Middle thing first...I'd never heard of Nathan Bransford the literary agent; now that I have, check out his 2nd-Sort-of-Annual Stupendously Ultimate First Paragraph Challenge. If you're another fledgling writer with a manuscript (and read this by Thursday, 4pm Pacific), why not give it a try?
First thing second, I made it just under 30,000 for NaNo. As much as "this is the year", I'm not all that upset. I like the story, I like that I can finished it with a lot more thoughtfulness, and I like that I can then go back and rework the themes and ideas that got lost in the mad rush to 50,000.
Last, but absolutely not least, A.J. Menden's Penominal Girl 5 has been nominated for Romantic Times' 2008 Reviewers' Choice Award for Best fantasy/futuristic romance. You go, girl! (And those of us who haven't already should give the publishing industry a push by picking it up and seeing what all the buzz is about.)