A Sleepy, Sleepy Weasel (Warning: Rambling)

(NOTE: Based on time elapsed since the posting of this entry, the BS-o-meter calculates this is 4.824% likely to be something that Ferrett now regrets.)

So I was on the West Coast for three weeks, and my internal time clock completely adjusted to West Coast Time.
I do not do well with time changes.
So I’ve been staring at things a lot, sleepy all the time. Work has consisted of staring at database schematics, trying to import a large and imposingly-complex structure into my head well enough to offer useful critique, and boy howdy has that been a cavalcade of errors.
Muzzyheaded, I’ve even become That Guy at work, pinging my co-workers with inept questions like: “Hey, did we create the foreign versions of the Dragons of Tarkir set?”
“I don’t know, maybe you could look it up in inventory before bugging me personally?”
“Oh crap.”
So I’m tired enough that I dropped my phone in the tub late at night, which was saved temporarily through judicious usage of rice, though we’ll see how it fares in the long run.  (The screen is feathered in the lower right corner, which leads me to believe my iPhone is running on borrowed time – too bad the stores were closed and I couldn’t get DampRid to fix it.)
And the evenings are… tedious.  I’m finalizing the draft of The Flux, the sequel to Flex, which is due in October for you and due in a week for me now, and I’m on the 10% Solution phase.  That’s where I take 125,000 words of manuscript and go through it sentence by sentence, justifying the existence of every “that,” “or,” and adverb.  (“He slammed his hands on the desk, angrily.”  Oh, that was angry? Good job, past Ferrett, thanks for telling me!)
This is an excruciatingly boring part, but crunching the novel down to 87% of its former bloated status is critical.  It’s like reducing a sauce, making all the flavors pop – Gini can actually tell when I’ve 10% Solutioned a story and when I haven’t, usually because she gets more bored.  Remember, kids, the point of fiction is to get across as much information as you can in as compressed a space as you can, and having 13% of your words be redundant is going to make your words suck.
But it takes me about two hours to get through an 8,000-word section.  And it doesn’t engage a lot of the old brainpower.  It’s just relentless prose-destruction, and that makes the evening boring.
Also, I keep discovering more useless words I don’t usually need.  New additions are:

  • all
  • seem (most times “seem to” can be replaced profitably by “are”)
  • start (most times “started to” can be replaced profitably by “did”)
  • going (most times “was going to” can be replaced profitably by “will” or “would”)
    began (most times “began to” can be replaced profitably by “did”)
  • as if (finds your bad metaphors – “like” is already on the list)
  • could
  • strange (I have a terrible habit of saying “he felt a strange compulsion” instead of describing the compulsion)

Then I’m playing Pillars of Eternity, the new game by the makers of Baldur’s Gate, and… it’s okay.  It’s a very good Baldur’s Gate evolution thus far, but the story has yet to grab me – which may be partially my own fault, as I did all the local quests to level up instead of going out and fetching new companions, so a lot of the stuff I did was in a vacuum without interesting characters to play alongside of.  But still, the first town is a bunch of fetchquests and monsters, a thin shell for the underlying game engine, and I can put the game down after two hours or so.
That’s a bad sign.  I’m told it gets better, but for me I need story to pull me through.  I remember my friend Jer once telling me how he hated Batman: Arkham Asylum because it kept interrupting his Batman-beatings with cutscenes and people talking to him, and that’s why he liked Halo way better.  For me, those cutscenes were why I played, and Jer’s welcome to his different opinions but that explained why I found Halo to be dull.
Anyway, so the day is stare at a screen full of database stuff, stare at a screen full of bad words, stare at a screen full of a mediocre game.  Life is feeling tedious. I’ve come to realize that I like people not necessarily because I’m an extrovert, but because I do very poorly with routine, and instead need variety.  Seeing new folks drains my introvert-batteries, but it does ensure the entire week is not stare/stare/stare/bed, and that helps.
But I keep wanting to write essays, and then forgetting what I was going to write – I’m still knocking out a few essays on FetLife, but that’s because either a) the essays refer to sexytimes with people I’m smooching with, and hence may not want the big stage of my official blog, or b) are in reaction to FetLife’s vibrant essay section, where debates continually rage, and porting context over here requires more effort than I’d like.
So. What do you want me to write about? What did I miss when I was gone? I’m tired, I’m sleepy, I’m bored, tell me tell me tell me.

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