Thursday, September 28, 2006


( A special post for SRH)

Today, I want to talk to you about something near and dear to my heart. I'd like to talk to you about CBS.

No, not the television conglomerate, but something infinitely more important to our daily lives. The CBS I'm referring to stands for the:
Corrective Bitch Slap.

Far too often in our crazy, runabout, lives we are faced with the rampant stupidity of our fellow travelers on this hurtling piece of space debris we call Earth. Because of the hectic pace of modern life, we are not able to take sufficient time to explain to these poor, ignorant, souls exactly why they are such incredible morons. Despite our best intentions, we -all too often- allow them to continue on their way without correcting the glaring idiocy that they are radiating to everyone around them.

All because we don't have enough time to explain it to them. Isn't that heartbreaking?

That's where CBS comes in. In a situation where rampant stupidity is displayed, you can simply use the palm of your hand to strike the back of the offender's skull as hard, and as fast, as you can while saying the three letters: "CBS!" out loud. The ignorant fool is made instantly aware of just how moronic they are being and you can go about your day, having wasted little -or no- time, feeling good about having made a change for the positive in our world. Consider this scenario as an example . . . we'll take two office workers named Joe and Jim in a typical conversation.

Joe: "Hey, Jim, did you make the changes to those files like I asked you to for my meeting today?"

Jim: "Well, let's see . . . did you ever e-mail them to me like I asked you to?"

Joe: "Uhhhh, no . . . but I need them for a meeting in ten minutes!"

Jim: <smack!!> CBS.

You see how much time a simple CBS can save in a situation like this? Instead of spending all the time before the meeting explaining to Joe why he's an idiot, Jim is able to move on to the work and Joe is made to realize -instantly- just what a fool he's been.

Let's consider a second example . . . a typical traffic acident on any major highway.

Driver 1: "Lady, you drove up my ass, cut off four cars to get to the left hand lane, then cut back across three lanes to get off at the exit that was only 3oo feet from where you started, side-swiping me in the process!"

Driver 2: "Well, I'm in a hurrrrry!!!! My poodle has a 2:30 hair dresser appointment and if we're late, Madam Fifi just goes all to pieces!"

Driver 1: <smack!!> CBS.

Once more, a simple CBS brings reality home in an instant.

I am here today to ask you to make the effort to apply the principles of a CBS in your own home and community. If we all band together, we can make huge strides in the elimination of blatant stupidity from our daily lives. Apply a CBS to your boss, a friend, co-workers . . . even your own children if they're in danger of being a complete dumb-ass. Remember: a CBS today may help prevent tomorrow's idiocy.

Do it for the ones you love. Do it for your own sanity.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled lives.

This Public Service Announcement has been brought to you courtesy of W.A.S.P. (Writers Against Stupid People), Northeast U.S. Chapter. Any resemblance to real stupid people ,or events, is wholly intentional and anyone complaining about it will be subjected to their own CBS, so piss-off before I get violent and sick a platypus on your ass. Trust me, you do not want a ticked off platypus coming after you!

(Is that enough of a rant for you, SRH?)


Wednesday, September 27, 2006

The Rant That Never Was

Life keeps on rumblin' along.

Don't know why I said that, it just sorta came out . . . (diarrhea of the brain, maybe?) Life's not too bad at the moment; been lots (and LOTS!) of changes around the homefront over the last few months (i.e. dog, diet, school, work, writing . . .) but I think we're finally getting into the swing of things. Life seems to be (gasp!) settling down for once. I really hope we can get through fall and winter without any major changes to the schedule we've worked out. It seems to be working well for everybody (though The Wife cannot wait until The Dog is house-broken!) Which is actually funny as hell to me . . .

See, we had two cats for the last sixteen years, one of which spent her life ruining my carpets. Yea, I know, cats are supposed to be good about litter boxes and such - but not this one! My wife cleaned up the mess day, after day, after day, with no complaints. I used to freak out over it and she'd just shrug and tell me to chill out. Now, she's completely losing it when The Dog has accidents in the house (she's still only 10 weeks old) and last night she was yelling about it when I told her to just chill out. Funny how such things change, eh?

So, the ranting I warned you about is not going to happen. (I know: you're disappointed, right?) Wisdom comes with age and my ass is finally old enough to follow up on facts before I let my mouth get into gear.

The Boy did a project for his math class; a poster about the career he wanted to pursue in the future and how it relates to math. It was a nice poster with lots of pictures. I helped him work on it and I thought he did a really good job. The posters were to be hung around the halls of the school for Parent's Night (tonight, BTW: and The Wife is making me go!) Anyway, last week I asked how the project went and he told me he'd scored a perfect 100 on it. I thought that was great and told him so, then he says: "But the teacher won't hang it for parent's night." I found that strange and asked: why? "Because the teacher thinks it's offensive."

Now, this is the point where I nearly lost my friggin' mind. See, The Boy wants a career in the U.S. Navy. The idea that a teacher would refuse to display that career choice for fear of "offending" someone had me ready to start calling in lawyers, veterans groups, and every right-wing TV talk-show host I could think of! (I had offers from two separate family members who are in the military for their entire unit to show up in full dress tonight to protest! How cool would that be?) Well -luckily- I put the anger on hold and made a very polite call to the teacher to find out what the issue was. Seems The Boy had misunderstood her - she DID hang the poster but she'd covered a single one of his pictures (a shot of a battleship with all guns blazing) because there are going to be folks there with family on active duty -and some who've lost family members in Iraq- and she didn't want to show anything that might bring up bad feelings for them. Now, I think that's a sorta candy-ass approach but it's hard to argue it without sounding like an inconsiderate jerk, so I let it slide. My major concern had been her apparent disrespect towards the military but in our conversation she was actually a big supporter of the military and my son's desire to join.

So, no ranting . . . just a shrug at how effete a nation we are becoming. Well, work summons - gotta bolt.


Monday, September 25, 2006

Pissing Me Off

I had planned to start this post with the words: "I'm feeling stressed today but I don't know why." I thought about that while blogger was logging me on, and I realized that I do know why.

Someone dear to me was diagnosed with cancer this weekend and -though I've been avoiding thinking about it- it's go me immensely pissed off.

Those of you who've been around here to read my babbling for a while know that The Wife fought through cancer twice. My father fought it . . . and lost. I lost three grandparents, two aunts, an uncle and a host of other friends and aquaintances to this goddam disease. It is a vile, evil, unrelenting beast that tears apart the lives of people who have done nothing to deserve that little slice of hell. It well and truly pisses me off. I won't tell you who the person is (privacy issue) but it's not The Wife (Thank God! I don't think I could survive the third trip to the plate!) but I will tell you they've been very important to me in my life and they deserve far better than this.

God don't give a fuck though . . . seems his phone's off the hook when it comes time to discuss the Big C with him.

There's the real truth behind my vegetarian diet. After a bunch of research reagarding nutrition and weight loss, etc. the thing that truly prompted me to become a vegetarian was all the research that links meat to cancer. Holly Lisle started me on this path with her post on her personal health (and I thank her for that!). I took her recommendation and bought the book "The China Study" and the info in it floored me. If what it said was true, I might be able to avoid the disease that I long ago resigned myself to dying from. (The Wife will yell at me for that last statement but it is true) The history of cancer in my family is staggering. I followed up with a lot of Internet research and a few other books and found a ton of evidence supporting "The China Study" and it's claims. I made the change and I'm damn glad of it. Will it keep me from developing cancer? I have no friggin' idea, but I am thrilled by all the other health improvements I've seen since switching and I (for once) have hope that I may be able to avoid the end I always thought would come for me.

Sorry, don't mean to get depressing (or preachy!) I just needed to spout a little.

On to the regular stuff - no writing or exercise on Friday. I was fighting off a head cold and I figured an extra day of would kill it quicker (and it did!) The good thing is that I got a request for another partial on "Slayer" this weekend. Another well known agent at a major house too, so that was cheering . . . as well as stressful. I sent it out today and now I have to sit around waiting for the other shoe to drop. Will they like it? Will they ask for the whole thing or is it to be my own SASE coming back with a form rejection? Ah well, such is the life we're striving for, eh?

I also have an issue brewing at my son's school right now. I have to talk to one of his teachers to get the facts of the situation but if it's playing out the way I think it is, there will be much ranting coming your way over the next few days . . . YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!!!


Friday, September 22, 2006

So You Wanna Be a Writer

What' s that you say?

You're gonna be the next Stephen King! Nora Roberts? Steinbeck, Hemingway and Dan Brown all rolled into one? Good for you! Welcome to the club . . . there are only about 500 gajillion of us and more coming through the door every day!

It's funny how many of us want this career. Despite the harsh reality that most of us will never see print in so much as a third-rate fanfic newsletter and that even the few (The proud!) who do make it to the professional level will rarely make a decent living at it (can we say: McEvening job, everyone?) Still, we flock to the dream by the thousands. Why? I was thinking about that today. Why is it so important to us? Oh, we could chat for hours on our "need to communicate" and the "inner muse" and our "artistic self" yearning to break free but I don't think that's really it. I think (and my thoughts + $5.00 can get you a latte at Starbucks!) that we want it so badly because of the dream.

The dream?

Ah, allow me to elucidate (I love that word!). There is a dream that comes along with being a writer. We all have one (and I don't mean the one where we are on stage accepting the Nobel Prize!) and I think it's the real reason we chew up all our free time (and sanity!) sitting alone in our tiny rooms, tapping at keyboards, creating tales of people who never were; doing things that could never happen. In our mind, we have an image of what our life will be like once we've "made it" (definition of "made it" is left to your personal standards) Being a wrtier brings with it a lifestyle that appeals to us (Reality not requiered for said lifestyle.) When I close my eyes at night and drift off to sleep, dreaming about "when I make it" . . . there's an image -a scene- that invariably plays through my mind as the fantasizing starts. I bet you have one too, though you may not have noticed it. There's a "perfect" situation that we're shooting for and I think it is the underpinning of why we write. Mine goes something like this:

It's Autumn. I'm walking up a hill with my hand in the pockets of my heavy suede jacket. I'm wearing a flannel shirt, jeans, and pretty beat up work boots. I reach the top of the hill and stop, tilting my head up to sniff the crisp air -it's just beginning to turn cold; winter is close by. I look back over my shoulder to see my log cabin home, sweet smoke wafting out of the fieldstone chimney. The Wife is sitting out on the porch, reading a book, and The Boy is wrestling in the grass with The Dog. I smile and look to the other side of the hill. Ahead there is the lake -silver hued and rippling lightly beneath the cool breeze. There are mountains behind it and trees -hardwoods all- as far as the eye can see. There is no sound but the wind, the birds, and the distant chime of my son's laugh. This is the life I have as a novelist. I'm not wealthy, I'm no Stephen King, but I can pay all the bills and still have a bit left over to do some of the fun stuff . . .

Fairly predictable I imagine but it's the underpinning of what I'm striving for. I want that life (and yes, I do know that being published doesn't make it all go that way - but it SHOULD, dammit!) Writing is me, being me: surviving on my own terms , strictly on talent and creations that come from inside me. That's a damn fine dream, even if it's not particularly realistic. It's why I keep sitting at that computer every night. So, how about the rest of you? What do you see when you think about "making it"? What images come immediately to your brain?

Don't be shy! Tell us what your perfect life as a writer is . . . I'm pretty sure everyone who visits here has one. Let's hear it folks! Drop a comment so we can all know we're not alone in our insanity. (Unless of course, I am . . . in which case you can feel free to ignore this post!)

Oh, BTW: sorry for all the "quotes" and (parentheticals) in this post. They got away from me . . .


Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Fathers, Puppies, and Books

The entire family watched the memorial service for Steve Irwin, "The Crocodile Hunter" on TV last night. It was important to my son. Steve Irwin was a personal hero of his. He watched every episode -of every show- the man ever did, and a lot of The Boy's personality was adapted from Steve Irwin. He's an animal lover and a huge advocate for conservation and ecologic protection. He wants to make a career of the Navy but he also wants to integrate it with animal research . . . maybe oceanography/mammal studies. That's because he learned about how important animals are from Steve Irwin. It's a shame what happened to the man and his memorial service was very nice. There was a moment though, when his 8-year-old daughter got up to read a good-bye letter she'd written to her father that damn near broke my heart. I also had a rough moment when his father got up to talk about how important his son was to him . . . I'm sure all you parents out there understand. Rough stuff.

On to happier things . . . another 1,600 words on "First", more editing on "Fish", and "Slayer" is still being shopped to agents. No bites as yet but one can always hope, yes? Had Scouts last night and that went well. I worked with two boys who are gearing up for their Eagle Scout projects and we had two new boys join the Troop. I like the symmetry of that. I did FINALLY remember to bring in the Scoutmaster's birthday cake (only 1-1/2 weeks late!) and the boys devoured it in under three minutes (No, that is NOT an exaggeration, I was timing it!) I'm telling ya, folks: sharks got nothing on teenaged boys when it comes to feeding frenzies! There was a camping trip last weekend (Which The Boy and I couldn't make. We were picking up the puppy.) and I'm sorry we missed it. Turns out the adults stumbled across a remarkable way to keep all the boys neat, clean, showered, combed hair, etc.

We just need to make sure there are Girl Scouts nearby!

Seems the place they went was an open weekend for all Scouts, so there was a large collection of 12-18 year old girls wandering about and all the boys were doing their best to impress. There was even a dance of sorts Sat. night and several of our boys actually found some female companions to groove with! (Am I sounding old again?) I am VERY sorry I missed that! That's fodder for yeaaarrrrrrsssssss of abuse that I missed out on. Ah well, the boys are all knuckleheads, so there will be no shortage of comedic material. Trust me!

The Wife took the puppy to the vets for her first checkup. She's in perfect health, well adjusted, happy, and calm. The staff at the vet's were crooning all over her becasue of how CUTE she is!! (Alright, even my grumpy, old, ass has to admit she's a really pretty dog!) We got some good advice, health tips, and some no-no's to keep in mind for dog rearing. I think Vets may actually be exempt from my "Doctors are Evil" rule. I asked The Boy if maybe he might want to be a Vet but he wants no part of it. He loves what they do but he doesn't like the idea of having to put animals down. He understands the need for it but doesn't want any part of doing it himself. I thought that was a fairly mature response. It's important to know yourself and what you are/are not willing to do. I take such things as a good sign. May be hope for that kid yet!

Tonight -should be- a quiet one about the house and I should make more solid writing progress. The schedule seems to be working for everyone at home, so I'll (hopefully) be sticking with it for quite a while. The weekends off are a good idea. Everybody needs downtime (especially lazy slobs like me!) to just decompress from the crazy of everyday life.


Monday, September 18, 2006

Additions and Observations

It's official: we have a new member of the family!

She's a 9 week old Lab/Hound mix that has to be the quietest, gentlest, dog in history! She and The Boy have become inseparable in just two days. He spends all his free time playing with her and wherever he goes, she goes. He sits and she crawls right into his lap . . . seems The Boy makes a wonderful doggie bed (Who knew?) It's all still new for both of them of course but it's really cool to watch them together. The Boy's been really good about taking care of her (so far!) he's been getting up in the middle of the night to take her out, feeding her, training her, etc. For the dog's part, she's been pretty amenable to whatever he wants her to do and we've only had two minor "accidents" in the house so far. She's a really good dog . . .

Overheard an odd conversation while grabbing my lunch today: three landscapers (wearing matching company shirts) were standing nearby chatting on their own lunch break. The first guy says:

"It's illegal, dude! You can't watch porn in your car! If somebody else is drivin' down the road and sees it through your window, they can call the cops and you're busted!"

(Hello! You have my attention now!)

Second guy:

"What? Fuck that, man! If I wanna watch porn, I'm watchin' porn!"

Third guy:

"Well, I can see if you, like: pick up a hitch-hiker . . ."

Second Guy:

"Fuck that! If I'm pickin' some asshole up off the street, they'll watch whatever I damn well wanna watch!"

First guy:

"Yea, but what if they're a kid or somethin'?"

Second Guy:

"Yea, like I'm going around picking up nine-year-old kids! If I'm doin' that dude, we got bigger problems than me watchin' porn in my car!"

Now maybe I'm a little twisted (Okay, a LOT twisted!) but I found that so funny I damn near burst out laughing. I can't say I understand just when and why it's appropriate to pop in "Debbie Does Dallas" into the back of the mini-van, but I had to give Guy #2 points for honesty! Conversations like this fascinate me. I mean: how in the hell do you ever get onto the topic in the first place? Did one of the guys just happen to say: "So, I was sittin' there in the back of my SUV with my pants around my ankles and this cop bangs on the window . . ." The whole unlikeliness of the discussion compltely fascinated me. You can't make this crap up!

Ah well, small things to amuse small minds and all that.

I'm listening to a song right now that I've been hearing a lot lately and I think is great. It's "Unwritten" by Natalie Bedingfield. I don't know if it's the literary allusions in the song or its theme of being able to start fresh at any time . . . but the damn thing inspires me! Can't say I've ever heard of the artist before but I like this a lot. Haven't been able to say that about a new song in quite a while. A sure sign of advancing age: I think all music made in the last ten years sucks. Well, not all but most of it! Too many remakes/resamples and just plain heartless pop crap for me. The only exceptions I can think of off hand are The Black-Eyed Peas (who do the remake/resample schtick too, but they do it REALLY well!) Kid Rock (who just makes me smile) and anything by Seal. Seal has never done a bad piece of music in his career.

New life plan is still rockin' it! Exercising every morning, walking every night, and writing every night. (except weekends - family time, remember?) I'm diggin' the vegetarian scene (though The Boy keeps calling me a "hippie traitior") and feeling great. You know something I noticed this weekend? Had a female relative stop by the house and she's been dieting heavily and has dropped a lot of weight. Her figure has definitely improved but I kept looking at her face, it had a look I know all too well: drawn cheeks, sallow skin, black circles under the eyes . . . generally sickly looking. I've had that face plenty of times. It always happens when you lose weight. Every time I've dropped a good amount of poundage in my life people always ask me if I'm sick. The Wife usually gets nervous and starts telling me to see doctors (and we all know how I feel about those voodoo practitioners!) After she left, I thought: "Hey, nobody's said anything about me looking like crap recently!" and took a look in the mirror. You know why? Cuz I look good (well, ya know: as "good" as my ugly ass is capable of looking!)

Seriously though, I started thinking about it and I've also noticed nobody has said "Hey, you've lost a lot of weight!" to me either. Now, that panicked me for a moment but then I thought about what they have said. General variations of "You look good, man! Been working out?" and things of that nature. I have lost a good bit of weight but I haven't garnered the waif look that usually comes along with it. Now, it could be that it's because I still have a good bit more to lose (which I do!) but I don't think so. I think it's because there was no "diet" involved here. My body's not feeding off itself in starvation. Eating vegetarian has simply changed the way my body works with and stores fat (I'm guessing here - if you're silly enough to take nutritional advice from me, then shame on you!) In any event, it's just an interesting observation. I think I'll take the "You look good . . ." over the other phrase any day.

Well, I guess I've eaten up enough of your day with my ramblings. More tomorrow!


Thursday, September 14, 2006

Doin' the Work

I was pleasantly surprised after my last post: I actually managed to get my words in, my walking done, AND get out the queries for "Slayer"! Of course, the only reason for that was The Boy had a school project due, so we had to ditch on the Boy Scouts meeting this week. Which brings me to my current problem: I'm forgetting crap left and right! I was supposed to go to that meeting with a birthday cake for the Scoutmaster but I completely forgot. Been doing that a lot with the new schedule . . . I'm accomplishing my main goals but the little crap is falling between the cracks. I'm hoping that will stop once this all settles in as a regular lifestyle. I'm hoping. If it doesn't, I think The Wife may resort to violence . . .

The ongoing saga of the dog: this weekend we are going to meet with three puppies (only ONE of which is coming home, no matter how damn cute The Wife thinks they are, or how much The Boy begs!) They are (of course!) all female and they are rescued from a kill shelter so The Wife is thrilled on all counts. I think she's just looking to balance the levels of pee-pee power in the house. Right now there's two pee-pees to her none and she's not diggin' it! The Boy is totally psyched about it and one way or another we're coming home with a dog (no matter what mood swing hits The Wife!) or his head's gonna explode.

Writing: got 1,800 word in on "First" last night (plus 1,300 on Tuesday) and I also got some more editing work done on "Fish". That book is still bugging the hell out of me. It was disturbing to write (Christ, I just typed that as "right" and I claim to be a writer?) and I still get anxious every time I open it to do the edits. The entire thing is totally outside my "safe-zone" and it's either the best thing I've ever done, or the worst. Honest to God, I don't know which. When it's done I'll find a few test readers before I try submitting it I think . . . just to give me some type of impartial opinion. At least "First" is moving well. I'm just moving into the high-speed climax now and it should be fun. My MC just spotted a few hundred campfires he thinks are the enemy, at the base of a mountain. When he goes to investigate he's gonna see that the rest of the army is behind the mountain and number in the hundreds of thousands . . .BIG fun for me (Not so much for the MC, who's gonna plotz!)

Busy week at work - I have trainees in every day so it's been nuts. Of course, there's also been a thousand other issues that came up that: "Only you can handle, Jim!" Yea, right. If the people on this planet ever start thinking for themselves we're gonna be truly dangerous.


Tuesday, September 12, 2006

I'm Dyin' Here!!!

The Wife is going to be the death of me. (No shock there, actually.) At dinner last night she tells The Boy and I that she doesn't want the dog. Why, you ask? Reasonable question . . . one I asked myself. I will spare you the hour long back-and-forth on the subject and boil it down to the simple answer I finally arrived at.

This dog has a penis.

Yup, that's it: we will not be adopting him cuz of his wee-willy. The Wife is convinced that a female dog will be much calmer (this dog had the personality of Eeyore on tranquilizers!) and easier to control (in the middle of a pound full of barking/raging animals I told this dog to sit & he did without a problem). She wants to get a female puppy (this dog is almost a whole year old!) instead. Despite the fact that last week she wouldn't let us go look at a puppy because: "We don't have time to raise a puppy! We need an older dog, because we're at work all day and can't leave a puppy alone for that long." Can I say it once more?





Alright, that's out of my system now . . . on to the important stuff: the writing! I put in another 1,300 words on "First" last night but I didn't get to the query letters for "Slayer". The Boy had a make-up guitar lesson (my little, long-haired, rock star!) we had to take him to and I had to choose between the submittals or my nightly walk. I chose the walk - I figger if I drop dead of a heart attack, an agent isn't going to be much good to me anyway. :-)

"First" is starting to pick up for me again. For a while there I was really slogging through, just trying to get some words on the page but I'm finally getting back to the action and enjoying it again. I'm only one chapter away from the climactic battle scenes (which of course covers 16 days - I don't do small battles!) so that should be a lot of fun to write. Lots of death, drama, and heroics. I wish I was one of those people who can write out of sequence - it would make it much easier to get past the rough points but alas: linear exposition seems to be mine only recourse! Hopefully, I won't get too long winded and I can wrap the whole deal up in another 20,000 words or so. "First" has taken waaaayyyyy too long because of the house -and lack of discipline on my part- and I need to get on to other things.

Boy Scouts tonight, so even getting the walk & words is gonna be rough, so I'm not holding out too much hope for the queries . . .


Monday, September 11, 2006

Moons, Dogs, and Food

Monday . . . the word is an olde English corruption of "Moon Day" and moon (as we all know!) is another word for ass. Hence, even the ancients knew that this day could kiss my frikkin' ass!

Very tired today. I was up late last night watching the Giants be robbed of their first victory of the season by a complete dumb-ass of a ref who made what may have been the worst call in NFL history. (Can we tell I'm not a very happy camper when my Giants lose?) Another trainee today, so work's been very busy. NOT what I want to hear on a Monday!

Anyway, the weekend was a lot of fun. I did a lot of cooking for the family on Saturday and the food seemed to have gone over fairly well (as evidenced by lack of same at end of evening!) I really like cooking for other folks . . . it's tough at home because The Wife eats four (maybe five) different things and that's it. The Boy is getting better about trying new stuff but if it's something he don't like the look of, he's gotten smart enough to say: "I'll try it if Mom will!" and knows he's not gonna have to. (Smart little bastard!) My family however, loves trying weird crap, so I got to experiment to my heart's content. It was a cool day; nobody split till near midnight so I figger they had a good time.

Yesterday, we did a late breakfast and spent a "family day" (just the three of us) which was also very cool. We actually went out looking for a dog. The Wife and I have been disagreeing over THAT particular subject for months now. She wanted a small dog and I (of course!) wanted a behemoth that would take up 1/2 my living room (Hey, size matters, OK?) The Boy just wanted a Labrador. We looked into pure breeds, etc. but The Wife really wanted to rescue a dog from the ASPCA (she's cool that way), so we went to a few of those instead. We found a really calm Lab/Mix that's a bit smaller than a purebred (to make The Wife happy), but still looks like a Lab (to keep The Boy happy!) and is still large enough to give anyone messing with either of them pause (which makes ME happy . . . which is, after all, the important thing!) We put in an application for adoption on him and should hear back in a day or so. I hope we get him, he was a really friendly, relaxed dog.

Got me some editing done on "Fish" over the weekend too (Yay, for me!) but no new writing, which is alright since my schedule frees me up on the weekends for house and/or family time. Tonight, I want to get "Slayer" out to two more agents and I will be getting in my 1200 words on "First".


Friday, September 08, 2006

Updating the ME!

It's been a good week (despite the ongoing battle of the alarm clocks with The Wife!) I am feeling great - I've been working the new "Life Plan" ya' see . . . damn that's a crappy name. Life Plan . . . sounds dull as dirt, don't it? Maybe I should refer to it as my: Destiny Trail or Existencial Pathway. Nah, too much of a mouthful. Anyway, it's working pretty well. I wake up early each day, exercise, do the work thing, shop for and cook dinner, exercise again, then meet my writing goals for the day. Did I mention those goals? I don't recall . . . I ramble so much on this blog!

I have set a minimum writing requirement of 1,200 words per day before my lazy, old, ass is allowed to go to bed. That's not really much for me, I can usually get that in about an hour or so but it's a way of keeping myself consistent. I've been knocking it out every night this week with no problem; actually grabbing an extra 500+/- words each day. I've also set aside a specific writing time each night (from 8:00 p.m. until I get the minimum words) so that it becomes part of my schedule. I get no TV, books, or internet until said words are complete. I'm also trying to do some editing after the writing each night but that's been less succesful. I'm usually finishing the writing up around 9:00-9:30 and I'm pretty tired by that point. I keep wanting to just go and chill for a while before bed, so the edits have been moving slow. I think that'll get better after I get the whole schedule working a little smoother. I've also started back in on the agent hunt. I've updated my lists and am putting "Slayer" back into the process starting Monday. I was about ready to just shelve it as "not good enough" but hell: I got three requests for partials on it from major agents. How bad can it really be, right?


I actually have a whole program outlined for breaking into publishing. Step one is fairly simple: keep everything I've completed in the mail to at least two places at all times. I figger that oughta cover 'er! While that's happening, I'll be writing more novels and editing others that will just get added to the constant cycle of submissions. Daddy always told me: "If you fling enough crap at the wall, some's eventually gonna stick!" How's that for a brilliant strategy, eh? It's like the lottery - Ya gotta be in it to win it! If I put them before enough folks, I'll eventually find someone who believes in them and wants to take me on (I hope!)

On other fronts: the vegetarian thing is working out really well for me. It's been about three months now and I (much to my own surprise) have no desire to return to eating meat. I eat great tasting food, in good-sized portions, and I no longer feel sick and bloated for hours after eating. All the things that prompted me to go to the doctor in the first place: back aches, sore feet, constant headaches, tiredness, a variety of intestinal issues (too nasty to talk about on a polite blog!) and just feeling old and worn out have all gone away. I've lost (last time I checked, which was two weeks ago) over thirty pounds and my body is completely pain free (other than a touch of soreness in my legs from the exercise!) Lack of pain is a remarkable thing! I'm actually starting to feel like 39 is not halfway to the grave. I feel better than I have in a very long time. Hell, I feel better than I can ever remember. Even when I was thin I never felt "good". I always got there through starvation diets that left me feeling weak, sick, and constantly hungry. When I was 20 or so, I weighed in at 160 lbs and was running my own martial arts studio, exercising 5 hours a day, every day. Even then I was always tired and felt . . . blah! I was a fat kid and had lost the weight through the extreme exercise of Tae Kwon Do coupled with eating nothing but a single sandwich each day and drinking only water. Sure, I dropped the weight and looked good but I was in no way healthy. Worse, once I closed the studio and took on a full time job so I could afford to pay my rent and such: the weight started climbing again. It took a while because I was working construction at the time (still lots of physical activity) but it climbed about 10 lbs. each year. I was about 180 when The Wife and I started dating, 190 by the time we got married, and around 230 by the time my son was born. Moving to office positions made the weight climb faster and I've spent the last ten years yo-yo-ing between 220 and 280 on every silly-ass diet I could find.

The thing that always killed me was that when I lost weight, I alway felt worse than when I was heavier. I was one tired, cranky, miserable S.O.B. (just ask The Wife!) and exercise was always next to impossible for me. (Try jogging with a hundred or so pounds on your back when you're already exhausted and every joint in your body hurts before you take the first step!) I gave up on diets entirely. I realized they were never going to work. I resigned myself to being fat and decided the way I felt was just part of growing old. (Old? Dude, Im not even 40 yet!) Imagine my surprise over the last few months! I did the vegetarian thing mainly because I was concerned about cancer, diabetes, and heart attacks (all of which are SERIOUSLY common in my family). I wasn't planning on losing weight and I certainly never imagined the difference it would make on my general health but damn, it feels goooooood!!!

Hmmm . . . interesting. I hadn't planned to blog about all this today but it just sort of came out. I'd just planned on telling you that I'd gotten a good bit of work done on "First" this week. See what happens when I let my mind wander? (Bad mind, bad!)

Another family gathering at my house this weekend, which should be fun, albeit a little crazy. It's funny how differently we do things when we have different families over. Last week, it was The Wife's clan, so we did burgers, dogs, chips, etc. They're pretty straight forward folks who don't do anything "unusual". This weekend it's my family and I'm doing Shish Kabbob with maybe a cucumber/tomato/red onion salad and a few different types of appetizers. We're a family of cooks and love trying new things. We always try to do something unique whenever we visit each other's houses. Big difference in personality too - The Wife's family are pretty quiet, serious, folks who engage in conversation. My people are loud, boisterous, would-be comedians who spend hours telling hugely exaggerated tales and outright lies, laughing our asses off the entire time.

Can you guess why The Wife and I don't always see eye-to-eye on things? ;-)

Have a great weekend all!


Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Best Laid Plans


Hope everyone had a good holiday weekend. Mine went fairly well, all things considered. Saturday The Wife was sick so we pretty much crashed at home. The boy went to a friend's for the day and I took care of making food and such as she slept. Sunday, we had a BBQ and The Wife and I barely avoided a nasty fight as she went out to do the shopping and I stayed home to clean the house, etc. Of course, I cleaned all the wrong things, in the wrong way, and at the wrong time, so she started giving me grief and my hackles went up. We both went to neutral corners and avoided a blow up but it was touch-and-go there for a while. The BBQ was good, everyone enjoyed . . . except for me. Oh, it was actually a lot of fun but mid-afternoon I caught a blinding migraine -the crippling kind- and I had to keep smiling and playing the good host through it all. It was awful. No sooner did the last guest leave than I just kicked off my shoes and crawled straight into bed, whimpering. It was (mostly) gone by Monday a.m. but I still was dragging a bit on the holiday. We did brunch out, some quick shopping, and dined on leftovers from the BBQ in the back yard for dinner. It was a nice, quiet day.

Got back to work Tuesday, expecting a quiet day, only to discover I'd forgotten two new hires that I had to train. It was a long and crazy day! Then I had to run down to the In-Laws to pick up the boy (he hung there yesterday cuz school didn't start until today) then back home for a Boy Scout meeting that contained a wonderfully awkward conversation wherein I had to inform an adult he was no longer welcome to camp with us because of his behavior. Big Fun!

So, today is the day I start my new life plan. I figured, since the boy was back to school and we were settling back down to a regular schedule, this'd be as good a day as any to start. I got mentally ready for the changes last night, planning to keep myself very calm all day today and ease my way into the new schedule. Well, that plan didn't survive first encounter! As of right now, The Wife is quite pissed at me; certain that I am plotting diabolic schemes to disrupt her life and endanger her child. I, in turn, am annoyed at her for being relentlessly inconsiderate of her spouse.

To translate: she set her alarm for 5:00 a.m today (Why? Only God knows!) Four hours before she needs to be in work (though part of her anger was that she wanted to go in early today - 8:00!) It is also 2-1/2 hours before the bus comes for my boy and 1-1/2 hours before I needed to get up. The Wife is not good about getting up. Her alarm goes off every morning and she sleeps through it until I shake her awake and make her go turn it off. Usually, this isn't a big deal (although it is always annoying!) because she sets the alarm for only 1/2 hour before she needs to get up. Today, it was four hours and I was NOT a happy camper! I woke her three times and each time she just hit the snooze and came back to bed. After time #3, I got up myself, turned the alarm fully OFF and got another hour of sleep. I got myself and the boy up, showered, fed, dressed and ready for our days. As he was heading for the bus, he woke her up to kiss her good-bye and she freaked at the time. I actually think she freaked because her son doesn't need her to get him ready for school anymore but she won't admit that so she lost it on me instead, accusing me of intentionally turning off the alarm so she wouldn't wake up. I'm not sure what she thinks I was "intentionally" trying to prevent . . . her going to work early? (why the hell would I care - though I would've woken her up earlier if she'd bothered to mention the idea to me) Perhaps I was intentionally preventing her from helping the boy get ready for school? We discussed the whole program for the year last week and I was doing what we talked about: letting him take care of himself. He was 100% ready to go ten minutes before he had to leave, with no stress, no yelling, no last minute scrambling . . . I'm not getting the problem. I'm male: I never do.

In any event, she's not speaking to me at the moment. though she did send me a formally polite -and wonderfully chill- e-mail telling me she was working late to make up for the time she missed this a.m. (because of me, of course!) and spelling out all the things I'd have to attend to since I caused such a ruckus in her orderly life. It's remarkable how you ladies mange to live with us men . . . we're so unreasonable!

Well, so that's how the first day of my serene, new, lifestyle has started out. How's your day going?


Friday, September 01, 2006

It All Comes Out In The Wash

You'd think the Friday before a long weekend would be a quiet day, wouldn't ya? Nope. Lots of the crazy going on at work today. Mostly minor problems, really: just a ton of them.

So, I have a thumb-drive that is my life's blood. I use it to cart my writing back and forth between home and the office, so I can get some stuff done at lunch and whatnot. The day I split work early to hang with the family, I ran into the house and just dropped my pants on the floor as I did a quick change so we could run out to meet up with the family. OY! Was that ever a mistake! I always take the thumb drive out of my pocket when I get in at night, it's right in with my keys so it's never a worry . . . usually. Later that night, The Wife just grabbed the pants and tossed them inot the wash; thumb drive and all! I was freaking when I realized my drive had gone through the wash. I was careful not to give The Wife a hard time since it wasn't her fault but inside I was flipping out. To the good: I'm really careful about keeping multiple copies of everything, just in case I DO lose it but still . . .

The shocking thing is, the wash didn't affect the drive in the least. I plugged it into my USB last night and the damn thing worked without a hiccup. Ya gotta love it when things are well put together! I took a close look and it seems there's a plastic sleeve inside the cover that must keep it water-proof. I don't recommend testing your's of course, but it's nice to know anyway.

Long weekend ahead - very cool! Having a BBQ for the family and I'm going to try and get some work done on the house - actually, I'll probably do most of my work outside tomorrow . . . try to make the yard look human before the family shows up. All the rain here for the last week means the weeds are knee-high. (sigh) Have I mentioned I'm not a big fan of yard work (or of any work, for that matter!) I wonder sometimes what it's like for folks who get to take their holiday weekends and actually relax. Oh, The Wife will tell you that I do more than my fair share of relaxing but it's not the same. I feel guilty (Ya' know: sometimes!) when The Wife is glaring at me and telling me I should be working on the house instead of watching the Giants game on the toob. I'd like to know how it feels -just once- to just sit my ass down without dirty looks, grumbling, and a nagging voice at the back of my head telling me I should get up and take care of X,Y, and Z.


Enjoy the weekend, folks and stay safe.