Piss off...

Monday, November 28, 2005

You Winner!

Fucking hell, I did it. 4,505 words today to finish at 50,027. I am a Winner of National Novel Writing Month 2005. Haleluja, Holy Shit!

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Thanksgiving Snow

Thanksgiving Snow
Thanksgiving Snow,
originally uploaded by Westbye.
There has been a good bit of snow since our white Thanksgiving, and it's sticking. I can't even begin to phrase how beautiful it all is: snow, the holidays in a house, Bing Crosby, Miracle on 34th Street on DVD (the ORIGINAL, thank you), Charlie Brown on CD and DVD...it's going to be a wonderfully special season this year.

Just saw a commercial for Kay Jewlers. A couple are stuck in an airport on a flight delay. The perky blond says something or other about missing Christmas. The guy whips out a jewlery box and says "Let's start Christmas now." Um sorry, but isn't that a good way to get your asses jacked? Or at least to earn the bitter resentment of the other hundred cows that will soon be herded into steerage on your flight? Brilliant.

Ah, it's Ed McMahon and the Budweiser Clydsdales for the first time this season! Now I'm verklempt. It's not quite enough to make me forget the 26-3 K.C. holds over the Patsies, but it's something...

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Status Check

40,016 words. 9,984 words to go by midnight Wednesday. Easy cheesy. I plan to do a bit more tonight, and a good bit more Sunday. And I'm taking Monday off, just in case I need it. Woo. I'm'a represent this thang, bitch. It's ooowwwnnn.

It's been a stunningly beautiful and emotional day of snow, snow and snow, getting shit done early and Christmas soundtracks. Rinse, lather repeat tomorrow.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Those who can't teach

Okay, let me get this straight. This incompetent ding-dong is starting a consulting business on how to prepare for disasters? And the gist of the service is "don't prepare for disaster like I did"? Un. Believable. Unfuckingbelievable. What's the first class? "Don't be head of a Federal Emergency Management Agency if you have absolutely no qualifications to be head of a Federal Emergency Management Agency"? Class two: "Don't have your minions fire off snippy e-mails about needing time for dinner while the populace DIES in the Emergency that you are in charge of managing as head of a Federal Emergency Management Agency"? Class three: "'I'm trapped now, please rescue me' and 'Can I quit now? Can I go home?'" Class four: "If you think it might make a teensy bit of difference to put 'to the' in between 'Assistant' and 'Town Manager' on your resume titles, it probably will"? I have nothing else to say with my jaw still on the floor.

This is a horrifying look at disconnect and delusion.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Chickenshit Chicken Hawk

36,011. After my unprecedented flurry of word spitting this weekend, I've hit a wall. I'm still ahead of target, but I'm having one of my constipation days. I'm hoping for a good gusher tomorrow.

From the front page of the NY Times today, above and below the fold. Fill in your own captions.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

The end is nigh on approaching

35,109. 5,064 words on the day to get there. I was hoping to get to 36k today, but I'll take it. I'm definitely on the good side of the hill now, not cruising, but heading down at a good controlled clip. It's an amazing thing. Wrote some tough scenes today, stuff that I had a hard time reading and accepting. But it's all coming together. This will be an utterly putrid first draft. But that's precisely what rewrites are for, no? Yeah. I belive a cold one is in order. I shall go and draw a bath...

Friday, November 18, 2005

Who's your wordcount bitch? I am!


I started the day with 21,438 words and not a hell of a lot of hope for crossing the 50k line by November 30th. Then I pounded out 8,566 words today. Now all bets are off, and I'm going in. It's totally on. Totally.

Now I lay me down to sleep


Okay, I just flipped 27,000 words. 4,943 words on the day, and some major back-fill and character development were achieved. I can pull this motherfuck off. There's a minute chance that I can hit 30k tonight, but I don't know. We're about to embark on a little beer-filled intermission. Affairs stand a good chance of getting real interesting this weekend.

Sonic Reducer

Writing while listening to early '80s punk, although jolly good fun, is rather difficult. Convulsions and typing work against each other. Also, don't try this while sucking from a bottomless caraffe of French Roast. Fucking hell if I know how Kerouac did it. I switched to Fats Waller. Master of stride piano, with a left hand possesed by Satan himself. I don't play piano, but my left hand should be hitting A's and E's the letters rather than A's and E's the root notes and fifths. I switched to silence, but that was too...silent. So now at 2:04 PM I'm listening to the great Down Memory Lane on NPR. Meanwhile, I'm typing this rather than working on the novel. Oops.

So where was I again???

Quest mode

Almost 2,000 words in almost two hours. Woo. I'm going to take the next 45 minutes off. Maybe I'll even eat something...

I'm off...

The day of writing is begun. I'm on my third cup, with the Portland paper finished and the Times to come, and Marvin Gaye on the juke. The required word count is daunting, but I'm'a get to and see how it shakes out. Ah, I love these relaxing three-day weekends. Quite.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Shit, and shit

I can't believe what I found in the litter box today. Looked like the cat was doing a goddamn pirouette. The thing looked like a soft serve cone. Kind of unnerving, running across a thing like that. I felt a bit off kilter the rest of the day.

Perhaps that was also due to my stagnant word count. And am I helping matters right now?


Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Lobotomy not involving Joey Ramone (R.I.P.)

Read and listen to this. Jesus.

The wheels of the administration aren't the only ones that are falling off

What's my word count so far tonight? Zee-roh. That would be 0, like before 1 and after -1. Yeah, that. Chalk it up to (and here's where I rely on excuses rather than action: sometimes it's easier)...

1. Work. We're proofing all holiday flyers right now, and there are myriad behind-the-scenes piss wars going on. You can thank me when you open your flyer on Sunday morning to see that 18-Pack of Miller Lite at $9.99 (with an image of an 18-Pack of Miller Lite) and Bone-In Rib Eye at $7.99 Lb. (with an image of a Bone-In Rib Eye). But that perfect flyer comes after a ton of babysitting, cracking heads and wiping up shit. Sometimes I'd rather be independently wealthy.

2. Due to item 1, we're getting home later. Due to NaNo, we're writing all night rather than cooking, reading the paper, doing crosswords, etc. After getting home later tonight, I decided to make some crabcakes. Oh, don't be too jealous: the economy being what it is, we were using IMITATION crab meat, thus making these more chumcakes than crabcakes. Prep time, cook time, clean time...

3. With our chumcakes, we partook in a swell Banfi Chard/Pinot Grigio. I'm still getting used to our rabbit corkscrew thingy-dealy, so I managed to get the cork in the bottle. That was fine when I was single and pathetic and Corbet Canyon was high and mighty. But now with a mortgage and a plate of chumcakes?

Add in a month of late nights and the physical toll exacted, and I'm up to zero words on the night. Will I catch up? Can I do this thang? Yeah. But probably not tonight. I'm on NaNo duty Friday. Time to activate.

I'm enjoying my cork too much right now...

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Closing time

2,262 words tonight to get up to 21,438. This is good. I'm taking Friday off to catch up on this shizayt. The way it's going now, I'm actually going to pull it off. Word to yo' mother.

I'm good enough, I'm smart enough...

OK, I can do this thing, right? Yeah, sure I can. Only 800 words away from 20k (did I mention that I was going to be at 25k two nights ago? Yeah, quite). That's a breeze. Not even an hour. An hour spent focusing and not blogging. Yeah, I can do that. Easy. Yessiree...

Monday, November 14, 2005

It's done. Except for completing it.

I finished my novel yesterday.

What's that you say, Westbye? You wrote 32,000 words in one fell swoop of frenzy, coffee and bennies? No!!! Silly mortal. I did, however, while plotting in longhand with my trusty legal pad, come up with the final story arc and denoument. Now it's just a question of filling in a few questions of timeline, and on to the 12/01 finish line. All this while hanging with some our estemed co-conspirators at Panera and inhaling bagels. I love this job.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

I must not think bad thoughts

This is a dangerous thought for a writer on deadline, but here it is:

I am exactly one mile away from Gritty's.

Oh, it would be so easy and so lovely... Good thing the budget dosen't even have room for Pabst right now, let alone anything falutin'.

On the other hand, we are running low on coffee. This, friends and countrymen, is not good. I'm in the midst of a trauma...

16,828 words and counting. Yes, I'm insane.

Stretching and stalling at the start line

OK, errands are done for the day (cleaning is another matter), and it's ooowwwnn, yo. I'm starting with 14,604 words. 20k is a lead-pipe cinch, and my original goal of 25k by tomorrow night is plausible. Got the cat by the ass, almost. I've got a hold on the tail, at least. Coffee must be made. I shall do so. I'm having a wistful nicotine withdrawl right now, over four years after quitting. Cigarettes and coffee and writing neurosis. Ah, sweet bird of youth. Never mind: there's novel writing to do...

Friday, November 11, 2005


I'm exhausted, starving, sore (like bedsores, or in this case chairsores) and cranky. But I've got well over 2,000 words this afternoon. Compromises must be made in life.


Took a semi-impromptu half day today to get some work done and greet the new table set. So far I've gotten through the paper and taken a nap. Brilliant. I'm going to try the former now...

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Flailing away at the keys and the surface

The novel is taking an interesting turn, a detour of sorts. I'm not complaining. I'm just following, and it's intriguing. 12,453 words in, 37,547 and twenty days to go.

A week of frightening financial shortfall awaits. I can make it...I can make it...I can make it....

Sweep the leg

I'm a royal nutter.

After cracking 10,000 words on Sunday, my goal was to be at 25k and half-way home by this coming Sunday. Great, so as of Thursday, that just leaves me 13,970 words to go by Sunday night. I practically did this last weekend, so it's plausable. But I do enjoy, y'know, eating and...stuff. And I'm working tomorrow, and the house is a sty, and there's a group write-in on Sunday and...

Concentrate, Daniel-san: focus power...

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

In which I present myself the ultimate challenge

Can I strive for 2,000 words and still watch to see who's still in the running towards becoming America's Next Top Model?

I don't know, but godamnit, I'm going for it.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005


Autumn Afternoon
Autumn Afternoon,
originally uploaded by Westbye.
The leaves are strewn in a golden patchwork over fading lawns. Mornings carry a bite, woodsmoke permeates the air and football permeates the talk. The stores have all seasonal wares out. It is the autumn of the year.

I've been listening to mid '60s Herbie Hancock on Blue Note, drinking coffee and contemplating the approach of the winter hours. And I don't have any conclusions, and I don't need any and I don't care...

Friday, November 04, 2005

Drugs and drink and extreme ESP

I was standing in front of the library this morning, trying to find some stuff to throw in the juke for the drive to work. I was hearing a little twang in my head. Wilco (the A.M. album, long before Jeff Tweedy kicked anti-depressants and lost the twang that made Wilco Wilco), Wilco's brilliant predecessor Uncle Tupelo (Jeff Tweedy and Jay Farrar; the Mick and Keith of Alt-Country), maybe my old band of a few good months The Kickbacks. Farrar's "Give Back the Keys to My Heart" from Anodyne and "Still Be Around" from Still Feel Gone, Tweedy's "Box Full of Letters" and, well, the rest of A.M.. I grabbed A.M. and Still Feel Gone in a tough executive decision, and bolted for the door. As my dear wife was about to shut the door, she suddenly ran back inside...and came back out with Anodyne because she wanted to hear "Give Back..." Better half, friends and countrymen: better half.

I must remember to conduct my informal poll of how many of eight minutes of commercial time on NBC Nightly News go to big pharmaceutical. I think my new favorite is for "Restless Leg Syndrome". Yes, Restless Leg Syndrome. You know what that is? Some sad-sack wanted to qualify for a medical disability to work at home and happened to find a doctor with no ethics and a little pull. "Mah leg gets to twitchin' an' ah cayn't stop it!" "Well, looky! That there's a recognized medical condition called...uh....Restless Leg Syndrome! Hot dawg!" Wanna cure Restless Leg Syndrome? Cut back on that 10 PM pot of French Roast. Problem solved, with fifty-million percent less of a marketing budget.

I'm a good bit behind on NaNo duties. Then again, it's the first Friday after twelve days of hosting the in-laws, and a lovely Shiraz/Cab presented itself. You can see the bind that I'm in, right?

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

This is the first day of the rest of November. And probably beyond.

The in-laws have left. The house is empty and quiet. The adjustments begin.

Day one of NaNo for me. 1,817 words in about an hour and a half. It's a start.

Fatigue takes over...

1817 / 50000 words

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Happy Holidays. Piss off.


Fagged and fucked I am. Work: hellacious. In-laws: love 'em to death, but 12 days is 12 days. My arteries, liver and bank account look forward to their departure tomorrow. NaNo: one sentence achieved at work, 29 days and 49,990-odd words to go. Holidays: hard to feel the season when it'll be approaching 60 all week and our account will be under 60 all month. Rah. And bah.