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February 29, 2008

Step One: Hire A Lawyer

Reference question of the day: "Can you help me find out the procedure for getting a court case moved from Federal court to State court?"

And y'know, it seemed like this wasn't some sort of theoretical question the way she asked it.

254 words yesterday, 450 today on another flash story. Those count, I guess, altho' I'll admit it's a way to give myself a break from the main story I'm working on. A quarter of the way through the dare. I don't know if it's a habit yet, but I do feel weird if it looks like I might miss writing for the day.

February 27, 2008

Neurons Loose And Fancy Free

So anyway, yes. There was an incident between the garage door and one of the cars, but it was a couple years ago. That car isn't with us anymore -- it's with a nice family on a farm somewhere upstate. The garage door had carried on bravely after that, and we thought all was well. Then that storm came in the other day with high winds, and now she don't work no more. We've called a few places with regard to replacement. Estimates will be given, and large checks will be written.

Needless to say, this makes the last option on the computer the most likely. Not necessarily, of course. But probably. That's one good thing about computer buying: the longer you wait, the better the machine you can get.

* * *

I've been doing my writing in the evenings, after Ian's gone to bed, we've had dinner and are gently letting our minds collapse. That's about the point where I can send my brain off to wander around with my fingers following. Last night for a break from the current story, I wrote a flash piece. 462 words. Tonight it was back with the other story for 172 words.

* * *

Okay, I like kittens, but these are a little creepy.

February 26, 2008

How Old Is That In Computer Years?

I am considering my options when it comes to my computer. To put it bluntly, it isn't well. Oh, it puts up a good front all right; after all, it's what I'm using to post here. But it's got problems.

The biggest problem is that I can't shut it off. That is to say, I can shut it off, there's just no guarantee it'll start back up. Instead of starting on a cold boot, it chimes a few times and then the sleep mode light just pulses at you in a morse code of distress. Decrypting it gives the answer: no good boot images in the boot ROM (and/or bad sys config block). Also, the shift key is sticking quite a bit now.

I mean, let's face it. It's not a new machine; we bought it over four years ago, and heck, it's a model no longer even made by Apple. Wiping the drive might fix it, but it'll take time and it might not take care of the problem. On the other hand, restarting works just fine and it's perfectly happy to stay on for weeks at a time with no problems.

So. Do I?
1) buy a new machine?
b) back everything up on to the external drive, wipe it clean and try again?
or lastly) continue to do nothing?


February 25, 2008

I Come From Düsseldorf And That Is Why They Call Me Rolf

Stumbled across this site, where people post old postcards from around the world for sale. Site comes out of Belgium, so there's no English version, but it's pretty easy to move around in. And the pictures are pretty cool. No direct linking, but most place names work pretty well.

226 words Saturday, 164 yesterday. today, 224 today. Weekend wet, soggy, and such not. Spent half of it in the presence of grandparents again, the other half in the presence of laundry. Laundry won't ever leave us alone!

Reading (which I haven't mentioned recently): The Zen Gun, by Barrington J. Bayley.

February 22, 2008

Parenting Wisdom In Cartoon Form

Do's and Don'ts with Babies. They're quite right, of course. Babies hate chess because they can whip your ass EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. Without even trying. And what fun is that?

147 words yesterday, 210 today. Now quiet, Morpheus. I'm coming.

February 21, 2008

Goodbye, O Cruel Chocolatiers!

All right, what the hell is up with these suicidal Cadbury Creme Eggs? They're like little chocolate lemmings who, when they discover there are no cliffs about, decide to find some other way to take care of themselves*. I find the egg slicer one particularly disturbing, as the last ecstatic "GOO!" comes after it's been sliced apart.

Now, I ask you: do you want to eat suicidal chocolate?

* In fact a lie, but it stands nicely as a metaphor.

February 20, 2008


Been a lovely evening. Even the clouds have gotten out of the way, allowing me a delightful view of good old Fenris devouring the moon as I sit at my desk, writing my words. Well, once I opened the window shade.

I would raise my ale glass to toast the coming Ragnarok, but I haven't got any ale. I guess that's what makes it Ragnarok. I'll have to make do with my Dasani.

387 words. Furthermore, I think I have an idea for an ending. It's still a ways off, of course, but I think I know where I'm going. On the downside, the left Shift key is sticking very seriously on my machine. I'm going to guess Ian's sticky fingers are somehow responsible.

Gobble gobble, Fenris. Gobble gobble.

February 19, 2008

Don't Count Me Out

And here I was, doing so well with posting eleven consecutive days and then along comes the three day weekend and BAM! It, er, stops.

To be fair, it was a bit busy as weekends go. Saturday my parents came to visit, which was swell. On the downside, it ended a bit abruptly when we discovered a rash on Ian's stomach and we had to take him to the urgent care to make sure he wasn't having a reaction to the sulfa antibiotic.

Answer: he was not.

Sunday we had lunch with Lisa's parents and then spent the day running about the boy and generally whooping it up like we do, until he went to bed and we said, that does sound like a good idea. So we went to bed too.

And yesterday, the Day of Presidents (well, two of them anyhow), I took the day off from work. Not because I love the Executive Branch so much, but because Ian had the day off. Daycare was closed. He's still not at that stage where we can leave him with the remote and check in around lunchtime, so we made other arrangements. That would be me. Once the day came to a halt, Lisa and I viewed a Netflix movie that had been sitting around the house for six weeks, then again went to bed. Shrek 3, if you're curious. Incidentally, the ending for that movie is dead-on.

But I have been keeping up with the writing. To whit:

  • Saturday: 153.
  • Sunday: 111.
  • President's Day: 239.
  • Today: Okay, none as yet. But I've got time! Ha! 240.
Oh, here's something for Lisa: Will Ferrell poses with Heidi Klum in SI's Swimsuit Issue. The video is buggy as hell, but judging by the gallery photos, Klum appears to be as big a goofball as Ferrell. Whodathunkit?

February 15, 2008

Brains! Brains! Cut!

Happy 50% Off Chocolate Day! And to give you all a break from my worrying about Ian (he's fine! yay!), here's something else interesting. Or worrisome, depending on how you view the real estate market: a photolog of empty and abandoned commercial real estate in a Sacramento suburb. I bet someone films a zombie movie there.

* * *

361 words. The only problem with this new story is I don't know where it's going (well, except in the sense of the hero will triumph). That's not really enough; I like to have some sort of ending to shoot for, even if that's not how it actually ends up ending. It's a bit worrisome.

* * *

Heh. Lisa just told me our governor is being hopefully mentioned as a possible running mate for McCain by our local news media. To which I say: uh huh. At least that would get him out of the state.

February 14, 2008

Can't Trust That Day

My thanks to you all for your kind words, thoughts, and psychic projects of support. Had the followup visit today, due to last night's leakage in the tub. The doctor performed some treatment to relieve the pressure. Read here: squeezing. Yes, ouch. There was some crying and some blood, all of it from Ian.

Actually, when the doctor left the room for a moment to get something, he looked up at us and said, "I donne wanna do dis no more." I SWEAR TO GOD. The longest sentence he's ever said in our presence, and it's a plea to stop. Breaks my heart.

Fortunately, his wounds are looking much better, so we may escape having to get them lanced. I hope, I hope. The doc also got enough material to culture, which should settle the question of the MRSA once and for all. We go back again Monday afternoon, and until then, the lad'll be getting a bath every night. He'll be the cleanest boy in the kingdom!

111 words.

February 13, 2008

The First Half Of The 21st Century Looks A Lot Like The First Half Of The 20th

Stayed home with the boy today, which was fun. We went to the grocery store in the morning, where he demanded first I give him the box of strawberries I'd picked up from a Valentine's display (he didn't get them), then a box of 100 Calorie Cheddar Chex Snack Mix (that, he could have). In the afternoon we went to Barnes & Noble, Ian eating Cheddar Chex Snack Mix as we cruised the aisles. I bought S. L. Farrell's A Magic of Twilight for me and Sandra Boynton's One, Two, Three! for him. In between those two trips we played and ate and napped and generally hung out. Lisa worked from home so she could spell me from time to time. It worked out nicely.

He can say "thank you," which sounds like "na-noo." Think Mork from Ork here. He says it a lot, and sometimes very loudly. He also nods yes when you ask him something he agrees with. It's a deliberate motion, a single quick movement of the head downward. Very decisive. It makes offering him things easier, unless he nods "yes" while saying "no". Unfortunately, he's a little young for the mixed signals talk.

I'm leaving out the unpleasant parts, of course. This morning Lisa held his arms and head still, while I squirted cherry flavored antibiotic into his mouth. I had to pinch his nose shut so he'd swallow. He cried.

Yesterday the pediatrician diagnosed Ian with a staph infection, antibiotic resistant, or Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). The ER doc did not actually culture it to confirm, but instead sent us away with a prescription for a sulfa-based antibiotic. We all know the cillins family: amoxycillin, penicillin, and the rest. They've done the heavy lifting for antibiotics for decades, with the sulfa group sitting in the back. They haven't been used much since the early days of World War II. Now they're back. Side effects may include drowsiness, nausea, and other features you don't want for anyone, let alone a toddler.

After it was over we hugged him and told him we loved him and how proud we were of him and soon he was fine again. Then in the evening, we did it again, only this time I held him while Lisa did it. Nine more days of this.

We gave him a bath before putting him to bed, as heat will help the wounds. It ended early when he suddenly stood up and we saw that one of the boils had ruptured. Blood and a little pus running down his leg. We stopped the bleeding with a clean diaper, then put a band-aid on it. Afterwards, washed the towels in bleach and cleaned the tub. This stuff is bad news, and of all the germs he's given us, these we definitely do not want.

Friday we go back to the doctor for follow up. If we're lucky, the antibiotics will have done the trick. If not, we'll have to go to the ER or the Urgent Care to get it drained.

* * *

Did 351 words. In all honesty, it's easier to write because then I don't have to think about my day. Or rather, parts of it.

February 12, 2008

One For The Record Books

I'd have to say that this was the longest, most annoying, crappiest day I've had in quite a while. I spent it in a number of places: the Publix parking lot on my knees changing a flat; on the bathroom floor of the Goodyear store, changing a diaper; in the pediatricians office, waiting; the children's ER, waiting; and the pharmacy, waiting. Gah.

On the bright side, it's now over. And I've still produced words. Yesterday's count: 317. Today's, 483. How nicely that works out.

And now, good night.

February 11, 2008

I Hear Footnotes Are All The Rage

There's one good thing about not submitting anything anywhere for several months.

Everything's come back, and you don't have to worry about having multiple subs at a single market. No, "Oh, this would be perfect for Scantily Clad SF Tales*, but I just sent them something last week!" So that's pretty simple.

* - Not actual market. Besides, it has lousy coverage.**

** - That was a terrible joke, and doesn't even make sense when talking about fiction magazines. Have you no shame?***

*** - No, no, I don't.

February 10, 2008


Boy and Lisa went to bed early tonight - he yawning and coughing and cranky about everything, she with the achy throat and coughing. Not as cranky, but some of that too.

Me? I'm fine. Go immune system!

In a totally unrelated note, what's up with the Republican caucuses in Washington?

Update: 367 words and I finished the story. It's just over 2,700 words, hasn't got a title, and is probably a bit weak. But it was fun to write. And most shocking of all, I actually wrote every day this week, which is remarkable for me.

February 09, 2008

What Goes On In Your Heart

Just came back from Grandma's. where the boy made merry. Or merryness, as the case may be. (Merry-ness? Merriness? Spellcheck is useless for my vocabulary!)

* * *

Signed up for Tor's new free online book program. If you haven't seen it, the short version is sign for the newsletter and get weekly free electronic editions of books. Gave them my actual email address, so I look forward to exciting new spam in the process. I'm also curious as to the format of these books, to see if PDF rules or if they've gone with something else.

* * *

387 words, and I'm almost at the end of this story. Now if I can just figure out to stick the landing, I'll be good.

February 08, 2008

Look To The Skies!

Japanese Astronaut to Throw Paper Planes to Earth:

After successfully testing them this week, aeronautical engineers from Tokyo University believe the planes, made from heat-resistant paper treated with silicon, will survive the fiery descent back to Earth when they are released by a Japanese astronaut on the international space station later this year.


While the 100 or so planes stand only a slim chance of striking land when they begin their journey in November, they will carry messages written in several languages and a request to send them back to Japan - the conventional way - should anyone be lucky enough to find one.

Just don't try and catch one, okay?

Update: 320 words. Also, ten of the words I wrote yesterday I changed. And not just by adding umlauts.

February 07, 2008

The Cruelty Of Math

Thing Number One:
10 Sci-Fi Techs We Could Build If They Weren't So Damn Expensive. Here's #7 on the list:

New York-L.A. Maglev Express
Cost: $70 billion (Based on established construction costs)
Pricey, yes? Yes.

Thing Number Two:
The War in Iraq Costs. As I'm looking at it right now, it's just over $492 billion.

In other words, we could have built seven cross-continental maglevs already.

Update: Is Wired's math bad?

Also: 290 words. Whee!

February 06, 2008

Balloon Boy

As mentioned before, here we see Ian as he prepares to embark on his Trans-Atlantic flight. His grandmother stands in the background, looking both proud and concerned. Not pictured: his father, who at the time was enjoying a piece of homemade pound cake with chocolate frosting.

If you're curious, Ian's shirt says "Big Trouble in a Little Shirt," beside a picture of a Tyrannosaurus Rex. Could also be Godzilla, but I'm pretty sure it's a T-Rex.

My Uncle David took that picture, along with countless others. He also took a pretty good one of me, Lisa, and Ian. We look positively all-American. Perhaps he has some special lens filter.

Still keeping up with the dare. Yesterday: 347 words. Today: 516. Momentum, baby!

February 05, 2008

Friendly Reminder

C'mon, all the cool kids are doing it. Well, and me.

February 04, 2008

Hot Fun In The Wintertime

Was away over the weekend with the fam (or pham, if you prefer), down at the coast, celebrating my grandmother's 90th birthday. Reunion with various aunts, uncles, and cousins at the time, and big fun had by all, especially Ian. Turns out he's a big fan of balloons, especially when they're tied to him.

* * *

Tomorrow is Super Tuesday. So go and vote, citizen! Um, unless you already have or your state's not participating in the primaries. But otherwise, go! Tomorrow, that is. Go vote tomorrow.

* * *

The Lingster mentioned her local writing chapter doing a 100 words for a 100 days writing dare. I have now participated for the day (460 words! woo! and it's a scene!)