Tuesday, November 25, 2008

40,000 Down 10,000 To Go

Last night I broke the 40,000-word barrier and I'm now at 40,288, which leaves a meager 9,712 to go. I've been going just a little over the 1,667 every day and I hope to continue that pace and maybe I will finish up on Saturday, or be able to not do so much on Thanksgiving. I'm sure Brandi will appreciate when it's all done. I certainly will enjoy the break and the chance to read for decent chunks of time again.

Among the UCF I know that Jeri and MWT have passed the 50k mark and it appears that Anne is a little ahead of me and Eric is taking the time off to catch up. Congrats to everyone who's passed 50k and a big hurrah for those of you, like me, with a little bit to go yet.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Another Squirrel Post

Squirrels seem to be the topic of the day among the UCF today. I believe it all started with Jim's photo of the tree rat fattening itself up for winter. And I guess it blossomed from there. Then, it happens to be that most celebrated of holidays, "Make Nathan Dance Like a Monkey Day" and I made one simple request for a squirrel in a cowboy hat riding a rooster with a saddle on. What did I get, a video of a kid having no fun riding a motorized squirrel thing at a zoo, which he was probably put up to by his mom and his great aunt Mildred or something like that. So for those of you that have never seen one in person before (and they are magnificent) I give you, Cowboy Squirrel Riding Rooster.

It's Snowing...Well it was snowing

It was snowing when I got up this morning and was on my way to work. They were the really watery flakes that end up becoming slush everwhere. The roads were wet and the grass had a fine powder on it. Shortly after I got to work I looked out the window (not my window of course, but the boss's window) and saw big fluffy flakes coming down. I took a couple pictures, but they really didn't do the snowfall justice, so I'll just post one.

But now the snow has already stopped falling for the time being. My little weather widget on my computer says the temperature will get up to 43 today, so I'm not expecting it to stick around. I'm sure there will be plenty later though.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

You Want Me to do What to the Marmoset?

Over at Christopher Moore's blog he has an interesting and funny post about the origin of certain phrases of the English language, which all comes down to the question of what was the origin of 'screwed the pooch.' He asks the question, who was the original dog fucker? And why wasn't it some other sex act with a different kind of animal? Anyway, I'm not doing the blog post justice. Go ahead and read if for yourself.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A NaNoWriMo Update Post

I am on track for word count, as far as all of that goes. Originally, I had wanted to do 2,000 words per day and be at 60,000 by the end of the month, but with as hard as it was to get the story going initially and the fact that I was three days behind last week I'm happy to be where I'm at. I could cheat and copy in some text from the last time I tried to tell this story, but I don't want to do that. It would make the final word count feel like a lesser accomplishment. I plan to ad that stuff later, but not until NaNoWriMo is over and done with.

I know there is a lot of it that is seriously no good. Even as I type it I know it's no good, but I tell my internal editor that we'll fix it later and for right now we just need to get the story out. There are whole scenes, even, that I know are too revealing to the nature of certain characters and most likely would not make it into a subsequent rewrite.

Overall, I am pleased with what I have so far, and the story is coming together in interesting ways that I would not have seen coming. Characters are developing in ways that I would not have thought of when they first appeared in the story. It's not as funny as I would like, but that too will come later. I think part of the lack of humor is that I don't have time to be over the top right now and I'm pulling punches.

Meanwhile, I am managing to keep most everything else in balance between home and work. Mainly it's the time Brandi and I spend together that gets sacrificed as I can't really work on NaNo at home until after Logan is in bed. However, Brandi did get to schedule a play date for herself tonight with one of her best friends, which will be good for both of us. She gets to get out of the house, have a drink or two and unwind. I get to work on my NaNo without feeling guilty about not paying more attention to her, and then once I've reached my daily word count, I can feel free to watch a movie that Brandi doesn't want to watch or play Lego Batman some more, or maybe both if I type fast enough. I've found that if I'm not distracted, I could do up to 1,000 words in an hour. If I'm distracted though, I'm lucky to get 500 words in an hour.

I feel like taking a day off of NaNo and not thinking about it, but so far I haven't allowed myself to do so. The later it gets in the month the harder that will be to do because I'll have less time to play catch up, so it probably wont happen. I do miss reading, though, and as soon as NaNo is over I'm going to finally finish reading Uglies, which I started in October.

I hope everyone else who's participating in NaNoWriMo this year has hit their stride and is doing well. I feel a little bad that everyone I know in meat space that is doing it has either given up or hasn't gotten off the ground. But I can't make them do it, I can only offer encouragement.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Doing Cocaine

Yes, that's right, I just did some Cocaine in the office. No, not the drug, but the energy drink. Yes, that's right, there is an energy drink called Cocaine, which is bottled (or canned I guess since it came in a can) by Redux Beverages. The only other beverage on Redux's site is Brawndo - The Thirst Mutilator, which was inspired by the movie Idocracy and is advertised as "the industry’s first carbonated sports/energy hybrid."

One of the guys in the office got three cans of Cocaine as a novelty when he ordered some computer products online, and it's been sitting on his desk for a couple weeks. Well, we had some cups in the office and he figured it was about time to crack it open for a little taste test.

It is about the size of a can of Red Bull and a pinkish, reddish color. The word Cocaine is printed on the side in letters that would look like they are made out of powder. There is a little box of text to one side saying that Cocaine is just a name and that there is no drug in the drink (duh). Apparently, if you look at the site for the drink, Redux Beverages has had no end of problems from state and federal governments banning the drink. There is another little box on the can that gives it an energy rating, and Cocaine has earned three and a half longhorn heads on the energy scale. I'm not sure how much energy is in a standard longhorn head, or how far the scale goes, but a can of First, let me start with the can. Cocaine will give you 3.5 longhorns worth of energy. I had about a fifth of a can, so I would have consumed roughly three quarters of a longhorn worth of energy.

The drink itself is bright pink, reminiscent of Strawberry Crush, and indeed smells like Strawberry Crush. It is pretty highly carbonated and for at least three of the five of us (me included) gave us a destinct burning sensation in our nostrils when we drank it. I have to wonder if this was intentional by the manufacturers, possibly trying to simulate some of the sensation of actually snorting cocaine. The drink also imparts a burning sensation along the back of the tongue and throat. Even now, approximately twenty minutes after drinking it, I still feel a burning sensation in my stomach. This is even after washing it down with about a third of a can of Coke Zero to get the burning tingle and the taste from the back of my tongue (both of which are still kind of there). The drink has the flavor of strawberries and black pepper. Yes, it seriously tastes like someone simmered some Strawberry Crush or Strawberry Fanta or something similar with some ground pepper, carbonated it, and put it in a can. It really isn't a good flavor combination. It certainly is not the mediciney taste that I have experienced with the few other energy drinks I have tried, and would have expected.

Would I drink it again? I don't think so. Should you try it for yourself? I guess that's up to you. But before you do, ask yourself if you're ready for a full three point five longhorn heads worth of energy. In the mean time, I'm going to find something to quell the burning sensation in my stomach.

First Snow

The cold has been coming and going here in the greater Chicagoland, and it looks like it will continue to flucutate for the rest of the week at least. Yesterday, though, we got our first real snowfall of the season. We've had a very little bit of snow here and there over the last month or so, but they were just little flurries that did not last long.

Yesterday, while I was at work, we looked up to see big fluffy flakes drifting down. What fun. It looked really pretty, and it made the drive home nice, except for the fact that everyone in Chicago forgets how to drive the first time the snow starts to fly. I did not get any pictures. By the time I got home, it was too dark, and the snow melted once it hit the ground anyway. There's a little more snowfall today, but not much, and then we're not expected to get any for the rest of the week. Can't wait for more. I love snow.

On the NaNoWriMo front, I finally caught up on my word count on Friday and managed to maintain over the weekend, so I'm chugging along to 28,339 today. Yippie! And I still like the story, and by this time last year I had wanted to move onto another story. Double Yippie!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Video Week Continues with a Threefer!

Hello friends, it's time for more videos, which really helps when I don't have to think of something clever to say and I can focus on NaNoWriMo (almost caught up!).

There were so many choices today that I couldn't narrow it down to just one, so we've got three videos comin' atcha. Somewhat like this new game I got at my birthday, In a Pickle, we can follow a loose association from one video to the other. So here goes!

First up we have a blender:

Next we have a blender and food:

Finally we have food and violence:

Violence kind of plays a part in all three depending on how you look at it. Thus it is all tied together nicely. Happy Friday everyone.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Video Week Continues With Chickens (OMG)

I was going to post another video here today, one about blenders, but then someone in the office showed us this video and all I could say was 'Oh my god.' So here's your oh my god moment of the day.

This is pulled from the Discover Channel's How it's Made, which is a show that takes something interesting and presents it in a boring fashion (in my opinion). The show does a good job of demonstrating how a particular product comes into being in a short time frame, but the format of the show the few times I've seen it is so boring. I'm sure there is a way they could make it more interesting to watch while keeping it informative, but then I'm not going to tell the Discover Channel how to do its job.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

In the Garage

I guess it's turning out to be a week of videos. I'm trying to play catch up on my NaNoWriMo novel this week and I'm not thinking of much else at this point. Originally, I was going to post Weird Al's White & Nerdy today, but there is no embed code on youtube (so I'll just link to it). There are four or five things I can directly relate to in that video, but I'll let you guess which.

Instead, here's a video that a guy made with one of my favorite (if not my all time favorite) Weezer songs. I love this song. It really speaks to me and the geek that I am. So turn it up and enjoy.

Current NaNo stats: Word count = 16,296; Words needed to catch up = 3,708; Is the plot coming together? I certainly hope so.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Must See Video Re: Proposition 8

I was going to post an update about NaNoWriMo today and how, even though I haven't fully caught up with my word count yet I'm better off than I was over the weekend and I think my plot is starting to come together, but then I saw this video.

For everyone out there that voted yes for Prop 8 or would support a ban on gay marriage, you are blocking people who are committed to each other from entering into a right which every American is born with. Why then, just because a man is born and is attracted to men or a woman to women, does that suddenly exclude them from the right to join in a union that is special and sacred and a defining moment in the life of most? And how exactly do heterosexuals have the right to strip away this right to marry if someone is of a different sexual persuasion?
Unlike Mr. Olbermann, I do not have to look all that far within my family to find someone that is gay and I have friends that are gay. Why shouldn't they be able to marry if they find someone who makes them truly happy and they want to spend the rest of their lives with?

Bravo Mr. Olbermann.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Can You Picture That

I don't have much to say today, but I happened over by Wilsonworld and saw that Kim had posted a Muppet video. And who doesn't love the Muppets? So I felt like posting a Muppet video over here. It's one of my favorite songs from the Muppets. Enjoy!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

NaNo Challenge

I've been having a hard time getting into NaNoWriMo this year. I think I have been thinking about it too much and had built it up so much last month that I'm stumbling a little bit.

There are a couple people in the office that I convinced to take a crack at NaNo and they haven't started yet. So, I came up with a NaNo challenge for the night. Whoever doesn't get in at least their daily 1667 tonight has to do someone else's annoying, mundane task in the office. They were weary of accepting, thinking I would win, but I convinced them to do it.

Then I thought of another challenge. Jones Soda Co. usually puts out a Thanksgiving pack every year. I've never had it, but I've heard it's pretty gross. Who would want a turkey flavored pop? Anyway, I think some time later in the month, I'll propose a word war to take place over a couple days and the loser has to drink the pop. Makes me want to gag just thinking of it.

November 5, A Good Day to Take Down the Pool

What? You mean everyone doesn't wait until after the first frost, a very light snow flurry, half the leaves are down, and oh hell, it's been a long time coming. Every time I've wanted to take that damn thing down, something has popped up. Well last night I finally got it down, after it taking us forever to drain it, and then for rain and leaves to get in it, and then for me to get everything out again, and then being so fed up with it I just said aw hell with it let me just get the damn thing back in the garage.

I've never put up/maintained/or taken down a swimming pool, so it was a learning experience. Our pool is 14 feet wide and 3.5 or 4 feet deep. There are definately things that will be done differently next year. And next year I will prepare the ground a little better so the pool isn't on such an incline.

Now, if only I could find the time to really clean out the garage...

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Re: The Election

I generally don't talk about politics here, so I'll keep this brief, because there are plenty of other people out there who have already discussed the election results and, I'm sure, with more of an educated perspective on it that I am capable of (just cruise through the rest of the UCF). In short, I'm very glad that Obama won. I don't know what I would have done/what would have happened if McCain would have won. His healthcare plan alone scared the shit out of me.

It was exciting to watch the coverage, to see Obama's lead grow so quickly. It was also exciting to see everyone in the city, waiting for the announcement. I know a couple of people that were there and can only imagine the atmosphere around the two parks last night. It was history being made and I'm proud that I went out and voted and that the candidate I chose succeeded. It all makes me feel like the future is just a little brighter than it was not all that long ago.

I am saddened, however, that it appears that Proposition 8 is going to pass in California. This doesn't affect me personally, but it could potentially affect loved ones and others I know down the road. I'll say again that it doesn't affect me personally. If two men or two women want to join in the bonds of marriage, it has no effect on my own. If they love each other and are committed to each other, why shouldn't they be allowed to have the same rights as a man and woman getting married? When I signed the marriage contract, there was nothing in it that said my vows would be less meaningful if a homosexual couple was to do the same thing. I just don't get it. Anyway. I haven't seen anything that says it's official yet, but it doesn't look good.

Oh, and watching the election coverage and trying to catch up on my NaNoWriMo word count doesn't work.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The Farmer in the Dell

Logan had a good Halloween. We did the same thing this year that we did last year and the year before, in that we stopped at my parents and the inlaw's. I don't think Logan would have had the patience for Trick-or-Treating this year, and he doesn't need a ton of candy. Besides, everyone had a bucket of goodies for him, so he got plenty of candy anyway. We were pleasently surprised that once we got the costume on him he didn't put up too much of a fuss. He was a chicken this year (not my choice) and we dressed as farmers to go along with his outfit.

Car? check; Duckie? check; Sucker? check
Ok, this chicken is ready to go.

The world's cutest chicken contemplates the universe, or maybe he's just really enjoying the sucker.

Normally we keep our chickens free-range, but sometimes they have to be held down for a photo op.

It's kind of disturbing how natural this costume looks on me.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Head Doctor

We're going to leave in a little bit to go see a neurologist for Logan. At his two-year check up, the pediatrician was concerned that his head size (which has always been above the 100th percentile but following a pattern of steady growth) had taken a jump in size. Plus he's tall for his age. Plus, he's been having some developmental delays in terms of not saying as many words as he should and blah blah blah. He's a willful child, and he generally seems to know what we're talking about when we talk to him. He's just not much of a talker. So anyway, the pediatrician was concerned and recommended that we see a neurologist.

I guess the doctor will just observe Logan today, but if the doctor thinks it is necessary, we might have to take Logan in for a CT scan. They'd have to knock him out for that and neither of us is really comfortable with that, but there's no way they could get him to sit still for a half hour. So yeah, fun day today.

I'll try and get some of the Halloween pictures up later this week. Hope everyone else's week is off to a good start.

Update: The doctor said, after looking at me, that the big head thing obviously runs in the family. He also said that we could do the tests, but he would recommend getting Logan into a daycare or something along those lines for a few hours once or twice a week to interact and learn from other kids. If after 3 to 6 months he isn't showing any improvement, then we would probably want to have him checked out.