Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Electric car dream

One of the things about recovering from surgery and living alone: I daydream. I've always been a daydreamer, but lately I'm daydreaming about how I want to create my life after grad school.

I know this:

I want to move to the West Coast, even though it means leaving everything I've  ever known.

I want a hybrid/electric car, not just any car, I want the electric Tesla Roadster in bright green.

Reality check: I really am going to move west. If you follow the blog, you may even be able to come along with me. And the Tesla Roadster starts at about $111,000. That I don't have. It's an awesome car: lots of pickup, wicked style, quiet, safe and good for the environment. It can go 245 miles on one charge. I can live with that. It's small, but so am I. I think we'd make a perfect fit. It's a great daydream.

The problem with my electric car dream (aside from price) is that I can't seem to let it go. I find myself plotting, trying to figure out how I could come up with an extra hundred thou. A heretofore unknown rich relative who dies (I'm sorry) and leaves me the money? A lottery win? (I should probably buy some lottery tickets.) A sugar daddy to fund my ride? (I'm ok with the ride; it's the man who doesn't fit in with my dream.) Or maybe I should just start saving my pennies. Not!

So, how do you do it? How do you make a very unlikely dream come true? (And don't tell me to read The Secret, I don't buy into that philosophy.)

Hey, I have an idea: you can all buy copies of my MFA book next May when I publish. That should get me a few dollars closer! I feel another dream coming on...

Monday, July 25, 2011

I'm back! And the real world sucks.

I am such an old, lazy teenager! In December, I took a break from the blog for the holidays and now it's, what? July? Like any good adult adolescent I have many good excuses, especially the shoulder surgery I had in February that continues to require twice weekly physical therapy.
Turns out that, even though my mind believes I'm still an adolescent, my body knows better. So I took a semester off from grad school, went to summer school to make it up, and now I'm ready to write.

As part of my recovery, I have spent a lot of time on the couch pondering the TV. One show really got my imagination going. It was Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman, and it was a (mostly) scientific based inquiry into the idea of collective consciousness. One scientist studied the magnetic fields generated by the electrical activity in our brains and found some evidence that we influence each other in this way. That got me thinking.

The world just seems to be getting crazier. Believe me, I've seen a lot of crazy and I've watched a lot of news. Earthquakes, tsunamis, flooding, fire, famine, heat and drought are pressuring a large portion of the world's population. Add in the worldwide economic crisis and over 10 years of war, and you create a human pressure cooker. Just look at the inability of the US legislature to make any progress on the budget. Is it just politics? Really? Would our elected officials take our country to the brink of disaster just to make political points? And if so, what does that say about our collective mindset?

Why aren't we out in the streets demanding a compromise? None of us run our household budgets this way. If we are chronically short of money, we go looking for another job, work more hours, or hell, have a yard sale. We don't let our children go homeless, hungry or naked. One can only cut so far.

OK, no backlash. I know the government has to make cuts. I'm all for it. But I also know that to make a dent in the deficit, we all have to sacrifice. And if that means that those who earn a quarter of a million dollars a year have to pay another five hundred dollars in taxes, then suck it up. That's six week's groceries to me, how many lattes for millionaires?

I think I'll just go to physical therapy, take a pain pill, and get back on the couch. For now, anyway.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The old in cold

I'm feeling the old in Adult and the old in cold, as in this unbelievably cold weather. If I wasn't an AOA, and just an Adult, could I retire to warmer climes? Hmm ... may be time to grow up.
Nevertheless, I have my Electronic Publishing project up on the Star Hoppers, and all the links work (at least in Safari). I also finished the final paper and am ready to brave the twenty degree temperatures and forty mile per hour wind gusts to go to class tomorrow night. Yes!!
And though this old body wants to give in to winter and hibernate beneath a down comforter with hot tea and old movies, instead I am going to construct (yes, by hand) a beautiful book of poetry for my Poetry Workshop. And even then, I shall not succumb to winter. Oh no, I will clean, cook and shop for Christmas presents. And decorate the house, thankful that the outside lights are already up. Then perhaps, before the children are home asking why there's nothing to eat, I shall have a few snug moments under the down comforter. I hope you get to have a few cozy, comforting moments in the next week also. There has to be something to like about winter. 

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Star Hoppers: the communal experiment story

The story we wrote on Facebook is now on the internet at Star Hoppers, a website dedicated to the full story of Wendell's adventures. Twenty one people contributed to the story, and it is great. 
I published it as an interactive website, so you can click from one page to another. There are links to contributor's webpages and other credits. If you check out contributor's links, you'll see what a diverse group came together to write a story. I had a great time, and I learned about electronic media and being creative without being in control. 
So, go read Star Hoppers, and if you're one of the writers, give yourself a pat on the back. Well done. It was fun. Son of a gun!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Final Stretch

This holiday weekend (after taking Thanksgiving off) has been a marathon of project work. I have almost finished my Electronic Publishing project; a few tune-ups of the web page and a final edit of the paper and I'm finished. Then I'll use this blog to regale you with amusing anecdotes about online dating and other AOA nonsense. I have quite a backlog of dating stories; obviously my dating life has been less than successful. 
But before I begin my cranky chronicle, I have to physically construct a book of poetry for my poetry workshop class. I have already created an Adobe InDesign document for the text. It was a little iffy at the beginning as to whether or not I would remember how to use InDesign, but after a bit of playing around, it came back to me. I purchased a beautiful sheet of handmade blue-veined paper to use for the cover. My title is, Through Larkspur Veins, and the paper evokes a blue-veined madness. I have a little problem with one of the poems, an experimental piece called "To DH (dead husband)." I know, it sounds morbid, but really, it's not. It's a minimalist spreadsheet of related words. Really, not morbid or sentimental. 
Anyway, the problem is that it's a full 8 x 10 page set in landscape (a 90 degree rotation), and I want my beautiful book to be 4.5 " wide by 8" long. And I'm not THAT good at InDesign. I think I'm going to resort to old fashioned handiwork and make that poem the center 2 pages, so they open into one poem. You'll have to rotate the book to see it, but it should work. This means I'll have to number pages by hand, since I don't know a way to accomplish this rotational trick in InDesign. 
Anyway, I'm very excited about this book. This is the first poetry class I've ever taken and it's been amazing. Not only can I occasionally turn out a good poem, everything I've learned this semester translates into better short fiction, which is my true love (and the only true love for the moment).
Keep an eye on this site: I'll post the link to the Communal Writing Experiment result shortly. It's at the top of my list.

Friday, November 26, 2010

After Thanksgiving

I took Thanksgiving day off, one of the few days this semester that I haven't done any work on a school project or written anything, school related or not. My Thanksgiving was non-traditional, I watched Macy's parade by myself, talked on the phone for several hours, then went to friends to hang out before we went out to dinner. Dinner was late for Thanksgiving, or at least for what my Thanksgivings were before widowhood, and none of us ordered the traditional turkey dinner. I had steak. And it was great.
But for some reason, I couldn't go to sleep (and yet I still didn't do any schoolwork). I last looked at the clock at 3:56 AM. Woke up today at 10:30 and am just starting to get going (it's 5 PM). But I did think about school. Do teenagers do that? I decided on a linear electronic publication on a new website, with pictures and author links, for the communal experiment text. Now I'm writing this instead of working on the site, but I'll get there. For once, I know where I'm going, at least for a little while.
So to all of you who read this: I am thankful you are out there. And I wish you a year of new experiences to appreciate next Thanksgiving. The holiday season is often difficult for those of us who have lost someone we love, yet it's important to remember that we still have very many people and things for which we are truly thankful. Life really isn't so bad, even for us widowed AOAs.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Now for the Hard Part

I'm definitely feeling the adolescent angst of being an AOA these days. The experiment part of my final project for electronic publishing is over, but now I have to figure out how to publish it online. My professor suggested a hypertext (sort of an electronic choose your own adventure), but the story is too linear for that. I could write a bunch of alternate branches, but I feel like that would be contrary to the goal of the experiment, which is to see what happens when a group of people, many who don't know each other, have an open electronic forum to write a story. My part was to be a contributor and editor, not controller. Believe me, giving up control was incredibly stressful. 
The story ran over four thousand words and is told from three points of view. So, now I'm doing what adolescents do: procrastinating, complaining (to myself), and a little pouting. I need to sum up that final energy to find a way to present the text online and write the final paper. Maybe I should text a bunch of people and then down a couple of Red Bulls. Isn't that what adolescents do these days? Arrgh! This is making me feel old and tired and immature. But, that's just being an AOA, right? All part of growing up, again.