Thursday, October 31, 2013

BLOGWriMo - Halloween

Hello out there, wide world! It is midnight on November 1st, and as I have resolved to attempted to write 50K words this month on my blog (see my previous post - I'm altering NaNoWriMo to fit my own purposes), which is about 1.6K words per day. Yep, I have essentially resolved to write a college length essay every day. What's wrong with me?! Well, it's not really an essay, it's more like me going on and on about whatever pops into my head, and it's not exactly fiction because it's based on my life and it won't exactly have a plot because my life is, well, boring.

At this point, my friends are probably laughing at me in their heads, trying to tell me my life is not boring, etc. Well, they are just plain wrong, because my life is flat out boring. It's the midnight after Halloween night, and what did I do? No candy. No parties. Just been chilling in my apartment, doing my grading. Now, I did wear a costume all day today, and participated in the IV costume contest, but really, Halloween doesn't get me all excited. Wil Wheaton on "not the flog" described Halloween as "Goth Christmas" which made me laugh but doesn't really describe me.

In my family, we never dressed up for Halloween. I've never been trick-or-treating, and the only time I remember dressing up was ten years ago for our church harvest festival, the very first time we ever went (my whole family went as the letters of our last name, but that was before my three youngest sisters were born, so we all fit). I don't think I dressed up much in high school either - I remember being Elasti-girl in high school, but I think that was for spirit week (which I participated in every single year - I love school spirit). I also remember going to a party my youth group put on, and I dressed in my Dad's Julius Caesar costume from my middle school History Feast (I also used that for senior toga day in high school). In college though, I've done something for Halloween every year. I was a bat my freshman year (which took a LOT of explaining because I had black fairy wings and just ended up looking like an evil pixie), Flo the Progressive Girl my sophomore year (which was by far my most successful costume), and "corrected" computer engineer Barbie my junior year (confession - I didn't really wear a costume my junior year, but my classmate remarked I could pretend to be computer engineer Barbie because I was wearing pink glasses, a white turtleneck and pink sweater, similar to Barbie, and I liked it so much that I used it, then explaining I was "corrected" because I don't have crazy body proportions).

This year I dressed as a Sky Blue crayon. I created the Crayola label from duct tape, wore a blue pajama top and matching sweatpants, and then created a little pointy hat out of an actual hat (just in the wrong color) and a tank top in the right shade of blue, tied in such a way as to create a point. Once people understood what I was, they thought I was original and creative, but explaining it took too long, so overall it was probably a B level costume. The other problem with it was that the duct tape label peeled away from the cloth when I walked - you have failed me, Duct Tape!

But today, we were talking during our staff meeting, and Mark pointed out that he doesn't actually like Halloween,. And when I think about it, neither do I all that much. I like costumes, but not usually on Halloween - my favorite costumes have been when I dress up for Murder Mysteries - I've participated in two. I like carving pumpkins, but not because I particularly like Jack-O-Lanterns (they get gross and moldy too quickly). I love the smell of pumpkins though, and toasting the seeds from inside carved pumpkins (something I didn't start doing until high school and have since absolutely loved). I also love apples. Apple cider, Apple butter, baked apples - they're so yummy. And this year I made an apple pie COMPLETELY from scratch, with some help from my good friend Christina. It was SO yummy.

OK well that is an hour I've been sitting here going on and on about Halloween and I have ~700 words. I did some personal journal-writing for today as well so I'll total up those words and let you know! My guess is that I'm going to need to write another post to get to the word total I need for today, so I'll see what I can come up with and write again. :)

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

NaNoWriMo and actually keeping a blog

So, if you are not familiar with the concept of NaNoWriMo, it stands for National Novel Writing Month. In the month of November, a bunch of people challenge themselves to write a 50,000 word novel in a month. I've attempted it twice and not gotten beyond 1000 words either time, but I know friends of mine have successfully written some novels, so it is possible. Although, my friends generally try to accomplish as many writing challenges in a month as possible so it's a little bit of cheating when they finish because their novels don't always make sense.

Anyways. OK so what does that have to do with actually keeping a blog? Well, I have a lot of friends who have started blogging and have, for one reason or another, given up on their blogs, but I've managed to keep a semi-consistent blog for a little more than six years (my first post was 6/16/08). I'm sure there are more than 50,000 words on this blog, since my average words per post is 350. Each week for The Retriever Weekly, I manage to knock out 500 word articles in about an hour or two (with a little bit of research). If I break the NaNoWriMo words into TRW sized bits, it's 100 articles. OK, so that's kind of a lot. It's approximately three articles per day. So about 3 hours of writing. Which is a little tough.

But, if you take those three hours of writing each day and convert it to a week, you get 21 hours. I watch a fair bit of shows on television, so let's add up the time I spend watching TV (and Youtube):
- Castle: 1 hour
- Elementary: 1 hour
- The Chew: daily, one hour each = 7 hours
- Dancing with the Stars: 2 hours
- Good Mythical Morning - 10 min daily = 1 hour
- Geek and Sundry Tabletop/CoOptitude, 30 min each = 1 hour
- Various other YouTube shows: 1 hour
- MasterChef Junior: 1 hour
- Chopped/Chopped After Hours: ~1 hour
- Glee: 1 hour
- The Amazing Race: 1 hour

Total: 18 hours

Then I also listen to Adventures in Odyssey, EarBiscuits, Sword and Laser podcasts each week, which makes up for those remaining three hours. Now, granted, I usually turn on my television shows while making dinner/running laundry/doing other mundane chores, OR I watch the shows as a social activity with friends of mine, so I couldn't really be writing on my blog while doing that, but my point is, I could find that time each week if I wanted.

Also, one of my new years resolutions was to blog once a week and to keep a personal journal daily. The idea behind those resolutions was to keep myself writing and to keep my relationship with God strong (because that's what I use my journal for). Neither one of those resolutions has held up (and you can check back on the blog in January for my yearly review/list of new resolutions for the rest of my resolutions), but I'm trying to make sure I at least get the intent of the resolutions, which was writing and processing my life.

Recently, I was told that I should "savor every moment" of my senior year because I might not ever see some of the people from college after graduation, and part of that is why I'm trying to process and record memories more.

All that to say - my plan for NaNoWriMo this year is to blog, every day, with the goal of getting to 50,000 words of personal reflection by the end of the month. Some posts I might decide to make private, and if that happens I'll post here letting you all know I wrote privately. If I don't, please call me out! :)

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

What's it mean to be an extrovert?

My Intervarsity staff worker (and good friend) posted the above on her blog a bit ago (and if you have time, her blog is a good one to subscribe to - her thoughts are more formalized than mine and she always succeeds in making me think).

Anyways. To add some of my own thoughts to what she wrote. I always describe myself as an extrovert raised by introverts (I wrote about it back in March 2012). I don't particularly enjoy parties or crowds, but as I've been dating, I've realized more and more how actually extroverted I really am. When we talk, I constantly ask, "OK, what do you wanna talk about next?" or "Tell me what you're thinking?" or "Ask me a question!" or "Tell me a story!". For my introverted boyfriend, that's a little tough. He asked me if it's because I'm uncomfortable with silence - no, I'm not uncomfortable with it, it's just that talking to you, for me, indicates how much I'm enjoying spending time with you.

Also, I find the implications that only introverts read and only introverts can be nerds to be a little disconcerting. I LOVE to read, and I am definitely nerdy. If only introverts read/are nerdy, why are their social groups like the "Nerdfighters"? And this is what frustrates me about the Meyers-Briggs test (or at least the version I've taken). It requires things be a binary value - either you are this or you are not this.

Recently I also took the Strengths Finders test, which was very interesting. My results were Learner, Input, Intellection, Discipline and Responsibility. So I'm a little one-sided in my strengths - but notice how none of the "traditionally extroverted" strengths are in my list? ("traditionally extroverted" strengths are WOO,  Competitiveness, Includer, etc.)

Like any stereotype, there's some truth to the I/E dichotomy. But like any other stereotype, they can also be hurtful and offensive to someone if you're not careful.