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Writing Bug

I’m more and more tempt­ed to write some fic­tion again. It’s been years since I did that. I’m good with char­ac­ters and envi­ron­ment, but not so good with plot. I don’t like to write about neg­a­tive things, or nasty peo­ple, which is rather prob­lem­at­ic when you need to have conflict.

I know part of it is read­ing books and think­ing, “Damn, I could do bet­ter than that.” But to be real­is­tic, any­body who has fin­ished a book is doing bet­ter than I actu­al­ly have done.

One thing that’s real­ly get­ting to me is the num­ber of anti-fat state­ments that get thrown in to so many sto­ries. They have noth­ing to do with the sto­ry – they just hap­pen because of the authors’ prej­u­dice. Describ­ing a minor char­ac­ter as fat is a cheap short­cut, because most read­ers will assume the per­son is lazy, slop­py, and not ter­ri­bly intel­li­gent (or a hyper­fo­cused geek with no social skills if he is smart).

I know that start­ing out with a “mes­sage” is a crap­py way to write fic­tion, though. Mes­sages are bet­ter expressed in essays, not stories.

Still, I have this itch. Bah.

Laptop Research & Shopping

Sam and I spent most of our date time look­ing at lap­tops. Yes, we’re final­ly replac­ing the one that died last sum­mer. Yay! 

I find it eas­i­er to put what I find online in con­text after hav­ing actu­al­ly played with a bunch of machines tonight, so I’ll be doing a lot of research online.

Any­body have any strong rec­om­men­da­tions or good/​bad expe­ri­ences to share? Knowl­edge of any places that give “edu­ca­tion­al dis­counts” that aren’t just “steer your stu­dents to us and we’ll give you a lit­tle low­er price on your own machines” deals? Sure expe­ri­ence exor­cis­ing Vista from a “Vista-com­pat­i­ble” PC? Please speak up!
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What do you want to read or hear?

I record­ed some more pieces, but need to wait for Sam to “pro­duce” them (clean them up and add appro­pri­ate music). One of them isn’t some­thing I would have cho­sen myself, but Todd, who cre­at­ed Live Read­ings, asked to hear oth­ers read it. It turned out bet­ter than I thought it would. And it was fun to do some­thing that I wouldn’t have chosen.

So it’s request time! What would you like me to record, or write about?
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Semester Is Past the Half-way Point!

And so far, I’ve only lost one point in my Project Man­age­ment class, none in the oth­er class. That was due to a stu­pid mou­s­ing error — bad hands! Oh well, if that’s all my hands cost me this semes­ter, I’ll be happy.

The career course required us to do “long-term career plan­ning” this week. I don’t know how use­ful their idea of career plan­ning is, to be hon­est, in today’s econ­o­my. There aren’t many peo­ple who can count on mov­ing up steadi­ly in one path, due to the fact that the econ­o­my changes so much more quick­ly than it did 30 to 50 years ago. Do I feel san­guine about mak­ing pre­dic­tions as to where I’ll be, pro­fes­sion­al­ly, in 30 years? Um, no. For one thing, I’ll be 71 years old then! For anoth­er, I’ll be hap­py just to get back to work, period!

Today’s Thing-a-Day time was spent col­or­ing. It was nice.

I have a hap­py Sam­bear danc­ing in front of me, because he just post­ed Chap­ter 17 of Heart of the Hunter. He already hit his word tar­get for the nov­el, but hap­pi­ly, he isn’t stop­ping ’til the plot is wrapped up.

Adult: FMS from What?

I have a Google Alerts search going for “fibromyal­gia,” because if there’s some­thing out there that will make this crap bet­ter, I want to know it yes­ter­day. The alert brings in all sorts of non­sense from quack reme­dies to naysay­ers, in addi­tion to the actu­al content.

Today’s alert takes the cake, though. Some­body wrote to Dan Savage’s Sav­age Love col­umn ask­ing, “Can I Sue Some­body for Fist­ing-Induced Fibromyal­gia?“1

Savage’s med­ical expert is out of touch regard­ing the lat­est FMS research, but I have to agree with his reply to the letter-writer.

Sam and I tried to game a lit­tle tonight, but he was sleepy and I’m fad­ing, too. I did some writ­ing today, and more web­i­fy­ing, and worked on a cou­ple of school assign­ments. Then I got all-too-obsessed with try­ing to fig­ure out how to make the out­put of a cou­ple of Word­Press plu­g­ins work nice­ly with my template.

I hope y’all had a love­ly weekend!


1 http://​www​.vil​lagevoice​.com/​p​e​o​p​l​e​/​0​8​0​6​,​s​a​v​a​g​e​,​7​9​0​4​4​,​2​4​.​h​tml

Thing-A-Day 1!

If there’s a way to auto-cross-post rel­e­vant entries from here to Thing-A-Day, I haven’t fig­ured it out. Doing it man­u­al­ly feels inelegant.

I don’t have a pho­to to post, but I got out the draw­ing tablet for the first time in an embar­rass­ing­ly long time, and worked on a cross-stitch design. It split into two designs, some­how, but I’m hop­ing to post pics tomor­row. I dis­cov­ered that Pat­tern­Mak­er isn’t installed on this machine, so I’ve made graph­ics that have to be trans­lat­ed into graphed designs.

I feel that I’m real­ly in the “getting orga­nized” stage, which I should have done last week. But the tablet is attached now, and I know where my stitch­ing bag is. I’ll find out in the morn­ing just what my daugh­ter did with my col­ored pen­cils and such, and locate the Pat­tern­Mak­er install CD. And the cam­era, that would help. Yep.

It did feel great to have time on my sched­ule devot­ed to “being cre­ative” and noth­ing else!

Further Prof of Insanity: Blog365

I got through NaBloPo­Mo, as ridicu­lous as it was to com­mit to post­ing at least once a day for a month. So of course that small suc­cess has led me, in a moment of more-than-usu­al-luna­cy, to sign up for Blog365 (oth­er­wise known as “Out of the Fry­ing Pan, Into the Fire”).
Blog365
The pur­pose is fair­ly clear: to post at least once every day of 2008. Feb­ru­ary 29 is a “rest day.” Posts may be writ­ten on any site, rather than stick­ing to just one blog, so I’ll try to spread them around on mine/​ours. If I can’t get some­thing on the actu­al site on a par­tic­u­lar day due to net con­nec­tion issues or what­ev­er, I have to write (yes, write! like, cuneiform or some­thing!) a jour­nal entry and trans­fer it to a blog as that day’s entry.

It would be far sim­pler to have a sys­tem of some sort. Maybe I’ll cre­ate a rotation:

  • Fibrant Liv­ing — health, liv­ing with a dis­abil­i­ty, podcasts
  • Acad­e­my Car­i­tas — home­school­ing, edu­ca­tion, college
  • House Fire­heart — polyamory, par­tic­u­lar­ly my and Sam’s approach to it
  • Heart­song Hand­i­crafts — home of my orig­i­nal needle­work pat­terns, and soon to be home for the rest of my stitch­ing information
  • Cyber­stalked! — inter­net safe­ty and pri­va­cy issues
  • Cyn­thia Armis­tead — my pro­fes­sion­al port­fo­lio, where I put the geeky stuff
  • Ene­my of Entropy — here, of course, where I put gen­er­al stuff, book reviews, and the like. 

Hope­ful­ly there will be new pod­casts up soon. There will def­i­nite­ly be more music, as we have that love­ly con­cert piano we received via freecy­cle all repaired and put togeth­er. It’s beau­ti­ful and sounds great! Not at all bad for one dri­ve to pick it up and less than $200 in repair fees! (Sam want­ed to just take it to the near­est autho­rized repair cen­ter rather than doing it ourselves.)

2007 wasn’t a stel­lar year, but nei­ther was it ter­ri­ble. Sam has a steady, secure job that he enjoys, in an orga­ni­za­tion that’s allow­ing him to advance. , Katie had a lot of health prob­lems, but I’m hop­ing that we’re on the right path to resolv­ing them. Shel­ley passed away a lit­tle shy of her 18th birth­day, but since we’d been told in 1999 that she only had a year (at most) left, we felt that we’d got­ten an “extra” 8 years with her any­way. Kioshi has grown into a nice com­pan­ion, too.

We real­ly kept to our­selves a lot through the past two years. When you’ve been betrayed and hurt as deeply as we were by our for­mer housemate’s sud­den crazi­ness in 2006, there’s a lot of heal­ing to be done. I don’t know if I’ll ever approach Thanks­giv­ing with­out trep­i­da­tion again, but we had a good one any­way. The stress did con­tribute to the dete­ri­o­ra­tion of my health, and that does make it hard­er to get out. We’re work­ing on it, though. We cer­tain­ly learned who our true friends were, and we’ll nev­er for­get that.

So on to 2008, which we hope to be full of more time with friends, bet­ter health, much more music, Katie spent last night and almost all day today with friends from the school she was attend­ing as well as her new beau. Sam and I spent the day gam­ing, upgrad­ing some web sites, eat­ing good food and watch­ing movies. If it’s true that what­ev­er you do on Jan­u­ary 1 indi­cates how your year will go, we should be just fine.

R.I.P. Madeleine L’Engle

I started this post on September 7, the day after the grand lady moved on to find out what's next. I find myself certain that she wasn't afraid, that she looked forward to a reunion with her husband Hugh and others who had gone before. And yet I, who never even met her in person, was too upset to finish the post or even look at it again for two months.

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NaNoWriMo, NaPodPoMo, NaBloPoMo

Utter insan­i­ty. All of it. My fall class­es just start­ed. I’m in a flare (when am I not? but seri­ous­ly, I am). 

But hey! I hate my birth­day, and three insane new things for the month should, at least, be distracting!

So, yes, this would be my sec­ond NaBloPo­Mo post. I’m hav­ing a lit­tle tech­ni­cal trou­ble actu­al­ly post­ing the NaPod­Po­Mo part, but I’m doing them. And fine, might as well top it off with NaNoW­riMo.

It’s Hope’s fault. And Sam’s. And, um, right. Kioshi’s. All of you. Dreadful.

Don’t mind me. By the end of Novem­ber, at least, I won’t have any hair left, so I won’t be spend­ing any more time wor­ry­ing over whether or not to get it cut, or col­or it, or whatever!