Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Day 2010

People who read blogs on Christmas Day are losers.

Haha, take that hypothetical readers. People who write blogs on Christmas Day are, of course, amazing paragons of inspiration. I was going to write something about inspiration, but it sounds less depressing when I quote somebody else who got to the thought first and more pithily:

"If you need inspiration, think of yourself on your deathbed saying “well, at least I watched a lot of TV.” If saying such a thing as your life ebbs away fills you with existential horror, well, then. I think you know what to do." - John Scalzi

One day I hope to have a 12-year backlog of daily posts. It's not so much a goal as it is an obsession, now.

Merry Christmas! I'll be writing.

250 words? Yes
Book "Lived Too Long to Die"
- - - -
Reading - ?


Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve 2010

I don't really celebrate Christmas Day in any particular way. I'm just as likely to eat Chinese food as Christmas ham. Christmas Eve, on the other hand, is my holiday, that time of year when I (and my fellow Scrooges, presumably), have life-changing momentous occasions. It's really quite literary, and rather than write a lame story about it entitled "24 Times" (Man, that's a good title!), I'll give you a sneak peak of my memoirs, expurgated. For the sake of brevity, recall that I can't remember anything before about 2000.

December 24th, 2000
I wake up and realize, clear as a bell: "I've got to get outta here." I watch the Binary Sunset scene on loop a thousand times contemplating Getting Stuck. Biding my time begins.

December 24th, 2001
re: 9/11: Should I be doing something? Apparently not. But it was the first time I played Halo.

December 24th, 2002
First Christmas Eve away from home (not FAR away). Overdosed on reality, I pace the room in a state of knurd contemplating Injustice. Nothing changes, but I eventually fall asleep.

December 24th, 2003
First legitimate instance of drunk. Good times, good times. My responsible dance with Mr. Booze continues to this day.

December 24th, 2004
Had a semi-lavish party with friends, carefully ignoring politics. Danced et al with a pretty lady.

December 24th, 2005
First Christmas Eve overseas. Ate alone in China, then wandered the streets until midnight contemplating the Nature of Madness. Did not get mugged, did attain enlightenment.

December 24th, 2006
In a decision that has consistently ranked amongst the best three in my life, I decide not to go to graduate school. The other two were (I) controlling my anger That One Time and (II) becoming a Liar (best job in the world!).
100,000 words

December 24th, 2007
In what is quite possibly the most lavish office party that has ever been, what seems like the entire population of a city in Japan gatecrashes the festivities. It is an all-you-can-drink extravaganza which spawns at least three after-parties. Possibly more...
250,000 words

December 24th, 2008
Wandered around Tokyo alone in the snow contemplating Utter Failure. Sleep in a net cafe, wake up knowing I'll be a writer.
500,000 words

December 24th, 2009
Last Christmas Eve in America, the bittersweet tempered by escaping the Great Recession with dignity intact.
1,000,000 words

December 24th, 2010
Christmas Eve in Thailand. It's going pretty well so far, although obviously nobody is celebrating with me (except in the sense that they are drinking my alcohol, which is fine). I might even have to change my profile blurb if this keeps up.

Merry Christmas to all, and to me a good night.


For those of you who say that fiction never helped anybody, go read A Christmas Carol. It literally changed my life, specifically this quote (which never seems to make it to the TV specials):

"They are Man’s," said the Spirit, looking down upon them. "And they cling to me, appealing from their fathers. This boy is Ignorance. This girl is Want. Beware them both, and all of their degree, but most of all beware this boy, for on his brow I see that written which is Doom, unless the writing be erased. Deny it!"

The Ghost of Christmas Present had a lot more going on that just being jolly.

250 words? Yes
Book "Lived Too Long to Die"
- - - -
Reading - ?


Thursday, December 23, 2010

I Don't Have a Lot Going On

Nobody celebrates Christmas around here, guys. I'm just sayin'. I was also just ridiculously sick today, in a "Let's lie around the house thinking about how sick we are" way. I'm surprised I got any writing done at all, but I did. That's one of the benefits of writing, you just have to be able to type. Admittedly, it was in a rather haphazard "Let's work on three projects at a time" way, but it counts.

Anyways, here's my favorite movie mass combat scene ever:

War movies shouldn't have too much dialogue.


Here's my favorite cover art from Beneath Ceaseless Skies, which just happens to be my favorite magazine. I like airships floating across snow-swept vistas, myself. I don't know about you guys.

Anyways, I suppose the color scheme is vaguely Christmas-y, so there's that too.

1000 words? Yes
Book "Lived Too Long to Die"
Short Story "Bitsy Pollo Save Us: A Love Story"
Short Story "Cosmast Rhyt"
- - - -
Reading - ?


Wednesday, December 22, 2010


Asparagus (vegetable), served with Hollandaise and potatoes

I'm hungry and cooking (real cooking, not Lazy Writer Cooking) is hard. It requires a lot more skills which I haven't put in nearly as much effort into cultivating as I have in cultivating other Creative talents that involve fewer sauces and fires. Sometimes I take basic competence for granted, and then realize I have no idea what I'm doing on a fundamental level. Then I have to brute force the effort a few hundred times until I figure it out.

Sometimes, but not always, there's somebody who is willing to teach me something. Or YouTube: thanks for nothing Making Hollandaise Sauce...

Oh well, I'll just look at that picture while I eat some cup ramen.

1000 words? Yes
Book "Lived Too Long to Die"
Short Story "Bitsy Pollo Save Us!: A Love Story" - working on it.
- - - -
(New Humanist)


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Organizational Genius

I spent the last couple days organizing just about everything on my computer to just plain work better. I hope to eventually migrate completely over to free software (ref: gNewSense, Free Software Foundation, et al), but until Smashwords gets its act together and accepts something besides .doc files, I'm stuck with needing Word every once in a while (OpenOffice .doc seems to fail Smashwords). I also would need somebody to make me a free version of q10, as this has been the only program that I have ever been completely satisfied with as a writer. Those are the only two programs keeping me in Windows. In my defense though, I'm still using Windows XP and Office 2007, so it's not like I've wasted a lot of money on it.

Taking off from the organization genius, I've found that if I have two elements:
1 Characters
2 Something Characters Do
I'll eventually get a story out of it. It's not Having Ideas that is the problem, it's sitting down and writing them all down. I intend to ratchet up my game in the coming days and just make it happen. Stop being so lazy, me, I'm organized and everything. I'll get a couple stories out every week.

Anyways, I read a novel: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Good stuff, and I do like acronyms.

Oh, and I fancied up the blog a bit just for my own taste. I never really liked the layout of the profile gadget anyways. I'll never run out of things to learn how to do on the Internet, and that's a good thing.


Exciting new regular blog post time: 10PM (my time starting tomorrow) This better reflects my schedule and actual writing habits. When I'm on my game, I usually wake up about 6AM and write (in q10) until about 8AM. Then I wander around doing whatever it is I do here (the mundane mystery continues for you, reader, but it's not nearly as interesting as Writing, just so's you know), occasionally jotting down short scribbles in idle moments. Then from about 5PM to 10PM I write (in q10) some more. On the days when I'm not doing what I'm doing, I start at 6AM and end at 10PM. Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night and write for an hour so I can go back to sleep.

All of this subject to change in case of a party breaking out.


I love picnics with ladies in secluded glens. It's amongst the best ways I can think of to spend a day.

Excuse me, I have to go help her out of those wet clothes.

What could possibly go wrong?

2000 words? Yes
Book "Lived Too Long to Die"
Short Story "Bitsy Pollo Save Us!: A Love Story" - in progress.
- - - -


Monday, December 20, 2010

Lazy Writer Drinks: Thaiball

Well, thus far this has been my favorite post to write, thanks to the extensive research that was required to bring it about. Here's what we're going to do today: We're going to make a tropical highball from locally available materials. Because I can't really put it directly into an existing highball drink name (and because I like puns), I'm going to call it the Thaiball. It's what we drink 'round here, and what I often drink for my more dramatic writing sessions.

What you'll need:
-Blend 285, an "Admix" which is "derived from Scottish malt whiskey, aged for years, and then blended by experts from Scotland." It costs six bucks.
-Some soda water
-Limes, fresh
-A Reason To Drink (I suggest: "I now have all of the above ingredients")

Place ice in the glass, which, since we're in Thailand, is legally required to have a picture of a bird on it. Do it carefully, because nobody likes a poorly built stack of ice cubes, and this also allows you to assess your level of drunkenness. It doesn't take much sobriety to type, so it's good to know how much fine motor control you have left.

Now, pour a liberal dose of whisky. We're going to end up with a 1-2-1 mix, so let the whisky gently caress the yellow stomach of the happy bird. Now you know why it's the law. Take a sniff of the straight whisky to assess the joy that awaits. Often in Thailand, the exact brand and composition of the whisky is changeable, so you should familiarize yourself with all the popular ones. You will find that they do not correspond taste-wise to their price.

Now add two parts soda. Because we're in the tropics, it's important to have a refreshing breeze of soda to go with the whisky. Imagine that you are a British imperialist briefly enjoying his conquest before he succumbs to some native disease. Just think, if you're one of the lucky one in twenty who survive to see England again, you'll be loaded. You damn nabob.

Now, add the Coca-Cola to the top, and squeeze a half of lime juice into the drink. Slide the lime around the rim and discard. Shake gently, let it stand a bit, then drink. Repeat as desired. It's a good social drink, but it also works for marathon typing sessions. You'll know you're done with the story when the bottle is empty. Don't worry, though, it's a very gentle hangover.

A writer never drinks alone, because he's drinking with his characters. If he doesn't know his characters, he's just an alcoholic near strangers. Words to live by, when you live by words.

1250 words? Yes
Book "Lived Too Long to Die"
Short Story "Cosmast Rhyt" - in progress
- - - -
Reading - Why We Love Bad Writing


Sunday, December 19, 2010

Destined for the Churn

The Churn is, of course, what I call the total number of stories I have floating amongst the markets looking for a home, and I try to keep it as vigorous as possible. I try to have one new story ready to send out every week and I try to expedite the Churn using the SCIENCE! of statistics.

Recently, though, things got confused so I decided that my disorganized process of throwing things at the markets was wasting a lot of time and becoming a hassle, so I streamlined with safeguards. Here's the process:

Finish story, spell-check, write a cover letter.

Consult list of appropriate pro markets derived from Duotrope's Digest prepared in advance based on genre and average response time (see the bottom of the blog for examples for my most common genres).

Check the whiteboard (which I inexplicably do not have a picture of) to make sure nothing is untoward.

Note on the manuscript page and the story page on PBworks, "submitted to Market X on MM.DD.YYYY"

Make a new column in the Excel Spreadsheet and mark the appropriate market row with the date of submission. Input all that into Duotrope's Digest, to keep the statistics neat.

Submit the story, write something else.

If the submission is rejected, add "(rejected MM.DD.YYYY)" to the manuscript page, and change the text color of the Excel Spreadsheet date to red. Input it into Duotrope's. Then submit to the next market on the list, repeating the notations, until sold.

When sold and the check is deposited, change the text color of the spreadsheet date to green and buy a round at next week's poker night.

At the Casino Royale? OK!

Jack Daniel's is always appreciated. (Drunken, not stirred.)


Zot. Amongst my favorite onomatopoeia, seen here with a laser cow.

250 words? Yes
Book "Lived Too Long to Die"
- - - -

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