Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Weekly Check-In

Sorry I haven't checked in lately, but all of my writing energy is going into the NaNoWriMo project. I'm doing fairly well: after a very difficult first week, I've finally managed to catch up to, and then exceed, my recommended word count... last night I posted at 39,445 total words, and the recommended word count for Day 23 is 38,334. And I'm very pleased with how the story is shaping up, I'm now working on sharpening the story down to the climax. Go read it if you have a chance; or if you want to wait until it's finished, I'll be posting the complete first draft of The Math Teacher is Dead on December 1.

I've given up pretty much all other activities to this project, so I don't have a lot else to talk about; I've been watching movies a good deal, things I've seen before and can keep as background noise and eye-candy, focusing on Elizabethan period movies (Elizabeth, Elizabeth: the Golden Age, and the Showtime series The Tudors) and Shakespeare (Romeo & Juliet, The Taming of the Shrew) because of the school play in my story, getting a feel for the costumes and the language.

And I've seen other movies... but I just don't have the time to devote to reviewing them for you. Maybe later. Though in passing, I can heartily recommend Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland, I was quite surprised by how good it was. I can also recommend Tom Ford's A Single Man, which was an orgasm of visual style as one might expect.


I had an interesting experience last week: last Wednesday morning, getting ready for work but with my mind on other things, I accidentally took my night-time meds (Seroquel and Zoloft) instead of my day-time meds (Wellbutrin). My meds are so divided because the former have a sedative effect and the latter has a stimulative effect. Once I realized my mistake, I went ahead and took my daytime meds and doubled my daily vitamin in hopes of counteracting the drowsiness.

Well, I discovered after about an hour at work that my night-time meds are a lot more sedative than I had thought: by 10 a.m., I was nodding at my desk, completely unable to form sentences, and confused by everything anybody said to me. So I went home, slapping myself the whole way so I didn't fall asleep behind the wheel, and got back in bed... where I slept like a log for six hours.

When I woke up, I remained groggy the rest of the day, and then went promptly back to sleep at 10 p.m. when I took my proper dose at the proper time (at my doctor's behest...I emailed her about any possible overdose issues and she assured me my meds are pretty lightweight and I can OD whenever I want without hurting myself). Of course, the next day I felt fantastic, fourteen hours of sleep under my belt.

Nevertheless, I have to be a lot more careful about that sort of thing... and to remember that if I ever accidentally take my PM meds in the AM, call in sick to work and for God's sake don't try to drive.

I learn something new every day.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Picture Post: The Danny Files

When I created Danny Vandervere, I worked from a number of different sources for inspiration. Originally, Danny was blond with brown eyes and golden skin; then when I started writing Worst Luck, I changed him to brown hair and brown eyes and white skin; then when I started writing The Math Teacher is Dead last year, I turned his hair blue-black and his eyes blue; since then I have decided he should have brown-black hair and his eyes should be gray.

Anyway, the following are the inspirations that went into making Danny: none of them are just like him (though the very last picture comes closest), but they all have shapes and features and color combinations that I have given to my young hero... some of them it's just a hair-style or a facial expression or a posture. I won't tell you what exact thing I took from each person, but I think if you look through these images, you'll get an idea what I have in my mind when I write about Danny Vandervere.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Weekly Check-In

I loathe and abominate Daylight Savings Time. It serves no purpose but to confuse and disorient people... particularly me. I always spend the week after DST starts or ends wandering around in a fuddled daze, unable to sleep properly, unable to eat regularly, unable to connect to this new temporal reality.

Making things worse, we had a blackout here on Sunday... large chunks of the East Bay went without power for an hour or more. So when I went around changing the clocks after the power came back on, I also changed them for DST, and confused the two in my mind.

My alarm clock in particular confused me: at first I forgot to turn the alarm on, so on Monday I overslept and had a hard time getting my day in order; the next night I turned the alarm on, but discovered after oversleeping the next day that I had the AM/PM setting wrong, and the clock thought morning was night; the third day, I got the AM/PM right and set the alarm, but completely forgot that when the power went off, the alarm reset to midnight, so that's when the damned thing went off... and I was so disoriented after only two hours of sleep that I hit the snooze button four times before I realized that it was still the middle of the night, and then I didn't think to reset the alarm so it would go off at the correct time and overslept again.

Well, let me tell you, friends... interrupted sleep and rushed abbreviated mornings make for a very grumpy and woozy Robert. I got very little work done this week, and considering that I am falling very far behind now that I don't have a filing intern to do the grunt work for me, I have managed to paint myself into a corner that is going to take a lot of concentrated effort to get out of.

On the other hand, I am catching up with the NaNoWriMo... I went from being ten thousand words behind schedule last Friday to being only six thousand words behind today, and gaining fast. I guess the disconnect from daily reality made it easier to enter Danny Vandervere's reality, so I got some solid writing done each day, meeting or surpassing my recommended daily average (1667 words) from Saturday to Tuesday. But then I fell behind again last night, I was so tired after work I just pooped out when I got home and didn't get anything more written.

Instead of writing last night, I watched The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, which was one of the weirdest movies I've ever seen. Movies in which one of the stars dies during production are always very disjointed, with the various workarounds that come into play to finish the film without one of the stars; Heath Ledger died while the movie was being made, and restructuring the film around the scenes he'd already filmed made the whole movie jumpy and rather random. But it was visually interesting, though nothing ever really made proper sense.

I also have Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland to view, about which I am very curious but also a little hesitant: some of the imagery, particularly regarding the Mad Hatter and the March Hare, are very disturbing. But I always end up liking Tim Burton movies in spite of myself, so I thought I'd give it a chance.

And completing the triad (I always buy movies in threes), I have Savage Grace, starring Julianne Moore and Eddie Redmayne; I love Julianne Moore, I could just watch her walking around and talking without any kind of plot, she's so hypnotically beautiful; and then Eddie Redmayne is so unusual-looking, sometimes you think he's beautiful and sometimes you think there's something desperately wrong with his face, and you go back and forth between attraction and revulsion. The story looks interesting, about an epically dysfunctional mother and son relationship in high society, so there are fascinating tensions and great costumes... I first read about this movie in Vogue, so I'm expecting the usual fashion orgasm.

So that's my plan for my Veterans' Day holiday... in my jammies, two movies, and as many words as I can squeeze out of my imagination... hopefully six thousand, though I will be happy with three. After all, there's a weekend coming.


So far as I can tell, there hasn't been any repercussion from missing four days of Seroquel last week... though that might be the genesis of the disorientation and disconnection I am feeling, which I have blamed solely on DST. But the mood itself is good, I feel quite emotionally steady, no sudden rages or unexpected tears.

In closing, please enjoy the following spot of loveliness:

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Weekly Check-In

The NaNoWriMo isn't going quite as well as I'd hoped... it's already Day 4, and I've only written about 1500 words, less than I should be averaging each day; and the two hours every evening just isn't happening, I'm too tired by then to think clearly or creatively so I end up just reading or playing games all evening. Most of the writing I've done has been during breaks at work, and in the morning before coming in.

Hopefully, I'll be able to do some catching up over the weekend; I know last year I started on a Sunday and wrote almost three thousand words in that one day, so perhaps it's just the Monday start-date that's keeping the words down to a sad little dribble. On the other hand, I think I'm having issues with the manner in which I chose to start the story over, the scene itself is giving me a lot of trouble.

But I can't afford to rethink the beginning at this point, I just need to plow forward. As soon as I get to the next scene, it should flow a little bit better. I just have to keep plugging away at it, even when it comes in a trickle like this.


I screwed up my meds... I allowed myself to run out of Seroquel, and kept forgetting to order more over the phone; so after going without for two days, I went to the pharmacy to get a same-day pickup, but I didn't have any refills left on the prescription so had to wait another two days to get a doctor's OK before they refill it. So four days without my mood-stabilizer, and I'm starting to feel it. I've increased the dose on my Zoloft in the meantime, since it helps me sleep and seems to keep me mellow, and have kept up my Wellbutrin regularly; but I'm not sleeping as much as I usually do, and though I wake up quite refreshed and don't feel sleepy during the day, I feel kind of stupid and brittle... much as I used to feel when I was younger and missed sleep.

But I will be getting my prescription this afternoon and can go back to my regular cocktail tonight; hopefully there will be no long-lasting repercussions to this little blip in the routine. I'd hate to mess up a combination that seems to be working so well.

And that's me for today. Ciao, belli!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Insanity, Thy Name is NaNoWriMo...

So, after much waffling on the subject, I decided to take part in NaNoWriMo (that's National Novel Writing Month to the uninitiated) again this year. I am restarting the story I made up for last year's event, The Math Teacher's Dead, but in accordance with the rules I'm throwing out everything except the plot and characters and a handful of situations from the last draft and am starting fresh.

In creating my strategy for this year, I have tried to learn some lessons from last year: first, have an outline to begin with, don't just make it up as I go; second, make time every day, don't wait for empty days to write; and third, do not let myself get bogged down in editing and re-editing what I've already written -- onward and upward, devil take the hindmost!

My plan is to write for at least two hours every evening, then post my writing to a blog that I created for the purpose; I will not be allowed to go back and fiddle with the posted writing until the weekend, when I will allow myself a little editing. I already started my outline (that's allowed) a couple of weeks ago, and that will get me through the first week; I can tweak my outline a little more during lunch or idle moments away from my computer (it's in an olde-fashionedy paper notebook) in order to stay ahead of the writing.

Part of the challenge is going to be staying away from distractions... I'm not going to abandon FaceBook or Swellegant or JUB or my endless hunt for beefcake, but I am going to reduce those activities as much as possible without letting them lapse altogether. I mean, my FaceBook games can languish a bit with only minimal maintenance, it's not like I post here every day, I haven't posted much at JUB for weeks, and all my beefcake sites archive themselves so I can catch up in December.

So if you don't hear from me, you know where I'll be.

Oh, by the bye, here are a couple of pix from the Halloween party Caroline and I attended at Slide in San Francisco:

I decided at the last minute to ditch the wig and the sword (both were too fussy and uncomfortable/heavy, and I was feeling a little bit irritable on Saturday) and nobody asked me who or what I was supposed to be (though a lot of people asked me where the restrooms were and how to find their waitress... I guess I was exuding authority again, and people thought I worked there) so I didn't need a made-up identity.

And here's Caroline in her second costume (or rather her first, the one she assembled in spring and which inspired my costume, but then she wanted to be a fairy later), an elven huntress:

Caroline had a wonderful time at the party, people bought her drinks and she got all tiddly-giggly and flirted with the bartenders and the bouncers and some stray boys (all of whom had girlfriends), and received lots of compliments on her costume, particularly the very realistic ears. I didn't have as much fun as I had last year, the music was less accessible (less GaGa and 80s revivals, more rap and hip-hop) and there were far fewer cute guys and far more drunken girls in slutty costumes... the sense of fun just wasn't there. But it wasn't a bad time, just not as fun as I'd hoped.

So that's the news, and I had better be getting to work... in order to ensure two hours free in the evening, I am going to have to get to work on time and leave on time and try to not wear myself out in between.