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12 January 2007 @ 09:27 pm
I'm thinking about taking a blogging hiatus. Over the last months or so, I've been less and less excited to write about what's been going on in my life, not because nothing is happening (quite the opposite), but simply because I don't know if I have any words left to fill in the nooks and crannies of my day at this point.

I know there's a movement against the excuse of "too busy", but it's not just that. It's that blogging isn't my number one priority nowadays. I'm a boss now, and that takes up extra time I would spend here, and I'm in the process of cleaning up Mike's and my office here at home (which is a fucking train wreck project, let me tell you). And then in the time I have left, I've picked up a few new blogs I've been reading (especially the Comics Curmudgeon, the link's on the right toolbar). I sleep a lot better for some reason--not blogging related, of course--and I spend more time with Mike just doing whatever. I've also been skipping the gym hardcore and eating like crap. And this last weekend I was in Las Vegas for my sister Karen's wedding, where we ended up drinking some Cristal 1998, and later Mike and I went to the Playboy Club, which was an excellent place to party for boys and girls alike.

So you can see that I do have things to write about...I just don't feel like writing. Maybe work is sucking the life out of me, and I'm too tired to do or think about anything else. Hell, it's a Friday night and I just brought home and finished three hours of work, I worked 40 hours in four days, and I'm going into the office tomorrow.

Or maybe it's just that there isn't any drama to write about, and that's the fun stuff.

So I don't know. For the handful of readers out there, I may post sporadically, but don't count on it for a little bit at least. I'm not calling it a day here, I'm just taking some time off. No, LiveJournal, I'm not breaking up with you. I just need some time apart for awhile.

Thanks for listening, and I hope you listen when I pick this back up in about a month.

Seriously. Thanks.
27 December 2006 @ 12:03 pm
I want to say that not much has happened over the last few weeks, but really it's been quite the opposite. Instead of having nothing to post about, I've almost had too much, and the resulting overload prevented me from even checking my friends-list, much less yapping about what I've been up to. But I have time now, so what the hell?

I got the promotion at work, and now I'm in charge of five people (one of which works off-site). Then team I'm on is great--I didn't switch jobs or anything, so I'm leading my fellow teammates. I'm excited and a little nervous because work has been hellish. Plus, I have to work on New Year's Day. It sounds bad, but I'm earning two vacation days for doing it, and that's pretty sweet. I just have to be sure to stop drinking at 1 a.m. in order to be presentable.

Christmas has come and gone, and it was actually quite enjoyable. We did 85% of our shopping on the 16th, and the rest of it on the following Tuesday. Since we were done shopping completely, we enjoyed the last week before Christmas--we saw the windows at (ergh) Macy's, went to the German market in Daley Plaza, and watched ice skaters on the rink at Millennium Park (the line was an hour long, and we decided not worth waiting for). There was no last minute running around, and no flare-ups, or anything. It was just...nice. No complaints.

Mike finished his trimester at school and is off on break for two weeks. I'm really jealous, but I had a lot of time off earlier this month, so I really can't complain. I finished the storyline on Zelda's Twilight Princess, and became a mega-tennis pro on Wii Sports. I want to finish the mini-missions on Zelda before I get a new game (Elebits), so I have a long way to go on it.

And that's about it. Oh, I saw "Children of Men" last night and it was fantastic. Loved it! Go see it. Anyway, hope everyone's holidays went/are going well!
Current Mood: busy
06 December 2006 @ 08:07 am
Mike forwarded me an email sent out by Nintendo to anyone who registered a Wii which provided a link to a long list of warnings and do-not-dos. None of these warnings were a surprise to me; they were all enumerated in the Wii operating manual that came with the system. Being me, I read the whole thing.

It's mostly the typical video game warnings--watch out for carpal tunnel, watch out for seizures, watch out for TV burn-in, watch out for electric shock, that sort of thing. But since the Wii has a very unique, very interactive gameplay, there's a whole slew of new warnings--make sure you have a clear space for playing, so you can move your arms all around, make sure that you do not injure fellow players. The most important safety warning for the Wii is don't let go of the controllers, either the remote or the nunchuk. It seems intuitive and a wrist strap is provided, but when people get excited about tennis, stuff like this happens (the blog dedicated to Wii-related injuries and destruction is called Wii Have a Problem).

We personally haven't had any Wii-related destruction, but one time when Mike was playing Zelda, we were both sitting on the couch, me on the Left side when facing the TV, Mike on the right. He was getting really into a battle, and he punched out with the nunchuk (in his left hand), and punched me really hard in the knee. It bruised. Last night I was doing a mission so frustrating, so infuriating, I nearly chucked the remote and nunchuk at the TV. I didn't, of course, and after I just decided not to care ("I don't give a shit if their goddamned carriage burns to the fucking ground, I'm just going to let it burn") I finished it. I ended up squeezing the hell out of the controllers, but even with the worst "normal" damage to a Wii controller (not things like driving a car over it, of course) the controllers don't break. Nintendo may have made a fun if not somewhat dangerous product, but a well-made one at that.

Anyway, I think the best part of the safety warnings is a guideline about never letting go of the remote. They say on their website, "If you are having so much fun that you start perspiring, take a moment to dry your hands." Even when they're talking about people potentially ruining their TVs and items around them, they make sure to mention that this all happens in the name of fun. Which is totally true.
Current Mood: happyhappy
05 December 2006 @ 12:46 pm
My interviews on Friday were incredibly trying, and by the end I was so completely exhausted I felt like slumping over in my chair and taking a nap under the conference room table. They went...ehh. Not great. Not horrific, but not great either. Luckily, I had a nice weekend to help me recuperate.

Mike and I went to deepest, darkest Indiana with his mom (Kay) and step dad (Bob) to cut down our Christmas trees on a tree farm. When I was a kid I had heard of traditions like this and viewed them in a sort or Norman Rockwell sort of way: it seemed very traditional, very American, very Christmas, but that's not the way my family did it. We drove the three minutes to the Frank's Garden Center and picked out our tree in their lot. As my sister's allergies worsened and my parents became eminently more reasonable, we got a fake tree and never looked back. You never had to feed it water, or pick up needles, or get stabbed by needles, or cart the tree out wit the garbage, worry about getting tree sap on keepsake ornaments, or even go outside to get the tree. No, you just go into the basement, pull the coffin-sized box off of the shelves, and build the damn thing. Even thought fake (erm, artificial) trees weren't incredibly realistic back in the late 1980s, my parents got a really nice seven footer. It cost more upfront, but they understood that they wouldn't have to drop money on a new tree every year, and as time passed it was cheaper to have the fake one.

One of the downsides to a fake tree is that you can't tinsel it. Okay, you could tinsel it, but then that's a huge pain in the ass to pack up again. On our real trees, my mom would meticulously tinsel the hell out of it, and I thought that it looked awesome. We switched to silver garland when we got the fake tree, but it was never really the same (side note: I would tinsel my real tree now, but (a) I can't find tinsel in the stores and (b) I'm not as patient as my mom was, and that's saying something as she was incredibly impatient).

The first Christmas Mike and I had together (back in 1998) was a little surreal for me. We did stuff with my family--hors d'oeuvers and "Die Hard", and a tree with colored lights, and just lazy fun. With his family, it's the Norman Rockwell thing. A white-lighted real tree covered in silver and gold ornaments--very little garish colors, and no Star Wars, Star Trek, or tacky handmade ornaments--a dress up dinner and, I shit you not, singing Christmas carols around the tree as a family.

I honestly didn't think people actually did stuff like that.

As the time went on, I got used the two very different celebrations and their little quirks: my family's frozen pies versus Mike's family's homemade pies, real versus fake trees, singing carols versus watching Bruce Willis kick some German ass. It was comforting to have both--my "real" Christmas, and Mike's almost make-believe Christmas. When my dad died my Christmases changed, of course, and I spent more time with Mike's family. I've gotten used to their Christmas to-dos, but secretly I wish for pajamas and curling up on the couch, watching a movie, and eating miniature hot dogs wrapped in tiny rolls and cheese puffs, in the glow of the old-fashioned large colored bulbs on the fake tree. I like the pomp and circumstance, but like a scaled back holiday. In a way, Mike's family's Christmas is like taking a vacation to somewhere I haven't visited in awhile and although it's fun to visit, sometimes you just want to go home.

To get back to the point, we cut down our tree last Saturday. Mike's brother George was in Memphis running a half-marathon and because of that picking out trees was incredibly fast. We all knew what type and size of tree we wanted, so we didn't have to look at each...and...every...tree...on...the...farm first. In and out, that's what I like. We got a really great tree, and we decorated it Sunday (lights) and Monday (ornaments). As I've done for the last three Christmases, I asked Mike if we could get a fake tree--wouldn't it be easier, cheaper, less stressful?--and he looked at me as if I asked him we could start kidnapping kids off the street and locking them in our closets or something. Now we have a really great tree all decked out and it's definitely put me into a more holiday-esque mood. I just like having the tree--albeit a real one--covered in colored lights and tons of tacky and well-loved ornaments.
Current Mood: nostalgicnostalgic
30 November 2006 @ 09:39 am
Last Spring, my supervisor let slip that he was pretty much over acting as my work team's lead instead of just being a middle manager, and said that they were opening the position up for applicants and that I should apply. Of course I did, because it's a good career move and an increase in pay grade, and the fact was back then I really wanted the job. I submitted my resume via an department website, had one informal interview with my bosses, and then I heard diddly for about four months. I figured that either (a) the department couldn't afford to have another team lead, or (b) that they didn't think I was ready for the job. Sure, I would have loved some feedback either way, but I got none and just assumed that it was sloppy procedures.

So at the end of October, they said that the team lead position was open again. This time it was a lot more formal: a posting on the internal available jobs website, and another resume submission (although it was on a different system than the last so I had to rewrite mine from scratch--my own fault, now rectified by having a separate Word doc resume. And then nothing happened again. I, of course, assumed the worst: they didn't offer me an interview, so I should just shove off. While this was happening, a friend of mine at work left for a better job, and everyone started grumbling, myself included. Clearly they don't give two shits about me, I thought, otherwise they wouldn't be teasing me along with this leadership position.

So I started looking for a different job in the company. I didn't find much, but enough to give me hope. Just as I was at the end of my rope and was about to apply elsewhere in the company, I get the interview request email. Four formal interviews tomorrow with a whole slew of people. And what did I do? I of course accepted the interviews.

And so I'm going to let them keep yanking my chain for a bit, because God knows it'll take them months to sort out what they have after the interviews. The funny thing is that when I found about the interviews, I wasn't worried about how I would do, because I'm actually quite good at interviewing, especially this repetitive type of interviews--basically the same one four times, after all. No, what I was worried about was if I could still wear jeans on casual Friday if I had interviews that day. Would that be respectful? What would they thing? Blah, blah.

I asked one of the interviewers who works in my department--my new boss, actually--and he said jeans would be fine. Thank God on two levels: a reasonable uptight boss who understands the sanctity of jeans-Fridays, and the fact that I won't be obsessing about which pair of work-pants-that-don't-fit-as-well-as-they-used-to I should wear.
Tags: ,
Current Mood: dorky
28 November 2006 @ 08:20 pm
I finally finished the thing, and it felt really great. There's nothing quite like putting the words, "The End" on the page. This one's going to need a shitload of editing, and tons of problem solving, but the first draft, she is down on paper. Now comes the second most gratifying thing about NaNo: printing off the novel at work. Ah, nothing quite like physical proof of a month's worth of writing output and somewhat stealing my employer's printer ink. Doubly as satisfying.

So what did I learn this NaNo? That I can write a fairly okay book even if I'm not toally in love with it all the time (like I was with the last one). My biggest hurdle is keeping my butt in the chair, not the writing itself. I need to plan more during October, much more. Dance music is perfect writing music for me when there's no specific song/artist I want to write to.

No big life changing revelations, I suppose. Just small little ones. Like I really like doing NaNo, and I really like writing. I'm just loathe to devote my personal time on a regular basis to write. That's why NaNo works for me, because it's jumping into the deep end of the pool with no lessons; if you're determined enough, you'll learn to swim. And maybe you find you're a pretty good swimmer, and even if you're not Olympics-material, if you love swimming, then just do it regardless of what anyone thinks. I haven't had anyone read anything I've written except for the small blurbs I was putting on the NaNo website, and I haven't been doing that recently.

Anyway, I'm glad that I did it again this year, and didn't back out when it looked scary, or when I realized on October 28th that I was way under-prepared, and kept my promise to keep NaNo my focus.

Well, now what? I need to balance my checkbook, and do some Christmas shopping. Clean the bathrooms and go to the gym every day again (hopefully my ankle has healed over the last four weeks, and if not, I need to schedule a doctor's appointment to have it looked at). Start running again (God knows I can listen to Madonna more when I do that) and play Zelda a lot more.

All in all, it was a good month. Keep going if you're still writing your NaNovel, and if you've stopped, consider picking it up again. If you've never done it and have always wanted to write a book, start thinking about your 2007 NaNo now. NaNo's point is "if not now, when?" Maybe 2007 will be when you say "now". It's been my "now" for three years running, and I couldn't be happier!

NaNo Progress: 57,116/50,000 words done!
NaNo Word Count Ranking: 1,127/79,506 (top 1.42% of) total writers!
Current Mood: ecstaticecstatic
Current Music: Madonna yet again, and The Killers' "Confessions of a King"
24 November 2006 @ 03:39 pm
This is the best part of hitting 50K, but not being done with the novel. Because so many people finish up their novel just at or barely above 50K words even, I just keep moving up the total word ranking as I finish my book. I have about 6K left--one more chapter, and it's a doozy--but I'm too hungry to write right now. I'm going to take a break, and finish tonight or tomorrow during the day. I can't wait for normalcy again! No more writing! Going to the gym! Playing video games, a lot!

Also, I really, really have to thank my friend Lauren for giving me Madonna's new album. It's just been such a boon to me over these last ten thousand words. I'm actually a little sad that the last song I'll be writing to is from the Killers album that got me through the first half of the mo th because it's just the song that matches the scene, but this album just gave me new writing life. Incredible! She's getting a big hung on Monday at work.

NaNo Progress: 51,907/50,000 words done!
NaNo Word Count Ranking: 1,082/79,177 (top 1.37% of) total writers!
Current Mood: jubilantjubilant
Current Music: Madonna's "Confessions On A Dance Floor" album
24 November 2006 @ 02:18 pm
Reached 50K.

I still have two more chapters to go, and I'll probably end up with about 60K words total. I'm just glad to jump over the official hurdle, ut now I still have to finish the book. The Madonna album is working perfectly--I find myself bobbing from side to side to the music as I type, which helps me to not focus too hard, allowing me to just let the writing happen. Good times.

NaNo Progress: 50,036/50,000 words done!
NaNo Word Count Ranking: 1,953/79,174 (top 2.45% of) total writers!
Current Mood: ecstaticelated
Current Music: Madonna's "Confessions On A Dance Floor" album
22 November 2006 @ 09:37 pm
A friend of mine at work, Lauren, lent me Madonna's most recent CD which I added to my iPod. It's surprising how an infusion of new music can be inspiring, especially beat-heavy dance music. I didn't want to write tonight, true, but I did, and there were those brief spans of time when I wouldn't really look at the screen; instead I would stare transfixed at the keyboard as my fingers flitted across its surface, chowing through 500 words faster than usual. I strongly suggest Madonna's "Jump" as a power up song. If Madonna's not your thing, try anything new to you and upbeat. If it can make you bounce and bob as you write, then you'll feel your energy renewed.

Still not in love with my book, but I'm pushing, nay, cattle-prodding it forward. It's excruciating, but also oddly empowering--I'm proving at this point that I'm no quitter.

Saw the new Bond movie today, "Casino Royale". Found out that I personally would pay $9 bucks to watch Daniel Craig run, if that was his next film. So hot. My new inspiration for the love-interest in my book, a Chicago cop. Yummy! The movie was pretty good, and shit blew up. Not a bad time at the movies.

Now? It is time to eat, Wii, and sleep sometime in the next six hours. In that order.

NaNo Progress: 46,571/50,000 words done!
NaNo Word Count Ranking: 1,998/79,070 (top 2.53% of) total writers!
Current Mood: bouncybouncy
Current Music: Madonna's "Confessions On A Dance Floor" album
21 November 2006 @ 06:53 pm
I'm ready for NaNo to be over. I need to get back into the damn gym. I need to spend a lot of time with the Wii. I need to be able to come home and sit my ass on the couch and not feel like I have a huge obligation sitting on my shoulders. I just want this book to be done. In order to get to "the end" by the end of the month, I'm glossing over somethings that eventually I'll flesh out in the monstrous editing process. Whereas with the first novel, the editing is tightening the plot and cleaning things up, this one is going to need a lot more. Just more of everything.

NaNo Progress: 43,349/50,000 words done!
NaNo Word Count Ranking: 2,153/78,984 (top 2.73% of) total writers!
Current Mood: frustratedfrustrated
Current Music: Elbow's "Asleep in the Back" album