New Job

I now have a second job.  Or third.  Or even forth, depending on how you count.  Anyhoo.  Until further notice, I will be spending my weekends at the local Bagel Shop.  It’s going to be a long…indefinite amount of time.  Working seven (7) days a week can burn a person out pretty quickly, so I’m going to focus on not doing that.
Don’t get me wrong, I love being busy.  And I am very busy at the Bagel Shop.  Mostly I’m at the front end, taking orders and being a cashier.  It’s nice because I get to see a lot of people and get to know the customers.  A good number of them are also customers of the Bank.  Though, I will say this, anyone who thinks Millenials are “entitled” has never waited on an old person.  Even at the Bank, they are some of the rudest, most entitled customers I have ever dealt with.  But that’s neither here nor there.
My co-workers are also fantastic.  That’s what really makes a job – the people you work with.  One of them is actually a neighbor of mine ;  so we might get together after work sometime to hang out.  We’re into all the same nerdy stuff – D&D, Magic, and the like.  She also said I can use her Wi-Fi.
The only thing that’s a bit of a love-hate, though, is coming in so early.  Don’t get me wrong, a 7a to 2p shift means that I still have enough afternoon to get things done.  But it means that the days I get to “sleep in” are now my weekdays.  Ironic, isn’t it?  But the fact that the managers are willing to work around the one Saturday per month I’m at the Bank, and the few Saturdays per quarter work might be a surprise (#OnCall), is amazing.  It’s not rocket science to know that managers like that are few and far between.
Of course, the free bagels are also nice.  As well as being able to take any of the yogurt parfaits and fruit salads that are going to expire.  That’s definitely helping my food budget.  It might not be the most balanced diet, but it’s food and that’s what matters.  When you’re doing a budget, the biggest controllable factor is food.  Again, neither here nor there.
Here’s to staying busy.  Hopefully I won’t run myself into the ground too hard.

Happy 86th Birthday, Grandpop

Those that know well know that there isn’t a single person in this world that holds such a special place in my heart as my grandparents.  My Grandpop, in particular, I was wicked close with.  When he passed away in 2012, it tore me apart.

I’m still mourning him.  That loss has left a hole in my heart that I don’t think can ever be repaired.  In spite of it, though, I try to think of all the happy memories I have with him, rather than the pain of losing him.

Every time I enter a used bookstore, I think of Grandpop.  We had many outings to the Book Barn and the Owl Pen under our belts together, each of us returning with huge paper bags full of books.  How many hours did we clock sitting in the same room, five feet from each other, our noses buried in our own respective stories?  When I read a good crime novel, a brilliant horror story, or a book that’s so old that I feel like the yellowed pages are going to crumble between my fingertips, I remember Grandpop because he was always sending them my way.

A good pastry from a local baker also reminds me of Grandpop, because after an afternoon of target shooting we’d always stop for a treat.

Shooting, though, has become a bit of a meditation for me in and of itself.  When I’m honing in on a target, everything else falls away.  It’s a calm, inner peace, that I don’t think I’d be able to find at all had I not spent consecutive summers at the Pine Tree Rifle Club with Grandpop.  It’s a different kind of stillness than when I sit and actually meditate – those that shoot, I’m sure, know what I’m talking about.

Grandpop also was the person that introduced me to anime and Hayao Miyazaki’s films.  I remember the first one I ever saw – Kiki’s Delivery Service.  But the one that makes me cry is My Neighbor Totoro.  It was one of his favorites, and every time I watch it I can’t help but think of him.  When I was in elementary and middle school, Cartoon Network used to have a week during the summer where they would show a different Miyazaki film every night.  Grandpop would give me a call and let me know the times, and we’d both sit and watch them together in our own respective homes (Mom was always worried about me walking home alone after dark at the time, hence why we didn’t watch them together-together).

Happy 86th, Grandpop.  I’ll always love you.  Semper Fi.

Am I Cheating?

Some time ago, I made a post about “cheating” on WordPress – scheduling posts for a date in the past so it would appear that was its original publication date.  I’ll admit, while typically I’d view that as cheating, it’s something that I’ve been doing recently.  Yes, I have some explaining to do.

I will admit, I’ve been doing this a lot more often than I’d like to (which is at all).  However, in my defense, it’s not that I’m not writing my posts on that assigned day.  I still don’t have Internet access at home, and often I’m too tired after work to go out and find the Interwebz.  So I save the posts in the Google Drive and when I do have Internet / wi-fi access, I come on here and post them.  I’m still writing, and still trying to keep up here.

However, by posting late and taking advantage of how WordPress schedules posts, am I still cheating myself and, more importantly, readers?

On the other hand, though, this blog doesn’t exactly have an enormous following.  But that doesn’t mean that someone still might not be wondering why there isn’t a post on, say, November 5th on the fifth, but on November 7th there is magically a post dated for two (2) days prior.

Arguably, this isn’t even a problem.  I’m still back into writing every day.  I’m still making my posts.  No, they’re not necessarily in a timely fashion, but they’re still getting there.  I guess this is more of an internal struggle than anything that leads me to question the validity of the situation as an actual “problem”.

I Voted

This morning I got up earlier than normal – which was quite the task for me, even more so because V came over and spent the night – just so I could go and do my civic duty.  I figured that there wouldn’t be too many people out at 6.30 am to go vote.  Not only was I wrong, I was rather surprised at just how many people were out and about to vote before work.  Of course, it is the presidential election – and this has been, by far, the craziest one I’m sure all of us Americans have seen.

In spite of the number of people, the election officials got through us all relatively quickly.  When I saw the line I thought that I was going to be standing in line for at least an hour before I’d get my ballot.  Not only was I out in 20 minutes, I still had time to go get a walnut strudel at Einstein’s before heading off to work.

And I was at work early.  On election day.  Never thought that would happen.

Since the election’s been so controversial, Jackie said that we’re going to have the TV in the lobby on the cooking channel.  Politics is a bit too risky.  So much so right now, that we’re not going to put it back on any news station for at least a week.  Just until things calm down a bit.

Hopefully.

Fantastic Weekend

This past weekend was the best weekend I’ve had in a long while.  I got things done, hobbied a bit, tutored, and even found time to hang out with friends and relax.  If I do say so myself, I’d say I earned it.

Friday night I had Nate over for a movie night.  It was also his 23rd birthday, so we split some chocolate fudge cake and peanut butter ice cream.  Movies?  Princess Bride and Poltergeist.  Interesting combination, I know.  I would have suggested The Cave, as it’s one of my all-time favorite movies, but that’s a solid “NOPE” movie for Nate.  I was surprised he’d even heard of it – it didn’t get nearly the amount of attention it deserved when it came out.  Nate was also my hero during Poltergeist…by removing a terrifyingly enormous spider from my house.

Saturday I got some cleaning done.  Some being the key word…there is still plenty more to do around the house.  I need to go through my clothes to figure out what I’m donating to Goodwill, I need to organize my kitchen, clean the car…but those are all things that can be a work in progress.  The clothes are a higher priority right now, though.  I own way too much clothing.

The highlight of the entire weekend, though, was definitely Sunday.  While I was out grocery shopping, V texted me and wanted to know if I had some free time to hang out.  The plan was to meet up at Battlegrounds to pick out some cards for the new deck I’m trying to build, then grab a bite, and meet up at my house.  Grocery shopping in itself, though, was also a highlight because I learned that the Wegmans here carries Saranac.  I never thought I’d see that root beer ever again.  (Hello food bill going up $10 per week).

We ended up not buying any cards, but we still talked a lot about the mechanics I’m looking for and the kind of deck that would be good for me since it’s been a hot minute since I’ve played the game.  But we did go back to my place and V rebuilt some decks he purchased for us to play.  I was wicked surprised when I actually beat him a few times – after all, I’ve missed so many expansions it’s practically a new game.  V told me that I’m a lot better than I think I am, and that I’m not bad, just out of practice.

Of course, I didn’t get done the things that were wicked necessary (like going to the DMV to get my license re-issued and finding out what I need to do to change the tags on my car)…but it just didn’t work out that way.  Always next weekend, though, right?

Unofficial NaNo, Chapter 4

This chapter got wicked hefty.  I’m wondering if I should break it up into two (2), or leave it as-is.  I’ll go back to it later.  If I cannot make a decision…such feedback will come from my beta readers, I guess.

Chapter 4 is where I think the real plot of the story is finally starting.  This piece is a bit tough to get started, because the real meat & potatoes is between two characters that aren’t the main character.  Main character still has things going on, and it certainly keeps things interesting, but the action doesn’t start to really begin to build until now.  I worry about if my previous three (3) chapters are interesting enough to keep the reader hooked – again, that feedback will come from my beta readers when the time comes.

Chapter Page Count :  19

Chapter Word Count :  3,559

Final Word Count :  13,577

Snarky Parents

While I can be wicked snarky myself, and do enjoy a good bit of smart-assery, sometimes it really is uncalled for.  It’s one thing if the comment(s) are in jest, but if you’re actually trying to be rude or insulting, not only does it a lot more about you than it does about me, I’m not going to be offended.  Maybe a bit peeved, but overall I’ll just pity you.

Recently, I had a parent contact me on WyzAnt about tutoring her elementary-age daughter in writing.  She wanted regular lessons, starting in a few days.  I was pretty excited, since I have a lot of experience working with kids and reading their stories and their ideas is a lot of fun.  We were also talking about me tutoring other subjects, such as math and science.  I had lessons prepped, a study schedule, and I was ready to rock & roll.  Then, just a few days before we were to begin, she contacts me again and says to disregard her request.

“After applying more filters to my search, your profile didn’t come up anymore.  I guess you’re not a REAL tutor.”

First of all :  Screw off.

Second :  If you found a tutor that you think would be a better fit, that’s fine.  I’m okay with that.  But you don’t have to be so rude about it.

I’ve never received a message like that from anybody before, so it goes without saying that I was wicked shocked.  To be perfectly honest, I wanted to respond with just as much snark and show her a good old-fashioned, New York attitude.  But that would bring me down to her level.  Instead, I opted to not respond at all.  Someone like that is just looking for trouble.

WyzAnt uses filters to help you find the tutor that will best fit you and your child’s needs.  If you realize that you haven’t been specific enough, that will narrow results.  If I’m not in those results, that is perfectly fine with me.  There’s still plenty of teaching for me to do.  But if you’re an asshole about it…see my first point.

Unofficial NaNo, Chapter 3

Things are coming along.  Of course, the month is still young and there is plenty more work to do.  I’m still in an editing stage, but I’ve still gotten quite a bit done.

I’m sure to some it looks like I’m just flying with this challenge – but that’s only if you’re looking at total word count and comparing it to the 50(k) goal.  Keep in mind :  I had a good 70 pages when I started this Unofficial NaNoWriMo.  So a good chunk of my month is going to be editing those and adding to them.

For now, I’ll admit that editing is light.  I tried writing this story a few different ways before I settled on its current format, so right now my focus is ensuring that everything is consistent.  If I get an idea to expand a paragraph / scene, then I’m expanding it.  Likewise, if I decide to switch up a scene or two, I’m doing it.

My goal is to have a cohesive, final draft.  I’m keeping the 50(k) word goal in mind just to know where I’m at in terms of, “Is it officially a novel yet?”  I know this is going to be much longer than that.  But, it’s still good to see where I’m at.  Especially since the goal of NaNoWriMo is that 50,000 word base.

Chapter Page Length :  16

Chapter Word Count :  4,249

Novel Word Count :  9,986

Unofficial NaNo, Chapter 1

The first chapter has been edited and put into the Rough Final Draft file.  It’s short, at only eight (8) pages, but it’s a start.

If anyone cares about font (it does affect page length) I’m using Garamond, size 13.  The spacing is at 1.5, because I just don’t like how close together the lines are with single spacing and double is too much.

Word count :  2081.