Monday, November 30, 2009

Today's Word Count


I have been banging out 2,500 words or more for the last week or so to catch up. Most nights I haven't been getting to sleep until 2 or 2:30 to do so, and I'm looking forward to hitting 50K and trying to get my sleep schedule back. Gotta work tonight so I'll have to find time to get out these last 2,000 words. Good luck to everyone participating in NaNoWriMo on the last day!

Monday, November 23, 2009

NaNoWriMo Word Count

As you can see, I am quite a ways behind where I should be at by the end of the day today (about 38,000 words). Two weekends full of non-writing activity and an overpowering tiredness have left me with very little word count each day for the past several days, including one day with no words. I am determined to make it, so going forward I will have to do about 3,000 words per day for the next week, which will be no small task. If I don't make it, oh well, at least I gave it a shot. If I do make it, then I think I'll be having a beer or two on the 30th. Anyway, back to writing, I mean, work.

Friday, November 20, 2009

More UCF Awesomeness

Being the lazy blogger that I am, it has taken me entirely too long to get to this post. After coming home to find a package on the porch just after Logan's birthday, we got another surpise delivery about two weeks ago. This time, the box was much larger and addressed to Ava. Brandi was home to receive this package and opened it up to find a couple really nice presents from the most awesome members of the UCF.

The box contained a child's rocking chair and a set of book ends that had been painted nicely with ladybugs and flowers and Ava's name. This was another really nice surpise from my friends online. Again, they have outdone themselves. UCF powers activate!!!

This delightful surprise was in the box for Ava.

Ava, still working on the whole neck muscle things, kicks back to relax after a long day of pooping and eat. Also featured, one of the knit hats that the wonderful and talented Janiece made for us last year.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

My Writing Buddy

As I said before, most nights over the last 10 days or so, I've been working on my NaNoWriMo story with Ava in my lap or held in the crook of an arm or sleeping on my chest. Here we are last night as I worked on pounding out some words.

As you can tell by the tilt of her head, and the fact that her eyes were open at this point, she is totally engrossed in the story.


Last night was pretty calm, so I was able to pound out a cohesive 4,000 or so words yesterday. This brings my current total to 14,124, putting me just under 1,000 words behind where I should have been for yesterday. I should be able to close the gap today and catch up to where I should be for today (16,670).

The trick will be maintaining my word count for the rest of the month. With Windycon this weekend, that's going to be a trial, but I might be able to make a little headway before Friday to make up for a lack of time Friday night through Sunday.

Monday, November 9, 2009

NaNoWriMo Word Count Update

My current word count is 10,584. I'm still a few thousand words behind. Yesterday I wanted to get to at least 11,000 words before I called it a night, but Logan started calling out for me from his room around 10:30. I got upstairs and checked on him.

He was a little awake and calling out for me to lay down. I checked his forehead as I usually do when he makes noise in the night and it felt pretty warm. Not only that, but his arms, for some reason, felt like they were on fire. Obvisouly that couldn't be good. So despite his protests I went downstairs to get the thermometer. Luckily, his fever was only 99.4. I went back downstairs and got him some medicine, being sure to wash my hands each time I left his room. Then, I laid down with him for a while so he would go back to sleep.

When I was finally able to sneak out of his room it was close to 11. I worked on my story for about ten or fifteen more minutes before he started calling out again. This time when I laid down with him I ended up falling asleep next to him until about 1. At this point Brandi was headed upstairs with Ava, the night owl, and I was so tired there was no way I was going to be able to get up and type another thousand words or so.

Logan's fever was gone in the morning, so that's good, but I still felt like a bit of a bad parent when my second thought when I went upstairs and found out that he was warm was "Oh great, this is going to cut into my writing time."

Saturday, November 7, 2009

NaNo, NaNo Where Does the Time Go?

It's NaNoWriMo time again, and so whatever free time I can scrape up with a computer around is going there. For those of you who don't know, it's the month-long writing marathon to crank out a 50,000-word novel in 30 days. This will be my third year attempting NaNoWriMo, and I hope that I can get my word count in on time.

I have a bunch of friends who are working on NaNoWriMo as well, and it's nice to have the support system, as well as a little bit of a sense of competition. Among my friends that are doing it this year are (in no particular order): MWT, Eric, Jeri, Kimby, and Shawn. I'm sure I'm leaving people out, so my appologies to those I didn't mention above. Good luck to everyone participating this year!

It's interesting the way each year is different when doing NaNo. And I'm not just talking about the story itself.

The first year I did it, 2007, we had just moved and there was a lot going on at home. I wrote when there was time, including scrawling on a legal pad during my hour-long commute. Don't worry, I kept my eyes on the road and just wrote really big. In addition to unpacking and trying to get the house in order, Logan was just over a year old and I was working two jobs. When I was at my part-time job, I would write on a piece of paper when I could and then type it up when I got home. The fact that there was so much going on forced me to make time to write, and it worked really well in my favor. I knew what I wanted to write about before hand, and had at least part of the story figured out. I wasn't too keen on this story while I was writing it, and about half way through I got another idea that I wanted to work on, but it was too late in the month to start over.

The second year, I wrote in a much more linear fashion, and there was less going on around the house, which didn't always work out to my favor. This year, I worked on the idea that I had from 2007 and I liked the story a lot more. I had another idea about half way through the month again, and while I liked it, I didn't want to go off and abandon my first idea to work on the second. Also, the second idea would have been a different story that takes place in the same world of the first 2008 story.

This year is again entirely different. Once again, there is a lot going on at home. There's a new born, who demands a lot of our time, there's a three-year-old who demands a lot of our time (partially because of the new born), and there are a lot of family/social obligations. We have Ava's baptism in a couple weeks, Thanksgiving being celebrated on two different days to ensure we have more time to spend with my side and Brandi's sides of the family, there's Windycon next weekend (I know, I brought that one on myself), and whatever other things pop up between now and November 30. At my current job, there aren't great periods of down time like there were at my last job that would allow me to boost my word count during the day. At night, it would be impossible to work on my story while Logan's awake, and then after he's in bed I try to give Brandi more of a break by taking Ava and rocking her and all that. It's become our regular bonding time. This means there have been a lot of nights where I'm typing one-handed and rocking from side-to-side to keep the baby calm. And let me tell you, to type with a baby in one arm and a laptop on your lap makes you feel so warm you think you're going to melt into the couch. A lot of nights I'll be typing until Ava is fully asleep and I can bring her upstairs to bed, which has been between 1 and 2 lately. Or, if I'm lucky and she falls asleep before that, I'll take her upstairs and try to stay up and type a little more, but that only works for an hour or so before I need to get to bed so I can function and make decisions at work the next day.

Also, this time around, I really had no idea what I was going to write about before I started writing, so I had a start and stop approach. I thought about writing about werewolves, inter-office warfare, paranormal investigators, and cryptozoology. By day three I had started three different stories and, as MWT so accuretly said, "each restart has about 500 more words than the previous one." The third story finally took, and that's the one I've been working on. I'm still in the mundane, building it up part of the story, but it seems to be coming along well.

So my current word count is 7,020, which is a few thousand words behind where I should be for day 7. I'm hoping that I'll be able to generate 2,000 words a day for a while to catch up. But any progress is good progress and if I have to do some real late nighters toward the end of the month, so be it.

This year's novel, which as of yet does not have a title, incorporates the Survial Tips that I've been working on for a while. When all is said and done, I think I'll use the Survial Tips as a lead in to the chapters, plugging them in only after I've reached my 50,000-word goal.

In this story, a newly retired university professor and widower, Luther, decides to fulfill the dreams that he and his deceased wife, Martha, had by going out and actually seeing part of the world. Up to this point, it isn't that Luther has been a shut in, but as he reasons, there's always been something else going on to prevent him from ever taking a trip. After making sure the house will be looked after while he's away, he sets out for destinations near and far. During his travels, he takes with him a journal that Martha had given him but he'd never written in to record his experiences. This is where the survival tips come in. As he encouters things that he would have never thought possible, he creates these reports so that others might know the pitfalls that are (in the story) very real but largely unknown. From the vast corn fields of Illinois to giant, man-eating Venus flytraps, Luther experiences a world he would have never guessed is even possible.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Monkey Madness Continues, More Curious George Insanity

This is a follow up to my previous rant about Curious George. When I got home today, Logan was watching the Curious George DVD he got for his birthday, Curious George gets a Job. In one of the episodes, that crazy little monkey takes it upon himself to work at a local grocery store. And you know what, no one seems to care that he's a frickin' monkey.

Apparently, store + hat = shop clerk...wait, that might explain some of the people I've worked with in my previous retail career.

So anyway, at this grocery store, a guy comes in and he needs a very special bunch of bananas, one that is extra sweet. You see, this nice businessman is going to make a banana cream pie for his mother. Maybe in one of the few bursts of logic on this show, the man recruits George to help him find this perfect bunch of bananas. After all, who would know a bunch of bananas better than a monkey. To test these bananas, George picks up each bunch (and for some reason, every bunch has three bananas) peels back half of the peel on two of them, and takes a generous bite. It is not until he gets to the last bunch, and is feeling rather full, that George finally finds the perfect bunch. Then when he finds it, the stupid guy actually buys the half eaten bunch of bananas to make the pie for his mother. Maybe the guy isn't really that nice after all. Maybe he really hates his mother and he figures he can secretly get back at his mother by serving her some banana cream monkey spit pie.

"I baked this pie just for you mom. What's that? No I don't want any, I'm still full from lunch. And you can go ahead and keep that whole pie. Why don't you share it with Mrs. Henderson. I can tell you that when I was a boy, I didn't care for Mrs. Henderson much. I thought she was a rather strict babysitter, but I can see now that she was just showing some tough love. What? The pie tastes a bit gamy? I don't know why that would be. The clerk helped me pick the perfect bunch for you."

On another episode, George works in an Italian restaurant in the kitchen. I guess, in New York, they don't mind eating food at restaurants that includes monkey hair and possibly monkey feces. It's just so confounding.

For Want of a Flu Shot

If you live in Cook County, IL and want to get vaccinated against H1N1, good luck. It seems like it's been nothing but lines and problems and people being turned away when trying to get the vaccine that no one can get enough of. I know they've been having trouble, at least around here, getting enough of the vaccine in to fill demand, to the point where even healthcare professionals have had to wait.

Brandi's been pretty worried, understandably so, about getting the shot. We've got a 3-year-old, as well as a 4-week-old at home, not to mention her father, who has a compromised immune system. We do not need this germ in our home period.

It's been in the news that hundreds of people are turned away at the vaccination clinics, and then we found out you have to make an appointment. There are numbers set up, based on where you live to schedule a vaccination appointment. I've been calling. And calling. And when I'm done calling, I call some more.

Last Friday, when I was able to get onto the automated system, I waited on hold for an hour and 45 mintues, being told every couple of minutes that my call would be answered in the order it was received. Finally, I couldn't wait on hold any longer and I had to go. Then Monday, Tuesday and today I've been calling, getting a busy signal every time. Eventually, I called the County's Department of Public Health. The very friendly woman there gave me another couple of numbers to call after taking my address. I would imagine that there are a lot of hysterical people calling into these numbers, so for the woman who answered to be pleasant and polite was very nice, and not what I was expecting. I proceeded to call the numbers she had given me and got back onto another automated system where I sat on hold. I was loathe to leave the phone while on hold, but nonetheless, there were times when I would have to run to another part of the building and drop something off, or check with someone else for something.

After a little over an hour, finally, I got a ring. I snatched the phone off of speaker phone to make sure I didn't miss the person on the other end. I told her that I wanted to get the shot for Brandi, Logan and myself. She asked how old Brandi is, and when I told her, her immediate response was "She doesn't apply, you can't get the shot." Right now the only people getting the shot are in the high-risk category, which, among other factors, includes parents/caregivers with children less than 6 months old, children 6 months to X (I don't remember what age) and people with immunity issues. "Wait, wait, wait," I told her, "we have a four-week-old and a three-year-old at home, we apply."

So she took my information, and now we're all set. What an ordeal. At least now, come Monday afternoon, we won't have to worry so much about H1N1 invading the home any more.