The Apple Store is Like a Partial Journey Through One of the Circles of Hell

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Recently, I had the brilliant idea to update my Macbook Pro from Mountain Lion (which I had literally just gotten used to) to Mavericks, because a) It was free, b) It was free, c) It was supposed to be an improvement, and d) Did I mention that I love free shit?!?!

What followed was a catastrophic series of events that I am still not entirely certain I’ve escaped from… it’s like my computer is a repair junkie and I just got it back from the shop and I’m waiting to see if it’s going to relapse on me.

The coming signs of the apocalypse:

1. If you update your computer and suddenly get weird, black checkerboard markings behind windows, it’s not supposed to be there.

2. If your Safari ‘Recent History’ page on a new tab looks like it was taken over by the static from the ghosts on Poltergeist, you guessed it! It’s not supposed to be there.

3. If your Macbook starts lagging, freezing, or displaying the tendencies of the old Windows computer you decommissioned and sold to buy the laptop, it seems like you are probably on the road to a terrible, terrible place that I like to call:

 THE APPLE STORE

Have you ever walked into a room where you instantly felt that you didn’t belong? Got that icy, miserable, shooting feeling that someone who thought they were better than you was staring real hard at the back of your neck? Then you, my friend, know what the atmosphere in an Apple store feels like.

Now, don’t get me wrong—I have never encountered someone who works for the Apple store who is douchey to me. This is ENTIRELY reserved for people who come in there to buy superfluous accessories, overpriced machinery, or take classes on how to use said items. There are a couple of things about the Apple store, however, that lend themselves to creating this atmosphere and even intensifying it over time so that you’re either found unworthy to remain and are expelled from the premises posthaste, OR

You become that loathsome individual who glares at me at the Genius bar because I took the seat next to you, even though it was empty and you’re alone.

Jerk.

At any rate, be prepared for the hailstorm of sub-zero glares and people annoyed that they have to wait and let you go first, even though you arrived a full ten minutes ahead of your reservation time.

As I said, there are certain factors that go into Apple store set-ups that lead to confusion, irritation, and self-righteousness in their customers. In the particular store that I frequent (multiple times, recently), it is a single, large room that extends to the back where a Genius Bar rests. Along the sides are computers, some displays, and thousands, and thousands* of people.

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 *May not actually contain thousands of people.

When you walk in the door, the first thing that happens is one of two things: You will either glide by, completely ignored, shuffling your way past the dozens of Apple denizens clogging the single entrance and escape, or, you will be accosted by both the Apple workers, and the angry, searing faces of customers. Likely, both.

In either case, the first person to greet you has an iPad in his/her hand. They will ask you what they can do to help you with.

“Ah,” you think, surprised at the genteel and pleasant greeting, “a person who can help me at the door, and not send me into the fray of swirling, tangled madness that lies a few feet away. Mayhap they can even allow me to complete my quest here, rather than tread into that mire?” … Or, maybe not, because you don’t speak with an Old English accent.

“I’m here for an appointment at the Genius Bar,” you might say, if you’re me, since you were there for that. The worker turns, his eyes large, his face unsmiling. He points a long finger into the dark, bubbling cauldron of insanity.

“Three tables hence, you will find a man or a woman who doth carry a green-plated iPad… this person will start you on your quest, but hark! Many others seek to do the same.”

“Uh… okay. Weird,” you say, even though you don’t think to judge the fact that you were just speaking that way a moment ago. Also, you may ignore that you’re being a giant, Old English-y hypocrite.

You push through the perilous pathway to find the person with the green iPad, only to realize that they are SURROUNDED on ALL SIDES by sour-faced people who are there for the same reason that you are, and there is no way to attract attention to yourself without doing something illegal or stupid. You could scream and jump up and down, but likely, they’d just mistake you for one of the many children in there already doing the same.

So you wait. You watch dozens of people cut the queue and jump in front of you, but you can’t do anything because you aren’t even sure where it starts, or who came after you. Finally, you reach the person with the iPad. He holds up a finger and signals you to wait, which is unbearable, because at any moment one of the vultures on the sidelines is waiting for a weak point to jump in and attract his attention. Finally, he looks up at you with a sad smile.

You explain why you’re there, over the din of the surrounding mosh pit, and then he checks your name off of the tablet after you spell it for him five times and finally just point it out yourself. Then, comes the third leg of the journey. He lifts his arm, and you can feel your heart dropping into your stomach. He points his finger, and sends you to the back. Alllllllll the bloody way to the back toward the Genius Bar, which is the very heart of the insanity in the store. You nod to yourself, suck up your trembling chin, and march.

The Genius Bar. There are four wizards toiling, but there are twenty peasants sucking up air around them. Screaming. Wailing, Gnashing their teeth over the broken and misfiring bits of electronic machine. But where do you go? You know that you must choose wisely or risk losing your tentative position in the order.

Don’t sit by the training tables, you’ll get passed over and someone will yell at you for taking a stool. Don’t hover over someone’s shoulder. Don’t stand at the wall, they won’t know you’re there. You have to act, quick! Like a hawk, the first seat you see, snatch it. Doesn’t matter that there are twelve people gunning for that same coveted seat. Don’t mind that you can feel their eyes cursing you—run for it!

You wait twenty minutes for your reservation, even though it’s fifteen minutes past when you were supposed to be seen. You quietly, sadly watch the wizards’ faces while they march past, hoping to be the lucky one that gets chosen next. Finally, they descend to you. Angels sing. Clouds part. The light pours through the heavens. You have the attention of someone who can help! Oh lucky day! Explain the problem, leave your computer, and count down the days until your return. Brave the madness one more time, only to get your computer home and realize it’s still messing up.

Shake your fists to the sky, curse, and scream, and know that you will have to do it all again. Your journey was for naught.

The conclusion of this sad tale: Don’t be a dick to me in the Apple Store.

Be considerate of others who have to share the same space as you. The store is tiny and you’re only making me hate you making it harder for people to do what they need to do.

…And also EVERYONE WITH AN iPAD IN THE APPLE STORE SHOULD BE ABLE TO CHECK PEOPLE IN, I MEAN IS IT THAT HARD? WTF?! YOU’RE MAKING PANDEMONIUM—YOU’RE PLAYING WITH PEOPLE’S LIVES, MAN!

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NaNoWriMo hangovers, anyone?

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I’ve been AWOL for a bit because I’ve been swamped with other writing and editing work, which is a good thing, and an insane undertaking at the same time.

When November started, I actually had this crazy idea in mind to take a break from novel writing for a while, because, well, I worked on my two fantasy novels an awful lot, and dammit if I didn’t want a break. So what did I end up doing?

If you guessed that I completely ignored the opportunity to take a rest from writing by writing at a more furious pace than ever, then… wow, you know me pretty well.

And for the record, get out of my head.

I decided on day 5 that I was going to take a crack at NaNoWriMo, because hey, I had a book idea, and two, “Why not?” It was only after the ridiculously grueling pace for myself cut in that I realized I had written my 50,000 word quota by the 23rd of November, thus making myself slightly more insane than usual, and even squirrely-er than ever.

(Do other people not hiss when daylight hits their eyes?)

After getting myself to 60,000 words by the end of November, I know that I am dying to take a break from it all. How did everyone else fare? Did you get your word count, or close to?

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I’m hoping to have this latest book, The Death of Narcissus finished within maybe two months, and then I’ll start trying to get that beastie pared down and beefed up, dependent on whatever it needs. This is a rush job, so I’m not going to kid myself… it’s GOING to need some work. 

(And of course I’ll have a sneak preview for you guys later on!)

In the meantime, I’ve also recently gotten the opportunity to apply to be an editor for a publishing house, which is very exciting stuff. The opportunity came just a day or so after I received my diploma in the mail, which seemed like a pretty life-choice affirming coincidence, if you ask me. Between my writing, editing, and the work I’m doing in the industry, I’m hoping that my big payoff is going to come any day now. I could use a vacation… maybe go to a tropical island paradise to… I don’t know. Read and write, probably.

That’s the only way we bookworms know how to enjoy ourselves, apparently.

Word Goal Update

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Don’t think I’ve forgotten to update you as to my status on my 20k word goal! I have simply been too busy to get anything up the past couple of days.

Now, in case you’re wondering, of my final goal, I reached… drumroll please…

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Eighty-six thousand out of ninety thousand!!! And we’re not going to talk about the other 1000+ words that irritated me enough to delete them in a caffeine-fueled rage. (Or the extra 2500 words I wrote into my first book.)

While it may not have been my total goal, I feel justified in saying that I don’t feel like I failed. I have been super busy with my job, my internship, handling my other book, and attending no less than three family get-togethers in the last month.

(Trust me, that’s more social interaction than I usually get.)

I also recently got the sequel to a book that I am absolutely in love with, which means that I spent a large amount of time just reading.  For those who don’t know about John Dies at the End, or it’s sequel, This Book is Full of Spiders; Seriously, Dude, Don’t Touch It by David Wong, you’re missing out on two amazing books which I would be totally more than happy to shove in your face and rub all around and hope that you could absorb words through osmosis. If you can’t, you should feel lucky that you got intimately assaulted by a crazy fan-girl with a fantastic book.

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It’s a win-win either way, really.

Given that November is the month for NaNoWriMo, I know that many of you are getting out your pens and word processors and getting ready to fire up the ole’ noggin for a 50,000 word count. That’s impressive, and I don’t envy you the task of pulling that one out of your arse. I will not be doing NaNoWriMo this year, although my writing goal for the month will be to finish my second book, so it will most likely be another 10k more words and some additions to back story.

After cleaning up the final copy of my first book, The Moon God’s Curse to send out to readers and agents, I have had a couple of epiphanies in situations to correct in the second book, and so I’m going to take the opportunity to do that while they’re still fresh. See? Not feeling the failure when I have so many ideas swirlin’ around.

I know that some of you are aware that this little gem came recently:

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Which I’m totally digging so far. There is a section in there that lists a HUGE amount of agents and publishers, and I spent HOURS digging through there and compiling a list of twenty-four agencies to contact for representation.

Today happens to be the day that I’m going to gather my materials for round one of my queries, so hopefully lady luck will be on my side, and perhaps my Maneki Neko will be able to catch something in that little good luck paw of his.

Happy writing!

You drive me wild…ly into insanity.

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Writing is one of those art forms that only looks easy. From the outside perspective, it’s me, sitting at my computer, typing onto a page.

People who do not write will never understand the daunting, niggling fear of the blank page. The emptiness that represents every unfilled opportunity that you had to fill that void and make something out of the nothing that stares at you, and you couldn’t do it.

(Even if that something is shit, which most writers also tend to think of their work at some point.)

Writing is not exactly a physical art. You’re not going to see my effort, you’re not going to see me break a sweat (unless there’s a deadline due!), and you’re probably not going to understand how much work and dedication is going into that baleful stare toward my computer screen. You’re certainly never going to know the nights that I’ve broken down and sworn to never write again, and the times that I’ve deleted whole manuscripts because I got pissy with a character or plot that wasn’t working out the way I had initially envisioned.

For those of you who don’t know, one of the hats I wear is that of an on-call nanny, which is different from the traditional one family nanny, which I have also done. This means that at any time I get a job, I am going into (most likely) a new situation, with new people, a new place, and new rules to abide by each time. Almost all of these people want to get more information about me, having just met me and realizing that they’re about to leave their child with a stranger, and one of the first things I’m typically asked is,

So what do you do in your spare time?

“I’m a writer,” I reply.

Being that I’m a recent graduate, I no longer have the option to tell people that I go to school for writing, so now I just have to wear that badge proudly. The entire time I was at school, I got to tell people that I was “studying to become a writer”. It seems like a cop out, because hey, writing makes you a writer, and countless lost hours of my life were spent on research, papers and scripts. Now that I’m out, I simply have to say it: I’m a writer, and I write. Prolifically.

Some people are slightly interested. Some ask me what I write, and then launch into tirades of someone that they know who knows someone who’s a writer. Exactly zero of these people have ever asked me if I have work published. I suppose that could be considered polite, since we both know they have no intention of reading it, and don’t want to waste my time or get my hopes up.

Usually, however, at this point the conversation can go one of two ways. The first one is usually something unenthusiastic or nonplussed along the lines of:

“Oh, that’s interesting.”

Or, my least, most puke-worthy, awful response, which is down and out condescending:

“A writer and a nanny? It must be nice to not have to work in a real job.”

To which I wish I could reply to you, but it’s all illiterate, nonsensical screaming sounds and random curse words while I simultaneously imagine your face having an intimate meeting with my fist while I sob uncontrollably.

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This is actually pretty accurate.

People often don’t understand that writing is an INSANE practice that requires years of work to hone and perfect, and even then, we all stand a 50/50 chance of wanting to burn our manuscripts at some point because we still think they’re shit. To some, a fiction writer is nothing more than a dreamer who sits in front of their computer drinking lattes and madly typing words onto a screen before proudly announcing to anyone within hearing range, “IT’S A TOLKIEN-ESQUE MASTERPIECE!” and immediately sending it away to be published.

People who don’t write (and I’m also looking at you, people who don’t read, although you’ll never know it because you won’t read this) will never understand that I’m not just writing… I’m juggling the lives of people that I’ve created, in a world that I dreamed up that I’m freaking making up as I go along and I’m pulling it out of thin air and vague associations like a g.d. magician pulling rabbits outta the hat. Meanwhile, the whole while I’m trying to convince myself that it’s as good as other people assure me it is, because I’m a constant negative force acting on my own self-esteem like a freight train going 70 towards a crumbly brick wall.

Ahem.

I don’t know if it’s out of blatant ignorance, or perhaps just spite that people associate writing with laziness. The truth is, on any given day, my brain is in eighteen different modes. In the past year, I have managed to graduate from college, write a book, nearly complete a second book, get my work published numerous times, work as a freelance editor, write video game scripts, perform as an editing intern, and still somehow manage to send my fiancé off to work everyday with lunch and a kiss—all while taking care of your children at my ‘not a real job’ while you’ve been punching corporate numbers.

You may not understand the toil of a writer; the constant mental anguish that we put ourselves through, and the quiet efforts that go into creating our work, but that doesn’t mean you should demean it. What I do isn’t “quaint”. It’s not “cute”, and no, it may not be a traditional job, but it’s what I chose to do, and it’s a hell of a lot better than being a desk jockey for a soulless corporation any day of the week. I would also like to remind you that women used to be institutionalized for reading novels—imagine how dangerous my writing ‘not a job’ is now.

A real job?

Fella, you don’t know what a real job is.

 

 

“Truth or Share”

Scripts, TV

Love Raising Hope?

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Want to see an awesome, hysterical excerpt from a spec script?

If you answered “Yes!” to the above question, you should click here.

What happens when Wyatt tries to get Sabrina back?

What if Hope picked up more than genes from her grandparents?

What Could it Brie? This Stuff is Gouda.

Animation, Scripts

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Ever wonder about life in a futuristic moon colony?

No? Why not? Get a fantastic example of writing for animation here.

Benalax needs to find the secret to human tastebuds to make the perfect cheese, and forced vegetarian chef Nu’Kard dreams of making a veggie dish that tastes like meat. Can they work together to solve their problems?