Wednesday, December 29, 2010


It's the Muppet Doctor Who Special, With Our Very Special Guest Star, Matt Smith! This story combines everything we love about Doctor Who with the insanity of the Muppet Show.

Can't recommend it enough; I'm still giggling. :D READ IT!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

I have computer!

The nice shiny Dell Inspiron 570 showed up yesterday and installed easily. But I still don't have home Internet because I have to pay the phone bill. *headdesk* Next paycheck I swear.

So far the only complaint I have is the same one I had while trying to order it: not enough USB ports. It comes with six, but two are gone right out of the box if you want to use a keyboard and mouse. I added a USB hub with four more and now have three unplugged peripherals for the one remaining port. :p So when I stop in Target to pick up my contacts after work, I'll have to see if they carry reasonably-priced USB hubs.

I have to reinstall my programs and get used to Windows 7. So far all I've really done is played a few hands of Spider Solitaire and decided I really don't like how it keeps informing of an illegal move with a pop-up box. I need to find a way to shut that off.

I hope everybody has a great Christmas/Yule holiday and hopefully I'll get to check in again before Dec. 28th.

Read Free!
The BookWorm

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

2011 Goals

Two days on schedule is too soon to say it has sunk in. Since I promptly broke my track record today, I think I've proved that point. Still I got fifteen minutes of writing in yesterday morning for the first time in weeks. So something is working.

Fun exercise: After so badly missing the mark on 365,000 fiction words written in 2010 and then seeing a remark on how you don't write well until you have written over a million words, I got curious over what my lifetime total is. So I made a spreadsheet of all the totals I could easily get. 85 finished stories, but I was able to get totals on all but five for a grand total of 1,067,144 words. Best year was 2009 in which I wrote my second longest novel, finished what I wrote the year before for NaNo, and two short stories sprinkled in. I didn't finish any fiction in 2007, but a look at DUF shows I was busy with writing and the Educator's Guide. But most obvious is that 365,000 words was a huge jump that I wasn't ready for. My yearly average computes to be 46,398 words. Oh and I discovered that I had made this great detail sheet to record things like date I finished and word counts when I finished a story and stopped using it a decade ago. Oops.

I'm supposed to be working on my goals for 2011. So now I'm wondering why I'm trying so hard to distract myself from the making the vague concrete? Well, my monkey brain hates when I want to change things for the better. The biggest change I want to implement is to use SMART technique so instead of wondering what I meant by "get serious about paying off debt," I have a plan.

What do I want to accomplish in 2011?
  • Show progress on paying off debt load
  • Take health seriously
  • Write 182,500 fictional words
  • Submit enough stories to get rid of the anxiety over it.
  • Remodel house.
Lovely and vague, that's where my brain goes first. Now to bread each of those with SMART so I have action steps to take.

Show progress on paying off debt load
  • Specific: Follow budget every month
  • Measurable: Update Quicken every day
  • Action-oriented: Find a part-time job to increase income.
    • Bring all bills current by Jan. 28, 2011
    • Put the budgeted amount into savings out of the first check every month. If there is overdrawn issues to pay for, it comes out of what should be saved.
  • Realistic: Pay off what I owe Mom, Dad, and Republic Finance using the debt snowball method by Dec. 31, 2011.
  • Trackable/Time-based: Update my NetWorthIQ badge and show the progress
    • Save $1000 emergency fund by March 25, 2011.
Take health seriously
  • Specific: Follow Primal guidelines on food and exercise
  • Measurable: Weigh every morning
    • Take body measurements once-a-week
  • Action-oriented: Exercise every day. Use outside play with Atticus
  • Realistic: Lose 4 pounds by next check-up with Dr. Miller
  • Trackable/Time-based: Keep a food diary and measurements at
    • Fill out the workout log book every day I exercise and show progress at Joe's Goals
Write 182,500 fictional words between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2011
  • Specific: Write at least 500 words every day
  • Measurable: Post the weekly total every Saturday at DUF using the Writertopia progress bar
    • Keep track of daily progress with a marathon spreadsheet
  • Action-oriented: Finish Stellar Gift of Death by March 20, 2011
    • Finish a 5000-word short story for Triangulation submission by March 31, 2011
    • Finish steampunk mystery
    • Finish another story in the Piper of Shadows universe
    • Finish the "Blue Man on the Porch"
  • Realistic: Finish four original stories before any fanfiction
  • Trackable/Time-based: Each story has a marathon tracker of its own, and metrics are posted daily at DUF
Submit enough stories to get rid of the anxiety over it
  • Specific: Submit to six markets by Dec. 31, 2011
  • Measurable: Find a tracking method that I can update without fuss.
  • Action-oriented: Look for 12 markets
  • Realistic: Send out at least one story in February, April, June, August, October, and December
    • Have conversations with the Fear Monger; it helps
  • Trackable/Time-based: Honestly note the anxiety over each submission on tracking method
Remodel house (Good Lord and Lady, can I get any more amorphous that that?)
  • Specific:Replace roof and exterior walls of back half of house to have a level ceiling.
    • Demolish sheet-rock walls in bathroom and rebuild one between hall and bathroom with a pocket door. Put new sink in a new spot. Repair floor. Buy cabinets and shelves for storage. Move hot water heater to another location.
    • Enlarge kitchen to add more storage and eating area
    • Enlarge back bedroom or add more rooms to separate functions: exercise, sewing, storage, guest room
    • Build an office desk from cabinets to function as a built-in
    • LaGrange Consulting audit to make house energy efficient and switch over to cenralized AC and heat
Excuse me for a moment.

HOLY FUCKING HELL! There is no way to do ANY of that!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I need a new roof. The current roof is probably over twenty years old and we've tried every sealant product to stop the leaks to no avail. But what happens is I replace the roof and then reconfigure the back half of the house next year? New roof again? I haven't even figured out how I want to do the extensions! And I want a profession to go over those plans once I decided! Can I put the roof over and just not demo? ARGH!!!!!!

Okay, I think I'm better now. Remodeling is a project this is so not ready for prime time. Consider it tabled until after I have paid off Republic Finance.

Now I made this list pretty for the sidebar. Eight days before the end of the year to practice these goals.

Read Free!
The BookWorm

Friday, December 17, 2010

Finally Friday

This week has been crazy with the blahs and keeping appointments and trying to be motivated. As a result, I haven't seen the rest of my family since Monday night. So despite feeling like death warmed over, I finished getting my glasses fixed at Target and bought Atticus a soccer ball for Christmas and got through traffic with enough time to see them. Bowed out of going to my grandmother's Christmas party, and was fixing my supper when Atticus hit me with his second most important news (first was when was it okay to go to my house and play again). "I got a soccer ball!"

Dad ruined my train of thought that we have a psychic in the family. "Grammie (my mother) bought it for him yesterday."

I shooed Atticus out of the room so he could show me his new Hot Wheels car. "I was buying the soccer ball for his Christmas."

"Well, it was the last one Wal-Mart had."

"I BOUGHT the soccer ball tonight for his Christmas present." Kai, my sister and Atticus' mother, walks in and I repeated it. "I just bought the soccer ball tonight when I got my glasses fixed. I told you that's what I was getting."

"I didn't buy it." And she fled back to the living room.

Mom came bustling into the kitchen the next time Atticus was out of earshot to defend her purchase (and yes, she was there when I said I was going to buy one) and offered to exchange it for me. "He wants a football too. And it was the last one Wal-Mart had."

After sending her off to the party with confirmations that I could go back to Target just fine on my own, I turned to Dad. "The reason I went with soccer is because I sucked tossing the football back in P.E. class. And who takes Atticus outside to play? ME!"

He laughed. "You can still kick the soccer ball."

"It's going to be the cake plate year all over again." And he laughed harder.

The cake plate year is legendary in my family. Mom decided to make a list of all the stuff she really, really wanted and needed, tired of our guessing at items and not getting it right. Me and Krista dutifully ignored the list, but Kai followed it. Item number one was a fancy glass cake plate with a cover and a stand so you can display the dessert on it. And the day after Kai had bought a really nice one and told me about finding it, in bustles Mom showing off the cake plate she had just found for herself. Kai good-naturedly took her cake plate back and went for item number two on the list, which Mom promptly bought for herself before Christmas too.

I think Dad felt sorry for me last night (it has been a stressful week so I'm fairly certain my expression showed it), because we worked out a payment plan and ordered a new computer for me with a USB headset microphone. So now all I have to buy is a new phone because the one I have doesn't have a mute button and a new modem because mine is still dead Jim, and I'll be ready to apply for Convergys virtual call center job again! Looks like that'll probably happen in January. *crossing fingers*

I was invited to an outing to see Tron this weekend, but I don't think it'll happen. I couldn't focus on bill paying last night and woke up too late to do it this morning, so I have to do it as soon as I get home tonight. If I get home tonight, I had planned on stopping at an AT&T store for a new modem and Barnes & Noble for the book portion of Atticus' Christmas (and the above episode is why I claimed books as my province when he was born), but now I have to go back to Target for the third time this week!

And now that I think about it, the budget I'm tweaking for 2011 (using Quicken's process that I find quick but clunky) needs to be tweaked again because I didn't make sure the computer payment is added to the monthly bills.

It's not the number break down that I find clunky but the report of monthly spending versus the budget. Using gasoline for the example, according the Quicken's report I have spent $121 on it month to date, okay. The next column is the amount allotted under the budget, which it says is $98. Third column is the difference between the first two. What I can't figure out is where $98 came from when the monthly allotment is supposed to $191. I think that Quicken takes the total monthly amount divides it by how many days are in the month and then multiplies it by how many days have passed. At least, when I do that it comes very close to what the report tells me. Problem is the way I'm used to looking at a budget is subtracting what I have spent from the total monthly allotment until there's no more to spend. For example, I can take $70 out of this paycheck for gasoline until I get paid again. It's a theory I understand not that I've been very good at following it, but I'm buckling down on it in 2011. Honest!

What I would like to do is change the report to show that math instead of what it shows. I have no idea if I can do that, so I've got a research project for today while I'm working on lawsuits. *rolls eyes*

Read Free!
The BookWorm

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Trying to catch up

Wednesday and Thursday I have all day training classes. I'm trying to stay on top of email and other updates, but you may not hear from me again until Monday.

In sorta related news, I found a good deal on a Dell desktop. Too bad I don't think the money is going to work out. *head desk*

Read Free!
The BookWorm

Monday, December 06, 2010


The most writing I got done this weekend was while I was waiting at the garage for my car's brakes to be repaired and an oil change. I knew that my sister and nephew moving in with my parents would change my schedule, but I underestimated it. My parents can't keep up with an active four-year-old, my sister thinks he should be inside unless a grown-up is in the yard with him, so it has fallen on me to make sure he actually gets to play outdoors. And then he wants to come home with me and watch movies and play board games. Family comes first, but I need to find a way so I'm not being taken advantage of.

Otherwise, a rather uneventful weekend. I finally got Quicken straightened out (with the minor issue of not being able to import the export file I saved at work), and then spent my entire paycheck on car repairs. And that wasn't everything that Rizzo needs right now.

Computer is still dead, but I'm going to try to resuscitate the modem and see if I can get a wireless signal out of it. If I'm not totally brain dead by the time I get home.

Read Free!
The BookWorm

Thursday, December 02, 2010