Hope you all had a lovely holiday (I know I did!)

I know I haven’t posted much at all this month. I tend to go a bit dormant in the winter, like a bear. Or some other winter slumbering large blubbery mammal. Seasonal depression, holiday stress, etc. is typically the case. This year, however, it’s just been holiday stress and working on a writing project.

I’ve said before, ages ago, that I write fanfiction as well as my own original works. But for those who didn’t know – Hi, I’m Z. I write fanfiction for all kinds of things (formerly mostly Doctor Who, Harry Potter, and Sherlock Holmes related stories). It’s a fun hobby and I’ve met some really amazing people this way.

Now that that’s out of the way, my holidays went rather well despite the stress. I hope all of you had a good one yourselves! My husband made ham for Christmas and it was absolutely delicious. The best one he’s done since our first Christmas together. He does it in the rotisserie, and holy crap it’s amazing. Always comes out perfectly cooked and perfectly glazed (I always make a home-made maple brown sugar honey glaze. This year it was molasses and orange juice based… or it would have been had I had enough orange juice. So I cut it with part of a bottle of Motts for Tots apple juice and some Sicilian orange marmalade). My husband got me a Ninja blender and my mom got me an electric skillet. Now, I know most women don’t like getting kitchen appliances for gifts but holy crap it’s perfect and they are exactly what I wanted for Christmas!

I wasn’t the only one to luck out though. We got my mom a new desk weeks ago, as an early present. My husband was able to put it up tonight. I had to clear out a space in her room and get rid of a bunch of junk she’d just kept holding onto for no reason other than not feeling like dealing with it. Well, she’s got her desk set up now! My husband got some retro game systems (you know the plug and play types with like 100 games pre-loaded into them). And he got a new set of tools that includes a new power drill and hammer and all sorts of goodies.

My son also had a great haul this year. Lots of DVDs (mostly Paw Patrol), a big marker/crayon/art supplies set (also Paw Patrol themed), plastic dinos that he absolutely loves (gift from my sister and her husband), a giant crayon filled with megablocks, a Paw Patrol themed sleeping bag with matching little pillow. And a Paw Patrol bike complete with training wheels. I’m taking him to the park tomorrow sometime so he can try it out!

I know it sounds like a lot of stuff, and sounds rather greedy. But I am genuinely grateful for the fact that my family was able to afford giving each other such wonderful gifts this year. It sounds like a lot, but it really wasn’t. And most stuff was bought from the discount dollar bins at Walmart (except for most of my son’s stuff).

Anyway, onto the other reason I’ve been busy. My writing project. That bit about fanfiction up there is pretty much what this relates to. I write fanfiction mostly as a stress reliever, and over the course of the last month and a half I wrote a story for a fandom that I hadn’t posted (publicly) for before. There was this show from 2007-2010 called Heroes. NBC came out with a continuation/sequel a few years ago called Heroes Reborn, and it well and truly sucked. So I tend to pretend that the sequel doesn’t exist. Anyway, I won’t bore anyone with plot and details and stuff because I’m pretty sure none of you really care about my shipping preferences, my OTP, and my ridiculous daydream fantasies. What I want to talk about is the process/method of my writing it.

Typically when I sit down to write a fanfiction, or any story really, I have a loose idea of what I want to do and where I want to go with it already sort-of thought out. I make a very bare bones outline for each main character’s motivations and personalities.  I make a very bare bones outline of the plot and the conflict I want to take place, then I get to work hammering out the details chapter by chapter. For fanfiction especially once I complete a chapter, edit it, correct it, check it for more editing, then it gets posted online, and i get to work on the next chapter.

However I knew that for this particular story that wasn’t going to work. There really wasn’t any way I could break it into chapters and bite-sized chunks for readers to enjoy bit by bit.

The resulting story was a 48,000+ story, nearly novella length, hammered out into a single stand alone tale. Segments are broken up by month rather than by chapter, with the entire story taking place in the course of one year in the character’s lives. I wrote it all in a single file in Notepad so that I could not keep track of wordcount and the red and green squiggly lines of typos and gramatical errors would not distract me from writing. The only numbers I paid attention to were the file size itself – as my current primary laptop, that much loathed Acer Cloudbook  have hate posted so much about in the past, has a very limited amount of storage I can use. I backed up my story using Evernote (love that thing) and occasionally checked my wordcount out of curiosity that way. And the entire story was written with a smattering of ideas in mind but nothing much solid

The only truly solid ideas I had were that the two main characters, formerly enemies (they were this weird sort of place between enemies and not-quite friends in the final episode of the TV show with the villain having reached the end of his redemption arc to becoming a hero), would end up having to live together. Most everyone they knew would have a major problem with it. One of them would temporarily gain the ability to see the future and it would be pretty weird and make things awkward for a while. And lastly the two main characters of the story would at the very least become best friends over the course of the year. That’s it. That’s the only solid idea I had going into the project. Everything else was just constantly shifting what if scenarios that I couldn’t really pin down until I started writing. The entire thing was written stream of consciousness, which I haven’t done since around 2011/2012 with a Sherlock Holmes story.

I am rather pleased with how it turned out, and apparently so are others because I’ve gotten small, but much appreciated praise on Archive of Our Own for it. Enough that I’m considering writing another. Regardless, the process I chose to pursue for the writing of this particular story was very relaxed, and is one that I think I may begin employing more often in earnest. I felt far less stressed writing it, as I didn’t have the pressure of an audience waiting for the next installment of the story, and having to make them wait longer than normal due to life problems and so forth. It was very pleasant all around.

Well, that about wraps it up for me. Both my boys, my mom, and even the dog are asleep so I shall likely be headed there myself before too long.

I wish everyone the best in the new year, and hope it goes better for all than the last one.

Advertisements

Motherfuckin’ Deadpool

4816244-7+(2)

So husband and I went to go see Deadpool for Valentines Day. And y’know what? Of the one, maybe 2 films we get to see in theatres a year, this was the PERFECT date movie for us. I LOVE Deadpool, and Fox really did the right thing by giving him his own movie, casting the same guy as Deadpool, and fixing the mistake that was X-Men Origins: Wolverine. All while making fun of the first attempt to put the Pool on the big screen. And making fun of Hugh Jackman in the process. Though to be fair, it was all in good fun. So no hard feelings between the almighty SkullPooL and Wolverine.

But seriously, this movie was PERFECT for husband and I, and will definately be on the BluRay list of stuff to get when it comes out. See, the reason it was so perfect is because husband and I are, to put it bluntly, just the right type of crazy that matches each other’s type of crazy, to make this big ball of crazy. And honestly, if husband were a super hero, here’s how it would pan out….. Captain America is the ideal. Iron Man/Tony Stark is what he thinks he is. Deadpool is what he actually would be.

But throughout the interactions between Wade Wilson and his girlfriend, we kept sneaking glances at each other because the banter, the fun, the crazy between those two – it’s like our crazy. It’s so similar to our banter. Our fun. And though sometimes we fight (and I put that lightly, but honestly when we fight it’s like Red Hulk and Green Hulk SMASH!) that is pretty much our relationship. Minus the cancer. And the mercinary thing. (I would say minus the prostitute/stripper thing, but let’s be honest – husband has a colourful past. And we’ll leave that there.)

But seriously, that movie was a whole lot of fun, and it was PERFECT because at the end of the day, if I were ever kidnapped by an evil arch enemy from my husband’s past… He’d put on the suit, grab a couple of buddies, and throw me in a tube that I just broke out of to save my life falling from an abandoned and deteriorating ship in an abandoned shipyard.

I’m not exagerating for comedic effect here. If that were a real scenario, that is EXACTLY how my husband would react as well. Which is nice I guess, scary, but nice. And the fact that I can even think of a point where that might ever be a genuinely real scenario only serves to underscore the his crazy and my crazy are a good match for crazy. Plus, his thought processes aren’t exactly what one would call rational or normal at times (that’s part and parcel with his particular type and flavor on the Autism spectrum) so these hypothetical scenarios hold equal, in his perspective, potenal for happening as the more likely types (such as running out of milk at an inconvenient time). As such, he always has the “if X happens then I will do Y to correct it” already worked out. Even for the most unlikely and most impossible of scenarios.

It’s comforting to know, I guess, that if we have a zombie apocalypse happen he’s already got a plan for that. And if we run out of milk and eggs at a time when I need to bake a cake or whatever, he’s got a plan for that as well.

Tangents. Yes, that’s what we have here. Fitting for a Deadpool post.

Anyway, after the movie, we went out to dinner where I ate all you can eat pancakes at I-Hop because I freaking love pancakes. And he doesn’t have his dentures yet so I knew it was a place we could get food he wouldn’t have a hard time eating.

The entire evening was lovely, and filled with so much laughter and joy. And then we rounded the night off with cuddling and watching an episode of Ash Vs. Evil Dead.

It was the best Valentines we’ve had together. (A grand total of 4 so far.) And I look forward to many, many more like it or better.

2-12-16-Podcast3

Recent Events: The Car and Christmas

So I’ve been rather quiet for a few days (more like a week!). I’ve wanted to post, but didn’t want to talk about certain things until I was sure one way or another of how they would turn out. So, firstly….

Our car.

For anyone who’s been reading the blog long enough, you know I have a really crappy old car. Reliable (most of the time) but always needing work for one reason or another.

Well, for the first time ever, it wasn’t wear and tear. It was completely driver error, and I wasn’t driving (for once). Long story short, there’s a manhole cover near where my mother-in-law used to live. Sometimes we drive by there just to have a look at the place. The house was left in really bad shape, so we like to look and see if they’re getting it fixed up and stuff. Curiosity and the cat… as they say.

Well on Thursday, my mom and I went out to Rome to the company office of her job to pick up her Christmas bonus. Wasn’t much, just $30 or so, but it was nice to get out of the house for a while. It was raining all morning, and when we got back to Cartersville, it was pouring again. Well, instead of going straight to the library, we took the long route through town, and I said “I wonder if I can see the old house from here.” So unexpectedly, my mom turned to go down the road with the house. There’s a culdesac right next to it, and so my mom turned in there to turn around afterwards. She’s done this on more than one occasion, so I thought she remembered about the manhole cover. She did not. And water was pooled around it to where she couldn’t tell that it was raised up super high from the cement.

Well, it caught on our exhaust pipe under the car, yanked it so hard it cracked the manifold all the way around where it meets the converter. So, we got it home and parked it, I looked up under the car. Mom’s freaking out because she thinks she just totaled the car in such a way we don’t have enough to pay our mechanic to fix it. And I’m on my belly in the mud outside by the car trying to get a good look at what happened so I can tell the mechanic on the phone, and the tow truck guy, and look it up online to see if it’s even fixable.

So, yeah. Thursday sucked. AFTER I get it towed to the mechanic, he takes a good look at it and he’s like “yeah, it’s fixable. Probably lookin at around $220 for the part, and $60 labor.” So he called around to find the part. Found one from a Hyundai dealer (we drive a 2000 Elantra) but it wouldn’t be there till Monday at 11AM. I had to be there between 9 and 10AM with cash in hand because he had to pay for the part when it arrived. So, there I was, waiting with him Monday morning. It was cold, a bit damp, and he was like “yeah, now that my assistant’s here, I’ll take you home. Give you a call when it’s here, and then come get you in your car when it’s done.”

So he had me give him enough to cover the part, and took me home. Now, most people are sitting here reading this right now like “omg you did what? That’s soooooo stupid! You don’t just blindly hand over a wad of cash like that!” – In most cases, yes this would be true. However, with this guy, he’s been a family friend for over 20 years. The few times that something has happened to cause issues in regards to money, he’s done right by all of us and covered it himself when necessary. His prices are also very reasonable, and even if a part isn’t under warranty, he guarantees his work for 1 year. So if he puts in a part, and it fails 364 days later, he fixes it for free, because that should never have happened and was his or his assistant’s fault. So yeah, with this guy in particular, I know he’s not gonna rip me off. He goes out of his way to make sure people don’t get ripped off, and when the parts dealers rip him off, he doesn’t pass the rip off on to the customer. He eats it and sticks by his estimates and words. And you just don’t find quality and devotion to good customer service in mechanics these days. Honesty is a rare trait these days, and I reward it with honesty and respect where I can.

So, anyway, he gives me a call later in the day to tell me that the part never arrived. He gave them an extra 2 hours to get it to him before calling to find out what the hell happened. So as soon as he got off the phone with them, he turned right around and called me to let me know. He said he was sorry, and that I’d been there when he’d first called and ordered the part (he also puts his phone on speaker when he orders parts for people, that way everyone knows what’s going on and is on the same page from parts dealers to his assistant, and straight on to customer. LOVE THIS GUY!) and yeah, they’d said it would be there Monday at 11AM. What happened was it didn’t get put on the delivery truck Monday morning. But it would be put on the truck Tuesday. He chewed out the dealer on my behalf.

So, yesterday, Tuesday, I called him up around 1PM, giving a few extra hours for the part to arrive. He said it still hadn’t arrived. He was about to call them when I called because he’s fucking furious at this point. I thank him and ask him to call me with whatever he finds out. We hang up. No sooner had he got off the phone with me than the guy shows up with the part! So my mechanic turns right around, calls me back, and lets me know that after he takes out the manifold he’s gonna inspect it so he can give me an accurate explanation of the problem more than just “it’s broken” and then it’ll be a few hours. He’ll give me a call when it’s done, since it’s super busy yesterday and he won’t be able to get away long enough to come pick me up.

SO! he calls me around 3:30pm, told me to call a cab and that he’d pay for it to compensate me for the inconvenience all this has put me through.  He’s such a sweetie. Well, I get there, he takes me out to show me the old manifold he pulled and picks it up to show me what was wrong, and some additional problems it had that nobody saw till it was pulled out. Apparently it had a crack in it that appeared old enough his best guess was that it had first cropped up a few years ago, before mom and I got the car. It was hidden in a hard to see spot, which is why he nor his assistant could see it in the first place. He was surprised it hadn’t started acting up prior to when we broke it at the converter. We suspect we know how that crack got there, but in the spirit of the season I’m not gonna point fingers at who, but given the best guess of when, there’s only ONE person it could have possibly been, and given the way she drives…. yeah. So in the end, the manifold was going to have to be replaced ANYWAY. So we essentially broke it prematurely at a time that was more financially convenient to deal with it. Which is ALWAYS the case with this car since we got it. So, that’s nice. Makes bill time a bit of a crunch, but not impossible. And when parts are failing or routine maintenance needs doing, it all keeps falling around the time when my husband or my mom’s money hits the bank so I’m just grateful that whatever’s looking out for me and mine has a decent sense of timing and humor. So that ended with me getting the car and going straight to the store to buy dish soap and laundry detergent… because during this time, my son puked all over his bed and the floor, and we don’t have a dryer, just a washer. This wouldn’t have been much of a problem…. but he nailed ALL of his stuffed animals. So my husband had to scrap all the muck off of them, clean them up as best as he could, and set them near a heater to dry so they don’t mildew before I can get them properly washed and dried today.

This latest car snafu also prevented my mom and I from going to her fancy work party (we heard it was super fun!) and kept me from being able to buy our monthly groceries so I’ve got to brave the pre-Christmas shoppers today AND TOMORROW (and Tomorrow is Wall-Mart day…. ugh… I’ll probably just go in the middle of the night tonight to be honest.)

I still have to get some food based stocking stuffers, milk, eggs, coffee. Y’know, the essentials.

Due to the car going down, and NOT being ready Monday, husband and I were forced to put off our toddler-free date day because no car to get to the movie theatre. And today, I have to spend running errands that I couldn’t do while the car was in the shop. SO that means we won’t get to go see the new Star Wars movie until next week, when my mom has a few days off.

And now, Christmas! Who’s ready for that? I’m not. I’ve got last minute shopping that was supposed to get done on Saturday (stupid car!) and some gifts that are assembly required. And I still have a crap ton of baking left to do! And I’ve gotta make some special sugar-free cookies to take over to my mechanic (his assistant is diabetic and loves cookies) as a thank you for essentially saving Christmas for me and my family.

So yeah, it’s gonna be a busy as hell 2 days!

New Years Eve I’ll be doing another Year in Preview reading for 2016. I’ll be posting it up for anyone that wants it, and will have a PDF version if anyone wants that, too. I’ll be going through the 2015 version and highlighting the hits and misses for me with it the first week of 2016, to see how close I was able to “predict” events lol.

I’ll also be launching my business and it’s website in January, so more news on that when it’s available. I’m still working out the kinks with Paypal, and setting up certain sections of the site itself (my bio/profile, explanations for the types of readings, setting up the payment scale and what’s offered per reading type. Nitpicky stuff, really.)

So, it’s a busy time of year for me all the way around!

Also, just before publishing this post, I realized that I’d been so busy and stressed out since Thursday that I completely forgot I had a doctor’s appointment yesterday evening! So I just called, but the office is closed. I left a message explaining what happened, and gave my name and number, wished everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, and that I hope to hear back from them at their earliest convenience.

So yeah, it’s been a week lol.

Also, I hope everyone had a lovely Solstice. Mine was spent de-stressing after we got the car back.