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Jul. 22nd, 2013 @ 11:56 am On language and writing
A few weeks ago I went to Chicago for the ALA annual convention. While there, I got the opportunity to use several of my foreign languages. I spoke Spanish, German and Russian all while there. I enjoyed it so much, and I wish I could make a regular thing of speaking my languages. That's what I miss by living in a rural area instead of in a city full of different cultures.

While I was gone, I was also reviewing my kanji as often as I could. I am learning it well, thanks to the wonderful WaniKani. Every time I make a mistake I try to remind myself that if I'm not making mistakes, I'm not learning. Well... I'm learning a lot! I added a bluetooth keyboard to my toys once I got back from Chicago. So I can now do more with my tablet, especially faster kanji reviews.

This month I have been writing a story for the July session of Camp NaNoWriMo. Each time I write a story since I first became involved in November of 2009, I've tried to do something different every time. I give myself challenges, however small. My challenge for this session is that I'm actually writing it by hand on paper. I have really enjoyed doing that! Now that I have more story telling skill, I am finding the writing on paper helps me focus and feel part of the story in a new way. The other thing I am doing is making it a first person story with a male protagonist.

Last April I did another short Camp story that I need to edit. It was the complete fandom wash of my origin story for Wolfgang's parents. They are now different than I expected, but really awesome because they are their own people, not shadows of something from fandom.

Of course, the writing did weird stuff, too, because I had a character keep wanting to pop in to the story. I realized he was an author avatar of a sort (what's with me and male characters?), so I had to shut him down.
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Eastwood Abed
Jun. 22nd, 2013 @ 05:34 pm Man of Steel
Dusting off my journal. I still read from time to time even if I don't post. I'd probably be a horrible blogger because I just don't work on growing my cult of personality.

I went to see Man of Steel today. I thought the movie was well cast in its main roles, and I had some fun picking out some favorite cameos. The visual effects for Krypton and anything with Jor-El on screen was fabulous. I also thought it was hard to see some things sometimes, as if there was TOO much action on the screen and the sound design in those sections was equally muddled.

I also admit one of my bits of curiosity was seeing Henry Cavill in the role for the very shallow reason that he and I share the same birthday. Different years, but same day. He did very well and didn't let his accent slip once as far as I could tell.
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Neil Finn
Feb. 10th, 2013 @ 10:15 pm My own house?
I sat in church this evening, and I was struck with an idea so completely bold and out of the blue that I might have to make it happen. I thought that I needed to build my own house. Seriously. My own house.

I currently live in an apartment, and that apartment is only 1 mile away from my job and a block away from the grocery store. The post office is less than 2 blocks from my job, so I could do all the living I'd ever want to do in a 1.5 mile area.

But from time to time I have thought that I'd love a tiny house. My apartment, if it were a free standing house, would be considered a tiny house. Perhaps on the large side of what is considered tiny, but still tiny. I am a sucker for efficient design. I get that, in part, from living in Finland and the spaces I had there.

Unlike other times I have thought of it, though, I actually had a vision of what that house could be. It was rather detailed. After church I started asking my mom about her gas stove. She knows something's up with me, but I'm not ready to tell her yet.

Still, I could build my own house. My *own* house. The thought is makes me positive giddy.
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Neil Finn
Feb. 9th, 2013 @ 12:41 am Random opinions on writing
I've been buying Kindle books left and right now that I have an Android device to use for reading the content. I have only paid for one book, but the rest of the titles are free releases. I have too many already and may have to cull some of them.

So after 5 weeks or so of grabbing nearly anything that was free from Kindle, I have formed some opinions about the product descriptions.

*Tell me what your book is about! Don't start off the summary with glowing comments from readers and reviewers. I want to know what the book is about, okay? Once I know, then I'll consider all the glowing reviews. So put those last.

*Don't give out too many content warnings, if any. A book from a major publishing house wouldn't do that. Yes, e-books are different, but at least pretend professionalism. The content warnings are what would be done in a fan fiction archive. I'm not reading fan fiction! Stop trying to act like it.

*Do proof read. If there are typos or tense shifts in the book summary, you've already lost business, and not just mine. Be professional. Be correct.

On the positive, all this looking and discovering what I dislike on some books will hopefully help me write better summaries on my original stories.
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Neil Finn
Dec. 29th, 2012 @ 11:24 am So...
It's not that I have anything interesting to say. I'm just posting here to prove that I am still tangentally around.

Yesterday I discovered the joy of free Kindle books. I got over 100 free books that I've got in my cloud reader. I still don't have a Kindle or any other ebook reader of my own. I may get an Android tablet with a Kindle reading app so I can view all those books and consume all the other ones I've gotten for free here and there from independent publishers.

Truth be told, most of those ebooks I grabbed from the independents aren't very good. I tell myself I get what I paid for. I figure I have more tolerance for crap when I didn't have to pay for it. It's like logging on to FanFiction.net and reading a bad fiction there. Takes little to hit the back button or delete the story from my devices.

That's about it. Not very interesting I know, but I never said I was a laugh a minute or enough to get my own cult of personality.
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Neil Finn
Nov. 14th, 2012 @ 09:35 am About names...
Current Location: Work
Current Music: Prince & the NPG, "Thunder"
I bought an ebook last night because of an ad I saw on Good Reads, a site I recently joined. It involved two of my favorite things... wolf shape shifters and a heroine with my same first name. I read a few excerpts of this short story (35K words), and thought I'd enjoy it for the cheap price.

I'm not yet halfway done with the story, but I like it. The thing about it that's trippy is that the heroine who shares my same given name (which I won't write here) has a lot of other things in common with me from physical description to attitude and outlook. I don't know this author, so it's not like she was inspired to make her character after me. And yet...

Well, I just wonder about names sometimes. Perhaps there is a thing about them that predicts how a person will be. My friend Joe and I were talking about that a few days ago. He was saying how he always expects a person named Jonathan to have dark hair. I pointed out that 9 years ago I had created a story with a handsome dark haired villain named... you guessed it, Jonathan.

So I know there are stereotypes of names that happen, but seeing my character in this book be so similar to me was a little odd. It's funny, too, since the other characters who shared my given name were either really good girls or really bad girls with no room for variation in between. Nice to see a more realistic portrayal.
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The Master
Oct. 18th, 2012 @ 11:49 am Stuff I'm watching on TV this fall
I seem to be watching a lot of TV. Well, a lot of TV online, but still TV. Here's my day by day list for no other reason than I wanted to see it myself.


Ben and Kate
The Mindy Project

The Neighbors

The Big Bang Theory
Beauty and the Beast
Glee (yes, still...)

Community* (Airing day may change when NBC figures it out)


Once Upon a Time
666 Park Avenue (Haven't actually watched this one yet, but all the eps are in my Hulu queue)

So that's a whole lot of TV!
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Eastwood Abed
Oct. 3rd, 2012 @ 02:13 pm Being entertained
So last weekend, I listened to the audiobook of The Lovely Bones as read by the author. She was a very flat reader, but eventually I got over it because the main character is dead. Maybe she just can't get worked up about things. The story itself was quite engrossing.

Also, I am watching this K-Drama on Hulu called Faith. I am enjoying it 3 episodes in, and my favorite characters other than male and female lead are the male doctor and the 2nd in command soldier. They both have great screen presence. I find the king smarmy, and I don't necessarily like him. But I do like him better than the really smarmy Chicano gangbanger looking guy who is trying to usurp power. Or whatever. I might not get all the politics. Oh, and the king's main advisor is super annoying.

I am also watching on Hulu the Canadian series Little Mosque. I've wanted to see it for a while, so it's great that Hulu has it.
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Neil Finn
Sep. 24th, 2012 @ 01:12 pm For the record...
I haven't posted much lately at all, but I still lurk from time to time.

In May and June I did a language challenge with Russian, and I am very proud of my progress.

In July, I met an uncle my mother hasn't seen since they were children. I also reconnected with ajroald.

In August, I did a Camp NaNoWriMo to finish this old novel-length Harry Potter fan fiction I'd started back in 2003. Since that fan fiction was the basis of my original writing, it felt great to wrap that up. I didn't finish the story until September 9th, but I did finish it.

Now it's nearly the end of September and I'm... here. Writing wise, I'm floating about wondering what the next thing I can be passionate enough about is. I may or may not be participating in this November's NaNo. Since I started in 2009, part of me feels it would be a shame not to do something. I just don't have the spark of idea yet now that the other major project is finished.

That might not be interesting, but there it is. Now I have a more recent entry than several months ago.
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Eastwood Abed
Apr. 30th, 2012 @ 11:23 pm April wrap-up, May thoughts
Current Location: Home
I thought I would make a quick post while it was still April in my time zone, though not for much longer.

This month I did a 30 day writing challenge via the cool (and free) website 750words.com. I managed to write every day, and almost all of it was something I used for my fiction story that I have new enthusiasm for writing. There were a few days where my writing was in the form of emails, but I did write at least 750 words every day in one creative sitting.

I was excited to write some of what I had made, and it was a great experiment for me because I realized I could write something every day and keep the interest going. Oh, sure, there were some days where I thought my writing was horrible, but I could still do it. Part of me wondered if my creativity would dry up one day. It seems the answer is no. Again, I don't comment on how good or interesting my writing was, only that I was able to do it. I am hoping consistency will help bring more skill.

As I look toward May, I will be participating in another 6 week language challenge. My chosen language for this go round will be Russian. While the language has definite and surprising staying power, at times it has felt like my worst language. So I will take the next few weeks to give it a boost.

I was considering why Russian has stayed with me so long even over a minimum of study, and I concluded that one of the important reasons was that I could read and write it. That might not seem like much, but it is in a different script, after all. I was thinking about that fact in conjunction with my Japanese, and it actually inspired me to learn how to write Japanese.

So on Saturday night I printed out some worksheets for writing, and then I went to sleep. When I woke up Sunday morning, I woke with the great idea to cover the sheets with clear acrylic and write on them with a dry erase marker. That way, instead of having lots and lots of papers, I could just reuse the acrylic. I got myself some markers from the store later, and now it's one of the more clever study aids I have made for myself. No one told me to do it, and I'm impressed that I woke up with thinking about it as such.

So... yeah. I can already write Russian, and soon I'll be able to write Japanese. It's not a bad deal if you ask me. And of course you didn't, but since this is my journal, I'm volunteering it anyway.
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Neil Finn