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November 29, 2005

Feel The Love

My thanks to everyone who sent us their best. The good vibrations have set the house a'rattlin'. Or possibly it's the cats running up and down the hall, but I doubt it.

In a related note, almost everyone of my coworkers that I've told about our good news has then said that I need to be sure that Lisa doesn't clean out the litter boxes anymore, due to the nefarious toxoplasmosis.

Of course, Lisa has never cleaned out the litter boxes in all the many years we've owned cats, so I can't really see her starting now. But I assure them she won't all the same.

At any rate, the rest of the holiday went swimmingly, despite a 45 day rejection from Strange Horizons in there. Relatives hugged, food devoured, parade and football watched.

Reading: Haven't reported on this in a while. Most of what I've been reading could fall into one of three categories: aliens (Where Is Everybody?: Fifty Solutions to the Fermi Paradox, by Stephen Webb), babies (The Expectant Father, by Armin Brott and Jennifer Ash), and archery (Traditional Archery, by Sam Fadala; Archery: Steps to Success, by Kathleen Haywood and Catherine Lewis). Ideally what I need is a book that combines these interests for maximum efficiency. For example, a book on archery for alien babies, or alien archery for babies. But not baby archery for aliens. That's just silly.

Oh, there's been a few other things in there. John M. Jeffrey Ford's The Physiognomy, a fine example of the New Weird, without a doubt. Currently reading Salt, by Mark Kurlansky on a recommendation from the lovely Ms. Viehl. But in honor of today, I went out and picked up a copy of The Strange Adventures of Rangergirl, by the one and only Tim Pratt. Should be fine reading, yeehaw.

November 25, 2005

There's Something I've Been Meaning To Tell You All

To celebrate the holiday, I would like to make An Announcement (cue the trumpets):

Lisa and I are going to have a baby.

Yes, it's true. An heir to the kingdom. An excuse for all those stuffed animals we have. Someone to care for us in our old age, in my case most likely by signing my committment papers. Expected due date is June 13th, just a couple days after Lisa's birthday.

We're thrilled, terrified, nervous, excited, tired, proud, disbelieving, slightly confused, stunned, wildly amused (that one's more me), a bit ill (Lisa, mostly in the morning), and hungry (also Lisa).

That is all. Please make a note of it.

November 23, 2005

Enjoy

Taking the day off today, so that my sweetie and I can get some things done before the big holiday with the appearance of so many relatives that a scorecard is needed to keep 'em all straight. Five day weekend! Woo! Will check back in later, if and when news presents itself. At the moment my only report is that, while a banana whose skin is turning brown all over may look sketchy, it still tastes delicious.

November 19, 2005

Lessons Learned

Committed more acts of archery this morning, this time with the regular class. Learned many things. Including:

  • If you don't bring your own equipment and don't get there early enough, someone else will snag your bow, and you'll have to start all over again on getting the sight adjusted.
  • An arrow that doesn't hit the target but instead, say, the backboard, has a distinct chance of ricocheting.
  • An arrow that ricochets will bounce back towards the line, often traveling about eighteen yards or so.
  • If your first arrow ricochets back to you, don't use objectionable language, as someone's mom will materialize and scold you.
  • You adjust the sight by chasing the arrow. For example, if you shoot low, you move the sight lower. This forces you bring the bow up, and so your shot moves up.

  • As you get used to using the bow, your extension improves and you can bring the string back farther. As that happens, there's a good chance you'll need longer arrows.
  • If your arrows aren't long enough, there is a distinct possibility it will slip off the rest and you'll shoot yourself in the hand. No, this did not happen to me, nor anyone else.
  • As you bring the string back farther, it also passes much closer to your chest.
  • A nipple grazed by a released bowstring will hurt. A lot. Consider investing in a chest protector, or wear a much thicker shirt. Also, don't use objectionable language.
  • Some of the kids who have been doing this for much longer will have very impressive, very expensive equipment, and will be excellent shots.
  • You've heard of stage moms? There are such things as archery dads. Be polite, but don't make eye contact.

Amazing what you'll pick up in an hour.

November 17, 2005

Escape From Gryffindor

Young lady just came into the library dressed up in full Harry Potter regalia. It's an impressive outfit. She's got the robe/cloak the kids wear in the movies, along with a matching black-and-gold scarf. Of course, under the cloak she's wearing a fairly short skirt, kind of a modified naughty Catholic schoolgirl look. Never saw that in the movies, not even with Alfonso Cuarón at the helm.

From where I sit, she appears to be doing a Mapquest search, followed by some Facebook networking. Perhaps organizing the forces of "Harry Potter Makes You Hotter" or whoever to convene for a midnight screening.

Clearly it's a quiet night here in the library, if I'm forced to describe library patrons for your entertainment.

There's little else to report. I've managed to get some manuscripts back out the door, instead of just lying around the couch and eating popcorn. Haven't written anything to speak of, but I'm hoping that'll change soon. And how are you?

November 12, 2005

Twang, Thump, Good

Well, I've just returned from my first archery class. Pretty fun, I must say. They normally shoot outside, but when November rolls around, they make use of a indoor range set up by an, er, archery sympathizer. It's in a large warehouse kind of place, with the range on one side and the other being used by a welding operation. Makes for an interesting contrast, what with the large tanks of flammable gas standing right next to the people shooting metal-tipped sticks.

There were about fifteen people, two-thirds kids. A couple father-son pairs, and a mother-daughter as well. One of the kids told me in between rounds that he got interested in archery after seeing ol' Legolas do his thing. Can't say I'm surprised. I wondered how many of the others would say the same thing, but didn't ask. Probably a bit early for a census.

For beginning classes you shoot up close: ten yards. I gotta say, ten yards looks ridiculously close until you start shooting. But I'm pleased to report that, once my sight was properly adjusted, my form is decent. There are three aiming points you use: 1) bowstring index finger comes under the chin, 2) bowstring touching the nose, 3) bowstring also a fuzzy blur aligned with the bow. If I pay attention to all three, then I hit the gold. If I don't pay attention, I tend to forget #3 and end up hitting the red band. I'm also missing a bit to the right, but my grouping is good.

The other people in the class vary in ability, as you expect. One person only hit the target occasionally, but she had the handicap of being left-handed but right-eye dominant, which can screw with your aim. One of the fathers mentioned afterwards that his son is a better shot than he is. He seemed a bit chagrined by this. The son (who comes up to my chest in height) is also hitting the gold two out of three. The dad, not so much.

If I go again next week, we'll be shooting from about eighteen meters (twenty yards). One of the coaches said the world champion can hit a bullseye from 98 meters. 98 meters. Outside. In the wind. And then do it again four more times. I should be so lucky.

In short, twang, thump, good. Think I'll try it again.

And then I came home and baked chocolate chip cookies. Because it's all about balance, you see. Plus, cookies, mmm.

November 10, 2005

Quiet, You!

Interesting news item:

Using ESO’s Very Large Telescope, astronomers have recorded a massive star moving at more than 2.6 million kilometres per hour. Stars are not born with such large velocities. Its position in the sky leads to the suggestion that the star was kicked out from the Large Magellanic Cloud,
possibly for talking too loudly and disturbing the rest of the LMG. That interstellar void doesn't maintain itself, you know.

In more local news, this afternoon I paid a 21-year-old college student named Crystal to shoot a live virus up my nose. I was originally going to have her just inject a dead one into my arm, but they already run out. But when she told me about the live option, well, I couldn't pass that up. Getting my virus fresh? Clearly worth the extra ten bucks. Ah, the decadence of Western Society.

November 09, 2005

But Wait! There's More!

Also got a six month personal rejection from online venue Shadows of Saturn. Too mystical, say they. Well, perhaps. But is a technical approach always better?

Rain, With A Strong Chance Of Ranting

And so the influence of Jon Stewart and his posse grows even wider.

November 07, 2005

This Post Previously Untitled

60 day form reject from LCRW. Ah well.

This weekend Lisa and I drove down to Gainesville, where I helped my sister-in-law's new roommate move her sleeper sofa from a third story apartment to a first floor apartment. Truly I tell you, it was a sleeper sofa forged by the gods themselves. For who else would see fit to make a piece of furniture with a fabric the color of a cloudy sky, and a frame wrought from a compressed mountain range? That thing was heavy, yo. But it got moved and my sister-in-law got moved and my arms hurt, but they'll recover. And Arrested Development is back, so I'm happy.

November 03, 2005

Where'd All This Come From?

I and several other people who participated in this conversation are going to be quoted in Feeling Very Strange, a slipstream antho edited by John Kessel and James Patrick Kelly. No money, but a free copy of the book. Hilarious. Also, I recieved a second royalty check for "Eater." A very small amount, but it's free, so I'll take it. For me, this makes for a lovely day.

By comparison, my Lisa learned at work today that her benefits will double, more or less. Vacation & sick days, 401k, insurance, and so forth, all are increasing. And she won a handful of cash as a door prize for sitting through three days of training. All hail the ASCRABAWOSOALKASMMLC!

November 02, 2005

Tidings

I'd like to take this opportunity to announce to the internets that today's my brother Paul's birthday. Happy birthday, bro'. And remember, no matter how old you get, I'll always be younger.

(This used to bug me when we were kids. Now, not so much. Go figure.)

Also, Abyss & Apex coughed up the bucks for "Wizard Gets A Haircut." Woo! Happy meal!

November 01, 2005

Ya Think Barry White?

I'm charmed to read this late evening that scientists have learned that mice sing songs of courtship.