Thursday, December 22, 2005

A Christmas Wish

Sorry for the No-Post yesterday, I was being a good citizen and performing my civic duty. (Jury Duty, that is!) I wasn't picked to sit but I was part of the selection pool so I got to witness the selection process in action. It was pretty fascinating. I was mildly disappointed I didn't get chosen to sit, I'd have like the experience.

Christmas is almost upon us. Tomorrow is a 1/2 day at work, followed by the annual Christmas (excuse me: HOLIDAY) party so I may not get a chance to post. Next week I am off. I always spend the Christmas week at home with my son. It's the only time of the year we get to hang with no responsibilities or time frames. We get up when we want, do what we want, go where we want with no one to answer to. (Read: sleep late, play video games, watch movies & eat junk food!) It is without question my favorite time of the year. It's my idea of what a REAL vacation should be.

I am a big fan of Christmas. You might not think so, seeing as I am anti-christianity and religion in general (For myself. Feel free to follow the beliefs of your own heart! Ain't I magnanimous?) but the holiday is far more important to me than any mere religious holiday. I listen to the arguments between those who are focused on the materialism and those focused on the religious signifigance and shake my head. Don't you all see the truth of the day? It's not about either of those things!

Christmas is about the people you love: no more, no less. It's the one day a year we stop and spend time with the ones who make our lives worthwhile. I don't care if your christian, jewish, muslim, atheist, or a deist like myself: that's a worthwhile pursuit and one you should take advantage of. Presents are nice but spending a day with the people closest to you has that beat hands down. Christmas day at my house consists of the boy waking us up (waaayyyy too early!) opening gifts, having a nice breakfast, then spending the rest of the day playing the new games together, telling stories about Christmas past, and just enjoying the hell out of being with my wife and son. We do the families on Christmas Eve or during Christmsa week. The actual day is about the three of us. I know folks get stressed on the holidays with all the shopping, gifts, cards, visiting, cooking, cleaning, etc. Here's my suggestion for you:


Simple, eh? Look, you have only so many people in life that you truly love and only so much time to spend with them. Focus on that and let the rest of the world deal without you. Choice seems easy to me . . . either spend all your holiday meeting the expectations of people you can barely tolerate so that they think well of you, or let 'em kiss your ass and have a day of bliss with the ones you love, in a messy house, eating sandwiches for dinner, and not answering the phone while you lounge about in your PJ's until 3:00 in the afternoon and play the latest Super-Mario extravaganza on the Playstation. I know which one I'm taking!

Forget church, forget the big turkey dinner and having all the In-Laws over for the "Martha Stewart Good Living Christmas-In-A-Box Pageant" and go make a cup of coffee, sit down on the couch with the significant other, kiss 'em, and remember to thank whatever entity you choose for the gift of having another Christmas to spend with them. It's a crazy world and you may not always have them around. Enjoy it while you can and let the expectations and formalities go fly a friggin' kite!

From me too you, dear reader: I hope you have a wonderful Christmas and that everyone you love is nearby, safe, and as glad to be with you as you are to be with them.


Tuesday, December 20, 2005

The Good, The Bad, and The Stupid


Surprise, surprise! I tagged in another 2,000 words on "First" yesterday without even trying. I just read over where I'd left off and it started flowing. Only had an hour or so to spare but it was nice to be working again. It was probably not the best work I've ever done, but it's words and I'll take 'em!


The boy came home last night with a horrific grade on his last Spanish test and I completley lost it on him. We'd been studying every night for a week! Problem was: WE WERE STUDYING THE WRONG THING! He didn't pay attention to the teacher's instructions and we never even looked at what the test was really on. Oh man, I was NOT a happy camper! Speaking of which, the wife and I are curtailing my son's Boy Scouts exposure until he can show an improvement on his next report card. (NO camping for you!)


I don't know if I'm the stupid one, or my contractor is. He had five guys at my house all day yesterday and the managed to accomplish . . . (wait for it!) LESS THAN I COULD HAVE DONE ON MY OWN IN UNDER AN HOUR! Christ, I was through the roof last night. Between this asshole and my son's grades I was screaming like a lunatic. By the end of the night I was whimpering in the corner; begging my wife for a gin and tonic . . . hold the tonic, please! Today I leave work early to meet the guy who's installing my countertops (luckily NOT my contractor!) and I'll get to see if the guys there are actually accomplishing anything today (shall I hold my breathe, do you think?)

Christmas. Christmas is coming and it will be the savior of my sanity! (It better be or they're gonna put me in the rubber room!) Happy-family-loving-calm-joy-time! Yes? (Hey, stop laughing at me!)


Monday, December 19, 2005

The Trouble with Testacles

Don't misunderstand me now . . . all Mondays suck turtle eggs through a rusty bit of pipe you found at the bottom of a sewer, but as far as Mondays go: this is probably one of the better one's of the year. Oh, not because anything particular's happening but rather because of the lack of happenings. This is the week before Christmas so there's not a whole lot of stress here in the office today. Everyone's half-assing their work, thinking about the holiday, hovering around the coffee and sampling the platters of cookies and brownies folks have been bringing in. We've also gotten a ton of fattening cakes, cookies, and assorted candy from vendors and clients so the place looks somewhat like a bakery right now. (Not a bad thing by my lights!) It's still a Monday, but a bit less heinous than most.

The weekend was an unpleasant disaster for me. My contractor is still dragging his heels getting things done. Oh, his crew is there every day but four guys are doing about the same amount of work I'd do on my own. The wife was a foaming-at-the-mouth, rabid, starving, pit bull and my ass was covered in A-1 sauce! We spent most of the weekend screaming and cursing at each other over the house.


Good question! There is nothing I can do at this point (other than fire the SOB, but that ain't feasible now either!) but the wife needs must vent her frustration at someone and since I have testacles and am within proximity . . .

In any event, I got our Living Room cleaned up and re-arranged so that we could set up a Christmas tree and spend the holiday in something resembling a home. (Of course, I did it WRONG, but that goes without saying, doesn't it? It's the testacles again . . .) That means I have to keep the contractor working only in the basement until next week, so that everything's not covered in dust from the spackle, etc. for Christmas.

On to the important stuff: the writing. Haven't done any actual words in almost three weeks now but I've been tinkering with some background stuff for "First". Things like a calendar, lifestyles, economics, etc. Things that won't necessarily show in the book but I need them to make sure everything runs logically. This is where I'm usually weakest: in getting the background info put down on paper. I tend to get bored with it after awhile and just fly by the seat of my pants as I write. It leads to a lot of editing and I'd like to avoid that, so I'm trying to get the overall stuff down as best I can. "Clans", the last novel I wrote, is going to be a horror to edit for that very reason. There are bits of legend, references to cities, festivals, and religions scattered throughout the book that I made up on the spot. Now I have to go back, flesh them out, cobble together some detail for them and in a lot of cases, insert earlier and/or more detailed references to them. A LOT of work.

I wish I could do some editing (where I usually go when the words aren't coming!) but there is nowhere (and I mean that literally!) in the house where I can lay out papers to do any work. I have "Clans" and "Fish" that both need editing and I can't get to either of them. Frustrating.

So, Christmas is coming and I haven't begun shopping for the wife yet. she won't tell me what she wants (and we don't even want to discuss the unmitigated disaster that results from my trying to "surprise" her! Testacles also render one incapable of selecting appropriate holdiay gifts for spouses . . .) I'll try to get out & get it done tonight. I don't want to wait till the end of the week, because the crowds just get worse the closer you get to Christmas. Ah well, it'll all work out somehow. Always does.


Wednesday, December 14, 2005


Does society seem out of whack to you? Oh, I don’t mean the inanities and bitching over morality and what’s the PC catch-phrase of the day, but the entire structure under which we live our lives. There is a vague . . . wrongness to it somehow, like the very concept of human culture itself is somehow a violation of whatever purpose we were originally put here for by (insert deity and/or scientific theory of personal choice here). I look at what we do and where we’re going as a species and I swear to you, the only rational thought I can come up with is: why?

That’s what baffles me.

We spend most of our lives in pursuit of an imaginary concept. We kill, steal, make ourselves ill and generally miserable by trying to collect vast quantities of a non-existent object. What object you ask? (I know you are asking because you are an intelligent and discerning reader, else you would not be here on my blog, would you?) Money of course. (Here you pause and say: “Imaginary? Jim, I have greenbacks in my wallet at this very moment! What are you talking about?”) Ah, I have cash in my wallet as well but here’s the thing: it’s not real. Sure, there’s a slip of specially blended pulp dyed with trademarked ink and filaments that only show under black light in there but it has no value. It’s only paper.
Ah,” you say, “NOW I understand! Silly, Jim! The paper HAS value. It represents the gold and silver that the government keeps in Fort Knox. It’s simply a more convenient method of transferring the value of these precious metals.”

Really? We’ll skip the conspiracy theory that says it was all shipped out of the country under the LBJ administration and concentrate on the U.S. Mint’s public statements regarding the Fort. Currently, there are 147.3 million oz. of gold in Knox at a value of $42 and change per oz. By my math, that sets the total value at: 61.8 billion dollars. (BTW: I suck at math, so feel free to correct me) That’s a lot of money, right? Well, not really. Let’s compare, shall we?

Just as a benchmark – the cost of collecting federal taxes for 2004 (that’s just the cost mind you, not the actual tax amount!) was 125 billion dollars, which was approximately 13% of the total federal taxes collected. Hmmm . . . something’s not adding up there.

Let’s forget all that for a moment and just assume that I am naïve (admittedly so) about the true nature of national economics. Here’s the question: what is the value of money? Does it truly have a value, or is it merely PERCEIVED to have a value? Do we work between 1/3 and 1/2 of our life for an entirely imaginary concept? Are we losing time with our loved ones and driving ourselves into early graves, toiling at jobs we despise in order to accumulate something that doesn’t really exist because that’s what we were told and taught to do? Money derived as a simplification of the barter system. Trading chickens and cows works well enough when you’re neighbors, but they’re tough to travel with so we found a medium (precious stones and metals) that were perceived (there’s that word again!) as useful and valuable by most societies. Their rareness guaranteed that they wouldn’t be in abundant supply, thereby devaluing the base currency system. Good concept, but the metals themselves were heavy and awkward to carry, not to mention people had a tendency to “clip” the coinage (shave bits off the coins for later use) further devaluing the currency. So, along come the grand idea: we issue pieces of paper –that have no value in themselves- to REPRESENT the coinage. They’re easy to carry and transfer, and the “clipping” issue disappears. To paraphrase the Guinness commercials: “Brilliant!” The idea works well, but in larger economies, there is simply not enough precious metal to back every transaction without inflating the values to unreasonable levels which would force people to hold onto their metals, destroying the system. The answer? Print more cash of course! Put more bills into circulation, hence enabling the economy to continue at reasonable levels. The problem is, without hard value to back the paper, it truly doesn’t have any value it is just . . . paper!

That is where PERCEPTION becomes vital to the success of the experiment. So long as we perceive the cash to be valuable, we will continue to work for it. So long as we perceive ourselves to be moving forward on the economic ladder, we will continue to struggle for more and more money (read: paper!) thereby increasing our output and enhancing the perceived value of those who stand above us. You can see the fallacy as you move further up the chain. In truth, Bill Gates has no more value to society than I do, he is simply perceived to be of remarkable worth (that’s not meant as a personal judgment, Bill!) I can’t help but think that if you move high enough on the economic food chain, that the folks at that level fully understand the mythos involved here and are using it to their advantage. They live remarkably comfortable lives, doing nothing but allowing lesser people (from their viewpoint) to provide them with all their playthings for no other reason than they know how to alter and control our perception.

Sounds a bit paranoid, doesn’t it? It may be, I don’t really know, but as Frank Burns said: “Just because I’m paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t out to get me!” It frightens me that this is what I am doing with my life: scrambling after an imaginary concept created by greedy men for the sole function of keeping me chasing it, thereby providing them with the lifestyle of which dreams are made.

This returns me to my original thoughts of violation of our purpose on this planet. If you accept in any way that we were created for reasons (hell, even if you’re an evolutionist you can see the problem here!) then you have to ask if you’re meeting that purpose. You work for money to buy the things you need (read: want) and that’s how you go through your days. Does it bother you to think that your life is being stolen from you for a non-existent item? Does it frustrate you that you are a slave to a system from which there is no visible escape? Does it anger you that the grand purpose, or divine mission, for which you were placed here, has been subverted and over-ridden by other men’s desires? I regularly struggle with feelings of pointlessness and frustration in the daily life I lead and I have to imagine I’m not alone there. What have we given up and what has been gained by our pursuit of the “middle-class” dream of Americana? What do you have that your grandparents or great-grandparents (depending on your age!) didn’t? Television, telephone, Internet, PC’s, cars, planes . . . are they truly good things? Have they improved your life; made you happier? Or are they simply more distractions from that elusive purpose you’re trying to find?

I don’t have answers. I only know that this is one of the many things that bother me about life. There are many more (oh yeah, I’m just a barrel of laughs!) but the concept of working for money is near the top of the list. In ages past, we worked for food and shelter: at out own pace and in our own ways. It was hard as hell –and dangerous at times- but when we secured those things our life was our own and we were free to pursue our purpose . . . our dreams if you will. Now, it seems we work for work’s sake. It becomes even more outrageous when you consider the concept of “taxes”. Not only must we work for the imaginary paper wealth but the folks in charge take back large quantities of our “wealth”, hence making sure that the struggle to accumulate goes on and on in a never ending cycle. Worse, they’ve even imposed criminal penalties on anyone who dares break free of that tyranny and refuse to play their game. Didn’t pay taxes? Prison! No cash or credit cards? You’re a vagrant: Prison!

It’s an ugly game and I don’t like playing any part in it but I –like you my poor reader- am a slave to the system. I have a family to support and there are portions of the “American Dream” I am not willing to give up. So, perhaps we are all slaves in a way. So why bother with this diatribe? Well, by way of answer I will leave you with one final question:

Is it better to be a slave and know it or to be enslaved and unaware?


Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Back from the Rat

Greetings, all!

I have returned from the land of the great satan; from that heinous place of rampant insanity and forced infantilism wherein all people are treated with equal disdain, their worth measured only in so far as they are capable of putting forth the printed green slips of paper that verifies their level of status within that dispicable community.

Yup, we went to Disney World.

It wasn't so bad I suppose; Epcot has some cool stuff to see and the Spider-Man ride at Universal was pretty cool (especially for an unrepentant Uber-Geek like myself!) Other than that though, I find the place pretty damn depressing. Spending time with the family is always good, and the weather was lovely (We dodged snow in our native NJ for some Florida sun!) but Disney on the whole is not for me. I don't understand the draw. Fighting crowds of hot, angry, sweaty, miserable, middle-aged mothers and screaming brats with faces covered in blue goo-juice (what the hell is that stuff anyway, and why does every kid under six eat it?) for the dubious privilege of finding an uncomfortable seat to see bits of metal covered in cheesy fur bounce up and down to a bad voice-over (aka: Animatronics! Oooh!) is not my idea of a "magical" place. The thing that kills me is that NOBODY in the whole place smiles (except the help, who are paid to do so!) They're all flustered, short-tempered, and impatient; looking for all the world as if they can't wait to get the hell out of there and back to their 14 hour-a-day job in the meat packing plant so they can relax a bit.

So why go? The wife wanted it. It was important to her and the boy was all in for it (though he seemed prety disappointed by a lot of it) This was our second trip and I hadn't been thrilled with the first go 'round but the wife wanted to see it all done up for Christmas. I think we're done now. Even the wife had her fill (I think) and the boy seems like he's just too old to give a rat's ass (no offense, Mickey!) about people walking about in giant animal suits.

The house is moving along, but still slowly. The wife would like me to open up a can of whoop-ass on the contractor about how long it's taking but I can't. The fact is, he's doing a good job. It's taking a good bit longer than he said, but the work is fine and the price was excellent so how do I complain? He was there every day while we were away and got a decent amount done (though not as much as we'd hoped) He's getting close to finishing up and we'll be able to decorate for Christmas (which is the wife's big concern) by the end of the week.

Writing. Nothing to say, haven't done any. We got back from Disney and I vegged on Sunday, then got back to work and it hit me like a ton of bricks. (Didn't get home till after 8:00 last night!) and the rest of the week ain't looking much better. Maybe some work at home this week, but I ain't counting on it. The good thing about doing Disney was that I had a lot of time to daydream while my wife was watching parades, shopping, etc. and I came up with some really good ideas for "First". A lot of dark and dangerous twists that will lend a lot of depth. I even had some ideas about "Clans" which I will start editing once I get my office done (in January, I think) and I can take a number of those ideas and push them out as part of the second book for that series.

Much else on my mind, but time to share is short at the moment. I'll dazzle you more with my brilliant intellect and charming wit on the 'morrow!


Wednesday, November 30, 2005

A 15 Minute Poem

This is what I decided to post today. Why? I don't know (and quite frankly, I'm afraid to ask!) my psyche merely decided to pump this out over lunch. For whatever reason, it told me to write it out in under 15 minutes. The results are below for your reading pleasure.

Here's a challenge for anyone interested: do your own poem in 15 minutes or less. Feel free to post a link here in the comments.




Tick, tock, tilly today I’m feeling silly
Beg, buy, borrow: don’t know about tomorrow
Pick, post, and pay for the dreams of yesterday
While Doc slaps a suture on the wounds of my future

You slide through each day in your own little way
Side-stepping the crap and flapping your yap
Singing Ring-ding-a-dillo, till your heads on the pillow
Dreams awash in thought that your brain never caught

Your alarm ends the snore, then you’re at it once more
Shave, shit, and shower in just under an hour
Turn the key: vroom-vroom, now it’s off to your doom
Nod, smile, and listen: just ignore what you’re missin’

Ticky-dee, ticky-doo, there’s a grand life for you
Ticky-doo, ticky-dee have you listened to me?
Don’t feel crazy cuz your life’s gone all hazy
Find a place, find a friend, that gives a better end

So today we all felt silly ‘bout our ticky-tocky-tilly
Come ‘round tomorrow and we’ll beg, steal and borrow
As we laugh at yesterday and the things we didn’t say
And the fearsome future? Grab the bitch and smooch ‘er!

Copyright, 2005 by
J.A. Coppinger
All Rights Reserved

Monday, November 28, 2005


Where do I begin?

Well, let's start with the fact that I have completely tanked on NaNo this year. I have written a grand total of . . . (wait for it!) ZERO words in the last week! I am just under 30k and there is NO WAY I am getting any writing done this week. I'm taking vacation with the family next week and I have a mountain of crap to get done before I go.

My contractor did finally return but he's been moving slowly (waaaaayyyy too damn slow for my wife's taste, as she has pointed out to me 24/7 without pause for breathe over the last week!) I talked to him this morning and he's promised to have the bulk of everything done by this Friday. He can do that with little trouble if he actually sends full crews to do the work. He's been sending 2-3 guys a day to putter around with minor stuff and it's killing me. I need to have certain things done before we leave for vacation, otherwise my wife is going to kill the contractor -and me!- and bury both our bodies where we'll never be found. (One might ask -and I have!- how any of this is my fault, but obviously within the confines of female logic I am mysteriously responsible for the entire situation and subject to verbal abuse, cursing, finger pointing, and when all else fails: complete wifely silence for my role in this farce. See? I can even piss off the wife when I'm just standing there!) If ever again I mention hiring a contractor to work on my home, please feel free to kick me in my large, stupid, ass and remind me of this fun time in my life!

So, the boy brought home his report card for the semester and got hisself in a whole world a' trouble!! Honestly, the grades were not bad at all, most in the mid 80's with a 100 and a 90 mixed in for fun, but for him that's really low. Turns out (after some not so gentle parental nudging) his problems came from not doing homework and/or getting assignments turned in on time. His test scores were all flawless, but he's been blowing off the work with a: "I already understand it, why do I have to do homework?" attitude. OYY!! He has consequently lost all the fun stuff in his life and has to spend much time with yours truly going over his work on a daily basis. He has endured many loooooonnnnnggggg lectures on the importance of the work process and learning to schedule his time, work quickly, neatly, and efficiently, etc, etc. . . I think he's getting it at this point and I expect to see dramatic increases to the grades this semester. (Else I shall have to beat the poor child with a very large stick!) We spent most of the afternoon yesterday studying spanish and learning about outlines and scheduling his time. He was actually pretty pleased when we finished because he was comfortable with the spanish and could see how the other stuff was going to make his work move faster and easier. See, that's the big secret I've picked up after years of teaching folks in the workplace: show them that your methods will make their job EASIER and they'll jump all over it. Seems to work with kids too!

Other than that, the holiday was nice. Spent time with both the wife's and my family. The boy had a blast at my clan's, he's old enough now to sit with the adults and enjoy the talk and stories (we are big on the stories: the wilder, louder, and more ludicrous, the better!) He laughed is butt off and wants to know why we don't see them more often. Don't have an answer for that really - my family just gets together 1-2 times a year. We're all just busy folks I guess.

Writing . . . working through a big question right now. I'm wondering if I'm pushing in the wrong genre. I write mostly epic fantasy but it's always a struggle for me. I'm weak on world-building, backgrounds, etc. The only book I've written that I was able to coast through was a DF/Horror novel (kind of King-esque) and I find that I have three or four other books in that vein that are pressing at the inside of my tiny brain. Am I working in the wrong genre? Should I push through on "First" or should I hop over to one of the new concepts and see if it runs as easily as the other DF novel? I don't know. Right now I'm too confused and battered by life to make any rational decisions. I'm just running on auto-pilot for now. I'll let you know when I finally touch down on the runway.


Tuesday, November 22, 2005

I'm Still Breathing!

Not Dead.
Not Lost.
Not Writing.
Contractor Found.
Life is Kicking My Ass.
Will Post A.S.A.P.


Thursday, November 17, 2005

Fate Hath Pissed Upon Me

NaNo Count - 23,368 words.

Have we ever discussed the dangers of tempting fate?

Was it just yesterday I said that things were looking up and my stress levels were coming down so I could really start focusing on writing? (silly, silly, boy!) I just had to poke at the fates, didn't I? Spout off and bring their attention down on me . . .

As of this writing, the contractor who has been doing my house has simply disappeared. I haven't seen him in two full days. I've left several messages on his voice mail and answering machine . . . nothing. The man has fallen off the ends of the earth, leaving my house only 1/2 complete! AAAAAAARRRRRRRGGGGGGGG!!!!!!!!

He may show up. He may have a legitimate reason for not coming to my home but it pisses me right-the-fuck-off that he hasn't called! Can't make it? No problem. Have to be on another job for an emergency? I can understand that . . . JUST CALL AND LET ME FRIGGIN' KNOW!!! I hate waiting and wondering worse than anything. Right now I feel like my insides are being slowly twisted with a bend of barbed wire that's been dipped in castor oil (nice visual, huh?) I have this overwhelming feeling of dread that tells me I have been royally screwed and I am up the proverbial creek . . .

Well, I got some writing done today anyway, though it was one hell of a struggle with my brain focused on the house. Anyway, don't have much heart to write the blog today either, so I'm gonna bail.

Oh, if you come across my contractor in your travels . . . ask him to call me, please. Failing that, feel free to bash his fucking skull in with a nail-studed 2x4 and back your vehicle over his bloody carcass several times. (Now THERE'S a happy thought!)


Tuesday, November 15, 2005


NaNo Count - 19757 words

Okay, so I'm behind the mark! That's because I missed four full days of writing over the weekend.

On Friday, I took my son's Scout troop up to West Point for the weekend (Folks, if you have never seen the Point in autumn, I suggest you plan a trip for next year! It has got to be one of the most beatiful places on earth!) We took a tour of the point, saw the Parade of Cadets, and got to see the Army vs: U-Mass football game on Saturday afternoon. (which was one of the most exciting football games I've seen in 30+ years of watching!) The weekend was wonderful, albeit a little stressful for yours truly.

See, I've been an Asst. Scout Master with the troop for two years now, but this was the first time I was the man completely in charge of a trip. I've always had the SM or one of the more experienced ASM's with me when we go out. This weekend though, I was "the man" in charge of 30 some-odd kids, along with a few assorted siblings and a good twenty adults. I had to keep things running on schedule, account for all the boys in and out of a 50,000 person crowd at the game, get them all out to dinner, back to camp, evening's entertainment, campfire, Sunday breakfast, camp breakdown & cleanup, butts in seats, travel back home, unload equipment & make sure all boys were picked up . . . all the while handling all questions, problems, injuries, and minor disputes that arose. Big stress on me . . . but DAMN, it was fun!!!!! I think I did a decent job. The kids all had a blast and the parents all went home with smiles, so . . .

That killed me through Sunday, and yesterday was Mon-fuckin'-day with a vengeance! Work was nuts, but I had to leave early to take care of home renovations and get the boy to a friend's house so they could finish up a school project. Then it was off to grab dinner and rush to Home Depot to order flooring and tile. Then a stop at the food store, and back home about 10:00 p.m. Too damn whooped to write!

Truth to tell, I have been struggling the last week with writing because the wife and I have been fighting. I can't tell you how draining it is to my creativity when we fight. When things are good with us, I can take the work crap, life craziness, unexpected emergencies, etc. in stride and keep on writing. When she's mad at me though it throws off my whole inner balance (Oooh! How metaphysical I sound!) fighting with her is the only thing I know of that can totally side-track me from everything else in my life. Nothing else that happens ever really bothers me that much - I'm a pretty mellow guy- but having her upset with me really blows me out of the water. Hmmm . . . does that mean I really love her? (Nahhhh, let's not get silly, now!)

Good thing is, we worked it out (not sure how we manage that but thankfully, we always do!) and things are cool again. We're still both a little high strung from the renovations but I can handle that. If I can keep from pissing her off (again!), I may still make my NaNo goals!

Now wasn't that a fun detour into my dull little life? Sorry, folks, wish I had earth shattering news or grand ideas about the nature of Life, the Universe, and Everything (42! 42, goddammit!) but I do not. I am just a little man, toiling away at a big dream, making small amounts of progress in my own miniscule mind.

Wanna tag along for the ride? :-)


Thursday, November 10, 2005

Stress Balls

NaNo Count - 15,602 words.

I'm still ahead of the game, and enjoying the words I'm getting. A lot of it is running verbose (yea, I know: you're shocked by that!) and will need some serious editing but that's what NaNo is about right? Words on the page!

Stress levels are kicking into high gear in my tiny little world right now. The wife is sick of living in just one room of our home while the construction is going on and wants it done ASAP. Of course, yesterday my contractor just disappeared without letting me know he wasn't coming and hasn't returned my calls yet so she's sooooooo happy right now! (which of course means: I'm sooooooo happy right now!) The boy and I are heading out camping this weekend and I'm loaded up with things I need to get done before we leave tomorrow. Of course, the fact that I'm going away to "play in the woods" while the house is torn apart is thrilling the wife to no end. (Did I mention: I'm sooooo happpy right now?) Add to that my NaNo writing schedule and it adds up to one giant ball of stress and arguing at home. I do believe the wife is not pleased with me at the moment. (Her not speaking to me for the last 24 hours might be a clue, don't ya' think?) Ah well, such are the joys of married life.

I stopped in over at Forward Motion to do a Crit for one of the ladies in my Circle (Mel, specifically. Hi, Mel!) and I was thrilled at the work she'd done. She took her opening chapters and completely re-worked them following comments from Lee and I. I believe she took to heart all the things Lee had brought back from her writer's conference and really made it work for her. It was some wonderful stuff she put up. It makes me think there may be hope for my long-winded ass yet!

I need to put that same level of re-work into my current novels. The stories are good (I think) and the writing is sound but I need to look at it from a commercial standpoint. I need to make sure I'm hooking the reader early and leading them forward in the story with the right amount of mystery and wonder. Lee and Mel have both pointed out that I have a tendency to get lost in the descriptions of my worlds, and open with setting instead of action. It's funny, because early on I thought I did way too much action, with no description, and sort of pushed myself into writing this way. Seems I may have flown right past the mid-ground and landed at the far end of the spectrum on that. The answer? Edit, edit, edit!

So, I did go out to lunch last week with the old friend from high school. (wife was not thrilled at me going out to lunch with another woman but she was cool and let it go.) It was a lot of fun. We spent most of the time talking about our kids and what had happened to each of us after we lost contact. it was funny how many similarities there were in our lives. Seems we both left home at very young ages -and not long after we'd lost touch- and spent a goodly number of years out-of-control before settling down into some semblance of normalcy. Now, we're both pushing 40 and spend most of our time trying not to screw up our children the way our parents screwed us up. (Yes, I realize the boy wil be screwed up despite my best efforts. We all are in one fashion or another, but I'm talking about degrees of insanity here!) It was nice to see her again. She's even stopped by here and left me a comment on the blog!

Ah well, too much to do to keep chatting. I am knee-deep in a HUGE software upgrade and roll-out at work so I gotta get back to it. BTW: I'm leaving early for the camping trip tomorrow, so I may not be posting again until the return of that "most-heinous-day-from-the deepest-pits-of-hell" which begins each week.


Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Checking In

NaNo Count - 13,066 words.

And that don't include today!

Crazy busy at work today and Scouts tonight so writing may be tight but I'll get SOMETHING in tonight! I'm falling behind my personal schedule, but still on track for the month. I'm not too worried, I will pick up better days over the next few weeks, the weekend was running both days and yesterady & today I couldn't take a lunch at work so I got damn all done there. The nights have been crazy - meetings with the contractor & visiting different stores (Sears, Home Depot, etc.) to order the other stuff we need (appliances, flooring, carpet . . . )

I do not recommend NoNoWriMo-ing and renovating all at once. (unless you are a complete masochist!)

The story is rocking: lots of darkness, evil twists and turns, characters in VERY unpleasant situations and more coming to mind with each page. MMWWAAAAHAAAAHAHAH!!!!!! (sorry!) I'm just worried about how long this is going to get if I keep running with all these ideas! I am NOT good at short pieces. Seems that everything I write needs four novels at 200,000 words each . . . OY!

Anyway, gotta bolt. Just wanted to check in. More time to chat tomorrow (I hope!)


Monday, November 07, 2005

Silent Hero

I have something on my mind I want to share with you folks today. It's important, and I hope you'll take the time to read through my ramblings and maybe pass a link to other folks you know.

I want to tell you about my brother-in-law, Bill.

Bill is serving in the Air National Guard, just as he's been doing for the last 18 or so years. He's one of the most solid, dependable, helpful guys you could ever hope to meet and I'm pretty damn proud to have him as a member of my family. Here's one reason why:

Bill's unit is currently deployed in Biloxi, Mississippi helping rebuild the infrastructure that was destroyed by Katrina. Their day starts early (it's the military after all!) and they work hard all day with the Corp of Engineers: repairing roads, removing debris, etc. It's a hot, dirty, unpleasant task but that's what these guys do. Their primary function is runway repair but they're highly skilled heavy equipment operators and road builders, so this is right up their alley. That's their job and they're happy to do it. These are men and women who volunteered for just this type of service and the fact that they're out there, helping repair such an immensely damaged area is something to make us all proud of them. These are folks who deserve a whole lot of honor for just doing their duty.

Now, consider this:

After long days of busting their hump in the hot Mississippi sun, it would be a perfectly reasonable thing for these people to head back to base, get some food, take a shower, and catch some well deserved rest. These folks are working seven days a week, so that's what I'd be doing! Not these guys though. Instead of going back to base; as soon as their shift is over, these men and women are grabbing their tool belts and going door-to-door throughout Biloxi, helping everyone that they can to rebuild their homes. They're ripping out mildew covered walls and putting up new drywall. They're humping 100 lb. packages of shingles up ladders and replacing roofs. They're cleaning out yards and helping mothers sort through the scattered debris to find their child's favorite toy. They're doing this without pay, without incentive . . . on their own time and with no expectation of praise or thanks. The men and women of the Air National Guard are working 16-18 hour days, seven days a week to help people in desperate need. They're not being paid. They're running on just a few quick hours of sleep. They're miles from their wives and families. They're working under some of the worst conditions imaginable and doing it without complaint. There's no news crew watching them, no officer ordering them to do this . . . they're doing it when they could be warm, clean, comfortable, and well fed back at base intead of up to their armpits in mud, mold, and misery. Why are they doing all of this?

Because they can.

That's my brother-in-law, Bill. Him, and thousands of others, who put on a uniform and do the right thing because it needs to be done. I'm proud to have him in my family.

I'm proud of all of them.

Thanks for listening in.


Thursday, November 03, 2005

Shop till I Drop

NaNo Count - 7,222 words.

That's an additional 3,160 today. I love it! It's moving well, and I don't have to worry about anything right now other than words on the page. I get to follow the story as it unfolds and enjoy the hell out of it. Today, my MC finds out that his arrogance has led his men into a very dangerous situation that they are not prepared to handle. He has to swallow his pride and run for home or watch his men all die. Fun stuff to write!

Funny thing happened the other night (though the wife did not find it nearly as amusing as I did!) I left a pen in the pocket of one of my shirts and it got washed. It was all well and good until it hit the dryer, then the damn thing burst like Old Faithful, destroying all the clothes in the dryer and leaving a lovely mass of blue stains on the white enamel. (now, LUCKILY all the clothes in that load were mine. I shudder to imagine the hell I'd have faced if any of my wife's delicate frillies were in there!) The wife did only a minor freak, but was panicking over the damage to the drum of the dryer and worried if it would ever be usable again. So there I was, at midnight, on my knees with a srub pad and a bucket of hot water loaded with bleach scrubbing the inside of the dryer. Big fun for me!!!!! I just finished getting it spotless when the wife came downstairs -after searching the Internet- to tell me it would all come right out if we soaked some old rags in bleachy water and ran them through the dryer. (great timing, dear!) My knees and back would have loved that info some 20 miutes earlier!!!! Ah well, I post it here for the benefit of you my loyal readers (though I truly hope none of you are as stupid as I am, so you'll never need it!)

So, to finish off this story: I lost all my jeans, and two of my favorite shirts to the evil gods of India Ink. That means . . . (wait for it . . . !) . . . SHOPPING! (kill me now!) Men and women are not meant to shop together.

Not ever.

Not for any reason.

We went out last night to replace the damaged clothing and I thought the wife was going to have a stroke. I shop very simply: I go into my chosen store, look for my chosen brand of jeans . . . do they have it? No. Fine, let's go to another store. No, dear, I do NOT want to look around and see what else they have. Yes, I can see those pants are on sale . . . no, I don't want to try them on! Can we go now please?

So, off to the next store we go. Do they have what I'm looking for? No. Okay, they have the same brand in a different style - that's good enough for me. What, dear? Yes, I know the other store had this style too. No, I don't want to go back there to compare the prices. Yes, I could have bought these at the first store, but I thought this store wold have exactly what I wanted. No, I am not going to a third store. Two is my formal limit: if I go to more than that I may have to hurt some passing stranger . . . What, dear? Well, that's just rude! I didn't bring your family ancestry into this, now did I? I certainly didn't call you any vulgar anatomical terms . . . !

Get the picture? Let men shop the way we shop. We don't care what it costs, and don't care if it's "not exactly the right shade". It's close enough! I can fit my hairy white ass into 'em . . good enough!

To top it off, when I tried the jeans I bought on this morning, she didn't like the way they fit on me . . . so guess what we're doing tonight? (sigh.)

Hey, maybe the world will come to a fiery end before we head to the mall! Maybe this is my lucky day and the Apocalypse is going to occur just after work tonight. Man, that would be so cool! Anything would be better than having to shop!


(someone pleeeeasss save me!)


Wednesday, November 02, 2005

On My Way

NaNo Count - 4,026 words.

I picked those up over lunch today; I never did get to writing last night. The day just kicked my ass. Work was crazy and depressing, I got home and there was a ton of stress waiting in the form of my contractor, and the meeting I went to for Boy Scouts ran into the 3+ hour range. I got home, ate (at 10:20 p.m. which is SOOOOO good for my waist!) sat and stared at the TV with the wife (who had about the same day I did!) for 1/2 hour before we both crawled off to bed to try and forget yesterday had even happened.

Today is going much better (so far!) I cranked out the 4k on "First" without batting an eye. I LOVE it when the words come that easy! Work is not breathing down my neck at the moment and the contractor should have all my electric work done today and start moving into sheetrocking the place by the end of the week.

I think I'm going to keep my NaNo Count at the top of each post for November. Do you care how many words I write? Probably not, but making myself accountable to you for progress is a great inspiration when I feel like letting it slide. So, at the moment I am ahead of the game for NaNo day 2, but behind on my personal schedule because of the missed day. I hope to make up the difference though and get a full 90,000 words on "First" this month. I tried that last year as well, but fell short. I only made 68,000 words which (to be honest) was thrilling! I'd never done anything like that before. I probably won't make the 90k this year either, there are a bunch of scheduled events/holidays, etc. in there to throw me off but I'll give it my best shot.

I think I'm going to have to wait on the "business" work I was spouting about the other day until the contractor finishes up. I just can't get to anything right now, it's all in boxes or buried under boxes. When my office is done I can move on that. For now, I can barely squeezze my fat ass into the space where I can get at the computer! Ah well, work summons . . .gotta run.


Tuesday, November 01, 2005

So it Begins!

NOVEMBER 1, 2005

NaNoWriMo is here!

Today is (of course!) an insanely busy day but I WILL get my words in (though it may not be untile late tonight!) The weekend was just as crazed. I was supposed to go camping but had to cancel because the boy had a major school project and I had to work on some problems with the house. Also, the wife was sick as a dog and needed some help. Worst of all: I had a friend call & invite me to the NY Giants game on Sunday but I had to turn down the tickets and (of course!) they play what may have been the greatest game in team history! Yes, I am the walking poster boy for Murphy's Law!

Anyway, just a quick not for now. I have a trainee in, two reports to complete, and at least a dozen problems I have to address before I head for home tonight. After that it's Boy Scouts all evening (till about 9:30) after which I will cram myself into a very uncomfortable (at the moment) office and crank out my 3,000 words for the day (that is my personal NaNo goal).

If you're doing NaNo yourself: god help you, you crazy bastard!
If you're not: what the hell are you waiting for? It's the annual writer's ball! GO JOIN!


Friday, October 28, 2005

Where I'm At

I'm feeling good today, and not just 'cuz it's Friday (though that sure as hell helps!). I just feel . . . hopeful today. No particular reason that I can fathom, I just woke up this a.m. in a good mood with the feeling that life is moving on the right track. That's a rare and precious gift so I intend to enjoy the sensation for as long as I can. Sadly, the wife is definitely not feeling the same way. She's at home today, curled up in bed under a mountain of blankets, fighting off an absolutely miserable cold. She sounds like a bullfrog when she speaks and currently has a tendency to launch into unexpected fits of coughing that are accompanied by flying bits of spittle and other -nastier- bits of bodily type fluids.

It ain't pretty!

I've been trying to be the good hubby: did the laundry, cooked/cleaned up dinner, took the boy to school, etc. so she can rest. For once she's actually doing the smart thing and sleeping this off. Usually, she tries to be Wonder Woman and keep her crazy schedule and workload when she's sick. I can't seem to convince her that one day of rest will cut five days off the illness. (she does look really hot in the Wonder Woman oufit though, so I shouldn't complain!)

Writing. What to say about writing? I haven't done any in the last week but oddly, that's part of why I'm feeling so good. The break seems to have cleared the cobwebs of my twisted little mind a bit and I feel like I'm recharged and ready for NaNo. (Actually excited to get started with it, masochist that I am!) I've spent a lot of time this week just thinking about writing instead of actually doing it. Now, as a general rule, that's frowned upon but I think in this case it was warranted. I've been spending a lot of time thinking about what I need to do to become published. I'm starting to understand that I've been hiding behind the actual act of writing so that I didn't have to face the business side of this career. My attitude has been: "Oh, I'm too busy working on the next novel to work on getting the finished one published" Stupid, eh? (Einstein, I am not!) Write, and keep writing, is the code of the author but I need to devote time to developing a career too. Right now I have four completed novels sitting in my drawer and I'm about 1/3 of the way into number five (which will hopefully be done after NaNo!). I haven't actively marketed any of them, just sent out half a dozen agent queries with a synopsis of the one I think is most marketable right now. That is never going to get me to where I want to be. I am going to need to set time aside for pushing my career forward. It seems that I've (finally!) conquered the problems I had with writing every day, so now I need to add in "business every day". I need to be more strict on getting edits done, getting queries out to agents and publishers, and generally paying more attention to the market I'm trying to work in. I have to get past the fear of actually dealing with professionals. I still feel like a little kid at his first dance. I know how to dance, and I know I'm supposed to ask one of the girls over against the wall, but they all seem so . . . intimidating! They're all beautiful, smart, and mature, while I'm just a dork with a bad haircut and braces. I have to push past the nervousness if I ever want my chance out on the dance floor. (I'm working up to it! Don't push me, man!) :-)

Along with all that, I've actually had some time to go over "First" in my head. Forcing myself to add in extra description and emotion has been slowing me down. I write action. I do well (I think) with dialog and characters. I need to stop forcing the background details into the first draft and just let it flow. I can add that in during edits. If it doesn't jump from my fingertips onto the page, it will have to wait until the intellectual process of rewrite. For me, the first draft has to be an act of passion. I have to follow the parts of the stories that excite me and let the characters take me to places I didn't even know about. That means a lot more editing at the end of course, but that's what I have to do. As soon as I came to that realization, the stress I've been feeling over my work for the last month or so dropped away. I'm ready to jump back into it with a smile on my face. Now, that may not be the way other folks work, but I think it's right for me. it feels right. PBW has a great post about just that today. She inserts a tag like: [description here] that she fills in during edits. The timing of the post was perfect and I think there are a lot of brackets in my near future!

Oh, I forgot to tell you about the concert the other night!

It was wonderful. Gordon Lightfoot is a calm, quiet, charming guy who came out with four other guys and simply played his music. it was beautiful stuff. Even the boy loved it. It was a very different experience for him and he had a great time. He sat through most of the concert with his eyes closed, head swaying, feet tapping to the beat and just enjoying the sounds. I am a long time fan of Gordon Lightfoot and I was absolutely thrilled when he did "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald". That is probably my favorite song of all time. The music is haunting and the lyrics wonderful. It was great to see him do it live! It's always good when we can expose the boy to new and different things. We spend a lot of time taking him to museums, listening to music (everything from Beethoven to Black Sabbath!) going to fine restaurants, and giving him quality books to read . . . just about anything we can think of to expose him to as much of the wonderful things in life as we can. Of course, we also take time for camping, video games, junk food, and I have a secret love of John Denver and Neil Diamond music (don't tell anyone!) so he gets a pretty eccelectic mix of what the world has to offer.

I think that's a good thing.


Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Rockin' with Gordon!

Good Lord, this has got to be the slowest moving week in history! I swear, I thought it was Friday afternoon, yesterday at 9:00 a.m. !!!!

Aside from being tired, things are good. Yesterday was the wife's birthday (she's 29 of course!) we didn't have time to do anything other than give her a few cards and a small gift but we're heading out to dinner and a concert tonight (Gordon Lightfoot, dude!) The concert was actually her gift to me on MY birthday but we'll make a night of it together. I imagine we'll all be dragging ass in the morning but, such is life. You have to do the things you can, when you can, and worry about consequences later. (sometimes)

Got home last night to find that my house had walls once more! (2x4's anyway) It was a good sign of things to come. The wife was thrilled at the contractors progress (which means I was thrilled that she was thrilled!) We had our halloween party with the Scouts last night. It was a lot of fun. We did typical games like bobbing for apples (young kids do not fear this game. They smack their face, head, shoulders, and most of their upper torso into the icy water without a moments hesitation. They come up drenched and shaking off water like dogs but with a mouth full of apple!) I put together a Powerpoint presentation of one of our trips (complete with inappropriate though bubbles on all photos!) and the boys loved it. There wasn't a single person who didn't receive some small bit of abuse from me! The entire troop was there and all the kids and adults wore costumes. It was a great time.

I am sooooo looking forward to going out tonight. It's been craziness for too long and we need the break. Kicking back and litening to GL will be very cool. Cooler, even, because the boy is coming with and this is his first concert! We're seeing him in a small local theater that I love. It has fantastic acoustics so the show should be great.

I'm traveling tomorrow, so I may not get in a post but I'll try to let you know how things went.


Tuesday, October 25, 2005

What I Want

So, I was just over on the Forward Motion site, checking in with my Crit Circle, and Lee had put up an absolutely wonderful post for Mel and I. It concerned her visit last week to a writer's conference and what she'd learned there. She took the input she got from agents, editors, etc. and applied it to our work to give us a sort of vicarious feel of what the industry is looking for. It was well done and very much appreciated! Thanks, Lee!

I've never been to a writer's conference. I never even really gave serious thought to going before but after hearing about Lee's experience I may need to rethink that. She had opportunities to meet and talk to a number of pros in the industry and came away with a whole new perspective on what we're trying to accomplish. She talked to us about the problems of "writing blind" (without a clear idea of current markets, trends, and needs) which is what we've been doing so far. Some of the things she talked about may be the very issues that earned me those form rejections from the agents! Yup, I am definitely considering going to a convention. Have to find one local, that I can aford, of course. I'll let you know what I come up with.

I'm not even going to try writing this week. I'm waiting till Nov. 1st, then kicking into high gear with NaNo. Too much craziness going on right now and I can't seem to focus on the work at all. It's been a super-productive writing year so I'm no begrudging myself a short vacation. I wish I'd had more success with the publishing end of things, but I did have one short story accepted so it wasn't a complete bust. I really think I need to learn more about the business end of things. I think the work is professional quality (after proper editing!) but I have this feeling that I'm just making stupid mistakes and oversights on things like marketing and presentation. I need to study this more closely. I've always assumed that if I wrote well enough, the market would find me, ya' know? I am coming to realize that's not the case. I need to become more aware of what the industry is buying and actively pursue the career from a business standpoint more than an artistic pursuit.

I want to be published. Not because I intend to be famous or wealthy. I understand the industry well enough to know the odds against that! My reasons are much simpler: I want to be published because I want people to read my stories. A lot of people. I love books and I've learned most of the important lessons of my life from them. They've helped shape me into the person I am. I'd like to do that for someone else. I'd like to know there was a lonely teenager out there somewhere who read my book and for just one moment felt better about himself because someone out there "got it" besides him. A goodly number of authors did that for me and I'd like to pay a little of that back. That's why I'm here. That's why I do this. That's what I want.


Monday, October 24, 2005

Mild Monday

As far as Mondays go, this is a fairly mild one. It still sucks, but it's not doing so with the vehemence of an agitated Hoover super-vac!

The weekend was crazy: had a surprise birthday party for my brother-in-law and another party for my wife's father. Lucky me, I have developed a reputation of being able to spout B.S. on the fly (I know: you're shocked, right?) so I was elected at the last second (and I do mean: second!) to give a toast for the B-In-Law in front of all his guests. What the hell, I'm never one to let a captive audience slip by so I gave it my best. Think I did alright, I got a couple of laughs and a good round of applause when done. I'm just not sure having a rep as a B.S. artist is necessarily a good thing though. . .

Because of the construction, we had to weather the weekend without heat in our house, which did not make wifey happy. And as we all know: if wifey ain't happy . . . !!!! Luckily, the temps weren't too bad, mid 50's all the way through but it was a convenient thing for my wife to focus her stress and frustration on, so I didn't hear the end of it. (nor will I, now that I was stupid enough to bring it up for public discourse!) The ruin that was once our home has her a bit freaked right now so I'm trying to be the patient, kind, understanding hubby (and failing miserably, by her lights!) I am hoping that she makes the connection between the stress levels of having the place torn apart for a few weeks and rebuilt by professionals and the months stress she would have had if I'd done this myself (as she wanted) Shall I hold my breath while waiting, do you think?

Writing has hit a complete standstill. The home office is a wreck that I can't work in and my laptop tanked again on Friday (hence: no post!) so I wasn't able to bring it home as I'd intended. This last week of October is gonna be crazed and November ain't looking wondrous either, but with NaNo hovering I'll have to make the work happen. I DO NOT intend to miss the mark, it got me kicked off right last year & I plan on doing it once again - successfully!

Here's a bizarre thing: remember I wrote a few weeks back that I dreamed about my first girlfriend and was freaking because I hadn't seen her in over 20 years? Get this: she contacted me the other day via e-mail to see if I was going to our 20 year reunion! How weird is that? It was nice to hear from her. She's doing well, and has 9 year old little girl of her own. Strangely, she's been working no more than three miles from my house for all these years and I had no idea. She's also been working with my wife's best friend, again: no idea! Strange world, huh? Not planning on going to the reunion, there's only two people I'd be interested in seeing there -of which she is one- and the other is a long time friend who I just need to pick up the phone and call at any point to get together (which I never do - I really suck at keeping in touch with people!) Maybe we'll get together for lunch or something as soon as the schedule lightens up a bit.

Ah well, I have a trainee in this week so I gotta run.


Thursday, October 20, 2005

A Sad Truth

So, he of many names (Mr. sryanhart!) saw deeper meaning behind my post of yesterday and in comments asked for an explanation of my angst. Ah, it would be nice if I could give some grand tale of tragedy overcome so you might be awed by my courage and fortitude in overcoming such extreme adversity!

Sadly, I was just whining because all my agent queries came back with form rejection letters.

(I know, pathetic ain't it?)

I started off writing about that yesterday (or I meant too!) but the post just got away from me and I wound up talking myself through my own little bout of petty depression while I was typing. Written words are cathartic to us overly-sensitive artistic types! :-)

Things are still hectic about the house now, so writing is suffering for it. The contractor has completely gutted everything at this point and is just starting in on the reconstruction. My wife is going to have a coronary if he doesn't finish soon. I don't know that she's going to make it another three weeks living out of boxes and surrounded by plaster dust. (between you and me, she's feeling a wee bit cranky about things right now but don't tell her I said so!) Work is gearing up into more insanity, but addressing it will mean setting aside all travel to other offices for the next few months, so I should be able to get back to doing regular daily writing on the lunch hour! That will be very cool. That is far and away my most productive time of day. Give me a tuna wrap, a rasberry Snapple, and my laptop and I'm a typing fool!! (as opposed to the regular fool I am at all other times!)

Here's a new thing: I have become addicted to the Blues lately. (have I mentioned this already?) I have an Internet radio station that play nothing but Blues all day long on my system. Don't know where the sudden fascination comes from but the pure musical ability of these artists fascinates me. No flash, no glitz, no remix, just some people with a handful of instruments and ability. Amazing. There is one song in particular that grabs me: "Take yo' drunken ass home" by Big Al Carson that has to be one of the most entertaining pieces of music I've ever heard!


Wednesday, October 19, 2005

A Simple Truth

Sometimes in life, you have to take a look back at the things you've learned over the years and bring them to the front of your mind for a detailed review. It's very easy to overlook those lessons in the day to day craziness and even to forget them when they run contrary to your desires. What am I talking about? (You think I'm just rambling, don't ya?)

I'm talking about realizing that what you want to happen and the way you wish things would work don't always coincide with the way they really work.

Here's the most important thing I've learned in my 38 years on this giant ball of mud and stone we call Earth: everything happens for a reason. Don't misundersatnd me now, I'm not a spiritual man and I don't belong to any religion (I'm actually opposed to those on general principle!) but experience has taught me that every bad thing that happens to me eventually leads to better things. The worst experiences of my life have always paved the way for the best experiences. Now, is that fate -or God- at work? Or is it just part of a natural cycle wherein we learn to appreciate the benefits more after suffering the losses?

Don't know.

I do know this: fighting the flow of your life benefits you not at all. The things that come your way -good or bad- are merely things that come your way. They need to be dealt with, not ignored, but fighting such things only leads to grief. When bad things are happening, all you can do is weather the storm. When things are not going the way you wanted, the best thing to do is ride along and see where they take you. I've found that in each case I've wound up in better places than the ones I originally planned on. Make your plans, do your best to carry through on them, and never quit following dreams but realize that the path you've laid out to that dream is subject to change at the whim of the Universe. The road of life is often littered with debris and roadblocks; there is no MapQuest to your dreams. The best you can do is look for detours and keep moving forward.

Need an example? Alright, try to follow this story . . .

When I was thirteen, I had appendicitis. The appendix ruptured and led to secondary infection in my left knee that ate a 1/2" diameter hole in my kneecap and required major surgery to fix. I nearly died, and it was a testament to a brilliant surgeon that I did not have my leg amputated. I spent nearly two months in the hospital and fell far behind in my school work. I was left back in my freshman year of high school because of it, and was forbidden to play any type of sports ever again. I lost all my friends, my first love dumped me, I was thoroughly humiliated, learned to hate school, and the whole thing led to a bizzare chain of events wherein I quit school, left home at age fourteen, went to work full-time, and became completely dis-associated from my family.

Unhappy story, right? A recipe for personal disaster if ever there was one.

It was the best thing that ever happened to me.

The lessons I learned in that time changed me from the person I was becoming (which still frightens me when I look back on it!) into the person I am. I learned to be independent, learned compassion, learned that people are people no matter their place in this world. I discovered the world was a cold, dark, ugly place but I also learned that people were kind, warm, and helpful. I found my own beliefs -which didn't coincide with the ones I'd been taught- and decided the type of person I wanted to be (which was not at all like the person I had been) Those changes were the things that allowed me to meet and win the love of my wife, have my son, build the life that we share and to make me a person I can (usually) be proud of. There was a lot of pain and unhappiness during those years but I came out the other side a much better person for the turmoil. Bad times can lead to very good things. The key is to remember that when you're in the midst of them and be patient. That perspective can be applied to everything you do in life: large or small. I've had a fair share of hard times in my life and as bad as they got, it always led to better things.

I have learned to understand that it always will. Some call it faith in God, others call it Karma, some believe in fate and destiny. I don't think it matters one bit what you call it. It only matters that you stop fighting against it and trust that it will do right by you. It took me most of my life to learn that lesson. Now I just take life as it comes and deal with the problems on-by-one. Trying to force your life path down roads that are constantly blocked is only going to frustrate you. Don't lose sight of the goals you're heading towards but be ready to take alternate routes to get there.

Oh . . . and expect heavy traffic delays! ;-)


Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Short Day

Got 2,000 more words done on "First". Good words too (I think) I like the voice that seems to be taking over my MC. He started off a little whiny but he's becoming more and more kick-ass as the book goes on, which is what I wanted actually, but I hadn't anticipated the change in his overall "voice". He's becoming harder and harder with each chapter. It's interesting.

I was late to work today (No, I did NOT oversleep!) I had to go to the town offices to handle the paperwork for all the permits I need for the renovations. Man, it is amazing how much paperwork beaureaucrats can require for such trivial crap. The demo is proceeding quickly, I now have a gaping hole staring down into my basement where my hall closet and stairs used to be. (With luck, I'll be able to keep the boy from using it as the Bat Cave!)

Anyway, very late in the day & I have Scouts tonight so I gotta run.


Monday, October 17, 2005

Le' Crazy!

My friggin' head is spinning.

The weekend was a unique form of crazy that defies description. There is something horrifically wonderful about having complete strangers come into your home and rip it apart. An emptiness of heart combined with a pulse-thumping anticipation of good things to come. Intermixed of course with the omnipresent fear that one is about to be royaly hosed by said strangers.

In other words: my kitchen and basement have now been completely (and I mean complete in the sense of: nothing left but the block walls!) gutted by the contractor. No turning back now. There is much happiness in the fact that I was not the one who had to rip out and haul away that much plaster and lathe. There is also much nervousness in that I have never befoe hired a contractor to do any work on my house and I am not sure what to expect. So far (three days in) it seems to be going well but part of me is waiting for that inevitable moment of contractor hell. You know . . . the moment when he tells me he found steel lined footings, that will require explosives to remove, right in the path of my new water line and that will be a 15 gagillion dollar upcharge?

Yea, that moment.

When I do this stuff myself, it's frustrating and time consuming but at least I'm sure I'm not screwing me. (unlesss of course I've been at the Killian's, then all bets are off!) Let's just say that renovations are very stressful. Our fridge, microwave, plates, and food are all scattered about my living room at the moment and I prepared lst nights dinner on a small cutting board on the coffee table. Yay! I can see many trips to fast food places in my immediate future. Writing is going to be sparse over the next few weeks as I get all this done. I'm running home at lunch to see how the contractor's doing and answer any questions/problems that come up and writing at home . . . hell, you'd have to see the wreck that was once my office to believe it.

Good news is that once this is all done, I will have my very own PRIVATE office in the basement (fully finished, too!) and won't have to share space with the guest bedroom/library/storage room/all-around dumping ground for the family that I've been doing to date. It'll be small, but it'll be just for me so that will be a very cool thing. It will be nice to have a room where I can spread out books, maps, outlines, sketches, manuscripts, etc. and not have to worry about them being lost or damaged. (Or getting yelled at for being a slob by the wife!)

So as you can see, I have a bad case of the crazies right now but hopefully I'll come through it in one piece. NaNoWriMo is just around the corner, I HAVE to get through it by then or I'll never make it this year! Doubt the house will be finished by Nov. 1st but I'll just have to make due, eh?

Oh . . . and lest I dissapoint: MONDAYS SUCK!!!!


Thursday, October 13, 2005

Quick, Like a Bunny!

Traveling for work again, so just a quick post today.

Got a few hundred words done on "First" yesterday. Not nearly as much as I wanted but life (and the pain in my back!) are seriously interfering. Good news on the home renovation front: the contractor starts work TOMORROW!! (WooHoo!) it's only taken three months to get someone to actually come out, give us a price, and get started!

Back to work with the Crit Circle over on FM. Mel and Lee were both kind enough to crit the opening chapter of "First" for me. They both agreed: I let my description get away from me and wound up with a lot of chatter and very little action. (damn, and I thought I was being careful about that!) They both seemed to think the characters worked, and thought the setting was interesting, so I have some stuff to build on. I'll just have to think about where/when the story starts.

PBW has a great post on her site today about writing with speed. I learned this lesson doing NaNoWriMo and it's an important one to remember for all writers. Off to work now.

BTW: I'll be at home with the contractor tomorrow, so I don't know if I'll have a chance to post.


Tuesday, October 11, 2005

On the Move Again!

Ahhh . . . .

A 1300 word writing day. Not my best by any means, but I'll take it. I was beginning to worry with the 500 word clips! I think the problem was doing intro scenes for secondary plot lines. There were three short scenes from completely different POV's and on opposite sides of my world, so it took a little shifting of gears to get the voices just right for each. Now I'm moving back into my MC's viewpoint so I think it will flow more smothly again. I'm liking the scope that "First" is starting to take on. I'm looking at several solid sub-plots and a whole bunch of hidden schemes that are going to coincide in some very uncomfortable ways for my characters.

The back is feeling better today, though I am still avoiding bending at the waist as much as possible. At least I can sit for more than five minutes at a time without being in agony. The workout routine is definitely on hold until I can touch my toes without crying like a baby!

The Yankees lost last night. That's very depressing. I'm not a baseball fanatic but I do like it when the Yanks move into the post season. The wife and I like to sit and watch the games together. It's really the only time I'll sit and actually watch baseball anymore (when I was a kid that was all that was ever on the TV at my house!) I'll usually just flick past, catch the score and watch a half inning or so before cruising on but I do like post-season play when the Yankees are in it. I just can't get excited watching the Angels/White Sox, ya' know? Now Boston and the Bombers . . . That's worth watching!

Oh well, at least there's football! Lucky for me the wife is a big football fan too. (even though she is a Dallas fan, which is rather embarrasing, but what's a guy to do?) This Sunday will be great: Giants vs. Dallas!!! ALWAYS great days in my house! The boy and I razz, heckle, and generally abuse my wife for daring to cheer for anyone other than Big Blue. (whether we win or not!) It's a good family day, though I do get a bit testy if the Giants lose (which they never have, according to MY memory!)


Monday, October 10, 2005

It Hurts!

Despica-frigga-ble day!

It's Monday and I am in much pain. I blew out the back this weekend while emptying all the crap out of my basement. Funny thing is, I had lifted all the heavy crap upstairs with no problem, then I picked up a box that was damn near empty and felt this horrid tearing in the small of my back. I dropped the box and went to one kneee, swearing like a drunken sailor (and them loaded squids gots some mouth on 'em!) I treated my boy to a round of colorful invectives that made his eyes go all wide and round. I'm pretty sure I saw him mouthing some of them later as he consigned them to memory for repetition at the most inopportune moment for his parent's comfort.

Fund raiser for Scouts went well, but I was running like mad all weekend. (when not laying on the couch, with a heating pad on my back, whimpering like a beaten puppy!) Oh yea, I'm the big tough man! Didn't write a word, nor did I have a chance today at lunch. I was late getting in because of the back so I worked straight through today without a break.

Fun thing is: I still have to finish cleaning out the basement, back pain or no. It has to be done by Friday so the contractor can start. OY! Luckily, the wife was a doll and did as much of it as she could while I was out over the weekend. Just a few more things that need to go (don't know where to put 'em; but go they must!) and then we'll work on cleaning out the kitchen cabinets and the upstairs closets that are being renovated. Me and the wife working together, under a deadline, with me in pain?

Oh yea, one of us is going to the morgue!!!!!!!!

Anyway, I WILL get some writing done tonight (though sitting in a chair hurts like hell right now!) I'll do it after I get some more of the basement done.

Oh, BTW: I stopped in Waldenbooks on Friday night while the wife was shopping at some store or another in the mall. The SF/Fantasy section has been reduced down to two small shelves in the back of the store! Know how many different authors there were in that section (I was bored, so I counted . . .) THIRTEEN! Yup, that's it. Only thirteen names, all of which were big-time, famous, BSA's. There wasn't a mid-list or unknown writer to be found. Worse: one of those two shelves was completely devoted to Star Wars/Star Trek/D&D fiction. Do you have any idea how depressing that is to a wannabe Fantasy author like myself? Is this entire genre dying out? Man, I hope not! Gotta tell you though, it doesn't look good when all you see are re-works of the same damn novel by guys like Eddings and Brooks, or Jordan's ninety-third WOT novel. (I like the WOT books, but come on man! Is the story ever gonna end???)

Damn! Now I'm depressed and sore.


Friday, October 07, 2005

A Sample of My Genius!

Moving slow on the current section of "First". I've only been getting in about 500 or so words at a clip. Definitely below par for me but it's progress and I'll take it. The good thing is I like the words I've been getting. I like the feel of them somehow; they resonate for me. I've been making an effort to be more tactile in my writing. I have a tendency to push right through to action sequences and gloss over details and surroundings. I'm worried that might be making the work seem a bit 2-D. It's a strange balancing act; I don't want flat characters, etc. but neither do I want to bore the hell out of readers with paragraph after paragraph of prose about the color of the trees. (I tend to skip that crap when I read). I'm trying to add a bit more description in the regular work and maybe interspercing a few paragraphs here and there that are just setting. Here's a paragraph from "First" that I wrote at lunch today:

Kras Dhun -Roof of the World- a forgotten place in the midst of an unforgiving land. It was a place of ice; of coldness so deep and unyielding that the very earth itself had forgotten the warm touch of sun on its surface. Ice, covered by snow, covered by more ice was the entirety of the terrain. The great peaks of Kras Dhun towered above the insignificant lands below, their tops piercing so deeply into the painfully blue skies that one had to look down to see the tops of the misty white clouds that flowed like river water along the frigid currents of air that danced between mountains. Here, the warm blood of the earth did not flow. Here, the ice grew like a living beast, in shades of pink and steel blue so deep they defied description in human tongue. The warmest of days were so cold a man could perish in moments upon the frozen slopes, bitter winds robbing the precious warmth of his body and freezing the very blood within him. The nights, which could last for cycles of the moon, were worse. No living creature stirred upon Kras Dhun in the darkness. Even the shaggy, long horned, Hava huddled tightly together in deep grottos beneath the ice when night came to Kras Dhun. Night was a time of certain death, a time of winds that carried the coldness of the void in their teeth

It's rough, first draft, stuff of course but I like it. There's a decent amount of description without getting overly verbose (I hope!). It needs polishing (obviously) but it's the sort of balance I'm trying to hit. Actually, reading back over it, the whole "defied description in human tongue" thing is an annoying and cheesy dump out on my part but, I'll leave it in for your amusement . . .

I was watching a movie the other night (City of Angels) and they were discussing Hemingway's writing. Nick Cage points out that old Ernest never failed to describe how things tasted, smelled, and felt. That struck me as particularly important and I realized that it's something I have not been doing in my own writing. The five senses are all we truly know in this world. It strikes me as a particularly stupid thing on my part (no real surprise there, eh?) that I've been avoiding those senses when I write. Live and learn, right?

Gonna be a crazy weekend. The wife and I are running a fundraiser for the boy's Scout troop and I also have to start emptying the basement so the contractor can start next weekend (we hope!). I have no idea where I'm gonna put all of it but I'll figure something out. With a little luck, I'll get time in there for some more writing and maybe I'll find the nerve to jump back on the "Clans" editing! Just to keep you up to speed on the Agent queries: I'm starting a lovely collection of polite form rejections. (sigh) Still have two more outstanding but I imagine the results will be the same. I'm thinking the synopsis is not good enough to grab their attention. I'm positive the book is publishable but this is my first try at a synopsis. I'll take it back to the drawing board and try a second round of submittals. After that . . . I have no clue.


Thursday, October 06, 2005

Wives Rock!

Running, running, running!

On the way out the door at work, so just a quick post here.

Had an amazing thing happen the last two days: both nights I was sitting on the couch (late night) and just vegetating after a crazy day and evening of running about and the wife just walked up, turned off the TV (that I wasn't really watching) and suggested I go write for a bit. How cool is that? It was all the boost I needed and I managed to get a good thousand words in each time, on nights that would have otherwise been a complete bust. I think it's from reading this blog . . . she is starting to understand what i'm trying to do and why. Having a little bit of help from her means more than I could ever tell you. (thanks, babe!)

So, there is writing being done, and daily exercise, despite the fact that I'm stretched thin and feeling punk. October is going to be the worst month of the year from a scheduling standpoint. I have a tone of Scout stuff, the contractor starting on the house, work is rabidly busy, and life in general is loaded to the gills with family commitments. I'll keep writing though . . .

The wife will see to it! :-)


Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Big Fun and Whining

Nothin' but fun at work today!

The hard drive on my goddam laptop went belly up, eating everything I had on it. I don't leave much there, but I DO keep my writing stuff in a Temp directory. I always send a copy of what I do at lunch home, so I didn't actually lose anything, but I had nothing to work on at lunch today. What a pain in the ass! You don't realize how accustomed you become to a system until it dies on you. The laptop I'm on right now sucks turtle eggs - it doesn't even have a sound card! ARRRGGHH!!!

Hopefully, I'll get my regular system back soon. The I.T. guys are trying to reload the OS in hopes of giving me a chance at getting off the few files I had on it before replacing the drive.

On the renovation front: WE HAVE A CONTRACTOR! (WooHoo!) He came by last night and we signed the contract. He should be starting in about 1-1/2 weeks and thinks he can get it all done in 3-4 weeks of work. I truly hope so! It will be a major load of the wife and I to not worry about the house. It's been an albatross on our necks for years and it will be fantastic to just forget abobut it for a while. Tonight is Scouts, so limited on the writing front (though I will be e-mailing myself my latest stuff to work on the new system with)

I'm a little annoyed with myself right now. I don't like that I've been letting the writing routine slip over the last week or so. I was sick, sure: but there is the little voice inside that's telling me I'm wasting my time writing anyway. It wants to know why I'm knocking myself out writing hundreds of thousands of words that no one will ever read? That voice is certain (and I mean 100%, no doubts whatever certain!) that I will never make it as a professional writer. It keeps telling me to lay it aside now, when I can still tell people I chose a different life path and not have my complete failure become public knowledge. Sad, ain't it? I know better than to listen to it but it's a persistent little son-of-a-bitch. I know everyone out there who follows this stupid dream hears the same voice and I know I'll keep going no matter how many times it screams at me to stop but it's depressing as hell. There is a large part of me that believes that voice. A part of me that knows I'll keep writing till the day I die and never once know the satisfaction of seeing my name on the cover of a novel. The only part of me that thinks I can do it, sounds suspisciously like the same voice that tells me to play the lottery . . .

See? Pathetic.

So I'm annoyed at myself because I can't seem to keep the faith. Guess I'll just have to push my way through on pure stubborness. I know how to do that . . . it's how I've made 38 without winding up in a straight-jacket. Stubborn is the one thing I can do with a vengeance. Don't believe me? Just ask the wife! Her tales of my bull-headedness are many and legend!

Enough whining for now. Gotta run.


Monday, October 03, 2005

Accursed Moon!


The very word means the day dedicated to the lunar celestial body, or: "Moon Day". (translation of Latin lūnae diēs, day of the moon) Note the connection to the word "Luna" which is also the Latin base for the word "Lunatic" (Middle English lunatik, from Old French lunatique, from Latin lūnāticus, from lūna, moon).

In short: you have to be a friggin' whack-job to enjoy this day!

At work. It's crazy. I'm tired. Problems galore. No one is happy to be here today.

It's truly a Monday.

How'd the weekend go, folks? Mine was good. Got done all that I needed to, though I felt like crap doing it. I got back to exercising this a.m. (took the last few days off because of the illness) and the body was not happy with me. The joints and back still ache a touch and the sinuses are mildly stuffed so it wasn't a lot of fun but I had to do it. Illness is almost always the death of my exercise programs and I wasn't letting this one die the slow death of indifference. So I was back at it first thing out of bed today. It hurt, but I felt better afterward.

Got some writing done today on "First" (1,300 words or so) over lunch. Not a wonderful day but I'll take it just the same. It's the first writing I've gotten done in a full week. No editing on "Clans" yet. I tried looking at it on Saturday night but it seemed too horrid to work on. I'm hoping that was because I felt like such crap at the time and not because it really is crap. Of course, now I'm afraid to go back and look at it fear it truly is the latter. (I know, I know . . . I promise I'll get back to it! Sheesh, you're so pushy!)

Can you believe it's October already? Man, this year flew by! NaNoWriMo is just around the corner (yup, I'll be doing it once again!) and the holidays are hovering in the background.

Strange thing I noticed today. . . Seems like a lot of the blogs on my sidebar were sparsely updated the last two weeks. Either we are all living frighteningly similar lives, or the other blogs are all just imaginary projections of fragments from my own tattered psyche that update themselves only when I conentrate on them. Hmmm . . . which do you think it is?

So, Mel & Lee (from my FM Crit Circle) dropped some comments here last week about getting back into our round-robin editing work. I asked them to hold off until today, so I think I'll swing by and see if they've gotten anything going yet. I think I'm going to post "First" there for them to start picking at. I'm hoping that getting feedback as I'm working the first draft may help me avoid some pitfalls and -who knows?- maybe even prompt some new plot twists. This week should be a little less chaotic than the last two so I'm hoping to get a good bit of work done. I'll keep you posted.


Friday, September 30, 2005

Doctor and Bullets

Home at last!

Travelling for work today and man: long commutes suck when your sinuses are pounding. At least the seminar went well, even though the driving didn't. I'll never understand the traffic in this state. It's a beautiful fall day, not a cloud in the sky, and I saw four accidents on my way home Oy! If you've never driven through the Garden State at rush hour, you've missed out on the thrill ride of a lifetime. Forget about rollercoasters - Rolling Thunder can't hold a candle to moving through the Oranges at 5:00 on a Friday evening!!

Family night tonight will be of the tame sort. The wife and I are both under-the-weather so we're going to pass on the board games and go for simple movie fare (the boy's choice . . . which means LOTR once more I have no doubt!) That's cool, I'll doze on the couch while he watches and the wife will be snoring like a drunken sailor five miutes into it. (Yes, dear: you DO snore!)

Another busy weekend coming (are there any other kind?) Running all day for Scouts tomorrow, and Sunday we're shutting down the pool and heading to the In-Law's for dinner. That's good by me. Unlike most folks, I actually like my wife's parents. They're very cool people, who've never done anything but be nice to me and help me out when I needed it. Not only that, but the Mom-In-Law is Polish and makes some wicked-awesome dinners! (Dude, kluskies and cabbage must be eaten to be believed!)

With a little luck, I will feel well enough tomorrow to get back to some regular writing. I'm taking tonight to get another good chunk of rest before I do. I have found from long (unpleasant) experience that when I get sick, all I can do is rest until it goes away. If I push at it, the cold hangs on for weeks. Three days of long sleep and I'm usually back to my usual healthy-as-an-ox self. I'm actually pretty grateful: I only get sick once or twice a year (if that) and it goes pretty quickly if I handle it correctly. Some soup, some OJ, some sleep (just like mom always said!) is usually all it takes. I don't do doctors, medicines, or vitamins. I'm a firm believer that anything which can only be made through advanced science should NOT be introduced into your system unless there is a serious medical necessity. Doctors . . . don't get me started! I'm certain that I'm nearly immortal, but I'm also pretty sure the two things that can kill me are doctors and bullets. I figure to avoid both for as long as I possibly can.

Off to crash with the family now. Catch you all on the most heinous day of the week!


Thursday, September 29, 2005

Scary Trolls and other Noxious Things

Howdy all.

Still feeling like crap, but at least I'm a mobile form of feces today! (though that last sentence shows my mind is definitely not functioning well) Yesterday was the absolute worst. The day at work was non-stop, head was pounding, nose dripping, joint aching, and to top it all off we had the "open house" to go to. The idea for this farce was that parents moved from class to class in "periods" exactly as the children do, with the principal on the speaker telling us when to change classes. Let me tell ya': running across the length of the school in under three minutes with a migraine ain't my idea of big fun! All-in-all, I have to say the thing was a complete waste of time (though the wife thought it was wonderful) I make the boy give me a class-by-class rundown of his day when I pick him up after school each day so there was nothing new for me there. I knew going in what each of his teachers expected from him and what they were like from the boy. (have I mentioned he talks a lot?)

Tonight should be a calm night and I may (if I'm up to it) try to do some edits on "Clans". I did get to doing the intro section on the "One Pass Revisions" for it but that's all the writing related stuff I've managed for the last seven days. Yuck. A full week without a single new word to show for it. Life has just not been cooperating.

Big plan for the night is to just drink lots of O.J. and rest as much as I can. The nose and lungs are expelling strange yellow fluids now and I don't think I'm fit for human company, so hiding out in the house and vegetating is probably best for all. (sadly, the wife and boy will be assaulted by a wide range of vile sounds and demonstrations of the body's ability to generate noxious fluids and gases but that is the true price of love after all!)

Alright, that settles it: my mind is definitely wandering down strange paths now. I'm signing off and going to hide away with the other scary little trolls now.


Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Done In






Feel like death walking but I had to drag it into work, which has been a non-stop nightmare of major problems. Want to go home, want to sleep, but I can't - have a trainee to work with this p.m. Tonight is "open house" at the boys school so no rest after work either.


Writing? What is that?


Monday, September 26, 2005

Lost Weekend

Piss on all Mondays! They suck worse than a broken vacuum cleaner in a mud hole!

Well, with that out of the way allow me to apologize for my silence over the last few days. The end of last week snuck up on me (gently smacking me in the back of the skull with a hammer!) and I barely had time to breathe, much less post here. I found out last minute that I was traveling all day Friday for work, so Thursday was a mad dash of preparation and re-scheduling. To top it off, when I got home that night, the boy and I had to run out shopping for supplies and fishing gear for our weekend campout (which I barely made it back in time for Friday!) It was a tad hectic.

The good thing is that the weekend was fantastic! We went canoeing and fishing in one of the state parks down in southern NJ and had a blast. There are few things funnier than watching thirty 11-14 year old kids trying to get canoes over sand bars in a low-water river. Not only that but the boys managed to swamp their boats more times than I could count and/or ram them into the mud banks at the edge of the river where they couldn't get free. I spent more time in the water helping the boys than I did in my own canoe. That's alright though, it was still a lot of fun. Weather was perfect: not a cloud in the sky and temps in the mid 70's (low 50's at night) You can't ask for better when you're camping!

As for writing: nothing doing. Didn't touch a thing. Hopefully tonight (lunch today is locked up with a new trainee and errands for Scouts I need to run) but even that is questionable. We finally (I think!) have a contractor for the renovations and he may be coming by tonight to sign the final contract. (I hope!)

Anyway, Monday is all over me (and it so . . . icky!!!) so I have to run. I'll try to be better with the posts this week.