Saturday, December 31, 2005

Where Am I?

Who am I? What am I doing? Why have I vanished? Where have I gone? I know, my readers have now deserted me. But that is okay. After all, I blog for myself and that's all there is to it. However, it is nice to have readers, so thanks to anyone who actually still visits my blog.

I have good news, my computer will soon return to me. It is on its way, even as I write. I would add that the nincompoops who worked on it tried to send it to Hillsdale despite our best efforts to give them a current address. But the problem may have been remedied by now. At least, I hope it was remedied. If not then I say again, I hate the state of California. Someday I will order a large team of people to hack it slowly from our coast and send it into the briny Pacific and away from our otherwise wonderful country. (If you don't understand me, the computer has been in CA for repairs and the people have been major idiots the entire time they have worked on it.)

In other news, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. This is one of my favorite times of the year. I am sitting here on New Year's Eve with no hope of having any real fun this evening, but it is still a wonderful time of the year. I hope you all have fun and make sure you drink some extra champagne for those of us who cannot drink it without getting violently ill.

Tomorrow I have an award to give out. You will see when I post it. Some of you may find it interesting and even humourous, others may not.

I have nothing philosophical to say today. I just got back from a shopping trip and feel like my brain has been fried. I spent too much money on clothing, but I did get something that I have always wanted and I feel better about myself. Clothes make me feel happy.

On the job front: well, things are looking good. I plan to have a short discussion with my supervisor about how much I enjoy my job so that she might consider me more seriously for a permanent position. I have applied and all I can do now is hope and pray. And tell people to put in a good word for me and campaign and refuse to give up on this job before it's in the bag.

Next week Craig and I will be on vacation. So you may not hear much from me. Not that you have recently. Rest assured I will write more when I have my own dear Heart of Gold. Nothing else is quite like it and that's all there is to it.

In the meantime, have a Happy New Year!

Monday, December 19, 2005

It's Just A Phase

I want my computer back! Now! I am using my husband's laptop again. Now I have free rein of this dreadful computer. But I don't like using it. Still I suppose it's better than no computer and no internet. I have a difficult time motivating myself to write posts when I don't have my own computer. Sorry about that. I'm still here. So, I was tagged by Little Cicero. I am supposed to describe 5 of my favorite things or 5 simple pleasures, same difference, dontcha know. Here goes (in random order).

1. Speeding and knowing that the cops won't pull me over for it because everybody speeds.
2. Annyoing an Indiana driver by obeying the law.
3. Getting a Christmas card/sending a Christmas card/seeing someone's face when I get them a cool present/everything that's in the true spirit of Christmas and not all about commercialization.
4. Talking with a good friend.
5. Holding hands with my husband.

Okay, that's it. Now I tag Maria, Foley, Craig and Trump. (That means you have to do the same thing I just did only say what five or your favorite things are I guess, not five of mine.)

Saturday, December 10, 2005

The Window Into My Childhood

I returned from watching "The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe" a few minutes ago. Can I just say that it is one of the most spectacular movies ever? Because it really is. Every moment of the movie made me feel like the little child I once was; the one who wanted to find her own magic wardrobe and go through a door into a fantastical land. Naturally, I never did find that particular wardrobe. I did find another one with mothballs in it and a lot of old army uniforms. But that's really, well, not a story for another day because it would be a rather pointless story.

Honestly, I don't want to spoil this for anyone, so I'm not going to say too much. The cinematography was excellent. The acting was awesome. The lines were good and funny. The characterization made me very happy. And the whole thing was utterly predictable. Haha! Since I have read the book several times I am very glad it was predictable.

The other good news would be that the symbolism was not diminished. At least, I did not think it was. Someone else out there may differ.

Oh, it was a masterpiece and I am shivering with delight after watching Narnia. I mean, it brought back so many memories for me. Memories of searching for Narnia and looking for hobbit holes. Little kids have such imaginations. Add in the powerful Christian symbolism and it had me crying through a large portion of the movie. So enjoyable!

Warning: if you're an annoying cynic, you probably won't like this movie. But go see it anyway, it may grow on you.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Seconds Ticking Away

I have a few minutes on the computer to post a quick update on myself. My lovely computer The Heart of Gold went off to the other side of the country for repairs. I really hope it comes back fixed and in, well, as many pieces as it is supposed to be in. I miss my puter. It seems so strange to look at its space on my desk and see nothing but a blank monitor.

In other news, anyone who knows me well has reason to applaud me. I have finally picked up Harry Potter and started reading the series. I started out hating the very idea of Harry Potter. I mean violent hatred. Then I got to the point where I would just make fun of Harry Potter all the time. Then I only watched the movies. I finally became convinced that I cannot have an opinion on the whole series unless I actually take the time to read them. So I am reading them. They are decent, but not spectacular so far. But I'm only in the second one. I'll see how it goes. I have a feeling that I will not be amazed by them. I may even wonder why they are so popular. But they are enjoyable and an easy read. I am somewhat offended by the fact that people told me they were well written. They are semi-well written, for the record. So far I have found that the beginning of the books are really good and they build very well and then they kind of dump an ending on you that just is not half as climactic as it should be. Maybe the later ones will be better in the climaxes.

I have a difficult time keeping up on the news since my husband is in the midst of his final projects and he is a computer science student. You won't see much of me, but I'm around. My comments on other blogs are getting scarce too because I just don't have time for that without my dear computer.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Half Of My Promise

A Quick Note Before A Long Entry: Everyone here probably remembers that I said I would write some plot summary a while back and that I have vowed to describe the experience of NaNoWriMo (writing a 50,000 word novel in one month). I have also been saying for more than a month that I will post an article about Mike Pence. Travis and Aaron, I have not forgotten this. I simply have not had time to put one together. I would want such an entry to be well thought out, understandable and persuasive. My brain just has not been able to keep up with that as well as do NaNoWriMo. At this time I will keep half my promises and write up the NaNo stuff. Perhaps this weekend I will sneak my husband's laptop away from him for long enough to post a Pence article. My compy will be on its way to another state for repairs.

NaNoWrimo, what can I say? It was exhilerating and fatiguing; challenging and too easy; enjoyable and painful. Yes, NaNoWriMo covers a host of descriptive words. So I will stop boring you with them.

When I signed up to write a novel for NaNo I had a specific plot idea in mind. Years ago I used to come up with plot ideas for fun (that's why I have almost never been bored in my life). I was just a kid then. One of my ideas was a sort of space opera. I believe I had been watching too much Star Wars at the time. It involved a main character who was a general of some space army and a trained assassin who befriended him. I ended up refining the plot a lot over the course of NaNo with the help of my husband who knows a whole lot more about sci-fi than me and who will definitely get technical credits if the novel ever sells. Pardon me, because I am going to be extremely vague as I go into more depth on my plot.

I have to be very vague indeed and say almost nothing substantial. I really don't want my plot and ideas stolen, you understand. My book is science fiction. I would not describe it to be a space opera anymore, but since it is more about the characters it could fall into that category. There are no aliens, though, and they are an essential part of any space opera. Still, when I'm finished I intend to have a lot of the technical details worked out so in some respects it might be hard science fiction. I am not one for inserting sex scenes, however, so it's not really hard science fiction. I guess it doesn't have a real category other than science fiction. I know, it's good science fiction, that's the category!

The book concerns earth humans several thousand years after they have left earth due to some nuclear disasters. The nuclear disasters involved the War on Terror getting out of hand. Essentially, things were really bad and some impending destruction caused everyone to decide to leave earth rather than find a way to live on it. By that time space technology had grown a lot so a lengthy journey on a huge spaceship stocked with terraforming equipment was not out of the question. In the end, people ended up on several different planets in a far away solar system.

My story's main character is a general who is asked to wage an unjust war on another planet. The antagonist is the person who wants to wage the war: a manipulative, Machiavellian character. He was the first genetically modified human and intended for some major experiments, but he got a little out of control. Then there's another genetically modified human who was presumed dead by those who designed her. Years later she was found and trained into an assassin and now she's a really messed up person meant to show certain contrasts within the scheme of things. So, essentially, the plot involves a revolt and a lot of sadness. But it's action packed and mildly psychological in the Russian novel sense if I do say so myself. It needs a ton of work as my writing style sucks through most of the novel. There are a few good moments, but for the most part, I need to put in some more effort.

Thematically it has a lot to do with bioethics and where I think we're going in that area. Yup, I'm your typical pessimist. I really don't like the idea of experimentation on people in certain major ways. Not that I'm against progress, but, well, you'll have to read the book if it's ever published. It will probably explain my opinion better than I could right now. There is also a major theme on questioning one's life and deeds and trying to discover some sort of meaning. You know, the answer to life, the universe and eveything type stuff: i.e.42.

NaNo has been a bittersweet experience in all. While I enjoyed learning to just sit down and write and write and write, I have seen the results of this method and they are bad fiction. I will spend hours and hours repairing my novel. I expect that in the end it will turn out all right, if not good. As Steven King would say, I might be a "competent writer." (If you're wondering, no I've never read a Steven King novel, I just read his book "On Writing," which is very good.) The fact that I could write 50,000 words in one month has impressed me at the same time as I have been upset over the quality of my work. It's really fine though, because I'm a pretty ruthless editor of my own writings.

I think the most disappointing part of the journey has been the character development. I take great pride in characters and settings. Perhaps more so than my pride in plot creating. I want my characters to be real to my readers. Sometimes they are and sometimes they just plain suck. Sometimes they do things that are totally against their nature. I have not had time to go back and fix those things and that upsets me immensely. I believe that J.R.R. Tolkien used to write out his books by hand. If he got something wrong he would throw out the whole book (or chapter) and start over from the beginning. Similarly, I am that kind of purist. I want to trash it and start over, but I know that I would never remember everything and that would be incredibly unwise. Besides, computers are mighty convenient pieces of equipment.

On the other hand, the most enjoyable part of the journey has been those moments when the characters shone with depth. I very much enjoy the scenes where they acted like themselves. I read and reread those parts even when I did not have the time, just to give me some encouragement and to make me remember that parts of the book are good.

Furthermore, I have finished 50,000 words of a novel. That's 175 pages. That is a lot of writing. And a triumph indeed. I really think I can keep up a pace and pull off writing novels now. It almost makes me want to attempt to become a famous author instead of a politician.