Category Archives: The Dog Ate My Homework

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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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

The day (or two) that dropped out of time!

This week was a reminder that being tighter and more efficient about my schedule is good, but it can’t always overcome bad luck. As I know from experience, sooner or later a run of good weeks will be followed by a bad. And this was the bad.

Last Friday, Plushie took a couple of indoor poops which was really unusual. Saturday night, he woke me up at 11:30 to go out for a poop. Then again at 1 AM. And a couple more times. I spent Sunday in a stupor and never got any Alien Visitors films watched.

Tuesday night, it happened again. Wednesday day I alternated sleeping— a lot of it — with reading Ronan Farrow’s Catch and Kill. No work. So not a productive week.

I got almost a full quota of Leaf articles and quite a bit of work done on Undead Sexist Cliches. Nothing on Questionable Minds or Alien Visitors. I wasn’t pleased by this but I won’t beat myself up over it either. Life happens.

And in a minor annoyance, the original Outer Limits, which I’d been watching on Amazon, is suddenly not available in my area. It doesn’t appear to be streaming anywhere else and the DVD set is not only pricey, the reviews saw it degrades fast.

On the plus side, after we took Plushie to the vet on Wednesday he got some meds and his poop has stabilized. Thank goodness.

#SFWApro.  Cover by Irwin Hasen, all rights remain with current holder.

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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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Another productive week, woot!

So far my recalibration effort has proven successful. Not perfect, but overall much more productive.

I finished Chapter Nine of Undead Sexist Cliches and the afterword which means … holy crap, I have completed this draft. It doesn’t seem quite real to say so. I still have to check footnotes; read the manuscript aloud one final time; and index. But that’s more like mopping up than writing. This will be a cool milestone once it registers that I’ve actually done it.

I got several chapters done on Questionable Minds, but not as many as I hoped. And man, 90,000 words is a lot to proof-read! Still, the journey of a thousand miles and so on …

I didn’t get much writing done on Alien Visitors but I watched some movies and TV for the book, and began breaking down the listed movies into the various categories. The Alien Invasion chapter has a really insane long list, of course (even given most of them will be just noted at the end), while other chapters are a lot lighter. I’ve no idea what to do about that yet; as I’m focusing on only one movie a chapter, maybe it doesn’t really matter. I also read a fair amount of a book on the history of UFOs that’s turning out to be quite good.

I also got my Leaf articles done, and did an over-the-phone tryout for a radio drama (no pay, but it should be fun).

Oh and Trixie’s rehab appointment shows she’s mostly in good shape. Her surgery is holding up but there’s a slight deterioration in her knee, so we need to reduce her jumping and running up stairs for a couple of months. And she’s now over 10 pounds, which is too heavy; it’s easy to forget but because she’s so small, a little treat can add up to a significant number of calories. But she can still take good long walks so that will help get some of the weight off, I hope.

Hard to believe she was a tiny five-pound dog back when we first met my little angel.

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Pets and other animals

Other animals like the bird who showed up on our corner lot to check out some recent roadkill. He dragged a squished squirrel into our yard and snacked on it. Regrettably the photo doesn’t show quite how awesome he looked IRL.

Next Wisp. This week she not only came and sat beside me on the couch, she went to sleep with her head tucked slightly under my leg. I think she likes me.Then there’s the puppers. Plushie went to a rehab place to check out his knee problems. They say it’s not his knee as much as a problem with his groin muscles and recommended various steps we could take. Some of them we’ve seen used before, such as a laser treatment of the injured area. Others were more dubious about such as “dry needling” — it would be a lot of pricking and leave Plushie very sore and he doesn’t cope well with that sort of thing. So probably not. Whatever we decide on will be pricey, but look at that face — he’s totally worth it.

So is Trixie, who’s going in this afternoon to see if rehab could benefit her any (she still has a slight weakness in her legs). Regrettably they couldn’t take both dogs at once as it’s an intensive process.

#SFWApro. Images are mine.

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Recalibrating myself like a precision timepiece!

So I accomplished about 50 percent of my goals for September which is pretty much where I’ve been running for most of this crazy year. My biggest disappointment is that I went way over budget due to the various dog and cat vet bills. On the other hand, there was a time when if I went over budget I actually went negative; that I’m not in that financial space any more is pretty cool.

Writing went pretty well. I didn’t get very far on Questionable Minds but I rewrote Chapter Eight of Undead Sexist Cliches, the Alien Pregnancy chapter of Alien Visitors and watched a ton of movies. I did not get as far as I wanted proofing the Undead Sexist Cliches footnotes (though I have found several errors, demonstrating that I’m not wasting my time) for the same reason my Questionable Minds work was slow: I save that for the end of the day and I frequently wind up dealing with the dogs at that point. And they’re hyper. So focus goes away.

Plus I got my quota of Leaf articles and blogged at Atomic Junkshop about how much of the Superman mythos I grew up with got tested out first in the pages of Superboy. Case in point, Bizarro. And as my Shut Up and Write! meetup group seems to have died, I’m looking at reviving it with a friend of mine as co-organizer.

So for next month I’m going to try running a very tight ship. I’ve planned out my schedule including vet and doctor appointments and I’ve been much more precise in what I’m doing in each period. Out of two writing sessions a week on Alien Visitors, one will be watching movies, one will be writing the chapters. With Undead Sexist Cliches, one session will be working on Chapter Nine, one will be footnotes, reading the early chapters aloud and such. That was I should get the work done even if the dogs bedevil me. The more progress I make, the sooner I can get back to doing some fiction.

I’m not as good at multi-tasking as I used to be so trying to write while I’m watching films doesn’t go well. Instead I’ll use the time for things I can do: exercise, cooking, baking bread, maybe writing bills. That’ll squeeze a little more time out of the day.

When I was younger I used to obsessively micromanage my time this way, but I don’t feel like that this time. I feel relaxed and reasonably confident I can make this work. We’ll see if I’m right.

#SFWApro. All rights to cover (by Curt Swan) remain with current holder.

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

So the dogs went in for their checkup this week

And it was good news. We’re still going to restrict Plushie’s movements — which is not easy but explains the cage in the photo — but we can start testing to see if he’s okay with reduced pain meds. Trixie did need another anti-allergen shot, but it stopped her gnawing her feet. Hopefully by the time this one wears off the allergy season will be over. The cone of shame you see below is now back on the shelf.Next up: physical rehab evaluation later this month. I’m not sure Trixie needs one but it can’t hurt to check.

Below: TYG tried her mask on Plush Dog. Call him Doggie Howser, MD.#SFWApro. Images are mine.

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