Friday, October 31, 2008

Twas the day before NaNo

Day 64 of 365 in the “Marathon of the Dope” . . .

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I just had to write a poem about the day before NaNoWriMo 2008.

Hope you like it!

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-Twas the day before NaNo-


Twas the day before Nano, when all through the house

No creature was writing yet, not even my spouse,

The notpads were stacked by my work desk with care,

In hopes that Inspiration soon would be there,

The pens and pencils were nestled all snug in their jar,

While bowls of chocolate coffee beans were placed at the bar,

And mamma with her laptop, and I with my papers,

Had just settled down to work out our plot capers,

When out in the kitchen there arose such a clatter,

I sprang from the seat to see what was the matter.

Away to the kitchen I flew with dread fright,

Tore open the shutters and snapped on the light.

The toaster on the edge of the new marble top,

Gave the reflection of something that made my heart stop,

When, what from my horrified mouth should never be spoken,

But an explosive expletive upon seeing my coffee maker, Broken!

With a little loose wire, all sparking and quick,

I thought in that moment I just might be sick,

More rapid than eagles the sparks flew and hissed,

And whistled, and popped, and were generally getting me pissed,

By Homer, by Tolkein, by Shatner, by Pinter, by Rankin!

Damn Taylor! Damn Clarke! Damn Shakespeare and Ankin!

To top off the terror! A part of the wall!

Now started to smoke and smolder! Dash away! Dash it all!"

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,

I made for the sink and the water within, I had to try,

So up beside the sparking coffee machine I flew,

With my robe held before me, covering my eyes too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard something quite dire,

The increased snapping and crackling of that loose tiny wire,

As I drew my robe away and was turning around,

Up the sink drain a small gnome came with a bound.

He was dressed all in postits, from his head to his shoes,

His little brass hat was all scribbled with twos,

A bundle of tools he had flung on his back,

And he examined my coffee machine while opening his pack.

His eyes -- how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!

His cheeks like erasers, his nose like a cherry!

His droll little mouth was drawn down like a pout,

And his clean shaven face was as white as whiteout;

The handle of a screwdriver he held tight in his teeth,

And the smoke from the wall encircled his head like a wreath;

He had a thin face and a tight washboard tummy,

That rippled, when he laughed like a yellow Egyptian mummy.

He was thin and in shape, a right grumpy small elf,

And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;

A wink of his eye and a twist of his tool,

Soon gave me to know this repair gnome was no fool,

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,

And in a few moments, all fixed, my coffee machine began to work,

And stuffing his tools away quick, from watching him my neck feeling strain,

He gave me a nod, and with a pop, disappeared down the drain,

Then, startled by a loud repeated beeping whistle,

I snapped awake and jumped from my writing chair like I'd sat on a thistle.

My wife only looked up form her laptop with a shake of her head,

"If you're that tired dear," she said, "why not go nap in the bed."

I had fallen asleep while plotting and knew she was right,

Happy NaNo to all, and to all a good write!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

suffering suckatude

Day 63 of 365 in the “Marathon of the Dope” . . .

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was I Mr. Yules le Sass Lamebutt extra ordinaire last night at tennis, or what?

5 games won - 22 games lost.

But, but why, you ask?

Explanation: I plain SUCKed.

Or, you can read below the “Official” excuses list.

1) My hand, which has been bothering me for about two months, was really acting badly last night. It took a full 45 minutes before I could hit the ball without the “ouch” factor.

2) The heat was broken in the bubble and the air temperature was a balmy 50 degrees F. F here stands for frigid.

3) I had to play with my extra large hoodie on. Nothing like getting your thumb caught in the front pouch on that backhand volley after your serve, or having the hood part slapping into the side of your head every time you sprint around the court.

4) My vision was blurry. Not, having a stroke blurry, but everything beyond the net had this fuzzy low res video card quality that had me not seeing the ball well at all. I did spend way too much time at work staring at spreadsheets yesterday and I’m sure that did not help. I may have to resort to wearing my contacts again so I can at least see myself missing the balls.

5) I was drugged. I found out afterwards that our supper was laced with the evil MSG. You know what you get when you mix Ibuprofen with MSG. You get dizzy and have a distinct lack of balance, and for those out there that don’t know, tennis is about 80% balance and 20 percent skill.

6) The state of my job has been in flux for months and would appear to be getting even fluxier in the days ahead. This seemingly unending uncertainty has been weighing on my mind of late. I wish the Corp would just make some damn decisions, let us know, and move on with it already. And reading Google news about the situation does not help. Gawd how the Media today Sucks, even worse than my tennis last night.

7) I was the oldest player on our court . . . Okay, this one doesn’t count - scrap it. But I was.

Or you can just say I plain sucked without any excuses and you would be correct.

However, despite all these factors, I only lost my Borg-like cool once pounding a ball across the net after the point was over. Not bad for such a level of suckatude seldom seen in my game.

And if you think that was bad, our head coach (obviously pissed off about the furnace being broken) smashed his racket into the court and threw the remains against the revolving door which leads into the bubble. He quickly exited the dome and came back with another racket trying to regain his cool.

Yeah, and he is usually the most laid-back, fun-loving tennis player you will ever meet - so it wasn’t only me last night having problems.

But, despite all of that, I’m going back in there next week (exiled back to court 4) and opening a can of Whoop Arse.

Until tomorrow . . .

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

one sock at a time

Day 62 of 365 in the “Marathon of the Dope” . . .

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Well, I’ve given up playing Oblivion . . .

. . . for now.

I just can’t stand looking at it anymore in 640X480 resolution with all the settings on Low. Besides, my monster machine is coming soon and with the new GTX 260 that is going to be in it . . .

. . . well, I need say no more.

And just when you thought I was going to make my life difficult during NaNoWriMo by continuing to blog every day - it looks like my monster machine will arrive in early November too, adding yet another possibility of procrastination and distraction into the already overloaded mix which is my life.

So, not only will I be blogging every day, doing NaNoWriMo every day (2000 words or more), but there is a good likelihood (say a 1:1 set of odds) that I’ll be playing on my new computer most every day . . .

. . . which has me wondering just when I’m going to sleep.

But, sleep is rather overrated, isn’t it?

- gear switch -

Last night I got my daughter all done up for her Guide’s Halloween party and gasped at the finished results.

She was dressed as Morticia of the Addams family (even though she has not see that show or any of the movies yet) complete with white face makeup, red lipstick and black eyeliner . . . and I nearly died looking at the result. Before me was not my little girl anymore, but a beautiful young lady.

Time to invest in a shotgun.

Or a guard dog.

Or both.

Which is precisely what I will do - in the virtual world that is. Fallout 3 has been released and should be heading my way soon - couple this new game with my new monster computer and - trouble is most definitely brewing for November.

I think this year I’m purposefully loading up November with as much as I possibly can just so I can prove to myself that, despite the odds and naysayers, I can do it - and so can you, if you only try.

So, just to spite the universe I will keep to all my goals so people can point and say - look, there is that guy that does it all with a family and full time job and very limited time - how does he do it?

Or something more like, look at that guy, he looks like S%#&! Quick, cross the street and get away from him, I think he has some kind of disease or malady we don’t want to catch. See, kids, this is what you don’t want to turn into as an adult . . .

Until tomorrow . . .

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

flux capacitors and quantum phase invertors

Day 61 of 365 in the “Marathon of the Dope” . . .

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- and other cool sounding, though completely foolish, phrases are swimming inside my head today like a large fish in a small glass bowl.

Maybe I’ve been watching too much Farscape lately, trying to stay ahead of the Reader’s Den review deadlines. I’m almost finished re-watching Season 2, the one where Chrichton’s mind has this annoying little . . .

. . . but I shouldn’t spoil it for those who have never seen it, now should I.

I did finish reading my first Nancy Drew mystery yesterday too - “The Secret of The Old Clock” - no, I’m not kidding. And no, I’m not going to start playing with Barbies or collecting WebKinz.

In fact I read it to my daughter. She rather liked it and it was pretty good for something written so long ago. Had it been written today Nancy’s peril though would have consisted of something horrific instead of just being locked in a closet by thieves.

Still, as far as children’s (or should I say young adult) girl’s fiction goes, this is pretty decent stuff.

My little girl at first thought the book would suck because the cover was a boring dull yellow hardback with a sepia looking picture on the front. That clinches it, no? Really tuned me in to how important the cover art if for young readers.

Well, must get back to my mental planning for NaNoWriMo which kicks off this Saturday. I’m still not sure how I’m going to juggle this blog and NaNo and everything else.

Until tomorrow . . .

Monday, October 27, 2008

selfish or selfless

Day 60 of 365 in the “Marathon of the Dope” . . .

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If you had one wish in this world, anything at all - what would it be?

Now, if this isn’t a good story starting idea, I don’t know what is. Just how many deal-with-the-devil and the-contract-is-up stories can you think of?

We, as a sentient species, have a great desire for wishes and an even bigger one to see then come to be.

How many times have you heard, “I wish”, or said such yourself?

Most wishes, if they come to be, end in disappointment because it’s the wishing that keeps us going and not the having.

Or is it? Maybe it depends on the type of wish.

Well, all that garblygoop aside, what would it be?

Would you wish for something completely for yourself or for others? Would it be a grand wish or something small and virtually unnoticeable?

So many choices. Would we even know what to do if we were truly faced with such a decision?

And now, of course, you want to know what mine would be - don’t you?

Simple.

Perfect health until age 120 where I suddenly expire.

Sounds pretty damn selfish, doesn’t it.

But the flip side of having it granted would be how hard I could work at making others smile, taking away their small miseries, granting them a few moments of distraction through my many creative endeavours . . .

. . . and now I’m up against the wall facing the barrels. The masses don’t want wishes granted and will pay me for my arrogance with hot brass tipped projectiles.

It’s the old, “if we can’t have it why should they?” envy syndrome.

And comes the destroyer to level the field, then till it and place the bones beneath . . .

Wow, today’s post, upon rereading it, sounds rather like a drug induced hallucinogenic raving.

In fact, I’m only under the influence of caffeine and a good’s night’s sleep. For the mental health of myself and my readers - I better not continue this trend.

Until tomorrow . . .

Sunday, October 26, 2008

beatles

Day 59 of 365 in the “Marathon of the Dope” . . .

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Nasty, six-legged scuttling things that creep me out.

Or - that band from the sixties.

Actually, I’ve just ripped my first Beatles tracks (number 1 hits album) to my Media Player.

Can you guess I’m not a huge Beatles fan - but some of their stuff is okay and so it makes my play list now along with ABBA and Michael Jackson . . .

. . . Hey, I’m not some 16 year old punk anymore.

And I do have portable media player, and no I don’t walk around with my pants around my ankles and white wires hanging out of my ears. I’ve progressed beyond that - at least in appearances.

I get most of my mp3 blasts now in my car with the great stereo system.

Okay, maybe I still am a 16 year old punk at heart, but I hide it well.

Much to do today (laundry, Book reviews, Reader’s Den posts, novel plotting, - boring stuff - )

So, I’ll get at them then.

Because Sunday is the day of rest - right?

Yah, right . . .

Until Tomorrow . . .

Saturday, October 25, 2008

scibes on hold

Day 58 of 365 in the “Marathon of the Dope” . . .

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. . . for a bit.

I have a ton of Reader’s Den catch up to do today in the way of book reviews and scheduled posts. Also there is tennis this morning too, and the fact that I’m burned out.

Would you believe I slept ten hours last night and I’m still tired?

Must be getting old . . .

. . . So, I know there are some who always count on my Saturday Scribes contribution. I just can’t do it justice and produce something worthy of a readership today, or actually - until December.

- Because of NaNoWriMo and the planning I need to do for that as well.

It is only one week away, literally. And then the muse valves are cranked open and the words begin to run rampant upon the page.

I just can’t do it all, so some things have to slide.

Scribes is the first casualty.

I really hope I don’t need to stop this blog and will do my damndest to not let that happen.

So, stay tuned starting in November for short burnout blogs as I ramble on about the NaNoWriMo process and how draining it is - and my progress along the way too.

I remember last year getting all cranked up about it and turning into Mr. Roboto (2000 words a day like a machine) - but it was a real drain you couldn’t see on the surface.

I’ll try to give some inner thoughts about how it’s going - some twisted mind revelations if you will.

Until tomorrow then . . .

Friday, October 24, 2008

what to NaNoWriMo

Day 57 of 365 in the “Marathon of the Dope” . . .

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Well, it’s almost here.

Just 7 more days and then it’s write-like-a-lunatic time for a month.

I have the lunatic part down cold - the writing - well . . .

My mind wanders as it wonders what to write this year.

Last year was a Post-Apocalyptic hero’s journey which I'm still editing.

This year I’m thinking - Reluctant Superhero with very, very unusual powers as yet to be determined.

I have a whole week to plot, flesh and create him/her/it.

And this year it will all be done in my mind. How is that for radical? I’m going to just let the old muse run rampant with this one, while my anal-itical mind keeps the structure in check in the background so my creation does not devolve into an incoherent and disconnected series of ramblings.

I seem to work best when I have little to no time to get things planned then executed. I would have been great in the Queens’ courts of old as High Executioner . . .

. . . maybe, except for all the killing and blood stains.

And now that I think about it, I’m getting kind of excited about NaNoWriMo.

But I’m sure, 15 days into it, plus blogging every day and keeping Reader’s Den up with reviews plus home life and work and, well, I’ll be a gibbering cinder of a man.

Won't that be fun to blog about?

Until tomorrow . . .

Thursday, October 23, 2008

baby news

Day 56 of 365 in the “Marathon of the Dope” . . .

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No, not mine.

Been there, done that - getting too old now to even think of another child.

But my good friend Al’s little girl is going to be a mother and hence the news. Yes that really is Al’s little girl all growd up and preggers . . .

I have to tease - it’s my nature.

Anyhow, that is very cool news and Al is very excited about the new addition and informs me Aly and Alexis are over the moon with excitement.

Congratulations soon-to-be Grampa Al, and soon-to-be-sleepless parents (next spring) Alyson and Alexis.

Now, after that public announcement, it’s on to last night’s tennis.

As you may recall, last week I moved up from court 4 to court 3. The goal here is to be on court 1 with the very best.

So, how did I do last night? Well, I managed to win 14 games, and lose 13 games - which means I’ll be staying in court 3 until next week as well.

And, as a bonus in confidence boosters, the head pro last night said he thinks by Christmas I’ll be in court 2 or 1 pretty consistently.

Wow - old does not need to be “over the hill” in tennis. And in fact, the person who won 16 games last night and advances to court 2 next week was the oldest of us last night.

Go figure.

And, without getting into any details, my workspot announced more cuts and sales of departments - and I happen to have about half of my current job in said department.

More news to follow once the company figures out what else it’s going to do.

It does not curtail my plans for a new gaming PC which, I’m ordering anyway.

What else will I do with my time when I’m home all day gathering UI?

Until tomorrow . . .

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

white flaky stuff

Day 55 of 365 in the “Marathon of the Dope” . . .

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. . . and I’m not talking pastry or dandruff. Yup, nature’s finest - Snow - yesterday - in Mid-October.

Oh, dear, my back is already protesting the shoveling to come.

At least I can take solace in the fact that I won’t have to mow the lawn for months . . .

. . . but that doesn’t help much.

But, I will be the first to admit that I enjoy the cool/cold temperatures far more than the humid heat we get around here in the summer.

And the colour of the leaves on the trees is breathtakingly beautiful this time of year. A road closure for repair has forced me to drive to work through the country instead of the main highway.

Wow - the display is very nice indeed - I just wish the speeding boneheads behind me would layoff and chill a bit while I’m trying to take in a bit of nature’s natural wonders.

I did smell wood smoke in our neighbourhood yesterday too. I do not like it - makes me choke and takes the joy of observing the fall colour display down a notch. And when many residential people start burning wood, well it gets downright hard to breathe.

Rant over.

Is that NaNoWriMo I see just over the next hill. Oye!

And 55 days in a row. Are you wondering yet when I’m going to crack?

Until tomorrow and tennis . . .

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

jewels or stools

Day 54 of 365 in the “Marathon of the Dope” . . .

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I may not be really old yet or even wise - but I feel as though I’ve learned a few things along the way.

1) Have personal integrity - I was just following orders, or he/she made me do it, is beyond lame.

2) Have good personal hygiene - nobody likes a stinker.

3) Marks aren’t everything - It’s far more important to complete than compete.

4) Be kind to your fellow creatures, if they warrant it - were Hitler or Mengele nice folk?

5) Nobody likes a smart ass - before rifling off that know-it-all answer, maybe you should try to know it all.

6) Don’t stop learning - see 5.

7) Not trying is not the same as trying and failing - every success comes from a series of failures.

Now, don’t you just think I’m Mr. Wise Ass of the Universe? To that I say - two out of three ain’t bad.

And to leave off today . . .

. . . there are exceptions to every rule, but no rules for every exception . . .

Until tomorrow . . .

Monday, October 20, 2008

oblivious

Day 53 of 365 in the “Marathon of the Dope” . . .

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You may begin to see, or rather read, signs of my growing fatigue. I’ve been trying to mask it.

Routine is great and repetition makes for better . . . whatever . . . but I think these posts are starting to really suck.

But, as much as I am aware of an audience, I feel these little blurbs each day are like a diary - a diary with no locks or hiding spots though they are taking their toll.

After having played several hours of Oblivion now, I feel I need to write a short review of my findings.

First off, I love a good fantasy romp in a game. Baldur’s Gate 1 and 2 count among my favourites.

I would have to say Oblivion is really Baldur’s Gate 2 in hi-def 3D with more character definition. Hi praise, no?

I like the fact that I can get better in alchemy and brew my own potions, or use my sword a lot and improve that skill. You can swim, jump, sneak - it’s all there if you want it. The level advancement is the best I’ve seen yet in a game, equal to Fallout - maybe even better.

And, on my computer anyhow, it is rock solid stable. Not one crash so far, whereas Morrowind would have caffed a couple of times during the same amount of play time. Both are patched versions - Oblivion wins in that department.

It is also truly open ended. I’ve been introduced to the main quest, but have yet to start it. I’m working through four other ones right now and just happened to need a good dungeon delve and so headed out to the local abandoned mines to take out some goblins and collect some loot.

Very cool game and one I can’t wait to run on my new machine in a couple of months.

So far, in my 20 years of PC gaming experience, I’d say this is the best fantasy RPG I’ve played yet.

Until tomorrow . . .

Sunday, October 19, 2008

I like to watch

Day 52 of 365 in the “Marathon of the Dope” . . .

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Good old movies.

And there are lots of them and so little time in which to watch them. Was that a grammatically correct sentence? Not sure.

Anyhow, last night we watched a movie from 1944 called “Laura” and it was fantastic. No swearing, no CGI - just pure entertainment with good acting and a good script.

And the DVD held two A&E Biographies as extras which was very cool. I got to learn all about Gene Tierney (a.k.a. nutbar - well my opinion anyhow) and her electro-shock therapy, bad marriages, Superstardome, liaisons with Howard Hughes and JFK, and heart breaks along the way - all this happening before she hit 30.

I’m a bit sympathetic, but in her case I was kind of thinking - boo, hoo - take a look at your privileged life, stop crying on the pillow and get on with it already.

The other was Vincent Price. I had no idea he was such an art collector and critic. Fascinating. He was not a nutbar, and lived a full and long life.

Guess what I’m trying to say is I like the old movies that relied on acting and script more than today’s where those two qualities often take second stage to Franchise and Effects.

We are fortunate here in my small town to have our library interested in stocking a whole bunch of classics - so much to watch, so little time.

Until tomorrow . . .

Saturday, October 18, 2008

overheard

Day 51 of 365 in the “Marathon of the Dope” . . .

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-overheard-

This week’s Saturday Scribes has given me and idea. Try and put everything into as few sentences as possible, but make it a cogent story snippet at the same time - sort of.

Theme: Overheard
Words: innocent, war, misinformed.

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It only took one misinformed general to launch the war costing billions of innocent lives - at least that’s what I overheard at the summit for human survival.

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Um, pretty short I know . . .

Until tomorrow then where you are sure to get a bit more . . .

Friday, October 17, 2008

somewhere in China

Day 50 of 365 in the “Marathon of the Dope” . . .

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My music is causing a sensation.

Remember that “TranceOne” mp3 I created one day and posted up here. Well, it found it’s way to a site in China and has had 50 listens since that time (like two weeks).

So, on day 50 of the Marathon I thought I would mention that.

Oh, and the fact that I got another new/old game yesterday - mostly in prep for the arrival of my new toy.

(Oblivion)

I find I’m having difficulty concentrating now (Oblivion) or getting jobs done around the house (Oblivion) or doing much in the way of writing (Oblivion).

Wish I could figure out why (Oblivion).

That “other” special secret project was going to be a written and sung song about “Gaming Dad” - but since I can’t sing (Springsteen and Dylan sound fantastic in comparison) that is just not going to happen.

The tune may make an appearance though - and end up on the Chinese charts again.

Now, there must be something I should be doing (Oblivion) like editing my novel (Oblivion).

Until tomorrow . . .

Thursday, October 16, 2008

moving on up

Day 49 of 365 in the “Marathon of the Dope” . . .

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Maybe it was the new shoes - what I had for supper - the full moon - or, I’m just getting better.

Whatever the reason, I advanced last night with a win and move up a court for next week.

17 games won (out of a possible 27) and I played very well indeed.

Tennis is the game I speak of, for those reading this and thinking - Huh?

And I think I’m finally getting the hang of the new rackets I bought last year, but I did notice something last night which I suspected all along.

I like my strings looser, around 58 pounds to be exact. I have one racket strung like that and the other is at 60 pounds - now that doesn’t sound like muchof a difference, but believe me - I can tell from the way it feels.

You see, way back (when I was actually a threat on the court) I had my Max 200Gs strung at precisely 58 lbs. Any looser or tighter was not the sweet spot for me. So, instead of being talked into 60 pounds for my new racket (well one of them) I should have just stuck to my instincts and demanded 58 lbs.

So, I was using the 58 pound racket last night and had a lot more feel in my shots. The 60 pound one is a bit too stiff. I have no idea how Borg ever played at all with strings around 85 pound tension - just, holy wow. Then for contrast McEnroe had his racket strung at 45 pounds . . .

. . . And am I dating myself - or what?

Well, this concludes Thursday Tennis Talk. Now, I just have to maintain my skills and maybe I can move all the way up to court one by the end of the year.

Hey, I can dream.

Until tomorrow . . .

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

harper seals it

Day 48 of 365 in the “Marathon of the Dope” . . .

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Gee, our government changed today - to exactly what we had yesterday - Ho Hum.

Well, since I am non-political and believe the majority of politicians to be, how to put this, less than white knights, I go about my own business as though not much has changed.

And yes, I did vote, so I’m entitled to grumble about our government with the rest of us even if I have no constructive solutions to voice.

If you didn’t vote - shame on you, and why do you even stay in this country then?

So, from the real world to the not real world . . .

. . . Morrowind that is.

A couple of really WoW (not World of Warcraft - puleeeeze) moments happened yesterday while I was walking the outback in Morrowind. For those who don’t know - it’s a computer game, and it's completely open ended.

I was out on the coast. I decided it would be cool, since you are on an island, to go to the coast and check it out. What do I find - a shipwreck! And yah, I was like - this is so cool. And I was thinking at this point in the game how much work went into it and how neat it is to have these kind of gaming moments. You could go inside of it as well and the bottom level was flooded - very WoW.

The other was when I was walking through a mountain pass and spotted, far overhead, some funky looking ruins. It took me a while to find a path up there but once on top it was an old dwarven city. Again with the WoW factor. Very fun.

Yes, I have issues . . .

. . . what can I say.

Despite my predilection with computer games I also play tennis, cook and do laundry. So there, not all nerd/geek am I.

And speaking of tennis - it’s on again tonight.

Now if only I could get to the next highest court . . .

Until tomorrow . . .

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

day of the turkey again

Day 47 of 365 in the “Marathon of the Dope” . . .

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Well yesterday we consumed turkey - today, here in Canada, we get to vote for one.

Our riding doesn’t even have an NDP candidate this year, not that I would have voted for him/her/it anyhow.

Still, don’t cast your vote = shut up and live with the consequences of your apathy.

And speaking of turkeys, yesterday's bird was pretty good but too large. Much meat left over which means soup, casserole, sandwiches and the classic - turkey surprise and the eventual burnout of turkey related meals.

Good thing we do this silly ritual only once per year and share it with friends. Too bad you couldn’t buy, say, half a turkey, or a quarter turkey in stores. I know you can get just the breast if you want, but I like the dark meat as well.

So, you think the half turkey idea would catch on?

Probably not - no place to put the stuffing.

Now, I have to strategize (don’t you just love our modern butchered language?) ways to lose the five pounds I put on yesterday.

Maybe I’ll just eat lettuce and grapes for a week - that might help.

Or follow the age old weight lose plan guaranteed to work which is, eat less and exercise more.

Time to make my lunch.

One guess as to what is going to be in it - for the next ten days . . .

Until tomorrow . . .

Monday, October 13, 2008

day of the turkey

Day 46 of 365 in the “Marathon of the Dope” . . .

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Happy “Canadian” Thanksgiving out there.

It’s almost time for me to prepare the Turkey and get it in the oven for a nice long slow bake to perfection.

My two girls (lovely wife and rambunctious child) are preparing the pumpkin pies as I write this. Going to be a day of, um, overeating most likely.

But we are having friends over to help us overeat, so we can all wallow about later in a full-belly-haze - while the kids race around like it’s the Molson Indy.

I don’t know the secret to cooking a good Turkey, but what seems to work for me is cooking it for two hours at 325, then 3-4 hours at 275. And I make sure the Turkey has an even glaze of mayonnaise which turns the skin a crispy golden brown - which is so tasty as so bad for you.

And no stuffing inside - we do that on the stove . . .

. . . I know. Shame on me.

Not sure what the veggie will be as the guests are bringing that with them, as well as the salad and drinks.

Well, enjoy your Monday wherever you are.

Oh, and I was convinced by the comments yesterday to go back to “Dope”. So, for better or worse, Dope it is for the duration.

And I'm waffling so much about what to do for NaNoWriMo I should be on the menu at Golden Griddle.

Until Tomorrow, when I mysteriously weight five pounds more than right now . . .

Sunday, October 12, 2008

NaNo NaNew

Day 45 of 365 in the “Marathon of the MIND” . . .

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It has been suggested to me, rather strongly, that I change the name of this blogging marathon.

I have been assured that I am not a Dope, nor do I take dope - so the name does not apply and has to go.

That is the logic, and so I’m following the advice.

Henceforth and forthwith, this Marathon shall be known as the “Marathon of the Mind”, because it has a lot more to do with my mind (twisted though it may be) than calling myself names or relating it to illegal substances . . .

. . . beware: subject flips imminent . . .

Yes, Morrowind did come in.

How good is it?

Well, it is pretty much a 3D version of Baldur’s Gate 2 - with a great story, tons of information to glean from books and people, a great leveling up system, and a HUGE island province to explore.

The graphics, though dated, are on par with the best of the Thief series and do let you immerse yourself in the world. Nothing is spectacular, but nothing is jarring either.

Overall a great game I am sure to play for a very long time. And it runs full blast with all the highest settings on my current machine, so I won’t be chomping too hard to get my new rig - now only a few months away.

As for NaNoWriMo this year - I have a plan, and yes, you can cut it with a knife . . .

I’m going to break my current novel (the one I’m editing right now) into 30 equal parts and edit each of the 30 parts each day of NaNoWriMo.

I know that is not the exact intent of NaNoWriMo, but that is what I’m going to do. I really want to get my current novel in good enough shape so I can start shopping it around.

And don’t think I’m not doing any new writing because, by doing this Marathon, and never missing a Saturday Scribes - I’ll have written 52 new short stories in a year.

Thatn’s right - FIFTY TWO!

Pretty darn impressive, don’t you think?

Well, off to tackle another quest - then this afternoon is house cleaning and lawn mowing time.

Until tomorrow . . .

Saturday, October 11, 2008

white lies

Day 44 of 365 in the “Marathon of the Dope” . . .

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Today’s Saturday Scribes prompts were as follows:

Theme: consequences
Words: knot, leaf, stellar, fabricate.

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-White Lies-

The knot in Samatha’s stomach refused to untie itself. She had wilfully, nay maliciously, lied to her best friend Dean about Angelica.

There was nothing really wrong with Angelica, except she was a terrible tease and would likely break Dean’s heart. Samantha would have none of it. She had been friends with Dean for fourteen years. She had to protect him, as a friend, of course.

The little white lie was easy to fabricate. Angelica was known as a flirt. She made small talk and smiled that cruel I-think-I-love-you smile to all the boys, even when Samantha knew Angelica could care a less.

So she had told Dean that Angelica told her that Angelica had no interest in Dean, even though the exact opposite was true. It may not have been a stellar lie, but it was a lie nonetheless. She had torn a leaf out of the how-to-protect-your-best-friend-from-trouble book . . .

. . . actually, now that Samantha thought about it, it was more a manual than a book. A fuzzy, unclear badly written manual.

Still, Dean had to be warned off of this, this . . .

“Heya, Sam,” Dean said coming up to her in the schoolyard.

Startled, Sam could only stutter, “oh, um, hey.”

“What’s wrong, Sam?” Dean looked genuinely concerned making Samantha feel all the more terrible for her words yesterday.

“Nothing. Just the math test today,” Samantha lied, piling yet another white lie on the growing heap.

“You seen Ang today?” Dean asked looking around. Sam’s face turned red and she let her long dark hair fall across it to conceal her guilt.

“Yah,” she lied, “she said she was going to be going out with Ted, you know, once he asks her. She really likes him.”

Ted! Oh for crap sakes, Samantha thought, Ted was the worst kind of idiot in their class. Dean’s expression told her all she needed to know. He had not been fooled, and her carefully coiled nest of lies was unraveling before her.

“Ted?” Dean said, just as Samantha knew he would.

“Um, yah,” Samantha said trying to keep her nested coils of lies straight.

Dean could see her red face clearly now. “Samantha?” he said with a knife’s cold edge in his tone.

But Samantha had turned her face further away, ashamed. Oh god, how had she gotten into such a state? Tears began to well up in her eyes and the schoolyard blurred.

Stifling her tears, Samantha turned to face Dean . . .

. . . but when she got up the nerve to tell him the truth, he was already gone. Wiping her eyes she could see him across the way, next to a smiling Angelica, and her heart felt like it was going to implode.

What had she done? And worse, why did she do it?

And then the answer came so quickly it sobered her on the spot.

It wasn’t the white lies she had told Dean that were tearing herself up inside, it was the white lies she had been telling herself for the past two years.

She hoped it wasn’t too late to fix the damage she had done to herself.

Friday, October 10, 2008

new specs

My new toy (computer) is all spec’d out and in the process of coming together.

I do this sort of thing every three to five years - my lifespan for a new computer.

The one I have now is okay (3 ½ years old now), and it will be kept for the family to use. What I need now (okay, crave) is something to blaze through games, one of my vices . . .

. . . and my new toy should do just that. It will get around 20 -30 FPS on Crysis - okay, not stellar, but no slouch either. Other, less demanding games will clock in probably around 60 - 100 FPS depending on settings.

I’m happy with that.

ETA - two months. Just about in time to load on my on-order copy of Fallout 3 and have a blast in the Wastelands.

Until then I’ll have to contend myself with Morrowind, which should arrive very soon, maybe even today.

Can’t wait.

I do like to PC game - even if it irks my family at times.

Would they rather I was a drunk, or druggie, or an unfaithful libidinous philanderer?

Not so bad when you put it into perspective now, am I . . .

Until tomorrow . . .

Thursday, October 09, 2008

best served

Day 42 of 365 in the “Marathon of the Dope” . . .

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In keeping with my personal promise to blog every day - well here is another.

It may not hold the answer to the ultimate question (if you know what that is), but it is number 42 straight.

And it would seem that Thursday posts are likely to turn into “how-I-did-at-tennis-last-night” blogs.

So, if that sort fo thing offends you - well you can always go find Dr. Phil’s site instead.

If you stick around I promise a pretty painless and short posting.

I was so close to being top spot on my court last night as I played pretty gosh darn well, if I do say so.

I served the first game and we won four points in a row, mostly due to my well placed and paced serves - how is that for a bout of annoying egotism, even if it is true?

I had a total of four aces and quite a few winners on the evening.

I tied for first spot with another. Not bad for this aging tennis dude.

One thing that is really helping my strength and shot making has got to be tennis aerobics, which we started (the family that is) last Saturday. It’s one hour of hitting balls and running around the court without much of a letup.

The key, or one of the keys I believe, to good tennis is being in shape for the experience - maybe not so much doubles as singles. However, because of the tennis aerobics I felt a lot stronger last night on the court.

I’ve always said - you should get in shape to play tennis, not play tennis to get in shape.

Who knows, maybe next week I’ll climb from the bottom court (four) and move up to court (three).

Maybe by the end of the year I’ll be playing with the best on court (one) . . .

. . . Hey, this old dude can haz dreams, can’t he?

Until tomorrow . . .

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

sticking with it

Day 41 of 365 in the “Marathon of the Dope” . . .

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Well, I’m going to take some of my own advice and continue with this blogging every day because I said I was going to.

You see, it’s a goal. And I should make it.

No real reason why I shouldn’t.

Everybody needs some inspiration to carry on - let this blog be yours - if you like.

I’m going to be getting extremely busy come November, but I’m going to stick to it and make my goal of something here every day for a year.

Of course, I should have some reward at the end - no?

Wonder what that reward should be.

I’ll have my new computer by then, so that can’t be it.

Maybe a new TV?

Maybe I should just keep writing every day and worry about such things in say . . .

. . . 324 days.

Wow, this is going to be a long haul.

But I’m going to make it.

You will see, or rather, read.

And haven’t I posted enough days in a row now for it to officially become a habit?

Until tomorrow . . .

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

lair reclamation

Day 40 of 365 in the “Marathon of the Dope” . . .

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It has been well over a year now that “my lair” has been shared with my wife.

It has not been a good thing for my head space - or writing space.

But last weekend this cohabitation ended and I feel like the lair has opened up again and gotten cleaned out and is mine again.

And that, believe me, is a good thing.

I do my game planning, writing and surfing down here in the basement lair. I guess we guys really do need a secluded nest of our favourite stuff which is just our own.

On the walls are posters of “Lord of the Rings” and “The Solar System”, sort of tying together my fascination with Fantasy and Science Fiction. Oh yah, I also have a Serenity poster up too as well as seven signed glossies of TV show actors/actresses from either Science Fiction shows or Buffy.

Ten bookshelves line three of the four walls and the closet is packed with games.

I like this place a lot.

When I need some “me” time - it is there waiting.

When I need a quiet space - it’s there.

When I need to edit my latest novel - yup, this is the space.

Which reminds me, I should get at it now.

In my reclaimed lair.

Until tomorrow . . .

Monday, October 06, 2008

end it?

Day 39 of 365 in the “Marathon of the Dope” . . .

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I was just wondering how much longer this “blog-every-day-for-a-year” thing is going to go on.

I know the answer should be - a year.

But it’s eating up so much of my time and not, I’m pretty sure, giving a whole bunch back to a very few readers.

My time would be much better spent on my novel - as in getting it in shape so I could have it published.

Then, once in published form, I may have something to actually blog about.

I’ll chew this over for the next while.

And I’m pretty sure that once NaNoWriMo hits in November, this blog will have to be put on hold at the very least.

I just can’t do it all.

Sorry to disappoint, but I, despite my reputation, am only human.

Until tomorrow . . .

Sunday, October 05, 2008

it is done

Day 38 of 365 in the “Marathon of the Dope” . . .

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And so the agonizing over TV vs Computer has ended.

Computer has won out.

Why?

Well, last night (our monthly reading night gathering) got me to talking to a computer geek friend who is in the biz and actually builds and sells computers - with a 3 year warranty!

My inner PC gaming geek did a little Squee - and then we got to talking shop.

Well, he was talking shop, I was just expressing how I want Fallout 3 to run at high settings and not go ca-chunk ca-chunk at those moments when you don’t want it to.

And all of this will cost me a lot less than going to the big box stores - with newer, faster video cards to boot.

So, the new TV will just have to wait.

I mean I already have a nice flat screen.

It’s 24 inches . . .

. . . Hey, twenty years ago, that would have sounded okay.

Until tomorrow . . .

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Giant Red

Day 37 of 365 in the “Marathon of the Dope” . . .

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It's Saturday Scribes short fiction day again, and I present a real flash fiction piece today. It was part of the challenge and it is just over 230 words.

Theme: Journey
Words: fabulous, conch, stapler, enervate.

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(-Giant Red-)

youwontgetridofmethateasily.com was chiseled on his fabulous headstone of titanium.

He had lived, loved and died like all the others. Giant Red was his nickname - ironic now that the sun shared the same.

Giant Red was the inventor of the thought activated stapler gun - a boon for roofers and petty crooks who couldn’t get their hands on the real thing.

Entropy claims even the most active of planets. It beats down anything alive, enervates it until only creations of incredible durability hint at something organized.

Even titanium will melt if exposed to enough heat over time and join entropy in the eternal dance of destruction.

It is said the thoughts of the universe can be heard in the depths of a conch shell - if you know the language of infinity.

Giant Red thought he could make out a few words. And in thinking this he thought he could be as the universe.

But the race is over. Infinity has won, again.

Soon, the sun’s outer shell will embrace the Earth in its final loving caress and the transient traces of organization will be scoured from the crust’s record.

Time is the universe’s ally and life’s bane.

Some said it was the journey not the destination anyway.

Some, like Giant Red, tried to leave a mark.

Some said it would last forever.

All are eventually proven wrong.

Friday, October 03, 2008

only 10 percent

Day 36 of 365 in the “Marathon of the Dope” . . .

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Well, a whole 36 days of blogging in a row, and since I’m a round-up, glass-half-full, kind of guy (well mostly), I can officially say I am 10 percent through the “Marathon of the Dope.”

So far, I’ve always thought of something to post.

But there have been moments. Usually about ten seconds before I start to write when I think - hmm, nothing to say today.

And since I played bubble tennis again last night, well, today will deal with tennis again. So, with regards to tennis . . .

. . . there are two things which I need though - okay, want.

One is a new pair of tennis shoes. My old pair, only four months old, are all but burned through with maybe 10 percent of their life remaining. Still usable, but getting towards the dangerous side as the actual grip part in several areas is no longer present to provide, well, grip.

You see, I’m a toe dragger. Sounds like some hideous affliction, but all it means is during my serve I drag my tennis shoe across the service line. As you can imagine this burns the toes out of my shoes rather quickly. Maybe they make steel toed tennis shoes?

The other want is a new tennis bag. The old one has the handle ripping off and one day soon I will be picking it up to carry my rackets and the handle will tear clean off.

But man, are tennis shoes expensive, and not regularly available at the local mall. Nope, gots to get them at the Pro shops attached to the tennis clubs.

Looks like a decent pair runs about 90-100 bucks, while the really good pairs go for 150+.

Yikes!

Still, they are something you kinda hafta have to play the game.

But, being budget minded, I have to time the purchase just right so I don’t have to owe any credit card companies any interest which blows the whole idea of saving any money.

And speaking of tennis I played again last night.

Wednesday nights are for the “good guys” and Thursday nights are for the “average guys” as I found out.

On Wednesday I was at the bottom end of the player’s skill level (won 11 games, lost 16). And last night I was on the best court and did the best, so at the high end of the player’s skill (won 15 games, lost 6).

I am somewhere in the realm of above average. Just like my age - somewhere in the middle-ish.

Until tomorrow . . .

Thursday, October 02, 2008

I will survive

Day 35 of 365 in the “Marathon of the Dope” . . .

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Well, last night’s tennis wasn’t all bad.

I didn’t win, but I also didn’t double fault or suck - and that is a definite plus.

I was on the court with the least skilled of the skilled players and ended up with 11 games won and 18 lost.

Sounds bad, but I played better than normal in most instances - though I did blow a few easy overheads and volleys.

I blame it on old age. Gotta blame it on something because you know it just can’t be that I’m not a great player . . .

Which brings me to my next observation. The players there are all in there twenties or thirties. Only a couple seem to be approaching 50 like myself. (Well approaching 45 then . . .)

And there are some darn good players as I was watching from the corner of my eye during my match. Maybe I should have been concentrating more on my own match?

As I was saying - some very good players - way better than me I’m afraid.

Since you move up to better courts or down based on games won, I don’t know if I’ll get the opportunity to even play these guys.

Just as well if my skill level isn’t up there yet.

But it gives me something to work towards.

And it was a ton of fun though and what excellent exercise.

I really like playing the game - even when I don’t win.

And that, after all, is the point, isn’t it?

Until tomorrow . . .

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

oh noes

Day 34 of 365 in the “Marathon of the Dope” . . .

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the sky is falling faster than your stocks!

It’s the Great Depression all over again!

This time it will be worse!

We’re all going to die!

Sound familiar?

Well, I have news for you all . . .

. . . you are going to die.

Surprised?

You shouldn’t be - it’s a biological fact that has taken all of our ancestors before us and will take all of those that follow after.

So get used to it and, for the love of (insert whatever/whomever you want here) stop buying into the fear mongering the news networks are drumming up about the economy.

I am so glad I don’t have TV hookup right now. I heard the most one-sided, stunned and shocking ad for a news network on the radio coming home from work (yes, work - as in most of us still have it and not as the news would lead you to believe) I could imagine.

They were basically advertising that the “Depression” was upon us again and then they had some no-brain Alzheimer’s victim spewing on about how his portfolio was worthless and he would need to start eating dirt and cat food . . .

. . . now I’m no economist (granted) and maybe it is sucking harder than a three stage Hepa filter vacuum set on overload - but the way it’s being presented is driving me nuts.

Remember, way back “over seven years ago now, some of you may not have even been born yet” when some crazies hijacked and flew commercial planes into buildings?

The world was going to end then, wasn’t it?

That’s what the news was spewing at the time.

Guess what?

Look around you.

We are still here.

We are not irradiated dust at the bottom of huge glass craters either.

We still have our fun and our toys, our loves and our joys.

Now, ignore the stupid lopsided news networks and enjoy your privileged and comfortable lives and get on with it.

Nuff said.

Until tomorrow . . . when I report on my tennis with the stars episode.