Sunday, November 30, 2003


This blog is now officially RSSified and can be syndicated onto friends' lists for livejournal users. The myRSS feed is still available as well, though it's only titles for this blog's entries; the new feed will include not only the titles, but the entire post for your consumption. Y'know, because you can never get enough of me!
Your name in lights

The odd thing about submitting stories to various publications is that you do and then you forget about them. It's best to let it go, not think too hard about it -- the most you do before sending your babies off into the void is to mark it down on the spreadsheet that this story went to this publication on this date and then maybe a brief note if there is a follow-up. But then, after that, it's best to forget that you even sent it out; if you have memory like mine, this is very easy to do.

I came back this weekend to find a story of mine in print. Since I'm big on following my own advice, I'd forgotten even sending it in. It's always nice to find the magazine and your name right there below the story title. And it was even artistically decorated. With fish. And no surprise to some of you, but I couldn't remember the story either. So I was reading along quite nicely until I tripped right over a typo.

You know me. I'm the typo queen of the western world. In fact, I'd like to say it's an expression of just how my brain moves compared to my fingers. Or I could say it's some kind of experimental kind of writing -- how many words can I leave out and still have the reader 'get it'? So you see, really, there's an art and intelligence behind my typos.

This is what I tell myself.

Anyway, so there's this typo and I stared at it and then put the magazine down. I haven't read to the end of my own story so I really don't know how it ends, it's been so long. But it was nice, very nice, during this long pin-prick wait for SNW results to come back, to see my name in print for something other than work.

Friday, November 28, 2003

Note for Alex Voy

Alex, I got your email about your problems and just in case you don't receive my reply, I'm putting the gist of it here: I finished your beta and sent it back on Wednesday. I'll send you another copy on Sunday evening when I return home. Let me know what email address you'd like it sent to, or I can always upload it somewhere for you to download. Whatever works best for you.

Wednesday, November 26, 2003

Holiday Cheer

Have a happy and safe Thanksgiving holiday! I'm wrapping up some stuff here on my end -- betas, some emails, that kind of thing -- before heading out on the roads tomorrow, along with 3 million other Americans. I may or may not be online intermittantly this weekend, we'll see how it goes. Right now, the schedule is completely jam-packed with activity and every free minute is taken up with something of some kind. Which is the way I like it. So if I don't talk to you this weekend, see you on Monday!

Monday, November 24, 2003

Oh for the love of all that's holy and good, but subtext and text? Does it or does it not exist? Is interpretation valid or no? Does a dead horse rise? I refer you to bulletpoint number 9 here.
Baby, it's cold out there

I didn't mention that the temperature dropped about 20 degrees yesterday during my adventures in shopping. This morning, it was 30 F when I woke up. 30 F! Damn it, Jim, but this state just lost its competitive advantage!

Luckily, I remembered to turn on the heat before going to bed, so I wasn't completely frozen this morning, but like last February when the mercury dipped below freezing, I didn't have a jacket today and let me tell you, a sweater set just doesn't cut it. It made me think I really should have splurged and bought that lovely black pea coat from the GAP yesterday, instead of just settling on three pairs of trouser socks. But on a positive note, thanks to the super duper elastic of new socks, my legs are very nicely warm.

Yes, I know you are all thinking, "But you're from Vermont! You shouldn't be cold!"

Hey, I was cold in Vermont too and in Massachusetts as well (ask Bjorn). And I had polar fleece for those icy days! Never underestimate the power of polar fleece!

Other than the cold, it's a beautiful day in the neighborhood. The sky is a very nice faded blue, almost white on the horizon, rather than that ickle line of brown smog I see so often. And the freeways below us are practically clear of traffic. It's as if everyone has already taken off for Thanksgiving. Me, I get to be here until Thursday morning.

Today has been a FB morning. I'm cleaning out my stories folder and wow, there are some old things in there, such as fic written post-"Nemesis". But my credo is better late than never, yes? And I was feeling bad because I was slacking off on the FB lately and there have been superb stories posted in recent days.

I should probably get back to work...

Sunday, November 23, 2003

Unexpected shopping took me out and about today so I didn't get the things done online that I'd planned to do. I spent way too much time in toy stores and baby stores and came up empty. My grand purchase after all of that time was three pairs of trouser socks. Which I very much needed, but I drove nearly 30 miles for three pairs of trouser socks (not counting the 6 miles to the first shopping center where I was out-classed and then nearly suffocated by the aromas in Victoria's Secret).

And then there was that incident at the Mexican restaurant, when the waiter thought I was my 24-year old cousin's mother.


In other words, I'm so unbelievably far beind in email. What I need is a secretary.

BTW, for those of you receiving this blog via email, I re-enabled the subscription service so you should be once have updates delivered to the convenience of your inbox once a day. Sorry about taking so long to notice that there was a problem. Feel free to drop me a email if you have any questions about the email subscription. Any questions about the RSS feed should be directed to jemima.

Saturday, November 22, 2003

Jerie has requested a renewal of hostilities in a blog near you. Please watch this space for further developments in the exciting and thrilling Blog War . Who will make the next appearance on Gilligan's Island? Will the pool boys continue to deliver margaritas? Will the Mods run out of quarters? Who will take the wheel of the Great Intergalatic Minivan? Will whip cream radically change the ecosystem on the desserted island? More importantly, will doctors finally discover whether Chakotay have a pulse? Will Mulder and Scully ever discover what's really out there? Stay tuned!

Friday, November 21, 2003

I do have another unpopular opinion -- cliques are good. Cliques are fun. Cliques are understandably 'elite' to the people who don't belong and do want to belong. Everyone, for the most part, is part of a clique of some kind. In high school, there are cool cliques and not so cool ones. Fandom is the same way.

I'm not sure of the right adjective to describe my clique, known either as Mod Squad or Mad Chatters -- I only know how it makes me feel -- the idea that someone's got your back. It's a very nice and safe feeling and I understand there might be people who don't like that idea or us -- either specifically or generically. In the end, what others think doesn't matter, because this group of ladies, we just clicked for a variety of reasons and we enjoy chatting and emailing and occasionally, talking on the telephone. We get along great, we're there for each other when necessary, and we respect each other. That's really what's important.
I promised jemima I would come up with 10 unpopular things, despite my great dislike and the fact that the last time Liz Barr, who apparently is to blame for this, published her manifesto, I got flamed. Well, RJ got flamed along with me, so there's some consolation in that. But first, a little anecdote from work yesterday. A co-worker asked me how much it was to send a regular-size letter. The conversation played out as followed:

Me: 37 cents

Him: So this is enough? (holds up envelope with two stamps on it)

Me: That's more than enough. You bought a round-trip stamp. (I start giggling). It's going to get there and come on right back. (more giggling)

Maybe you had to be there.


As promised, 74 cents worth gives you 10 Unpopular Opinions:

Note: the word 'you' is used generically and is not meant to refer to any particular place/person/thing/vegetable/animal/fandom/story/mailing list/message board/email.

1. I don't prefer slash fic. Not choosing to voraciously read and write slash fic doesn't make me homophobic.

2. I don't like Fuhq Fests. Really. I don't. For me to accept a pairing, I have to at least see some signs that the characters know each other. If it's not canon that they know each other, then the author has to have a logical and compelling set-up. If not, then it's just original fiction that just happens to featured trademarked names for the characters.

3. Fandom grudges are silly. Please. It's not important enough to get upset over. Don't like something/someone? Move on. No need to spend time and energy flaming etc. The amount of time and energy that goes into perpetuating some of these hate fests could go into writing more fic!

4. Drabbles and flash fiction are killing fandom. Whatever happened to stories at least 1000 words long? And while I'm on the drabbles, most of them aren't good. Just because it's only 100 words doesn't make it good. You need to have a beginning, middle and an end, just like all regular 100+ word stories. And since I'm casting stones, I might as well admit that with one exception, my drabbles aren't any good either.

5. FB is not a requirement of fandom. It's a perk of fandom. This is an important distinction. If you're writing for the promise of FB, you're writing for the wrong reasons.

6. Read FAQs and list rules. If you mess up and get chastised because you didn't follow the rules, that's not anyone's fault but your own. Deal with it.

7. Muses exist. They talk. They move fingers on a keyboard. They just happen. Mine doesn't have a name like jemima's does, but I know what it feels like when she's here.

8. Beta readers are good. It doesn't matter how talented a writer you are or how much wonderful FB you get, beta readers can make you better. Don't post without one. And yes, grammar/spelling/punctuation does matter. Believe it or not, if you cannot take the trouble to correctly spell the characters' names, I can't be troubled to actually read the story.

9. Meta? So 2001. I really, really don't want to read an essay on why you write slash or why original fiction is so much harder to write then fanfiction and style versus substance, ad nauseum. We like nothing more than navel gazing, but heck, thanks to the bellybutton dance of Glass Onion and Zendom, has anything been said or ranted about we haven't already heard? Chances are if you think it's an original take on a subject, take another think: it's probably not. The next time you want to meta, fic instead!

10. Fandom is like high school. It's inherently unfair. The trick is to find a part of fandom that feels the least unfair to you and stay there. In other words, yes, the social strata exists, and some will be BNFs and others won't be. There's no need to meta on forever on the inequalities forever and ever. Accept it and move on.

Thursday, November 20, 2003

After the meme of Ten Unpopular Opinions swept blog-land, is it any surprise that now it's Ten Things I Love About Fandom is the new black?

Why yes, I am feeling particularly snarky today. Shhh, don't tell!
Happy Birthday, jemima!

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

For the record, I really, really, really dislike that '10 unpopular opinions' meme that's going around. It seems like another reason to be inconsiderate/rude -- especially on fannish 'unpopular opinions.' The Mad Chatters already know my opinions on things fannishly related. There's no reason for the rest of the world to know. Though, gotta say, I'm in such a mood, there are definitely a thing or two I'd like to say to some people, but I'm practicing what I don't often succeed at: restraint.

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Also. I wanted to play a computer game today because, well, I did, and I apparently have none. So I was on Yahoo losing at Literati once again, when I saw a download of the Lemonade Tycoon Game. Which I played as a kid. So I downloaded that, played for about an hour, sucked lemons, and just when I thought I got the hang of it, Yahoo informed me my free trial was over and I needed to hand over $19.99 if I wanted to keep playing. This was probably a good thing. I could see myself losing hours of my life screaming at sim people walking by my lemonade stand, "Why oh why won't you buy my lemonade?"

For an MBA, I was very, very, very bad at this game.

In my defense, if Yahoo had let me play for just another hour or so...
Nothing to see here

This poor man got fired from Evol Corp for blogging.

For those of you who are concerned about my current blogging, I am at home and on my own machine. While I'm about to blog something semi work-related, it's not really so. Just that my boss said I could have January 15 off. Which makes for a really fun two days -- Sarah Brightman on the 14th and then a day off on the 15th. Hopefully, this little paragraph is not a firing offense.

Sunday, November 16, 2003

Link of the Day

Provided by who else other than world-class surfer Bjorn? The Nigerian Scammers get a taste of their own medicine ici.

You are Timeless!
Literally, an air of ageless elegance surrounds
you, and you're well-loved by everyone because
you simply don't go out of fashion (and that
smash hit "Time To Say Goodbye" might
have something to do with things). You're
classy, dignified, and more than a little bit
regal. You're also famous the world over, but
you're still quite personable, benevolent, and
easy to love.

Which Sarah Brightman Album Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

50,300 words! Whoop!

Saturday, November 15, 2003

This, that, and the kitchen sink

Someone is seranading me outside of my window. Or at least I think so. He is singing and my windows are open, ergo, he must be seranading me. But unfortunately, he is off-key and drowning out my non-off key music, and so I had to shut the windows on him.

Today, I purchased whole wheat pasta along with the usual egg noodles. I admit, I was attracted to the recipe on the back of the whole wheat pasta box more than anything else and in a fit of laziness I got already oregano/basil/garlic seasoned chopped tomatoes.

I did NaNo today. I'm somewhere around 43,000 words, and it looks like most NaNoers took last week off along with me. I'm on the middle of the third page today.

I haven't gotten much further with the Mary Magdalene fanfiction and am about to ditch Mary in favor of the Alamo. I can't believe Margaret George -- author of the Mary Magdalene book -- would let me down like this but I lost it when Mary's husband accused Mary of being crazy and then chased her out of town with a pitchfork. Okay, maybe the pitchfork part isn't true, but the rest of it read like a bad, bad fanfic (in fact, this scene is very reminscent of the fic jemima blithely calls "The Worst Story Ever"). This is supposed to be my intelligent high-brow literary reading, not more trashy genre stuff. There's plenty of the bad stuff here.

Is it just me or is "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" on all time on Bravo? And it seems cable television is where "Law and Order" goes after wearing out its welcome at NBC (where it is also on all the time -- is there a night when "Law and Order" isn't on on NBC?). It's amazing -- flip through any channel and whoa, "Law and Order" in all of its various permutations. I saw an ep briefly the other night with Claire, played by Jill Hennessey. The less said about Angie Harmon the better, though I'm not necessarily sure acting skill is a real requiremen for that show -- only the ability to look serious and occasionally summon up some righteous fury.

Friday, November 14, 2003

The writing machine is on sabbatical

I'm on day 2 of NaNo respite, which means I've probably fallen off page 2, but it's not a competition anyway, and the last two days, I haven't much felt like writing. As much as I still have more to go and know what I'm doing, I needed a break and I'm eager to come back to this tomorrow, or as early as tonight. Depends on how the day goes. The muse must be rested and eager.

I also realize I'm getting much, much more picky about what I write. I used to write anything at a drop of a hat and these days, I seem to think about ideas, toss them around for a while, but then nine times of out ten, don't follow it up. I'm wondering if that's a sign of burnout or trying to avoid burnout or simply choosing projects that appeal to my style and ideas?

That's not to say I'm not up to challenges, but I seem to be taking longer, don't feel the rush in anything I'm doing and I'm sure that'll change once January rolls around and I'll be like, "Eek!" Though, to be honest, I thought that 'eek!' would have kicked in by now. That hasn't been the case.

I think it helps to have inspiring work around you. I write best when I'm inspired by others. That's not to say I'm not into writing for myself, and sure, I write things down all the time, ideas here and there. But when it actually comes to focus and quality, that's when I need the high standards set by people around me. I love feedback and yesterday, I got three wonderful pieces of FB for some very old stories, and that was great. But I realize more and more that FB isn't a motivator any more.

What motivates me is the story I tell and how I tell it. It's probably one of the reasons why my circulation/profile in general has dropped so low in the last few months. It's not that I don't want people to read, but it's no longer as important to me as writing a story I want to read. I'm spending the time when I ought to be marketing myself thinking and writing. The decision was made unconciously, and occasionally, I'll see a ML and think, "Hmmm, I should join to get my name out there" but then I look at my crowded inbox, realize I'm not really giving FB to people any more and so why sign up for more of the same?

That's not to say I don't appreciate feedback. I do. I keep pretty much every single email I've ever received since 1999. I reread it. I write back to the sender and tell them that I appreciate their comments. I want them to know that it doesn't matter if it's the first note I've received or the hundredth; it's equally valuable and appreciated to me. So along with my own changing motivations and inclinations, the feedback given when someone else reads a story of mine and likes it is simply the cherry on top.

Thursday, November 13, 2003

Con te partiro

Astute fans of the One and Only Sarah Brightman will recognize today's subject title. It's also my way of telling all of y'all my tickets to her concert arrived! ::incoherent fangirl squee:: My tickets are just beyond the floor, which is awesome -- I really don't think I could get much closer (I was on the floor, 14th row for Elton John, but that was also a press pass). I did have a momentary heart attack when I got the receipt and it charged me for two tickets, not just one, and I called the box office in a panic. They said it was just a glitch, probably from when the the system rejected my brand spankin' new credit card twice before going through on the third time. A very nice guy named Odney assured me that I was only being charged for one ticket.

The local news did yet another story on insane and crazy people on the internet yesterday. I just feel like grabbing news people and saying, "Okay, okay, we get that there are pedophiles and child molesters lurking in chat rooms, but what about us normal people?" I mean, granted 'normal' isn't quite the word to use for a group of women who can randomly erupt into incoherence and quite-focused behavior upon a sighting of Alan Rickman or go on for hours on whether Margaret George has written Mary Magdalene fanfic. And don't forget our past obsession, the saintliness of one Sir Thomas More. So maybe not your regular coffee shop fodder, but for God's sakes, I wish just once the news would say, "Look! Internet! Normal people! What a concept!" But then again, a group of women who chat endlessly on AIM about things other than picking up children (well, unless the child belongs to the woman) isn't exactly interesting news.

I haven't NaNo'd since yesterday morning. I'm not losing speed, just got home from the class at 9:30 or so last night, and by the time I ate dinner (toast! It's pretty much the only safe thing in my repetoire right now), I didn't feel like getting on the computer. So I plopped in front of the television and watched Avery Brooks narrate Ancient Evidence: Joshua and the Walls of Jericho -- any show that maps out earthquakes over two millennia is an insta-attraction for me (I was really taken with the idea of 'traveling' earthquakes, moving slowly down a faultline, due to pressure points building up). And yes, Avery Brooks was continuing to follow the acting style of his mentor, William Shatner, as he stood in the desert, using that "voice of doom" and "hand gestures of angst" thing he has got going. You'd think Brooks was storming Jericho himself, the way he was going on.

And oh yes, I've added a link to my RSS feed to the side bar. I think my blog update is currently not functioning -- it is rather sketchy that way. Hopefully, it'll come back online. I wouldn't want anyone to be deprived of yours truly for too long.

And, and... Sarah Brightman! January 14!

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

To whom it may concern

Here are the current NaNo standings. For the record, 500,010 words in 12 days, even given time zone differences, has to be bogus. That's 42,000 words a day, and if you work straight through and only sleep eight hours a night, that's 2,334 words an hour, 38 words per minute. Regardless of what jemima thinks, even I can't keep up that kind of pace.

I'm currently sitting somewhere around 41,000 and am about to need a lawyer. If you specialize in Constitutional law (US, that is), please drop me a line at It's much appreciated. Currently, I'm getting by by writing, "It's against the 14th Amendment!" So please, rescue me from my own lameness.

Monday, November 10, 2003

Not only can you subscribe to receive my blog entries in your email (sign-up to your left on the sidebar), jemima has now created an RSS feed for this blog. Those technically minded among you will know what to do with this information.
Drive by posting

36,213 words! Woo hoo!

That is all.

Saturday, November 08, 2003

We lay our hearts wide open

jemima challenged me to finish NaNoing this weekend, but just as I hit my stride, I found about an impromptu gathering of MBAs over at MBA S's new place. And just like in BC/S where I got lost everytime I went to this person's house, I went south instead of north here too and got there late.

So that's just a long way of saying that I lost discipline because of the promise of intellectual gathering and Coke. As in the soda, Coke. Gah. Didn't end up eating at the gathering though as they didn't realize V and I don't eat pepperoni or sausage on pizza, so later, three of us went out to eat and then I came back here to work on NaNo.

I'm currently sitting at 31,176 words.

Can I do 19,000 words in one day? Doubtful. As it is, my characters are already going off in weird tangents and somehow, I coax them back to where they are supposed to be, but it's still freaky when one character gets dumped in a Chinese restaurant and I'm sitting there going, "Huh? When was anyone going to tell me about this development?"

jemima thinks I'm in need of a support group. NaNo Anonymous, she calls it. I'd like to point out that most of the word count is her doing. I don't know what it is with Mod Squad members slogging off their responsibilities and pointing their collective fingers in my direction.

A support group. Hmph.

Friday, November 07, 2003

Due to satellite freeze yesterday, I didn't get to see the beginning of "Survivor" or "Friends", but DirecTV came back to life for the second 30 minutes (but by which time, I'd mostly lost interest in watching television to begin with). But, riddle me this, was anyone else (Bjorn?) as bothered by the vote-off at the end as I was? My favorite person is gone! Wah!
Bird by Bird

Word count: Contrary to popular belief, I'm not done, but am sitting currently at 22,402.

Anne Lamott (the patron saint of NaNo) wrote a book, Bird by Bird, that's supposed to be one of the really good writing books out there. Even the discerning folks over at zendom think so. I'm reading it now concurrently with NaNoing, because, y'know, NaNo requires all possible support along with jemima's refrain, "Another fifty words! You can do it! Go go go!"

I came across this quote in the book, a true vindication for those of who us are not huge planners and tend to ramble on endlessly until we stumble on our plot or when our characters blow themselves out of an airlock in pure misery.

E. L. Doctorow wrote: "writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can see only as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way."

Lamott goes on to write: "You don't have to see where you're going, you don't have to see your destination or everything you will pass along the way. You just have to see two or three feet in front of you."

Tomorrow, I shall present to you the very reason for Nanoing. But for now, I must NaNo.

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

NaNo to You!

The current word count is 19,050, as of this morning. Yes. I'm a total and complete dork. Anyway, nothing like cat vacuuming, and the NaNoWriMo forums are perfect for that. Some of my favorite threads include Egregariously Erroneous Information, Your Worst Line So Far, How to stop a pack of stampeding pengins and Dear anonymous, homicidal, self-loathing protogonist.

Monday, November 03, 2003

1,667 freakin' words

I'm sitting pretty at 12,600 words right now. Yes, I'm surprised too and it's all jemima's fault. The Houston newspaper had an article on NaNo; you can find it here.

My favorite part: Here's the deal: Participants must write a 50,000-word novel during the month of November. That's 1,667 freakin' words a day. Word counts are determined by an online computer that couldn't care less how good, bad or ugly each work is. Quantity trumps quality in NaNoWriMo.

There you have it. The plain, ugly, unvarnished truth. We're not delusional; crazy, yes, but not delusional. We know we're not producing good stuff or even mediocre. We understand there's a reason why March is National Novel Editing Month. We know that 1,667 words/night is a hard quota to make. I didn't make it last year -- I fell about 7,000 words short. That's precisely the reason I'm back this year, even though I know this is possibly one of the most mind-bending, thankless things I've ever done. It's about guts and glory, baby! We're doing it because it's hard; like I said, didn't manage to finish last year and there's no shame in it. But I gave it a go and for that reason, I've have 43,000 words I wouldn't have had otherwise.

NaNo is about the challenge of the human spirit, to know there are people out there doing it with you, other people who are desperately trying to make a go of the novel thing. It's a time to sit down and force discipline into ourselves and just keep on going, come what may. So what if your characters start swapping cookie recipes like mine did last year or randomly burst into the chorus of "Moon River"? That's really not the point and it never has been.

I love reading the forums over at NaNoWriMo and I enjoy seeing what other people have done. For me, it's the perfect time to put aside other writing and work on a story idea that has been knocking around my brain for the last three months. I'm very aware that some of you will never see this year's novel, just like you didn't see last year's novel. But I'm in it for the challenge and the thrill of saying, "I wrote 50,000 words in a month."

There's no shame in admitting you're in it for the word count and not much else.
Is anyone else getting weird invitations to join Yahoogroups? I got one today for a group called 'hook_ups' which is "where the single people meet." Well, obviously the moderater (spammer?) has never been on a Yahoo mailing list before because quite frankly, it's possibly the last place one would go to meet their One True Love. And the name 'hook_up' -- ew. My guess is that these mailing lists are probably just spam lists, where people join thinking one thing and end up getting more spam in their inbox. It's yet another reason why one should just say No! to mailing lists.