Jan. 26th, 2011

gypsyanna: (Default)

Although I can’t tell you why that should be so exciting. :-) This week’s check is going to be particularly short, since last Monday was a holiday. I was asked to come in to work, helping with a project for Jean in accounts payable. That little project, which I hoped to last at least 4 hours, lasted 45 minutes. I wasn’t happy last Monday. Not only did I miss a chance to sleep in, but I also earned less than $10 for it. :-/ Then there’s the missed afternoon on Tuesday because that was the first day of the semester and student-loan-check-pickup day. :-D That day always makes me happy. For the first time ever, I did not need this check to bail me out of any financial crisis, or to buy a car. This check I could stuff in a savings account (after taking care of some little vacation plans…). That is, until Murmur decided he wanted to be Really Sick and Scare Me To Death. I think he timed it – and thank God he did. {{{{{Murmur}}}}} Murmur being sick, however, cut another chunk out of my check: three hours on Friday morning. Yes, this is going to be a painfully short check. It may all have to go in the household account and leave nothing for my personal account. :-( Next week’s check, though, should be back to what it’s supposed to be: I only missed two hours Monday because of his vet appointment, and I got one of those back by skipping lunch hour that day. I’ll try to get some, if not all, of the other hour back by coming in early the rest of the week.

I have been very bad this past week. I should have been working on Hellgebra, studying hard, or writing. But I have not. Instead, I have returned (again) to my frustrating fixation on Threadfall charts. This is not my world. I did not create it. I should not care. BUT. Most of my writing is based on Pern. It’s a comfortable home where I feel like I know what’s going on. I know my characters. I care about them. And because I care, I want to write stories for them that make sense and are as real as possible. For me, that means that stuff that happens to them can’t always happen at convenient times. Their lives have to revolve around when Thread is going to fall. So, in order for me to understand how they feel, how tired they are, when they’re training, what the odds are of them getting hurt, or killed, I need to know when Thread is falling. In order for them to be able to go off and attend a gather or see a friend at another Weyr, I need to know when Thread is falling in StarRise’s territory, and in the other territory. I don’t like just making it up, because what if sometime later – or sometime before – someone’s written a story on the same date with conflicting information? Sure, chances are no one will notice. But someone could notice, and question, and I would know that the information was knowingly faulty simply because it was eas or convenient for me. And I need it to be right, because that’s the whole point. It’s fiction, but isn’t the goal of writing fiction to transplant you to another place, time, world, setting where you can envision these things happening? Where you can put yourself in the main characters place and feel/understand their motivations, emotions, goals, desires…? If that’s the case, then how can you comfortably just fudge one of the central facets of their life?

Perhaps it’s just me. Most people don’t seem to have a problem with this, and I envy them that. Perhaps there’s too much of the logical, by-the-book in me for the truly creative, imaginative person I want to be to have a chance. I remember when I was 15 or 16 and just starting to write. I knew how to do it for fun, then. How to just write for the writing. I have lost that ability, however, and now my writing is centered around questions like, “Could this really happen this way?” or “Does this make sense?” I once spent three hours researching coal mining methods online to write a paragraph…

So anyway. I’ve browsed online for years looking for Threadfall charts. I’ve found the ones that have been published in McCaffrey’s novels, but honestly – they’re not much help. As they are, they’re confusing. Conflicting information is found in the books. Don’t get me started on the whole idea of Thread, either – the voice in my head that’s long said, “That just doesn’t make sense!” has gotten a LOT louder since I took Astronomy 105 last semester. I’m taking Astronomy 106 this semester – I almost offered Mr. Moore the challenge of figuring out Thread for me. :-) So I decided that, to some extent, I was going to have to start from whole cloth. I took McCaffrey’s maps to determine the distance and angle covered by one Fall. I used the maps to determine the fact that Thread falls in bands: where one ‘Fall ended, another will begin, but not the NEXT ‘Fall. Other people, smarter in math than I!, determined that a new ‘Fall begins about 435 minutes after the beginning of the previous Fall. That’s 7 hours and 15 minutes. According to what I could determine on McCaffrey’s maps, Thread falls in two locations at the same time.

So, merging McCaffrey’s maps, math done by other, smarter Pern fans, and my own ‘this is the only way it can possibly work…’ assumptions, I created Threadfall maps that can be easily read and explained for the ENTIRE planet. Not only can I give dates, times, and locations for Threadfalls now – but also the duration of the ‘Falls.

And sadly, I think I’m about the only one who will use them without wanting to have the option of some creative license to fit a story plot. (Yes, I'm sort of quoting you, you-know-who :) But no one else knows who, so that's okay, right?) The idea upsets me (not the person who said it!) because usually stories are flexible on their dates. Why can’t story dates be changed to match the Threadfall that suits your purpose? Oh, you need a significant amount of time before ‘Falls? Thanks to polar regions, that happens on a regular basis – like every five weeks. However, I do realize that my fixation isn't everyone else's fixation and I can be out-voted one how stringently the Threadfall schedule is followed. Most people seem to think the schedule will be a headache to follow, and it really, truly, isn't. Just...look at an Excel worksheet, find the date, and it tells you when and where the Falls will be for that day.

I understand that this is fiction – and only fanfiction, at that – but I’ve always thought of fanfiction as a sort of training ground and practice arena for developing our writing skills for one day attempting to get published. I don’t see it as someplace where the writing doesn’t matter and you can just fudge your way through parts that you don’t want to bother with. That establishes bad habits. Even if you’re just there to play, don’t you want to play the best you can? Other people don’t feel that way, and I can understand it, on some level. And there are times when I don’t worry, or care, if a story has a plot. Honestly, plots are my weak points. I like the character interaction and the characters. If the character has something to say, then I’m not really concerned if there’s a plot to go with it. That’s one of the cool things about fanfic – you can write things like that. Books, you have to have a plot.

But anyway, that’s been my project of the week. :-) I have the first 5 months of turn 36 all scheduled out. I’ll have all of turn 36 done by the end of the weekend, I think. I’m happy with it and I’ll use it, but I think some people will be unhappy about suddenly having Threadfall charts to adhere to. But really – how many stories are written now that actually involve a Threadfall? Or take place outside StarRise’s territory? There’s a very good chance that most folk won’t even notice a change.

Although, sadly, I have now proven that there is absolutely no need for a Weyr in the Eastern Ring Islands. ::wince:: Oops.

Besides fixating (and appeasing!) my Threadfall fixation, I’ve been monitoring Murmur. It’s not so hard, during the week, keeping to a schedule and making sure he gets his shots around the same time every day. He’s also eating again. Since he got sick, I’ve cut both of them back to two cans of food a day – that’s half what they were used to. I noticed that Idiot only ate about 2/3 to 3/4 a can by himself. The vet said Murmur needed to lose 4 or 5 pounds (?? He’s a large boned cat and he doesn’t LOOK fat! Except for the neuter swag hanging from the belly…) and I figured since Idiot essentially looks the same, except being leaner and light-boned then I could safely reduce their food by half until Murmur’s appetite was back. Well, I fed them yesterday their half-can each before I went to class. They were begging and crying for me when I came home from class, about four hours later. I’m switching to the 13oz cans of food now, and will feed them one of those a day. That’s two more ounces of food than they get from two of those medium cans. We’ll see how they handle that. I may up it to 16.5 ounces a day and just feed them three times: morning, noon, and evening. Scott would have to help out with that, though, since I’m at work at noon. He won’t mind. :-)

I have several stories I need to get written for StarRise, by Monday. I’m usually much more on top of my writing than I am this deadline. I just haven’t seemed able to get the interest going. The month before and the month following a deadline is usually my most productive time, and that just hasn’t happened. I don’t know why, and it’s rather worrying me. Maybe it’s the getting-started that’s the problem. Or maybe is the issue 4 doldrums, when it starts becoming clear that, regardless of membership size, only a handful of people are writing, and not even all of them are reading the zine. What’s the point of doing the work and putting out the zine if only three or four people are going to bother even downloading it? How can I get our members more active, to want to write? How can I attract new members who will write? Would it be worth the effort? How will I find time to MAKE the effort? Is this even something I should worry about, or simply be happy for the handful who do write consistently?

Enough obsessing over Pern, StarRise, and fanfiction. :-) One would think I have no life outside of them. And I do! I have school. I have work. School is an obsession on its own. Lately I’ve been wondering why I bother, beyond the fact sheer stubbornness is keeping me going. There are several obstacles I have to overcome before I finally have my bachelors. One is Hellgebra. I honestly don’t know if I truly have a problem understanding it, or if it’s a mental block I’ve imposed on myself. I’ve dreaded and feared Hellgebra since 9th grade. But I also enjoy it – when I understand it. Unfortunately, it’s at those moments when I think I’ve got it, and I’m gleefully working the problem, that I usually find that I got the wrong answer. I have to pass it this semester, however – many of the classes I have left to take I can’t take until I pass Hellgebra, and then a couple of classes that also have to be taken after Hellgebra. The teacher, Mr. Evans, is a lively one, so that helps keep it interesting. He does more than simply write problem over problem on the board, too – he will stop and explain WHY something works the way it does. I like him.

Astronomy 106 will go well this semester, too! My new voice recorder works very well, and frees up my netbook so I can take notes. I’m familiar with Mr. Moore’s ways now, so I know what to expect. We started learning about the sun last week. This semester its Stellar Astronomy, which I’m really looking forward to. Last semester was Solar Astronomy, which apparently translated to “History of Astronomy where everything was wrong…” Tycho Brahe? I know how he died… Johann Kepler? I know his first occupation. Interesting stories.

Today is a beautiful day. I did have to scrape my windows this morning, but the sky was blue, the clouds were thin and pristine white, and the sun was bright. I’m wearing one of my new outfits to work – thank God for Ross: Dress for Less! Nice office clothes at very good prices!! Yes, I still have a lot of black in my wardrobe, but most of the outfits I bought have other colors in them. Today’s outfit has a tealish-blue jacket over a black calf-length dress with white and tealish-blue designs. Another outfit is a pink jacket with a black skirt with little pink flowers. For once, I’m happy with everything I bought to increase my wardrobe. Except the sizes, but I’m gearing up for South Beach Phase I to begin on February 1st. So those sizes should be dropping!

Hopefully. Even if my brother in law did laugh at me when I mentioned I would be starting South Beach…

And lunch was yummy. :) Cathryn and I went to Kobe's and had sushi rolls (three we've never had before - one was good, one was REALLY good, and one was good but HOT because of the wasabi in it!). The sushi chef gave us free cucumber salad, which was really, really good. And he let us sample seaweed salad, which was very interesting! And made us dessert: pineapple with whipped cream. VERY nice. :) I was 10 minutes late getting back to work, but it was oh-so-worth it!

And tonight...I'm going to break in my George Forman grill. Now, when it says to 'oil before first use' they mean with olive oil, right...?


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June 2012


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