Tag Archives: Wisp

I slept with two women last weekend. Pics so it happened!

Here’s the pic.It was nice being able to sit with both of them, as Trixie gets a little jealous when Wisp’s on the couch with  me. One of the many things we’ll have to work out if Wisp ever becomes a completely inside cat. Now that the weather’s nice, she’s much more of an outdoor cat; having her go to sleep in my lap is rare of late. However we’ve bought cat littler and a littler box for the spare bedroom where she sometimes sleeps with me. That way if she does use it we can close the door and keep the dogs from eating her poop.

For a bonus, here’s a cover illustration for Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? but done in the style of a hardboiled PI paperback novel (you can see an example in this cover post). I don’t know the artist.

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My birthday was, perhaps, a little “meh”

I didn’t expect anything spectacular, seeing as we couldn’t go out, and TYG isn’t comfortable ordering takeout during a pandemic. But a little after midnight, TYG got an emergency call from work, which woke me up. When it was obvious I couldn’t get back to sleep I went downstairs with Wisp until my eyelids started to droop. At which point Trixie had an upset tummy so I let her sit downstairs with me so that TYG (who had to work — I was taking Thursday off) could sleep. Unfortunately sleeping with a restless dog plus a cat proved unworkable.

The result was that I spent most of my birthday a little bit out of it. Fortunately I feel much better today, and my birthday did have some fun moment. Watching 63 Up. Playing Jotto (a gift from my bro) with TYG. Pigging out on junk food. Using the stationary bicycle — I’ve fallen out of the habit lately (inclement weather made outside bicycling a non-starter). The only thing that really disappointed me was that I’d wanted to sit down and think through my schedule, my projects, and which ones need prioritizing (and how much). I only managed a little of that.

The rest of the week was productive without much getting finished. Well, except for a post at Atomic Junk Shop comparing DC and Marvel Silver Age storytelling (the above image from Fantastic Four is part of it) and a Veterans Network post about burn pits and their health hazards. Other than that it was stuff worked on, nothing finished: movies watched for Alien Visitors, reading about golems and almost finishing the final edits on Chapter Four of Undead Sexist Cliches.

The work was not finished, but it did progress. And hopefully it will progress further come next week. For now, writing is done.

#SFWApro. Image by Jack Kirby, 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

Wisp, like Aslan, is not a tame lion

Sure, she looks tamed and kittenish in this photo. But as the weather has turned warm, she’s become much more interested in staying outdoors as much as possible. That’s a little disappointing. Making her an indoor cat or mostly indoor would keep her safer, and the local birds and shrews safer. This winter she stayed inside so much I hoped we were trending that way. Now I’m not so sure.

She’s also really hooked on playing with the laser pointer. When she does come in, she’s likely to sit and stare around, waiting for her friend the little red dot to show up for her to chase. I think she knows it’s something we’re doing, she just doesn’t care. I’m hoping there’s a point at which enough chasing will convince her to sit quietly and chill, but if so I haven’t found it yet. I must admit, I kind of miss her sitting next to me on the couch and just snoozing, but it’s not all about me.

I’m pleased with her diet, though. I went and read up online about cat food and realized I was considerably overstuffing her. Now I’m giving multiple small meals a day, mixing tuna, kibble and cat food; she hasn’t been enthused about the cat food but the mix works for her. Good thing, as we have a lot of cat food (TYG bought it in bulk).

Who knows what’s ahead? Will summer heat encourage her to stay in the way winter cold and February’s drenching rain did? Time will tell.

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Growing older can be difficult but it beats not growing any older

At least for me, celebrating my birthday today. It’s a little horrifying that it’s my second pandemic birthday; this time last year, it never occurred to me we’d be mired in the Trump Virus nightmare that long. On the other hand, six months ago I figured the pandemic timeline might leave me and TYG stuck at home until 2022. That we may be vaccinated within a month or two is astonishing.

Pandemic aside, life is good. True, there is no question age is taking a toll. My knees are stiffer, other parts of me ache in various ways they didn’t use to and obviously I’m that much closer to a fatal something than I was thirty years ago. But that said, I had a friend younger than me die last year, and a friend roughly my age die a couple of years before that. That I’m still around and in good health for my age is pretty miraculous.

I’ve been writing full-time since I moved up here. I was nervous as hell giving up my job on the Destin Log, even though I knew moving up to be with TYG was the right choice. I’ve been able to pay my bills since then, just by writing (well, some census work the first year too). That’s really remarkable. A little erratic and nerve-wracking at times, but that’s a small price to pay.

And as I wrote a couple of birthdays back, age does not keep from doing my work, nor do I feel the need to retire. Writing is fun for me; I’d be thrilled if I could concentrate on fiction some day but if I’m still writing Leaf or similar articles that’s far from a horrible fate.

And I’m with TYG, and we’re happy and that’s just awesome. There have been occasional dark times in my life when, while not suicidal, I wondered if anything would really change for me if I kept going. Turned out it could, more than I ever imagined, and better than I ever imagined. Lord knows, I couldn’t imagine making it through the pandemic year without her. Or our menagerie.I shall spend today thinking about my ongoing projects and how to organize and prioritize my time. That’s as close to work as I’m going to come. Otherwise it’s bicycling, movies, reading, pups and whatever TYG has planned (nothing involving going out, for obvious reasons).

Happy birthday to me!

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I slept well this week. I imagine DST this weekend will fix that

Switching back and fro from Daylight Savings Time to Standard has disrupted my sleep schedule (and millions of other people’s) for years. As I’ve aged, it gets worse. There’s a bipartisan push in Congress to end the switch; I hope it works.

But for some reason I did sleep remarkably well this week, even with Wisp occasionally in the bed with me and demanding petting. Getting a full night’s sleep sometimes works against me — being able to work uninterrupted in the early morning has some advantages — but this week it didn’t. Partly that’s because my various projects require research reading and research viewing (for Alien Visitors) which makes it easier to squeeze in a little extra work. The doggy care wasn’t particularly demanding, though I am getting quite wiped after lunch walkies. Thinking back, it’s the first time since Trixie’s injury last year that I’ve been giving her a full morning walk while it’s still cool enough for a full lunch walk. Apparently that and the heat is taking its toll. I’m going to try hydrating heavily before lunch walks next week and see if that helps. I sure hope so — there’s no way I can rejigger my schedule to avoid working in the afternoon. Though in a couple of months it’ll probably be too hot for big walks anyway.

So what did I get done while I was so wonderfully rested?

I did my Leaf articles, of course, though there were fewer to claim than I expected. I made it up by doing a couple more pieces for the Veterans Network website (my first article, on K9 Veterans Day, is already up). This looks like it will be a steady source of additional work, which is always welcome. I also spent an hour chatting with my friend Lisa Wildman, who works there, about the gig and what they’re looking for.

I did a lot of reading on golems and wrote a rough first draft of the paper. I still have more reading to do, but having it down on paper gives me a much sharper idea where I’m going, which is reassuring. I also took time out of Wednesday to go pick up some research reading from the Durham Library. Normally I’d have waited for the weekend but I had a couple of other errands that needed doing, so …

I started the final draft of Chapter Four of Undead Sexist Cliches. It needs more work than I hoped, but it will get the work until it’s good to go.

I skipped working on Questionable Minds as I mull over a couple of edits I’m not sure about. I got a little bit of work done on the Alien Abductions chapter of Alien Visitors. I’m starting to get a feel for that subgenre faster than I thought.

Oh, and I published a blog post about DC’s Kobra over at Atomic Junk Shop.

Overall a satisfactory week. Fingers crossed DST doesn’t disrupt the flow too much next week.

#SFWApro. Kobra art by Jack Kirby, all rights to image 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

That is DEFINITELY more like it!

So as usual for the end of the month, Leaf articles dried up (it has something to do with their billing cycle with clients) and I had the whole week to work on my own projects. I don’t always make good use of the time, but this week? Totally.

I made final edits on Chapters One and Two of Undead Sexist Cliches. Chapter Two was slower than I thought, but I think I’ll make up the time on the two rape-cliche chapters — they’re the most tightly organized.

I wrote another chapter of Alien Visitors and watched some more films.

I did some more research reading.

I worked a little on drafting my golem article.

Despite having Wisp in most mornings, I managed to keep up my exercise schedule. And believe me it’s hard when a cat curls up next to you on the couch and wants petting.

And I submitted Southern Discomfort to a new publisher. I feel pessimistic, but it’s not doing any good just sitting here, is it? The pessimism isn’t that I think the first three chapters are poor — I reread them and other than a couple of spelling errors, they look good. But it’s kind of an odd book, with multiple POVs and I wonder if the publisher (or any publisher) will just look and say it’s not strong enough or we need more time with Maria’s POV or something. But hey, self-publishing is always an option if nothing else works. And I’m not giving up on trad publishing yet.

Huh, that’s actually a shorter summation of the week than when I’m writing about how wrong everything went. But I’m cool with that.

#SFWApro. Cover by Ernie Chan, all rights to image remain with current holder.

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A dog with a ribbon in his hair. And then Wisp.

I’ve had this photo on my laptop since Christmas, but I forgot to post it. Better late than never, right? For the record, we didn’t keep it on more than a second, otherwise it would have ended up in Plushie’s mouth.

Now, the Wisp stuff. Last weekend, Wisp’s habit of mewing for attention in the middle of the night left me really wiped out. My friend Dana said if I just stay upstairs and don’t come down, eventually Wisp would give up. I decided to try that — she’d still wake me up mewing but I’d just have to go into my room and write instead of going downstairs. No chance to brew any tea, but Dana was right, I couldn’t keep letting Wisp wake me up at 12:30 or 1 AM.

Next night, instead, she came right into the bedroom and joined me (I was in the spare bedroom after the dogs’ restlessness forced me to relocate). First she tried snuggling close, then she settled onto the comforter at the foot of the bed and I went back to sleep.

Monday night she came up again, but I couldn’t make it back to sleep.

Tuesday was … nuts. Plushie was restless and woke me up. I went downstairs and read for a bit, started to feel ready to go back to sleep … and Wisp showed. Later I went to sleep on the couch and she, after an hour sitting on the far side of the room, decided to perch on the back of the couch right over my face. Distracting. Tuesday night, though, she went upstairs when I did and settled in quite comfortably. I slept like a log.

Wednesday night, Wisp was in the bed before I was but I didn’t sleep so well. I’m not sure if it was the cat lying next to me inhibiting my normal shifting in sleep or just random bad sleep luck. Last night I took an Ambien so when this goes live I may still be asleep.

We’ve also bought a laser pointer to tease her with. Wisp loves chasing the red dot; what we didn’t expect is that Trixie interprets the cat rushing around as a sign she’s ready to play. Trixie ends up giving her a play  bow or similar gestures, and gets a little baffled the cat doesn’t respond the way Plushie does.

It’s remarkable to look back at some of my cat videos from a couple of years ago and see how far Wisp has come from when she could barely bring herself to cross the threshold. It’s been her choice, but I feel absurdly proud of me and TYG for bringing her this far.

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I put in the hours, but the work did not flourish

Just as I planned last week, I skipped watching movies for Alien Visitors in favor of getting the writing done … only not much got done. A rewrite of the introduction, which is an important chapter — it’s a capsule the history of ETs in print and in popular belief, coupled with an overview of film and TV versions — but I’d really hoped for more.

Unfortunately this was one of those weeks when the doggy care was very demanding. Our visits to rehab are once a week instead of twice, but they’re around 2 PM or so for the next few weeks, so that takes a bite out of the day. Wisp has been in a lot, demanding petting (she gets it) and throwing my morning routine off. The lunch walkies after Monday were all mine; Wednesday, for whatever reason, I was completely wiped out. I’ve no idea why — it’s not like double walks are anything new — but I was not in peak condition to write that afternoon. And last night and the night before, Wisp woke me up around 1 or 2 AM when she decided she was lonely. On the plus side, she’s coming up into the spare bedroom (I sleep there when the dogs get too fidgety for me to sleep in our queen-size bed) when she wants me. She rushes away as soon as I move — she gets very nervous if she’s far away from the doors downstairs — so perhaps eventually she’ll come up and sleep next to me or something. That would be a lot easier. But yesterday and today I was wiped out.

And this morning she was hyper-fidgety. Rush in, get a quick pet, rush out again into the cold and rain. Decide she doesn’t like it, come back. Rinse, repeat. I know, cat, but it’s not typical for her. At the moment she’s snoozing on the couch again. I had Trixie on the other side of me so I could pet them both, but Trixie sulked and went to the other couch. I really hate feeling that she feels neglected (especially when I was making a point not to neglect her).

So not much Alien Visitors. I might have squeezed some in during my morning viewing while I exercise and eat, but I wound up bingeing and finishing DC’s Swamp Thing, now streaming on the CW website. I don’t feel bad about it (I’ll have a review up soon).

On the plus side, I did turn Undead Sexist Cliches into a print manuscript on Amazon and ordered a copy. I’ll go over it for any final errors/changes and then I’ll be done. Well, once I get a cover. I intend to try Draft 2 Digital‘s print-on-demand service too, but they require a cover before I start. I’ve been very pleased with their ebook service so I want to see if their paperback publishing works better than using Amazon’s kindle POD service.

And I got started on another project, contributing an article on golems in fantasy and comics to an anthology on Jewish specfic. Truth is, the only reason I made my hours this week is because I pushed to finish Jonathan and Jesse Kellerman’s The Golem of Hollywood — dreadful book (reviews will follow) but definitely relevant.

And I did do plenty of Leafs which is more money in the bank. That’s always welcome.

And now the weekend. I’m ready.

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Too many movies, too little writing

Which is to say I put in a full week of writing, but “writing” in this case mostly meant watching movies for Alien Visitors. Which is necessary, of course, but I have other things that need doing too. I didn’t get them done, other than writing Leaf articles.

Once again, we can blame my pets. Sunday night, Wisp stayed in, and decided about an hour after I went to bed that she wanted company. Her meowing woke me up and even after she went out, I couldn’t get back to sleep. That left me in piss-poor shape. By the time of Monday evening’s Shut Up and Write session (I’m one of the co-organizers for our local group), I was zonked. I had to settle for research reading as that was all I could manage. And for a couple of mornings this week I had Wisp in first, then the dogs coming down early to join me. That left me with little opportunity to do my early morning exercise/stretching/meditate routines, which always leaves me feeling I’ve started the day on the wrong foot. I think it’s aggravating my insomnia too, as I know if I get a normal night’s sleep I’ll be dealing with pets almost immediately on waking. So in that state, movies were about all I could manage to focus on.

Good thing the animals are so cute and adorable. Look at my shaggy little Trixie.I had two short stories returned, one with several positive comments (and some criticism, which obviously carried greater weight). And I discovered Cyborgs, Santa Claus and Satan cited as a reference for one article on Wikipedia, which is cool.But the writing needs to get done. I shall make that a priority for next week and let the movies fall behind this time. At least that’s the plan.

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Exit January, Enter February

The first month of 2021 went reasonably well, despite the Wisp problems and TYG’s crazy schedule. I have Undead Sexist Cliches and Questionable Minds ready to start the Draft2Digital book-making process. I got work done on Alien Visitors. About 50 percent of my goals for the month completed in total. But almost nothing on fiction. So I’m revising my 2021 plans.

There doesn’t seem to be any chance that I can focus on fiction until the two self-publishing jobs are done, so I’m not even going to try. For February, I’ll work on getting the two books done, plus as much Alien Visitors as I can handle. In March, hopefully, I can get back to fiction alongside Alien Visitors and make up for lost time. Apparently my ability to bounce from project to project is not what it used to be.

I’d planned to apply myself to using the pomodoro technique — 25 minutes on, five minutes off, bigger break every 90 minutes or so — regularly this year, but I’m just giving up on that. It’s always been a bit impractical because my big breaks are dictated by dog needs. Now that I’m dealing with Wisp, food deliveries, occasional requests for assistance from TYG and a schedule that’s much less predictable overall, it’s just pointless to try. So I won’t.

On the plus side, doing little mental exercises and such on a daily basis is working out well, though hampered by not having my mornings as free as I used to. So I’ll stick with that. For example setting a reminder in my to-do list to take two photographs a day reminds me to keep looking out for interesting visuals, like this one from our recent cold snap.

I had the sense to put a lot of my goals as conditional on vaccinations: plans to eat out, visit the North Carolina Zoo or drink coffee with someone are contingent on getting vaccinated. Which so far ain’t happening. When it does it will shake up my schedule in lots of ways, as I’ll have many more options for what to do with my time. But that will be a pleasant bridge to cross.

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