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Archive for the ‘Friends’ Category

So Jeff and I watch a lot of TV in our spare time (the joy of Netflix), and lately we’ve been watching the show Angel, Joss Whedon’s excellent vampire drama. I’ve watched it before a few years ago on one of my long summers working at the Library, but the only exposure Jeff’s had to Whedon shows is Firefly. So we’ve been settling in over the break and enjoying mini-marathons of episodes of Angel.

Last night we decided to get a little silly and turn a couple episodes of Angel into a drinking game. For those of you who have some knowledge of the show, we’re in the middle of Season 2 and last night we watched ‘Blood Money’ (2.12) and ‘Happy Anniversary’ (2.13).

Here are the rules we came up with for the drinking game:

1. Every time Angel looks at the camera with a brooding expression, take a drink.
2. Every time Gunn says something excessively stereotypical / ‘token black dude’, take a drink.
3. Every time Cordelia has a vision, take a drink.
4. Every time Wesley says something excessively stereotypical / British, take a drink.
5. Every time Angel has an awkward conversation with a member of the opposite sex, take a drink.
6. Every time Cordy acts excessively obsessed with money, take a drink.
7. Every time Wesley adjusts his glasses, take a drink.
8. Finish your drink if at any time you wonder to yourself ‘how was this show considered PG?’
9. Take a drink every time the Wolfram and Hart lawyers are avoidant of a question, or blatantly lie to another character.
10. Drink every time Merl gets the crap kicked out of him.
11. Drink every time a character warbles through a bad karaoke routine for the Host.

That’s all we’ve come up with so far. Hopefully on various occasions as we watch this show together, we’ll come up with some more. What drinking games do you play with TV shows, especially Whedon shows?

(Also, for any curious parties, we were drinking screwdrivers. The subject matter would probably beg a more appropriate drink, like vodka-cranberry or a bloody mary, but all we had was vodka and OJ).

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Thankfulness

What am I thankful for this year?

My mother, who believes in culinary indulgences like wrapping the Thanksgiving Turkey in bacon, but also respects my vegetarianism enough to make me her homemade mac and cheese so I have more to eat during thanksgiving dinner than beans and potatoes.

I’m thankful for Skype, because it allowed me to talk to my sister who is currently over four thousand miles away in England, and this was our first Thanksgiving without her.

I’m thankful for this guy:

Who is a master of chopping apples, mashing potatoes, and cuddling while watching Pixar Movies (yesterday we watched Ratatouille and Up). Not to mention eating massive amounts of delicious food, as my mother and I are incapable of cooking for anything less than an army.

Including delicious pies.

I’m thankful for food comas.

And adorable sleeping cats.

I’m thankful for having days off from school. For warm fuzzy blankets. For hot soup and tea on cold days. Movies that make me laugh until I cry and cry until I laugh. My family. My friends. My life about to begin with graduating college. My car. Good books. Good music. Hot showers. Backrubs. Joss Whedon shows. My writing, and my love of the written word.

And love.

I’m especially thankful for love.

Happy day-after-thanksgiving, my fellow Americans. I hope you spend it hidden away from the insane shoppers and football like I am. Curled up with those you love, doing something you love. Or at least having fun.

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Apologies for a lack of updates, random readers. This week has been taken up with much busy madness due to the Job Hunt I have been undertaking in the last week.

I am about to graduate. Upon graduating I will gain a Bachelors Degree, making me more qualified than over 75% of other US Citizens (according to this). I will also lose my current job, student library lackey at the Engineering Library. This makes me sad, as I rather love this job. My coworkers and boss are a lovely bunch and I’d keep working there if I could, not in the least because I can dick around on the internet while on the clock.

Sadly this is not to be, and in less than a month I will be expelled from academia into the cold, big world, where I must find gainful employment or starve to death/mooch off my parents until they set me on fire.

So here’s a few of my thoughts on hunting for jobs in today’s economy.

1. Job websites = a good thing

Last Tuesday I posted my resume on careerbuilder.com. The next day I got a call from one company asking for an interview, and the day after I got a phone call from a second company. Clearly this website posting idea was a good one. The first company offered me a first and second interview, and even though they weren’t  quite what I was looking for, it got me started. So yeah, post your resume on a job website. All you have to lose is the occasional spam e-mail saying ‘we can hire you for work-at-home job! yes?! give us money first and we’ll hire you long time!!!!111!!!”

2. Shopping for Interview Clothes is hard

It has probably come to the attention of some of you that I am a girl (and if it hasn’t, well now you know). I am female, and have female parts. This is true. However, when it comes to traditional ‘girly’ things, I kind of suck. I’m not much for sparkles and bows, I own a grand total of two skirts which I almost never wear, I wear makeup almost never and I absolutely LOATHE shopping.

So of course, hunting down interview clothes this weekend was an ordeal. My mother, who is a saint for putting up with me, took me to the mall and ran me through the gauntlet of finding a nice pants suit, a few shirts, and new shoes. This took several hours of me sniffling and coughing (as I’m still recovering from the Cold of Doom I picked up last Thursday) as I tried on pants, jackets, shirts (both hideous and boring), and then proceeded to try on half the shoes in the store, most of which didn’t fit my canoe-sized feet (I’m a size 10 US Female. Finding heels for me is hard). This took several hours, and my mother, infinitely patient, rewarded me (despite my sniffling petulance) with quesadillas at Qdoba and going to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows that evening.

The moral of the story being, if you hate shopping like I do, try to get it done as fast as you can, and have a reward ready. Then you have a set of work/interview clothes, hopefully without losing your mind in the mall.

Also, my Mum rocks. I’m allowed to say that, even though I’m 23 years old.

3. Cut and Paste job application answers

In the last week I’ve managed to memorize my references, contact information and basic work history. Seriously, I know my boss’s phone number, my former boss’s phone number and the number of my friend and former coworker Sam. I’m not great with numbers, but typing these in over and over again has led them to be lodged in my brain like a bad Christmas Carol. That said, all the information they require you to put on online applications, especially describing past job duties, takes a lot of typing and a lot of time you could spend filling out other applications (or dicking around, whichever).

So I said ‘screw it’ and made use of my two favourite shortcuts on my keyboard: ctrl+c and ctrl+v. Made filling out three practically identical banking job applications that much easier. I highly recommend it.

4. Know what you can and can’t do

Sounds simple enough right? It isn’t.

I have limited job experience. I’ve worked in a library and in food service. That’s it. Now I’m about to expand my options and I need to start considering what kind of jobs I’d not only be capable of, but what jobs I’d actually be able to survive with my sanity intact. Now, I’m open to a lot of things. I thrive on office jobs (I type 70-75 wpm on a bad day), I love to cook (making food service tolerable under certain conditions) and I’m disturbingly good with people (I think this is because I hate them, more on this later). However, there are things I know I cannot do, and the big one is this:

Telemarketing.

Telemarketing and anything to do with extensive use of phones. I HATE talking to people on the phone. Truly loathe it. I hate the awkwardness of stumbling into each other’s sentences, can’t always understand what the person is saying, and overall just feel awkward. I’ll do it for little things, like answering the phone in an office, but spending an inordinate amount of time on the phone talking to a stranger sounds like my special kind of hell.

So when I was offered a job this morning in sales that involved a lot of cold calling, I declined. I know that whether I can be good at it or not, I’d spend my days contemplating stabbing my eyes out with pencils just so I can go home. That doesn’t sound like job satisfaction to me. And if it does to you, then you’re special and I’m going to run away now.

5. Care about Sports, or at least know enough to fake that you do

This one is more regional, but it contributed directly to my getting a second interview on Monday in my opinion, so I figure it’s important to share.

I live in Lincoln, Nebraska. Those of you who know anything about sports, or Lincoln, understand the rabid, undying obsession most Nebraskans have with the UNL college football team, the Cornhuskers, or Huskers. People out here live, breathe, and drink football from August to November, then wake up and repeat this for the bowl game (if there is one), and then yammer about the upcoming season for the other eight months out of the year. It turns downtown into the ninth circle of hell on gamedays for one thing, and turns normal civilized humans into drunken morons.

I don’t really care about football. I’m aware of it’s existence, but I’m not a sports person. I don’t watch Husker games, I don’t track scores online, I don’t really get upset if the team wins or loses.

But I still know the score. I know who won. I know if there was any team or crowd drama.

Why?

Because in this town, employers will talk to you about Husker Football to break the ice.

No. Seriously.

So it’s a good thing I pay attention to my facebook feed and saw that there was serious drama about players quitting, coaches getting in trouble and officials being unfair, because otherwise I would have stared at the nice man who interviewed me on Monday with a blank expression on my face and gone ‘derp’ instead of nodding and saying ‘yes, it’s horrible isn’t it?’

So, whether you’re from around here or another town with obsessive sports fans, it’s good to keep up to date, even if you hate it.

So there’s a few tips from my initial jobhunt experience. Those of you hunting, best of luck to you. Hopefully we will all be successful in finding day-jobs that don’t make us want to jab forks into our eyes. Or anyone else’s. lo

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There’s been a lot of amusing talk wandering the interblag lately about the idea of dating writers and just interacting with writers in general (see Chuck Wendig’s amusing Beware of Writer post and Rebecca Rosenblum’s Why Date a Writer for an idea). The gist of these posts, and it’s a gist I can agree with, is that writers are terrifying, tempermental, unpredictable animals who do not play well with others and are best when avoided.

I won’t argue. We writers are a surly, pissed off, poverty-stricken bunch who hide behind their notebooks and computer screens with ideas running around their heads muttering ‘you wouldn’t understand’ to anyone who gets within biting distance. We’re mostly intolerable, narcissistic self-involved geeks who bury ourselves in our own little worlds that we do our best to transcribe onto paper. We don’t even really get along that well with each other, as we’re a solitary breed by nature.

So what happens when two writers date each other?

This is me, Lora. 23 years old, almost out of college, writer and aspiring novelist since she figured out how to hold a pencil for something other than stabbing people and that all she needed was a story and a healthy touch of insanity. Originally from the US and lived 12 years in London, she’s been lurking in Lincoln, Nebraska for the last five years and seems to have survived despite being a liberal and a vegetarian.

This is Jeff. 22 years old, a philosophy major, and has been certain since a very young age that he could write a novel, a damned good novel, and he could keep writing damned good novels and telling damned good stories until the day his brain eventually fell out. Born and raised in Nebraska, he’s a fan of live music, good mixed drinks and silliness. And doesn’t like football, which in this town is a crime practically punishable by death.

We’ve been dating for the last seven and a half months. And we’re both writers. Writers and aspiring novelists.

Everyone’s writing process is a little different. Some of us talk to ourselves, some never speak a word. Some of us work best with deadlines, pounding out a certain amount of words a day, others just let things percolate a while and then throw words on to paper. Some type, some write longhand. It all depends.

In terms of process, Jeff and I have different styles. I type a lot faster than I write longhand, so I work best at my laptop clicking away furiously at keys, occasionally distracted by a chat window or a twitter post. Jeff likes to write in longhand using pens and spiral notebooks, distracted only when he needs to change the music on his iPod. One thing we do have in common is that we enjoy writing as a solitary pastime. To this date we’ve never both been writing at the same time in the same room, and that doesn’t seem likely to change.

Jeff is not a NaNoWriMo participant. He’s not looking to start a brand-spanking new novel every month, he’s been working on the same one, slowly but surely, for the last three years. Every couple of days he cranks out a few more hand-written pages.

I am a deadlines person. I like reaching my wordcount goals. I’m prolific in my pages and my scenes. And I start at least one new novel a year, even if I don’t finish it (if you gave me a dollar for every half-finished novel sitting in my hard drive right now… well, I’d have a lot of dollars).

We have different styles and different methods, but the madness often associated with writers is understood. And that’s the biggest advantage I’ve found to dating another writer. Even if Jeff and I have different processes, different stories to tell, when I inform him that I need to stay late on campus because I ‘just have to finish this scene’, he gets it. When he is sitting in his room at his desk with his headphones on and doesn’t stop when I enter through the door, I know it means ‘am writing, do not disturb.’ When he asks me what’s wrong and I tell him “oh, [insert name of  current main character here] is being difficult because of x,” he doesn’t look at me like I just grew an extra head.

We have writing swaps, where I throw my laptop at him and he gives me a pile of half-finished notebooks and we curl up on the bed, reading each other’s work. We recommend good books to each other. We talk about the hopefully-attainable dream of writing full-time, as we please, being Authors, Novelists, professional Storytellers with published stories. We talk about collaborating. We give each other feedback, knowing full well that we’re as honest as we can be with the bias of being in a relationship. We help each other through tricky plotholes and confusions, even just by acting as a sounding board.

It’s not all a walk in the park. We’re both poor as dirt. Neither of us likes the idea of returning to school after finishing our respective B.A’s. We both get temperamental and irrational in our own ways (I’m overemotional, he’s stubborn and distant). We bicker about silly things like any other couple. It’s normal.

But we both write. And for me, that’s better. He doesn’t always understand HOW I get to where I do in my process, my methods, but he understands WHY.

I still say beware of writers. We’re a pretty scary bunch. We’re morbid, creepy, isolated, rude, conniving bastards a lot of the time.

We even sometimes want to eat your brains.

But ultimately, we have each other.

Even if only because it’s nice to be able to look up from my computer and say “honey, do you know anything about the street price of heroin in New York City” and have him respond with: “have you googled it?” as opposed to “Why in the name of god would you need to know that?”

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Real life’s been a little nuts again; I’ve spent the bulk of my weekend helping out a very good friend going through a rough time, so that’s taken up the vast majority of my writing moments.

I’m currently a little less than 8k away from the big 50k, and the story is starting to escalate. I also have no other plans for today save for running some errands, napping and finishing up some work-related business.

Things are a little nuts here. This is by far the most stressful NaNoWriMo I’ve ever attempted, and while I’m going for 100k no less. Still totally worth it though in my opinion.

Other than that there’s not much I’m at liberty to ramble about. Except that Jeff’s roommate is getting a kitty today. Picspam of kitty might follow.

… I have a problem. An adorably cuddly, meowing problem.

Time to go clean up the kitchen. Everything smells like bacon.

 

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It’s now almost 8:00pm in Lincoln. I’m sitting comfortably at about 34k. I’m about 2-3k away from my recommended goal of 36.6k, even further away from my desired 40k.

My blog from this morning ended up being overly ambitious, because life got in the way:

My RSI is acting up, and with a vengeance. I’ve been in a constant mild state of pain since waking up this morning, and while the brace helps (as do painkillers when it gets bad), I’m still feeling the aches and pains every time I sit down to type. Needless to say this is cutting into my typing pretty hardcore.

As well as this, a very dear friend of mine is still dealing with some pretty tough stuff. I love my friends dearly, and while words need to be written, I know that they will always need to be written. My friends needing help? That’s a priority, even if the only help I can offer is providing a distraction.

So, sorry 40k. Unless my wrist stops yelling at me with pain, I’ll see you tomorrow. My goal now is to finish my chapter and write another, which’ll get me more than on track for today. If I’m feeling better later I’ll keep it up, but it’s whatever really. It’s not the wordcount I’m worried about, it’s the motivation. I WILL finish this novel. Nothing’s going to stop that.

Sorry for the bold excitements of my earlier post. Life, as usual, decided to grab me and say ‘hey, I’m what happens when you make plans. Suck it.’

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I just wrote the first difficult scene in my novel; two characters getting into a fight in a cemetery. Lots of high emotion and raised voices. I wrote 5800 words today, and I’m proud of it. I’m almost to 25k, but I need a break before I even think about continuing on tonight.

Last night we ate Awesome Tacos (devastating the kitchen in the process. Seriously, it was like a delicious spice-flavoured bomb went off in there) and watched The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, which I loved even though Jeff and most of my friends were less enthused. I’m a tireless fan of Terry Gilliam’s work, and am pretty okay with a movie with a less than linear plot, especially when it features stunning visuals, several very attractive and very talented men, and Lily Cole.

Enjoy that image for a bit.

Moving on.

Today I spent most of the time napping, cleaning and working on catching up with my daily wordcount. We also had D&D, and Jeff’s roommate Alex gave me a late birthday gift:

Cute, ne? The design is inspired by Appa from Avatar the Last Airbender, which if you haven’t watched it (the show, not the festering bowel movement of a movie) is excellent and fun.

Here’s another view:

Once again proving that I am the coolest kid in school. But seriously, Appa is a badass. I am okay with adorning my head with a piece of cloth that represents his badassitude. Because Appa don’t take no shit.

That’s all for tonight. Tomorrow I have more writing, a dental appointment (to get my tooth drilled – woo!) and 120 pages of Freud to read. Wish me luck, and whiskey.

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