being a twit, i have created a spreadsheet with two charts that will mark the progress of my novel throughout the month of December. one chart tracks the total-to-date word count against the expected progress. the other chart tracks my daily word count against the daily word target.
i am quite excited, but i need to flesh out my characters more. seppo gave me a really good character trait for my male lead yesterday. i need more of those things that will flesh out the characters. with a solid handle on my characters and a skeleton for a plot, i am hoping to be surprised by the twists and turns that they will take me through in the coming month.
i did not cry over it, but i spilled milk at work today. it was a spectacular display of copious amounts of liquid in motion. the graceful arc it made as it flew through the air nearly brought a tear to my eyes as i stood there, coffee cup sitting next to me, hands still shaking a milk jug that was no longer there.
ok, so i just cracked up.
two evenings from now, i shall embark on a month-long journey into bad prose. my bad prose. a couple of things:
- most likely, i will not let anyone read anything until i am done writing, and possibly not until i am done editing.
- i will not allow myself to do any real editing as i write. the analogy is to running a marathon: just because you think you could have run a part of it faster, it doesn’t mean you should go back and run it again. just focus on what is ahead.
- as such, if i do let anyone read any portions, it will not be for constructive criticism, only showers of encouragement to get me through the finish line. remember, quantity, not quality! 🙂 afterwards, i will be open for plenty of constructive criticism.
- i may be a bad friend this month. please forgive me. i will make it up to you, i swear.
my sister is coming to the US to visit our mom & brothers in atlanta on december 2nd. she’s going to stop by on the way back to korea, from january 13th to 18th. yay! i will get to see her and my two nieces again. seppo will be meeting the little one for the first time. i have to make sure mobi is not going to eat my sister’s young.
the clinton library is opening right now, as i type. i listened to speeches by various people: average citizens who had been affected by clinton’s policies, former presidents carter and h.w. bush, prez w. bush, and hillary clinton. hearing about clinton’s effect on people made me cry in the car on the way to work. i am truly sappy in my creaking old age. the difference between clinton and bush is so vast that it is heartbreaking. carter’s speech was extremely moving in its respect and obvious affection for clinton. i have to say that the senior bush gave a really gracious speech, really giving clinton his due in a very personal way, even though i’m sure they hate each other. the little bush gave what i thought was a very bland speech with all the required platituded but nothing more. and i’m 100% positive that my views on the speeches are biased, so don’t take my word for it. 😀
last night, i read more comments in the blogs of ex-EA employees. it makes me truly fear for seppo and his sanity. it also made me grateful for my workplace. the scheduling has been really reasonable, moreso than anywhere else i have ever worked. during crunch time, i put in maybe 1 or 2 extra hours per day for maybe two weeks, with one weekend day and one comped holiday, which was really on a volunteer basis. the rest of the time, i am completely shielded from the pressures of other departments and the manager fight hard to make sure we are protected and not overworked, as well as feel personally appreciated on a daily basis. the managers have lives and focus on their families, which is wonderful. it’s a place i’d like to stay for a while to come.
i figure that the novel writing venture that i will embark on will not be the pursuit of the Great American Novel ™; rather, it will be the “Hello World” of novel writing for me: i will learn the technical details of novel writing, including such details as setting up dialogue, character biographies, maintaining consistency of location and position of the characters in a scene, and other such mundane details.
framing it in such terms allows me the freedom to learn these basic things and write for volume without worrying (too much) about the quality of my prose and plot. “Hello World” is not about producing shockingly insightful ways to say “Hello World”. it’s about taking a basic, mundane, uninteresting functionality and implementing it. as such, i have decided to implement a very well known, basic, formulaic plot, which would go a long way to guaranteeing that i will see this task through, as i would not have to worry about what needs to happen next in any given scene. given my reading habits, it is clear that this plot will have to be the very typical historical romance, with no frills.
last month, when i cheated and wrote a few pages for this project, i started writing about me and seppo. the story was fictionalized and the characters had different names, but i figured it would be easiest not to have to come up with characters and their voices by going with knowns. in the first scene, i accidentally injure and hospitalize seppo. heh. i think i might take that somewhere in the future, but for now, i will be working on a very cookie-cutter story which will purposely be built to lack in originality. 😀 way to set the low bar. i’m pretty excited about it though.
i am listening to Chicago’s “I Don’t Want To Live Without Your Love”. shortly before that, i listened to New Kids On The Block’s “I’ll Be Loving You”, and Skid Row’s “18 and Life”. i could still pick out Donnie Wahlberg’s lines. bwahahah. needless to say, i just threw some bucks down for a trip down memory lane.
yeah, i know the songs are not good and have no real lasting quality. but listening to them still makes me as giddy as a twelve year old, which is when i first heard all these songs. i don’t know why i enjoyed these songs. probably because they were popular and for no other reason, as my musical tastes had not yet been developed. yet, i still enjoy them, and there is no other music (or anything else, for that matter) that can evoke such a sense of how i was at that age. when i play this music, i can remember when i couldn’t see beyond high school, when i believed in the innate goodness of people, when i drew little hearts all over my notebooks, when little curlicues were a must in my writing, when friends made each other mix tapes, when it was important to get my jeans cuffed just right, when the best thing in the world was seeing that guy at his locker between classes and when the worst thing in the world was not being allowed to stay 5 minutes longer on the phone.
heh, i have a selective memory. that certainly was not the worst thing in the world at the time.
what it means to you, if you are in the computer industry and making less than the equivalent of $41/hour, then you are NOT an exempt employee. see, exempt employees are exempt from being paid overtime anytime they work over 40 hours per week. see, most software engineers i know work more than 40 hours/week. but most software engineers i know make more than $41/hour, which is roughly $81,000-85,000 per year, depending on how much time off you get.
see, until june of 2004, i was not an exempt employee, except i never knew that. i never knew that i was entitled to overtime pay. if i play a really conservative game, i would say that i worked, on average, 1 extra hour a day. like i said, it’s a really conservative game i’m playing. for the year 2000, i believe i am owed $14,625. for the year 2001-2004, i am owed $15,234 PER YEAR. this brings me to wages earned, but not paid, over four years of $60,327, IF i only worked one extra hour a day, on average.
i am so, so, SO mad. it’s not like i didn’t know they were underpaying me. but it’s different to know that i actually legally already worked and earned a certain amount, but was robbed of it.
eta: that “$41/hour” rate is adjusted every october 1st, and goes into effect the following january 1st. the new rate starting on january 1, 2004, was $44.63. my estimates above are based on the lower rate. also, if you work over 12 hours in one day, you are supposed to get paid two times your regular rate. there were at least a few times i worked between 16 hours and 20 hours a day. that means that there were days when my day’s pay should have exceeded $1000. haha. i laugh. i laugh bitterly. when i’m worrying about my mom’s health care and paying for my little brother’s college, i will be even more angry than i am now.
it’s easier to disguise blogging when you do it via an email interface, so i am taking advantage of blogger’s email blog setting. let’s see if this works.
life has been pretty good lately. things are going well with seppo. the dog is calming down, slowly but surely. i am developing a skeleton of an idea for the novel, which i have shamefully put off until december. i do have some worries, of course, mainly having to do with finances. i have to get a repair on my car because the half-shaft boot which keeps it protected and free from rain and road grit has cracked. i have to renew my registration, which involves getting smogged. i have to renew my insurance. i have to renew my AAA membership. i have to send my mom some money because of some wood repair and treatment we are doing on the house. i should send my dad some money before Christmas so he has time and money to buy some stuff. i am somewhat worried about the scope of my project and that i’m not fully on top of every detail yet, with time slipping by oh-so-quickly. still, i’m happy overall.
i sometimes wonder if it’s a blessing or a curse that i appear to have no ambition. mostly, i am happy and thankful for who i am, because it lets me lead a fulfilled life. but i sometimes wonder if i shouldn’t be doing more, being more. and i also wonder if that’s just an ego problem.
eta: it looks like email blogging adds line breaks, so i had to go back and manually delete them. boo.
i know that it’s not that simple for most people, and that many people don’t understand the full repurcussions of what they are voting for, but i thought it captured the idea pretty nicely.
sometimes, i wonder if people are just naÃ¯ve… perhaps the average person does not understand what the role of the president is? i don’t mean to excuse people who don’t understand; i just want to first try to figure out what is going on with them. i remember that as a child, i thought of the president as sort of a king that gets to have that position via a popularity contest, like you had the be the “best person” or “most well-liked person” to be prez, then you’d rule over your kingdom. and at a slightly later part of my childhood, i thought the president was the representative of your country to the world, but i didn’t give a thought to the actual practical governing aspects of things. i wonder if there is a significant bulk of people who vote in this country that believes that (1) the president is just your country’s spokesmodel; (2) that bush is a “good person”; and (3) that they want a “good person” to represent us. i have no idea. i mean (1) is sheer ignorance in the literal sense, (2) is due to either reception of purposeful misinformation or perhaps some sort of a cognitive dissonance due to preconceived notions of the man, and (3) is… actually kind of child-like and sweet, except that this isn’t the president of your grade school classroom, and (1) & (2) are so totally wrong!
hrm. i’m going to say that there can’t be that many people that fell under this umbrella. i was just trying to figure out a way to preserve my ideological belief that in general people aren’t inherently evil and aren’t voting to oppress others, but perhaps it is i that is suffering from cognitive dissonance, as there seems to be plenty of evidence to the contrary. that makes me very sad.
another book i’m interested in getting from amazon is Perfectly Legal: The Covert Campaign to Rig Our Tax System to Benefit the Super Rich – and Cheat Everybody Else by David Cay Johnston. i heard him talk on air america radio this morning.
i think i’m losing some fat! and i think it has to do with seppo’s wonderful, home-cooked meals. mmmmm mmmmm good. man, going home is so great when you have a great guy with tasty food and a crazy cute dog to greet you. 🙂 yay! i love seppo’s vacation more than he loves it, i think. last night, he made fried chicken and sweet potatoes. man oh man was it great. tonight, i think he’s going for ribs. *drool*