Saturday, November 27, 2010

1K a Day

So I guess I'm still on this blog.  Will try to do both this and the Maybe to Baby blog.  They have different topics and furthermore, for me, blogging begets writing and writing begets blogging.  It's a nice little circle.

Many of you are just wrapping up NaNo...I had a bit of the oppiset.  NoNo...No Writing November.  This has been a super crazy year for me.  New job.  Graduation.  Traveling.  Starting a start-up (which is still in the starting phase).  It's been crazier and busier for a lot of people, but really, this is the first time ever that I feel truly settled.  And that was kinda crazy in itself too.  So I had to enjoy that.

So, to wrap up the year, I am endeavoring to write 1K a day until 2011.  That should push my first draft mostly over the finish line.  Writing over 1K doesn't make up for the next day.  Every day 1K.

Anyone else have any end-of-the-year resolutions?

Friday, November 19, 2010

Trying to Blog Again

I'm starting another new blog.  I promise this one is for real.  It's going to be pretty similar to what I've been blogging about on here, but I feel like I need a reset since I've had this running around for so long and have come and gone.  Maybe to Baby is my new blog.  I am looking forward to getting back into the community...sorry for being AWOL for so long :-P

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Moving!

It is a tough decision...mostly because I really love my blog name, but I'm not writing in this blog enough anyways sooo...I'm moving!

I got a brand new url - newfashionedhousewife.com and will be moving over there.  I'm going to update the RSS feed to start getting info from there!  I hope to see you guys on the new site :)

I will still write about many of the same things that I write about here...namely writing, but it will just be MORE!  I hope you like it :)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Where I Write

We all write somewhere. Most of my "writing" involves day dreaming what my characters will be up to next and that's done walking around town, but as for physically putting words to paper (or data to screen as the case may be) I do most of my writing around my condo or at various coffee shops...but since I am trying desperately to cut back on caffeine, I'm now stuck to the condo.



This is my desk.  I am suppose to write here, but normally do not.
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This techically is not my desk, but Pete has the comfortable chair and I have the cute one.  I like to look at the cute chair and sit at the comfortable one...since I can't really see what I am sitting on, it makes much more sense to sit at Pete's desk.  Also, his screen is bigger :-P

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While this isn't the best ergonomically, I enjoy writing at the bench at the dining room (well, open/big/main room) table.  I get to spread all my papers of notes and thoughts around me.


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I also like to write at the sofa.  Skittles the cat likes it to as she enjoys to take residence on the arm of the sofa.  I couldn't get her to sprawl over it like she usually does...she was too interested in what I was doing.  She is my writing buddy and usually sits near me while I write. 


Where do you write?  Do you like to write at home or away from home?  Does anyone belong to those "writer workplaces" where you can go to a place that is for writers and write there?  I was thinking about joining one.

Friday, July 9, 2010

July Update

Hello Everyone in BlogLand!  I hope that your first 1/3 of the summer has been productive!  I cannot believe that it is flying by so quickly!

My summer has started out pretty well.  I found a new job (yey!!!) and will be starting that on the 19th.  I am sooo unbelievably excited.  I'm ready to start today!  Some of you may recall all the drama at my current job...and for keeping-my-crappy-job-sake, it was only the tip!  I'm very excited to be leaving this drama behind me.

I went to Charleston on vacation last week to visit some of my hubby's family and stopped at the smokey mountains on our way back.  I worked on a short story and a lot of technical documentation and training material so that was fun and different.  I'm hoping to get back to my novel here in the next few weeks which has been on ice for about nine months while I've been doing all these other projects.

I have also worked on alot of my 101 things in 1001 days over the past couple of months so here they are!  I threw in a couple pics for good measure :)

# 17 Get a leadership position in JLC (1/1)
I co-chaired the associate clothing drive.  We raised $1400! :)
 
# 23 Timeshare a sailboat for a summer (1/1)


Doin it right now!  That is the view from "our" sailboat.  We get it about 3-4 times a month for the summer.

# 36 Do ten "touristy" things in Chicago (6/10)
 Biked Lakeshore Drive, Played around at Navy Pier, Checked out Buckingham Fountain

# 40 Get caught up on dental work (1/1)
Bit the bullet and did it!

# 54 Create a budget and stick to it for three months (doesn't have to be consecutive) (1/4)
Created the budget...now to stick to it :(

# 63    Go skiing  (1/1)
It was just baby skiiing up in Wisconsin, but it was still fun :)  I do still want to go out West sometime.

# 64 Visit fifteen states (5/15)
I went to:

California (above--the vineyard Becky and I biked through),
Indiana (many times to visit my family),


South Carolina (above--the beach at sunset),
Tennessee (on the way back from SC to go white water rafting),
Wisconsin (back in early March to go skiing)

# 65 Visit to Central America, Mexico, Africa, Europe, Caribbean (1/5)


Went to Cabo over Thanksgiving...forgot to say that!

# 67 Girls Only Trip (1/1)

California wine country with my friend Becky!  We went to San Fran then to Napa and did some biking around the area. 

# 68 Go white water rafting (1/1)
Went in Tennesee last week.  In addition to white water rafting I also went white water canoeing!

# 95 Take each kid out to something fun three times (4/9)
Took the girls out to Ben and Ari's and seperatly, bowling!

# 102 Host twenty dinner parties with food from various cultures (2/20)

Mexican and Creole.  Above is the Creole Mardi-Gras-Lite Dinner

Thursday, June 10, 2010

It's a Matter of Time: What's your Calendar?

Obviously, there are seven days in a week.

Why?

Realistically, it's an arbitrary grouping of days. And there is a grouping of these weeks into a month. And a grouping of these months into a year. To become even more granular...what's a day. Obviously of all these divisions, day is the easiest to understand. However, do you measure the start of a day by the opposite of the highest point of the sun (like we kind of do) or does it start with the sunrise or the sunset?  And then what about divisions within days? Twenty four hours containing 60 minutes which each contain 60 seconds is all very arbitrary.

For those of you writing anything relating to our world then this doesn't really matter, but for those other fantasy writers out there, perhaps building a calendar will add a bit more believability to your world. That being said, you don't want huge nerdy chunks of exposition explaining your calendar or your religion, but having a solid handle on how this works and just showing your reader pieces of it as needed can allude to a complex and vast society that they are only able to see a sliver of and this will leave them wanting more.

Last year I wrote an article (as part of a group project although I did most of the research and all the writing).  The following are excerpts.  If you find this interesting and want more information (the full paper details nearly a dozen different cultures and their calendars) feel free to email me to request the full text.


  The concept of time--be it through hours, days, weeks, months or years--is a fundamental aspect of human life. We need to know when to plant and when to harvest. We need to know how much food to gather in order to survive the long winter.  We need to plan when to meet up with other groups or peoples in our culture and we need to measure the lengths of our lives. These needs can be solved by use of a calendar. A calendar of various levels of complexity existed in every culture. While each culture began with the same clues--moon, stars and sun--different cultures observed different celestial and earthly occurrences depending upon their location on the globe, their culture and their history. But, when trying to map the occurrences in the cosmos to an earthly calendar, problems arise because celestial events do not occur in perfect ratios of each other. A lunar month contains 29.53 days. A solar year contains 365.2507 days. A lunar year of twelve months contains 354.367 days, which is around 11 days short of a solar year, causing the months to slowly pull away from the seasons.
    Thus, compromises are needed in order to create a usable calendar. Different compromises seemed reasonable to different societies depending on their mathematical sophistication, their understanding of astronomy, and their culture. A wide variety of calendar systems have been developed throughout history, each with its own set of trade-offs that reflect how each culture understood math and the cosmos. Some cultures created a calendar based upon the moon, but annual events such as the solstice fell on different days each year. Other calendars respond this by basing themselves upon the sun, resulting in an arbitrary or unrelated lunar cycle. Others interject extra months every few years, a technique known as intercalation, to keep the seasons occurring at approximately the same time each year.  Still others, such as our modern calendar, follow the solar calendar by adding days and even seconds to keep the calendar aligned.


But, all of the first calendars were based upon the moon which has been heralded as the "first chronometer" (Rice 38). The moon, in addition to waxing and waning in a predictable, very obvious and relatively short pattern, also affects the tides. In coastal areas the correlation between new and full moons and a very high tide contributed to civilizations' central view of the moon for calendar purposes and caused them to associate the moon with their deities. As time went on groups had to either live with a calendar that did not predict yearly occurrences such as seasons or change the calendar to accommodate the year. 

The calendar often will also contribute to holidays.  Most cultures, for example, celebrate their new year.  


So, if this has gotten you thinking a little bit just drop me an email at lauren.amundson (at) gmail (dot) com and I can share the full text of the paper with you.  I've got details from why the Egyptians first started understanding the solar year (Nile floods yearly at the same time and colloates with the rising of the star Sirus) to why the Mayans didn't think the world would end in 2012.
 
Every culture has a calendar.  What's yours?  Do any of you fantasy writers out there have a different calendar or any special holidays?  My culture, for example, celebrates the summer solstice as their most holy day.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Start of Summer

Happy Unoffical Start to Summer!  I've had a crazy first half of the year.  Work's been insane.  Very busy with a big project which has completely derailed my writing.  But, something amazing happened this weekend...I started writing again...something that I've not done since around Thanksgiving.  I got only about 700 words in, but it's better than the 0 I've gotten the rest of year...and the 700 words is net...there was a bunch that I had to rip out and I'll be working more tonight, which is great.  I finally feel like being creative again, which I've missed.  It's a funny thing to miss writing.  I knew that I could open up my document on the computer and stare at that blinking little line and maybe put words next to each other, but I was just wasn't feeling it even though I missed writing.  Weird, I know.  But today!  Today, I went to the Coffee Studio and put good ones next to good words and ripped some not so good ones out and thought of a much better progression and minor character development.

Other than the writing, things are going okay.  I'm time sharing a sailboat, which is heaps of fun and might require the addition of pirates into my novel.  Well, not the current WiP as it's all plotted out, but maybe the next one! That's me sailing the boat off to the side.  It's so relaxing...I feel like I'm on a vacation even though I'm still at home in Chicago.  I even have the horible vacation tan line complete with sun burn.  Not fun, but worth it.

It's been exciting to follow/lurk on everyone's blogs over the past several months.  Many people that were just figuring it out as I was are now getting agents and book deals which is crazy exciting!

So, everyone out there, how has it been?  How is your summer shaping up and how is the writing going?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Happy Birthday Hubble Telescope!

Twenty years ago yesterday the Hubble Telescope was cast out into orbit.  In science thought is often done through papers, or at least that has been the accepted way to share your thoughts with others. The first time that anyone thought about using a telescope in space to observe further than one on the ground would be able to was in Hermann Oberth's 1923 paper, Die Rakete zu den Planetenr√§umen ("The Rocket into Planetary Space").  And then in 1946 Lyman Spitzer wrote another paper "Astronomical advantages of an extraterrestrial observatory" describing advantages that a space-based telescope would have over ground-based ones.  After he published his paper, Spitzer focused on trying to make his idea a reality.  In 1962 the space program was tasked with creating such a telescope and in 1965 Spitzer was selected to lead a committee to flesh out the needs and requirements for such a telescope.

Spitzer and his committee helped to lay the ground work for the Orbiting Astronomical Observatory (OAO) mission from 1968 until 1972.  Because of funding cuts, no further money was ear marked for a space telescope until 1978.  From this money arose the idea for the Hubble, which was initially suppose to launch in 1983, but because of the Challenger disaster the Hubble had to remain grounded for many more years.  Rather than being put on ice, the Hubble was put on liquid nitrogen, which cost $6 million per month.   Scientists used this time to improve the Hubble.  Because of huge advances in computer science during this time they were even able to create a whole new ground operating system and various other advancements that have allowed the Hubble to remain the coolest photographer in history.  However, there have still been several trips to work on the Hubble.  One such trip swapped out the tape storage device for a solid state storage device.

In addition to its pictures which have inspired many amateur star gazers, Hubble has helped solve many long-standing questions about outer space and has posed some new ones.  We have a better idea about the age of the universe, but are less certain about the future.  Hubble's unique vantage point far above the confines of our atmosphere has helped us to discover new galaxies.

You can go to the official HubbleSite web gallery to see some amazing pictures that it has taken.

If you want to, you can click on the highest resolution and take the pictures to kinkos or somewhere to get neat artwork. Or you can print from your printer for free.  (Yeah, really kicking myself for those expensive prints I bought last year from the "space photographer" boo.).

Sources: from Wikipedia and the official HubbleSite.  All pictures are from the official HubbleSite

Monday, April 19, 2010

Still Alive!

I'm around.  For some reason I thought going from school AND work to just work at the same job would yield more time.  I was wrong.  My goal was to start blogging again in April, but it's almost over!  I hope all of you in blog land are doing well! 

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