Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Update on Goals

Earlier this month I mentioned that I was going to try and finish the current draft of the novel I've been working on for the part few years. Currently I have two more chapters left to write. However, it has become clear that even if I do finish (which is doubtful due to other academic obligations) there is still a lot of work to be done.

This month is NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month. The goal of NaNoWriMo is to write 50,000 words or more of a novel. As it stands, my work is just below half of this. Clearly, December will involve a lot of editing and trying to find more stuff to put in.

In a way this is good, as it gives me the chance to add subplots and more detailed and expanded back-stories.There were ideas for chapters that I decided against that I can now put back in.

On the other hand, I've had this order of events and chapters planned out for years now. I will probably have to add in new chapters, and expand upon those currently written, but that means reordering events, or creating new events that I never even thought about putting in before. Basically, I have to do what took me three years in much less time.

Ideally I'd have all this work done by the end of my December break. But I think we all know that's not going to happen. I'll be going out with friends, helping out with some volunteer stuff I used to be a part of and procrastinating from working on the book. Those will all take time away from writing.

Maybe, if I really focus I can use the time between my parents going to bed and me going to bed for writing. After all, I don't really do anything then. I just don't go to sleep until really late because that is the obligatory collage student thing to do. Maybe if I use that as writing time I can justify it to my mom. And then I can sleep in.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

I Heard Somebody Say... (1)

Sometimes you just overhear a stranger and have to laugh. Or cry. Or scream. Or mock them to your friends. For this first edition, it's about laughing.

I was flying back to school this afternoon and was seated next to a couple with an eight month old baby. The baby was generally quiet for the duration of the flight, a little fussy when she got hungry but otherwise fine. After the flight we were sitting on the airplane, waiting to be allowed off and I think... how to phrase this... the kids diaper played it's role well. Since we were still in the plane there wasn't much the parents could do about it. The dad passed the baby off to the mom. The mom then proceeded to softly sing "Smelly Cat" to her daughter.

I think this qualifies as awesome parenting. Of course, this may be a direct result of having a dad who sang the George of the Jungle song when I got behind the wheel with him as a new driver. Either way, I was entertained.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

First Time Home

Happy Thanksgiving!

After a long delayed flight I made it home for thanksgiving. Yesterday all I could think was how much I wanted to go home. One of the things going through my head was the song "Gone" by Lauren Fairweather. Although it has pretty much the opposite intention of the original song I ended up making my own version of the lyrics. The original version can be found here.

The dorm is starting to empty
Everyone is heading home
Of course I should pack up but
I know it’s so early so why
Should I do the work right now
It’s far in advance

But it won’t be that long now
Till I’ll be home
I can almost count the hours
I can almost count the hours
Till I get on that plane
And come on home

Will it be any different this time
Just because I’ve been away
I know it’s my family and they
Love me but it’s been so long and
I’m afraid that I’ve changed or that they have
but it can’t be too different
And it won’t be that long now
Till I’ll be home
I can almost count the hours
I can almost count the hours
Till I get on that plane
And come on home

Sunday, November 20, 2011

13 hours

Last week was midterm week. There were lots of late nights, lots of studying. There was the smoke detector in my room going off at 4 AM as loudly as possible because it wanted a new battery waking up myself, my roommate and the people in the rooms next to us. All in all there wasn't much sleep being had.

Until last night.

I was reading in bed and fell asleep. I woke up about 3 hours later at 11. I was then faced with a choice. Go back to sleep, or go out. I picked go back to sleep. And I slept until 9. Then stayed lazily in bed until about 10. But in terms of actual sleep I got about 13 hours. This makes me very happy.

I didn't have the greatest week so this was really good.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Funny College Stories Part 2

It occurs to me I might want to change the name of this section to "Embarrassing College Stories" but I think "funny" better captures how people who aren't me find my predicaments.

The theme of these stories is "I'm having a bad day."

1. I was late to my first class this morning. Now I'm sure this seems not funny and only slightly embarrassing. After all, I'm in college, I stay up late. It's natural that I might oversleep one day and be unable to get to class all the way across campus. Why I shouldn't be embarrassed at all. Here's the thing. I didn't oversleep this morning. I actually got up and started studying for my chem midterm (more about that later) half an hour before my alarm went off. Also, I only left my dorm about five minutes later than usual. I should have been able to get to class on time by just hustling a little, right?

Here's the thing. My class was not across campus. It's right next to my dorm. Pretty much all my classes are in that building. I have my "leave for class" times down to an art. 

When you have a five minute (max) walk to class, getting there late really shouldn't happen. It didn't seem so bad though. The classroom is a smallish lecture room so I could just sneak in the back. My teacher didn't have to know I was late.

Except this was the day we were going over the midterm and I had to go all the way down to the front where he was to pick mine up.

2. As I mentioned, I had my chem midterm today. I don't want to talk about how I think I did, other than to say I probably passed but by how much is the question. Even if I failed it that wouldn't be the embarrassing part. It's chemistry. It's a hard class. There was an article in the school paper a few days ago about how people would switch majors just to avoid having to take more chemistry.

No, my shining moment was after I walked down to turn in my test. The class is in one of those huge lecture halls, with the long staircases for people to walk up and down. On my way up those stairs to the exit I tripped. More accurately, my foot wasn't as completely on the step as I thought and when I lifted my other foot it slid off, propelling me forward.

I don't know how many people saw me and how many were looking their tests, but I'm sure someone saw.

And that's how my day is going. How's yours?

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Science and Baby Chicks.

This weekend was parents' weekend. I went with my parents to the museum of science and industry in Chicago. Can I just say how amazing this museum is? They did a demo with lots of fire. I got to push lots of buttons. We went into a coal mine.

The best part however was the baby chicks. In the genetics exhibit they have this hatchery of baby chicks. They are the cutest things, all fluffy and adorable. They also had a side with eggs that were hatching and two newly hatched not yet fluffy chicks.

Some cute baby chicks.

These weren't the chicks we saw but you get the idea of how they looked.
Anyway, as adorable as the chicks were in general, seeing baby chicks at a science museum had a special significance to me. A few years ago when my sister was in school we went to the Boston museum of Science for parents' weekend and I got a sweatshirt that had pictures of baby chicks on them and said "Science Chick" (or something like that, I don't have the sweatshirt anymore and couldn't find a picture online).

It seems it is my destiny to associate science with baby chicks. To bad I'm not a biologist. Oh and before you go...
From the MSI website
Chicken for dinner anyone?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Apparently Math Isn't a Priority

So, like all university campuses are obliges to be, mine is undergoing construction. And, like all construction, it is inconvenient. There's the early morning wake-ups from banging on the building next door. There's the parts of the sidewalk that haven't been filled in yet, meaning that when it rains (cough today cough) you have to walk on mud while trying to avoid getting stabbed in the eye by other people's umbrellas.

The worst of all however is trying to get into my math class. To be clear, that white patch is tarp, not sidewalk.

Now I only have math there once a week. That being said, it is the main math department building. There are people who have math there every day. The only was in is through some small bushes that are currently in the mud.

Good job making it easy for us to get to math.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

I Should be Writing (but I'm not)

I publicly made it my goal to finish the current draft of my book. Yet here I am, with a few free hours and what have I done?

I wikipedia'd Chuck Palahniuk. I read a magazine. I started writing a blog post. 

It's not like I'm doing NaNoWriMo. I'm not trying to write 50,000 words. I just trying to finish a (very) short novel (probably more of a novella when I think about it) that I've been working on for a few years now. Most of it just requires me to type what is hand written. And yet, here I am, procrastinating. 

*sigh* I'll start working now. Except I'm probably just going to open a book, or go on hulu or find some other way to distract myself.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


A lot of times when I give myself a goal, I set two deadlines. One is the absolute deadline, the other the dream deadline. For example, today is Tuesday. If I have an assignment due Monday at 2, my absolute deadline is Monday at 2. My dream deadline however would probably be Friday at 6. That is I want to try and finish it by then so I have the weekend free but know that if I don't well, I have time. I tend to finish things by the absolute deadline more than the dream deadline.

Sometimes goals don't have specific deadlines, but rather levels of completion. I gave myself the goal of not drinking any soda in October as a dream goal, but gave myself guidelines in which I was allowed to drink soda without it counting against me (this was mainly just that I was allowed to have ginger ale if I got sick). As it happens I did achieve my dream goal of no soda in October. I gave myself this goal because I noticed that I was drinking more soda than I normally did before since it was now readily available in the dining hall.

Now that October is over I decided I need a new goal. This one will be more traditional in terms of deadlines. I began writing a novel nearly three years ago. I finished the first draft after a year and a half, though interestingly enough the last third of it was written in the space of a week because I was able to give myself a scheduled writing time everyday. Once I finished my draft I stopped allocating time. Which is why it's now almost a year and a half later and I have only about 2/3 of the book edited into a second draft. And since the first draft is hand written it also means I only have the first 2/3 or the book saved somewhere besides a binder. So since November is National Novel Writing Month (or NaNoWriMo) I am taking this opportunity not to write another novel, but to finish the current draft of the one I've been writing for the past three years.

Here's the thing. I have classes. And homework. And a second round of midterms. So I've decided that while my dream goal is to finish my current draft by Novermber 30 at 11:59 PM whatever timezone I happen to be in, my absolute goal is December 31 at 11:59 PM whatever timezone I happen to be in, since my quarter ends December 10, and I have 3 weeks off from school with no homework or anything. Although to be fair I managed to do almost no work all summer even though I had pretty ample free time (I was also working at a day camp which is very tiring though, she said unconvincingly).

Considering that I just spent a good chunk of free time writing this longer than usual post, I think this will be an interesting month or two.