Wednesday, November 30, 2011

I Have Reached: THE END!

I finally finished hammering out the ending to my NaNoWriMo2011 project. I uploaded it onto the site about ten minutes ago and have been declared a winner! Woohoo!

In a blog post written earlier today (18 or so hours ago), I mentioned a mushroom cloud hovering over my head. Now that November is over, it feels like the nuclear explosion that went off in my head a few weeks ago has tripled in magnitude. That's right, I now have more than one mushroom cloud hovering over my head.

The book is finished. It needs tweaking here and there. I have always found that the process of revision takes up so much more energy than the actual writing... I suppose I will print it off this weekend and hammer away at it some more.

For the rest of the week I will be bringing my head out of the clouds and gun fights. The house needs to be cleaned, the dog needs a few spectacular runs and my library books are overdue. My brain can now go back to math full time and I can start unpacking the boxes my dad dropped off over the weekend.

For tonight I would love to say cold beer is in order -- but I have to be up in five hours because December 1st is, sadly, not a holiday for NaNoWriMo participants. (But it should be!)

Congratulations to all other NaNo winners and participants!

Off to bed I go. *waves*

NaNoWriMo - The Final Day

It is six in the morning and I have been up for a little under an hour wondering about the ending of my NaNoWriMo project.

I have spent the month not writing as furiously as I should have been. I wrote my exams, finished two classes, and started two more. My dreams are filled with graphs and radicals, polyatomic ions and chemical equations. A friend told me a few weeks ago that there is a mushroom cloud over my head.

On top of these things, my life in the last week has made a drastic shift. Towards the toilet.

I shattered a tooth in math class and to extract, the dentist had to remove some jaw. That was a week ago. It has gotten more painful every day since.

My mildly autistic sister started a movement called "occupy bathroom" the day it was announced that our parents are selling the house she grew up in.

The eye doctor told me that I am getting old and need glasses full time, and also that I need to use eye drops at least daily because staring at text books and computer screens from five in the morning until eleven at night dries out my old eyeballs. I hate putting things - even drops - into my eyes. It is creepy.

If you look at my house, most specifically my room, you can probably see where the mushroom cloud over my head has come from.

Also neglected are my blog and my friends. For these I have no excuse, other than the dog ate my brain.

National Novel Writing Month ends tonight at midnight. After that my life may return to it's regularly scheduled program. I hope to see you there!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Teacher Geek

Thursday night I went to my niece's parent-teacher conference. I had met her teacher once before when we got together with her knew school to have a lame "transition" meeting with her old school -- in October.

Her teacher -- I will call him Joe -- seemed like a good guy when I first met him; genuinely interested in helping her meet her academic goals.(Readers Digest Compact Version: she is on an Individual Education Plan (IEP) as she has some learning disabilities and she was placed into a passive behavioral class because she has anxiety issues and likes to run away from school). But I have thought that before about her teachers and have been disappointed every time... SO I went in to the meeting rather reserved and interested in hearing what Joe had to say.

We were a half hour early and went to the book fair in the library. Joe was there and was happy to start the conference early. We started off with a very in-depth discussion on Age of Conan (I haven't played but M really enjoys it). Joe is a huge fan of both Conan (GEEK!) and serial killer thrillers, which put him in my good books (right at the top). We then moved on to more mundane topics. He showed us samples of her work and said that she is doing well. She got a B in math and he explained why. The only thing we needed to ask him was what could we do to help her meet her academic goals?

Basically, niece wants to go to med school (she is 11 right now -- always good to plan young, lol) and has started to realize that she isn't where she needs to be to get there.

Joe said that he would go through the curriculum and her work, and identify the holes in her foundation. He would then send home some extra work so we could spend a few minutes a day with her. Objective: Fill the holes.

I left feeling that the meeting had been productive. He provided us with a very clear plan for the niece as well offered me a very old Conan comic (I'm telling you - GEEK!) from his collection.

Joe seems like a teacher who actually enjoys teaching special need children and who actually cares about what happens to the kids that he teaches. I enjoyed discovering this. I enjoyed having a positive experience with meeting her teachers.

My niece is scheduled to remain at that school for another two grades. Hopefully he is the sucker who gets to teach her ;)

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Asperger's Revisited...

I mentioned several months back in this post that my kid sister has autism.

She created a blog (you can read it here) to talk about what happens in her world. She is 22.5 and lives on her own and recently launched a Facebook page to raise awareness about Autism.

She has a mild form of Autism called "Asperger's Syndrome". For as long as I can remember, my sister has had various "obsessions" with one thing or another - side walks, light poles, buses; to name but a few. An easy target for bullies, the last few days I have seen some of the most vile and disgusting excuses for human beings slither out of a primordial cesspool for no other reason than to harass her and make her life miserable. They badgered her on Twitter and then, when she privatized her profile so they couldn't keep bullying her, they went after her blog.

Are you for real? These people are - allegedly - adults ("reporters", no less!) Get a life!

I find it very sad that, as advanced as our society is, some of us still refuse to be (or are incapable of) accepting differences. One of these bullies used her son as an example - her son has autism and does not act this way or that way. Would she like a medal? That's equivalent to comparing apples with turnips or saying that you have a brain and I have a brain, so clearly we must think and behave exactly the same way. (Thankfully the world doesn't work that way - at least not the one I live in... If it did, we'd be screwed.. The world could not handle more than one of you ;)

Anyway - to make a potentially long rant short, I will leave this thought:

We are created equally, not perfectly.

Thanks for hearing me out.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

"Fall From Grace"

Good morning!

I'm in the middle of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) so this weekend I wanted to share what I have been working furiously on for the month of November.

~
     Someone was pounding on the door.
     Cyrus Ranger groaned and rolled over, letting loose a string of obscenities that only a sailor could muster.
     “It’s not time to get up,” he muttered, glaring viciously at the alarm clock.
     Easter Sunday. He and his friend Adam were expected in the kitchen where Adam’s mom was patiently waiting to try, yet again, to teach the duo how to properly prepare a holiday feast.
     “I heard that, Ranger!” Came the voice from the other side of the door. “You need to watch that filthy mouth of yours or mum’ll wash it out with a bar of glycerin soap!”
     His eyes popped open and he grinned despite himself. The nagging voice belonged to none other than his favorite co-worker, Carmen A. Ramirez, or Alex for short.
     She was the epitome of female; from her sweet milk and honey scent right down to the enormous collection of shoes she had stashed away. The difference was her consistent refusal of the title “female”, or any other name that made the mistake of categorizing her as a girl.
     “Non-girl,” he breathed, smiling.
     He threw off the blankets and was reaching for his boxer shorts when the door flew open.
     “What the fuck?” Cyrus scrambled to cover up as Alex strolled in. “I’m, erm, in a compromising position, Alex. Couldn’t you have knocked?”
     She smiled sweetly. “Nice, erm...”
     He was holding a bed sheet around his mid-section, she noticed. He had covered quickly, but not quite fast enough that she hadn’t seen what was hidden underneath.
     “Modesty is over-rated, Ranger. I’ve seen it before.” She looked at the boxers that had been tossed on the floor and chuckled as his cheeks flamed.
     “Can I help you?” He asked, trying to remain casual.
     “Mum wants you in the kitchen. Yesterday.” She turned her eyes back to him and he shivered.
     “I’ll be right down,” he managed.
     She nodded but didn’t move. Her eyes slowly inched their way across him.
     She smirked and turned to the door. “I’ll let her know. Don’t keep her waiting.”
     The door closed and he listened to her footsteps as she travelled down the stairs.
     Cyrus shook his head and waited for his heart rate to slow down before reaching again for his shorts.
#

     By the time he managed to get to the kitchen Adam and Alex were sitting down on the stools, their elbows resting on the countertop. The steam still rose from their coffee mugs and the scent tantalized him from across the room.
     Adam’s mom stood at the sink. She had been dubbed “Mum” by most, if not all, of his friends. He lightly kissed her on the cheek and gratefully accepted the cup that she offered.
     Mum was a tall graceful woman with a sun weathered face and sparkling green eyes. She had a strong jaw and smooth sand colored hair. Her long tapered fingers were holding a mug on her own.
     She was already wearing a bib apron over her jeans. Her blouse sleeves were rolled up past her elbows.
     Mum had a soft spot for kids and a tendency to unofficially adopt her children’s friends. At twenty-three, Cyrus was far from being a child, but she had greeted him warmly and welcomed him into her home with open arms and an open heart, the Christmas after he and Adam had returned from a tour of duty in the Middle East. Having no family left of his own, Cyrus was grateful for the invitation and had been given a place in her life as one of her own children.
     Six years later Cyrus Ranger had come to view her with the love and respect he felt he would give his own mom had she still been alive.
     “Are you boys ready to start soon?”
     Adam and Cyrus looked at one another and grinned, their eyes alight with mischief.
     “Of course mum,” Adam said as he reached over Alex to nab a muffin.
     The last two times she had tried to teach them the basics of holiday fare had proved disastrous. Thanksgiving had found the turkey still raw. Christmas had produced one overcooked with smoke wafting off of it. Cyrus figured the result of this day would be somewhere in the middle.
     “Third time’s a charm,” Mum murmured, echoing his thoughts. She placed a stack of material on the counter. “Get dressed. There’s an apron here for each of you.”
     Adam snickered and tossed a pink flowered one to Cyrus, snagging a blue and white one for himself. There was one left on the counter. Alex’s eyes widened.
     “Oh hell no!” she said as the boys started to howl with laughter.
     Mum winked at her. “I need another woman in here to help me keep these two under control.”
     Adam had tears in his eyes. Cyrus snorted. “She’s worse than both of us put together!” he managed.
     “I most certainly am not a woman!” she snatched up the apron, indignant. “It’s pink!” she wailed.
     “You guys have thirty minutes to get yourselves ready,” Mum called as she walked down the hall, barely managing to suppress a laugh until she made it around the corner.
  

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

NaNoWriMo, Etc

For those of you who don't know what "NaNoWriMo" is, I shall explain. November is National Novel Writing Month. You write 50,000 words in the month of November.

This year I signed up to participate. It started yesterday. Two days in and I am slaughtering the word counts (I am just under 6,000). This is surprising, for someone like me -- a master procrastinator.

I have so many other things I could be doing (my exams are coming up next week. I had one this morning, in fact). Instead I am putting studying off so I can write (and blog). Imagine. So unlike me to put anything off... ;)

Anyway... I have been having fun getting to know these characters who have been grumbling in my head for quite some time now.

Do you want to see some excerpts from this newest creation? Let me know in the comments section!

That said, I am going to cut this short so I can get some actual studying in before bed.

Have a great night!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Just for Parents (I hope..)

Back at the end of April I blogged, very briefly, on Adam Mansbach and his new book titled "Go The F*k to Sleep". (You can view it here.)

Over the weekend I found same story narrated by Samuel L. Jackson on youtube.com, and I had to post it for you.


Enjoy! (When the kids aren't around!)