Jumping from one subject to another...

Have you ever thought about time? How nothing seems to take the time you think it will take to accomplish?

When working with computers they always said that it would take the time you thought it would take times two and then some. This could probably be applied to everyday life also. Just think about the time you think it will take to cook dinner. There is no way, no how that it will take 40 mins to cook a stew. Unless you're a professional chef that is. For us mere mortals it will take no less than at least an hour. Probably more. I look at the preparation time specified in the recipe and add about half as much to get a fair estimate. The recipe makers are optimists. It's not only them though. Just about everyone is an optimist when it comes to time.

Like now when I have a slight problem with comp. I did not think it was that big of a deal, but it turned out to be harder to fix than I thought. And take a LOT more time of course. Apparently I have to wipe entire harddrive clean (don't ask me what the proper term is in computerish) and start over again. Yeah right... If this comp doesn't work properly soon either it or I will need professional help.

Another example is bookshelves. Since I love bookshelves this example comes naturally to me. Assembling a bookshelf will take about three times the time specified in the instructions if you do it for the first time. Nothing will work on the first try. This is just the way it is. I have now assembled and dissembled bookshelves so much I have no need for the instructions. I know them by heart. If it took me and a friend about 45 mins the first time I do it by myself in 15 mins now.

Another funny thing about cookbooks and recipes is that the finished dish or cake or cookie or whatever you're making never looks like the picture in the book. It just doesn't happen. I mean, I know that the food on the pic is cold (steam from hot food fogs up the lens of the camera) and styled and presented in flattering lighting. I know all this but I always get disappointed when the dish I made looks more like a bowl of dog food than the delicious meal presented in the picture. And no, the food does not look better cold. I tried that too. But it usually tastes good.

I have found one cookbook (with cake recipes) where the end result actually looks like the picture. I was truly amazed. Now, is that because I'm a great baker or is it because the recipe was simple enough and not styled up so much in the picture? In lack of evidence leaning one way or the other I will say I'm a great baker and take it as a compliment. :)

I wonder if I can trade a cake for some help with comp...


Nina (who really thought that writing this post would take longer than it really did)



A friend gave me this wonderful tool called freewriting. Thanks Heather! I got an e-mail about writing. It's a very good thing having friends who write who can give tips and hints on what to do and how to do it when writing gets tough.

I had trouble getting my short story for class completed on time (yes, second draft was handed in on time, just ask teacher). It felt like butting heads with a brick wall. You can't possibly win a head butting match with a brick wall unless you're a wrecking ball, so I figured I would try something I read in an e-mail about. Freewriting. I had tried it once before in another writing class but it didn't work for me back then so it doesn't count.

For those who doesn't know what it is, freewriting is when you start with a blank document in Word or whatever your pet word processing program might be or even a blank paper if you want to write by hand, but it seems a bit of a waste of paper to do it that way. One wants to be environmentally friendly and all that right?

I'm getting off the track here. Please don't do that to me. I have a hard time getting on the track from the start as it is.

Anyway, take that blank document or paper and just write anything on it. You can write "I don't know what to write" like 20 times if you like but keep writing! It's the feeling of fingers moving across keyboard, stroking keys or pen rasping across paper forming words that tricks the brain into action. That is my theory and I'm sticking to it. It works!! Lo and behold! It works! I had no idea how to deal with a short story halfway written. By the end of the freewriting I had filled two pages with text. None of it of much use to me, but it was there. I had written it. I had proved that I could write. I could even spell! And it only took about five or ten minutes. I learned several things during those minutes.

I do know how to write.
I do know how to spell.
I do know a thing or two about grammar.
I know how to assemble very long sentences that might or might not make sense in the end. (no news there...)
I do not know how to make proper paragraphs (still haven't learned that Heather despite years of... um... reminding... :) )
And last but not least... I learned that if I put the main storyline or plot into a list I do know where it will end and how to get there. The rest is just stuffing. Important stuffing, but still stuffing. Oh and that's where voice comes in. But that's another post.

Of course, I printed it with my last nine pages of paper, which reminds me that I have to go buy more paper for printer tomorrow, but I managed to forget it at home when it was due. Oh well, I guess I can't be perfect every day. :)

So I will end with this question. Why isn't freewriting taught in every writing class? In every school? At every level?

Ta Ta For Now!



E-assignment 2 - Dialogues

I had so much fun creating these dialogues. I hope you will enjoy reading them. I look forward to any and all comments. /Nina

1) Two office workers who know but dislike each other are trapped in a lift/an elevator with a sales representative who they've never met before but who they're both immediately attracted to. Help is on its way.

Office worker 1: (to sales rep) Hi there! I don’t think we have met before. My name is...
Office worker 2: (interrupts) You really think she will care what your name is?
OW1: (annoyed) Was I talking to you? Do I look like I want to talk to you?
Sales rep: Guys... I am...
OW2: I am so grateful you’re not talking to me! My brain is too valuable to be contaminated by people like you.
OW1: People like me? At least I don’t work at the mail department!
OW2: What’s wrong with the mail department? It’s honest work it is! Be careful what you say, remember I can make your mail take the scenic route through Hwongazulu for an entire month!
OW1: Ha! You ought to remember who’s handling your paycheck!
OW2: Like working as a salary administrator is such an accomplishment!
OW1: It sure beats the mail department by three floors!
OW2: If you bothered to actually do some math you’d see that I make more money than you.
OW1: And what do you spend them on? A fancy European car! You can’t even be bothered to buy an American car, can you? Un-American is what you are!
OW2: (happy that the subject of cars came up) Hey! Leave my Mercedes out of this.
OW2 to sales rep: Did I tell you I have a Mercedes? A very reliable German car...
OW1: A car that will pollute the environment! I drive a Ford Flexifuel. Etanol is the future!
OW2: Didn’t you know? Scientists now say that etanol will pollute the environment more than gasoline.
OW1 (defeated in the car department tries a new angle): So... I haven’t seen you in the gym lately. Getting lazy are we? (pokes OW2 in the gut). I benchpress 225 lbs, how much do you?
OW2: (slightly jealous of that amount tries a new tactic) I haven’t had time to go to the gym since I have been renovating my house and brushed up my Shakespeare in the evenings.
OW1: Shakespeare eh? Well, I read him ages ago. I moved on to heavier works.
OW2: And what could that possibly be? The TV-guide?
OW1: Machiavelli, Homer...

The elevator starts to move again. Sales rep sighs a breath of relief when her phone rings.

- Hi honey! I’m fine. I’ve been stuck in an elevator for 45 minutes with Superman and Spiderman. Could you pick up the Batmobile from the garage and get Batboy from day care while I meet Batgirl? I promised her a girls’ night out, you know, shopping, dinner and a movie. I suspect we’ll catch a chick flick of some sort. (sales rep glances at the now defeated office workers and decides to gloat a little) Oh and honey? Remember our date later... when the kids are asleep. You and me in the batcave...

2) Scenario: At the North Pole in Santa’s house. Santa wants to revise the travel plans for Christmas with head-reindeer Rudolph. Mrs Claus knows that Rudolph is on a hot date with lady reindeer, Vixen, and wishes that Santa does not know about it yet.

Santa: (somewhat annoyed) Where is Rudolph? He’s late for our meeting.
Mrs Claus: (evasive) I... I don’t know dear. Would you look at that! Your nice red coat is all wrinkly. I will have to iron it.
Santa: He knows the meeting was tonight. We need to finalize the plans for Christmas. I have figured out a new route! Maybe I should give him a call.Where did I put my glasses? I can never see the numbers on these tiny new cell phones. Soon I will need a magnifying glass just to make a simple phone call!
Mrs Claus: (stalling)They probably are right where you left them dear. Have you seen your good boots?
Santa: (confused by change of subject) What about them?
Mrs Claus: Well, have you polished them? Are they ready for Christmas? I will not have you running all over the world in dirty boots! What will people think of us?!
Santa: I don’t think anyone notices my boots dear. All they’re interested in are presents.
Mrs Claus: I care!
Santa: (even more confused) Why do you care about my boots?
Mrs Claus: (exasperated by hubby’s ignorance of fashion statements) Because all the elves’ wifes will laugh at me if I let you go out in dirty boots. Now go polish them.
Santa: (losing patience) I do not have time for this! I have a meeting with Rudolph. Where is he?! Do you think anything has happened to him?
Mrs Claus: (still stalling Santa) Drats! Now I burned my finger on the iron. Could you get me some ice?
Santa: (fetching ice) Are you avoiding my question?
Mrs Claus: (desperatly improvising) Um... well... your belt!! Where is it? I know it was a tad short last year, have you gotten a new one yet?
Santa: You do know where Rudolph is!

(Rudolph tumbles through the door, leaving snowy hoofprints all over Mrs Claus squeaky clean wooden floor.)

Santa: (relieved) Ah Rudolph! There you are! Welcome! Have you thought about the new plans?
Mrs Claus: (trying to save the situation) But let the poor reindeer take a breath and sit down before you pelt him with questions dear. It is so good to see you Rudolph. Is everything allright? Your nose is rather... bright tonight. Would you like something to drink?
Rudolph: (out of breath like he has been running) I am so sorry I am late Santa. It was not my intention. And yes, I really would like something to drink Mrs Claus.
Santa: So what kept you? Emergency?
Rudolph: (not knowing what to tell Santa) Would you look at the mess I dragged in! Please, Mrs Claus, let me help you clean it up.
Mrs Claus: You’re such a nice reindeer Rudolph! I’ll get you a mop.

(Mrs Claus leaves room to get a mop to clean up the now melted snow)

Santa: (notices for the first time) Is that tinsel I see in you antlers?
Rudolph: (squirming) Um...Santa? There is something I have to tell you... I know it is bad timing and all but Vixen and me... we’re... um... friends.
Santa: Friends?
Rudolph: Well, yes. More than friends really. We’ve been seeing each other in secret for a couple of months now. Hence the tinsel. We were on a date.
Santa: (amused) Really?
Rudolph: (anxious) This will of course not affect our work schedule. I will lead and light the way and Vixen will be paired with Prancer as usual.
Santa: (rubs his hands with glee) This was joyous knews indeed! I knew there was something fishy going on. I thought you might be in trouble or something. You’re never late for a meeting and Mrs Claus even burned her finger on the iron! Probably on purpose at that. She never burns her finger. She knew, didn’t she? And of course this will not affect our schedule. Dancer and Prancer manage to work well together don’t they?
Rudolph: (relieved at Santa’s blessing) Yes, I came to her for advice what to do about my feelings for Vixen. Mrs Claus is very good at this.
Santa: (beaming with pride) I know, she’s been playing matchmaker for the elves for several centuries now and the divorce rate is almost non-existent.
Rudolph: (suddenly apprehensive) Eh... right...
Santa: (mockingly stern)You are planning on making an honest reindeer of Vixen right?
Rudolph: Um...
Santa: (excited) I will perform the ceremony myself and give a speech!
Rudolph: (getting a bad feeling) About the plans for Christmas...
Santa: (getting more excited about the prospect of a Christmas wedding) Ah the plans, well we have new, more important plans to make now! We’ll take the same route as last year, it worked didn’t it? Now, would you like to have the reception here or in the great hall?

3) Scenario: For me to know and you to guess. :)

Abby: Hey let’s go in here! They have these new cool jeans I saw on tv. You know, the ones Britney is wearing.
Jenny: Cool! I want those!
Caitlyn: Like you’re ever going to look like Britney.
Jenny: Like yuck! Who would want to look like her? She is so out.
Abby: At least she gets headlines. And those jeans are hot.
Caitlyn: (giggles) Speaking of hot... look who’s over there...
Abby: Quick! In here!
Jenny: Ouch! You hurt my arm!
Abby: It’s Alex! He can’t see us here! I look like a mess.
Caitlin: Nah, you look good.
Jenny: Yeah. Go talk to him.
Abby: (giggles) I can’t do that!
Caitlyn: Why not? Sooner or later you need to talk to him you know.
Abby: But I want him to hit on me. You know, take the initiative. I want to know if he likes me.
Jenny: All you gotta do is ask.
Caitlyn: Hey! Take a look at this!
Jenny: You can’t go in something like that! You’ll look like a nun.
Caitlyn: Hmm maybe you’re right. I need something with a tad higher slut-factor.
Jenny: (applies lip gloss) Not too much though. You don’t want Mark to think you’re easy.
Caitlyn: (looks around) Where did Abby disappear to?
Abby: Still here. That b**ch Michelle talked to Alex.
Jenny: Oh no!
Abby: (shows picture she took with cell phone camera of Michelle and Alex talking)
I’m gonna rip her ogling eyes out! Look here!
Caitlyn: Oh my god! What is she wearing?!
Jenny: You gotta be kidding me! Wearing something like that? She looks like she came straight from the funny farm!
Abby: I know! And still she managed to talk to him! What am I doing wrong?
Caitlyn: (arches eyebrow) Hiding maybe?
Abby: (wails) I am not pretty enough! And he is attracted to ugly girls! I have no reason to live anymore. (crumbles onto floor sobbing)
Jenny: Hey, come on. There’s gotta be something in here you can impress him with on Sat. Let’s go find the perfect outfit for you.
Caitlyn: Yeah, let’s go wear that VISA-card out!
Jenny: Speaking of VISA-cards... In home economics Mrs Baker said we needed to make a budget for a month. (rolls eyes)
Caitlyn: Yeah right... Like that would ever happen.
Jenny: Teachers are so lame. Except for Mr Hackberry. He’s nice. And cute.
Abby: You got the hots for the math teacher? He’s like a gazillion years old!
Jenny: Nah only like 30 or so.
Caitlyn: That’s gross!
Jenny: (blushes) I just think he’s cute! That’s all!
Abby: What about Sean then? He’s been ogling you for like a month now! You think he’s coming to the party on Saturday? Oh look! I found the perfect dress!
Caitlyn: That is so cool! I want one of those!
Abby: I saw it first! You can’t wear the same outfit as me! That’s so kindergarten!
Jenny: How about you flip a coin for it? Or get different colors?
Abby + Caitlin in unison: Deal!
Caitlyn: All we have to do now is find something for Jenny to wear. Oh and shoes of course. Can't get a dress without matching shoes.


Happy Birthday to Me!

Yay! It is my birthday! Or rather, it was, it ended half an hour ago. Well, some parts of the world still have hours left on the day so I'll just keep celebrating until I fall soundly asleep. :)

I had such a nice day today. I woke up, went to store to pick up puréed carrots in the baby food isle. No, I do not have a baby. Yet. I do however have a recipe for carrot cake that requires puréed carrots so I had to get some baby food. I did not know that the baby food jars are so small. I had to buy two of them. Good thing they're not that expensive. At least not to me since I do not buy them every day. I guess that parents to small children might think they are a tad heavily priced.

Anyway, I made carrot cake. It was good. I will save that recipe for another day. Did you know that if you don't eat something for a long time it will taste that much better when you know you're getting a limited amount of it? It's true! Imagine you're eating chocolate every day. After a couple of days it is not as good as it was the first day, but if you're restricting your intake of chocolate the amount you do eat will taste better than if you ate it every day with not limitations. Oh and I know, lots of fancy words there. Sorry. It was scientist-Nina who came out to play with vocabulary. :)

I got seriously cool stuff from Mom. Five books, an iron pot to make casseroles in and some way cool craft stuff. A corner punch and a border punch. Now I can make fancy corners and borders on my cards. Yay! Now, if watching too much tv makes your eyes square, what does too much reading do to them?

So if anyone needs me I will be in one of my new books with a "do not disturb"-toe tag. :)

Pizza for dinner and more carrot cake for dessert. I think I used up all the WW-points I have for an entire month. Ah well, I only have b-day once a year. I'll make it up to body next week. Lots of spinach and broccoli. Broccoli is a very nice veggie. I like it and it is very healthy. Lots of vitamins and anti-oxidants and whatnots that are good for body. I do like spinach also. It makes me strong like Popeye. I read it somewhere. It is scientifically proved that it will increase the... uh...something in the muscles making body stronger. Not certain what amount it will take to make body stronger though so it is best to eat lots of spinach.

Ah back to writing short story and reading all my books. Does excessive reading count as a valid excuse for not having a first draft finished on Thursday? :)

Ta ta for now!



Stupidity of the Week

My friends, you all know how I feel about stupidity of any kind. It has to be fought high and low and in any way possible.

This week it was a particular stupidity that stood out from the crowd of ordinary stupidities I come across every day. It was a woman (or so I think considering it was in a women's magazine and the letter was signed "hostess") who figured that "it is impossible to invite someone for something to eat now when I have to consider allergies and other dietary preferences (vegans, weightwatchers, vegetarians and so on)". And lo and behold, her guests had the audacity to tell her what they did or did not prefer to eat. The horror!! Idiotic, intolerant idiocy! That is what it is.

What's wrong with you woman!? Of course they need to tell you!! People can die from eating the wrong food stupid! I know! I have been there! I do know how it feels like to not be able to draw a proper breath. Apparently this woman hasn't. Sigh. I am truly grateful that I never had a dinner invitation from this woman. It will be very empty around her table if she kills off all her guests...

I can not speak for vegans, vegetarians or people with dietary preferences out of religious beliefs, but I can tell you as a weightwatcher that when I dine with friends, at their homes, I am not that picky. I am blessed with friends who think my welfare is important hand have the good manners to ask me if there is something I can't eat or something that I simply want to avoid at this time. Most are curious about the program and want to learn more. I am not on a strict diet of any sort, I am weightwatching and eating healthy is not going to kill anyone.

Come to think of it, isn't that the very purpose of inviting friends over for dinner? To make guests feel welcome and taken care of so that everyone has a good time? Besides, it isn't that hard to cook for a weightwatcher or a muslim or a vegan. It just requires a bit of thinking. Perhaps that is the problem for this woman, lack of brains. Of all the stupid things I have heard and read this week, this was the worst.

I am getting off that soapbox now before I rant and rave myself to a stroke.

Ta ta for now!