Wednesday, December 21, 2011

If Wishes had Plans ...

Sometimes I wish I was working full time for myself. Wishing isn't worth much all by itself, though. I wish for stuff all the time. I wish I was healthier, slimmer, stronger, that I'll win the lottery, etc.

I can make the working full time for myself work, though. I have a plan. Tomorrow I'll have some time to work on that plan.

A plan makes all the difference. It's like budgets in finance. Want to be rich but living from hand to mouth? Have to start with a budget. It can suck. Adding up expenses and subtracting them from income sometimes points out just how far we're in the hole, but you know, you're in that hole whether you know it or not. I'd rather know it. From there it's just a matter of figuring out how to work with the income you've got and then formulating a plan for decreasing unnecessary expenditures (sometimes that's impossible if you've cut to the bone already) and formulating another plan for increasing income if it's needed (usually it's needed but not always.)

Before I can work totally freelance I have to (on average) have an income of my wages plus benefits. The benefits are the tough things to match right now. I 'make' more in benefits than I do in wages.

But there's that number, and so I can set up a plan and adjust as needed once I put that plan into action. You'd better believe step one is not quit my day job. Good thing I (mostly) like my day job! Step one mostly involves using my free time to the best of my ability, while maintaining sanity. I had a sanity day recently, so tomorrow is a work on my self-employed job day. If I can get eight solid hours in, that would be good. Holiday shopping doesn't count.

Have you got a plan for your wishes?

Thursday, December 15, 2011


My DH will have a DVD coming out soon. One of the questions we got from the producer involved the kind of music he thinks would work well with the DVD.

That's a huge question.

I have these soundtracks I listen to sometimes when I'm writing or as a prep before writing to help transport me quickly back into that world within the story. A lot of people I know have soundtracks for their lives, just like the commercial says. Some songs are so intensely popular that they're used in multiple movies, or sometimes aren't in the movies themselves but are in the trailers. "Ordinary World" is a hugely popular example.

But a bunch of favorite songs is not what a non-fic DVD needs. I'm sure the producer will take our ideas (or leave them) and come up with something practical. As someone who occasionally does creative stuff for other people, I understand the blessing that is a launching point.

I'm so, so curious about the entire DVD but now I'm especially curious about how music fits in. Music can turn a perfectly good instructional DVD and make it corny or unlisten-able. One of my favorite workout videos has such boring, awful music that I turn it way down and listen to my own techno and pop mix instead. There's a lot of pressure placed on the background that we don't think about. Music covers white noise, microphone crackle, and turns those dramatic pauses into, well, drama as opposed to someone standing around while the lights hum.

Which actually all plays into writing (as all things do.) Description is often background. When it's just a dry list of things present in the room and people gesturing, it's substance without the music. Description needs flavor, life, action. Think about it. Why were Tolkien's settings so rich? Because they were alive. They had music.

I'm going to go write some music now, while I eagerly await the DVD rough cut, coming soon (I hope) to a tv near me.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Be Awesome because it's fun!

Here's me waving to my readers and apologizing if I haven't responded to comments lately. I'm hardly ever online anymore, and when I am I check my email and run away to work on projects.

It's cold out here, but my knees are warm because our bulimic anger management issues kitteh is sitting between them, purring. I have a kneeling chair, which is supposed to be good for your posture but it doesn't work for me--I've just learned to slouch a different way. Isn't that horrible? But she's happy, and I'm happy and now I'm sitting up straight again because I'm all self-conscious about it now.

It's been a while since I've posted about customers. Lately I've been having few to no issues. Everyone's been splendid. There's changes afoot. People aren't as stressed. I see more people smiling. Maybe they've just adjusted to their hardships, or maybe things are actually getting better. Either way, it's been wonderful working retail with upbeat customers.

My favorite is G. He's got a close friend who always comes in and says "hi, I'm G's friend. He's on his way in," so I don't actually know his name. He of course likes it that way. Anyway, G. was in a serious car wreck, as in the paramedics found him dead at the scene and managed to revive him serious. He fights like hell to walk, to remember (he suffered a brain injury, among other things) and to take care of himself but he effing gets it done. That impresses me. Not that impressing me means anything, but I do think that there's a lesson there. Not to go out of your way to impress people. A con artist can do that. But to fight hard to the point where anyone would be impressed if they heard about it. For your own sake. Screw that--do it for humanity's sake. That's what keeps the human race alive and vital. Striving, fighting, excelling is what keeps us strong. The wild critters have constant pressure on them from disease, predation and the elements. We've reduced that pressure greatly. It's still there (I find it a little creepy that our biggest predator pressure comes from ourselves) but it's not what it once was. That's kewl, but doesn't that mean that we need to push ourselves now that clear and present death isn't breathing in our ears whispering that it's coming for us at any moment? If the cheetah doesn't motivate the gazelle to run, won't the gazelles lose their gazelle-ness and become less awesome?

Consider being awesome, not just to prep for a disaster that may or may not come, or to overcome a catastrophe like G. did. Become awesome because you have the freedom to become awesome without a car wreck or a cheetah or cancer or war or your crazy cousin Irvine showing up on the doorstep with a shotgun ready to take you and your whole family out. Do it for fun!

Which reminds me, they found three bodies and positively ID'ed the shooter as well and truly gone, reduced to sooty bones. Unfortunately he shot the twin sisters, one of which was his wife. A family, gone. Details are here (though I noticed that, weirdly, today's update from the paper edition isn't there yet. And yes, I'm one of those people who read the actual print newspaper.)

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Fire and Gunfire and Smoke

All morning I've heard reports and rumors and everything else about a fire and gunshots just a few blocks from my workplace. It's sobering, standing at my station, watching to see if something drastically changes, listening to gunfire.

And weirdly, I could see getting used to it. Not liking it, but figuring I have to eat, I have to shop, I have to work ... and going to work while blocks away people are shooting at each other, be it armies, religious sects, gangs, whatever. What if there's nowhere you can move to? People are struggling everywhere to make house payments or rent, looking for work--if your neighborhood exploded with violence, could you move? Would you?

Because I won't. Obviously I have the fair assurance that this won't happen again, and that after today it's unlikely that I'll hear gunfire and see plumes of smoke and flames and police, or worry about a crazy man somehow sneaking through a cordon and coming into my workplace. But even if I did think this would happen again, would I move? Would I leave work, with little assurance of finding another job ... and where would I go where this couldn't happen?

Because it could happen anywhere. Today it's happening here.

Weird how normal my day is. Weird how I'm having lunch at my second favorite place to have lunch because the first one is closed for everyone's safety. Or maybe not so weird. It's here today, and it'll be somewhere else in the world, maybe several somewhere else's, tomorrow.

I just hope that the wife and sister are okay. The man ... he's in charge. He'll be okay if he wants to be, and apparently he doesn't want to be. Today he wants fire and gunfire and smoke.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

The Joy of Interrupted Writing

I used to get so peeved when I'm writing and there's an interruption. It still gets to me, especially if it's something quick and unimportant that someone else could have handled, but I try to remind myself that my family/friends/job/etc. are more important than writing. If I write well enough, maybe someday the job can be taken off the list as writing will be my full time job. But for now, paying the bills ... yeah.

Today, the interruption in writing proved to be full of awesome.

I write during lunch on workdays whenever I can. When it's time to stop, I have to stop no matter how well it's going. I grumbled (silently) as I closed up my laptop and locked it away.

Fast forward two hours later and I have this genius idea about the scene I've been writing. I obsessed about it whenever I had a no-mind-required moment at work, and now I can sit down and write something much better than what I'd had in mind. Yay! So thank you, job, not just for health care and wages and keeping my family fed and happy, but for the timely interruption. Because if I'd kept on a'goin', I'm sure I wouldn't have thought of this idea.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Wyrd Goat Logo

We have a great person, T, visiting us so that's my excuse for not posting as much as I'd like. Seriously, when did it get to be so hard to post on my blog every day?

Anyway, it's not finished but I've made some progress on the Wyrd Goat logo. Specifically, the neck's proportions aren't there yet and the horns aren't done and there's no beard yet (gotta have a beard!) but I figured y'all might be curious about what I've been obsessing over the past few. I have to say that working in digital media is pretty fun. I really, really want a tablet, though. I'm doing all this with the track pad and a mouse I got for my laptop. Yowza, it's hard on the hands and wrists! I also don't have as much control as I'm used to.


If I make a line I hate, I just delete it. No mucking about with covering or removing pigment or there's even a technique where you can remove the top layer of paper if you're working on something durable like vellum ... None of that. Just a click of the mouse and it's gone.


Saturday, December 03, 2011

Home Town

My DH mentioned yesterday that I connect our family to the community at large simply by seeing the same people every day. I don't always know their names, but I recognize them at the grocery store, the hardware store, at the Christmas tree stand, and I often say hi when I have time if they don't look too busy.

I want to say that this is important, but is it? Maybe in an emergency a person who recognizes me might be more likely to stop and help, but even in that unlikely situation I think a good person would stop and help regardless of whether they're a friend or a stranger.

Is it important for people to know their neighbors, or at least recognize them?

I don't think there's a clear answer. I just know that I enjoy living in a place where I can go to the post office and small talk about the new building going up with my vet and the person who bags my groceries and the person I helped with a return the previous day.

For my fellow Nanoers--have you backed up your Nanowrimo project? Don't put it off!

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Nanowrimo Final Count!

Last night's total word count was at 59,339 words. I probably could have snuck up past 60,000, but I had a really hot bath and realized that I had a better idea than the one I was working on. So I'm going to unwrite some stuff tomorrow and continue on this new, more exciting track.

In other semi-writing news, I'm reworking the Wyrd Goat logo and putting more serious work into the Wyrd Goat website. I'll let y'all know when it goes live. Hopefully it'll be a fun website with lots of wonderful books, links, and other nifty stuff. Advance thanks goes to Lisa the Awesome who is helping me figure out GIMP while doing some serious heavy lifting with some graphics I need. Yay Lisa!

In other, other semi-writing news, Masks will soon be ready. I have a first reader going through it now.

Tomorrow, more work on the floor in the morning, which may lead to finishing the upstairs which in turn may lead to dancing. I don't know! This may be too much fun in one place. Anything can happen ...