Sunday, November 23, 2008

Hi-Falutin' Literary Pursuitin'

Cleared the 40,000 word bar today, like a decathelete with wings on her shoes and lead in her ass. Never mind. Only 10,000 more to go. I have to get them in this week wherever I can--the Seattle half-marathon is this Sunday, and I don't really want to try to run it whilst pushing a cart with my laptop on it, unspooling 13.1 miles of extension cord as I go.

Interesting thing today: at Kaladi Bros., the delightful coffee shop on Pike where they're letting us reserve their back room on Sundays from noon to 3 just for the NaNoMoFo's, we had to chase a guy out because he was using the cafe's computer to look at porn. Now, seriously. There are five or six stellar members of the Word Nerd Herd in there, all zealously typing away at our laptops and occasionally shouting out random numbers like crazed auctioneers (30,000! I just hit 35,000! Do I hear 40,000!), and he sits at the computer, with his back to us, and does his Lolita surfing. Gack. I didn't notice, obliviot that I am, but one of the other NaNos did, and she asked the staff to kick him out.

I didn't realize this, so when the barista came in to tell him that the room was reserved, I, good samaritan that I am, said he wasn't bothering anyone (except himself, I guess) and that he was welcome to stay. Fortunately, the guy had the good grace to get completely pissy and huff off, presumably to find a more welcoming cafe with coin-operated booths and a sticky floor.

Anyway, all's well, and I have just a hair under 10,000 words to crank out this week. Between the shin splints and the carpel tunnel, November has been just spectacular. More to come. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Button, Button, Where the F#@*'s My Button?

For the most part, hitting that safe middle ground between dressing like a slut and dressing like a prude is not terribly difficult. There's a lot of room to maneuver there. There is, for example, a lot of possible variations on skirt hem lengths in the safe-zone between peek-a-boo to dragging-on-the-ground-behind-you. There's plenty of differentiation space between clothes so tight the wearer can be safely left in the freezer for up to six months without fear of freezer burn and so loose you risk harboring the homeless in a sort of tent-city of one.

Even in accessories, there's ample safe territory: my grandmother never once reached for her pearls only to find herself later at a ladies luncheon sporting a studded dog collar. Makeup? Easy. Don't apply with a trowel to avoid sluttiness; don't carry a bucket of cold water and a scrub brush made of horse hair to scour the Stain of Whoredom off of other women, and you'll successfully avoid the other extreme.

The only exception to this rule, for me anyway, is the buttons down the front of the average blouse. First of all, the word "blouse" is horrible, like "purse" and "panty"--these are ugly words. OK, maybe that's just me.

But the way that buttons are arranged on your standard blouse-front makes no sense at all. Either you have Strangulation Level (also known as the Jehovah's Witness Come-to-Jesus button) or Sluttastic, the button that generally comes in at just level with the nipples and then gapes open anyway. The expanse of shirt-front between these two buttons is a fastener desert. There are no options here other than application of some gack-worthy brooch you inherited from a maiden aunt. What the hell, people?

For those who know me personally, you know that the only time anyone can properly and without losing an eye refer to me as "conservative" is in the way I dress. I tend to err on the prudish, leaving the sluttery for others more equipped and capable. I cannot wear button-down shirts! I spend the entire day either tugging open the neck so I can breathe, or tugging the shirt down in the back so I can't spend the day watching that freckle next to my bellybutton and worrying if it's a slightly different, pre-melanoma color today and nor can anyone else.

I'm wearing a zipper-front sweater today. Every time I cross my arms, I have to stifle a yip from the cold zipper track inside touching my skin, but at least there's not an actual draft. I have a large pile of turtlenecks for all seasons. Could someone, please, make a button-down shirt for women that has actual buttons on it? You know that one that you put in the little, plastic, Ziplock-type baggie affixed to my price tag? Maybe you could put that on my shirt instead.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Another argument against "Intelligent Design"

To those who rabidly and with spittle flying defend the notion of “intelligent design,” I add yet another example to the pile of “oh yeah, well, what about this?”-es. Right up there with rednecks, cancer, the Taliban and Sarah Palin, I give you: the bit lip.

Think about it. You’re chewing away at whatever you choose to chew on—fruit leather, popcorn, beef jerky, an underling—and you accidentally bite the inside of your lip. What happens next (after the jumping around and cursing)? The bit you bit swells up, pushing its wounded and tender self closer to your teeth. And you spend the next eleventy-seven days biting the exact same spot over and over and over again. Does this sound like “intelligent design” to you?

I think if I were making the human body, I probably would not put soft, sensitive, vulnerable skin right there in the mouth with all the sharp and pointy parts. I’m just sayin’.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Do these 50,000 words have to be in any particular order?

So, November is NaNoWriMo month, but of course you all knew that. I found out about this from my friend Pete, who pulled off this very difficult task a few years ago. Basically, during NAtional NOvel WRIting MOnth, you hunker down at your computer, bitch at your partner, drink lots of wine, and attempt to crank out 50,000 words of a brand-new novel in 31 days. Ah, crap: 30 days. November has 30 days. I just lost one. Now I have to recalculate the daily word requirement to make it to the finish line: 1,666.666666666etc.

I'm a fifth of the way there.

When I hit the 10,000 mark, I felt pretty good. I'm cruisin', don't want to kill my characters or myself (yet), Toasty claims to still have undampened enthusiasm for spending time with me, all's pretty darn much well, that's what. 10,000 feels good. Then I realize I'm a fifth (a fifth!) of the way there, and everything around me starts deflating: my ego, my confidence, my omelet...

There was a moment on day one (maybe two), when my cat Beebs trotted across the keyboard of my computer and somehow magically shut down Word without stepping on the CTRL + S keys first. I had been saving pretty religiously up until maybe 15 minutes before this point. Beebs was punished by being fed (I'm such a monster) and not petted for the next eleven minutes. That'll learn her.

As I type this now, she's twice brought up some weird Explorer menu by rubbing her head on the corner of my keyboard. NaNoWriMo isn't quite hard enough--I had to make some sort of weird reality show out of it by throwing into the mix a cat that's really a mole, planted by Big Brother to keep throwing hurdles under my feet (fingers). Fine, but I'm not eating maggots or any other gross stuff. NaNoWriMo seems like a great excuse for an all-popcorn month.

Anyway, wish me luck, and any other NaNoWriMos out there, how about a write-in this Sunday somewhere with coffee and Wi-Fi? No cats.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Cue the Hallelujah Chorus


Dear Diary,

Last night we elected a guy for president who is intelligent, compassionate, educated and SANE. I R so happy.

Go, Gregoire. Clean sweep.