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“Any sufficiently analyzed magic is indistinguishable from science.” - Girl Genius, by Kaja & Phil Foglio

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." - Arthur C. Clarke

Perspective, it's all about perspective ...

Thursday, November 29, 2012

NaNoWriMo Update, Day 29

Tradition upheld.  Reached 50K on the 29th. 

My software (AppleWorks) said I was at 50045; NaNo word counting bots gave me 50483.  Sweet.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

NaNoWriMo Update, Day 28

Traditionally I take the last two days of November off from work.  I request December first, too, if I remember.  This year I remembered! 

I worked Monday (my regular day off) and my generous boss suggested I take today off as a replacement.  I'm happy.  My word count is happy - 47160.  And I don't have to go back to work until next Tuesday!

I have a few errands to run and plans for this evening, but there's no writing pressure because I've already passed today's minimum (46676). 

Another tradition of mine is reaching 50K on the 29th.  I've done that four of the past five years.  Last year I cleared it on the 27th and ended with a personal high of 53154.  (Yes, I have a spreadsheet!)

Tonight I'll get a critique on the opening of one of the short stories I wrote this month.  Ideas from that will fuel the writing tomorrow.  Three thousand words shouldn't be too hard ... and there's tradition to uphold.

Congratulations to all my NaNo buddies who've already reached 50K and have their purple Winner bars. 

Commiseration to my buddies who couldn't make it this year.  Life happens and sometimes overrides the writing.  It can happen to anyone; some year that will be me. 

Encouragement (and buckets of words carried by plot bunnies) to my buddies still in the race.  Hope you get purple bars, too.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving Day and Reminisces

I’m grateful for living now, for the advancements and changes that I’ve seen over the past half century.  Reduced discrimination, increased opportunities, amazing technology. 

Distance from events changes our perspective.  I can even be grateful for those people in my life when I was young who told me “girls can’t do that” and “college is wasted on girls, especially you.”  Those statements hurt, but gave me the drive to prove them wrong.  Pushed me right into an A average and advanced degree in oceanography.  

As an undergraduate I had several classes where I was either the only woman or one of two women, and I went to a large state school (FSU).  In graduate school I was one of three women students in the department.  We had one woman professor.  One!  A woman of awesomeness, a full professor with a PhD in physics who held a joint appointment in Oceanography and Geophysical Fluid Dynamics. (*waves*  Hi, Ruby, if you ever see this.)  There were cruises where I was the only woman on board. 

There was discrimination.  The professor who graded the women lower for the same answers as the men.  We ended up in the department chair’s office over that one.  :)   The chief scientist on a cruise who gave me the 2 to 4 watch (that’s 2 pm to 4 pm AND 2 am to 4 am - the absolute worst shift) and ‘joked’ it would put me in my place and teach me women didn’t belong at sea.  That was my first deep water cruise and my first as the only woman in the scientific party.  A hurricane formed over our sample site (Anita) and we ran for port at the same speed the storm was building.  Sitting in the galley with my life jacket after a 4 am shift, along with more than half the crew, I was told I needed to get a knife before my next cruise (they assumed I’d be back; they were right) and a lively discussion ensued on the merits of fixed blade vs switch blade which included demonstrations.  I was quizzed on how to determine where I was relative to the door if we capsized.  Fifty knot winds, 10 meter seas (on a 100 meter vessel) for two days, chugging along at 13 knots was a hell of an initiation.  The wooden fruit bowl in a macramé hanger near the entrance to the galley was swinging to within a foot of the ceiling.

I bought a knife.  Not the type recommended, but one I was comfortable carrying.  It lived in the pocket of my jeans whenever I was at sea. 

I am grateful for all the people who encouraged me over the years, the folks who still encourage me when I tackle tasks I’m not sure I can manage.  Who remind me my toolbox is deep, my knowledge base broad. 

Attitudes have changed.  What was once not even considered as realistic (women firefighters, multiracial marriage, same sex marriage) is now either mainstream or moving in that direction.  

There are still challenges.  Discrimination isn’t gone.  Climate change has been ignored by policy makers for too long - drought killed more civilizations than wars ever did.

We can’t let those with small imaginations and limited ideas prevent us from following our dreams and accomplishing our goals.  I'm grateful I learned that lesson early. 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

NaNoWriMo Update, Day 18

Good morning, internets.  I’m still catching up.  My word count last night was 25719.  Should have been at 28339.   That puts me 2620 words behind. 

If I write 4300 words today I will be caught up (today’s words plus that deficit).  I’ve done 4K days in the past.  Not yet this year, but I think I’m in a place where it might be possible.  I have a dozen stories going.  This past week I’ve focused on expanding what I rushed at the end of Rising Tide.  Oh, boy, did I rush!  What was one paragraph is now three single spaced pages.  *looks down, shuffles feet*  And the ending is changing again ... I think I’ve figured out a way to get that big confrontation in after all.

The other ongoing stories in my NaNo have been resting all week.  Should be time for them to burst out with new directions ... 

Daughter and I are going to a write-in at a coffee shop this afternoon.  It runs from 3:30 until 8.  Don’t think we’ll stay that long, but it will hopefully be good for both our word counts.

Meanwhile, the coffee pot has stopped gurgling.  I’m off to make my first mocha of the day and get to work. 

If you're doing NaNo, too, best of luck and may your word count soar!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

NaNoWriMo Update, Day 10

It's 10pm and I have ZERO words for today toward NaNo.  It was a work day for me, but still.  That is pathetic.  My second zero day for the week.  I am currently at 13034. 

My accomplishment today was making ring tones for my new iPhone.  Oooh.  Ring Tones!!  If you call me, "People Got a Lot of Nerve" by Neko Case will let me know.  At least for now.  I have eight to choose from so far and I suspect I will rotate them fairly frequently. 

I will now start writing.   I only need about 3500 words by midnight to be on track ... looks like tomorrow and Monday will be major catch up days.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Railroad Bill

In honor of NaNoWriMo and writers everywhere, here's my second (annual?) posting of the wonderful spec fic author Steven Brust performing Andy Breckman's variation of the classic folk song "Railroad Bill."

Friday, November 2, 2012

NaNo and Work

It’s Day 2 of NaNoWriMo.   We are crazy busy at work. 

Our section dropped from five to three people (attrition), one of the remaining three went to second shift.  The two of us on day shift now have two newbies to train while keeping up with the four person workload.  AND the other trainer was off three days this week.  Yesterday surely set a record for the number of times I was interrupted.  I’d be focused on the project I was reviewing, a newbie would come by with a question.  Pull mind from project, get a focus on newbie’s project, figure out problem and give answer.  Return to my project, just get focused again - and someone else needed something.  All. Day. Long.  Today had fewer interruptions but an added project of timing (with a stopwatch) each step I do in LIMS (the software we use to manage data) and recording all relevant info for a special IT study. 

My brain is a bit fried.

I wrote about 800 words today and am amazed I got that much! 

Last year I made word count almost every day and it even felt easy; that was aberrant.  Unprecedented for me.  This year is shaping up to be more like what I call normal.  I know two days of data isn’t reliable for statistical purposes, but trust me here.  Normal used to be: lucky if I got 800 or 1000 words on work days.  That made Saturday catch-up day, even if it meant 4000 words or more.  Sunday was write a cushion day, with a minimum of 4000 words. 

My schedule is different now.  So this month, Sundays are catch-up day and Mondays are write the cushion day.  Probable minimum of 4K each day.  Don’t even ask what I’m going to do on the 11th when noon to 6 pm is tied up going to a play with friends.  Not ready to deal with that one yet. 

Write on!