CD Ripping Project

I’ve had the last several days off work here at the end of the year, so I’ve been working on re-ripping all of our CDs to mp3 format. Several years back we had a hard-drive crash and I’m trying to recover a lot of my music. I’ve been ripping Stephanie’s CDs here and there for a while, but I’m trying to make a concerted effort to get a bigger chunk of our music done.

We store our CDs in boxes like this one – they hold around 95 CDs, and we have 13 boxes full of them – so something like 1200 CDs. Right now they’re stacked in the library, but I’d like to get them ripped and put on shelves in the basement out of the way.

CD storage

It’s not going great, actually. It’s taking forever, and I’m concerned I won’t get finished in my time off here at the end of the year. I have 5 boxes ripped, but only 1 and a half of them over the last 2 days. This is going to be a longer project than I expected, and I’m frustrated because I had novel editing plans for January and this is going to chew into them. I don’t want to leave this project strung out and half done, because it involves getting into and out of boxes and re-stacking them, and the goal is to get the CDs organized in the boxes better before I put them downstairs, too. If it’s left all over the living room while I run in and out the door to work and do this in my spare time, the potential for stuff to get messed up or missed or screwed up increases exponentially. So this has been a frustrating few days. I don’t remember this taking this long in the past. Although in the past I wasn’t working with both of our music libraries and I wasn’t doing them all at once, either. So bigger project than I expected.

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I really fucking love rowing

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So, I joined a rowing class for the next couple months. Not in boats, at least not for winter – it’s indoor rowing on Ergometers. It’s a class through the Indianapolis Rowing Center, and it’s their winter training through January and February. The winter classes are held at the Rivera Club near 56th and Meridian.

Concept 2 Rowing Machine
Concept 2 Rowing Machine

I’ve attended 4 classes (classes? training sessions? I don’t know) and it’s hard, but I really enjoy it. This evening we had relay races where teams of 4 people rowed intervals of 500 meters each for 5 rotations, for a total of 2,500 meters each. I actually managed to keep up through all 5 rounds; I was shocked. After the first, I thought there was no way I could do it, but I was able to make it all the way through.

And the thing is, after class, I always feel AWESOME. I have such a massive endorphin high right now. Tomorrow I’m going to be pretty stiff, but I’ll worry about that then.
I decided to look into learning rowing because I actually have a character in my NaNoWriMo novel who is a collegiate rower, and I knew that I wasn’t doing a good job writing about her competing because I had no idea what it was actually about. Reading about it can only take you so far…
What I’ll do at the end of February, I’m not sure. I’d like to row in a boat, but I’ll have to see if I’m fit enough to do that.

Rowing Sunset
Rowing Sunset
Continue ReadingI really fucking love rowing

Golden Globes Nominations 2012. Wha?

Looking over the list of nominations for the Golden Globes for 2012 is just oddness. I’ve read an number of allegations that this particular awards ceremony is basically just bought and sold pretty freely, and it somewhat makes sense looking at the nominations. How on earth is New Girl nominated but for “Best Television Series — Comedy or Musical” and not Parks and Recreation? And Zooey Deschanel for Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series — Comedy or Musical but not Lea Michele for Glee?

New Girl is a pretty big pile of crap. The last two episodes have been unwatchable. The scenes with Zooey and Justin Long really just make me want to shoot them both. It’s just rank. How is this supposed to be funny? And Lea Michele is just underrated and undercut on Glee. Poor writing for her character aside, her performance during the Christmas episode was hilarious, especially during the Judy Garland Special parody. She does goofy comic stuff very similarly to Barbra Streisand – but better, which is one of the few areas where I’d give her the prize over Barbra. It’ll be nice when she gets a show of her own to do and can break away from the ensemble stuff and the horrible, terrible, no-good, very bad writing on that otherwise enjoyable show.

Amy Poehler better win that award over Zooey. Seriously, Golden Globes, or I’ll be accusing you of fraud, too.

And oh, look, David Duchovny, Californication nominated for “Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series — Comedy or Musical.” Shouldn’t that be the category of “fictionalized real-life as a cautionary tale?” What an odd nomination. I haven’t seen the show past the first season, but it didn’t strike me as a comedy at all, and I can think of bigger performances that have received a lot more attention that his.

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State of Wonder by Ann Patchett

December’s book club book was State of Wonder and I managed to get it read this time. (It’s been hit-or-miss the last several book club meetings because I’ve been doing my own writing or reading other books or *ahem* reading tons of fan fiction.) The synopsis — which I usually tend to steal from somewhere else, and in this case, cribbed from booklist — goes like this:

Marina Singh gave up a career as a doctor after botching an emergency delivery as an intern, opting instead for the more orderly world of research for a pharmaceutical company. When office colleague Anders Eckman, sent to the Amazon to check on the work of a field team, is reported dead, Marina is asked by her company’s CEO to complete Anders’ task and to locate his body. What Marina finds in the sweltering, insect-infested jungles of the Amazon shakes her to her core. For the team is headed by esteemed scientist Annick Swenson, the woman who oversaw Marina’s residency and who is now intent on keeping the team’s progress on a miracle drug completely under wraps.

The thing I was struck by just three chapters in was the parallels to Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, a novel I really disliked, as it was one of the titles on the Great American Novel class I took in high school. I was sure I ranted about this sometime in the past, but I can’t seem to find a reference to it, so please indulge me while I go off on a tangent to explain: In my junior year of high school, we had a (male) teacher for a class called “The Great American Novel.” The reading list was lopsided in favor of male protagonists, war settings, and general testosterone. I can’t remember the entire list (possibly because I’ve tried as hard as I could to block out the experience) but this is at least part of it:

Strangely, these were missing from the reading list: To Kill a Mockingbird, Iris Murdoch, Edith Wharton… you see my point? Too much war and males finding themselves in colonialist exploration. The Great Gatsby was the one of the few novels where the author didn’t spend the whole book polishing the knob of the protagonist. Vonnegut would have been good if not for the juxtaposition with Catch-22. After reading Hemingway, my only feelings were that it would be a good idea to learn manly sports like boxing and fighting if only to beat the crap out of guys like Hemingway. Henderson The Rain King just seemed like a giant tool.

The topper on this cake was that we got extra credit for taking the summer before the class to read more from the “canon” of accepted titles, so I spent the seminal summer of my high school experience reading war novels, working in the public library and a chicken restaurant, and wondering what the girl that I had a massive crush on was doing during her break and if it was possible that she would ever ever fall in love with me, none of which was good for my psycho-sexual development as an estrogen-aligned homo girl.

Anyways, When I noticed the parallels in State of Wonder to Heart of Darkness/ Apocalypse Now, I wasn’t heartily encouraged by the book, despite the fact that State of Wonder has a female protagonist. Oh me of little faith. Patchett didn’t let me down with Bel Canto, so I don’t know why I expected her to do so here. Without being too much of a spoiler, she does take the notion of ‘the company man pursuing a rogue operative in the wilds as a metaphor for exploring their own inner darkness’ and neatly turns that notion on its head, exploring themes that never would have occurred to Conrad about exploitation, what the nature of civilization is, and what responsibilities corporations have to the world while using its resources. I was fortunate that Stephanie read the book before I did, and as I kept exclaiming with frustration over the actions of the elusive Dr. Annick Swenson, she kept telling me “Keep reading! Keep reading! You’ll be glad you did!” She was right; the book had a very satisfying ending, and you too should keep reading until the end.

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NaNoWriMo 2011: Validated.

I’m validated at 50163 words.

Technically I’m “done” writing my National Novel Writing Month project. Except that I still need to write chapters 12-15 and chapters 2 and 5. But 50163 words makes it “finished” for the purposes of the contest. I’m a winner. I’ve written more than Slaughterhouse Five and The Great Gatsby. Not “better than” just “more than.” 🙂

Nano 2011 Winner
Nano 2011 Winner

So here’s the general plan for the rest of this – I’m going to edit/write through December, but put together an outline for another story in that time, too. Then take January to write that story, and edit/rewrite more of this one in February. I hope to keep a daily word count every day, and I’ll track it the way I tracked the word count for this, so I can keep up a daily routine and not get off track.

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NaNoWriMo 2011: Still chugging along.

I’m at 43,506 words. That’s 6,494 words away from “winning.” And I have 4 days. I think it’s a safe bet that I’ll get there, especially since I have all day tomorrow to work on it. I didn’t write at all on Thanksgiving Day, but I wrote in the car both to and from Iowa (not easy at all; it’s very distracting to try to write with cars whoosing by and the bumps in the pavement) and on Friday while everyone went out shopping.

Interesting to try to explain to family members what I was doing. My family is not always supportive of creative endeavors unless they’re attached to work or school requirements, so… yeah. I basically explained it as “I’m in a contest to write a novel in a month, and I’m close to winning, so…” because if you’re trying to win a contest, that’s okay. If you just writing a novel for the sake of writing – a bit on the loony tunes side.

And of course, everyone wanted to know what it was about, and yeah… haven’t even shared that with Stephanie, yet. Too afraid it sucks ass. Actually, I know it sucks ass, at least right now. Hopefully it will not suck ass in the future when I get a chance to re-write it and remove the suck from it, replacing it with less-than-suck, or possibly even with pretty-damn-good if I can figure out where to get that. Chances are you will never get to see this novel. I’m sorry about that. I make no guarantees. I’ll do my best, I promise.

NaNoWriMo 2011 Participant

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Men are bad at sex (writing)

The Literary Review’s “Bad Sex in Fiction” award is dominated year after year by men. (heh. See what I just did there?) I do find the thought that men can’t write sex well very funny. And there are some prominent male authors on the list, too, which is odd, because what’s so interesting about their books if the sex is stupid?

I’m also a bit alarmed that there is a “Bad Sex in Fiction” award in the first place. No editing until December, self. Do not panic.

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NaNoWriMo Update: Still on target

My word count is now 35,521 words. Not quite beating out Ole Yeller on the “famous books word count list.” I’m under par by 1,153 words, but I should have time to get caught up (and hopefully ahead) tomorrow on the road to Iowa for the family Thanksgiving. Stephanie is driving, and I’m planning on writing in the car on a lap desk that I’ve used to write in bed several times. It should work fine. If not, I’ll come up with a new plan. I have 14,479 words left to write, and 9 days left to write them. If I keep averaging as many words as I have, I’ll pass the finish line on time. I’ll have the basics of the plot built, with lots of back story and character development to return and add in during December and January. The whole thing should be well above 50,000 words when I finish.

NaNoWriMo 2011 Participant

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