A Portrait of My Dream House (words and pictures)

Let me tell you a little bit about where I hope to live one day.

First of all, this is a single family home with no upstairs/downstairs/sideways neighbors – allowing me the all-important luxuries of exercising plyometric-ly, belting pop songs, and watching epic action flicks at all hours.

I’m allotting an extra room for a home office.  If N>3, I’d also like an extra extra room for a second office/play room/living room…

I was going to paint you a drool-worthy word picture of my dream house, describing its luscious laundry room, delectable dishwasher, wondrous one car garage with bike space, satisfying cement backyard with no lawn (it would die/take over), and wacky(?) walk-in closet.  But then I realized that the only reason I don’t already have a place like this is because, more than all that, I want to live here:

Click to enlarge

If you’re a CSI, you can tell from the glare in the bottom right that someone was playing the Battlestar MMO.  And you might even see the face reflected in the computer screen reflected on the board.

BTW, my house needs to have an entire wall made of whiteboard.

The first draft of this picture was missing the sunlight and the short commute, and so was suspiciously similar to where I used to live in Seattle.  On the off chance that kids occupy this home, just imagine adding a swingset to the park and a karate studio next to the indoor pool (and no, even then I won’t want a lawn).

To recap:

  1. Sonic isolation from neighbors (for their own sakes)
  2. Laundry room
  3. NO lawn
  4. Pizza Joint (Thin Crust)
  5. Park with Awesome Summer Festivals
  6. Skirt Weather!

It’s good to have goals.  Onwards!

Bloguary 2012!

Hey party people, you can stop holding your breath… I’m here to let you know that the rumors are true – it’s bloguary 2012!

January is going to be a massive moderate blogfest that will blow your my mind, and help us figure out what this is all really about.  I know this site is a side effect of kicking ass, but what is it?  Is it a personal blog – a place for me to record my life happenings for my family and friends?  A way for me to share my (incredibly scientific) research on random topics?  Will it be entertaining, thoughtful, inspirational, or new age-y?  Or perhaps it’s just a means for me to practice my writing?

Up till now, I’ve been shooting for approximately 1 post per week.  Just for this month, I’m going to amp that up, like woah.  By forcing myself to write early and often, I’m hoping a pattern will emerge and we’ll see what the universe/force/destiny has in store for MadEyeMaryann.

Either that, or we’ll end up with a series of tweet sized posts linking to funny videos like this one, this one, or this one.


In no particular order, here are some topics you might see from me in Bloguary:

  • Personal finance for dummies by dummies
  • Tricks to fitting your workout into the morning
  • How to make an edible Christmas tree: A Case Study
  • The 5 essential elements of the Perfect Brownie Sundae
  • Personal Hero Profile Series (Fictional): Elizabeth Bennett
  • Personal Hero Profile Series (Non-fictional): TBD
  • Dream Sequence: Things I write down when I wake up in the middle of the night
  • This Day in History: Things I wrote in the nineties
  • This has all happened before, and it will all happen again: How we are reincarnating all the time
  • Nutritious and Delicious: Adventures in Foodland
Till next time tomorrow!

Holiday Highlights

My family and friends have been visited, the new year has been wrung (rung?) in, and it’s high time to move onward and upward.  But before we do that, here are some of the highlights from the holiday season:

1. Die Hard Marathon
Die Hard, Die Hard 2, and Die Hard: With a Vengeance
In honor of Christmas, we watched these timeless holiday classics.  Informal polls show that people think Die Hard: With a Vengeance is the best, but I have to favor the original for character development, suspense, and villain scariness.

2. Edible Christmas Tree
Look!  I made a completely edible tree, in the loosest most post-apocalyptic sense of the word “edible”.

I’m assuming you’re willing to eat floss, toothpicks, and ornament hooks during the zombie seige.  And that protein and fiber are of no use to you.

3. Jack Sparrow

It’s hard to believe that a mere 2 days ago, this video wasn’t in my life.  I haven’t been able to get over it, what with that big sexy hook and the subtle but unapologetic guyliner.

How could the universe have kept this from me all this time?

4. Lime brunch

Breakfast biscuits, bottomless mimosas, and insanely loud dance music all before noon?  Done, done, and done.  Check it out at LIME – 2247 Market St., SF, CA.

Happy New Year everyone!

All I Want for Christmas

Dear Santa,

I know Christmas is not for 363 days, but here are the things that I wish there were:

- Light speed bullet trains
- Molecular transporters
- Incredibly realistic immersive virtual environments accessible from anywhere, complete with tactile, olfactory, and gustatory feedback
- A way to condense the great plains and mountains majesty to make things closer
- Portkeys and/or apparate/disapparate spells
- Responsible time travel

Happy travels everyone!

success: what it really looks like

Success: what people think it looks like what it really looks like

* Demetri Martin, "This is a Book"

Reassured that I must just be in the squiggly part, not in the left-side-non-starter-zone. #onmyway! #blogpoststhatshouldbetweets

Sidebar: While researching the photo credit for this drawing, I was thrilled to learn that it’s from This is a Book by Demetri Martin (omg he has a book?!? i never know anything)Comedian extraordinaire with a unique and dorkable sense of humor and a pretty cool back-story (genre: white collar suburban defiance and triumph. when office space meets eight mile).  When this blog blows up and the peoples of the world recognize my importance I will find him and fan-girl it up, or maybe play it cool and score a blog-erview.  Don’t be me (aka in the dark about many awesome things): watch Demetri Martin. Person. available on Netflix streaming.  Watch it now!

Coming out of the blogging closet

The blog and the quest move forward as usual, but now something significant and scary has happened behind the scenes. Between last time and this, I’ve taken the tiniest of steps to publicize this site (by linking to it from your standard social media outlets). Simple enough, you say. #small-step-for-maryann-huge-leap-for-maryann-kind

If you’ve gotten to this site via one of these means, then you are likely family, friend, frenemy, enemy, long-lost-acquaintance, friend-of-a-friend, or stalker. You are all welcome here!

You’ll feel the most welcome here if you
understand and love any part of this picture.

To get you caught up: in October I vowed to kick ass all the time, and I started this website because that mission demanded it.  There are a million different ways to do it, but in my case specifically it means:

1) get out there and do stuff (aka less daydreaming)

2) finish what i start

3) don’t apologize for being awesome (or daring to try)

It’s both a great opportunity and a great burden because every day there are a thousand chances to rock it out, but also a thousand chances to fail.  And every blog post is a chance to live out loud or play it safe.

Up until now, my only visitors have been 1) Google-roaming link-scavenging bots and 2) people who are married to me.  It’s tempting to continue on my ass-kicking ways in anonymous fashion, carving out Eldorado out in the depths of the blogosphere that real people should only be so worthy and so lucky to happen upon.  I fear the effects that public exposure->self-doubt->self-censoring will have on my writing and my mission to be awesome.  But alas, if you kick ass in the middle of the forest and nobody is there to hear it… well you know the rest.

in space, no one can hear you scream.

Saw this poster every day for 2 years in
Madame Renkin’s french classroom.  I credit it
with making me the luminous person I am today

Here I am World!  Please don’t hate me ;)

Nanowrimo Is Awesome

It’s November 30, which means all across the planet everywhere, butchers, bakers, candle-stick makers, and regular people like you and me are crossing the finish line and becoming novelists.  If you are one of them, MAJOR kudos, for realz.  In honor of my not writing a novel this year, I dedicate this short opposite-of-a-rant about me and NaNoWriMo.

I first heard about NaNoWriMo on Nov.1, 2009 when a friend facebooked a link to http://www.nanowrimo.org.  I instantly loved everything about it.  The idea that you could write a 175 page novel in a month.  The fact that anyone could do it.  The realization that there is no mojo involved – all it would take was about 2 hours of typing a day.  My noveling Everest was just there, and I had to take it down.  I started my novel the next day, and by Nov. 30 had proudly crossed the 50,000 word mark.

Big Winner with 50251 words!

The vast majority of what I wrote was total pants, as you would expect.  I was writing without a plan, a plot, or even well-defined characters.  But every day or two, or every 4000 words or so, I’d manage to actually write an interesting plot twist, a clever insult, an insightful metaphor.  My characters would start talking to each other without my intervention and fill themselves out.  The ridiculous deadline imposed by this totally-optional-but-once-you-start-you-don’t-want-to-fail activity had forced my brain into producing nuggets of almost-art simply by denying the self-conscious/editing/rational/fearful other part of my brain any time to do its thing.

By the end of the month, I realized that if you did this every day for long enough, eventually you could generate enough good material to piece together an actual (aka publishable) novel.  Just cut out the bad stuff, elaborate on the good, edit, edit, edit.  As it turns out, even a mammoth task like novel writing is really just a one-foot-in-front-of-the-other discipline like anything else.  I did some poking around on writers’ blogs and found out that in fact, writers just sit down and write. Every. Single. Day.

Nanowrimo 2010 winner

Won again in 2010! My novel was written entirely in the last 10 days, which encompassed a visit by my family, a trip to Vancouver, and three painfully long days of wedding dress shopping. Oddly enough, my second novel was better than my first. Better premise, better characters, better plot, better epic-ness. I credit late nights, early mornings, a doubled wpm, and the discovery of the best sandwich cafe ever: The Essential Bakery in Seattle.

In summary:
Less Thinking, More Typing.  Whatever it is, Just Do It y’all.


Quantity over Quality

At the risk of starting this post bluntly and non-entertainingly, I say the following: I generally value quality over quantity, and tend towards unnecessary crippling perfectionism at times.  This is good when you are doing P90x pullups or working on your guitar chords, but I suspect it isn’t so great when you are trying to increase your creative output.  For most things, a B effort delivered now is better than A+ delivered a month from now.

I’ve always been impressed by people who manage to update their blogs (or even their fb/twitter statii) daily.  These tasks take me an ungodly amount of time – x minutes for writing, and 10x+ minutes for editing.  Is it possible that all these people have such a natural ease with poetry and wit, that they don’t need editing?  I’m guessing that at least some of it is a result of all the extra practice they get from consistent, non-obsessively-self-conscious, efforts.

That said, I’m going to just post this post now (a world record 16 minutes after starting it).  Ignoring the evil internal editor telling me that what I’ve just written is both boring and pointless. . . . . . now.

Learning to say no: NoNoWriMo

I’m taking a stand, daring to say no. 1667 words and a 17 chapter outline later, I’m declaring this November to be Not Novel Writing Month.

Far and wide across the lands, hundreds of thousands of people are embarking on a noveling journey. Why? Because November is National Novel Writing Month – time to throw caution aside and recklessly write a novel in a month.

Nanowrimo.org explains it much sexier than I could:

What: Writing one 50,000-word novel from scratch in a month’s time.

Who: You! We can’t do this unless we have some other people trying it as well. Let’s write laughably awful yet lengthy prose together.

Why: The reasons are endless! To actively participate in one of our era’s most enchanting art forms! To give yourself permission to write without obsessing over quality. To be able to make obscure references to passages from our novels at parties. To stop being one of those people who say, “I’ve always wanted to write a novel,” and become one of those people who can say, “Oh, a novel? It’s such a funny story–I’ve written three.”

When: You can sign up anytime to add your name to the roster and browse the forums. Writing begins 12:00:01 November 1. To be added to the official list of winners, you must reach the 50,000-word mark by November 30 at 11:59:59. Once your novel has been verified by our web-based team of robotic word counters, the partying begins.

What bookworm nerd girl could say no to all that?

Well, after writing my first novel in 2009, and a second in 2010, I’m putting my foot down. I have other goals this month, and to achieve them I’m going to have to learn to say no. It’s not really a matter of time – I could certainly carve out writing sessions throughout my day – it’s just that I (yes, even I) only have so many psychological resources. If I’m really going to start a business and/or work on my social skills and/or blog more, I need to say no to mentally draining activities like this. Maybe I could train for a triathlon or take up yoga, but NO NOVEL WRITING!

Can you tell that I’m trying to reinforce this to myself? You might think it’s too late for me since we are well into the month. But in November 2010, after 20 days of actively NOT writing a novel, I gave in to the gnawing anxiety that I was going to die with my music inside and thusly wrote the entire thing in 10 days. Not this year. This year I’m going to utterly dominate at SAYING NO!

(Coming soon, another post on why I love Nanowrimo and what it’s taught me about life.  Don’t worry though, I’m not writing a novel even if I remember how awesome it is.)

KATN – 2 week check-in

2 weeks and 1 day ago today I woke up determined to kick ass and take names, all the time. So how have I been doing?


Start a business:
  • I have a product-based business idea that I’ve gotten stuck on, so contacted San Francisco SCORE and got a mentor. I meet her next Monday, so hopefully that will help me get rolling on the next steps.
  • Been consuming all info within my grasp regarding starting a freelance consulting business. Decided on an idea and finally posted a craiglist ad up today for a mock tech interview service. Goal is to get one paying client by next week. #quickwins
  • Going around in psychological circles: “Yes-I can totally work for myself-I’ve got tons to offer” to “Nobody is ever going to pay you-You crazy hyped up little lady-Just go get a job like a sane person”. Honestly, this is the biggest challenge/time suck of them all
Front a band:
  • Researched singing teachers and set up an audition with one on Sunday. This is only indirectly related to starting a band, but it’s a first step into the musician community.
Organize social events:
  • Contacted a friend and had brunch over the weekend. Baby steps, people.
Conversational superstar:
  • Realized that if this goal is the only thing I accomplish in the next year, it will probably be the best spent year of my life thus far.
  • Attended a Halloween party and tested out variations of answers to “What do you do?”.  Spent rest of night failing on pretty much all other conversational fronts.


  • Applied “small talk” tricks from above-mentionned awesome book on 4-5 strangers on 2 separate occasions.
  • Went to first Toastmasters meeting and gave extemporaneous 2:03 speech on “my creative outlet”.  Singlehandedly took 10 years off the group’s average age :)
Author inspirational and useful blog:
  • Does this one count?
Microfinance lending:
  • Nada

Over time, I’ve started to lose that extra oomph I felt in the morning 2 weeks ago.  Maybe it’s time to paint my mantra on the ceiling?  Set my alarm to play my theme song (TBD)?  How do you keep the passion alive?!?