Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Drowning, and the Results of Averi's Test

(Reposted from 02/13/09)

As they say in Firefly:

When you can't run, you crawl. And when you can't crawl, you make JLY carry you.

(Well, something like that... ^_^)

95% of the time, I need a project to work on. I can't just watch TV... If I'm watching TV, I need to be writing, reading, drawing, wrapping a present, cooking a meal, eating that meal, or sipping a tall glass of hot chocolate.

It might be high school that did this to me. I've talked about it before, but if you haven't read those posts, here's the basics: The high school JLY, KM Ricker, and I went to had some strict rules about how tough of a course load a student could take... So of course, JLY and I petitioned to take the maximum course load-- AP English, AP Bio, etc. etc. The end result was much too much homework, far too little sleep, and a merciless need for productivity. During those years, I found out just how much I can get done in 24 hours, and I developed a lingering feeling that I always should be meeting that peak productivity.

So 95% of the time, I want to have something to work on. This somewhat compulsive desire to be productive allows me to get quite a bit of work done on any given day. On the other hand, when that 95% wears out, I hit the 5% of the time when I'm flat-out exhausted, mentally burned out, and ready to curl up in a corner somewhere and just watch some mind-numbing reality TV.

I guess the way I would describe it is that it feels like drowning--at first, it's just a tiring, aching of the limbs. Then it starts to dawn on you how much you've spent of yourself, just treading water. Movement becomes harder. You need to convince yourself that it's worth the effort to push your limbs through the water. Your muscles ache; it's a struggle just to breathe. But you keep churning water, because you know that all you need is to keep your head above that water line.

So that's what I've been doing lately... Just treading water.

Luckily for me, I've got a JLY. She recently wrote a post titled "Co-Authors Are The Best". I would like to reply, "JLYs Are The Best". If JLY and I each have a specialty, I would say that one of JLY's specialties is in caring about our world... Every little detail of it, which she meticulously chronicles in various Excel spreadsheets... So I fully admit that I'm not really pulling my weight right now... I mean, JLY is practically dragging me uphill over rocks. Big rocks. Sure, I try to help sometimes... It goes something like this:

KL: Okay... Let's work on... Our guide to the world.
JLY: Are you feeling okay?!
KL: ...No... But we should...
JLY: This is like my dream!

And a typical day of us working on answering questions on the forum more or less follows this pattern:

KL: Hmm... What 'Age' are they in?
JLY: Oh. They're in the Iron Age.
KL: What's the difference between the Bronze Age and the Iron Age?
JLY: Well... (Smiles!) The Bronze Age is like the Mayans...
KL: Whoa, whoa. Okay, as long as you understand what's going on.

Well, my point is that if you see JLY on the forum, be sure to shower her with praise for her dilligence... ^_^

For my part, I've been trying to get back to normal. To that end, JLY and I have tried to do a few more fun things lately. JLY and I don't make it a practice to schedule in fun, but when we burn out, it becomes inevitable. That's one of the nice things about co-authoring/co-projecting with your best friends. When we've pushed ourselves too far, JLY and I (and KM Ricker, when she's not toiling over her drawings) get to have fun.

So what do JLY and I do for fun? Well, recently we had what I'd call a 'Left 4 Dead Party'. This consisted of 2 flat-screen HDTVs, 2 X-Box 360's, 2 copies of Left 4 Dead that I borrowed from various sources, and 2 very accommodating friends to keep JLY and I alive as we run into walls, fire, and zombie hordes. The night was spent passing two of the campaigns, and to summarize, it involved a lot of JLY and myself shooting our FPS-savvy friends in the back of the head. ^_^* Heh. Our friends have assured us that in the event of an actual zombie apocalypse, the first thing they will do is take our guns and leave us far, far behind.

But there's only so much zombie-hunting a person can take... Especially when JLY spends about an hour to figure out how to get up each ladder... Our latest distraction was a game based off of Battlestar Galactica. Having not watched much of the series, I wasn't too enthusiastic about trying it, but it turned out to be one of the funnest boardgames I've ever played. I think what I love about it is that the emotions end up being real. There are two traitors for every five-person game, and when I had to stab one of my friends in the back, I felt genuinely terrible, and he felt genuinely betrayed. That game is an emotional rollercoaster, but it's definitely a good time.

Anyway, that's what I've been up to-- trying to relax, breathe, and just have some fun without feeling like I need to be doing seven other things at once. My bills are paid, my work gets done at my 9 to 5 job, and there's gas in my car. Everything else can wait, because every now and then, you need to make time for fun. Right?

Speaking of fun, by popular demand, I put Averi through the Mary Sue Litmus Test today. She scored a somewhat chagrining 39, which in this test equates a Mary-Sue, although not a hopeless one. You can see the full results and read for yourself what a 39 means.

All right, so admittedly, the SFA characters are meant to play off of many of the fantasy tropes. There's just no getting around a few of them, like:

Is the character related to royalty or nobility?
Has everyone significant heard of the character?
Is the character rich or well-to-do, although she/he doesn't work?

(Warning, Spoilers for Book 1!)

There are some others that could have been avoided:

Was the character ever abducted?

I read that and thought 'curses, book 1!' They weren't even trying to abduct her... -sigh-

Then there's this one:

Is the character's name an unusual spelling of a more common word or name?

I think 'Avery' is normally how the name is spelled. In my defense, I only swapped the spelling because I was ripping off one of JLY's characters from a previous story. That character is named Avery, and I thought changing it to an 'i' would be fun... It started out as a place-holder, but when JLY nick-named Wisteria 'Raven', all bets were off--I previously had a character named 'Ravenly'--so more or less, it was a fair trade... Right?



A Parting Quote-- for context, we had been laughing over something, rather than working:

KL: Okay... We need to listen to a calming song so we can work.
JLY: No! Not calm! UN-CALM! UN-CALM! *Shakes fist!*
KL: I'm putting that on my blog.
JLY: That's not funny... It's not funny to anyone but us.
KL: Yes... Well, that's never stopped me before.

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