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A MESS

January 20, 2009

Growling at myself today. I have a million things to do and I can’t stop to focus on any of them for more than a minute.

I’m taking a break from revision on the book to finish a short story I’ve been playing with since the fall. I am in love with the concept of this story, but something comes and blocks the actual production of it everytime I sit down to work on it. So I distract myself with blogging, twittering, facebooking and then get up and do something like laundry or cook.

Now some stories are just bad ideas and I talk myself out of finishing them because they’re better prompts and exercises than they are anything else.

But some stories are great, and the reason I have trouble with them is not because I’m at a dead end, but more like a locked door. There’s some psychological key to the door and I’ve got to find out what it has to do with, why it’s there at all, and what it will take for me to solve the problem in my head so I can get through it.

Sometimes it’s as easy as solving a plot problem. But this one is a “me” problem. I know the reason why the story isn’t flowing. It’s a genre I’m uncomfortable with. I know that’s why it’s important for me to take the time to complete this short story. But what I don’t know is why I have this problem to begin with. Why on earth would this genre, which I love reading and watching, be difficult for me to write? When I sit down to write it, something inside me squirms and feels miserable, almost guilty.

I’ve got to solve this. This story needs to come out, and I feel like when it does, it’s going to be like opening the cork on a good wine that was forgotten in a dark and musty cellar.

That or it will be like opening the top of a septic tank.

Whichever, I need to find out why I love this genre but feel like I’m barred from creating anything in it myself.

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We Have a NEW PRESIDENT!!!!

January 20, 2009

I am overwhelmed to the point of tears. It was a wonderful speech. It hit hard against the darkness of the last 8 years. It offered hope, and while drawing differences between the present and the past, offered continuity with our most enduring values. 

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The White House’s website is up, with a new look and a new outlook on how to connect with the people of the United States and the world. 

White House Blog is featured prominently on the front page. 

Vasant and I are on the way to class, but go out the door with a sense of new hope and promise underneath each footstep.

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Writing and Managing my Work from my Phone

January 17, 2009

So I’m off to the gym to do revision work on m’book. I’ve got the Samsung BlackJack II, a smartphone that roughly edits Word and Excel, and can save and send from my device. I get a lot of good ideas when I move, so being on the treadmill with my trusty hand-held device is great. 

I’ve tried using a notebook while I’m on treadmills or bikes at the gym, but it always looks like I’m measuring seismic activity rather than writing down ideas. Using my phone is light weight, can be managed with one hand at times, and is more stable even when I’m moving fast. 

I like the QWERTY keyboard on my Samsung, and the document editing, but I’ve gotta say, I wish I had a phone I could sync up with my laptop. I work on the MacBook Pro, and wish I could sync up programs like Mail, iCal, and especially, MacJournal, with my phone via MobileMe. The iPhone looks great, but as a writer, I hate the lack of QWERTY and the inability to easily manage office documents- which is the only reason I bought a smartphone to begin with. 

But then I heart THIS is coming:

Documents To Go for iPhone.

This will be key for me to switch over. I hear there is an app for a QWERTY keyboard, which I can test out on my I-Touch. But I won’t switch until it manages documents, and if that happens (I’m thinking it may roll out in June??) then I will be totally converted to the Mac. 

Here’s what it will be able to do, according to Gizmodo’s guess: IPhone Office: Microsoft Office Documents Editing Coming to the iPhone

My current phone can’t even create native Word and Excel documents. This app will outdo my phone in a slicker setting. My husband giddily anticipates that day. Since getting me to let go of my PC and watching me fall in love with the Mac, it’s been one year-long ‘I-told-you-so-smile’ coming my way from him.

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My favorite Lost episode…

January 16, 2009

I’m watching “The Constant” right now, arguably the best episode of LOST’s season 4, and debatably the best episode of the entire series.

Theory:

You can’t help but think that Desmond’s adventure through time and his desperate attempt to connect with Penelope Widmore is going to be integral to the series finale, and tie up the entire show. If you’ve seen the episode, you’ve got to wonder if this is not just a charming sci-fi love story, but something more. A foreshadowing of the time/place shift that perhaps the Island has now gone through.

The island moved when Ben released the same kind of electromagnetic energy that occurred when Desmond unlocked the fail-safe down in the Hatch. Desmond, after surviving the event, became unstuck in time (his first experience in this is not his flashes, but in the episode “Flashes Before Your Eyes” (Season 3, Episode 8). Leaving the island aggravates this and without a constant, Desmond’s sanity unravels until he can reach Penny in the future.

At the end of season 4, the island moves. That same electromagnetic energy that unsticks Desmond in time has moved the Island. If in the episode “The Constant”, it’s revealed that when things become unstuck in time they need constants, that could be a VERY IMPORTANT clue as to why the Island requires all that left the Island to return to it together, as a Constant for the Island.

Just a thought.

I love this episode. The editing, acting, music, and the importance the story itself carries, not just for two characters but for the overall schematic of the show, is incredible. And the fact that every LOST fan I know cried at the end of this episode speaks something about the ability of the show creators and the writers to make us care for the characters in the cast who we’ve seen maybe the least over the last four years, but who feel like maybe, by the end of the show… they may end up being the most important characters of all.

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I could watch this episode over and over, and yet…

I know that because they put so much dramatic emphasis on Penny and Desmond’s separation and their promises to stay true, constant and find one another…

I am pretty such they will be disrupted soon in season five and driven apart. We know Ben is looking to kill Penny, and Widmore really hates Desmond, and would like nothing more than to use Desmond’s knowledge of the island and then dispose of him.

5 days until the new season begins. CAN. NOT. WAIT.

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A Surplus Population

January 14, 2009

“Well, if they’d rather die, they had better do it and decrease the Surplus Population.” – Ebenezer Scrooge

Chewing The Fat: Requiem. by Dave Hingsburger. 

A friend of mine posted this article. I read in horror a tale about paramedics who were called to the aid of a 59 year old man. H had called for their aid because of a heartattack. Operators who had remained on the line, however, listened as they agreed to let the man die because he was fat. 

I was horrified at the thought of this being true. How could people choose to let a man die? I’ve read those articles that rail against the obese as harbingers of doom, carrying disease and pestilence, weighing down our health care system and pushing their health cares on us. I especially love the *health experts* who decry obesity as a strictly modern phenomena. That is not historically accurate at all, and I’ve got the pictures of King Henry 8th to prove it….

But to decide to let a man die? 

I had to fact check it: Paramedics arrested after allegedly ‘neglecting’ dying man | The Guardian

There it is. It actually happened. 

Two paramedics actually let someone die because they judged his lifestyle, rather than save him because that’s what they’re paid to do. 

I hate fat phobia. But what I hate more is the skinny idiots in this world who have only ever had five pounds to shed who say that fat phobia is a made-up fear that fat people use to feel victimized in a victim-centric culture. 

A couple days ago, Jack Cafferty  at CNN blogged about his outrage over our nation’s rise in obesity (Cafferty File: Obese America), not checking to see what the study was based on, and disregarding the many comments protesting the findings of the study. Most doctors disregard Body Mass Index (BMI) as a viable way of measuring whether a person is healthy or not. But man, obesity sure makes Jack Cafferty (who I usually like) pissed off. This is not his first fat-centric rant.

But fat phobia is rampant in our culture. If you aren’t aware of it, you probably aren’t also, now or in the past, a member of the people discriminated against.

But this is unheard of. This is scary. The writer of the article above put it best, and made me cry when I read it:

“A note of fear creeps into my life. What would ambulance attendants see if they came for me. A fat, disabled guy, in an apartment full of wheelchairs, long reachers, and grab bars. What value would my life seem if it was just my body they saw – not my connections, not my routines, not my hopes and dreams…”

-Dave Hingsburger (Chewing The Fat: Requiem.)

What does any of us see when we look at a fat person? Shoot, I know FAT PEOPLE who are FAT PHOBIC. People who make stupid judgments about how a person lives and who they are the second they size up their body size miss the point of what health is all about. I know skinny people who eat nothing but junk and never work out, and I know big people who work out four times a week, weight train and eat healthy, moderate organic diets.

Bemoaning “Life’s not fair!” doesn’t make life anymore fair, but maybe telling Barry Baker’s story might encourage those of us who hear it to be more fair in our assessment of each other. These cruel, quick judgments are hurting our society more than sugary sweets do.

*

We all need to be better than we are presently.

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Obama Honors McCain at a Dinner the Night Before Inauguration

January 14, 2009

So this is incredibly classy:

Obama to host McCain at bipart. dinner – Jonathan Martin – Politico.com.

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Saving My Livejournal

January 14, 2009

What’s not “about to fall apart” these days? We were discouraged from giving gift cards at the holidays because businesses are filing Chapter 11 right and left, people are moving banks because of rumors that a financial institution is about to fail, and it seems that nothing right now is stable enough for us to trust in. Economic forecasters say this recession will last through the third quarter of this year, and we’ll probably not feel any upturn until 2010.

So with that in mind, it shouldn’t shock anyone that LiveJournal may be in trouble too…

LiveJournal, after many management changes, is again having problems LiveJournal deletes ‘about a dozen’ jobs | The Social – CNET News. It’s not a surprise, since many of the most stable institutions are having problems, that LiveJournal is as well. There is even rumors here and there that LJ may shut down for good due to recession problems and problems keeping up with the newer blog sites and social networks.

I’m new here on WordPress, but I’ve been on LJ for years, and I’ve tried to maintain my journal, even as our friends migrated onto greener e-pastures. Sites like WordPress have already started advertising LiveJournal specific import tools so you can relocate your journal to a more stable host LiveJournal Migration Made Easy « Blog « WordPress.com.

So I started looking through the options for downloading my journal, just in case. Since moving here and seeing the above WordPress bulletin, I started looking to make an xml file of my livejournal posts. I found a lot of good Mac download clients for LiveJournal (I settled on xJournal). But sadly, I soon realized that any client making an xml file would only grab my posts. No comments.

The comments, for many present or formerly hardcore lj-ers, was the REASON we loved LiveJournal. I mean, CRAP, my goddaughter would not be alive if it weren’t for the discussions that happened in the comment sections of livejournal. Friendships, family, drama, encouragement, good jokes and great stories unfolded in the comment sections. That is a hard thing to let go of- to realize seven years could soon disappear without any archive.

But that brings me to my great discovery!!!

LJBook (Turn your blog into a PDF Book)!!!!!!

This site is a free service that will take your livejournal, no matter how big, and turn it into a book: posts, comments, all security levels, even archiving the moods and music for a given post. The pdf is nicely laid out, and you can set it so it starts a new post on a new page, and it preserves ALL THE COMMENTS. You can archive journals, or whole communities. If you have a LiveJournal, you just need to log in to your journal on their site, select the conversion preferences, and make sure you’ve converted your journal from the old format: Change Old Encoding Settings. Go to that page and if your livejournal has mainly been written in English, select Western European (windows) and hit “Save”. LJ Book will be able to convert your journal and ALL the comments therein into a lovely pdf book that you can download to your computer, and print even (the site recommends Lulu.com)

Anyway, I’m here now, on Facebook, Twitter, and so while I still use my livejournal, I’m on it less and less. I’m just glad that I know the years of journalling and community formed over the comments there will be archived now.