A Lost Half a Minute of My Life

Two more items of incredible interest today:

  1. I drop-kicked Microsoft Word from my laptop. I was using a copy from my work (with their blessing), but the other day it locked me out of my own documents, claiming that the product was unlicensed. In fact, I suspect that Office365 didn’t like the fact that I hadn’t signed in via the internet for two months, and since I’m on a I-hate-Microsoft-kick and I really can’t stand their new grammar editing suggestions that go along with spellcheck (since when does my word processor think it can think for me? I’m writing dialogue, you piece of crap, of course it’s off grammatically). So I’m trying out WordPad. And yes, I know, still Microsoft–but subscription-free Microsoft. Beggars often try to be choosers despite the helpful idiom, but I’ll do my best to take what I get without complaint anyways.
    1. (You will probably hear me complaining about this later.)
  2. Watched an old lady kick a bunch of ice cubes under a soda fountain the other day. She wasn’t very fast, unfortunately (that’s where I lost that half minute), but I realized as I stood silently out of her peripheral vision, that she had no idea I’d crept up behind her and was waiting for my turn to fill up on pop. There was no way for me to assist without startling her into dropping the entire cup of ice and just compounding the issue.
  3. Oh, but I guess three items: writing report finds half a page added to “The King and the Lionheart” yesterday, and a bunch of little things spread out over three different stories this evening. I need to start focusing.

It Was, Admittedly, Counterproductive

Working on “Alex Byrnes Is a Double-Crossing Weasel” and generally ignoring my blog–and my actual novels. In totally unrelated news, here are two items of interest to no one:

  1. I forgot that St. Patty’s Day was this Sunday, but accidentally (and fortunately) wore my spring-green raincoat because of the weather. Most of the parents in church had some sort of green token on as a shield against their children, and that sparked an old memory: when I was in elementary school, I would wear only a tiny piece of green and make sure it was hidden, hoping beyond hope that I would fool one of my classmates into pinching me for not wearing any green; at which point I would dramatically reveal the spot of color and then get to pinch them back. Yeah, I didn’t really think that one through.
  2. Early Sunday afternoon I made muffins, and by 8 p.m. I had eaten the tops off of a quarter of the pan after realizing, to my sudden, dawning delight, that there was no one to stop me.

My Sister and I Screamed like This Once and Forever Traumatized Our Cat the Day She Brought Home a Gift, Threw It in the Air to Impress Us, and It Squeaked

This will delight me forever.

Writing Report:

“Kuznetsov was a tool.”

“Kuznetsov was a what now?”

Whistler pushed himself out from under the bank of computers. “Tool. Word for ‘enormous douchebag,’ yes?”

Coleman glanced briefly around the room with his eyebrows furrowed, like a guilty party would step forward if he looked severe enough. “Who is teaching you these words?”

Tally coughed and buried himself farther into his work.

I made a PROMISE

I was going to have an actual thing to share tonight (yes, a thing), but I want to try and illustrate the thing at least in a small way, and tonight is too late. I’m tired. I’d say goodness knows why, except daylight savings time started on Sunday and I’m still reeling like I’ve got major jet-lag instead of an hour less sleep in the morning. Still, it is nice to see the sun’s face a little longer in the evenings, so I’ll leave my complaining at that.

In other news, I’m reading The Lord of the Rings before I go to bed each night, and having an enormous amount of fun comparing it with the movies and trying to recall the original way I imagined everything. Regardless, the movies are fantastic adaptations, though I can’t help but shake my head a little over some of my favorite bits that were lost in the making. Biggest complaint: they dumbed down and eviled up my two favorite characters–Pippin and Faramir, respectively. Pippin, for the record, was young and occasionally foolish by reckless choice, but actually quite intelligent; Faramir was the best and noblest of the two brothers without hesitation when he didn’t have a Hollywood writer insisting that Gollum needed a reason to go bad after a brief respite of okay behavior, as though the evil in the heart of man needs a reason to be. But they simultaneously deserve a hearty round of applause for all the favorite character pieces that did make the cut–like Gimli and Legolas competing over their corpse tallies. However, there is one very clear example of something I think the movie did better: the end of the Fellowship of the Ring. As Aragorn closes Frodo’s proffered hand and quietly says, “I would have followed you to the end.”

(And Sam bawling the hobbit out only a few short minutes later: “I made a promise, Mr. Frodo!”)

The reason it remains such a great adaptation despite the many–and in many a case deep–cuts is because they captured the feel of the novel, if not every excruciating rock that lined the road into Mordor (it took me three read-throughs to start appreciating the scenery; the first two times I actually skimmed the landscape shots because there’s only so much of that I can take). And most of the changes had to be made because of the limitations of the media. Time is a constraint a novel isn’t bound too, and movies are more rigid in their structure due to audience expectation. But that’s a topic for another day. I’m to bed to finish reading The Two Towers.

P.S. Wrote every day I was supposed to, with not enough to show for it. This challenge has been good for my habits, but I think I need to add another layer: an amount goal/expectation. “Two rotten, stinking pages,” was one suggestion I read somewhere recently. Thanks, Mom.

This Is an Excellent Use of My Time

Took a break the last two days to try and knock out the poem I meant to finish in time for last Halloween. So you can see how well I stay on top of my goals.

There’s still a couple of lines that need writing (the sentiment is there in the form of a long, rambling sentence, but the last couplet isn’t in its final form) and I’d like to try and do a scribble-style drawing to spruce up the uploaded version as well. So basically: not ready yet. At this point I’m torn on whether I share it as soon as it’s done or wait until Halloween of next year. Which would–bonus–mean I’m way ahead of the game instead of way behind it.

Regardless, the real reason I haven’t hit up Pine&Meyer for the last two nights isn’t so much a delay tactic as an attest to my laziness. The most recently updated version of chapter 7 is on my child/work laptop rather than my desktop, which I keep abandoning on my downstairs couch while I’m lording it over the rest of my apartment in my loftice. Way too far away. Cue absurd, creepy Halloween poetry instead. Someone explain to me where all this poorly conceived horror is coming from.

Also, this blog post is kind of silly and pointless. But I’m not going to go back and edit this nonsense more than the four times I already have because I spend way too much time fussing with these.

Roses are red,
Violets are blue,
Does it make sense to spend copious amounts of time editing blog posts for my blog when I should be writing my novel? I don’t know, guys, I probably wouldn’t be using the time to write a novel anyways. Except it still takes up creative energy, which is a really pretentious way to say I get tired by the end of the night. Because there’s a novel concept, unknown across universal human experience.
Oh you.

Societal Pressure


Every three to four years, my father forgets that he’s already sent me this comic and sends it to me again*. The best humor is true so I laugh every time, then dutifully cut it out and paste it to the back or inside of my current writing notebook. Every time I breach the clean innards of a new notebook, I immediately mar the inside of the front cover with a poignant quote, then spend the next few months adding more whenever a particular picture or turn of phrase strikes my fancy.  And by poignant, I mean stuff like:

Cursive translation: “Let us cut out the first four pages,” said the big man, “and proceed to business.”

I’m way off track. The point is, I wasn’t going to do this but my editor squeezed it out of me in a phone call yesterday: I’m planning on publishing the final chapter to “On the Corner of Pine & Meyer” this coming Monday. It’s 75% written, but of course the problem–and the question of whether I’ll make that deadline–is that pesky 25%. It’s something of a mess right now and I’ve spent the past two evenings picking away at it, trying to decide if this story classifies as horror.

*I exaggerate. Not about the three to four years thing, but because he’s actually only sent it to me twice. I made fun of him the second time but printed it off anyways, as this version had been scanned and not sent through the postal service. Still recognized the source as his daily calendar though.

Liquor on Isle 2

By ToubletapOwn work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

This half square mile of rock sits within the Arctic Circle and exactly halfway between Canada and Greenland. If you drew a line through the strait separating the two shores, it would split Hans Island in two. It’s home to a bunch of gulls and, according to the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, falls within the 12 nautical miles of coastal waters rimming both countries, meaning it legally can be — and is — claimed by both nations.

Thus marks the start of a thirty-five year-old game of international Capture the Flag. Canada started it in 1984, planting their flag in the barren rock and leaving behind a bottle of Canadian Club. Greenland soon retaliated: Danish troops (Greenland is an autonomous territory of Denmark) raided the island to switch out the red maple leaf for a white Scandinavian cross. They left a bottle of Danish schnapps next to their flag and a note: “Welcome to the Danish island.”

Our northern neighbor upped their game afterwards. Now they too leave nice notes next to their whisky: “Welcome to Canada.”

No word on who’s currently winning.

Pine&Meyer because of course Pine&Meyer.

Congrats, I guess?

I forgot I missed a significant milestone last Wednesday: the post that day was number 27 since January 1st, which is one more than I wrote in all of 2018. To celebrate, a poem:

Roses are red
Violets are blue
I’m less lazy this year
I hope next year too.

By Ibbotson

As to the weekend (and today): the usual. Pine&Meyer and a bit of fussing with the Florists when I couldn’t stand looking at Jon’s rotten writing one more time.

Point Is: They Were on Sale at the Same Time

Pro-tip: don’t put your shoes on in the dark, especially when you own multiples of the same style of footwear in different colors. I noticed hours too late, in the middle of this morning’s chapel sermon as I was crossing one foot over the other; the lighting in this photo doesn’t do the shoes justice, but one is blue and the other a patterned black. Naturally, we had communion that day and I had to walk up to the front, though God did me a solid and arranged things so that I ended up on the altar’s side rails. If anyone noticed, they didn’t know me well enough to point and laugh.

I did, however, manage to creep out a girl at Panera Bread, who caught me taking this picture. From her angle it probably looked like I was trying to get an up-skirt shot of the soda fountain while I waited for my food. I grinned at her but didn’t explain.

I was also sorely tempted to stay and wait around food pickup for B. Faulkenstern to come by for his meal. The restaurant prints everyone’s names in huge font on the receipts stapled to the paper carry-out bags, and I wanted to find out if Faulkenstern was a book character and/or worth marrying. “Schultz” may be solidly, respectably German, but I have my fingers secretly crossed that if I ever get married I can upgrade my last name to something a little more unique. Every now and again someone will get excited over my last name (“Oh! Do you know so-and-so?”), but there are so many so-and-so’s out there (many of them spelled incorrectly, from Shultz to Schulz to the self-indulgent Schulze) that it’s always no. Except the one time it wasn’t, and it turned out the guy attempting to sell me a mattress from the back of his self-storage rental unit had gone to high school with my cousins.

That was a particularly strange afternoon.

Writing Report: Still chapter 6.