Monday, June 27, 2011

Thank You, NyQuil

I'm starting to feel better, thanks to regular doses of NyQuil and herbal tea. Unfortunately, I managed to pass along my cold to my husband - just one of those safety hazards of being married. He doesn't seem to be doing too badly, though, so I'm not too worried.

I was actually productive today, for the first time in a while. I woke up at a decent time, cleaned up the apartment, did dishes, BRIANSTORMED WITH ELISE (or brainstormed. However you decide to pronounce it.), and even sketched a picture.

Yes! I drewd a picture! Want to see it!?

Too bad! You're going to see it anyway!

It took me forever, but I did it. (EDIT: The more I look at it, the more I realize that she has giant hair. I often get carried away with the volume of people's hair when I'm sketching.)

And this is what I saw the entire time I was working on it:

That is my golden retriever, Mango. And that is where she hangs out whenever I am working at the dining room table. She just sits and breathes on me until I pay attention to her. Just look at that face - "Mommy! Mommy! Why are you doing that when you could be petting meeeeeee!?!?"

She's doing it right this very minute, as I type this.

I suppose I'd better pet her, or she'll never leave me alone.

Just wanted to update and let you know that, despite my constant whining, things aren't going too badly around here lately. :)

Don't cry for me, Argentina. (Or any other country, for that matter.) The truth is, I'm doing fine.

Saturday, June 25, 2011


This being sick stuff sucks.

Everybody is hanging out tonight - including my husband - but I get to stay home and do nothing, because I'm a germy leper, full of infection.

This isn't much of an entry. I just needed a moment of self-pity, is all.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Too Much Beauty

I follow this blog called The Literary Lab - a blog dedicated to writing about writing. The other day, they posted an entry that I found very interesting, mostly because it reminded me of Two Captains (at least in part.)

"Too Much Beauty"

Not that Two Captains is an excellent example of literature contrasting light and darkness, but... We have gotten one or two reviews that bash us for being so gruesome at times. Now, we are the first ones to admit that we are not very nice to our characters, but I think that some level of pain is required for a character to truly grow. (As I've mentioned before, I am not particularly religious, but one phrase from the Bible comes to mind: "refined through fire." You know, the process where a person must face hardship to become, well, better?) And, as the article said, without the darkness, the light doesn't seem so special. The shadow proves the sunshine.

I'm being a little rambly today. I feel like my thoughts aren't completely coherent, and I apologize for that. I recently got over a nasty sinus infection, which had my brain scrambled, and then - guess what! - I came down with yet another cold yesterday. So far today I am feeling like an absolute cesspool of bacteria and disease, and I have been able to concentrate on little else. Forgive me.

In other news, I was afforded the opportunity to be a part of the Conan studio audience this past Monday. It was pretty cool - got to walk around the Warner Bros studio lot (was not allowed to take pics, though) and see the studios where they filmed Casablanca, Friends, and Oceans 11. Too bad I didn't get to see the Harry Potter set. (Do they even film in America? I'm not sure...)

But I was on TV for a split second. Check it out:

Look at the far right side of the picture, right next to the guy in the khakis who didn't quite make it into the shot. I'm the one in the gray shirt and black cardigan, with my sunglasses on my head.

WOOT! I'm a TV star! (Not.)

But it was still a really great, really fun experience.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Personality Tests

I find them so very, very interesting. I wanted to do a comparison of 3 different ones I've taken to see if they match up, so I'm posting them here. Let me know what you think! (I've included the links to the test sites, in case you get curious about your own results.)

NOTE: This is a ridiculously long entry, for which I am sorry. I looked for shorter overviews of these personality types, but didn't find much. So you get the in-depth versions. Lucky you!

TEST #1: This one is an Enneagram Personality Type test. I'm Type 5, also known as the "Observer, Investigator, Thinker, Sage or Voyeur." (Take the test here!) This was, I believe, the most accurate test. Those who know me well would probably be able to vouch for that.

You want to be intelligent, informed, knowledgeable and perceptive. More importantly, you want to be self-sufficient and not have the entanglements of obligation. You see yourself as intellectual, dispassionate and investigative. You would like others to see you as rational, logical and scholarly. Your idealized image is that you are thoughtful and wise.

Private and solitary by nature, you like to be invisible until you are ready to reveal yourself. You tend to stay on the sidelines preferring to meet the world with your mind. You prefer to play the role of detached observer or investigator. In general, you see the world as intrusive, overwhelming and chaotic–often demanding too much and giving too little in return. As a result, to manage the fear of not knowing, you conserve your energy and focus your attention on acquiring the information necessary to make sense out of the chaos.

Studious and scholarly, you develop expertise in any area that is of interest to you, often in more than one field. You believe that knowledge is power and feel it is imperative that you be as a means of survival. Often scientific, you have unparalleled powers of mental perception due in part to your ability to remain detached and unaffected by your emotions.You have an inquisitive and observant nature with an insatiable appetite for information. You think things through before offering your perceptive insights regarding systems, people or how the world works.

Avoiding the glaring light of scrutiny, you seek the safety of camouflage. When you feel that you lack intellect, you become withdrawn, isolated and reclusive. You see yourself as intense, unexpected, original and different from others. You are private and introspective, although others may think of you as anti-social, secretive, remote, and eccentric. You are not afraid to point out the ‘emperor who has no clothes’ and your wonderful sense of humor is based on postulating the absurd. Rather than the wave crashing on the shore, you have the strength of the undertow and know exactly when to give or withhold your involvement and information to have the greatest impact.

TEST #2:
This one is based on the Jung/Myers-Briggs tests. My result was ISFJ, or "Introverted Sensing Feeling Judging." (Take the test here!) I'm not too sure how I view this result. I don't often think of myself as a doormat, but... who knows? People oftentimes perceive themselves much differently than the outside world does.

ISFJs are characterized above all by their desire to serve others, their "need to be needed." In extreme cases, this need is so strong that standard give-and-take relationships are deeply unsatisfying to them; however, most ISFJs find more than enough with which to occupy themselves within the framework of a normal life. (Since they are very much bound by the prevailing social conventions, their form of "service" is likely to exclude any elements of moral or political controversy; they specialize in the local, the personal, and the practical.) 

ISFJs are often unappreciated, at work, home, and play. Ironically, because they prove over and over that they can be relied on for their loyalty and unstinting, high-quality work, those around them often take them for granted--even take advantage of them. Admittedly, the problem is sometimes aggravated by the ISFJs themselves; for instance, they are notoriously bad at delegating ("If you want it done right, do it yourself"). And although they're hurt by being treated like doormats, they are often unwilling to toot their own horns about their accomplishments because they feel that although they deserve more credit than they're getting, it's somehow wrong to want any sort of reward for doing work (which is supposed to be a virtue in itself).  Because of all of this, ISFJs are often overworked, and as a result may suffer from psychosomatic illnesses.

In the workplace, ISFJs are methodical and accurate workers, often with very good memories and unexpected analytic abilities; they are also good with people in small-group or one-on-one situations because of their patient and genuinely sympathetic approach to dealing with others. ISFJs make pleasant and reliable co-workers and exemplary employees, but tend to be harried and uncomfortable in supervisory roles. They are capable of forming strong loyalties, but these are personal rather than institutional loyalties; if someone they've bonded with in this way leaves the company, the ISFJ will leave with them, if given the option. 

While their work ethic is high on the ISFJ priority list, their families are the centers of their lives. ISFJs are extremely warm and demonstrative within the family circle--and often possessive of their loved ones, as well. ISFJs have a few, close friends. They are extremely loyal to these, and are ready to provide emotional and practical support at a moment's notice. (However, they hate confrontation; if you get into a fight, don't expect them to jump in after you. You can count on them, however, run and get the nearest authority figure.) The older the friendship is, the more an ISFJ will value it. One ISFJ trait that is easily misunderstood by those who haven't known them long is that they are often unable to either hide or articulate any distress they may be feeling. 

TEST #3: This last one is the most likely to be a load of bunk, but I included it anyway. It's my zodiac sign, which is what I like to call Capriquarius (or the Capricorn/Aquarius cusp. I was born on a day that is, in some people's definition of the zodiac, a Capricorn. In others, an Aquarius. Apparently, I am supposed to be a mix of both signs' qualities.) As with anyone's zodiac, there are a few things that ring true, others fall ridiculously flat.

Capricorn is the tenth Sign of the Zodiac; Aquarius is the 11th Sign. Those born on the Capricorn/Aquarius Cusp are involved with and interested in social institutions. They want to make them work as they were meant to work. They are humanitarians and philanthropists, the visionaries of the Zodiac. Friendship is important to them, and they have many acquaintances, in addition to their close friends. These people are also ambitious and disciplined, determined and dedicated to achieving their goals. They are practical, realistic and cautious not to get in over their heads.

The astrological symbol of Capricorn is the Sea Goat. They start from the sea and ascend to the highest mountain tops, working their way upward with every step. While the path is not always smooth, their determination to succeed ensures they will persevere. The astrological symbol of Aquarius is the Water Bearer. Like the Bearer bringing water to his people, this Sign brings new ideas to the world. It represents consciousness and the flowing of ideas. Capricorn/Aquarians work hard to bring their ideas to fruition, stubbornly refusing to give up their causes. This may appear as a Capricorn trait, but it is actually representative of the Fixed quality of Aquarius. The Cardinal quality of Capricorn is seen in their ambition and their willingness to embark on new projects. These people are independent and individualistic, within the world but detached from it. While they are peace-loving and friendly, they can be narrow-minded and overcritical of those not as ambitious as they are.

Capricorn is ruled by the Planet Saturn. Saturn is about discipline, hard work and responsibility. It rules both Capricorn and Aquarius; Capricorn is the feminine, or night aspect, and Aquarius is the masculine, or day aspect. Both Signs are concerned with achieving goals through hard work, but Aquarians work hard to achieve their visions, while Capricorns use hard work to gain authority and social status. When the Planet Uranus was discovered, astrologers assigned it as the modern ruler of Aquarius. It is from this Planet that Aquarians receive their visionary nature. Some Aquarians have genius that borders on insanity, and their progressive ideas and association with anything that is different makes them dissimilar from Capricorn. Those born on this Cusp are both unpredictable and unconventional, while being interested in upholding tradition and conservative belief systems.

The Element associated with Capricorn is Earth. Earth Signs are practical and tend to respond to the world through practicality. Aquarius is an Air Sign, and therefore is more intellectual and tends to respond to the world by processing everything intellectually. Capricorn/Aquarians have fixed opinions that they're eager to share and discuss. While those born on this Cusp are tolerant and broad-minded, they tend to stick to their beliefs. Their intellect makes them logical and self-confident, but it may also make them aloof from the people around them. They are original, offbeat, even eccentric, but they are also rather bored by detail. They are often business-oriented and can be extremely scrupulous. Reformist and experimental, they may seem cold to anyone who doesn't share their intellectual orientation in life.

Capricorn/Aquarians are among the responsible and traditional Sign combinations. They are generally reserved, careful and stable. Sometimes they may be overly critical, even bossy, but this is because they have a strong desire to achieve their goals, not because they are rude. In fact, they are generally polite because they understand that making enemies will not help them achieve anything in life. They tend to be multitalented, both in scientific and creative endeavours. They are unique and rebellious, driven to change the world. Their freedom is important to them and they are often driven to help others become free as well.

In their leisure time, Capricorn/Aquarians enjoy competition with others. They enjoy both team sports and one-on-one competition. They are quite the social animals and often have a fondness for conversation, as long as it has intellectual depth and meaning. The great strength of the Capricorn/Aquarius is in their ability to set goals and keep working until they achieve them. Their ambition is inexhaustible, and they are not easily deterred when their goals are in sight. Their visionary nature makes them people who take the world to the next level; they make others see things in a new light. Their ability to break the rules and move beyond what others think is possible makes them one of the most innovative and hardworking characters of the Zodiac.

IN CONCLUSION: The second test seems a little disparate with the results of the other two, and I'm wondering if I over-thought my responses (or didn't think about them enough.) There's nothing to say that a person's zodiac really makes any difference, so I suppose it's unfair to compare it to that, but... I dunno.

Sorry this was so long, and probably pretty dull. I've just been thinking about it lately and felt bad because I haven't been posting much.

Hopefully I'll have something more interesting to say next time.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Whoa there...

Wow. Just reread my post from earlier. It was not my original intent to be so negative.

Not. At. All.

But that's what happens when you let yourself get on a tangent.

Most of what I originally intended to say was about writing, about the novel, about all the things we're uncovering in all the brainstorming we've been doing. What we've uncovered is this:


Much more so than we ever thought it would be. It's exhilarating. It's terrifying. It's a lot of work, and a lot of fun. And there's still so much planning we have left to do, lots of wrinkles to smooth out and holes to fill.

I'm going to go work on that now.

Just wanted to let you know that I am, in fact, okay. Guess I just needed to vent some worries and frustration that have been hanging out in my periphery. (Well, not the job thing. That's kind of front and center right now. The college thing is what I mean.)

Alrighty then! Going to go write! :D

What's the Buzz? Tell Me What's-a Happenin!

Yes, I just quoted "Jesus Christ Superstar" lyrics at you.

Don't judge me.

Lots of things - and yet, next-to-nothing - going on around here lately. Mark and I added a window box full of vegetable seeds to our patio garden, our tangerines are growing, I'm working on catching up on the correspondence I've been slacking on. Also, I've been slacking off a bit on all the writing I'm supposed to be doing... And I am still unemployed. Hurrah.

Money and budget are starting to get tight around here, and I'm starting to feel a bit panicky. I've applied for tons of secretarial and receptionist positions, and have heard nothing back. I'm starting to think I need to lower my sights a little bit. Pride is biting me in the ass about that.

I haven't finished my college degree. I'm about a year and a half into it, which is - in the traditional sense - waaay behind for someone my age. It stings my pride to be considered a "drop-out." I want to be seen as successful - almost everyone does. But... To be honest, I have little personal interest in returning to college. If I could take all English courses, I might consider it. But it's damn expensive and it requires a lot of time and effort... and it doesn't seem to be helping too much in the job market anymore. I know tons of people who have degrees who are still scrounging up jobs. How would it help me to sink myself into debt, to get a degree in a field that isn't providing jobs anymore? (Because, if I had my choice, I would get a degree in English lit/Creative writing/Publishing, whatever. No jobs there.) Still...

My mom and older sister would be disappointed in me if I didn't finish. I know I would regret it if I didn't at least finish my 2-year degree. Most secretarial positions want people with degrees. (So if I don't want to end up working at the Papa John's where some dude was recently stabbed...) It's the "right" thing to do.

It just sucks that something in the back of my head is telling me I'll be a failure if I don't spend the money - the money I do not have - to go back to school. I wish it didn't matter. I wish I could just kick this procrastination in the ass, once and for all, and write that damn book so that I could be successful and not have to worry about it mattering.

If I stop believing that will happen, that we'll be successfully published, I think I'll go crazy.

Anyways, I need a job. I need to write. I need to make calls and send letters and fill out applications. And clean this apartment. And walk the dogs. I need to do many things.

That is what is happening around here.

Now you know.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Seven Songs

Because today is the first day of my (and Tulio/Elise's) mini-NaNoWriMo Challenge - 500 words per day, each - I've been thinking a lot about inspiration and what helps get me writing. You know what all that thinking about inspiration inspired me to do? Make a list. So that's what you get today. A list.

Specifically, a list of seven instrumental songs that have been getting me into the writing mood.

Let us begin.


1. "Bach - Largo," as performed by Emilie Autumn
     Not quite sure what it is about this song that makes me want to write. It's got kind of a prissy medieval feel... But it's also got kind of a contemplative quality to it. Again, I dunno. But it's working, so I'll continue to listen.

2. "Dream (Jin by Jin remix)," by the Ahn Trio
     Another contemplative one. But this one is smoother, and makes me think of dancing. Since I've recently reread the Two Captains alternate ending, I can see why waltz-y type songs would be appealing (ah, the party scene!) Also, I haven't really been writing anything that's action-packed, so the slower tempos are suiting my mood better.

3. "Sea," by George Winston
     Elise and I write a lot of oceany-type stuff. It only makes sense that I would listen to oceany-type music while writing it, right? Exactly.  :)

4. "Up is Down," by Hans Zimmer
     My god, it's such a charming song! And the fact that it's from the PotC3 soundtrack makes it all the more appealing. I've been listening to it every time I need a little pep... and then it gets stuck in my head for three days after. Oh well. I am in love with it.

5. "Mausam & Escape," by A. R. Rahman
     I have never seen "Slumdog Millionaire" - the soundtrack from which this song comes - but this song! Ah! Love the frantic tension that develops!

6. "Unholy Trinity," by Epica
     Epica is just an awesome band any which way you look at it, but their album, "The Classical Conspiracy," is fantabulous writing music. This song in particular is very piratey, and so, suits our writing very well.

7. "Yankee Bayonet (I Will Be Home Then)," as performed by Vitamin String Quartet 
     This song was written by The Decemberists - one of my favorite bands - and so it already holds a special place in my eardrum, but this instrumental version is very charming. Great for lighthearted scenes (even though there have not been an abundance of those in my writing lately. Oh well.)

And... that's that, I guess.

I understand, since it is now June, I am under no obligation to post everyday. So I don't need to be scrabbling around for blog entry topics like this. It's just that... well, let's be honest: I'm procrastinating. (Currently sitting at 357 words out of the daily 500. Only 143 left to go... BUT IT'S SO HARD.) I've already checked my facebook and e-mail more times than I can count, so I turned to this blog for distraction.

I know, I know. I should be ashamed of myself.

Wish I could count this as my daily 500. I'd be done already.

Boo for keeping promises.

Well, not really.

Boo to my laziness.