Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Not Succeeding Yet

So I didn't complete NaNoWriMo. Big floppily doo.
Some might say this is a failure and maybe to some other people they're right. To me I think not. I managed to write around 17000 words or some such large number. That's pretty darn good considering. Not even considering! Scratch that. It's just pretty darn good.

Sure, I had lots of other things to work on but I could've probably finished my NaNo-ing if I had prioritized it. But I didn't and that's a-okay! What's the point in getting down on yourself? No point, pals. I celebrate my other accomplishments. And me accomplishing other things doesn't make it okay that I didn't win NaNo, but it's a part of being a human, buds. And if you still have things to celebrate what's the point on pooping in your own hand and forcing yourself to take a whiff?
No point, pals. Don't be the poo-brain to your own horse, guys.

Sometimes it takes longer to succeed at things. So I don't particularly think you should ever say you failed at something when it's something you have time to finish or fix or succeed at in whatever way that means.

Like it's like a big floppily doo I only have liiike 9 more months to make it onto a 30 Under 30 list, which would be nice and all but who really cares. I want to feel like it's more like I have 9 months to do several awesome things that make me a soaring eagle in the sky of my life. And then when the time has passed to be one of 30 under 30 I get the chance to be 100 under 100 or I get the chance to just say all those lists can suck my butt. Anyway. The point is all you can do is take a step towards earning your eagle's wings and fly like the big bald bird you are.
For example, I just signed up for a one-day class on how to do a one person show since one of my life goals is to perform at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and it's cheaper to send me and a flashlight and a pack of gum (or whatever dumb props I need) than a fleet of people. So this is a step towards getting me my eagle's wings! Though at the end of the day it'd be awesome to take a troupe of folks to perform with, and in that event, having the skills of knowing how to throw together a coherent show is pretty darn tootin' good. OR I could set up a troupe to perform like 5 one-man shows all at once in turn as our one big show. So really it'd be like a one-man show explosion that morphs into a play that morphs into a singalong. See how the crazy ideas are already flowin? From craziness comes geniusness.
Are one-persons shows ridiculous? Sometimes. And that's kinda why they're awesome. I remember seeing a one-man show of this dude going through Tennessee Williams life and I may have wanted to die the whole time. But what about me as Tennessee Williams? Or Mark Twain? Or Charles Dickens? I know basically nothing about their lives and am not an old man. So I'm thinking me making up history and dressing up like various old men would be hilarious.
Just imagine me as this old fart with a pipe, in in a white suit, a snowy wig made of pipe cleaners to match.
I could teach the world the real history of the pipe and the white suit. What more does the world need?

Another thing I'm not succeeding at yet? Living abroad. I don't think I've taken full advantage of crap and even though it's expensive and there is a level of guilt inherent in my presence there and money and whatnot - I think it's time to fart that into oblivion. I think I'm messing it up.
I mean, I don't really know exactly what I want. And I'm hoping to live my imaginary future. But for now I can only take my tiddly steps towards that. And, like I said, I think I'm messing it up.

Like Andy-Sachs-Devil-Wears-Prada messing it up style. I need me the Chanel boots and to say things like "She's not in but I'll leave word." Except instead I think I'll just keep my new practical moto-type rain boots that make me feel like kicking in doors and instead of taking messages for idiots I'll say things like "Keep the change" when there's no change to keep. And take the UK and Europe by it's overpriced saggy bananas.

And I know I'm in a Master's program that I'm loving and moving towards my imaginary future and all that. But I'm also still worried about when the Master's is over what the heck I'm gonna do. What's in my guts?
I just watched a movie about Keira Knightley playing a Master's-having-yet-dissatisfied-with-possible-future loner, so my goal is to figure out how to get a motor in my boat by graduation. Cause I'm done floating. Yes, yes, I've had jobs and liked some parts of some of them and hated most other parts of them and done freelancing and whatnot. But I want to have it all! So begins the hunt for a career for all time. Or at least a good next hunk of time. Maybe I could help people write things? I like writing workshops? And I like researching stuff. And I like making stuff up. And controlling people. OOH. I could be a ridiculous drama teacher. And force kids to write and perform their own interpretations of the American Revolution, but there has to be a karaoke scene in there. Or like, trade all the genders and make up new genders. Or any old thing. Or pretend there're secret romances between generals or something. I dunno. A lot of 'or' to get through it seems.

And while Keira didn't actually figure everything out by the end of her movie, she did teach me if all else fails I can find a lonely yet attractive lawyer who's not really lawyer-y, with a teenage daughter who also likes me who'll let me move in with him.

But. Failing at that. Or rather. Not succeeding at that. My new immediate first step before returning to school:

Taking one-person show class and then signing up to perform one! That's all there is. There isn't anymore.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

NaNoWriMo Writin' Mo' Problems!

I am doing NaNoWriMo this year. Why this year and not all other years? I tried it once before. If 'tried' means more like thought about it really hard, started, quickly fell behind, missed a day, then two, and gave up. But this year is MY YEAR.

I mean, technically every year is my year. But saying 'this year is MY YEAR' makes it sound way more important. And if you put something on the internet it means you HAVE to do it.

So as long as I'm here I figured why not compile my NaNoWriMo checklist of things to do/that I've done/I will do in this month of madness:

1) Wake up and eat food.

2) Drink a cup of coffee.

3) Watch and/or read and/or listen to something that fits in the theme of the story I'm writing. So. Something like:

You know. Awsome. 

4) Pick a playlist. The other day I wrote to this. Personally, I can't really deal with it when the music has lyrics. If you can...

I just write and write and if I absolutely have to look something up I'll give myself only 5 minutes to do it. Put on a timer and when it boops I have to jump out of the rabbit hole and get back to biznitch. So far that's been more than enough time. And you can always just write some lame placeholder and change it after you've written your whole dang book.

NO CAKE. Fun tip: Use cake rage to fuel writing fire.

This seems like madness. But when the eating starts, the mind starts wandering, and then somehow I look up and suddenly an episode of 'Castle' is on. But so far every day I've just written for about an hour and a half or two each run, and I make sure I'm full of food before I start. 

7) When you finish for the day, reward yourself. 
Treat yo self to a dancesplosion, a food party, a TVsplosion, a big bubble bath party, a Netflixsplosion, or somethin;. Obviously you can't do something huge everyday. But whatever.  UNLESS.

Everyday you complete your goal, throw 5 bucks in a jar. At the end of the month, spend your 'Well Done' money on a fancy fancy treat.  

8) If you miss a day? DON'T. Don't do it.
If you have to? If writing double the next day freaks you out, just divide up the word count you missed into like 4 or 5 days and tack those onto the next few days. So if you wanted to write 2000 a day and missed a day, split it into five sets of 400 and add an extra 400 to each of the next days. Not so bad that way. But you should know you're a total loser. 
Just kidding. No, I'm not. I am. I might not be.

9) Add a ninth thing to your list of things to almost get to 10. OH. Got one. Find some friends to do it, too. 
It'll be motivating and competitive and garbage.

10) Ugh. Need a tenth thing. Hm. Uh. How about just finish? Yeah. 
This is all basically useless if I don't finish. This would just be an embarrassing and horrible blog post helpful to not a single soul if none of this crap works. Looking forward to the big finish and when I'm done so I get to celebrate big time, like this kid:

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Tea Versus Coffee and the Scone Crisis

I love tea. I love coffee. And yet people like to pretend they can't love both equally. What the even heck?
Since coming to the UK I've seen just how much people love tea. Like really really love it. It's great. You can get a cream tea deal on every street corner, pretty much. (That'd be a tea plus a scone and jam and clotted cream - and don't even get me started on the pronunciation of scone. Uh oh. It's too late. It's started.)

SCONE DIGRESSION: I grew up with the pronunciation of scone as SCOH-N. Like rhyming with 'phone' or 'bone' or 'cone' and whatnot. Now suddenly I'm surrounded by people saying SC-ON. Like rhyming with 'John' if he were made of bread or 'gone' or whatnot. And this is a crisis. These folks are English, so they should know, right? But I can't possibly say it that way. It simply feels wrong. Like when people say 'mum' instead of 'mom' or calling it brown bread instead of whole wheat. Unless that's not what brown bread means. OH NOT MORE CRISES!!
Anyway. Back to tea and coffee. I am used to a Starbucks culture. I don't care for Starbucks coffee, only drinking their sugary liquefied candy drinks like Cinnamon Dolce Lattes and Pumpkin Spice concoctions. But I grew accustomed to seeing everyone struttin' down the boulevard clutching a Starbucks cup in hand. And having discussions with folks who can't function without coffee. Here these things are different.

Yes, there are coffee enthusiasts, but 99 times out of 100 (and I've definitely obviously met at least 100 folks and discussed this) they go for the tea here. People drink tea like it's water or something. Like they need it. Can't live without it. And they eat cake all the time! So much cake. I love it.
Why aren't we eating more cake with our coffee?

Anyway. I end up drinkin' a ton of tea here and for the first time in a long time this morning I made a cup of coffee. And can I just say caffeine is an amazing drug and why isn't it just piped into our water supply? And boy is it hard to spell caffeine without spell check when you've had a ton of it. I think tea drinkers are missing out on this euphoria. On the other hand, tea makes me feel serious and quiet and getting stuff done. While coffee makes me feel serious like I could punch someone's face through a wall.

ANYWAY. Which brings me to life as I know it, which is through TV and movies.  Let's peep at some famous tea and coffee lovers to make this more relevant to my usual topics of discussion.

First up. Duh, Agent Dale Cooper. 
He's who we should all aspire to be. He's kind of like Captain America if you think about it. And who wouldn't want to be a small town Captain America. And I'm so glad the show is coming back because the end of that show was basically one of the most upsetting things to happen to me through television. +1 FOR COFFEE

Sherlock Holmes
This dude solves cases a bit faster than Agent Cooper, but he generally doesn't have to contend with the supernatural and teenage girls throwing themselves at him. And he does it fueled by delicious, delicious tea! +1 FOR TEA

Kenneth Ellen Parcell
He loved coffee a little too much. How he acts when he drinks coffee is how I feel when I drink coffee. +1 FOR COFFEE

The Gilmores
These gals can't survive without their coffee. And remember that time Logan rented Rory a coffee cart? That's true love. And people are always on these chicks about talking so fast. You try not talking like that when you're cracked out on coffee 24/7. +2 FOR COFFEE

Hercule Poirot
Guy's gotta drink something to keep those little grey cells chugging. I'm sensing that tea is fuel for smart people. +1 FOR TEA

Willy Wonka
This idiot. He has his tea and eats it, too. I want to eat a teacup. When will my prince come? +1 FOR TEA

Holly Golightly
Coffee, diamonds, pastries. Done. +1 FOR COFEE


From this small sampling, we can conclude that the fictional world prefers coffee to tea. Those who love tea appear more alert and innovative in terms of logical thought (excluding the eating of the cup, thought that may be seen as logic in terms of leaving no trace or waste behind), while those who drink coffee have a heroic desperation about them and have great aspirations and intentions.

Thus, we conclude the debate shall rage on, as does the battle of my skeleton to escape my body every time I drink coffee. Thank you and good day.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Welcome to Miami - I mean, Bath. Welcome to Bath.

I think I'll just start referring to the UK as Miami from now on, because why not. Yes, it will cause some confusion in just about every social situation. However, there will be a day when I can tell Tom to get the plane and then I'll start rapping about Miami.

What really happened is that I am in the UK. In Bath. But Will Smith never rapped about Bath, nor did he ever welcome anyone to it. Bienvenido a Bath, I say! But Bath didn't exactly welcome me. You see, there are some differences between the grand old USA and the grander older UK. Wacky, right?! Who'd have thunk it? But more on that later.

For now, in case you are wondering (and who isn't wondering about what I'm doing?!) what I'm doing here it's going to school. To study. Writing. More writing. For young people. Like kids and crap.

And people seem really confused as to why I would go to Bath for school when I come from California. Like how people in the US are really confused when I say I hate San Francisco. It's somehow unbelievable even though it's just, like, facts and sciences.

So I'm all like, "Hey, nerds! I want to study writing for CHILDREN. This is the PLACE TO BE!" Then people are like, "But, Laura - you hate children, don't you?" And I act all indignant and am like, "Hate'em?! I hardly know'em! Are there specific children I can think of that I intensely dislike? Sure! But who doesn't hate certain children that way? Anyway, I want to write mainly for young adults. Especially adults like myself who love reading young adult books. No, but I kid! See, KID! I love kids." And then the people talking to me look at each other uncomfortably and slowly back away as I start singing.

Besides, for every idiot kid like this:

There's a cooler less idiotic kid like this:

And so will I write a picture book or two? PERHAPS. Do I have a brilliant idea for one involving robots and donuts? MAYBE I DO. Might I write books for young adults? DUH. Will I ever understand how many different British accents there are? NO. I barely understood the dude putting in my internet and spent most of the time laughing and nodding to what I assume was the nonsensical ravings of a lunatic. I think he mentioned rain and finished most sentences by calling me "love." Total psycho. No, no - he was cool. Let's all call everyone "love," shall we? People might like that better than my oft-chosen choice, "turd."

And when I called customer service when he left and never came back did I understand those people when all they were asking for was my last name? NO. Because they kept saying "surname" and a jumble of other crazy things that aren't things in a wacky way. But you know what? We all got along cause we're all just speakin' the same lanuage here. Pretty much. I feel like an alien who's come to Earth and knows the basics of language, but I have to stare really hard at peoples' mouths when they're making words to understand about half of what's been said.

And that's A-OK.

And I know I said this was just gonna be about school, but I say a lot of things. We're already off track here. Apparently some people get super offended when you try to tip them and then get all huffy and are like, "I get paid very well." And I'm like, "That's great, Dude-Who-Works-At-Ikea, but you're not Bill Gates here. You work in Ikea. Your house is probably made of Ikea. No need to get on the high horse you probably built yourself out of Ikea parts." 

Like I know minimum wage in the US is pretty crap, but the people in the UK (or Bath at least) have to pay for nutso things like a TV license. Sorry. Licence. That's 150 pounds. Which is like 200-something bucks. PLUS, we get way better value for a lot of crud. So, yeah, duh our minimum wage is an unlivable unrealistic garbage rate, but it's not the worst thing that ever happened in the world. Why you gotta be so smug, UK employees? It's like they all think they're sassy mini-RDJs or something. 

And they are so not. I sold his assistant a birthday card to give to him once, so I think I know what I'm talking about.

So it's like, "It's not gonna kill you, Dude-Who-Works-At-Ikea, to take my tip for helping me do a bunch of crap you're not even supposed to help me do. It's just gonna make me feel better about everything and even if you're paid so well you live in an Ikea castle on an Ikea mountain by an Ikea river that flows with your very well paid Ikea quid and you crap Ikea gold, it would just be nice for me - the idiot from abroad who thinks tipping is just a nice gesture if someone goes out of there way to help you - if you took my tip. IT'S NO BIG DEAL." 

Clearly. Since I've just ranted about it for a large paragraph. Whatever. I complain because I love. BUCKLE UP, UK - IT'S GONNA BE A BUMPY NIGHT! By the end of this year-long adventure, I'm gonna be the Han to UK's Leia.
Stay tuned for next time, when we talk about how amazing it is that there are cream tea specials on every other corner, they have eight thousand dfiferent sized coins, and how I feel my Californian accent becoming more Valley Girl-esque as every moment passes.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

I Want to Live in a Hotel

I love hotels. I want to live in a hotel one day. Well, I love fancy hotels. And I want to live in a fancy hotel one day. I would not like to live in a La Quinta Inn one day. No, sir. Maybe the Best Western where they had a herd of adorable (and probably diseased but who cares because they were cute) cats running around outside. But preferably a fancy hotel.

One where they offer you The New York Times instead of USA Today. One where there are no vending machines in the lobby. One where the gym I'll never go to is more than just an old stripped-out guest room outfitted with one exercise bike and one sad treadmill.

I haven't stayed in a ton of fancy hotels, but I've stayed in enough to know that's where I'm supposed to be. Until that dream becomes a reality, I'll have to satisfy my hotel love by watching movies that feature great fake hotels. For example:

I recently saw The Grand Budapest Hotel and I have to say, in its prime, that's a hotel I wish I could've stayed at.
It's mostly pink, it's huge, and it's super fancy. And the service seems to be impeccable. Especially if you're an older lady in need of an attentive concierge. Which I may very well one day be.

One of my favorite movies is The Shining, which takes place in The Overlook Hotel

Now I know what you're gonna say - why would I want to stay in a haunted hotel where the caretaker tried to murder his own family and also there are maybe ghosts and also blood pours out of the elevators and wouldn't that be a mess? Well, I'm talkin' the Overlook in it's hey-day.
It looked super fancy and had sexy parties. 

And I could go skiing or snow shoeing or something and play in the maze and junk. There's nothing more luxurious than getting lost in a hedge maze. Hopefully while sipping champagne.

The exterior of the hotel in the movie is actually the Timberline Lodge in Oregon so I guess I could just go there. And Stephen King was inspired after a stay at The Stanley Hotel, so I guess I could go there. And apparently the interiors were inspired by The Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite. So there's there to go, too. But whatever.

The Leaky Cauldron from Harry Potter. This is very obvious and you're very stupid if you don't know why a person would want to stay here.
But if you're an idiot, obviously you get to mix with wizards and magic. And I'd probably be a wizard of some kind if I knew to stay there. 

And I'd get to meet the wizard who can do magic without a wand. 


And I will finish off with a return to Wes Anderson and a stay at the Hotel Chevalier.
Because it's Paris. And because I want a yellow robe.
And a yellow bed. The hotel was actually the Hotel Raphael. So maybe one day.

As for living in a hotel, I'm working up to a situation like Sharon Stone had with Albert Brooks in The Muse. So if anyone wants to pay to put me up in a fancy hotel while I inspire them, I'm basically just hanging around. Be warned I'll probably just be a crazy person who's actually going to inspire your wife/partner/whoever to start a booming cookie business. SO DEAL WITH IT.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Running: The Poor Man's Driving

In the past I have emphatically stated how terrible running and jogging are and how I could never. How I would never. Well, my friends, the sun is rising in the west and setting in the east and fish are flying and birds are swimming: FOR I RUN.

Side note: There are birds that swim and fish that pretend to fly.

But, Laura, you've said running is pointless and jogging is so many times - you've belittled people who run and/or jog. What has happened? Are you a big, fat hypocrite? Were you just a liar then? What of exercising in public? You hate that! So you said! Do you such say anything now?

No, no I don't say anything. I am a changed human. And if you change you don't have to be called a hypocrite. BAZAM! Here's what happened. I was talked into running a 10K. That's TEN. Not a 5K, where I should've started, considering the last time I ran a mile it was forced upon me. And it probably took forever.

How could someone talk me into such a thing as a 10K? Peer pressure, guys. And sometimes peer pressure is actually really cool. It makes you do tough things you maybe don't wanna do, but end up being awesome. So far I've yet to achieve optimum awesome-osity, but I know it's coming. It has to. It has to or I will murder everyone know because otherwise I've been running for NOTHING. Anyway!

Since I've started "training" the farthest I've gone in one go is about 3.25 miles. I need to double that. In like the next 2 weeks. And I can't not do it because I don't want to look like a lazy idiot to the other people also doing the 10K. Even though I'm pretty sure I'm about 90% a lazy idiot.

So in case you're not a runner, and you were like me and laughed at and hated runners, here are some pros and cons to show you how right and wrong you are.

Good things about running

1) Being smug while you're running when you see walkers or people sitting in their cars. You can tell everyone's jealous of how healthy you're being when you chugging along and they're totally not. And when you're done with your run for the day you get to smugly judge everyone else you see who you can tell totally barely moved at all that day. Unlike you, because you are a health running machine.

2) New outfits, shoes, and accessories. Yes, you get to go to Nike or Big 5 or wherever and buy new fancy running outfits. Pants, shirts, the works! You can even buy special undergarments! There's no better hobby than one that involves a new outfit. Then you get special shoes AND you get fun things like Zombies, Run! for your iPhone and/or a Nike FuelBand and all sorts of accoutrement! And y'all know I cannot get ENOUGH accoutrement.

3) Your butt gets smaller. Your body slowly starts to reshape itself into prime running shape. Very slowly. But still.

4) Water starts to not taste terrible. When you're running and you get thirsty you actually want water. It's crazy. Normally I find the taste of water unbearable. But when I run I am like a beautiful thirsty flower who cannot get enough of the stuff.

5) You get to eat more food. You burn all sorts of calories and crap so you get to eat more food to feed your muscles. But try not to eat sweets and garbage like me or else your butt smallening will take forever.

Bad things about running

1) The actual running becomes horrible after a while no matter what music or audiobook you play. There's just a point in running where I want to collapse in a heap and never run again. I don't think endorphins actually exist. They're one of those things people lie about to make other people feel bad, when in actuality they feel just as bad as the rest of us.

2) Your legs really hurt afterwards. You have to muster up the strength to stand up in the shower, which stinks unless you're a bath person I guess. And I don't really understand how people run in the morning because I basically become a noodle-legged useless lump after I run.

3) Other people go faster than you and there's almost nothing you can do about it. People say it's a good idea to run with a friend. But sometimes you can get real mad that you can't keep up with them. Sometimes this anger turns into a form of wonderful peer-pressured rage that pushes you along. But then some jerk coasts by like running is as easy as driving or bicycling leaving you in the dust and all you can think is NOOOOOOO.

4) Your ankle hurts during running. Some people have a weak right ankle. These people are me. And then your ankle part hurts. I don't like when things hurt. Boo.

5) You get so hungry that you eat so much that you don't get in much better shape very quickly. You might think whoa I ran forever and my dumb running app tells me I burned loads of calories, now I get to eat ALL THE FOOD! But you shouldn't. Because then you look down at yourself like 3 weeks after you started running and think why aren't you as svelte and strong as a pop star gazelle. But then you remember how you had to buy 6 cookies and not 4 at the cookie restaurant because it was such a delicious deal. And you don't regret a thing.