30 November, 2008
29 November, 2008
I set a deadline for myself to type the words "The" and "End" by midnight last night (and, um, actually be AT the end of my story, heh!). I hit 50,000 words around 7:30 p.m. but still had to bring the story to a close. I typed "The End" at 11:49 p.m. and (thank goodness the servers weren't too loaded) uploaded and verified my NaNoWriMo victory.
This year's novel was some pretty tough slogging and there were a few days when I was fairly sure I wasn't going to see this one through. But it surprised me, as it always does, that once I started writing, the pieces would just sort of fall into place.
I had to laugh last weekend when, after I had sent my main characters to Victoria, British Columbia in search of a relative, I realized I had spent so little time there that I knew next to nothing about the city. I needed a rather exclusive neighbourhood that the relative might have been relocated to when she was a child. I looked through a couple of real estate sites and picked one that sounded swanky enough and explored it on Google Maps. As it turned out, there was an apparently large children's hospital just a stone's throw away (and this character would have been in need of care throughout her childhood). Sometimes, you can pull part of your plot out of your ass and it'll actually work! Haha!
So, anyway, I'm now 4-for-4 in NaNoWriMo and I'm in the planning stages for next November. I think I want to set aside some funds and have someone come in and help me keep the apartment clean and to find some good healthy take-away restaurants. Maybe that'll hold off at least a couple of my meltdowns. If nothing else, my hovel won't be as stinky and dusty! And I think I don't want to type anything at all between now and November 1, 2009!
28 November, 2008
My dear friend Gary actually improved on this video. I cannot stop laughing!
25 November, 2008
This is some very good news to wake up to this morning!
''The challenged statute, in precluding otherwise qualified homosexuals from adopting available children, does not promote the interests of children and, in effect, causes harm to the children it is meant to protect,'' Lederman wrote.
The judge added: ``There is no question the blanket exclusion of gay applicants defeats Florida's goal of providing [foster] children a permanent family through adoption.''
This case centered on Frank Gill, who had been given half-brothers, ages 4 and 8, to care for around Christmastime four years ago. The boys were never able to return to their family, and Gill and his partner have been trying to adopt the brothers. According to Judge Lederman, the boys have thrived in the care of Gill and his partner.
In arguing on behalf of the Department of Children and Families, the Florida Attorney General's office made one of the most breathtakingly bigoted (not to mention just fucking stupid) claims:
Thankfully, Judge Lederman relies on actual facts and observations, rather than Religious Right talking points, when determining her ruling. (emphasis mine)
''The most important factor in ensuring a well-adjusted child is the quality of parenting,'' Lederman wrote.
However, the time for celebration is short. Judge Lederman's 53-page ruling sets the stage for a constitutional showdown. Acting on behalf of the Department of Children and Families (which I guess means only straight, God fearing families...yeesh!), the AG's office has filed a notice of appeal. And this may well be a good thing. An appeal could make this ruling binding on the entire state (rather than just the circuit it was heard in). I'm happy for Frank Gill and his family today, but there is much work to do to ensure equality for ALL families.
(h/t to Mustang Bobby on Shakesville)
20 November, 2008
(I wish iLike had a clip of The Greatest Man In America. That's a classic!)
18 November, 2008
Former San Francisco Supervisor (Sunset District) Ed Jew pleaded guilty about lying about where he lived while representing the Sunset District. For non-locals, he claimed to be living in the Sunset District when, in fact, he and his family lived in Burlingame, CA.
Jew had previously pleaded guilty to federal charges of bribery, extortion and mail fraud for shaking down several Asian-owned businesses in "his" district. For a guy who could potentially be doing a decade or so in prison, he seemed remarkably relaxed.
Well, maybe he harbors some regret:
Oh Ed, Ed, Ed. This isn't something that "happened", like an earthquake that strikes with no warning. YOU falsified information about where you lived so you could get yourself elected to the Board of Supervisors. And YOU are the one who shook down immigrant Chinese business owners in the district you were so anxious to
Gee, y'all say that like it's a bad thing!
Ah, well, I see Ed has studied the Textbook On Bullying: Threaten the kids in the school yard and take away their lunch money, then, when you get caught and face punishment, maintain that YOU are the victim.
Somebody call the whaaaaaaambulance!
16 November, 2008
Because I haven't done one of these in AGES.
This is a gorgeous video and, while it goes without saying that I think it's a gorgeous song, I think Jeff Tweedy's lyrics are particularly appropriate to these days.
But if you're wanting something a little peppier to get you in the mood for Monday, try summa this:
(BTW, if you don't have Wilco's Being There, you really should. It totally kicks ass!)
Labels: Weekend Music
That's my NaNoWriMo Author Page reflected in my cup of tea...
I'm a little more than half way through to my 50,000 word count, which is great because we're a smidge more than half way through the month! My goal for this weekend was to hit 30,000 words and after my last writing session I'm at 29,371, so I think I'll revise my goal upward to 32,000 words by the end of this weekend (for most of this month, I've been revising my goals downward so this makes a nice change).
To be honest, last weekend I wasn't sure I'd be able to continue with my novel. I spent a glorious day Saturday with friends down in the South Bay and had gone to a friend's photography show opening Friday night, which meant that I hadn't added to my word count for about 60 hours. That, while being confronted with a very messy apartment pushed me over the edge into meltdown mode last Sunday. And yet, as I was trying to work through the meltdown, I peeled back the layers and realized that I had set myself down this dark path a week before, at the first write-in I attended. I made a terrible rookie mistake: I discussed the plot of my novel with other people. Dumb, dumb and DUMB! I had no more than gone through my synopsis when the woman next to me said, "Oh, well don't go see The Secret Life of Bees, then." Oooooookay. You know, it's not as though I thought I had the Most! Original! Story! Ever! Told! (and really, aren't there but 25 plots in the universe? Doesn't every story kind of toe the line of one of those 25 or so plots?), but it really took the piss out of me to have someone sit there and tell me she'd heard (or seen) it before. It was one thing I just did not need to hear when I had just started writing my story. It took me a good ten days to regain any sense of enthusiasm I had for writing it.
So, at the approximately 180,000 word mark of my NaNoWriMo experience (including my first three novels), I think I'm finally beginning to hit my stride as a writer. Mind you, it's still bloody awful, but for the last 15,000 words or so, I've done a lot more "set decorating" and character developing and a lot less dictation. And, although I try to keep my early drafts away from kitty eyes, Simon seems to approve of how I'm writing the cat parts this time (well, mostly).
It's kind of a relief to have built up a 2-3 day word cushion. I think it lines me up well to hit the 50k mark by Thanksgiving when I can use that time to relax and spend time with friends (and think about the prize I'm awarding myself this year for going 4-4!). But more than that, for the first time since I've started participating in NaNoWriMo, I feel like I can tap into the wealth of writing resources and inspiration (thanks to my friends for lending me books and sending handouts!) without the paralyzing fear of Oh no! I don't have TIME to get into those exercises! It's quite liberating and I actually am starting to feel like a writer.
But, no, you can't read any of my novel right now. Sorry! ;-)
Simon isn't much of a flag waver, so I'm not sure what prompted him to remove this specific item from my desk a while ago when there were so many of his other favourite "toys" to choose from (i.e., my sunglasses, my iMac remote control, my USB thumb drive, a few pens and pencils, etc.) Now, before anyone gets pushed out of shape, Simon wouldn't attack the American flag out of protest because politics do not interest him in the least. Simon tries to disembowel everything he gets his paws on. It's how he rolls.
A programming note: You can now follow Simon on Twitter! If you're not on Twitter, you can keep up with him via the Twitter badge in the right-hand bar.
15 November, 2008
14 November, 2008
1. A counter-protest tonight at Alameda High School. AHS is producing The Laramie Project. Fred "God Hates Fags" Phelps and his nasty band of trolls are planning to protest the production. Come and help buffer students and attendees from Phelps and his hate mongers!
2. I'M A STR8 AGAINST H8! Come Join the Impact at Alameda City Hall tomorrow morning starting at 10:30 a.m. (If you're not in Alameda, you can find your location here.) I've got a chiropractor appointment at 10:30 but will try to get over there as soon as I'm done with my appointment.
10 November, 2008
Submitted without further comment (for now).
09 November, 2008
A shot of Simon and me a couple of weeks ago after he jumped up onto my desk while I was typing. I'm trying to stay in the habit of putting him back on the floor when he does that, but anyone who lives with a cat knows that doesn't really work. kluuuum,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, (<---- OK Simon just jumped on the keyboard again and did that last bit and it's actually kind of disturbing that he managed to type our last name, more or less!)
Now, where was I?
Oh, right. So Simon jumped on the desk, again, and instead of shooing him off right away, I switched on Photobooth.
Today he's been trying to help me through my NaNoWriMo meltdown by jumping on the back of the chair and giving me neck rubs and, occasionally, wrist rubs. My sweet little Schmoopie!
05 November, 2008
Officer Art Michel gives the Oakland Police yet another black eye (Warning: language used by the officer is NSFW and certainly not safe for the school environment he works in):
Thankfully, cooler heads prevail at the DA's office and reporter Jane Tyska will not be charged for being nearly run over by Officer Michel's car. No word yet on whether Michel will face any discipline. At the very least he should be suspended without pay for that disgraceful incident. He ought to be taken off of the school security detail altogether. I certainly would not be comfortable if I was a parent of a child in the Oakland schools, knowing that a bully like that was in charge of my child's security.
I'm still trying to take in the fact that America has elected Barack Obama. I'm filled with so many emotions right now that I'm finding it nearly impossible to put them into coherent words (as my friend Olivia can attest to after I sent her an OMGPRESIDENTOBAMA!!! email last night).
As I type this, Prop. 8 here in California is still too close to call. It sickens me to my core to think that so many Californians could be so influenced by the bigotry of religious zealots who don't even fucking live here!
As a progressive, I celebrate an Obama victory with my friends. But our work is just beginning. And that work is making damn sure that no one in this country is treated as a second-class citizen. That goes for my LGBTQ friends. And that goes for women.
The end of the nightmare of the Bush Regime is near. The hard work is just beginning. Let's take a deep breath and push up our sleeves.
04 November, 2008
I'm still pinching myself.
03 November, 2008
For all the shortcomings of the campaign, both John McCain and Barack Obama offer hope of national redemption. Now America has to choose between them. The Economist does not have a vote, but if it did, it would cast it for Mr Obama. We do so wholeheartedly: the Democratic candidate has clearly shown that he offers the better chance of restoring America’s self-confidence. But we acknowledge it is a gamble. Given Mr Obama’s inexperience, the lack of clarity about some of his beliefs and the prospect of a stridently Democratic Congress, voting for him is a risk. Yet it is one America should take, given the steep road ahead.
For what it's worth (and, given that the Bush Regime has left our standing in the world in shambles, it ought to be worth quite a lot), The Economist's Global Electoral College shows that most of the world is overwhelmingly in favour of a Barack Obama presidency.
It's interesting to note that, among the many reasons why The Economist does not endorse John McCain, the Sarah Palin pick is yet another indication of the of the sloppiness of the McCain campaign. It is telling that, many of the reasons they give for being unable to support his presidency are much the same reasons I've heard from Republicans who have either moved to support Obama or remain undecided. And if he had paid more attention to the more moderate among the GOP, this may have been a very different campaign.
If only the real John McCain had been running
That, however, was Senator McCain; the Candidate McCain of the past six months has too often seemed the victim of political sorcery, his good features magically inverted, his bad ones exaggerated. The fiscal conservative who once tackled Mr Bush over his unaffordable tax cuts now proposes not just to keep the cuts, but to deepen them. The man who denounced the religious right as “agents of intolerance” now embraces theocratic culture warriors. The campaigner against ethanol subsidies (who had a better record on global warming than most Democrats) came out in favour of a petrol-tax holiday. It has not all disappeared: his support for free trade has never wavered. Yet rather than heading towards the centre after he won the nomination, Mr McCain moved to the right.
And, most the damning observation of what a mess his 2008 campaign has become:
The Economist, while endorsing Senator Obama, is not all hearts and flowers. They share the concern held by many (myself included) about his resume being on the skimpy side and acknowledge that all the charisma in the world won't fix the fundamental problems we have in the United States and abroad.
But, if the last ten weeks of this campaign have shown American voters anything, it is that John McCain has proven himself wholly incapable of running his own campaign. How in the hell can we expect him to be able to run this country, much less provide the leadership needed to tackle the many crises we face (not forgetting that most of these crises are a result of the failures of the Bush Regime--which had the support of Senator McCain more often than not)?
see more pwn and owned pictures
02 November, 2008
My little counter graphic at the top of the right nav bar seems to be having difficulty. I'm guessing it's due to the annual NaNoWriMo.org server slowness and it should start showing up, once we get through the first four or five days.
I put in a late-night surge last night and broke the 5,000-word mark. My goal for the weekend is to hit 10k, since I'll need a cushion because I'm going to lose a lot of writing time this week between the election, a friend's photography show opening and a housewarming party.
I just need to get a few more of my weekend chores out of the way and then I can get back to writing.
Simon did not share my appreciation for "falling back" from Daylight Savings Time to Standard Time this morning. It meant his breakfast was an hour "late" and no amount of explaining that, for all these months, he was actually having his breakfast an hour early cut no ice with him. So I tried to make the transition a little easier on the poor guy by giving him half of his breakfast at 6:30 and the rest at his regular time, 7:00 a.m.
And, I've put fresh, warm laundry out for him to snooze on and fur up.
01 November, 2008
This is about the tidiest my desk has looked since I appropriated my kitchen table for my computer workstation! I'm about 1,000 words into the novel, after staying up and getting stuck in at the stroke of midnight. I've spent the day
procrastinating taking care of other chores and photographing my work space for the NaNoWriMo group on Flickr.
I honestly was having a hard time believing that this was NOT a SNL sketch.
Bill O'Reilly, actually (sort of) defending Barack Obama? The souls in hell better grab a sweater: I think it's about to get quite chilly down there.