Worldbuilding

So I’m working on the background of a novel right now. I think I’ll probably try to work on this novel for Nanowrimo, but I don’t think I’ll actually get 50K this year, simply because of time constraints and the whole being in grad school thing. We’ll see.

At the moment, I’m working on worldbuilding. This is something that I have never actually focused on before. I always have an idea of the world in my head, but I’ve never actually  done a serious attempt at writing it all down and making histories for everyone and everything. This time, I’m going to do that. I want everyone to be believable.

First of all, I’m writing character bios for all of my characters. Well, at least the major ones. I want each character to have a history, because that will help me figure out how the characters will act and speak in certain situations (theorhetically). So far, I’ve written up the history for one of the characters. I may post these up on my blog eventually.

Also, if some characters have a backstory for how they met, I’m going to write up those scenes, even if they’re not in the novel.

And then I’m mapping out the world. So far I have a very very very basic idea of what the globe looks like, and I’m drawing a map of the main city. Like I said, serious worldbuilding here. When I’ve finished this map, I’m going to map out the continents (very basically) and figure out distances/travel times between places. At least this way I’ll have a standard.

And then I want to create basic histories for the different countries, so that I know how they interact, and what has happened in their past so that I know how the countries function and what their laws are like.

This is going to be crazy. And kinda fun. And drawing maps takes FOREVER.

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Published in: on September 29, 2011 at 2:29 pm  Comments (2)  

Failure is Imminent

So I have an exam on Tuesday. And I am going to fail it. And this isn’t just me being all whiney and complaining and then getting an A on the exam. No. I am seriously going to fail this thing.

I pay attention in class. Well, as best as I can. I do try, seriously, I do. I take notes. They may not be the best notes, but I can’t help it if he talks so fast that I forget part of the sentence I’m trying to write down because I’m trying to pay attention to the next sentence. I am trying as hard as I can to pay attention in that class. I do the readings, I take notes. I don’t know what else to do.

As a side note, there is a cat sitting on my computer right now. Thankfully she’s not on the actual keys, but I can’t really see very well since she’s all up in my face like PET ME NOW. It’s so cute. She’s not even my cat.

Anyway, I’m trying to study for this exam. Our professor told us what the format would be like: we need to know all the different ideas and theories, who came up with them, what book or article they appear in, and what year that book or article came out. And we’ve got like 50 readings on our reading list that he thinks we should know. We don’t have a theory list, so I’m trying to just read through my notes and find something that might be on the test. I’ve got at least 30, and I’m sure I’m missing some. I still need to go back through, actually figure out what all the terms mean so that I can define them on the exam, figure out who said what and when, and then just memorize it all. By Tuesday.

So far, I have learned two things from the readings for this class, one thing from a party that was apparently said in class and I missed it, and one thing from the actual class.

1. (reading) Franz Boas had scars on his face from a duel (he was sleeping with a married man’s wife), but he liked to say he was attacked by a polar bear.

2. (reading) Alfred Kroeber is Ursula K. LeGuinn’s father.

3. (party) My professor once had to fly back into the country on a drug plane with a suitcase full of cash.

4. (In class) My professor works in the Amazon.

Clearly, I am not going to do well on this exam. I have been studying for like 8 hours now, and I haven’t learned anything more. I am going to fail.

Oh yes, and I forgot: I also have to write two essays sometime this weekend as a part of the exam.

Published in: on September 24, 2011 at 11:53 pm  Comments (6)  

Oh. Yay. Party.

I am not a big party person. In fact, I really kinda hate socializing. It’s exhausting and boring and I don’t understand how people can do it. Things like going to a restaurant and meeting people: I’ll do it, but I get really anxious and fidgety once I’m done eating, and I can’t wait until we leave.

One of my roommates, A, keeps trying to get me to go out with her on the weekends. And I always say no. But then last night, she said that she was going to Chili’s for dessert, and asked if I wanted to come. I said sure. And then as we’re in the car driving there, she tells me that we’re going to a bar afterwards. Tricksy little hobbitses.

I didn’t mind hanging out at Chili’s and chatting, but that was mostly because they have these little computer things at each table so you can order food and pay at the table, but they also have games on them, so I was playing with that the whole time. I was still listening to the conversation, and even joined in sometimes, I just needed something else to do. Chatting is a muli-tasking type of activity. Or a procrastination type of activity. Not just a sit down at a table and talk for an hour type of activity.

The bar was awful, too, for the same reason. Sitting around and talking? So not my thing. The addition of one Smirnoff Ice did not suddenly make it appealing.

Tonight, there’s a big party, hosted by all the older grad students, for the first-year grad students. And I basically have to go. And it’s going to be awful. I have so many other things that I could be doing instead, like readings and preparing a presentation. And I would much rather be doing my homework than going to the party. I’ll probably try to drive myself, so that I can leave whenever, but I’m sure I’ll be expected to stay for a while.

Why is socializing such a big part of life? I mean, I don’t want to be a hermit, but I’ve got two roommates, I can just hang out with them. That’s enough for me. Any more than that and I get stressed. Seriously. It’s exhausting. (Family doesn’t count, I’m used to that.)

I also don’t mind if I’m at a party with someone else. If there’s someone else there and we’re just hanging out together, I can survive. But once they leave me to deal with the rest of the people, I’m done and want to go home.

I don’t like people. Can I just stay at home with my cat?

UPDATE: Fortunately, I was able to socialize and enjoy myself and have fun at the party for 4 hours! Unfortunately, we stayed at the party for 6 hours.

Published in: on September 17, 2011 at 2:32 pm  Leave a Comment  

Kitty diet is working!

So Haley has been on a diet ever since I moved, and while she is NOT happy about it, it is clearly working! Over the summer she had been eating all the time (and I do mean all the time), and she had gained a lot of weight. Now, she’s losing it! Yay! Hopefully she will someday get down to be a skinny kitty again!

Chubbawubba over the summer...Not so chubbawubba now!

I only wish that I had a scale, and then I’d be able to see how much weight she actually lost!!

Not so chubbawubba now!

Published in: on September 11, 2011 at 7:20 pm  Comments (1)  

Decisions, decisions

So, I have a bit of a decision to make. Well, I say a bit, but really it’s kinda big. And important. And I’m not sure what to do. So I need some advice. I figure if I just go through the pros and the cons, Myriad will ignore them all and tell me to come visit her. Why? Well, let me explain.

This November, in Madison, WI, will be the second annual TESLACON!! Super exciting, yes I know! Another lovely wonderful steampunk convention. This one is “set” aboard a submarine, and so I think everything is underwater themed. Last year was on an airship, and next year is Steampunk on the Moon!!! Whoo! The convention will be November 18-20, and I’m still trying to figure out whether or not I should go.

So here are the details:

The event is Friday-Saturday-Sunday. There is no schedule online yet, so I have no way of knowing when any of the events are. Now, I’m a bit of a ways from Madison, but I can take a bus/train combo there. IF IF I decide to go, I would need to figure out what days I want to be there. Either I can skip work on Friday and head out on Friday, meaning that I would get there in time to do things on Friday evening (possibly) and then be able to be there first thing Saturday morning, or I can skip a class on Thursday and work on Friday, head out on Thursday afternoon, get in around midnight, and be at the con Friday morning. Or afternoon. Whenever I manage to get out of bed.

Then I would have to decide when to leave. If I leave on Sunday, I could be back Sunday night (I think, I don’t really remember what time the trains/busses leave). But, I would probably have to miss most of the events on Sunday in order to catch the bus. Or I could skip work on Monday, and just come back on Monday.

I should point out that when I say “skip work” what I really mean is “squeeze all my hours from that day into another day or two so that I still get 20 hours a week.”

So, if I decide to go, do I want to be able to be there all day Friday or just the evening? Sunday, or just Sunday morning?

And then, of course, I need to figure out whether I actually want to go.

Pros:
1. I can see Myriad.
2. Steampunk convention!! Whoo!!
3. …I can see Myriad?

Cons:
1. Depending on the day I arrive/leave, I would have to miss work/class. (But I can reschedule my work and I hate that class anyway, so I guess this point is moot.)
2. It would cost me money.
3. It would cost me time when I should probably be doing homework and stuff like that.

The money thing is kinda important. First off, I’d have to pay for transportation to and from the convention. I’m too lazy to look it up right now, but it’s a lot. Then, I could either volunteer for 10 hours and get in free, OR I could pay another $50 to register for the event. I’m not sure if I would want to volunteer. Then there’s food and stuff while I’m at the convention, and there will be vendors, so of course I’d want to go shopping … Now, I’m kinda hoping that if I were to stay in Madison I could stay with Myriad … but I would then need transportation of some kind to and from the convention itself. Unless of course Myriad also wanted to go to the convention. Want to go to a convention, Myriad?

I don’t know if I really want to go. Since there is almost nothing on their website in the way of scheduling, I can’t really tell whether there would be events that I’m interested in. So it might be awesome. It might suck. I have no way of knowing.

What should I do?

Published in: on September 7, 2011 at 10:20 pm  Comments (3)  

Steampunk Music

So, I have a playlist of what I call “Steampunk Music”. Now, not all of it is actually steampunk. In fact, some of it I am sure is not at all related, but I like it, and I think it fits in the genre, so who cares. So, I decided to share some of my favorite steampunk songs!

First off, of course, is Abney Park. They were the first steampunk band I had ever heard of, and they are awesome. By far their best song is Airship Pirate (which Myriad says makes her feel badass. It does have a nice beat to it). The video is cool, too, because they do have steampunk outfits and props, so they’ve got the whole persona down.

The next one (in no particular order) is The Cog is Dead. These guys go all-out steampunk. Their songs are all on steampunk topics, as though they really were about a steampunk world. Each song is a different genre, too, so they’ve got a nice mixture to appeal to everyone. One of the best is Death of the Cog (no vid, just the song):

But my personal favorite has to be I Want Only You. It’s so cute! (Also no vid tho)

Another Steampunk persona is Professor Elemental. He does steampunk raps, and does rap battles with his nemesis, Mr. B. One of his raps, Fighting Trousers, is hilarious and really ridiculously awesome. My sister sent it to me a while back, right before I made my epic cross-half-the-country roadtrip of DOOOM, and we immediately downloaded it and added it to the car playlist.

Now, some bands don’t have steampunk personas, but still like to have fun and make a steampunk video. Like Panic! At the Disco, and their video for Ballad of Mona Lisa. They got some help from the League of Steam, who have a cameo in the video, which is also super cool.

I also managed to find a video by Alex the Kid, called Future. I’m not sure if he has a steampunk persona, but this video is steampunk, and the song is pretty catchy. EDIT: He posted this comment on his own video: “Hi, just thought we’d make a note: we are not a steampunk band, and this is not steampunk music, we just like steampunk so thought we would make a video inspired my its visual wonders… ” Also, Professor Elemental’s director commented on them, complimenting their vid.

In my playlist, I also have the song Brother by Murder By Death. I’m not sure where I found it, or when, but it’s cool.

And then of course, there’s my favorite: Jeffrey Straker. Now, he’s not really super steampunk, but I first found out about him on the website for the Steampunk World’s Fair, so that’s why he gets included. And he wears smexy vests and hats. And his music is freaking awesome. (Still haven’t caved in and bought his first CD. There’s no preview online that I could find!) Anyway, the first song that I heard, which is super catchy and upbeat and awesome, is Hypnotized:

Also, from his new CD, Brand New Ocean. Right as I was pulling into my new house for the first time when I drove out here for grad school, this song  came on my ipod, and it was the perfect metaphor. Totally awesome.

And finally, one last video, that has nothing to do with steampunk or music or anything: Cats With Thumbs (you know you wanna watch it! It’s short, I promise)

Published in: on September 1, 2011 at 12:03 pm  Comments (1)