“Sanity and happiness are an impossible combination.” — Mark Twain

(Good thing I’m a writer. And insane. Well, just a little bit.)

I know, I know! I’ve not written in ages!! Days! Weeks! Months! maybe not months. Actually, I’m not sure how long it’s been. So I’ll try to make this one count.

What have I been doing? Do I even know? A lot of school work, which is why I’m here so that’s all well and good.

I just had my first assessments due. Which is basically like midterms, but a different word, because, of course. Can’t use the same words as those crazy Americans. Or the same grading scale. (Why? What is D1-5, P1-5, F1-5 First of all, why do you need to number the Failing grades. I think just failing is pretty much all you need there. And then whats passing versus distinction. WHY IS THAT A THING???? What happened to percentages……..’cause seriously I think the distinctions start at 77%….That’s a C. A high C, but a C.) I don’t know what grade I got yet. Or, ever, because I don’t understand the grading obviously. We’ll find out soon I guess. It’s only 30% of the total grade. But still. Meh.

One of them was a research plan for a novel. Maybe that’ll get written at some point. Maybe not. I might get my feedback, and all it’ll say is, no. Don’t. Naaaaah. Hopefully it doesn’t. But at least that book has a plot.

The book I’m developing for Creative and Editorial Development……..doesn’t have a plot yet. BUT! I know what to do to get a plot. It’s a near-future speculative science fiction. I’ve spent a lot of time looking into viruses. Which is a form of procrastination. I don’t have a plot though. Had no idea what one of the characters wanted. But now I think I might. Maybe. She’ll get there. Whatever. I’ll work on it. Part of my grade in that class relies on figuring out a plot. Oh! And my mentor thinks it should be around 80000 words. I just looked at her….like okay. Sure. And I’ll invent a new math at the same time. I don’t have to start writing it yet. But if I want to use it as my major project for the summer, I shouldn’t start writing it yet. Otherwise, my mentor will tell me to start a new project. Because as helpful and motivating as she is, she’s also a little bit…..over enthusiastic; and mean. Not mean mean. But you get it.

That’s been my life though. Look up science stuff. Pretend I have a plot. Figure out plague statistics. Cry a bit (not really. not yet. I have not yet hit the wall….which I think is a good thing). Then look up more stuff. Ask people in my flat about science stuff. Because they’re scientists. It’s a lot of research. Ugh.

Then there was the research plan for the other book which was, funnily enough, also a lot of research. So many books that I should be reading. Or articles. Or movies. Whatever. I’ll get around to it. I’ve got a pile sitting here from the library, and then like four from home. I’ll get it done. But it was my birthday recently! So you know, I had to celebrate!

I mean, seriously. It was a good birthday. Nothing got too crazy. I had fun. The people I’ve met that celebrated with me are amazing. They’re gorgeous people. My flatmates decorated the kitchen with balloons for me! It was great. I did tear up a bit at that. And now we get to escalate from there for everyone else’s birthdays. There’s a couple more weeks before the next one, but I think we’ve already got a plan. It involves balloons and Saran wrap. (Which again, isn’t called Saran wrap….I don’t even know what it is called; cling film?)

Oh and then my mentor offers editing services for short story contest entries and there just happens to be a scifi contest coming up, due date in January, so we’ve decided (I mean, yeah, I know I need to do this) that I can use the contest as a minor character/world-building development exercise. MORE WRITING. What did I expect though? It’s a Creative Writing MA……

Oh, we started doing this psychogeography thing….I don’t get it and I don’t like it. So my plans for tomorrow are to go get lost in Edinburgh, pretending I can walk routes from Cleveland here. Which obvi I can’t. But that is apparently what part of this psychogeography thing is? Who knows. That’s what we’ll find out next week. I’ll try not to get arrested.

What else? Not much. Making plans to do things over breaks. Like driving…? to the Isle of Skye in summer.(OMG OMG I CAN RENT CARS NOW!) I super want to come home for Christmas, but monies….. it’s just so expensive. I’m gonna keep looking for tickets though. More procrastination!

I can’t remember if I’ve done anything else….is that bad? I haven’t really been anywhere outside of the city. And even that is usually within walking distance. I’ve had the remnants of a cold for the better part of October. It’s just a cough. But it’s annoying. And I want it to go away.

But I’m having fun. I really like it here. If you’re planning on visiting, let me know. I only have classes on Thursdays and Fridays, so I have time to hang out. I mean I have homework. But it’s what it is. I do like it here. I dunno why. It’s cold and gray; so is Cleveland. I can’t understand some people still. People can’t understand me. I ordered a latte the other day and got a cappuccino. That can’t just be me though. Oh, and NO ON UNDERSTANDS WHAT I’M SAYING WHEN I SAY MY NAME!!!!!! So I guess I’m Siam now; Nice to meet you. It cannot be that hard, can it?

If you wanna know something specific, you should ask me. I’m often distracted by the two novels I’m supposed to be writing. ❤ ❤ ❤ Love you guys!

“Though the doctors treated him, let his blood, and gave him medications to drink, he nevertheless recovered.” — Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace

I have heard others say that the Japanese health care system is not so great. (Something I don’t want to get into, but feel I must mention: Is America’s, though?)

Here is my opinion, or rather my experience today, fresh off a visit to the doctor and pharmacy.

No appointment: I just straight up walked in and was like, My body is fighting off tiny invaders. Can I see the doctor?

They said, Sure! But first, fill out this rather basic information chart. (Compared to the extensive family history you need to see a doctor in America, this was rather pleasant, if in a foreign language with a rather complicated writing system. No longer did I need to guess whether or not my great-grandmother’s husband, or my mother’s great-aunt twice-removed was the one with an upset stomach after eating a questionable potato salad that one time.) In fact, they did not ask one single question about anyone else in my family. (I was there about a cough though, so maybe that just didn’t come up.)

The only weird things I was expected to know, weird because America uses a ridiculously complicated and unique measuring system, was my height, weight, and blood pressure. Luckily they had a blood pressure machine!

AND, the machine did not take three or four tries to acknowledge that I was a living thing. It is rather annoying when no one can find a pulse. Even worse when a machine can’t.

So I waited a couple minutes, let’s say 20, and then was talking to a doctor. He spoke English, which was awesome! Because in my illness-raddled brain I could not remember the word for throat. He took my temperature, (a slight fever, which again, didn’t really understand until I looked up the conversion to American), listened to my breathing, and then was like, X-rays for everyone!

They took two, in five minutes, I waited another…let’s say 15, and then I was back sitting with the doctor looking at my lungs and heart and boooooones. (Are lungs just supposed to show up as two black expanses surrounded by bits of bone and a weird shaped heart thingy in the middle? I hope so.) The doctor seemed to agree that I looked free and clear of plague and pneumonia, So he gave me a prescription and sent me off to pay.

Less than 20 dollars. Seriously.

I did have to walk to a pharmacy to get the medicine, but that’s okay. Normally, when my lungs aren’t trying to escape my body, I like walking. It’s pleasant. Today, every time I had to cough,  I instead was treated to my leg trying to do a jerky dance as I tried to walk and regurgitate bits of organs at the same time. I probably should just stop trying to multitask.

At the pharmacy, I  had an equally easy experience. I did have to fill out another very similar looking form for a medical history. This one had more medicine related questions though. Like do you eat three times a day? And how much coffee do you drink a day? (Yes, I might have fudged that one a bit, mostly because I haven’t been drinking a lot of coffee with this particular cold.) They also had one about driving and drowsiness on medicines but it’s cool. I don’t have a license here.

When they called my name, I swear, only 10 minutes later, they gave me FOUR…I’m sorry, wait a minute…FOUR different medicines. FOUR!

And the best part was that for a 5 day dose, 3 times a day, of four different pills (well ones a powder…ish substance) I paid 5 dollars. 5 dollars. 5!

Either they’re sugar pills or they think I’m in a gang, cause that’s the cheapest medicine I’ve ever seen. Though for three of them, I’m not exactly clear on what they do. Something, I hope.

I guess you can compare this to your own recent doctor visits and make your own judgement. Though do keep in mind, if this wasn’t my first year on the social health insurance, I would be paying at least twice of what I am now a month. Win some, lose some.

“Until I feared I would lose it, I did not love to read. One does not love breathing.” — Harper Lee

I know that it’s been a while. And I have been told to update. I thought I mentioned that it was going to be NaNoWriMo, but that is no excuse. So as it is Thanksgiving for me now, I will put up as many posts as I can. Even though A and B are not mutually exclusive, but I have three hours of sitting and waiting to get through.

I heard it snowed stateside! I wish it would snow here, not just for the obvious and eternal ‘maybe-I-don’t-have-to-go-to-school’ reason, but also because then it wouldn’t be cold enough to rain. It’s not fun trying to decide what to wear in 40 degree rain. Nor is it fun to wake up and walk to school at 7 in 40 degree rain. Nothing is fun in 40 degree rain, except sitting inside under a blanket and pretending you’re asleep.

And on my four-day weekend this week, I did just that. On Saturday, because I could, and what else does one do with their Saturday morning? Stuff, Errands, Chores? No. I should have been writing. I always should be writing, or finishing applications, but you don’t need to tell me that. I know! I know! It’s getting done. Slowly, surely, it’s getting done.

What else is new? I have hiccoughs right now and it’s driving me crazy. And I know it’s because both my brain and my body agree that I should take a nap, but somehow I don’t think the school would appreciate that. Plus it’s like they’ve never heard of insulation. The walls are so thin, or made mostly of glass, and the BOE announced this week that the heaters should not be turned on until December. Because it’s not like there’s the flu going around or anything, and I know that’s not how germs work, but I’m sticking to it.

On the plus side, you can find every size and type of hand warmer you could dream up in seven-eleven. Like small or large, or stick on or for your toes. So if it gets too bad I’ll just layer those on under my suit. Well this has been fun and rant-y.

I wish you could find turkey here. Or anything other than fried chicken or ham. That’s what I really want right now is turkey and stuffing. And just thinking of all the pies and cookies and mashed potatoes and green beans. Man, I miss thanksgiving food. I don’t miss the food-coma that come after it, or black Friday adds. And cyber Monday. I can’t think of anything dumber.

But that means it’s Christmas time! Officially. There is nothing in between that you can throw at me and say: “it’s too early! What about __________?!” After tomorrow, Christmas songs will no longer lurk among the random radio stations and muted shopping store music. They will be blasted unapologetically from rooftops and anything that could remotely hid a speaker. TV stations will begin pushing their Countdown to Christmas events like crack cocaine and no one can stop it! Charlie Brown, the Grinch, Rudolph, and three ghosts of Christmas will gang up and take over, like some sort of evil Christmas affiliated Avengers team. Elevators will play the Nutcracker suite, and candy canes will sprout like weeds everywhere you go! It’ll be weeks until you can even hope to get the scent of evergreen out of your nostrils. And the increasingly popular measurement that we all live our lives by, the Starbucks peppermint latte, needs no longer hid behind the red and white snowflake cups! It’ll be everywhere; you thought the pumpkin spice latte needed to take a break? The pumpkin spice latte is the peppermint lattes unpopular kid brother! I love Christmas.

Unfortunately, Christmas in Japan means a bucket of KFC and some vaguely log shaped cake. Blech. I don’t know how that came about, but it makes me very sad. And the Starbucks here? They’ve been taking liberties with their menu. First – they didn’t even have the pumpkin spice, and now? They’ve replaced the peppermint latte with the snow maple toffee latte. Which, I will admit isn’t that bad, and hashtag-first-world-problems all you want, I still want some peppermint latte on the few occasions I can make it out to a Starbucks around here. (Though seriously if you hashtag at me, we won’t be friends anymore, because outside of twitter, it’s dumb, and even on twitter, it’s still dumb. Twitter is dumb.)

Back to Christmas in Japan…KFC is gross. I think everyone can agree with me one that. It’s just not good. But you have to order like weeks in advance to get a bucket of chicken on Christmas here. It’s so weird. So weird. And Santa? He doesn’t come in through the chimney, mostly because they don’t have chimneys here, but he also doesn’t leave presents under the tree. Though they do have those little fake, plastic-y, sad-looking trees in the stores here. So I guess Santa breaks in through the window and flies around on stolen tooth-fairy wings (which is another thing they probably don’t do here. I dunno) and then magically sneaks a present into your bed. I’m not sure, and I’ve in no way checked anything I just wrote, but I think that’s probably what it is. Definitely, maybe. (Which is a pretty good movie, also.)

And snowmen! Snowmen here are only two snowballs! Two! I drew one on the board the other day, and everyone laughed because there were three sections. Personally, a snowman with only two sections looks a little ridiculous to me, but that’s probably cultural. Most likely. I wish I knew why that was though. Like, who decided how snowmen would look?

If you’re interested in some new Christmas songs to listen too, instead of the same old versions of the same songs, I’ve come upon some really good ones recently. Straight No Chaser, an a capella group has some pretty funny versions of songs. There’s the 12 Days of Christmas version of their, that I’ve probably made you listen to. It’s along the lines of other 12 Days of Christmas-like songs. But it mixes in different carols and popular Christmas music – it’s good, let’s just say that. Then there is the Christmas Can-can song, which is hilarious and awesome. And the Nutcracker song, equally hilarious. Check out all three. But then realize that there is nothing wrong with Alvin and the chipmunks, and listen to that album too. Do we still have it on a record, like a vinyl record? I think we might…do that instead. That’s better, somehow.

Then go caroling and get a peppermint latte because I am STILL NOT OVER THAT!

Then send me a picture, so I can show it to a barista here while crying and maybe they’ll make me one out of pity.

Just kidding about the picture part. But really, Happy Thanksgiving to all! And to all a good night!

Oh and then totally check out the Thrilling Adventure Hour, especially the episode in which they rewrite T’was The Night Before Christmas poem for their (dark knight) batman/aquaman character – Phillip Fathom. Because (1) TAH in general is hilarious, (2) it’s written by two guys named Ben Acker and Ben Blacker, seriously, like really, that’s their names, and (3) the best way to pull through a food coma is to laugh all those calories off! Remember the average American will gain 7 pounds this holiday season! Do you seriously need any more of a reason? Ooo. Rhymes.  

“Don’t tell me the sky’s the limit when there are footprints on the moon.” — Paul Brandt

Thank you Aunt Sue for bringing this quote to my attention. I love it! It’s wonderful, and sarcastic (or is that just me) and true, and fabulous, all in one awe-maze-tastic package. Love it, love it, love it. Of course to some extent I do this for every quote I find that perfectly fits the topic of the day, but sometimes you know, these things sneak up on you, and you just have to share how magnificent it is. Magnificent might be a little strong here…delightful? Delightful!

But back to today’s post. So there wasn’t a prompt for today, again. This blogging 101 challenge wants me to like, snaz (snazz?) up my blog, and like personalize the features and stuff. How dare they, right? And the Daily Prompt just didn’t strike my fancy. Which left me a little lost and drifting in the infinite sea of internet daily prompt websites.

I abandoned that path, and decided to write about something that did interest me. Which then meant my brain decided to forget absolutely everything that I found interesting. It acted like it had woken me up this morning, and as punishment for not immediately giving it caffeine decided to get rid of some files and make more room for storing lyrics of songs from the late-nineties.

‘Oh, you don’t need these files labeled interests did you? And hobbies? No one has those anymore. DELETE!’

‘Oh, look, words? You like being able to form sentences…hahaha. Not today!’

‘What’s this? It’s labeled important…hmm, whatever it is, it must not be necessary. BURN EVERYTHING!’

This went on until I gave in and drowned it in a latte. Thankfully, my brain had not emptied the trash folder, and I could just restore everything. So finally I had a topic for today’s post! Although it might be one unfamiliar to a lot of you. NaNoWriMo.

NaNoWriMo is a fun word to say. Try it, it’s pretty effing entertaining. But in case you want more information, it stands for National Novel Writing Month. Get it? NaNoWriMo. Hee. Fun.

Anywho, it starts on November 1st – a mere 22 days from now. That may not seem like such a big deal to you, but have you tried it? I tried it for the first time last year, and it is intimidating. Very much so. The goal is to have a novel by December 1st, at least 50,000 words. That means, with a little math, you need to write on average 1666.67 words a day. That is a lot of words. So far this post is only 446 words long. So like just under four of these a day, about the same thing, so that by the end of it you have a semi-understandable story.

Let’s just say that last year did not go well for me. I got so behind that it became impossible to catch up. This year that will not happen. Unless you know I start to hate what I’m writing and decide to switch topics again, like last year. Hopefully it won’t. That was just a terrible decision last year.

If you try to do it this year, don’t make that mistake. I don’t care if you wake up on November 20th and realize you are writing about a heard of cats fending off invading ferrets riding turtles with blueberries and peanut butter. Stick with Mittens and Spot and their crew for another ten days, you’ve almost made it. Plus, who doesn’t want to read that book. You can totally do that if you want, I have a different idea in mind. It doesn’t involve cats, or turtles, or peanut butter…I think.

And still here I am at only 627 words! There are over a thousand more to get to the daily requirement for NaNoWriMo. A thousand! I suppose I could go into a very detail description of the turtles and the cats and exactly how the peanut butter and blueberries are being used as weapons, but I prefer to leave something to the readers’ imagination. If I have to spell everything out, it loses the magic, doesn’t it?

On second thought, don’t take my idea. I may need that.

(P.S. I think my Word program had forgotten the difference between it’s and its. And it’s making me question my grasp of the English language….)

“Follow your inner moonlight; don’t hide the madness” — Allen Ginsberg

I don’t take credit for the quote today. The title of today’s post is the prompt too. Do you follow Ginsberg’s advice?

I’d like to think that I am starting to. I want to. I think that people that can actually dance to the beat of their own drummer without a care in the world, are some of the most successful people today. Maybe not in terms of wealth, but just in life. They truly enjoy what they do. Everyone should have something like that. Even if you don’t love your job, you should have a hobby or something that you can do that is one hundred percent you.

And so I guess my point is that especially since college, but even that last year or two I was trying to do exactly that. And since living on my own, I’ve become even less apologetic for who I am. That’s my problem. If you don’t like it, you don’t have to live with it. I do. My best friend and I agree; we aren’t social butterflies. We’re social bats. We aren’t pretty flowers. We’re cacti. And we love it. We click. We have three conversations at the same time, over months. It’s the best thing in the world, and I hope that everyone can have something like that.

I am not saying that that means I am rude to everyone, spouting what I think all the time, without apologizing. I’m saying that I like Top Gear, and I like Castle. I love Firefly, and I watch The Vampire Diaries. I like reading. No, I love reading. I hate people taking pictures of their food all the time. Unless there is a very good reason for it, and I mean super special occasion, just eat it. I eat vegetables raw, and I love shopping. I like colors, but I like things to match. I like walking, and roller coasters. I love yoga. But at the same time I want to be a runner too (I’m definitely not yet, I’m working on it…slowly. My lungs don’t seem to agree with me yet.) I will point out if you say something incorrect, not to show off, or to put you down for being dumb, but to point out that you are wrong. If you’re being rude, I’m gonna call you out on that. And that’s only partially because I’m kind of awkward. I like being awkward. But I’m also trying to listen to other people more. I may not like who they are, but that’s fine. I don’t have to. I just want to know what makes others tick (selfishly, so I can use that later in my writing career. Evil smile, followed by manic laughter…optional.)

So I wholeheartedly agree. Don’t hide the madness. We should celebrate uniqueness now more! Creativity comes from the crazy; I firmly believe that. You just don’t always have to be crazy. Let it out at the full moon.

“Happy people don’t kill their husbands.” — Reese Witherspoon as Elle Woods

Today’s assignment: Change you title and tagline to reflect you!

But I love my  tagline!!! If anything should be a philosophy to live by, it is that! It’s amazing! Wonderful, even!

So that leave the title. Which up until now was just my name. Which is all well and good. But it said to change it. And I’m not sure I like it now, I may change it back, but for now what is better than blonde? Not much that I know of.

And what better way to express that awesomeness than through my favorite quote from Legally Blonde? Not the best movie perhaps, but it has its moments and this is one of them. Find a clip of just this part if you can. Watch it. Laugh.

Day two: finished!