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December 31, 2005

And Now For The Annual Assessment

And so ends 2005. Let's see, how's it tally up?

  • Wrote many words. Sold some of them. Got rejected for the most of the rest.
  • Fathered a child
  • Took up a sport, my first ever
  • Upgraded this journal from handcrafted HTML to an automated MT system. Always sad when another craftsman gives up, but by God this certainly is a lot easier.
  • Served as best man in my brother's wedding in the City of Angels, which means I also gained a whole new crop of relatives
  • Met Jane Yolen
  • Visited Powell's Books in Portland, in what proved to be a vaguely religious experience
  • Bought and read many many books
  • Petted the cats many many times
And that's just what I did. My Lisa did many of these things, as well as got a new job and a new car. Add in the fact that she's actually growing another human being inside her, and I look like a lazy git by comparison.

Happy New Year!

December 30, 2005

Sixteen Weeks And Two Days In

This'll do for a resolution, I think. After all, how often are these things kept?

In the year 2006 I resolve to:
Learn to eat fire.

Get your resolution here

For those of you idly (or actively) wondering about how our impending parenthood progresses, I provide details below. But beware: there's a certain amount of squick factor. Just sayin'.

We went through amniocentesis yesterday. Or, to be more accurate, Lisa went through it while I watched, cringing inside. Watching the needle go in didn't unnerve me nearly as much as when they started taking out the fluid; just so much of it. She's so brave. And after it was over, we came home and she went to bed. She's feeling much better today, I'm happy to say.

The results will come back in a couple weeks, so I'm not going to announce any particulars until then. The ultrasound tech told us what sex she thought the sprout was, but that's really a guess. Jeff, Lisa's uncle, had thought his second child was going to be a boy up until the seventh month. Then, as he put it, "the stem fell off the apple." The amnio results are 100% definite, however. So nothing will be said until then.

December 26, 2005

Of True Wood, Of Yew Wood

Well, this ought to be fun. Thanks, sweetie!


Last week, in between gift shopping and whatnot, I went into Adventure Outdoors. It's a local hunting store, selling enough handguns and rifles to arm the county, along with enough camouflage to let them disappear into the woods like so many Eric Rudolphs. They also sell bows; however, since they cater to hunters, most of their bows are compounds.

If you don't what the deal is with compound bows, they operate off a system of multiple strings and wheels, which gives them a closer resemblance to portable exercise equipment rather than weaponry. This design gives them quite an advantage in the hunt: all that high techery makes it possible for the archer to pull roughly double the weight they normally could. For example, a 60lb compound bow means you have to be able to handle 30lbs of resistance. The heavier weight lets the arrow go farther and faster with a flatter trajectory. Physics at its deadliest.

The maximum point of resistance also occurs as you pull back the arrow, at roughly the halfway point. For ordinary bows, that happens when you've got the arrow at full draw, the shooting position. And that means with a compound you can hold that position a lot longer. Very useful while you're waiting for whatever beastie you're trying to kill to present its best profile.

Now, then. Killing is all well and good, but that's not what I'm interested in. For one thing, compound bows are both complicated and expensive. Compound bows are also verboten in target shooting. And finally, you don't really see a lot of compound bows in fantasy, Everquest notwithstanding. People don't expect it, so there's bound to be a lot of resistance to it. Altho' writers considering the idea for a non-steampunk setting should look at the Pennobscot Double Bow used by Native Americans way back when.

At any rate, AO did have a few recurves for sale. The guy behind the counter was kind enough to string up a couple of them for me, and I took some shots in a little shooting alley they have. One bow was a 50 pounder, the other a 40. I was pleasantly surprised to find that I could pull both of them all the way back, altho' my arms were trembling enough on the 50 for me to officially rule it too much bow for me. I'd probably damage myself trying to string it. But the 40 pulled just fine (hooray! I'm not as weak as I feared), which means I'll be fine with a 35. Now all I need to do is find a traditional archery store, where I can try a few out.

Of course, I could just chuck this whole bow & arrow thing and take up the deadly art of impaling people with office supplies.

Recent Reading: V For Vendetta, by Alan Moore & David Lloyd (soon to be a Major Motion Picture! Or so the cover tells me!)

December 25, 2005

Let The Wookie Sing

Merry Christmas to all, from me and Lisa and especially Chewbacca.

December 24, 2005

Sleigh Bells Ring

It's Christmas Eve, so time to watch out for the Big Guy in Red. Remember, mistletoe is no match for a TOW missile. Fortunately, NORAD is tracking him this year, so we'll have plenty of advance notice.

Ho ho ho!

December 23, 2005

Balance Of Power

Got a 328 day personal rejection from Black Gate, but also got the bucks and countersigned contract from Escape Pod for "Jacob and the Voice." So it's all good.

Christmas shopping is done, as well as grocery shopping for the Christmas Eve Feast of the In-Laws. So there's nothing left to do but kick back and put off wrapping presents for a few more hours.

What, you thought I'd get right on that? Ha!

December 22, 2005

Ho, Ho, Homigahd

For those you seeking a very special blend of Christmas cheer, might I recommend you look into the novelization of Santa Claus Conquers The Martians, by Lou Harry. I'm not ashamed to say I scooped this sucker up at my local Mediaplay, which is busy selling off its innards, just in time for holiday vultures like me. A thrilling excerpt:

"Oh," said Billy, beginning to feel confident as he realized he knew something the Martians didn't. "Those are his helpers. There's only one real Santa Claus and he's in his workshop up at the North Pole."

Then he realized that maybe he shouldn't give any information. What did they say in the spy movies are the only things you are supposed to say when you're captured by the enemy? He tried to remember. Name, rank, and social security number? Something like that. But surely if the Martians were capable of building a ship for interplanetary travel, they were capable of doing the minimal pre-mission research of finding out where Santa lived.

Or maybe not.

As an extra special bonus, it includes the complete movie on DVD! And a good thing too, since it's unlikely to appear on TV any time soon. Truly a lost holiday special.

December 18, 2005

En Garde

Assembled the Christmas tree yesterday, along with scattering about our various bits o'holiday cheer. Some shopping still remains, but there's plenty of time for that yet.

No, I'm not one of those people who waits until Christmas Eve and then picks up gifts at the 24 Hour gas station. Drug store, maybe.


I raised the question of buying my own bow with one of the coaches yesterday. Seems he can get stuff wholesale, thanks to his connections to that mercantile world. So I asked him how much a decent bow would cost.

"Depends on what you want to do with it," he said. "Do you want to shoot for fun? Or shoot in competitions? Try out for the Nationals? Try and make the Olympic team?"

What I'd really like to do is run along the banks of the Silverlode, hunting down orcs that try and push their way into Lothlórien. But I didn't say that, for fairly obvious reasons.

It's an interesting question. I wouldn't mind competing, just to see what it's like. After all, unlike most martial competitions, there is no direct faceoff option. Although that might be intriguing.

The practical thing to do would be to look into a modern bow made out of high tech materials, but I do like the look of a traditional. If only they weren't so expensive. Hmm. Will have to think about it. As it is, there's no class next week, what with it being Christmas Eve and all, so I've got some time to consider.

December 16, 2005

Insulin, Stat!

Yes, it's quiet days here at Ye Olde Daye Jobe (now with extra 'e's, to make it classy!). Finals came and went, and now it's just me here with the books. And they don't talk much, I'm happy to say, ever since I doubled my medication. More later.

Here: overload on all things cute and adorable.

December 15, 2005

Miscellanea

Tuesday was my second trip to the Aquarium, this time with my fellow library creatures. I did manage to bring my camera, but I was fairly disappointed with how most of the pictures turned out. This shot is one of the few that I was reasonably pleased with, at least pleased enough to show here. Every large fish (that ate things like plankton, as opposed to smaller fish) in the big tank had a small army of these little yellow guys swimming along with them, a regular piscine posse. I think they're called Hangers-on fish.

Got a 26 day rejection from ASIM earlier this week, which I failed to report, due to general slackery.

I've turned off TrackBack, which means nothing to you. But it does mean I'm not farming spam any more. Which is a good thing, as far as I'm concerned, therefore you approve. Hm. I think that logic holds up.

Discovered that our Festivus card list has gone missing, which means we must recreate it from scratch. Which means, if you don't get a card this year, it means I'm a forgetful doofus, not that I don't love you any more.

I am woefully behind in my movie viewing, as I am yet to see Harry Potter or Lion, Witch, Wardrobe. Hopefully my Geek badge won't be rescended.

More archery tomorrow, and a chance to test my protective finery under actual conditions. There's a good chance there won't be class for the next couple weeks, as next Saturday is Christmas Eve, and after that it's New Year's Eve. Blasted holidays, intruding on my ability to shoot pointy sticks at things.

And finally, because it's that time of year.

December 12, 2005

I Ain't No Duke Boy

The birthday was, as they say, a complete success. I am now one year older. It's a shame this is only a temporary solution, and I'll have to do it again next year. Sigh.

As you can now see from my newly acquired pieces of protective gear, I'm all ready to go out and shoot arrows without fear of injuring myself. In the usual ways, that is. I suppose there's always a chance I could be injured in some exciting new way, such as attempting to launch a dynamite arrow and instead it falls off the string after I light the fuse.



December 10, 2005

2 x 2 x 3 x 3 = I'm How Old?

36. How'd that happen?

So, anyone for cake? It's chocolate.

December 08, 2005

Year In Review

Hmm. It's the plumber. After approximately eight? nine? years, I have finally used up the case of paper Lisa and I bought o so long ago whilst we were in grad school, back in the Days of Yore and Yesteryear. There's three times when I feel most like a writer. Ooh, some late night good news: an email informing me that another flash story of mine, "Orders," has been accepted by Apex Science Fiction & Horror Digest, a new market. My story, "No Mosquito is a God," is up online at Lone Star Stories. A site I recently came across not too long ago: propaganda images from magazines of the USSR. Everyone have a nice weekend? "Say what you like about casting blame for the unfolding tragedy in NO, the bare facts of the matter are these: America suffered a serious attack on Sept. 11, 2001." Ah, we're finally getting into Fall (or Autumn, if you prefer the fancypants Latin word), one of my favorite times of the year. I'm charmed to read this late evening that scientists have learned that mice sing songs of courtship. A coworker of mine gave me a bottle of ink.

A modified blend of Jenn's and Dave's memes, I believe. Whee! And how was your year?

December 07, 2005

'Tis The Season

Oh Great Cthulhu!

I have been an extremely diligent devotee this year.

In January, I stopped [info]jlundberg from defiling Lovecraft's grave (-20 points). In November, I recruited [info]jennreese as a new cultist (30 points). In July, I exposed [info]jlundberg to soul-rending horrors (250 points). In March, I made a burnt offering to the Dead Dreamer (100 points). In June, I legally changed my name to Randolph Carter (-40 points). In October, I bombed a cultist gathering (-100 points).

In short, I have been very good (220 points) and deserve to be eaten first.


Your humble and obedient servant,
jonhansen


Submit your own plea to Cthulhu!

Many thanks, Peg. I'm sorry you have to sleep with the Deep Ones. I hear they hog the sheets.

December 05, 2005

I Owe It All To My Brain

It's still relatively early months, so I must admit that sometimes I forget about my impending fatherhood. Amazingly I can go several hours without thinking about it, before something snaps me back to reality.

My brain: You need to remember to write down the model number of the exercise bike so you can put up the ad for it.
Me, sans brain: Right, right...why are we getting rid of the exercise bike again?
My brain: Because it's taking up the space for the crib.
Me, sans brain: Oh that's right, Lisa's pregnant!
My brain: I swear, how do you keep from falling over when you walk?

It's a miracle to be sure. But the uncertainties of pregnancy appear to be relatively easy, compared to the uncertainties of parenting. After all, I have crap like this to look forward to. Parenting books. Is there any greater evil?

December 04, 2005

Mmm, Fish

Went this afternoon to see the largest aquarium in the country with my Lisa and her folks, in celebration of her dad's birthday. Really friggin' cool. Best moment was watching the whale sharks swimming in the big tank, with about a billion tiny yellow fish orbiting them like so many tiny moonlets. I foolishly forgot to bring my camera, but that's ok, as Lisa and I have season passes.

As it turns out, I'm going again in a couple of weeks with the rest of my fellow library minions. Our director takes us on an outing twice a year, visiting Local Sites of Cultural-slash-Historical Interest. I'd say this qualifies.

Reading: Finished Tim's Strange Adventures of Rangergirl and pronounced it quite good, yo. Now reading The Outlaws of Sherwood, by Robin McKinley.

December 03, 2005

Never Mind, Then

57 day rejection for the Subterranean "Clichés of Yesteryear" issue. Drat. Now what am I going to do with a cliché-riddled story? Oh well. I had fun writing it.

Was given some useful information on where to buy a chest guard online. So that should resolve certain, er, issues I've been having. No class next week, as there's going to be a tournament. With archers from all across the land, competing to see who will win the purse of gold! The coaches encouraged us all to come and shoot. "It's fun, even if you're just starting out."

"But I don't own a bow," I said.

"Ah. Well, never mind, then."

December 01, 2005

Different Reasons

Got an 84 day yellow form rejection from Realms of Fantasy. Yellow form. With many helpful comments written at the bottom. Geez, I haven't gotten a yellow form in...wow, seven years.

Oh yes, an archery story. This morning I drove to an archery store up the interstate a ways, looking to buy myself a nipple protector chest guard. Turned out not only did the store not carry them, but the owner had never even heard of such a thing.

"If the bowstring's scraping your chest, you're overextending. That's wrong. Stop doing that," he said. This advice, not so helpful. A parallel: "A helmet for riding a motorcycle? If you're hitting your head, it means you're falling off. That's wrong. Stop doing that."

To be fair, most of the store's customers are bowhunters, not simple target shooters like me. Bowhunters already wear fairly thick clothing, not to mention the occasional orange vest to keep them from getting plunked out in the field. I talked to the owner a little more; he told me about the bows he sold. Pointed them out in a catalog, which he kindly let me keep.

Of course, when I got home and had a chance to flip through the thing, I discovered three or four pictures of archers wearing chest guards on the page right before. Sigh. If only I could drive back up there and yell, "See?! SEE!?! THIS IS WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT! I'M NOT CRAZY!" 'Cause, y'know, that would mean I was. Just for a different reason.

Of All The Iron Gall

A coworker of mine gave me a bottle of ink. She's pretty crafty; that is to say, she made the ink herself the way people used to, before the fountain pen came along.

It seems you can make ink from all sorts of things: tree bark and nuts, mostly, but also slightly more exotic ingredients, such as pomegranate rinds or hemlock. She made this stuff from black walnuts (she's got a tree in her backyard, I think), basically cooking them for a couple days until all that remained was inky goo. Strain out the goo, and voila! Stuff that would please any medieval scribe. And despite the name, the ink itself isn't actually black; it's a very pretty golden brown. You can get an idea of the color from the tag in the picture.

Now I need are some quills, and I can start producing my manuscripts the old fashioned way! Because this here Intarweb's just a fad, right?