Friday, November 18, 2005

Winged Butt Monkey Syndrome

I haven't spent much time working on my nano-novel this month. Just bits and pieces here and there. Nothing that could even be considered novel-like. Just random bits of thought up-chuck. Sigh. But I'm still determined to finish.

Oh yeah. You read that right. I still think I can finish.

Here's the math: I've only got about 3,000 typed words. And about (optimistically) 1,000 written words. That means I have about 46,000 words left to write in 13 days. 13 DAYS!!!! That means I have to write an average of... *whips out handy dandy computer calculator* ... 3,500 each day in order to reach the 50,000 word count goal by 11:59:00 PM on Nov 30.




Indeed! In a completely masochistic way, that is. I'm looking at it this way: it will be a test, a mission, in Writing Without Thinking. (Something I believe I can be quite good at, actually. *teehee*.) It will be practice in getting words down on paper when the words just aren't ready to come out (writing constipation). It'll be a game of translating thoughts into words without worrying that the words suck.

Because it all sucks. It will be 50,000 words of complete suck but it won't matter. I wanted it to matter this year, and had hopes of actually writing something that looked like a first draft novel, but that just isn't possible this year. Sigh. So my goal this year, with less than half the month left, is to just get ideas down on paper. I will steal minutes when ever I can and just write write write.

Actually, I probably shouldn't include this weekend in my Average Word Count Calculations because I'll be busy researching (5 source minimum) and writing my 5 page research paper (along with doing the other homework assignments.) It'll take awhile so I should probably start working on it tonight. After I watch the new Harry Potter movie of course. Priorities, priorities, priorities!

As I tried to go to sleep last night I thought about the scene I was writing yesterday. I pictured it in my head like I was watching a movie and tried to figure out what should happen next. And poof, it was happening! The movie was rolling. I knew who my character should talk to next and what she'd learn. And I thought, 'oh yeah, that's pretty cool.' I was going to get up and write it down, but I wasn't sleepy. I figured I'd be able to remember it this morning. Stupid stupid stupid. For the life of me I can't remember what I was thinking of last night. Maybe it'll come to me later and I'll type up my 4,000 words after lunch in a matter of mere minutes and I'll be so on par with my Super Word Count Goal that I'll almost faint with sheer adoration of my awesome self.

Shah! And monkey's might fly out of my butt!

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Worst In Class

I came in to work this morning, sat at my desk, and immediately noticed that something was different. There was something new hanging up on my wall! Before I explain the awesomeness of this new addition to my Cubicle Palace let me give you a little background info.

I'm kind of a clutter freak. I like clutter. Clutter makes me happy. Especially when it comes to the walls that I spend a sizeable chuck of time hanging around. Uncluttered nekkid walls just plain bum me out.

The walls of my childhood bedroom were covered to eclectic perfection. It took ten years to get it that way and of course, by the time it reached cluttered perfection it was time for me to move away to college. It didn't take me long though to cover up those ugly stark-ass painted brick dorm walls with stuff. My half of the room (I shared the room with another gal) was almost completely covered in posters, postcards, and pictures cut out of magazines. It was awesome. And it had a very homey feeling to it.

The apartment I live in now isn't very cluttered because I live with a Just-Say-No-To-Clutter boy. It isn't completely clutter free, as I can't exactly erase that particular bad habit, but because I try to be respectful of the HB's anti-clutter upbringing it is relatively clutter-less. At least compared to my natural state of habitation.

In order to find balance in my life I make up for my minor-clutter-home with a very-cluttered work space. The HB actually saw it for the first time last Thursday (as he stopped by during a break from work to take me out to dinner - squee!) and after a quick look he said, "How did I know this is exactly how your desk would look?" He loves my cluttered self, I just know he does. :)

When I worked down stairs, and the wall in front of my desk was a giant glass window, the window was covered in a variety of mini post it notes, as far as the arm could reach. It was very pretty, as long as you didn't pay any attention (and I tried not to) to the Must Not Forget To Do Because They're Important items listed on each note. I didn't have much wall space so I had maybe a cartoon or two pinned up, plus a calendar (with great big X's marking each and every day I no longer had to work that week). I had a tiny desk space, so naturally, since I deal with a lot of paper work, my desk was covered in paper. Not necessarily cluttered on my part, its just the way things were. But now that I've reached the Big Leagues (i.e. relocated closer to the boss because we all laughed too much, apparently enjoying our jobs too god damn much, but luckily one of the guys eventually made it up here too) I've got a BIGGER DESK! And a wall that I can actually stab with push pins. Yay!

And you know what? Now that I have three times the desk space? My desk is still as cluttered as before. How is that possible? I don't have that much more work to worry about. It's as if the clutter intermingled with itself, threw a great paper orgy, then went exploring all the outer reaches of The Great Plane of Deskville.

And to my left, as I sit in my Cubicle Palace, there is a cubicle wall with a carpet covered cork board (the better to stick things to, my dear). I've got all kinds of cartoon pictures and other silly stuff push-pinned to it (maybe one day I'll take a picture of it, and explain ad nauseum what each little piece is). I've also got the occasional work related piece of paper pinned to the wall, you know, to give my work space some shred of credibility. It's not overly cluttered, but I'm working on it. Cluttering is a tricky art to master. It's a slow progress that takes time and dedication. It's added to sporadically, piece by piece, when ever the mood hits me or when something just plain tickles my fancy.

The latest addition to my Cubicle Wall (courtesy of my desk neighbor Sal) is a certificate for Worst In Class Office Space. It's a real certificate, printed on real certificate paper (it has the fancy lacey design border and everything). Under the "Worst In Class" heading is the following message:

Congratulations! You have received this award in recognition of your lack luster efforts at maintaining a clean office space.

Heh heh heh. Then there's my name, and bellow that there's a clip art graphic of a guy either drowning or getting attacked by evil paper work, and beside that there's a great big sun burst with "A 1 MESS" written in the middle. How perfect of an award is that? :)

Sal has more certificate paper and wants to pass out more awards. I think he should make one for Outstanding Achievement in Whining to the guy who is always making mountains out of mole hills. I'm sure we could find a crying baby graphic to add to the bottom. Heh. Oh! And one for Outstanding Cell Phone Ring Tone Office Dancing for the guy (Zack) who breaks out in a little jig (okay, a very BIG jig) every time he hears Girl Across The Hall's never ending voice mail message ring tone that I swear goes off at least every other day. Why she doesn't take her cell phone with her into meetings with her, or at least turn the damn thing off when she leaves it in her office, I have no idea. Maybe we should make her an award too in recognition of her cell phone negligence.

Ahhh... the fun just never stops around here.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Time flies when you're having fun. And when you're so busy you don't even have time to scratch your ass when it itches.

(not that I have an itchy ass, mind you)

Holy shnikeys is it Friday already? This week flew by really fast. I think it only seems that way because I really didn't want it to, you know, because life is funny that way. Because I need more time to do things dammit! If I could have a super power right now I'd pick the ability to stop time. Just like Edie from that 80's tv show Out of This World. I'd just put my fingers together, time would stop, and I'd write the analysis paper and the research paper that are BOTH due next week for school. Then I'd have the rest of today and the weekend to relax and to play and be merry (and run all the errands I kept putting off this week - oy!).

Oh wouldn't it be lov-er-ly. But as it stands, I have no spiffy supernatural abilities. So no time stopping for me. Bummer that.

Things have been crazy hectic here at work this week and I haven't even begun to take on the new responsibilities bequeathed to me from recently departed (i.e. department shifted) Coworker Zack. I haven't even been approached about absorbing his job into mine. Well, at least not "formally". One guy, who's the local head of this... uh... let's call it a Management Task Force (because it makes it sound more interesting than it is)... he asked me last Friday (last FRIDAY!) if someone had talked to me about taking over Zack's M.T.F. duties. I hadn't. (A week later and I still haven't. I guess They figure I don't need it pointed out to me. Why make it obvious? I just might not realize that I'm doing more work for the same pathetic pay). He then asked what I thought about me doing Zack's M.T.F. stuff. My response? "Well, there's really no one else who can do it so by default..." Because really, there isn't anyone. Plus, I am, after all, Super Fabulous In Everything, so even if I say no I'm stuck with it. The guy was all, "Oh, well, I didn't mean to make it sound like you were a last resort or anything..." Not that I was thinking that. It just sucks that Zack's job position was deleted from existence. All because The Newest New Boss wanted to show Corporate that HE'S ALREADY SAVING MONEY!

Anywhoo... the Head M.T.F. guy said he'd talk to my boss and my boss's boss (The Newest New Boss) about talking to me about it. And here we are, a week later, and we still haven't had "The Talk". Probably because my boss is on vacation this week. Which, incidentally, I found out from another coworker after the boss didn't show up to our weekly meeting on monday. Gee, thanks boss for telling us ahead of time that you weren't going to be here. Aaaaagggghhh!

I've been getting sick of working at this place for awhile now and this week is just a prime example of why. I really need a job where I don't work in a corporate world. It's just not me. No one will bother to talk to me about doing Zack's job, not even a quick "hey, we're going to need you to sit in on these calls and start setting these things up" as they pass by the cubicle, so when They wonder why I'm not doing it I'll mention the fact that I'm not getting paid to do his job, let alone his and mine. Hell, I'm not even getting paid to do my job. Filthy cheap bastards. Grrrrrr!

I need to get a sound bite from Jerry Maguire on my computer here at work so that when a boss talks to me about doing M.T.F. stuff I can just click a button and "SHOW ME THE MONEY" will blare out of my dinky pc speakers. Oh yeah, that sounds like a plan.

Speaking of being sick of this place, I wonder if I can use that as an excuse for going home 'sick' today. "Can I go home early Mr. Boss? I'm feeling sick. Sick of work." The HB tried to talk me into calling in sick today, but I couldn't, because I had some things that really had to get done this morning. And I knew that if I called in sick I'd feel guilty all day about it, which would totally ruin the whole wonderful feeling of not being at work on a work day. But the things I HAVE to do are few today, so I can get them done quickly. My immediate boss isn't here (vacation and all) so I don't know if I should just leave or if I should tell someone. Should I ask the Boss's Boss? Would he even care? When I asked the Previous Boss's Boss if I could leave early he looked at me weird in a 'what the hell are you asking me for' way. I just wanted someone to know I was leaving. Seemed like the right thing to do, you know? But maybe this time I'll just leave. Slip out when the Boss's Boss is busy out on the floor or something. There's hardly anyone here today, its not like it will matter either way. And you know what? Even if he takes offense to it and decides to give me a write up for it (even when NO ONE gets written up around here for some reason) I could really care less. Which, I guess, is why I need the rest of the day off!

Friday, November 04, 2005

Cashing in my Do Over card

Last night I went to a write-in to write with fellow NaNoWriMo-ers. I didn't get off to a good start this year - I was very indecisive on what to write about and didn't start writing until the 2nd. And when I did write I got about 300 words of background information, nothing I could really use for a story. So I thought that the self-imposed mandatory writing period would be good for me. I'd finally sit down and focus on the story, because to do anything else (besides the occasional writer chatter and coffee sips) would be a waste of time. It was, after all, a half hour's drive out of my way. (It actually took an HOUR to get to the coffee shop because of frelling traffic! Ugh!)

I was at the coffee shop for three hours. In the first hour and a half I wrote about a thousand words. Not too shabby but no where near where I needed to be at. Especially since I'd just written two versions of an opening scene, one with my old Main Character and another with the Slightly Modified Main Character I'd suddenly decided was necessary in the second hour. I liked the change but I still wasn't happy about the story as a whole. I spent the next hour and a half complaining about it by writing up a very whiny woe-is-me-I-suck-so-much blog post (which I deleted before ever posting). At the end of the un-posted rant I came to the conclusion that I should change my story topic completely. Ditch the old and come up with something new. I felt better when I reached that decision, even though that meant starting at Word Count Zero on Day 4. I also had no idea what I was going to write about next. But I had faith I'd figure it out.

My faith was rewarded quickly enough. This morning, inspiration hit. I was in the shower, where a LOT of good ideas hit me (I swear, I think I should call my muse Moaning Myrtle because she always shows up when I'm in the bathroom). The new and improved story idea is a combination of the very first idea that I had, that I thought was so frigging' brilliant until I looked at it closely, and the latest idea I had, the one I was struggling with at yesterday's write-in. And this new idea? I'm totally in love with it. I think it'll be a blast to write. And at this point, that's all I'm looking for; something I'll enjoy spending time with for the next 26 days.

I did a bit of research earlier today. I'm letting it all stir about in my head for now. Then tonight, when I have a couple hours all to myself, I'm going to write like some kind of crazy writing machine. Well, after I do a bit of homework that is. Then the writing is on! And tomorrow, after a brief jaunt to the school library to research an upcoming paper I'm heading to another write-in. Hopefully the next one will be more fruitful. I'll be bringing my homework with me though, just in case it isn't. :)

By the end of the weekend, if I want to be on par word count wise, I should have 10,000 words written. That means, to be caught up I'll have to write more than 3,300 words over the next three days. Eek! This will certainly be an interesting weekend.

Days left of NaNoWriMo: 25.5
Total Novel Word Count: 0 (but its a happy zero. for now, at least. heh)

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Stress: The confusion created when one's mind overrides the body's desire to beat or choke the living shit out of some a-hole who desperately needs it

That's one of my favorite quotes. And fitting, since the last couple of days have been sprinkled with stress. The HB woke up Saturday to a frantic phone call from his mom. His aunt, who lives in Mexico, got a phone call from someone claiming to be the HB saying that he'd been arrested at the border trying to smuggle stolen goods and he needed money now now NOW! The aunt panicked and was about to drop off the money wherever the Fake HB said he needed it, but her husband calmed her down and told her to call her sister (the HB's mom) first. So the aunt called the HB's mom in a panic, which made the mom panic, and she called the HB all in a panic wondering where he was. First, hearing his mom in a panic stressed the HB out. Then, after the HB calmed her down and assured her he was safe and sound at home he began to panic even more. Because obviously someone knew enough about him to know his full name and somehow connected him to his aunt. Since they have different last names, she being his mom's sister and all, it isn't just an A to B connection. There's not much he could do, but he did report it to the border patrol. The Border Patrol Guy said he's heard of four other cases recently, of people pretending to be relatives in trouble, trying to extort money from them. Couldn't these guys just rob a bank or something? It seems like it would be a lot less work than tracking down relatives of victims that live in other countries.

Anywhoo... I stressed a little bit about making these hipster PDA's (full of writing tips and help sheets) for my fellowNaNoWriMo-ers. It wasn't a big Family Crisis Stress, thank the stars, but it was a Last Minute Rush Stress, and that type of stress can be tiring. It was a fun stress, though, and I really enjoyed making them. I still didn't know what I was going to write my novel about, but after meeting up with fellow NaNoWriMo-ers later that day, and hearing that I wasn't the only one who still didn't know what to write about, I felt better. I felt just a little stressed over the fact that I HAD NO FREAKING CLUE what to write about. Sigh. But it was okay, because I still had a couple of days to think about it. No need to stress.

Sunday was full of homework and... what the hell did I do Sunday? I watched tv (including a three hour made-for-tv movie about Lord Byron) and... a bit of homework and... sheesh, I think that was it. Well, at least until later that night. The HB got off of work early (yeah!) and we went out to the Sizzler for dinner. When we first moved here, about five years ago, we went to this Sizzler and it was AWFUL. Hadn't been to a Sizzler since, but I was feeling adventurous (re: we couldn't make up our minds and I was tired of driving around aimlessly). The food was good. But the food was evil too. I think the shrimps tried to take me out of commission for awhile. They didn't "revolt" (if you catch my not-too-gross drift) but I did spend the next couple of hours feeling like crap on a stick. Bleagh.

Then Monday rolled around and I STILL had NO idea what my novel was going to be about. And I was starting to stress over it. But then, in a matter of minutes, something more important to stress about came along. We're over staffed on my team here at work but for the moment, and for at least another six months, every person is needed. Unfortunately the new boss doesn't see it that way. I don't think he really knows the magnitude of all the crap we need to do for this big Corporate Cookie Cutter Makeover we're gearing up for. So early yesterday morning, just minutes after walking in the door, I heard the new boss (my boss's boss) is getting rid of one of the positions on my team. And the way They think around here, if the position is gone, so is the person who filled it. Never mind that the guy's the most qualified and the biggest asset to the team. His position is gone and so is he. It's asinine I tell ya! The guy is still here though so I don't know how soon the job will be absorbed by the rest of us. I'm a little lot worried because out of all of us, if they decided to keep that guy on and reshuffle everyone else, I could DEFINITELY be out of here. I really could. I know it and it really stresses me out. The other guy that could go, that should go, is the guy that is retiring next year. He hit retiring age a couple of years ago but he has four ex-wives and an expensive model car restoring hobby to support. He says he's going to retire next year, but he's been saying that for a couple of years now, so who knows. But if he is going to retire in a few months, then They keep that other guy on, working on all this work we have to do, until a spot opens. Then voila! Problem solved! It's either that or we loose someone valuable when we have so much work to do on a deadline that we either hire temps or work buttloads of over time. So if this is a money saver issue to make the new boss look good its going to backfire in his big stupid face. Grrrrrrr!!!!!! The guy hasn't been let go yet, so really, I have no idea what the hell is going on around here. And I'm too busy venting to find out. Heh. But I know I could be "let go" at the drop of a hat. Stress!

That brings us to today. The first day of NaNoWriMo. The first day of writing my Next Great Suckfest of a Novel. And I STILL have no idea what I'm going to write about. Well, I have several, and that's the problem. I have several ideas, but when I delve a little deeper into them I realize they're not going to work. I was thinking about two different ideas yesterday, then got the brilliant brainstorm to combine the two into one story. So I'm going to write out an outline of sorts today, a little summary of what the story is about, and see if its something I can ramble on about for 50,000 words. If it its, I'll use those words toward my word count. But I'm going to try and not stress about it because its not worth stressing over. Besides, last year I changed story ideas about four days into the month and still managed to reach 50,000 words. So it can be done. And it will be fun. And I WILL write an AWESOME story about... something. Positive thinking, here I come!

Total Number of Words Written So Far Today: 1,259 (sweeeeeet!)
Number of Words Written That Are For The NaNoNovel and NOT the Blog: 0 (crap balls!)