Monday, December 17

National Maple Syrup Day

While it's not likely to inspire a religious frenzy of gift-buying, or even "national" celebration in the true sense of the word, National Maple Syrup Day, celebrated on December 17, is an excuse to pause the other holiday madness, and eat a stack of pancakes. National Maple Syrup day celebrates 100% maple syrup, not maple-flavored syrup, not pancake syrup, and certainly not high fructose corn syrup. It's a day to applaud syrup from trees, shun Aunt Jemima, and spend the extra few dollars to buy pure 100% maple syrup.

December 17 appears to be a random choice for National Maple Syrup Day. Maple producers harvest sugar maple sap in March, which is when the Massachusetts Maple Producers' Association participates in month-long maple festivities. Local farms in other areas of the Northeastern United States and Canada also celebrate in March with syrup-making demonstrations, and of course, plenty of food drenched in syrup. While it seems likely that a syrup producer could have started National Maple Syrup Day, its roots are undocumented, and generally unmentioned. December 17 has no apparent reason for being National Maple Syrup Day, and is only national in the respect that someone, somewhere tacked the word "national" onto an invented holiday to catapult it into the ranks of bizarre holidays such as National Chocolate Covered Anything Day and National Roast Suckling Pig Day, the two special days before and after National Maple Syrup Day.

But the roots don't matter for anyone out to honor their favorite French toast topping. National Maple Syrup Day isn't going to receive a full-on inquisition into its roots as a pagan holiday, or the quaint 19th century customs that led to our modern celebration of National Maple Syrup Day. Its origins are undocumented, but whoever started it first was clearly someone with a great love of maple syrup. Appreciation of the syrup and complete disregard for calorie counting are the only important traditions of this obscure holiday, which has found a niche on recipe websites internationally. recognizes National Maple Syrup Day and dedicates a page to the history of maple syrup and recipes using maple syrup. Mr. Breakfast, of, lists National Maple Syrup Day among the "16 Breakfast Holidays."

Forget the peculiarities of National Maple Syrup Day, forget the madness of the holiday season. This December 17, go to the grocery store and pick up a jug of pure maple syrup with a basket full of syrup-ready foods. Eat pancakes, ice cream, chicken, and salad with maple syrup. Try some new recipes. Remember to replace your tuna sandwich with a tuna-maple sandwich, and your fruitcake with a maple fruitcake.

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Saturday, December 8

fake tree

The fake tree is now in the living room, all dolled up with the increasing amount of ornaments we end up with each year. I sort of hijacked the camera while we were decorating, and my candid photography got us a lot of creepy pictures, pictures of people yawning, chewing, and leaning over stuff with butt cracks a-showing. Next week, I think I'll buy a cheap pine tree air freshener and hide it somewhere, like last year. In half an hour, Jeff and I are probably going to watch the old Grinch special, or Santa Claus Conquers the Martians. So far I'm feeling very much in the holiday spirit, but it's still disheartening to not have found a crappy part time job yet. Why is it that none of these places that say they're hiring ever hire me?

I've been working on various web things when I'm supposed to be doing papers--more on that when something exists.

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Wednesday, December 5

Salem State

Congratulations! You have been admitted to Salem State College as a transfer, resident student for the 2008 Spring semester in the English major. Additional information will be mailed to you.

Because I sent in my application online this time, I was able to check every few days to see if it had been processed. I probably won't receive the letter until next week, but that's still under a month for processing time.

Things are looking up; Saturday I finished writing my 50,000 words for NaNoWriMo, and now I've been re-accepted in Salem. This time, I'm going. Too bad my dad is putting a damper on the whole thing, obsessively asking questions that people ask in the "should I apply" stage of the process, not the "I've been accepted" stage. He also acts like he's trying to free me of some kind of overwhelming naivete that, apparently, I possess. Wow, I didn't know that I'm going to have to pay for college after it's over, thank you ever so freakin' much.

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Saturday, December 1


This year I participated in National Novel Writing Month, and tonight I passed the 50,000 word mark, making me a winner.

Official NaNoWriMo 2007 Winner

Take that, Erin! :)

A synopsis of Stars Will Fall Out:
When Jil Doyle skips her homecoming dance, she witnesses a mysterious girl sink into the pond at the park. The next day she finds a strange vial that allows to her travel through the pond and into another world, where she meets Aria, the mysterious girl. Aria has been traveling from her own world to Jil's to go to rock shows and escape her daily life working at a bakery and planning her upcoming wedding. Soon Jil finds herself using the vial to escape like Aria, and both girls are balancing double lives. Meanwhile, unbeknownst to Jil and Aria, the creator of the vials has a sinister reason to steal them back, and it might be connected to the stars that have been falling out of the sky. Only Aria's nerdy fiance suspects that her sister Violet might be at the center of it all, but not even he realizes that the innocuous professor of magic might be as well.

Starting off in Week 1, it took some time getting used to writing 1,667 plus words per day. I was still focusing too much on good writing rather than output, but I did make a couple plot/ character connections that established the rest of the story arc. Luckily, I had some scene ideas written down so I didn't have to spend too much time thinking about what to write. During Week 2, I spend three days too depressed to write, and gave up completely. Giving up like that, I felt strangely empty, and I went back to writing just before the start of Week 3, although I was still depressed

Around Thanksgiving, I had a five-day weekend so I wrote 2000-4000 words on each of those days. After the first week, I also went to all the Write-ins at Barnes and Noble in Bellingham, where I managed to type 1000 words or so per hour. About this time, I concentrated on making my friends "effective agents of guilt and terror" as per the instruction in No Plot? No Problem! by Chris Baty, the founder of NaNo.

Two days ago I managed a 7000 word day, and today I wrote another 4500 for the win. A lot of the writing is crap, but plenty is crap that just needs editing. I still need quite a few more scenes, including a climax that involves a Winnebago and a Ancient Druid Spirit, and possibly a wedding. I'll also need to figure out a lot of details about the fantasy world, which I'm writing in a steampunk style, and then name or rename several characters.

After that, it'll just take about five edits or so.

And, Dan: Thanks for the support, and the sparkly bubbling stuff and chocolate just now.

Here's my Nano Profile, which has statistics, and an excerpt.

Wheeeee! I'm a novelist now. :)
X-posted to My Barely Updated Livejournal