically, my own desire to draw again is behind it, but Health Month gave me the kick in the pants I needed to start doing it again. 
Just a reminder, you can read Grim Tales at: 
http://grimtales.thecomicseries.com

I'm noticing a pattern: things that I once loved, then set aside, almost forgot about entirely, are starting to come back. I think part of that was my decision to ease up on forcing myself to write--which wasn't working anyway--that somehow that freed up space in my heart or mind or brain to go back to other things I feel really passionate about. 
I'm starting to get an inkling into how I can live the life I want, to be a writer and a photographer and a webcomic artist and a costumer and .... and it'll take some time for me to work it out, but I feel more whole just contemplating it. 
Because that's a big deal to me: sometimes I feel like I'm half a dozen people, all stuffed into one skin. So it's important to me that all those different people get to come out and play. 

31 July 2012

Health Month!

Health Month is a great site--you set goals, which become rules in a game, but you're basically trying to build habits. And I love it so much that I went from 3 rules in May to 6 in June to 10 in July.
So, I decided that August would be a good month to pull back, avoid burn-out, and not work so hard. I only kept three of July's rules, and one (getting enough sleep) transformed into two rules: go to bed before midnight; wake up before 9am. I decided that making sure I took my meds was more important than making sure I took my vitamins (in terms of having rules for it). I decided that brushing my teeth nearly every day was pretty good as a habit, so I decided to switch that rule out for one about flossing more often.
But there were other rules--or rather, other types of rules--that I wanted to try. So, I'm going to go from not having touched my violin in (mmph) months to practicing twice a week. And I decided to make drawing my webcomic (that I also haven't touched in ... too long) a goal (three drawings a week).

All in all, I now have 12 rules for my "take a break" month ... Maybe I'm crazy. It still doesn't seem as bad. At the end of the month, when you're choosing rules for the next month, you can get suggestions based on that month's rules. HM suggested going from allowing processed food 4 days/week to avoiding processed food altogether! And while that is my eventual goal, I just wasn't ready for that right now.
For September, I'll either take a true rest month, or I'll go back to tweaking my diet:allow processed food 3 days/week, and no preservatives at all, maybe. Add an rule about avoiding white flour. But even though I have more rules this month than ever before, the lack of diet rules is a little liberating. (I figured eating vegetables every day was a no-brainer for me, now ... I also wanted to see if that was true, if this is an actual habit for me now.)

28 May 2012

CONduit 22: Time-Lords of CONduit

Please visit the Callihoo Publishing blog for my miniature review of CONduit 22: the Good, the Bad & the Awesome.
I'll probably start working on a brief review of each of the panels I attended this year tomorrow (while I do laundry), but until then, the three panels I felt were most worthy of a mention (for different reasons) have been mentioned and posted on the internets.

07 April 2012

Le Métro*

It's a little confusing at first, the Métro. Unlike Chicago, or even Salt Lake City**, Paris' Métro does not have multiple trains running the same line--what I mean by this is hard to explain.
When you get off the #11 train, it does transfer to the #4, and you don't have to leave the station, but you do have to find the Sortie (exit) labelled 4, and probably go up some stairs, walk a couple of hallways, and decide if you are going in the direction of Porte d'Orléans or Porte de Clignancourt***, and then go down some more stairs to the #4 train line.
On the other hand, the buses run as infrequently as once every five minutes, and occasionally as often as every minute, though it's usually once every two to four minutes.
Also, the plus side of one train per track is that one never boards the wrong train by accident, due to inattention, texting, etc.
Getting off at the right stop if one is not paying attention†† is another matter altogether.

Finally, the sheer entertainment value of the Parisien métro beats all--here's a fraction of what I have seen not only in the halls and stations:
but in the cars themselves:

video

* I meant to post this yesterday, but there were problems uploading the pictures and videos, and I eventually just had to shut down the computer and start over, and I finally got to it again about 24+ hours later. So now I'm posting one picture and one video. I'll try to get the rest out soon. 
** I did not use New York's metro, so I cannot say anything about it
*** The hallways divide the people going to one end of the sine to the people going to the other end.
There are a LOT of stairs. Today, even counting the ten floors I climbed Before Leaving the House^, I've climbed 37 Floors^^.
^ Did I mention it's a four-story house? We're on the first floor+, but of course there's the kitchen, and a bathroom that actually gets heated++, all on the Ground Floor. So we go up and down a fair amount.
+ One up from the Ground or Main Floor
++ The bathroom on our floor, besides not having a shower, was once an outside stair, if I remember the conversion-from-carpentry-to-residence story properly. 
^^My fancy pedometer/floors-climbed-counter/calories-burned-counter/etc. says I've climbed Victoria Falls today.
†† The #4 line even announces the stops, but we still missed Concorde.

05 April 2012

Breakfast

Okay, I have got to say something about the food:
My breakfast (at 2pm) is:
Two palm-sized chunks (torn off the loaf, as is proper) of baguette,
One (massive) croissant,
A banana, and
Some grapes that we bought from a fruit-seller in the Metro last night.
I have some butter (for the baguette) and some plum jam, which I am mostly ignoring, even though it's the best jam ever*, because the baguette is so good plain it's ridiculous.

In the States, when I have bread with butter, the bread is toasted, and is mostly the carrier for melted butter and cinnamon-sugar or jam.
In France, the bread doesn't even need butter--but this butter is outrageously delicious, and has (if I'm not mistaken) salt crystals in it.

Except for dinner, my meals have been bread and fruit, since I got here.
And yes, I get massive headaches and a cold and generally feel crappy when I eat bread. Only I'm not. I don't. Here, the bread doesn't bother me. At all.

I love it.

So, everything else aside, the museums, the gorgeous city, the beautiful language, the fashion, the people, etc., I would move here for the food.
And here's the crazy part: I'm trying to lose the anti-depressant** weight I didn't even know I was gaining, and I think I have a better chance of doing that here than in the States: My calorie intake in the States is at least double what it is here, even with Tuesday's lovely duck confit for dinner.
Maybe if I lived here, I would go back to my depressing, sedentary ways, and not move a muscle, and yet, I'd have to go to market every day to get my baguette, and that alone involves a walk, and from here***, possibly some hills†.
Even when I sleep past noon, I still end up walking a LOT, going to and from museums, and little markets, etc.

Anyway, time for me to finish my breakfast†† so we can head out again to Musée d'Orsay for some Vincent van Gogh!

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* I shied away from the plum jam the first time I saw it because it's a pale orange, like apricot jam, and I'm much more interested in red jams--but the raspberry was a little disappointing.

** Apparently, that happens: Anti-depressants make you gain weight--and if you up your dosage, or change meds, you gain more weight. I'm not happy with that. And I didn't even realize until I went to the doctor after several months of anti-depressant, and upping my dose once, and found that I was mmph pounds heavier than I remembered being.

*** Joël's house^ is--I believe--on one of the tallest hills in Paris.

^ The mystery of why Joël has such a large house (four stories, two guest rooms--well, one is mostly used for storage) in Paris is solved: It used to be a carpentry. When the rest of the houses in the area were tiny and built for the miners/quarrymen who were digging up stone for New York, I believe, this one was for a carpenter, and was huge. The family who sold the house to Joël turned it into a residence. Joël had to do (or, hire people to do) repairs on the house, such as lowering the first floor (the one above the ground floor) so that adults could walk upright in the first floor. Which is where we're sleeping.

† But not crazy, fault line hills--comfortable hills. Hills with a reasonable slope.

†† Sans Banana, actually. A bunch of bread, ten grapes, no banana. I'll bring it with me and have it for lunch. 

04 April 2012

In Lieu of Something More Organized


Observations of Paris:
On the Metro, I am less able to blend in than anywhere else. The Metro is hot as hell, and I must remove my jacket, loosen my scarf, and resist the temptation to tie my hair up.
Not a typical scarf, perhaps, but this is what I saw this morning.
While I have seen one or two Parisiennes with her hair up (the number of people I have seen walking and eating), a Parisienne either wears her hair up or down. She does not tie her hair up on the Metro.*
And everyone just wears their jackets or sweaters and scarves as if it were as cool inside the car as it is outside. 



 





Also, in the subways--or rather, in the hallways from one line to another--one often walks up a flight of stairs, walks about 20 feet (no clue what is in metric), then walks down a flight of stairs, presumably going over tracks, or mechanical repair places, or something. 

We went to Musée Rodin today. I tried to text this to Facebook earlier, but I'm glad it didn't work: 
Rodin is such a good sculptor that when I went to take a picture of Madame A. C.**, my camera's facial recognition kicked in.

That's probably all I can handle tonight. I'll try to do something similar tomorrow (Musée d'Orsay for lovely, vibrant, colorful van Gogh!), but now it's freakin' late--nearly 3am--oops. 


Oh, PS: We have twelve postcards. The first 12 responses (on Google+ and Facebook) get them. To be clear, I won't count responses on the website unless we're ready to write them and send them, but we don't have enough responses from FB&G+. 

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* Laveana^ agrees: She says that in the mornings, you will sometimes see a woman doing her make-up on the Metro, but that's it. 

^ Joël's wife. We're staying with their family; Joël and Laveana, and their lovely sons Zachary, Gabriel and Benjamin (more commonly called Banjo). 

** Please note the terra-cotta lace: yes, it was behind a glass case, so there were reflections, but the detail on the clothing is exquisite!

Terra-cotta lace!

23 January 2012

Emilie Autumn

All right, it's official: I'm taking a break from the writing/publishing madness I've been working on since finishing Autumn Eddy, until Saturday. Why?
Emilie Autumn.
If you don't know who she is, and you live in or near Utah, be at the Complex (in SL,UT) on Friday night at seven o'clock. It's required--the Victoriandustrial Gwar-esque concert will leave you begging for mercy. There will be blood. There will be glitter. You will get tea spat at you (or possibly Tang-infused vodka). And there will be mind-blowing violin solos. 

Anyway, the arrival of an Emilie Autumn concert always means a bout of sewing, and I've been trying to balance that and the writing, and I've been failing miserably. So I'm just going to take a break. I'll start writing again on Saturday.

Love you all. See you Friday.

11 January 2012

My goal for today ...

... is to finish Story #1. I'm pretty close, I think. I hope.
I've already written 1000+ words today, and I'm going strong. The story is also over 7,500 words, which according to some people means that it's officially no longer a short story, and is in fact a novelette.
It's possible this will happen to all my stories, but I hope to be able to write at least a few short stories.

Also, I'd like to report that my writing speed this week is up 200 words/hour. Last week I managed about 2.6K in 7.5 hours, and when I broke for lunch today, I had written about 5K in 9 hours (this week). (BTW, my "writing weeks" run from Friday to Thursday, so i can brag about how many hours I've written in the past week at my Thursday-night writing group.)
So, anyway, that's a jump from about 350 words/hour to about 550 words/hour.
My goal is to get back to at least my Qwerty speed, which during November was about 400 words in 15 minutes. So, I still have a way to go, but I'm hopeful.

Back to work. 

04 January 2012

Challenge updates

Short Story Challenge
I've been writing every day since Sunday, for at least an hour. I have the beginning of a short story that will be one in a series of four--and I'm excited about that. And writing ties directly into:

Dvorak Challenge
On Sunday, I typed for an hour and a half, and I wrote 307 words. Today, I worked for an hour, and produced 500 words. Back in November, when I was writing like mad and using QWERTY, I could write about 400 words in a 15 minute sprint. So, I still have a ways to go, but I feel confident. I want to get back up to speed, and I want more 8-hour writing days (I never wrote for eight hours straight; I just did sprints, and took breaks, and sometimes took walks, and came back, ready to pound out more words.

Exercise Challenge
Not so great. I did walk around our block (uphill about half the time, and downhill and level-ish the rest of the time) for half an hour, and I only had to suck on my inhaler 2 or 3 times. My goal is to do that without the inhaler, of course.
But that's it. Well--I did walk to and from work a couple times this week (no buses over the holiday, including Monday, which I thought was extra rude).
But I also just finished a (completely delicious) grilled bacon-and-cheese sandwich, with a glass of orange juice, because I felt guilty. So, you know.
But I'm walking to work today, in just a few minutes (which is why I only wrote for an hour today).

Anyway, more later!