Category Archives: The Dog Ate My Homework

The agony and the ecstasy!

The agony this week was from Plushie. As I mentioned last Friday, he was having trouble with his back legs so we took him in to the vet. Turns out his left back patella has popped out, which is what happened to Trixie earlier this year. The vet sent him home with painkillers and orders to keep him resting, which had TYG wondering why they weren’t bringing up surgery.

It wasn’t good. Plushie has zero pain tolerance so he was whimpering like crazy, chewing on the injured leg as if that would get out the pain and waking us up in the middle of the night. And leaving blood from his chewed foot in his crate or on our bedsheets. Monday I took him in again for his foot; the vet said he seems to be having some kind of allergic skin reaction (it’s happened before) so she shot him up with antibiotics and anti-itch and sent us home with some other meds.While he is still a little too keen to chew — we’re keeping him in the cone of shame for now — he’s much better, and sleeping through the night. His leg is improving fast; even given he’s on painkillers, it surprised us after Trixie that he’s able to take a few steps around the yard. It’s almost like the vet knew what they were doing when they said surgery wasn’t their recommendation. So things improved steadily during the weak. And let’s face it, he looks adorable in his fabric cone. Which has the fringe benefit that he’s less likely to jump off the bed with his range of vision limited.Now the ecstasy: Saturday, despite Plushie’s problems, we agreed to dog-sit for Lily — a Habanese we’ve cared for before — and her younger “brother” Tito the toy poodle. Lily’s a sweet, gentle dog; Tito is a bundle of energy.

Having them over was an absolute blast: Trixie hasn’t played with them in a while and they had much fun being able to romp and chase off-leash. Some photos:I got crap done Saturday, but I consider that acceptable.

#SFWApro. Photos are mine.

1 Comment

Filed under Personal, The Dog Ate My Homework

A somewhat chaotic week, but a productive one.

Although today was pretty much a mess.

I got about a third of the way through the abortion/birth control chapter of Undead Sexist Cliches. I watched E.T. for Alien Visitors, as well as the special features on the DVD (I usually skip them when it’s a Netflix DVD, but they proved useful for my Aliens and Children chapter). I got my Leafs done, and a little bit of work on Questionable Minds. I also got word that No One Can Slay Her made it out of the slush pile to the second round of reviews and so did Southern Discomfort at Baen Books. Neither of which means a sale — I know that from experience — but still, that’s good news. And I sold a couple of copies of Sex For Dinner, Death for Breakfast in a discussion of Bond on FB.

The dogs, however, ate up quite a bit of time. I took care of them Wednesday while TYG was working on something demanding and they proved, as they often do, a distraction (they’re much quieter sitting with her in the bedroom). Then early this morning, Plush dog woke up in some sort of pain, and wandered around the bedroom, with his back legs giving out a couple of times. As TYG had been up late and needed sleep, I took Plushie down with me to the living room (I was already up — bad night of sleep again). Normally I’d have tried drifting back to sleep but while Plushie seemed fine I was worried enough that I couldn’t bring myself to sleep. And caring for him meant I didn’t get any early morning work done, nor did I exercise. The rest of the day I was pretty dazed; I managed to finish my Leafs for the week, then it was pretty much sleep and blogging. I’ll be taking him to the vet later today. Prayers appreciated that it’s something simple to fix and definitely not seriously threatening.

Oh, and I published a blog post on Atomic Junkshop about the insane, illogical plot of Avengers #60 which worked for me as a teen but looks more ridiculous every time I reread it. But the John Buscema art never stops looking good, like this shot of the wedding reception.#SFWApro. All rights to image remain with current holder.

1 Comment

Filed under Nonfiction, Personal, Sex for Dinner, Death for Breakfast, Short Stories, Southern Discomfort, The Dog Ate My Homework, Time management and goals, Undead Sexist Cliches: The Book, Writing

This would be a great time hack if it only worked

Used to be that when I woke up early I would do some writing, then start my normal morning routine (meditation, stretching, yoga, exercise, breathing exercises). Trouble was, I usually wanted to sleep by that point which means I often just stretch out or yoga it (stretching is essential for my comfort, the rest is disposable).

So the past couple of weeks I’ve tried a new approach: get up, have tea while I read, then launch my morning routine early, then start writing when I finish. It should give me a jump on the day, and if TYG and the dogs get up early, I don’t have to work my exercise around them (Trixie loves demanding attention when I exercise. The exercise usually loses). But somehow when I get a normal night’s sleep — unusually this week, I did that consistently — it doesn’t happen. Either TYG and the dogs wake up and I’m occupied with them, or Wisp wants in (adorable though she is), or there’s this narrow window of time that I don’t use productively. So I don’t gain as much breathing room as I’d like. But I do get the meditation and other stuff done, so it’s not a total washout either.

I did have a productive week, or 3/5 of a week. I finished the sexual harassment chapter of Undead Sexist Cliches, rewrote Chapter Three of Impossible Takes a Little Longer for reading at the Tuesday night SF group, read The Midwich Cuckoos (as it’s the basis for several alien-invader movies, it’s a good kickoff to my Alien Visitors research) and edited several chapters of Questionable Minds. I hoped to get more work done, but Thursday Plushie began mysteriously whimpering in pain — not consistently but it was clear something was wrong, which didn’t lend itself to creative thought. Today was oriented around watching him until we could get a vet appointment; nothing obviously wrong, so they’re just sending him home with painkillers for now. We’ll see how it goes in the coming week. Man I hate unexplained dog problems!

That left me too fragmented for creative thought so I squeezed out some extra Leaf work. If I can’t make art, I can at least make money. And hey, I had a better week than this guy did!#SFWApro. Art by Dick Dillin, all rights to image remain with current holder.

Leave a comment

Filed under Impossible Takes a Little Longer, Nonfiction, The Dog Ate My Homework, Time management and goals, Undead Sexist Cliches: The Book, Writing

I still keep zigging when I should be zagging

Once again, I let my work on Undead Sexist Cliches and Leaf suck up time from other activities. But hey, that’s partly because Wednesday got so crazy taking care of Wisp, plus a streaming service at noon for one of my friends. That pretty much took out the day, so I focused on Undead Sexist Cliches as that’s easier to tackle in small doses. Despite getting almost nothing done that day, I still put in 30+ hours, so that’s cool.

Frustratingly as I type this I’m one small dose away from finishing Chapter Seven, but I don’t think I have the focus to get it done. Still I’m really pleased with how the rewrite approves the flow of the arguments and I spotted one point I hadn’t before: writers who dismiss harassment accusations because they’re anonymous have no trouble offering anonymous stories from women who they say oppose #metoo but are afraid of backlash if they speak up. The writers don’t think that might apply to people who speak up about harassment? Apparently not.

Not much else to say about the week. I might have more, but I got hooked on the writing and didn’t take enough breaks to clear my head. That’s usually a mistake.

Below you see Plushie. He’s acquired a bad habit of wanting to climb onto the coffee table where I keep my books and stuff during the day. The bad part isn’t the risk to the books (though that is a factor) but Plush is a klutz who could easily fall off, or try to jump over the couch arm to reach me (the odds of him injuring himself would be high). Putting these collapsible chairs between his ramp and the table has blocked him.

#SFWApro.

Leave a comment

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

Wisp is our babe behind bars!

Yep, we did it! We caught Wisp and took her to the vet on Wednesday for a complete medical checkup, plus getting her microchipped. She’s really ours now (okay, she has been for a while). Unsurprisingly she didn’t like it any more than these women — luckily Wisp isn’t packing heat.It was quite a busy week for vet visits. We took Plush and Trixie in for some booster shots on Saturday, forgetting to give them painkiller first. They were miserable the rest of the day and on into the next morning. Plus Trixie wouldn’t pee or poop for the vets and Plushie wouldn’t poop so I had to bring in samples during the week. At least I combined the Plush poop delivery with bringing in Wisp.

I really had my doubts we could get her to go into the pet carrier while either of us was close, even with food inside. But just like last year, she suddenly started being more comfortable with me standing around. This morning, I did my best to look uninterested and stare off into the distance while Wisp crept into the carrier, then I spun and closed the door (fortunately she tucked her tail inside when I did, or I’d have had to leave it open). Game over! She made the most pitiable mews of misery all the way there and back.

As they had to sedate her, we were supposed to keep her inside and safe for 24 hours while the drugs wore off. Wisp, however, was not keen on this. When we released her in the living room (dogs securely upstairs) she went over to the French doors and tried to get out.We bought her off for a while with food and with petting, but ultimately I thought she’d be less stressed outside, so I opened the door. She was much calmer than last year, when she bolted out of sight, and eventually settled into a shady spot under the deck stairs. I do hope she’ll be okay, but we let her out last year and it turned out fine.

So that’s done. Woot! Next up, working to get her comfortable with being inside for long stretches, even if we can’t make her a totally inside cat.

Oh, and the vet says she’s in great shape: no worms, parasites, fleas, etc, everything in good shape, so we’ve been doing a good job. I’m quite happy to hear that.

#SFWpro. All rights to poster image remain with current holder.

2 Comments

Filed under Personal, The Dog Ate My Homework

What rough book slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

So this week I began work on the new Alien Visitors book for McFarland. Not much done: work out my battle plan for the coming year, submit a list of possible movies to a friend to see if he could think of some I’d missed. But it’s begun! Next week I may begin the watching, or work a little on the writing side.

Otherwise I didn’t get much done besides Leaf but that’s partly because I took Thursday off. I had a doctor’s appointment in the morning (blood pressure is higher than usual but not in the threatening zone) after which I took the rest of the day off to think, read and chill (I try to do that at least once a month). That knocked out a chunk of time, obviously. I did get a little done on Undead Sexist Cliches and submitted a couple of stories though, so that’s cool. And I posted an Atomic Junkshop piece about a Strange Adventures story I thought captured why the Julius Schwartz edited books of the Silver Age were so fun. Yep it’s the one posted here with the giant winged gorilla snatching planes out of the sky.

I might have gotten more done but I had a little extra dog walking, and the temperature dropped enough I could give them both long walks. Which is a net win, but it did cut into my time.

And I did spend a lot of time reading Homeward Bound by Elaine Tyler May. Amazon had recommended it when I was looking for books on 1950s movies for Alien Visitors research, but it’s actually just a book about family life in the 1950s. Very good, though, in contrast to the previous two books I read (Welcome to Mars and Them or Us) and it has some useful information for Undead Sexist Cliches, which is why I kept reading.

Oh, and I sold one of my books on Amazon, though I can’t quite figure out which one yet (they notify me before the sale shows up on the site, apparently). So whoever you are, thanks!

One more full week to this month. I do hope to get more done before we enter September.

#SFWApro. Cover by Sid Greene, all rights remain with current holder.

Leave a comment

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

It was overall a good hand, but not the cards I expected

So after putting lots of extra effort into Leaf work the previous couple of weeks the latest cycle of articles ended last week. I figured I’d make up for the lost time on personal project this week … but to my surprise, the new cycle started up Monday. As I like making money, I immediately started claiming Leafs, but it was a little disappointing. My work on Impossible Takes a Little Longer Monday morning really felt good and I wanted more. However for the moment it’ll have to wait as Undead Sexist Cliches, Questionable Minds and my Alien Visitors film book come first.

Unfortunately, my sleep Monday – Wednesday night was for shit. The first two nights may be the Zoom writing meetings — I’m beginning to feel there’s something to the idea being on computers/phones in the hours before bedtime interferes with sleep. Wednesday night Trixie, who’s been very restless of late, paced up and down for a bit, clacking her claws on the hardwood floor. That woke me up and I couldn’t get back to sleep. As a result I didn’t get much done beyond Leaf, and some work on Chapter Four of Undead Sexist Cliches (feminism destroys families, education and the workplace!).

I thought I’d make up for that today a little, but today I woke up sick and draggy. No, doesn’t appear to be COVID-19, most likely it;s allergy-based (possibly because that morning I was coping with Wisp and Trixie, I forgot my meds). I know from experience the best treatment is simply to do nothing all day, and so I did.

On the plus side, I’m seeing a marked improvement in my juggling this week, and much better focusing in my meditation practice. So at least something of my own is getting done. And I did make money, which right now is very reassuring.

I’ll leave you with this uncredited cover (though a friend of mine says the art is by Emsh). #SFWApro, all rights to image remain with current holde.r

Leave a comment

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

Sometimes dogs snuggling in bed is not the cutest thing ever

Plushie, for example, has decided the solution for any stress during the night is to cuddle up with me and lick my face. Which is sweet … but not when I’m asleep. Trixie likewise came and snuggled with me one evening this week, but every time I drifted off that was apparently a sign for her to fidget and shift. One of my weaknesses is an inability to get back to sleep if I’m brought to wakefulness for more than a few seconds so this did not end well for me. I spent much of the week sleep-deprived, though I’ve made up for it today. Good thing they’re too cute to stay mad at!

My main accomplishment was doing a lot of Leaf articles. I’m not quire sure how many they’ll have to write in any given week so I did three extra this week, wrapping up today. In theory I can make up the time lost to other projects by doing less Leaf next week. That doesn’t always work because sometimes they have articles I just can’t resist writing. This week for example I had articles on how to join an actors union and how film actors get paid (every week, on Thursday — yes I did say more about it than that!).

I got a couple of chapters proofed on Questionable Minds, though I’m thinking of one possibly big rewrite of the “finished” draft. I’m honestly not sure I need all the villain POV scenes, which were meant to explain his seemingly puzzling crime patterns; it’s possible they’re necessary but it’s also possible nobody cares, or at least not as much as I do. As we get into the later part of the book I’ll see if I can wrap anything essential into some of the other exposition scenes.

I got partway through Chapter Five in Undead Sexist Cliches, which is one of the two chapters on rape cliches. I’d planned to work on Chapter Four but it’s much less tightly organized and in my tired state I couldn’t get anywhere with it.

My daily exercise routine has suffered since TYG and I started taking one dog each for morning walkies (my doctor is very clear that walking doesn’t get my heart pumping fast enough to make it the primary source of exercise). Normally, even in summer, I go out bicycling at least once a week but it’s too damn hot except for the early mornings, and those are for dogs. In theory I could make it up working on our stationary bicycle or doing some other sort of exercise later in the day, but somehow it doesn’t seem to happen.  I’m going to have to work to see that it does.

And we have begun putting out a pet carrier and leaving Wisp’s cat food inside it. Hopefully she’ll get used enough to it we’ll be able to trap her and take her in for her annual checkup soon.

#SFWApro. Photos are mine.

1 Comment

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

Animal tales

So late Sunday night, Plushie, for no discernible reason, jumped off the bed, whimpering in pain. We’ve no idea; could just be that one of his sore spots (he likes to chew himself) got bumped. But he decided the only security was to be found pressing up very close to his daddy. Which was sweet, but the position he picked (and wouldn’t budge from) left me in too awkward a position myself to sleep. After about fifteen minutes I gave up and went to sleep in the spare bedroom. Except I didn’t sleep: Monday was a long slog.

At lunch, I walked Plushie and Wisp started to come over and get a little petting. But then one of the children on our street came up to talk and Wisp froze. I could almost see her torn between the desire to rub up against me and the Stranger Danger posed by this seven year old. I made it up to her with some snuggling on the front steps later.

Then in the evening we had some guys show up to deliver some new bookcases. Somehow, Plushie got past the gate barring off the living room, then ran outside, triggering a very loud demand from TYG that I find him (one of the guys was unintentionally obstructing her from catching him). I rushed out and fortunately Plushie hadn’t gone further than the walkway, where he was begging for attention from one of the other dudes. I grabbed him up and carried him back inside before he could get any ideas about exploring or challenging the next bicycle rider to go by. Scary, but it turned out okay.

That’s life with pets. And it’s a good excuse to show these photos of a dead mole we found in the front yard, and what it looked like after it had decayed for a few days.

#SFWApro. Images are mine.

Leave a comment

Filed under Personal, The Dog Ate My Homework

I think things fell apart when I went to the library …

But I’m still glad I went.

The Durham Library recently reopened, though only for picking up books placed on hold (maximum of five). Which is disappointing — they just completed a massive remodel of the main library and I’d love to visit — but obviously the right thing to do. As my pile of new books is vastly shrinking (no used bookstores or library sales to visit) I reserved some books and picked them up Thursday afternoon, as they don’t open Saturdays. It went smoothly, with no major risk and everyone masked, though to my disappointment Ghosts of Manhattan turned out not to be the superhero novel of that name but a mainstream book about a stockbroker’s personal crises. I may read it anyway.

However, after I got back from the library I had to engage in some extra dog care and wound up getting very little done Thursday. Then this morning I took Plushie for his walk and for a change he was ready to go on a long one. We spent probably an hour, which is good — he really needs to get some weight off — but quite exhausting for me. I not only lost a chunk of writing time but it took me a while to get over the stiffness and focus on writing (I exercise plenty but walking wipes me out way more than most workouts. I’ve no idea why). This may happen again, as we’re now taking one dog each in the morning, which makes it easier to get them walked before the heat is unendurable.

I also made the mistake of dropping Thursday morning’s planned focus on Questionable Minds to do a little extra work on Undead Sexist Cliches and Impossible Takes a Little Longer. I think there are two ways to juggle multiple projects: allot each of them some time in your schedule and give them the time or make one project the priority and do whatever it takes to get that work done, even if it cuts into the time spent on others. I set my priorities based on option A — get something done on each of them per week — but then I wind up shifting them around. I still got work done in that time, but I’d be happier, I think, if I’d gotten some on all three big projects instead of skimping on my Minds final draft.

Oh, and I took Monday off, which was the right call. I’d let a lot of life stuff build up unfinished (paperwork, bills, checks to deposit, things to clean) plus my brain was slowing down from cabin fever some. That didn’t help with productivity either, but I’m glad I did it. Unfortunately the library doesn’t do appointments on Mondays or I’d have taken care of it then.

On Impossible I got through Chapter Three on the new draft which brought me up to a scene I had no idea how to fix, where Lahatiel (evil fake angel) attempts to kill KC (alias the Florida Panhandle’s superhero, the Champion). The old version didn’t work — it plays on fears and worries KC no longer has — but I think I figured out where to go with my current concept of her character. I’ll try it next week. And I posted Ch.2 to my writers’ group, as I’ll be reading it next week. Undead Sexist Cliches has the first two chapters done on the final draft. Questionable Minds … well, nothing, obviously. Plus I got some Leaf articles done (most interesting: “Do Physician Assistants Wear White Coats?” There’s more to the answer than I’d have thought.

For illustration, here’s a photo I took of someone’s broken lawn ornament recently. I’d like to claim it as an allegorical artistic statement on the ongoing statue controversies, but it’s just a photo.#SFWApro. Image is mine.

Leave a comment

Filed under Impossible Takes a Little Longer, Personal, Story Problems, The Dog Ate My Homework, Time management and goals, Undead Sexist Cliches: The Book, Writing