“Everyone has talent. What is rare is the courage to follow the talent to the dark places where it leads.”
Erica Jong

author: Nicole J. LeBoeuf

actually writing blog

YPP Weekend Blockades, July 15-16: Simon says it's time to place your starting bids
Sat 2017-07-15 10:37:25 (single post)

Notable in today's blockade schedule is a triple attack by new(ish) flag Symonds Says on islands owned by Spoon Republic. This would be on the Emerald Ocean.

Also on Emerald, Knockout invites all comers to invade their islands "in a friendly setting":

We want opportunities to try out some blockade staff teams that don't typically get much involvement in the 10k/seg high scale blockades.

Hence, we'd like to invite participants to choose an island between Scrimshaw, Alkaid, and even Admiral to showcase their best blockading talents. From here, the two flags will discuss terms and conditions regarding the blockade to ensure as much evenness as possible to truly determine that the best blockade team wins. Some of these terms and conditions may be time of blockade, even jobbing, shared nav lists, etc. To incentive participants, Knockout will be paying 25% of the jobber poe spent by the attackers if the attack was deemed genuine and the flag showed desire to win through at least one fully contested round.

In short, we would like the opportunity to get some more controlled blockades on the scene and we encourage flags who normally would shy away from expensive blockades to take up the challenge.

On Cerulean, the crew "Wolf" is returning to the scene, and their flag Zion announced their intent to take over Endurance Island. Cold Steel will unfortunately not be able to defend, so look for this contest to be called early.

In non-blockade events, Spoon Republic and their friends will be holding an auction on Sunday at 4 PM pirate time. View the forum post linked here for a list of who's up for bid and what they will do for you if you win. (I am particularly charmed by Highpriority's offer to "narrate your life with a fabulous British accent.") Bids start at 50K. Well, 10K really, but there is a 50K prebid on all pirates, so. Other prebids have been announced in replies to the thread. Get yours in now!

And the Oceanmasters have announced two separate contests where by the YPP community can help create a most enticing Steam store page for Dark Seas. Get your crew together, do something fun on the Obsidian Ocean, and capture screenshots and videos of the proceedings as your contest entries! Deadline for both is this Sunday, July 16 at 11:59 PM pirate time.

Standard reminders: Schedule is given in Pirate Time, or U.S. Pacific. Player flags link to Yoweb information pages; Brigand King Flags link to Yppedia Brigand King pages. BK amassed power given in parenthetical numbers, like so: (14). For more info about jobbing contacts, jobber pay, and Event Blockade battle board configuration, check the Blockade tab of your ocean's Notice Board. To get hired, apply under the Voyages tab.

Doubloon Ocean Blockades

*** Saturday, July 15 ***

12:00 p.m. - Kirin Island, Meridian Ocean
Brigand King attack!
Defender: Get Off My Lawn
Attacker: The Jade Empire (6)

4:33 p.m. - Hubble's Eye, Emerald Ocean
Defender: Symonds Says
Attacker: Spoon Republic

4:37 p.m. - Manu Island, Emerald Ocean
Defender: Symonds Says
Attacker: Spoon Republic

4:39 p.m. - Gauntlet Island, Emerald Ocean
Defender: Symonds Says
Attacker: Spoon Republic

8:29 p.m. - Spaniel Island, Emerald Ocean
Defender: Black Flag
Attacker: Keeping The Peace

*** Sunday, July 16 ***

10:00 a.m. - Scrimshaw Island, Emerald Ocean
Defender: Knockout
Attacker: Per Aspera Ad Sol

11:56 a.m. - Kasidim Island, Emerald Ocean
Defender: Illuminatti
Attacker: Symonds Says

12:00 p.m. - Isle of Kent, Emerald Ocean
Brigand King attack!
Defender: Keeping The Peace
Attacker: Fleet of his Imperial Scaled Highness (7)

Subscription Ocean Blockades

*** Saturday, July 15 ***

12:03 p.m. - Endurance Island, Cerulean Ocean
Defender: Cold Steel
Attacker: Zion

middle ground is where you make it
Fri 2017-07-14 00:03:29 (single post)

Me, yesterday, re: Habitica:

There is probably a middle ground between gaming the system and sabotaging one's own chances of success, but I haven't found it yet.

Maybe I found it today. I went looking, anyway.

To be more explicit: There is a small list of writing tasks I'd like to do each day that I keep! Not! Quite! Getting to! and it's bothering me. Things like: Spending a solid writing session on writing a new short story, or revising an existing one so that it is ready to submit. Working on the novel, for serious. Sending stories back out to new markets (ones they have not been to, of course. I'M STILL EMBARRASSED ABOUT THAT) and logging responses to previous submissions. These things are not represented in my Habitica "dailies," so I can log a "perfect day"--a day in which I check off all the Dailies--without ever getting to that list of much-neglected writing tasks. I suppose it's overstating things to describe this as me "gaming the system," but I'm certainly not making the system work for me here.

Problem is, the act of adding new Dailies to the list does not suddenly cause me to succeed at a task I've failed at week after week. It just makes failing at it feel worse. No more perfect days and it's my fault the party gets thwacked by the quest boss.

An intermediate stage is needed here.

So, Habitica's "dailies" are those task which you hold yourself too every day. If you check them all off, you accomplish a perfect day! But for each Daily you don't check off, you take damage. If you're in a quest, your party also takes damage. That's Dailies.

There's also "habits." Habits are those tasks you'd like, to, well, get in the habit of doing more often. You click them any time you do them, however many times a day is appropriate. Like: "Get up from the desk and stretch" or "Eat a home-prepared meal." You get rewarded with gold and experience points for clicking them, but you don't get punished for not clicking on them. (There's also negative habits which you're trying to break yourself of, and you take damage every time you click them. Example: "Did you pick your nose? Be honest!" But that's outside the scope of this discussion.)

Habit items are perfect for giving yourself incentive to do a thing without putting yourself under a lot of pressure.

So I have added a Habit item for "All items on today's timesheet." (This is a spreadsheet where I track my working hours by task, and it lists all the tasks, including those things I keep not! Quite! Getting to!). It has a positive clicker I can click if I do all the things. It also has a negative clicker, but I'm going to give myself a two-week adjustment period before I start clicking it.

And then, what the hell, I added five more Habit items: "1 hour of writing," "2 hours of writing," "3 hours of writing," and so on up to five. I used to have a "5 hours of writing" Daily, but I pretty much never managed to check that one off. So rather than keep punishing myself with it, I disabled it. Temporarily. Having now brought it back as a series of low-pressure Habit incentives, I might train myself up to a point where it's reasonable enable it as a Daily again.

So that was very technical and will probably make more sense if you go and check out Habitica. You may find it useful. Not everyone does, but it pushes all my buttons very effectively.

Anyway, I did not get to click "All items on today's timesheet" today. But you know what I did do? For the first time ever? I completed a Friday Fictionette early. That's right. July 14th's offering is already up on Patreon for scheduled release. Which means I can begin my road trip to Salina, Kansas (it's bout week again!) on a clean conscience. And I might just get to peck at the novel a bit in the car. I'll certainly get to start next week's Fictionette early. If I can keep this up, I might actually begin building a future fictionette buffer. But let's not get ahead of ourselves.

Anyway, now I have blogged. Which leaves me only two Dailies left between me and a perfect day (for Habitica values of perfect). Off I go to do them!

a brief note on the gamification of gamifications
Thu 2017-07-13 00:50:15 (single post)

So here's my minor epiphany for the day: It is possible to check off all my Habitica Daily items, thus technically accomplishing "a perfect day," and still feel like I didn't really get anything done. This probably means I need to add more items to my Dailies. There is probably a middle ground between gaming the system and sabotaging one's own chances of success, but I haven't found it yet.

In other news, the view from the NCAR Mesa Trail was particularly lovely this morning. (Did you know there is a small science museum inside NCAR? I did not know that. It is fascinating.)

minor optimism at tired o'clock
Tue 2017-07-11 23:51:11 (single post)

So I did spend a little time the other day looking at the notes from last year's novel brainstorming session. Got kind of excited about it all over again, like, yes, this is going to be a novel worth writing, and spending time with these characters will be keen, but I didn't have any sudden breakthroughs. I mean, it would have been very nice to reread the notes and suddenly go, "Oh! That's how the novel ends. I see it all now! Must write the first draft NOW!" But no.

I also haven't managed to get back to it since that night. Which isn't very good for maintaining that excitement level. Mainly I've just been plugging away as best as my schedule and energy levels will allow. Mostly not having any crash-and-waste-the-day days, but still haven't reached the sort of daily productivity level I'm looking for.

Meanwhile, the goddamn insomnia is back. Not getting sleep isn't helping, body, please do a thing that is helping, pretty please.

On a different note, there is something very satisfying about getting together with fifteen or so of your best roller derby buddies to reposition the floor tiles and lay down a fresh track. Then, when you get there for Tuesday practice, you get to look at it and skate on it and think, "We did that. Go us!" Very tiring work, especially when the day previous you skated in two very competitive bouts, but very satisfying nevertheless.

OK, I'm off to try to make myself very tired.

YPP Weekend Blockades, July 8-9: The (attempted) resurrection of Jade
Sat 2017-07-08 13:08:43 (single post)

STOP THE PRESSES. There will be a blockade on the Jade Ocean this weekend!

When? Sunday, July 9, 12 PM Pirate Time
Where? Arco Ascalón
Against whom? ˇVARGAS EL LOCO!
Why? In another attempt to wake up Jade Ocean and encourage others to do the same

They're going to start at a pay of 3k per segment, but reserve the right to send in fewer and smaller ships as Vargas's fleet diminishes.

On Cerulean, Babylon would appreciate your help in defending Kirin today. Blackstar will be defending Eta and Jubilee from attack by The Stumbling Solo. Byrne will be defended as well.

Meridian and Emerald are not devoid of action today. In the case of Emerald, that is an understatement, especially since Illusion dropped a whole bunch of noon-time Sunday war chests at the last minute. Obsidian, aka Dark Seas, have no blockades yet but the time will come. (I gotta update my database!)

In more general news, a couple of enterprising pirates have created new resources for your enjoyment:

An' that's the news, an' I am outta here.

Standard reminders: Schedule is given in Pirate Time, or U.S. Pacific. Player flags link to Yoweb information pages; Brigand King Flags link to Yppedia Brigand King pages. BK amassed power given in parenthetical numbers, like so: (14). For more info about jobbing contacts, jobber pay, and Event Blockade battle board configuration, check the Blockade tab of your ocean's Notice Board. To get hired, apply under the Voyages tab.

Doubloon Ocean Blockades

*** Saturday, July 8 ***

12:00 p.m. - Harmattan Island, Meridian Ocean
Brigand King attack!
Defender: Barely Dressed
Attacker: Ice Wyrm's Brood (4)

12:01 p.m. - Admiral Island, Emerald Ocean
Brigand King holds the island!
Defender: Chthonic Horde (4)
Attacker: Knockout

12:01 p.m. - Cryo Island, Emerald Ocean
Defender: No Strings Attached
Attacker: Auspicious Takeover
Attacker: Shadows of Sage

12:02 p.m. - Ix Chel, Emerald Ocean
Defender: No Strings Attached
Attacker: Auspicious Takeover

12:04 p.m. - Bowditch Island, Emerald Ocean
Brigand King holds the island!
Defender: Jinx (2)
Attacker: Spoon Republic

4:35 p.m. - Anegada Island, Emerald Ocean
Defender: Per Aspera Ad Sol
Attacker: Spoon Republic

5:54 p.m. - Isle of Kent, Emerald Ocean
Defender: Black Flag
Attacker: Keeping The Peace

*** Sunday, July 9 ***

10:02 a.m. - Scrimshaw Island, Emerald Ocean
Defender: Knockout
Attacker: Shadows of Sage

10:08 a.m. - Corona Reef, Meridian Ocean
Defender: Infamous
Attacker: Antheas

11:00 a.m. - Arco Ascal�n, Jade Ocean
Brigand King holds the island!
Defender: El Iluminado (1)
Attacker: United Explorers

11:56 a.m. - Saiph Island, Emerald Ocean
Defender: Versus Terminus
Attacker: Illusion

11:57 a.m. - Blackthorpe Island, Emerald Ocean
Defender: Going Down
Attacker: Illusion

11:57 a.m. - Arakoua Island, Emerald Ocean
Defender: Versus Terminus
Attacker: Illusion

11:58 a.m. - Wissahickon Island, Emerald Ocean
Defender: Keep the Peace
Attacker: Illusion

11:58 a.m. - Kakraphoon Island, Emerald Ocean
Defender: Versus Terminus
Attacker: Illusion

Subscription Ocean Blockades

*** Saturday, July 8 ***

12:00 p.m. - Kirin Island, Cerulean Ocean
Brigand King attack!
Defender: Babylon
Attacker: Jinx (2)

7:56 p.m. - Eta Island, Cerulean Ocean
Defender: Blackstar
Attacker: The Stumbling Solo

8:00 p.m. - Jubilee Island, Cerulean Ocean
Defender: Blackstar
Attacker: The Stumbling Solo

11:58 p.m. - Byrne Island, Cerulean Ocean
Defender: Blackstar
Attacker: The Stumbling Solo

I also got a photo of Joe DiMeowgio. Score.
what we call a great start to the week
Mon 2017-07-03 23:41:39 (single post)

Oh, and speaking of making up for things, I slept in today. A lot. I needed to make up for the weekend, in which I failed to get pretty much any sleep and so I failed at pretty much everything else. So. Hi! I'm well rested now!

Tomorrow is party day. Tomorrow is get up, make the ambrosia salad, make with about half a workday's worth of writing, and then make with the partying. Yay party.

Apropros of just about nothing at all, did you know that the latest version of the Android emulator Bluestacks (2.7.320.8504) is actually compatible with Neko Atsume? OH MY GOD IT'S FULL OF KITTIES. I finally got a picture of Ramses the Great today. This makes me feel so accomplished I cannot begin to tell you.

YPP Weekend Blockades, July 1-2: A shadow descends over the ocean
Sat 2017-07-01 13:08:40 (single post)

Most of the blockades this weekend are on Cerulean and Emerald. There's... one on Meridian. Just one this weekend.

By sheer coincidence, Meridian's doubloon market is off the hook. We're talking buying offers at nearly 11k. Seriously, Meridian, what's up with you?

Today's the first day of a new month; there's a new Seal o' Piracy to be earned. This month, you get it by completing 30 sea battles. Don't wait until the last minute--this is one that's going to take time.

Meanwhile, the Dark Seas beta has dropped. That's kinda big. Steam not required yet--just download the client directly from the links in the forum post. Things will look very familiar. You'll catch on in a flash.

*Goes away humming the Monster Mash*

Standard reminders: Schedule is given in Pirate Time, or U.S. Pacific. Player flags link to Yoweb information pages; Brigand King Flags link to Yppedia Brigand King pages. BK amassed power given in parenthetical numbers, like so: (14). For more info about jobbing contacts, jobber pay, and Event Blockade battle board configuration, check the Blockade tab of your ocean's Notice Board. To get hired, apply under the Voyages tab.

Doubloon Ocean Blockades

*** Saturday, July 1 ***

12:00 p.m. - Zuyua Mist, Meridian Ocean
Brigand King attack!
Defender: Coming Soon
Attacker: Black Veil (3)

12:00 p.m. - Basset Island, Emerald Ocean
Defender: Raiders Of The Void
Attacker: Spoon Republic

12:00 p.m. - Scrimshaw Island, Emerald Ocean
Defender: Caught In Crossfire
Attacker: Knockout

4:00 p.m. - Kasidim Island, Emerald Ocean
Defender: Dead In The Water
Attacker: Illuminatti

7:31 p.m. - Aimuari Island, Emerald Ocean
Defender: Spoon Republic
Attacker: Per Aspera Ad Sol
Attacker: Invicta

8:12 p.m. - Sayers Rock, Emerald Ocean
Brigand King holds the island!
Defender: Fleet of his Imperial Scaled Highness (3)
Attacker: Illuminatti

8:35 p.m. - Ix Chel, Emerald Ocean
Defender: No Strings Attached
Attacker: Auspicious Takeover

8:36 p.m. - Cryo Island, Emerald Ocean
Defender: No Strings Attached
Attacker: Auspicious Takeover

8:58 p.m. - Admiral Island, Emerald Ocean
Brigand King attack!
Defender: Going Down
Attacker: Chthonic Horde (6)

11:54 p.m. - Bowditch Island, Emerald Ocean
Brigand King attack!
Defender: Going Down
Attacker: Jinx (3)

Subscription Ocean Blockades

*** Saturday, July 1 ***

12:01 p.m. - Beta Island, Cerulean Ocean
Brigand King holds the island!
Defender: The Enlightened (2)
Attacker: The Stumbling Solo

6:56 p.m. - Eta Island, Cerulean Ocean
Defender: Blackstar
Attacker: The Stumbling Solo

7:00 p.m. - Jubilee Island, Cerulean Ocean
Defender: The Stumbling Solo
Attacker: Blackstar

7:06 p.m. - Olive Island, Cerulean Ocean
Defender: Blackstar
Attacker: The Stumbling Solo

7:12 p.m. - Byrne Island, Cerulean Ocean
Defender: The Stumbling Solo
Attacker: Blackstar

*** Sunday, July 2 ***

10:29 a.m. - Fintan Island, Cerulean Ocean
Defender: Blackstar
Attacker: Babylon
Attacker: The Stumbling Solo

Cover art incorporates Page of Wands (Pamela Colman Smith, following instructions from A.E. Waite) [public domain in the US].
this fictionette is very, very embarrassed
Sat 2017-07-01 00:54:57 (single post)
  • 4,600 words (if poetry, lines) long
  • 1,206 words (if poetry, lines) long

Two things.

First, the Friday Fictionette for June 30 is out: "Strange Tidings" (ebook, audiobook) which begins with an observation about the gaps in the official Rider-Waite tarot interpretations and from there goes somewhere odd.

Secondly, I have just received the most embarrassing rejection letter in as long as I can remember. My face is red as we speak. Turns out, the place I just sent "Caroline's Wake," that sounded like the perfect home for it, and whose submission window just happened to open at the time I sent it... I had actually sent it there before. During a previous submission period. When I undoubtedly thought it would be just the perfect home for it.

The editors were really gracious about it. Apparently it was memorable--in a good way--so when it crossed their desks they recognized it immediately. They hope I will send them something new the next time they open for submissions.

I am very, very embarrassed. Since it is not good form to respond to rejection letters, even to say sorry (editors are busy, I am not adding to their caseload just to soothe my own feelings), I am exorcising the embarrassment demons here.

(I am sure that Very Famous and Successful Authors the world over have made just this mistake and been just as embarrassed about it. Someday, when I am a Very Famous and Successful Author, newer authors will read this blog post and say, "Oh, what a relief, even Very Famous and Successful Authors make that mistake too." See? This is a public service.)

which doesn't make the date less significant
Thu 2017-06-29 17:08:10 (single post)

About the same today: Got the daily stuff in--did my freewriting, finished drafting this week's Fictionette release, and typed a page against the Fictionette artifact backlog. Then I had to leave for errands in Longmont en route to the usual Thursday scrimmage. But maybe, maybe, if I am very good, and if I do it in an idle sort of low-energy way that is compatible with the post-derby portion of the evening, I might manage to spend a half hour or so on the novel I started brainstorming last year. I might not actually write any of it--I might spend that half hour simply reading all my notes from last November and maybe adding to them--but it is nevertheless an exciting prospect.

To make that more possible, I'm doing the blog post now rather than later. Hi!

Greens in the fridge notwithstanding, I am enjoying a bowl of pho at Pho Huong Viet. They have become my pre-bout ritual, only I missed out on Saturday what with that whole "oops, I left my shoes at the Fairgrounds and now the building's locked and it turns out the people at the restaurant would really rather I didn't skate on their nice wood floor" thing. I mean, they did let me order spring rolls to go, but it just wasn't the same. So I'm making up for it today.

I made up for a different oversight by calling Dad. My parents have the same wedding anniversary date that me and John do, so generally it's easy to remember to call. But this year, what with our frantic roller derby schedule, we barely remembered our own anniversary. So I called today.

It was weird, though. I had this awful feeling that wishing Dad a happy anniversary would not actually be kind. Like it was more likely to add insult to injury. I mean, if Dad was widowed, there'd be no question; the anniversary of the start of a fantastic marriage is no less something to be celebrated just because death did you part. But it feels wrong somehow when Mom is still around in body but entirely gone in her mind. The marriage continues but one of its participants has changed beyond recognition (and does not herself recognize most of the people closest to her in her life). Are we celebrating? Are we in any position to celebrate? Was the 20th, in fact, a happy day, or was it just an occasion for the calendar to stick a knife in Dad's ribs and twist it?

Dementia sucks and makes everything awkward.

But I called, and I said happy anniversary, and Dad kind of laughed and returned the good wishes, and we took the rest of the phone call as just another opportunity to catch up on the last few weeks. I told him about the most recent bouts; he took the news about his daughter getting a black eye in stride ("So you scored points, and you got a badge of honor. Nothing wrong with that!"). He told me about how his day's been going. Things were OK.

He put Mom on the phone. Mom said hello and that she hoped everything was going well for me, and then, this having used up her scant verbal reserves, she handed back the phone.

"Well, that didn't go so well," Dad said.

"I dunno," said I, "she put words together to form sentences. That's a thing."

So. I guess the moral of the story is, however awkward the conversation, it's never actually wrong to call. Well, rarely, anyway.

but i'm supposed to blog so i guess here is a post
Thu 2017-06-29 00:09:28 (single post)

Hullo the blog. Not much to report. Continuing to plug along at my daily tasks and inch through the overdue ones. Also there are household things and the everpresent specter of roller derby, so each day winds up having less time in it than I think. Still haven't managed to get to the exciting things like "and work on that novel you started brainstorming last year!" or "get a new short story ready for submission!" But that will come. Meanwhile, I am showing up every day and putting in a solid session, and I am no longer actively falling behind in anything.

The linden tree out back started blooming about a day after I complained that it hadn't. So that's nice. The fragrance was particularly delightful late last night.

I am sporting my very first derby-related black eye! It's awesome. One of the staff at Murphy's last night, where we often go for post-practice dinner and drinks, asked me if I gave as good as I got. I had to admit that I had, yes, by definition, seeing has how I had given it to myself in the first place. Remember about the inadvisability of playing offense with your face? Yeah, well, same goes for jamming. Also I need to get better at my hockey stops so I have other options when approaching a pack at speed other than "success!" and "panic, fall over, go boom."

In other news, it's CSA season and my fridge is full of greens. I keep thinking, "I've been good, I've worked hard, I should treat myself to five spice wok chicken at Jin Chan," and then I don't go, because my fridge is full of greens. I have been coming up with all the ways to eat them. There's sauteeed mizuna to keep my leftover kung pao chicken from getting lonely, there's finely shredded kale mixed in with shredded potatoes and scrambled eggs for a sort of hash brown/omelet/egg-fu-yung/potato-pancake hybrid breakfast (don't forget the apple sauce), there's stewed chard in a pot of approximate dal, there's anything leafy at all in my sausage-mac-and-cheese (featuring more cheddar brats from my teammate's farm), there's sprouts on my fake-bacon-and-cheese sandwich, and then there's straight-up salad.

WHAT MAGNESIUM DEFICIENCY I AM EATING ALL THE THINGS WITH MAGNESIUM IN THEM.

(The foot does seem to be cramping less during practice... but that could just be the results of, y'know, practice.)

So. Like I said, not much to report. Just stuff. More stuff tomorrow if we're lucky.

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