Dozer Online


Sci-fi geek radio

I'm furiously typing all the material that I've scratched down in my notebooks for National Novel Writing Month.

All the while, I'm listening to Digital Llama, a series of recorded ramblings from major Star Wars and role-playing game geeks. If you're into this sort of stuff, it's quite entertaining.


New roomates

Here's an unexpected side-effect of my participation in National Novel Writing Month... new roommates!

Unfortunately, they don't contribute rent. They're ants that have started showing up in my kitchen. I'm spending so much time writing that my apartment is even sloppier than usual.

So I'll definitely have to take care of that this weekend.


I'm a bad blogger

Sorry I've been away, but I've been focusing on pushing the words for National Novel Writing Month.

Despite the word count in the sidebar, I'm probably just over the 20000 word mark. If I want to finish before I drive to Cleveland for Thanksgiving, I'll have to write about 5000 words a day.

Still, I'll try to blog more frequently, starting with my very delayed weekend update. Soon...


Improv classes this Saturday

I've always wanted to take improvisational acting classes, and this Saturday I'll get a chance to do so - for free!

The classes will take place at Art-O-Matic in downtown Washington DC. They're part of the DC Improv Fest.

This could help sharpen my ability to think creatively on the fly, which will be helpful as I fall far behind schedule during National Novel Writing Month.


My NaNoWriMo story

I'm still plugging away at my project for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) but I'm behind schedule.

Here's my one sentence Hollywood-movie-pitch summary for the story: Imagine Neil Gaiman writing a Tom Clancy geopolitical thriller starring Santa Claus.

More on this as it develops...


Power napping club in high school

The Greenwich High School in Connecticut has opened a Power Nap Club. Every Monday after class, 20 students gather in a classroom and sleep. Seriously. It's part of a stress reduction program that also teaches relaxation techniques.

Funny as this sounds, I could've used this in my day. One of the reasons that I picked up the nickname Dozer was my habit of falling asleep in class.

Whenever a movie was shown, the lights would go out, and a second later so would I. Even sitting in the front row wouldn't stop me from conking out.

My friends tell me that I once woke up after being asked a question. I answered the question correctly and then promptly returned to sleep. I don't remember the episode; I was apparently sleep-answering.


Star Wars humor

I wanted to watch the IMAX version of Star Wars: Episode 2 today, but tickets were sold out by the time I got to the Smithsonian theater.

So no review of that today. Instead, I'll link to a Mac commercial parody featuring Anakin Skywalker.


Influence of surroundings on writing

While I was writing last Friday night, I had the TV tuned on MTV2. The channel was running a rap music retrospective on Run-DMC, in response to Jam Master Jay's murder earlier in the week.

Suddenly, one of my characters is shouting "Sucka MCs must pay respect!" for no good reason.

Does anyone else find that their writing is being influenced by what is going on around them?


Getting out during NaNoWriMo

One of the things I had been stressing with regards to National Novel Writing Month is whether or not I'd still have the time for a social life.

I was thinking that I'd need to be a hermit to ensure that I'd have the time to produce 2,000 words a day for 25 consecutive days.

But I get depressed easily in the absence of social contact. And a sad Dozer is an unproductive Dozer.

Besides, according to this study from the University of Michigan and the University of Denver, ordinary social interaction may keep mental skills sharp.

Churning out prose for hours on end, without a break in routine, tends to dull one's mental focus. So I'll still get out of the apartment at least once or twice a week.

So far, I've been out to a dinner and a concert. On Friday night, I'll meet a group at Dave and Busters.

And even though I'm behind on my writing schedule, I'm not getting bummed out over it. And there's still plenty of time to catch up.


Sputtering and a creative jump start

I was having trouble forming a single whole novel out of the mess of half-baked plot nuggets that I'm forming (many of which contradict one another) for National Novel Writing Month.

So I started thinking of changing to a anthology format with overlapping short stories. I thought this would help me focus my creative energies on manageable portions of the big picture.

But I enjoyed a creative jump start, courtesy of the Cat Vacuuming Society Writers Group of Northern Virginia. I met them in an Arlington book store, because I've found that I'm more productive outside my apartment.

We engaged in several 5- and 10-minute writing exercises based on random topics. All of my work from these exercises are going into my NaNoWriMo story. This and the positive feedback from the writing group has encouraged me to stick with the material and not throw it out and start from scratch.

Now, the weekend is approaching, when I can take advantage of the federal holiday (Veterans' Day) to play catch up with my word total.


Inspiration in the dentist's chair

With a dentist drilling away at my teeth yesterday, I generated a few more ideas for National Novel Writing Month (which, oddly enough, have nothing to do with dentistry).

I was having the mistakes of my previous dentist corrected. The problem was caused by a composite resin filling (or white filling) that I received last year to one of my back teeth. This type of filling works fine for your front teeth, but it doesn't deal with the heavy pressure that is applied to the back teeth.

(By the way, to find more information on my old filling, I entered a Google search on "white filling." I got the kind of results that you don't typically want on your work computer screen.)

Over the year, my filling started breaking down, and bacteria got in through the holes. The resulting decay reached close to the tooth nerve and has been causing me pain in recent weeks.

So yesterday, my new dentist removed the fractured filling and applied a fluoride-related medicine to strengthen the tooth.

If I don't experience further pain in the next six weeks, I'll get a silver filling. Otherwise, I may need a root canal to clear the way for further work on the troublesome tooth.

So far, my teeth feel just fine, so the immediate improvement is encouraging.

In reflection, my faulty filling doesn't really surprise me. I didn't have a particularly good experience with my last dentist. The work was a little rough on my teeth, and at one point the dentist got an instrument stuck between my teeth. It took about a minute of yanking to get the sucker out.

But it wasn't all bad: the office was within walking distance, and the dental assistants were all cute. That wasn't much consolation, but you take what you can get, I guess.


Colorful characters at the Lords of Acid concert

Here is a partial list of people I saw at last night's Lords of Acid concert that may make an appearance in the story I'm writing:

  • A male clown wearing black platform go-go boots

  • A guy in glasses and a button-down white shirt, who was wearing a collar and leather underneath (like he was an S&M Superman)

  • Various naughty schoolgirls

  • A pimp and his stable. Well, I only guess he was a pimp. He looked more like a frat guy; he didn't have any walking sticks, wide-brim hats, or velvet suits. But he showed up in a 20 foot long stretch limo/SUV with a group of hot chicks of various ethnicities and got VIP access to the club. What would you think?

  • Lords of Acid

    I'm winding down from the Lords of Acid concert at the 930 Club. It was basically a cross between a techno rock concert and a softcore porn movie.

    The show also provided a few colorful character descriptions for National Novel Writing Month. All in all, I put down a few hundred words for NaNoWriMo.


    A close call before working at Borders

    I experienced a low-grade panic yesterday morning after my computer froze up. After I rebooted, I couldn't open up any of my Word files - including all my material for National Novel Writing Month!

    I downloaded a patch from the Microsoft Web site, and this mostly fixed my problem. While I could open and modify files, Word immediately crashed whenever I tried to open the Tools menu. This meant no spell checking, and no word counting.

    Happily, a quick call to Dell support finalized the fix. The support technician talked me through deleting a corrupted template file, which restored Word to full operation. A simple fix, really.

    In the afternoon, I drove my neighbor to pick up a car battery. While waiting, I put down around 200 words on a notepad.

    Later on, I drove to the Borders store in Bowie, MD to continue work on my story. Three other DC NaNoWriMo participants were there. They had electronic word processors and laptops, but I had to rely on an old-fashioned paper notebook. I scrawled down about 1200 words.

    I also bought issues of Mixmag and Muzik magazines for research purposes: I'd like to include an Ibiza scene, and the wacky club fashions could provide for some nice character descriptions.

    I've learned that I'm more productive writing stuff down physically than I am typing in front of a computer screen. I may have to work this way more often.


    Falling behind on the Day of the Dead

    After the second day of National Novel Writing Month, I've just broken the 1,000-word barrier. Part of it is me getting used to the workpace, part of it is meeting friends at Guapos in Shirlington for a dinner on the Day of the Dead.

    Back to work....


    On the first day of NaNoWriMo

    The first day of National Novel Writing Month has just concluded, and I have 613 words written.

    According to my schedule, I should be at 2000 words. But I'm not sweating that. I've got the whole weekend to build up momentum.

    I've heard of other NaNoWriMo participants aiming to propel forth with all creative rockets firing at 200%, with a goal of putting out as many as 10000 words in the first weekend.

    I prefer to aim for a steady, more casual output. I'm thinking of this as a marathon, not a sprint.

    So far, I'm not writing the story in a linear manner. Instead, I'm jumping from scene to scene, often writing no more than a single sentence that happens to spring to mind. I'll worry about connecting the dots later.

    In the meantime, I'll maintain a word count to track my progress. I've also added a NaNoWriMo logo. Click on it if you're curious about what this is all about.



    I went to a fun costume party at Ballston VA to celebrate Halloween, as well as the eve before National Novel Writing Month.

    I had way more alcohol than I'm used to consuming on a workday. Roughly eight jello shots, four or five normal shots, and two mixed drinks over about five hours.

    We also made our way to the Clarendon Ballroom, where the 80s cover band Mr. Greengenes was playing. There I got to witness something I never thought I'd seen: two grown men, side by side, dressed up as Big Boy.

    As I suspected, I had all kinds of strangers grabbing at me and my bubblewrap superhero costume. And the outfit wasn't nearly as sweaty as I expected it to be. I think that's because I widened the neck hole, which let out more body heat. I was even able to dance without leaving a puddle of perspiration.

    Sadly, I lost my camera sometime throughout the night. I suspect it happened during the cab ride to the Ballroom. I'll call the cab company tomorrow, but I'd be surprised if I get it back. At least I still have one roll of film with pictures from the evening.

    Now I'm blogging at 3 am, and my apartment is a mess. Scraps of bubblewrap, cardboard, Velcro, crumpled-up tape, and spare containers of bubble fluid lay scattered across my floor.

    Time to write a novel...