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Monthly Archives: November 2008

The demise of all my cred … or: Damn you, John Ostrander!

My mental health professionals have suggested that I be open and honest about my life. Therefore, I am making this confession.

I have become addicted to the Star Wars expanded Universe books. Specifically, the sequel series that started with Timothy Zahn’s Thrawn trilogy.

Yes, yes, I know.

Blame John Ostrander and his amazing Star Wars: Legacy comic from dark horse. In creating a main character that it equal parts Han Solo and Luke Skywalker, he sucked me in. And by constantly referring to things that had happened between Return of the Jedi and chronicled in the quasi-official canon of the Star Wars expanded Universe, he made me curious. Plus: Mara Jade.  teh. awe. some.

So, anyway, I decided (rationalized) that I’ve been doing some heavy lifting in the brainal area lately, and so deserved to read something that was purely escapist.

And then I discovered Wookiepedia. Oh, the wonderful, damnable wookiepedia. Everything is there. Everything.  Things you never knew you wanted to know, things you never needed to know, but now you wonder how you ever survived not knowing them. It’s like wikipedia on geek steroids.

They say the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem.

So, I will allow myself to consume these mass-market cash-in pieces of questionable literature, on the justification that most of them are much better written than anything George Lucas has produced in the last ten years. Some of them may even be, objectively, good. I will obsess over them much as I did the original trilogy when I was 9 years old. I will enjoy my collection of action figures (yes, yes, I know), and I will pray to all that is holy that the new Star Trek isn’t any good so that I do not have to reactivate that ancient fanboy obsession as well.

And I will come to terms with the fact that this renders me unable to make fun of Twilight Fans.

And because I got s many hits off the Erin Gray pic I linked to last time, let’s see how the fanboys like Slave Leia.

No, I am not proud of myself.

 
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Posted by on November 30, 2008 in life

 

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In which Unfocused helps with my never ending quest to find new methods of procrastination.

Stolen from Unfocused Me, this is a list of 100 things. Bolded items I have done, plain text I have not. It’s an interesting inventory, and something to think about as I slide irrevocably toward my 36th birthday.  Stuff I have kind of done(with explanation, is in italics.)

1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band (does singing in show choir count?)
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child (can I get credit for doing this twice?)
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language (spanish, plus Java, if that counts.)
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business (working on it right now, in fact)
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma

65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person

80. Published a book (had a story published in a book, judges…a decision?)
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating (assuming fish are included)
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous

92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee

100. Read an entire book in one day.

 
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Posted by on November 26, 2008 in life

 

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novel-gazing

OK, so, I’m working on a new book. This is not my first, but it could be (fingers-crossed) my first published. It’s a horror-adventure story, based on the old gem “a group of normal people are thrown into extraordinary circumstances and must first figure out what’s going on and then try to survive, with a few fleeting fantasies about one day returning home thrown into the mix.”

No, LOST did not invent this plot structure. It’s not a rip-off.

I wanted to build a cast of characters that would not, vocation-wise, have any obvious leaders. No doctors, cops, city councilmen, managers of the geek squad, whatever.  Also, because it is a novel with horror aspects (channeling much?), and will have a signifigant body count, I wanted to randomize it somewhat. Everyone is on THE LIST, even my viewpoint characters, and victims are pulled, ahead of time so I can plot and develop properly, out of a hat. Well, out of a container of popcicle sticks with their names on them, but the effect is the same.  If a couple fo names come up, it will break my heart. But … that’s baseball, isn’t it? And it should make for some effective emotional movements.

It will also present challenges and keep me engaged in a way that should keep the project barrelling along. Not even I really know what happens next. Yes, there is a plan, an end point, but how we get there, and who exactly makes it … we’ll have to see.

 
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Posted by on November 26, 2008 in Uncategorized

 

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Maybe sometimes I should think INSIDE the box…

It’s depressing seeing the date of my last entry, even if I don’t have a lot to report right now.

I made my deadline, sent of “Dust in the Stellar Wind” on time. Yes, the title is cheesy, but it’s on purpose. This story was odd for me, but I can’t get too specifically into the why without spilling the whole thing, which I don’t really want to do yet. I don’t like to talk about them too much while they’re out there, searching for a home. So that makes 2 things I have out right now. Nothing’s been rejected … yet.

Other than that, I used NANO to jump start a new novel, but at this time I have no hope of making the 50,000 word count this month. It’s a horror/adventure novel, and I’m writing it in way that is a bit … well, part of the joy for me is the discovery process of the story, so there are elements of this that I’ve, I guess, randomized. Oh, the destination is planned out, but how I get there, and who makes it there, is still up in the air.

Yesterday, we celebrated my son’s sixth birthday with laser tag and go-karts. Mom won everything, I will admit, though I will say circumstances (and the spirit of the game, really) conspired against me.  And this morning  I woke up and found out that I was out of coffee.  Well, not totally out, I had a bag of coffee beans, but no grinder, since my grinder disappeared sometime during last year’s move. Undaunted in the manner of true addicts everywhere, I put a pile of beans between two coffee filters, placed this whole mess on the cutting bored, and got out the hammer.

Worked pretty well, actually.

 
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Posted by on November 21, 2008 in Uncategorized

 

Hell, Yeah infinitum and shame, shame, shame.

I am very proud of my country for electing Barack Obama. This … I’m choked up over politics for the first time in my life. This really might change everything, we’ll see.

But … California? What the hell? I live in a state of bigots. We have now singled out a group of people specifically to eliminate their rights in THE STATE CONSTITUTION!. And everybody has all sorts of “think of the children!” bogus excuses, but it really all comes down to the fact that they think being gay is “icky.”

Two people who love each other should be allowd to get married. Marriage has cultural weight. You cannot create a separate but equal state. That, actually, weakens amrriage, as hetero-sexual couples will, of course, petition to have civil unions too, which will have all the rights of marriage but not the same status. THAT weakens marriage.

Oh, and the skyrocketing hetero divorce rate. But no one talks about that.

Gay people have been getting married here all summer. I’m still just as married to my wife as I was before. And tell me how the creation of more stable relationships weakens anyone?

shame on you, California.

 
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Posted by on November 5, 2008 in Uncategorized

 

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My shameful confessions …

It’s time to come clean. Here are some things about me I’ve been keeping secret.

I cannot NOT tear up whenever I hear the song “I Hope You Dance,” especially when performed live by someone I know (thanks a lot, Tori and Kim).

As long as we’re on the subject, that happens a lot at the end of certain episodes of Eli Stone. And Ugly Betty. And, ok yes, The Office.

The first presidential candidate I ever voted for (and was crushed when he lost) was George H.W. Bush. I was young and naive and attending Bible college. But I’m all better now. Go Obama!

I used the metal piece on the back of my Obama button to fashion a tiny rod with which to manually open a recalcitrant optical drive in class the other night. I am so, so sorry … but it really was necessary (and did make me feel like MacGyver, so there was that going for it as well).

Actually, those action figures on my desk aren’t just for decoration (and no, son, you can’t play with them).

I still have a crush on Erin Gray from Buck Rogers in the 25th Century.

Despite my love for the current show, my inner seven-year-old (yes, inner) thinks it could be improved by the presence of at least one daggit.

I would much rather listen to an Indigo Girls album than Radiohead.

I’ve totally lost patience with Heroes and still have everything from this season (except the premiere) on the DVR waiting to be watched.

While I recognize the lyricism of the writing, I hate the book Moby Dick. But I love Melville’s Bartleby, the Scrivener.

Sometimes, when work and school have me stressed out and I just need a good brain-cleanser, I go here. Yes, i said these confessions were shameful, didn’t I?

 
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Posted by on November 3, 2008 in Uncategorized