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Vella Does Spider-Type Things. Probably

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Well, as you folks probably know, last challenge was great ... except for the issues with the Vella actually showing up for half of it.


So this challenge, we tone it down.  This challenge, the goals are about building habits, not creating personal bests.  And also about cracking wise, because everybody needs to crack wise more often.





And so, without further ado, and without any of this Main Goals/Life Goals stuff this time around, let the fun begin!




Make with the Strengthening, Spider-Nerd!




So, I reeeeeaaally kind of stopped with the weight training after the chin-up bar fiasco ... and it's bugging me.  So this challenge, I return to my twice-a-week gym habit!

By which I actually mean a twice-a-week "lol, what do you mean, leave my loungeroom?" habit, as I undertake my Beginner's Body Weight Workout on my loungeroom floor, where my housemate(s) can make sarcastic "encouraging" comments at me as I struggle through that last set of push-ups.  The chin up bar ... well, I got it to the point where I can attach it to a doorframe without having to screw it into the doorframe (win!), but the clamps are too small to fit around any of the doorframes in this house (boo!).  So, for now, I think, I'll replace them with dumbbell rows (with the weights a friend of mine very thoughtfully bought for my birthday), and I'll see how I go putting this darned thing up over the course of these six weeks.


All that aside, I will also be wearing my wonderful fitness top that I bought and haven't the courage to wear in public.  So I'll just wear it in my loungeroom.  But I'll be working out, so it still counts.



Spidey's Gotta Spider




Second goal:  Attend Parkour as a habit.  I got a little lax these last couple weeks because money got tight, and also I train barefoot and it's nearly winter and my little toesies are unimpressed with the consequences of this.

But toesies aside, Parker's gotta train if Parker's gonna climb that wall (Ask a regular, or me, if you've not yet encountered the story of my brick-and-mortar arch-nemesis).  So it's off to training I go!


As a side note not entirely unlike the training top, every week at Parkour, I will attempt something that scares me.  My greatest setback in Parkour is that I don't trust myself - particularly, I don't trust my arms to hold my weight.  So I hope that, by doing more of these things that I don't think I can do, I will prove to myself that I can.  Also see above strength training for the other way I'm going to work around this.



Peter Parker Had Photography.  Vella Has ... ?








So, yeah, stuff happened this week and you know what?  Freelancing is great, I'd love to keep doing it, but it's not paying any bills anytime soon.  So what I actually think is going to happen is that I'll keep it open as a bit of extra money coming in, and I'll get a "big kid's" job.
I'm about up to applying for administrative assistant stuff.  I'm not sure I'm quite up to retail.  But talk to me again in three months when I'm working for Macca's because nobody else wants to hire me.

I don't want to say the goal is to get hired in six weeks because have you seen our job market?  But, just like last challenge, the goal is to apply for things.  So, three applications a week minimum, every week until the end of the challenge.  That should get enough stuff out there that someone will be willing to take me on ...



Tell Us A Story, Spider-Woman!




As you fine folks know, I'm a word-nerd, a penmonkey and a spinner of tales both tall and short.  I like telling stories.  It's fun.  I should do more of it.

I should also give back to you fine folks who turn up here with all your encouragement and keep me on track.


So, you get my suffering.  Wrapped up in pretty words and a pink bow for your entertainment and enjoyment, ladies and gentlemen of all varieties and combinations thereof.

Twice a week, every week, it will be Story Time with Spiderwoman here on the Vella thread.  Whether there will be specific days is yet to be determined, if there is, I'll let you know.



And that's my challenge this time around.  I'll be hanging around on the weekend, but for the main part, I'll see you fine folks on Monday.

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Have you considered writing kids books? These things go for 4-9 dollars a book and are literally 50 words a piece.

Sent from my SCH-I535 using Tapatalk 2

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I've thought about it, but I just have no aptitude for kids' books ... and the market issues.  The trad publishing market doesn't like them right now (in Aus, at least) and self-publishing is ... a lot of work and I don't have the skills for more than half of it.  Plus, illustrators...


So yeah, great thought!  But I don't think I could pull it off.

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Vella, you got this!  We're here for you and I'm looking forward to reading about you crushing this challenge.  


Also, thinking we might want to team up on writing a children's book.  I have the ideas, but I can't seem to get them into a story line.  And Bats is remarkable good at drawing things.  We could create the first ever NAG 42 book.  Ahhhh!  Sorry, it's caffeine day for me.  hehehehehehe

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....well, if you got the ideas, I have the storycraft, and Bats has the pics ... I'd actually be very down for this.

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....well, if you got the ideas, I have the storycraft, and Bats has the pics ... I'd actually be very down for this.


I have no marketable skills to contribute but Yaay for collaboration!!!

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'word nerd' *Snortle*



And a little late answering this, but thank the profane and glorious Chuck Wendig for the term.  I also stole 'Penmonkey' from him.


Your challenge is




N'awwww  I'm attending the gym with the parentals on Monday, after a full day of driving, so super pumped to kick off the challenge with that.

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Day One!!




I spent most of today driving.  I won't give too much of that away, because I'm about to write a story about it, and reveal the splendour of my poor decisions in all their glory.


But!  Like a true uni student, I am ever eager for money.  And so, I sent in two pre-challenge job applications, and have three more waiting for this afternoon.  I expect to get two of those done (because eurgh writing selection criteria).  So that'll put me at a solid 4/3 for week 1, and plenty more applications to come!


There will also be gym this evening, which I need very much.  I'm going to die a painful death of lack of muscles after my hiatus, but I am so looking forward to the DOMS (On the list of phrases I never thought I'd say before I got into fitness).  So that's a 1/2 for this week.


And, in just a moment, there will be stories, so 1/2 there.


And Parkour is on Sunday, so 0/1 for this week so far, but let's not get ahead of ourselves calling this one a lost cause.


See below for story goodness for your reading pleasure.

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Tell Us A Story, Spiderwoman!


So, this segment was originally going to be about my car and a light and two wonderful and endlessly understanding friends with a much-needed sense of adventure.  That story is coming later this week, and I promise, it is a doozy.


The story I will tell you now is also about my car, but only tangentially.  Mostly it's about poor decisions.  I must make it clear before we begin that all the following decisions were made knowing I had a seven-hour-plus drive the next day, for which I would need to leave very early in the morning, because it's a public holiday and I needed to avoid traffic jams.


So, a friend of mine loves Babylon 5.  And, nerds being as they are, she lent me the DVDs and eagerly awaited my texts.

Now, many all-caps texts of fangirl rage later, I had finished all but the last four episodes of Season 5.


Decision number 1: It's only 8pm.  I'm all packed, my food is made for tomorrow's car trip, and I have some editing to do.  I'll put in those last two episodes on Disc 4.


About half an episode later, I got a Facebook message from a friend, asking if I'd continue a Dungeon World game that I started with them just as an over-text Skype thing a few days back.


Decision number 2: Play game with friends online.


Predictably, Decision Number 3: "It's only two more episodes, and it's only 11pm.  I can easily watch them and then I'll get to bed at an hour I'm OK with that my brain will also consent to going to sleep at."  *puts in Disc 5*


Vella, you fool.  You stupid, stupid fool.


See, I pause movies while I watch them if I need to think about other things.  Say, the right wording for a sentence in the novel I'm editing, or how to describe a horse thief.  It can double the length of time I spend watching a show, if I'm busy enough.
But that would have been OK, except that there is nothing quite so delusional as a fangirl on the last episode of a show telling herself she doesn't quite need to sleep yet.


So, bags packed, friends entertained, texts sent expressing my rage at my B5 friend for inflicting such an ending upon me and also can I grab the movies off her soon pretty please.  It was 2am, but that was OK, that was still a few hours until I needed to be awake.


Some time of tossing and turning and trying to be more asleep later, I checked the clock and it was quarter past three.


Some time after that, I must have fallen asleep, because I remember trying to ignore the feeling in my eyes from the bright phone screen, and then I remember looking at the phone screen and registering that it was twenty to six in the morning, which meant my alarm had gone off twenty minutes beforehand, and my brain had taken that full twenty minutes to realise that it was awake.


What followed after was a long period of internal whimpering, followed by some cursing the cold, a lot of curling up under blankets and some rather shameful displays of petulance towards the world and particularly the part of the world where it was twenty to six in the morning, and I'd only had two hours' sleep.  Nevertheless, I really didn't want to be stuck in Melbourne traffic, so I did The Right Thing and managed to get myself out of bed.

And that was how I drove from Canberra to Melbourne on roughly two hours' sleep.  Remember kids, if a friend offers you cult classic television shows, just say "no".




Although there was one rather large upside to my predicament: On the way through the mountains outside Canberra, there is a section of road that goes upwards for a while, and then you come out looking over this hilly landscape with heaps of valleys.  Driving along with the music blasting, singing along quite happily, I suddenly realise there is a layer of cloud across the road.  I'm pretty sure my expression of gleeful wonder would have been quite a sight to behold as I drove through a strip of cloud, reducing the road to maybe a hundred metres' visibility for a little way.

And then, out on the top of the hill, the view was spectacular.  Clouds had collected in the valleys, and were so thick you couldn't see through them, with wisps and tendrils escaping over the mountain tops and down the other side.  Puffs of cloud just hung in the air near the tops of the mountains and across the road for the cars to drive through.

It's not often Australia looks like something out of a traditional Japanese landscape painting, but when it does ...

I just wish I could have operated a camera while driving, or had a friend to operate the camera for me, because I wish I could have gotten pictures of that to post here and show my friends.  It was just so gorgeous - I was grinning like a fool for the whole hundred-kilometre stretch of road until the last traces were gone.

And if I'd slept the extra hour like I was planning to for a significant part of the morning, I would have missed it.


Of all the days to finally heed my alarm clock, I'm glad it was today.





And because I am really, really tired right now, I just thought you folks should know that "Vella Does Spider-Type Things, Probably" shoved through Bing translator 18 times comes out "It will probably be merged", and I think that, when I have a garden, I shall buy a fuyu persimmon tree, because every other variety of persimmon is inferior and awful, and I have way too much trust in my ability to not kill said tree and thus reap the fruity goodness.

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There will also be gym this evening, which I need very much.  I'm going to die a painful death of lack of muscles after my hiatus, but I am so looking forward to the DOMS (On the list of phrases I never thought I'd say before I got into fitness).   


I hear this!! What has come over us?? :lol:

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That was a great story, Vella.  I'm glad you had the opportunity to sleep a bit late and see such wonderful sights.  I hope you get some good rest today.


I slept for so long the day after; it was wonderful!


Woohoo!  Awesome things are already happening here :)


I, too, decided to tone it down for this challenge.  I think we're both wise :)


Indeed they are!  At least, I hope they are :P

I am certainly wise.  Though as yet unsure how to write good selection criteria.


I love that you're focusing on building habits, good call


They've gotta start somewhere ... might as well be here.


I hear this!! What has come over us?? :lol:


Sweet, sweet endorphins, brought on by constructive masochism.

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Spider-Nerd Strengthening:

2/2 gym sessions this week attended.  With the parents' personal trainer.  Plus, I've gone for two runs this week, just because.  I was complimented on my calves this week - a friend poked them and told me I could "kick through a wall" and asked if I could "crack walnuts with them".  In their defense, after all the running and parkour, my calves are getting pretty solid, and there is way less squish covering them now.  Feeling pretty happy with progress here, but have had it made clear to me exactly how far behind I've fallen with chin-ups.  Need to find a way to do stuff with those...


Spidey's Gotta Spider:

Pending.  I'll let you lovely folk know Sunday.  Tried wall climbs on the solid loft bed at the parents' place.  My legs are still confused as to what do with muscles derp.


Job Search:

2/3 applications and two to follow tonight and tomorrow.


And now, for a total of 2/2 this week ...


Tell Us A Story, Spider-Woman!


This is a story all about how my life got flipped turned upside down ...

For about an hour, at least.


Yes indeed - this is the promised story about the car and the light and the friends.


It starts with a car, and a drive.  See, my housemate's boyfriend needed a lift to his job late at night for a meeting.  It was more efficient to just drive to my writer's group meeting after that, rather than stopping off at home and then continuing, so I arrived most of an hour early to the writer's group, book in bag, ready to wait for a while for other people to arrive.

But - and here's where the light comes in - it's nearly 7pm, and in late autumn Canberra, this means it's dark.  I have many things, but night vision is not one of them.  So, I turn on the light in my car, put my keys in the console between the seats (in my car, just a hole with no lid, and very small).  I turn on the light above the seats, rest my feet on the steering wheel and start to read.
When I see one of my friends show up, I finish my chapter, put the book away, grab my bag, and lock the car door.  It's an old car, no central locking, the kind you lock by pushing the button down near the window and lifting the handle as you close the door.





Want to guess what went wrong?

If you guessed "you left the light on, doofus", you'd be right.

If you guessed "you left your keys in the car, double doofus", you'd also be right.  And perhaps right in a more pressing, this-is-a-serious-problem sense.


I have made it abundantly clear before that I am very not a socially apt person.  I am also easily embarrassed by asking for help.  I hold a conversation with a writer's group friend (whom we'll call R for the purposes of this story).  A few more people show up, we go in.  I make a cup of tea, for stress and because I haven't had one all day, and you guys don't even understand, no tea in my day is just not a thing that should happen and it's not helping at all.

Once a few people have gathered, I decide I can't wait any more, and I confess.  My keys are in my car, the light is on.  Any advice?


Instantly, everybody is concerned, and this is really not helping.  No, it's not the headlights, so the battery might be OK.  There's a discussion around the table.  I seriously contemplate just going out and sitting by my car until everyone forgets about me and the car door magically opens on its own, so nobody else ever has to know about this incident.


R then asks if I can get into the boot - if I have a coathanger or something in there.  He used to be a theatre teacher, and apparently some of the less law-abiding teens he directed also taught him how to open car doors with a coathanger (in theory or on his own car, I'm assuming).  I'm not one to argue if it's going to save me money, but unfortunately, my boot can only open with the key.  (Oh - boot = trunk for you American folks).


However, one of my other friends - we'll call him M; R, M and I have recently formed a little sub-trio of friends within the writer's group - does.  So, R, M and I go out to the cars and get the coathanger.


Let me set the scene for a moment.  The writer's group is held in a building complex with heaps of empty rooms for just such writer's groups, plus other art groups, including a couple of dance groups.  Our rooms have desks and a whiteboard, and such.  Just next to where the writer's block is, there is a fancy-ish restaurant, kind of in the complex but not quite.  The parking bay we always park in extends across the street that both of those face onto, and I'm parked just outside the fancy restaurant.

M runs down the street to where he has his car, and gets a coathanger.  It's thicker than I expected.  But we find the window most amenable to having a coathanger inserted, and R proceeds to fiddle with the coathanger and door, trying to get this thing open, while M and I watch and try to help as best we can with moral support.


I don't think I have ever felt more sketchy in my life.  


We were standing in front of a P-plated, old, beat-up car, just casually chatting with a couple of people while we try to break into the car.  All the while, people in fancy suits and evening dresses are passing us by, giving us sideways looks.  The first couple, I feel compelled to explain - "the car is mine, and I locked my keys in", but it's the consensus among us that if they're suspicious of us, that'll only make the situation worse.  Every time someone walks past us, I can feel their eyes.  Their eyes full of judgement and fancy-suited condescension.


Well, turns out the coathanger isn't working.  It's too flexible; we can find the right bit of the door to pull on, but every time, the hook bends out and it doesn't work.  We're about to give up and call the locksmith, or the NRMA, with whom R has full roadside assist, and I should, but things happened and it lapsed by accident and THIS EVENING COULD HAVE BEEN SO MUCH EASIER IF I WEREN'T SO LAZY HALF A YEAR AGO.  R says he wishes he had some electrical tape or strapping tape - apparently that works, too, and if you can get the loop over, you hold one end in each hand and pull, and the loop won't slip.  But we have no electrical tape.


And then the man walks out of the fancy restaurant.  He has a fancy, black and white suit, and I think he's even wearing a cravat.  He's probably forty or more, and he looks like his disposable income would pay my entire expenses several times over.  He looks over at us.

Oh god, I think.  He's going to call the police.  We're doomed.  How do I prove this is my car?

I look over at him and give him a sheepish grin, about to give my spiel, but he gets in first.

"You all OK there?"
"Yeah," I say.  "Locked my keys in the car."

He looks at us and looks at the car.  We're doomed.  M shouldn't have stayed out with us - he's practically an innocent bystander.  Seriously - how the hell do I prove this is my car?
"I might have some electrical tape," he says.  "I heard that works better than a coathanger."


Turns out he didn't, but that man, with the fancy suit and the well-bred face who knew a surprising amount about breaking into cars, made my night.


Well, that's about when we decided to call NRMA.

Turns out, because it wasn't R's car, and I was actually there with them, because I didn't have roadside assist, they wouldn't come out for free.

They wanted $280.  This would also sign me up to the NRMA for roadside assist, but mostly that was for coming out to do the lock.

It is probably clear to all who know me by now that I can't really spare $280.  We decide no.

We call up a locksmith.

Their price is $260.

It's better than $280.  But they don't take cash, so I'm going to have to run to the ATM.  Luckily, I got paid two days before the incident, so I actually have the money, even if it *is* basically all my money.

R offers to pay for me, but he's been so nice about trying to break into my car, I can't let him do that.  Besides, he hasn't the money on hand.


On the way to the ATM, we wonder if the NRMA might not be the better option after all, since I have to pay the money anyway.

When we try to ring up the locksmith, they want a $160 service fee for "making them come out".

Now, let me get this clear.  That locksmith is 10 minutes away on foot.  I'm about to walk basically to their shop and back to find an ATM.  They're going to get there just after I get back. They haven't left the shop, and this is five minutes after I first called them.  If they're anywhere else, they'd be barely on their way.


Screw this, we'll just go to the ATM.

Now, all three of us being writers, we have a great conversation on the way about how best to turn it into a story, and what part all the different people and the ATM and the car play in the symbolism (the locksmith is the Devil, obviously).


Turns out the locksmith got there about two minutes before us.  He hands me the keys, having already gotten them out of the car and having been waiting for us to get back in his car.  I pay the man, turn off the light, and pocket my keys.


And then we go back inside to enjoy the last half of the writer's group sessions.  R and M are awesome and wonderful and sweet - walking all the way with me when they could have been inside and warm and doing the writer's group like they had originally planned to be that evening.


M told me that I could keep the bent coathanger if I liked.  I did - it's a great story to tell and a cool memento.




>.>   <.<


Besides, if I ever work out the courage to ask M out and it works out, I can tell people that the first gift he ever gave me was a bent coathanger that had been recently used to try and break into my car.  But shhh, we're not letting him know about that bit.

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I had a story idea recently to take a boring, healthy, normal story and write it well enough to make it well-liked. Children could use a story in this time period of a healthy relationship without a cliche'd fantasy plot. I doubt you could ever do that, you could poorly text your stories and they would be wonderful just because of the order and pacing that makes your already interesting incidents a full tale of heroism.


Clearly the "he looks like his disposable income would pay my entire expenses several times over" guy is an anti-hero and quite possibly living a double life as a classy villain everyone loves.

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