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June 30, 2006

Thank You, Engine Gnomes

65 day rejection from Talebones. Only my second response this month. Where are you, editors?

* * *

Had lunch outside today with Lisa with Ian in tow. Our first outing as a family unit. We noticed that babies get looked at wherever you go. People's expressions fall into one of two categories:

a) Aw, how cute.
b) Dear God, don't let that thing start screaming.
And who can blame them, say I? But he slept through all of lunch, so we didn't need to flip a coin to decide who was going to satisfy his primal needs. Lunch out. What a concept. But wait, there's more!

We then went to Barnes & Noble (bought Mr. Duncan's book Vellum), and then Eckerd's, and then wound our way home. He stayed asleep the whole time, lulled by the rhythmic labors of the tiny little gnomes what nest in the engine block. What a good baby.

June 29, 2006

Um, Yay?

Today's mail brought Ian's insurance card. Specifically, his dental insurance card.

Now, just five and a half more months, and he'll have teeth.

June 28, 2006

Hi Ho, Hi Ho

Haven't written anything since Ian came to town. Life seems too terribly fragmented right now. I'm not beating myself up about it, just making an observation.
I wrote that last night, when I was thinking I was going to do an entry, but then Real Life intervened. Then, as I slipped back into sleep after this morning's 2:30 am feeding, I had an idea. It was still in my head when I woke up for the 5 am feeding, which meant it wasn't going to be forgotten without some effort on my part. Such as bloodloss.

This afternoon, I took Lisa's car in for a service recall. Brought along a notebook. Sat in the waiting room and wrote the start of a new story. Not much: about five hundred words, which is pretty good for an hour of handwriting. Still: yay!

Reading: The Enchanted Castle, by E. Nesbitt.

June 24, 2006

Bears Mentioning

Our friend Abbie sent Ian a birthday gift a few days ago: a Steiff Bear. It's a traditional gift in his family for a newborn. I gotta say, it's a pretty big bear.

Still, I do think Ian likes it. True, it's kind of hard to tell with a newborn, but he seemed pleased. What do you think?

June 23, 2006

Nappage

Currently Ian is napping on Lisa's chest. It's the most beautiful thing I've ever seen.

Sigh.

* * *

Some nonbaby, actual writing news: got the contracts from Abyss & Apex for "Goddess," due out sometime this fall (I think). They also asked for an updated bio, so I sent them this:

Since Jon Hansen's last appearance, he and his wife Lisa have become parents. He now spends much of his time watching his infant son sleep and wonder if he's got enough time to also take a nap.
Hmm. I guess things still come back to the baby.

Reading: During the first hospital stay, The Emperor of Gondwanaland and Other Stories, by the almighty Paul Di Filippo, as short stories are the way to go when dealing with a wee one. During Lisa's second stay, The Prodigal Troll by Charles Coleman Finlay. A fun read. Very Tarzan of the Trolls.

June 22, 2006

One Thing, Meet Another [Updated]

I wasn't sure if I was going to mention it, but I decided I might as well: Lisa was admitted to the hospital yesterday, due to some general weakness and shortness of breath. Preliminary results indicated she's anemic, so they've been giving her some extra blood. Mmm, blood. They've also been running other various tests to rule out other potential difficulties. My folks are coming over to keep an eye on Ian, and if all goes well Lisa should be coming home this afternoon.

In other news, I've discovered that I can function quite well on five hours of sleep, if properly reinforced by a cup of tea. Or two. Mmm, tea.

Update: Lisa's home. Yay! The mother and child reunion is currently underway.

June 19, 2006

Time Flies

Well, we're home. Came home Sunday, after it looked like his jaundice was improving. Had a follow-up blood test this morning, and then the first pediatrician's visit, where it was confirmed that he was definitely on Ye Olde Road to Recoverie. Yay! If it hadn't been, we would have had to put him back under the lights, like he was some sort of exotic orchid. My son, a hothouse flower no more. Here he is undergoing treatment, where they forced him to wear goggles resembling those of Spaceman Spiff:


It's not a look I approve of for him. Which means he'll be wild about it when he's fifteen.

At any rate, I've also discovered my sense of time is totally skewed. Blink, it's three hours later. Of course, I was awake in the middle of last night changing and feeding the little guy, so that might have had something to do with the distortion. Or it just could be our new favorite activity:

Clearly babies have mysterious powers to warp spacetime.

June 17, 2006

Golden

I thank you, Lisa thanks you, and Ian would thank you if he knew what the words "thank" and "you" meant. I'm sure he will someday, but remember, he was born yesterday.

I am disappointed to report that the young prince won't be coming home today, as he has a borderline case of jaundice. Despite the attractiveness of his golden skin tones, it's relaxing under special UV lamps for him, hopefully just until tomorrow. Lisa and I are extremely disappointed we can't bring him home and intro him to the cats, but we understand (in theory). Among other things, jaundice causes brain damage. True, brain damage would make him less vulnerable to zombie attack, but how often do those come up?

Also, no new pictures to upload as yet. Many have been taken; however, I left the camera at the hospital when I came home to feed the cats, get supplies for us, and so forth. Clearly I have a little brain damage of my own.

God, we're tired. But happy.

June 16, 2006

Announcing

I am proud to announce the arrival of Ian Michael Hansen (click on the pic for a closer view). Born at 2:09AM on June 15th, he weighed 10 pounds, 3 ounces and measured 20 and a half inches. I apologize for the delay and any resulting nervousness, but it's been a very surreal couple of days. Lisa and Ian are both doing just fine. He is, as everyone has observed, one extremely stubborn little lad. I am so friggin' proud I could explode.

He'll be coming home from the hospital tomorrow. More later.

June 14, 2006

Thunderbirds Are Go

And we're off!

June 13, 2006

Hold On To Your Hats

Well, went to the doctor's today and it's been decided. Going to induce. Tomorrow.

We call tomorrow morning and see when they want us to come in. Could be right away, could be a bit of a wait, could be a really long wait. But it'll probably happen tomorrow.

Eep.

June 12, 2006

Godless Academics

Bit of library trivia for you. The Library of Congress Classification System, as you may know, uses letters in its cataloging scheme to better help with organization. The letter 'B' is assigned to philosophy, psychology, and religion, probably because they're all systems of thought. A second letter is added to subdivide it further. For example, BL is used for Hinduism, BM for Judaism, BP for Islam, and BQ for Buddhism. And Christianity? It gets a full range of letters, BR through BX. The Bible itself, specifically, is classified under BS. Since the system was developed in 1897, I find myself wondering if that shorthand term was in use back then, or if this is just an amusing and possibly insulting coincidence.

* * *

Still no offspring as yet. To quote Lisa: "Grrrr." But tomorrow's the big due date, so I'm sure things will spring into action then. Right?

June 11, 2006

Moon

Lisa appreciates all y'all's birthday wishes. Unfortunately, there'll be no birthday baby, unless the mysterious powers of the Moon take a hand. I and others seem doubtful, however. Still, it could happen.

Hm. Otherwise, I got nothing, except some laundry to fold.

Happy Birthday To Lisa

Today's my Lisa's birthday. Wish her well, why don'tcha?

June 10, 2006

Mmm, Epic

Instead of a baby, today brought a copy of Jenn Reese's new chapbook, Tales of the Chinese Zodiac! Whoo, Jenn! Whoo! And so forth.

Reading: Had been the surprisingly short Robert Louis Stevenson's The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, which also wasn't about a piece of luggage, much to my surprise. Now reading The Iliad by Homer.

June 09, 2006

Not Actually A Sewer In This Case

Still no bambino. As I understand it, that means tough luck for Cheryl, who picked this day in the library staff pool.

* * *

"Tragedy is when I cut my finger. Comedy is when you fall into an open sewer and die."
--Mel Brooks
In other news, I've just discovered that someone has syndicated me on LJ. Thank you, Mysterious Intarweb-Based Stranger!

June 08, 2006

Truer Words, Etc

Still no urchin.

There is a blog out there for everything. Exhibit A:

Hitler Cats! A blog dedicated to cats that look like Hitler
My head hurts.

Reading: Have finished the Arabian Nights, so now it's time for another classic: The Island of Doctor Moreau, by H. G. Wells.

June 07, 2006

No Diablo

Well, we will have no devil child. Probably just as well. Although, at least if he was the Antichrist, we'd know he'd have a profession when he grew up. It would surprise no one if the Antichrist turned out to be an American, unless we outsourced it to some other country, where he could bring on Armageddon for a mere thirty cents an hour! Ah well. I guess we'll have to save for air conditioning college after all.

* * *

I'm still reading Burton's Arabian Nights, and still rather interested in them. The stories everyone recognizes are in the back, such as Alaeddin; or, The Wonderful Lamp and Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves. The Seven Voyages of Sinbad the Sailor are in the middle, as well as The City of Brass, which is something I'd been interested in learning more about ever since seeing its picture on the back of the 1st edition Dungeon Master's Guide. It's got an enchanted city, djinn in bottles, King Solomon, magical statues, and vast otherworldly armies. What's not to like?

I've also noticed there's an an intriguing variation to an old story convention. They're fairy tales, effectively. In the west, fairy tales mostly end with "And they lived happily ever after." With these, if they have a "happily ever after" statement, it's followed with some version of, "till there came to them the Destroyer of delights and Severer of societies, the Plunderer of palaces, and the Garnerer of graves." Otherwise known as, "and they lived happily ever after until they died." Hmm.

June 06, 2006

Whirr

Currently nothing.

On the bright side, we've recently discovered a chipmunk living outside our house. He hangs around the birdfeeder, eating what gets spilled, and spends the rest of the time running along the stones marking off the flower beds. The cats are thrilled.

June 05, 2006

Perverse

Well, another day, another doctor's appointment. I'm very pleased to say Lisa has progressed nicely. While he had no way of guaranteeing it, it was the doctor's opinion that it'll happen before the end of the week. Frankly, Lisa would be pleased if it happened tomorrow, because it would freak out certain elements of the population. Which almost certain means it won't happen any time soon, because, let's face it, the universe is perverse that way. But we've got to be prepared, because if you aren't, then it would happen in the next twenty minutes. So, we're all ready:

Nursery prepared? Check.
Baby clothes washed? Check.
Phone numbers of every single human being we know copied down just in case our cell phones burst into flames? Check.
Car seat installed? Check.
Music for labor selected & copied onto iPod? Check.
Hospital bag packed, including camera, extra batteries, iPod, speaker setup, snacks for me and sour apple jolly ranchers for Lisa? Check.
Parental units on standby? Check.
Cats still blissfully unaware? Check.
Adrenal glands cycling on and off? Check.

Ready as we'll ever be, I guess. Which means it's not going to happen until next Tuesday, or later.

* * *

A little writing news, which I'll mention in passing: yesterday brought an 81 day rejection from Flytrap and the recognition that subs to two other markets, On Spec and Vestal Review, either didn't make it or were rejected. So I've split the difference and only counted one of those as a rejection. Furthermore, these sentiments never once crossed my mind, although I did laugh hard enough to injure myself. Thanks, Sheila.

Oh, yes: an illustration of why writing advice shorthand needs to be explained.

June 04, 2006

Shorthand

Still no baby. The doctor did advise Lisa to take it easy this weekend, so she's currently chilling upstairs with her laptop and the tube, as cats come and go. Like they do.

* * *

And now I must rant. No, not rant: too strong. Complain, that's it. And now I must complain.

I've seen this post on writing linked to in several places from several different people, and I have to say, it doesn't have the electrifying effect on me that it seems to have had on everyone else. No, my reaction is just like this one, which is to say:

Where you hear a concrete idea, I hear "wah-wah-wah" of the grownups in a Peanuts cartoon.
Exactly. The words are in English and all strung together into a sentence, but it might as well have been "We need to improve our synergy." Que?

I was also quite disappointed to see that when clarifications were asked for, Charlie punted. An answer of

If something in your writing or writing habits isn't working, try something else; which you already do. That's all it boils down to.
isn't really an answer. It's avoidance.

It would have been just as effective to say something like, "When you write, your characters should be jumping up and down on the keys of your keyboard," or "It is important to find the heart of your story, but you should also consider the gallbladder." What's that mean? Well, if it's not speaking to you, don't worry about it.

I once got a rejection email from an editor that used a phrase common to rejection letters. It wasn't "didn't grab me," but it was something along those lines (I no longer have the email). I actually wrote him back, apologizing for doing so but asking him if he could explain what that really meant. To his credit, he did so. It's a fine phrase, but it's really a form of shorthand. That's what so much writing advice is: shorthand. "Write what you know," for example. But it needs to be explained, or it might be interpreted incorrectly: kiss that fantasy tale, that space opera, that 19th century gaslight tale away, and let's go write realistic stories about life in your town. No, that's not what it means. So explain it.

Writing advice like "Put more of you in your work" is also shorthand. But if you can't explain it, don't say it.

Grumble.

Caveats: I do not know Ms. Link nor Mr. Finlay, although I have read and enjoyed their fiction. I've also not been to any of them long term workshops. Perhaps this is where the translation keys are hidden.

June 02, 2006

Now Why Would That Be?

Calvin and Hobbes was and still is one of my favorite comic strips, but for some reason I find my perspective on it shifting somewhat lately.

June 01, 2006

41

Well, things still appear to be going along quite smoothly. All vitals in the green, and target due date still looks really accurate. Also, the doctor shared this: barring some sort of complications, they're unlikely to intervene until we hit 41 weeks.

41 weeks. A week late. I was a late baby. A week late, actually. I don't know if that's something that can passed down genetically to the child, but if it is: sweetie, I'm really really really sorry.

Really.