Can’t talk, have Australians.
(I love to say this, people’s first reaction is almost always complete befuddlement.)
Blogging shall resume with Friday’s post, but to tie you over, here’s a picture of a landsquid and a turtleduck.
You know how sometimes you watch some sort of movie (or read a book) and things just keep going wrong, and you think “This would never happen in real life.”
Normally I don’t like to deviate from reading/writing/landsquids, but this is fairly epic and I feel the need to share.
So yesterday was supposed to be somewhat awesome. I was to take an early flight to California, sit in on a meeting, and then have dinner/writing with my dear friend Ian (of Alpaca fame). Afterwards I would sleep and fly back this morning, arriving, in, oh, 15 minutes or so.
Seeing how I am sitting here blogging instead of being on said return flight, we can guess how this is going to go. My trip never made it off the ground, quite literally.
I got out of the house a little late yesterday morning, but made it through parking my car and security without issue. When I arrived at the gate, I was one of the last people on the plane, and they asked that I gate check one of my carry-ons. I agreed, since I had given myself a four hour buffer and would be able to wait at the onerously slow baggage claim at SFO without worrying about missing my meeting. So I got onboard, sat down, opened the book I brought along, and all seemed fine.
We pushed off from the gate about twenty minutes late, taxied to what I swear was the furthest runway from the terminal, went to accelerate into take-off, and…the plane broke. Something with the left engine. So we turned around and taxied all the way back to the terminal.
People are starting to get antsy about connecting flights (our plane was going to continue on to Hong Kong and Ho Chi Minh City), but hey, I had buffer! Although I am about 80 pages into my book at this point and am wondering if I should have brought more.
They identified a broken part, replaced it, and around an hour and a half after the plane was supposed to leave, we push back from the gate, taxi allllll the way to Furthest Runway Ever, go to take off, and…the plane breaks again.
At this point I don’t really want to take this particular aircraft anywhere.
So we taxi back to the gate, except we no longer have a gate, since we were supposed to leave two hours previously, so we have to sit and look at the terminal for half an hour until we get a gate, and, then, we sit there for another 15 minutes until they essentially tell us they don’t know what’s wrong with the plane, so we can get off and try to get other flights, they’ll offload the luggage, and, uh, good luck getting another flight to San Francisco today, because they’re booked full.
So it’s ~11:30 about now, and I realize that there is no physical way for me to fly to California at this point (even if there were seats) and make my meeting on time. Plus this was a completely full 767 and the line to talk to Customer Service stretches all the way down the concourse and Hell, I’m not standing in that.
At this point, things are sad but not terribly bad. Mechanical problems happen, and I would rather they happen on the ground than over Utah airspace. So. I am extremely disappointed about not being able to see Ian (and eat sushi), but I go about fixing things. I call my boss and leave her a message explaining the situation and telling her I would be coming in and supporting the meeting remotely. I text Ian to let him know I am not coming. I call my company’s travel service and ask them to cancel the trip. I call the person running said meeting to let him know I will be supporting remotely.
Here’s where things start to get a bit hairy. I abandon my fellow passengers to their giant line of doom and retreat to baggage claim, where I inquire after the bags they claimed would be offloaded from my flight. They have not been. They were apparently not planning on it despite telling us they would. Apparently, they were just going to load the luggage on the next flight to San Francisco and let it go, despite the fact that the likelihood of more than a handful of people from that flight getting to San Francisco that day was crap. The woman at the baggage counter explains that she will put in a call for someone to bring up my luggage, but it will be at least an hour.
I look at my watch. I’ve got less than two hours to this meeting now. I inform her that sooner will be better and go off to grab lunch from the limited selection since I am outside security at this point. I have Taco Bell. It is unsatisfying.
I’ve been waiting for my baggage ~45 minutes when the travel company calls me to inform me that they’ve been on hold with the airline this whole time, and the only way they will refund my money is if I talk to someone at the airport and get them to “uncheck” me in. “Luckily, I am still at the airport,” I tell her. She is surprised. “So am I,” I say. “So am I.”
I go upstairs and manage to find a nice man who does whatever is necessary and gets me my refund while apologizing profusely for my inconvenience.
Then I go back in search of my bag, cursing that I let them gatecheck it.
My boss calls, worried because it’s been an hour and half since I called her and I hadn’t shown up yet. I explain the situation. She wishes me luck and leaves me to waste away next to the baggage carousel.
The baggage carousel turns on, but it is someone else’s bag. I track down another baggage person and inquire if there’s a way to check on the status of my bag.
It goes downhill from here. He looks it up, and tells me that, despite the fact that I have been waiting for an hour and a half and will definitely be late for my meeting now, that no one has gone to get my bag, and that no one will. It’s inside a canister on the plane and they won’t open the canisters until the flight is cancelled or has arrived at its destination despite the fact that my bag should be RIGHT ON TOP because I gate checked it and was one of the last people on the plane. I explain that it has medication and electronics in it because it was supposed to be a carry-on, but no go. I put in a claim for lost luggage and leave the airport, seven hours after I stepped foot in it and having accomplished nothing except feeding my bag to the underbelly of a 767, perhaps never to be seen again.
I call the person running the meeting on the shuttlebus to the parking lot to get the call-in number for the meeting. The act of doing so somehow causes me to lose my claim ticket for parking, which I discover after I have been dropped off.
I manage to retrieve my car. I call into the meeting from my cell phone as I rush down the highway and can hear nothing because of road noise, but I did carve 15 minutes off the normal time the trip takes.
I finally get to work and support the meeting until 6:45 PM.
At this point I just want to go home and hide under the covers for the rest of the day. But oh no, we are not done. The highway is at a stand still, so I have to find a backway home. I call my husband to find that he hasn’t had time to make dinner like he promised and, beyond that, has gone out for the evening, since he made plans when he thought I would be out of town. I call my mom and sister, hoping for someone to spill my woes to, but they are unavailable. I finally call my dad, who tells me he is in India, but consents to talk. After fifteen minutes he tells me “this call will cost you about $30″ and is gone. Thanks, Dad.
I go and get dinner at Tokyo Joe’s. They mess up my order.
When I get home, I discover my side of the garage covered in boxes, and so I have to park on the driveway.
Luckily, that is where the madness ends. I ate my dinner, cuddled with my cat, and watched Unsolved Mysteries and How I Met Your Mother until emotional balance was reattained.
My husband later informed me that my plane eventually left – six and a half hours after it was supposed to.
Also, my bag is still lost to time and space. I got a call last night that it was en route and would get back to Denver about ~1:40 AM and they’d call me today about it, but I have yet to hear anything from that department. Also, they called about 9, so I have to wonder where my bag went, because SFO is not that far away.
Well, I’m off to call my doctor for emergency meds. Here’s hoping your day’s better than my yesterday was.
Happy Memorial Day, American Squiders. I have returned to you, albeit slightly more sun-roasted than I left you. The sun and I have an understanding. I slather myself in sunscreen, it burns me in places I have never burned before or in places where I swear I put sunscreen.
Memorial Day always reminds me of my grandfather. He’s been gone eleven years now, but I still miss him and think of him often. You know, I sometimes hear my grandparents’ generation referred to as the Greatest Generation, and I have to agree. By the time my grandfather was my age, he’d fought in WWII, lost an arm, gotten his masters’ degree, was married, and had the first of his children. What do I have to show for myself? Sure, I have a college degree, and I’m married, but I still feel like I’m not really an adult, that I haven’t done anything with my life.
My grandfather went on to be vice president of an engineering company, help design NASA’s crawler, be part of a diplomatic mission to Russia, be head of the Mechanical Engineering department at a major university, raise five children and nine grandchildren, and ran his own company for years. Today people are more concerned with making sure they have the latest iPhone and are not taking responsibility for anything.
We owe a lot to the generations that came before us, that defended this country and worked hard to make it what it is today. Happy Memorial Day to them too, and I thank them for all that they’ve done.
So, now that Spring has sprung (or so I assume – it’s hard to tell around the rain) I am getting a better idea of how my yard works.
We have a ridiculous amount of wildlife. Foxes, coyotes, raccoons, birds (and spiders and centipedes and the largest earthworm I have ever seen, all of which I hope the birds are eating), but what I have the most of are rabbits and snakes.
Every morning, when I go out to get the newspaper, there’s a rabbit in my front yard eating some part of my foliage. “Fred,” I say, because there are multiple rabbits but I have named them all Fred, “you’d better not be eating my grass seed.” (And then, if I suspect he is, in fact, eating my grass seed, I will go and deal with it. Grass seed is a precious commodity.)
I have seen four snakes since Saturday. (Or two snakes twice. Anyway.) So far they have all been garter snakes which is good news, because I never notice them until I’m practically on top of them and they have to slither away for their own safety.
Kit, you ask, what does this have to do with writing? Well, Squiders, I will tell you.
Rabbits are like story premises. They’re cute, they’re everywhere, they will invariably eat everything in your garden, but they’re kind of useless. A story premise looks nice, but it won’t get you very far.
Snakes are like plot. They’re there, but sometimes you don’t know it until you almost step on them. Plot burrows through the entire story, intricately twisted around all the other elements.
I could go on all day (characters are like birds – nice to look at but chirp incessantly) but I will spare you.
(There is a baby Fred that lives under the back deck. He is the most adorable thing ever but I suspect he’s the one eating my spinach.)
I thought about changing the title of the blog to “Where Sky Sharks Fear to Tread” but then I realized that there is nowhere that Sky Sharks fear to tread, and also that they would probably eat me for even implying it. So.
We’ve all thought it.
If only I didn’t have to go to a day job and stay home and write all the time.
Some of us like our day jobs. I do, but I would still give it up in a moment for the chance to write.
But then the doubts creep in. Let’s say I took the plunge, quit my job, and decided I was going to write full-time – would I be able to? Or would I procrastinate on Twitter for hours and play Pokemon?
I would hope that I’d be able to impose some sort of organizational structure, but I am really easy to distract. (My husband says I have ADD but I like to think that I am just too awesome to do one thing at a time.)
Still, I dream.
At what point would you make that leap? When you hit the bestsellers’ list? When you sell a book? As soon as you can manage it without your spouse throttling you?
Any ideas on how you’d lay out your day? How many projects you’d work on at a time?
While we’re dreaming, we might as well plan out the entire thing.
The terror, it remains.
Luckily, my compatriots
in crime Ian and Anne shall be with me, and hopefully I can just remember that confidence is a self-fulfilling prophecy and not spend the entire time hiding behind fake potted plants in the hotel lobby.
I have no reason to be scared, right? I mean, I have finished drafts, I have experience submitting, I keep up to date on the industry.
It’s just…my mom went to one of these about ten years ago, was told she had no talent, and stopped writing. I don’t want that to be me. (And honestly, I liked that story, and at the time, I was the right age range for it.)
Fears and panicking aside, I have been working on getting ready. The story I’ve been submitting on and off has a new (much better, if my readers are to be believed) first chapter. I hope to do a basic edit of the rest of the story and perhaps a rewrite of the second half of the last chapter before this weekend, but that’s probably pushing it.
I’ve printed out the schedule and tentatively selected panels to attend. (Unfortunately, many overlap. Perhaps Ian, Anne, and I can divide and conquer.) I’ve made a list of things that need to be done before this weekend. I wish I could say it’s getting done in a timely fashion but no, no.
I have yet to write my pitch, but that is the goal for today.
I know this is going to be a good experience. I know I need to use it to its fullest potential.
I just wish the nagging panic would go away.
(P.S. If someone has experience with this sort of thing, what is proper attire? Should I take business casual stuff, something more formal, jeans? Help!)
I have a confession. I don’t really watch TV. There’s a variety of reasons for this – but the main ones are that I don’t like to sit still for any length of time and that I have better things to do. I have this problem with movies as well – I just can’t sit there and not do something else. It drives the Landsquid crazy.
I can occasionally pull up the motivation to follow a TV series (usually some scifi-related – the last two series were FlashForward and Warehouse 13 – oh, and Sherlock. Mmm, Sherlock ♥) but most of the time I just can’t be bothered.
There is one exception. Mythbusters.
I am in love with Mythbusters. ♥ Science! And explosions! They get up to the oddest stuff and I adore them and everything they do. Have you seen the episode where they vaporize the car with the rocket sled? Best thing I’ve EVER seen in my LIFE.
I swear there is a point to this entry.
I will watch hours of Mythbusters. So why am I willing to watch it more than a scripted television show?
I have Theories. One is that I tend to be able to do something else at the same time and still be able to keep track of the show. Two is that I am Learning. Three is that there is SCIENCE.
I love stories. TV contains stories, but unlike a book or a game, it’s not interactive. (Although I admit I yell at characters during horror movies.) And more important than the story is the act of getting there. A television show will go on whether you’re paying attention or not. You have no control. With a book or game, nothing happens until you make it happen.
If you watch TV, what draws you to it?
(Also, it does not escape me that I have twisted a Simpsons quote for my title.)
Once again, the Friday Round-up did not get rounded up, so today we will be discussing alpacas.
How can you not like alpaca? They are fluffy and evil. I submit the following as evidence (and also dare you not to laugh):
The comedic timing of the alpaca can be compared to the llama or the moose, both comedy staples. (In my world, at least. Admittedly I grew up on Monty Python and Whose Line Is It, Anyway?) So, to honor these adorable would-be world dominators, and because poetry and I – especially meaningful poetry not about animals, fictional or not – do not get on, I offer you…the Alpaca Limerick.
There once was an alpaca from Surrey
Whose neck was not in the least bit furry
He tried Rogaine
To regrow his mane
All it did was provide rash-y fury.
There is not going to be a Friday Round-up today (obviously) as I have not been on the interwebs enough this week to have rounded anything up. Hopefully nothing too exciting happened. I expect someone will tell me if I’ve missed anything of particular note.
Anyway, I’ve come today to state that I have a problem. I am addicted to books. I am drawn to them. I cannot help it.
I came to this realization on Tuesday night after I’d managed to acquire five books over three days without meaning to. Sunday I borrowed a book from my mother and bought another at Goodwill. Monday I received a book in the mail that I’d won in a contest. Tuesday I went and saw Jasper Fforde at a local bookstore and ended up with another two books. Then I sat around, surrounded by books, and cackled madly to myself.
It was not an unpleasant feeling.
There are some problems with being a bibliophile. My husband complains how, at the slightest lull in a conversation or an activity, I will have found something to read and be lost to the written word. My bookcases are overflowing. There are books everywhere. I find them in the oddest places. (Under some slippers was the strangest in the last week.)
I will die surrounded by books, and then they will eat my body.
Still, I find I can’t be too worried about my inevitable fate. There are certainly worse ways to go than to be devoured by fiction. As far as addictions go, it’s one I hope to never recover from.
I think, since I obligatorily New Year posted at you, that I am somehow under contract to tell you how January went. Don’t worry, I don’t intend to tell you my goals every month nor tell you how they went. Unless you want me to. In which case, you should let me know, because I am under the impression that no one cares.
Anyway, if you don’t want to click back to what I said at the beginning of January, I shall summarize for you. Goals for the month went something like this:
-finish and submit story for anthology
-edit story and submit to ABNA
-write on collab story
-write on serial story
-rewrite first chapter of book on submission
-write 15K on main story
I also made predictions about which of the above would get done (guess what, I was right) and talked briefly about my goal to read 50 books this year and a weight loss challenge I’m in with my mother and sister.
Tada, I have saved you from reading the previous entry, but now you must feed the landsquid or it will nibble on your toes.
Also, a friend wrote me a story about space squid which is completely random and irrelevant to this entry, but it made my day. So.
Status report! Writing went as I predicted. The anthology story and the ABNA submission got done because they had deadlines. The collab and serial stories got worked on because they are fun and easy to squeeze in. (We’re almost to the climax on the collab. I AM EXCITE. Sorry, I spend too much time on the internet.) The rewrite and the main story got screwed, as predicted, though I did open the rewrite document once. Wooooo. And drew a picture of the main character of the main story, which helps nothing at all. And then my husband poked a hole in my worldbuilding so now I have to deal with that.
I also plotted out two additional stories to write, though Landsquid knows when I’m going to get to them. Dear Kit, please stop plotting stories. You have seven plotted out and are already writing three stories. Plus you need to edit.
I’ve read four books and am over halfway through two more, so reading goes on schedule.
I have lost a few pounds, which is not terribly encouraging, but my pants are starting to slip off, so minor victory? I admit I am not really dedicated to the cause. I am not watching what I eat at all, though I was exercising daily until I was derailed yesterday by snow. Snooooooow.
How go your goals for the year/month? How’s 2011 treating you?