Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Nano 2013... I'm All In!

2013 have been a strange year for me. The biggest issue has been my complete failure in finding a way to manage my time appropriately. Work has become an ever growing presence in my life, time with my family now has to be scheduled – since the teens would only stop by for clothes and money if I didn’t. Hard for me to believe that there was a time that, while I never had tons of free time, I had at least enough to write some, read some, blog some, and still watch movies, have family time, and do whatever else struck my fancy.

(Now that I think of it, I make some sort of apology/excuse for not posting or visiting almost every time I put something up. Maybe I should just have an “I’m Sorry” tab that people can read. That way I can just link to it every time I post.)

Those days are gone. Not just work, but also things like my house, which seems to be aging worse than I am. Of course, with the house, that means I deal with its aging problems by building new things, adding new features, and generally spending more and more of my money and time trying to make it better.

The latest problem has been the rear deck, always a frightening thing to see, but of late has become a danger to us all. The new one will be up to code, and it should much larger. So yay.

But I’ve really slowed way down on my writing. I’ve probably written less in 2013 than I have since 2005 or so, back when I decided to really start dedicating myself to learning the craft. It’s depressing somewhat. But it is what it is.

So, of course, I’ve decided to try NaNoWriMo again. I think I’ve completed the challenge five or six times now. But I can’t say for sure. I don’t participate every year, and I think I did it for the first time around ’06. So we can do the math and figure out that I’ve missed a few years in there.

It makes me nervous because November promises to be a difficult month for me time-wise. But I’m starting to realize that I can’t just ‘fit’ writing into what I’m doing, I have to force it in, or I won’t do it anymore.

Really, it’s a big moment for me, realizing that.

So, I’m going all in I guess. I’ve got my genre picked out – Urban Fantasy – and my premise all set (It’s actually super awesome, maybe the best idea anyone has ever had about anything*). I've not quite got the plot figured out, which is okay, although I’ll feel much more comfortable if I can get my ending set, so I at least know where I’m going, even if I’m a bit confused on how I’m going to get there.

Please, if you're signed up, add me as a buddy.

*Okay, I know there are arguments to be made for some other things being as great as my novel idea. In my head, the most profound insights ever from humans go something like this:

1)      The premise of my NaNo project this year
2)      Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity
3)      Darwin’s Origin of Species (even if you disagree with his conclusions… it’s damned amazing)
4)      The Scientific Method
5)      Fred Hoyle’s work on the life cycle of stars
6)      Descartes ideas on the nature of the human soul (despite how ridiculously wrong he almost has to be… still a great idea).
7)      Anything Tyco Brahe did, because… damn.
8)      The discovery of the circulatory system.
9)      The germ theory of disease.
10)   Newton’s discovery of Calculus.
11)   And Gravity
12)   Bruno’s belief in alien worlds.
13)   The many world’s aspect of quantum mechanics
14)   Alfred Wallace’s theory of evolution (because he was crazy!)
15)   Lamarck’s theory of evolution (because I have a bet riding on this one)
16)   The standard model of quantum mechanics (pretty cool, but not AS awesome as #13)
17)   My grandmother’s fried pie
18)   The Copernican Principal
19)   The Atari 2600
20)   The first Halo game
21)   The discovery of modern Fertilizer (btw Fritz Haber won the Nobel Prize for this… but he also invented modern chemical weapons… and personally led the “Gas Troops” for Germany in WWI and killed thousands (his wife committed suicide over this and thought him a monster). Four other future Nobel winners served under him – if memory serves (always dicey), he was later convicted of War Crimes. Seriously, this is where the Mad Scientist stereotype comes from).
22)   The electric guitar
23)   Anything Leonardo Da Vinci did (who should probably be higher, but I don’t feel like messing with the list now… just mentally insert him up there ahead of Tyco Brahe – I mean, I don’t recall Brahe making into any Assassin’s Creed Games – then again, Brahe had a pet Moose that got drunk and died after it fell down the steps at a party. So there – also, lost his nose in a duel over who was better at math, and he died because he refused to pee… so, his actual accomplishment, cataloging stars, well, you try doing it so well when you’re partying with a Moose, losing body parts and obsessively trying to hide your data from competitors).
24)   Oh, Assassin’s Creed games
25)   SETI
26)   Playing Cards (I should totally look this up… who invented those things? Because they are amazing)
27)   Kepler’s three laws (might have come a lot sooner, if Brahe weren’t so weird about sharing data – he viewed Kepler as a rival).

Were I to start over from scratch, I’d wager my list would look much differently. Whatever though, as of this moment in time, these are the greatest things that humanity ever came up with. I’d note that my Grandmother has something on this list, so, yay. She is pretty great.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Killbot Q&A, Being Poor Sucks But it Looks Like I'm Not Alone, Plus More!!

HELLO WORLD! I have been somewhat absent of late. Anyone who's been around my blog for very long knows I tend to drop off the map from time to time, and that can be for a few days, weeks, or in some cases, several months. I think I've mentioned before that I'm in a constant state of juggling my free time, which grows smaller daily, with my multitude of interests that keep me sane. As I spend more time doing one thing, something else has to disappear for a while. Sometimes that thing that gets left behind is blogging.

So, please, accept my apologies for rudely disappearing lately.

A FEW THINGS I wanted to mention. One, I appreciate all the mentions and/or reviews of My Killbot Buddy I've seen. It means a lot. There is a question that has come up more than once regarding this story, so I figured I should answer.

Question: Are there more stories planned within the Killbot universe?

Answer: No. That said, I tend to write (or try to) all my stories with the possibility of more to follow. But I write slow. If by some miracle something I'd written managed to gain some sort of traction with the larger reading world then I'd certainly revisit the Killbot universe. I've got more ideas for stories now than I could possibly tell. But assuming Killbot doesn't gain 50 Shades levels of fandom, I've got several projects in various stages of development (some almost complete, one or two just beginning). I really have to focus on getting those finished first. That will probably keep me busy for the next two years, minimum. However, all of those are bigger projects. I reserve the right to produce shorter works whenever it strikes my fancy.

Wow, I almost felt special writing that. Anyway...

I WENT TO DISNEY WORLD* last week. That's the one in Florida. While there, I discovered that taking the whole family there is expensive. Like, way expensive. We stayed at a Disney resort (which was provided for us), but after getting tickets for us and the boys, then doing things like eating, well, we were up in the thousands of dollars pretty quick. 

Totally worth it, but it got me thinking about how exclusionary those sorts of prices are. I mean, there were thousands and thousands of people there, so it really seems like no one has a problem with it, but, well, let me show you a video about wealth distribution in the U.S., it explains things way better than I can.

The draw dropping point of the video is where they finally explain that the top 20% of wage earners have 93% of the wealth in the U.S. Or to reverse those numbers, the bottom 80% of wage earners add up to having 7% of the wealth in the U.S.

That is stunning.

In the breakdown later in the video, it shows that more and more of our wealth is being taken up by the top 1%  - so even that top 20% wage earner is doing relatively worse than they were a few decades ago.**

Anyway, I'm in danger of getting political here, and that isn't my intent. I just wanted to point out that I am firmly in the middle class, and it was tough to afford a week at Disney. In fact, I think we'll have a very lean 6 months or so coming up as a result.

* I actually have a fun story or two regarding Disney that I hope to share soon. This, however, is not one of those.

**I didn't fact check this vid, but I did do some research a few years ago regarding taxable income and wealth distribution for an economics course I was taking at the time, and using govt provided stats, I came up with some similar numbers. So, I buy this as being legit enough to post without worrying too much about it being filled with misinformation.