Saturday, November 17, 2012


I've done Nanowrimo every November for the past several years.

For those who don't know what that is, it's the time of year where everyone who's ever even pretended to write a story for any reason disappears off the face of the planet.

Reason: Insanity. Complete, total, utter insanity. They're all hunkering down at their computers and tablets and notebooks, trying to force their poor, aching fingers to bang out fifty thousand words of a novel in only thirty days.

Do you know how much 50k is? Well, the average Young adult novel is between 60-90k. That's a lot of words in only 4 weeks. And if you don't think so, you've obviously never tried it.

The Nano people send out a lot of motivational messages, and most of them are really great messages. Words of hope and light in a time of gloom and despair.

But here's the thing. Whether we like it or not, at least 70% of the Nano participants will never be published novelists. (Maybe more.)

Sure, grouch at me for being a naysayer, but it's true. Most people write that novel during nano while still keeping a real life job or raising a family. And most of those people aren't going to change all that just because of 30 days of literary insanity.

So what's the point? Why bother?

Well, the interesting thing about Nano is that it holds a learning opportunity for someone in any field. I'd venture to say that the crazy days and late nights are always worth it, even if that novel never sees the light of day. Even if it's terrible. Even if it's the worst literary creation since 50 Shades of Grey  the beginning of time.

Here's why:

This year's Nano has been my awesomest ever. I am kicking everyone's butts, and it's making me feel like I rule the world. (Literally, I am crushing all of you!!) Even if you never publish your novel, you accomplished something crazy. Like literally, bats in the belfry crazy. And you rocked it.

Everyone who's ever finished Nano is a tougher, more competitive person because of it. And it's not because it was easy. It's because it was ridiculously freaking hard.The only side-effects are increased self-confidence, richer imagination, and fuller lives. (And maybe a caffeine hangover.)

Thus it is in the non-literary world.

One of the craziest, and awesomest, things about humankind is that we have this built in competitive gene that makes us rise above disaster, overcome trials, and never give up.

We all have that ability. But sometimes we feel like it's pointless.

Guess what. It isn't.

If there's one thing I've learned from Nano, it's that you absolutely, no questions about it, always have to keep fighting harder. No matter what.

You'll never be anyone if the competition cows you. No dreams come true. No goals get reached. Nada. Zilch. ничего. Niente. Nichts. Rien. Naught.

Make the competition build you up. Force it to make you fight harder. Let those hard things make you stronger.

Do Not let the hard stuff squash you.

When something comes at you, don't be the person that they peel off the floor. Make them drag you out kicking and screaming.

We can't always control whether we win or lose. We can't even control what said trials are, most of the time. But we can control what it turns us into.

"Oh, the places you'll go! There is fun to be done!
There are points to be scored. There are games to be won.
And the magical things you can do with that ball
will make you the winningest-winner of all.
FAME! You'll be famous as famous can be,
with the whole wide world watching you win on TV. 
"Except when they don't.
Because sometimes they won't.  
"I'm afraid that sometimes you'll play lonely games too.
Games you can't win
'cause you'll play against you." 

So what's the point? Why bother?

Well, the only side-effects are increased self-confidence, richer imagination, and fuller lives.

You're a tougher, more competitive person. You're stronger and better and more confident.

Keep in mind what the point of it all is, and you'll never be a failure.

Go out and accomplish something nuts. Something totally, absurdly, completely, insanely impossible. And even if you never get published, or never make CEO, or never star in a blockbuster movie, you'll never regret it.

"And will you succeed?
Yes! You will indeed!
(98 3/4 percent guaranteed.) 

Go write a 50k novel in 30 days. I dare you.

I double dare you.


Ready... Set... GO

be your name Bubaum or Bixby or Bray
or Mordecai Ali Van Allen O'shea
you're off to great places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting
So... get on your way!"

Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Ultimate #1 Reason Why Scared-of-chick-flick Guys Are Idiots

What you get when you watch sports and stupid guy movies:

What you get when you watch something cute:

Or at least get her opinion on the matter:

Think about it.

** Addendum: Yes, yes, I know. There are girls who truly enjoy watching sports.


If you want this:

Then tread carefully. When taken to inconsiderate extremes, sports, exactly like video games, will annoy the living daylights out of your wife, no matter how much she enjoys football. Therefore, my point still stands. 

Watch them WITH her, not INSTEAD of her. 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Some culture

I don't know why, but poetry is considered culture, even if it's pretty bad. So today I give you some culture. Not good culture, mind you, but... something.

"Don't like me how I am? Well screw you."
That's what they all say
And I do too...
It's not change that I'm afraid of
It's not settling for less
It's not making excuses
For not being my best

No fear, that's me

But I have a confession
(One small fear)

It's not settling for less
Just like I said 
It's wanting something and getting nothing instead

When you send away everyone
Who'd make you conform
Is there anyone left
Who'd weather the storm?
Who'd love all your quirks
Bad days and all?
To act as a net every time that you fall?

All those people who'd force you to be something you're not
Aren't worth it
Good riddance
But then, what have you got?

When they're all gone 
The question will be
Is there anyone left to love me for me?

Sorry if that's a little bit of a downer. It's just something that discovered a few days ago. But in case it was too sad, this ought to help:

Sunday, June 3, 2012


This is a yoke.

People like the pioneers used these to hook oxen to the front of their covered wagons.

Know what's super cool about yokes?

Let's pretend that Oxen 1 can pull 1,000 pounds all by itself. 

And let's say that Oxen 2 is just about the same size. It can also pull 1,000 pounds all by itself. 

You would think, then, that together they could pull 2,000 pounds. 

You would be wrong.  

They can pull more.That's what is so cool about yokes. That simple little bit of wood makes is so that the two animals, when working together, can actually get more done than either of them could separately. 

Now, look at this with your What-does-this-mean-for-me-in-my-own-life eyes. 

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Weird Things and Scotland

I can't handle things right now.

The worst part is that I don't know what or why. *shrug* I'm not angry, sad, scared, stressed, overworked, exhausted, or panicked. Just... weird.

That's the best I've got. Weird.

It all started with the Leviathan trilogy. Over the past two weeks I've been listening to the audiobooks, and they're super good. (See this post where I freaked out about how insane they made me.)

They were super engaging. The characters were amazingly real and relatable. The conflict stressed me out on a Mockingjay level. (See here) There really were points where I was pounding my head into my pillows because I just couldn't handle it.

And every time I try to explain it all to people, I get a little crazy. Ask Daphne. Or Samantha.

I finished the last one at 6:50 am (Yes that's correct) saturday night/sunday morning. It is now 2 days later. And I CAN NOT get them out of my head. Every time I stop doing something, they come back. I read a 400 page book that I'd been waiting for, for 6 months, and Deryn and Alek are still there. They are haunting me. My brain is actually, literally obsessed.

And it's making me feel weird. Not creeped out weird. Weird like the main character in a book who is totally falling for the guy, but has no idea that she is, and is utterly confused about what all those feelings mean. That same confused-ness.

At least, I think it's Leviathan & co that are doing it. It could be something else. But since all of my un-busy thoughts are obsessed with the trilogy, it's hard not to associate the two.

By this point, the post is almost as confused as I am. Basically, I feel weird, and I don't know why, and my brain is obsessed with these books and WILL NOT let me move on with life.

There are things that would make so much more sense to be obsessed with.

Ewan McGregor in a kiltLike Ewan McGregor in a kilt.

Or David Tennant in a Tardis.

gerardOr Gerard Butler in anything.

Random. All of these people are Scottish. I'm sensing a theme here....


Yeah, I just don't know what's going. And I thought that maybe writing a post about it would help. I don't think it did. But oh well. I guess there are worse things to have haunting you than a really good book. Or scottish men.


hmmm... Deryn is scottish. My brain is speaking to me in a scottish accent. All these randomly chosen guys are scottish. That must be the answer: I need to go to Scotland.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Girls Who Read - Mark Grist

Watch this: (Response to follow)

This is awesome. The guy is alright. Then he starts talking. And he becomes amazing. Feel free to watch it multiple times.

But for this post, I was really interested in the comments to the video. It was an extremely fascinating study on   society.

They started out, unsurprisingly, with "awesome" or "great stuff" or "nice". The usual for just about any similar video.

Then the video hit some girl's facebook or tumblr, and loads of her friends started watching it. Again, the comments are completely usual and expected. Most are like these:

"I am absolutely melted right now. I'm sure you get this a lot, but where have you been all my life?
- mediocritea"

"BRAVO! Being a girl who reads myself, I am completely awestruck by this. Job well done ♥

"As a voracious reader myself, I just went a little fan-girly. Thanks for making us bookworms feel special :)
-whackybarbiedoll "

These are obviously girls who really do read:

"This made the all-nighter I'm pulling off for my thesis just so much better. Thanks for putting a smile on my face!

"score one for the gentleman. Men like you are the reason girls like me have standards. Edna St. Vincent Millay would be proud!
-0cicer0 "

This one surprised me a little. "I love this so much! I had no idea there were men who actually liked girls who read! :-) This is so sexy!!

And, of course, the ever present "I want to marry this man! -laradoodleann" and  "Restoring my faith in men! -SuperJaVw"

After this is where the social study got interesting. It is here that we can tell the difference between a real gentleman and a royal deuschbag.


"Very well said man! I'm with you! Of course all those "bits" are wonderful but more is required in the long run. Besides, all those bits will eventually grow old, as will my bits. But, even when we're 80, we will be able keep each other amused and entertained with our minds, hopefully.

"Couldn't agree more, good sir!


"Nah, it's tits every time.

"what if shes fat
-TheDataDwarf "

"@TheDataDwarf  hahahahahahahahahahahahaha

"All I have to do is recite this poem and women will swoon over me too? Sweet.
-Ayelis" Someone else replied to this, basically saying, No, moron. You have to actually mean it.

And a few of these: "This comment has received too many negative votes -ryansvxr" I un-hid the comment to see what it said. Yeah, it was downright rude.

I thought this one was especially interesting, though. I would like to discuss it.

I like a girl who reads and has a mind of her own, but girls why are you all saying and I quote “Restoring my faith in men" and "I think I'm in love" have you met the guy? He could be a complete prick for all you know!
It’s funny how certain people will make assumptions about somebody after watching something that has been carefully prepared and presented on you tube.

The poster of the video answered:

"Not carefully prepared but shot on the hoof on a mobile and he's as genuine as he appears in this scene. Honesty resonates. Worth remembering that Doc.

Which answers the question about the carefully prepared bit. And also shows that this guy isn't just faking it to win chicks. But what I'm really interested in is the first part, where Doc asks about why all the girls are getting swoony over this poem.

To you, Doc, though you'll probably never see this post, I give an answer.

I refer you first to the type of comments found in the "buttwipe" section. After revisiting those, I refer you back to "I love this so much! I had no idea there were men who actually liked girls who read! :-) This is so sexy!!

You see, because of the jerks and deuschbags of the world, there are actually girls out there who honestly don't know this. A lot of crappy guys get the girls based entirely on the fact that the girl doesn't know there's a better choice.

But even among those of us who do know, it's almost entirely an intellectual knowledge. We know in our minds that these guys exist. But the sheer number of morons out there makes it easy to lose hope that we'll ever find one. We begin to feel like it might just be a fairy tale wish that only comes true for the occasional cinderellas out there. And we certainly aren't cinderellas.

 Guys always want this. But this does NOT =
This. Most of us are this.

The funny thing is, this is so much better than that ^. There's a great deal more substance here than there.

But guys, generally, would rather have a leather belt that's gilded with a thin layer of gold, than a solid gold belt with a protective layer of leather covering it.

Then we watch a video like this. A video where a normal, down-to-earth, totally-honest-about-it guy reminds us that not all males are shallow, testosterone zombies. It makes us feel better. More willing to believe that we'll find one too.

So no, we are not saying that our opinions of all men fly or fall based entirely on one youtube video. And no, we are not saying that we know everything about Mark Grist, or that he is perfect. We aren't making a final judgement on the man. Nor are we saying that all other males are redeemed by his virtues.

You ought to know that humans, by nature, are melodramatic. We all are. So when we say "restores my faith in men" what we mean is "I'd forgotten that good guys exist out there. Thanks for reminding me."

And yes. Thank you, Mark Grist, for reminding us all that there are decent guys out in the world. Hopefully they don't all live on another continent. ;)

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

You could write a book. "How to Offend Women in 5 Syllables or Less".

This is funny in the movie.

It's not very funny in real life. And sadly, it's pretty accurate for a lot of the male population. And a lot of them don't even realize they're like that.

Bitter is probably the wrong word. I'm not as bad as that. (I don't think, anyway). But some things bother me, even though they shouldn't. Some things hurt my feelings that ought not to matter.

And today, it's this.

Today I read an article by a guy who was trying to explain why some men are royal deuschbags. (Not as an excuse. Just an explanation.)

It didn't change my opinion on guys. Not in the least. But sitting here after the fact, I think I'd rather have not known the whole thought process. Because the guys that I already thought were creepers now seem 50 times worse.

And even though I still know that there are women that are jerks too, and that not all men are disgusting, it's fresh in my mind now. And it's officially ruined broadway for me. Hopefully it's just temporary, though.

Here's what I mean.  

When the girls sing about love in all those musicals, what do they say?

They talk about being loved, and being held close. About having someone care about them, and treat them like no one else does.

What do the guys sing about? Lips, hair, and sparkling in the firelight.

Normally I like this song. But after reading that article, all I could think about it when I heard it was "What else is there?" And it made me sad.

The ugly truth is that, no matter how many times people say "looks don't matter," the fact remains that they do. They matter a great deal.

The mantra, if we said it truthfully, would really be "Looks shouldn't matter. It should be what's on the inside that counts."

That's how life ought to be. And it is, so some extent, and within certain circles. So everything I say here, I qualify with a standing "Lot's of people but not all."

But I ought to know. I've spent the last 9 years watching the dating scene. Watching guys chase the prettiest girls, even when they know nothing about the person inside. Having girls tell me that "if only they knew you, they'd love you as much as we do" only to realize that they aren't going to bother to know me, because there's nothing to catch their attention. Watching the vacant and vacuous get all the dates, just because they're blonde.

I've seen it happen. And that's even here at BYU where the guys are, on average, much less creepy.

Ok, maybe I am a little bitter. But all the same, that really is the way the world works. If you're the type of person that doesn't have so much on the outside, it takes you years longer than everyone else to find someone.

(Side note. No, it's not the being unmarried thing that I'm bitter at. It's the not getting a fair chance, just because I'm not tall, thin, and blonde thing.)

I do honestly wish that the girls were right. That the guys would look inside, and be wowed. But the world isn't like that. And in the mean time, I can't even appreciate the broadway girls who get the guy in the end, because all I keep thinking is "Ugh. The guy always gets the pretty girl. I hate you Cosette."  

So, dear article, thank you for ruining things.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

I Can Haiku, Can You?


You want me to what?
Write a Haiku? You're kidding.
So not happening.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Rubbing Out Joe Kony

This post is about a controversial topic.

I hope to discuss it in a rational and non-biased manner, but it will probably make someone quite angry. It's human nature to willfully misunderstand the people we disagree with. Therefore, I'd like to clear up a few things straight from the get-go.

  • I am not a terrorist.
  • I don't support terrorists.
  • I don't support the kidnapping, drafting, and prostitution of anyone, let alone children.
  • Joseph Kony is a criminal. The world would be a better place without his kind of scum.
  • I'm not advocating anti-KONY 2012

The entire purpose of this essay is simply this:

I want people to think before they act.

What is KONY 2012?

This is the campaign video for KONY 2012. Watch it. Not only will they explain everything better and more thoroughly than I could, but it will allow you to make an informed decision. You shouldn't just take my opinion and run with it.

I'm trying to get people to think for themselves.

Yes, I realize that it is long. Longer than someone would usually spend on a blog post. But you seem to have time for Youtube or Psych or Big Bang Theory or CSI. If you've got time for fictional shows, you've got time for real life.

Now that you've seen it, you'll understand what I mean by controversy. You can't look at those kids and not want to punch Mr. Kony in the face about 5,000 times.

You can't speak out against this video without feeling like slime.

And anyway, it is very well made. The camera work and cutting are all nicely done. It doesn't try to propaganda you into believing them. I think they are honestly trying to present facts as they are.

But I do have a few problems with it.

Let's think about...


We're asked to donate money to this cause. We think "yes! I want to make the world a better place!"

- But if you follow the video link to the actual post page, there are credits underneath it. Original music. Royalties for the songs that were borrowed. Producers, directors, animators, cinematography...

None of those guys worked for free. And making good movies doesn't come cheap.

- Those KONY 2012 packages with the bracelets and the posters and whatnot... those had to be paid for too.

- Let's not forget air fare. How many times did these guys fly back and forth to Africa? I did a quick google search for business class flights from my apartment to Uganda. All of the top results ranged from $13,075 to $15,796.

Even if we change to the cheapest flights possible, in economy cabins with about a billion stops, each ticket is well over $2,000. (And somehow I don't think these guys fly coach.)

This isn't counting visas, camera equipment, and living costs.

In summary, what I want to know is how much of my donation is used to build schools in Uganda, and how much is going to pay a professional animator.


There was an undertone of accusation in the movie. A sort of anger at the fact that the government didn't just pop over to Africa, shoot the guy, and have done with it.

I don't profess to be great with politics. Half the time I don't know what is going on. I rather despise them, in fact.

But I think that part of the reason I despise them is because they can't be ignored. No matter how honorable your cause, if you want to get the government involved, politics come with it. And, as sad as it is, when politics get involved (which they inevitably are with war crimes) you can't just ignore them because you're "doing the right thing".

African countries have governments too. We have to work with them, not go over their heads.

Not to mention that, despite popular opinion, America can't just do whatever it wants. I guarantee you that if we made enough people mad, they could beat us in a war, even if we are technologically superior. It would take an awful lot of them, but they could do it if we tromped on the dignity of enough of them.

In Summary, we hate to admit it, but politics sometimes make it hard to "do the right thing". But we just can't ignore them either.


Has anyone bothered to point out that we're raising money to send U.S. troops to Uganda, where they will train the Ugandan army to invade the Congo?

The LRA hasn't even been in Uganda for a while.


I looked at the linked website to learn more about this whole thing.

It's basically just one long page with a bunch of links to click on when you want to spread the word. At the bottom there's a little "about" section. It didn't tell me anything that I hadn't already seen in the video. Then I found a place at the bottom that says "for more information, visit our main website"

I clicked on it and got even less. Just a banner with a tag line. I hit the "what we do" button, hoping it would take me somewhere. It gave me 2 paragraphs. Again, almost exactly what I'd already seen in the video.

The only interesting thing I found was under the 'programs' tab. It had a (very) brief description of some of the things that are funded, like building schools. But still, nothing substantial.

I was under the impression that the video was made in order to entice us to learn more.

Apparently not.

In their defense, you can access their financial statements on the site, but they're wordy and boring, and not things that I would ever read, even if I was devoted to their cause. It would be nice to just have a simple chart or a spreadsheet.

In summary, that half hour video is ALL the information I can find that is directly from the organization. I'm certainly not giving my money to someone who doesn't give me anything further to go on.

Breast Cancer Awareness

This KONY 2012 program is just another cancer awareness status.

Those drive me nuts.

Not because I have no sympathy for cancer victims. But because we all KNOW that cancer exists. We KNOW that people die from it. Some of us have even known someone personally  who died from it.

So what about it? If I paste my status, will that cure someone? Will it somehow generate research funding? Will it do any good at all?

In order to actually do something about cancer, we have to get off our computers and start taking action. Spreading a facebook status is not action.

And as for Kony, once everyone in the world knows who he is... then what?

Everyone knew who Bin Laden was. It still took 10 years to find him.

Finding the guy

And speaking of which, has anyone bothered to mention that the Democratic Republic of the Congo is a jungle? Conrad didn't call it the Heart of Darkness for nothing.

If it took 10 years to find Bin Laden in a desert, let's think about the chances of finding Kony in a rainforest within the next 8 months.


Organizations like the LRA are like hydras. They don't die when you chop off the head. A new head always rises out. Sometimes more than one. And frequently, they're worse than the original head.

Killing Kony isn't going to be a permanent solution.


If you send in an army to search for Kony and kill him, they're going to have to fight battles. And if they fight battles, they're going to have to kill Kony's soldiers.

Part of what makes Kony so bad is that he kidnaps children and does terrible things to them. He sells the girls for prostitution and trains the boys to be heartless soldiers.

Ergo, his army is made of kids.

You can't  gun down children just to kill one guy. Even if he is evil. Even if he is considered the worst war criminal. You just can't.

One last point

You can judge me for this one. It's just a personal pet peeve. But going back to Bin Laden...

George Bush sent troops after Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein. Those two guys were just as bad as Kony. One could almost argue that they were worse, since there was an outright attack on American soil. It's a different kind of bad added onto the other already terrible stuff.

After all this, George Bush was called a lot of names. Among them, the 'devil'. Songs were written about how terrible he was.

People cried out against him, saying that his war was unjust. And yet these same people will hand over their money to an organization whose main goal is to get the government to chase Kony like we chased Bin Laden.

The vigilantes are the heroes for doing the same thing that the government is evil for doing.

The only difference between the two situations is that America was attacked. We had strong political motivation to fight back. With Kony, we don't even have easy politics to back up the movement.

In Summary, The hypocrisy astounds me.


I'm not saying you shouldn't support KONY 2012. If you feel like it's the right thing to do, then by all means, do it.

After all, Kony is still a bad guy. And he is still a criminal. And we should still try to stop the guys like him. That's why I talked about this at such length. People should know about stuff like this, even if we don't agree with how it's being handled.

I don't have a viable alternative for the KONY 2012 thing. I'm no good with that sort of thing, even if I did.

But I really don't feel like this vigilante version of the war on terror is the right way to get lasting results.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Utah Just Doesn't Cut It Sometimes

It's not really hate. I just need rural Virginia. I need it like people need air to live. If I didn't get to go home over Christmases at least, I would probably die. Literally.

This song embodies pretty much every nostalgic, homesick-esque, love for the middle of nowhere sentiment that I have right now.

Today was one of those homesick days. It's not homesickness like I miss my mom and dad. Although I do like visiting home too. But it's homesickness like I miss trees, and rolling hills, and good sunrises. And mist in the woods. And winding roads.

And this:

This is the Shenandoah River

This is the Potomac

This is the land between our house and the neighbor.

This is the street where I live.

These are on the street where I live.

Also this:

Monday, February 20, 2012


Texting is supposed to be the simple, most immediate form of communication.

And it used to be, for me.

But ever since I've been getting my editing groove on, I just can't send quick texts anymore. There's always proofreading, fixing, and it ends up taking me forever. Some things don't even matter, but I have to fix them. I just have to.

Yes, it's kind of a pain. But I suppose it's better than ending up with this:

Or this: 

Saturday, February 11, 2012

The Life of a Writer

All the necessary antidotes to writer's block:

Glasses off
Computer on
Fantasy music
Assorted plastic weaponry
Ninja Pants

In case anyone is wondering, yes the katana does help. Meditative pose... not so much.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


I'm against war.

Anyone with even an ounce of humanity should be.

But you know what else I'm against?

  • Innocent people dying for no reason
  • Letting evil people have their way
  • Watching my family and friends get hurt/killed
  • Seeing people's rights get stomped on
  • Hiding instead of standing up for important things

Pacifists (in the strictest sense) are opposed to going to war, no matter who or what is involved. There absolutely is no excuse. They duck out of serving in the military. They throw stones and shoot guns at veterans. They picket and whine and groan about how terrible war is.

So it's alright to let Hitler finish his genocide. After all, we wouldn't want a war.

Keep chopping those aristocrats' heads. It's cool.

Xerxes, Alexander, Caesar, and Napoleon all want to become world dictators. nbd.

Yes, war is bad. And there are a lot of wars that didn't need to happen. But wars aren't generally started by the good people, are they? The job of the good people is to stop the bad ones. And you can't do that by sitting around. You can't do it by watching. And you can't do it by being violent toward the people who are trying to help.

When a war starts, the good guys have a choice: fight back, do nothing, or join the other side. Fighting back is bad, because people die in horrible places, doing horrible things.

But isn't it worse to do nothing?

If you say you're a pacifist, all you can do is join the bad guys, or step out of the way and let them carry on. Is there really any difference?

Anyone who has an ounce of humanity will hate war. But anyone with half an ounce of humanity will defend the innocent, protect their families, and try to keep bad from becoming worse.