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2016 Reading Challenge
I've given up on the official Goodreads challenge, although I have borrowed their logo. I'm going for 3 million new words and the re-reading of whatever fics I decide sound interesting as well as creating pod fic. Everything will be listed on the other side of the blog and you can view the details and numbers here.
- be a better website person for my writing group
- be a better treasurer for my writing group
- get physically healthy and well
- walk the dog/walk to the post office
- reach that 120lb. mark (for real this time)
- get the house clean(er)
- keep cradfting/do a wider variety of crafts
- create pod fic
- read and re-read
- writie 10K to 15K word book for Christmas box set
- ▼ February (5)
- ► 2015 (147)
- ► 2014 (150)
- ► 2013 (154)
- ► 2012 (175)
- ► 2011 (119)
- ► 2010 (90)
- ► 2009 (64)
- ► 2008 (116)
- 2016 (18)
- 2015 (147)
- 2014 (150)
- 2013 (154)
- 2012 (175)
- 2011 (119)
- 2010 (90)
- 2009 (64)
- 2008 (116)
- 2007 (32)
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Friday, February 12, 2016
6:42 AM | Posted by Jen FitzGerald | | Edit Post
I've been writing and it's been fabulous. The muse has got his hooks in me and all I want to do is spend time in these alternate universes of mine. Unfortunately, between that and most of my other endeavors, I spend a lot of time sitting. My body has made itself very clear of late that it's displeased with the amount of sitting I'm doing and so I've had to make a conscious effort get my large muscle groups moving and my blood flowing out of my butt rather than allowing it to pool there.
My bathroom calisthenics haven't been quite enough, so if I want to pleasure read, I have to do it on the treadmill. Right now, that's the only time I'll allow myself the reading luxury. So there's my incentive to get it done.
I've also decided that, for this weekend at least, I'm gonna spend some time outside. We've got some leftover leaves and a ton of acorns that need bagging. Plus, it'll just be nice to get some sun on my face.
What about you? Big plans for the Valentine's Day weekend?
Wednesday, February 10, 2016
6:16 AM | Posted by Jen FitzGerald | | Edit Post
Okay, maybe not like a champ...it's pretty old, manufactured in 2003. I got for my birthday, maybe in 2004. My operating system is that oldie but goodie, Windows XP.
My new laptop that I got two or three years ago has a failing hard drive and it's out of commission for the time being, so I booted up the trusty-dusty Netbook. Okay I usually boot it up once a week or so so Dropbox can sync.
But now we're back to daily face time. It is a little slow, be she can run my writing programs and the Internet, and that's all I need. The scrunched keyboard takes a bit of getting used to again, but the size overall is actually much easier to work with whether on the sofa or in bed.
Thank goodness I still had it, because being without would have meant one cranky Jen!
Monday, February 8, 2016
8:00 AM | Posted by Jen FitzGerald | | Edit Post
Last week was a pretty crazy week and it got a little rough around the edges, but I made it through. Whew.
And now here I am at the start of another likely busy week. My contest closes on Sunday, so there will probably another mild flurry of entries. But because we've started the judging process, there's not gonna be a stressful week of parsing entries to judges and sending out panels. I've been in the cycle for two weeks now and things are going rather well.
My online class is over, so that's one thing off my plate...
On the other hand, I spent Saturday afternoon at my critique partner's house along with two other writers working on city planning and timelines and characters for a Christmas anthology we're writing together. It was a blast and, man-oh-man, I just want to dive into my writing worlds and get lost for a while. Unfortunately, it'll be another couple of months until my contest is put to bed.
Hope you have a productive and pleasant week...
Wednesday, February 3, 2016
8:34 AM | Posted by Jen FitzGerald | | Edit Post
Do you use spreadsheets? Do you love them?
I do and I do. I have one labeled "The Master Spreadsheet of Stuff" and I keep track of all kinds of random information that I want to have available at the drop of a hat. Like my daily writing word counts, like how many words I've read and where those words came from. Remember those 13+ million words I read last year? This is a screen shot of a random section of that page. I used four columns and a few mathematical functions. My spreadsheet has about a dozen tabs, although some are previous years' info and are just there for occasional reference.
For the past three years (2016/2015/2014), I have run one of my writing group's two contests. Spreadsheets are a contest coordinator's best friend and (mostly) one-stop location to keep all the various data on hand and organized. Here's a peek at a random page of my contest spreadsheet. All personal information has been changed to generic filler.
The first fourteen columns hold entrant information: name, email address, book title, and assigned book number. Those columns on right side hold scores once they start coming back. In addition to rows and columns, I've utilized the power of fill color. The highlighted book titles (the wide column in the center) means that one author wrote both books. We try to refrain from sending judges more than one book by any given author. The brighter green at the top of those two columns just to the right of the book titles is just a visual indicator to me that every book has at least (in this case) two judges assigned. Our goal is five reads/five scores. So I've been working column by column.
Now, the other half of the spread sheet, the judges' half is a bit more colorful. You can see we've a got a bit of crossover because the scores are the crossover data. I won't bore you with explaining what all that color means, but suffice it to say, it's a handy to know where the contest stands at a glance.
As treasurer for my writing group, I have yet another spreadsheet that I use to track all the money. I have a tab for each category of income and expenses (membership dues, contest one, contest two, etc). A hand feature for this particular job is that I can reference cell data from one tab into another.
So, tell me, are you a spreadsheet junkie like me?
Monday, February 1, 2016
9:15 AM | Posted by Jen FitzGerald | | Edit Post
Used to be I could sit down at my desk on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, and take thirty minutes to an hour to pour my random or inane thoughts into the blog.
No so much anymore. :) While I do still have a lot of free time in my day--it's not first thing in the morning.
I'm going to have to spend some time planning some topics I'd be interested in researching and writing about.
Today, however, is not that day. It's Monday; it's the 1st of the month; I'm running a contest for my writing group that I have to work on; it's renewal month for my writing group--as treasurer; I have to process those; I signed up for a week-long writing class that starts today; and not last or least, I somehow ended up signing up for a month-long writer's boot camp.
As you can see, I've got a lot on my plate today, this week, this month.
I don't mind busy, I just might need to plan ahead a little better. :)
Have a great week!
Wednesday, January 27, 2016
7:56 AM | Posted by Jen FitzGerald | | Edit Post
Yeah, because I'm at a loss today. But this is actually state trivia and we're gonna start with Texas since that's where I live.
These facts come from this website: http://www.50states.com/facts/#.VqjMCk_w9sl
THE LONE STAR STATE
- The Alamo is located in San Antonio. It is where Texas defenders fell to Mexican General Santa Anna and the phrase Remember the Alamo originated. The Alamo is considered the cradle of Texas liberty and the state's most popular historic site.
- The lightning whelk is the official state shell.
- Texas is the only state to have the flags of 6 different nations fly over it. They are: Spain, France, Mexico, Republic of Texas, Confederate States, and the United States.
- Although six flags have flown over Texas, there have been eight changes of government: Spanish 1519-1685, French 1685-1690, Spanish 1690-1821, Mexican 1821-1836, Republic of Texas 1836-1845, United States 1845-1861, Confederate States 1861-1865, United States 1865-present
- The King Ranch in Texas is bigger than the state of Rhode Island.
- During the period of July 24-26, 1979, the Tropical Storm Claudette brought 45 inches of rain to an area near Alvin, Texas, contributing to more than $600 million in damages. Claudette produced the United States 24 hour rainfall record of 43 inches.
- More wool comes from the state of Texas than any other state in the United States.
- Edwards Plateau in west central Texas is the top sheep growing area in the country.
- Texas is the only state to enter the United States by treaty instead of territorial annexation.
- The state was an independent nation from 1836 to 1845.
- Texas boasts the nation's largest herd of whitetail deer.
- A coastal live oak located near Fulton is the oldest tree in the state. The tree has an estimated age of more than 1,500 years.
- Sam Houston, arguably the most famous Texan, was actually born in Virginia. Houston served as governor of Tennessee before coming to Texas.
- Caddo Lake is the only natural lake in the state.
- The first offensive action of the Texas Revolution occurred in Goliad on October 9, 1835 when local colonists captured the fort and town.
- On December 20, 1835 the first Declaration of Texas Independence was signed in Goliad and the first flag of Texas Independence was hoisted.
- The Hertzberg Circus Museum in San Antonio contains one of the largest assortments of circusana in the world.
- The capital city of Austin is located on the Colorado River in south-central Texas. The capitol building is made from Texas pink granite. It served as the capital of the Republic of Texas in 1840-1842.
- Austin is considered the live music capital of the world.
- Texas is home to Dell and Compaq computers and central Texas is often referred to as the Silicon Valley of the south.
- Professional sports teams include the Dallas Cowboys, Dallas Mavericks, Dallas Stars, Houston Astros, Houston Comets, Houston Rockets, San Antonio Spurs, and Texas Rangers.
- Dr Pepper was invented in Waco in 1885. The Dublin Dr Pepper, 85 miles west of Waco, still uses pure imperial cane sugar in its product. There is no period after the Dr in Dr Pepper.
- The first suspension bridge in the United States was the Waco Bridge. Built in 1870 and still in use today as a pedestrian crossing of the Brazos River.
- In 1836 five sites served as temporary capitals of Texas: Washington-on-the-Brazos: Harrisburg: Galveston: Velasco: and Columbia. Sam Houston moved the capital to Houston in 1837. In 1839 the capital was moved to the new town of Austin.
- The capitol in Austin opened May 16, 1888. The dome of the building stands seven feet higher than that of the nation's Capitol in Washington, D.C.
- Texas comes from the Hasinai Indian word tejas meaning friends or allies.
- The armadillo is the official state mammal.
- Texas has the first domed stadium in the country. The structure was built in Houston and opened in April 1965.
- The Houston Comets are the only team in the country to win four back-to-back WNBA championships. 1997-2000 Cynthia Cooper remains the only player to win the WNBA Championship MVP.
- The worst natural disaster in United States history was caused by a hurricane that hit Galveston in 1900. Over 8000 deaths were recorded.
- The first word spoken from the moon on July 20, 1969 was Houston.
- Texas' largest county is Brewster with 6,208 square miles.
- Texas possesses three of the top ten most populous cities in the United States. These towns are Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio.
- El Paso is closer to Needles, California than it is to Dallas.
- Texas includes 267,339 square miles, or 7.4% of the nation's total area.
- The state's cattle population is estimated to be near 16 million.
- More land is farmed in Texas than in any other state.
- More species of bats live in Texas than in any other part of the United States.
- Laredo is the world's largest inland port.
- Port Lavaca has the world's longest fishing pier. Originally part of the causeway connecting the two sides of Lavaca Bay, the center span of was destroyed by Hurricane Carla in 1961.
- The Tyler Municipal Rose Garden is the world's largest rose garden. It contains 38,000 rose bushes representing 500 varieties of roses set in a 22-acre garden.
- Amarillo has the world's largest helium well.
- The world's first rodeo was held in Pecos on July 4, 1883.
- The Flagship Hotel on Seawall Boulevard in Galveston is the only hotel in North America built entirely over the water.
- The Heisman trophy is named for John William Heisman the first full-time coach and athletic director at Rice University in Houston.
- Brazoria County has more species of birds than any other comparable area in North America.
- The Aransas Wildlife Refuge is the winter home of North America's only remaining flock of whooping cranes.
- Jalapeno pepper jelly originated in Lake Jackson and was first marketed in 1978.
Monday, January 25, 2016
5:42 AM | Posted by Jen FitzGerald | | Edit Post
So it took me a while to get on the smart phone train, and even then I had to be thrown on. DH forced me to upgrade for business reasons.
But I have one and I use it. It's bigger around than my old little slider and I can't work it one-handed without both eyes on my hand and the phone. So absolutely no driving/phone anything.
But other than that, it's a like having a personal assistant in your pocket. I can write notes or I can dictate notes!! I've downloaded a few apps, including a couple of games, as well as my favorite social media platform. Of course it lets me text the kiddos. I get weather alerts when something's going on within 25 miles of me. And I have access to all my email...
I don't have a lot of alerts turned on, so I'm not being barraged by sound every time something comes through--only text messages and the weather--and when I'm out with people, the phone is in my purse like it's always been. I never wanted to be that person, and I'll be vigilant to never becoming that person.
But at home, when I take the dog out in the yard...I can text my kids, or heck even TALK to them if I want, check email, surf the web, read a book, listen to music, or make notes about my plots and characters... I've fallen to the dark side. :)
Friday, January 22, 2016
6:11 AM | Posted by Jen FitzGerald | | Edit Post
- Con registration bought & paid for...
- Hotel reservation made...
- Plane tickets bought...
Come April, I'll be winging my way to Atlanta--a city I've never been to. It's going to be a grand adventure.
I'm excited about going--passing up a chance to learn from one of the big names in writing conferences to do so.
But I'm nervous too. Walking into an event like this knowing no one is a bit daunting. On the other hand, there's obviously the reason we're all there--Sherlock Holmes.
Have you ever gone to a fan-type convention? If so, what for/what type?
Wednesday, January 20, 2016
8:14 AM | Posted by Jen FitzGerald | | Edit Post
So last night I tuned into actual live TV to watch the season premiere of Agent Carter.
Ms. Carter has been sent to Los Angeles because her boss in New York wants her out of his hair and wants the glory from the case she was working on. Of course, it backfires on him, and he loses the suspect and Peggy stumbles into something as equally sinister as what she left.
Is it completely realistic? Of course not--it's a comic book brought to life so there are fantastical elements, but that's what makes it fun. Peggy Carter, though, she looks like a 1940s woman should with all those lovely curves.
One of things I enjoy most about the show is the relationship between Peggy and Mr. Jarvis, her unlikely backup. James D'Arcy is fantastic as Tony Stark's prim and proper butler and right hand man. Peggy's free-spiritedness and independence and Mr. Jarvis's uptightness play well against each other.
Have you checked out this show? What do you think?
- Jen FitzGerald
- Thanks for stopping by one of my little corners of the world wide web. So, a little about me...My husband and I have been married for twenty years and we have three adult children although our youngest is still in high school. We've lived in Texas for fifteen years and for the rest of the story, click here.