NaNoWriMo Day 30 – The End of NaNoWriMo

I ended and validated.  By my count, 55134, but the NaNoWriMo validator said 55,166.  Either way, a win!   It’s an urban fantasy, “The Key to Darker Thinking” and it’s a mess, but the end of the world (as we know it) was halted by magic.  For those still writing, in whatever time zone you are, keep going and validate!

For those who did it: WE DID IT, wrimos!  (you know who you are!)

And, for those who didn’t make 50k: you tried.  And, there’s next year, or pick your own month and do it!  National Novel Writing Month is something worth trying and doing.

Since I don’t know which image to post, I’m posting both.



(cross-posted at

Happy Thanksgiving 2013!

Happy Hanukkah!  Happy Thanksgiving!  Happy Thanksgivvukah!  Happy Holidays!

The balloons in the Macy’s Thanksgiving parade went forward after all.  They didn’t fly as high since the winds were a concern, but at least they weren’t grounded.  That would have disappointed a lot of people.

The trend of starting the shopping mess on Thanksgiving Thursday continues.  Over at Slate, Matthew Iglesias ponders the question and whether it really matters as a social justice issue: is it fair to make some people work on Thanksgiving?  He compares it to the being open on Christmas situation.  He concludes:

Which is just to say that in a diverse nation with more than 300 million citizens, opinions are going to vary on the pros and cons of extended business hours. How strapped for cash are you? Where does your family live? What’s your relationship with them like? How sentimental are you about specific holiday rituals? People will differ. This Thanksgiving there are going to be people with jobs at the Gap who wish they weren’t working Thanksgiving but feel that they’d lose their jobs if they weren’t willing to take an extra shift. There are also going to be people with jobs at Radio Shack who wish they could earn some extra cash and get out from under that credit card debt. I’m not persuaded that there’s a first-order question of social justice here one way or the other.

I get that there are people who are willing to work on Thanksgiving or Christmas.  And, Christmas, in my mind, is more of a religious holiday, even if a lot of secular folk and the American government have taken advantage of it.  If you want to be open and/or work on Christmas, go ahead.  There are a lot of non-Christians who need servicing. I won’t judge.

But, Thanksgiving – notwithstanding its complicated history (much like anything and everything else in this country) – is a uniquely American holiday and unites everyone, because it’s not about race, gender, national origin, religion, lack of religion, or whatever.  It’s about being American and being grateful.  Maybe Thanksgiving is more than grouching about whether you’re working or not and shopping demonstrates greed/lack of greed/save capitalism and the free market/economy and how much free will is involved when someone chooses to work/open the business on a holiday… the debating is endless.

I feel like it comes down to our national values and our culture.  Do businesses have to be open on Thanksgiving – for just one day?  Are businesses just about money?  Do corporations – assuming they’re people too, as former Gov. Mitt Romney said and legally, they are – have one core value?  Do they have one element of patriotism?  Just pick one day where you don’t cross a line and say why.  And, can’t we as Americans have one nice thing to agree on?

The lines are blurred.  All the crazy arguing – this is why we can’t have nice things.  (insert sarcasm there, in case you didn’t catch the sarcasm).


Anyway, don’t overeat and watch too much football.  Just take a moment and say thanks for all the good stuff out there.

I liked listening to this over at NPR’s Fresh Air: host Terry Gross having Bridget Lancaster and Jack Bishop of “America’s Test Kitchen” make Thanksgiving cooking tipsAlton Brown was over at NPR’s All Things Considered, with very sensible tips on cooking the turkey (including the tip on not cooking the stuffing in the turkey, to avoid food poisoning).  And, Science Friday on NPR had the “How to Avoid ‘Food Failures’ This Thanksgiving” with Jeff Potter of “Cooking with Geeks.”

It’s getting down to the wire with National Novel Writing Month.  Even NPR is noticing… My project continues…

November 11

Thank you to the veterans. What we really need is to help improve social services for veterans and their families; but take a moment to think about what they have done for us all.

Also: on the day of World War I’s armistice, with next year the 100th anniversary of the start of WW I, take a moment to think about a world without war.

Also, not to say that we don’t acknowledge veterans, but it takes all of us to help each other; so I thought that this was an interesting article by vet Alex Horton on The Atlantic, including how he considered the perspective of World War II veterans (who transformed culture even if it took 60 years to have a memorial for their war; sometimes it’s not about the public acknowledgement – you can have history for that – but it’s about what you do):

I once talked to a World War II veteran about the experience of attending college after coming home, and asked if it was jarring to sit next to those who never served. I wondered if veterans huddled together under the umbrella of mutual understanding and thought less of civilians who never shouldered a rifle. His answer was surprising. They were proud of their time in uniform, he said, but for many, the war interrupted their lives, and education was a return to normalcy. Instead of a victory lap, they were more interested in getting back on track.

Perhaps the fact that many Iraq and Afghanistan veterans I’ve talked to take precisely the opposite view is due, in part, to current civilian attitudes. I call it the pedestal problem.

Horton further notes:

That’s the problem with viewing something on a pedestal: you can only see one side at a time, and rarely at depth. It produces extremes—the valiant hero or the downtrodden, unstable veteran.

Thank you for your service. But we’re looking for someone else.

The view from the pedestal has warped the perspective many veterans hold when they leave the service. We call ourselves warriors and worship the Spartan ethos, but don’t always appreciate that our society is detached from our conflicts the way Sparta never was. [….]

The place to begin is to understand ourselves [as veterans] — and what we need to begin defining success after we leave the service. In addition, our society should be less concerned with freebie giveaways and boilerplate op-eds on Veterans Day, and more concerned about how to provide opportunities for our veterans to flourish after their service.” (emphasis added)

Worth a read.

In the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, here are ways to help.

A lot of food for thought on this day.

(cross-posted at