I’ve been working through April Camp NaNoWriMo. It’s like NaNoWriMo but (supposedly) mellow. You set your own goal, and the concept is much more flexible.
My project this month is four short stories in four long weeks. It’s been horrible five days out of seven, but kind of awesome the other two.
Story one is about a freelance editor and a freelance writer who flirt with each other only through their prose and edits. It has potential, but it’s suuuuper challenging to write. He edits her prose and by his sheer understanding of her intentions and work, he brings out the best in her writing, and she’s attracted only to his competence. They will break up similarly. If I decide to finish this one.
Story two is about a teenaged girl who volunteers at a National Wildlife Refuge. She meets a tourist boy who’s allergic to sunlight and they spend the day together while the boy’s family is outdoors. It’s really a story about the girl’s first kiss, which isn’t as romantic as first kisses are supposed to be.
Story three, which I just started last night, is about a middle school boy who finds a library card. He uses it to borrow books at the library (he’s lost his card and doesn’t want to spend $12 to replace it, since he never reads anyway). When the owner of the card sees that whoever has her card is reading through a fantasy series, one book at a time, she leaves a note in one of the books telling him to give her back her card. My concept is kind of a Nick Hornby for kids, although this description sounds more like a Nicholas Sparks for kids.
No idea what story four will be. I meet on Skype IM chats with other Hawaii people working through Camp NaNo, and one of them suggests “Nick Hornby for kids” would be a great brand for me. I haven’t read any Hornby books, so maybe that’ll be my next project. I like the concept!
Still alive. Just been swamped with a bunch of stuff, some professional and some personal. I’m thinking I should commit to making myself put something here every day or two, whether or not I have time to write something of the length and substance that satisfies me.
Just to remind myself that I do this.
There’s a bus coming in 15 minutes and I want to be on it, so here we go.
From here. Questions inspired by The Greatest Showman which I recommend highly.
- What physical trait are you (or have you been) self-conscious about?
It’s changed over the years. In recent years it’s this gap between my front teeth. It’s not quite the size of Dave Letterman’s old gap or Michael Strahan’s, but it’s noticeable. I try not to think about it, especially since Letterman and Strahan rocked theirs so well, but I can’t help feeling everyone is staring at it even when I know nobody is staring at it. Although now that my wonderfully long hair is thinning at a heartbreaking rate, I have a feeling my answer’s going to change soon.
- When did you last do something risking injury?
We’ve been having a bit of a gecko problem at the office, and while I don’t have a problem with geckos, I do not need their poop on my computer mouse. The problem got pretty bad, so I came in one weekend with a plan for repelling (not killing) the little grey reptiles. I can coexist with them. I just don’t want them in certain areas above my desk. So I did a little bit of research and brought in some garlic, which I hung from the ceiling. I will not share how I got the garlic up there, since I’m sure it would be prohibited by my employer, but I could really have hurt myself had I not been so nimble.
- Why do critics and the general movie-going public never seem to agree?
It’s because critics see thousands of movies. If you eat a thousand chicken parmesans all over the country, you get pretty good at telling the better from the worse, as Brian Windhorst will tell you. Critics see so many movies that they actually know more than the rest of us about what’s good and what’s not. They don’t know more than we do about what we’ll like, and that’s where people get all huffy when critics hate the movies they love, or love movies they don’t get. This is why the good critics tell you why they dislike or like a movie, and we decide for ourselves if those are the reasons we would also dislike or like a movie.
- How do you feel about Hugh Jackman as an actor?
He’s good. I have always liked him as Wolverine, and I thought he was a good Jean Valjean. As P. T. Barnum, he plays a kind of Disneyfied version of the Greatest Showman, and while that disturbs me a bit, the product is too good not to be forgiving. I’m not sure he’s a very good singer, though.
- Who is the best singer you’ve seen in live performance?
This would have to be Renee Fleming, whom I saw in performance with the Honolulu Symphony in March 2006. It was amazing. And I do not mind admitting that I was totally, completely in love, and if she had somehow asked me after the show to leave everything behind and come be her servant, I would have done it in a second.
Don’t worry. I do plan to put up something interesting (at least interesting to me) besides these Friday memes. Just finding my groove while still trying to address the malware on my other WordPress sites. It’s not just cleaning up the mess, but doing what I can to prevent this kind of thing later.
- What did you most recently spray out of a can?
Shaving cream, and that was last Sunday, although I’m seeing a concert this evening so I’ll be cleaning myself up sometime before I go to town. I like shaving gels, actually, something I originally picked up because it’s what my dad mostly used when I was growing up. But I’ve tried various options over the years and keep coming back to the gels. My favorite was a medicated (not aloe, but something else) Edge that really made my skin feel good. It was discontinued by the time I got through the first can. Nowadays, I shave in three different places (home, my folks’ place, and the office) and I have a different gel in each place. So I’m kind of picky, but there’s a bit of range to my pickiness.
- What’s your favorite food (or food product) that’s sprayed from a can?
I have to admit I really love (‘though almost never indulge in) that spray cheese you supposedly put on crackers. Still, what’s better than whipped cream?
- When did you last spray-paint something?
I think it was five years ago when I was the publications advisor at the community college. We cleaned up and painted the old newspaper boxes around campus. Took a lot of ridiculous energy but they looked nice.
- What’s something that’s not sprayed from a can but would be pretty cool if it were?
I really think we haven’t explored far enough the possibilities of better ways to use butter. Real butter. Spreading it on stuff that’s not hot can be a real pain, and while the butter stick incarnation is great for most cooking uses, it fares poorly as a condiment. What about softened or whipped butter out of a can like with spray cheese or whipped cream? As long as you didn’t have to add too much to it, and if you could maintain all the wonderful qualities that make butter butter, I’d be down to give it a try.
- What’s conceptually the oddest thing sprayed from a can?
I know everyone’s probably going to say fake hair from a can, and that’s certainly a worthy contender, but as an island boy for most of my life, I have to say spray can snow for Christmas trees. I especially don’t get it for people who live here. Other contenders: spray air (like for cleaning computer stuff) and spray noise.
I’ll get into details later. Still cleaning up the mess on other WordPress sites I take care of, but I now have this one cleaned up and ready to repopulate. Gonna spend a couple of days next week refamiliarizing myself with MySQL to see if I can find a quick(ish) way to import my old content or to scan for wherever the nasty stuff is. Yay.
- What’s something you enjoy that contains garlic?
I used to make this thing called 29 clove garlic soup. It was thickened with bread, which was kind of neat, and it tasted garlicky not but super garlicky. It was an Emeril Lagasse recipe. I should dig that up and make it again.
- What’s something you enjoy that contains ginger?
I’m half Japanese, so I care very deeply and passionately about ginger. Of the (too many) unitaskers I keep in my kitchen, one of my favorites is the ceramic ginger grater (which actually works nicely with garlic too, so maybe it’s a duotasker). Still, the ginger-containing thing I like best is something I’ve never made in my kitchen: gingerbread. Holy cow. Is there a better smell in the world than fresh-baked gingerbread?
- What’s something you enjoy that contains cloves?
When I used to teach Romeo and Juliet to ninth-graders, we would end the unit with Renaissance Day, a day with recitations, dancing, games, and food. I would sometimes bring a mulled cider that I rather liked. Lots of cloves and cardamom.
- What’s something you enjoy that contains cinnamon?
Cinnamon is good in everything, right? I found a pretty good recipe online for slow-cooker Cincinnati chili, and it’s delicious. One of my favorite things to make, really. I’ve tweaked it enough over the years that it might not pass for the real deal anymore, but I love it. Lots of cocoa and cinnamon.
- What’s something you enjoy that contains celery?
So, I’ve hated celery for most of my life and still don’t like it much, but there are a few things I’ve learned to actually kind of like it in, if it’s chopped in pieces small enough. Something about the mayo in tuna salad makes chopped celery kind of okay now, so I’m going to say that, although I do use it in (and remove it from) most of the soups and stews I make, too. Celery flavor without the celery grossness.