Site Meter
And no one sings me lullabyes
And no one makes me close my eyes
So I throw the windows wide
And call to you across the sky.

Monday, July 30, 2007

What's a Hat Trick Plus One

And Strange Horizons has passed on "Running of the Deer." They said the writing was good, but the story arc didn't work for them. Fair cop. I'll update the side-bars soon. At the beginning of the year I had four stories in submission, now I have none. Must get butt in gear and get them out, again.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Downhill Run

Last panel, "Writing Horror." Waiting for it to start. After this I'll head on home, with a stop for outlet shopping (Wamsutta clear shower curtain, here I come, also checking out shoes since my current sneakers are showing wear).

Cool thing about con, on the wholey opportunistic and unexpected scale, asking Tamora Pierce's recommendations for reading for my wife (giving her and explaination of books she's liked, and asking if she has anything that would fit that model). I got recommendations about her books, Elizabeth Moon books, and Joshua B. Palmatier books (which I had just purchased his first novel). So, very cool people. And they're open to off the wall questions about writing and books (hints to people who haven't attended cons, writers are fans as well, and they will talk about their love of books and information at the drop of a question, ask them).

All in all a different experience than last year, better in most ways. My only major critcism is the air-conditioning in the hotel conference rooms (note to Doubletree, moving air, even if "warmish" is good). But EXCELLENT wireless connection (and free to boot) here.

Last panel is starting. Type at ya later.

Dead Dog Slog

It's the last day of Confluence. I'm beat, my stomach and intestines are upset as it appears that my new medicated blood stream doesn't like buffalo meat. Which is a bummer because I love buffalo (tasty and good for you).

Again we're overscheduled. Many readings, signings, and panels that I want to go to. The bags are in the car, the hotel has "walk out" (easy) checkout, but I always like to actually go to the desk.

The panel on "Low tech Ain't No Tech" (which all the panelists are here now). So time to get serious. Put on the "happy morning face" and get back to work.

BTW, thanks to all the readers who have come to the blog in the past week. I was bragging about my analytics (from the joke if you have more than 2 readers you have a successful blog, so I'm doing really good). There have been about 40 unique visitors a day. Woohoo! You are all amazingly beautiful and insightful people who exhibit excellent taste. You rock. :)

Wasted

It was a late night, and a rough evening. Was talking with Tobias and Sam (granted, not adding much to the conversation) at 1:30 AM when I went to the bathroom, when I came back they were gone. So I don't know if they left because I was boring, or that they thought I went back to my room. I also didn't sleep well, so I'm dragging my butt around this morning. It's gonna be a caffine day.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Afternoon Slogging

Waiting for my friend to make it through the book-seller tables to go to lunch. He just started the one side, and he's a big book buyer. I'm giving him a few minutes before I just go get lunch myself.

Because at 4 o'clock, Swords. I mean there's also Geoffrey Landis' and Sam Butler's reading, along with a panel on Writers Workshops. But Swords! I mean, sharp things. Have I talked about this before? Swords!

Okay, I promise I'll stop talking about Swords! soon. Really.

Morning is broken

Here we are, double and triple scheduled for the day. So many cool programs and people to go see. This is quick because David Hartwell is giving me the eye for typing during his panel.

Fun, fun fun, until the Daddy takes the eldritch horror away.

Now, we're on European SF. Cool.

Haiku for the day (Reposted from Camille's comments)

Here's a little thing I composed for Camille's (littlebird blue) blog in her comments. Sometimes I just wacked upside the head in a poetic fashion (the muse isn't always nice).

Flower drunk bees lilt
Sated from sex down the street
The bicycle waits

And here is Camille's picture that inspired it:


Thanks, Camille.

Here at Confluence

First night at Confluence. Just back in the room after hanging out at the bar talking with Emily, Tobias, Joshua, Sam, Michael, Mary, and Goeff to name a few. Cool conversations, fun people, good panels. Just a lot of fun.

I'm getting recharged. The blue are backing away.

Tobias has his second book out. Josh has his second book out at well. Sam has one book and another comming out this year (and, dude, you have a live journal, but I can't find it).

Lots of writing info at the con, which is why I like it. Tomorrow I start into having scheduling conflicts, like should I go to Geoff's "Human Space Flight" panel, or Mary's reading? Decisions, decisions. And then there's Tobias' reading and a Panel of Swords. I like Tobias, and I want to hear his new stuff. But swords, sharp pointing things. And they're shiny.

Ah, well.

As a side note, I'm writing this in an uncomfortable position in my hotel room on the free wireless. In the space of 3 hours downstairs I had two beers, and a lot of conversation (that I mustly shut up and listened, because you should learn to listen when authors speak, if you want to learn about this industry), and I don't think I've made a typo yet that I've gone past the word and posted. Now tomorrow I may find this post riddled with bad spellings and horrible grammer. I just find it weird. I won't start drinking ('cause my father had problems), but if it helps my typing... maybe there's something to it. More experimentation is needed. :)

Friday, July 27, 2007

Agenda for Today

Half-day at work.

Drive to Jefferson (county seat) and deliever my petition for re-election, pay $30 fee and become a legitimate candidate a week and a half before deadline. Come November, "Vote for Me!"

Drive to Pittsburgh, get into hotel and get registration picked up before 4pm start of panels (first panel I'm attending is "Dark Fanatasy"). One day I'll be on the other side of the table, but for now I'm audience.

Meet up with old friends (hey Karl) and new friends (hey Tobias and Emily, Joshua B. Palmatier, S. C. Butler, Mary Turzillo, Geoffrey Landis, and everybody else) and have a blast. Find Con Suite and Party Rooms. Lather, rinse and repeat.

SABOTAGE!

Well, those folks at NASA are sure stirring up a bundle this year. First the whole Diaper Wacker Love Triangle, and now SABOTAGE! and drunken astronauts. Sure, they're bundling a bunch of bad news together on a Friday. But somebody needs to inform the NASA PR people that to get it truly lost, you need to wait until Friday afternoon to do the news dump.

I can't understand the sabotage bit. That one needs to have somebody hang at the end of it.

As for the drinking, well, if you're going to be sitting on top of the world's largest firecracker under a tin-can, I can understand wanting to get a little blitzed. But you know, that thing is LOUD to begin with. Do you really want to be hyper-sensitive to noise when you strap-in? Or have an upset stomach just as you become weightless? These are our best and brightest? I'm rethinking that assumption at this point.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Schooool. Is. Out. For (well, only a month now)

It's time for back to school sales. Yes, I am a total geek. It gets me excited. Fresh, clean books of paper and every writing implement (that cost's under $5) out in the open. It's like seeing ankles on those prissy Victorian Women.

The best back to school commercial? The Staples commercial with Alice Cooper (don't know if it's running this year). The older I get, the more I like Alice.

It's time to run out those sneakers, kids. Swing across the crick on the metal cable risking death and tetanus one more time. Build another sand fort. Climb the trees again (all of them). Soon it will be time to pack away the summer and closet ourselves in classrooms, breathing in chalk dust (yeah, I know, dry wipe boards, but those you have to sniff the markers to get any effect), and exhaling our youth, the slow poison of knowledge.

Woohoo! It's a Homer Simpson Day. D'oh!

mmmm, donuts. mmmm.

Yes, I set my watch to make sure I got down to the donuts before the scent of their bountiful doughiness could spread and my donut-piranha coworkers decend, leaving only memories of what was and caloric deposits in their veins.

And the full court press for the Simpsons' Movie is on. I doubt I'll see this one in the theaters, and depending on reviews may or may not get the DVD. I like the Simpsons, but I've never been a rabid fan. I personally enjoy Futurama more.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Diane Rehm interviews Jim Dale

Diane Rehm has a wonderful interview with Jim Dale today (streaming medias and podcast here). If you don't know Diane, you should. She is an excellent interviewer and she often has authors (so far not any specifically genre people, I intend to change that, at least that's one of my author fantasies*). Jim Dale is the voice talent that has vocalized all of the Harry Potter books. He has an excellent voice and he talks about making audiobooks and how he thinks about them. It's an excellent interview.

*So once I'm a successful, bestselling novel author, I'm interviewed by Diane Rehm. One of two things happens. She finds me stimulating and inciteful to such a degree she invites me to be on her Friday News Roundup (1st hour). Or, after 15-minutes of too many "ums" and "ahhs", after the break she comes back to finish the hour as an open phones free discussion and I'm on the curb waiting for a cab. One of the two. No middle ground here. :)

Testing

I've hated word verification for as long as I've had it turned on. I really wish Blogger had full comment moderation (that is I could delete comments or edit them, like removing HTML links). When I started blogging I quickly got comment spam, so I turned on word verification (being the only way I saw to correct this). The other option is to do comment moderation (which means I need to log in and approve all comments), but I'm not nursing this site to make that an enjoyable experience (would you like to comment and then not see that comment show up for a day or so? I wouldn't).

Camille, though, has turned hers off, and so far things look okay. So I'm going to follow suit. If comment spam becomes a problem, again, I will turn it back on. Comment spam doesn't do anything for my readers, and it mostly is to spoof the search engines into counting more links to sites and so push up ratings (which I find reprehensible).

So word verification is off. Don't make me turn it back on. And Blogger, give me real comment moderation tools!

I'm getting out of the grove...

of posting blog items. And writing. Must. Change. That. Now.

"First rule of Write Club is that all writers must write." - Tobias Buckell

So, I got a little piece of the novel. Just one of those small detail things. When the characters are at the Lake of Fire and our protag transfers all his "Grace Points" to the love interest, he finally gets a good wireless connections (5-bar strong). Before the best he could get was a 1-bar signal, and he had to sit at a special angle on the chair by the window to get that. I'm not going to explain any of those details any more than that at the moment (except that, no, it's not a gaming thing).

But then I realize, even with my scribbled notes I use "protag" or "main character," "side kick," "love interest," etc. For what I've typed already the main character is "Steve Lunachick" which I kind of like (I know a Lunachich pronounced as I spelled it). But it just isn't working for me. It hasn't "stuck" to the character like glue. It's more like a post-it with the name on it stuck to the character's back like a "Kick-me" sign. I think the main character is a "Steve" (this is the first time I've used my own name, before you start judging me, this maybe why I'm having a problem with the name). But now I'm thinking it should be "Steve Goodling" or "Steve Goodman" (both are musicians, though) or "Steve Goodlie." I'm liking that last one. But is it too overt, too morality play type of name? I don't know. What do you think?

Monday, July 23, 2007

I got the blues up in me

Okay, today is one of those days that I'm questioning if I'm meant to be a writer. I know it'll pass. right at the moment, though, the gremlins are very loud and scoring points.

It would be easy to say it was the rejection this weekend, but that isn't it. It has more to do with only having one story in submission, two stories I need to do edits from critiques, one story I need to de-piratefy, and the search for another market. Then there is the thought that I'm not giving the council work the attention and energy it needs. Same with the home work things (chores, freelance, big projects, etc). I'm thinking of submitting to the "for the love" markets (ie. no pay except copies). Add on the preponderance off all the half finished stories and novels in progress, and it's weighting me down. It's dragging my enthusiasm with it.

I know this will pass (I hope before the weekend). The thing that made me smile, though, I spelled "preponderance" correctly the first try. :) Take that gremlins!

So I'm posting this as a service to other new writers out there. There are those days you feel like you're just shoveling manure from a sitting position, that you'll never make it, that you'd be better off knitting. Everybody gets those. This one is a pretty strong one for me. I'll make it through. I've been through this fire before.

And now at the plate

Well, with reading some of the spoilers for The Boy Who Lived, I seem to be batting about 400. Not to bad. I could be at 500 depending on how a certain event happened.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Submissions Bedlam

Okay, I'm slow. While looking for a market for War Stories I looked at Apex SF. They're closed to regular submissions until September 1st, but they have an open call for submissions to their anthology "Courting Morpheus." only a few open slots are available, but there you are. It doesn't pay well. So it goes.

Rejectamundo!

Just received my rejection email from Weird Tales. My Favorite War Stories isn't for them.

Ann thanked me for my patience. Ain't no problem, Ann. I'll let any editor take as long as they need to consider my manuscript. And Weird Tales is still on my list for submissions. Very definately on my list for submissions.

Time to look at other HP Lovecraftian markets.

Surest Way to Not Get My Help

Threaten, even obliquely, to bring a lawsuit. I still will try and help (if I can), but I won't fight or look hard to find a way to help.

This goes double if you say something like, "My lawyer says we would win easily." Because no lawyer worth their salt will say such a silly thing.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Daddy's Little Girl, 2nd draft

Went from 1493 words to 1590. It's common for my second and third drafts to grow in word count as I add in all those things I see, hear, and feel about the story but forgot to actually write down. Of the 1590, I would say about 1000 or so original words stand (even less if I would include order). It still feels weird (and a little sparse) to have less than 2000. That's a goal, though, a goal to stay below.

I was able to remove all but one of the story breaks. The one remaining is between the setup and the life our main character leads afterward. That seemed a good place to have a break, the story telling style is a little different between the two sections.

New word teaser preview:

"An acronym stole Caitlin away from us before we had a chance to get used to her. SIDS, sudden infant death syndrome, all too sudden in our case. "

Story Bone

Well, more of an observation. On the way home on Friday I passed a long-haul semi truck that had a Dish Network satelite dish rigged to a pole right behind the cabin. With as much information I could take in looking at the rig while driving at 65mpg beside it, it looked like you could telescope the pole up and rotate the disk and change the angle up and down from crank controls at the base of the pole. He was hauling an oversize roll-on trailer (like what is used to haul tracked backhoes). It was so unique a set-up, it has to be useful to someone out there that here is this long haul truck that gets satelite TV in his cabin.

Busy Week

It's been a busy week. For not supposed to be working overtime (see next paragraph) I had 8 hours. Lately OT has been down. At the beginning of the year it was normal to work 12-18 hours worth. Lately it's been running 7-12 hours (normally around 9.5 hours).

About three weeks ago I started getting those second-hand comments that let you know that Things Have Been Said about me in meetings. I learned I was the second highest OT recipient so far this year. I also found out that, even though they (the bosses) expect the work to be done, they don't want to pay for the overtime. Tough noogies. I now average 175 plates a week (from 100 a week last year). I'm getting help because the big presses are slowing down (not as bad as last year, though). Two weeks ago we had 300 plates.

So, while the dayjob OT is down, council work is up. Freelance was up (I think I got all those out). Work at home is up. PLus I have to schedule in some body work from my little car having a truck back into her (everybody is okay). And today we met with my woodworking instructor to hire him to build the shelving units for downstairs plus maybe, depending on costs, a wall shelving unit for the office. No, all this shelving won't help alleviate everything. My guess is that it'll be a holding action.

Plus novel for writer's group (I'm still working on, it's a slow read and I haven't had much time) and friend's novel (which I was supposed to start this week). And my own writing.

Then this comming weekend is Confluence in Pittsburgh.

So probably I'll be able to breathe again sometime in October.

Strange Horizons Fund Raising

A public service brought to you by Story Bones.


Strange Horizons, one of the few online paying markets that qualify for SFWA membership (and, disclaimer here, one of the markets I submit to, why they have one of my stories right now), is running a fund raiser. For the donation, you not only keep a good thing going (hey, online paying market! And pro-rates! Woohoo!) you can win fabulous prizes.

Prizes! Paying markets! Free, good SF/F/H for the masses! Shoes for industry!

Well, maybe not that last one.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Oregon seems to agree with her

Frequent commentor and all around nice person with blue hair to boot, Camille Alexa (aka, littlebird blue), has been making a tear through the publishing world. All good stuff. Space westerns, sports stories, even publishing ghost lesbian porn poetry (well, it was a kiss, from what she says, but tongues were involved). Plus things about kissing robots, which is total geek porn poetry. Hmm, there seems to be a thread there...

I'm sorry, where was I?

Oh, yeah. Congrats on the sales, Camille. You rock.

Shocked! Shocked I am to see our leaders don't have a clue.

Most times politicians show their ignorance about things that most people don't know hardly anything about. Like how the internet is this series of tubes. Or some other pop cultural reference.

And then you have Senator Mitch McConnell, the Minority Leader, totally flub a quote from Casablanca. Not only did he flub the quote, he got the context wrong, and when and where the quote happened. The only thing he got right was the actor's name, Claude Rains.

It's just so sad.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Duck and Cover Redux

Here comes the backlash. I've been listening to commentary about the "Summer of Harry."

The multi-headed beast of "She's a Hack" is coming to the fore. There are lots of comments about, "the writing." This always hits "popular" writers. One day this troll will be slain. Obviously it's not today.

Hang on, the ride is getting bumpy. I haven't checked yet, did the movie set an opening weekend record? Or close to it?

Sleep Deprived Rambling

I'm still alive. This weekend was a long slog, and I don't have much to show for it either. Which isn't good. So much to do with so little time.

Then I'm at work (where we are specifically ordered not to have overtime - yeah, that's gonna work, not), and I'm starting to get ideas for the novel I don't want to think about at this time (Return of Lars). So, another note paper that solves a big problem I had with the story. The story is about killing supernatural entities (God Slaying, which is difficult, and Lars doesn't make it stick, but does accomplish banishing the being and removing its power from the world). How he's able to accomplish this involves a very magical sword (and my magic devices are very weird, trust me. In the other novel I have a magical sword which is anti-magic, yeah, work that one out - I did). And actually the sword provides the twist (literal and literary). The sword was created by this entity, so I get to explore "fate" vs "free-will" issues. But, what happens to the sword once the entity is removed from the sphere of influence? Well, that's what came to me (no, I'm not telling).

It serves me right. I've been sneaking in Neil Gaiman's Fragile Things. Neil is one of those authors that sets my creativity going. My muse (the internal one) kicks out stories as I read some authors and books. I don't understand the mechanism fully (because the stories and ideas don't have anything to do with what I'm actually reading). Like, I'm reading "October in the Chair" in Neil's book, which has nothing to do with swords (that have been introduced) or sociopathic elves or god slaying. But here is this thought (and a page about another short story at home, a first contact/submarine tale). Some authors just do that.

It also has nothing to do with how much I like an author. I really like (even personally) Tobias Buckell and John Scalzi, but when I read them this tap of ideas turns off.

So I'm sleep deprived, I got only one-quarter of the pages read for critique that I should have. So I'm behind. Life is interfering. One day I'll learn to say no (and, no, I'm not talking about you, Eileen, I mean all the other six-thousand things).

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Snookered again

No donuts left. Bastages.

Plus, this year just continues to suck at a personal level. Sure, there's some happy places, but the negative ones are crowding out those tiny oasises (oasi?) of postiveness.

Last night a guy backed into my car while I was getting sucked dry and the gas pump. They put a good dent in my passenger door (large truck verses compact). My mind just wasn't focused on the moment, so I got his information and then he left, before I got the police report. The good news is that so far all the information is checking out. My insurance will file a claim with their insurance. I'll get my car fixed (just cosmetic damage, as far as I know, now that I think about it I haven't tried to roll the window down).

Then we spent a lot of money at my meeting last night, got home late. Had a quick freelance job. Called my insurance. Didn't get any reading done. Didn't get to see Ghost Hunters. I feel all out of sorts. I think the bunny that ran out at the last moment on this morning's commute turned around (no thump, no body).

And now, no donuts. Has somebody seen my good luck? I haven't. Better get a candle to help with that.

I need to get my tin-foil hat out of storage

So, you've all been tracking the news, right? I have some strange job experiences, and from those I track the news differently.

This morning, we have the fall-out from Michael Chertoff's "gut-feeling" (which he's since modified to "reasoned intelligence concern") about an attack coming soon. We have a report that al Qaeda is resurgent and possibly stronger than they were in 2001 (thank you Bush Administration!). Pakistan, having put down the insurgent Talibanic forces that had gather in the Red Mosque is now facing a constitutional crisis (President Musharraf is only "President" by title and is also still the head of the military, after three promises to take off the uniform). The attempted terrorist attacks in Britain and the intense focus and chatter about the "weakness during transition" (i.e. that they struck right after the Prime Minster's office changed hands, also the 9-11 attacks were while the new administration was "still transfering power" from the Clintons).

We have a presidential election in a year and a few months.

I'm seeing patterns. Not good patterns. I have the feeling we're being prep'd for something. Like seeds are being planted.

Just my paranoia. I think. YMMV.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Feel the love

Well, for a time, I didn't have any vinyl job-jackets on my desk. Yesterday my time sheet was a single page. I was begining to feel neglected. This wasn't a bad thing.

I was beginning to get caught up on all those, "when you have a spare moment" tasks. I was starting to put my head around getting my long neglected job notes (how to do Steve's job if he's ever hit by a bus) going.

They've corrected this for now. Feel the love. Zero to buried in three minutes. Sometimes not only does love hurt, but stinks.

Ak Ak at 60

To balance the previous post, here I mark that this month the AK-47, a weapon system that is both a piece of crap and one of the best at the same time, is sixty years old. The AK-47 in all its splendid wonder and variety is most certainly one of the most popular weapon systems used around the world. Based on German machine-gun designs captured in WWII (yes, I know he disputes it), Kalashnikov took the concept farther. He designed a very inexpensive, rugged, weapon system. It is substandard to modern weapon design in almost every category. It has a tendency to jam (I've not fired one myself, this is what I've been told), but it will clear quickly and cleanly. It's damn near impossible to beat it to death. It's rate of fire is slow. It cleans easily. Putting rounds are target can be problematic and the weapon has a notorious muzzle drift. It can survive desert, tundra, and jungle conditions. And yet it is used and manufactured around the world by many legitimate armies and as a weapon of choice by insurgents. Given the choice I wouldn't want to wield one. Lacking anything else I wouldn't be fearful of wielding it and would have confidence in it's abilities. But I wouldn't pay my money for one.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Duck and Cover

As you should have all heard about by now, it's going to be a JK Rowling summer. There's the release of the movie The Boy and the Order of the Phoenix this week, and next is the The Boy Who Lived and the Deathly Hallows which is supposed to wrap up the series. Be sure to listen for the wailing and gnashing of teeth of millions of kids (and adults). It's bound to happen.

Just as a disclaimer, yes, I've read all the books. I started reading them before the first movie after having them recommended to me by a friend (hi, Mike, if you're reading this). I'll probably get the next one as well (but not on the first night). No, I don't care if you spoil it for me, I'll still read it. I'll also probably see the movie while it's still in the theater (a rare event) and I'll probably also get the DVD (I own all the others). But pretty much, the majority of this month will belong to JK. She'll be in everybody's headspace until school starts.

If Harry lives, or retains his magic, it can only be so JK can continue the series. If Snape doesn't pull a Darth Vader, I'll also be surprised. She has promised us Dumbledore won't pull a Gandalf and come back, and while I don't 100% believe her, I'll take her at her word (after all, Harry's mother is still protecting him against all but He Who Must Not Be Given Water After Midnight, since he was recreated with Harry's blood, which, well, you know). I also expect to see Neville play a big role in bringing down You Know Whom. Now, if Ron or Hermione bite it, I'll be pissed (I've been rooting for those two to get together since Chamber). If Harry makes it (sans magic or not) I expect Ginny to play a big role in his life afterward.

So, as you can see, at 41 I'm a total dork. Deal with it. JK (despite her protest against writing "fantasy") writes well and created an industry. She's pushed the boundary into getting YA to read YA farther that Terry Pratchet (another author I need to start reading) and Philip Pullman (whom I have read) could have by their selves. With every book she leaves adults puzzled, thinking, "I never would have thoughts kids would read (fill in blank)." And she's pissed off the conservative evangelicals (which gets big props from me) and gotten away with it.

It's now mid July, "Fire in the hole!"

Friday, July 6, 2007

Help! Here's somebody.

So, you know, I'm a beginning writer ("Hi, my name is Steve. It's been a day since I've committed words to the page.") I like to find things that actually help beginning writers with stuff. Thanks to all around cool guy Tobias Buckell (BTW, Tobias is an excellent source for information himself, you know, even though he's becoming a Mr. Big Deal and isn't a Joe Blow Neopro so much anymore, but he shares how he did it, which is excellent. And now he's adding his experience to this new podcast which leads me to... Where was I? Oh, yeah), I've found a new one, Adventures in SciFi Publishing. It's a website (fellow blogspot site) and a podcast. I'm downloading more as we speak. Go there. Learn. Incorporate. I'm also adding them to the bloggeroll. Thanks, Tobias! Now I need to learn those ping/trackback thingies.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Train Wrecks on TV

Okay, so I was always of the opinion that the weekly show, "Who Wants to be a Millionaire" was pretty bad (once they got rid of the speed round). That it was all about faking out the contestant. Occationally skimming across "Deal or No Deal" pretty much proved my initial thoughts that the quality of quiz shows has taken a dump.

I mean, how much lower can you go from random choices and financial offers to stop? Really, if you want to get far into it, this would be a great show on statistics and probability, but I really doubt if anybody on the show as a contestant thinks it out that far. About the only draw are the suitcase models in their babydoll dresses and seeing Howie Mandel in complete Howard Hughes mode (no, he isn't bald, he's afraid of germs).

Until tonight when I stumbled across, "Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader," hosted by Jeff Foxworthy. Seriously, just how low do you need to sink to be on this show and lose. I know it's all about entertainment and psyching out the person in the hot seat. There's the performance anxiety part of it.

But you know, I was just called to do an interview with our local paper. I have more trepidation doing that that I would have being on that show. I guess mind games don't work all that well on me. At least the flashing lights and dramatic pauses type.

So now my wife, bless her little heart, is syaing I should try and be on this show. After all, a million dollars would be fantabulous. Heck, even if I made it to $300,000 that would be great. But, how would I explain it to my accountant.

"Steve, how did you make this money?"

"I was on 'Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader.'"

"No, seriously, where did you get this money?"

"Really."

(the accountant shakes his head)

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

A New Pleasure

I'm also thinking about submitting The Dead Are Busy (see link on the right) to Hardboiled Horror. It's not completely hardboiled noir phantasmical, but it does have a detective and the supernatural.

Post-Rapture

Just typed in a new intro. Also, about 1600 words for the first chapter(s).

"It was a crazy college-bar night idea. A friend wanted to try some new shopping-bag software, but didn't have an idea.
Steven Lunachick was full of ideas. So thirty-minutes later, with the help of a cut-rate domain name service provider he was the proud proprietor of Post-Rapture Dog Care Specialists. 'You can't take Fido with you, so let us take care of Fido for you.'"

I'm not sure I like the character's name. That's what search and replace is for, you know.

Daddy's Little Girl

First draft is done. Well, first draft and a once through for edits (online). Word count = 1493.

"She doesn't call often anymore, being busy with her own death. I carry the monitor around with me, just in case she needs to talk. In case she needs me, as I need her."

Firecrackers are going off all around. It's in celebration of my first draft. :)

Saltpeter, John. Pins, Abigail.

Enjoying my Fourth, trying to get into work mode. Yes, work on a National Holiday. I'm a writer, it's a disease more than a career.

So I've procrastinated by doing paperwork, cleaning up and sleeping in. Not much left to procrastinate with today, so I guess I need to get to work.

On the TV is 1776. It's a tradition for me to watch ever since I was boy growing up in Gibbsboro, NJ. The local Philly TV stations would play it, sometimes on a 24-hour cycle. It's like It's a Wonderful Life but for a different holiday.

My wife bought me the DVD edition last year (as the VHS tape was getting worn, also, we're reducing space used and replacing many of our prerecorded VHS tapes with DVDs, and putting them in slimcases). There are two songs I had never seen, and about six to ten minutes of dialog that was cut in both the VHS and what I remember of the TV broadcast.

So far the weather has held. It was supposed to thunderstorm. I am of two minds about if it should storm tonight. We don't have a local fireworks display to disrupt, but we do have several neighbors that have spend a good deal of their economy on things that go boom. Mortars launching, that peculiar "thoomp" sound, always get my attention. And the smell of gunpowder gets my blood pressure up. So I'm hoping I get some sleep tonight (I'm dead tired from only half sleeping listening to Bette sleep). So rain would help. But then they would be launching fireworks for the next several days. This way, they get it out of their system and will use up their cache.

Hope you're having a good Fourth.

Unfortunately the gout comes with that honor

Time for an update. Bette went and saw our regular doctor on Monday (of which she was very apprehensive). He thought that the diet was an issue, but it was really her new thyroid medication that was triggering an allergic reaction. Fortunately she has enough of the old replacement (Thyrolar) to last until her other doctor comes back from vacation. Unfortunately it has become increasing difficult with every passing year to get enough Thyrolar to last. So her other doctor had recommended switching to Armor Thyroid (which is a natural product, made from pig thyroids).

Now a few days down the road we still notice the level of sugar in the food, but there is much less of a reaction. It also helps that she hasn't taken the Armor Thyroid since Sunday. She's feeling much better. So I think we have a winner.

Thanks for everybody's prayers and well wishes. It all helps.

Now it remains to be seen if we can find a good formulation of thyroid replacement (we've already been through Synthroid). Yes, we both need to lose the weight. If we're both on a restricted diet it helps.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Story Bone, July 4th edition

"He had parents that were so hippy, on July Fourth they'd stand out on their lawn at night waving sticks of incense around instead of sparklers."

Happy Fourth everybody.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

More Publishy News

Frequent commentors (and sometimes the only commentors I get, what's up with everybody else, I know you all are looking) and very nice people Littlebird Blue and Todd Wheeler both were accepted in that anthology I mentioned before. My friends are filled with awesomeness.

LBB also writes commentary and critiques over at GreenMan Reviews, one of those places I read off and on. One, because their name rocks out, and two, because they really know their stuff. And Todd Wheeler is running a summer reading contest.

I feel like such a slacker next to these guys.

Just as a note, I would write about other friends, but many of them get published so often that I would feel like a press release office. Also, another friend has finished his first novel that he's going to try and get published. So I'll make a special shout out to Karl (whose supposedly reading this blog now, he doesn't normally read them). Health issues ate this weekend, so I still have one novel to read and critique, and another quarter of a novel to read and critique before the 15th. Once I'm past that, or I might start before that, I'll be reading Karl's novel and doing markup and critique.

I'm also toying with writing my own reviews of the novels and stories I read. I do that a little now, but it's as I'm reading them and are not a full review. The reason why I haven't is because, frankly, I don't know how to do reviews. And I think if I write them as critique many people wouldn't understand that I really like what I'm reading (life it too short not to like what you're reading) and what I'm saying shouldn't be taken as "trashing" the work.

This Weekend Totally Sucked, YMMV

Many family and friends read this blog, so this is a way to get everybody up to speed.

So, on Friday I took a half-day to go see an endocrinologist, my regular doctor has diagnosed me as insulin resistant, sometimes called metabolic syndrome. The good news is that my regular doctor did an extra test not normally done and we found out that I'm insulin resistant at a point where we can reverse it, or at least manage it without having it progress to full-blown diabetes. This new doctor and I talked about some issues I was facing, and as I expected (and said to my main doctor that I didn't want to see this specialists because I felt he would recommend an extreme diet and it was a waste of time) a modified Protein Rich Monitored Fast diet. Monitored because you're starving yourself. So every week or so they draw blood to make sure you're not going to die. They couch that in other terms, but that's the gist.

I then had to reiterate my five objections to this kind of diet; Price, Lifestyle/Schedule, the change in my body chemistry, I get screaming headaches without some sugars, making two separate meals for my wife and I would be a real pain. Less than 8 hours later and that last objection may no longer be an issue, and her health may force our diet to be closer to what the endocrinologist recommended.

First off, everybody is okay. Although that wasn't a given all the way through Friday night.

Halfway through dinner Bette had problems. We were eating dinner on the couch, watching TV. She had sneezed and then asked me if her face was red. I told her it was and asked what was happening with her. She said she didn't feel okay. She then made a moan. That was the last she was able to say for about fifteen minutes. It was when she put her hand in her food and didn't seem to know it that I realized something was very wrong.

If you've never experienced having someone you love unable to answer you, or even seem to recognize that you're only a few inches from their face, make sure you avoid such. I called 911. Later Bette said she could hear everything I said, but she didn't remember me doing that even though I was also right in front of her monitoring her breathing. I couldn't locate a pulse in her arms, but got a thin pulse in her neck and I could feel her heart beating. When she turned clammy I raised her legs up on the couch and lowered her head. I did have to hold her head so she could breath clearly. By the time the ambulance came, she was responding to me. I was even able to help her to the bathroom, but she wasn't fully conscious and she started having pains.

To make a very long (an emotionally stressful) story short, we were in the emergency room way too long trying to convince the doctor that this wasn't a panic attack, and that Bette didn't faint, but something pushed her to unconsciousness. At first I thought I might have been a heart attack or stroke.

Note to everybody, argue with the doctor when you think they are off base. Be polite, remind the doctor of symptoms or experiences that don't fit into their diagnosis and make them explain it. Doing so was the only way we had him run several tests (including a CT scan when he made the comment about, "Well, if you were having headaches…" Uh, maybe you missed it when she said she felt like a wire was constricting around her head?).

One of our theories had to do with sugar levels, which he completely dismissed because while Bette's glucose was high, of course this was only an hour after she had eaten and the doctor thought it would be much higher if it was a sugar event.

Two days down the road, and with experimentation (yes, Bette has her PhD and she can't help herself) we’re pretty sure it's something with the sugar. Tomorrow she will try and get into the doctors and have her blood tested to confirm what we know and find out the mechanism that is producing this result. Hopefully we can manage this.

If not, a diet of no sugars and high protein is going to be our life. On the flip side it took us five years to get a diagnosis of Graves Disease. Five years of having doctors tell us it was all in her head, and only when her thyroid grew so large that her goiter proved something was wrong.

In this case we're much farther ahead. We know what triggers it. We have proof that something is wrong.

She's back to her normal self, although she says she feels hungry a few minutes after we eat (no sugars can do that). By the time we left the emergency room she could walk by herself and go up the stairs at home. She still gets shaky every now and then (figgety energy), but unless she is trying different sugars in her food, she doesn't have pains or weakness. So I'm confident enough to go to work tomorrow and have her drive herself to the doctor's office.

So, to reiterate, avoid having your love ones being unconscious. Argue with doctors you believe are off base. And get full blood tests.