nanowrimo dares

Dares claimed and used:

  1. Mr Ian Woon. Done. Part 3. He was the bank manager who approved the small business loan that Katy and Fatima needed to buy their bookstore.
  2. Include the line “Mummy did love me! Mummy was just busy. She had a lot of meetings to go to.” Done. Part 3. Fatima’s mother said something similar when she barged into the store demanding money.
  3. One character asks what time is it and the other answers 4.30. Done. Part 3. In the dream sequence at the railway station Katy asked Brian what time it was twice and both times it was 4.30.
  4. A stone armadillo painted bright pink, except for its head, which was purple. Done. Part 3. Same dream sequence had an angel stroking said stone armadillo on her lap.
  5. A religious object falls on a character and after they discover what it is they say “holy shit”. Done. Part 3. A jeweled crucifix fell on Katy and she wonders why an object from the vampire section was hiding among the lightsabers.
  6. A character puts a bag of popcorn upside-down in the microwave, the popcorn then explodes. Done. Part 4. Brian did that one movie night.
  7. Have a character pass out after eating an apple. Done. Part 4. Mei Lan’s date at the bookstore party did that, but we only heard the incident mentioned afterwards.
  8. Refer to something coming upon your character “like a mugger in Central Park, up from behind and scary as hell.” Done. Part 4. Party animal Mei Lan used it to describe her burgeoning feelings for another character.
  9. Include a completely awkward love/seduction scene. Done. Part 4. She had a one time thing with a co-worker, it was awkward, embarassing and unintended. She never told Brian that she cheated on him.
  10. Warm onion, another nanowrimo anagram. Done. Part 5. The appetizer at the dinner party was warm onion tart.
  11. Incorporate whatever image is on your calendar for the month of November somewhere in your novel. Done. Part 5. My Good Food calendar has a recipe for Portugese Roast Pork with sweet sour vegetables, which was the main course for the same dinner party.
  12. Refer to your favorite novel at least three times. My favorite novel is probably The Sun Also Rises by Hemingway, but my second favorite is Bret Easton Ellis’ Less Than Zero which was the one I used:
    • Part 5. The warm onion tart had milk, cream and cheese filling, but she knew she could not skimp on the milk or cream, using dairy that had less than zero percent fat content made the mixture curdle.
    • Part 7. It was a rainy day and there was a less than zero chance of sunshine that day.
    • Part 8. How do you measure temperatures less than zero?
  13. Have a previously unmentioned fire extinguisher randomly go off. Done. Part 5. In the gods and robots waiting room.
  14. What two male penguins do together is their business. Done. Part 5. As discussed by the gods and robots.
  15. Include the God of Death (Thanatos) in your story somewhere. Done. Part 5. Thanatos and his twin Hypnos were part of the gods and robots questioning squad.
  16. It’s against my programming to impersonate a deity. Done. Part 5. Maria the Robot from Metropolis Fritz Lang Nineteen Twenty Seven was the robots’ rep in the gods and robots goon squad.
  17. Have a dark and forbidding character say “come to the dark side, we have cookies.”Done. Part 6. At the con. “No one wants to be a white hat anymore, that’s so out. Come to the dark side, we’re way cooler, we can do what we want, we can control the universe, most of all, we have cookies,” her friend the Gentleman used this to entice her to volunteer to be made up as a demon.
  18. Start one of your chapters (or the entire book) with: “On every other morning, the sun rose serenely in the east, casting glorious rays of light over xxx. Today, it thought better of it and decided to sleep in.” Done. Part 7.
  19. Include a recipe for chocolate cake in your novel. It may be a separate chapter, but it should preferably just randomly appear in the middle of the story, then the story continues as if the recipe wasn’t interrupting it. Done. Part 8. Kinda. She decided to have a weekend cake sale at the bookstore and made half a dozen chocolate cakes.
  20. Include the fact that the word ‘hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia’ means ‘the fear of long words’. Done. Part 8. In the letter about how there is not a big enough word to describe how she missed him.
  21. I couldn’t find you to tell you where I was. Done. Part 8. Katy wrote it in her letter to Brian.
  22. “If you stick that thing in me one more time I swear to God I’ll break it in half!” It can mean whatever you want. Done. Part 9. Daria’s tale.
  23. 3 references to a cup of oversteeped tea. Only managed it once, in Part 4. When Mei Lan commented that a cup of oversteeped tea was like a cup of poison.

Dares I thought I could use but didn’t:

  • Have someone say, “You just got salt in my ear, you bitch!” in public.
  • Refer indirectly to nanowrimo and the 50,000 word count. i.e. have someone trying to do 50,000 of something in a month
  • Have a scene revolve around the dilemma of grass being green and whether or not the color is a matter of perception
  • Mention a helicopter passing over head at odd moments.
  • Include line “Where the hell are your pants?”
  • Make a character dance on a table. Bonus if they do it in a very suggestive manner. Double bonus if they are completely sober at the time.
  • Have someone get their nipple pierced for no apparent reason.
  • Have a character who interrupts normal question to ask “I’m sorry, could you spell that please?” in at least two different conversations.
  • Use the line “Uphill, both ways,” and have it be true in context.
  • Include the sentence “The lamp just stood there, like an inanimate object.”
  • Name a chapter “Hair dye, Fake Nails, and a Fish.”
  • Include a female Betta fish named Agatha.
  • Have a character collect nail polish from the bargain bins at chemists and places like that. They must never let anyone else near their collection.
  • Mention how hard it is to cut your nails when they have nail polish on them.
  • Include the line “Running into trees is not sexy.” somewhere in your novel. Bonus points if the speaker is referring to a redhead running into a tree.
  • Include a person who does not know what a slinky is. Bonus points if s/he tries to guess and gets it completely wrong.
  • Have a math nerd (or, alternately, a non-math nerd for added fun) use the following pickup line: “are you a derivative function? because i want to be tangent to your curves.”
  • Have someone throw a blender at another character. Bonus points if they’re not in a kitchen at the time.
  • Have someone eat a piece of fruit that is not a banana in a sexual way.
  • Include an animal stampede through the busy streets of wherever your story is taking place.

nanowrimo day 8

It’s finished. I don’t have any more scenes to write. I had to really stretch the last part.

I kind of massaged my submission. Changed words like “I’m” to “I am” to help with the word count. Is that cheating? Grey area, I guess.

According to the MT word count it’s 49,037 words.

But that’s for entries only. Counting the find-and-replaces, the title, the intro, the chapter titles and chapter summaries it’s 50,078 words.

word count 50078

Saved into Word, and did some “encryption” as recommended by the nano folks, using the replace function again. Word count is not affected but the words are not that recognisable.

  1. a = bb
  2. r = h
  3. you = zxbq
  4. th = pem
  5. en = d
  6. l = k
  7. o = cha
  8. s = ge

nanowrimo day 7

It was a hard slog today. The ideas I had before had all been written up and slightly padded. I knew what was coming and the direction of how wanted to story to end, but I was at 33,000 words this morning and the climax can’t start till at least 40,000, preferably 45,000. I knew I had another 2,000 to finish off for Part 7 but I was very stumped for Part 8.

At the end Part 7 was short which made Part 8 even more difficult.

Anyway, Part 8’s done now. I’m not finished for the night but I thought I’d check-in now. Hopefully I can manage another late 1,000. That’ll be great for the home stretch tomorrow.

42,173 words.

Edited at 1.39am: it’s now 2 hours later and it’s at 43,177 words. Not very good huh.

nanowrimo day 5

Depending on which word count tool I use, I get different results, sometimes as much as 100 words.

I use the MT word count plugin by Adam Kalsey, the MS Word counter and an online word count script. Because I don’t have Office at home I can’t just rely on the Word counter, and because the MT plugin only works with published entries, I can’t use it for draft entries either. Anyway it’s just a rough idea.

26,873 words.

nanowrimo day 1

This is going to be a very boring (for you the reader) 9 days in the run up to 30 November. Because I’m going to drop almost everything and concentrate on nanowrimo.

First, where is my work? It’s parked over here.

Secondly I’m going to try to remember to post an update everyday.

I think the image isn’t working, but for those interested, I’m at 5,080 words. Still a huge long way to go.

casual Japanese

We went to a Japanese restaurant that an acquaintance opened, well he seems to be one of the people behind the scenes. There were 12 of us and we had a sectioned off room. It’s interesting to hear about how the place was decorated and using what materials. Like the cushion covers were made from bin end kimono cloths, and how they had someone come in especially to design the lighting, so it’s dark but no dark corners, and the lights all shone on the tables and not on the customers. Little things like that go a long way to a better dining experience.

Food was good, usual sashimi, grilled food, salad, they even had spaghetti done Japanese style.

Worth going again.

comment spam

When I first set up bullko, I got hit by the stupid poker guy comment spam, where seemingly profound but basically useless comments were left on every single entry, with a link to his website of course. A quick visit to the wordpress support forums yielded a couple of preventative measures.

Do this for all wp powered sites.


Like mt-blacklist this is a plug-in that is copied and pasted into wp config. Last updated 21 Sept 2004, I just downloaded it. I’m not sure if it’s as good as mt-blacklist (I mean, Jay Allen, wow) but someone has obviously made a huge effort so kudos.

comments file
First I renamed wp-comments-post.php to wp-stopcmts.php. The name doesn’t matter, it can be a random jumble of letters like asdfasd.php.

Then I renamed occurences of wp-comments-post.php in the other comments files to the new name. Apparently this is called in 3 files, so I went in and made the changes:

  • wp-comments.php
  • wp-comments-popup.php
  • wp-comments-reply.php

Boy I hate spammers.


I’ve been on a salad lunch diet recently, pretty neat huh? Usually it’s a combination of lettuce, tomato, cucumber, peppers, mushroom, asparagus. Sometimes I cut up a small piece of cheese into even smaller chunks and scatter them in.

Luckily our department has our own pantry, and my office is right next to it! This means I’m in and out and no one is any wiser, cos I also happen to have the first office in a row. People have to walk past me, so I know who comes and goes, but I’m spared that.

So I bring the veg in and cut them up before lunch, so it’s fresher.

It’s not really a conscious effort to diet or anything, I’m just in a salad phase. I’m sure one of these days I’ll suddenly get an urge for grilled chicken and pumpkin and pasta.

Been to the gym 3 times this week. But whatever goodness I’m feeling is spoiled by the late afternoon hunger that creeps up. So I go downstairs to the fast food place and the healthy day is ruined. Ruined, I say.

Tonight I had dinner with colleague-friend C, tomorrow lunch with colleagues P and ex-colleague J, then dinner with sis and friends. Eating out, that’s the bane of a healthy way of life.

password protection

This started off as an exercise to password protect a section of the bullko website. Lots of scripts and software available, but either they cost money, or is too advanced for me.

Most recommend protection using .htaccess and .htpasswd.

I already know how to use .htaccess to prevent directory listing and hotlinking. Here’s what to do.

Place .htaccess in the same directory that needs a password. If the entire site needs to be protected, place in root directory. Use this code:

AuthUserFile directory/path/to/.htpasswd
AuthGroupFile /dev/null
AuthType Basic
AuthName “Please enter username and password”

require valid-user

In the case of directory path, for all my sites it’s the same except for the username, so for invisiblecompany it is:



The .htpasswd file can be located anywhere, the more secure the better. The password must be encrypted and there are a lot of sites where it can be done, just google it, for instance here or here or here.

Generate as many usernames and passwords as necessary and put them all in the .htpasswd file. Don’t forget the hard return at the end of the file. It should look a little like this:


beastly words

Note: I should put a R rating on this post, because of the topic.

I was trying to make sure I have the correct spelling for this word that describes a compendium of demons and mystical beings as it pertains to a particular universe.

a collection of stories providing physical and allegorical descriptions of real or imaginary animals along with an interpretation of the moral significance each animal was thought to embody.

Like a BtVS bestiary would contain descriptions and myths surrounding vampires, hellgods, praying mantis ladies, bringers, and such like.

Now I know, but when I googled it, I didn’t know how it’s spelled properly and typed bestiality, thinking it’s something similar.


1. the quality or condition of being an animal or like an animal;
2. conduct or an action marked by depravity or brutality;
3. sexual relations between a human and an animal.

The website with that name, let’s just say I have quite a high tolerance / indifference level for things other people do that don’t affect me. But I was wigged out, and feel decidedly uncomfortable. Now, I’m not condemning people who practice zoophilia, and I’m glad to read it’s no longer considered a disorder. It’s just that I can’t get my head around the concept.


While on shiver-worthy topics, check out the list of philia/s. Some are downright weird, some are just kinda silly.

I can’t believe I actually wrote a post on this.

sort order

In the writing sections the chapters are titled, for want of something original, Part 1, Part 2 etc. In the category and individual archives these entries are sorted by title, in ascending order.

<MTEntries sort_by=”title” sort_order=”ascend”>

When I reached Part 10, I saved and rebuilt as normal, but initially I couldn’t find the Part 10. Then I looked more closely and found out it was stuck between Part 1 and Part 2. Huh?

So I had to rename all the early parts Part 01, Part 02 etc. Not only within the MT interface, but in the control panel too, cos the individual pages got renamed from like 000488part_1.php to 000488part_01.php and I had to physically delete the old files.

Not so pretty but nothing too displeasing either. Strange how logic works, in human minds, 10 doesn’t come between 1 and 2 but obviously not so in the world of bytes and bits.

monday madness

haven’t played in a while. This week we’ll choose one or the other of the following:

  1. bar soap or shower gel
    shower gel
  2. cd’s or cassettes
    cd’s, but the real answer is mp3
  3. television movies or documentaries
    tv movies
  4. wall calendar or desk calendar
    both, wall for the wall and desk for the, um, desk
  5. dsl, cable, or dial-up
  6. summer or winter
    winter, can’t stand sticky icky hot weather
  7. city or country
  8. camping or stay in a hotel
    hotel, as many stars as I can afford
  9. gold or silver
    no preference, may be silver?
  10. fiction or non-fiction books
    fiction, well [small voice]fan fiction[/small voice]
  11. mashed potatoes or baked potatoes
    baked, with sour cream, a little butter, but then I’m partial to mash too, a bit chunky with lots of pepper
  12. ranch, italian, or catalina dressing
    none, don’t like dressing
  13. solid or spray deodorant
    used to be solid, now it’s liquid roll on


mm’s building is having a food drive for charity — they are collecting non-perishable food items, canned, dried, noodles, all sorts, and giving them to the needy. Somehow it feels better than donating money, I don’t know anyone working in the non profit sector, so I can’t tell which is better. We used to have similar food drives every Christmas at school, and we used to visit the pensioners at home too.

It’s such a pity how being charitable has taken such a backseat role in modern day life. It’s enough coping with politics and deadlines and traffic that we really do need to take a step back and ponder, what are we doing?

We went to 7.15am mass yesterday in remembrance of her sis. Yes we had to get up at the crack of dawn. But yes it was totally worth it, there was no question ever.

But what about all those other people who were there? They seemed to be there every morning, at least every time we go to this mass. They get up at the crack of dawn. They are the good sheep, the good Catholics. Why can’t I? Her mum asked which church I go to and I had to embarrassedly answer I don’t go. I wish I’d go more often, but I know for a certainty that this is all just talk.

Sometimes I wish I could chuck it all in and go work for a charity for a few months, kinda like the vso or msf. But I’m not sure if I’m tuff enuff to survive in those living conditions. Wishful thinking, again.

illness strikes

I’m sick. Self-dignosis is stomach bug. Diahorrea and a huge acute pain in the abdomenal area that happens frequently. Not stomachpain, not indigestion, something new.

May be I’ve eaten too much reheated food lately, I dunno.

I eat better when I’m sick. Bananas, yogurt, stay away from the cold drinks.

What? I’ll only get healthy if I get sick? That’s making the kind of sense that it’s not.

before the witching hour

I intensely dislike it when I look at the clock and it’s gone 11pm. This means I have to start winding down cos it’s soon time for bed. Why? I can’t stay up too late cos I have to go to work in the morning. Sigh.

Why is midnight called the witching hour? Does it mean witches come out for that hour between 12am and 1am? Or they come out sometime during that hour and stay the night. When do they go back to where they come from? Do they need to sleep?

I bought spell book, aptly called The Book of Spells (duh!). Not Darkest Magicks that has to be opened by an axe, just some tame spells to lift the spirit or bless the home. Even a few to find love. Looks fun.

egg white omelette

I can’t believe I’ve never made this before.

My colleague asked me to make chocolate mousse for her kids. She bought the ingredients herself and passed them to me together with 2 small containers. With sincerity like this how could I resist?

So I had some egg whites left over, and I added a little salt, a little pepper and made scrambled egg whites. The stick to the pan like crazy though, which is why the omelette turned into scrambled. I think I’m supposed to whisk it a little bit before adding it to the pan. Hmmm.

Verdict? Very nice. Normal recipes put a small amount of egg yolks (1/2 per 5 egg whites), but it doesn’t matter. It’s different from making fried eggs and cutting the yolks out. It just is.

giselle’s pictures

Pictures for slide show.

That was kind of an emergency placeholder for getting pictures to an outside party. I’ve taken the links out now.

I could have emailed, put in a yahoo album or made a plain webpage in Dreamweaver (actually I should have enough knowledge to handcode that). But this was the quickest. All the power to MT then …

a day of baking

may be I’m losing my touch. I made blueberry muffins and scones today. Neither of which turned out that well. The scones were like shortbread, I haven’t made round scones for a long time, these were triangular. But no height.

There were no fresh blueberries at the supermarket so I had to make do with canned. It’s not as nice. And I nearly forgot to put sugar into the mixture.

I’d been working on it all afternoon.

I wasn’t happy. At all.

how to play

From the Independent.

Hedonism: Pursuit of or devotion to pleasure; the doctrine that pleasure or happiness is the sole or chief good in life.

In his new book The Hedonism Handbook: Mastering the Lost Arts of Leisure, author Michael Flocker says that the modern human has become so overworked, so boring, that they’ve lost the ability to find their own fun, that they need instructions to how to have fun.

“The world is a stressed-out place. [People] are all afraid they’re going to miss something. They work 12-hour days, then they work out on treatmills. Their whole rationale goes like this: if I lose 10 pounds, I’ll be happy. If I have $100,000 more I’ll be happy. And it doesn’t work.”

There has been a movement for people to gradually reassess what is important in their lives. Working insane hours, only to go home to sit in front of the TV with chips all over the belly is not fun, though that’s what most people know as fun nowadays.

Going on a binge Friday night, paying through the nose for cover charge then getting totally boozed, drugged and sexed out, is that really fun? Or merely what people think fun should be? If that is fun, then why have surveys showed that there hasn’t been any rise in happiness in the past 30 years.

Cultivate true pleasure. Oh yes. So how.

First step, turn off the phone, the blackberry, the email, all the communications that we’re a slave to nowadays. Then deschedule the day, relax, eat slow.

What? I can preach as well as the next person. But I do ignore my phone and I find my own fun. I’d like to think I’m a better hedonist than the rest.