Hello, my name is Ken, and I am a quitter

Ok, look people. I don't know what I was thinking. 50,000 words? In 30 days? Yeah, that's not a problem. Except that I have a 12 week old baby in the house. Oh, and giant project going on at work, requiring an increasing amount of travel. And an departmental re-organizational thing, where I'm getting a new job with additional responsibilities. And banjo practice. And did I mention the 12 week old baby? I wrote just over 2,000 words the second day and realized that this was not going to work this year. So I'm giving it up before I really begin, which will hopefully allow me to retain some vestigal remnant of kidney function, given the amount of Diet Coke I drink when writing to a deadline. Oh well. There's always next year... Besides, I found another way to waste my time and make me the coolest dad on the block. Thanks to Think Geek's Helmet Action Cam, I can now mount a camera on my remote control plane.
It's a pain to get off the ground given the extra mass and need to play with the plane's center of gravity, and after several weeks of very good flying, I'm back to heavy landings and duct tape repairs. But it allowed me to get this film (where you can see the farm we live on, and my neighbor's plane at one point, passing beneath mine - the blurry bit in the bottom of the screen is the propeller in action)
Everything was going swell, I must say, until I tried one stunt to many with the camera... (note, I recovered the camera from the wreckage before snapping this photo, as I needed the SD card).
I'll be placing another order to my buddies at Squadron Leader...
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Day 2 and I'm already behind

It's National Novel Writing Month time. I managed to write 325 words yesterday. I'm so screwed.
Gwyr wiped his palms across his tunic again, leaving the chill sweat on the already damp cloth. The water of the estuary was flat, the tide was low and the mud looked thick and grey in the dim light. The fog was only starting to clear up, lifting from the beach and letting a little bit of the morning sun start to peak through. The reeds and small crooked trees that poked up here and there amongst the tidal mud looked sullen and toxic. The trail he was standing on took a crooked path across those humps of firmer soil and along side of the stream of water that was flowing sluggishly out to sea. He could hear the small, lapping sounds of the waves at his back as he looked upstream where the trail disappeared behind a larger hummock of grass covered mud than most. Gwyr scuffed his boot at the dull saucer sized black scale lying in the dirt before him. A few more were now visible littering the trail. He patted the flank of the scrawny horse he had been issued two days before without looking at it, and looked down at the two strings in his hand that he pulled from the bottom of his rather empty purse. The light was good enough to distinguish the blue thread from the black. It was time. Sighing, he turned and made a final check on the line he had secured to the horse’s bridle. It would be a real annoyance to come back and find that it had wandered off. Even if it was nearly ready to be butchered and fed to the dogs, it still beat walking back to the city. He snorted to himself. Assuming he would make it back alive and in a state to remount his horse was remarkably optimistic. How the hell had I ever gotten myself into this mess in the first place, he wondered to himself.
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An email from your imagination

Oh God... is it really that time of year again?
Hello! This is your imagination. I know work, school, and general craziness have been keeping us apart lately. But there's something we need to do together this November. It's called National Novel Writing Month. For it, we'll bash out a 50,000-word novel, from scratch, in 30 days. You and me. Writing a book. Together. I need you to sign us up. Because I don't have any arms. http://www.NaNoWriMo.org Love, Your imagination
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John Grisham's got nothin' on us

30 November, 2006 - 12:39am local time. 50,621 words. Call that puppy done. (My bride, incidentally, finished two days prior, but only had 50,597 words. That's right: I wasn't going to quit writing until I had surpassed that number. Another buddy of mine, who shall remain nameless, has verified on his NaNoWriMo author profile, has written 101,912 words... Steve, we hate you.) And how is my novel? Is it the gripping page-turner that is destined to climb the ranks of the New York Times best-seller list? Is it an epic work of fiction, destined for awards and an eternal place on the mandatory summer reading lists of high school juniors? Are there three coherent sentences strung together in one place? Well, ok, yes to that last one. Maybe. Hey, it's about quantity, people, not quality. And while I did have a good time writing it, and surprised myself a couple of times during the process with unplanned events or characters that seemed to fall out on the screen unexpectedly, like when you find that stale, overlooked piece of popcorn in the bottom of the air popper, but hey, it's only been a couple of days since you put it away, after all, so why not eat it? No one's judging you here. I actually ended up with a piece of work that's nowhere near completed, and rough enough around some of the edges that you could use the print out to sand down that rusty metal porch chair you keep meaning to fix, but with a couple of pretty solid, halfway likeable characters, and a framework that could be readable, given some work. But it was fun to do, and hey - what did you accomplish in the last 30 days, eh? That's what I thought. But don't worry. There's always next year. Now that we're done, I can get back to all of the normal hobbies that I've dropped this past month. Like reading, or playing the banjo, or regular showers. You may now bask in the glow of our accomplishment. Go ahead. Bask.
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NaNoWriMo: Day 20

Ok, novel. We're 20 days in. And I hate to say it, but the shine is starting wear off. It's not that we're not making progress. We are. We're at a hair over 34,000 words, which puts us just a smidge ahead of schedule. But I have to admit that I'm struggling. I don't know if it's that the newness has worn off, or that you're just not interested in this relationship anymore, but the excitement, the passion, the tingle just aren't there like they used to be. Now I admit that I've been a little distracted too. I've got the house in California, and travel for work, and alright, I've been using pretty much any excuse to just put in my minimum effort. Yeah? Well, entice me. Giveme some characters that sparkle, some dialogue that's snappy, some plot twists that leave me breathless. Give me ninjas, dammit. My Bride, after all, is a few thousand words ahead of us. And that is just plain wrong, I tell you. Come on now, 10 more days. You can do it. We can do it together. More caffeine, less TV watching.
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Day 3: Status report

Ah, my novel. How I love you. You and I have a long way to go together still, I know, but I can tell already that we are going to be the best of friends. We were clearly meant for each other. It has only been two days, but we have come so very far already, what with you and your 9,183 words, and me, with my itcy, furiously flying fingers. Your characters are shapely. Your dialogue pert and witty. Your adjectives numerous. You do not find it odd in the least that the best music for our spending time together is inexplicably either Afroman or Barry Manilow, or better yet, a combination of the two. You have not commented on the massive uptick in my caffeine, chicken strip and peanut butter cup consumption, because you know that this is only because I want to spend more time with you. You, my novel, are clearly better than any other. Particularly my Bride's, with its paltry 5,676 words. Let's throw spitballs at them later to prove we're better. Some people describe what we feel as euphoria. As ephemeral. As fleeting. But we know that it is meant to last. At least for the next 27 days.
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