NaNo Winner!

NaNo Winner There are still three days left in November, and many of my fellow NaNoWriMo participants are in the home stretch. Over the weekend, Saturday to be specific, I passed the 50K mark and qualified for the win, without even having finished the story, which is a first for me. Not the not finishing part – actually a number of my stories are never finished, but getting past the mark and still having a story to tell. That is a a first. Of course, now that the pressure of making the mark is done, I might never finish the story, even though there is lots to write – like several battle scenes.

The fact that the story is not finished is not a bad thing.  The key here is to have made the effort.  So my hat is off to my fellow writers that cross the line and have finished their stories.  And for those of you that started down the road, keep plugging away, you still have a few days before the deadline.

TSA, your tax dollars at work.

I have left no rock unturned in my derision of the Department of Homeland (In)security, and its security arm, the Transportation Security Administration.  Today, the Los Angeles Times posted the following article:

By Mary Forgione Los Angeles Times Daily Travel & Deal blogger October 31, 2011, 12:32 p.m. “Get your freak on girl.” That phrase written by a Transportation Security Administration baggage screener might get the worker fired. (L.A. Times)

The worker’s offence?  Writing a note on that form letter TSA put in your luggage when they riffle through it looking for your valuables…er…checking it for explosives.  In this case, the agent discovered a vibrator.  Way to jump right on that dangerous weapon there TSA, but why is it that you missed the loaded .38 not a week earlier?

TSA has argued that they are looking for explosives, not firearms, and clearly a pair of batteries placed end-to-end are more important to check out than a firearm with rounds in the chamber, because the super-sensitive detection equipment that cannot tell the difference between plastic explosives and peanut butter means you have to open the suit case, but clearly shows you that there are rounds in the chamber of a firearm!  And let’s face facts, if a gun discharges in the uncompressed baggage compartment, it will only make a hole in the aircraft.  At least that is probably what the folks at TSA are hoping anyway.  Never mind that they do not bother to actually check the airframe for explosives, which is a blessing for our friends in Columbia who continue to successfully smuggle drugs around the United States every day.

The bare facts are that the highly trained and background checked employees of the Transportation Security Agency are no better than the Keystone Kops they replaced in most airports.  I say that with a certain degree of derision because I do remember going through airports where the security was much better under the private companies because the private companies hired people that actually cared about what they were doing, which is protecting the flying public.  The TSA is only paying lip service.  And if you do not believe me, just look up the number of them that have been disciplined for doing little to protect you versus the number of times they have stopped a real incident from happening.

It’s NaNo Time!

NaNo Participant It is the first of November, and that means it is time once again to put pen to paper (or electrons to screen) and dive into the National Novel Writing Month. Professional Nanites have already been banging away since Midnight local time instead of out celebrating Hallowe’en and if the bragging statistics are any indication, many are well on their way to their first 50,000 words.

I do not take it that seriously. In fact, I tend to adapt Chris Baty’s No Plot, No Problem outlook on the event. In other words, I just sit down and start writing whatever comes into my head and with luck, I will cross the 50K goal line in 30 days. This is my third attempt at the feat. Last year, circumstances overcame me and I did not make it across the finish line. In fact, I don’t think I banged out more than a couple of hundred words before being overcome by other events. The year before I crossed the line with a space-based military piece. This year, I am thinking something swords and sorcery-based, but we will see what happens as the month progresses.

For me, this is an exercise in can I do it. I have not been writing much this year and lately I have been working with a couple of ideas, so I have high confidence that I have some ideas floating around. The longer, harder issue, is getting them out of my head and down onto paper in 30 days and more than 50,000 words. And if you think that is easy, I encourage, nay, challenge you, to follow along yourself. After all, it is just a little over 1,500 words a day. Piece of cake.

See you at the end!