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So here we are again

It's funny how you can miss things like willingly depriving yourself of Mystery Science Theater 3000 for an entire year.

Well, okay, it's not so much that that I missed. It's more the having a strong bass line through the soundtrack of the calendar, if you get my drift. All through my Unboxed year, I kept coming back to my goal. To fulfilling my goal, actually, which was almost more important; but not quite, because I actually really enjoyed the sense of purpose I got from the project. And in these days, you have to take your senses of purpose where you can find them.

So here I am, four days into another year-goal. This is Project ThreeSixFiveK, which I've been told sounds like something that's going to be voted on next November. ThreeSixFiveK (365K if you don't want to spell it out and you're sending emails to all your friends telling them about this exciting new crazy thing that's happening on the internet) is about writing one thousand words every day, for the entirety of 2013. (And afterwards? Hopefully not saying, "Heck with this!" and never picking up a pen again.) I get to choose what I write about (there may be some prompt-begging somewhere down the line) but I have to get it done, every single day.

This may not be as crazy as it sounds. Thousands of people, for instance, write 50k in a month during NaNo, myself included. And people write more per day than they realize; my first day, I rambled on in my hand-written journal for a page and a half and found I'd inadvertently given myself over 400 words on adaptations of Terry Pratchett novels. When things are going well, 1k takes me between 20 and 30 minutes. Not such a big deal, right?

Well, yeah, but by the end of this year I should have 365,000 words written. (Plus 20k extra, if NaNo turns out right.) That's not nothing. That's actually quite a huge something. Hopefully it's at least one novel, because I have no idea what's going to happen, but I just started writing a murder mystery about brownies. Not the kind you eat, either.

So keep an eye out here for an update a week (I hope) and the inevitable begging for prompts and writing suggestions, if the well begins to run dry.

ground control to Major Tom

Officially my last post here at unboxed_project, though I'll probably still update with writing news (and, hopefully soon, the site for the small press we're working on, as yet unnamed). Otherwise, operations will resume as per usual at randombattlecry. I'm still having trouble wrapping my head around the fact that the year is over; the fact that it's more or less February of 2012 is just bizarre.

Again, today, I was asked if I was excited about being able to watch TV and movies. I'm still not, particularly. It's nice that I don't actually have to leave the room if someone turns something on, I guess. And I have actually been to the theater twice this month. But by and large, I'm using my hard-won privilege of video-without-guilt to watch Doctor Who and MST3K on YouTube. I ask you, is it worth it?

Well, yeah. More or less. Doctor Who is awesome. And Joel Hodgson is a tree, so, there's always that.

I have no words of wisdom inspired by my Unboxed year. I wasn't expecting my resulting attitude to be "general apathy," but other than that, nothing's been a tremendous surprise. Giving up something like that just isn't that hard. The point of it all was meant to be "what fills the void," and though I'd love to say I did something huge and meaningful with my free thousand hours this year, what it boiled down to, in the end, was this: life. Life filled the void. Life took up the time. 

Meaningful or not, Unboxed was worth it. And I'm glad another year is over.

Make goals, guys. Be determined. Control your own life. And, above all, stay froody. See you on the other side!

Well, at least I'm writing...

I thought I heard someone say "alchemists" on the radio. (I frequently mishear, though, so I could be wrong.) Then I thought, "You can't hold the hand of a rock and roll star." (Okkerville River song.) Then I thought, "Holding the hand of an alchemist." (...?) Then I thought, "My boyfriend Ron died in an explosion..." even though I hate the name Ron. Then I sat down and wrote this:

    My boyfriend Ron died in a tremendous explosion at two o’clock on a Tuesday afternoon. The explosion took out the entirety of his house— it had originated in his basement— and half the outer walls of the nearest neighbors. Also the neighbor’s Pekinese, though no blame was laid on Ron for that, which makes me think even Scrappy’s owners didn’t much care for Scrappy.
    He wasn’t actually my boyfriend at the time, of course. That came later. At the time he was nothing more than a gently eccentric frequenter of the coffee shop I worked in. Eccentric in that he wore hats and suits that clearly did not belong to him; gently so in that he was, at least, clothed at all times. Something which could not always be said for the men who came into my coffee shop. It was a bad part of town.
    The explosion rocked the city for fifteen blocks in every direction. It turned the air a pasty yellow color, as though someone had taken a set of pastels to reality. At work, a cup fell off a high shelf and crawled into a corner before it shattered. The customer I was helping at the moment— a narrow-faced man with a split tongue, half-hidden tattoos, and other remnants of a youth spent in revolt— looked up at me with blue eyes that bled slowly, as I watched, into brown. Halfway through, the color seemed to stop, and from the upper half of brown his soul watched me with kindness; from the lower half of blue, with suspicion.
    His voice, his split tongue, said, “That’s unusual for this time of day.”
    “I hope no one’s died,” I told him. The cup shattered then, and we turned to look at it. The man with the split tongue frowned gently.
    “I’ll be right back,” he said. “Hold my tea for me, will you?” He’d carried a camera in with him, and he grasped at it hurriedly with articulated fingers as he stumbled towards the door. I’d thought he would be more graceful than he actually was, and as I watched him go, I was surprised by the wide, yawning stretch of my disappointment, awakening.

Uh, so. That's... something. (Indestructible lovesick alchemist as played by early-90s Joel Hodgson, a female first-person MC named Molly who falls in love with an ex-punk as yet unnamed, love triangles and many many funerals and possibly warping the fabric of reality as we know it, y/n?)
After getting snowed in for a couple of days at home, I'm back down to my house-sitting post in the valley. The wind and rain last night were pretty awesome; this morning, the clouds are all broken up and the sky's shining through, and that's kind of awesome, too. I enjoy weather, let's just leave it at that.

Yesterday, we ended up in Chico with a half hour till the next showing of Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, which I had figured I would see in spite of Tom Cruise and because of Simon Pegg. Pegg has made a career out of being Adorable Comic Relief. I kind of miss his Tim Bisley beardy-thing. Is that bad? I just get a kick out of him, though, regardless.

I also ended up shipping Brandt and Carter. But these things happen.
Yesterday I got three or four people who showed up to leave reviews on every chapter of an in-progress-but-rarely-updated Alice In Wonderland fic. Have I been recc'd somewhere? Or am I just a pet fandom project? It was kind of weird. Nice, but weird.

In other news, down to the last two episodes of last season's Doctor Who. I'm... not sure what to say at this point? I will perhaps be more coherent at some time in the future? Possibly?

I've been writing and submitting, little by little. Haven't actually finished anything yet, but I've moved forward on several, so that counts for something.
Er, so. It's been a week, and what novelty there was to watching things is rapidly wearing off. This is bizarre; I think Unboxed kind of ruined my enthusiasm for moving pictures.

I'm sure part of the problem is that there's nothing currently playing on theatres that I actually want to go see. (I love going to the movies; at least I used to. Who knows if that's still valid.) So far I've watched half the last season of Doctor Who (all at once, which was great, except for the bit where my head exploded), a few full episodes of Once Upon A Time (little known fact: Robert Carlyle actually owns the universe, but he mostly kind of uses it like a timeshare), a handful of YouTube videos (MST3K and Things Involving Ramin Karimloo, sadly not simultaneously), and then bits and pieces/stops and starts of British television. Mostly things I had already seen, but liked, and theoretically would want to watch again. Um. Nope.

I already had trouble keeping my attention on a full-length movie, before Unboxed. When watching things on my own, I would fast-forward anything I found boring. Watching with others, I wound up checking my watch and trying to figure out how much longer we had to go. Now, apparently, even a 45-minute TV show is testing the limits of my attention. How did that happen?


Guess who has two thumbs and can watch video without feeling guilty? THIS GIRL.

(Yeah, so I just realized maybe half an hour ago that the sounds outside are more likely to be fireworks than over-zealous hunters. It's midnight. My brain is tired.)

Celebratory gif party!Collapse )

Goal List Redux

Shall we see how badly I did at achieving my goals this year? Oh, yes, lets.

No video.  Alright, we're starting off with a success. Yay! Seriously, the only video I watched this year was incidental (things I didn't have control over, like visiting someone I didn't know well who had a cooking show on, or being in  a restaurant with TVs mounted on the wall. In those cases all I could do was not look) or justified (because Phantom 25 was live. Live, I tell you! Live!)

Write more. Welllll. Alright. I didn't actually write more as far as word count goes, but I did write something almost daily.  And I'm proud of the things I wrote. I call this a success.

Market more. Success. Maybe not as much of a win as I was hoping for, but I sold more pieces this year than in any other, so still a win.

Learn a language.  I'm not exactly fluent, but I can carry on a conversation, and I understand pretty much anything I read in Spanish. Also, I'm learning to differentiate between accents, which is just cool. So, success.

Exercise more.  Success. Even though most of the year was spent in a town in Alabama where I couldn't really go for a walk for fear of getting hit by crazy drivers (seriously, the worst drivers on earth) I ended up with an hour+ exercise routine that I could do inside. And I did it almost every single day. 

Spend more time with friends and family. Friends, yes. Family, not so much, till the last couple of months. The year in Alabama was good in that I spent it entirely with new people; call it a learning experience, call it growing up, call it whatever, but I was a social butterfly. An odd little social butterfly. More like a social moth.

Write letters. Heh. Fail. I did write emails. And I absolutely had intentions of writing letters to people this past month, just because. Intentions do not success make.

Draw more. I did this! Maybe not as often as someone who actually has a talent for art, but probably more this year than I have since I was a little kid.  I'll have to see if I can scan something and post it, for proof.

Play and write music. Ehhhh. I've played maybe three times this year. And I didn't even touch my violin. Fail.

Learn to cook. Did I cook? Yes. Some. Did I actually learn to do so? No. I did feed my somewhat-extended family for the first time all on my own. It counts for something, but probably not enough. Fail, although I'm happy to blame that on living without  a kitchen for most of 2011.

Take more pictures/fumetti. Mostly fail. I always forget to bring my camera.

Participate in writing contests. ...somewhat success? I don't even know. I did participate in writing challenges, though not as many as I had thought. Wow, this is a lot less black-and-white than it should be.

Read more. Totally, totally a success.

Look into starting a small business. The "look into" qualifier makes this a success. We're getting the information together to start a small publishers, and I've also been working on things for my Etsy, even though they're not actually posted.

Well, look at that. Four fails, ten wins. That is... better than I expected, frankly.  Yay!


The closer I get to the end of Unboxed, the more I get knowing looks from people, usually accompanied by, "Going to make up for it now, aren't you?"

This is vaguely insulting.

I think perhaps I haven't been clear enough with people, which has ended in people thinking that the whole Project was basically pointless. Well, they probably think that because when asked what the point of it is, I genearlly get flustered and shrug and go, "It... sort of doesn't have one." Which isn't true (I'm a liar!), frankly. The point of Unboxed was to see what I did with my time. The point of Unboxed was that I (at least theoretically) should have more important things to be doing than watching re-runs of whatever they're playing re-runs of now. (Three's Company? I am so out of touch.) You know, things like writing, and working on my career, and spending time with my family, and stalking the 'Ramin Karimloo' tag on Tumblr.

So when people give me this sideways-eye and imply that I am going to be spending the next three months huddled on my bed voraciously devouring everything I've missed this past year, I get a little indignant. Do I plan on catching up with the things I didn't watch, like Doctor Who? Oh yes. Do I plan on settling right back into the pattern I had in 2010, of turning on my DVD player by pure reflex? No.

Did Unboxed change my life? Er. Probably not. I'm not planning on giving up video for good; not when there's that cliffhanger in Sherlock to be resolved yet. In the end, though, the point of Unboxed was not self-abegnation, but moderation. It wasn't me being holier-than-thou (seriously), or crazy (for once), or even a weird form of giving up something for Lent, which is what my last boss seemed to think. It's about perspective. Going a year without video and then holing up for three months to make up for it is completely missing the entire point.

The point which I kept telling people didn't exist. It's there, though. Just... use your imagination.