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.


Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Working The Program


Sorry for the no-post yesterday, there just wasn't any time. Work had me jumping through hoops, so not even a lunch yesterday. Last night was Boy Scouts and then the boy needed help with an essay he was writing when we got home, so no writing of any type got done. Today's not looking too hot either: I'm traveling today & have a ton of stuff scheduled after work so it may be another bust.

So, I promised to discuss my new work out routine in my last post. I won't bore you with the details of what I do, how many reps, etc. but I have been working a new (for me anyway) concept in the "how" of my workout. One of the problems I always run into when I start a program is "burn out". I do well for several weeks, maybe even a month or two, then I simply get sick and tired of doing the program and it falls to the wayside (much to the detriment of both my physical and mental well being!) I have always listened to folks talk about how exercise becomes part of their daily routine and after they've been doing it a while; they start looking forward to it each day. Yea . . . okay, that never happens for me. Still, I hear that from a lot of sources and I began to wonder what the problem was (other than my natural laziness) that I never got to a point where I didn't mind the exercise. It always seemed like a chore and each day it got worse. What was the problem?

Let's take a quick step back here: in my life I have been involved in a lot of athletic activities: football, baseball, basketball, martial arts, etc. I learned young that the way to improve performance was to push yourself: go one more rep beyond what hurt. The concept has always been "do more today than you did yesterday". If you did fifty push-ups on Monday, try for fifty-five on Tuesday. That concept was drilled into me from the time I was seven and started Pop Warner football.

And therein lies the problem.

That's the realization that finally hit me (after 30 friggin' years!) The exercise always got harder and less inviting because I made it that way. I always added more reps and more time to the workout as I went. I'd set weekly goals for myself like: "Okay, if I do two more sit-ups each day, I'll get up to sixty by the end of the week . . ." Of course, that meant I was always hurting and always exhausted by the workout. I never gave my body the opportunity to adjust to the exercise, to let it become part of my regular routine. All I saw was a never ending -ever growing- routine of strain and pain. (I never said I was brilliant! Alright, I have, but you knew I was full of crap, right?) and I'd give up in frustration.

This time I'm intentionally not increasing the workout. I found a comfortable benchmark when I first started (one that required a bit of strain and some sweat) and I'm staying with that for the moment. I'm going into my third week of exercise now and for once, I'm not dreading getting out of bed each morning and facing it. The program takes only 15 minutes each day and I do it as soon as I get out of bed. It isn't wearing me out, keeping me constantly sore, or making me dread doing it. That's gotta be a good thing, right? I also make a point of getting up early each morning (about an hour earlier than I need to.) Why? Well, I have this odd reaction to working out . . . I get real drowsy afterward. So I workout, take a shower, eat breakfast, then have time for a quick 10-15 minute power nap before I head to work!

So, there's my program. Professionally designed? Deeply researched? Hell no, but it works for my sorry old ass!


Monday, September 19, 2005

Busy, busy, busy!

The weekend was a complete bust from a writing standpoint. I didn't so much as touch a keyboard, or look at one page of "Clans". (sigh) We were running like nuts the entire time. We had a bunch of errands to run Saturday, then we had to drop the boy at his grandmother's while the wife and I went to a surprise 40th birthday party for my best friend. The wife was kinda worried about going because (outside of my buddy and his wife) there were only gonna be a few folks there that we knew, and that only casually. It turned out well though, we met two other couples we had a lot in common with, danced quite a bit, and had a very nice time. Sunday was also busy, we had an Eagle Scout promotion ceremony to attend for a boy in my son's troop. It was really a nice ceremony. The kid who made it really deserved the rank. There was a really nice moment where he gave a pin to his older brother (also an Eagle with our troop) to thank him for being a friend and mentor. The older brother got all choked up and every mom in the place started to cry. It's always nice to see that there are some really great kids out there, despite the loons you see all the time on television. Makes you feel good about the world's future, ya' know?

Work has me too busy to write at lunch today, just a few minutes free for this post. Tonight isn't looking good either, I never got to the lawn this weekend and the wife has a dozen or so errands she wants me to run with her. I'll try to fit some work in there somehow though. (wish me luck!)

On the "good news" front: I've been working out every day now for the past two weeks and I feel a lot better. (except for my knees. I over-did the dancing Sat. & I'm feeling it in the knees.) I've been pretty mellow around the house (for which I know the wife is grateful!) and even the usually insanity of a working life hasn't gotten to me lately. Such a simple concept: move your body, relax your mind. Still, I always seem to have trouble keeping with it. This time I'm working things a bit differently so hopefully it'll go easier. I have to run, but I'll let you in on the new plan tomorrow.


Friday, September 16, 2005


Seven Hundred Sixty Four.

That is the number haunting me right now. It has taken hold of me and is scaring the living crap out of me. Why? Simple:

Last night I printed out my novel "Clans" so I could begin editing and I damn near passed out when I saw it was 764 pages! Do you know how much paper that is? Damn near two full reams! As if that ain't bad enough: at 250 words/page that equals 191,000 words. I don't know about you folks, but that is far and away the biggest thing I've ever written and it's intimidating the hell out of me. The sheer mass of words I'm looking at makes me queasy. I can't help but think I'll be old and gray (alright: oldER and grayER!) before it's done.

Ah well, there are worse problems in life. I felt the same way when I started writing it; I thought it would take years to finish. Truth is, it only took about 4 months. Editing is always quicker, and I will be using Holly's One-Pass Revisioning again. I had great success with it on "Slayer". Of course, my books always seem to get longer after editing . . . The other thing that is making me nervous is that this is the first book of a series and I haven't even started the outline on the next one yet. I have a feeling it may work out to be a trilogy, with each (at least) as long as the first one. Oy! Normal people don't do things like this. Normal people would never even consider spending years of their lives typing up mountains of paper with made up stories and absolutely no guarantee that anyone will ever read them. It has to be some twisted form of psychosis that makes us do this crap. Worse, I'm moving on to do even more mounds of pulp that are likely to never see the light of publishing day . . . AAAAAAHHHH!!!!!


Such is the life of a wannabee I guess.

Friday - that means game night (yes, I am still undefeated!) and better yet: it's my turn to pick the game! (woo-hoo!) I chose Scrabble, which is annoying the wife to no end. She swore off playing that with me years ago, due to the merciless drubbings I consistently gave her! I am a Scrabble God! She actually tried to override my choice of game but the boy wanted to play it too, so she's stuck. (Nya-nya Nya-nya!)

Busy weekend ahead: we've got plans for both days and a lot of running to do between scheduled events. I also need to cut the lawn (didn't get to it at all last week) and a few minor other outdoor type things. It's time to start packing stuff away for the upcoming winter. Not likely to be much more swimming and BBQ's, etc. this season. I'm still waiting to hear back from two contractors with their final prices on the renovations. They're both suposed to get them to me tonight/tomorrow (but I won't be holding my breath).

Actually having fun at work today (gasp!) I'm busy doing a little bit of programming for a feature that should save the company a good 50k or so. I'm not a professional programmer, but I dabble a bit. It's fun actually; sort of like doing puzzle. I don't think I'd care to do it full time but it's a nice diversion from the routine. I've been playing with programming of various type since I was a teenager and got my first Commodore 64 (how's that for old school, eh?) and started coding my own little mini-games. Never had any formal training but I can usually get little utilities and time savers cobbled together when I need them. All right, lunch is about done: I have to get back to it. Enjoy the weekend . . .


Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Like a Rock

Ever hear the Bob Seger song "Like a Rock"? (Sure you have, they use it for the Ford truck commercials!) I've heard the song a thousand times, always thought it was a nice little tune, but yesterday -for the first time- I actually listened to it. I paid attention to the lyrics and I was simply blown away. Maybe it's because I just turned 38 (the age of the man in the song) and I can truly appreciate the nostalgia of looking back and remembering what it was like to be 18. It was a bit of a strange revelation for me. I've never been one to care very much about age. I've always just been . . . me! Didn't matter how old I was, I just kept on doing my thing, ya' know? Suddenly, I'm driving the car (alright, mini-van!) listening to this song and for the first time ever it truly hits me that I'm not 18 anymore. I'm fat, bald, slow, have aches and pains, think before I react, plan everything to death, and avoid pissing people off if I can. That's a far cry from the 18 year old long haired, bridge burning, firebrand who had all the answers and would run down anyone who got in his way because "truth" and "justice" were the only things that mattered. I still believe in those things but I've come to realize that I don't have a monopoly on either one and that I can be just as wrong (at times) as all the other assholes in this world that piss me off. I've learned to keep my mouth shut and let folks live their own lives. Still, it saddens me somewhat that that kid is gone. He's the person I always thought I was, only now I realize that's not me anymore. It's strange. Like I said: it saddens me, but it's also uplifting in a way. I've come quite a distance in 20 years: seen, done, and survived more things than I ever could have imagined and I like to think I'm a better person for it. I talked to my wife about it last night and she made a good point: "We've got each other, a great son, and a great life. You're doing okay."

Yea, that works for me.

(Wouldn't mind having the hair and body back though!)

Funny thing: the wife was asking me about my writing last night and about dealing with incoming rejections, etc. She said something to the effect of: "Even if you never get published, you'll still be happy with your life, right?" She must have asked me that five times and all I did was scowl at her each time she said it. I believe the woman is worried I might have a complete breakdown if I don't make it as a professional writer! (Relax babe, there's no bottle of sleeping pils in my future!) The fact is, this is not something I can set aside and say: Gee, it didn't work. I'll be writing till they plant my ass in the dirt, whether I get published or no. (I have to believe that at some point I will be) I'm a writer. I write. The scowls were not because I was angry at the question (actually, it was because I found her nervousness funny!) but because being published is just the goal, not the purpose. Writing is a kinda like sports: getting the points on the board is the goal, but it's not why you're there. Being part of something larger than yourself, finding your own limits and pushing past them: all that and more. That's writing . . . that's what I do . . . who I am.

Publishing is the goal, not the purpose. (But you can bet your ass I will do an extended version of the happy-snoopy-dance-of-joy the day it happens!) Ah well, that's enough "exploring the inner self" for one day. Any more sappy crap and I'll go into a sugar coma . . .


Tuesday, September 13, 2005

On the Run

Ah, yes . . . another solid writing day! I was a typing madman at lunch today: got nearly 4,000 words done on "First" (Sweet!) I got drawn into an unexpected scene that was not in my original outline that I absolutely loved. My young MC has to square off on a trouble maker in his command and convert the man from wanting to kill him to becoming a loyal officer and he does it by kicking the man's ass. (I know, it sounds goofy, butI think it really works in the context!)

I got my first form rejection letter from my queries last night. Surprisingly, it didn't hit me as hard as I thought it would; I took it pretty much in stride. I think the ego boost of selling the story over the weekend was just what I needed to buffer against the rejections. I really don't expect to hit an agent on my first shot out of the gate, so I'm expecting more form letters over the next week or two.

Had a Boy Scout leader meeting last night, and our regular Troop meeting is tonight so I won't be moving any farther with the writing today, but that's cool: 4k works fine. Our next outing is going to be a canoeing/fishing trip. I am really looking forward to that!

Well, it's late in the day & I gotta run to pick up the boy. Just wanted to drop a quick note and let y'all know how the day went.


Monday, September 12, 2005

I'm Da' Man!!

Of course, it figures: just when I have some good new to impart, Blogger decides to screw with me. I am writing this offline because the system just won’t let me log on at the moment. Ah well, such is life.

So, the weekend was going reasonably well: we ordered our kitchen cabinets and counters on Saturday for a reasonable price (even got 12 months no pay/no finance!) and I was browsing the web for info on appliances, etc. when the wife went out to get the mail and came rushing in with a large manila envelope that has my name on it. Our first thought was: it’s from an agent!! But I looked at the return address and saw it wasn’t from anyone I’d sent to, so I opened it up, having no clue what it was and my jaw damn near hit the floor when I saw it was a check (albeit a small one) and a magazine with my name on the cover!!

Aoife’s Kiss is a quarterly magazine that I had submitted a short story to, called “Kyli’s Tune” about eight months back. The editor (brilliant man, named Tyree Campell!) liked it and asked me to make one or two minor edits (which I happily did) and re-submit it. I sent the changes along, but I never heard back from him. I sent a follow up e-mail about three months ago, but still no word so I just shrugged and figured he’d decided to pass on it. Can’t tell you how thrilled I was when I popped open that envelope and saw my name. This makes for my second actual short story sale, which is a great ego boost for me, what with all those queries out there hovering over my head. I haven’t really focused very much on selling my short stories (I’m a novelist at heart) and it’s nice to know some folks think I can actually write well enough to be paid for it. Do two sales make me a pro? Nah, probably not but it’s still a lot of fun to see that name “J.A. Coppinger” in print!!!!! (BTW: have to say that I love the initials thing: it’s so . . . writerly!) You can order a single issue of the magazine here if you’re interested.

My son grabbed the magazine as soon as he saw it. He wanted to be the first to read it. I’m pretty sure this is the first time he’s ever read any of my stuff. He knows that I write but he’s never read any of it. I was a little nervous but he really liked it. (could have just been politeness, but I don’t think so . . .) He suggests expanding the story into a novel; he thought the world setting was very cool. The wife also read & liked but only in a so-so way: she’s not a big fan of F&SF. The boy is a fantasy freak though, so it was cool that he liked it. He was also pretty impressed that my name was actually on the cover (as was I!) I think he liked that his dad was more than just the silly, fat, old dork he usually thinks I am!

I had the chance to finish “Eldest” by Chris Paolini this weekend. It was a fun read but it was not quite the feature my son had told me it was. The book is very derivative. In a lot of cases I could pick out character/situations that were lifted wholesale from famous novels, and in other cases the writing was just a bit immature, with some glaring errors in experience and viewpoint. That’s to be expected; the author’s only 21 and I’d guess most of his experiences have come from books. Chris Paolini is a fine writer though: he takes the reader on a fun journey and does a good job with his prose. The pacing is good, though the characters are a little wooden. Their depth will come with personal experience, I have no doubt. In a few more years he will be wonderful; all that he has to worry about is people always thinking of him as: “That kid author” and not giving his work a fair chance. I hope that doesn’t happen. Chris has all the tools he needs; they just need a touch more sharpening. All-in-all “Eldest” was worth the purchase price and works well for what it is: a YA novel of high adventure.


Friday, September 09, 2005

On a Roll

Man, am I have a great writng day!

I knocked out 1,600 words on "First" last night (which was cool considering I had to really force myself to sit & do it) Then I actually had time to write at lunch today (last minute cancellation of my planned travel) and I thoroughly kicked ass!!! 0ver 3,500 words! Total of 5,100 words in under 24 hours? Yea, I'll accept that any day. Were the words good? I have no idea, I don't read what I write. I've found that if I go back and look at what I've done it slows me down too much. I start seeing little flaws, making corrections, and before I know it: I've lost the thread of the story and I'm done. Instead, I write with Word (yes, I use the MS beast!) in a small window where I can't see anything more than the last paragraph I've typed in. That's usually enough to catch any spelling or grammar errors before they scroll out of sight. I never read what I did at the end of the day either. The most I'll do is go back 3-4 paragraphs when I start each day, just to remind me of where I am in the story, then jump right into the typing. So, I don't know if the writing is any good but I do know I'm having a lot of fun writing this one and I'm not going to tempt the Fates by asking for anything more. If it sucks, I'll get it during edits (that's what they're for, after all!)

Here's an interesting thing: on the auction being held to benefit author Larissa Ione I noticed that the bids on agent and editor critiques of manuscripts are far outpacing the writer's critiques with one notable exception (as of this writing): Holly Lisle! Holly is currently topping the list hands down. I have to say, I'd love to place a bid on Holly's offer myself, but it's already over $100 and the wife would no doubt have a stroke, even though it is for a good cause. We've already given heavily to the Katrina relief funds and with the home renovation looming (still no word from contractors, BTW!) cash is on the tight side. Would be nice though.

Tonight is family night, we'll be hanging quietly at home and playing board games. I thought this was kind of a goofy idea when my wife first proposed it. Seemed kind of: "new-age-touchy-feely" to my archaic ass, ya' know? I was wrong though, it's turned out to be a lot of fun. The boy is determined to beat me at all costs (sadly he never does!) and does the Happy-Snoopy-Dance every time he gets one up on me. It's funny as hell to watch. The wife has simply decided that I cheat at all times (sour grapes!) and that's why she keeps losing. Tonight she is planning Tri-ominoes, which I have never played before. It is her attempt to dethrone me: she has (in the far distant past) defeated me at games like Rummikube, etc. that deal heavily with numbers (never my strong suit!) I try to steer towards games like Scrabble, where I can humiliate and crush all competition . . . um, I mean: where we can enjoy quality family time!

Well, the weekend is lurking so I probably wont be back until the "M"- day. (hush, never say it out loud! It might hear you!) With a little luck, I'll get some more work in on "First" and who knows? Maybe I'll start getting some responses back from my queries.


Thursday, September 08, 2005

I'm Hurting!

Alright, I admit it: my ass is out of shape! I got back to the daily workout yesterday (finally!) and I am sooooo feeling it right now. My thighs feel like someone was beating them with a baseball bat. Other than that though, it’s not too bad. I’m a tad stiff here and there but generally it’s a positive thing. I’ve been meaning to get back at it for a while now (no, really!) but I wasn’t finding the motivation. The wife finally gave me the kick in the ass I needed (doesn’t she always?) to get going. She pointed out that we both could use some exercise and promised to work out with me every day. More importantly, she told me I was being an obnoxious, unpleasant, grump again and I better start working out or she was going to jump right into the middle of my shit with steel toed boots! As I’ve mentioned before, if I don’t work out I get depressed and that’s not good for the family.

No writing last night, the system was on the fritz and I spent three hours cleaning it up, defragging, and running anti-spyware on it. Today and tomorrow are tight as well. I have a trainee in today and tomorrow I’m on the road to our office in Ass-End, Nowhere. That’s a 2+ hour trip on good days and it’s Friday so it won’t be a good day. I’m hoping to get some work done tonight but I have to call the contractors who came by last week. Not one of these chuckleheads has gotten back to me with a price. How do contractors stay in business when they behave this way? It boggles the mind.

The boy went back to school yesterday and I was really glad to see how excited he was when he got home. He’s in all the Advanced Placement classes the school offers (Math, Science, and English) and he likes all his teachers. Best of all, he’s excited at the curriculum they have laid out for him. It’s some tough stuff, but he can’t wait to get at it. That is a very cool thing, indeed! He’s also has a computer course this semester that focuses on networking, maintenance, and using MS Office products so he’s thrilled about that. He also just finished “Eldest” by Chris Paolini and adored it. He says it’s better than (gasp!) Harry Potter and almost as good as LOTR. Understand: coming from my boy that’s about as big an endorsement as there is! I’ll be reading it myself over the next few days and I’ll toss you my opinion as well.


Wednesday, September 07, 2005


Back again!

Sorry for the delay, I had a long weekend (4 days!) and I was spending time hangin' with the family. Spent a lot of time watching CNN and the details of what was happening along the Gulf. Christ, what a fuckin' mess! I do try to keep this blog focused on my writing but I don't think anyone can let something the size of the Katrina disaster go without at least some comment to show we're still human and can empathize with the suffering going on throughout the south. So, to throw my own $0.02 nto the mix (and no doubt piss some folks off) here are my top ten thoughts about Katrina:

10. Kanye West is a fucking moron. (I'm no supporter of Bush, but West's statements Friday night were assinine. Have to admit though, it was pretty damn funny watching Mike Myer's face - he was completely lost!)

9. To all the people who claim the victims: "deserve what they got because they didn't get out when told" . . . you make Kanye West seem like Albert Einstein. (How the hell do you get out when you're too damn poor to afford a bus pass -if there had been buses to take -much less a car?)

8. The response was slow because the Guard were in Iraq. (Sorry, but I agree with this. The three states hit have the highest percentage of deployed guard units in the country, and I saw a report that claimed nearly 60% of their equipment was in Iraq. Throw onto that the large number of poor and minority people who join the military and it doesn't seem an extreme leap of logic to realize a good portion of the Guard not deployed overseas were actually people trapped by the floods.)

7. FEMA didn't know about what was happening in New Orleans until Thursday. (Are you fuckin' kidding me? The director had the balls to actually say this. What, don't they have CNN or MSNBCin D.C.? Everyone else in this country knew, but this idiot didn't?)

6. The Governor of Louisiana is to blame for the delays in getting aid to the victims, not the President. (This is a battle of the Titanic Morons. Both are so busy covering their political asses that I can't tell who did a worse job. Let's just call it a tie and have them both shot.)

5. The Mayor of NO screwed up by not using transit and school buses to get people out of the city. (This seems like 20-20 hindsight. Don't lose track of the fact that they originally got people to the Superdome because of the hurricane. The flood came afterward and nobody was prepared for that. By the time he needed those buses, they were already underwater.)

4. The Mayor of NO shouldn't have blamed the President for not helping the city on public radio. (Why the hell not? He'd spoken with the President, told him what he needed, and was ignored for two days because of "legal" issues. Bullshit. GW takes the full load on that and deserves it.)

3. The Bush administration failed to provide funding to upgrade the levees, even though they knew they couldn't hold past a category-3 hurricane. (While this may be true, the fact is: so did Clinton and every other president for the last half-century! To be fair, one of the biggest problems came from environmentalists who protested the "impact" of the projects. Of course, they're the same idiots claiming global warming is the cause of the hurricanes.)

2. The media misrepresented the black community, portraying them as criminals and looters. (Bull. The media showed what was happening, nothing more. I've watched the cable news coverage closely and most of what I saw were decent people trying to survive a horrible situation and doing an admirable job of it. Were most of them black? Yup. That's who lives there. Were most of them poor? Yup. That's WHY they were there. Were most of them looting and shooting at helicopters? Hell no! There were a few assholes -there always are- but most of the people were victims trying to help each other and get out. This is nothing but politicians getting air time and its sad thet they're willing to use this horror to do it.)

1. The government should have shot looters earlier -or- the government is shooting looters because they're black. (I lean towards the first statement and think the second is ridiculous. Looters are the assholes running out of Wal-Mart with wide screen TV's. Kill them. They're vile specimens polluting the human gene pool. People taking food, water, blankets, and any other damn thing they need to survive: give them a medal because they almost always shared what they took with others who needed it. As for the black/white thing . . . it's Grade-A crap! Looters should be shot because they're a danger to victim and resuer alike. They disrupt order and endanger innocent lives for their own greed. Kill the bastards, no matter what the color of their skin is.)

There you go, that's my thoughts on the disaster . . . except for this:

Stupid bureaucracy aside, I was proud of the way the people of this country responded. Regardless of race/creed/color/beliefs we saw people in need and are digging deep and doing what has to be done to help. I also want to say thank you to all the Red Rross, National Guard, and all the other volunteers who have risked their lives to help those who need it. Piss on what you may hear on radio or TV from morons with an axe to grind: the people of this nation know who you are, and what you do, and we're grateful.

And damn proud of you.


Friday, September 02, 2005

Quick & Dirty

Queries are done, dude! (or dude-ette as the case may be.)

All I have to do is run them to the post office in the a.m. and I'm officially part of the publishing race. Of course, I have no delusions about the chances of pulling an agent on my first pass, but I have to get started sometime, right? I know I am gong to receive polite form rejections, but one must cling to hope. I will endeavor to face the rejection bravely and not cry like a little girl with a skinned knee! (he said, clinging tightly to his favorite teddy bear and bravely blinking back tears . . .)

Damn all for witing today, work hit me with a last minute bomb-shell that took my entire day, including lunch. I didn't even have time to respond to any e-mails today. Ah well, it's the day before a holiday weekend: folk'll just figure I wasn't around to respond. I did manage to settle the crisis in a way that made the boss happy and should save the firm a whole lot of money, so it's all good . . .

I just had a software vendor call me while I wrote this. I called her this morning for an emergency price quote, etc. and she only now (at 4:30 p.m.) called me back. I was all set to rip into her for not responding in a timely manner when she mentioned that she's in California. Damn those pesky time zones! I imagine a three hour delay is a justifiable excuse, but I'm still annoyed. Anyone I need to do ANYTHING should have 24 hour service! (how cool would that be?)

Anyway, it's late & it's a holiday weekend so I'm outta here. Just wanted to drop a quick note so you didn't think I'd fallen off the edge of the planet. Be good all. Have a safe and happy holiday.


Thursday, September 01, 2005

Let It All Go

Been watching the news & all the pix of the Gulf Coast . . . Christ, it's awful. Your heart can't help but go out to those people. I do have to say though, that I can't agree with the constant talk of rebuilding these communities. Why rebuild in an area that's going to see the same thing happen again? Oh, it may be a long time besides something of Katrina's ferocity hits again, but it will happen. Why spend billions to demolish and rebuild a dead city when you can relocate these people elsewhere and give them better lives? I know it's their home, but there are places in this country that are desperate for an influx of new people to boost their economy. My wife was telling me last night aobut several towns in the mid-west that are giving away land to encourage people to immigrate to their area. Maybe it's time to let go of the past and move these unfortunate folks on to something better. Holly had a post yesterday that I thought was particularly apt about the international response to the Katrina disaster.

This isn't a political blog, but I have to say I'm getting pretty damn fed up with the way the world treats this country. We are always trying to help everybody and all they do is get pissed off and blame us for not doing enough; but when we need them? You can hear the crickets chirp. I'm starting to think it's time for us to go back to being isolationists. Screw the rest of the world. Let them all -including the entire Middle East- take care of their own problems from now on. We'll stay quietly here inside our borders and see how they make out, okay?

Anyway, just my $0.02

So, my wife did the mail merge for me last night on the agent queries. All I need to do is print 'em up, put them in the envelopes, put on postage, and they're away! (butterflies in the stomach just typing those words!) I was travelling for work yesterday so no writing at lunch. I'm on the road again today, so any work will have to be done at home tonight. Probably not much on "First", I'll be doing the queries instead. Anyway, gotta run.