Tag Archives: writing

Meet Molly Brown Nylander

ThumbnailThere have been many goings on recently. There’s actually been so much, that I haven’t had time to attend properly to this blog, like I wanted. But busy is good.

To start, I would like to introduce everyone to the newest adopted member of the Nylander clan, Molly Brown Nylander (sorry for the bad lighting, but if I used the flash, then I wouldn’t have been able to properly capture the color of her eyes):

Molly the Puppy

As I’m sure you can tell, she is a chocolate labrador retriever, recently turned one-year old. So she is still a puppy but in a full-grown body. Her favorite activities include sleeping on people’s feet, sniffing crotches, and playing keep-away in the backyard. She even has her own Twitter account: @mollybrownnyl.

She has been occupying a lot of my time lately. I recently moved out of my Santa Monica apartment and am on my way to living in Venice for a while, but for a short time I’m staying with my parents in the San Fernando Valley to help them out with Molly (she’s their puppy).

My mother recently went through major neck surgery, and with a rambunctious full-grown puppy around, it was a concern about her being able to take care of Molly the way a puppy needs during the day, as well as if Molly could get too rough with her while she’s healing. So, I’m staying with them to puppysit while my mother heals. My mother is actually doing very well so far, by the way.

However, this along with my job hunting has been taking up most of my time. This means that I will not achieve my goal of completing my novel, Payroll, by my birthday, which is in less than a week. I’ll have to give myself some other arbitrary date in the near future for when I will have it done so that I can once again miss my self-imposed deadline.

It’ll happen. You’ll see.

Now, if you’ll excuse the short update, I have a brisket in the pot to make my corned beef and cabbage recipe.

New Year’s Post: Better Late than Never

ThumbnailSo, here we are, halfway through January already, and I have yet to make a post to this blog. In my defense, part of the reason for this is that I suffered a catastrophic computer failure on New Year’s Eve. After six years of being driven really hard, my old laptop kicked the bucket, and I had to order a new one in the emergency. After all, I’m not going to get anything done without a working computer or be able to write to this blog. Since then, I’ve had some usual distractions, but have been spending most of my time on the new computer (which I’m writing this one) setting it up the way I like it. Which is not easy, as I’ve been married to Windows XP for the last ten years. In my opinion, XP is where Microsoft finally got it right, and I was reluctant to move away from something that had proven itself so well. I avoided Vista like the plague, and I’m now running on Windows 7, which is familiar and yet different enough that I get lost easily. So far, I like it and I don’t, although what I don’t like is probably due to my lack of familiarity.

Well, onto the New Year’s post. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to write in this post. All I knew was that I needed to write something. I’ve averaged about one post per month lately, which isn’t good. I need to keep up, make people know that I’m still alive. I didn’t want to write any New Year’s resolutions. I don’t believe in them. I’m a firm believer that, if you want to make a change, there’s no reason not to do it now, immediately, in the middle of the week, month, or year. However, I will make some New Year’s reaffirmations, to be sure that I stay on track with my goals:

  • Continue getting in better shape. I was doing this fairly consistently, although I’ve had some trouble lately for various reasons. So I just need to keep plugging away.
  • Finish the first draft of my novel by my birthday. I initially had the goal of completing it by the end of 2011, but I knew at the time that it was probably too ambitious. I’m giving myself a new goal of completing it by my birthday in March. Again, this might actually be rather ambitious, but it’s more reasonable, and I’ll hopefully make it. Then comes the editing…
  • Continue the job hunt. I’ve had some good prospects, but I need to continue looking for regular work, even at the expense of finishing my novel in March. The bills need to be paid.
  • Post more regularly to the blog. Yes, I know, I keep saying this, but I’m coming up with a schedule in my head for how I want to do this, so I can make it more consistent.
  • Find a cheaper place to live. I need to cut my expenses down, especially with the anticipation of more expenses in the future. So I need to save more money, and to do that, I need to cut expenses. I’ve enjoyed where I’m at up to now, but the expense has recently been vastly outweighing what I’m getting for my money.

I don’t think these are unreasonable, and they’re just continuations of what I’ve already been doing. Although the last one is new, but something I’ve known would be coming along anyway.

On a side note and an as update to my earlier posts on my experience DMing Dungeons & Dragons Encounters, the season I was DMing finished, and it seems that a fun time was had by all. I had a very consistent group during the entire season, and by the end I had killed two players’ characters. I guess I was more brutal than I’d planned. Unfortunately, the location where I’ve been playing did not get the new season because there was too much interest in it, so now I’m in a group has started getting together in the off season to play The Dresden Files RPG. We’ve had one play session so far, but it seems pretty fun and I’m looking forward to the whole campaign. And while I’m talking about D&D, I will have some thoughts about D&D 5th edition (commonly referred to right now as D&D Next) later on. But in short, I think that Wizards of the Coast may be missing the point of why they’re having some issues with 4th edition. More later.

A happy belated New Year, and get cracking on those resolutions.

NaNoWriMo: Fail; Weight-Loss: Meh

ThumbnailMore than a month without an honest blog post. Because I’ve been working hard…or hardly working.

In short, I ultimately did not participate in the National Novel Writing Month this year. I had everything ready to go, and at the closing bell on November 30, my word count towards a NaNoWriMo novel was a whopping zero. That’s not to say that I didn’t work on anything. As I had decided near the end of October, I chose to focus on the manuscript for “Payroll,” but that has also slowed down somewhat, and I’m losing faith that I’ll finish the manuscript by the end of the year as I had hoped. Am I disappointed? Of course, especially because I thought my idea for a NaNo novella was not bad. Maybe not great, but something to write in the insane pace of NaNoWriMo that I could feel comfortable with and not get too attached to.

But, as I said, I also didn’t get as much work done as I had hoped in general during November. Aside from increasing the amount of time I’m spending trying to find regular work, I’ve also had some depression issues that started around the end of October. This isn’t unusual for this time of year, and it’s been something I’ve struggled with in the NaNoWriMo years I’ve participated. Every year around this time, I start to suffer from a general depressed feeling. I’m pretty sure it’s not Seasonal Affective Disorder (more commonly known as SAD) because I tend to feel the same way around April and May of each year, too. It seems to run on a six month cycle, so it likely has a biological basis. I think I’m starting to do a little better now. It’s also probably the reason I haven’t written an honest blog post for over a month now.

I have started exercising and trying to improve my diet, not only to combat my current depression issues, but also because I really need to lose weight and get in better shape. I’ve had some other physical issues, and with my back problems getting worse as the weather gets colder, I’ve decided to actively try and strengthen it before I become bedridden again with back pain during the winter to see if I can make it easier or shorten the down time. When I weighed myself a couple weeks ago, I weighed in at 199 lbs. Not good, and my blood pressure has been responding in kind, being in a pretty consistent state of prehypertension. That’s the biggest concern. However, my girlfriend gave me twist stepper as an early Christmas present, something I can use to get a good lower-body cardio workout that’s low impact so my back is able to handle it. As of now, I’ve only lost about 2 or 3 pounds (my scale is not terribly precise), but I’m looking leaner in the face and neck, and my girlfriend has said that I’m looking different. I’m chalking up my slow weight-loss right now to muscle gain, as I’ve been taking protein shakes after my workouts to facilitate muscle-healing, but it seems to be having the side effect of building a lot more muscle than I’m used to. The fact that I’m looking leaner with much actual weight-loss would confirm this.

I’ve also started drinking these nasty vegetable drinks, which consists of spinach, broccoli, carrots, tomato, cucumber, a squeeze of lemon, and water blended together to get the maximum nutrients out of it. I’ll admit, it doesn’t taste great, but after a few time, it felt like my body was craving this drink, like it was desperate for the nutrients. Actually, it’s more tasteless than anything, so the squeeze of lemon gives it some needed flavor and opens it up a bit.

Of course, during all of this, I seem to have caught the cold that won’t die, so while I’m still doing all of these things to fix my body, a virus seems to have some other ideas. So, I’m cutting this blog post a little short as I’m still groggy from the NyQuil and it’s hard to concentrate. The only good thing about being sick is having a reason to take that stuff.

Doing NaNoWriMo Half-A…er, Half-Way

WritingSo, will he or won’t he? The answer is “Sort of.” I have decided how I’m going to handle the National Novel Writing Month this year. I will meet the NaNo goal half-way. Not necessarily at 25 thousand words, but here’s the plan.

I’m still committed to focusing on the manuscript for “Payroll,” but I think I’ve figured out a way to have some leeway to let me participate in NaNoWriMo. I will focus first on “Payroll,” needing a minimum of one hour to an hour and a half per day to meet my goal by the end of the year. I’ll work more on it if I feel so inspired. I still need time to work on other things, such as finding regular paying work.

If after this, and only after I have put in my time on “Payroll,” I feel so inclined, I will work on my NaNoWriMo novella. And I’ll be honest about it. I’m only going to include my word count from the NaNoWriMo novella, even though I will be technically writing a whole lot more during November. I’ll also probably limit myself to an hour on the NaNoWriMo novella each day. So a minimum of an hour on “Payroll,” and a maximum on the NaNoWriMo novella (yes, I have a title in mind, but I’m not loving it yet).

The end is in sight, and I can’t get distracted with the finish line so close, but I can’t ignore the muse when she calls or risk losing the inspiration for great ideas. This is the best plan I could come up with handle the big project, handle life overall, and satisfy the muse.

I should probably whip up a quick outline over the weekend, as there’s not much time. Making this decision at the last minute is probably going to cost me sanity-wise. But given it’s novella nature (not to mention that it’s actually a pretty simple concept anyway), it should be pretty short and sweet.

Go Cards!

Why I Write

WritingOn this, the third annual National Day on Writing, writers have been asked why we do so. I’ll add my bit to Twitter and Facebook, but I feel that a more comprehensive post about it is in order, and an opportunity to give an update on the manuscript for “Payroll.”

I’m not entirely sure why I write. It’s simply a deep-down need, without an identifiable base. It’s always been there, ever since I was in grade school. I wrote stories back then. I’m not sure what became of them since they were written out by hand and not on a computer, but I have some memories of them. No, I don’t care to discuss them right now, and they’re probably better left buried.

A friend and teacher once referred to the writing bug as a disease, which is probably quite accurate. Writing is a mental disease, where if you don’t have the writing compulsion, you aren’t going to truly understand it. As such, it makes it extremely difficult to put into words. How’s that for irony. A disease that compels a person to create and mix words also prevents a person from describing the disease using said form.

It’s also has to do with a love affair with the printed word. I read a lot as well as write. Given the number of book reviews I’ve posted, that should be fairly obvious. I simply can’t imagine what my life would be like without print, other than devoid and empty. It gives me meaning. It sees me through darker times. It conveys strong ideas, stirs emotions, and takes us to other times and places, real and imaginary, and even beyond imagination. It inspires people to new heights, pushes cultural changes, and sparks revolutions.

Yes, this is the glamorized ideal of the writer and what we all wish and imagine our work will accomplish. At the same time, most of us also realize how rare it is to accomplish such feats. And yet we still try. Our mental illness compels us to do so. The great writers are and have always been my heroes, the ones whose work changed society. However unlikely it is that I can achieve equal status, I still have the disease, the compulsion to keep trying, to inspire others, make them think, and even laugh in the process.

At the same time, it’s just plain fun. I get to make little word games to play with people’s minds. Anything I write is limited only by my imagination. If I want there to be a horse with 12 heads, there will be a horse with 12 heads. Because I say so. So, yes, there’s probably a little bit of arrogance, if not megalomania, involved with the compulsion.

We’ll see how well it ultimately comes out once I finish my manuscript. At the same time, I’ve gotten a little distracted on that front (how’s that for a segue). I’ve begun to reconsider my decision to not participate in NaNoWriMo this year. I had a dream about a week or week and a half ago that was really vivid, and I felt like it would make a good screenplay. Now that I’ve tried to lay it out a little bit, I’m starting to feel like it would make a better novella, and then adapt it to a screenplay. And it would be the perfect thing to write for NaNoWriMo. Ack! Sometimes I hate my muse. I’ve only got ten days left to decide whether to allow myself to get distracted during November and delay completion of the manuscript for “Payroll” to my birthday. It is a self-imposed deadline, after all, but I’m not sure that I want to break with my own goals. Where does it stop, then? Decisions, decisions!

I’m also wondering who came up with October 20 for the National Day on Writing. November 1 would be so much better, as it would coincide with the start of NaNoWriMo. We need to coordinate, people (not to mention coordinate people).