NaNo Progress Report

2 Nov

It’s day two of NaNoWriMo, and I’ll admit, I haven’t written a single word. I’d feel worse about this fact if not for a few important things.

1. Yesterday

I took the day off yesterday. The last couple of years NaNo has begun on weekends and I knew the benefits of writing ahead on my first day. So I sat down with my leftover halloween candy and got in 11,695 words by day’s end. Necromancer is going well and it’s definitely giving me feelings of happy.


2. Work

Not to go into detail, but the storm shat on me at the ol’ verk today. Not in the troublesome, I fucked up way, just in the ‘hey look! Lots of changes to suddenly do in Chinese and the native speaking Chinese coworker is leaving for a month-long trip to China so it’s going to make this ten times harder than it needs to be’ sense. Never a dull moment. Needless to say the only thing keeping me sane is being able to listen to podcasts. Thanks again to the twittersphere for sending me recommendations today.


3. Opportunities

One of my longest-enduring college friends, I met Alan my sophomore year and we discovered we had the same birthday. Since then we’ve been good friends, and were even roommates for a year, and he’s one of the few roommates I’ve had who I’m still on speaking terms with post-lease. Alan currently resides in North Dakota, but he’s been traveling for the last month to visit friends after leaving his job to prepare to go and teach English in Korea next year.  He’s crashing here in Lincoln tonight on his way back home, and this is the last time I’ll be seeing him until he’s back from teaching. Which is likely to be in 2013. For all I know I won’t see him until we’ve both magically managed to move to Seattle without the universe exploding or our bank accounts dying of fright. So that’s what I’m doing tonight. Watching old episodes of Buffy and hanging out with an old friend.


So that’s my wednesday. Tomorrow I’ll write the scene in the park after midnight with the slaughtering of ghouls and saving dumb citizens. Day one was awesome. The only way now is up.

Tomorrow, a post about writing. That I will actually do. For serious.


NaNo Prep: Pending Insanity Mode

29 Oct

So we’re now roughly 50 hours away from NaNoWriMo kickoff, so I’m  getting myself into epic preparing for insanity mode. This is something I do every year, because it’s always better to be prepared when facing a month of abandoning all other free time to write a novel or two like a crazy person.

How am I preparing? Here’s the list:

1. Get comics straightened out 

I’m not updating Thursday’s Child during the month of November. Seems like a weird hiatus, but it will allow me to concentrate totally and completely on noveling instead of having to split my attention between two major projects. To do this I have to get three comics scanned and coloured so I have an update for the 31st (Before November) and updates prepped and ready for December so I don’t have to worry about them in a month. Thus, after I finish this up and drop in on a friend’s party I’ll be spending my evening dicking around with photoshop. Good times.

2. Wordcount: the starting point

This year I’m a nano rebel; I started writing Necromancer two weeks early. Why? I was inspired, and it was fun, and I was going a little insane at work and needed something creative to do on my lunch break. Before the 1st I need to have a definitive separation in scenes/chapters between my pre-november writing and my november writing, so as to keep an accurate word count. Thus, tonight or tomorrow I’ll be finishing up a scene so I have a clear November 1st starting point.

3. Stocking up 

I have a few sustenance requirements for NaNo: pixy stix, cookies and whiskey. I’ll be picking up all three at some point in the next two days, and setting them up at my desk within easy reaching distance. As well as this I’ll be picking up microwaveable meals and easy to cook foods like ramen so dinner won’t be as much of a distraction.

4. Printing and organizing 

I want my outline next to me in print at all times so I don’t have to muck around with switching to different documents while writing. So I have to print that, and organize all of the other things in my little story binder I set up a few weeks ago. It has maps, character information, timelines, plotlines and various derpery relevant to the stories I’m working on in this universe. Hopefully we’ll have enough paper and ink to get the outlines printed into hard copies for easy perusal.

5. Warning the world 

So hey guys, starting November first at about midnight, I’m out of commission. Assume that I’m at my keyboard typing frantically with no regard for the outside world unless I come to you. If I come to you, ask me if I’ve gotten my wordcount for the day and if I say I haven’t, chase me back to my computer with a pitchfork and don’t let me pester you until I’m done for the day. I CAN be social, but if I get behind then that’s it folks. This will happen especially during weekends since my weekdays are also full of 8 to 9 hours of working like a slave at the day jorb, so if I say I can’t hang out until I’m done writing, it’s just the way it has to be. I promise that December 1st, after I sleep a lot, will be a good day to hang out.

6. Rewards

This year my rewards for hitting wordcount goals will be videogames. I’m currently working my way through Batman: Arkham Asylum, I have Skyrim coming to me on the 11th and I bought Alice: The Madness Returns a few days ago. My life will consist of work, writing and videogames, and thus my plan is that whenever I finish my writing for the day, i’ll plop myself down in front of the TV and game to my sad little heart’s content. Nerdery is a great motivator.

7. Soundtrack

See previous post. My soundtrack has been assembled and I have a good-to-go playlist for all my writing needs. As long as I have the internet of course. >.>

8. Location, Location, Locaation 

I can’t prep my home writing space until my house guest leaves on Monday, but I know I won’t be doing all my writing at home, since distractions are far more abundant there. I have at least three coffee shops near my place of work downtown that have been welcome noveling havens in past years on my list, and I’m looking into some restaurants and cafes that have a good food supply so I can write into the late hours if necessary. I also want to attend at least a couple of write-ins just to see my fellow writing buddies in the local space and wish them luck and happiness in their novel excursions.


So I’m going to prepare for going insane now. Tonight I have a halloween party to drop in on and a bunch of comics to draw, and I should probably get that writing done. So we’ll see how it all goes. Those of you also joining in the madness, I hope your preamble is less insane but just as fun as mine.

Inspired by Melody

25 Oct

Something you’ll learn about me quickly if you spend more than about an hour with me: I adore music. It’s more than that even: I can’t exist without music. It’s a function of my existence as natural and necessary as breathing in and out, and I end up in one hell of a mess if I don’t have a constant stream of tunes running from my iPod to my ears.

Logic therefore dictates that when it comes to writing, the music I choose becomes part of the story for me. I weave the words around the music, find myself inspired with the simplest melody. I’ve had entire novels, entire worlds come into being based around a single artist, a single album, a single song.

Don’t think I’m joking either. My webcomic, Thursday’s Child, is inspired primarily by the music of The Hold Steady. In college my friend and I worked on a story together based on the concepts in Korn’s album See You On the Other Side. The entirety of the second book of the Undertaker series I’m working on now materialized in my head while I was listening to Nine Inch Nails’ The Collector off of the With Teeth album.

Sometimes it inspires a moment. Other times it brings a character to life. My main character Ali was closed off and unwilling to so much as peep at me (not good for a book written in the 1st person) until I discovered the song Loves Me Not by t.A.T.u. Her brother Mark comes from the song Take a Bow by Muse. Sometimes a song inspires nothing or no one in particular but it speaks to me in some other way relevant to the story. In this way a lot of songs about zombies have crept into my playlists lately.

Thus, I decided I’d write out my current playlist for The Undertaker Chronicles. All of the songs should be easily hunted down via youtube/grooveshark/spotify/iTunes, and I use a combo of all four while writing. I will most likely add things during the course of the writing process, but this is where it is now:

1. Puscifer – ‘Tiny Monsters’
2. A Perfect Circle – ‘The Outsider’
3. A Perfect Circle – ‘Passive’
4. Puscifer – ‘Sour Grapes’
5. Zeromancer – ‘Doctor Online’
6. Rob Zombie – ‘Living Dead Girl’
7. Puscifer – ‘Conditions of My Parole’
8. Nine Inch Nails – ‘The Collector’
9. Marilyn Manson – ‘Tainted Love’
10. Nine Inch Nails – ‘Somewhat Damaged’
11. AFI – ‘Miseria Cantata: The Beginning’
12. Nine Inch Nails – ‘Deep’
13. Kamelot – ‘Ghost Opera’
14. Puscifer – ‘Toma’
15. Muse – ‘Take a Bow’
16. Nine Inch Nails – ‘The Perfect Drug’
17. Depeche Mode – ‘A Pain that I’m Used To’
18. Puscifer – ‘The Undertaker (Renholder Mix)
19. t.A.T.u. – ‘Loves Me Not’
20. Blaqk Audio – ‘Stiff Kittens’
21. Natalia Kills – ‘Zombie’
22. t.A.T.u. and Rammstein – ‘Odno I To Zhe’
23. AFI – ‘Medicate’


In defense of my lack of variety, Puscifer’s most recent album released last week and it buried itself in my brain.


What music do you listen to when you write, if any? Anything inspire an upcoming novel? Feel free to share in the comments.


NaNoWriMo: Preparation Meme

23 Oct

I found a couple of NaNo related memes on LJ last year, and instead of writing a long, rambly blog about what my plans and plots for 2011 are, I figure filling this little form out will be much more informative. I highly recommend it, fellow NaNoers. If you decide to post it somewhere, leave a link in the comments – I’d love to see what everyone else is working on this year 🙂


Working Title: The Undertaker Chronicles Book I: Necromancer / Book II: Collector
Genre: Urban fantasy horror
Projected Word Count: probably 80 to 100k for each book, but I’m only aiming for 100k for NaNo. I’ve already started writing Necromancer, and am about 3k in.

Have an outline? Yes. Collector still needs an outline, but it’s on my To-Do list before the 1st.
Scene-by-scene? Yes – I work better in scenes
Know how it starts? Yes for both – Necromancer has a scene under its belt, and I’ve known how Collector was going to start since I figured out the end of Necromancer.
Know how it ends? Yes, for both of them. Bearing in mind that Undertaker as a series has at least six books in proto-planning, the beginnings and ends of all the books are mostly formed.
Have your climax in order? Necromancer is sorted. I know some things about the climax of Collector, but I’m still figuring out the details.
Know your main characters yet? Yes. My main characters are the same for the entire series, and I’ve been getting to know them for the last few months.
Plan to draw on your own experiences? In a few places. My MC just finished her PHD and is at a loss for how to fit into the world, which I experienced (am still experiencing really) in my post-BA life.

Funny? I’d use the word witty rather than funny. My MC’s usual reaction to danger is very Buffy-esque: snark and destroy.
Serious? Yes – fantasy often involves Fate of the World at Stake, so there’ll be serious moments, especially as the series progresses. Collector is going to be MUCH more serious than Necromancer from what I have in mind.
Sad? In places, but not overarchingly so, at least that’s not what I have in mind at the moment.
Semi-Autobiographical? Nope. I am not a necromancer, or any other kind of magic user or reluctant hero.
Based on another story? Not really. I’ve toyed with a couple of short stories in the same setting. The setting is similar to the one used in my ’09 NaNo, but different enough for a complete new universe.

A paper journal? Yes. Several actually, full of near-intelligible freehand notes and ideas
Multicolored pens? Not for structural purposes, just because I have those at my desk at work and sometimes inspiration strikes on the clock
A computer? Yes – I keep my outlines and initial notes on computer, as I type faster than I write by a longshot.
Index cards? Nope
Bulleted lists? For plot outlines and character development
Plot Charts? I don’t know what that is…
Character Charts? Little ones, just to keep track of everyone.
Character formulas? I don’t know what that is, so no
Favorite writing resource?: I love the internet in general as a research tool. Other than that just having people to chatter with on the NaNo website when I’m in a funk is infinitely helpful, and not just in November. Half my twitter friends are NaNoers, and they’re always up for a writing chat.

A line you would like to use: “You have your head so far up your self-righteous knightly ass you can’t see that your family – hell, the entire world – is in danger, and it has nothing to do with me!” Also: “NecroMANCER. Necrophiles are completely different and a lot less icky, and even though the two aren’t mutually exclusive, the ick factor is extremely high.”
A scene you would like to include: Both books will likely involve scenes of arguments around the family dinner table. These are always amusing.
A concept you would like to explore: Finding a place to fit in when you live in a small town that judges you because of who you are. The problems with religious bigotry. Bisexual characters.
A cliché you would like to avoid: Anything deus-ex. General fantasy cliches. Nothing fancy. The thing about genre writing is not to avoid the cliche but to find a way to make it your own in such a way that it’s fresh and amusing.
A character you would like to use: I have lots of them planned out, but I definitely want to do more with my MC’s siblings. The bartender should be fun too.

Do you expect to be able to complete it? I expect to complete Necromancer for sure. Collector may take a little longer, but it’ll be started.
Do you intend to complete it? Of course. And write another couple of sequels to boot.
Would you ever try to publish it? That’s the overarching plan.
What do you expect to get out of this month of frantic writing? A proto-first draft or two to spend the first half of 2012 re-drafting and tweaking for publishing, a bunch of sleepless nights and fun times with writing buddies, and the joy of writing something new again.


A week and two days to NaNo. Definitely getting excited.



Updates, Novel-Writing and Nerdery

22 Oct

Another instance of blog neglect for me – a month and a half since my last post! D: .

I’d be more apologetic, but I’ll be honest with you reader-folk, work ate me. My job rocks, but every now and then a couple of hell weeks pop up and I get completely devoured. The last two weeks of September were deadline central, so I barely had the energy to get comics drawn, let alone blog. I even neglected my Minecraft playing, and that’s when you know things are going to hell in a handbasket.

I am still alive though, somehow, since that last week of deadline-chasing gave me the stress cold from hell, which turned into the sinus infection from hell because I’m an idiot and decided I was too busy to go to the doctor. I did finally make it, and I’m just finishing up a ten day cycle of antibiotics that have made me feel much, much less like death, which I am grateful for.

As well as working for the last one and a half months, I went on vacation briefly, as I detail at my other blog, since it was a very geeky vacation. I returned home with a bag 20 pounds heavier due to all the books I bought. Because that’s just how I roll.

So now it’s October. My birthday is in just over a week, and I turn 24. Not sure if I’m ready for that, but time stops for no one, so I plan on just accepting it and using the day as a good excuse to go out for sushi.

I’m still mostly a hermit. Last night we had a Rapture party, since apparently the world was supposed to end. We watched Red State and Dogma and ate soup. That’s about as social as I’ve been.

I’m also still drawing comics. My comic is still updating 3 times a week. It’s almost November, so I’m gearing up for NaNoWriMo 2011. I admit though, I’ve gone for Novel Rebellion this year because I couldn’t wait a month to start the book, so I’m most likely going to be writing a series for the rest of the year. My book, Undertaker, has turned into a series of at least six titled The Undertaker Chronicles, and the first book, Necromancer, is in process. I expect to complete that book in November, and continue on to book two, Collector, after that first 70-80k. Did I mention I’m going for 100k this year? I’m tired of not getting shit done, and this seems like the time to do it. Thus, November will be a writing frenzy, and I’ll most likely be on here blogging about it, since I’m tired of not blogging. I miss it. It’s fun, I get to ramble about silliness and vent about my days. At least partially – this is a public blog, and my coworkers live on the internet, so don’t expect work stories. Things are getting better at the workplace though, so part of that is I won’t have much to complain about.

Expect a writing-related blog post later this weekend, a little less vague than this one. I want to use this blog for my NaNo progress this year. Geek-related posts will be over at Not Your Gamer Girlfriend. Wordcounts and story progress will be here.

So, and I’m holding myself to it now, more blogging for the rest of 2011. Hope you still stick around to read 🙂


News from a Micro-World

6 Sep

Another Tuesday. Jeff found out that he’s gainfully employed once more today, at my current place of work no less, so I took him out for too much sushi and a walk around Barnes and Noble. We’re both very full now and getting ready to watch some Castle, though I’m also webbing and he’s turning the air blue trying to figure out what the hell trying to make Dead Island work has done to his graphics card. Kettle’s on, waiting for a boil and some tea. So far a hot cup of tea is the closest thing I have to a cure for insomnia.

When we were at the bookstore I saw that they’ve started making statues of Stainboy, and they’re selling them along with statues of Oyster Boy for Tim Burton’s new book, The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy. I may go back. I’ve always loved Stainboy. Because I’m a closet goth and Burton hipster who used to watch the Stainboy cartoons before anyone knew what they were.

This show, Castle, it’s really good except occasionally the songs they play before the intro and the end credits are so awful it makes me want to die a little.

I’m actually not doing that all right. Sad to say. Not to go into it here, but life’s definitely throwing a few emotional curve balls my way. I’m surviving, but the early mornings, long hours and high stress situations aren’t helping. It could be worse, it could always be worse, but that’s small comfort when I’m feeling stuck. Very stuck. No way to turn in my box. it’s a spacious box, and it’s fairly comfortable, but it’s still locked. Still a prison.


Still posting comics. Still happy with how the art is progressing and the story’s unfoldings. Those have minimal chance of stopping soon, so that’s another good thing.

Sunday night Jeff and I couldn’t figure out what to do while we hung out, having just marathoned TV shows and gone to a cookout at my folk’s house, so we decided to start a comic project together. More on that later, we’re still in the conceptual planning stage.

And I’ve decided my previously determined upcoming NaNoWriMo 2011 novel, Undertaker, is going to happen earlier than predicted. The characters won’t let their little hooks out of my brainstem. More on that later too. If I can get it done before November, as well as going insane I’ll have another novel ready to go.

My life is a juggling game of creative projects. I do prefer it that way.

Other than that nothing to report. My brain is still damaged and I’m spontaneously bursting into tears for no good reason. I’m also not eating much. Working on it though. Jeff helps. it’s what he does. That and fix his computer. Dead Island is running again. And get jobs. Good jobs. I’m proud of him, and looking forward to seeing him around the office. It may be a little weird that we work in the same place, but we’ll be doing different things and both stupid busy to boot. So it’ll work out. I rather think it’ll be great.

I’ve been watching the new season of Doctor Who with my friend Beta. It’s awesome, but Matt Smith’s head still looks like a potato.

That’s all for now. Hope you all have survivable weeks with swiftly impending weekends.


Home, Time Passing, Perseverance

31 Aug

Currently curled up in bed surrounded by fluffy pillows and small stuffed animals. In the kitchen I hear Jeff cooking fresh vegetables he picked up at a little farmer’s market on the way home from school today. It smells like garlic and onions, delicious flavours I know he’s going to mix together with some peppers and mushrooms and serve over pasta. The only thing missing is a loaf of crusty french bread to make that perfection.

Work has been devouring my soul slowly, Sarlacc style, throwing more long hours and challenges my way. On my worse days I find myself holding back tears from the stress, simply because a combination of insomnia and not eating due to stress has left me a bit fragile. On the bad days. Most days that bad is combatted by audiobooks and caffeine coupled with frequent breaks to daydream or sneak out to way hi to Jeff when he’s walking by my building. He has a second interview at my company tomorrow afternoon. If he gets the job he’ll have the perfect schedule: flexible work hours and two classes. I’m very, very hopeful for him. Long as he doesn’t get promoted like I did, he’ll enjoy it.

I found out that I’m not the only person who feels swamped and overwhelmed by everything at work – an outside advisor talked to my team today, and we spent an hour and a half explaining what we were having problems with – my biggest problem being “I need a bigger desk!” (no seriously). It was somewhat depressing to know my colleagues have it just as bad as I do, if not worse, but also something of a relief. I know I’m not the only one with more than they can handle. Not being alone is the key to survival.

It’s still not enough though. I want to go back to school. I want to be a graduate student working towards a day job that I can at least like, if not genuinely enjoy. I want to move out of this too-hot too-cold hard to live in state, want to study and learn and live instead of dragging myself out the door at too-early in the morning. I miss having the energy to be creative at work. I’ve been drawing, but that’s all I’ve had time for. My novels are gathering dust, my new ideas shoved to the back of my mind to make way for numbers and tasks and drudgery.

I don’t know if I can make it two years.

What keeps me sane? Friends. Twitter. A boyfriend who cooks dinner when I’m too exhausted to move and lots of hugs when I’m feeling down and miserable. a wonderful fanbase of people who read my comic. I love drawing my comic, coming up with new ideas for novels. I’m going to buy a bicycle as soon as my new credit card arrives in the mail to replace my stolen one. In 39 days I leave for a week to visit my wonderful friend Karen in Washington for GEEKGIRLCON and a much needed vacation.

Having things to look forward to is the key to surviving.

It could always be worse. I turn 24 in October. I have at least two ideas for NaNoWriMo. The new season of Doctor Who is excellent. I’m starting to look into getting a Masters in Library Science in a couple of years. I want to be an archivist. I’m eating better (when I eat). My friends and boyfriend rock. Life is pretty good, even if I’m stressed and overwhelmed sometimes.

It still smells like garlic and onions. It’s warm and delicious and makes this apartment, this place Jeff and I have lived in for a month now, really feel like home.

As long as I have that, I can keep going.

Having a place where you feel you belong is the key to surviving.

I belong here.

The Kindness of Strangers

27 Aug

Last night Jeff and I went to see my favourite band. Well, favourite band that still actively tours, but they’re still in my top three bands I love of all time. The Hold Steady playing a free outdoor show; sounded like the perfect evening.

For the most part it was too; we ran into some friends, the openers were moderately entertaining, we drank bad beer and people-watched and let the exhaustion of our weeks slowly slip away from us. It wasn’t too hot out and we got a good place to stand. All in all, an excellent concert.

During the wait before the band came on (which was long – I’m compulsive so we got there early) we sat on a picnic table drinking beer and talking, and when Jeff got up to get a beer this guy wandered over. Fairly nondescript, lanky, brown hair and bearded, and a pretty sweet tattoo of a robot fighting a dinosaur on his left forearm. He asked if he could sit with us and I said okay.

That’s the thing about shows like this. People are chill. The Hold Steady attracts a crowd that’s sort of a weird hybrid of hipsters, hippies, party people, druggies, college kids, older folks… you name it, we saw it there. He sat with us and we talked after Jeff came back with beer. His name was Zack, he’d just gotten back into town (Lincoln) from Austin Texas, he liked bands like The Hold Steady and Radiohead and Modest Mouse.

As the conversation progressed he realized that he’d left his phone in his friend’s car. His friends were supposed to come back to the show, but he had no way of contacting them without his cell phone, and the crowd was getting large and milling, making finding people next to impossible. He was clearly stranded, stuck in Omaha over night, with no real way of getting back to Lincoln save for camping out in a doorway overnight and then hopping a train in the morning (his idea, not ours).

So Jeff and I offered to give him a ride home. It seemed reasonable. The guy seemed nice even if some aspects of his personality were (in retrospect) a little shady and weird. It was the kind of crowd where drugs were easy to come by, and it’s a fair chance that he was on something, or several somethings, by the time the night was over.

We met him after the show outside the Slowdown. He thanked us profusely for letting him tag along with us to Lincoln. We get to the car, my sister’s Honda Civic, and I start climbing into the backseat, shoving my purse and sweater and other things in front of me.

It was at this point that several items from my open purse spilled out into the backseat.

Zack insisted that he sit in the back, that he didn’t want to inconvenience me by making me sit in the back all crunched up (2 door cars are a joy like that), and so I let him into the back and got into the passenger front seat. That was how we rode home.

I did not grab my purse out of the backseat at this time.

We drive the 50ish minutes or so back into Lincoln, and we’re all very conversational and nice. Zach asks us questions that seem innocuous, like what kind of car we were driving in and what jobs Jeff and I had and other things of that nature. Things that only seem suspicious in hindsight.

We get to Lincoln and he asks us to drop him off at 14th and O street. He complains repeatedly that he really, really needs to go to the restroom as we’re driving into Lincoln, and as we pull up to the sidewalk and we let him out he’s definitely in a hurry, stopping to give high fives and handshakes but definitely in a hurry.

No worries, I figure. He just needs to pee. Look, he’s even walking funny he has to pee so bad.

We drive the mile or so back to the apartment and as we get out of the car I head for the backseat, starting to gather up my things.

It is at this point that I realize my wallet is missing.

Genuinely missing, not just misplaced or shoved under one of the seats or under a sweater. We tore that car apart, which didn’t take long as it was small and recently cleaned. And we realize there’s another reason this guy was walking funny. Probably a reason he asked so many questions about our lives. A reason he hightailed it out of there before we noticed anything was wrong.

I go inside, immediately call my bank to cancel my credit card, and begin taking inventory of all the things I had carried in that wallet, that long rectangular bright red ladybug wallet I loved so much. My driver’s license was in Jeff’s wallet since I’d needed it for the show and didn’t want to take in my whole purse since I knew I’d be dancing. My cash was in my pocket. Overall my net losses were my library card, my now-cancelled credit card, my insurance cards, my old student ID, my birth control pills, a couple of expired giftcards and some receipts.

He also took my day planner. Why he did that is completely beyond me. It doesn’t even look useful.

He got nothing important. Everything in that wallet is replaceable, even with a little hassle. He didn’t get anything like my social security card or my computer passwords. The planner had my address in it, but we live in a secured entry building two blocks from a police station. I have my driver’s license. I can replace my insurance cards. I have another pill pack I can use to take my medication. Inconvenient, but manageable.

It just sucks is all.

It sucks that we do this guy a favor, two normally not very trusting kids, and he thanks us by stealing something of no use to him. He tells us what kind of person he is. That he judged us by our well-maintained car and the answers we gave about our lives and our jobs. He determined that we were clearly doing well enough that he needed my things more than I did.

Or he was just high out of his mind. That’s also a possibility.

Jeff and I are doing well for ourselves. It’s easy to judge people by their covers, we all do it all the time. I work a damned good, well-paying job. We were driving a very nice, still very new looking car. We gave the impression of being college kids even though I’m not and Jeff’s only part time.

Impressions are dangerous. Judgments are dangerous. I don’t work any less hard for my money because I work in an office for a corporation that gives me benefits and paid time off. Jeff doesn’t work any less hard because he’s a part time student. We still get help from our parents, yes, but we’re young, and extremely lucky, and we’re grateful. Painfully grateful. We never acted like we were better than this guy. That was something he invented for himself.

So it hurts. It makes me rage that this is what kindness to strangers will net you in this world. It makes me want to track down this guy and punch him in his face. Or at least get Jeff to punch him in his face.

We were up until 2 or 3 sorting things out, and sleep was nearly impossible.

Once I got there though, I did okay. I woke up and felt better, not just from getting the rest.

My memories weren’t tarnished. The show was still fresh in my head and it was still as glorious as I had remembered.

It really was an amazing show. This is the third time I’ve seen The Hold Steady, and they just keep getting better and better. We muscled our way close to the front, and after six solid months of listening to their music at least daily I knew all the words to all the songs. I was that kid, screaming along with the songs and pounding my fist in the air.

I forgot everything in those moments. Music profoundly affects me, and there’s a reason I love it. Normally my brain is a hyperactive chittering mess, like a squirrel on speed suffering from ADD. I’m always dealing with at least five things on my mind: work, impending grad school, my comic, my novel, what to make for dinner, various songs I like. It’s busy up in here.

The music and the crowd washed it all away. I thought of nothing in those moments but being right there, right where I was, singing along and feeling exuberant joy at experiencing The Hold Steady the way they were made to be experienced.

Nothing can take it away. Not even some asshole who decides to rip off a couple kids who did him a solid.

Thanks for trying buddy.

So maybe I’ll be more reluctant to help strangers now. I usually am anyway. But it’s not all bad. My friend Jen saved a guy’s life last night by being a kind stranger, calling 9-1-1 when she noticed him passed out on the sidewalk. When I first met Jeff he was a stranger, in a friend-of-a-friend just met kind of way, and I DD-ed for him so he wouldn’t have to drive on his birthday.

I’m cynical. I’m jaded. This incident has lowered my opinion of humanity, made me feel foolish and caused me a lot of trouble.

But everyone’s different. We all have our reasons for the stupid shit we do, even if this guy’s reason made no sense to us.

As Jeff said, he’ll get his. Especially since we have every intention of filing a police report.

But I won’t let the best part of the evening be taken away. That concert was fucking amazing. So, nice try buddy, but your assholery is just a tiny blip on the radar in my life, and after time, I’ll forget you, and just remember the music.

Stay Positive.

Frenetic Waltz

13 Aug

Good day internet friends. It’s been almost a month since I updated here, due to my aforementioned promotion to a new position at work combined with moving. To say it’s been a little frantic is by far an understatement. So here’s what’s been going on:

Work, Money, etc. 

So yes. Promotion. I work 40 hours instead of 28ish, starting at 8 AM every day Monday through Friday, and while it’s quite exhausting, I think I’m getting a handle on it. I’m listening to a insane number of audiobooks these days, going through between two and a half a week depending on the length of the book. Recent books I’ve devoured include Haunted, Rant (Both by Chuck Palahniuk), The Lost World (Michael Crichton), Dreamcatcher (Stephen King), Fool, A Dirty Job (both by Christopher Moore) and I’m currently listening to How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe by Charles Yu.

Despite this literary joy (Seriously, I haven’t enjoyed reading this much since before I went to college) I’m rather exhausted. Work is an ever-changing environment and while sometimes I can cope with that, sometimes the mental exhaustion and sleep deprivation drives me to urges to go sit in the bathroom and cry for no reason other than I can’t really believe that this is what I should do for the rest of my life.

Today my first paycheck arrived. The first thing I bought? Three volumes of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman. One of my goals is to expand my graphic novel collection, and Sandman is a good place to start in my mind. Other things this paycheck will go to include groceries, savings for a new bicycle (or my next tattoo, whichever one I want to get first :3 ) and probably some art supplies.


Comic is still updating, and it’s going well. Not to give spoilers, but we’re rapidly approaching the end of Part I, and I’m excited to continue drawing it. So don’t worry folks, I may be exhausted, but I’m going to keep drawing Thursday’s Child until my limbs fall off. I am debating making a ‘real’ website for it over a tumblr feed, so if any of you nice folk have tips for starting up a comic website, please send them my way, as I’m a complete noob and haven’t the foggiest clue where to start. I’ll give you bragging rights, cookies, whatever. ❤ I just want something easy to navigate with cast pages and other pages. Like comicpress. Can anyone teach my how to use comicpress?

Yes, I am a noob. You had to ask?


I’m getting there. Still have half-a-dozen novel ideas battling to the death to get my attention. I’m hoping to get something done before NaNo this year, but it doesn’t seem likely. That said, I’ve deliberately set aside time from my comic schedule to write this november, so I WILL get a novel written. It’s gonna happen, it’s gonna be awesome.


We moved two weeks ago. Our new apartment is glorious and wonderful. We’ve seriously cooked every single night we’ve lived here, which is a huge HUGE record for us since we used to live off takeout and restaurant food. I’ve put pictures up on Google + for the curious/nosey. If you don’t have G+, I have invites 🙂


*sigh* this… this will probably need a separate post. I’ve been doing some insane soul searching lately and I have a lot to say about it. So hopefully i’ll get that up here later today or tomorrow. Needless to say, things are happening.

Other stuff

I no longer have a car. The car is now my sister’s. This is a wee bit inconvenient, but the fact that I’ve walked a minimum of two miles a day for the last two week compared to the zero miles of the past is huge for me.

That’s the quick update. Now it’s time for me to throw together some breakfast and bake some bread.

Harry Potter and the Godless Morality

14 Jul

Today the last Harry Potter movie is being released across the United States. I’m not as excited as I perhaps could be as a Potter fan, but that’s because, as far as I’m concerned, Harry Potter ‘ended’ when the last book was released back in 07.  But the movies have steadily improved as the years have gone by, so I’ll certainly go and see it, though I did not attend the midnight showing due to poverty and a strong need for sleep.

Also a promise to go see it with my Mum, who would not go to a movie theater at midnight downtown even if you paid her. So that’ll have to happen sometime in the next week.

I do love Harry Potter though. I grew up in England, so the books are rather close to my heart as I essentially grew up with Harry over the years. The books not only entertained me, but due to the long gaps between installments (seriously, 3 YEARS between a few of them) I found myself perusing the shelves of my local library and discovering other fantasy authors such as Pullman, Tolkien and Pratchett. Harry Potter helped shape me into the nerd I am today, and I will always love them for that along with the memorable characters, creative world-building and clever wordplay.

Potter isn’t loved by all of course. I admit, it’s not ‘quality literature’ akin to the likes of Austen or Hemingway but I tend to think that such ideas and standards are silly bullshit that get in the way of caring about a good story and good characters. The strongest outcry is of course from extreme religious groups, most of them Christian in America at least. Their reasoning involves the fact that Harry Potter is about witchcraft and evil and other such things, and that it will corrupt the youth of the nation to turn to Satan.

This tells me that these people have never so much as looked up a synopsis of a Harry Potter book, much less read one.

Harry Potter is about a lot of things, and sure, there are witches and wizards involved. But I have another theory about why the religious right is so scared of harry potter, and it’s a theory I’ve had for a long time now, and it’s this:

The world of Harry Potter is a world without God. 

No seriously. Think about it if you’ve read them. Harry Potter and his friends, the ‘good guys’, fight and defeat the forces of darkness, they have adventures, they grow up and change and learn and figure things out with some guidance from wise figures and lessons, but, and this is the big but…

No God. None. Nowhere. Seriously, go hunting, I challenge you to dig up anything in Potter that refers to God except for the occasional character exclaiming “my god” or similar.

As far as we’ve seen, the world of Harry Potter, at least the wizarding world, is almost entirely secular. Perhaps this is due to a more black and white morality at first glance, but when you dig into the meat of these books, that’s not at all the case. Take some of the ‘grey area’ characters who either fluctuate between good and bad or simply sit in uncomfortable places. Like the ‘New Ministry’ of the seventh book. Oh, spoilers, for those of you who are afeared of them. Umbridge is not a good person. She’s power hungry, vindictive and cruel, and creates what is effectively a police state akin to early Nazi Germany. She’s not full-blown Voldemort evil either, not killing babies or puppies or similar, but she’s decidedly not running around saving folk either. Then there’s characters like Snape who might as well have installed a revolving door on his predicted Alignment. Is he good? Is he bad? Can he ever be good because he was once bad? It certainly confused the heck out of me my first readthrough.

My point in this, is that the morality in the Potterverse isn’t subject to a big higher power in the sky, or in the ground, or anywhere. It’s a real universe with real people who are good, evil and everything human in-between (and by human I mean imperfect beings who sometimes act like twits even when their intentions are good). The people are capable of selfishness and ignorance and kindness and bravery, all of it.

And God has nothing to do with it.

Harry Potter and his friends are good because it improves the world, makes it a better place, keeps it safe from evil bastards like Voldemort and his homeys and all the evil dudes who came before him. They save the world because they have the power to do so, not because it’ll get them a better seat in the afterlife, or favor with some divine boogedy boogedy. The evil dudes aren’t being evil because they’re possessed by the devil, it’s because of their own motivations, their lust for power or revenge. People are motivated internally, by themselves, and though they of course try to shift responsibilities to others, it’s nothing like ‘the devil made me do it’ or ‘I”m following God’s divine law’. The wicked are brought to justice by the good, not by religion or deities or divine intervention.

Harry Potter is morality without religion. It encourages personal responsibility for one’s actions and improving the world for the world’s sake, not for some carrot-and-stick morality of ‘this will get you to the good place when you die and if you don’t do it, it’s off to the bad place for you’.

Maybe I’m biased because I’m so against extremist Christianity, which encourages a lack of rational thought, blind devotion and a lack of questioning. It employs a ‘do this or be punished’ method of morality, sort of a ‘good because if I’m not I’m going to be screwed’ idea. And this is propagated in the youth of America because Christianity is ingrained in our culture.

And that’s why I love Harry Potter, and think it’s one of the best books you can give to a young person in the 21st century. It teaches that morality comes from within, not religion or some institution of punishment and reward. Harry Potter teaches free thought, friendship, loyalty, responsibility, love, kindness and justice. Other children’s books do too, but so many of them (Narnia anyone?) have such thick religious implications that they, intentionally or not, encourage a narrowed view of how to be a good, worthwhile person in society.

Religion, faith, spirituality, they work for some people. I love the Narnia books, don’t get me wrong. This isn’t me hating directly on religion. It’s not my cup of tea, and it’s certainly not for everyone, and we learn our morals, our responsibilities to the world around us, through stories, both biblical, fictional and from reality. Harry Potter has given us a story, a world, with an unreligious, godless morality system. It doesn’t work for everyone, and it’s far from antireligious propaganda or the like. I have no idea about Rowling’s religious affiliation or if she had intention in this moral view.

It just presents an option. An opportunity. A view that demonstrates the possibility of an areligious morality. And seeing as many views as possible can lead us all, young and old, to make better, more informed decisions about our views, religious or otherwise, instead of following one option because it’s the only one we’ve ever seen.

So that’s why the evangelicals get all hot and bothered about Harry Potter and his friends. Because they have no God, and they’re doing amazing, wonderful things for each other and the world. A view that presents an alternative to the deity-centric view of morality that’s so common in the modern world. And whether or not that works for everyone, it’s a different view that could make all the difference in someone’s decisions about their morals, values and motivations.

Happy Harry Potter day everyone. Whatever you love about this book, I hope it’s brought you as much joy – and provocation of thought – as it has to me.