Community Post – MidWeek

A camel in the desert, facing to the left, head up.
Is Wednesday a good day for camels?

It’s the middle of the week. If you were to graph people’s interest, at least people who work the standard Monday through Friday work week, this is the peak of the graph. It’s all downhill from here. The graph would rise up from Monday, hit today, and then drop down towards Friday. Like some kind of… bump? There’s probably a better word for this but it is not coming to me.

I was going to round up some links of things to talk about, but I spent my lunch break tapping out words for NaNoWriMo instead. I still want to do regular posts where I let y’all talk back to me, or talk about your own projects and things you’re excited about, so this is that post.

Feel free to say hello, promote your own stuff, or tell me where the best Taco Tuesdays are. Or whatever else you want to talk about! TACO BOUT. Get it?

NaNoWriMo Day 5

Just a quick update, tapped out on my phone. I managed almost 2000 words today, including 350 or so before work, which brings my total, my official total word count for NaNoWriMo, to 10,092.

I’m officially more than a full day ahead. I know it’s early but I will take a moment to savor my streak.

And the shape of the plot is coming together. It’s all starting to gel. I know what the main character needs, I know what stands in his way, and I know generally what he’s planning to get him out of this mess. My plan to “just write and see what happens” is working well.

And I have a working title: Seasonal Work. That title makes me giggle, though it might not make sense to anyone but myself, yet.

Thanks for checking in. I’ll have a comment post tomorrow and maybe some things to chat about!

Weekend Community Post – Sunday 3 November 2019

A curtained window taken near sunset. The lighting and color is intensely golden-yellow, inside and outside.
Took this last Saturday. I was on my computer when I suddenly realized just how golden the light was outside, and how it had transformed my office. Within 5 minutes, the light had faded, but I’m glad I was able to capture it in the moment.

I want to open regular posts to comments, and so I’m starting with this one. I’d love to hear from you if you’re an old friend or a new reader! Let’s build a community. This is especially important to me since I deleted my Facebook account. I’ve been spending time on Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr but I would also love it if visitors felt comfortable here.

It’s Sunday morning in my time zone. I’m in front of my computer, full of oatmeal and bacon, with a half-pot of coffee, and no outstanding plans except to write as much as my little fingers will manage. That means I’ll be in and out of the blog.

Leave a hello! Ask me anything. Or comment on some news you saw this week—I’m more partial to good news than bad, but speak your mind.

I’m still writing a full comment policy, but for now, just know that I’m not opposed to disagreement. I am, however, going to dump in the trash any obvious spam, hate speech or pro-fascism. There may be other lines I won’t allow commenters to cross, but for now, that’ll do for some ground rules.

Happy 16th Birthday to This Blog

On this day, 16 years ago, I clicked “Publish” on my very first Lunar Obverse blog post. That’s a long time.

If I had been planning ahead I might have more to say about it than this, but as you may know, I’m on Day 2 of NaNoWriMo and so most of my writing energy has been going towards that project (the rest of it has been texting my friends and tweeting about how far behind I am on my NaNoWriMo goals.)

The good news is that I did, in fact, reach my Day 2 goal today. As of right now, my project-in-progress is at 3,643 words. I’m about two or three scenes in, maybe one and a half chapters, and I have introduced four named characters and a handful of important-but-so-far-unseen characters. I have no idea where the story is going yet, but it’s early, and I just want to keep up my habit and momentum, as I have talked about repeatedly here.

In related news, to help promote the blog I started a blog-related Instagram account. Go follow LunarBlog if you have a mind to. The blog is mostly words, and Instagram is a visual medium, so I’m not certain how to cross-post there, but I’ll figure something out.

A lovely writer’s account on Twitter, Tara Neilson, gave my Twitter account a boost, along with a bunch of others, to get our writer’s follower counts above 1000. I currently stand at 961 thanks to this post. I believe I gained at least 10 new followers, and I promptly followed them all back. It was a very nice gesture and not one I expected or asked for, and I thank Tara for the lift.

#WritingCommunity Lift writers under1,000! @SeeLoveFollow @Story_Beard @ellysejmoir @SerraSwift @wendywyant @RRozow @RebeccaL_Carey @BRBWilcox @MarkScully365 @J_D_Wilkes @kattitudereads @NicoleJSimms1 @Graybird_Grace @brooklynstasher @lunarobverse @erintheinfp Go #NaNoWriMo2019!— Tara Neilson (@neilson_tara) November 2, 2019

Thank you, Tara! If you’re readinig this, go follow all of these mentioned accounts!

And now, since I’m caught up, I’m going to give myself permission to play The Outer Worlds some more, until tomorrow. Goodnight, and I love you all.

NaNoWriMo Day 1

I managed 560 words this morning before work. Was busy all day and had to work late (monthly server patches), then happy hour with Terry and Ken. Then a short visit with Max before he starts his new job. Then a stop at WinCo for food to get me through the next week.

And now I’m home and exhausted and feeling spent, too spent to write the next scene.

I wrote something today. I’ll write tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow.

G’night. I love you all.

An Auspicious Night

Hurley knows something about taking action over feeling sorry for yourself. “Let’s look death in the face and make our own luck.”

What does the word cusp mean, anyway? What’s its etymology? Where is it from and what is the metaphor behind its meaning?

After tonight, two things change for me. The first is me quitting something, the second is me beginning something.

I’m quitting Facebook. It’s a cause of anxiety and joy. I’ve posted about that before, and I’ve written about my reasons—mainly political in nature. I don’t like how the company is being run, and I don’t like the awful things its behavior has enabled. Looks like they’re going to go on enabling those things because the money spends just as well as any other money.

I suppose it’s possible that Zuck believes what he says in public, but I doubt that. I do like that hundreds of Facebook employees wrote a stern letter taking their boss to task for his misuse of the phrase “free expression.” I also like that Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter (which is its own dumpster fire) made the exact opposite decision and subtweeted Zuck about it. That was fun.

Am I going to miss some things about Facebook? Sure, I am. There are some communities there that provide me with a little light, a little hope, and a little laughter. But I can find those things elsewhere. I’ve been connecting with people online since way, way, back. Those skills won’t leave me. I’ve joined BBS’s, forums, Usenet groups, and social media sites. I’ve made my impressions and gathered friends from there. I’ve had this silly blog for a decade and a half, as well as the founder of other, long-gone blogs.

My presence will remain on the internet. Just not on Facebook, after tonight.

The thing I’m starting tomorrow is a cause of joy and anxiety. Completely different. Starting tomorrow I turn this “write every day” thing up to 11. Or, rather, I turn it up to 1,667, because that’s how many words a day I would like to be stringing together. NaNoWriMo technically begins at midnight tonight; I won’t be staying up late to do any write-ins, though, because tomorrow is a workday.

I’d like to get up early and do some writing before work. Hopefully, typing that out doesn’t click in my brain and satisfy the urge to do it, which is apparently a thing that can happen. Saying you’re gonna do something sometimes kills the actual drive to do it. Brains are the weirdest thing.

I’ve managed over two months of daily writing, but my word count hasn’t gone up as much as I’d hoped. I’m going to have to dig deep. Or I’m going to have to just turn off my inner critic and write whatever comes to mind. Probably the latter.

Look, I beat myself up a lot, about a lot of things. I don’t have to beat myself up about this. I can just relax, have fun, go crazy with writing, and see what happens. I’m going to pants it—as in, fly by the seat of my pants. If I can keep the daily writing up, and there’s literally no reason to think I can’t, as I have proven to myself, then at the end of November I’ll have 18,000 words added, only these words will not just be random, unconnected blog posts, but all on the same story. That’s awesome! That’s more than I’ve done in years. And if I push, I can reach the half-way point of a full NaNoWriMo. And maybe the momentum will push me to write more and more.

Maybe my muse will come back to me, whisper in my ear, and encourage me further. If not, I will have put in the seat time. Either way, I win.

Winning is a good thing. I can use a win these days.

Wish I Knew Why

An older man sits, head bent down, holding the top of his head with both hands. Rays of light shoot out from his hands surrounding him in a halo of white-orange spears.
Pain, radiating from the head. This is what it feels like.

Woke up with a headache this morning. It was mostly in the back of my head, near the base and down into my neck, although it also felt like my sinuses were throbbing a little. Could have been a sinus headache or a tension headache. It’s a frequent sort of headache for me to wake up from sleep with.

I googled it.

I should not have googled it.

The results came back as you would imagine. Brain tumor. Extreme high blood pressure. Sleep apnea. Terrible, terrible things that require extensive medical intervention—diagnoses that triggered my anxiety and hypochondria. Statuses that made me worry for my life, and then have to play the game of “do I dare try to find out if any of this is what’s really happening, find out it’s true, and then have to deal with the life-long consequences of requiring medical care in the only country in the world where ‘medical bankruptcy’ is a thing?”

I took some aspirin and went about my morning.

Other things I fear that might be causing it: too much sugar, or untreated diabetes. Stress and tension. Poor posture. Changes in the weather (it’s been unusually cold lately, or something something pressure changes.) Again, this is just my active imagination working, and not any real sense of what my body might be going through. Just my brain, casting a wide net to snare as many adverse outcomes as possible and parading them before my horrified id.

About an hour or two, after I started working, I walked across the street to the Thriftway and bought a pint of half-and-half for my coffee, and gave in to buy a delicious but very sugary raspberry scone. I regretted buying it and regretted eating it even more. Why do I do these things to myself? The momentary pleasure of the taste is never as rewarding as the angst I put myself through before, during, and afterward, and the very real physical aches and pains eating a bunch of sugar cause me.

The headache lingered the rest of the morning until close to my lunch break at work. Slowly the back-of-the-neck throbbing was joined by overall body aches. Were they caused psycho-somatically, or biochemically? Or is there a difference?

Saying something is “all in your mind” is a phrase that people use a lot, even non-religious people, to try to indicate that there exists something other than your physical body, which includes the organ inside your skull, the brain. The “mind” is made up of your thoughts, your consciousness. The mind is acceptably science-y enough to use in casual secular conversation; where saying “soul” is, even now, more religious in nature.

I don’t think “mind” is a useful concept. My mind is just the result of electrochemical processes that happen in my brain and my nervous system; it is shaped by the hormonal and chemical soup of my various other bodily systems. Telling me something is all in my mind does not describe anything real. I don’t buy into any mind-body duality. There is only body. My thoughts are shaped by my body and are centered in my brain, which is a mound of mostly fat with some protein and salts in a fluid sack and wired to various sensors in a meat robot.

Still, headaches hurt like crazy. Wish I knew why I woke up with them so often.

The Coldness of The First Floor

I had something for this. I swear I had an idea for a topic earlier but it’s gone now. I’m just tapping keys and putting one word after another until something magic happens, looks like. It’s your lucky day!

It was ridiculously cold in my office today. I had on four layers and a hat and was still very cold. I came very close to firing up a laptop and running it as a handwarmer (actual space heaters are not allowed in the office for safety and fire danger reasons.) I had to go out to my car at lunch and again later in the afternoon and sit in there with the heater going to warm up. Does that sound extreme? Maybe it is extreme. Extremely cold.

Didn’t help that I had to finish off some of the Halloween candy that Val had given me last week. I’m sure the sugar hit caused me to crash harder after it wore off.

Lunch was soup from the Thriftway across the street, which was nice and piping hot. Today was a steak and bean soup; very tasty. But I also had a brick of cornbread; while delicious, it was also another big dump of carbs, and probably didn’t help with keeping my insides warm.

If it’s cold again tomorrow I’m going to find a way to work at a different building; there’s another office I can use in a different building that has giant windows that face north, and is filled with working computers, but is not a server room. It is always very toasty warm in there. It’s wonderful. I am sure I can pull a few outstanding tickets for that location and work on those for the whole day, assuming nothing else important comes up.

I’m cold right now just thinking about it, and now I’m home and have the heat going. I’m even upstairs, which is nearly always warmer than my first floor. Might have to get the space heater going. I have two space heaters that Tracy lent to me last winter when my furnace was broken and it took a couple of weeks for the property management company to repair it. Might have been as long as a month or more… time blurs. Bottom line, I still have those space heaters, and I use them, and then always think “I should give these back to Tracy because she may need them.”

(Tracy if you’re reading this, I still have your space heaters. I should get them back to you soon. Let’s make arrangements.)

I can hear the furnace running but it’s not warming up yet. After I finish my blog post for the day I will go get the space heater, and I will probably also take a shower, and also also turn up the heat a bit. I have to go downstairs to turn up the heat. I never thought that a Nest or computer-controlled thermostat would be useful in an apartment until I moved into a two-floor apartment. Something that saved me from going up and down the stairs would be a nice-to-have.

Do they make remote-controlled thermostats? I don’t need the logic (or privacy invasion) of a Nest, but being able to control it from my phone sounds like a great idea. Oh! I’m talking about home automation. Remote-controlled lights and things. Yeah. Yeah, that would be fun to install.

Thank you, dear reader, for sticking with me. I’m going to jump into a hot shower now. Goodnight.

…They Just Fade Away

I’m growing a beard. I know it’s a bit early for Movember, or No-Shave November, or whatever that beard-growing awareness campaign is called. I’m not doing it for that.

I’m doing it for cosplay. I’m going as Old Luke Skywalker.

In December, Star Wars: Episode IX The Rise of Skywalker comes out. It’s the final entry in The Skywalker Saga (though definitely not the end of the cash cow Star Wars movies, for sure.) And for once in my ever-lovin’ geek life, I’m going to attend a premiere party in costume. I’ve cosplayed but never for a movie premiere. It seems very fitting for me to do so for the Skywalkers.

Since Terry has assembled a very good Han Solo outfit, it is also just and right that I go as Luke Skywalker. I was always Luke to Terry’s Han, even when we were kids—unless I was being Lando because Lando was cool in ways not-yet-a-Jedi Luke wasn’t. That was before Return of the Jedi Super-Confident Luke showed up. I’m old enough to have lived in a time when there were only one or two Star Wars movies. There were three-year gaps between each film in that first trilogy.

Terry was always Han, though.

Even back in the day I never cosplayed as Luke. I wasn’t nearly as blond and blue-eyed as he was; I was a round brown-haired brown-eyed nerd. I did make a lightsaber, though; I cut up and modified an aluminum pool cue. Wish I still had it today. I wonder what happened to it? I never cobbled together a karate gi, nor rolled up some Ace bandages on my legs. I didn’t like that look. I did covet Luke’s spiffy yellow coat from the award ceremony, though. That looked great. Also loved his grey jumpsuit from Bespin or the black outfit that was a black version of a combo of his Tattooine and Bespin fatigues.

The Kenner figures always called Luke’s outfits “fatigues”: Dagobah fatigues, Hoth fatigues. I don’t know why. That’s military-speak, right? Like BDUs? I guess the Rebellion was sort of military. Don’t @ me, I’m just spitballing here.

But now, 42 1/2 years later, I’m much older, and I have much less ego, so I have no problem going as Luke. I still can’t quite bring myself to put my balding, pudgy, short body into a body-hugging jumpsuit. I’m more than happy to wear a big comfy robe with a nice hood. That sounds great! I can grow out my beard, spend a little effort to make a mechanical hand. I will need a wig, because Mark Hamil is not bald, at least not in the movies. Even if I had started growing my hair out when the previous episode came out, my hair would not be as long and as thick as Mark Hamil’s hair by December; old age and genetics, man.

I really hope that there are some Rey cosplayers at this party I’m going to. It’d be fun tossing away their lightsabers like the grumpy ex-Jedi I’ve become. Heh heh heh.

Best part is, I convinced Terry to go as the age-appropriate Old Han Solo. Mostly because it gives Terry and excuse to buy another really great jacket. Han’s got Luke beat for jackets.

Something Something Unity

I spent most of the weekend fighting off some kind of illness. I don’t know exactly what I had, but it made me tired, dizzy, and short of breath. Not a head cold, that’s for sure. I’m pretty sure it’s mostly gone, just in time for me to return to work Monday morning, yay.

I don’t have a topic for tonight, so I will just talk about things as they come to mind.

NaNoWriMo approaches quickly! By the end of the week, actually. Just a reminder for any and all of my readers, I won’t likely be posting as much on the blog during the month of November; gotta use all my writing brain for NaNoWriMo. I will post here, but it will likely be quick links and updates on my writing progress, as well as any cute stories or pithy comments I can think of. Basically, I’ll post here the things I tended to post on Facebook.

Because, oh, yeah, I’m leaving Facebook forever as of the end of the month, too. That’s a thing that’s happening. Facebook is apparently dead-set on collecting money and eyeballs from right-wing extremists, to the detriment of democracy and United States government. And in response, I’m leaving and I encourage anyone else who can, to leave as well. There are other communities in which you can find your friends and family, I promise you. For a small instance, I offer you this one.

I watched a Vlogbrother video today, from Hank, and he repeated something that I had heard him say before but haven’t really internalized. He said that we now live in corporate spaces. What does that mean? To me, it means that while we may connect, and have fun, and have interesting discussions in them, we are subject to corporate rules—not government rules, not ethical rules, but the rules of the corporations that run the space. We don’t have voting rights. We don’t even have human rights that digital people may have.

Extending that analogy, then, the only impact we can have on corporate spaces are leveraging the things that corporations care about, and Facebook cares about only one thing. Well, it cares about money, because it’s owned by a billionaire, and billionaires are dragons who sit atop a mountain of pilfered wealth, but Facebook also cares about reach and engagement. OK, OK, that’s three things, bear with me here, I’m improvising this.

Bottom line, if we want to change Facebook, it’s unlikely our government (or any government) will ever have the will or power to regulate social media. In the meantime, we can bend it by denying it our attention or engagement. I know many of you can’t leave, because of communities or people you have to stay in contact with and can only do so through Facebook. I am potentially losing track of important people to me, but I am committing to finding other methods to do that. Because leaving Facebook is a moral imperative for me.

Monopolies always seem unbeatable, until they are finally beaten. Just like bullies, or tyrants. But we have to do it together. In some kind of… united… state. I think you see what I’m saying. Right?