Saturday, November 24, 2007

Post-Thanksgiving Stuff

So, a late happy Thanksgiving to everyone - didn't get a chance to update over the holiday, because I was at home, and my computer was being monopolized by my brothers.

This is going to be a very, very big week for me. Shooting the thesis, flying to London, and writing my finals (both essays) overseas and finding someone to print them out and bring them to class. Fun, fun. I should mention that glitch in my next prod blog.

I have three more of those to do (the contract was for ten blogs), and am trying to figure out how I want to angle them. What's the most interesting and strategic? My editor is pushing for one on the budget, which will be easy, and fairly interesting. I'm open to suggestions.

Here's the latest -

Production Blog 7

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Thanksgiving Horror

Last night I got two holidays worth of experience in one go. On the first end, I had a lovely evening at a friend's place doing the Thanksgiving thing with my surrogate family with turkey burgers and a movie.

When I got home, at roughly 1:30am, ready to cuddle into bed and wait for tomorrow, I unpacked my laptop and went to plug it in, only to see a MASSIVE EFFING ROACH right on the outlet. This sucker looks like it's been living under a tree for three hundred years, I mean, it's like a football, and roaches are my irrational fear, no question, the thing I'm most afraid of.

So I back up, you know, survival instinct, and it crawls after me. It can ... well, not smell fear, because I'm pretty sure it doesn't have a nose, because it's a roach and it's effin gross, but it want's to mess with me, that's apparent, so I start throwing shoes at it. I throw the ballet flats, I throw the tattered exercise tennis shoes, I throw a zip up boot, but this guy is elusive, and doesn't get hit.

He decides to punish me by crawling into my bed.

Not. Okay.

So, eventually there's the final battle involving me, my sheets, and my left foot's chuck martin sneaker. Ew.

By this point, it's probably around two in the morning, but my roommate's television is on, and her boyfriend's car is in the yard. It's an emergency, so after some knocking and pleading, Joe, my roommate's boyfriend, does the hero thing and gets the roach. He then retreats back to bed.

Immediately, the sheets are ripped off, the washing machine is fired up, and some Xanex are consumed.

Shaking and slightly hysterical, I grab an Evanovich novel and pull up an online tetris page, waiting for the pills to kick in and the washing machine to wrap up.


So, I'm walking into the kitchen to move my sheets into the dryer, and I frighten one of the mice living in the house. It panics, and runs right onto one of those sticky traps and does not get stuck. It doesn't get stuck, but it heads for the fridge, and I know what's about to happen.

I'm already running back toward my room when there's a giant snap, and the mouse starts making horrible screeching noises. Then I start making horrible screeching noises, and force Joe to come out of my roommate's room again, but by that time, the mouse, injured and pissed off, has already retreated.

So much for Xanex.

Once again, shaking uncontrollably, I put the sheets in the dryer and come back into my room, attempting to play Tetris, but really fairly certain I'll never sleep again. At one point the mouse in question ran into my room, and I hid by leaning back so I didn't have to see it jump into the hole in my wall where the cable outlet used to be.

Eventually, I slept, but not well. Someone want to explain to me why all of this needed to happen in the same night?

Sunday, November 18, 2007

My Favorite Blogs

I wouldn't have started blogging if not for being inspired by some of my regular stops on the Internet Superhighway. Enjoy three of my favorite haunts, all very different, but equally entertaining.

Deborah Ng's Freelance Writing Job Board - I stop by this website at a frequency second only to my email account. Actually, I occasionally stop here before I even check my email to see what's up for grabs. It's become such a habit, that the weekends, when Deb and her assistant Jodee take a break, are torture.

Television Reviews by Billie Doux - Bille has a smart and entertaining way of reviewing television that's great to go check out after watching a good episode of one of her shows. She also has discussion groups for shows that are currently airing. I'm a big fan of her Alias, Lost, Heroes, and Six Feet Under posts.

Libba Bray's LiveJournal - Most of you probably aren't familiar with Libba. She's the author of a Young Adult gothic trilogy that starts with A Great and Terrible Beauty, and will release its final installment in December.
Her posts are funny and versatile, often relating to her life as an author and as a mom. When she does blog about her work, she gives her readers delectable tidbits to chew on - like the "deleted scenes" she has up right now.

So, these guys are my inspiration. I'd love to know if any of you have blogs you check regularly. Aside from mine, of course.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Where are my Articles?

I'll admit it - patience has never been my strongest suit. It's kind of frustrating to turn in an article and still not see it published two months later (less frustrating when they pay up front, but all the same). I should get used to the sluggish turnaround timeframe of the publishing world, but again, me and patience have never much hit it off.

I think that's why I like blogging so much. I spend less than an hour perfecting the post/article, and suddenly, there it is, in print. I guess this is missing the perk of a proofread from a copywriter and ideal placement, though. And it pays (waaaay) less. Anyway, more daily blogs from WeightReductionCoach and slightly less frequent posts to CruiseShipsSite simply because it's way harder to find material about cruises.

Seriously, if anyone can find me a newsletter or something on up-to-date cruise ship news and advice, I will make you some cookies. Google can't find anything useful, so I've been making things up, and then researching them in hopes that I'll find out the topic exists. I'm going to talk about passports next. I'm sure the readers will be lining up for that one.

I also think I should find a way to write an article about how impossible it is to get rid of mice in the household. There's no sort of spray or noisemaker that drives them out without driving you crazy. Seriously, I wish I could take video footage of our Orkin guy. He just sort of stands there and says, "Yep, they'll hit the traps eventually."

It's. been. four. months.

So, I'll have to detective around for both mice ridding methods and a place to talk about them. Kind of wish they were uglier, and then I'd feel less guilty about wanting them dead/out.

Okay, I've got to go write my production blogs for this week. I'm going to try really hard not to use the word "uneventful."

Comments on cruises and mice, please.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Quicker update - and a whale

I have no call for an image, but I thought it might cheer the blog (and me) up a little. Still dealing with student loan hooplah. Some new articles below -

Production Blog 6
How to Theme your Weblog
How to Keep up with the Indie Scene

Also, check out the weight loss posting that got me a gig at the editor's other blog

To Detox of Not? - weight loss article - new blog I'm on. May be a bit more challenging to come up with material for this one

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Quick update

I've been neglecting my planner as of late. I am addicted to lists. If I don't make them, I don't get anything done.

This, by no means, means I'm addicted to order and margins. Anyone who knows me personally can tell you that, but I have some sort of tick where if I don't plan it to the last detail, I can't rest or accomplish things with the attention they deserve. So I'm about to go have some personal time with my planner to get things in order for the next couple of weeks, which are going to be hectic.

I have, for you fine readers, a new weight loss blog I'm contributing to. You'll notice the photo of me is old, but I have nothing more recent that isn't a profile or obstructed by someone else's face/hand, or horribly unflattering. Maybe I'll get something new taken this holiday season and update.

I also have a new film production blog up - there should be two, but I guess boxoffice is stilting the publications to keep people on edge. I'm okay with that.

Enjoy - and I officially give you all permission to start leaving comments. Please.

Weight Reduction Coach Blog (be sure to scroll down here - I make at least a post a day).

Production Blog 5

Monday, November 12, 2007

Picking and Choosing

First of all, no new articles today - as though any of you rabidly scroll to the bottom of posts to find my new material. I can dream.

So, quick update: I think my student loan is out of loan limbo, however, for some reason, they say unless I pay them thirty bucks to "overnight" it, it'll take a week to get here. No, thanks. Can't they just take the thirty bucks out of the loan? No, nothing doing. I'll figure that out. There's also the issue of the check being made out to both me (yay!) and my cosigner (three hours a-way!). I'll figure that out, too. I'm a problem solver; just give me time.

I just wanted to say a quick word about turning away distasteful material. This past week, in my neverending search for gigs (it's become like an addiction, really), I was offered a job doing advertising for a very clear pyramid scheme. I mean, these people sent me to their "promotional video" aka "powerpoint slideshow to Eye of the Tiger on youtube" and at one point, they actually draw a pyramid for the viewer out of little blindfolded men. How dense can you get?

Well, apparently the pyramid scam has ruined many a life, and I didn't want to sully my karmic waters by writing a weeks' worth of really good promotions for the "Club" that offered me the position, even for $60, which I need.

Was this wise? I'm going to go ahead and say, for me, it's okay. I've got a big ole hunka loan on the way, and I'm not a fulltime freelancer yet, so I might as well only take jobs I enjoy right now.

And where I might enjoy the job I saw on Miami Craigslist (I'm not making this up) where a man was seeking to stock up his library of emails to send to beautiful women in internet dating sites - I might actually have to link this job, the guy is asking for it - anyway, where I might enjoy it, I find it morally gray.

I've read over and over again that you've really established yourself as a freelance writer once you can say no to the jobs you don't want, but I don't think that applies in my case. I'm kind of doing this backward, and once my livlihood depends on it, you might have to watch out which personals ads you respond to.

I'd like to believe, however, that I can continue to find work that follows my line of thinking. The effort should be worth it.

In other news, I'm in talks with a company about taking over their weight loss blog. That could be fun to research and maintain. I could donate magazines to waiting rooms! More news on that in the near future -

Thursday, November 8, 2007

in Limbo

I made a committment recently to eat breakfast every morning until January (at which time I hope to have formed the habit). So, I come to you from a plate of baby carrots and peanut butter, which is better than it sounds, except for the fact that I have zero appetite in the AM. My natural peanut butter is melting :(.

Anyway, I thought I'd say a few words on waiting. It's a pet peeve of mine. If there's a problem or obligation I have, I tend to want to solve it immediately, check that it's solved, and move on. Lately, things have not been going this way for me.

On the writing end, suddenly set up a screening process for their articles. Honestly, I approve of this, and was surprised they didn't do so before, but considering they hired me, you'd think they would've given me some sort of code to avoid being screened. Anyhow, my last two eHow entries won't be up until ... until they're approved by some unknown middleman.

In the money department, we have lots of Limbo going on. My student loan, which pretty much all of my livelyhood depends upon has been one of the most frustrating experiences in the history of call-center customer service. Luckily, my uncle and cosigner has been more than attentive, and has complied to the "Oh, and we also need this!" demands that seem to happen every time we think we've given the loan company everything they need.

This probably wouldn't irk me so much if I didn't need the money like yesterday, and if the faulty instructions and last minute desires of the loan didn't push back the recipt of this loan another week.

I need to pay my rent! For two months, actually. I'm way behind. I also need silly extravagances like gas and food and toilet paper. And on the actual extravagance side, I need to get my passport and my plane ticket pronto. I am going to London if it kills me.

Also, one of my clients suddenly wants a W9 and an invoice mailed to him before he pays me a measley fee for the massive pile of work I took on for him before I realized that I was short selling myself. If I had a printer (that's what I'll use the fee for, perhaps), I could just do it, but I have to drive all the way to campus to print things out, and it's a huge inconveniance. And I'm lazy. But, I suppose, in the name of money, I'll do it.

I suppose I could fax it to him, but I faxed the loan info to my Uncle from an Office Depot, and they charged me twenty effin dollars. For a fax! I understand it was a 16 page fax, but faxing uses nothing but time and a phone line. It's not like they were giving me sheets of paper. Maybe I should buy a fax machine too.

Also in Limbo are the locations for my film. My wonderful new production coordinator seems to be working on that by the hour, but she just can't force people to give her a straight answer: commit or not. I'll talk about that this week in my production blog.

Speaking of which, here are the blogs from last week -

Production Blog 3
Production Blog 4

Thanks for letting me whine.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Happy Surprises

Okay, so first of all - I'm going to London!!!!

I suppose nothing is in stone yet, I'll need money first, but this is going to happen, so help me. I'm waiting for my student loan to come through so I can (pay my rent and) get my passport/plane ticket. It's gotten me thinking about living abroad after I finish school. I've been researching, we'll see what happens.

My production blogs have started going up on under the heading "Film School Production" - I haven't mentioned this to my crew or professors yet, just so I can remain honest throughout the chronicling. Those and my latest eHow are linked below.

The Production Blogs:
As a side note, I'm really digging the dramatic bolding my editor added in.

Production Blog 1
Production blog2

How to Blog Daily