Monday, March 23, 2009

Random Thoughts on a Monday Night...

I just finished watching the championship game of the World Baseball Classic. Wow, what a fantastic baseball game! Sparkling defensive play, clutch hitting, great pitching, a bottom of the 9th rally to send the game to extra innings. Team Japan beat South Korea in 10.

I don't know why I didn't watch more of these games. Apparently a lot of teams improved this year, including Team China, Australia and the Netherlands. I keep thinking that baseball really should catch on big in China, given the game's popularity in so much of Asia. It will be interesting to see if the performance of Asian teams in the tournament increases interest in the sport there.

I'm still really annoyed with the attitude of U.S. baseball, which treated the contest as a glorified spring training game. Why even compete if you aren't playing to win? Isn't baseball supposed to be our national past-time?

Yeah, I know it's really football, or possibly the NBA. But still...

UPDATE: Check out this great summary. This one too. And this column o' snark about just how lame the US effort was.

Next Random Thought: I realized that in spite of the description under the blog title, I rarely talk about writing here. Maybe because my process is something I can't really recommend to anyone. I'm not even sure what it is. I figured out that to some extent I operate like I'm observing my characters and situations from the outside. I don't necessarily know who they are or what they are going to do or why they are doing it. After I've observed their behavior for a while, I figure them out and it starts to make sense.

This is not efficient, and I wonder if it might be a symptom of some obscure form of multiple personality disorder.

Writing's gotten a lot harder for me the last few years. I hope this is a sign that I'm getting better as a writer and trying to make that leap to the next level, and not some sort of mid-life crisis and/or brain dysfunction. In point of fact I've been having a mid-life crisis since I was 21, so it's probably not that, but I'm still worried about the brain dysfunction possibility.

Also, I've noticed no correlation of quality between writing that comes easily and writing that comes hard. You'd think that when you have those nights where everything just flows and it's really fun that the writing is better than those other times when every word is a pain in the ass to generate, but at least in my case, not so much.

This makes it hard for me to tell if what I'm doing is any good or not. Just because it doesn't feel good doesn't mean it isn't. But the converse doesn't hold either.

Where does that leave me? With a first draft of a novel that's somewhere between 1/3 and 1/2 complete, featuring a heroine who isn't all that likable and whose qualities I'm still trying to understand.

In other news, I have two cats on my lap.

I may have to move in a few months or so, and said felines are much on my mind. If I move, it will most likely be to China, because, in what to me is weirdly ironic, I have a better shot at finding a gig there, at least one that is interesting and will cover the cost of living. And I could finally really improve my Mandarin, which is worth something, and I'd most likely never run out of blog material. But damn, the cats. I guess you only get this if you are an animal person, but even though I know they would have homes, it's still really painful. If I find work and settle in China for an extended period, I can take one with me. I have three. It feels like a feline "Sophie's Choice."

I don't even want to talk about how loathsome I find the whole process of moving, and about how scary the prospect of maybe trying to sell Shack By the Sea is...the key-word here being "trying."

Well, it's a tough time for a lot of people, and I don't expect it to get much easier in the near future. Unless of course you are a top executive at J.P. Morgan. The recent recipient of $25 billion in TARP (bail-out) funds, J.P. Morgan is now apparently doing so well that they are upgrading their corporate jets to the absolute best that Gulfstream has to offer. Oh, and they want to build a new luxury hangar too. With a rooftop vegetable "vegetative" garden. Which as I understand is an attractive target for birds. Just what you want to lure to airports!

I don't want to call the top management at J.P. Morgan clueless. "Clueless" sounds kind of...well, cute, in a dumb-blonde sorta way. "Clueless" doesn't really capture this:
...on March 11, the chairman of JPMorgan Chase, Jamie Dimon, said he could not understand why corporate America has such a bad image.

"When I hear the constant vilification of corporate America I personally don't understand it," Dimon said.

Dimon, whose 2008 compensation package, according to SEC documents, was worth more than $19 million in salary, stock and options, declined to speak with ABC News about the proposed plans.
Like I said, writing's really been hard for me lately. I could use some help finding the words to describe these people and their decisions. Any suggestions?

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