Hey, guess where I'm going? To pick up my CAMERA! Yay!

Oh, Go Put on Some Pants, Will Ya?

Just a quickie, 'cause I'm supposed to be writing. But K and I went to see Alexander this weekend and I have a few things to say.

1. Oliver Stone is crazy.

2. I had no idea Alexander the Great had such a boring life.

3. Colin Farrell would have been better suited to play the lesser-known Alexander the Willowy.

4. A quick peek at Colin Farrell's package does not make up for the distracting combination of blonde hair and jet black eyebrows.

5. OK, we get the Oedipus thing. Do everybody's eyes have to be poked out?

6. Were we supposed to be laughing during the battle scenes and the teary deathbed goodbyes?

7. That eagle was totally fake looking. But the elephants did look real.

8. Not one person coming out of the theater looked happy. Confused, yes. Sleepy, sure. But not happy.

9. K says the critics aren't doing their jobs. If they were, we would not have gone to see that movie. She doesn't understand why they don't just say "Do not go to see this movie."

10. Do not go to see this movie.

I'm Really Looking Forward to December

The end of November, and thus the end of National Novel Writing Month, is fast approaching. I'm playing through the pain of my sprained right hand, doing the hunt and peck method when it really starts to hurt. But I'm in the 40,000+ word range and for the first time since I undertook this crazy adventure, I actually think I'm going to make it. For an updated word count, check my NaNoWriMo profile. It's pretty cool to watch that blue bar creep toward the 50,000 mark. Well, it is for me, anyway. There are already more than 50 pages of winners. I'll be back when I'm on the list.

Feeling Arts and Crafty?

During a recent visit to the museum shop at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston I fell in love with a handmade wool purse, covered with little balls of felted wool in soft, subtle shades of blue and green and mustardy yellow (Gulden's mustard, not French's). But it was $65. I mean, yikes. It sorta looked like this only bigger and not so bright and the stap was different:

Anyway, I would make one myself except I would have no earthly idea how to do it. I'm not Martha Stewart. I'm not even Not Martha. But all you Marthas out there should feel free to make one for me, OK? Just let me know when it's ready and I'll send you my mailing address.

Have a Nice Trip, See You Next Fall

You know, it just wouldn't be Thanksgiving, or any other holiday, or actually just any day at all, without the Big Fall. Yesterday's performance was a real thing of beauty. Running start. Into the wet sand. Face first. Crushing my right hand and bending my fingers into a very unnatural position beneath my Amazonian body so that today they are all swollen and sore.

Well, at least I'm not a right-handed writer.

Oh, wait ...

A Completely Normal Thanksgiving

I went to Shaw's yesterday to get my turkey. I decided to go with the fresh Butterball. Fresh to avoid the nightmare that is defrosting a frozen turkey (not having to deal with a sink full of ice-cold turkey water is totally worth another 50 cents a pound) and Butterball to avoid the huge disappointment that was the free-range, all natural turkey a few years back.

"Is she cooking a normal turkey this year?" my dad wants to know.

Unfortunately, when I got to Shaw's, all that was left were either huge 25-plus-pound turkeys or tiny, 11-pound turkeys. All the ladies were complaining bitterly about it. Meanwhile, I snuck off and found a guy in a suit who was standing around looking dumb and convinced him to go out back and find me a nice 15-pound turkey.

I was furtively wheeling my lovely mid-sized turkey toward the checkout lanes when the guy from the meat department came up to my cart with a kind of quizzical, nervous look on his face.

In return, I gave him a look that said, You know, I really am sorry if I got a turkey that you were saving for someone else. I really am. But if you think I'm giving it back, there is going to be a serious problem. My dad wants a normal turkey this year. And by God he's going to get it.

"Find everything you wanted?" he asked.


"OK, then," he said, as he stole another glance at my 15-pound turkey. "Happy Thanksgiving."

"Oh, thank you. Happy Thanksgiving to you, too."

Don't worry, dad. This year the turkey is going to be completely normal.

Day 23; Hitting the 35,000 Word Mark

Well, I was going to try to continue with yesterday's theme, but all the writers whose NaNoWriMo-related sites I bookmarked earlier in the month seem to have given up on their novels. Plus, one person's user profile kept causing Internet Explorer to crash, so I'm not going to send you there.

So I guess I'll just have to talk about me.

I hit the 35,000 word mark on my own novel last night and it was great. I'm right where I wanted to be despite some minor setbacks and despite taking a day off here and there. Now as long as I write about 2,000 words a day for the rest of the month, I should hit the 50,000 word mark right on schedule.

When I finish this book I'm going to have to dedicate it to chocolate and coffee. It just wouldn't have been possible without them.

Other People's Blogs: Christop

"Then Why Aren't I Flat Anymore?"

Earlier this month I wrote that I was going to post some links to other writers who are participating in National Novel Writing Month and either posting their novels or writing about the process online.

Well, the month is almost over, so we better get started, eh?

First stop is to check out Christop. I found his site by browsing Blogger profiles that list their occupation as the arts. He's at the bottom of the first page, there, see? And he's kind of odd. So I like him immediately. He's blogging his novel at Operation Embryo. The writing is fun and the dialogue is fabulous.

Here's a recent bit I really enjoyed:

'If you're my husband,' she said, 'how come you look younger? And how come you don't look like you've been rolled over by a hill?'

'Rolled over by a hill?' said Tederick. 'But I thought that must've been just a dream!'

Tears welled up in Lois' eyes. 'It wasn't,' she said. 'It really happened.'

'Then why aren't I flat anymore?'

Unfortunately, I think Christop has suffered a bit of a setback. He says he isn't going to be able to finish by the end of the month. Too bad. I hope he keeps writing anyway.

Speaking of writing, there will be more fun "writing NOMO People" tomorrow. Maybe. I mean, there will be more of other people's blogs tomorrow unless something else happens to distract me. And I'm easily distracted, as evidenced by the fact that I'm writing my second blog entry of the day. Actually it's the third, counting the one I lost.

I've passed 30,000 words on my own novel and hope to get to 35,000 today. And in order to do that I have to stop writing this and start writing THAT.


Fuck me. I had a whole post written, links and all, and just as I was about to write the headline and hit "publish," I somehow arrived at a screen that said I had been logged out of blogger, or my session expired, or some shit like that and the fucking post disappeared into the ether. This isn't the first time it has happened, either. I usually save a copy of the post before I hit publish, just in case. But this time I hadn't even hit the publish button--I'm not even sure how it happened, it happened so fast. Someone ought to do something about that. You know?

A Trip to the Museum

Yesterday was my birthday. In the morning I went to the Museum of Fine Arts with my mom to see the Art Deco exhibit. We had lunch in the cafe and, of course, poked around the museum shop afterwards. Later, I had dinner with my folks: chicken fingers from Kelly's, an entire large bottle of wine, and a huge slab of chocolate cake.

The MFA exhibit was really cool. I like to see photographs and paintings, and there are some great ones, including a couple of nice photographs by Man Ray and Edward Steichen, two of my favorites. And there were a couple of paintings by Tamara De Lempicka. I didn't know her name before yesterday, but I recognized her work, including this painting, which was in the exhibit. Anyway, as much as I love paintings and photographs, there's something particularly energizing about an exhibit that also includes the objects of an era, from furniture to textiles to jewelry to ceramics and glassware, as this one does.

The amazing thing is that so many of the objects, created almost 100 years ago, still look modern today. In particular I coveted some of the lights and the clocks and the posters and oh, the silver. Gorgeous. It made me want to start collecting Deco. Or at least buy out the museum store displays.

One thing I liked about the exhibit was the way it was grouped into regions, so you could see what was going on in design at this time (1910-1939) all around the world. Art Deco in Asia was a lot different than moderne in Scandanivia, which was different again from streamlined in Britain or Jazz Age in America.

I also liked the way the exhibit showed what influenced some of the classic Art Deco design elements. The displays included ancient Greek, Native American, and even Mayan artifacts next to the more modern items they inspired.

Anyway, all-in-all a nice birthday. And, as an added extra bonus, the night before I hit the 25,000 word mark on my NaNoWriMo novel. That's the halfway mark, for those of you who are keeping track.

Now I just have to do it again.

Photo Friday: Patterns

(Click on the picture for a larger, clearer image).

Day 18; Let's Not Jinx It

I'm not going to tell you what my word count is. But I'm thinking of a number in the 20s.

Photo Friday: Family

(Click the photo for a larger, clearer image.)

I found a new site to obsess about: Photo Friday. Well, it's new to me, anyway. The basic idea is that there's a weekly theme or assignment, you post the picture to your blog, and submit a link to the photo Friday website. Then everyone can check out each other's photographs. What a great idea, right?

It's killing me that my digital camera is still out for repairs. But last Friday's theme was "family" and I thought of this picture. It's one of my favorites.

I still can't figure out why some of the pictures I post look so crappy online, though.* This picture looks great in my photo program, so I know it's not my monitor. And the funny thing is some pictures come out looking fine and others look all wobbly, like this one. Maybe it has something to do with the sizing? If anyone knows, drop me a comment, will ya?

* UPDATE: OK, I think I have figured out how to make the photographs look clearer on Blogger. The thing is if you are going to post a photograph at 400 pixels, then it looks a lot better if you resize it to 400 pixels before you send it. So I swapped out the photograph that was originally in this post with one that I had resized to 400 before sending, and there is a big improvement in the image quality. Yay.

Here's the thing, though. I set the blogger image settings so that the main page picture is 400 pixels and the archive picture (the image you see when you click on the main page picture) is at 640 pixels. But for some reason when I send a picture that is resized to 400, the archive image stays at 400, too. Hmm.

In order to get the main page image at 400 and the archive image at 640, I posted the photograph twice, in the two different sizes (400 and 640) to my secret test blog (you could also post them to your main blog and then save the entries as a draft). Then I went into the HTML of my secret test blog posts and cut and pasted the HTML for the 400 photo into the edit post field of this blog and -- this is the key -- linked it to the URL for the archived 640 photo. So when you click on the 400 pixel photo above, you are actually going to the 640 pixel archive for an image posted elsewhere.

Maybe there's an easier way to do this. But I've been trying to figure out how to post clearer pictures now for about a month and so I'm pleased with myself for coming up with a solution, no matter how inelegant it may be. So there.

Time for a Haircut

This is not good. Not good at all.

It's one thing to have the same hairstyle as a celebrity. It's quite another to have the same hairstyle as a celebrity whose picture is on a site dedicated to making fun of celebrities. And quite another thing all together when the celebrity is a dude.

There is one big difference between my hair and Anthony Kiedis' hair, however. His is shinier than mine.

Day 16; Past the Halfway Mark

And way behind on the word count

So, you may or may not have noticed that I have been studiously avoiding all mention of my National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) novel ever since I hit the wall on day 11. That's mostly because I hate to whine, and all I wanna do is whine about NaNoWriMo right now. My mom sent me an email yesterday and referred to "writing NOMO people." That sounds just about right, as in: I don't know if I can keep up this crazy writing NO MO, people.

My friend RCAS left a very good pep talk on that November 11 post. I've read it a few times and there are some good suggestions there. I had already been doing #4, writing scenes out of order. The nice thing about that is when you go back to do the harder scenes, you come through on the other side facing a completed section that you can jump right over. It's kinda like time travel.

Anyway, I was having so much trouble breaking through the week two wall that I decided to combine item #4 with item #2, which is grab a writing session "wherever you can fit it in." And so I've been writing little vignettes or even just setting descriptions in mini-sessions here and there throughout the day. And RCAS is right. A few hundred words here and there do add up. And they certainly add up to a lot more than nothing.

And then--finally--just as I was falling asleep last night, an idea came to me that would open up the whole middle of the story. It will be easy to write and will add a good chunk to the word count. I've yet to get on a roll, but when I do, I'm going to obey item #1 and keep writing through it. Eventually, I hope, I'll get my wind back and write myself out of the serious word-count hole that I'm in.

My Cat Really Does Hate You

(Click on the picture for a larger, clearer image.)

I have some very, very serious posts about the very, very serious writing planned for this week. This isn't one of them.

You may have noticed that I don't blog about my cat, Daisy, very often. Do you know why? Because My Cat Hates You. Seriously. She really does hate you.

You know who would love the kitty cats on My Cat Hates You dot com? The Hulk. In fact, he would love any kitty cat, even an incredibly mean one. HE WILL CLEAN OUT THE POOP BOX AND WALK IT AND EVERYTHING. It won't be like the Pony! Or Rick Jones! HULK PROMISES.

Nobody Likes a Skinny Santa

Of course, Santa comes around by the end of the movie. Maybe he was cranky because he wasn't getting enough carbs.

It's snowing here, by the way. North of Boston we have a good two to three inches on the ground. I'm sorry, but is it December and nobody told me?

"You'll Wear This and You'll Like It"

I had a date with my best guy today. He's a little short for me and quite a bit younger than me, but he has a great sense of humor and he loves dogs and kitty cats. And I really didn't mind the emergency run back to his mommy's house to get both Big Baby and Little Baby, although normally that kind of thing would sound some alarms, you know?

After my guy's nap, we watched Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. There's some serious mean-ness going on in that movie--and it goes beyond not letting poor Rodolph play in any reindeer games. I didn't remember how grouchy Santa was, for example. It's not just that he didn't like Rudolph's nose. He was even critical of the elves' singing. Poor Mrs. Santa.

I do, however, remember what a crappy father Donner was. That whole scene where he gives Rudolph the fake black nose that makes him sound like he has a cold? Brutal. Really puts you in that old holiday mood and makes you want to spend more time with your family, huh?

By the way, do you know what's wrong with the misfit girl doll? She's depressed. You can read about that and other fun behind-the-scenes facts here.

Hitting the Wall

Day 11; 14,500 Words

I'm closing in on 15,000 words, which is good. But my original goal was to have 22,000 words by now. That's seeming a little beyond my reach at this point. The word count chart in Chris Baty's book, No Plot? No Problem! says I should be at 18,300 words by now. And that's if I don't take a single day off. But I seem to be topping out at about 2,000 words a day. I'm just not sure what else I can do to break through that wall.

Squirrels in Viking Caps

I've been reading Chris Baty's book, No Plot? No Problem! Baty is the creative/evil genious behind National Novel Writing Month. He's a great writer and he's really funny and from what I can tell by the picture on the back cover of his book he's kind of cute. I have no idea what's going on in his NaNoWriMo profile picture, though.

Yesterday I noticed that the little NaNoWriMo squirrel in the illustration above was wearing a Viking cap (click the picture to see a clearer image on the NaNoWriMo donation page). In Chapter three, Baty writes about "writing totems," something to put you in the creative mode, to signal to yourself and others that you are working. Baty's totem is a plastic Viking helmet.

If you want to know more about Baty, here's a Q & A interview with him by Tim Ljunggrenat at WordSmitten and an interview by Elizabeth Bartlett at Absolute Write.

Day 10; 12,608 Words

I've posted another excerpt of my novel-in-progress here. I've revised and expanded the first part, which I posted previously, and there's some new stuff partway down, after the three asterisks.

And don't forget the STANDARD DISCLAIMER, which goes something like this: "I don't know why I'm posting this. It's not very good. It's not really done. I didn't even edit it. It's just a rough draft. Everyone else's writing is so good. Mine is utter crap. There's a huge mistake right in the middle of it. And one whole paragraph that's really repetitive and stupid. But I'm going to fix it. Because I don't know if I said this already, but this is just a rough draft."

In other words, don't tell me my island can't have a marsh.

Shit. I just noticed the squirrel is wearing a little Viking cap. I know why, too. But that's a post for a different day.

Other People's Blogs

I have never written as much as I have in the past 8 days. I passed the 10,000 word mark on my NaNoWriMo novel yesterday, plus I've been more or less keeping to my goal of posting to this blog six days a week. In addition to writing for myself (and the 20 people who visit Gienna Writes every day, which includes my mom) I've also been writing for other people. People who pay me. People who pay me money. And, call me crazy, but that has to come first.

Today I had a really full schedule and I've only managed to write a couple of paragraphs on the novel. Still, I feel bad when I don't post and that distracts me from writing. So what I thought I would do is post some links to other people who are participating in National Novel Writing Month to distract you all from my distraction.

First off I have to introduce you to Graham Waldon. In addition to being a cutie-patootie (he's the one with the pink bow) who likes Celtic Music and The Princess Bride, he started Na-No-Blog-Mo, which currently has 973 posts (973!), each one linking to a person who is blogging their novel this month. I visit every once and a while and scroll through the list to see if there are any ideas I can steal. In addition to blogging about bloggers who are blogging their novel, Graham is also blogging his own novel. And he's blogging about the process on what I think is his main blog, Graham's Page of Stuph. He has, like, a million blogs.

So every once and a while over the course of November, I'll post links to NaNoWriMo blogs I've noticed, either from browsing Na-No-Blog-Mo or checking out the blogger profiles that mention NaNoWriMo or from the NaNoWriMo profile pages. But you should start with Graham, especially since I'm pretty much stealing his idea. That should keep you busy while I work on the book.

Day 8; Back From Outer Space

8,843 words and climbing

On November 4th my laptop crashed and I lost my National Novel Writing Month file, which was up to about 8,000 words. I've been writing like crazy to catch up. Today I passed 8,000 words. Yay!

At first I was still a little bummed out, because I thought that I would have been up to 16,000 words by now if I hadn't lost the 8,000. Maybe. Maybe not. Rewriting what I'd already written was a lot easier than coming up with new plot developments. I already knew what was going to happen, so it was just a matter of getting it all down (and backing it up one million times).

And I did manage to advance the story, partly because I decided not to rewrite a whole chapter in which, I realized, absolutely nothing interesting happened. So while I didn't get much further in my word count, I did get further into the story. Plus, the second draft is better than the first.

Going forward, I'm going to have to be disciplined if I want to hit that 50,000 word mark. There are 22 days left in November. And I have 41,157 words left to go. That means 1,870 words a day, assuming there's not a single day I can't write or just don't feel like writing.

Still, I feel like I'm finally swimming with the tide again instead of struggling against it.


The Look of Love

(Click on the picture for a larger, clearer image.)

OK, I've been writing furiously, trying to make up for all the words I lost when my laptop died, but I was feeling guilty for not updating the blog, plus I think it looks pretty crappy without pictures, so I decided to post a cute picture of the dog. Because who doesn't like a cute picture of a dog?

Night 4; Drunk and in Charge of Technology

Well, the laptop has been scrubbed clean and the sucky Windows XP has been reinstalled (I'm a 98 SE girl, at heart, but I don't feel like re-installing again tonight, thank you very much). You know, that whole "restore and reinstall" label on the CD? It's a complete misnomer. There's nothing restorative about it.

So have I learned my lesson? If history is any indication, probably not. Can I just tell you how many times this happened to me in college, with a paper due the next day? Can I just tell you how many long, thoughtful missives I carefully composed to one client or another only to have them get sucked into cyberspace? Can I just tell you ... Ah, forget it. You don't care and neither do I.

You know what? I'm GLAD the whole thing is gone. I'm GLAD my laptop is a shiny clean slate. The whole thing sucked anyway. Dream Come True. What kind of a crappy name is that for a novel? It sounds like a Harlequin Romance. And I had this whole chapter about a character who lives out of a tent for the summer. How is she supposed to get clean? Bathe in the ocean? OFF THE COAST OF MAINE? It makes no sense. And this other dude. He's a fucking newspaperman at a small-town newspaper on an East Coast island. Hello? Steal much from E. Annie Proulx? (Holy shit, I spelled her name right without even looking it up.) It's been done, and it was called The Shipping News. Which, by the way, is a MUCH better title than fucking Dream Come True.

So I'm back to zero. Good. Bring it on. I'm like the Red Sox, down 3 and 0 against pure evil. I'm like Kerry, down 100,000 votes and refusing to concede to pure idiocy. I'm like ... I'm like ... I'm like some other underdog who refuses to give up in the face of adversity.

And it's not just the wine talking, I swear.

I am Gloria Gaynor. And I will survive, people. I will survive.

Day 4; A Minor Setback

So, you know the piece of crap excerpt of my novel that I posted this morning? It's a good thing I posted it, because it's all I have left. I'm reformatting the hard drive of my laptop as we speak. And drinking wine. Lots and lots of wine.

Well, at least it happened at 8,000 words and not at 40,000 words. My advice to you? Stop reading this right now and go back up your files. I am so fucking serious.


OK, I'm going to post an excerpt of the novel I've been writing for NaNoWriMo. (I'm up to about 8,000 words as of this morning.) I posted it on my author profile page, too. But before you read it, there's something very important that I have to say.

It's utter crap.

I did a weekend writing retreat once, where we wrote and shared our work in small groups and then at the end of the weekend, everyone came together (about 40 people) and each person read a short excerpt of something they'd written over the past two days. But because the retreat was only a weekend long, and because we needed to keep things moving, the organizers and participants developed what we called THE STANDARD DISCLAIMER. It goes something like this:

"I don't know why I'm reading this. It's not very good. It's not really done. I didn't even edit it. It's just a rough draft. Everyone else's writing was so good. Mine is utter crap. But I'm going to fix it. Because I don't know if I said this already, but this is just a rough draft."

You can see how if 40 people said something along those lines before reading (and they would have, because it was just a weekend, and the idea was to WRITE, not to edit) we would have spent ages on apologies and disclaimers. Instead, before reading, each person would stand up and say "The standard disclaimer," and everyone would chuckle and the reading would commence. And most of the time the writing was fine and sometimes it was kind of crappy. But you could always see the potential. And who can criticize that?

So anyway, this is a long way of saying that the excerpt I'm about to post is a rough draft. I can see all sorts of things wrong with it and I will fix them, eventually. But not this month. This month is about writing, writing, writing. Next month I'll edit. Promise.

Meanwhile, here's the excerpt. Insert the standard disclaimer here.

Working Title: DREAM COME TRUE

Susan was walking along the beach with her dog, Daisy, when she saw the snake. It was dark and thin and it was curled into a perfect figure eight. From the side, it looked like infinity. Susan frowned. She wasn't afraid of snakes, but there was something odd about this one. For one thing, she'd never seen a snake at the beach before. And she'd been walking this beach ever since she could walk, some 38 years now. Among the dune grasses? Possibly. In the scrubby brush surrounding the marshes, certainly. And she’d come across snakes dozens of times in the woods at the center of the island. She knew that a few of them lived in the stone wall behind her house, the house her grandfather built, the house she would always think of as her grandmother's house, even though Susan owned it and lived there now. But right out here on the sand, just a few feet away from the incoming tide? And another thing—the snake was laying so still. Perhaps it was dead. Or sick.

Even though she wasn't afraid of snakes, Susan didn’t know if she wanted to rescue one. She vaguely remembered something about snake skin being contaminated with salmonella. Or was that frogs? Regardless, she had no place to put the snake, no way to carry it. She was wearing jeans, a little on the tight side since she'd gained another five pounds, and a bulky cardigan sweater without pockets. No jacket—it was unusually mild for a late October day in Maine. And she carried no bag, no backpack. She supposed she could carry the snake in her hands, back down the beach, up the path through the dunes, and down the dirt road to her house. But then what? She knew nothing about snakes. What if it bit her?

Susan had rescued birds before. Stray cats. Baby rabbits. She rescued Daisy, a black lab, who had been left behind by a vacationing family. Susan had found her two years ago, at the end of the summer season, huddled beneath one of the cottages along the beach. She had tracked down the owners and placed a long-distance phone call to let them know she had the dog and that she was all right, but they said retrieving her wasn’t worth the expense and effort. It had taken pretty much every ounce of control Susan could muster not to tell them just exactly what she thought of that.

Susan glanced over at Daisy, who was eating a piece of seaweed and showing no interest in the dead or dying snake laying in the sand at Susan’s feet. The fact that Daisy had never shown a lack of interest in anything that might be edible, be it animal, vegetable, or mineral, gently nudged Susan awake. She bent down and poked the snake with a finger. Rubber. The snake wasn't real.

It wasn't until later that she remembered her dream.

Day Two; 5,620 Words

I'm a little ahead of my goal of 2,000 words a day for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo to those in the know) and I'm really enjoying the writing. I've been getting up at about 6 a.m. and writing for an hour while I drink my coffee, then feeding the animals and taking the dog for a walk and coming back to write for another hour or so. Nice thing about Daylight Savings Time--my body thinks I'm getting up at 7 a.m. I've also been doing a little bit in the afternoon, although I'm definitely at my best in the morning.

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter

5,620 / 50,000
(11.0%) *
It is very freeing to write and not really care (for the moment, anyway) whether it's too soon for two characters to meet up (hey, they bumped into each other at the bakery--I had no more idea than they did that it was going to happen) or whether the timeline makes sense or what I should name my town or whether a small island off the coast of Maine would have its own school system or how many square miles it should be. If I didn't have that goal of 50,000 words to focus on, I'd be online looking up municipal web sites to see how many selectmen they have and when they hold Town Meeting. In other words, NOT WRITING. I'm not checking baby name books to find the perfect name for characters. I'm calling one Susan. Boring, right? I know. Maybe I'll change it, maybe I won't. I'm calling another one TEB, short for The Evil Bastard. When I think of a name, I'll just do a search and replace.

By the way, does anyone have any suggestions for a good name for an evil bastard? Let me know by clicking on that "comments" link.

* Well, obviously I'm having trouble with the graphic. I've tried several times to fix it. But I can't futz with it anymore, all right? This is supposed to be a month without futzing. So whatever. Just pretend it looks right, OK? Thanks.

An Election Day Warning

Casting your vote "for the kids?" Well, you better read "I'm Afraid the Children Are Our Future" by John Moe first. It's on the McSweeneys web site, which is also worth exploring. Lots and lots of great writing, no user names, passwords or credit cards required.

So long as you're browsing, check out Biz Stone's Blogger article, "Blog the Vote." He's got links to two Google searches, one to track bloggers for Bush and another to track bloggers who voted for Kerry. As of this morning around 7 a.m. East Coast time, Bush was ahead 131 hits to 47.

And, just so you know, I voted for Kerry. So make that 48.

Now go and vote. Because voting improves your sex life, clears up acne, and gives you fresh breath. I swear.

And sombody get RCAS her glasses and a sticker!

I Was Just Thinking ...

You know I love Google, and I also loved Biz Stone's idea of using Google to search Blogger for people that used the phrase "I voted for Kerry" or "I v0ted for Bush" as a way to guage election results. But I was just thinking ... That search would get back results from people who were blogging about the 2000 election and so might be skewed toward Bush.

Better, perhaps, to search Technorati for the same phrase. It searches all blogs, limits results to the past seven days, and results are updated in real time.

Currently, the Bush phrase gets 27 matches and Kerry gets 66.

That's more like it.