Friday, November 23, 2007

Laws to Live By

I'm going to take a little break from "typical" blogging and do one that gathers together all these awesome "Laws" I've discovered on wikipedia (the hitchhikers guide to humanity). These made me giggle, and I hope they will make YOU giggle too.

Hanlon's Razor

  • Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.
Godwin's Law:
  • As online discussions grow longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1.
The Three Laws of Infernal Dynamics:
  1. An object in motion will be moving in the wrong direction.
  2. An object at rest will be in the wrong place.
  3. The energy required to move an object in the correct direction, or put it in the right place, will be more than you wish to expend but not so much as to make the task impossible.
Clark's Law:
  • Sufficiently advanced cluelessness (or incompetence) is indistinguishable from malice.
Murphy's Law:
Hutber's Law:
  • Improvement means deterioration.
Segal's Law:
  • A man with a watch knows what time it is. A man with two watches is never sure.
The Peter Principle:
  • In a hierarchy every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence.
Sturgeon's Law:
  1. Nothing is always absolutely so.
  2. Ninety percent of everything is crud.
Hurst's Law:
  • Complexity can neither be created or destroyed; it can only be displaced.
Parkinson's Law:
  • Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.
The Principle of Evil Marksmanship (or the Stormtrooper Syndrome):
  • The bad guys are always lousy shots in the movies.
Anywhoo, I was feeling random this morning and figured everyone can use a good laugh. Wikipedia is so full of absurdity. A real entry to come.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Because One Idea Is Never Enough


He pushes it open with his left hand. Its squeak is so familiar now. In his right is the empty cradle. He wears a blue jacket that is only half zipped up. In the driveway snow, lingering far past its time, stains the gravel a dark gray. He squeezes close against the black wrought iron railing bordering the small landing they call a porch. Water drips from the corner of the awning. Dark patches of rust show in the corners amidst the threads of spiderweb.

His wife, now with flat belly, moves past him in silence. The maternity shirt she wore to the hospital billows empty before her. She carries a cradle hung on one arm like a shopping basket. The baby inside moves his limbs in short spasms, looking around with wide, gray eyes.


This is the first in an idea I've been dancing around for about a year now.

The book is potentially going to be called "A Thousand Little Things." It'll be made up of viginettes, some a whole chapter's length, some only that of a sentence. Each based around its own individual object. The book will be divided into sections or "rooms" with each of the objects and their viginettes pertaining to that room all building a house. They won't be organized chronologically, but by some manner that seems to make sense once it is done.

The idea comes from this buddhist expression I heard a while ago about "Ten Thousand Things". The idea has to do with the interconnectivity of everything. The book itself is aimed at expressing the beauty in the simplicity of life, and the way things exist not at the forefront, but are still integral.

This is going to be an ongoing one because scenes just are hard to write..

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Ramble On...

No blacking out today.

As interesting and amusing and bizarre as that was, it left me with a really haunted after taste. The sense that my body rebelled against me. It's sort of humbling.

Today was my eight-hour shift at the library. Long shifts like that are nice because you tend to just settle in and understand that this is your whole day. It makes me start to pine for the whole not being a student thing. Being able to have that library job where I can help people all day, and then have the evenings to myself to write, or just hang out. It's kinda depressing to think that two years ago I would be saying the opposite, swearing that I could never have a nine-to-five desk job. And here I am now pining for it. Oh how the mighty have fallen.

I am coming home for Thanksgiving in a little under a week. I can't wait. It seems that life has been reduced to writing, class, work, riding the train, and counting the days between when I can disappear from Chicago. I have 180 days and 20 hours until my last class is over, unless of course I drop my last class, which means I will only have 180 Days and 16 hours. It's really tempting. The GRE is coming in 18 days and I haven't even cracked a book. This should have me far more worried than I am. Especially the math. *shudder*....

Thank god for audio books. I do 4 hours of "lost missing," which involves going shelf by shelf through the library with a list looking for books that are on the list and are on the shelf, so they can be removed from the list for the next time I go through the library shelf by shelf with the list. I get to listen to large portions of audio books because Lost Missing is a very mindless job, which only requires one out of ever 4 seconds of actual attention. The other three I can listen to audio books, and get twice as much reading done as I normally would. I'm listening to Stephen King's "The Shining" right now.

I shocked my tutor when I told her that I started a book a month ago, and I was planning on tearing a first draft out by New Years. She looked at me like I was ambitious, and maybe a little stupid. Raised eyebrows, briefly slack-jawed "o face." After reading King's "On Writing" I realized that he was right, that what I was doing wrong was letting projects take too long. A book should only take a few months to hammer out a first draft. Any longer and I've spent too much time thinking on. Here's my process theory in a nutshell. First Draft: Get it out. Second Draft: Fill in the weak spots. Third Draft: Now I have a large block. Now I have to chip away at the block, cleaning off the fat and excess.

I'll be back to finish this soon...

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Blacking out the Fiction

I came within moments of passing out today in my Oral Expression Class.

Today was the ever dreaded "speech day." The goal for this one was to get experience in giving an "informational speech" to the class lasting five to seven minutes. We are always instructed to pick a topic that is near and dear to our hearts. I decided to do mine on the rank of Eagle Scout, and the trappings involved in obtaining that honor.

I woke up this morning feeling very rested after a night of heavy homeworking. I showered, dressed, poured over my speech one last time, and then boarded the train to school. No problems. I got a quick bite to eat at Panera, and a cup of coffee hoping to settle my nerves. Then I went to class.

When I got up to give the speech I was, as I always am, nervous, with a tremor in my hand which I swear you could see from the moon, but no one ever claims to see. Heart racing from the adrenaline of nerves, and a bit of caffeine in my system. The first line, a quote from Gerald Ford concerning his Eagle, I felt was great.

Then a few moments in it starts to hit. This sudden sense of a large burden, or maybe more of a dropping sensation. My extremities go numb, though I mostly notice it in my fingers and hands. It's like all the blood suddenly evacuated my limbs in an emergency retreat to bolster around my heart or something. I forget a line or two. Keeping thoughts in order becomes hard, and anything witty has long since been tossed out the window. Then starts the blacking out.

It begins as an inaudible squeal coming from just inside your ears. It feels like someone is ramming chopsticks through your eardrum into your brain. A gathering pressure between the eyebrows that makes my head feel like a massive zit that would just feel better if I could pop it and release some of the pressure. A squeezing sensation in both my temples. Then on the edges of my vision this blackness appears. You don't realize it until later. It creeps in. Insidious. You start blinking a lot, thinking that maybe it's just your eyes playing tricks on you. Vision starts to go blurry. All the while the blackness is creeping forward. The pressure is building. Your thoughts are becoming nearly impossible to push out, but the one thought that rings true is just to barrel on dammit, barrel on. I remember thinking that I've heard of this happening to other kids, with nerves, but I don't have those kind of nerves. I was buffallo bill for god's sake.

And then the teacher appeared at my back. I don't remember seeing her get out of her chair, or cross the room, or the surprised look of the students that I now notice. I can't help but think, "oh boy, now I'm forever reduced to 'that kid who almost passed out in speech class.'" She led me to my seat and then somebody, a guardian angel sets a bottle of water before me. I think she asked if I was ok, but my only thought is still "I have to finish my speech, I can't take this bad grade."

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Am I Pretentious?

I've been reading a ton lately.

I finished the Dark Tower series, the new Dinotopia, the Book of Joby, On Writing, and a drove of comics since September. Being immersed in stories this often has had a huge benefit on my writing. I'm starting to get to the point where I can analyze how books are written without it getting in the way of the story, which is something they've been trying to teach me at Columbia.

Two days ago I started reading Jack Kerouac's book "On The Road." And this morning I put it down. It's the first book I've put down in a while (that's not school related). It makes me feel pretentious to look at what is hailed as a Great American Novel, and by many THE Great American Novel, and just go "meh, it's nothing special." The writing seems amateurish, the story nothing to grab. He does everything that we've been taught against. There are very few actual scenes. He tells us things happen instead of letting the story show it. This means that instead of Character saying, "blah blah blah," we get: and the character told me that "blah blah blah." Maybe I am just pretentious bastard. He even uses the completely unnecessary tag at the end of a story telling us that "it was funny." If it was funny, then you wouldn't have to tell us...

So instead of finishing it (I'll get back to it eventually, I think) I put it down and picked up a "comfort read" in the form of one of my favorite series, the Warlord Chronicles by Bernard Cornwell. This series tells a historically rendered tale of the Arthurian legend. These are some of my favorite books. Check em out.

Stay strong WGA!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

This is awesome.

fairy tale love does happen, and whoever disagrees can kiss my ass.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

WGA Strike

The Writers Guild has gone on strike!

As a writing student and hopefully future writer for TV and/or movies (among other things) I am totally in support of the actions undertaken by the WGA.

More information can be found at these websites. Please give them your support.

this will give a basic overview of why they are striking:

constant updates here:

sign the petition to show support here:

for facebooker's show support here:

how else can you help?

If you're near a picket, bring em food, or drinks, or shouting support, or anything you can think of!

With contract talks between the SAG (Screen Actors Guild) and the AMPTP (Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers) and the DGA (Directors Guild of America) and the AMPTP looming things are going to get tight. The DGA and SAG faces the same problems that the WGA is facing, and all three unions (DGA SAG and WGA) are showing a likelihood of solidarity agains the AMPTP concerning DVD costs and New Media outlets. We're talking a potential cessation of anything in Hollywood. That means no new TV Shows, no new Movies (if it gets REALLY serious). But even worse it means all those people unemployed and not getting the income needed to take care of their family. Because that is what it's all about.

Show support! Support the WGA

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

194 days (and I'm not counting)

I'm here!

Still plugging away at The Long Goodnight (broke 17,000 words).

I've found it particularly challenging doing research for the ridiculous concept of Goodnight. Every time I google "what if the sun went out" I find unhelpful pages talking about super novas, radiation, and everyone saying that "the sun can't just go out." The closest to interesting fact I can glean is that humanity would only have a few weeks (far shorter than the original three months I had figured (which makes me wonder which website I found the three month fact on)). I've yet to hit that turning point in the story, but it's coming soon.


I'm currently reading The Book of Joby, which is something that everyone should go and do if they get a chance. It's a whopper of a book, and will require some serious attention in order to get through, but if the conclusion is as good as the first 2/3s than you're in for a treat. A better review of that is on the way.


I've registered for the last of my classes at Columbia College. It's an odd sensation. Part of me is so ready to graduate that I am floundering in senioritis. The other part of me still is set in disbelief.

On that same note I've started chipping away at the application process for UW:Madison, and UMich. The process is very slow going, and I get the feeling that it is going to continue to feel daunting until one day I'm going to sit down to work on it and realize that "oh my goodness! I'm done!" Then I'm not going to know what to do with my time. Maybe I'll finish The Long Goodnight.