Category Archives: Personal

Trixie’s body is largely fluff

Here’s a typical Trixie photo:Or this one for a closer look.Now here’s what she looks like after her bath a couple of weeks back.It’s like a different dog, isn’t it?

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For obvious reasons, this was a short work week

As usual for the last week of the month there was no Leaf to work on. But my mind couldn’t seem to shift to Questionable Minds so I watched some movies for Alien Visitors and spent most of my time on Undead Sexist Cliches. I finished proofing the footnotes and I polished the text through the middle of Chapter Seven. So next month, I should be done with polishing too. Then it’s just going through the steps to get it into book form at Draft2Digital and then Amazon, including writing cover copy and and getting the cover art.

I’m actually a little nervous: this topic is much more serious than my film books which makes me more concerned that I’ve done everything right and that my reasoning is rigorous. But I will, of course, press ahead. It will be done within a couple of months, and I can stop spending writing time on it. And if it contributes at all to the fight against male supremacy, well that’ll be awesome.

Thursday, of course, was Thanksgiving, which hasn’t been turkey day for me for more than twenty years. Normally we’d be eating at Café Parizade, which has the largest vegan Thanksgiving in the southeast (neither TYG nor I is vegan, but we do quite a few vegan events). This year, of course, is not normal, so I paid for takeout, then drove yesterday to pick it up. That was both exhilarating (whee, a trip somewhere besides the vet!) and unsettling (driving somewhere other than the vet! What if the car explodes?).  And I was also worried I’d made a bad call and the meal wouldn’t be substantial enough to be worth the money.

I needn’t have worried. Parizade’s portions were generous and while the menu wasn’t as diverse as the usual buffet, it was quite satisfactory: seitan cubes, pasta and veggies, garlicky mashed potatoes, Brussels sprouts (TYG had those. I can’t stand ’em), blueberry crumble, quinoa with veggies and several desserts. We did miss not being able to go back to the dessert table repeatedly, but on the plus side we were able to keep the leftovers so I didn’t feel the need to stuff myself to get my money’s worth. Or at least not stuff myself as much.

I’d planned a Zoom call with my family but there was a confusion about time so I had one call with my bro at 3PM and one with my sister and Dad at 4. Still fun.

Today I made a zucchini lasagna, which I’d planned to make Thursday — it’s one of TYG’s favorites — if we’d been doing our own cooking. And I started thinking about my December writing schedule and plans for next year.

To wrap up the week here’s a delightful painting by Gervasio Gallardo, who did so many amazing covers for Ballantine Books.#SFWApro. All rights to image remain with current holder.

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An amusing (to me, at least) cover

I can’t imagine a kids comic book today would show the lead characters smoking without raising a hue and cry. Back then (1960, several years before the once-legendary surgeon’s general report officially labeled cigarettes as a cancer risk) anti-smoking types were looked on as crackpots. #SFWApro. All rights to image remain with current holder.

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I have much to be thankful for

I’m married to TYG, who is better than I deserve and more remarkable and awesome than my fantasies ever were.

I have Plushie —

Trixie — — and now Wisp.TYG and I remain in good health (knock wood) and we’re both able to work from home (and since TYG started doing that, it’s destressed her so much).

In lieu of going out, we’ll be having an excellent vegan Thanksgiving takeout later today from Cafe Parizade.

I do my best to stay conscious of how amazingly lucky I am and never take it for granted.

#SFWApro.

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The Man Who Lost Thursday

(And yes, I picked the title because I really like the Gervasio Gallardo cover).

Following last week’s mess, I expected to rise back to my normal level of productivity this week, but it was not to be. I had three reasonably productive days, getting work done on Undead Sexist Cliches, and watching material for Alien Visitors. Plus, of course, my Leaf articles.Then came Thursday. It was one of the days where there’s a bunch of real-world stuff that had to be done — so I dropped my work and did it.

Two of them were surprises. The Low Tire warning light went on the day before and with all our driving back and forth to the veterinary rehab, it seemed wise to take care of it. That morning I took the car to the nearest gas station which has an automatic air-pump that inflates tires to the right pressure without having to check. I also figured out how to reset the tire pressure so the light goes up, something that’s not as simple as with our previous VW Golf. That way if there is a slow leak or something — I’m assuming it was just time, our lack of regular tire checks and cold air effects — it’ll alert us again.

Then there was my teeth. They normally stay sore for a while after I have work done on them, so at first the temperature sensitivity after last month’s filling didn’t bother me. But it seemed to be becoming more acute, and included heat sensitivity, which is a warning sign of Something Serious. Given that it spread over both the upper and lower right side of my mouth, TYG suggested it could be sinuses. However, while that seemed plausible, it could have been worse … and I didn’t want to have to go in two or three weeks later with COVID-19 in its winter surge and my teeth having deteriorated. So I called the doctor and made an appointment for noon.

It was sinuses. Which despite paying $120 for the exam, I was happy to hear. Relatively simple to treat and no going under the needle again! Or paying for fillings, root canals or whatever. And I don’t have to worry something’s seriously wrong, which I would have if I’d skipped going.

The other stuff I did Thursday was matters that I knew needed taking care of but I hadn’t gotten around to yet. Hall light replaced upstairs. Chatting with our medical insurer and determining that no, we hadn’t met our high deductible yet which is why a couple of bills were higher than expected. Figuring out how to access our HSA to pay for them — our old HSA let you just withdraw at the ATM, but this one is much more complicated to get money out of (I got it figured out though). I wanted to submit to our pet insurer for rehab coverage too, but that will have to wait.

So not much done. Then today we had dog stuff for much of the day: take our dogs to the vet to get their nails trimmed (Plushie’s are long enough they could break, which would be painful), then to rehab. Normally we go evenings, but this time we scored an early afternoon appointment. Preferable, but not good for productivity (it’s a good half-hour drive).

On the plus side, though, Flash in a Flash accepted my short story Rabbits Indignateonem. That’s the first new story I’ve sold in two years. It doesn’t necessarily change my October views on selling stories, but it is quite nice.

And it looks like Leaf, as usual, will not have articles for the last week of the month so I can make up for lost time next week, despite the Thanksgiving weekend.

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

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

I think it’s Rochester’s wife in the attic!

So on my morning walks with Trixie I frequently pass by this place.There’s something about those huge stretches of blank wall that just looks sinister to me. I realize it’s purely a side effect of being on a slope — something a lot of houses around us have to adapt to — and that the lower portion of the wall is probably just enclosing the crawl space. But knowing that can’t still the whisper in my mind that this place is not right. That maybe somewhere inside in a windowless room, someone is undergoing an unrequested brain transplant — with a hedgehog!

This is probably just me. But I am me, so what do you expect?

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Animal photos — dog, cat and other

Trixie study something. It may have been Wisp.Wisp, enthusiastically biting into the dogs’ stuffed raccoon toy. Apparently it’s just right for her to get the urge to prey upon it.And then the slugs that like to hang out in Wisp’s empty bowls on the porch after dark.#SFWApro.

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For some reason I was distracted after Tuesday evening’s events

Like a lot of people I bought into the polling which turned out to be even wronger than in 2016 (discussion to come on Monday). And the possibility that on top of everything else, President Shit Gibbon would win another term? I’m feeling much more hopeful today, even though the outcome is not completely certain.

The tension Wednesday left me too out-of-sorts to do anything creative so I stuck to Leaf articles the whole day. And wasn’t even fast with them. So no work on Questionable Minds this week. And the shift off DST threw me as it always does. I don’t mind it getting dark earlier as much as I mind the abrupt, unnatural way it happens. It leaves me feeling like the CHUD are about to swarm out of their tunnels and devour us all. End the madness! Stop switching times!

So the fact I got anything accomplished this week is a win. And I did. Footnotes proofed on Chapters Five and Six of Undead Sexist Cliches. Final draft done through Chapter Three. Several movies watched for Alien Visitors and some work on the text. That part isn’t going as fast as I’d planned: Netflix deliveries have been slow (curse you, DeJoy!) and so I haven’t been able to concentrate on films for specific chapters. That makes it hard to write about a subgenre such as “Alien Superheroes” or “ET Monsters,” even after I watch the core film for the chapter.

And the trips to the rehab vet this week actually felt like a vacation. Getting out of the house! Going somewhere new! Letting the dogs walk around the parking lot (while carefully social-distancing, of course)! It was startlingly refreshing.

Oh, and Draft 2 Digital reported one of my ebooks sold! Only one, but hey, whoever you are out there I appreciate you spending money on a no-name author.

On that note, have a great weekend.

#SFWApro. All rights to image 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

Your Plush moment of Zen

He’s a cute boy, isn’t he?We’ve been following our rehab clinic’s advice on taking care of both dogs, with middling success. Plushie resists going into a position where we can massage his leg and flex his hip joint. Trixie will do some of the assigned exercises but others, like walking in a figure eight, she’ll just sit or take a short cut. We’re working on solutions. We’re also cutting their diet (probably not enough yet) and keeping Trixie from jumping and climbing too many stairs. After a couple of weeks of therapy they’ll get another assessment and we’ll see how they (and we) are doing.

So far the improvement’s impressive. I haven’t seen Plushie this lively and playful, maybe in years; possibly this has been a problem for a while, just at a low enough level it wasn’t obvious. That makes me feel guilty as a puppy parent, but it’s still sweet to see the change.

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Not many goals accomplished, but October went well

A quck check of my list of goals for October shows I only accomplished 40 percent. But the writing went well, so these days of pandemic I’m satisfied.

Work on Undead Sexist Cliches really went well this week. I carefully bookmarked the various blog posts and news stories I referenced but searching through Firefox’s Library page was consistently slow. It turns out if I just type the title into the search engine, I get much quicker results. Doing that I’m now through with the footnotes for Chapters 1 through 4, which is better than I expected. Footnotes, barring disaster, will be completely done next month.

I did some research reading and movie watching for Alien Visitors, though not as much writing as I should. But I gave myself a very ambitious schedule so I’m not at risk for missing deadline.

Questionable Minds got bypassed because Wednesday I went to the dentist for a filling. Much as I hate sitting in medical offices these days, it went fine and I doubt I caught anything. But I’m happy that barring emergencies, I won’t need to see another doctor until next year. The tooth is unpleasantly cold sensitive, but that will pass, and Dr. Robinson is really good about providing adequate anesthetic during the procedure.

There was no Leaf work, as usually happens at the end of the month. That helped a lot with catching up on everything else, plus doing some research on self-publishing options besides Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing. At this point, Amazon still looks like the best bet.

And the weather is turning genuine fall. The light today was beautiful so I went bicycling and had a blast. While I didn’t take any photographs, here’s a shot of South Roxboro Street from a recent cycling trip.Have a great weekend everyone.

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