Category Archives: The Dog Ate My Homework

One of those “why isn’t everything finished yet?” weeks

Productive, yes. But I want to see stuff completed!

I finished the current draft of Undead Sexist Cliches, which was an accomplishment. But then I immediately jumped to adding stuff from some of the PDFs I have on my computer, mostly law journal articles about rape law. This will improve the book, but it’s slow going because there’s a lot of information (at some point I may discover I have too much material and have to prune back the text). So I don’t feel I’ve gone much further, even though wrapping up the last draft was.

I have finished writing the proposal for my next McFarland book (assuming they accept it), but I didn’t finish it. I have to open my old computer, convert it into word, check for spelling and polish it up before I send it off. I’ll get it done next week for sure, but it would have been nice to send it out this week.

I sent off one of my previously published short stories, Leave the World to Darkness to a new market that takes reprints. A Famine Where Abundance Lies came back last weekend, but I haven’t found a new market yet.

Fiction just kind of flatlined. I worked on my Tarot in Hollywood story (still untitled) but when I reached the point where I really needed to take it in a new direction, I just blanked. I have ideas where it can go but I couldn’t seem to translate them to the printed page.

And sitting with the dogs is becoming even more distracting than usual. Plushie seems to delight in squirming in my lap in ways that put me in increasingly awkward, uncomfortable positions, which does not sharpen my focus (I had to give up on one Leaf article today because I was feeling that out of balance) I can’t quite bring myself to deny the dogs snuggling opportunities (and it would be a lot of effort to keep them away), but I really need to think of some sort of solution. More, shorter breaks so I’m not sitting there quite so long, maybe?

I did put up a new post at Atomic Junkshop on loving characters vs. particular incarnations of characters. And last week, though I forgot to mention it, I contributed to a round table post about geek stuff we don’t get. Mine was mostly on the sheer amount of geek stuff out there now, and how my knowledge only encompasses a small slice of it, and it’s getting steadily smaller; I have no intention of paying for Disney streaming, so I’m going to miss all the various MCU shows they have planned.

So that was my week. I’ll wrap it up with one of my favorite Hawkman covers, by Murphy Anderson.

#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

Trixie then, Trixie now

So going through some old dog paperwork I found our early release forms for Trixie and Plushie, including a photo Animal Protection Society of Durham took of her.

I honestly didn’t remember her looking so sad and miserable and skinny — only five pounds at the time (she was eight months old). Which is not a reflection on the shelter — she was a stray and she’d only been there a few days when we filed to adopt.

Even after we got her home, she was very scruffy.

Now though?

Happy and safe and loved. Nine and half pounds, occasionally more if we don’t watch portions and treats. I’m so glad she has a happy home with us, and it’s a happier home because of her and Plushie.

My little love.

#SFWApro. Top photo by Animal Protection Society of Durham, rest are mine.

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Images of kittens, and a goat!

So when we went to the vet to stop Plushie chewing himself, there were some kittens up for adoption in the front lobby.

I am impressed how sharp their claws are even at that age.So much as Trixie wanted to inspect them closely, I restrained her.Then last weekend, we attended the annual Oberlin alumni picnic for Raleigh-Durham. Great food, good company, and also our hosts have a goat!

#SFWApro. All photos are mine.

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See? I told you Wisp liked me!

For starters, here’s Wisp graciously receiving my scritching.

This week went well, though I had to take time off Wednesday afternoon for an Alexander technique class. Normally that wouldn’t have affected my schedule that much, but I decided to send the dogs to Suite Paws Wednesday rather than Thursday. That way TYG didn’t need to stay home with them (she’s had a hectic week) and we wouldn’t be picking them up around 6PM Thursday. That left me free to go to a “Published Author’s Chillzone,” a MeetUp a friend from the writing group started for published authors. I’ve been meaning to go for several months, but doggy day care kept getting in the way. This time everything dovetailed. It’s a small group, but fun, though it felt much further away than it really is. Durham has a very odd pattern of development and one long stretch of road felt like I was driving out of the city and into the deep woods. But I had fun, so hey.

I worked on the sexual harassment chapter in Undead Sexist Cliches and got some good work done but not as much as I’d hoped. However I also incorporated my beta-readers’ feedback on the previous two chapters, so that’s good.

I put in some work on the Bleeding Blue short story, and it’s starting to get into shape.

And I did my usual 10 Leaf business articles. Though as sometimes happens, my brain couldn’t quite get into the zone so I took longer than I should have.

And I slept quite well. The temperature’s gone down a little outside and now the no caffeine in the afternoons policy is allowing me to sleep again. Feels good.

That was pretty much it. Satisfying, though not spectacular. Doing three hours on weekends and less at the end of the day is definitely working out — we’ll see if that holds true this weekend, when I actually have events to go to.

#SFWApro. All rights to image are mine.

 

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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 was a good doggy parent this week

So last weekend, I picked up Plushie’s new prescription for anti-itch pills, which as I noted Wednesday didn’t help. We debated whether to take him in or give the drugs time to work; I made the call to go ahead and we had a vet’s appointment Monday. Result: one shot (poor dog) and by yesterday, a cessation of the self-biting. However he still chews on himself when we’re all in bed at night, so I got out the new cone of shame I just bought. Unlike the regular one we’ve used a couple of times, it’s soft and doesn’t jar when he bumps up against something. Again, good judgment on my part — it proved much easier to get him comfortable with the new cone on his head.

So I’m quite pleased with myself.

We also had to take the medicated shampoo and give him a bath, which is not something we normally bother with between grooming appointments. Plushie found this suboptimal. This will have to keep up, our vet says, just in case, but only once a week.

It’s been a rough week for the Plush One, but I’m glad he’s on the road to recovery.

#SFWApro. Photos are mine.

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I had the perfect post, but Plush dog stole it

Vet visit Monday because his skin was so itchy, he’s been licking it very loudly in the night. I barely got any sleep Saturday, and TYG suffered the same Sunday (I’d relocated to the spare bedroom). He got a shot and some shampoo and he’s all better now.

But that sucked up quite a bit of time, and I didn’t catch up yesterday. So here’s a memorable Hannes Bok illustration of Frank Belknap Long’s story of time-devouring hounds from other worlds. Back with normal posting tomorrow.

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

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Wisp likes me!

So this week I went out on the deck to trim some rosemary leaves for a roast potato dish. Wisp was out lying by the pot (like this, although it’s an older photo) and I assumed that as usual, she’d run off under the deck instead of being close to the human.

Instead, she rubbed against me as I clipped the leaves, weaving around my legs, rubbing on my butt, and letting me scratch and stroke her head and back. It was soooo cool.

If I’d had the confidence to pick her up and place her in a carrier, we’d have solved our problem of getting her to the vet. But I suspect she doesn’t like me that much yet. TYG has been trying to snag her with the kind of loop on a pole people use for wild animals, but Wisp’s wary enough to stay away from it. I think the simplest method would be dropping a laundry basket over her while she’s eating, but we’re going to try the pole a few more times.

This was a productive week, though as often happens, it doesn’t feel like it: a lot of the work I did is still in progress, so there’s no tangible result.

I’ve almost completed my proposal for the (hopefully) next pitch to McFarland, Space Invaders. If all goes well I’ll send it off next week.

I pitched my first article query in a couple of months, to The Writer. I think it’s a long shot, but it only took me a few minutes, so what’s the heck.

I posted a blog at Atomic Junkshop in my ongoing series on what comic books are like in comic-book universes. This time up: what was the Marvel Comics in the Marvel Universe like in the 1940s?

I contacted And Magazine again about writing for them, but it looks like a no-go. The current incarnation seems to be more conservative and more national-security oriented than when I was one of the contributors and I don’t think the stuff I want to write will be a good fit (this may explain why my older articles are no longer online there). A shame — I’d really like to reach a larger audience than this blog, though I appreciate all of you who do read me here.

I redrafted Death is Like a Box of Chocolates for the better and read it at Tuesday’s writer’s group. The feedback was helpful, though nobody said anything that helps me see how to end it right. I redrafted Only the Lonely Can Slay and I’m definitely getting a little closer to making it work. Not close enough yet, though. I also read over my untitled Tarot in Hollywood story, trying to figure what I want for the next draft.

I submitted my usual articles to Leaf, although I ended up one short of what I’d intended for the week. My brain just balked and I knew better than to try pushing it.

I finished the rape-cliche chapter of Undead Sexist Cliches, breaking it into two to make the size manageable. The first half deals with cliches about consent (it’s not important. The slut probably wanted to be raped.) and not believing the victim, the second deals with “she asked for it!” and “do we want to ruin his life just for a little rape?” cliches.

My work-week included three hours on Sunday, as it did the week before. It wasn’t as effective, as I was sitting with the dogs that afternoon, but it still feels good getting the last hour of the regular workday to myself.

Oh, and the Medscape video that went live last week has generated more than 1200 hits and some very favorable comments (“Visual presentation from patient makes it interesting and simulates actual consultation.”). So I guess it did some good. To celebrate, let’s look at a spooky tree!

#SFWApro. Weird Tales cover by Joseph Eberle, all rights to image remain with current holder.

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

A time hack that works? Could be

I hate working on the weekends. But last Sunday I put in three hours and it went well. And by so doing I was able to take off the last hour of Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday without coming up short.

That’s a very big deal. The last 90 minutes of the day are my low point in alertness. It’s worse now that we have the dogs, because I’ve often spent a couple of hours with Plushie and Trixie (adorable though she is) squishing into or around my lap. This usually results with me bending my body into positions that do not promote concentration or clear thought. Today, for example, it’s 2 PM as I write this and I already feel my brain glitching from my position.But I don’t want to just push them away so I can work.

Three hours on the weekend when I’m not worn out and the dogs may be sitting with TYG works much better. And then I can use the freed up hours in the week to read or relax, which feels great. It’s much easier to kick back and play with the pups when work finishes (with Plushie it’s more enduring his barking until Mommy comes home than actual playing) if I’ve had a break first.

Of course there will be weekends that doesn’t work or isn’t possible, but I’m going to give it a good shot.

As a result of the time hack, I had a productive week. I got my quota of Leaf articles in and a little bit more. I redrafted Death is Like a Box of Chocolates and much improved it, but the ending is still a mess. Too bad, as I’m reading it for next week’s writer’s group; I’d thought it’d be another two weeks before I read, but enough people dropped out to speed up the queue. I’ll give it another going over on Monday.

I got a little bit more done on Undead Sexist Cliches (I’m debating giving it a more serious name. Haven’t decided) but I didn’t finish Chapter Five. The amount of rape-related myths to cover is huge. It may end up the longest chapter in the book.

I spent too much time Thursday arguing on FB. One of my Florida friends, while I’ve always found her sweet and lovable, is a die-hard Trump supporter (I know possibly she’s less sweet than I thought) and she’s been posting a lot of pro-Trump, anti-the Squad stuff, so I’ve been commenting, and she’s been commenting on mine … and Thursday I wound up wasting a lot of time arguing (and by the way, calling them “the Squad” puts me in mind of the cover below, so here it is).

I also posted another Atomic Junkshop piece about my least favorite Dr. Mabuse film, Scotland Yard vs. Dr. Mabuse.

Oh, and the video I did a while back for Medscape is now online. I play Gilbert (“My blood sugars at home are ok, and I think my prostate infection has finally cleared up, but I have a new girlfriend and worry whether I am virile enough. As it is, she’s overlooking my fat belly and balding head!” [they shot me neck up, because it seems I’m not fat enough for the role. Woot!]). You have to sign in to see it, but it’s free. I was critical of my body language (some of it seemed a little melodramatic) but given I had no rehearsal, I think I did pretty well.

And now I’m quitting early for the day. Due to a couple of sleepless nights I’m actually ahead of my 35 hour quota — and as I said, I can’t keep working around the dogs much longer anyway.

#SFWapro. Cover by Mike Grell, all rights to image remain with current holder.

 

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Wisp wins another round, dang it!

We made Wisp’s second appointment with the vet for today, knowing the dogs would be at day care. In the morning I sprinkled the knockout drops the vet gave us onto her food and kept feeding her tidbits every fifteen minutes or so. That way we hoped she wouldn’t go off looking for food and pass out somewhere else.

The stuff was supposed to take effect after an hour. And after an hour and a little, Wisp definitely looked dopey … but whenever we went out on deck, she demonstrated she wasn’t so dopey she couldn’t take off and run out of reach. As our plan hinged on picking her up and dropping her body into the carrier, that was a no go.

After about 90 minutes, we gave up.  I don’t know if the problem was that we fed her too much and she didn’t absorb the drug, or that she’s heavier than we estimated and the dose wasn’t enough.

She did come back a little later so obviously we didn’t scare her off. We’re going to try again this weekend with a different tactic.

Wish us luck.

#SFWApro. Photo is mine. Wisp is ours too, sort of.

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I didn’t underperform, but I sure under-slept

So I got a little stressed for various reasons last weekend (nothing catastrophic), and as frequently happens when I stress out, I don’t sleep.

Sunday night sleep: dreadful. Monday night: not good either. Tuesday I was so zonked I took a Lyft to the writer’s group, then headed home without going out to the bar afterwards. Wednesday: more of the same. Finally Thursday I took an Ambien and got a spectacular nine hours of sleep. I feel much better today.

While I’m sure I wasn’t functioning at peak capacity, the added time balanced out for that, some, so at least it was a productive week.

I finished Impossible Things Before Breakfast, sent it off to Asimov’s and got it back the next day (which I appreciate — speedy responses are welcome, even with a rejection). The editor said she liked it, but it wasn’t right for her. I’d actually figured it was a long shot for acceptance, but it’s nice to start submissions with a top market. And today I sent it off again. I also submitted Rabbits Indignateonem and Fiddler’s Black to other markets.  I’m really pleased with finishing Impossible Things as I haven’t completed a story since January. It counters the fear that I’m just spinning my wheels and not accomplishing anything.

I might not have done as much but Leaf is wrapping up its current project. I only had a few articles to do this week, so that opened up vistas. I intend to make maximum use of the two to four weeks before the new cycle starts up.

I’d intended to incorporate my beta-readers’ comments on Undead Sexist Cliches into the manuscript this week. Instead I took my big folder of relevant bookmarks and incorporated that. It took a lot of time (there’s a lot of bookmarks). Next month I shall manage my workflow so I’m rewriting, drawing on the betas and adding bookmarked info each week. Just doing bookmark after bookmark left me numb. They had lots of good information and observation I didn’t remember though.

And that was it. I hoped to get more work done on Death Is Like a Box of Chocolates but I kept finding more Leafs to do (probably ones other people had claimed, then given up) and I hate to pass up the money stuff.

In other news, TYG and I hoped to dope Wisp’s food Thursday and cart her off to our vet. She’d vanished over the weekend but showed up Monday and then again Tuesday and Wednesday. Thursday morning … not a peep. It’s like she knew. However we still want her sore/abscess/cut looked at, and she needs her booster shots, so we’ll try again. TYG and I will map out Plan B this weekend.

Oh and our dryer has been dead for a week. As we don’t have time to make it to the laundromat, clothes have been piling up in the dirty basket. The repair dude came yesterday, didn’t have all the parts, had to reschedule for today (TYG was not pleased. He’s lucky it wasn’t her at home waiting for him). Hopefully it’ll all go smoothly.

#SFWApro. Photo is mine.

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