Vacation is officially in progress!

It’s Saturday night, and I’m in Virginia Beach.

Sweeeeeet.

The drive down was fine, a little hectic, but that’s to be expected when you’re driving past 300 miles of other people’s beaches to get to yours. All things considered, it was nothing.

When we arrived there were some bumps and bruises. We’ve booked a room with a jacuzzi, but somehow our hotel of choice overbooked (or rather, someone neglected to check out) and we were bumped to a larger room, but with two double beds. That didn’t work for us (plus the shower curtain rail was busted off) and we made our disappointment well known. Fortunately, someone who was in a jacuzzi room checked out about two hours after we got here, and we’re finally settled in our room.

The weather is beautiful and there are people out in the ocean right now below us, but before we can hit the water we’ve got to do things like eat dinner. Right now we’re getting unpacked and organized and we’re listening to the Phillies game online via the high-speed connection. They’re up 8-0 in the 1st 2nd inning. Can’t complain about that. :)

A panorama from my 10th floor balcony.

 

Little Dee

And while we’re on the subject of comics (are we ever off the subject of comics?) Little Dee is now on Comics.com thanks to the beginning of what I hope will be a lucrative syndication deal.

I never read Little Dee before it was on Comics.com but the move has garnered a lot of press on the webcomic circuit, so since they’re running new-to-you reruns to get folks like me into the swing of things, this is a good time to start, too. Seems cool. Check it out.

updated 2008: aaaaaand it’s off of comics.com and back over here.

Deflating Wheels

On Philly Future someone linked to a website pleading the Phillies to fire Chris Wheeler from the Phillies announcing team. Why? Because it’s been leaked that the Phillies are talking about putting Wheels on for all 9 innings of each game, and moving Larry Anderson to strictly radio annoucement.

Now, an argument can be made that in some ways, Chris Wheeler is a better “announcer” than Larry Anderson. He’s got an extensive memory of Phillies history and current events around the league.

But really, his ability to announce isn’t the part that is up for debate in the minds of most Phillies fans I know. The part for debate is whether he’s actually worth listening to. I can’t tell you how many years I’ve spent listening to games and hearing Wheeler complain about a decision the umpires made or a choice the manager made where Wheeler was just plain wrong, and anyone who was capable of seeing the replay on their television was capable of seeing it. Wheeler is too often a complainer and a homer and an idiot.

Larry Anderson, on the other hand, has never pretended to play the role of the full announcer – he’s an excellent color commentator, leaving the announcing of balls and strikes and such to Harry Kalas or Scott Graham. He’s frequently played the same role for nationally-televised games — never asked to be the announcer, but providing color to broadcasts for Fox Sports when the Phillies have played. He’s fun to listen to.

Phillies fans like Anderson. We’re not so hot on Wheeler. For that matter, rumor has it that those preferences follow for the staff in the booth. I’m strongly hoping the Phillies organization thinks hard about the decisions they make for staffing the booth this year — they won’t drive more people to the stadium by annoying the hell out of them at home.

So much to say, so little energy

I was going to post a lot more tonight – on comics, on life, on how I’m continually baffled by the power of music – but I took two Tylenol Sinus Nighttime about an hour ago and not only can I now breathe, but I can barely hold my head up. Ah, sweet sleep! I long for your embrace!

So you lot are getting the short-short version.

First: I’ve updated the Daily Comic List to include some new comics, including the incredible Anywhere But Here. I also threw in some new blogs I’m reading, and threw a bunch of old favorites down into the “sporadically updating” category because they all *said* they’d be back after the holidays, but they’re not yet….

Second: I found the song “Storybook Love” from Princess Bride on iTunes over the weekend. It’s not the version from the soundtrack, but it’s the same artist.

And let me just say for the record that yes, the lyrics for the song are stupid as shit, and yet, I’m left in a puddle of romantic ooze every time I hear them.

Third: Forum. Updated code. Running better. Feel free to check it out.

Forth: I’m going to Virginia Beach over Martin Luther King Day. I’ve got one of the two comics staged, other will go up this weekend. Lots of plans for the comic, including a new character (NOT a freaking dragon) who needs to have the most vanilla boring name I can come up with. Feel free to post suggestions on the forum… somewhere… to tired to go make a thread right now.

‘K, that’s it, go to bed. thanks!

NaDruWriNi

Prior to Saturday evening at approximately 10:06 pm, my NaNoWriMo novel was approximately 6974 words. Right on target for four days, whch meant I needed to write roughly 1667 words Saturday night to stay on pace.

But November 5th was also declared National Drunk Writing Night (NaDruwWriNi) and since I knew of some others who were participating, I thought maybe I’d try my hand at it.

I failed, spectacularly, but not for the reasons that you’d think.

See, my NaNoWriMo is supposed to be a novel that grew out of an idea I’d tested out a few years ago but never finished. And until tonight I was running straight down that very same path. I was getting to the point where hitting my word goal was more important than telling the story, which was resulting in paragraphs like this one:

The room was typical of the older style classrooms that littered Left State University. Heavy ceiling tiles were nailed in place with nails that (along with the tiles) had been painted over so many times they blended into each other. Cinderblock walls painted in institutional yellow had somehow yellowed further (despite the fact that the university hadn’t allowed smoking in classroom in decades) and had begun peeling above the electric baseboard heaters that ran the length of the far wall. Above the heaters the windows reached most of the height of the wall, but the Venetian blinds that covered them were mostly closed, so the indirect afternoon sunlight filtered in, giving the room a ghostly white glow.

And a few paragraphs like the above aren’t necessarily bad, but 6000 words of that crap gets old. Nobody had done anything – I covered about three hours in realtime behavior by my characters in 6000 words. At that rate my 50,000 word goal would cover less than 48 hours of my characters’ lives, and the plot was supposed to span 18 months. Goodbye novella, hello War and Peace.

So tonight, I started drinking, got angry at my story, opened up a new document in my word processor, and decided to write a summary of the plot as told by the characters. The result of that starts something like this:

Chapter X:
or: the chapter in which we stop fucking around and nail down a summary of the plot.

“Tell me about her.” Lynsey asked quietly. “Tell me what happened.”

The rest of the table looked first at Lynsey, then at Garrett, and back.

Gulping for air between the sobs that wracked his body, Garrett cried, “I can’t. I- You’ll hate me. They’ll all hate me.”

“I will,” Kira said quietly. “I know enough to start. I was there. And Suzanne-” she looked over at Suzanne, who was sulking in her chair.

“Oh, don’t worry, you’ll hear from me if I have something to say.”

Lynsey looked around the table at the circle of friends. “Thank you,” she whispered.

Mark stood, then tapped Kira on the shoulder. “Vanilla and the Doctor?” he asked. She smiled up at him. Looking around at the table, he said, “This is going to take a while. What’ll you have?”

Garrett waved the offer off, but Lynsey asked for a beer.

“Martini.” Julia requested.

“Scotch. Neat.” Suzanne growled.

Taylor and Kyle both rose from their seats. “Give you a hand,” Kyle said quietly.

“Yeah,” Taylor added. “Can’t leave you to carry all that by yourself.”

As the men walked away, Garrett’s sobs subsided, and he sat with his face buried in his arms on the table. Kira stood, grabbed the intricately decorated and horribly tall centerpiece off the table, and set it on the floor beside her chair.

“Now that we can all see each other,” she said, making eye contact with each of the girls in turn, “the beginning.”

Obviously, this is a totally different writing style, much more loose, faster moving, and effective. And it was further than I’d managed to get the characters in four previous days of writing. Hell, I had the majority of them in the same room, which was well beyond anything I’d accomplished so far.

So why can’t I post the rest of my NaDruWriNi post? Two reasons:

First, I’m not sure I got drunk enough to qualify. Over the course of three hours, I had three Rum & Dr. Pepper’s. (It tasted good. The Coke wasn’t refrigerated. Dont’ judge me.) That’s one shot rum to one can pepper, not very intoxicating.

Second, the snippet above is around 266 words of what I wrote tonight. I wrote 4736 words. That’s just over 15 pages in a standard font. If I post them all here, my homepage is going to be eighteen feet long. Your eyes will bug out. Your scroll wheel will disintegrate. Everyone will be annoyed.

And since the buzz has since well worn off, I’m not interested in annoying people. In fact, right now, I’m interested in going to bed.

At any rate, the point is that I finally broke the dam that was blocking the ideas from coming through, and I think I can see hope on the horizon for the novel. I’m not going to throw out what I’ve already written because I’m sure at some point it’ll come in handy, but if I can reach a point where it’s not needed in order for me to meet the 50,000 word goal, I’m quite happy with that too.

Cheers!

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