edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
I wrote 100 words today, bringing ch. 17 to 1,325.

Unfortunately I hate all of them, and I think tomorrow I will rip up most of what I've written for scene two and start over much closer to the actual point of the scene. Pacing is still a thing, and if I'm boring myself, I'm pretty sure the resulting words are going to bore readers as well.

(Also, it is annoyingly difficult to research wagon braking systems. Like, okay, there is often a lever on the front left of the wagon which does a thing to the wheels -- well obviously; that what a brake is -- but I have yet to find a useful mechanical diagram, goddammit, and I want one. Maybe if I try an image search instead of a text search...)
edenfalling: circular blue mosaic depicting stylized waves (ocean mosaic)
So my NFE assignment contained two prompts, one of which... um... well, to be blunt, one of which I have already written. Like three times over. This is not to say that I have by any means exhausted the variations on the topic! It's fairly broad, both in temporal and character terms.

The other prompt, I had no real idea how to deal with. It involves a character and a part of canon I am not particularly interested in.

And yet, I was wiki-walking a few weeks ago for unrelated reasons, stumbled across a random article, and thought to myself, "Hey, what if Character X was at Event Y for some reason, and then PLOT?"

I told myself that was silly and would require too much research, and I should just go write a fourth variant on something I knew how to do. It would be easy!

...

Yeah, I stalled out on the "easy" prompt and cannot unstick myself for love or money or deadline panic, but as of tonight I'm a couple hundred words into "Oh god, what am I doing???" territory, with something like a baker's dozen tabs open in another browser window as I attempt to string together various accounts of Event Y and make them into a coherent Narnia-relevant narrative that doesn't take too many liberties with recorded history. And the story feels alive in a way the other never managed.

Oops?
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
1. As of Monday, the smoke shop is now closing at 6pm (Mon-Sat) until our final day. Boss Lady looked at the hourly sales figures and figured there was no real point being open until 7pm just for two cigarette sales, one newspaper, and maybe a few random snacks. (For reference, cigarettes, newspapers, and lottery all have terrible profit margins -- 6% for lottery, 7% for cigarettes (assuming you sell at state minimum, which we do), and 6-10% for newspapers.)

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2. More smoke shop news: on Tuesday, the air conditioner's compressor blew out. :-( The landlords called a heat & AC company, but the fix could not be done until Thursday at the earliest because not all the relevant parts were in stock. I got a text from Boss Lady yesterday telling me that we had no AC and I should wear shorts... which confused me slightly, since I wasn't at work today either, and I certainly hope the problem will be fixed on Friday.

Also, I don't own any shorts. No really. None. I strongly dislike the way tight shorts feel and the way loose shorts look, so I don't wear them. Aside from three years of soccer in high school, I haven't worn shorts since I was twelve or thirteen.

(I don't like tight pants either, FYI. I just really dislike tight fabric around my thighs. It's sweaty and itchy and makes me feel like a dehydrating sausage, and I don't give a shit about trying to look sexy, so why bother flattering my butt and legs if it just makes me want to claw the fabric off and wrap a handy curtain around my waist as a makeshift skirt? /end digression.)

Anyway, I guess I'll discover the state of the air conditioning tomorrow.

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3. I have been gleefully plunging through the archive of Girl Genius, which I think makes that the third fandom Asuka has (inadvertently) dragged me into. I have also been gleefully plunging through the AO3 fic archive for that series. Spoilers, schmoilers. Who cares! It's fun!

I may say something more coherent about the series once I catch up to the current pages. Or not. But for now, I am enjoying it immensely. :-D

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4. Today I headed up to Cornell to do a couple tiny pieces of research for my dad's encyclopedia project. They're still in the editing phase, and Dad asked if I could find the birthdates of two scientists; one neglected to provide his birthday in a biographical article that he wrote himself, and also gave his birthplace as a local region name that does not actually have any legal validity; the other they had a year for, but no exact date or place. I was able to find the date and location for the first person, but nothing definite on the latter.

It always fascinates me that there are places that have names, but that aren't towns and/or don't have their own post office or ZIP codes, and don't appear on maps either. For example, near where I grew up, there is a place called Convent Station. It is named after, unsurprisingly, a train station built near a convent. If you say, "I'm going to Convent Station," anyone local will know what you mean... but it's not a town, it has no ZIP code, and generally it has no legal status as a place. Kind of a glorified neighborhood. Anyway, that won't do for an encyclopedia, apparently, since places like that are hard to find and/or verify. (Not being legally incorporated, they presumably cannot hold records like birth certificates.)

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5. I meant to make pot roast yesterday, but I forgot to buy the necessary red wine on my way home from my adult RE program at church in the evening. And then today I forgot again. So I will pick that up tomorrow after work.

In the meantime, I've been working my way through the random leftovers Mom brought. First was a peculiar soup -- vegetarian meatballs in chicken broth with white beans and carrot and cheese and spinach leaves. That made two meals. The white chicken chili also made two meals. Now I am eating some baked chicken with a weird breading, supplemented by broccoli I bought myself and steamed tonight. And after that, there's some kind of pork in broth; I don't remember the details.

I find it amusing that Mom apparently thinks I would starve and/or get scurvy if she didn't supplement my diet now and then. Or maybe it's just that, even years later, she's still used to cooking for four instead of for two, and enjoys giving leftovers to family. (Hmm. I should ask Vicky if she gets leftover deliveries as well, or if Mom thinks she can handle her own cooking. Vicky, unlike me, actually enjoys cooking for its own sake instead of regarding it as an annoying and tedious interval that separates being hungry from being able to eat dinner.)
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
Today I worked with New Hire (upon whom I will bestow a nickname once I know her a little better) for the first time. She seems nice and also competent -- a winning combination!

The day was crazy despite the lack of an Elmira delivery (we are now using Elmira Distributing mostly for cigarettes and a few other things that HLA doesn't carry, and getting only one delivery per week, on Wednesdays), partly because holiday shopping season is getting into full swing, but mostly because the Mega Millions jackpot was at $400 million... and then jumped to $425 million halfway through the afternoon. People start getting really weird about lotteries when the jackpots get high.

Unfortunately, nobody won tonight's drawing. The new jackpot (which will be drawn on Tuesday) is $550 million. That is going to bring even more people into the smoke shop, many of whom will have no clue what they're doing and will thus eat a lot of our time, which is already in short supply.

I hate lotteries.

---------------

On the brighter side, I finished and posted another section of a fic I am writing anonymously for a kinkmeme. It's for a prompt that has some potentially awkward issues, and also I wanted to try writing it serially, so I have been experimenting with true anonymity instead of attaching my name to the story. (I am a coward; this is a cheap escape clause in case I can't finish the fic after all.) I think I may have finally found a shape to the story and thus a potential end point -- it had been rather distressingly open-ended for a long while -- so that is nice. I suppose I may de-anon when I do my end of year writing roundup post, even if I haven't finished the story by then, because I would like to be able to count the posted parts in my public record for 2013.

I have not written anything further on my Yuletide fic, but one of the books I borrowed from Cornell turns out to have exactly the piece of historical evidence I was looking for, which has given me a much more solid structure for the story. (This is not surprising; I checked out that book because I was 95% sure it was the best place to find that item.) Another book turns out to be mostly irrelevant except as general character background stuff, and I am still working through the others.

And as for the Three Sentence Ficathon... well, I keep meaning to write some more fills, but I have not been in the best mental place for that. I managed two, but I'd prefer to hold off on a collection post until I have at least one more. Perhaps Saturday!
edenfalling: colored line-art drawing of a three-scoop ice cream sundae (ice cream sundae)
I got back up to Cornell today -- as on Friday, I took a bus because climbing East Hill in the cold is not my idea of a fun time, and climbing East Hill in the cold on icy sidewalks is even less appealing -- and am now the happy owner of a Cornell University library card.

It only lasts one month, because it costs $250 per year for a non-affiliated person to get library privileges beyond, you know, being in the building and other basic things like that, and I am neither made of money nor in need of university borrowing privileges as a general rule. But I only need the books for a month anyway, so eh, who cares. And I am quite willing to shell out $25 for a one-month card, because aside from wanting to write an awesome and historically accurate Yuletide fic, I want to read these books for general knowledge purposes. It is always good to learn more about the world!

I have five single-volume books, one double-volume book, and one pamphlet-ish thing. I foresee a LOT of reading in my future.

*gleefully dives in*
edenfalling: stained-glass butterfly in a purple frame (butterfly)
Today I failed at retrieving books from Cornell. It turns out that Olin library has a bunch of the books I'm interested in, and they are available for borrowing rather than the kind of huge and/or delicate reference texts that cannot be removed from the building. Yay! However, it further turns out that in order for a member of the general public to get a library card, you can't just fill out a form at the circulation desk. You have to go down a hall and around the corner to the library office... which closes at 3:30pm on Fridays, and I didn't arrive until 4:00pm, dammit. And while the library itself is open every day, the office is not open on weekends, so I will either have to get up an hour early Monday morning or wait until Wednesday which is my next day off work. Argh.

Still, the books are there! I noted down the call numbers, wrote down some other titles I found while browsing the catalogue, and physically visited the stacks to verify that the books that were listed as available were, in fact, available (and shelved correctly) -- that not being a thing one can wholly trust. I had a bad moment when I initially failed to find them, before I realized I was searching among the oversized books rather than the normally-sized books. (Olin's shelving system is not very intuitive that way, and their little cheat-sheet map thingy is not especially intuitive either.) The oversized section was fascinating in its own way, though, since I discovered a complete multi-volume edition of a wonderful primary source I hadn't even thought to check for in the catalogue, since I'd assumed it was the kind of specialty thing one only finds in national archives and most of them in Europe... but then again, it's a very important and broad-ranging primary source so on second thought I don't know why I assumed Cornell wouldn't have a copy. The Olin library copy is beyond old -- actual leather bindings that are falling apart from age in some places -- but man, so cool. (I'm probably not going to use that source, since it is so huge that it's not very useful unless you already have a reasonable idea of what you're looking for, and/or a whole week to spare, neither of which criteria I meet. That does not stop the little thrill of glee at knowing I could get lost in it, should I so desire.)

I also used Cornell's JSTOR subscription to read a brief article I had noted as being of peripheral background interest -- more a character reference than anything directly pertinent to the incident I'm hanging my Yuletide fic around. I forgot to bring my flash drive with me so I couldn't save the PDF, but since it was, as previously stated, of peripheral rather than direct interest, that's not a huge loss. And it does mean I can go ahead and use the character interpretation/attitude I was planning on... which is more or less the one from canon, but since canon has thus far skipped almost entirely over this portion of my main character's life -- it would not have fit tidily into the narrative flow, for various reasons -- it's nice to have some professional historical support for my choices. :-)
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
I'm still doing research. So much research. All the research -- you have no idea. I did not get up to Cornell today, though I spent a pleasant 45 minutes in the local used book store flipping through indexes and wondering why the two really useful "general background what-life-was-like" books were both centered on the previous century to the one I'm interested in, argh. I may go buy one of them tomorrow anyway, on the theory that everyday life hadn't changed that much over the intervening 50-ish years, and customs and expectations of what counts as "normal" and "correct" are often set by the previous generation's experiences. I will try to get to bed at a more reasonable hour on Thursday so I can make this Cornell library visit happen on Friday. I just want to be historically accurate, all right?!

However! I've also started writing Yuletide fic, on the theory that inaccurate stuff can be fixed later, and it is always faster and easier to edit writing that already exists than it is to produce said writing in the first place, so I had better string some words together before last-minute crunch time.

Current status: 200 words, general intro to situation, no plot whatsoever. I should have a plot. It's not easy to keep a plotless vignette going for a thousand words. I'm not asking for much, just... something needs to happen.

I think this means I need at least one other character (current character count: 2) and also perhaps an outline. Yes. That sounds like a good idea.

Right.

Please excuse me, I have to go mumble fragmentary nonsense to myself while I think of some kind of "and then, and then, and then" structure upon which to hang Character Study and Thoughts About Family.
edenfalling: stained-glass butterfly in a purple frame (butterfly)
I came back from Thanksgiving not only with a bunch of leftovers (I will return the tupperware and extra cooler at Christmas), but also with a new spider plant -- apparently my mom was serious about getting rid of all of hers. Oh well, more for me! :-)

spider plant


The next picture is a plant I bought for myself last Friday, as a reward after surviving a week from hell at work. I’m not sure what it is, but it’s cute and it was shelved among the succulents, so I have high hopes of not killing it accidentally within two months. *crosses fingers*

unknown plant


I haven’t named either of them yet. Does anyone have any suggestions?

---------------

Oh, btw, I am safely back in Ithaca! I left Madison around 11:15am and arrived home around 3:30pm, at which point I did my weekly grocery run while I still had the rental car. I returned the car around 5pm and walked home rather than wait for a courtesy ride, despite the frigid weather, because I have gotten used to walking a mile or more every day and I find I get weirdly twitchy if I don't get out and move around at least a little. Then I took a nap. :-)

I have spent the evening organizing the fruits of my Yuletide research so I know more precisely what I know, and also have a clear list of things I still want to research in more details (plus potential sources for those details). My next day off is Wednesday, and this time I really will hit up the Cornell libraries to see if they have some more obscure and/or scholarly resource type books, not to mention some articles from academic periodicals, because there is no way in hell I'm going to find those in the public library system. And hey, you never know what a trained reference librarian may be able to dig up. :-D
edenfalling: golden flaming chalice in a double circle (gold chalice)
1. First, some stuff about work:

We had what seemed like a promising applicant for a part-time position -- which would be helpful since Boss Lady has trimmed her hours, Puppydog is still making non-vital but annoying mistakes, Sweetheart is perpetually stressed out because of personal issues (basically, her babydaddy is a deadbeat asshole, the kind who seemed promising as a young man but wasted all his virtues and wallowed in his flaws), Melodrama is once again on the point of ragequitting, and Lemme-Tell-Ya... well, he is himself. (And I have been sick for three weeks running now, and also keep having miscommunications with Boss Lady since we only see each other about twice a week in passing anymore.) But the applicant lied about having driving problems, so that's the end of that. *sigh* We can put up with accidents and speeding tickets, but if you lie, well, that's a bad sign of greater potential problems.

It also transpires that Beleaguered Miniboss (who manages our sister store down in Elmira) has suddenly decided to take a two-week vacation, starting next week. The reasons for this are unclear, though Boss Lady suspects it's a sanity break from Mr. Speakerphone, whose office is in the same building as the Elmira store and who has taken to micromanaging Beleaguered Miniboss this year. (Boss Lady went through a bout of his badgering when she was hired to manage all his shops, but she says if she'd had to face everything he's put Beleaguered Miniboss through this year, she'd have blown up and/or quit. She says I would have done the same, and based on my few direct interactions with Mr. Speakerphone, I think she's right.)

Anyway, Boss Lady will be down in Elmira covering for Beleaguered Miniboss, which means I will be in charge of the smoke shop in her absence. Nrgh. I don't mind the paperwork and decision aspects, but I hate trying to be the voice of authority when Lemme-Tell-Ya and Melodrama get into fights, or when Lemme-Tell-Ya upsets Sweetheart to the point of tears. (She is too nice for her own good and won't tell him off in any way that leaves a lasting impression.) I am terrible at dealing with personality conflicts. :-(

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2. Next, some stuff about church:

On Tuesday night, there will be a jazz concert to benefit the Tompkins County Public Library, in my church. I am not working that day -- so strange! -- and I think I might like to attend. Alas, all the details are on a Facebook page. Ugh, Facebook. But jazz and libraries... Yeah, I'll at least go check it out.

Also, I need to volunteer for the Service Auction, since I have that day off as well. I have nothing to contribute -- about the only things I could feasibly offer are housecleaning and yardwork, but it seems weird to stipulate that the purchaser must supply my transportation -- but I can at least help with setup and cleanup.

This reminds me that I should write a brief summary of Sunday's lesson so my co-teachers know what happened. We've been discussing ways of improving continuity between lessons, which is important since most of them are two-part, but we don't always have teacher continuity between the relevant weeks.

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3. And lastly, my research:

I am really enjoying the background reading I've been doing for my Yuletide fic! The book Dad lent me is a joy to read: a little dry, but works written by and for historians to argue a specific point of interpretation in an ongoing conversation, which don't descend into impenetrable jargon, are things of beauty to be treasured. I would be even happier if the author bothered to translate his Latin quotes, but I guess you can't have everything, and it is probably a reasonable assumption that his intended audience -- professional historians in the 1970s specializing in a period and country that shall remain nameless -- would have at least a little Latin. Alas, I have none... but one can puzzle out a few general concepts from roots, and he does have the grace to use the quotations mostly as ornamental proof rather than integral parts of his basic text and argument.

I am giving serious thought to hitting Olin and Uris libraries on Friday, to see if I can make use of university resources to find texts that public libraries have no reason to keep in their collections. Mmm, history... *twirls*
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
Tangentially to my last post, because I know people react differently to things:

Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 20


Upon receiving a review of the form, "I usually dislike/hate/don't understand/can't believe in Story Element X, but you made me like it/understand it/see how it could work/enjoy your story anyway," how do you tend to feel?

View Answers

Flattered: "I'm such a great writer that I changed this reader's mind about X!"
15 (75.0%)

Defensive: "What's wrong with X anyway?!"
3 (15.0%)

Confused: "If you don't like X, why were you reading my story in the first place?"
10 (50.0%)

Something else which I will explain in a comment.
3 (15.0%)

Tickybox!
7 (35.0%)




(The poll is Dreamwidth only, since that's where I have a paid account, but I think you may also be able to vote via OpenID.)

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edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
Elizabeth Culmer

August 2017

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