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4th January 2011

12:05am: Writer's Block: Conversation starters
Are there any subjects you either embrace or totally avoid talking about when you meet someone new?

Now I'm picturing the most awkward conversation with a new person...

Person: Hi! I'm person!
Ade: Hi, I'm Ade.
Person: Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and savior?
Ade: No, but I love his work.
Person: Did you just quote "Hedwig and the Angry Inch?"
Ade: Yes.
Person: You're going to hell, because God hates GLBTs.
Ade: Wait, how did you know I was quoting Hedwig if... oh, nevermind.
Person: Want to see my cock? It's three inches long! And covered in herpes!
Ade: ...
Person: Did I mention I'm into furries? And buttsex?
Ade: I'm going to walk away now...
Person: You're really really short. Why are you so short? Is it a medical problem? Are you on any medication? When was your last colonoscopy? I had one yesterday. They told me I have severe hemorrhoids. Have you ever had hemorrhoids? What kind of underwear are you wearing?
Ade: Hang on a second, I left my axes in the car. I'll be right back!
Person: Would you like to buy some car insu...
Ade: Ahhh, I feel so much better now...

On the other hand, I've had some very successful conversations with new people.

Person: Hi! I'm Person, but not the same Person lying in a pool of blood over there.
Ade: Hi, I'm Ade, and he was like that when I found him.
Person: Just blame it on the cat.
Ade: I have four cats!
Person: I have cats too!
Ade: Yay cats!
Person: Agreed! Cats are awesome!
[Commence hour-long discussion about cats.]
Current Mood: amused

(2 confessions | confess!)

1st January 2011

4:35pm: Time for another "year in retrospect" post. 2010 was actually a pretty good year for me, all things considered.

In the middle of January, I adopted a very sweet, very shy, and very floofy Maine Coon kitten. I named him Hagrid, and the name suits him very well. He gets along well with the other cats, and he's very smart and well-behaved. He's the biggest cat in the house, and he's still growing. He does tend to hide in the closet whenever there are other people at the house.

The summer was pretty good too. Confluence and Pennsic were fun, and I put a trampoline in my back yard. I finally finished the first draft of my novel, after ~6 years of writing. I'm currently about halfway done with the second draft. I was actually somewhat social this year, and I continued to join more local groups. I made a bunch of new friends, got out more than usual, and surprised myself. I'm still a hermit cat lady, but at least I'm not isolating myself any more.

Goals I made last year and whether or not I kept them:

1. Repeat most of 2009's goals.
1a. Work on my damned novel already.

The first draft is done! The second draft will hopefully be finished soon! Yeah! Progress!

1b. Be slightly less vegetable-ish. As in, "get some exercise, you lazy fatty!"
Well, I did get a trampoline, so I got a little more exercise, but I'm still a slug.

1c. Be less of a slob.
Er, about the same. Though I did clear out the basement and put the cat boxes down there.

1d. Go outside once in a while.
Again, about the same.

1e. Cook stuff once in a while, even if it's just for me.
I made spaghetti squash on Halloween, but that was about it.

2. Be more active in the SCA, especially on a local level. I decided I need to decide on a name by Pennsic and make some new garb. I'm going to accomplish this, dammit! (Janet!)
Yes! I have accomplished this! I've been to a bunch of events, I made a tunic and a cloak, and I chose my name at Pennsic (Emma Armitt). And I finally have a yurt now!

3. Bake more often. Baking is awesome. Yes, that sort of goes with #1e, but #1e is about making dinner once in a while, and this is about making more pies and cookies, because pies and cookies are delicious.
I think I may have baked a couple more pies than usual, but that was about it.

I've noticed that I tend to break the same goals over and over. Maybe if I'm more specific about them, I'll accomplish something. So, here are my updated goals for 2011. Come back next year to see if I've actually kept them this time.

1. Finish the second draft, send it to my friends who have volunteered to critique it, and incorporate their comments into the third draft. By the end of the year, I want a solid manuscript that I can present to literary agents in the hopes that one will love it and help me sell it.

2. Walk around the neighborhood at least once a week. It's not much, but it's something. (Walking three houses away for gaming doesn't count.) Jump on the trampoline for at least 10 minutes at least once a week when it isn't wet or snowy out.

3. Keep the living room, kitchen, and bathrooms looking semi-decent. A little clutter is acceptable, but squalor isn't. Finish ripping out all the carpet. Clean the cat boxes more often. It's ok if I can't see the floor of my room, but the main areas of the house should at least be reasonable in case the doorbell rings.

4. Have one meal a week that doesn't come from the freezer, a restaurant, or a box. Even if it's just spaghetti.

5. Do laundry at least once a week, and actually put the clothes away instead of leaving them in the baskets.
Current Mood: weeeeee


1st December 2010

11:23pm: Well, NaNoWriMo is over. In one way, I failed to meet my original goal, but I didn't fail epically, and I did make good progress. The original goal was to have a second draft at the end of the month. I don't have one, but I do have a fairly thorough markup of the first draft with a handful of flagged areas that need more work.

11/29: 10 pages

11/30: Last 10 pages!

I do realize that I could have spent a weekend holed up in my room, and I'd have a markup in two days instead of a month. But my weekends were busy in November. It happens. I could probably incorporate all the changes in a weekend too, but that's pretty unlikely... December will be busy too. So the new goal is to have a completed second draft by the end of the year, and then I can send it to my friends who kindly volunteered to rip it to shreds and dance on its inky corpse. Can I do it? Of course! Will I? That's another matter...

I also have a few plans for the second book. I don't have a solid plot yet, but it will involve the following things: a seeeeecret relationship, someone loses a father and gains a niece in the same year, a very awkward wedding (unrelated to the seeeecret relationship), and a new cat. A minor character from the first book will also have a much more significant role. But I'm not allowed to start writing it until I get the second draft sent to friends for critiquery.
Current Mood: okay

(1 confession | confess!)

29th November 2010

12:06am: 11/20 - 11/27: I was generally too busy to accomplish much on the novel front, but one of those days (I forget which, but it doesn't matter), I came up with a Plan. It would have been brilliant if fate hadn't interfered, but I didn't mind. I decided that I needed to get out of the house in order to do some editing. I went to a pizza buffet place for dinner, intending to have a leisurely dinner while red penning the crap out of my draft, free from the gravitational pull of my computer. But as I drove into the parking lot, I spotted my neighbors' van and knew I'd get distracted. I spent half the time hanging out with the neighbors and chatting with the kids (who are fun), but I did get 9 pages done after they left.

10/28: 24 pages! Woohoo! Of course, these were minor edits because the chapters have been edited a bunch of times already, but it's still significant progress.

There are about 20 pages left to edit before I incorporate the edits into the electronic document. I can do this. I WILL do it, even though the cats say petting them is more important.

I also had a dream the other night involving my characters. It took place on Andhi-Loakua's island (somewhere in the Pacific), but in the dream it was basically a volcano surrounded by a beach, rather than a mid-sized volcanic island with lush jungles and such. I think I was looking into the past, and Andhikryn (Andhi-Loakua's long-dead twin sister) was talking about how she manipulated the shape of the volcano so it would pour a river of lava onto the city below and destroy it (in the book, the city was buried by rocks and ash). Then I knelt on the beach looking for shells, but I couldn't find any. I scooped up handfuls of the wet, black sand and tossed them behind me. I was digging for something in the wet sand at the base of the now-dormant volcano, looking for something, but I wasn't sure if I'd find anything other than a lot of sand.

My sister turned 21 yesterday, so now she's old enough to drink. Hah, like she isn't already a budding alcoholic. At least she'll probably stop trying to bribe me to buy her alcohol, now that she can get it herself.
Current Mood: tired


20th November 2010

5:13pm: 11/17: I hand-wrote a little over 3 pages. The scene could use a lot of work, but it's a start.

11/18: Nope.

11/19: Didn't have time. Really.


17th November 2010

10:43pm: 11/11: 3 pages.

11/12: Lazy.

11/13: 1 page, which is almost nothing.

11/14: Lazy again.

11/15: LAZY!

11/16: 6 pages, which is ok... but I can do better.

I'm obviously slacking off on my editing. I'm halfway through the month and about halfway through red-penning my draft. That would be ok if all I wanted to do was red-pen the thing in a month, but I also have to incorporate the changes and write a couple more scenes. I can still do that, but in order to have plenty of time to transfer the paper changes to the computer doc, I should finish the markup in the next few days and draft the new scenes so I can give them a deeper edit when I'm typing them. If I do about a dozen pages a day, I'll be in good shape. I can edit 12 pages in a day without disturbing my busy schedule of sitting in bed reading webcomics and playing silly Facebook games after work. There's enough food in my house to last for the rest of the month (of course, it's all frozen stuff, canned soup, popcorn, and juice), so I really have no excuses.

Ok, after I post this, I'm setting down the laptop, turning off the music, and red-penning the everloving crap out of the draft. Last night, I stopped at a point where I wanted to insert a couple new scenes, because I wanted to expand that particular chapter and up the awesomeness quotient. So I'm going to start writing... NOW!


11th November 2010

9:14pm: 11/9: 6 pages, which is reasonable progress.

11/10: I really wanted to work on it but got tired early and fell asleep instead.

I'm hoping to do some editing tonight, after I eat something and take out the trash/recycle (which I WILL remember to do this week!).

So, I had a dizzy spell today. I hadn't had one in a while, but I was an idiot and triggered one even though I knew better. The thing is, I can't stand medical stuff. Surgery, needles, organs, etc. Blech. I'm perfectly fine with watching someone get disemboweled in a zombie movie, but I feel faint at the mere thought of someone getting a needle jabbed into their arm. It's even to the point where I have to avert my eyes at the vet's office, because I. Can't. Stand. Medical. Stuff. Yeah, people harass me because I haven't gone to a doctor in well over 5 years, but I'm still alive and in reasonable health, and I do at least visit the dentist (if they have to jab me with a needle, I'm lying down and can close my eyes and pretend I'm just accidentally stabbing myself with a fork). Anyway. I was bored on the internet, and that occasionally leads to mistakes ("so what's this '2 girls 1 cup' thing anywaaaaaaaOHGODNOMYEYESSOWRONGGGGGGG!").

I was reading a description of what happens during childbirth. Yes, go ahead and laugh, but I was curious. I knew it was a bad idea, and when my head started buzzing, I immediately stopped and tried to avert the impending attack by distracting myself with some Facebook game, but it was too late. When I get these attacks (which are purely psychosomatic and are only triggered if I see or hear things about certain medical stuff), they start with a buzzing in my head, which eventually turns into a jackhammering sensation. My vision blurs. Everything else sounds far away and muffled, which is really weird if someone happens to be standing in front of me and talking to me at the time, and my ears ring. I think I get hot flashes too, because my body temperature soars, and I break out into a cold sweat. These attacks tend to last for a minute or two, and then they fade away (though today I had some lingering ringing in my ears). I usually try to distract myself to get my mind off whatever triggered it and just sort of wait for it to go away. This one lasted a couple minutes, and then I got up to get a drink. I looked at my face in the mirror, and I looked half-dead. My face was paler than usual and had a sickly yellowish tinge to it. It was really freaky.

But I'm better now. I learned my lesson. And I'm very, very glad I'm not pregnant.
Current Mood: dinnerrrrrrrrr


8th November 2010


11/8: Another 12 pages down, and I edited through the end of Chapter Five. 43 pages down,73 to go, plus incorporating changes, adding a couple new scenes, formatting, etc. It's good to be back in the editing groove.

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.


9:03pm: 11/4: LAAAAAAZY

11/5: Lazy, but I went to a druid ritual, which was pretty neat.

11/6: Lazy... and drunk.

11/7: Broke the lazy spell, but only edited 5 pages.

Let's see what I can accomplish tonight, if anything.
Current Mood: optimistic


3rd November 2010

11:44pm: 11/3: I edited Chapter 3 and one scene in Chapter 4. Only 8 pages, but it's progress. I decided that I should spend weeknights being a hermit and working on this thing so I can slack off on the weekends. I have plans for most of the weekends in this month... how did THAT happen?
Current Mood: tired


2nd November 2010

11:19pm: I think most of you who read this know about NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) by now. I attempted that once (7 years ago, holy crap) and failed miserably. Well, since I finished my first draft in July, I'm going to spend this month editing so I'll have a second draft to send to my critiquer victims. I'll post little progress logs here.

11/1: Started out the month doing absolutely nothing for my novel. But I attended Madhur Jaffrey's lecture in Pittsburgh, and it was pretty good.

11/2: Not only did I vote, I actually edited two chapters. These were mostly minor edits, because I've edited those chapters a zillion times over the years, but hey! Two chapters in a day! There is one short dream sequence that isn't working, but I put a sticky note on the page so I can come back to it when I have a clearer idea of how I want to change it.

The draft I printed is unformatted, single spaced, 66k words, and 116 pages. Today, I edited 19 pages (just on the printed copy, I haven't incorporated the changes yet). I probably won't edit that many pages per day, because I'm relatively content with the beginning of the book, and the later chapters haven't been edited a bunch of times yet. I think Chapter 3 will be a breeze to edit, because I've edited most of the scenes a few times, so maybe I'll get through 3 and 4 tomorrow. The thing is, I only divided about a quarter of the novel into chapters so far, so I may have to do some more dividing tomorrow. I'm also hoping to bump up the word count by about 9k words, but I have a couple scenes I want to add, so that shouldn't be a problem.

The thing that might be a problem? My laptop's backspace key is being moody and will only delete if I press it a certain way. I'm wondering if a good air blast will fix it, because I'm sure my keyboard is brimming with cat hair.

Current Mood: productive

(6 confessions | confess!)

30th October 2010

5:18pm: Writer's Block: How old is too old?
Are you ever too old to go trick-or-treating? Is candy for everyone?

I went trick or treating when I was 23. I still would, but I have to give out candy now or risk having my house egged. Candy is for anyone who can eat it in moderation without any digestive/allergic reactions. YAY CANDY! But I liked it when people would give out chips or drinks, because it was nice to eat something salty to balance the sweet, and fluids are always appreciated.


26th October 2010

10:53pm: I put together a playlist of songs I associate with my novel, so I figured I'd share it, along with any associations.

Characters referenced:
Annie - a pre-Christian minor British goddess specializing in bad weather, she's half fairy, very childish, and mildly insane
Andhi-Loakua (AKA Andy) - a former Pacific volcano deity who exiled himself for thousands of years after an eruption killed his twin sister and most of his people
Maggie Cunningham - a nerdy mortal girl (age 17-20 in this novel) who gains a few elemental powers after Annie saves her life
Leo - Maggie's college friend (age 19-20), they have a rather ambiguous friendship

Garbage - Only Happy When it Rains (Annie)
Dar Williams - It's Alright (Annie)
Jimmy Buffett - Volcano (Andy's past)
Tori Amos - Bouncing Off Clouds (how Annie feels about Andy)
Eric Himan - No Urgency (how Andy feels about Annie)
Michelle Branch - All You Wanted (Annie and Maggie's friendship)
Madonna - Like a Prayer (all the friendships, in a way)
The Bangles - If She Knew What She Wants (Annie and Andy)
Dar Williams - The Beauty of the Rain (Maggie and Leo)
Evanescence - Bring Me to Life (Andy and Maggie before they meet Annie)
The Rocky Horror Picture Show - I'm Going Home (Andy's choice)
Tori Amos - Dragon (the volcano scene - sadly, there is no actual dragon, it's just a metaphor)
High School Musical - Breaking Free (after facing the Council of the Gods)
ABBA - When All is Said and Done (the fairy feast)
Current Mood: chipper

(2 confessions | confess!)

18th October 2010

10:45pm: 20 reasons kittens are awesomer than babies
1. You don't have to get pregnant to have a kitten. No morning sickness, doctors, or pushing a bowling ball through your crotch!

2. You can pick your own kitten to suit your personality and lifestyle. With babies, you're stuck with whatever nature gives you, whether you like it or not.

3. Kittens are significantly cheaper to adopt, feed, and raise. If you have a baby, you have to get a bajillion expensive things for it, but kittens really only need a litter box, some food, and a few vet trips.

4. Kittens come in a zillion different colors and patterns. Sure, babies come in a limited spectrum of colors, but have you ever seen a tiger-striped baby?

5. It's much better for a teenager to have a kitten than a baby.

6. If you choose not to have kittens, society won't care, and your family and friends won't pressure you to "settle down" and become a cat lady/lord.

7. When your kitten grows up, it will never be too embarrassed to sit on your lap or snuggle in bed with you on Saturday mornings.

8. Kittens are so much cuter and fluffier.

9. If your kitten is bad, you can lock it in the cold, dark basement for a few hours.

10. When kittens grow up, they're still cute. But most grownup humans... not so cute.

11. If you accidentally step on your kitten's tail, it will glare at you and run away but forget about it in 5 minutes, instead of crying about it to their therapist 40 years later while blaming you for all their problems.

12. If your kitten barfs, it will probably end up on the floor, not all over your shirt.

13. Babies and catnip aren't very entertaining.

14. Kittens don't need diapers and are litter-trained when they're only a few weeks old.

15. Having a kitten won't turn your life upside down and require you to get up for 3 AM feedings, get a second job to pay for it, or question whether you should stay home with it or pursue your career.

16. You can cage your kitten for trips to the vet.

17. You can leave your kitten home alone while you go to work, and if you have to go away for a day or two, you can just set out extra food and water.

18. Kittens don't scream and cry all the time, and it's ok to ignore them if they meow constantly.

19. Having three or more cats is less crazy than having three or more children.

20. You can spay/neuter your kitten!


4th October 2010

10:46pm: Thoughts on Bullying
Recently, the media has been focusing on the many negative effects of bullying, especially in the wake of several young suicides. Several celebrities have filmed "it gets better" videos, and articles about bullying are popping up all over the place. So, I figure it's a good time to throw in my own two cents.

Bullying sucks. Everyone knows this. I'm sure most kids are bullied at some point in their lives, and pretty much every fictionalized kid/teen world includes the dreaded bully, whether it's the yellow-eyed redhead terrorizing kids on their way to and from school, the snobby popular girls, or the classic big kid who steals lunch money every day. Bullying is everywhere, regardless of age, region, socioeconomic class, and even species. Many people say it's just a part of life. Well, it is. But that doesn't mean you should put up with it.

It does get better. It may not go away completely, but things do improve with time. Kids can be rotten little jerks, and unfortunately, many parents don't teach their kids how to be nice, respectful individuals. Many parents even bully their own kids. In many ways, being a kid really sucks. You have little power and control over your situations, and older people boss you around and expect you to do what they say just because they're bigger than you. And then there are all the little snots out there who decide it's their job to push other kids around. It's horrible, but it's reality. It happens everywhere. You are not alone. There are millions of people who understand what you're going through. There are people who can help you if your parents and teachers refuse, or even if you're too scared to ask for help. Bullying tends to fade away once you're out of high school (though it still manifests in different forms, such as discrimination), so there is hope. But don't despair now, and don't wait to get help. If you confide in an adult and they won't help you, find someone who will. In this age, you even have the internet at your disposal, and you can join message boards and email lists with people who understand and can offer good advice.

But enough about you. Let's talk about me. Yes, I used to be bullied when I was in school. Since kindergarten, I believe, when a group of older boys on the bus would pull my backpack and continuously pester me. Fortunately, I grew a thick skin very quickly, and I never let their comments get to me. I knew they were just doing it because they were jerks who had nothing better to do than pick on people to make themselves feel better. They bullied a couple of my friends, too, but I was the main target. I've always been unusually short and weird, and my neurological system is rather off-kilter. They saw me as an easy target, so they went after me a lot. The bus driver never did anything about it, but I know that some of the parents did. I remember one time, my friend's mom came on the bus and yelled at the kids, and another time, one kid's parents made him come over to apologize (I was in the shower, so I missed it), but that didn't really do much in terms of stopping the bullying. This continued for years, and took different forms as I got older and went to different schools. When I was in third grade, one kid in the lunch room would always say "I didn't know third graders looked like kindergartners!" every time he saw me. I would retaliate by blowing raspberries at him. Well, I did until one of the cafeteria aides caught me, and I was the one who got in trouble. So I just avoided the kid after that. The bullying took a disturbing turn in junior high, when many kids discovered sexual harassment, but then the bullying mostly faded away by the end of high school. I think by that point, the bullies were old enough to realize that their actions didn't bother me like they wanted, and they saw that I wasn't afraid to stand up for myself. Of course, I had also come up with a few ways of warding off bullies that wouldn't get me in trouble. In my 10th grade gym class, there was this girl who randomly decided to pester me. She and some of her scumbag friends had made the national news the previous year when they had beaten up a couple younger girls, and the principals had merely suspended the bullies and encouraged the victims to switch schools. She never touched me, but she'd come up and say mean things, ask really personal questions, try to get me in trouble with the teacher and other classmates, etc. So I decided to mess with her. Whenever she called me crazy, ugly, weird, or whatever, I would agree and then say something really bizarre back to her. After a few months, she started avoiding me, and I overheard her telling someone, "that girl SCARES me!" Mission accomplished.

While I never let the bullying get to me, that wasn't the case with some of my friends. In junior high and high school, I befriended several other kids who didn't fit in for whatever reasons, and they had also dealt with bullying, some more serious than my own experiences. We understood each other, and we accepted each other. Interestingly enough, I think being really short has made me very tolerant and accepting of others. I have friends of every shape and size, I'd say about half are somewhere on the GLBT spectrum, and some of them have physical or neurological issues. Most of my friends are funny-looking nerds, and they're all awesome. But a lot of them were bullied in school, and some of them bear deep emotional scars because of it. I know several people who were driven to serious depression (among other issues), and a few even attempted suicide. I didn't really know how to help them other than just being there to listen, but I did what I could. I sometimes regret that I didn't stand up for them enough, and I really regret that I was a jerk to some people in 7th and 8th grade, but the past is the past.

We've all moved on, and we're all stronger. You'll move on, the bullying will fade, and you'll be stronger in the end. Once you get out of high school, those nasty kids will disappear from your life, and you'll probably never see them again. In college, people are much nicer and more accepting. Sure, there are still plenty of jerks out there who will harass you about being fat, gay, or whatever, but once you're legal, you have more power to stop them. So hang in there. Find a good teacher, counselor, or grownup friend you trust (they're out there, I promise), befriend your bully's other favorite victims, and look forward to graduation day. Once you're out of school, you're free. It's a great feeling.
Current Mood: contemplative


26th September 2010

10:42am: Ok, what is it with random deities popping into my dreams in the last few months? They just seem to appear in my dreams, without me even thinking about them lately, as if they're just there to say "Hey, sup?" And this time, it was titans.

In last night's dream, I was buying another house, only it was my friend's house (but didn't actually look anything like my friend's house). I don't know why I was doing it, because I don't really want to move or have two mortgages, but I remember looking around the house (which was bigger and nicer than mine) and feeling a little sad that the place would soon be a horrible mess. In the next part, I was in a different house, and I was cooking. I was apparently trying to create another sun (not in this solar system, but zillions of miles away). I was talking to either Oranos or Helios (I don't remember which, specifically, but both their names definitely came up in the dream... maybe both), and they were giving me cooking instructions. They weren't there, physically, but I was talking with them somehow, perhaps through telepathy. I was supposed to boil water and then stir it so there was a whirlpool in the center. I had a casserole dish full of tomato sauce and mushrooms. I was also supposed to add in a dead squirrel and something else, I don't remember what, but I had both ingredients with me. I got the water boiling and then added some more water, and it stopped boiling. I was getting really confused and was worried that I was doing it wrong, I think I was boiling water in a rectangular glass baking dish, which was a very bad idea. Andy was there and suggested using a big glass bowl, which was apparently safe for up to 500 degrees. I was convinced I was going to screw up the whole recipe, and launching another sun into the universe would fail miserably, and then I'd have to start all over and find another dead squirrel. Sigh.
Current Mood: awake


13th September 2010

8:03pm: Writer's Block: Do you want to know a secret?
How do you think personal relationships would change if people could read minds?

The human species would last about a week. People would kill each other over thoughts, breeding would come to a screeching halt (you want to do WHAT to my mother?!?!?!), and most friendships would suffer, if not dissolve. I don't want to read anyone's mind, and I don't want anyone to read mine. Thoughts are really the only 100% private things you can have, and people would be shocked if they could read the thoughts of others, even those closest to them. Now, if mind-reading came with privacy settings, it might be a different story, but reading minds would have a terrible impact on the species.

(1 confession | confess!)

29th August 2010

10:44pm: In a rare fit of productivity, I cleaned the basement today. Well... not by myself. I cleared out everything, and then my mom vacuumed and mopped the floor. I scrubbed the heck out of the cat boxes and moved them down there, so I can rip out the carpet in the green room and convert it to a library/guest room. The cats weren't allowed in the basement before, so they're a bit confused about this new arrangement. They were hesitant to go down the stairs at first, because they're used to me chasing them back up when they make a break for it. But they eventually decided that it was ok to explore, because their boxes were down there and I wasn't running after them. I don't know if Hagrid has been down there yet. He's very obedient and has never tried to dash down into the basement, so he never went past the top step when I was encouraging him to come down. But I suspect that he'll go exploring when I'm not there and find the boxes. I did leave a temporary one in the green room, in case they forget (or I forget and close the basement door). I have a kitty door to install, so I can keep the door closed, but that can wait for another day.

Sometimes (or rather, quite often), I fail to distinguish between reality and my own imagination. Sometimes I'll invent products and then become convinced that they actually exist, and then I'm confused when I can't find them at the store. When Yarmulke tore a big hole in my window screen, I figured I'd just go to Lowe's and get a stick-on patch for it. For years, I thought that there were screen patches with adhesive on one side, and I went looking for one. Apparently, they don't actually exist, and I just made them up. But you know, they should make those. I bet there are tons of people whose pets (and kids) tear holes in screens, and they'd rather just stick on a patch than replace the whole screen. I was talking to my neighbors about it, and they thought it would also be cool if there were patches in different colors and shapes, so instead of a plain, boring screen patch, you could have a yellow star or pink heart or something.

I should totally pitch my idea to a window screen manufacturer. Watch, in two months this product will actually exist, and then I can sue the "inventor" and cite this post as evidence they stole my idea.

*5 minutes later*
Ok, so maybe I wasn't making it up. They do exist, but apparently they either don't sell them at Lowe's or I wasn't looking hard enough. But still, the multicolored shapes would be fun...

I had this dream a week or two ago that sort of took place at Pennsic. I say sort of, because there were a bunch of gods there, and it was like Pennsic for the gods. I was seeing from the perspective of Annie, my story character. I was walking up a road with Athena. In my dream, she was a pretty young woman (maybe early 20s) with light brown hair tied up in a ponytail. I think she was wearing a loose white tank top and something like shorts or a skirt, with a belt in the middle. I think she might have been carrying a weapon, like a bow (though I would associate that with Artemis, not Athena). We went up to a crossroads, and she turned and said somethingorother to Annie/me, then walked away. I went to what was apparently Annie's/my camp, only it was a pirate ship. Ok, maybe it wasn't really a pirate ship, but it was a huge boat-like tent on the edge of the water. I think we were trying to rotate the canvas cover, so I untied the ropes on one corner and heaved them over the side into the water. I walked into a "room" inside the big tent, and a couple gods gathered outside. One was this big, burly man with wild dark, curly hair and a beard, and he looked like he was about to attack me. So I yelled something like, "it's against the rules to kill another god!" He said he wasn't going to kill Annie/me, but I guess he was going to injure me because I was friends with Athena, and he wanted her out of the camp for some reason. Then Andy came out of nowhere and did this amazing high kick to the guy's chest. It was supposed to be god-Andy in the dream, but I guess my brain got confused, and instead, hobbit-Andy was there. So he did this totally badass kick to the attacking god, and the dream ended. After the dream ended, I was convinced I had to incorporate it in my novel, but upon actually waking, I realized it didn't make sense.
Current Mood: productive


26th August 2010

10:33pm: Writer's Block: The table has turned
The answer is: Because it was interfering with my love life. What's the question?

Why did you cut off your husband's penis, Mrs. Bobbit?


Yes, I'm still alive. I haven't posted in a month, mostly from laziness. So here's what I've been up to:

- Pennsic was a lot of fun but way too hot. I enjoyed hanging out with almost everyone in Bork, my neighbors, and some other random people. I met a few new friends, and Andy and I finally finished my yurt. It was a lot better than sleeping in a tent, and it kept most of the rain out (I had a tarp underneath, and the edges were rolled up, and the canvas wasn't completely covering the tarp in one section, so some rain did puddle in there one night). I got some throwing axes, learned how to do naalbinding, and entertained the kids with my "drunk person" impression. I managed to avoid getting a bunch of blisters this year, but I did get sunburned again, so now I'm not so pasty any more and have interesting sandal tan lines on my feet.

- I've been playing ridiculous amounts of "Age of Mythology" again.

- Saturday night, I left my window open because it was hot, and when I woke up, I saw a big hole in the screen and wondered how long that had been there. Bouncer jumped on the window and poked her head out the hole, looking around, and I became suspicious. I heard a pathetic little mew, and I looked out the window to see Yarmulke sitting on the awning over the kitchen. She had apparently clawed the hole, squeezed through, then either jumped or fell onto the awning (maybe 5 feet below). She couldn't jump back up, and she wouldn't climb down the tree-sized bush next to the awning, even when I opened a can of her favorite cat food, so I lowered a stepladder onto the awning. She climbed onto it but still sat there mewing at me, so I got a slightly taller ladder and lowered it. After an hour-long rescue mission, she finally jumped back in. I woke up Monday morning with a very sore back, and I spent two days trying not to move because it really hurt (it felt like someone was stabbing one of my vertebrae repeatedly), but it feels a lot better now.

- I'm going to Vermont over Labor Day weekend. Yay!

- My coworker who sits at the front desk has been in and out of the hospital the last couple weeks (something about really high blood pressure, and she had a seizure at one point), so I've been covering the front desk. I hate doing it, but there are usually only 2 or 3 other people in the office, and the phone rarely rings. This one project we've been working on sent us almost nothing all summer, so there wasn't much to do, and then when I'm the only one there, they send tons of stuff and give crazy deadlines. Sometimes other people come in, but sometimes I'm on my own. Anyway, I hope my coworker gets better soon.

Yep. Life goes on.
Current Mood: okay

(1 confession | confess!)

26th July 2010

11:23pm: Well, the weekend was pretty fun. Confluence was entertaining, as usual, though several of the usual suspects didn't show up. I think the writing exercises went fairly well (though I was dead tired on Sunday), and I enjoyed Wen's talk (she's hilarious). I managed to avoid buying anything, and I got Tammy and Bill to sign the first draft of my novel for good luck. I was really sleep-deprived and exhausted on Sunday, though.

And now, to prepare for Pennsic...
Current Mood: tired


23rd July 2010

11:20am: At 11:13 this morning, I finally finished the first draft of my novel. It needs a lot of work, but at least that much is done. I've been working on it (lazily) for roughly six years, though the main characters have been buzzing around inside my head for eleven years. Craaaaaaaziness! So I have a ton of editing to do, but I feel accomplished.

Confluence is in a few hours, so I should probably get cracking on the preparations. So glad I took the day off!

(4 confessions | confess!)

19th July 2010

10:14pm: I'm beginning to realize that a lot of abstract concepts confuse the hell out of me. And I also don't know what a lot of big words describing abstract concepts mean. I've found that people who want to sound intelligent will use these words a lot, so half the time I have no idea what they're talking about, because they'll go on and on about abstract concepts. Since I was an English major, I got stuck reading a lot of literary criticism, and it turned a mild dislike into a seething hatred. I would rather clean my bathroom than read an article describing postmodern elements in some modern novel delving into the depths of human nature or some other boring crap. And I hate cleaning the bathroom. For one thing, I find literary criticism horrendously boring, about as exciting as sitting through a 3-hour lecture on politics (another subject I hate). For another, they deal with abstracts too much.

It's not that I'm too dumb to understand certain abstract concepts, it's more that my brain isn't interested in processing them. I have very selective learning abilities, apparently. If I find something interesting, I will research the crap out of it, and it will stick in my brain. But if I'm not interested, it gets filtered out. In school, I would learn what we were required to learn, but then after the test, the knowledge would promptly vanish. They kept putting me in advanced math classes in junior high and high school because they thought I was smart, even though I didn't give a crap about math and had zero interest in any math-related careers, and I was relieved that I didn't have to take another during senior year. I think the last course I took was trig/college algebra, and I don't remember any of it. The most advanced math I can do is basic algebra and geometry. So that's roughly five years of math courses that have died in my brain. I understood the math when I needed to pass the tests so I could graduate, but once the information stopped being necessary, it went bye-bye. And then my coworkers decided to put me in charge of balancing an entire project, knowing very well that I specialize in letters (and punctuation marks), not numbers. I don't know what they were thinking. But anyway, math usually isn't very abstract. In any case, if I'm not interested, information gets filtered out.

Maybe that's why I like a lot of children's and YA books. They usually deal with more concrete things than grownup books. Now, a lot of books deal with abstract concepts too, but it's more manageable if it supports an interesting story, and I think books for younger readers tend to have more interesting stories. (Probably for a good reason too - if you want kids to put down the video games and read a book, it has to be more interesting than the video games. Adults tend to have longer attention spans for books that aren't as wildly exciting.)

I was going to go more into this, but I find that I'm losing interest in what I'm typing. Go figure, huh?

You know what I like? The Percy Jackson and the Olympians books. I just finished the last one, and the whole series is totally up my alley. I'm a real mythology geek, plus it's got lots of explosions and weaponry and cool non-human characters and random silliness and all that fun stuff. It's like Harry Potter with Greek gods. There are a few things that irritate me about the series (like how Athena has a zillion kids despite being a maiden goddess and that whole gods-don't-have-DNA-so-they're-all-related-but-half-bloods-aren't-if-they-don't-share-a-parent-so-therefore-it's-cool-if-I-go-make-out-with-my-cousin thing), but the stories are intricate and entertaining. And going back to the abstract concept thing, they do deal with a lot of things, but they're done in a way that makes sense, even though sometimes I'd shake my head and think, "that doesn't seem right."

I'm also realizing that I have a ridiculous amount of stuff to do in the next few weeks, and I'll probably end up avoiding half of it. Blah.
Current Mood: blah


22nd June 2010

9:18pm: I'm getting slightly better at forcing myself to get out of the house and do things that involve interacting with humans, but making conversation is still difficult. I'll meet someone new, shake hands, say "I'm Ade," and completely forget the other person's name two seconds after hearing it. (When people introduce themselves, I always hear, "Hi, I'm fffmmmmhmmm," and promptly forget their names unless they have name tags or I hear other people addressing them.) There may be a few lines of small talk. Then the other person stops talking, and I have nothing left to say. So I stand there awkwardly in front of them. I'll glance around and sometimes feign an interest in some nearby object. I don't know what to say next. I don't know if I should stay and talk (whether I want to or not), or if they'd get offended if I just walked away. But then again, I'll occasionally hit it off with someone and stand around talking about video games for an hour until I really have to pee and am desperate for the conversation to end so I can make a beeline for the bathroom.

Although I'm better at communicating through writing, I still have trouble keeping conversations going online. If I have nothing interesting to say to someone, I'll usually ask about the person's day or the previous weekend. I usually don't give a crap what the person did at work or if they did anything wildly exciting over the weekend, but I don't know what else to say, and I resort to petty small talk when I want to keep a conversation going but don't know what to say. And I hate small talk, so it's kind of pathetic and desperate. Sometimes I'll want to ask them something or talk about something deeper, but I don't want to just come out and say something like "so, what's going on with you and so-and-so?" or "tell me about your spiritual beliefs" or whatever. It's an awkward conversation shift. But I don't know how to lead into it, and sometimes I'll attempt to steer the conversation in that direction but end up sabotaging my own curiosity when the conversation veers away again. (My online conversations tend to be pretty random and silly, especially with certain friends, and sometimes I like to go back and read old conversations for a good laugh.)

I just need to work on keeping conversations from sputtering out and avoiding small talk as a back-up plan.
Current Mood: contemplative

(1 confession | confess!)

20th June 2010

9:11pm: Today was rather adventurous. I started the day doing something I never thought I'd do voluntarily. I went to church. Now, before you crap your pants and/or demand to know who I am and what I've done with Ade, let me explain. It was a Unitarian Universalist church. They don't really have specific religious beliefs, they're basically a melting pot of people of all religious beliefs (or none whatsoever) who are all about acceptance and stuff. A few days ago, a friend posted something that mentioned UUs, and I started wondering about them. I already knew that they have vaguely-defined belief systems, accept all sorts of people, even GLBTs and pagans, and are generally nice people, but I wanted to find out specifically what they were all about. And apparently they're all about acceptance and being good people. I knew there was a UU church in Murrysville, and something inside me told me to check out their website, so I did. I found out they were discussing autism this Sunday, and I thought, well there's something that interests me. So I decided to go, to see what their services were like and that sort of thing. I was just curious.

I usually feel very uncomfortable in churches and other religious places (almost always Christian places - they just feel wrong to me). And there were strangers. So I was apprehensive, but I made myself go in and hide in the back corner. It was really informal, and it was a fairly small congregation. They didn't do much in the way of religious stuff, just said a few general things about peace and such and shared joys and concerns, and then one lady gave a presentation on autism awareness that was particularly interesting. I really liked this clip on sensory overload using Transformers:

Yeah, that's pretty accurate for me, except when I experience sensory overload, my brain shuts down, and I get really quiet and go into zombie mode. Going to the mall or a large store, walking around a crowded city, and interacting with lots of children tend to trigger sensory overload the most. I can tolerate it for a few minutes, but then everything just bears down on me, and I completely withdraw, don't speak unless someone asks me a question, and can't really function on more than a basic level until I get out of the situation.

Anyway, back to the UU thing. I did know one lady in the congregation who is also in Sustainable Monroeville. So I talked to her for a bit, and I met a few others. They were all friendly and welcoming, and in a genuine way. I know a lot of religious group people will act really friendly and try to draw in outsiders, by inviting them to all sorts of social things and gradually influencing their religious beliefs. That's why fundamentalist groups have been so effective at preying on the lonely, drawing them in, and then brainwashing them (or at least, that's how I see it). But the UU people barely mentioned religion at all, only to say they welcome everyone as long as they follow the basic non-religious principles of acceptance and being nice to each other and that sort of thing. And they said they're basically a group of oddballs, so that's good. One lady was talking about how most of them are geeks, and they've had LAN parties and a Rocky Horror Halloween party and other fun stuff (she totally had me at Rocky Horror Halloween party). So that sounds cool. I'll probably go back next weekend, because they seem like interesting folks with pure intentions. I found the almost lack of religiousness in a church service oddly comforting.

Later on, Katie and my dad were over before we took him to dinner for Father's Day. He was trying to fix my car door (it won't open, I guess there's a broken piece on the handle mechanism he couldn't fix), so Katie and I put the kitty harness on Galahad and brought him outside. He'd only worn the harness once, when I was using him as a guinea pig before I tried it on Hagrid. He basically just got confused and lay down. (Hagrid was better about it, when I put the harness on him, but he eventually wriggled out of it because it was loose.) So we put the leash on and brought him outside, and he got confused and just lay on the porch. He eventually explored the bushes and lawn, but he didn't want to go back in the house. He just lay there and fought us when we tried to pick him up. But we eventually got him back inside. Silly kitty. But he was generally a good sport.
Current Mood: chipper

(1 confession | confess!)

17th June 2010

11:32pm: Adventures in Cat Lady-dom
Since I've been involved in a local sustainability group, I've been evaluating the stuff I buy/use and try to shift my habits to more environmentally-friendly things. I've made a bunch of changes already, like buying a bunch of Energy Star appliances and a tankless water heater, and I recently let my back yard "go to meadow." (Most people don't understand why I chose to stop mowing, or rather, hiring other people to mow it, so I need to work on my naturalization speech.) But I've also noticed that about half my garbage is used cat litter. I go through roughly 20 pounds a week, and as I was explaining to Megan, my "weight training" routine consists of hauling 40-pound bags of cat litter around.

The regular clay cat litter isn't very eco-friendly, and it's apparently not great for cats either. I'm trying Yesterday's News, and while the cats do use it, they seem to prefer the clay litter. Then again, they've only used it a little over a week, and I didn't give them much time to adjust. (I was almost out of clay litter and had a bunch of news litter, so it was basically 3 1/2 boxes of news litter and 1/2 a box of clay.) I like that the litter is a lot less messy and doesn't get dusty, so I hope they'll get used to it. But I'm open to suggestions if anyone knows of other good brands that cats like and aren't very expensive.

Another thing I've noticed. My allergies have mostly cleared up. I'm very mildly allergic to cats, which basically means that they don't bother me unless they sleep on my face or I'm exposed to them after a long period of not-being-around-cats (otherwise known as periods of crippling depression where I long for the company of cats), and then I get a runny nose or something. Well, having four cats turns an insignificant allergy into chronic mild stuffiness. When Hagrid first came home, about five months ago, my sinuses went haywire. He's a long-haired Maine Coon mix, so my sinuses were going WHOAHMYGOSHCATS for a while. I also think kittens tend to trigger allergies more than adults for some reason. I'm sure there's some complicated scientific reason for that, but I really don't care.

Anyway. At first, while my allergies were going insane, I noticed that they were especially potent at night, and I'd wake up feeling like my head was about to explode. Then one day, I finally got around to washing the comforter. I got lazy and didn't take it out of the dryer for like a week. (I suffer from terrible not-putting-away-laundryitis.) My allergies magically cleared up. Then I finally put the comforter back on the bed, and the allergies swooshed back with a vengeance. (Yes, allergies can swoosh. Shut up.) "Well," I thought, "screw this allergen-infested comforter, I'll just get another one." Then I remembered that it was approaching summer, and comforters are expensive. So I just got a delightfully soft blanket and have been using that. I'll get something warmer once the heat stops melting me into a puddle of liquid-Ade-now-with-extra-cat-hair.

Anyway, allergies are mostly better! I can generally breathe through my nose and only have a wee bit of a chronically runny nose (which I've had pretty much all my life, and I also blame dust mite poop for that). My allergies only really act up when I'm cleaning cat boxes, but I wear a dust mask, and that helps. Of course, they all like to come sleep in my bed, and Galahad likes to spoon and/or get up in my face, so I still often wake up needing to clear my sinuses. But a nice hot shower takes care of that.

Speaking of a nice hot shower, I like the new shower in the basement. I finally put the curtain on and used it, because the upstairs tub drain is stubbornly clogged. I took some very un-eco-friendly measures in failed attempts to clear it, which I don't like to admit, but I bought a pumping plunger thingy today, so hopefully that will help. Hopefully...
Current Mood: kittykittykittykittykitty

(2 confessions | confess!)

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