alexandraerin: (Default)
I still do not have sleep apnea.

I have no signs of sleep apnea.

Even if I went in for the sleep study you think would prove I have sleep apnea, any reputable doctor would listen to my symptoms and talk me out of it because it would not be medically indicated at this time, because sleep studies are for problems that occur while one is asleep and I do not have such a problem.

My problem is that I can't go to sleep. So even if I went in for a sleep study, it would just involve me lying there awake for four or five hours while the doctors and technicians exchange awkward glances and check their watches, and then suggesting that maybe my problem is insomnia. Even on my best day I couldn't get to sleep under the circumstances of a sleep study, because I am an insomniac and insomnia is difficulty getting to sleep.

In the comfort of my own home, with my carefully controlled environment, suitable surface, pile of blankets, total darkness and quiet and freedom to arrange my limbs I have a really good chance of eventually falling asleep. In a strange place, surrounded by strangers and with 22 wire attachments? No. Not going to happen. I would have to pass out from exhaustion before I could fall asleep in the conventional fashion, and even then the study would show that once I'm asleep I sleep pretty much normally, because that's what happens.

Maybe you're thrown off by the fact that sometimes I blog about nights of very poor quality sleep caused by the abuse of caffeine I fall into sometimes to make up for nights of missed sleep. You think you recognize something of your own trials and travails there.

But see, your poor quality sleep was a mystery to you and the miraculous life-changing sleep study gave you an answer you were lacking. There is no mystery here: when I chug three liters of Dr. Pepper in order to function, my brain's ability to regulate the sleep cycle is impaired and I have shallow, easily interrupted sleep or even things like partial sleep paralysis with attendant hallucinations.

When I don't, then once I'm asleep I will sleep for 7 to 9 hours of deep, good sleep... the problem is getting to sleep in the first place.

You know, insomnia... a problem I am very familiar with, as I've had it for my entire life, and a problem that I now have largely under control through knowledge of my sensory issues and disabilities that intersect with it.

I've gone over this with you before. Yet every time I mention a bad night on my blog or every time you learn about some new treatment option, we go through this again.

Will it make a difference to you if I tell you that every time you do this... and I know it isn't that frequent but the fact that it happens more than once, that I have had to tell you that I do not have the symptoms of sleep apnea more than once, that I have had to ask you to stop rendering opinions about my medical diagnosis more than once is just really beyond the pale... but since you won't stop just because I asked, will it make a difference if I tell you that every time you do this, it ruins my day?

I mean, what you are doing to me is exactly the sort of thing that the patterns in my brain that tend to keep me up at night feed on. I'm sitting here thinking why? Why won't she stop? Why won't she take me at my word? Why won't she mind her own business? Why can she not understand that her experience and my experience aren't the same thing? Why can she not understand that however big a part of her life her diagnosis was, it doesn't universally translate to other people's lives?

Why can't she leave me alone?

Can we please just stop? I mean, for the past hour, this has been all that's been going around in my head. I'm supposed to be writing now. I want to be writing. I'm going to have to do relaxation exercises first, and I'm already behind because I woke up at 1 this afternoon after being awake until 5 in the morning due in part to insomnia.

But notice how 1 PM is eight hours after 5 AM, and I woke up feeling like I had a good solid eight hours of sleep? That's because I don't have sleep apnea.

I don't even snore. I know the two don't always go hand in hand, but... I breathe normally when I'm asleep. I sleep normally when I'm asleep. It's getting there that is tricky, and I have over the years of living with this problem acquired a repertoire of methods for dealing with that problem, which are not helped by your well-meaning(?) concern.

So, yes. Let's not do this again, please. Maybe the day will come when I'm able to just chuckle at your stubborn insistence, but for now, I just get more and more stressed and if you actually care about my well being, if you actually care about my mental and physical health, you will please stop.

The irony is that my insomnia is largely controlled, but my efforts at further controlling it are impaired because you have succeeded in turning me into a nervous wreck when it comes to publicly mentioning anything about how I'm doing on the sleep front.

Never do this again.

Love,
me.
alexandraerin: (Default)
I'm probably going to be going back to bed (by which, of course, I mean "floor") here very shortly, but while I've been awake I've been making a catalogue of Things That Need Doing, going back to the end of May when I decided to put things on hold until after WisCon, and then things got weird and bad and scary and sad and everyone was sick and nothing really got done.

One of the obstacles I'm facing is that I'm not really in the habit of writing my ideas down, so where I left Nebraska back in May with a strong idea of where to start the story for Kin and Distant Relations, I'm having to retrace my steps a bit now. I'm making it my highest priority behind TOMU proper, above my novella projects and such, but we might be well into the second half of the month before #1 goes out.

The fundraiser's had a slower start than the previous two. There are probably multiple reasons for that. Doubtlessly there are people who simply don't feel like kicking in after two months with so little writing, but I'm hoping that other, more temporary factors are also in play. The fact that I posted Friday's story a few hours before I was ready to put up the fundraiser post means that a lot of people won't see it until the next story goes up, especially since a lot of folks are probably in the habit of only checking once a week now.

I'm hoping a strong performance throughout the month of August and progress on the past incentives will help loosen some purse-strings. I don't expect this to be as huge as the last two fundraisers anyway, particularly without a "competitive" element to it... I don't really want every fundraiser to be based around voting for things, because I don't want the whole story to seem up for grabs and I don't want readers with less money to throw in the pot to feel like the story exists for other people's benefit and not theirs... but I'm going to need to clear at least a thousand or so just to be where I need to be at the end of the month.

More would be better, of course. I'm hoping to be able to rejoin Jack in Maryland for a few weeks at the end of October, and in the long term we hope to be together permanently sometime next year. I need to stay on top of things financially for that to happen. Easiest way to do that is to stay on top of things with the writing. Long term, I have few doubts. Short and medium term, though, things will be more comfortable if this fundraiser has a decent showing.

I might add more individual incentives, like the offer of recording a personal greeting for $X or something, but given that I'm not really known for my voice and the whole point of the audio focus is that I need more practice at it, that doesn't exactly seem like the world's best offer. I don't know. It's the 7th today, so I suppose if things don't pick up in the next week (after two more chapters go up) I can come up with additional incentives next weekend and still have half a month for them to work their magic.
alexandraerin: (Default)
...when the power goes out, our new(ish) home security panel helpfully alerts us to this fact with a series of piercing, high-pitched beeps about thirty seconds apart. This panel is located on the ground floor of the house. I sleep on the third floor, and have taken pains to keep external light from reaching the half of the attic I sleep in... even the minimal light that would exist during a blackout on a stormy night. Trying to find my way out of my room and downstairs in a pitch black house in the midst of melatonin-fog seemed like a really good recipe for injury, especially once I established that I had no idea what direction anything was, so I just laid there enjoying the soothing EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE sounds coming at intervals just far enough apart to seem unpredictable until I woke up some more and the sky grew light enough that I could make it down the stairs and let the alarm panel know that yes, I have noticed the lack of electrical power, thank you very much.

Naturally, the power came back on as soon as I got back upstairs.
alexandraerin: (Default)
So, last night I laid down at around 1 and slept until around 8. This is the first time I've been able to get up before noon after a good night's sleep since... well, I don't even really know for sure.

Progress!
alexandraerin: (Default)
So... I laid back down at around 5 in the morning and fell asleep fairly rapidly. I would have been happy with just another four hours of sleep, but instead I got around seven in a row. I feel a little bit logy now, but then I've just woken up. This is definitely the longest and best uninterrupted sleep I've had for weeks.

So I guess it's back on the pills for me.

Ugh.

Aug. 5th, 2011 04:31 am
alexandraerin: (Default)
Right now I seem to be sleeping about four hours a night just because that's what my body is used to. I'm not feeling overwhelming anxiety or anger or dread, as I had been. I'm not in the middle of an awesome creative burst. It is not too hot to sleep in my room. None of the usual causes apply.

On the other hand, I haven't tried taking anything to help me sleep lately, because when my sleep gets bad enough the possibility of being fogged up but not able to sleep kind of terrifies me... so now maybe that things are back to "normal" I should start that.

Yeah, it's four thirty and I'm wide awake. I'm going to take my melatonin-and-valerian cocktail and go lie back down.
alexandraerin: (Default)
Can't sleep.

I have been sleeping so poorly again for the last week. Too agitated. Too wildly shifting in my emotional states. My breathing control exercises should help there, as I get back down towards six breaths a minute... that's one of the reasons I started doing them, back before WisCon.

I'm short on distractions at the moment that don't involve injuring myself by looking at horrible things, so I'm going to talk about my fundraising plans.

I have no clue what I'd planned on doing back in July. My mind just went to other places. I know that I was thinking something more low-key compared to the previous two... I picked things that people were really competitive about the previous two times, and my fear is that if I always do that then people who find themselves on the losing side of the vote might feel like they have no point to contribute next time.

So this one isn't going to be competitive.

And I also don't want to make the incentives based around writing side stories because I have enough of those piled up. But I definitely don't want to just say "I need money to live. Give me money." after so many weeks of my attention being so emphatically on other things. So I thought about what I could do that might be fun, for you and for me, and the answer came to me when I put on my headphones last night at like three in the morning after realizing I had no idea how the sound from my speakers might carry down to my housemate in a bedroom below me.

These are the USB headphones I got for Christmas last night that I found to be so marvelous and useful for their playback quality. They also have a microphone that I have barely used, but which is likewise superior in quality to anything I've had before.

So here's my plan: for every $250 I raise during the fundraising period, I will record myself reading one story aloud. I'll burn them off at a rate of one per week. That might sound like I'm not giving myself enough time, but the deal is not that I'm producing studio quality recordings... see, not only do I not have a studio, but I am terrible at reading my work. I'm nervous and self-conscious. It took me multiple oh-so-many years of speech therapy to even be able to talk intelligently and even now my lips and jaw and tongue can occasionally catch on certain sounds.

So this little incentive project is meant to help me... it's an incentive for me, too. An incentive to practice and get better, and to be less self-conscious. Because I might do multiple takes. I might do some minor clean up/edits. But whatever I have, whatever I produce, whether I think it's any good or not, will go up. It will be rough and raw and you will hopefully get to "see" me improve as I go.

I realize that doing this now almost guarantees that someone out there is going to be listening to my efforts and having a good laugh. But that's the other reason I want to do it. I won't say "to show I don't care"; I'm talking about it so clearly I care. I do care, but I don't care enough not to do it. I'm not afraid.

The actual fundraising period will kick off on Friday, assuming I have completed my goal of two chapters this week. I'm not going to announce it on the site until then, but if you're among the MU readers who happen to read my blog and you kick into the pot before then, yes it'll count. I'm also going to count the three random donations I've received in the past few days; assuming they all clear then I'm going to start this sucker already owing you all one recording.

I'll talk about the specific things I'll be recording later on, especially if it proves necessary to inject a little more interest into the proceedings. At least half of them will be MUniversal stories, but I'm going to reserve the right to record other things because some of my stand alone stories might make better audio thingies than chapters of a serial.

Anyway, that's the plan. These recordings will be free and they will be released with some sort of share-alike license on them. You won't need to donate to get them. There will be some sort of little bonus for people who do donate; details to follow. I'm not going to set an upper limit on the number of recordings/fundraiser goal immediately, because even if this fundraiser's in the neighborhood of the last two it won't produce an onerous obligation.

Ugh.

Jul. 29th, 2011 04:17 am
alexandraerin: (Default)
Thought I'd get a decent night's sleep again when come midnightish I was feeling sleepy. Guess not. The small blessing is that I'm sleeping at all, I suppose.

I am hopeful that Jack is sleeping right now, as he needs it. He went to bed fairly early. I haven't had any messages from him.
alexandraerin: (Default)
...I'm about ready to go upstairs and fall asleep. I crashed/took a nap during the day yesterday that only lasted maybe four or five hours, six or the most, but I woke up from it feeling energized and frankly a lot better than I've felt for a while. I didn't do any of my flexible work day items on Monday, but that's why they're flexible... and I did get a bunch of stuff done that wasn't on the list because I didn't have a clear enough head to remember they needed doing.

When I talk about "feeling better", I mean both it in the sense of both well and good. I've had some really bitter, cranky moments over the past week or so. I mean, in the midst of that there's been a lot of intellectual awareness of how awesome my life is, but when I'm not sleeping or when my brain has a million screaming adenosine receptors that are wondering where all the caffeine molecules have gone, all of my emotions become small and sharp and stabby. I become impatient and all too ready to believe the worst of people.

I think I handled it better than I have in the past, in terms of avoiding more of the situations that can arise out of moods such as that. Not a perfect performance, but, eh, no one's perfect.

My idea for the second quarter fundraiser is more fleshed out now. Specifically, the details of how I'm going to carry the winning storyline forward. I'm getting a little more skilled at writing in non-serial format, and some of my best work in the MUniverse is the stuff that is almost but not quite standalone. I mean, take how the Harris family story has been developed so far, as a series of short stories that tie together to make a bigger story without the day-to-day blow-by-blow.

So what I'm thinking is that instead of having a "Moar MU" serial that I try to run along the same time as Mackenzie's tale, I'm going to have a monthly back-up feature. The monthly back-up feature will be... as its name suggests... a feature that runs each month with a story that gives a look at/advances the plot of whichever story/cast/setting wins the vote.

Hmmm... when I was writing this, I had been planning on doing a big fundraiser and then running the winner for a year but now that I read how that last paragraph came out, I'm reconsidering: smaller monthly fundraiser with the winner getting next month's slot? That appeals to me on several levels. But on the other hand it would be easier on me if I knew what I was writing. Maybe something in between? I don't know. I'll consider it.

In any event, the monthly back-up feature would give me a little more leeway than another serial. The story would generally be longer, and I'd let people follow along the progress as I'd probably work on it in bits throughout the month.

And now I'm starting to feel genuinely sleepy. I tell you, I'm really looking forward to what's about to happen.
alexandraerin: (Default)
...that we're not done sleeping during the day and being awake all night, after all. I started to crash at around five in the evening and ended up going upstairs at like 6:30 or so. I was woken up a little bit ago by what I thought was a huge fight between no less than two cats, but it was just Dorian having found his favorite toy (a rainbow streamer ribbon thing) and was playing with it in the dark. So that's like four hours or less of sleep but I was only awake for 12 hours before that and I feel pretty awake right now, and I will probably crash pretty hard later.

When? No one knows.

I'm making a decision to cut my caffeine intake way down*. I had it down to some coffee in the morning and the occasional soda when eating out back during my Good Sleep Period, but as I started to sleep worse the soda started creeping back up so that I could spend less time feeling like a zombie. And right now, I have realized, my caffeine consumption is at my high school levels and of course that works against me as I try to get my sleep back under some semblance of control.

Caffeine's tolerance mechanism means that there's a bit of a ratchet effect... it's easy for your consumption level to shift up, hard for it to shift down. I'm going to be doing this gradually. My plan to structure my week and my work days better will help me here, because I'll be able to work this in to it.

*(Note: Anybody who says "You shouldn't drink caffeine at all if you have a problem sleeping!" will get punched in the throat by a bear made out of ninjas who are each in turn made out of many smaller LARGER bears. My caffeine dependency is a response to my insomnia, not the cause of it. If you don't live my life, you don't get to judge the chemical measures I use to stay functional.)
alexandraerin: (Default)
Not quite a status post, just a note to say that I've been up all night... just as I was getting ready to lie down, I had the breakthrough of breakthroughs for A Wilder World. I've had the underlying game system, the engine for game play, in more or less the same shape since September of last year, but I've never been able to get the process for character generation (to say nothing of presentation or advancement) to gel, despite the grand vision of stacking archetypes.

It was always too complicated, both in terms of number of steps and the total amount of information you had to pore through and the amount of information you were left to manage. This is a natural risk when you want a system that can handle nigh-unto-anything at a mechanical level, but since my goal was to find a balance between complex possibilities and a simple system an eighteen step character creation or a character sheet that comprised a small booklet was clearly not what was called for.

But now I have had a minor epiphany (building on the random burst of creative insight I mentioned the other week) and I think I have it.

First, ditch Archetypes as a mechanical structure entirely. They now exist for categorization. It's an interesting bit of intellectual metagame wankery to see how many concepts you could make by juggling combinations of exactly four narrowly defined concepts, but I want this to be a game that's fast and playable, not just an endless series of charts to play around with. This might seem like a radical departure from the original concept, since the whole time I've been talking about AWW it's been Archetypes, Archetypes, Archetypes, but really each iteration of the character creation system since the first one has de-emphasized them as a structural element of the system. Each revision has made them both less complex and less hardwired.

Second, forget the idea of character sheets. Someone who's old school and hard core and hard school and old core could very easily write down their abilities and equipment, but one of the better things D&D 4E and its mutant offspring D&D Gamma World have brought to the gaming table is cards. Not as a collectible "gotta catch 'em all" element, but as a compact reference that tells you exactly what abilities you have, exactly what they do, and exactly which ones you've expended or have available at a given moment of the game. They might seem like an odd prop for a roleplaying game, but after seeing them in action it seems odd that they didn't become more common sooner.

The real goal of the AWW character creation system is to allow modularity. Not as free form as GURPS, not as bound in iron as D&D, but something that hopefully combines the best elements of the two (at least as applies to pseudomedieval high fantasy settings. I don't plan on trying to compete with GURPS's "go anywhere" mentality.)

The archetype-based system was a step in the right direction, and a logical step from my starting point (looking at how classes were put together in 4E, and in particular how they made the transition from 3E), but it left me with two different levels of modularity, the stuff that existed within an archetype and the stuff that existed outside it. This created arbitrary and artificial restrictions for players, and imposed arbitrary and artificial restrictions on design, necessitating a lot of what the 4E devs refer to as "needless symmetry" and "grid-filling"; i.e., game design by way of fill in the blanks.

Now everything's modular. The concept of archetypes still exists to give players (particularly new ones, or ones who aren't interested in absorbing whole catalogs of abilities before they start making a character) guidelines and starting points, but you'll never find yourself screwed or forced into a box you don't want to be in because some stupid game designer somewhere (i.e., me) had a different idea of what the key components of an assassin or ranger are.

So here's how it works, in a nutshell:

You pick a number* of Traits. These are static bonuses or always-available abilities, things that act as constants in differentiating your character from the base line. Mastery with a particular weapon or fighting style, raw fighting ability, physical toughness, charisma, etc. A lot of these are things that would have been the base ability of a particular Archetype in one of my old builds.

Then you pick a number* of Techniques. These are abilities that you actively use. They correspond most closely to Encounter Powers in D&D 4E.

The "serving suggestion" for managing your character is that you lay your Traits down on the table as you would a character sheet and keep your Techniques as a deck/hand, turning them over or laying them aside when you use them. Quick and manageable. Only the most complicated abilities, the ones that require more than a paragraph or two to explain, will ever require recourse to a rule book because the whole rules for the use of an ability will be written in plain language English on its card. The exceptions are mostly the really open-ended abilities that require caveats and guidelines, like illusion and shapeshifting.

The * after number is because it'll take some testing and proof-of-concepting to work out good starting numbers. One key factor of this system is that it would be scalable. You could make simpler (and lower powered) games by scaling down the number of Traits or Techniques or higher powered ones by scaling them up.

This is just an overview, I'm skipping a lot of details obviously. Some of that is because I don't have all the details worked out... what I have is very preliminary. But I think this is a big step in the right direction. Just the thought of literally building a character out of cards is tremendously appealing. I mean, imagine you show up for the first gaming session and there are piles of cards on the table. Fighter-Fu here. Thief-Fu here. Magic-Fu here. Find what you want, put it together. I think it's something that can appeal to newbies and oldbies alike. No calculations. No table look-ups. Total plug and play.

Friday

Mar. 4th, 2011 01:02 pm
alexandraerin: (Default)
News For Today

No new news, but the run-off for the Rose And Bay fiction award continues and so, for three more days, does the pre-sale for The Gift of the Bad Guy.

Personal Assessment

Slept better last night. Not great. Not awesome. Better. I believe I've worked out why I'm not sleeping so well all of a sudden: it's not getting nearly as cold on the overnights as it had been, which means my pile of blankets is uncomfortably hot. I did okay last night by splitting the difference and only using half of them.

I suppose this tells me I'll need to get a weighted blanket sooner than I'd expected... my half-formed plan had always been to get one in the summer, but there are rather a lot of months between now and then that aren't exactly going to be pleasant to get 20+* pounds of blankets the old-fashioned way.

The * is there because, while I estimate my current pile as being about 20 pounds based on the weights of similar blankets I could find listed online, more than one of the sites that I looked at mentioned that people who order a weighted blanket often end up trading up for a heavier one, and they offer a formula based on body mass that would be closer to 25 pounds.

This sort of thing looks to be like a two, three hundred dollar investment, which gives me pause... while that's less money I'll have available for WisCon and for funding other projects, it's not like I can say I can't afford it, and what price would you put on a good night's sleep?

Dreams From Last Night

Had to do with making it through some sort of combination of border crossing and TSA checkpoint.

Plans For Today

Write/finish the next chapter of Tales of MU.
alexandraerin: (Default)
It took me a while to get there, but I did sleep last night. I've just woken up so I'm not ready to make any kind of a real assessment. I'm hoping I'm rested enough that at the very least I won't be crashing early tonight. One of the things about dealing with insomnia is that there are fundamental differences between "sleepy", "tired", and "fatigued". If I'm tired and/or fatigued, I can't function, but if I'm tired and fatigued but not sleepy, I can't sleep. When I went to lie down last night I was tired and fatigued but I didn't get sleepy for several hours after. Things work out much better if my brain is ready to shut down at the same time my body needs to.
alexandraerin: (Default)
News For Today:

First, briefly, I'd really appreciate people filling out the survey in my previous post. I'm going to be linking this in the MU post that goes up today, too.

Second, if you've seen my mentions of the Rose And Bay Awards but couldn't make sense of the nomination/voting posts, you may be interested in this compilation post that links to each of the nominated works and the place to vote for them.

I'm moving forward with my plans to offer incentives to my sponsors. In addition to the current recognition offered to sponsors at the $5-and-up level, I'm going to be putting out a little e-mail newsletter beginning in March. If you're not interested in receiving this, it's easy enough to opt out when you set up your payment... existing sponsors will receive a confirmation e-mail that will allow them to opt out.

Why do you need a newsletter if you read my blog? Well, it'll give you a digest of the important stuff without having to wade through my rants and rambles. It'll also be my venue for sharing all those things that I'm itching to talk about but that aren't quite ready for public consumption. If I'd had the newsletter last month, the sponsors would have known more about The Gift of the Bad Guy, sooner.

I've also simplified the presentation of the sponsorship options, making three different forms for the three general levels (Good Will, Personal Sponsor, and Patron), with a drop down menu to choose your exact level of commitment.

Becoming a Personal Sponsor or Patron now gives you the option of joining the MU Alumni Association, a general sponsor list, or both. I'm formalizing something that's been more-or-less true for a while... I've been reluctant to remove names from the list because most cancellations seem to be automatic based on failed payments. A lot of the time the same person signs up again a week or a month later. I've also received heartfelt emails from people who want to keep up their support but can't. It's not like it costs me anything to maintain the lists, so I'm making the recognition permanent. Current sponsors will receive unofficial priority in being near the top of the list (unofficial in that there's no set timeline for me moving lapsed sponsors to the bottom), but if someone's given me $25 a month for a period of months I'm not going to strike their name from the records.

As I move the sponsor list over to my new personal website, I'll be re-adding the people who I've removed and titling it to reflect that it's current and past sponsors. If anybody canceled their subscription as a pointed statement of repudiating me and all my works, they can please email me at my contactme address and let me know. Otherwise I assume that my sincere gratitude is no burden to them, even if they're no longer reading.

I'm going to be going over the sponsor lists for my other stories at the same time I do that. Those who set up a sponsorship for one of my other, less current stories will be given the option of joining the Alumni Association or, of course, canceling their sponsorship. I'm going to keep a note of who has sponsored the other stories, and as I move towards continuing them in other forms I will keep those who supported them in the past in mind and recognize their generous efforts.

The timeframe for completing this migration/merging/restoration of the lists is by the end of March. At the end of that period my previous personal website (alexandraerin.com) will redirect to the new one.

You can find the new support page and its options here.

Personal Assessment

Stayed up all night, but this was after sleeping all day. I feel fine physically. I'm pleased and gratified to have had a productive and balanced day after coming down from my manic creative fugue over the weekend.

Dreams From Last Night

I'll make a separate post when I wake up, if I have any.

Random Link

[livejournal.com profile] melimuses is a community for lovers of honey and honey-themed creativity, "a place to savor honey, to transmute that pleasure into art, to encourage and share with each other. And so we welcome anyone desiring to sample local honeys, to share their local honeys with far-flung companions, to engage creatively with a substance of mythical proportions."

Tasks For Today


  • Sleep.
  • Finish and post the next chapter of Tales of MU. We're getting into some pivotal and climactic shit, yo. Like in this chapter, Mackenzie and Kent will have a conversation while walking through the foyer, and possibly even a hallway.
  • Do some more tag-work on Tales of MU.
  • Begin assembling the preview version of The Gift of the Bad Guy.
alexandraerin: (Default)
News For Today

Maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaan, "news for today"... the week I've had. I've been sick. I took the slow, dwindling death spiral that Gift of the Bad Guy was slipping into and turned it into what I really think might be Act II of my internet writing career, the answer to the question that's been plaguing me for years: "I've done the impossible... what do I next?" I made $2,000 off a fundraiser I started as an impulse after almost throwing the idea out five or six times.

All that and I've got another little project I'm involved in that I'm not ready to talk about because it's too soon to know if it's going anywhere but if it does go anywhere then several individual people are probably going to shit bricks, and another, separate idea that I'm not ready to talk about. Ugh. I'm so used to instant gratification, this long-term planning stuff is really throwing me off.

The news for today is no news for today. The news for today is everything that happened in the week leading up to it.

So, when the smoke settled and the dust cleared, I went and I ordered a Kindle. Not the DX. I don't really see the point to that when I have a netbook. I was going to get the cheapest most basic one, but $50 more for free 3G service seems worth it. Too often I end up paying for an internet connection for a few hours while I'm traveling.

I had been planning on getting a Kindle in a few weeks, but I decided I need one now. Knowing how Gift of the Bad Guy looks on my smartphone is very useful. I'm very happy with the fact that I've made it readable on the phone. But I need to be able to see how what I'm doing looks on a popular ebook platform. This design concern is why I went with Kindle rather than looking at other electronic books

And also, if I'm going to get into ebooks, I need to get into ebooks. My "dirty secret" is that I don't do much fiction reading on my computer at all. If I'm sitting here I'm working or I'm unwinding from work. I keep catching myself falling into the trap of not reading any fiction, not doing any pleasure reading, and that's no good.

Also, the Kindle seems like it would be easier to read in bed than a computer or a book would be. My arms get tired really easily. There are a limited number of positions I can sit with a book in my hands, doubly so if it's hardcover.

So it's a good business move and it might help me carve out more space in my life for reading, which is a good thing.

Personal Assessment

I'm fucking awesome. I have no idea when the last time I really slept was, though, and this could be problematic. I laid down for a few hours between Saturday morning and Saturday afternoon/evening, but I don't believe I fell asleep. Part of this is creative euphoria and part of it is the fact that I spent so much of the week before either hibernating or about to pass out. Seriously. I'm astonished I got a story done on Monday, even though I think I started it a few days before.

Dreams From Last Night

See above.

Plans For Today

Well, sleep will hopefully happen. I'm going to start the Aidan, Jr. story today. It'll have a construction post because it's outside the spoilerific territory that the main story's in right now. It'll be good to do that, I've been missing it lately.
alexandraerin: (Default)
News For Today

I submitted a couple of programming ideas for Wiscon, a panel on living in the long tail and a discussion on Impostor Syndrome. No, I didn't leave it until the last minute or anything... only the last day.

Personal Assessment

My sleepiness wanted to delay itself and I let it because I needed to go grocery shopping with my housemate Angie when she got home from work in the morning. So I've slept all day, but I did sleep all all day. Eight hours. It was good sleep in that it was deep enough for vivid dreams, even if they weren't good dreams.

I have sniffles and a bit of a sore throat that I'll need to keep an eye on.

Dreams From Last Night

Oh, man, did I ever have dreams... first, I was hanging out with my family down in Florida, only the part of my parents' Florida place was being played by the second house we lived in growing up. There was a lot more inter-family bickering than we are usually wont to get up to, including my older brother and I arguing over whether accessibility laws are an unfair burden on businesses or a result of society having too narrow a definition of "normal" levels of mobility and sensory acuity in the first place.

This part of the dream culminated in a car accident as we were all arriving at a restaurant, where one of my brothers hit the car that my parents, my sister, and I were in, and then my other brother and his wife rear-ended him. No one was hurt but it was very scary. And then I had to hurry off to get to WisCon.

I know where that came from... last year, I flew directly to WisCon from my folks' place in Florida, so my brain sort of has that association in it, I guess. But in this dream, WisCon was at a hotel in Florida (I just typed "a florida in Hotel"... the joys of not being fully awake yet) and my whole family was going. My brain conflated WisCon and the sorts of academic competitions my siblings and I attended in high school in all sorts of hilarious ways. I was in a hurry because I was late to meet up with Jack and company and I didn't even know what programming I was on... my brain was very aware that they had just had the deadline for programming idea submissions (it's today, this dream took place one day in the future) and didn't think it was normal at all for them to be notifying people of what panels they're on without actually announcing the panels and letting people volunteer for specific ones. I had the sense that everybody else knew what was what and had coped with the short lead time but I was stuck trying to get a chance to read the schedule while rushing to meet Jack. The whole thing was very Willow in 4x22: Restless: "I think they're really just doing things in the proper way, and now I'm in a play, and my whole family's out there, and why is there a cowboy in "Death of A Salesman", anyway?"".

I was supposed to meet Jack on the second floor of the hotel, and since I am excommunicated from the stairs at WisCon I ended up getting in an elevator and hitting "12" instead of "2". And then I woke up before I could almost inevitably be stuck in the elevator.

This was a very anxiety-driven dream, obviously... I feel a lot of anxiety connected to anything like a con, or a public appearance, and that's a big part of why I want to have a talk about Impostor Syndrome because I know I'm not the only one.

Link For The Day

Steam Powered, Lesbian Steampunk Stories is a story collection that somehow managed to cram a lot of awesome people between two covers including N.K. Jemisin, Shweta Narayan, Amal El-Mohtar, Shira Lipkin, and Mikki Kendall, who is the only person besides me to have written a canon MUnivere story.

You can hear Amal read her contribution here for free.

Plans For Today

Finish up the chapter for tonight.
alexandraerin: (Default)
News For Today

As I mentioned briefly on Twitter yesterday, I'm going to a Monday and Friday update schedule for MU for the time being. My plan had been to figure out how many chapters I could do in a week consistently and then have the update schedule be one chapter fewer than that so I'd build up a backlog as I went, but as so often happens I got distracted by thoughts of what I should be able to do and ignored what reality was telling me I was able to. Multiple weeks in a row of writing three good chapters on a timely basis should have told me that this, at the present time, is my limit, but I kept thinking that if I managed three last week, I should be able to do four this week and therefore three should be my production schedule.

So for now it's going to be Monday and Friday. If I find myself writing more and building up a huge backlog, then I'll revisit the schedule.

One of my dreams last night involved the Daughters of the Moon festival in Tennessee, which made me sad upon waking because I'm pretty sure I'm not going to be able to afford to go back there this year. Being in a long-distance relationship means I have to prioritize my travel monies a little differently, and it's more important that I make it to WisCon in May.

Personal Assessment

I slept pretty well last night. Nothing much else to say.

Dreams From Last Night

Numerous. The most memorable of them involved a big MMO-y style fight against an evil overlord type and his bone dragon in a tavern. The whole thing had a very strong video game feel... there was a strong sense that the tavern was meant to be a safe place, and the evil overlord had violated some fundamental rules of reality by appearing there in the first place.

Random Link

Okay, this is not my usual indie shilling here, and it's probably old news to most people, but since I just found about it yesterday, I'm going to make sure that everyone out there knows about the audio streaming site Grooveshark. It's a great way to check out music, and to set up playlists that you can bring down from the cloud at any web-capable computer. There's a mobile version that costs money, but it's free to use from a PC.

Plans For Today

Write a chapter of Tales of MU that will go up tomorrow.
alexandraerin: (Default)
News For Today

So, last night my mother emailed me and Jack called me at almost the exact same time (phone rang as I was reading the email) because I'd kind of had a low profile online over the weekend. I've been distracted by a hard-to-pin down story that I've wanted to write since Wednesday, and I eventually realized yesterday that what I have in mind isn't really something that works as a third segment in a folk tale story, it's a considerable project.

This is a lizardfolk story, one that has been "translated" by human missionaries. I want to do it up properly, incorporating what I've established about their culture and language, and show the parts that have been simplified or altered or misunderstood by the human tellers.

I believe that what I have in mind is within my capabilities, but it's not worth letting it eat my brain and life right now, when I'm working on the also sort of pretty ambitious leap forward with the main story. So it's being tabled for now. Maybe inspiration will strike when I'm not expecting it.

Personal Assessment

Okay. Sleep was a bit delayed last night, so I took some melatonin. I've taken it every night since I realized my insomnia was back but it's still not an ingrained habit again. Slept from around 3:00 a.m. until about half an hour ago, so that's pretty good.

Dreams From Last Night

Fighting a bunch of enemies from the video game Borderlands using abilities described and rated in TSR's Marvel Super Heroes roleplaying game from the 80s. FASERIP!

Random Link

Daron's Guitar Chronicles began taking shape in the 80s and grew into an expansively detailed bildungsroman. The author, Cecilia Tan, couldn't find a market for it even after editing it down in size considerably. Now it exists as crowdfunded weblit.

It's a great example of two of the advantages the internet gives us: that it lets stories be as big or as small as they need to be, and that it helps connect readers to material that might speak to them but might would be considered very "niche" by the traditional publishing industry. (The internet also helps do this with traditionally published material, to a degree.)

Daron's Guitar Chronicles, in other words, is a long tale made possible by the long tail.

(Tip of any one of my innumerable hats to [livejournal.com profile] tithenai for inspiring the "long tale" wordplay.)

Plans For Today

Next chapter of Tales of MU, and I'm going to do a bit of revising on Gift of the Bad Guy, primarily expanding (who am I kidding? I mean adding) descriptions and fixing incongruities. Good practice for when I do the editing pass through Tales of MU.
alexandraerin: (Default)
Real status post later. I'm in the process of waking up from ~12 hours of sleep. Not uninterrupted, but only briefly interrupted. After two months without needing it, I'd forgotten how valerian gives me pretty much wall-to-wall dreaming. I wish I remember more of them. I know in one of them, Jack and our poly family was living in the town I grew up in. Flats, who was put to sleep Wednesday night, appeared more than once.
alexandraerin: (Default)
So last night, I laid down at shortly after 11. A little bit ago, I woke up in the darkness to the sound of cats fighting and then found I couldn't get back to sleep, my body felt wide awake. My internal clock was sure it was only a few hours since I laid down, and I was convinced that my insomnia-free streak was over, as this was a pretty familiar set of feelings to me.

Then I turned on my computer screen and saw that it's six in the morning. Yay! That's probably not as much sleep as I would have had if not for the cat fight, and so I'll probably be laying back down after I write this post, but I felt like remarking on it.

Also, yesterday morning I wrote between 13,000 and 15,000 words of what will probably end up being a decent length novella. While it's more or less sequential, unlike most of the things that I write I didn't simply start at the beginning so I'm not going to be posting it as I go. I might share some excerpts from it as I go along.

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