Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Taking a Break

What the heck is going on here? There I was, chugging along with a fairly nice head of steam, posting every day and ending each day with the next day’s post in mind and then last week things just seemed to fall apart on me. As much as I want to blame the caffeine and beer, I have to be honest with you, it was the learnin’ that got me.

I spent the last week in training for a software package we recently purchased at the office and this training was very intellectually challenging. It has been a long time since I got home from anything and I was physically tired because of the amount of thinking I had been doing that day. It was exhausting in a very pleasant way. I am sure part of my exhaustion comes from the fact that much of the training, which was in digital forensics, took place about three levels above what I actually understand about computers and therefore I was having to spend time either Googling for information to fill in the blanks or, far more often, trying to make leaps of logic on my own. I find this happening fairly often in my new job. People assume that I know far more about computers and how they work than I actually know, therefore I am forever having to make things up as I go along or channeling my kung fu inscrutability and telling people I think I can do something but I have to check on something else first. It is both fun and terrifying as I enjoy the challenges this presents but I am also worried that someone is going to figure out that I don’t know as much as I pretend to know. I guess I will just have to plant those special poppies around the castle to keep people out.

As I said the training was, while intellectually exhausting, a lot of fun and it provided me with another one of those, “Gee, this really is a small world, isn’t it?” moments. One of the trainers was a guy from my high school graduating class. We went to school together from 5th grade through high school and knew one another because we were both in band. Beyond that we did not really run in the same social circles. When he walked in on the second day of training and I heard his name I had that moment where I was wondering if he was the same guy I had gone to school with. I didn’t ask because I am really uptight about stupid things and I wanted to save myself the embarrassment of being wrong. (I HATE being wrong.) His voice was familiar, however I am a stubborn fool and so the question wasn’t resolved until the lunch break when he asked where I had gone to school. We chatted about old friends and had the “Where Are They Now?” catch-up session in which I discovered I have inadvertently kept track of far more people I knew in high school than I thought. (And this doesn’t even count the ones I have stalked on the internet.) It was cool to reconnect with someone I had not seen in over fourteen years.

Now that I have given you my excuse for the last couple of weeks I need to move in to making my excuses for the next four weeks. Tomorrow is November 1st and this marks the beginning of National Novel Writing Month and after missing the boat last year I have thrown my hat in the ring. For those of you unfamiliar with National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo as it is affectionately called by the left coast collective that came up with this little brain-burner, the entire point is to write a 50,000 word piece of prose between November 1st and November 30th. A quick bit of math will tell you that this works out to 1666.67 words per day. To give you an idea of how many words that is, this is the 684th word of this post and I just pushed past the first page of this post in MS Word. Three pages of prose a night is definitely an achievable end, particularly since the key to completion is not to edit at all and that (besides poorly constructed run-on sentences) is my single largest problem as a writer. I end up working on a project and getting about ten pages in before the need to revise takes over and I end up with about five pages of polished text before I am burned out or have lost the thread of my story. This time the quality of writing doesn’t matter, just the quantity; the goal is to reach the 50,000-word mark by midnight, November 30th. It is definitely doable.

All of this is by way of saying that I am going to take a break from writing for the Opiate. Over the next thirty days I need to concentrate my writing time on crossing this particular finish line. On top of that we have this little thing called Thanksgiving crammed in there at the end of the month which means I am going to have to be spending some quality time with the family (not that I mind) right in the midst of that critical, “Oh God I have slacked off all month and need a couple of caffine and Monster fueled nights of mad writing to get this done,” time period.

Before I sign off for the month I had a couple of house keeping things to do:

  • My brother sent me a link to The Marmot’s Hole, a blog about Korea from the vantage point of an ex-pat.
  • Somewhere I stumbled across OhMyNews.com which appears to be an experiment in citizen journalism based in Korea. There I stumbled across this article where I learned that part of Gyeongbokgung had just been opened the weekend I was there at the palace on my most recent trip.
  • I have FINALLY posted the pictures from my trip to Tokyo and Korea in my Webshots account. I broke them down in to Tokyo Cityscapes, Tomioka Hachiman Shrine, Senso-ji Temple, Meiji-jingu Shrine, Hanshin Tigers Game, Sengaku-ji Temple, Imperial Palace, Seoul Cityscapes, War Memorial, Deoksugung, Korea House, and Gyeongbokgung. You may note that there are no pictures of my friend, Nobuyuki, or his family. He asked that I not post pictures of them to the internet. This spring and summer the ultra-national fundamentalists in Japan have discovered a taste for the terrorist actions and since Nobuyuki is active in national politics in Japan (and about a diametrically opposed to everything the jingoist fundamental choad weasels stand for) he thinks it would be safer if no pictures of his family appear on the web. I think it is sad that we have to take precautions like this however I will certainly do nothing to put them at risk and would have not posted them without any explanation at all. (It is too bad, too, because there is a really funny picture of me cutting up with his kid.) Sorry it took me so long to get this done.
  • If anyone wants to keep track of how I am doing or be a writing buddy, my NaNoWriMo user ID is, surprise surprise, funkywoodjam.
  • Happy Halloween!
I think that is pretty much it.

Wish me luck cause here goes nothing.

(1,254 words.)

1 comment:

Connie and Rob said...

I have so been meaning to get over and thank you for the lovely postcards you sent me. What a surprise! Sounds like you had a wonderful trip. Hope to see some of your pictures.

Take care and Thanks again,
Aunt Connie