Friday, December 31, 2004

posting this pic so I can use it as my profile image...

Thursday, December 30, 2004

An Indifferent Sort of Day

I worked almost a full day yesterday. I did the regressions for the new build, did a smoke test and a playthrough. Fun.

Last night I played DDR for half an hour, Michelle did laundry, we ordered pizza and relaxed at home. Michelle played Evil Genius and I spent about an hour playing Bloodrayne2. So far, I'm preferring the original Bloodrayne, but nostalgia always makes the originals seem better.

I did a few sketches for Cosmo, but nothing really clicked. I should look up pictures of actual space probes and see what inspires me, I guess. Though a realistic probe won't have a lot of personality... Unless that's the plan - that Cosmo is sent out in a pretty boring configuration and gets more and more interesting, more personality added along the way. Hmn. It probably should have eyes and a mouth, at the least. That way, when he's happy or bored or lonesome, I can get that across.

It's a gray overcast day, things are slow at work, nothing to be done. Not really in the mood to be at work now. Nothing going on. I can leave whenever I like, but it would be nice to have a decent paycheck.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

After Christmas 04

It was a nice long holiday weekend, I had 5 days off!! It was pretty relaxing, but I'm slightly bummed that I didn't get many 'useful' things done. Just slightly. :o)

I played at least 10 hours of 'Evil Genius', which is a game about building your evil lair and sending out minions to gather funds and research through world domination. It's fun and addictive. Michelle really has a thing for it, and has been playing quite a bit, too.

I got lots of neat goodies for Christmas! We didn't have a big to-do, I made a roast and mashed potatoes, and we hung out at home and relaxed. Michelle and I each gave one another slippers.

Back at work today, but it won't be a full day. Most people are off / out of town, so it's pretty quiet around here.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Cosmo the Space Probe!

Got to work early today - about 7:45. It was either stay late last night or come in early. I hates me some staying late! It's not the hours, it's the time. I look at the clock, and my brain says "I should be at home watching The Simpsons right now." and I lose all motivation to be useful.

Wrote up a few bugs today, though not as many as yesterday. We're waiting on a new build which I think is gonna be a long while coming.

I went to work with Michelle last night, she had to close down, count the money, all that fun stuff. We didn't leave her store until after 2am. Ugh! I'm glad this only happens at Christmas time. She works hard!

Didn't work out this morning or do anything useful since I had to work so early. Michelle is closing tonight, so mebbe I'll get something done when I get home from work. Still need more goodies for her Christmas! I've thought of another item, I'll probably get that tonight. All her items are kinda small, so hopefully she doesn't show up with huge boxes for me, cause hers are small (tho good!).

Thinking about the children's book about the space probe. It's about a deep space probe named Cosmo that is sent out by Earth, a very basic, clunky no-frills design. Cosmo is sent off to explore the universe and he enjoys that. Cosmo eventually gets lonely, and then meets another (alien) space probe going the opposite direction. They chat for a bit, then Cosmo is alone again. He's disovered by an alien race who study him and make an addition to his hardware to help him out, and send him on his way. Cosmo is encountered by a number of friendly alien races, and each one adds something.

...Cosmo gets faster engines, better computers, new sensing equipment for tasting colors and seeing music, and so on. Eventually Cosmo makes it back to Earth and it's been hundreds of years. The Earthlings don't recognize Cosmo and greet it as a new alien. Cosmo is happy to be home, but misses the stars, so they send him out again, this time with a friend to keep him company.

It's a cute idea and I'd like to do it. I need to finish all my other projects (and they are legion) before I start another one. The NaNoWriMo novel, Fiction, etc.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Go Go Go!

Busy day! We got a new build just as we left last night, so testing began in ernest this morning. I wrote up like 2 bugs, this build is really buggy!

Got up this morning at dawn, did a walk/run, snuggled with Michelle, lost all my motivation and didn't write. I burned a backup CD instead, and read a book I bought recently... Can't recall the name. It's about a boy investigating the murder of a dog.

Monday, December 20, 2004

Back to Work!

Today is the first day of the new routine, back to being disciplined. Damn it. :o) Got up this morning at dawn, walked my two laps around the park - forgot again to get the pedometer from Michelle - and got some writing done before leaving for work. At least a few hundred words, go me.

Boss man Tim responded re: my 'what's up' letter from Friday. Brian, Gabe, Tim and I had a conference call, and we got some more details about work. Looks like there might well be some dead time ahead, where we'll be off work and getting paid for half time. Not bad for not working!

It seems that we won't become RT employees until like February (if at all) because it's unlikely any contracts will be signed for the Prototype Project until late January - (if then). Bleh. I don't like all the hurry up and wait of it all, it's a strain to be uncertain about one's employment.

Went over to pick up a gift for Michelle during lunch, and it turns out the item I'd been considering was $170.00!! Whoo! No, thanks. Luckily I saw the price tag before a sales associate could help me. I was in the store for all of 15 seconds, and spotted the tag. Yikes! Not that Michelle isn't worth it, but that's a lot for a shirt.

Friday, December 17, 2004

Are you a bug, Bill Murray?

Dave talked to me first thing this morning about the possibility of me working a few weeks for the company doing the Bratz game - (I'm pretty sure he meant I'd work on-site, here.) It seems that the next project has a verbal agreement, but nothing has yet been signed. So, the next project might not happen. Fun.

He said the Bratz people might be interested in me, but probably not interested in someone as high level as Brian. Ha. Apart from spending more time on the phone with the guys up north and/or chatting with Gabe, we have the same job. And I have very nearly twice the amount of bugs entered as he does.

And don't get me started on regressions. Sometimes it seems like I'm working alone. I've got like two or three times the testing experience he does. Whatever. I'm not looking to stay at this company, so whatever. Brian's done a great job of making everyone see him as management material. Way to go dude. That's the art, I suppose, not being a best worker. Pleh. One day I will learn to play the 'social' card.

Got up at dawn, walked at the park, did my weights, did some writing, snuggled with Michelle, and helped her carry down her gifts to be mailed. Who's the Good Du?

I had an idea last night, to do a book for 'Retail Spanish' which would help workers to be better equipped to help Spanish-speaking customers. I think I'll put together a query and send it out, see what kind of response I get.

Thursday, December 16, 2004


I was the excellent du this morning and got up, took a walk, and did some writing! Yay! Only like a hundred words maybe, but still. A step in the 'good habits' direction.

It turns out I left my camera in Ed's car the other night. He's gonna drop it off sometime this weekend. I'll be able to give him his Christmas gift!

Stopped on the way home and picked up some Druid Circle cookies - oatmeal, raisins, and walnuts! Yummmy!

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Chillin at The W

The party last night at 'The W' went ok. Ed and I showed up about 40 minutes into the shindig, just in time to join the awards presentation. Everyone got an award, an anime animation cell with a cute reason why. Mine was a chubby little guy who is about to barf. Ok...

There was a woman there dressed up as the main character of the game, and she was alarmingly upbeat. I guess that's her job, but wow. Drinks were free, and Ed and I had one each. We left after about an hour, headed over to Pinks. We each had a Chili Dog and a Guadelejara Dog, yum.

So last night was cool. I did very little chatting at the party, another opportunity missed. Bleh.

I got up this morning and took a walk - very nice morning, slightly brisk but not at all cold. I came back and got ready for work, and spent a few minutes snuggling with Michelle. So nice! Then just as I was heading out the door, she spotted a spider on the wall, and I was enlisted to kill it. Manly chore done, I headed off to work.

Slow/typical day, entered a few bugs, no new build, yadda yadda.

Monday, December 13, 2004


Holy cow, I actually got some writing done this morning! What do you know bout dat? I think I would have kept going, but I had to leave for work.

The release party for the game is tonight, we'll probably be released early to attend. Tim gave me an Xmas card with huge quantities of gift cards. Wow! I never expected such a thing. Very cool.

Ed is going to the party with me tonight, he's meeting me here and then we'll drive up to Westwood. Traffic should be lots of fun at that hour.

Finished all the Christmas shopping except for Michelle's. Dunno what I'll get her. I probably should figure that out, shouldn't I?

Sunday, December 12, 2004

More Of The Same

Still lazy, have been for weeks. Can't seem to shake it. I end up watching cable tv all day, 'French Kiss' segues into 'Groundhog Day' segues into 'Armageddon' and there it is, I've wasted six hours. I think the thing to do is just leave the tv turned off.

Granted, I sit in front of a computer all day at work, and spent a lot of time in November sitting in front on the home pc writing, but does that mean that December has to be a useless month? Ugh. Maybe.

I did some Xmas shopping yesterday, but picked up an incorrect item, so there is some 'waiting in the returns line' to be done. I don't know if I'll do it today or tomorrow. I should get it over with, I suppose. I should have been more careful.

Friday, December 10, 2004

Bad Bad Bad

Didn't get paid today, wheee! So this will be another weekend without cash. Payroll says I might get paid today, but perhaps not until Monday. Fun.

We got a new build to test, we've checked all the fixes we can over the network, but we're waiting for our installation discs.

Slept in, was lazy, am lazy, unproductive, bad bad Mike. No more.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Sleep In And Snuggle Day!

Good day so far, slept in, snuggled muchly, got some rest this morning. Michelle will be closing, mebbe I'll get some writing done this evening. Depending on my hunger level, I might stop at the park on the way home and do a couple of laps.

Jamba Juice still has the Pumpkin Smash, and I had one for lunch. Yummy!

Had a busy evening last night, I did laundry and spent about an hour exercising.

The game wrap party for the research study version of the game is Monday night at "The W" a trendy hotel in Los Angeles. Michelle has to work, so Ed's going with me. Maybe he'll run into a cute girl and hook up.

Still no news on the job front. Brian guessed it might well be the end of the month before we hear more. He could be right!

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Hey, How About That!

What do you know, I actually got some writing done this morning. Not a lot, but some. I forgot to do a word count. I got up around 5:45 and showered, had me a english muffin, and got to work.

I emailed the book to myself and printed it out at work - just to have a hard copy. I'll probably go through it tonight and jot some notes on it. Maybe, maybe not. I don't want to get caught up in the editing, and stop writing. I doubt that will happen.

Still no news on the job front - though now it looks like I'll be lucky if I get paid on Friday. Yoh has once again misplaced my timesheet. Great. Just what I need right now. Oh well, if I need to get irate with someone, I will. Ugh.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Another Gray Day

Same old stuff, got up, worked out, didn't do anything productive beyond that. I've decided that on days Michelle opens, I'll exercise at night. That way I can be up, showered, and out of the way, on the PC getting some work done by about 6am. I've been really lax lately, so lazy over the past few weeks.

We're supposed to find out about our new salary info in the next few days, hope it's an improvement!

Monday, December 06, 2004

It's Cold In The World

Hard to get out of bed lately. I used to spring out of bed at the first bleep of the alarm, and now I have to drag myself out after a few swats of the snooze.

Got up, worked out, showered, ate, and spent about 15-20 minutes in front of the computer writing. I'd describe it more as editing than writing, really. I might have to go through and re-read everything, clean it up a bit and get back into the novel. Michelle has set a deadline of December 30 for my next 25,000 words. Whew! It's already the 6th, I'd better get my ass in gear. I should ask for a prize of some sort!

On the days that Michelle opens, my best use of time would probably be to get up, work out, shower, and be ready for work before Michelle gets up. That would mean getting up at 4:30, which just seems too early, even for me. But it would give me a solid few hours before I'd have to leave for work to work on my project of choice. I'm more productive in the mornings than the evenings. In the evening, all I wanna do is lounge around and watch tv.

I keep forgetting to get a print out of 'Speaking...' up to this point. Mebbe I'll get in to work early tomorrow and do that. I'd hate for anything to happen to the original. I email it to myself after every work session, and that helps, but I worry.

I need to get some blank DVDs and start making backups of everything at least once a month.

Friday, December 03, 2004

Pulled Like Taffy!!

Interestingly, I mistyped the title as "Pulled Life Taffy". Freudian slip of the fingers? Mebbe. I just feel pulled in different directions, ideas are always more fun than doing the work.

November is past and with it 'Speaking to the 4th Wall', my NaNoWriMo attempt. I'm going to continue 'Speaking' starting tomorrow, and I WILL finish it over the next couple of months.

I need to get back to work on, and I have some ideas for a Nani Power page on Ideagateway, in the 'Authors of Note' section. I've never made a such a thing before, and I don't know how it works. I think she's a great writer, but there's very little info on the web about her. Maybe her fans are not the sort who make web sites? I dunno. I also don't know what all such a page entails. How do you get permissions for exerpts and whatnot.

I need to get back on track when it comes to working on my projects. Maybe alternate projects, depending on what sort of mood I'm in. That way progress is made in different directions, it's more engaging, and work gets done, eventually.

Today at work has been slow. I expected more meetings, but it looks like we're done with that for now. We're supposed to get a new build here soon. Here's hoping.

Meetings and Theoretical Tirades

Yeah, we were in meetings all day today. The producers from up north came down, and we reviewed our preproduction process for the game - which happened before I arrived, so I didn't have anything to contribute.

Michelle closed tonight, so it was a boring night at home alone. I did spend like half an hour formatting the Ohio trip pics for, but didn't make that much progress.

Still don't know about the next project at work - if it's been greenlit, I mean.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Yep. It's Wednesday. Sure Enough.

Decent day, we actually had some work to do for a change. Lotsa bugs to verify, good times for all. The project is late, but not as bad as I thought. We'll see if my guesstimate of being 2 weeks overdue will come true.

Slept in this morning, took today off from exercise and projects. I went to get a haircut during lunch, and it took forever!

Not a lot going on...

Tuesday, November 30, 2004


The 30th of November is here, and I managed to not finish my NaNoWriMo novel. Ugh. One more thing started, and not finished. It's annoying, frustrating, depressing.

Some good writing came out of it, and I've written more in this month than I have all year. I can't exactly complain about those things. I just need to make sure I finish it, that's all. Even if it's awful, even if everyone hates it, I want to finish it. If I can maintain some semblance of discipline, I'll be able to work on it every day and finish in a month or two. I have to admit that writing every day is a liberating thing, but it's also draining.

Doubt gnaws as I'm writing that I'm not taking anything seriously enough, that we don't really get to know the characters. I usually rely on a character's words and actions, rather than long mental monologues about their life and situation. And the story jumps from one group or setting to another, every few pages. Is that intruiging or irritating, I don't know. I'll get Michelle's reaction, and maybe Liz will read it too.

I didn't write on Sunday or Monday. I'm not really feeling like it today, either. Just miffed at myself for not writing more this month - I really wanted to succeed on my first attempt at Na. (There's a Simpson's scene where Homer tells Bart that "If you're not good at something right away, it'a ok to quit!") I know that first times are learning experiences, and you're not likely to succeed. Yeah yeah.

I wanted to prove to myself that I could be a writer as a job, sit home every day and pound out novel after novel. If I can't be prolific, how can Fiction Interactive ever work? Not that 25,000 words in a month (while holding down a full time job) is a bad thing, but all the NaNoWriMo hype made me think I could do it. Good thing too - or I wouldn't have written anything this month. Thank you, hype!

I think the book is quirky and interesting, or at least it will be. I haven't really gotten to the parts where all of the human drama is explored. All of the emergencies and challenges that the people have to deal with, and the stress and greed and guilt. Right now it still feels pretty shallow, not very novelly. I guess it's a question of "is it deep, a work of art" or "is it entertainment, an escape from the everyday". It's not a work of art. But most of the books out there are just entertainment, and they sell, and people make their living writing them. Hey, why not me.

So I'm gonna finish late, but I'm gonna finish. Just irked at myself right now for missing the Nov 30 date.

Monday, November 29, 2004

A Self Survey I Took...

Beside a mountain lake



Do itunes count? 'Cracklin Rosie' by Neil Diamond.

Home / Outdoors

A social gathering where I know no one.

Everywhere. Yes Please.

Strong Mind. Which leads to a strong body, so all is covered.



hatred, snobbish ignorance, poor planning

dulcimer, and synthesizer/remix turntable

blue and purple and black

Sports Car - (mini cooper?)

I believe that I'll find for sure of these days...

The Hugging Bunnies one, can't remember the name

autumn (in a state where you can tell)

Floor scrubbing on hands and knees

Probability Teleportation (can teleport to any place visualized - fictional places, time travel, etc)

Don't have one. The Hindi hand tattoos are cool.
Also, stylized/abstract Polynesian shark drawings

21. Can you juggle?


Any day spent at home with the Baby Du

Nothing - I drive a pickup truck. Behind the seat are bungee cords and rope, a roll of paper towels.


Sad, Sad, Sad

Well, I had a really nice Thanksgiving weekend, and didn't get very much writing done. I got a few thousand words each on Friday and Saturday, but that's all. Nowhere near the huge amount I needed. Sigh. This means that I'm only about half way to the 50,000 word goal for the end of the month.

I really don't know how the people that have done it did it. I don't write that slowly... I guess it's my attention span. I can't really spend more than four hours a day writing.

According to Chris (the founder of NaNoWriMo), you should be able to write about 2000 words in an hour and a half to two hours. Jeez, that's a lot of writing in a short time. It's not like I'm spending time editing, or sitting there blankly staring at a blank page. I'm writing!

So I'm around 24,000 words right now, which is more than I have written for any one story - My forgotten novel, 'Suffer' was the next closest, with around 22,000 I think.
Enough of the novel ramblings.

I went out to the movies with Julio and Liz yesterday afternoon, and had a good time! First, I met up with Michelle at her store and I took lunch with her at the food court. Then Liz showed up, and Michelle had to get back to work.

It was an early birthday celebration for Liz, her actual B-Day is today. After Michelle went back to work, Liz and I waited together for Julio to arrive. We went to see 'Finding Neverland' there at the Galleria where Michelle works.

Julio then drove us over to L-A Wok, a chinese restaurant. They were playing weird musak, these funky synth covers of oldies and Christmas songs that were really funny, and we had a good time laughing at them.

In the evening, Michelle and I relaxed and watched tv. I knew that I'd have to come back to work today and didn't wanna.

I spent a few minutes this morning working on the Ohio pics from my trip in October. I need to get them finished and put up on! Ditto for Michelle's Florida trip.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Draggin Butt

I stayed up past my beddy bye time last night, watching 'Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban' and didn't get to sleep until like 1:30am.

It was hard to drag my tired butt out of bed, and I was dragging. Did a little half assed exercising, and then sat down in front of the computer. I pecked out a few hundred words, nothing I'm very proud of.

I'm not really feeling the writing vibe today, I'll have to do what I can to cultivate it. Liz is going to be coming over tonight, spending the night as part of the Turkey Day Extravaganza. We'll play some games, have a good old time. I need to make sure I get today's writing done asap, so I can kick back and relax without feeling like I'm neglecting my word count.

I'm still in a difficult part of the book. I've only just revealed the scenario, and I've yet to describe the bunker folk's reactions and emotions and so on. It's a difficult dynamic, to juggle ten people. I've left two of them unconscious for now, so it's eight people, but still. How would I react to the end of the world? And how do you present eight people simultaneously losing their minds? I'm gonna have to marinate on that. Once I'm past this part, the going should be easier.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Lunch Time Traffic Fun

Back from lunch, it took much too long to run the two errands I wanted to run! I went to the ATM and took out some cash, and then I stopped at Jamba Juice to get a 'Pumpkin Smash' for lunch, and then I dropped by Best Buy to pick up 'Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban' (widescreen version, of course). That took over an hour, mostly because of traffic.

No biggie, no one missed me, there is nothing to do at work anyway. Brian is out today, so it's just me sitting here.

Wrote a few hundred words since the last post, gotta get back to it. It's finally fricken time to reveal the main idea of the book. Is 18,000 words in too late to reveal the main idea? Not if you're writing 'The Stand'. (I'm not).

Hey, Cool.

Good day so far. I got up at about 6am and went for a walk at the parl. It was cold, in the mid 40's I think. I got to watch the sun come up, so that was cool. And in my work building, I get to see sunset every day too. Kind of a neat little cycle there.

I got some writing done this morning, I am now at 18,000 words. I need to write 4000 words a day every day until the end of the month to reach the 50,000 word target. Considering I'll have 4 days off in a row for Thanksgiving, it could happen. I will try to make it so!

Michelle is home now, and goes in to work later this afternoon. That should help me get some work done, since when she's home all I wanna do is snuggle and watch tv. Hard to concentrate!

Gonna stop blogging now and get to writing.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Hey Hey HEY!

Hey, what do you know, I wrote almost 1000 words here at work. Pretty productive, considering the fact that I actually did some work today too. There isn't a lot to do these days, we're getting very few builds and there is little new to test.

My characters are finally out of the box! It's taken weeks, (I think I put them in there like a week ago actually), and damned if it hasn't been a trial getting them out. I introduced them one by one, and gave some insight into their personalities as I went along.

It feels like they were in the box too long, that there has been too much leading up to them actually getting out, and they still don't know what's going on. I wonder if the readers will be intriuged or bored silly. I'm guessing bored silly. The pace seems really slow, and the focus jumps around a lot. Some of the time it seems like there aren't enough characters (cause most of them have been locked in a box for weeks) and sometimes like there are too many.

I'm considering getting a Jamba on the way home, but I'll probably just put that off until tomorrow, after I've gone to the bank. I dunno if the Jamba branch right by me has debit card swipers or not. Mebbe I'll have a Pumpkin Jamba for lunch tomorrow.

I'm gonna try to get some more writing done at home tonight. I'd like to have the stupid end-of-the-world presentation already, so that it's past and I can get on with the action. It's taken a lot of time to get to this point.

Harry Potter 3 comes out on DVD tomorrow, so I think we'll be watching that Tuesday night. Yeah, pretty sure. I wonder if it's for sale anywhere tonight? Hmn...

Monday Once More

Had a good weekend. Went to see 'National Treasure' on Friday night with Ed, and then to 'In and Out' for dinner. I do love me some In and Out. The movie was ok. It was more like a good TV show than a great movie.

I had Saturday alone to myself, got around 1000 words written. Michelle was off on Sunday. We went out to the mall to do some Christmas shopping, and then went out to lunch.

After that I stayed home to get some writing done while Michelle and Liz went grocery shopping for the Thanksgiving Dinner fixin's. I didn't get much writing done Sunday, just like 700 words.

We had a very snuggly weekend, it was cozy and relaxed. Sunday was pretty cold so we had the heater cranked up and were basking in the comfortude.

In all, it was a relaxing but not a very productive writing weekend. Not a lot going on at work today, maybe I can get some writing done here. I'll try.

Friday, November 19, 2004

'Smash'ingly Good!

It's Friday afternoon, things are going well. Jamba finally had the Thanksgiving seasonal flavor 'Pumpkin Smash' which is a smoothie that tastes like pumpkin pie. It might not sound appealing, but boy, is it tasty.

Here at work - Dave talked to us today and reiterated what Tim mentioned yesterday, the scenario where we stop working for the temp agency and start working here officially. (Still as temps) Dave seems enthusiastic about the idea, which is cool. If nothing else, the prototype will carry us into the beginning of next year, over the Dec/Jan hump. I dunno what I want to do next year. If I'm not going to school, the best money I can make for our Save Up and Move plan is probably in the Video Games Industry.

Got some writing done this morning, about an hour/45 mins worth, Roger imagined that his wife was dead. I'm still far behind. The end of the month looms. It's all about the Thanksgiving weekend. I hope I can catch up.

Michelle is working a book fair up in the Topanga Hills somewhere, at a private school. Hopefully she doesn't have to work very late! Going to see 'National Treasure' with Ed tonight.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Stuff to do! At lass!

Today was a real workday for once. We got a new build just as we were leaving last night, so we had regressions to check and new content to bug as of this morning. I wrote 10 bugs today, most of them were minor.

Just talked to Michelle, it sounds like she'll be home around 7pm. She was able to avoid working the evening book fair event, so that's a big plus.

I hope to get home, get some writing done for the day. Gonna force myself to sit down and do it. This morning as I was making the bed, it came to me that the underlying theme of the book could be control, and how no matter how hard you try or what lengths you go to, your control of your self and surroundings is very limited. Exciting theme, I know!

Talked to Tim about the future of the game and our jobs - December 1st seems to be an important day, we'll see whether we stop working in December or continue till January/February.

There's also a chance we'll end up working for Dave. I don't know if that's gonna happen or not. Dunno if I want to work on kids apps. I guess it depends on the pay.

Busyness (of a sort)

So I was in a 2 hour meeting this morning, that was fun. Most of it didn't concern me, but it was something different to do.

Tim took us out to lunch at Daily Grill, and I had the steak sandwich, I highly recommend it. It's like $18.00 though - which is why it's a good dish to get when someone is expensing the check!

I put together a 'test plan' for the resigistration portion of the game, and we sent it off to be checked by the boss types.

Michelle had supper ready when I got home, yummy taquito's and green beans! Yumm. Takes me back to the old days in San Pedro, and we used to get them from Smart and Final.

Michelle had to go back to work to attend to stuffs, and I napped lazily. I didn't get any writing done, and we went to bed early.

Kind of a busy day, but I didn't get any writing done. :o( Bad me.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Out Of The Blue

When you're writing, sometimes a character comes out of nowhere - and if you let them, they will take over the story. In my novel 'Speaking to the Fourth Wall', her name is Anneli Brand and she was supposed to be a completely incidental character.

She was supposed to be in ONE scene, at a meeting where she told the main character that he was a Very Bad Man. That was her scene, I didn't give her a second thought, in fact I created her on the spot. One second she was nothing, and the next second she was an executive, in a meeting, being disagreeable.

She's managed to forge an entire plot thread of her own. Now she's hiring private detectives, feeding her dog oreos, and musing about her childhood in Pennsylvania. What's cool is the fact that the book is much better for her presence. An inverse theme is being explored now that would have been ignored before.

I've been writing for 10 or more years, on and off, and it's always been interesting to me how real characters are. Once created, they have a life of their own. If you check back in on characters you haven't visited in years, they surprise you by having a new job, girlfriend, and hobby.

It's creepy in a way - once created, they exist. And they go their own direction, from the moment they're born. I wonder if any scientific studies have been done to observe this in writers?

Amazing! Now Do It Again!

Didn't get any writing done this morning. That seems to be this month's theme, doesn't it? Every month has a theme, and this one is "Didn't write enough today."
Except yesterday. Yesterday was the first time that I met 1600 words without really breaking a sweat. That was cool, I hope I can duplicate it another 15 times.

I'm meeting Liz and Julio for lunch, it will be nice to see them - Julio especially, because I see Liz a lot more often. We're meeting at the Fox Hills Mall food court, and I expect to have me some Popeyes Chicken and Biscuits, Hells Yeah.

Pretty dead day at work so far, I think we're arranging for / paying to unlock the Uber license for Installshield, with multilingual support. Interesting stuff, aint it? So no idea when we'll be getting a new build. Producer guy Tim is coming down to our office tomorrow, so mebbe Brian and I will get an update about what to expect for December and Beyond. Either way, whatever, not too concerned about work. I'll always find some.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Whatchoo Know Bout That?

Today was, unsurprisingly, slow again. I went to Barnes and Noble over lunch and looked around for the 'Long Way Round' book that Michelle claims exists. I didn't see it. I read 'Wired' for about 30 minutes, and then headed back to work. Killed about an hour total.

After lunch, I got running and put my headphones on and actually did some writing. It seems the music is a bigger help than I expected. I just needed a little more disconnect, I guess. I wrote like 800 words, so that's progress. I may have written 800 this morning too.

Hey, that's 1600, about what a days' writing should be. Damn, if I can catch up over the next week or so, that would be great. I fear the last minute all-day writing fest at the end of the month.

I think we're gonna have a 4 day weekend for Thanksgiving, so that should help too. Wow, this morning I was thinking I'd never make 50,000 words in 30 days. Now it's looking more do-able. Especially if I can get even a little bit of writing done at work each day. We'll see.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Only You Can Prevent Forest Fires

Pretty slow day. Especially so since we were supposed to get a new build today, but never did. Since we are supposed to send the guys up north a new build every week, I foolishly assumed we'd get something to test on Friday. But no.

At about 5pm, Gabe asked me to run an errand to EB and pick up a game. Traffic was terrible! I can only cringe and imagine what the ride home will be like tonight.

I need to get a lot of writing done this weekend, here's hoping it happens. The hole is getting deeper by the moment! Help!! Someone! Help!

Thursday, November 11, 2004


Today has been dead at work. I entered a couple of very minor bugs just to have something to do - it only took a few minutes. Been a long slow day. The build we have will be a week old tomorrow, and according to the database, only 8 bugs have been fixed in a week. There are over 150 open issues, and about 3 weeks to fix most of them. They better get their asses in gear. But they won't. And I'll end up with overtime.

I've been having trouble with the door lock on my truck - it took me a good 30 seconds to open it this morning. I went across the street during lunch and bought some WD40 and used some on the lock. Seemed to help, we'll see how it works, if it improves. I'll also use the WD40 on the exercise bike at home, it's been hella squeaky lately.

I haven't got any writing done today, but I made a chart detailing a lot of the personal traits of the bunker and control people - I think the chart will help the writing process. I wasn't in the zone to write, so I worked on character stuff instead. That kind of work counts too.

And I came up with an improved title, 'Speaking to the 4th Wall'. I don't know if anyone will like the title - I don't know that I do - but I wanted something other than 'The Bunker' and this is the best I've come up with to date. If it should by some quirk of fate get published, they'll probably change the title anyway. Whatevers.

Michelle is working a split shift today, she opened, and is home napping right now, and then will go in about 6pm to work a few more hours and close the store. Knowing her, she'll be there late... Unless she opens tomorrow, I can't recall. Um. I think she was off Friday originally, but may have to work due to some people being sick. I dunno.

We watched Shrek 2 on DVD last night, it was good. I think it was better the first time, since its strongest element is surprise. I'd planned to lock myself in the guest room and force myself to write, but by the time we were done with the movie, it was after 10 and I was getting sleepy. I should have skipped the movie and went right to work.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004


We're looking at a stale version of the game from last week, and there isn't much to find. I think we've wrung all we can out of this build.

I wish I could get some writing done on the novel while here at work, but with my back to the big open room, I'm feeling exposed. Not the best environment to try to concentrate in. Maybe I'll try - there's not a lot going on.

I didn't do any writing this morning - I can't really concentrate while Michelle is getting ready for work. She perfectly quiet and doesn't pester me at all, but I don't focus well. A classic example of "It's not you, it's me."

I'll lock myself in the guest room and pound out a few thousand words tonight. And Michelle is closing tomorrow, so I won't have any snuggle-related distractions Thursday night. It's so hard to resist warm toasty snuggles, just to spend time pecking away at the cold indifferent keyboard.

We went to see 'The Incredibles' last night, it was very good! I think 'Finding Nemo' is still my favorite Pixar film, but 'Incredibles' is high quality, good fun. It actually felt a bit short - I left wanting more. I thought that Frozone (the Samuel L. Jackson character) would have a larger role than he did. All of the characters were great, and a surprise was how fun Edna is - she's the fashion designer character. I wanted more of all of it.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

There's No Crying in Baseball!

Liz dropped her car off for repairs at the local VW mechanic, and we hung out for about an hour, until I left for work. It was nice to chat with her! She might be moving in with an old friend from high school who recently moved to the area.

I got virtually no writing done this morning, maybe a few paragraphs. When Liz came over, I stopped. I don't begrudge the 'hanging out' time, but I wish I wasn't so far behind. Every day I calculate the number of words I'm in the hole, and the hole gets bigger every day. I need to bite the bullet and catch up already! I don't think any bullet biting will happen tonight, Michelle's off today and we'll probably go out gallavanting.

I've reached the point where a good portion of the main characters have been introduced, the direction is under way, and now I have to really sell the plot. My crazy producer has to give this pitch, a speech that will make the show idea sound amazing, and win over the execs. So this has to be some eloquent shit coming up, and I have to cultivate that mood.

I need to figure out the singular story arc for the novel. Like, one book can have a wide variety of events and minor themes, but in the end it's all about 'coming to terms with your own weakness' or 'learning to trust others' or some such. Hmmmm.

Also - if I continue at my present rate, I think I may surpass 50,000 words. Not that this is a bad thing, it just means that the novel won't be complete on November 30. I don't think the peeps at NaNoWriMo will care - they don't read the thing in any case.

Monday, November 08, 2004

Sow And So On

I got up early this morning to get my write on. The alarm went off at 6am, and I didn't drag my ass out of bed till 6:20. Tsk! Bad, Lazy Mike! I exercised as usual (30 mins on stationary bike followed by free weights) but as I sat down in front of the computer, I wasn't really in the mood to write.

After my shower and breakfast, I starting feeling better. Maybe I just needed a blood sugar boost. I ended up writing a little over 600 words, I think. Better, for a morning session. Of course, I also spent more time on it, so you get what you give, I reckon. Seed what you sow, and so on.

Michelle found out this morning that one of her coworkers has a boyfriend who's also doing the NaNoWriMo contest. Oddly enough, his name is also Mike. The boyfriend, not the coworker. I'm sure tons of people are doing it, possibly even some people at my work. They seem more graphic artists than writers, but hey, who knows? If I showed up wearing a NaNoWriMo T-Shirt, some people might speak out.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Only About 4000 Words Behind

As of this moment, I'm up to 6017 words in my month-long novel. Could be better, could be worse. I'm considering getting up earlier in the mornings to get more done. I guess the only way to see if it works is to try it.

I walked at Wilson Park the last two mornings, it's a nice change from riding the exercise bike. I've laid off DDR for a few days, because my ankles have really been complaining. Maybe I need ankle protection as I bounce around on the dance mat? Anyway, I'm planning on going to the park once or twice a week during the workweek as well, it's a nice park.

Michelle's at work for another hour or so. I forsee a relaxing evening of The Simpsons on Fox, and Sex in the City on DVD. Michelle's been on a SITC kick lately. It's cute, wittily written, and the women are all hoes. Vicarious fun, I guess. If the show were from the point of view of sex crazed men, it would have been condemned. It's cute when girls are promiscuous, apparently.

Waiting for the HBO show Carnivale to come out with the first season on DVD. Gotta love Netflix.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Off To A Productive Start!

It's Saturday morning, and so far so good! I got up at about 7:30am, and went to the park for a walk. I did a couple of laps, I had a good time. The sun shining through the trees was very pretty, the air was brisk and refreshing, and for about 8am, there were a ton of people there! Inspiring! Maybe I'll start walking there once or twice a week.

My laundry is in the washers now, and I'm preparing breakfast - thawing chicken in the microwave.

The plan for today is to write my ass off, working on the NaNoWriMo novel. Ditto for tomorrow. I'm not going to worry about stopping when I reach a certain word count, instead I'm just gonna write all I can. I have a feeling that the weekends will be my best writing days. My day job, while not strenuous, is deadly dull, and tends to drain my writing will. So it's mornings and weekends, I think, for my writing schedule.

Friday, November 05, 2004

What Could Go Wrong?

Today promises to be as exciting as yesterday! Wheee!

I ran an errand for Michelle this morning and dropped off some paperwork to her store on my way to work. I tried to get some cash out at the mall ATM, only to discover my paycheck had not arrived. Sucks! I've been calling different corporate types on the phone all morning, and trying to get paid. I might not see today's pay until next Friday, which is a chilling thought. I think we'll be ok, but it's gonna be a tight week if so.

I didn't get any writing done this morning, with the errand running and all, and only about 400 words yesterday. Not boding well, so far. Perhaps the weekend will be my saving grace, since I've been averaging less than half what I need to write each day.

Michelle closes tonight, so I hope to get some writing done. And the weekend. I'll just have to do my best to stay focused. I bought some hard candy and everything! What could go wrong?

Long Way 'Round

Long and boring day! I spent at least three hours watching the game slowly install on my system. And since that's the same system I use for email and web, I really could do nothing but watch the progress bar slowly... progress. We ended up with an hour of overtime, just another hour spent sitting and staring, but OT is welcome.

At home, Michelle was off for the day, but busy with paperwork. I began a couple of different Netflix and gave up on each one - 'Scooby Doo 2' and 'Vampire Hunter D' I watched maybe 10-15 minutes of each one, and gave up. They were crummy.

I considered doing some writing, but after the mind-numbing experience at work, I wasn't in the mood. I have a lot of catching up to do this weekend.

I watched 'The Long Way Round' on Bravo, where Ewan McGregor drives around the world on a motorcycle, driving east from the UK. Good show, if you are a Ewan fan.

After that, I passed out watching Futurama. Michelle stayed up late doing paperwork.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

New PC for the Peeps!

It's a slow day at work, so slow that I decided to test out the installer - which takes a good 40 minutes, just to give myself something of a project. I did find two bugs, so it wasn't in vain, but still, deadly dull.

Mom and Dad got their computer today! My sister and I chipped in to buy it together, and it's gonna be the family's Christmas present. My Mom was really tickled when I spoke to her on the phone, she's really missed having the computer. Mostly, she just uses it to email me, but she also plays some games.

Work is progressing on the novel, I'm up to 1783 words total, 407 of those I wrote this morning.
I was separating my sections with five asterisks, like so ***** ...until I relized each asterisk was being counted as its own word in the 'word count' function. So that was throwing the word count off by 5 words per section, making it seem like I had slightly more than I had. Ugh.

So I removed the asterisks and recounted. 1783 words. Not too bad, but I'm behind. The expected estimate is about 1670 words a day, so there you go. I should have written my current amount in one day, not three days. If I keep up this rate, I'll be done at the end of January. No good! If I catch up to where I should be by the end of today, I should be up to 5010 words. That's a lot!

To catch up, I'll have to write 3227 words tonight. I'll probably get some writing done tonight while Michelle is working - if I see her before midnight, I'll be surprised. Plus, there's always the weekend - I should have loads of time on Saturday and Sunday to get some writing done.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Progress progresses!

I got in to work early this morning, and wrote 300 or so words on my NaNoWriMo novel. Make that 337 - I just checked. I think I would have been more productive using that time at home - I felt out of place at work, as if someone was going to come up behind me and read over my shoulder. Plus, the commute was longer. I'm thinking, from now on, I'll just do the writing at home.

Work is fine - No new bugs have cropped up today, but we're still having issues with the install discs. I'm 75% done with a playthrough, and so far there's been nothing major.

Mom's new PC is scheduled to deliver today! It was supposed to be tomorrow, but now it's looking like today is the day. Even if they wait till the weekend to hook it up, they'll have a new PC running in no time!

Monday, November 01, 2004

The Choice Has Been Made

Yes, Ladies and Gentlemen, I have decided what to write for the NaNoWriMo contest. I'll be writing the Bunker story, a Reality TV show gone wrong, wrong, oh so wrong.

It was a good weekend, with much laziness (on my part). Michelle worked a few hours on Saturday, and was off with me on Sunday. We went out for lunch, then to a Mystery bookstore (a cute little Mom and Pop place) and then took a nice walk at Redondo Beach.

Michelle had some work to do at home, and then she helped me narrow down my options for the writing contest. I wrote about 530 words this morning, off to a good start!

Today at work is going well, entered the last of the bugs I made notes for. We've probably entered about 40 bugs in the last fews days. Brian and I are supposed to amscray this afternoon for about a half hour, I think I'll just take a long lunch and do some more writing.

Also, Michelle and I discussed the moving idea, and it does seem to make more sense that I keep on working, and we save money to move to our next state. I'll go to school later. I will. If I don't become rich first. LOL.

I wrote a few hundred words during lunch, no worries. The beginning has been easy - tying everything together is harder, making the reader care about the characters and what happens to them is harder.

Right now I'm just introducing the characters, so that's easy. I spent lunch on the roof of the parking structure, sitting in the truck. I kept expecting someone to shoo me off, since I was the only one parked up there. I think tomorrow I'll sit at a table in the courtyard. Before 2pm, I think - as the sun leaves the courtyard about that time and I'd rather enjoy the sun.

I also made a list of rooms for the bunker - I'd like to sketch out a diagram of the floorplan for the bunker and control room while I'm at it.

Halloween 2004!

(I wrote this out in pencil in my notebook...)

I love the smell of pencils! I habitually use pens. It's probably been 10 or more years since I've used a pencil - math class!

It's a silly thing, but I've always preferred pens: recently there was this little stub of a pencil at work, and I've been jotting notes with it. The pencil felt interesting, I liked the way the letters felt as I wrote them. I think writing with a pencil actually makes me write more slowly, and maybe my penmanship (pencilmanship?) improves because I write more slowly.

So I picked up a pack of pencils. The smell fresh and woody. It's a nostalgic 'school' smell - I enjoyed going to school, for the most part.

Tomorrow, I start working on my NaNoWriMo novel. It's already Halloween Night, and I still don't know what I'll be writing about!

Michelle is going to look at my list in a few minutes and help me decide which story idea to work on.

Ideas: (in no particular order)

(The numbers are Michelle's priority opinions/input)

3 - a) The Bunker
2 - b) Key to Subconscious
1 - c) Get a Job, Just to Quit
x - d) ark of the covenant stolen - end of the world
x - e) Saints
4 - f) Future - only human left - mystery
5 - g) Childhood issue investigated
x - h) Pro-Active advertising creates monster

So after discussion and deliberation, I decide on 'The Bunker' as the story I'll do first.

Friday, October 29, 2004

Fast Friday

Today's going along pretty well. It's payday today and I paid my dental bill. Only one more till I'm all caught up!

The bug database was down all morning, so we didn't get to enter any new issues. Instead, we worked on the default controller settings for the end users.

This week went by pretty fast - not as quick as last week, but not bad at all! I'm looking forward to the month of writing - I hope to get in the 'writing zone' and then just keep in the habit, keep writing, at least something every day.I still need to pick a story to write for November.

I've been thinking on and off about how I want to get all my short stories collected into a real book. Mebbe through cafe - we'll see. I need to get around to doing that before I lose them all in a hard drive crash one of these days.

It's lunch time and I just got back from a walk around the block - it's nice and cool outside! October in California is brisk, but not cold. I'm planning to sit in the courtyard and do some novel writing every day during lunch - hopefully it's not too cold for comfort.

The computer that I ordered for Mom and Dad has been shipped by HP! Right now it is estimated to arrive on Wednesday the 3rd of November. That's better than it was - yesterday, it was scheduled to ship on Nov 1st. Sounds good to me! I hope it works well for them!

Yesterday, my boss mentioned that another company was needing QA Testers, and he wanted to recommend me. I can't remember the name of the company - Mad something? Anyway, I don't know anything about it, so I don't know what to think.

Would I be working at Realtime or at Mad something? What kind of product? Not the kid stuff, please - that gets old so quickly. And for what sort of wage? Many questions, no answers. I could ask my boss, but it all seems very preliminary right now.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

2005 - The Year of Mystery! Whooooooo

We spent most of the day waiting for the new database to become active. Finally, around 3 o'clock, we were able to start entering the bugs we have been jotting down for a couple of weeks. Most of the ones I have are pretty minor, but hey, they're bugs.

I'm kind of in a confused state right now, I don't know what to do about 2005. I've been talking about going to school, but on and off lately, Michelle and I have been discussing moving next year. Should I start school and go to a part time work schedule if we're trying to move? Doesn't seem like a good way to save any money.

I'm kind of in a quandry right now. Part of me is afraid of the whole school idea and is looking for a way to put it off - is that what this is? Or the longer I think about the school idea, the more ideas/reasons I come up with to do other things.

Michelle is off tomorrow - she has to go in to work for a couple of hours, but that's it. I've been wanting to discuss it, but I don't wanna get into a big discussion about our future after she's had a long workday. So tomorrow, we can talk about it.

I'm still thinking about which story idea to use for NaNoWriMo. I dunno.

I have a couple more ideas for stories, neither of them are very funny though...

1) A twisted reality show - a group is picked up off the street and taken to a govt bunker. They're told that the world has come to an end, and that they - and several other bunkers dotting the globe - are the future of the human race. A small team of control room workers in a separate site must watch over all of the bunkers and guide them through any problems or repairs. The problems turn out to be engineered by the control room people, to draw dramatic scenes from the bunker. The bunker people are in on the whole scheme and it is their job to break the control room people. They must make the scenes as painful and stressful as possible for the control room people, until control room people can't take it any more and a) try to reveal the truth to Bunker or b) quit and walk out.

2) When walking to the car or towards the house, I hold my keys in my hand. I look down sometimes and realize that I'm holding the car key when I'm heading for the house. These are usually the times when I'm feeling cooped up and would rather be out driving. Sometimes I'm holding the house key as I approach the car, and I realize I'd rather be at home. It's as if I'm subconsciously choosing the key that leads me to what I am in the mood for. So what if, one day when I looked down, I realized I was holding a new key - one I've never seen before. This key leads to a new place - a place where some subconscious desire can be fulfulled.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

What to do, What to do...

Writing the novel in a month still seems like a wacky lark at this point, and I'm looking forward to it. I'm reading more of the No Plot No Problem book, and it's offering more insights than it did in the beginning.

In the 'wacky lark' vein, I was mentally browsing the list of story ideas from yesterday. None of the story ideas seem fun. Certainly no wackiness. Wouldn't it be more fun to write a story that had, you know, some fun in it? All the ideas seem like they would make good novels, but they're each so serious.

I'm really a goofy guy, so all this seriousness, I just don't know. Maybe I was looking for ideas worthy of being a novel, instead of something fun to write (and hopefully - read). I don't know about writing a funny book - when I try to be funny, it doesn't work. What works best is if I ramble on enough, eventually a funny nugget falls out of my mouth.

I'll have to dig around in my brain and see if anything funny floats to the top. "Funny? Where are you? Time for Dinner! Quirky? Get your butt over here and I mean Now!"

Hmn, we'll have to wait and see.

I could cheat and turn one of the serious story ideas into a silly one. Change "Nazi" to "Clown" and so forth. Um - I think that would just be creepy, not silly.

Reading The Life of Pi recently makes me realize how you can tell a story as if it were really happening, using metaphors for characters - not telling the readers that this is happening - until the end, when you basically change the meaning of the entire book with just a few lines. This is something I would like to do some time. It's a really interesting device.

This device could seem like a cheap trick, if done poorly. I think it could have been done better in Life of Pi, for that matter. It was too quick. The reveal should have been drawn out a bit more, fleshed out a bit. Hee hee. Fleshed out. (Read the book).

I have one story idea where this person solves crimes by having auditory visions/hallucinations. They hear song lyrics that portend the future and the past. They can then act on what they think is the message in the lyrics. However, if they don't know the actual song, and the full lyrics, they can misconstrue the meaning and get themselves into trouble, with funny results. Sounds hard to write for someone who doesn't know anything about music. More a Liz story. I should tell her about this idea.

I have another idea about a guy who gets a job with the express purpose of quitting in a huff. He's always wanted to say "This is bullshit. I'm out." in the middle of a meeting and just leave. Leave everything in his desk, walk right out. Right now that's all there is to the idea. I don't know what could happen next... Mebbe because the company has had such high turnover that they come to this guy for advice about how to better run the company. He's not interested in helping, so they kidnap him to pump him for information. And then... I don't know what then. They torture him for info and make him watch a brainwashing video over and over. The guy escapes from his kidnappers and... something else happens. Hmn, kind of like Office Space, and kind of not. I think the guy needs more of an agenda than just quitting a job. I'll have to think some more. So far, the 'guy quitting his job' story seems like the best fun one.

It's an hour later and I've tried getting on a couple of times to post this, but it's not working. Mebbe they are doing maintenance. Anyway, the more I think about the office guy idea, the less funny it seems. I guess anything can be funny, but office guy is more quirky than anything. I guess I'm overly critical of my own ideas. Yep. That's it.

Here's a fun story idea - for the end of the world to come about (per the Christian books) certain things, people, and events have to come along at the right times. One guy realizes that the end of the world is approaching, and he decides to stop it. He steals the Ark of the Covenant (See The Bible - Hebrews, Verse 4) and takes off with it, hiding it away. Trouble is, this was his destiny all along. He has taken the ark to where it needs to be. Bwah hah haa! Now that's some ironic shit.

I don't know which story to do... Of course, I still have a few days before I decide - the contest starts on Monday. Maybe I'll print all the ideas out, cut the paper into slips, and choose one from a hat. Hmn. I would like to have a couple of days to meditate on my upcoming book before I have to start writing it, you know?

Monday, October 25, 2004

Yet Another Monday

I'm at work, per usual. It's a slow day, per usual. Did I mention that the job we're doing now is scheduled to be complete on December 1st? That's the plan. So, barring any extra projects or delays, that will likely be my last day. At a guess, I'd have to assume we'll be late by a week or two - since most projects run over. Hmn, December 1st is a Wednesday. Odd day to be one's last day, what?

I've been stressing about the whole "go to school, eventually get a real job" plan. I dunno how I'll do at school. Normal classes = fine. (I think) Math classes = fear. I talked to Dad about my Math Stress while I was home in Cleveland, and he was encouraging, saying that if I work at it, I'll get it. Also that I didn't need an 'A' in the class, I just needed to pass it. True enough.

We'll see what happens. My Mom's view is you'll be 40 either way. Do you want to be 40 with a degree, or without? Good point. I don't know that I need a degree for what I'm planning... It's likely that I'm fooling myself to think I'll be able to take some classes and get certified, and get a job. I need to talk to some people in the industry.

I want to discuss my "writer" scenerio with Michelle, but I have not been able to bring myself to. I'd work part time, just as if I were going to school. Instead of going to school, I would write. Writing is cheaper than school - no classes to pay for, no books, no parking, gas, on and on. I think the classes are $18 a unit. Most classes would be $54 at that rate, each class requiring one or more books.

I don't know if I want to do the "writer" scenerio because I'm lazy and afraid of college, or because Damn It, I'm Meant to be An Artist!! Hmn. I think a real writer would probably spend more time writing than I do. Wake up in the night and write a story. Get inspired at work and spend lunch writing a story. Spend the weekend - not watching tv - but writing. I don't do any of those things. I think the last story I wrote is a couple of years old now. I have plenty of ideas, but I shelve them.

I've entered a writing contest through google/blogger. It's a thing where you write a book. You do a chapter a day, every day for the month of November. Each of these chapters are basically blog entries, and people can read them. At the end, the best book wins.

I'm gonna do my best and get up to 50,000 words (the least you can write to qualify) and tell a good story. If I can do this, it's a good sign that I Am An Artist Damn It.

We shall see!

Friday, October 22, 2004

Cheeseburger and a Pair of Dice?

Today was a good day, but long! Michelle and I went to the Jimmy Buffet concert in Chula Vista, CA

The concert was originally scheduled for Wednesday, but was delayed because of rain.

I was at work until about 2pm, and then headed home. I met up with Michelle at the apartment, and we packed up and got ready.

Michelle did the driving down to San Diego, which was mostly uneventful. At one point, we thought we had passed our exit. Turns out, there are two roads named "Palm" within a 5 mile stretch. Good thinking, oh silly street-naming-people.

We made a pit stop at McDonalds and still made it to the
Coors Ampitheater by around 7pm. ((It takes about 3-4 hours to drive to San Diego on a Thursday afternoon.))

The parking area was packed with cars - the 'general parking' area is an empty lot covered with the shredded wood/bark that is often used for landscaping. Since the Ford has pretty low clearance, it was a bumpy ride to the parking space. We feared we would be blocked in by people parking behind us, but the parking attendants allowed for plenty of room.

Let me say up front that I have been to very few concerts in my life - - let me count them up real quick... Hmn. I think 9 or 10, counting Jimmy Buffet. I've never seen such a laid back, excited and happy crowd. There must be something about Jimmy that puts people at ease. This was probably one of the best concerts I've ever been to!

Many people had dressed up, wearing tropical shirts, grass skirts, parrot hats, shark hats, blender hats, on and on. Everyone was getting their drink on and having a jolly old time.

Temperature was in the low 60's, and it was chilly! If we didn't have a 4 hour drive home waiting for us, I think we would have drank more. We got one marguerita and shared it, I think Michelle had more of it than I did, and we threw it away before we'd finished it. We're just not big drinkers. This isn't a bad thing.

We had good seats - the ampitheater is very nice, well designed, and the seats were comfy. The crowd was jubilant but well behaved, a bunch of silly people shaking their booties and cheering. It was as fun to watch the crowd as it was to watch the performers!

It was a chilly night - my hands and face got cold pretty quickly. But at least it wasn't raining! There was very little wind, too. We were pretty lucky. If we go again, I'll bring gloves. The footing was slanted (in keeping with the ampitheater, big curving bowl idea) and that was a little hard on the feet after a while standing.

Jimmy performed for over two hours, playing a generous mix of new songs, old songs, and covers. One of his backup singers did a great rendition of R-E-S-P-E-C-T during the intermission. Jimmy is all about crowd pleasing songs, and even the slower songs (like 'Come Monday') were well received by the crowd. There were lots of lighters lit for 'Come Monday'. Who knew?

Michelle and I took off running after the first encore, and it only took about 20 minutes to get out of the area and onto the road. The local police did a great job of keeping people moving and well directed. We got home at about 1:30, happy but tired.

It was a long, long drive and Michelle did it all by herself, both ways. She's a trooper!! We agreed that if we ever went down to the San Diego area for a concert again, we'd stay the night.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

How Bout Them Apples?

We tested the Generic PC version of the game today, taking a lot of notes. The bug database won't be up till Friday, so for now we're jotting. The game is largely the same, except now we're using keyboard-and-mouse, instead of ps2 controller. My wrist is sore!

Relaxed at home with Michelle. I enjoyed some cold pizza and watched a marathon about Broadway. Michelle played on the computer and did a schedule. I think.

Bratness and I are working to get Mom and Dad a new computer. I've got a good one lined up from HP, and now I'm just waiting for Michelle's check to come. Maybe I can just order the PC over the weekend, and Brat's check will show up Monday or Tuesday... I want the PC to arrive as soon as possible. Too bad I didn't know they needed one before my visit. I could have been setting up while I was there.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Hurry Up and Fait

Another slow day at work, I played Battle Realms all morning, until my neck started screaming from the funky angle I hold my head while I play.

I surfed the web and did some research on El Camino College. I sent the college an email with some questions about attending. I dunno if I asked the right dept the right questions. I guess I'll find out.

At about 4pm, we finally got a build to test - after weeks of nothing to do. So for 2 hours we messed around with the 'Generic PC' version and took a bunch of notes. The database isn't ready yet, so we're keeping a running log of what we find.

Michelle and I relaxed in the evening, ate pizza, enjoyed massages, and watched season 1 of 'Sex in the City'. It's all right... Nothing I'd set the VCR for. The writing is decent, but predictable at times.

Monday, October 18, 2004

Yet Another Slow Work Day

Nothing to do! We're still just sitting here getting paid. Well, at least I didn't miss anything while I was gone.

I spent all morning updating my posts for the week I was in Cleveland. I think I may have gotten some of the order wrong - We went to a restaurant on Wednesday, and I said Tuesday, that sort of thing - but I think I got most of the events right. I should have taken notes while I was there, each night before bed. Next time.

It's lunch time, and I'm waiting for the microwave to be free. It's odd, but Eugen and I tend to head to the microwave at the same time every day - even if the hour varies between 1 and 2 o'clock. Within the same 15 seconds, Eugen and I are hungry at the same time, it seems.

Yawn Stretch Nap.

Back in EL-AY.

Good to be Home!

Michelle was off from work!! We slept in and relaxed. I watched a couple episodes of Alias while Michelle puttered around the house, checking her email and chatting with Liz. We went out to lunch at Ruby's and then to Borders to browse the books. On the way home, we stopped at the grocery store and picked up some goodies for the coming week.

I spent the rest of the day watching Alias, munching cookies and being lazy. We only have one disc left before we're caught up to the end of season three!! The disc we're waiting for will probably show up Tuesday.

I don't know what will be going on at work. Did they have a busy week? Was I missed? Is the job over with? No idea what to expect.

It's nice to go on trips, but it's also great to sleep in your own bed!

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Saturday Already? So Little Time!

When I'd gotten back to the house Friday night, I made a list of things I wanted to get done before I left Ohio. It was a long list!! Trying to get better performance out of the PC had taken a lot of time.

I hadn't shown the family my web site, installed iTunes, upgraded to AOL 9.0, shown Mom the Netflix web site, on and on. I think there were about 15 things on the list. I set my alarm and got up early on Saturday, about 7am. I showered, ate, and then packed up my goodies so I would be ready to head out to the airport. I spent like 3 hours on the PC - finally getting Live Update to run - before Mom and Dad got up.

Saturday we relaxed and hung out around the house. It was a cold and rainy, very windy day and we all stayed snug inside. Michelle had stayed out late with Garrett and Jadi, and she slept in until I woke her at about 11.

Michelle let me take a bunch of pics for the merchandise page of my web site - she actually had at least one of each type of shirt that I wanted!! How cool is that? It will be nice to be able to use her pics, instead of the silly, temporary ones of me.

I got to grab a few minutes to show Mom, Dad and Michelle my web site! They were very patient as I rambled on about and had only nice things to say! It was nice to show them what I'd been rambling about for the past couple years.

We left for the airport about 4:30. We got there in good time, only to discover that my flight was delayed for about an hour. It was leaving at 7:05 instead of 5:50, and the family was kind enough to wait with me. I felt bad, but it was nice to have some more time with them. I got to my gate in plenty of time, but I saw no plane waiting. My departure was now changed to 7:25.

Eventually we boarded, and the flight seemed pretty full at first. I ended up with 3 seats to myself! How cool is that? I took over the middle seat and relaxed. I read my book, watched snippets of Spiderman 2, and played my gameboy. The flight was about half empty, and a lot of people got to stretch out. It was a nice ride, good flight.

It was really good to see Michelle again. We're very close, very snuggly. Being apart for so long is hard for a close couple! Seeing my family was fun, but my "real life" seemed really far away. Cleveland felt like visiting the past, like the airplane was a time machine. The flight back seemed like returning to the present. Odd feeling.

Michelle had received two more discs of Alias while I was away! I watched one episode before I passed out.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

The Powerhouse and Cabaret Da Da

Mom and Michelle were off on Friday! We spent a lazy morning together. In the early afternoon we went to the family's favorite Chinese buffet and had a very nice lunch! I tried to pay but Michelle finagled the bill away from me and gave it to Dad. Michelle went to get Garrett in the afternoon. I kept working on the computer, trying to get it to work.

Dad and I went to Best Buy, and he bought a new CD-Rom drive for their PC. He spent the next couple of hours installing it, and it worked!! I was able to install the Antivirus, but I kept having problems getting the Live Update to run correctly. There were also some blue screen errors that kept popping up. I think it might have been conflicts with the original CD-Rom drivers, but I'm not sure. The messages in the errors was very vague - "67356H error in VF2828" that kind of stuff.

Friday night, Michelle's old friend and now coworker Jadi came over, and we all went out for the evening. We went to The Powerhouse which is located in The Flats district of Cleveland (at the Nautica Complex), the newly renovated 100-year-old Powerhouse features dining, entertainment and specialty retail shops. This four-level brick structure, known for its smokestacks and arched windows, originally powered Cleveland's electric railway and streetcar system and is a National Historic Landmark.

(From Cleveland Scene Magazine): "The Powerhouse was once, as its name suggests, a power-generating facility for the network of streetcars that served Cleveland before exhaust-spewing buses rendered them obsolete. Abandoned and left to the rats and pigeons, the massive red brick structure remained a blight on the banks of the Cuyahoga until The Flats moved westward, and developers got the crazy idea that The Powerhouse could be reclaimed and renovated into a funky waterside entertainment and retail complex."

We played some games in a mini arcade, and then went to dinner at The Rock Bottom Brewery, a restaurant and pub. The food was very good - I had beer-batter mahi tacos - and we talked and laughed.

After dinner we drove further into downtown Cleveland, and ended up at our destination for the evening, "Cabaret Da-Da" which is a comedy and improv club. The show was two hours long, but felt like 45 minutes!

The actors were very funny, and asked for a lot of input from the audience. The only problem with that is, there were only about 10 people in the audience, and 4 of them was our group. We were a shy group, so it was a bit embarrassing. It was fun!

The actors were great, they were really focused and funny. I wish Michelle (wife version) could have been there! We really like to watch 'Whose Line is it, Anyway" and I know she would have enjoyed the show! We've never gone to a comedy show in Los Angeles, I don't know why. We need to get out more!

We didn't get out of the comedy club until about 12:30am, and home around 1am. Michelle dropped me off, then took Garrett and Jadi home. Nikita barked and barked at me as I tried to figure out which key went where. I was sure Mom and Dad would get up to investigate, but they did not. Very fun night!

Friday, October 15, 2004

Our Canal Towpath Riding Adventure

Mom and Michelle working again! It's hard when you start a new job - you don't have any vacation time saved up yet. Dad and I loaded the bikes and went to a canal towpath trail in the national park system, nearby. The picture of the guy standing in front of the bridge is neat because we went to that exact spot! How neat is that?

A towpath is where an 1800's shipping canal lies, where mules would pull canal barges up and down the canal system. There are locks and spillways, mills, and houses along the route, which is preserved as a historic site. There are mile markers, resting benches, as well as informative signs and placards all along the route.

The Cuyahoga river runs alongside the towpath, as does a historic railway. Very beautiful! This time I had my camera and took a few dozen shots. Gorgeous! We probably rode 8-10 miles total! The day started out partly sunny, but by the time we finished, the rainclouds had taken over.

In the evening, Mom and I went over to Grandma's and I helped her fix some things on her computer. It was all basic stuff, and I was glad to help. I just wish that Mom and Dad's computer was as stable as Grandma's!

Their computer worries me. I like sending and receiving emails from Mom, and I don't know how much longer their PC will live. They could replace the hard drive and buy a new OS (They have ME now and it sucks! XP me please!) and that would cost a few hundred and give them some more time, but they could really use a new PC. I need to price a few and get with Michelle (sister version) and see about getting them a new one.

Dad skipped his nap after dinner, and so he went to bed around 9. Mom and I stayed up and watched 'Oceans Eleven', which she had never seen. She liked it!

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Golfing Fun and Fearless Deer

Mom and Michelle were working again. Dad and I went to Little Met to play golf. We got there at a good time, about 10:30 or 11:00. We rented a bag of clubs for me and warmed up on the practice green.

We asked to go as a twosome, and the clerk agreed, but just before we left, we got paired with two other people. The other two guys were really nice, and really laid back. This was a very good thing, because I really stink at golf. Some of my shots went all of 20 feet. The very first tee was the best example, my ball skidded along the wet grass and stopped - about the distance I could have leisurely tossed it underhand. The golf went well, even though I had a pretty crappy performance.

Occassionally I would hit a decent shot, but I was very inconsistent. If I did something right now and then, I didn't know what it was or how to duplicate it. At the 8th tee, a threesome of what looked like mule deer were lazily munching grass right in the middle of the fairway. I wished that I'd brought my camera! But, with the two partners with us, I wouldn't have wanted to take the time to take pics anyway.

I was really wary of hitting the deer with my golf ball, since I was the first one up to tee off. The better players of our group are really good at sailing the balls up high, but the way mine liked to skid along the ground, I just knew I was gonna kill a deer. I tried shooing them away, but they just kept on eating. I hit the ball, and it went about 30 feet, or about half way to the deer. No reaction from the grass eaters.

Everyone else hit their balls, sailing easily over the deer, who never moved. I moved forward to hit again, and the deer still didn't move. I had to hit the ball again, now even closer to them. I missed killing them once again, whew! It wasn't until I got within about 20 feet that the deer very slowly began moving into the trees. Very slowly. As if they had absolutely no fear of humans.

After golf was done, Dad and I went to meet up with Mom at the grocery store. It turned out that Grandma was with her! We met up with them already in line at the cashier, and went home with them. Mom had stopped to pick up fried chicken earlier, and so we feasted on 'Mr. Chicken' brand goodness when we got home.

The computer was acting oddly, and despite my best efforts (which are not very advanced) would not behave. I asked Michelle and Garrett to take me to Best Buy, where I picked up Norton Antivirus 2005. I also demonstrated my mad dancing skills for Michelle and Garrett on the demo pad for Dance Dance Revolution. Michelle was laughing at me - it is funny to watching someone hop around on the pad.

When we got home, I tried installing Norton, without success. The CD-Rom drive was acting up and wouldn't read the disc. I tried repeatedly to get the install to work, but no dice. This also meant that I would not be able to reinstall the Kodak software, which would make Mom and Dad's new digital camera useless. Ugh.