Random Thursday: Random Squeefuls

Random Thursday (ˈrandəm ˈTHərzdā): the day on which Sarah plunks down all the odd bits and pieces she’s been sent by friends or has otherwise stumbled upon this week in an effort to avoid writing a real post, the assembly of which usually ends up taking twice as much time as sitting down and creating actual content.

Once again, we were reminded that the Calendar Spring is not Weather Spring, as the first robin was encased in ice during Monday’s snow infestation.

But there is still squee to be found, if you look.  Or your friends do and send it to you.

Thanks, guys.

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Introducing:  My Spirit Animal

Manatee Hug

Now giving free hugs!

(Thanks, liligriff!)

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SQUEE.

That is all.

Baby Hedgies

My husband sent me this, presumably because he thought the high pitch of my reaction would knock something loose in my sinuses.

Thanks, honey.

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Watch This

And then watch it again and mark the time
when you said, “Wait. Whoa.”
and report it in the comments, please.

Mine was about 18 seconds in.

And then 46.

And at 1:03.

And 1:56.

I love this so, so much.

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Octovengers

Sunny called them Squidvengers, which is even better.

Octovengers

Me: I wonder how easy these are to assemble?

Kev:  Well, they are filled with glorious polyfiber.

(Thanks, Watson!  You’re right, these are two of my favorite thiiiiiings!)

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“There’s No Way to Outsquee Baby Hedgies.”

Cumberbatch Tiggie

Your argument is invalid.

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Literal Time Suck

Jane introduced me to a series of trailers on YouTube which hilariously describe every single thing that’s going on in them–including the production symbols—not only with subtitles, but a sort of Gregorian Chant that isn’t half bad.

She started me on one for Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, which I loved
(“Colonial Running Shoe Commercial . . . “),
even though I had no prior knowledge of the game, but I decided to show one for a movie that I’ve actually seen.  Twice.

Trust me and stop at 1:50—the video are good, but the junk at the end is annoying for anyone not of a certain demographic.

 The Hobbit is good, too.  Or Harry Potter.

Or, you know, all of them . . .

GNOME!!

Mike Allegra, children’s author, blogger, artist, keeper of houses, teller of hilarious family stories, and all around good guy, recently held one of his ever-popular doodle contests—and I won!

And even though he is suffering a debilitating injury to his drawing hand, he sent me this:

jitteryThis is Jittery–my very own Caffeine Gnome!

Just look at him!  Those eyes, those slippers, that clear sense of involuntary vibration!

He’s a lot more cheerful than I usually imagine them, but my experiences are generally affected by caffeine withdrawal, which tends to elevate even the figments of my imagination to DefCon-2 Cranky and has them looking around for drums, bagpipes, and ice picks with which to express their displeasure, until I offer suitable apologies and double their rightful tribute in the form of Americanos, mochas, diet Pepsis, and or straight up chocolate-covered beans.

But Jittery is clearly one Gnome who has consumed perhaps a little more than his fair share and is planning to ride the coffee train until the inevitable crash.

I like that in a metaphor.  And I adore this drawing.

Thanks, Mike!

Weekend Writing Warriors: Odd Duck (Snack Time)

We WriWa bannerHave a WIP, an EIP, an MS, or a published work you want to share on your blog, eight sentences at a time?

Want to sample other people’s WIPs, EIPs, MSs, or published works, eight sentences at a time?

Be a Weekend Writing Warrior!

Rules are here!

List of participants is here!

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Or if you’re a fellow Facebook addict (we can quit any time we want to, right?),
why not check out the offerings of the Snippet Sunday gang?

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When last we left him, Tom described one of the “retaining rooms” in the basement of Lowell Rhombeck, the leader of the Talbot City werewolf pack.

This week, we take a look at the room’s occupant.

Duck Pate

Travis Rendall was lounging on the bed, watching the TV embedded in the wall behind a clear pane of something that appeared to be reasonably werewolf-proof, despite the four diagonal furrows scratched across its surface.

I suspected Travis; he was wearing a thick, padlocked collar with silver studs around it and a red rash underneath.

“He’s been a bad boy,” Merrok said, tapping a series of numbers on the pad by the door. The TV shut off.

Travis turned his head to look at us. “Is it snack time already?” he asked, eying me.

His smile showed a mouthful of bad teeth but no fangs.  The silver was doing its job.

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Don’t worry: no wereducks were harmed in the writing of this scene. Travis is just being his obnoxious self.

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Hey, is anyone planning to go to Camp Nanowrimo next month?  Could I persuade you?  It’s a lot less intense than the National Novel Writing Month and an excellent excuse to eat S’mores at your desk.

Christina Ochs and I have set up a private cabin, which holds twelve and has its own on-call barista.  If you want to join us, drop me a Camp Message once you’ve signed up (I’m Sarah W over there, too) and I’ll send you an invitation (Christina, did you get yours?).

Cabin assignments will be given by the hosts in three days and Camp starts April first!

Random Thursday: Faulty Memories, Weird Truths, and Good GNUs

Random Thursday (ˈrandəm ˈTHərzdā): the day on which Sarah plunks down all the odd bits and pieces she’s been sent by friends or has otherwise stumbled upon this week in an effort to avoid writing a real post, the assembly of which usually ends up taking twice as much time as sitting down and creating actual content.

Hey, you writer people out there—check out last Tuesday’s post!

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When my BP drops, I have a latte.

Coffee Type

Actually, mine is Coffee Positive.

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I Hope So . . .

Mediation Remediation

I’d suggest adding a little blood to our caffeine streams,
but that’s just crazy talk.

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Let’s Take a Vote!

At first, this seems like an awesome live-action  memory game . . . but it isn’t.

It’s better.

Don’t bother clicking—I’ve posted the solution at the end.

No peeking!

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GNUs for Terry Pratchett

Terry Pratchett

“You know they’ll never really die while the Trunk is alive[…] It lives while the code is shifted, and they live with it, always Going Home.”

— Lipwig von Moist, Going Postal, Chapter 13

I was first introduced to Terry Pratchett’s imagination when I chose The Colour of Magic as one of the twelve books I bought for a penny way back when Book of the Month Clubs were a Big Thing and my mother wasn’t watching.

For that story alone it was the best scam I ever fell for—I read everything Terry Pratchett ever wrote and have been a devotee of the magical Discworld and its different sort of sanity ever since.

So when I learned last week that he had passed away, I told myself that his characters and worlds and sharp wit were so loved that somewhere, it has all become real.

This didn’t help as much as I’d hoped.

But then my husband, who is as big a fan as I, showed me an article that did.

In Going Postal, readers are introduced to “the clacks”, a series of semaphore towers that stand in for the telegraph for the Discworld, which has no electricity. The towers that make up “the Trunk”, can send messages “at the speed of light” using standardized codes.

In the book, three of these codes are central to the plot:

G: send the message on
N: do not log the message
U: turn the message around at the end of the line and send it back again

The people who operate the Towers—half coders, half mechanics, half crazy—have a special way of honoring those who died in service:  The names of the dead are sent in code from Tower to Tower, never logged and never ending, always remembered while the towers still stand.

And now, some Reddit fans of Sir Terry have created a way to send him name through our world’s version of the clacks—the Internet—in the form of a code called the XClacksOverhead, which sets a header reading “GNU Terry Pratchett” in the coding of one’s website or blog.

If you’re interested in honoring Terry Pratchett in this way, or are interested in passing this idea on to fans who are technologically savvy enough to do this, the various codes and instructions are here.

No one will be able to see his name unless they look for it in the coding, but it will be there, sent on and ever circling, and always Going Home.

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The Battle-Cry of my Demographic

Memory Stump

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The Verdict?

It’s totally doable, as long as you can get 100 people to follow the same, simple process.

So, no.  Never take this bet.

Instead, we should run the bet, and make a boatload of cash of those 100 people.

Who’s with me?

Do You Want to Build a Cabin? (Doesn’t have to be a cabin . . . )

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Because we’re planning a big, two-week family trip this summer and because my loyal Rocinante had to have a complete transmission flush, new front brakes, and various realignments and balances a week ago,* I can’t use any of my precious vacation time or nonexistent savings to go to any of the writing conferences and workshops I was hoping to attend.

So I’ve decided to run away to camp next month, in my brain.

If you dropped in around here last November, you already know (possibly more than you cared to) about my experience with National Novel Writing Month, during which writers of all ages, abilities, and levels of optimism pledge to write 50,000 words in one month to earn bragging rights and the first draft of a (short) novel they wrote themselves.  All it costs is time, effort, and (for some of us) semi-professional amounts of caffeine.

You also know (possibly more than you cared to) how much I enjoyed myself.

Imagine my excitement when I heard that the same organization is going to host a Camp next month!

It’s organized a little differently, but that’s all to the good:

  • Participants set their own word-count goal from 10,000 to 999,999 (or 334 to delusional per day) during the 30-day month.  You don’t have to complete the project, just the goal.
  • Editing and non-novel projects totally count: one hour of active editing equals 1,000 words.  One page of scripts and graphic novels equal 150-200 words.
  • The participants can go it alone or join “cabins” for support.  Cabins are 12-person writing groups that can be assigned either randomly or according to specific criteria (genre, age, goals), or created by the participants through invitations.

For my first try at Camp Nanowrimo, I’ve decided to set a 40 hour editing goal—a nanoEdmo—for Odd Duck, because 93 minutes of active editing a day seems completely reasonable with my current schedule and also the schedule I’m likely to have once I start my new job on April 13th.**

And for kicks and moral support, I thought I’d join a cabin.

Which is where y’all come in.

I originally set my criteria set for genre and goal, but then I thought about all those summer camps I went to as I child and how much better they were when I already knew people and they had been warned about knew me.***

So, if you would like to get a word-count goal or editing project off the ground (or keep one going) or or would like to try a different genre or format or whatever for one month with no pressure, sign up here.

And if you want to be cabin buddies, drop me a line either though e-mail or through the Campers message system (I’m Sarah W there, too).  In our cabin, everyone can have a top bunk and their own bathroom—there’s even an on-call barista/masseur!

Cabin assignments start in nine days and Camp starts in fifteen.  Plenty of time to decide!^

I’ll bring the graham crackers, you bring the marshmallows!

 Smore Yum

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*All of which cost just enough to wipe out my vacation savings, but not quite enough to warrant trading him in for a newer model.

**So reasonable that I could/should/would have been doing that much already.  I don’t really have any excuses for this.

***Except for my cousin Brian, who was an arrogant jerk in the way of most thirteen year-old boys to their twelve year-old female relatives.

^If it just isn’t possible for you to participate (c’mon, it’s only 334 words or thirty-three minutes a day), care packages will be (barely) acceptable in lieu of your presence.^^  Please send chocolate, caffeine, clean socks, highlighters, post-it notes, and good wishes.

^^Or, in the case of my cousin Brian, more than acceptable.  He’s still an arrogant jerk.