The State of the Sushi, 2015

Look at that, a week and a half into 2015 and I’ve already broken my weekly blogging resolutions. Fortunately resolutions are often bigger things to work toward as opposed to falling off the wagon at the first sign of failure.

Books: I thought it was a good idea to start the year off with several books that would make good doorstops. I also thought it was a good idea to request holds on several ebooks while reading more ebooks, all while my physical book holds came in. The two of these combined mean I’m scrambling to read all the books currently in my possession. I’m making decent progress so far with four books read in 2015, but thank goodness for my library’s four-week checkout period on most books. There should be a book review post up around the end of the month, so look for that.

Writing: Remember all those books I mentioned? I haven’t worked on Wikiwrimo much at all since NaNo ended thanks to reading all the books. I haven’t been writing much anywhere–on here, or my paper journal, or fiction. Time to get back on that boat.

Assorted personal stuff: The holidays and my birthday have come and gone, and that leaves us with a cold, miserable winter standing between us and spring. Did I mention I hate winter? It’s cold, we don’t get snow here, and the lack of sunlight and going outside regularly makes me want to crawl into a hole until spring. At least cold weather gives me an excuse to drink lots of tea, as if I needed a reason.

I’m also still open for freelance/full-time gigs, so get in touch if you want me to write a thing. Or social media a thing. Or do lots of other things.


What have I done since graduating from college?

I got a mailing yesterday reminding me that this academic year is my college five-year reunion. Even though the reunion itself isn’t until April, the reunion planning has begun. Among the things my class is doing to tell everyone what we’re up to on our Facebook group so we can get straight to the drinking.

“Stone cold sober”, Princeton Review? I call shenanigans.

I requested the questions and started answering them, which made me start thinking… what HAVE I done since graduating?

Despite feeling generally unaccomplished, I made a list.

* Finished NaNoWriMo four times.
* Finished Script Frenzy three times.
* Finished 50k day. Twice.
* Worked lots of different jobs, sometimes just to keep afloat.
* Taught middle school and managed not to kill anyone.
* Moved to Atlanta, moved back to the boonies, and moved back to Atlanta. This time seems to have stuck.
* Wrote… twelve novel first drafts? I think? And three scripts.
* Been broke as crap and back again.
* Visited San Francisco.
* Met the NaNoWriMo staff (and they knew who I was!)
* Built a social circle that exists outside of November.
* Started to learn programming. My Project Euler count is around ten.
* Founded Wikiwrimo.
* Braved the sausagefest that is open source software and joined in.

Probably other things as well, but those are the ones that stand out. I can’t help but notice that about half of these are NaNo-related, and let’s face it, any interest most of my fellow alums hold in NaNo is probably out of politeness.

Time to do something truly awesome between now and April.


State of the Sushi, Summer 2013 Edition

“Hey Sushi, what has been going on with you lately?” someone asks every now and then. And considering I’ve barely updated this site outside of Legends of Wrimonia updates in quite some time, this is a valid question. Of course, you can follow me on Twitter for almost immediate updates, but that doesn’t give you a big picture version of one’s life.

So let’s do that. The answer turns out to be “pretty damn awesome”.

Work and other per-fe-shu-nal pursuits

Remember a really long time ago when I wrote about wanting a photo host that doesn’t suck and people had a hard-on for Flickr even though I specifically outlined my issues with Flickr?

Then Trovebox (then OpenPhoto) came along and solved just about everything, including the part about not wanting to store everything on my webhost because that would eat the crap out of my current pay as you go hosting bill. It even included a way to store just the photos elsewhere, a huge plus.

So I hopped aboard, backing the project in its humble Kickstarter beginning and even volunteering on the open source project as a non-code person. I was already using the site, knew a ton about it, and had some time on my hands, so why not?

And then this transitioned into really working on the project, and now I’m living the dream: working in a pants optional environment.

Want to see this for yourself? Here’s my Trovebox site.

Friends (not food) and loooooooove

Yes, Ma, I have a social life! In fact, I’m writing this post from a coffee shop playing 80s music with friends I met from NaNo.

Oh, you were here for the love part, weren’t you?

I dated a guy from NaNo for a few months during and after NaNo. We broke up. While getting over the breakup I was poking around OkCupid for giggles and messaged a guy who sounded interesting. This guy and I wound up exchanging a few very long messages before moving to GChat and talking for five and a half hours on an evening where I had to be up early the next day, then meeting in person that Thursday since he was off work. That Thursday also happened to be the second day of Lupercalia. Oh, and Valentine’s Day.

We hit it off in person and he is the person fully responsible for my love of Futurama (and my sadness when it was cancelled… again). If you follow me on Twitter, this person is the one I refer to as Boyperson now.

Writing, Editing, Blogging

I would say I haven’t been doing too much of this, but that’s a lie. I’ve been doing bursts of journal writing but not much fiction writing or editing. I’m still figuring out the world and science behind one novel, and another is going to simmer for awhile.

As for blog posts here, I’m going to get on a more regular schedule for big posts while writing more personal blog-esque posts as well and taking advantage of the aside feature in WordPress. At the very least I’m going to try to write something once a week. With all my friends writing and blogging I’m the slacker here! That’s positive peer pressure, right?

Import ALL the posts!

As part of my “everything in one place” efforts, I’ve been trying to figure out how to import all my old blog posts to WordPress for quite some time. There was one catch: I wanted all those posts to import as private posts.

I finally achieved this a few months ago. How, you ask? That’s going to be a separate post since it’s pretty involved.

Night of Writing Dangerously

Fundraising pages for this year’s NaNoWriMo Night of Writing Dangerously went up recently, and thanks to a couple of very generous people I’m already at the $200 early bird special for admission, meaning I’m going to San Francisco in November. (Eeeee!) But that doesn’t mean I’m done fundraising yet.

See, I have very long hair, and with long hair that gets everywhere comes people wanting to see it cut off. So for every $100 raised on my fundraising page I’ll cut an inch of hair. Seriously. Right now my page is sitting at $240, which means two inches of hair get to go bye-bye. All the hair will go away in one fell swoop.

If you don’t care about the hair or think it’s too pretty to go away, then consider this: if my fundraising page is one of the top three fundraising pages, I’ll write and perform a NaNo parody and put it on Youtube for all to see. That’s right, public humiliation as a motivator.

And of course there are the same prizes as last time: personal and character cameos, pep talks, and the top donor getting to choose a novel for me to write. It’s going for $200 so far, so if you really want it, get donating. Those rewards stack!

Did I mention all this money is going straight to NaNo (and it’s tax-deductible for those who care about that sort of thing)? I don’t see a single cent of that money.

Here’s my fundraising page if you’re so inclined. Thank you!

That’s it!

That’s my life as of late: good but busy. How about you?


2012 Goal Progress

Now that we’re almost a week into July, it’s time to look at 2012 goal list and evaluate my progress.

0. Get a more stable job or at least turn what I’m doing now into a stable business.
I had a full-time job as a teacher for a few months, but that was temporary in nature due to the school year ending. This means it’s time for the shameless plug. Why yes, I am available for work: writing, editing, community management, tutoring, and other exciting things. In the not so far future (I hope) there will be a page on this site for working with me.
1. Rewrite the first 2010 NaNo.
Haven’t looked at this at all. Oops.
2. Do some kind of physical activity every day. (I’ve been doing well on this so far, believe it or not.)
I was doing great at this for awhile and then… stopped. Granted, I walked a lot when going out anyway (consequence of not having a car), but unstructured physical activity was my aim here.
3. Launch the first Wikiwrimo Writing Month (February!). I’m writing the page for this right now.
Check! And completed!
4. Be more social outside of NaNo. This may mean (gasp) interacting with non-Wrimos.
This wasn’t a quantified goal, but it’s definitely safe to say that I’ve been more social than I was before Nano 2011, both with Wrimos and (gasp) non-Wrimos.
5. Get my finances straightened out.
Still working on this.
6. Do Wikiwrimowrimo, NaNoEdMo, Script Frenzy, Three-Day Novel Contest, and NaNoWriMo. Maybe I’ll do a Camp NaNoWriMo session too if I come up with a plot. (Holy balls, my late winter/early spring is going to be ridiculous.)
Wikiwrimowrimo: Check! NaNoEdMo: Definitely flopped on that one. Script Frenzy: Check and won! The other two have yet to happen. I also attempted Camp NaNo as a rebel but didn’t reach 50k. It’s the first OLL challenge I haven’t finished, but to be fair I wasn’t doing it the pure way anyway, so I’m fine with it as long as I can get a hold of the certificate and winner icons for Wikiwrimo purposes. August, maybe?
7. Go on a date. Note that I said go on a date, not get in a relationship. I am perfectly okay with this one date goal.
I can’t hear you over my laughter regarding my progress here.
8. Learn to cook better.
I’ve made a little progress here but am still nowhere near my ideal point. I can flavor things!
9. Install that home server. Also, if I do get a new laptop, finish The Longest Journey and install Linux From Scratch on the old one. Because I can. 😀
Haven’t worked on any of this.
10. Read 25 books I haven’t read before.
Guess who decided to read the Game of Thrones series this year? I started in mid-January and am halfway through the second book. In July. Part of me is tempted to give up so I can move on to other books, but that’s its own post.

So all in all… I haven’t made as much progress on writing this year as desired, but 2012 hasn’t been bad so far. More hours in a day would be great. There’s a Kickstarter campaign for that, right?


My life at seventeen

After asking several males for NaNoEdMo what their lives were like at seventeen and incorporating their advice into the rewrite of my novel, I figured it was only fair to go through the same exercise myself.

If we ignore the first week of January, it’s safe to say that I was seventeen in 2004, the second half of my junior year of high school and the first half of my senior year of high school, or the part of life I wanted to capture with my characters. This is where I kick myself. See, I was never a normal high school senior. I don’t mean that I didn’t fall into any of the typical cliques or anything like that. No, I mean I was not at my high school during my senior year of high school, channeling my boredom with high school classes into further academic challenge at a local college. I enjoyed this experience, but I knew it would bite me later–not in the social sense (I wasn’t very far up in the social hierarchy to begin with), but in my writing.

That aside, let’s look at my own experiences. I still knew a lot of people, and they knew me, but many of my friends from the first few years of high school had already graduated, and I was in a transitional phase. I was making new friends in lower years while beginning to bond with a few people in my own class. Despite this, I still felt like an outsider to the world around me. Everyone else knew something that I didn’t about how to be social and included. The social hierarchy had been established, and I was trying to get back in.

One of the main things that stand out in 2004 is my academic schedule in the spring of my junior year. I graduated second in a class of 285 students, and the valedictorian of my class and I were friends. I was an academic masochist even back then, and I talked her into taking some of the hardest senior-level classes as juniors. This plan partly backfired because many of the honors and AP classes conflicted with each other, thus screwing with what appeared on the surface to be a brilliant plan. This screwup only affected my schedule; because she had taken a class that I hadn’t already taken, my plan gave both of us insane schedules, but her even more so.

2004 was also my second year of NaNoWriYe (yes, it existed then). I did and won NaNoWriMo for the third time. 2004 was even more difficult thanks to my schedule, but I managed to write something on top of my academics and extracurriculars. I often doubted myself and my ability to write during this period, probably because stories didn’t just rain from the skies into my head. After all, published authors just made it look so easy. I definitely started NaNoVangelising during this time, as the only people I knew in my area who were doing NaNoWriMo were the people I told about it. Another notable writing moment was my attempt to convince an English teacher to let me write a novel instead of a research paper. Several of my classmates protested just in case she did say yes. (She didn’t, though she did think I was crazy for suggesting it.)

I was also active in many extracurricular activities: Academic Bowl, French Club, French Honor Society, National Honor Society, Beta Club, FBLA, on and on and on, but those were the main ones. The janitors got to know me very well as I left the school, and these activities kept me around after school most often than not. I met a lot of people through these groups, but I was rarely an officer, possibly thanks to that thing called popularity. I was known. I was not popular. It was definitely better than riding the bus, especially since medical conditions kept me from driving.

Church played a larger role in my life back then. I volunteered in the church library, particularly in the children’s section, and was active in the youth group. We had a close group that was rocked by the departure of a fun youth pastor. The only thing I miss about organized religion is the immediate social group you gain from the church. Church event? Let’s go! And if you were Baptist like I was, there was always food.

I also thought much less about boys than I did during my first two years. I had crushes, yes, but not to the level that I did then. Crushes were distracting, both for schoolwork and writing, the most important things in my life at the time.

I was also thinking about colleges: where to go, what I wanted to do (creative writing/English and French at the time), all those questions. In the end my decisions were based on who had a good English department and what cities had strong NaNoWriMo communities. I think I made a good choice, even if I didn’t end up studying English.

I made my first ever B during my first semester of senior year. At the time I thought it would crush me. Now I see that it liberated me, even if a small part of me hurt every time I saw a B on my grade report.

And for those who wonder, people called me Sushi back then. In fact, people called me Sushi for years before that.