Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Did I just...? A story about getting hit by car.

This is story based on a true one that my friend Chris and I went through a year ago today. Obviously writing a story in hindsight will be slightly exaggerated especially considering the events. However, this story is based upon what I immediately wrote down upon arriving at the hospital which I wanted to do to preserve everything that I had remember about the accident. This is the story from my perspective about how we were hit by a car.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Spoiled by Digital Music While Traveling


     I don't listen to the radio. I haven't for years. I got my driver's license in spring of '03 and my car stereo with a CD player that Christmas. 
     Then in '06 my family surprised me with an iPod nano and I quickly looked for a way to get it working in my car. By the time I bought one of those receivers that plugs into the cigarette lighter I had dropped the iPod nano at school, essentially breaking it.
     Come April '06 I managed to scrap the money together to buy an iPod Video, an iPod would have until it finally crashed and burned in April of 2012.
     In January of 2011 my car was destroyed in a car accident. The car I was given and still drive was not as good as the car I had owned but it had one advantage over my former car. It had a line in. No longer was I bound by shoddy radio signal to pick up my iPod on it nor was I bound by the eighty minute limit of CD's. 
     In April of 2012 that iPod Video finally stopped working. I went on to replace that with an iPod classic and then replaced my Droid X with an iPhone 4S. In hindsight, I should of replaced my iPod Video with a larger iPhone instead of buying a smaller iPhone 4S and an iPod Classic. I honestly did not think I would love my iPhone as much as I do now.
     This brings us to last week when we discovered my car had a leak of brake fluid and I had to use my father's car to get around. He had a audiobook in his stereo in the exact spot he left off so I did not want to remove the CD. Instead I pressed the function button to the radio.
     I want to make this clear. Yes, I've heard the radio in other people's cars but in the time since I owned a car, a car stereo, an iPod, and a smart phone I never turn the radio on.
     I also want to make it clear, I'm not stupid, I know how a radio works. I didn't look at this machine and I think "How do I work this device?" like a luddite. I had in fact, been in the passenger seat for years trying to wrestle control over the radio from my father just as my sister did before me.
     Also, we're talking about analog radio not any kind of satellite radio. So when I turned the radio on, searching the station for something to listen to I was blown away how terrible it was.
     They just play the same songs over and over again, I thought. Why would anyone choose to listen to the radio when they could play music of their own choosing on so many devices.  Don't even get me started about the quality. I was better off turning off the radio and just placing my iPhone in a cupholder playing music.
     I did just that. Which led me to conclusions that I've been spoiled by digital music. Sure, some people have even better car stereo that have USB slot to plug their devices in but there are probably still people driving around listening to analog radio.
      I'm sure too, that there are great radio stations out there in areas with great reception but it's not anywhere I live. Some people wanting to hear the same songs over and over again, browsing the stations for their favorite songs. Sometimes too many choices, which digital music can give you, is overwhelming so why not let someone else be in control?
     Think about it. iTunes, Last.FM, Pandora, Amazon... I'm sure there are others I can't think of right now. For someone like my mother, who has difficulty with technology that can be mindblowing. Turning on the radio? Simple, hasn't changed in years. I, however, like a choice and quality music while I drive. The Radio is not for me.
     Don't even get me started with talk radio. Google "top" or "best" with "podcasts" and tell me to listened to talk radio. I'm covered. 

Friday, November 8, 2013

A Guilty Pleasure Post - My Love of Coffee Mugs

     I drink a lot of coffee, well there is probably people who drink more coffee than I do and a lot of people who drink less coffee than I do. It's varies from day to day. So what I should say is I drink a lot of things that require mugs i.e. tea, coffee, hot cocoa. Actually I think that's it. The point is I love coffee mugs. I own about nine mugs and here they are.

     If you know anything about what the reaction was to The Lord of the Rings when it came out, you'd know this was a popular phrase often tagged on walls and written on signs in the 1970s. So of course being a huge Tolkien enthusiast I had to get it.
     These are just regular ol' coffee mugs. Nothing special written on them but don't they look nice? They've got kind of a Green Lantern theme to them.

     House Targaryen of A Song of Ice & Fire and Game of Thrones fame, with their sigil and their motto on the side. They would probably drink some kind of wine out of this.

     Shaped like the famous TARDIS of Doctor Who fame with a nice lid to make up the top of the Doctor's time traveling police box. I have to say, it holds a lot but a square shape to drink out of can be kind of awkward. I use this more for tea than coffee.

     A Portal theme cup using Aperture Science's 70's logo. This is the smallest of all my mugs, being diner sized which they use for multiple refills. For some reason this lends to the taste of it. I can't explain it but coffee tastes the best in this mug.

     Coffee of Doom, the fictional coffee shop from Jeph Jacques' Questionable Content. I mostly bought this one because it looked cool but it feel much sturdier than all my other mugs for some unknown explanation. Maybe that red part inside of it as actual ceramic blood to keep the mug everlasting or it could just be made of thicker stuff considering it's from a more small indie kind of business rather than the large manufacturers of the other ones.
     Now here is a mug I don't own, but will.
     Why am I posting about mugs? Is there some kind of point? Well, I'm graduating soon and with graduating hopefully moving towards getting a writing job, getting a manuscript finished to sent out and submitting my writing to as many literary magazines, online news sites and well basically anywhere. There's something very "adult" about what's going on and it made me think of a discussion my friends and I have had on multiple occasions.
     I can't quite remember the context but I remember in what I believe to be 2011, my friend Dan told me that what made him feel like an adult was going to bed early because of responsibilities. I didn't agree because my parents have for the longest time stayed up very late due to my father's evenings work schedule. His parents, which I believe he told me so, probably went to bed very early to get up for work the next day. 
     Now, come early 2012 my friend Chris and I are doing our weekly writing sessions at Starbucks when the discussions of socks come up. This actually might of been late 2011/early 2012 as this revolves around Christmas gifts. He was telling me he loved getting socks as a present because otherwise he'd have to buy his own. In response I said that I always preferred Christmas presents to be things I wanted but wouldn't buy for myself and not things I need. This led to Chris's definition of what it means to be an adult which is having to buy your own socks.
     Eventually, when I started realizing I was collecting a set of coffee mugs for myself I came up with my own little signs that you're an adult. My friend Keri having just received a coffee mug from her job uploaded a picture of on twitter and I said "Being an adult is owning multiple coffee mugs." I remembered the discussion about socks and going to bed early then added it to the list. It could be a on BuzzFeed if the list was a bit longer.
Signs you are an adult
  1. Going to bed early.
  2. Buying your own socks
  3. Owning multiple coffee mugs.
     One day another friend will add to this list of quirky signs you're an adult and then we'll have a real list on our hands. Obviously there's more to being an adult than these things but it makes me laugh that my friends and I have these quirks that makes us feel like "adults."

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Some Resources and Sites for My Writing Friends

     Writing has completely encompassed my life lately. Writing my thesis, writing essay, writing my novel, writing my NaNoWriMo (that's National Novel Writing Month for those not in the know.

     So I thought I'd share the colleciton of links I have gathered about writing. Some of these are just fun little articles, some are actual resources. I'm pretty much emptying out my Writing bookmark folder here, so enjoy.

Poets&Writers - Literary Magazines - This is a huge database of literary magazines you can submit to. Both paid and unpaid sources. I suggest submitting as much as possible, as that's what I will be doing.

Writing Help - Tumblr - This is just some random writer on tumblr offering a bit of help with a collection of resources written on the subject of writing.

The Pompous Ass Words Site - A site dedicated to the most pompous ass words you should avoid in your writing. I love words of all shades but I'd say avoid these words in your writing like the plague. I'm look at you diaspora.

10 Resources to Help You Write a Great Short Story - Pretty straight forward, a list of resources to help you write a short story. Honestly the whole Write It Sideways site is probably chock full of resources you can use but this is the one in particular I had bookmarked.

'Why I Write Strong Female Characters" by Greg Rucka - Those of you might know Greg Rucka, both a novelist and a popular writer of comic books. He's created some great female characters in both and this is worth a read on why you should too.

The Dark Side Of The Publishing Industry: How To Avoid Scams - There are people out there looking to take advantage of good writers who might not quite know the ins and outs of publishing. This article is a great warning to avoid people trying to scam you out of your hardwork.

Preditors & Editors - This site lists the good and bad side of the industry. Those are who are trying to scam writers are obviously "preditors." Please donate to defend this site if you can.

Online Etymology Dictionary - Pretty simple, it's just as it says it is. I use this a lot because I think the origin of words is a good resource to using words.

Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America - Even if you don't write science fiction or fantasy this is a great resource for articles about writing and about people trying to fleece writers.

Association of Authors' Representatives - If you do get an offer from an agent, it might be a good idea to check if you can find them here.

Nerdist Podcast - George RR Martin - This is an interview with George RR Martin on the Nerdist Podcast. He's the author of A Song of Ice and Fire series and gives some solid advice on writing.

Nerdist Podcast - Neil Gaiman - Halfway through this podcast Neil Gaiman gives what I find to be some of the best advice on writing. It's so great someone made a youtube video of the advice, but I suggest listening to the whole thing.

Nerdist Writers Panel - I highly recommend anyone who uses iTunes to subscribe to this podcast but you can listen to it here as well. If you want to break into screenplay writing I highly recommend this podcast. Ben Blacker interviews people who are working in the industry right now on some of your favorite shows. Breaking Bad, Adventure Time, The Colbert Report, Once Upon a Time, Veronica Mars, and others. They'll tell you how they broke into the industry and how they continued to write in the industry.

Neil Gaiman's Commencement Speech - This is just an overall inspiring speech done by Neil Gaiman on how to make art, and why make art.