Category Archives: Personal

White dogs on dope!

So Sunday I was applying the hot water bottle to Plushie’s hips (they get very stiff otherwise) and he began wriggling out of my arms as if uncomfortable. I resisted, he tried climbing up over my arms and then he gave the pain whimper. Once we confirmed that yes, he was in pain, we took him to the emergency vet. This time he managed something new, pulling one of the long muscles in his side. So back on cage rest just a couple of months after last time. I’d be worried it would be non-stop but this is a separate problem from last time.

The painkillers and muscle relaxants he’s on make Plushie dopey, so he spends most of the day dozing in there. Still he gets miserable and demanding enough to distract me from work. And as TYG sleeps downstairs to be near him, just in case he has a pain attack or something, our schedule is a mess. Usually I start writing when I wake up, come down when TYG wakes, write some more (mixed in with dog care) and do my stretching, yoga and exercise later.

Happily, Plushie is improving fast so it couldn’t have been too bad an injury. This makes him needier and more demanding for Freedom!! but we’re happy about it just the same.

Wisp has been a surprisingly good trooper for all this. I have to sleep in the main bedroom with Trixie (Trixie would freak out if we left her alone) so Wisp spends her nights alone in the spare bedroom. Didn’t faze her as much as I thought. Last night she didn’t come in but that’s more because White Cat was hanging around. They seem to get along — no catfights so far — but last night Wisp seemed to be hissing and asserting her dominance a lot.

Despite all that, it was a productive week. I redid the introduction, which I’ll be reading to the writers’ group next week, plus the Invasion chapter and got several other chapters rough drafted. I watched some X-Files and did some research reading.

I finally read my editor’s critique of the golem article. There’s a couple of books she wants me to add to the piece, and a little more commentary in spots (how well did the different stories work?). It’ll be easier to deliver by deadline (end of next month) than I feared.

I also got a couple of chapters final-rpoofed on Undead Sexist Cliches; happily it’s still requiring only light copy-editing. I hope that keeps up. I have an appointment for early October to talk to a cover designer a friend recommended. I’ve also begun work on the book blurb.

There were, surprisingly, no new Leafs this week. I’m guessing it’s the end of the fiscal year and things’ll be back to normal next month. While this is a hit to my bottom line, the timing is great for extra work on Alien Visitors. I’ll be putting in more of that tomorrow, while TYG’s free to sit downstairs with Plush and Trixie.

One more month and I’ll have both books and the golem story done, barring disasters. I like that thought. Oh, and one of my Philosophy and Fairytales collections sold on Smashwords. I like that too! Thanks, whoever you were!

#SFWApro. All rights to images remain with current holders.

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Filed under Nonfiction, Personal, The Dog Ate My Homework, Time management and goals, Undead Sexist Cliches: The Book, Writing

I haven’t seen these in years

I used to see cicada molts all over the trees when I lived in Northwest Florida in the early 1970s. For whatever reason, I don’t recall encountering them since the 1980s. But this month —#SFWApro.

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TYG and I weren’t planning to become a two-cat family

But we’ve had “White Cat” (placeholder name) irregularly sniffing around our house for a couple of months now. More recently she’s been sniffing and mewing plaintively for food, so we fed her. Happily she likes a brand of soft food I bought for Wisp much more than Wisp does.

Wisp, surprisingly, is quite chill with her. None of the aggressive territorial defense I’ve seen with other cats. I don’t know what the difference is. She’s nowhere near as skittish as Wisp. She runs away from us if we get too close, but it took Wisp a year before she’d let me come as close as White Cat does here.She’s definitely been a house pet, probably more recently than Wisp was when we met her. White Cat also seems a lot less comfortable surviving on her own. Did someone just decide to dump her? We’ll never know.

We have an appointment at the feral/stray cat clinic Sept. 26  for spay/neuter and general checkup. Hopefully our new acquaintance will show up the night before and get trapped (we have the trap cage already). Where we go from there, who knows? We aren’t looking for more pets, but as the saying goes, you cannot leave the work unfinished.

Speaking of work, I did get some of that done too. I squeezed in seven Leaf articles at the start of the week, then for whatever reason the flow stopped. The timing is convenient as that meant more work on Alien Visitors; that said, it probably means lower than usual income for the month. I did sell another copy of Sex for Dinner, Death for Breakfast and made $24 in royalties on my film books for the past six months, but that won’t pay the bills. Which isn’t to say I’m unhappy — it’s a real kick that 20 years after it came out, Cyborgs, Santa Claus and Satan still sells a few copies a year.

Work on Alien Visitors is going well but it takes much more time than I anticipate. Given my looming deadline, that makes me a little uneasy, but if I keep my nose to the grindstone, it’s doable. I did some scheduling today to make sure of that. I want to make sure I write some of it every day — not that this is more efficient but I noticed at the start of the week, when I’d done nothing but watch movies and write Leafs, I slept very poorly. Stress does that.

I also proofed the introduction and first two chapters of Undead Sexist Cliches and I’m pleased. My previous editing was good enough I only had one section where I needed to make major changes. So I think I’m still on track for an end of October release.

All in all, not a bad week.

#SFWApro. All rights to cover illustration remain with current holder.


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Filed under Personal, Sex for Dinner, Death for Breakfast, Time management and goals, Undead Sexist Cliches: The Book, Writing

Trixie and the very large cone of shame

Both our dogs are prone to allergies, which leads to constant gnawing on themselves. After their last shot, Trixie kept on gnawing at her back left foot, which made it sore so she gnawed on it more.

We went to the vet who gave us a numbing skin powder and recommended we keep her in the cone of shame. It turns out she can, with a little effort, reach past the edge of the cone and keep gnawing. It’s still effective if we watch her close enough. However we did try swapping it out with Plushie’s much larger cone of shame.Ultimately it was just too awkward so we switched back. Her foot is recovered so we made the right call.


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Filed under Personal, The Dog Ate My Homework

A man, a plan, a canal — only no canal and not really a plan

(For those who don’t know, the title comes from the palindrome “A man, a plan, a canal — Panama.”).

So last month I just threw up my hands and stopped my usual efforts to make a monthly to-do list. Due to Wisp coming in every morning, the stuff I do early (meditate, voice exercises) hasn’t been getting done. And my writing to-dos are pretty basic: 1)Finish Alien Visitors by the end of October; 2)finish my article on golems by the same date; 3)finish Undead Sexist Cliches, ditto. So why worry beyond mapping out my work for the week?

Now that we’ve moved out of August and into September, I’m finding that a little uncomfortable. I like the structure my monthly to-do list gives me, even if I don’t handle more than half of the list. So I’ll probably bite the bullet and resume for October. I’m already trying to reinstitute some of my morning activities into my day somewhere. It’s just difficult, as I get caught up in writing or I suddenly have to take care of the dogs. I love them, but they are not helpful to achieving a meditative state.

This week I had no Leaf articles so it was almost all Alien Visitors, and it went well. I rewrote the introduction into a reasonably polished state, then rewrote the Invasion chapter as well. Having something finished enough I can say “Yeah, I’ll get this book done” is very satisfying. And that despite some extra dog care, including an unplanned vet trip — nothing serious, just Trixie needed a checkup for a sore foot. She’s now in the cone of shame to stop her chewing on it.

Oh, and I updated one of my old posts — about the Bronze Age Freedom Fighters series — and posted it at Atomic Junkshop.

I also made a start on adding a few final notes to Undead Sexist Cliches — items I bookmarked that were worthy of adding, some information from Jesus and John Wayne. I’d meant to start revising my golem piece as well, but the vet visit took up too much time. I’d thought I could get some research reading done but Trixie, who’s usually into wandering around sniffing everything, insisted on sitting on my lap and getting stroked. So she got her wish, of course.

Wisp has still been coming on at night on a regular basis. This morning she came in mid-morning, which hasn’t happened in a while. I suspect she’ll be spending more time indoors as the weather drops. Hopefully she’ll go back to snoozing while she’s in — it’s much easier to get work done that way. There’s a white cat that’s been sniffing around our house lately, but Wisp doesn’t seem compelled to establish her turf and drive the stranger off. If the new cat comes regularly enough, we’ll schedule a spay/neuter at the local clinic, then trap it. We don’t see it consistently enough yet.

Fall has definitely started. Temperatures were relatively mild earlier this week (I emphasize “relatively”) and this morning it was almost chilly enough to require more than shorts and a T-shirt. It’s quite welcome.

For this weekend, I anticipate cooking, reading and as usual watching Alien Visitor films. If the weather stays nice, maybe bicycling as well.

Have a great weekend, everyone.

#SFWApro. Cover art is uncredited, all rights remain with current holder.

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Filed under Nonfiction, Personal, The Dog Ate My Homework, Time management and goals, Undead Sexist Cliches: The Book, Writing

How to take good photos

First, keep your eye out for something that makes a good photo. It doesn’t have to be a good visual by anyone’s standards but yours; I take dozens of photos of our dogs that are pretty interchangeable, but I love them.For another example, about a week ago, I went over to let a neighbor’s dog out into their back yard.  I saw a bee crawling around in one of the flowers, snatched out my phone and here’s the result —

Which leads to the second rule for good photos: take them! If you snap a shot and it turns out your finger was on the lens, or you moved too fast and blurred everything, you don’t have to show it to anyone. If you have a camera on your phone, just whip it out.

And the third rule: take lots of photos. I learned this working for a newspaper — the best way to guarantee one usable photo is to take five. I took three of the bee. One of the advantages of digital is that taking lots of photos of the same thing costs nothing. Not taking photos can miss the perfect shot.


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Little things make a difference, especially if they’re slightly larger

So I got a new phone last weekend.

My old iPhone’s battery was no longer strong enough to withstand a day’s heavy use without recharging. It’s memory was so full, it couldn’t even hold all my apps, and I don’t have that many. As I’m on TYG’s phone plan, we hoped we could upgrade to a slightly better model (mine’s around a 5 or 6) as I don’t need top of the line like she does. As it turned out, they didn’t have the next step up any more, so TYG upgraded me to an 11 (she’s awesome).

I know have all my apps — Goodreads, WordPress for this blog, Slack for Atomic Junkshop communications and a couple more. Still nowhere near full.

Another benefit is that it’s significantly larger, but not so large as to be impractical for carrying around. Much better for watching videos (I downloaded the YouTube app), reading comics (using my library’s Hoopla digital link) and it’s pleasantly surprising to see almost all my Safari bookmarks on the screen without having to scroll down. When we took the dogs to doggie rehab this week, I was free to read stuff without worrying I’d wind up with my phone shutting down.

Mastering the new controls is, as usual, an adjustment, but not a huge one. My biggest objection is that I can’t apparently run the stopwatch app without unlocking the phone — as I use that for exercise and such, it’s much simpler if I don’t have to type in my passcode. And a couple of times I turned it off while trying to take a photograph because the off button is in the “wrong” place.

At TYG’s suggestion I dispensed with the protective case. She says phones are pretty tough (she’s very protective of hers so I’m sure she knows what she’s talking about) and I don’t drop it very often, so I’ll see how it goes without it. Does make  me a little nervous when I pull it out of my pocket, but so far it’s been smooth sailing. Of course, it’s only been a week.

The biggest problem was, ironically, that the AT&T store had poor WiFi so after an hour waiting for my old phone to transfer its data, we headed home and had it done ASAP.

I don’t have a photo of my phone so for eye candy here’s a full-page ad from a 1962 issue of Batman. It makes me want to rush out to 1962 and buy both issues.#SFWApro. All rights to images remain with current holder.


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So as you may have gathered, this was a busy week

Hence my posting three days of images. A decade ago, I’d just have skipped most of the week, but now that I’ve been blogging daily for several years, I don’t want to break the streak.

Some of the busy was non-writing related. Monday, in addition to the dogs’ rehab appointments, TYG and I had to hit the bank to get some papers notarized; being indoors, it requires an appointment. Tuesday, I had tea with a friend of mine at nearby Bean Traders. I wrote fifteen hours worth of Leaf articles and got quite a bit of writing done on Alien Visitors. As usual, not enough. And annoyingly I discovered a couple of chapters I could have sworn I’d written exist only in my head. Oh, and I had to take Trixie in yesterday for an allergy shot — neither dog can seem to go three months without deciding to chew their itchy paws to shreds, so the shots are now standard.

I haven’t heard back from my dentist about my permanent crown so I’m still chewing everything carefully and avoiding anything too hard.

Despite Wisp coming in each morning, I managed to make my exercise goals for the week. Partly that’s by doing extra on the weekends, but whatever works.

So another low drama week. This is a good thing.

For visuals, here’s a photo of Plush Dog from a few months back —— and here’s how he looks after his recent grooming.Hard to believe it’s the same dog, isn’t it?


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Filed under Nonfiction, Personal, The Dog Ate My Homework, Time management and goals, Writing

The cat came back!

Not that Wisp left or anything. She’s been a constant presence this entire year. But this week she’s been coming inside in the evening and sleeping with me in the spare bedroom (I usually wake up in the middle of the night and go in there for the rest of my sleep). It’s the first time she’s done that regularly since the winter ended. I’ve no idea why, though a friend of mine says his cats go through cycles in what they feel like. Which is true of dogs too; for about a month, Trixie’s been coming down to sit with me in the early morning.

It’s a little awkward as morning is my time to clear my head, exercise, meditate and chill without dealing with anyone else. Most of the time Wisp wants attention; Tuesday morning, when she went to sleep on the other couch, was an exception. If I try to exercise, she comes over and demands attention, much like Trixie.

But she’s our cat now, so I’m not going to turn her away. Though I did refuse to let her in when she showed up with some small animal she’d caught (I didn’t find the remains on the deck, so perhaps it got away). Most mornings she doesn’t stay in so long that I can’t get my exercise.

She has gotten very good about sharing the bed, snoozing on one corner while I nap on the other side. There’s kitty litter in a box on the floor, but so far she hasn’t used it.

I don’t know if she’ll ever be a permanent inside cat, but I’m glad we have her around.




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My eyes are fine!

I had yet another medical appointment this week. This time it was my much delayed — a year, about — eye checkup. Turns out nothing in my eyes exploded and my vision remains constant, so no need for new lenses. I’m cool with this. Much less scary than this Ron Wilson cover —And less dramatic than this Joe Kubert cover.I’m quite happy to have my eyes neither scary nor dramatic.

#SFWApro. All rights to images remain with current holder.

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