Dream of the Dolphin
a.k.a.
Confessions of a Post-Graduate Pity Whore

Free Story!

Thursday, May 30, 2002
 

Explaining Elysium

To alleviate some confusion, I'm going to try to clarify what's going on with this runaway story.

It's one story. Complete. It just happens to be bigger than I expected, so it's getting chopped into three novel-length parts, which is what I'm referring to as "book one, book two, book three". However, the book was previously chopped into seven small parts, so each novel will have two books (with the exception of the last one, which has three). At the moment, the novels are taking their titles from one of the books within. Thus, Elysium is as follows:

Elysium: Once Upon A Time
  • Book One: Once Upon A Time...
  • Book Two: May the Moon Weave Your Dreams...

Elysium: In A Far Away Land
  • Book Three: In A Far Away Land
  • Book Four: In A Shining Castle

Elysium: Happily Ever After
  • Book Five: [at this point, I'm not sure what book five is called. I'm torn between "Where the Wild Things Are" and "Where the Wild Roses Grow", but I'm afraid they both may be too derivative]
  • Book Six: At the Stroke of Midnight [not entirely happy with this either]
  • Book Seven: Happily Ever After


So there you have it. There is method to my madness. I have a plan. The outline is done and I know exactly where I'm going. It's just that it's taking longer than I thought to get there.


( 11:34 PM ) Sarah Jane ~


 

Craziness at the Dairy

Congrats, Jen, you just made tomato juice come out my nose.

(And she claims she's not a writer)




( 1:56 PM ) Sarah Jane ~


 

Yup, I knew it

Parents are crazy. They published the top 100 baby names of 2001. Granted, it's a small sample and not particularly objective, but I find some of this disturbing.

My name is number six, which isn't surprising -- I already knew that everybody and their grandmother was named Sarah. What did surprise me is that not only is Destiny on the list for girls, it's the 24th most popular name! Other disturbing girl names: the Jordan, Sierra, Bailey, Mackenzie run around number 50, Savannah, Trinity.

The boys' names are better, even though the top 10 looks like a biblical geneaology, but I was unsettled by #52. Yup. Angel. As a name, it may do perfectly well for a two-hundred-and-some-odd-year-old vampire (who is fully capable of ripping your head off if he gets sick of being teased about the name), but I'm fairly sure that on a ten year old boy, being called Angel Smith will turn his head into a basketball magnet.


( 9:41 AM ) Sarah Jane ~


 

I knew it



which Episode II character are you?




Queen of Naboo. You could have a split personality - simply to hide who you really are. You are extremely polite and gentle. However, if needs be, you will take action and can be a very good leader. You have the power to make people believe in you - use this power. The one you love could also end up being the one you hate.



As soon as I got to the question about the clothes. But it's Tank Cleaning Thursday! I CAN'T leave the house without a change of clothes! :o)


( 8:37 AM ) Sarah Jane ~





Wednesday, May 29, 2002
 

Touch of Death

Bwa ha ha! I DO have a superpower! I have the Touch of Death!!!!

Yup. Killed another ivy. I'm starting to think that the current habitat of the now-deceased ivy plants (two terra-cotta planters with legs sitting on a porch swing, with one planter's arm around the other planter's shoulder), while proven an adequate home in the past, does not serve ivy particularly well in its current situation (hanging from the bunk bed over my desk, on the other side of the Largest Monitor Ever Created), given that a) the Largest Monitor Ever Created is blocking the natural light from the skylight and window, and b) the Largest Monitor Ever Created is more than likely bombarding the aforementioned ivy plants with some sort of low-grade radiation. As there is nowhere else in this room to hang the swing (and I'm sharing a house, so this room is the only one I get to personalize), I'm thinking that I'm going to have to change the species in the planter.

So, as I remove the wizened and crinkly ivy corpses from their sad little terra cotta bodies, I contemplate summer.

Yup, summer. I'm wearing my crystal tear pendant and the lilacs are blooming, so it must be summer. The signs are everywhere. Fruit stands on every corner, rollerbladers out in force, and Yelling Jesus Guy has returned in fine form (I could hear him all the way from Blockbuster).

I'm still not sure what the hell is going on with my life. I haven't had time to send out my resumees yet, and I'm not entirely sure I want to anymore. Things don't seem quite so bad at the hostel anymore (which may change when Edward gets pissy again, I dunno), I do get paid really well, which is a big concern since I'm a) broke, and b) saving for school again, and I'm getting a lot of writing done.

This, I think, is my biggest concern. I've been thinking about Elysium a lot. One of the characters, who is on the whole a Good Person, is about to do a Very Bad Thing. She's actually constantly surprised me. She started off as an apathetic villain, but quite unexpectedly became a sympathetic character, albeit more of a sympathetic doormat. But now she's about to show a startling act of bad judgement. I hadn't planned on it. She just did it.

This is why I'm feeling reluctant to send out the first book until the trilogy is done. Characters keep doing things that surprise me, forcing me to go back and make tiny amendments to things that came earlier. Characters also materialize and announce to me that they're taking on major roles, like Jen, a very nice dwarf (in the little person sense, not the bearded guys in mines sense) who showed two days ago quite unexpectedly and informed me that he was going to be Mari's confidant in book 2.

But then, I think about Julie. Julie, who writes marvellous books that sell really well and I love. Julie, whose first book took ten years to get published. And I think, well, maybe I'll have time to finish the trilogy while the first book is sitting in the slush pile. But will I have time to do it if I change jobs? I don't know. Aargh.

Well, must run. Mari is calling. She wants to hit Gavin in the head with her shoe.



( 8:32 PM ) Sarah Jane ~


 

Hurray Sean!

Some useless but interesting info:

Tami and Shannon and I were quite taken with Sean Biggerstaff, the 19-year-old actor who plays Oliver Wood in the Harry Potter movies. There's just something about him that makes you sit up and think, "whoa. There's something about that kid." Something that makes you want to like him.

Well, get this. His favourite place to visit is Canada! No joke. His aunt and uncle live in Toronto, he's a Leafs fan (unfortunately he was at one of the losing games last Wednseday), and he loves the CN Tower.

I just find that neat.

From his website:

Just got back from the leafs game. Damn. They really put on a show. I'd probably like team sports if I lived here. It's infinitely more fun than standing in the rain on some god forsaken winters day in glasgow watching football or rugby with a presentation that's about as entertaining as venereal disease. Although I came close to walking out when that dude warbled the national anthem's.

Why do they sing at Licks? Does it make the food taste better?

Went up the CN tower today. The novelty still hasn't worn off.

Carolina sucks.
Later.



( 3:46 PM ) Sarah Jane ~


 

You like me! You reeeeally like me!

Almost 150 people have visited this blog since 11 pm Sunday night, and I'm completely blown away. I mean, I knew people were reading the blog, but I had no idea so MANY people were reading it.... Damn. You guys rock!

False Potter

And just a warning to anyone buying the Harry Potter DVD who's a widescreen snob like me (movie buffs, fanatics, and people who've taken an Anne Lancashire film course) -- the DVD comes in TWO editions -- fullscreen and widescreen -- and most people will try to sell you the fullscreen edition. DO NOT BE FOOLED! Look for the gold "special widescreen edition" across the top of the box. Blockbuster will not take back movies once they've been opened, even when they know you've been in a half an hour before and they must have a shrink-wrapping machine because the boxes on the for sale rack are all empty shrink-wrapped decoy copies...

...not that I'm bitter.

(Picture this: Me last night, curling up with my new Harry Potter DVD, arranging my drink and snack perfectly, turning down the lights, putting in the DVD, and up pops "this film has been modified from its original version. It has been formatted to fit your TV."

ME: [after staring in stunned silence for a moment] No! Nooooooooo!!!!)


( 8:43 AM ) Sarah Jane ~





Tuesday, May 28, 2002
 

The thing about having a bleeding disorder...

...is that you bruise easily.

The thing about being a complete and utter accident-prone klutz is that you bruise often.

Put them together, and I look like I've been abused. Well, actually, at the moment the bruises have all faded to brown, so I look like a dalmatian...

I can't even remember how I got most of them, but my arms are covered in little round bruises. One of the women staying at the hostel left her husband, and I'm pretty sure she's really worried about me. But I really did walk into a door and fall up the stairs. See, I'm an idiot sometimes. I'm very intelligent and know many clever things, but I am, in the end, an idiot.

I don't even want to talk about my hip, which is completely purple due to my absolute inability to walk around the table in the kitchen. Every time I go through that room, I walk into it.


( 12:50 PM ) Sarah Jane ~


 

Oh. My. Lord.

Pride and Prejudice was absolutely wonderful (yes, I watched the whole things last night). But at times incredibly eerie. Ever wondered if part of my lunacy came from my family? Wonder no more. My aunt Jennifer IS Mrs. Bennet.


( 12:28 PM ) Sarah Jane ~





Monday, May 27, 2002
 

It's here! It's here! IT'S HEEEERE!!!!

Pride and Prejudice finally came! I'm so excited! God, I love FedEx boxes...

It's been a strange and interesting day. Sheila posted a thing in her blog that had me thinking all day (there's that "t" word again...) about creativity and mental illness.

Personally? I think there's some truth to it. Which is not to say that all creative people are mad (or vice versa), but I have noticed a correlation between creative types and those who are wired a bit differently. I have noticed that four of the five people I know on anti-depressants are extremely creative individuals. The transgendered person I know is also extremely creative and bright. My artsy friends are more prone than my non-artsy friends to huge mood swings (I mean, look at me. I'm not manic depressive, but it's hard to tell that sometimes).

None of my really creative friends are clinically unbalanced, but we're not exactly normal, either. Some people would consider going to Blockbuster to rent movies in pyjamas, fairy wings and a tiara an act of lunatics, but for me and my actor/writer/singer friends, it's just Something We Do. I work out dialogue out loud (I had friends drive past once when I was walking home from school who saw me having a very animated conversation with thin air), and sometimes I just talk to myself in character. I yell at inanimate objects when they're pissing me off. And you should hear me in the lab when I've been alone for too long. ("Hello fiiish, you're stinky, stiiiiiiiky fish, IIIIIIIIII loooove the stiiiinky fiiiiish wheeeeeeeeeeeeee!). And today. Looking in the fridge for dinner. "(gaaaaaaaaaaasp), OHHHH, I have a SAAANDwiiich!!!!"

And then there's the panel I did at Ad Astra, which talked about the correlation between SFF fans, genius, and autism.

I think, for many creative people, being slightly detached from reality is a matter of course. Some people end up mentally ill. Others are just weird. Some I'm sure are completely normal, but where's the fun in that?


( 8:40 PM ) Sarah Jane ~


 

All you need is love...

Go check out Jen's Dairy for the pictures of Twister (her horse) that she just posted. It's an amazing example of what a little care and a lot of love can do.


( 1:14 AM ) Sarah Jane ~





Sunday, May 26, 2002
 

God, I'm an Idiot

My random acts of niceness often tend to go awry. Like the time Alexandra and I tried to buy soup for the homeless guy outside of Harvey's, but by the time we got out, he had left, so we wandered around downtown in the rain for an hour looking for someone to give it to (most refused, wanting money) before the bag soaked through and the soup spilled all over the sidewalk.

Well, here I was all proud of my Sending Things today, and in the package of Stuff I Sent, I included a CD I made. I was so careful, going out and buying jewel cases, copying the liner notes and making them perfect.

As I was tidying up my desk just now, I found the CD.

Yup. The Person I Sent Stuff To is getting a perfectly lovely empty CD case.

Maybe if I Xpress post the thing tomorrow afternoon, it'll catch up with the big package. ::sigh::


( 8:30 PM ) Sarah Jane ~


 

Have You Entered the Haggis?

Aargh, aargh, AARGH! Enter the Haggis is playing at the Loose Moose on Thursday. RIGHT off the subway system, easily accessible, and do I have anyone to go with? NO! AND, it's the last chance to see them until at least September, because they're off touring everywhere BUT Toronto. And they just recorded a live CD too. ::sigh::


( 7:32 PM ) Sarah Jane ~


 

Woo hoo!

I made Tami shoot Cranberry Juice out of her nose! I seem to be having that effect on people... Cool, but as a superpower it's kinda lame.

The sad thing is, this is actually my life that people find so amusing. I told you I'm the comic relief. :o)


( 5:05 PM ) Sarah Jane ~


 

Owie, owie, stingie, ow

So I trotted down to the post office to ship off one of the Things I'm Sending to People, and as it was too big to fit in a cushion mailer, I opted for one of the big white Canada Post Boxes.

I'm a big fan of the big white boxes. Plunk your thing in, close the box, and off you go. So much nicer than wrapping it in brown paper (despite receiving wrap training during my brief stint as a Chindigo employee -- stop laughing -- I can't for the life of me wrap a package in that brown paper without it looking like I'm trying to mail a bomb). So I bought the biggest box size available and then set about trying to assemble the box.

Now, I don't know how many of you have ever received a cardboard cut, but let me tell you, they're a million billion times worse than papercuts. And I got a doozy on this box. I lacerated my hand and proceeded to bleed all over the box, to the point at which the postal employee took pity on me and gave me a new one after I'd patched up my hand with bandaids from her first aid kit (one of the advantages to locating postal outlets in Shoppers Drug Mart). So I managed to get everything settled in the new box and slapped on the address sticker I'd thoughtfully prepared before heading out. I sealed the box with the Canada Customs Labels they like to use for sealing things, and admired how neat and non-explosive it looked. Pleased at having accomplished my good deed for the day, I sauntered home, relishing in the beautiful spring weather.

About halfway home, I realized I'd forgotten to put the apartment number on the address sticker.

So I went tearing home and called the post office, and after being laughed at (I was a REAL idiot today -- I'm NOT stupid, but I seem to have misplaced my brain temporarily), she wrote the apartment number on for me and the box is safely on its way.

After such a glorious start, I'm really glad I opted for the insurance.


( 4:54 PM ) Sarah Jane ~


 

Holy Balls of Fire, Batman!

Being decidedly tight in the food department, I decided to potter downstairs and make myself a pizza pop and a salad for lunch (the salad makes the pizza pop healthy, doncha know?)

So I stuck the pizza pop in the microwave, set the timer, and wandered off to make my salad, when I heard this decidedly comic book-y noise (kind of a zzz-zzot!). So I turn around, and what do I see but masses of orange light pouring from the side of the microwave, accompanied by a decidedly unpleasant smell. I leaped across the room and turned the microwave off, put the questionable pizza pop back in the freezer, and made myself a bagel.

If I develop superpowers, I'll let you know.


( 1:05 PM ) Sarah Jane ~


 

Sunrise Serenade

Woke up from a nightmare around dawn this morning and went out to the balcony to watch the sunrise and get my heartrate back down. I'm feeling so much better this morning after that little catharsis last night, it's amazing. Strange what a little emotional unburdening will do for the stress levels. As I sat there, watching the sun come up, I started singing. This is what I sang:

It's not that easy being me;
Having to spend each day so sensitive to things.
When I think it could be so much nicer being brash, or sultry, or bold...
Or something much more colourful like that.

It's not easy being me.
It seems you blend in with so many other ordinary girls.
And people tend to pass you over cause you're
not standing out like flashy sparkles on the water
or stars in the sky.

But I'm the best I can be.
And I can be cool and friendly-like.
And I can be big, like an ocean, or important, like a mountain
Or tall like a tree.

When I am all there is to be
It could make you wonder why, but why wonder why?
Wonder, I am me, and it'll do fine, it's beautiful!
And I think it's what I want to be.



( 11:20 AM ) Sarah Jane ~


 

And the World Goes On...

Amy, one of the girls who was in my class in high school, just had a baby girl. Now, ignoring the fact that knowing someone only a few months older than me just gave birth is freaking the hell out of me, I find it wonderful and amazing that in the face of everything that is going on in my world and the world at large, miracles continue to happen. See, what did I tell you? You can find joy, if you look for it.

Welcome to the world, Abigail.


( 3:01 AM ) Sarah Jane ~





Saturday, May 25, 2002
 

More incongruous fluff

I think I've pretty much permanently settled on Dream of the Dolphin as the name of this blog. It'll still fluctuate occasionally, though.

And can I say once more, SO PRETTY!!!!. Round off the top, and this is almost what the Penningham tiara looks like. I soooo can't afford to buy this, but DAMN, am I ever tempted!


( 6:25 PM ) Sarah Jane ~


 

Verbally incontinent

Hang on, cause I have a lot to say, and some of it's gonna get pretty heavy. Don't worry though -- if you make it through, I'm posting some incongruous fluff at the end.

So, some of you want to know why I'm getting an ulcer (and what am I drinking at this very moment? Bad! Bad Sarah!). It's not all diet coke's fault. As those very close to me know, my life is the universe's idea of a practical joke. I swear, the world is just one long-running sitcom to the boys upstairs, and I'm the juvenile humour comic relief. So when things go wrong in my life, they go REALLY wrong. And then, as all this stuff is happening, come The Fights.

Some people have asked, and there are 5 conflicts going on around me now. Two are slacking off, three appear to be in a holding pattern after various explosions night-before-last. And to those who have asked "am I the one you're talking about", no. There is NO ONE. It's everybody, everywhere. Which means I can't get away from it unless I go for a walk (read the "this was my day" bit at the bottom of the post).

Now, I know I should just mind my own business. It doesn't involve me, and as I've said before, most people (not Wanker-boy) haven't tried to involve me or tell me to stop talking to my friend on the other side of the conflict (oh, and to the individual who wrote the rather forcefully petulant e-mail telling me I should take certain links off my blog: NO! Do I tell you how to decorate your living room? The wankers are multiplying... But I digress). And this is good. But it's not that easy with me.

I'm a peacemaker. I always have been (remember my song? Tami KNOWS me). In many of these cases, I am the ONLY one able to see both sides of the equation. When I see two of my friends fighting, it hurts me. I hate conflict. I really would like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony. Because I'm really good at seeing all sides, I can usually pinpoint the moment of miscommunication where things start going drastically wrong and want to fix things and put them back the way they were. I know, I know, the real world doesn't work this way (why do you think I create my own?) And I know from past experience that I really ought to keep my thoughts to myself unless people come to me asking if I thought they did the right thing. I know, I know, I KNOW that ANYTHING I say to ANYONE in 90% of these conflicts will just piss that person off and possibly damage my relationship with them. But does that stop me from wanting to say it? Damn right it doesn't.

Because of the way things fell out when I was a kid, I've realized that friendship is the most precious thing in the world. That's why it kills me to see it fall apart. And to sit by and say nothing while people on either side comment on the situation kills me. Every time I hear someone I care about maligned by the person or people on the other side of the conflict (who I also care about), it tears another piece out of my heart (and this is a two way street). My heart is bleeding right now. Sometimes people say or do things so bad it actually shocks me. I had a huge crisis recently as I struggled to wrap my head around the concept that people who I knew to be good, loving people could do such terrible things.

It was Tami that came to my rescue (and earned a role as a wise and sage Earth Mother figure in one of the books because of it). She e-mailed me this morning and told me basically what had been in my head, but I hadn't been able to articulate. Miscommunication and overreaction is generally the key to these things. Once the emotions become involved, things go wrong. People stop acting and start reacting, and that rarely goes well. But I figured something out.

You know what? People aren't perfect. Sometimes Good People do Bad Things. Good People like my parents, who loved me and my sibling, who encouraged us to read at a very young age, who never once raised a hand to us, who cashed in their RRSPs to put me through University. Good People like my parents, who told my sibling he could never come home again if he transitions. Does this mean they're not still good people? No. It just means they made a Bad Decision. I don't agree with them at all, but that doesn't mean my feelings for them have changed. With the exception of Wanker-boy, nobody in these conflicts has done anything to make my feelings for them change or make me care for them any less, even though a lot of Bad Things were done. Because behind the Bad Things, I can see the Hurt Feelings. I understand WHY the Bad Things were done, even if I don't think they should have been.

I realized something the year I turned 21. That was the year that my mother had her brain aneurysm and almost died. That was the year I watched them tie my mother to a bed and force a tube down her nose as she screamed for them to stop. I held her hand until she woke up afterward. She opened her eyes. I said "Hi." She looked at me. "Who are you?" she said.

Before that, I didn't get along too well with Mum. I loved her, but we had our disagreements and some pretty nasty fights. But that year, when I spent my twenty-first birthday in the hospital, getting presents from a parent who had no idea what they were or what they were for, I realized something. When she made a complete recovery and came home, it confirmed it.

Life is too short. It's too short for pettiness and grudges, too short to part company in anger, because you never know when the chance to reconcile will be taken away from you. I hate that I had to learn that lesson that way, but it hammered a lot home. Sometimes my friends do things that piss me off. But most of the time, before I react to them, I compare them to the friendship I have. Most of the time, in the grand scheme of things, what they did doesn't really matter when compared to the love and support they have given me. So I let it go. The same goes for strangers. Insults may hurt me badly. I may cry. But I pick myself up and keep going, shaking it off (my mantra: Be like the duck). As much of Variel as there is in me, there is much Laur'ia as well, and as I have said before, when you look at things this way, it's so easy to find the love again. Small things may hurt you, but small things also make you whole. I'm generally okay in the long run if something happens to me, if someone is there to give me a hug. It's when stuff starts happenening to my friends that I fall apart.

This is the way I think. I've received a couple snarky e-mails belittling me for my overly naive view of the universe, but to answer them seriously:

It's very nice here in my little world, thank you for asking.

Yes, I do smile at puppies on the street.

And to the very sarcastic guy who really isn't expecting this:

The keys to being me

  • Don't sweat the small stuff.
  • Love.
  • Fight anger with kindness.
  • Always use your talents for Niceness instead of Evil.
  • Act. Don't react.
  • Forgive.
  • Laugh.
  • Find joy in the little things.
  • Listen.
  • Care.


That's really all there is to it. And it won't work for everyone. But that's who I am. And I'm feeling a lot better now for saying it.

So now that that's over

I had a pretty good day today. I took off shopping, left the cell phone at home, and meandered. I got lured in by SWAK II, but didn't buy anything. I got sucked into Aztec Crafts instead and ended up proving that sometime the cure for a funk is buying lots of sparkly jewelry. I now have 20 loops of beads around my left wrist in addition to the 5 I placed there last weekend. The medic alert bracelet has vanished in a cloud of sparkles.

I pottered down to Bakka and reduced some of my store credit. Hey look! I'm in Locus! (last page of the glossy colour spread, bottom left corner. I'm also in the group shot -- third red shirt from the left, with the black strap over my shoulder). I'd like to know why the Honourable Mentions got mentioned in the ICFA report this year when a certain someone (AHEM) got left out last year...

I also decided to broaden my "fighting anger with love" campaign to the next level, bumping it up from verbal niceness to physical niceness. A.K.A. Sending People Things. This stage takes much longer, as Sending People Things costs Money I Don't Have, since U of T still hasn't paid me for last month. But I've made a healthy start.

Pottered home, renting Moulin Rouge and Erin Brokovitch, and earning a free bag of chips in the process. Hurray! Combined with Lord of the Rings (I could tell you where I got it, but then I'd have to kill you), I now have enough movies to keep me going for a little while.

Elysium topped 100,000 words and is still going strong.

So all in all, it's been a good day. I'm doing well.

How are you today?


( 6:13 PM ) Sarah Jane ~


 

Oh, oh, ohhhhhhh!!!!

So pretty!!!!!

(See? Magpie)

And yes, I'm the kind of girl who would wear a veil headband as an actual headband, too. :o)


( 1:56 AM ) Sarah Jane ~


 

Damn...

I got outbid on this bracelet. Ah, well.

After sleeping through my alarm today and arriving two hours late for work, I went to the doctor to find out what's causing this abdominal pain. Yup. Ulcer. Now, I don't have one YET, but apparently I've moved up one step on the pre-ulcer ladder. I'm supposed to stop drinking diet coke. Nooooooooo.... There will more than likely be a long expansive post tomorrow on WHY I have a pre-ulcer, but I got a not pleasant phone call today that seriously depressed me, and as some counselling from my fairy godmother combined with some serious HaagenDaz/Bridget Jones therapy has got me functional again, I don't want to go on about that.

So here are some good things that happened today:

I resisted the lure of SWAK II once again. I strongly suspect that the inner magpie will emerge victorious in time, but for now at least I have yet to succumb to the sparklies in the window.

I found out that U of T did NOT fudge my last pay deposit, Karin just handed in the timesheet late, so ::crossing fingers:: I should get paid next Friday.

Elysium hit 100,000 words.

I got an e-mail from Mimi Smartypants thanking me for my e-mail telling her I liked her blog.


( 1:49 AM ) Sarah Jane ~





Thursday, May 23, 2002
 

Words of Wisdom from Tami

People must suck to balance out those of us who do not suck.
Nature craves balance.


Ain't it the truth. ;o)


( 10:04 PM ) Sarah Jane ~


 

I'm all farklempt...

Just stopped by Jen's Dairy and encountered proof positive that my fighting anger with love technique is a resounding success. Yay me! :o)

I love you, Jen.

(Variel glances over my shoulder and huffs loudly. "I did NOT try to kill her, I merely threatened her a bit." He examines a talon thoughtfully. "If I had tried to kill her, she would be dead.")


( 2:26 PM ) Sarah Jane ~


 

The Other Man

My dear friend Tami has been reading Elysium as I write it, and is now ready to kill me. ::evil grin:: Here's why:

******

"That was noble of you, to give up your dance partner for the evening."

I nodded absently as Corin came to stand beside me. "Hardly the whole evening. She'll get overcome by shyness and beg off sooner or later." Even as I spoke, her cheeks were flushing pink as Gavin asked her to dance, and she looked like she was trying to disappear into her curtain of brown hair. Fortunately, Liana had dressed it too well to allow that. "Oh, don't decline Jen! You're better than him!"

Corin laughed. "You don't think highly of my cousin, then?"

"On the contrary, he's one of my best friends, but he should still be honoured to dance with a sweetheart like Jen. Besides, she needs something to prove that she can stand on her own next to her sister. Oh, bravo Gavin!" Heedless of Jen's protests, Gavin had caught her hand firmly and pulled her onto the dance floor. I finally gave my full attention to the prince, and found him staring at me. With a small start of surprise, I realized that he and Gavin had the same eyes.

"You seem very concerned with defending your stepsister," he said.

I frowned. "Someone has to. Eveline is her mother's darling, and Jenria gets completely trodden down in her wake. She spends so much time trying to live up to her sister that she has no energy left to put into being her own person."

The corner of his mouth lifted. "You are really concerned about this, aren't you?"

"She is my sister. And a darling in her own right. It makes me absolutely furious to see her cast aside so." Eveline was still too busy with her flock to notice her sister's performance, but most of the other guests had begun to pay attention.

"Do you always champion the causes of those less fortunate than you?"

I glanced up at him. "Only when it bothers me."

Corin regarded me for a long, intense moment, and then held out his hand. "Dance with me."

I raised a brow at him. "Is that an order, Your Highness?"

That managed to startle him, but his expression of shock was quickly replaced by a genuine, warm smile. "It is a request, My Lady."

I placed my hand in his. "Then I accept."

The smile broadened, and Corin swept me out onto the dance floor. There was only a fleeting moment of self-consciousness before I lost myself in the dance. Corin was an expert partner, able to communicate everything with the slightest pressures of his hand on my waist.

"You're almost as good as your cousin is," I said without thinking, and immediately blushed.

Corin chuckled. "Thank you. I have heard a great deal about your skills on the dance floor as well."

"Really? I would be very interested to hear what else Gavin has had to say about me."

He spun me around, using the moment to meet my eyes, his own blue ones dancing with merriment. "What kind of noble would I be if I confessed something told to me in confidence?"

"Oh, so he's telling secrets about me, is he?" I stepped back against him, and his arm wrapped firmly around my waist. "I must say now that I am very intrigued to know what it was he said."

He only laughed and shook his head. "I'm afraid that must remain a mystery."

I pouted. "Unfair."

He laughed again, and gazed over my head. "Oop, looks like your sister just noticed Jenria's dance partner."

"Ooh!" I very nearly broke out of his hold. "Turn me around, let me see!"

This time he actually managed to keep a straight face, but I could feel his chest shaking with the need to laugh. He obligingly turned us around though, and I had to bite back the crow of triumph. "Wonderful! She looks as though she's about to have kittens."

That startled the laugh out of Corin, and he gave up, loosing the rest of it into my hair. "I can see why Gavin finds you so entertaining." He smiled down at me. "You're not like other ladies."

"And thank the Lord for that," I said. "Why on earth would I want to be like everybody else?"

"Why indeed?" I suspected he was too polite to laugh at me, but wanted to.

"I mean, really, the games get awfully tiring."

He caught me around the waist and spun me over his hip. "Games?"

"Oh, you know. Like the Increasingly Awful Metaphor game." He met me with a blank look, and I put on my best Simpering Evie face. "Oh, Your Highness, you hunt like the swiftest ferret in the business."

He stared at me for a moment, and then burst out laughing loud enough to attract the attention of the dancers around us. "Ah, that game. May I try?"

"Be my guest," I said.

He thought for a moment. "My lady, your hair is like the finest straw upon which my horse sleeps at night."

"Not bad, not bad," I said. "Though your hair is as dark as the smelly mud churned up by that horse's hooves during a good rain."

"Well done!"

"Thank you. Keep trying, it's easy once you get the hang of it."

"Hmmm." He grinned. "The softness of your skin reminds me of the cheese I ate for breakfast this morning."

"Good!"

He improved rapidly. By the time he told me that my eyes were like the sky reflected in twin pools of ditchwater left by the passing of a gimpy-legged ass, I was laughing so hard I could barely stand. I was readying a counter-assault when a firm hand grasped my elbow.

"Oy, Corin," said Gavin, tugging me away. "Let someone else have a go."

A sudden stab of anger coursed through me. I shook off his hand, and stepped back into Corin's arm. "Now you look here, Gavin Andarin," I said. "If you're going to ask for a dance properly, I might consider it. But until that time, I don't plan on going anywhere, and I am quite certain that nobody else is having a 'go' with me." Gavin's stunned look was quite rewarding, and I turned back to Corin. "Now, I believe you were telling me about my eyes."

Corin gave the very flummoxed Gavin an apologetic shrug and pulled me back into the dance. "Your best friend, hmm?"

I rolled my eyes. "I care about him greatly, but he's got to learn that he can't go treating me like a pony to trot out and do tricks for him when he's bored. I am not one of those gibbering featherheads who dote and fawn over his every word and profess that he is the epitome of all manhood."

"Huh." Corin stared at me appreciatively. "I hadn't realized anyone but me had noticed."

"Noticed?"

"He'll bend over backwards to get what he wants, and then ignore it when he has it."

I smiled. "Exactly." The music slowed, and I leaned my head against his chest. "He has my friendship, but I intend to educate him on the error of his ways."

Corin wrapped his arms around me and laughed softly. "How very fortunate for me."



( 10:04 AM ) Sarah Jane ~


 

Sheesh,

I can't even get in the door!

As I'm reasonably sure that the person in question has no idea this blog exists, I feel safe in saying that the statement "I'm not trying to get you involved, but I don't want you associating with this person anymore" IS NOT GOING TO CUT IT, DICKHEAD!

::pant, pant::

We now retun you to your regularly sheduled weblog.

Wanker.


( 10:02 AM ) Sarah Jane ~


 

Thank You

Just got a virtual hug from someone I care about, and something just as good from Tami's blog:

The other very cool thing was getting to read the next 50 pages of the novel Sarah's writing. Again I say "Wow"!!!! I tease her quite often about her plot twists like killing off much beloved characters but like Joss Whedon, I trust her implictly. She is such a brilliant writer and the world is going to be knocked on it's ass very soon!!!!!

It's amazing how much the little things help.




( 12:27 AM ) Sarah Jane ~





Wednesday, May 22, 2002
 

Fighting Anger With Love

I'd planned to do one of these a week, and I've just done Tami, but I'm doing this one early. Countering negative energy with positive, and all that.

(And playing right now on my mp3 player is Kermit singing Rainbow Connection, which is an automatic karma cleansing).

Why I love Jenny:

I love her because she's the fun, crazy girl who thinks WAY too much like me sometimes (even if she does like Keanu). Whenever we talk, no matter how we start, we end up laughing.

I love her because all I need is to see her smiling to make me happy.

I love her because the same things about movies piss us off.

I love her because she's the only person I can fight with while still remaining best friends.

I love her because she has been my example of strength for the past ten years. She's had to deal with more shit than most people deal with in a lifetime, but she's still fighting, and whenever the universe starts to get me down, I think of Jenny and find new strength.

I love Jenny because she has a Dairy.

I love Jenny because she doesn't think about crack babies.

I love Jenny because she's stuck by me when almost everyone else abandoned me, and I know that when I'm in trouble she'll be there.

I love Jenny because of orangutans.

I love Jenny because she goes with me when I win stuff.

I love Jenny because if I don't she'll flip me.

I love Jenny because she's Jenny.


( 11:37 PM ) Sarah Jane ~


 

Ow...

The universe is chucking rocks at my soul again.

Everywhere I turn, in every aspect of my life, people I care about are in serious conflict with each other, and guess who's stuck in the middle each and every time. This has gone beyond coincidence and entered divine pot-shot territory.

I've been middleman (middlemiss?) before, and it sucks. Being constantly surrounded by anger is rough at the best of times, but I'm VERY good at seeing both sides of an argument, even when one (or both) involved has been seriously hurt (which is one reason why the Chosen, who are telepathically linked with each other 24/7, don't know what anger or hatred is), so I've never been able to take sides. Consequently, every time I've been stuck in the middle, one or both ended up hating me. Well I'm not doing it anymore.

Most people have been pretty good and not asked me to take sides. For which I am extremely grateful. Because, you heard it here first, I'M NOT GETTING INVOLVED ANYMORE! It always ends in tears, usually mine, and I just can't take that again. So if the subject comes up, don't be surprised if you turn around and find me with my head in the sand, humming Harry Nilsson's Puppy Song. I've been through too much this year to play this game again.

My soul's gone all spiky again. I need a hug.

[/rant]


( 11:18 PM ) Sarah Jane ~


 

Whoa...

Talk about getting nailed by an online quiz...

Where is my Mind?
You're smart, shy, and often nonsensical. You have dreams of being famous, and you're quirky enough that you just might pull them off. Some would call you a genius, others would call you insane, but in reality you're pretty well-adjusted. Take a vacation once in a while- it'll help take your mind off of your troubles.
Which Pixies song are you?



( 5:45 PM ) Sarah Jane ~


 

And My Sib Makes Me Scared

He actually found the Indian rap song that's playing at high speed when Skeletor beats up He-Man in SAG: 9.



( 5:28 PM ) Sarah Jane ~


 

Mimi Makes Me Laugh

I'm in a laughing mood today, and Mimi Smartypants set me off with this one:

Childhood Thing A, which I had almost forgotten until someone started mentioning the conga drums to me: When I was a kid I had a fever hallucination of a frog playing the conga drums and singing "boom shaka laka laka boom shaka laka laka." I think the frog may also have been wearing a sombrero. The image has stayed with me.


( 5:22 PM ) Sarah Jane ~


 

Say what?

In my quest to try to translate one of the Spanish resumees I'm supposed to be typing, I thought it would be fun to see what happens if I ran a bit of Elysium through the translator and tried to run it back. This is what I got:


The original passage:

I fumed quietly as Gavin doubled over in hysterics. A quick glance at Corin confirmed that the prince was indeed amused, but was doing his best to keep from laughing at me. Something with which Gavin clearly had no problem. In fact, he was laughing so hard that he did not see the branch across the path until it knocked him from his horse.


English - Italian - English:

Fumed calmly like Gavin doubled over in hysterics. A fast glance to Corin has confirmed that the prince effectively has been amused, but was making its the better thing in order to conserve laughing it of. Something with which Gavin it does not have problem clearly. In fact, it was laughing therefore hard that has not seen the branch through the distance until that it did not strike it from its horse.


English - Portugese - English:

I fumed quiet eat Gavin folded on in hysterics. One glance fast in Corin confirmed that the prince estêve amused certainly, but made more better its to remain itself to laugh me. Something with that Gavin did not have no problem clearly. In the fact, it laughed thus hardly that it did not see the branch office through the passage until beat it of its horse.


English - Chinese - English:

My peacefully fumed doubles as Gavin in hysterics. The quick glance confirms in Corin, this prince indeed laughs, but is him best maintains from ridicules me. Something Gavin clearly does not have the question. In the matter border, he smile that difficultly, he have not looked the branch stretches across the path knocks him until it from his horse.


And last, but certainly not least, English - Japanese - English:

As for me as the Gavin which is redoubled with the hysterics gently the fumed. Oji enjoyed completely, but, that being best because you verify and and, maintain from my ridicule having done as for the glance where the Corin is fast. Something clearly there was no problem in the Gavin. Actually he was hit the extent which did not look at the branch where he crosses the road, as for him you had laughed eagerly from until, that horse.


( 9:40 AM ) Sarah Jane ~


 

Back at HQ

"Ohhhh, shit."

Jak stared around at the devestation and concluded that Nix's assesment of the situation was fairly apt.

Nix clenched his hands in his hair and began to rock back and forth. "Whaddo we do, whaddo we do, whaddo we do?"

The shrieking of the alarms was seriously hampering Jak's ability to think. Cosmic pranking was all well and good, but if they destroyed the subject's mind, the boys upstairs would be out of entertainment, and that would NOT make them happy.

"Put something back, quick!"

"What?" Nix spun around in his chair. "The pages are gone for good."

"Then the keys," Jak shouted. "Put back the keys!"

"We can't! They've been teleported to the Lost Dimension."

Jak leaped forward, seized Nix's shirt in his fists, and dragged him out of his chair. "Then get them back. Before these readings top out the redline."

Nix fell back into his chair. Pausing only to wipe the sweat from his brow, he began to pound the controls.

*****************

Signing off on the registration cheque for Toronto Trek, I attempted to put my chequebook back in its little pocket it my bag, but it wouldn't go. Something was blocking it. Frowning, I pull out the other two chequebooks and the YRT bus schedule, and stare in disbelief at the bottom of the pocket. I slowly pull out my keys and stare at them for a long moment. Then I double over and start laughing until tears pour down my face.


( 1:27 AM ) Sarah Jane ~





Tuesday, May 21, 2002
 

Whose Line Is It Anyway?

Fuuuuuuuuuuuuck!

Somewhere in the deleted scenes of Elysium is a line. It's an important line, pivotal for the entire remainder of the Elysium series because it is the definitive marker of Sirellia's Turn. And can I remember what it was? NO!!!! Because everything is WIPED FROM MY HEAD once it's down on the screen. AAAARGH!

( 7:25 PM ) Sarah Jane ~


 

To Push or Not To Push...

When someone tells you they're fine even though you suspect they might not be, how do you know when to leave them alone because they don't want to talk about it, or when they need to be pushed to spill?

Sometimes I wish I could trade these people in my head for a social education. But Variel would probably kill me if I tried.


( 7:13 PM ) Sarah Jane ~


 

And then...

"Yes! Critical threshold reached!" Nix leaped from his chair, screaming to be heard above the Waterworks Alarms. "We did it!"

Jak laughed as Nix pounded him on the back. Oh yeah, the guys upstairs would be pleased.


( 7:00 PM ) Sarah Jane ~


 

Later...

Jak, sweating by this time despite having stripped down to his undershirt, burst back into command. Nix, hair dishevelled and shirt untucked, sat at the controls, scanning the readouts and beaming.

"How'd the Erase Most of Current Elysium Chapter program run?" Jak asked.

"Beautifully." Nix beamed. "We managed to scrap everything she's done today." He leaned back, locking his hands behind his head. "This oughta more than make up for the faulty Visit chip. Check the tear readounts." He tapped the display. "She's this close to crying. The boys upstairs are gonna be thrilled."

Jak sauntered over to him and held out his hand. "Then this ought to make them ecstatic."

Nix's eyes widened and he took the chip from Jak. "Is this--"

"Yup." Jak grinned. "Surprise Call from Dad to Get Yelled at for Something She Didn't Do."

Nix studied the chip in awe, and then met Jak's gaze with a feral grin. "Let's plug it in."


( 6:47 PM ) Sarah Jane ~


 

Meanwhile, in Universe HQ...

The blazing klaxons woke Jak from a sound sleep. It took only seconds to orient himself and identify the mind-piercing noise, and he was on his feet and running to the accompaniment of a string of blistering curses.

He burst into the control room, where Nix was frantically punching commands into the system. "What happened?"

"I don't know," Nix cried. "I just turned away for a second, and when I turned back, all her readouts were in the green!"

Jak tried to think through the noise and flashing lights. "No, no, NO! They can't be in the green, what are the boys upstairs going to do for entertainment?" He pushed Nix aside. "Do something! Burn her house down, or get her fired for using the internet at work."

"We can't!" Nix shoved his hands through his hair. "All our Big Disaster allowances were used up in the March Push, and the system is still working down from the Perversity Quota of the Cockroach Incident."

"Dammit." Jak bit his lip, and his eyes fell upon a small, unlit corner of the readouts. "What's that?"

Nix followed his gaze. "The Misplace a Small Article Zone."

Jak thought for a moment. "Do we still have a Visit from the Boss chip in storage?"

"Ummm...." Nix checked the manifest. "Yeah."

"Perfect." Jak said.

Nix stared at him. "What perfect? They're expecting hair-pulling frustration up there."

"Learn from the master, kid." Jak punched in a series of commands. "You just gotta know what to lose."

**************

After searching for two days to no avail, I give up and leave the house, finally admitting that my keys are nowhere to be found. I suppose there isn't that much in my desk drawer that I NEED, and I don't have to get into the lab for three days yet. I just hope my boss doesn't stop by wanting those letters for mailing...



( 9:34 AM ) Sarah Jane ~





Monday, May 20, 2002
 

Howdy stranger!

I found a 4-band puzzle ring on the weekend, and it's currently living on the finger traditionally reserved for the wedding band. Why? Because that's pretty much how I see my romantic life right now. Warped and twisted, too convoluted to follow, and occasionally so frustrating I'd rather hit my head with a hammer than try to untangle it again.

I came up with this wise and astounding nugget of wisdom on the bus home from Newmarket, so I was feeling pretty bitter when I hit Finch, and fast on my way to a return to self-pity. So I made my way down to the subway, sat down, looked up, and saw this person walk past me. "Alexandra?" I said. She turned and cried out "Sarah!"

So I got to ride all the way to the transfer point with Alexandra, which was lovely. She made it into the Centre for Mediaeval Studies with an OGS, and was on her way to see Star Wars with Paco. She commented on my hair, and made a really interesting comment about Elysuim. She said that it's not Jane Austen-ish, because Austen isn't dramatic or dark enough. She says it's very Bronte-ish. Which means I should probably read some Bronte, neh?

Seriously, though, I love discussing this book with people. I have so much riding on it, and finding out that people are GETTING what I'm WRITING is such a kick. :o) I really need to finish this book, soon.


( 10:54 PM ) Sarah Jane ~


 

Soul Survivor

Yeah, I don't know what's up with my titles this month, either. Not quite the return to song titles I'd hoped.

This weekend has been fabulous. Oh, yeah, it started off rough -- there were a couple of familial issues and productions as my parents tried to stick me back into "stupid kid doesn't know what she's doing" slot (they've been much better about it recently, but this sucked), but it all went away on Sunday.

I went to dinner with Tami and Shannon, which was good (though I have yet to come close to eating $20 worth of food at the Canaan buffet -- oh for an actual menu. Or Sushi Time. God, I love Sushi Time. But I digress), and it was wonderful to see Shannon again. Soul still feeling spiky and prickly though. Still in "they hate me and they're just being nice" mentality. (Yeah, I know, I'm an idiot, I'm aware of this). And then I went back home with Tami and everything went away.

Let me tell you a little bit about Tami. Tami is one of the most beautiful people I know. Not the cover-model, Cindy Crawford, stick-insect beautiful everyone thinks of, but a deeper kind of beautiful. One that shines through and makes people turn to her. Remember Camryn Manheim in 10th Kingdom? That kind of beautiful. If I ever write a screenplay and need an Earth-Mother figure, she'd be the one I'd cast. Tami was the person who picked my self-esteem (which had been smashed to little pieces by Eric Edmond and jumped on by pretty much everyone in high school) out of the dirt, dusted it off, and set about fixing it again. I can't believe it's been almost seven years since we met, but ever since that day, I've always thought myself lucky to have met her. She just has to TALK to me, and all the prickly spiky edges that dig in and hurt are smoothed away and made whole again. Around her, there are no inhibitions. My soul comes clean. She understands me, and even if she says something that, from anyone else, would hurt, it doesn't coming from her, because I know she would never do anything intentional to hurt me, and when held up to the value of our friendship, whatever bothered me shrivels up and disappears. She understands me the way few other people do.

She understands more about me than I do sometimes, and she managed to point out an aspect of my psyche I have never been aware of. When I think something someone does is good, I don't say anything. As Tami says, I'm demonstrative physically, but not verbally.

I've always had a hard time verballizing my feelings. I grew up pretty much alone -- there were no kids my age on my street, and I'm putting it mildly when I say I wasn't popular in school. High school was worse -- I had this deep set fear of speaking in place by then. It didn't help that my parents have never been very enthusiastic with their encouragement. When I won the Asimov Award, I got an "oh, good." from my Dad. That was it. I've never been good at talking to people, and I've never gotten a lot of praise or encouragement, so I'm not comfortable doing it. It's not that I don't FEEL these things, it's that I have no way of saying it without it sounding false to me, even if that is what I feel.

Am I making any sense?

The thing about me is that I live in my own little world. Always. It started when I was a kid -- I had no one to play with so I retreated into my own little world for entertainment. I've had time to refine the ability over the last twenty-three years. I am ALWAYS in another world. Walking to work, I'm in Darvia. Walking home, I'm in Tarenath. Standing in line for the bank machine, I'm in Orvara. Always, always, always, some little corner of my mind is working away at some story or another. Sometimes it takes over a little more of my brain, and I say something. It's not that I'm not paying attention or not listening to you, it's that I'm writing. Always and forever. And I can't stop that. I don't know how.

This is my medium, my strength, my love. I have a love affair with the written word that I can't begin to explain or describe, save that it's the beginning and end of my world. It's what I think of when I first wake up in the morning, and what I think of as I fall asleep at night. If I winnowed that out, I would be cutting out the core of who I am. And those who still love me despite this are the ones who I will cherish for the rest of my life. Those who hate me for it were never my friends in the first place. I may not say this often, but I'm saying it now -- my true friends, and you know who you are, are the ones I would walk through fire for if it meant I could make them smile when I reached the other side. Your happiness is my joy. If I don't say it as often as you need to hear it, know now that I have never stopped thinking it.

This is the time of life during which my peers and I must make choices and decisions, and determine the directions in which our lives will travel based on who we have already become. I cannot change who I am now.

Hello. My name is Sarah Jane Elliott, and I am a writer.




( 3:03 PM ) Sarah Jane ~





Saturday, May 18, 2002
 

AAAAHHHH!!!! AAAH!! AAAH! AAAHH!!!!

Stupid universe, what the frell is the matter with you?????

ALL I wanted was to get through one day, just one, without something going wrong. Made it to the lab without incident, and put on my stinky lab shoes, which are by this time losing their soles and growing mildew. I figure I need to get new ones soon. I felt a bulge in my shoe, and figured it was just my sock sitting weird, went about the long laborious cleaning.

You know how in the desert you have to check your shoes for scorpions?

I go to the bathroom at the end of the night, my feet SOAKED by tank water, and pull off my shoes to change to the good ones (I used change in the lab, but the new employee is male). Looked down at my foot and thought "oh holy Jesus, what the hell is that?"

It was a cockroach. Or rather, and EX-cockroach, that had been lurking in my shoe and is now plastered to my fucking SOCK!!!! It was the most revolting thing I have ever experienced, trying to scrape bits of leg and exoskeleton off my sock so that I could stick it back into my good shoe. It went through the sock, sticking my toes together (cockroach guts, for the curious, are the consistency of REALLY thick glue), and all the way on the walk home I had tiny legs and things digging into my foot and pricking me. It was seriously painful. And I'm thinking, "there are ROACH BITS digging through my skin!!!!" I thought I was going to throw up. I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. The lab shoes are now in the RWZL washroom garbage.

And all I can think is, I am the punchline of the universe's practical joke. What the hell did I do to deserve this???????? ::whimpering::

That's it. I quit. I am sticking my head under a pillow and not coming out again until something good happens to me. So you may not hear from me for a while.


( 12:30 AM ) Sarah Jane ~





Friday, May 17, 2002
 

Soul Food to Go

Just finished updating the expansination blog -- I really do use it to track my submissions, but it's a pain in the ass to upkeep because it's a lot of html coding every time something changes. Ah well.

I'm off to Newmarket for the long weekend, for a girls' night with Tami. Hair dye, chocolate, and Bridget Jones's Diary -- who could ask for more? I'm not getting my hopes up too high, since the universe has a perverse habit of decimating plans with Tami every time I do, but I'm really looking forward to it. I'm a very tired Sarah, and I really need to sit back, relax, and forget about all the crap that's going on in my life right now.


( 12:31 PM ) Sarah Jane ~


 

Emerging to Rant

From a Toronto Star Article:

Lucas defended comic relief character like Jar Jar as being essential to the Star Wars story.

"In the end, these characters are actually a plot device. They're not just put in there to be a character. They actually are a very essential plot device I need in order to tell the story."


[rant]

Okay, it's statements like this I have issues with. The minute you stop thinking of characters as characters and start thinking of them as plot devices, you're in trouble. A character is perfectly capable of being funny AND a plot device, while still being a character. Look at Yoda. His scenes were some of the funniest in Empire, but he was actually interesting because he had some depth to him.

Then you have characters like Jar Jar, who you just want to push into a wood chipper. Why? Because he's a two-dimensional cutout. There was no thought put into him to make him a sympathetic character at all. He was just there to do stupid things and make kids laugh.

That and the gratuitous use of CGI (just because you CAN CGI doesn't mean you SHOULD -- look at the re-release of E.T.) are two of the biggest problems I have with Lucas's movies these days. Lots of explosions and cool ships and things are all well and good, but make sure you have the story to back them up. It's mostly apparent in horror movies (compare "The Others" with the new "The Haunting"), but you can see a trend forming -- some of the best movies I've seen lately have been ones that don't feature CGI as the main character of the movie (I don't mean a CGI main character, I mean more focus on the CGI than on the actors).

When you don't use excesses of CGI, you actually have to tell a good story to keep the audience entertained/frightened/whatever, instead of just blinding them with lots of shiny things. Don't get me wrong, I can enjoy whizz-bang shiny movies, and often pay money to go see them (Spider Man was great), but I'm so often left sitting there thinking "this could have been SO much better..."

[/rant]



( 10:52 AM ) Sarah Jane ~





Sunday, May 12, 2002
 

My Soul Hurts

It's 3:30 am, and I can't sleep because as soon as I lay down and clear my head, I start crying.

Johnston was hired on to the lab today, but it's a day too late. The 11 hour days, 6 days a week have gotten to me. I'm tired. I have nothing left at all. I've drawn on the last of my reserves and had nothing left to pull from anymore. I'm crashing. And it's affecting me emotionally. I've sunk into the Everyone-Hates-Me mentality. Somehow, innocent comments or remarks turn into personal attacks against me. Valid reasons for not moving in with me become "I can't stand to be around you." I convince myself that I've never had a boyfriend because I'm a horrible person. I can drop into chat with people I know like me and feel that they must be private messaging nasty things about me to each other.

This is not a healthy place to be. I hate it. People who know the happy sunshine-and-roses me know the real me -- this is some depressed empty shell. The real Sarah just kind of leached out during all the work. I hate this. I need to take some time off. I need a spiritual band-aid. I need a hug. I need to rediscover the inner perky. I need to hear someone say "hey, you know what? I like you just because you're you."

I need to go spirit quest for a while. I'll be okay -- I always am -- but I have to break out the crash kit and change something in my life, before this goes too far. I know some of you are going to read this and panic and worry, but don't -- this has happened before, and I've always come out of it okay, haven't I?

To the person reading this blog right now -- I love you. Why? Because I think it's nice to be told once in a while that someone out there loves you. So there you go. My gift to you until I come back. :o)


( 3:48 AM ) Sarah Jane ~





Saturday, May 11, 2002
 

Oh God, Am Bridget Jones

Had a very disturbing revelation today. Was walking to Hart House for quick bite before Terry Pratchett reading when felt water down back of legs. "Odd", I thought, "must have let pants fall in puddle in lab. Will go dry out under hand-dryer in bathroom." Wasn't until sat down at table with dinner that I realized, through an act of astounding idiocy, had managed to dump an entire bottle of water into backpack, which leaked out the bottom to soak legs. Realized at that point that I was turning into Bridget Jones.

Emily says this is good thing -- it means I end up with the guy in the end. But as I pointed out, first I'd have to get screwed over by utter fuckwit.

As for the bag -- the Elysium disk, inhaler, and CD's appear to be all right. This is because most of the water was absorbed by the book containing the Elysium Master Plan. Which is now the book containing the Elysium Blue Smears. Most of it can be recovered, but what devestates me is the big dark smear that used to be the Eastern Seaboard on the map.

So tired I can't see straight anymore. Have long since stopped counting what's wrong with my body, as is just depressing. This job is killing me. But it's almost over. The Gross Lab hired Johnston, so as soon as his training is over, I can stop working 11 hours a day 6 days a week and go back to my 10 hours a week. Thank god, thank god, thank god.

I'm too tired to go home Sunday, as is the only day I can sleep. Mum's going to feel bad, and I already feel awful, so if plan A (getting her here for brunch) doesn't work, I'm sending her a big basket, which will get there late, unfortunately.

Off to bed now. Sleepy. Zzzzzzzz....


( 1:18 AM ) Sarah Jane ~





Friday, May 10, 2002
 

Veeeeery interesting....

I just got a call from that producer last night. She likes my work, and wants to turn them into movies.

After the initial shock wore off, I started turning introspective. Yes, I am very excited. She thinks I have a lot of talent and a good ear for dialogue, which is quite flattering. But don't look for Savage Beast, coming soon to a theatre near you -- she's talking long-term commitment here. She doesn't have any money right now, so would have to do at least a couple of movies before she'd have the kind of budget my films require. And there are certain things I want to consider before I'd be willing to let certain things go -- like putting a CGI face on Devin. I've done my rant about gratuitous use of CGI before, so I'll just say that I'd have serious doubts unless I was sure that Devin will be left alone (though it did give me a neat idea for a scene in the screenplay in lieu of making the fiddle talk).

Yup, she wants me to write the scripts, so she can have something to market. She says I don't have to, but I want to. I want as much control over the adaptation as I can get. There was a discussion on Holly's boards a while back about what you would do if someone offered to turn your stories into screenplays, and the majority opinion was "as long as I get paid, I don't care what they do to it."

Not the case with me, I'm afraid. I'm way too attached to my work, and it was the thought of CGIing a face onto Devin that made me realize that. The producer was talking about making me an executive producer, which is definitely appealing. Helen Fielding did it with Bridget Jones, and that turned out great. Neil Gaiman let go of his rights with Sandman, and now is seeing utter kife turned in for scripts with lines like "Foolish mortals, your puny weapons cannot harm me, the master of dreams, the Sandman" right before Morpheus (MORPHEUS!) gets shot and taken to the hospital. ::smack:: Rockne O'Bannon saw them destroy seaQuest and so kept control over Farscape, with the result that seaQuest tanked after three seasons and Farscape keeps getting better. Joss Whedon let go control of Buffy when they made that Kristy Swanson movie, realized that if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself, and kept control of the Buffy series. Noticeable difference there, too. M. Night Shaymalan wrote The Sixth Sense and Stuart Little, but which is the better movie? I'm not saying I want or am expecting absolute power. I'm not saying that I have huge hopes that a first-time screenwriter will get any of that. I just want to be able to have a say in things if they ever decided to, oh, say, make Kichani into a musical. (Variel singing? ::shudder:: He'd never recover his dignity.)

I don't want to let go of any of the big things until they're published in their own right. Call me conceited or egotistical or what have you, but if movies are made out of my stories (rather than stuff I write specifically for a visual medium), I want them to be known as movies based on my stories, and not that my stories are novelizations of the movie. The print medium is my first love, and I want my career based there. Which is why, even though I think the characters in the Fionaverse would make an awesome series (think a bit of Buffy, a bit of Outer Limits, and a bit of Forever Knight, all set in Toronto), Fiona ties together pretty much every urban fantasy novel outline I have, so I wouldn't propose it until we'd be able to but a "based on characters created by:" credit on the thing and people watched it because they liked the novels.

And of course, I'm getting the usual warnings from people who see only my sunshine-and-roses personality and take me as the helpless victim getting snowed by the big nasty Hollywood types. (Why is it that so many people automatically assume that anything going well in my life must be a scam?) First off, I can be shrewd, despite what people think of me. I'm NOT going to let go of any of my rights on a "but we're friends, I shouldn't have to pay you for your script" basis. I do realize that getting paid is the norm here, and don't expect to be treated any differently just because my friend is friends with the producer. I'm getting books and doing my research. I have a lot of that to do before I can make any sort of decision on this subject.

But I am excited. This is a direction I never thought of taking, and the more I think about it, the more I like it. I've decided that, before Savage Beast, I want to take a shot at adapting The Mural. It's one that can be shot very low-budget, but might work really well given a "The Boy Who Could Fly" type spin to it.

I'm not saying that this producer is a cutthroat type out to snow me. Far from it, the friend she's friends with is a great judge of character, and I got a really good impression over the phone. She seems very nice, flexible, and intelligent, and I think she's going to be really good to work with. But to those who seem convinced that I'm going to be taken advantage of and discarded, rest assured that I'm not trusting blindly. My eyes are wide open.



( 12:26 PM ) Sarah Jane ~





Thursday, May 09, 2002
 

Dear God, I've created an epic

Elysium is going to be big. Really big. So big, I may have to chop it in half and call it two books by the time it's done.

And it's not because the pace is slow or lagging -- I have expert assurances on that -- it's because there's so much I have to fit into it. I could chop it, I suppose, and cram everything into one book, but it'd change the style and voice completely and I don't want that. If the prose was tight and economical, it wouldn't be Mari's voice anymore.

It's just been compared to Austen, and I have a feeling that the person who said that might be on to something. Strangely enough, I just finished my first Austen novel yesterday, but I've seen the movies and loved them. It's a much more relaxed style, focusing more on the interaction between characters than on the plot, which is similar to the tone of Elysium. Part of it is because I had to build up Mari's happy little world before smashing it to bits, but part of it is because that's how Mari's society is. It's going to speed up a bit in the next section, but not much. And I reiterate, it's not that the novel is slow or laborious. It's just long. If TTLG is all fast cuts to dark corridors, Elysium is long sweeping panorama shots of rolling green countryside. It's funny that I learn so much about storytelling from movies, but it really all boils down to keeping an audience entertained. And Elysium is very different in tone from anything else I have written.

It's not an easy story to write. There are so many levels I have to constantly keep in mind. This is not a society that comes right out and says what they mean; this is a society that trains its people from their earliest years to mask what they're feeling behind polite civility. Mari, thankfully, is a lot more straightforward than most, but even she never quite reveals what's really going on.

Funnily enough, I'm now in the middle of the great letter-writing portion of the book, which was planned out in my head before I'd even heard of Pride and Prejudice (well, I'd heard of it, but not the details). Letter writing is a very old device, and one that works well here. It's another step of complexity added to the narrative, though. Not only do I have my characters saying one thing while feeling another, but added to it is the gloss of their respective training. They have been taught how to write in polite society, and it's not the way they would speak to one another.

So I have one of Gavin's letters to Mari (hugely spoiler-laden, so I'm not posting it). Difficult already, because it's a narrative from Gavin's POV, which is not the voice I'm used to in the story. He's incredibly worried about Mari, so he breaks form occasionally and some phrases come out sounding more Gavinish than the rest of the letter. He's also madly in love with her, but the last time they parted she said she wished he was her brother, so he's trying very hard not to let on that he cares more than he should. At the same time, he's doing everything but saying "I love you" while trying to maintain an air of concerned friendship. And over it all is the "writing voice" that's been drilled into him since he first picked up a pen. I have to keep all of this in mind when I'm writing it, and it's not easy.

Okay, here's a censored part of what I mean:

Dear Mari,

Astounding. How is it that you can reassure and comfort me with one hand, and tear out my heart with the other? My first impulse upon reading your last letter was to get on my horse and ride back to Windhollow so that I might fetch you back here, where I can keep an eye on you. Yet Alvi assures me that you had emerged from your seclusion when you gave him your letter, and his assessment of you remains well. And upon rereading your letter, that conclusion speaks from its words.

How in God's name do I repay what you have given me? I had no idea your secrets ran so deep, and I know not what I can do to equal that level of trust. So I promise you this: I shall never, ever tell you false, even if I have reason to believe it is a good idea at the time.

First off, be assured that I could never think you silly for fretting over that dream. Quite the contrary, it kept me awake for three nights, thinking about it. How you could relate it so calmly, without a falter in your hand, is beyond me. I still shudder to think on it. I wish you had told me sooner, that I might have relieved you of some of your pain, and as it is, you will have to be content with imagining that I am holding you to soothe your fears away.

Oh Mari, I wish I could be there with you. [snipping spoiler -- he's reassuring her about something] You will be a lady, Mari, not because you have learned from books how to walk, or embroider, or eat with the proper spoons, but because that is who you are. Truth be told, no one pays attention to those things when you are around -- they are too busy watching you. You command the attention of everyone in the room when you enter it, and no eyes can leave your face long enough to see which utensil you are using.

And before you start trying to berate yourself that you are unworthy of [snip], let me assure you that it is not true. Before you proceeded to frighten the wits out of me with your confessions, your words did more than anything anyone has ever said to reassure me. You have a way of phasing things in such a way that all becomes clear to me. You may be pleased to know that my tutors are commending my progress now, and expressing their astonishment in my change of heart toward my lessons. I must admit, I am somewhat disappointed in your Father's arrangements for you and [snip], for I should have valued your counsel here. The man that has you advising him will be a powerful one indeed. Should you ever decide that [snip] is not the lot you desire, I pray you consider a place in our court as an alternative. The offer will always be open.

Finally, I must confess that I took your secret to the Wisewoman who is staying with us for the winter. I know it is a betrayal of your confidence and I beg your forgiveness, but I was frightened for you, and the Wisewomen have a way of interpreting dreams. Her interpretation of the feast portion of the dream was precisely the same as yours -- you have your father's strength, his wit, his determination, which is something lacking in the other women in your family, no matter how hard they try to make up for their deficiencies. Dearly as I love Cecy, we both know this to be true of her as well. She is a sweet and charming girl who will make someone a fine wife someday, but she could never [snip].

[big snip] My nightmares were abated after this discourse with her, and I pray that they might ease yours as well. She told me that werein of the north does not make for easy dreams, but they are as true as those brought about by the werein that grows in the south.

Care for yourself, Mariella. You are the best friend I have, and concerns about your welfare trouble me like little else in this world. If you ever have need of anything, you have only to call upon me.

May the moon weave your dreams, and the sun guide you safely home,

Gavin


Why, you ask, do I keep writing if Elysium is such torture?

Because, my dear, it's torture of the best kind. :o)


( 12:27 PM ) Sarah Jane ~





Wednesday, May 08, 2002
 

Pressing Questions

Reading Sheila's blog today. I was struck by her answer to the favourite movie question: Pride and Prejudice (when, oh WHEN will my copy get here???), Speed, Jane Eyre, and Die Hard. All I can think is, what would happen if you combined those four movies into one?

It's also surprising what the question "if you could meet anyone, alive or dead, who would it be?" can tell you about a person. Sheila's answer is Dr. Edward Jenner, which doesn't surprise me in the least.

My answer? Jim Henson.

I'll let you think about that for a while.


( 9:50 PM ) Sarah Jane ~





Tuesday, May 07, 2002
 

Ask Dr. Leslie

The thing about working at a hostel is that the staff is trained to analyze people and their reactions. Leslie has taken an extreme interest in my ventures in the romantic world, and demanded details this morning. I confessed my confusion to her, and this was her take on things:

People who come across as nice, but self-important and full of themselves often have a very low self-esteem, and the perceived arrogance is an attempt to overcompensate and make themselves look better. They do it more often around people upon whom they want to make a good impression. They are often just as confused, or more so, than I am, and blind to any romantic signals, seeing them as mere polite interest. She thinks that he was probably more uncertain than I was, and unwilling to believe the interest I was showing was anything more than an overture of friendship, despite the fact that the only way I could have made myself more obvious was by stripping naked and dancing on his lap (and if you think that never crossed my mind, you don't know me well enough yet).

She also thinks that the seemingly innocent, "well, I'm sure I'll see you eventually. Hopefully soon," was more than the indifferent departure it sounded, and that he's interested. I remain skeptical.

The frustrating thing about being twenty-three and never having been so much as kissed yet is that I'm completely and hopelessly inexperienced. Back in high school, when everyone was fooling around and learning to play this game, I was the last thing on the minds of the opposite sex (it was not a particularly enlightened high school -- you were either homie, goth, or uber-preppy, and there wasn't much room for the girl who liked to write poetry, dressed in whatever her parents could afford, and ran around acting in odd children's theatre productions). So now I'm twenty-three, on my own, and doing the whole "I really like this boy, I hope he kisses me" thing when my high school classmates are getting married and having kids.

Okay, yeah, so there HAS been interest. But so far, only ONE of the guys I have crushed on has been straight, and the four guys who crushed on me were Druggie Boy, Anger-Management Boy, Missionary Boy (who was actually not a bad guy, but would SO not work with my quasi-paganistic leanings -- and there was one very disturbing incident when I said I didn't want to go out with him till I knew him better, when he wrote something about a guy committing suicide after being spurned by the woman he liked, that I STILL haven't figured out), and Stalker Boy. Not a great track record -- it doesn't do much for the self-esteem when the only guys who have liked you were subject to mental instability.

Thing is, this is the first guy I've met who is vouched for by someone I trust as being a) straight, b) not insane, and c) a genuinely nice guy, who not only doesn't find my interests stupid and childish, but actually shares them. I want him in my life anyway, as a friend if nothing else, since there aren't many people in this world who have the same interests I do. And if it never goes beyond friendship, I could live with that. But oh, it would be nice if THIS time there was more... But according to Dr. Leslie, it's up to me to make the next move or nothing is going to happen.

I hope Pride and Prejudice arrives soon.



( 9:44 AM ) Sarah Jane ~





Monday, May 06, 2002
 

Hey!

Remember way back when in March when I told you about the Wizards and Lizards game Elan was developing at ICFA? Well, check it out! No creative assist credit for me and Thomas though. Hmmm....


( 12:19 PM ) Sarah Jane ~


 

Just a Party Animal...

As I work 11 hour days, 6 days a week, I have to cram a lot of stuff into the one day a week I have off. Yesterday was pretty nuts. But fun.

I slept for most of the morning (catching up on what I miss the during the rest of the week), though it didn't help I'd been up until 4 the night before keeping Jen S. company and watching the end bit of Bridget Jones's Diary again. Then I called my sibling, what with it being his last day in the city, and we went to dinner and a movie.

Spider Man was amazing. I'm terribly impressed -- it's a summer blockbuster with a brain. Sure, some of the dialogue was cheesy, but I think the actors pulled it off rather well, and there was so much in the script that was surprising in how well it was actually done. This is definitely my favourite summer blockbuster in.... I can't remember how long. I have to say, I don't agree at all with Claude Lalumiere. Especially that bit at the end when he says that Peter's handling of Mary Jane's confession ruined the whole movie for him (and there are spoilers coming up, so if you want to see them, highlight the blank spot). Did he miss that voiceover right before where Peter said he'd realized that those close to him would always be in danger??

Claude sez: "I think that we're supposed to understand that being Spider-Man prevents Peter from being romantically involved, but that's a stupid cliché that is in no way substantiated by the story Up to that point, I was able to forgive the bad writing and let the film's better aspects win me over. However, that last scene so exemplified everything that was wrong with the script and dialogue that I left the theatre feeling cheated.."

::sigh:: I guess he was too busy being intellectually superior to see the part where the Goblin blew up Aunt May's house, then figured out he could use Mary Jane to get at Spider Man and dangled her off a bridge. No, Peter should have hung his morals out the window and taken what MJ was offering. "Gee honey, that's great. Sure, you'll be in mortal peril all the time and some lunatic will probably kill you if they ever find out we're dating, but until that happens I'll be getting laid so what do I care?"


Critical pronouncements aside, it's a frelling fantastic movie and SO worth seeing on the big screen (multiple times, in my case).

Then, after the movie, I headed home to find out that I'd won the Pride and Prejudice DVD on e-bay, for about half of what I would have had to pay to get it through HMV. Woo-hoo! Six whole hours of Colin Firth being romantic! (Yes, I actually watched that BJD scene again this morning. What can I say? I'm sad and pathetic and starved for some sort of romance in my life, so I'll live vicariously through Renée Zellweger). Sibling and I pottered around and watched bits of Bridget, whereupon I said farewell. I'm really gonna miss that kid -- he's not coming back next year because he can't afford tuition, and by the time he does come back, I'll probably be moving to Guelph.

But at least I can take solace in the fact that Colin will be with me...


( 11:41 AM ) Sarah Jane ~





Sunday, May 05, 2002
 

Getting Mediaeval

I went to see Mediaeval Baebes with David last night. I'm SO glad I live where I do -- had I not been walking past Lee's Palace, I never would have known they were playing there. As it was, I did, so everything worked out for the best. :o) They were absolutely phenomenal. I may not agree with David on the CDs sounding too polished, but they're definately better live. Aside from having costumes that make me want to raid their closets (and people who know my thing for interesting headware understand), they really are performers. There's a vibe there with everyone getting into it, and they play on it. While not quite choreographed, they have really interesting movements (and there was some glitter throwing, which was just fun), and the music is gorgeous. We had a thoroughly wonderful time. David is an excellent conversational companion. Managed to get all four of my CD inserts signed by the Baebes after, too, despite David's obvious amusement with my thoroughness.

I wonder if he's interested in going to see Terry Pratchett on Friday. It seems like the kind of thing he'd be interested in, and I'm enjoying this having-someone-interesting-to-go-to-interesting-things-with thing.


( 2:17 PM ) Sarah Jane ~


 

Okay,

I am officially in love with Colin Firth.






( 3:11 AM ) Sarah Jane ~


 

The next best thing

Damn Blockbuster didn't have Pride and Predjudice (they have three copies of the last David Spade movie, but no P&P -- WTF????), so I stormed off to Cheapo and bought myself some chocolate and the Bridget Jones's Diary DVD. Have watched that end scene three times already, and shall watch it several more times before I'm finished for the night. I don't know what's wrong, but hopefully a good cry will set things straight.

This is my theory -- tears are not a mildly saline solution designed to lubricate the eye. You heard me. They are in fact, liquid bad karma. When bad karma (like depression, pain, etc.) builds up, it condenses into liquid form and emerges from the eyes in the form of tears. Which is why you either feel better after a good cry (because all that's left is good karma) or empty (when you don't have any karma left, but there is room for good karma to come back). Which is why I can remain a happy, optimistic person when I'm not in the middle of a good cry, and explains the general fucked-uppedness of most people who never cry.

Let's watch that scene again. Oh look, Mark's trying to kiss Bridget. Mmmmm....



( 2:38 AM ) Sarah Jane ~


 

God, I'm lonely...

Why is it some men are completely oblivious to flirtation?


( 2:30 AM ) Sarah Jane ~





Wednesday, May 01, 2002
 

Hey!

Removing all mention due to paranoid impulse. Will say instead that I have just received an invitation from a Very Famous author-turned-editor to submit a story to her latest anthology. AAAAHHHH!!!! Am moving up in world.




( 11:48 PM ) Sarah Jane ~


 

What the frell?

I just hit send on my official declination of the Clarion offer. I'd already decided not to go, I was just sitting on it. I know I can't afford it, I know I really shouldn't break the momentum I already have going on my writing to do a workshop that may or may not help me, that will most certainly be really fun, but will also most certainly bugger my finances in the whole getting-an-apartment-in-September scheme of things. I know I can use the money to go to TTrek, which is considerably less expensive, will also be a fun time, and will not require me to quit my job. Plus, I just got this from Julie:

I heard from John at TeknoBooks again today. He was kind enough to mention your story again, and how he is going to keep an eye out for your work.

Here's the rest:

"... I do feel that Sarah is talented enough to attract attention from the major 'zines, and that is an avenue she should follow up on, because it is an excellent way to get your name out there."

Nice, yes? He reads thousands of short stories, so you must have made quite an impression.



So why am I sitting here bawling my eyes out?


( 4:50 PM ) Sarah Jane ~





Sarah Jane Elliott
The often frustrating progress of my life and writing...

(Once known as "The Mystic's Dream", now known as "Dream of the Dolphin", but inclined to change title depending on what's stuck in my head)

Okay, I liked "Confessions of a Post Graduate Pity Whore" a lot more than I thought I would. That line is still hilarious. But I've started writing again, so it's time to go back to before. :o)





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