A merry Geek Week to us all…

Hmm. I do believe it to be time for a catch up. I realise I’ve gone quiet again the past couple of weeks but in my defense, I made the snap decision to write a novel this month.

It wasn’t just me. NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) is a thing that people participate in all over the world. The aim is that people will write 50,000 words in the month of November. There are internet forums where people share their woes, meetups where people share their woes, quite a healthy amount of blogs and so on where people share their woes… There’s just a lot of woes. Anyway. I decided that maybe this year shouldn’t just be the year I went to live in New York, maybe it’s the year I do all of the stupid things I’ve thought about doing but never quite got round to. After all, I am also writing a joke every day, and travelling at every opportunity and, like, occasionally getting manicures and stuff.

But I digress. About three days before November started I decided to join the people who’d spent the whole of October planning their intricately-woven yarns. I did not plan my own, in any way, shape, or form. I think that helped a lot because it meant that I couldn’t get stuck while beholden to a list of events made up by the former me – a girl who was not being driven slowly mad by early mornings and late nights and too much coffee. I got up every weekday morning at 5am instead of 6, and wrote for an hour before work. Then I hauled my monster of a laptop all the way to Connecticut and back every day so that I could write in my lunch hours and on the way home. And so I managed to grind out about 3000 words a day, which means that I finished with a good thirteen days of the month left to go. I mean, the story is not finished by a long way, but I feel like that can wait until I’m less busy. By which I mean, until at least mid-next-year. And I don’t technically have to stop at 50,000 words. If I was any kind of Wrimo (They do like a good made-up name) I’d keep writing until the end of the month and look at my 100,000 words with pride.   However, the latter part of my November is looking exciting and busy, so I have no intention of doing that.

Today marks the start of what I’ve affectionately been calling ‘Geek Week’. Catching Fire, the second film in the Hunger Games series is released tomorrow, and I’m going to a preview, because I am not prepared to wait. I’ve been fortunate enough to find several closet Hunger Games fans among my friends here, so there’s at least five of us going. I knew I was in with good people. Geek week event #1.

Geek Week continues on Saturday morning when I catch my 7am bus to Washington DC. After a four hour journey, myself and a friend (again. Good people.) will be going to the out of town previews of Idina Menzel’s new Broadway show. She’s a big musical theatre star. I guess maybe our generation’s Ruthie Henshall or something similar. But you see much less of her teeth when she sings. The show’s called If/Then and I know literally nothing about it. It could be called ‘People Sing Nursery Rhymes Wearing Bin Bags’ and we’d have gone. It’s pure, unadulterated fangirling. We thought about waiting for it to be on Broadway, but it comes out in March, and we didn’t want to risk it being after we left. Stuff is starting to be advertised that we won’t be here to see, which is a weirdness I’m not thinking about yet. I’m digressing again. The point is, we leave on Saturday, get back on Sunday, and that’s the second Geek Week event. Incidentally, it’s also my first time on a Greyhound, and first time in DC (I had a layover there once but no time to leave the airport. I saw the Whitehouse from the air.) which both feel like touristy necessities. Geek Week event #2.

The final event in the Geek Week trilogy is a bit British, really. Since Doctor Who’s 50thanniversary episode is on Saturday and I’ll be missing it, due to my previously-mentioned Geek Week-ing, I’m going to see it in IMAX. Geek Week event#3, I’m doing alone. The ‘good people’ness of my friends had to have a limit somewhere. Although to their credit my housemates did let me hijack the TV the other night for an evening of sad documentaries on BBC America with minimal grumbling and giggling.

After Geek Week, I’m heading to Florida for a few days. Next week is Thanksgiving, and I’ve been very kindly invited to spend it with the fiancé’s family. I’m very excited to get away and be with real people in a real house. Not that the people I’m friends with here are not real people, but we all agree that sometimes it’s nice to see actual families. A lot of people here have friends or families that they’re visiting for Thanksgiving, and the others are mainly going to other families as part of scheme run by a charity called One to World, whose aim is to make international students feel a bit less pathetic at times like this. It’s definitely a family thing. It’s also Hannukah at the same time (the two won’t happen at the same time again until somewhere around the year 72,000) and, as I am led to believe thus far, opens up a whole world of culinary opportunity.Plus it’s one more thing to celebrate.

Anyway, I’m glad I got you to sit here while I fed you my excuses for my next inevitable long silence. Just in case.

Since last I wrote, I went to Chicago for a few days for the fiancé’s birthday, which was fun. This has been the first year we’ve been able to see each other on birthdays and holidays, and it’s been nice. I made the world’s greatest cake, which took four hours. We went to see the Blue Man group, and got harassed by a blue man who came all the way up to the balcony because we weren’t dancing. We were the only people up there. We thought we were safe.

I also saw my first snow of this trip (We’ve since had a blizzard, which renders it slightly less momentous, but it was nice at the time) when we went to the top of the Willis tower. It’s a tall building. America bloody loves a tall building. We had to go 100 stories up in the lift, and the whole way up there was a video that showed other tall buildings in other countries, and then let you know when we were higher than them. It was basically America’s little way of saying ‘Yeah, F**k you, France!’, ‘And you, Japan!’ for 100 whole floors. Sad but funny. I was brave and stood on a glass floor at goodness-knows-how-high. It was helped by the aforementioned snow. We couldn’t really see a whole lot from the top, but it had been on our list to visit.

Not long after I got back from Chicago we had Halloween. People in England always grumble about how American Halloween is, but I can officially confirm that we ain’t got nothin’ on them. It was the first time since I’ve been here that I’ve felt a bit like an observer rather than someone able to join in.

We went to the Halloween parade in New York (On a Thursday. At night. On a school night.) and fought our way through crowds of people dressed up as everything under the sun. At least the men. Women, generally, are honour-bound to dress as minimally as humanly possible.   That’s really what I found weird about the whole affair. We saw more than one float which had scantily-clad women dancing in cages, or around poles. They were dressed (or not, as the case may be) as zombies. Sexy zombies. America comes across as a weirdly religious country most of the time. And yet they spent all evening standing in the street saying ‘ooh, that corpse ishot.’ Don’t get me wrong, it was fun. I just feel like if America let off steam slightly more than once a year they might find they got their knickers in a twist less.

We also had a Halloween party at work. This is the place that doesn’t shut down for anything, but Halloween? Sure. Bring your kids. Our office was transformed for two weeks. We spent hours putting up cobwebs and spiders and ghosts (Oh my!). People brought in sweets – so many in fact, that we only just finally finished them yesterday. Nineteen days after the fact, and that was with pretty constant consumption. And it wasn’t just me. For the afternoon I manned a bowl of ‘candy’ and kids came to trick or treat. If I may offer one small criticism, it would be that they all seem to have lost sight of the fact that in saying ‘trick or treat?’, they are actually offering me a choice. I would be completely within my rights to eat the sweets myself, choose ‘trick’ and let them egg my house. But these children had their hands in the sweets before they’d even finished the question.

So yeah, Halloween. Weird, but fun. But then, as the creator of National Geek Week (that’s right. I just made it national) maybe I am not able to talk.

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