I am, once again, woefully behind in my blogging and there are any number of excuses. Here they are, followed by a number of things I would have been blogging about had I not been putting my excuses into lists of reasons why I have not been blogging. Uhm. Right.
Excuse number one: It's Nanowrimo time again and I have been getting my prep. work done. I have my characters sketched out and some idea of a (minimal) plot. More importantly, I have a 20,000 word treatment written out in longhand in one of my journals and I am hoping to use Nanowrimo to get a first, readable, draft finished.
Nanowrimo takes place during the month of November, with a countdown clock and everything. For those who are interested in following my (lack of) progress, my profile is here.
Excuse number two: It's JLPT time again and I have been getting my prep. work done. Which is a noticeable change from the last two times I have taken this frickin' test. I have taken this same level twice before, last year failing by 2%. The reasons I do not speak Japanese any better than I do are long and legendary and involve lots of alcohol. But I have been working very hard to make my Japanese better and I really hope to pass the goram thing this year.
Oh, yes, JLPT stands for the Japanese Language Proficiency Test and it is a total pain in the ass.
No more excuses, just things on my mind: Recently, I bought my wife a fishtank. It's the first either of us have ever owned and we're getting a real kick out of it. It has livened up our apartment, figuratively and literally, as well as just adding a general feeling of contentment to our lives. We've started small, with just a few guppies and plan to add to the tank as we learn more about how to take care of it and the critters inside.
I also bought, recently, an old GameCube game called Crazy Taxi. This may possibly be the best game ever made. Drive like an idiot, crash into things, pick up passengers and attempt to deliver them to their destinations within the time limit. The best thing about the game is that it offers the option to play for three, five, or ten minutes, which means it is perfect for blowing off steam without losing an entire day to it. Fantastic for study breaks.
Some good reading: Neil Gaiman's story "Goliath", set in the Matrix universe and collected in his collection "Fragile Things" is one of the best stories I have ever read / listened to. I listened to the story, read by Mr. Gaiman, while driving to work. The last line hit me so hard I had to pull over and compose myself before I could continue. I'm not sure what a better benchmark for a good story could be.
Meanwhile, in a completely different vein, and actually using printed material this time, is Craig Nelson's "Let's Get Lost." LGL is a travel memoir from someone who has been around the planet a time or three, and from the oddest angles. So far, about a third of the way through, it is one of the better, travelogues I have read; it is funny without being mean or biting, and eye-opening without being either too world-weary or too preachy.
And one final note in general: When did Scrabble become so popular? Again? I don't think I had played Scrabble since Jr. High School and now, within the space of a couple of months, I have played table-top with three different people and online a couple of times, mainly through Facebook. I'm not exactly complaining, it's just that I suck at Scrabble and wish everyone would go back to playing Chess. Which I also suck at, although not as badly.