Monthly Archives: November 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

We have just arrived at the apartment we’re renting for a couple of days in my hometown.  An extremely long drive for a very short visit, but it’s worth it — it’s the first time since autumn, 2003 that I’ve been here except for work.  Unfocused Girl was 2 the last time, and Junior has never been.  We’ll head out shortly for Thanksgiving dinner with my father and the family of an old friend (and my apologies to my other old friends in town who we won’t be able to see this trip; if it works out as well as we hope it does, we’ll do it much more often).

I hope you and your family have a safe and enjoyable Thanksgiving.

Things I’ve Done. Or Not.

I need a distraction from preparing for Thanksgiving like I need a hole in my head, so I’m stealing this list (with a minor modification at the end) from Fresh Hell and Harriet.  Items in bold, I’ve done; items in plain text, I haven’t.

1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma

65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check (to the IRS, no less!)
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar

72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating (assuming fish are included)
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life

90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous

92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby (although I was involved in the process a couple of times, both of which seem to have worked out pretty well so far)
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit (occupational hazard, since involving myself in lawsuits is how I make a living)
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee

100. Read an entire book in one day.
101. Lied once on this list.

It’s Up!

Here’s the link to my story, “On the Job Training,” on 365 Tomorrows.  Enjoy!

Fall Sunday Stats #7: I Am Such a Wuss.

Today, izzums wuzzums me has a wittle cold, so I decided to be a complete baby and not run at all.  I had a difficult week, between travel and office work, so I was looking forward to my long run today.  Instead, I started to come down with a cold yesterday afternoon, and this morning I woke up with a full blown … stuffy nose, and a little scratchiness right at the back of my mouth, above my throat, if you know what I mean.  Ordinarily, I would ignore a little head cold and go for my run anyway — I read once that if your symptoms are all above the neck, you can run — but we’ve got plans for Thanksgiving, and I would prefer not to be miserably sick for the holiday, so I wimped out of my ten-mile run outside.  I could have had a run on my treadmill, but wasn’t in the mood, which probably says more about how I’m feeling than anything.  I’m a wimp.

What did I do all morning instead?  Let’s go to the stats.

How’s the running going? Ha.  Very funny.

What was playing on the iPod? Nothing this morning, and not much this week, since I didn’t run.  I did listen to EscapePod #181 (“Resistance”) and #183 (“Beans and Marbles”) and Adventures in SciFi Publishing #68 (Sally Malcolm).  The two EscapePod stories were very good; as a wannabe writer, I particularly liked “Beans and Marbles,” which is an excellent example of the unreliable narrator point of view.

What about the writing? I’m so glad you asked.  I started a new short story — I’ll call it “Jimmies,” for now — on the train Monday morning and this afternoon, after an 2,000-word binge, I finished it, at 5,678 words.  In some ways, I think this may be the best story I’ve ever written.  I haven’t re-read it, so I don’t know if it’s the best writing I’ve ever done, which is a completely different question.  It feels right, though.  We’ll see how the revisions go.

It’s been a pretty good week for my fledging avocation as a writer:  one acceptance, one rejection (and that story turned around and sent back out), and the first draft of “Jimmies” started and finished, with time left to revise it and “Babel” (the story I finished last week) before my self-imposed December 1 deadline to start the revisions on Meet the Larssons.

My plans for blogging didn’t work out too well.  I’ll try to get the post about the puppy, at least, up before the holiday.

Finally, I want to wish all of you Wrimos out there good luck with the final week of NaNoWriMo.  Keep those word counts up!

One Acceptance, and Another Rejection.

So yes, I now have one acceptance up on the Short Story Submissions Scorecard.  I’m not getting paid for it — it’s a web-only market and except for a handful of ads on the sidebar, non-commercial — but it’s a flash story only 599 words long, so I don’t feel like I worked too hard not to get paid.

I picked up the acceptance email on my Blackberry while I was in the back of a taxi in Los Angeles, stuck in traffic, so it was not an opportune time to do the happy dance.  In fact, since I’ve been back I’ve been too busy to do the happy dance at all.  Hang on just a sec.

There, that’s better.

I did email & call Mrs. Unfocused, and there might have been maniacal cackling; I don’t recall.  I can’t wait for it to go up on the site, but I have no idea when that will happen.  When it does, I’ll post a link, anonimity be damned.  I want to drive as much traffic to it as I can.  Until then, I’m not going to say who accepted it, because I don’t want to jinx it.

I sent one of my rejected stories out again the night I got home, and was able to add to my usual cover email, “My story ‘On the Job Training’ was recently accepted by…” which sounds great, but didn’t change the result — the story was rejected 11 hours later.

Scary Article About Allergens in Processed Food

The Chicago Tribune has a frightening, but unfortunately unsurprising, article about the prevalence of undisclosed food allergens in food, and the government’s complete lack of interest in the subject.  Thanks, government!  Even if your kids don’t have life-threatening food allergies — and I hope they don’t — you may be disgusted to know that many manufacturers simply have no idea what’s in their products, and that the lists of ingredients or claims on the label are little more than an educated guess.

I know there are companies out there that spend a lot of money and effort to avoid cross-contamination and get this right.  The problem is that the companies that don’t make it very difficult to trust anyone.

Quick Update from the Road.

I’m traveling today, but when I get home in the morning I’d better send that story that was rejected a couple of weeks ago back out, because (*cough cough submission scorecard on the sidebar cough cough*) I no longer have any short story submissions pending.

W00t!