NaNoWriMo 2014

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NaNoWriMo – National Novel Writing Month, 2014 edition is about to get underway. Right now, you can sign up and begin entering details about your proposed novel, including uploading a cover for your story. Then, starting November 1, 2014, the event is in full swing. For full details, visit the site, linked in the very first part of this post, and check it out.

I signed up years ago when I first heard about NaNoWriMo, but this year will be the first time I’ve participated. I’ve already entered the required information and set up my novel, now I’m already typing away at a few lines here and there. The contest runs the length of November, with submissions and final word counts (you have a target of 50,000 words). I’m hoping for the best, though I’m the type to fly by the seat of my pants, so I’m not exactly going in with anything planned out. If I finish, great, it not, then at least I’ll hopefully have fun in the process. But regardless, I’ll be posting updates here, so stay tuned as my adventure gets underway!

 

Social Media Overload

I love the internet, the world wide web, the social media sites and all the information that flows over the virtual walls each day. But do you ever feel that maybe – just maybe – it’s become too much? If you’re involved in multiple networking sites, do you ever feel stretched a little too thin? Posting something multiple times and editing just so depending on the media outlet you’re broadcasting to? Facebook allows nearly unlimited posting potential. Twitter has 140 character limits. Blogging has to really get in there and capture just enough attention to start drawing a crowd. Do you play to your audience? Do you really personalize it and make it about your life? Do you mostly write about video games or tweet about television and movies? What do you do in this wild, wild, wild, wild world of social media and our virtual contacts?

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Let’s take Twitter, for example. I am using it because it’s the one I had a discussion with a friend about Sunday evening. I originally joined Twitter to follow the podcasters I stumbled across. They were always wrapping up their shows by telling the listeners to follow them on Twitter for updates and information, so I obliged and signed up! Then something happened. I started to get followers of my own. To date, I only have 63 Twitter followers and of those only about a dozen are folks that I know for a fact share somewhat common interests. Most are podcasters that I listen to and occasionally interact with through tweets. But the real fact of the matter is: I have followers. I didn’t sign up for this! Now, because of my dear followers on Twitter, I feel required to occasionally tweet something out. It’s become a job of sorts because, well, they took the time and space on their timeline to follow my posts, it’s only right that I give them something. Right?

Facebook. Some folks say I share too much on Facebook. Some say I may post the most ridiculous crap they’ve ever heard. Some say, “Well, I’ll always know what James is doing because he’ll post it in detail through out the day.” They’re all right, but it’s because I’m more comfortable talking to people in that format. I can say what I want to say and get it all out without being interrupted every few minutes by someone asking a question or trying to interject their own opinions. Facebook allows me to post as much or as little logo-facebook6as I want in a single, simple post and do it without any distractions. But then the real problem comes in who is on your friends list. I say friends, but what we really have are family members, co-workers, people we never talked to in high school a few friends and then a bunch of nosey people who read our posts and talk about us behind our backs. Is this healthy? Probably not, but it satisfies that human urge to gawk at the lives of others through their detailed updates about fights, pictures at their birthday party, a kid’s sporting event or that awkward selfie in their bathroom. Everyone is on Facebook, shouldn’t you be? Well?

Blogging brings out the creativity in people. Or at least attempts to. Some of us – myself included – try to bring out our creative sides, but instead we end up beating on the keyboard with our paws in an attempt to get out something slightly resembling the language we speak. I love blogging, even though I don’t contribute on a regular basis, it’s always the one thing I fall back on. You can just take a look at my archived posts to see that I may not post for days or weeks at a time, but I have been posting what I do have to offer for

imagesseveral years. Some blogs offer specific content for a specific audience. While I love that idea, I don’t do enough of one specific thing to specialize in it. I’m just a guy with a family and a limited income that can’t go out and buy games every week or go to every blockbuster movie at the theater or subscribe to this or that or the other. So I post what I see, hear, think or experience. Even the bad stuff, which some relatives may feed off of (hi in-laws!) and plot to use in gossip at a later date. Blogging is a fun outlet, I enjoy it most out of the three I’ve mentioned in this post, even if I don’t get a lot of audience participation. That’s okay. Right? I do it for myself mainly, and if I do it right, someone will come along and also find something they like eventually as well.

But how much is too much? Can we continue to stretch ourselves across the social media bridge that holds it all together? Or do we need to step back and unplug and relax every now and then? So many questions have been flowing through my brain today that I can’t make head nor tails of exactly why it formed in the first place. Either way, I think I might understand it better if I were to try and put more of a leash on my interactions. Right now I go all willy-nilly each and every day in what I try to touch in the virtual world. I’ve got accounts and subscriptions that go every which way and no real hold on how far they may run from me. So I need to mind my own advice and start putting a leash on each one of these things. Maybe close a few accounts, change a few old passwords and just see what I have still leading me around when that’s done.

 

Do We Really Still Need Halloween?

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This is the weekend before Halloween, which will fall on a Friday this year. Our family’s schedule over the last 2 days has got me to thinking: do we really still need Halloween? Or rather, do we still need to stick to our old customs on the tradition? I understand we’ve got decades of tradition under our belts, but it’s not like it’s a real holiday or anything. In fact, we’ve already begun altering that tradition (<– see how I keep italicizing that word? Emphasis, my friends, emphasis) to the point that most communities don’t even celebrate it on the day assigned. That’s where my thoughts spring from. People are now celebrating in other manners, such as Fall Festivals, bonfire gatherings, community trick-or-treating, etc.

Saturday, the town had Halloween in the Park, which is a yearly event mostly for businesses to advertise their wares. There’s fun, games, other activities to be had, but there are also vendor booths set up that hand out candy, treats and coupons for future visits with them. Later that evening, we packed up and headed out to a bonfire event with our church. There were grilled hotdogs, side dishes galore, desserts, games for the kids and some for the adults as well. Fun times. There were two hayrides that were possibly the longest I’ve ever been on, considering by the time we got off my foot was asleep and my butt hurt. Everyone went home tired but satisfied. Sunday there was a “Halloween Hoedown” one of our son’s friends invited us to. That was in the afternoon because that evening we had a Trunk-r-Treat to go to. Not sure about your area, but around here that’s when a bunch of people hand out candy in a parking lot-sort of event with activities for the family and kids, who are dressed in their costumes.

A gentleman I follow on Twitter even posted a picture of his daughter, in costume as a princess. Their community had a neighborhood Trick-or-treat Saturday, a week ahead of the actual day. It’s also happened at times that Halloween has even been moved up and back a day or two because of weather or other issues (depending on the town). It’s all of these things I’ve mentioned that made me wonder this morning, while munching on a Hardee’s double-loaded omelette biscuit, why we even still celebrate the actual Halloween event. Things have evolved far beyond that one day of the year, so much so that I have said before that it won’t be too much longer before it’s phased out completely. Not by any decree or ban, but by people simply not caring if it’s come or gone either way.

 

Doctor Who Season 8 Bluray Release!

The 8th season isn’t even over yet, but the BBC has already announced plans to release it on DVD and Bluray on December 9, 2014.

If you haven’t been keeping up with Peter Capaldi’s new Doctor, then you are seriously missing out on some of the best Doctor Who material in some time. Capaldi brings a fantastic new take on the Doctor. So run to Amazon and preorder your copy, or else be standing in the store on release day to pick up your own.

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