Saturday, January 31, 2009

the swelling

Day 156 of 365 in the “Marathon of the Dope” . . .

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What I have is large and getting even larger.

If it were a cancer, I may be getting concerned - or even a spare tire, or receding hairline . . .

No, what I speak of is my paperback & hardback novel collection.

In effect it is a small library of Sci-Fi, Fantasy and Horror. Mostly horror, in the fact that it is getting huge and almost, though not quite yet, out of control - it is about double what our local library has for selection.

I actually love it and when I finish a novel I head down to my library of unread novels and choose another. The small things in life, or in this instance, the large things in life.

So yes, I am an incurable Sci-Fi, Fantasy and Horror novel collector. Admit it, teeth and hair would be worse. Books, well okay, almost as bad but better hygienically.

Yesterday my wife and I went to a bigger city than the one we live in and I scored a haul of books, some I’ve been looking for what seems like years.

I got the entire early (all four) of Andre Norton’s “Solar Queen” novels, the first Jack Vance Lyonesse novel (I’ve had the last two for years) and the first Babylon 5 Technomage’s novel (hard to find and I have the last 2 already).

See - Major Score! Three sets of series completed in one fell swoop . . .

Okay, maybe this only excites me because I collect novels.

My addiction is actually not all that bad.

I only have around 2,000. Of the 2,000 I have about 800 that I have yet to read. And believe me, I’m working on it as you will see tomorrow in my month in review.

This current total includes purging around 500 books over the past couple of years, books I don’t really need and would never read again.

See, I can part with them if I try really hard . . . *sniff*

Well, it is Saturday and it’s a Daddy Daughter day because my wife is at courses all day.

Maybe we’ll play some Arkham Horror?

Maybe we’ll play some Runebound?

Definitely some fun!

Until Tomorrow . . .

Friday, January 30, 2009

looong month?

Day 155 of 365 in the “Marathon of the Dope” . . .

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Is it just me, or is January this year, like, 63 days long or something?

I don’t know why it feels like this. Maybe the endless snow shoveling, the endless dark nights, the bitter cold?

Or, all of the above?

I’ve made good writing and reading progress in January though. Maybe those extra perceived days paid off. I’ll have more in my month in review Feb 1.

By now you may have noticed Reader’s Den has kind of slid off the table, rolled across the floor and is now under the couch hiding with the dust bunnies . . .

Not sure if I will bother with it any more.

I just seem to have more important writing to do than blather on about what books I’ve read lately. I can do that right here just as easily.

It was a non-profit site anyhow, so no big loss. Letting is slide though is a big time gain, since I don’t spend time updating it any more or writing book or show reviews for it.

If you were following along there, well, what can I say? Some things need to fall off the table so you can make room for others.

Well, I’m going to take advantage of the remaining days this month (20 or so?) to really get my Sci-Fi novel organized, so I can do a sort of mini-NaNo in February.

Until tomorrow . . .

Thursday, January 29, 2009

pretty much the perfect day

Day 154 of 365 in the “Marathon of the Dope” . . .

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Well, yesterday was a great day for a 20th anniversary.

Oh, it snowed like the heights of Kilimanjaro, and it was cold to boot and the roads were an absolute mess.

But I got to spend the entire day with my wife and we had no other plans except to be in each other’s company.

We didn’t exchange cards, or gifts either.

I love the fact that it’s not “rings and things” which make our marriage really work. It’s the companionship, the love, respect, laughs and tears.

Those are what matter.

Those things, the un-purchasable, are the things we cherish.

Which is not to say no money exchanged hands (from mine to others) yesterday.

You see, we walked out in the snow after dropping our daughter at school (it was actually very fun) and went to have brunch. Then we walked down town to the used bookstores and I, um, couldn’t resist.

They were having a 3 for 10 buck sale on all Sci-Fi, Fantasy which included a bunch of hardbacks in great shape. I must say, I was separated from my wife for a while as I looked over every volume.

In the end I added 13 books to my already vast collection. I got three Andre Norton novels, one Brian Lumley novel, and ten L. Ron Hubbard works of Sci-Fi . . .

I saw that!

No, I am not joining Cruise and Travolta, thank you very much.

The 10 Hubbard books are his Sci-Fi decology: Mission Earth. They look like a hoot, and unless there are hidden subliminal messages which will activate once I finish number 10, I should be safe from his nefarious influence.

We went back home, put on the fire and did some quality reading. Then, we picked up the fruit of our loins, er, daughter, in the crazy slow drive of plugged and dangerous snowy roads. I though it was actually fun. But, I am a bit weird.

I think it was fun because I didn’t have to commute to work and driving around town, with no real time deadlines, is fun. Um, trust me.

Then we had a great home made meal (I made), a nice bottle of wine (I did not make) and settled down to watch a Bob Hope film - The Big Broadcast of 1938.

Yes, the Oscar winning song, “thanks for the Memories” is in that one. What a fitting piece to watch on anniversary day.

What an absolutely great day!

And I spent it all with my wife . . . well, except for the part about getting lost in the Sci-Fi section for half an hour.

The coolest part.

We are doing it all again this Friday!

20 years + and still loving it.

Until tomorrow . . .

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

a natural twenty

Day 153 of 365 in the “Marathon of the Dope” . . .

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I don’t mean to trivialize twenty years of marriage in any way, but I couldn’t help tossing in a D&D reference right off the start in today’s post title.

Yes, today is my 20th wedding anniversary. Sounds unbelievable, even to me, and I’m living it.

It’s supposed to be China, or something, for the 20th. With the economy as it is, I’m actively trying to not buy Chinese products, so what do I get that special lady in my life?

Um, would you believe this blog post?

Would you even believe we have had only two fights in all the years we have been married? That is only one a decade.

That has got to be some kind of a record, no?

I am very happy I met my wife all those years ago and we hit it off so well. I would likely be some fat troll squatting in a basement apartment, living World of Warcraft like it was a real life otherwise.

Scary thought.

Instead, I have a beautiful wife and also a beautiful daughter. My life is not perfect, but I’m pretty darn happy about it and it is made all the better because of these two girls, whom I love dearly.

I don’t want to get all sappy and stuff, so I won’t. Consider yourself spared.

Today we are going out for Indian food, something which just does not exist close to our home. We need to travel about one hour to get to the restaurant, but it should be okay, barring bad weather.

And I think bad weather is on the way now that I look at the forecast.

Darn!

I guess getting married, and hence celebrating an anniversary in January, comes with these kinds of perils.

Well, off to brave the weather and spend a great day with the girl of my dreams.

Or maybe spend the day in snuggling on the couch.

Until tomorrow . . .

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

write sizing

Day 152 of 365 in the “Marathon of the Dope” . . .

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Well, I made a huge decision last night about my writing.

I’m not going to do it any more . . .

. . . kidding!

Actually, I’m going to finish the first draft of my Sci-Fi novel this year.

Sounds like small feed, but to me it’s HUGE.

HUGE I tell you.

But what does this mean for short stories and flash fiction?

Well, they will squeak in once in a while, but the main focus is going to be on completing my Sci-Fi novel in first draft form.

And, as usual, I have it all plotted out and even have the first four chapters written. If I wasn’t such a slug, it would likely be in completed and in first draft form already.

Well, this year it is going to be.

And I’m still wrestling with the edit dilemma.

I’m thinking 15 minutes each evening going over hard copy with a pencil and eraser. It’s how I edit best. Sounds odd perhaps, but for me it works better than the computer.

So, with those plans in place I should be a published household name within, oh, say seventy or so years . . .

Hey, a guy’s gotta dream don’t he?

Until tomorrow . . .

Monday, January 26, 2009

the long and short of it

Day 151 of 365 in the “Marathon of the Dope” . . .

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I’ve had good success so far with my writing this year. Two short stories completed already and no real end in sight with the creative juices seeming to run pretty well so far.

But, I’m running into a bit of a quandary. Actually a couple of quandaries rolled into one.

I only have 30 minutes a day to actually sit down, in the quiet with nobody around, and write. So far this year this time has been used to write new words, but as any writer knows, new words usually equate to crappy first draft words.

I am no exception, believe me.

And crappy first draft words do now impress editors of magazines or attract agents to solicit your larger works to the world.

That is part one of the quandary. Part two stems from the fact that I can write either short stories or complete the two other novels I’m somewhere in the middle of working on.

I get torn between writing shorts that can be read for our monthly reading nights, and diving off into the infinity of a novel which takes upwards of a year to complete.

And so my twin quandaries sit before me and grin that evil grin, mocking me and ready to laugh outright at any failure or lack of faith along the way.

Should I be cannibalizing days of writing time to edit? And when I’m writing new stuff should I concentrate on the ultimate cash cows (novels) or the easier to write and complete short stories?

Edit or write? Write or edit? Long or short? Short or long?

The brain starts to stall out and nearly comes to a halt. I hate when that starts to happen to me.

Part of me knows that the key to success is to continue writing new stuff all the time, like every day, because it keeps the mental gears well oiled and functioning. But this then will mean I need to carve out some other time of the day, or likely time during the night, to pull out what I’ve written and start to polish and edit.

And time is not something I have in large quantities.

I could sacrifice a lot of other activities, like reading, family time, gaming, exercise, sleeping, eating, show watching, or just plain relaxing to do the needed editing.

But I’ve tried this kind of thing before, and it works okay for a while, until I get so resentful of not being able to do the things I want to do in the already busy evenings that I just blow off the writing work for a long time before coming back to it again.

This is not really something for you, the humble (likely frustrated by now) reader to figure out. It’s just something I need to chew through.

I do want to get some of my stories in print again, and eventually get my novels published.

I need to find time to edit.

I just don’t know where to find it and stay sane.

Maybe, as time marches along, I’ll find a solution.

For now I’m going to reserve my quiet morning times for new words. Rule one for any writer is to write. This rule I can’t violate or I’ll be doomed.

I’ll cook up some other plan to figure out when I’ll take those raw drafty words and beat them into something somebody would pay money for.

And you thought my life was all just fun and games.

Until tomorrow . . .

Sunday, January 25, 2009

space invaders

Day 150 of 365 in the “Marathon of the Dope” . . .

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No, not the game, but those people that get in your face when all you want is your space.

As I’ve mentioned before I have a lair filled with books and my computer where I descend every day to write this blog and do my other writing as well.

Lately, during my quiet writing times, my space has been invaded.

Now, I love my daughter dearly, but I don’t like to be bothered when I’m writing. I don’t know if she fully understands, because I almost have to get hostile at her to leave when she comes hovering around and pestering me during this time set aside for that purpose.

And then I feel guilty for chasing her away like I’m a bad parent or something. But really, is one hour so much to ask to be left completely alone? I mean, there are 23 other ones left in the day.

I can tell you that I don’t like to get nasty when it comes to my daughter, but sometimes she just pushes it and pushes it and pushes it until I have little alternative.

And it is during those times that I raise my voice and puff out and look like I’m going to inflict pain - when in fact it is all bluster mixed with some actual frustration.

Right now she is here playing with her animals, and I’m having a heck of a time concentrating. Since it is Sunday, I’m going to be lenient and not drive her away.

Now you know why I get up long before 6:00 am to write when everybody is still in bed.

I slept in today, and this is the result . . .

When I say I like quiet when I’m writing this does not mean no music. I really like the music playing on my Media Player to write by (it helps immensely withe the flow of words), but the voice overs of plastic animals interacting is too much for me to take at the moment.

So, I’ll leave off now and go make some waffles.

Until tomorrow . . .

Saturday, January 24, 2009

far fewer folly-cles

Day 149 of 365 in the “Marathon of the Dope” . . .

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I’m a creature of habit if I am anything at all, and this really comes out when it comes to hair cuts.

I don’t really like them. They interfere with my precious time.

So, what do I do about them?

Well, I let my hair grow to the point of irritation, or course.

Some people get their hair cut once a month, or *gasp*, more often.

What the hell is the point in that?

If you are that concerned about your follicles changing then---

—why not just have all your hair surgically removed so it will never grow back, buy a wig you like and presto - your hair will never change again!

And, it would save you thousands of dollars over the long haul.

Heck, even I might save dozens of dollars.

But, back on topic. Oh wait, I was on topic, er, never mind then.

Today is haircut day for me because I can’t take it any more - plain and simple. I was playing tennis Thursday night and it was flopping into my eyes - a sign and one which I heeded.

Oh, and (to side-track a bit), I was back in form winning 14 games and losing 7 and advancing back to court one - for those keeping track of my turbulent tennis career.

So, with my irritating hair getting in my eyes *probably could have won 15, or 16 games* I knew it was time for the knife, er, scissors.

And so off I go this morning bright and early.

It has been just over four months.

Yeah, three times a year max.

If you are vain, this must drive you crazy.

Me, I don’t give a rat’s buttocks. I’m into comfort, not fashion shows.

And yes, what is left is sprinkled with gray too. Like I really care - not!

Until tomorrow, when my hair will be shorter though still as streaked with gray . . .

Friday, January 23, 2009

I passed . . . out

Day 148 of 365 in the “Marathon of the Dope” . . .

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What a strange sensation passing out is.

This morning I heard my alarm go off at quarter to six, as usual, and literally leapt out of bed.

My precious morning writing time must not be wasted, and every minute counts.

I stood beside the bed for a second and heard a slight buzzing noise, then a loud thumping and woke up (literally) lying on the floor.

Alien abduction?

Lack of iron?

Stroke?

Heart attack?

Traveling back in time from my 94 year old self to take over my 44 year old self?

Actually, I first thought hey, the damn bed fell apart!

And then I thought, hey, I fell out of bed . . . idiot.

But, once enough oxygen reached my sleepy brain, I realized that I had actually passed out.

Not good.

Another sign of old age, or just plain stupid for getting out of bed so fast my sluggish system wasn’t able to pump enough blood to the command center to keep it operational?

I opt for stupid.

And not to worry – I’m feeling fine now, just embarrassed with a slight bruise on my left elbow.

I am actually quite stalwart and tough, and to have this happen is kind of a shock.

At least I didn’t break anything, like a hip.

Well, here is to waking up gradually in the future. No more monkey jumping out of bed.

It is funny though, how you can wake up and suddenly have the whole day take an unexpected turn, or spill, in my case.

Until tomorrow, and a gradual awakening . . .

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Prez L’Obamba

Day 147 of 365 in the “Marathon of the Dope” . . .

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Don’t really want to call him a white knight, because, well, he is not white.

And let’s face it – the economy is frelled, and no amount of wishing or cash injections or L’Obamba’s big boyish smile is going to fix it right away.

L’Obamba talks well, has popular appeal, but is not a magician.

In six months time the US will realize this and mass panic will probably ensue again.

The world economy will right itself eventually, and it won’t be a pretty process.

But I have great hope for the future. Maybe it’s just a state of mind, but I think after all this crap is behind us we will live a little smarter than we have been the past decade.

There will be less greed, less hoarding and more intelligent decisions made. I have to believe that for my offspring.

And, despite the media and the masses of stupid selfish people on this globe, I think I do.

There will surely be a tomorrow.

And it will be better, because the alternative just blows.

Until tomorrow . . .

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

wresting time

Day 146 of 365 in the “Marathon of the Dope” . . .

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I always seem to have so much I want to do, and so much that gets in the way of me doing it.

There are computer games that must be finished – because they are classics.

There are novels to be read – I have a backlog of around 850, even after selling off 300 + of them last year.

There are novels and short stories to write – I’m doing pretty well this year so far.

Then there are home obligations which include cleaning, cooking, shoveling, kid minding, spouse minding and general maintenance.

It’s a wonder I get anything done at all.

The only thing that seems to work is just plowing on ahead with whatever it is I’m doing at the moment. Sort of Zen-like with a splash of bustling manic insanity thrown in.

I do kind of like the busyness of it all though. And you have probably heard that the busier a person is, the more they can actually get done.

This is my life.

And, as you can see from this blog alone, when I put my Twisted Mind to something – it generally bows before me and asks for forgiveness – which I don’t often grant because then the subdued just come sniveling back for more . . .

My only point this morning is one of time management – or the lack thereof. It takes brutal discipline to set certain times of the day for certain activities.

And it also takes a certain mentality to not get upset if you blow the timetable because of other factors. All kinds of crap sneaks in when you least expect it and messes with your nice neat life.

Rolling with the punches is the only way – or take them straight in the face. I would not suggest that one though.

Well, my writing time for this blog has expired, so I will get on to other activities.

And I should say thanks for stopping by and paying me visits every day.

Don’t feel like you can’t leave a comment. I don’t abuse everybody that does – just a select few, and they know who they are.

Until tomorrow . . .

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

so tired

Day 145 of 365 in the “Marathon of the Dope” . . .

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Besides shoveling the driveway 4 times in 2 days and having the weekend absorbed by three 9 year olds.

I am beat.

So, I am going to sleep early today after I finish a book.

This getting old thing has got to stop.

Until Tomorrow . . .

Monday, January 19, 2009

broke back

Day 144 of 365 in the “Marathon of the Dope” . . .

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I am gay.

As in happy - not the other slangy meaning of the word. I have some new plans.

I am also in a bit of pain. Three times shoveling the driveway yesterday and, though my mind doesn’t want to believe it, I am not getting any younger.

I know now why so many writers live in apartments or places that don’t get snow. It’s hard to concentrate on writing when your back is murdering you.

Man dies from rare back attack.

Actually, it’s not quite fatal. I can still walk, a few paces.

This week should see me finish short story number two for the year so far. I am altering my plans a bit though. Once that short story is finished I’m going to do a complete rewrite of my novel.

I kind of want to have it ready for submission by the end of this year. That does not mean short stories won’t squeak in there now and again, but most of my morning writing time will be taken up in spit and polish - I am hoping more polish than spit.

Toward that end I have actually cleaned up my writing room. A table, which was once a staging area of detritus, is now clean of debris.

It helps my mental state to be writing in a fairly well organized, though stuffed with cool things (books, DVDs, computers, pictures, miniatures . . .), space. I recall a picture long ago of Ray Bradbury’s writing space. Mine is not quite as flamboyant, but similar.

Well speaking of writing, I should get at it. I am really trying to keep at 30 minutes a day every weekday.

So far, so good.

Until tomorrow . . .

Sunday, January 18, 2009

sleep over over

Day 143 of 365 in the “Marathon of the Dope” . . .

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Yes, I am awake. And yes, I did survive, though there is still a few more hours of morning giggling to get through.

But, the three girls, my daughter included, were on their best behaviour. It is a strange phenomena though that when you get young girls together there must ensue immediate and constant giggling.

It’s quite something to witness, but after twelve hours or so, it starts to get a little less cute. I am glad they had such fun and pizza creation for them was a lot of fun. I am going to have to spend some time today scouring the kitchen floor today - par for the course.

I remember going on sleep overs myself as a small boy, but I don’t recall the giggling. Do small boys giggle for hours when they get together? I thought they did more car engine sounds or feral growls and such.

Well, I also see that last night we got another few inches of snow, which I need to get cleared so my wife can get to where she has to go this morning. That plus, blueberry waffles (yes I am spoiling the gigglers) has me cutting this blog off very short again.

Back to writing the end of my second short story of the year this week, then I may put an effort in to finish editing my novel. I mean, it’s all written, so what am I stalling for?

Until Tomorrow . . .

Saturday, January 17, 2009

bubble bursts

Day 142 of 365 in the “Marathon of the Dope” . . .

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I played the second worst tennis in my life - ever - last night in the bubble. Er, two nights ago. This pre-posting is playing tricks on my mind.

Anyhow, I have been recovering from a cold virus that likes to manufacture thick, sticky . . . er, I’ll spare you the details, save one.

I was weak as a newborn antelope on the court, and my scores reflected that.

Can you believe 7 games won and 14 lost? It was court one of B league, but I was playing about ½ as well as I should have been had I been well. Did I use the word been enough in that last sentence?

*bangs plugged up head on desk*

Oh, well, it was exercise and I hit a couple (like 2) goods shots during the match, so all was not a complete loss.

Did I mention my daughter is having a sleep over with two of her friends at our house tonight. OMG! - it is going to be noisy here this weekend.

The price of procreation = no peace.

Still, I wouldn’t change it for the world. It’s good to see your offspring having friends and fun like I did when I was a kid . . . Well, . . . I had fun . . . Um, . . . some fun.

They are going to be making pizza. Should be a blast for them, and a huge cleanup job for us parents.

Well, I’m still recovering from this darn ailment so I’m cutting this short to get some much needed down time.

Saturday is here . . . finally.

Until Tomorrow . . .

Friday, January 16, 2009

the tennis bubble

Day 141 of 365 in the “Marathon of the Dope” . . .

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I haven’t blogged about my tennis escapades in quite some time - so, here it is then - you know you’ve been dying to hear more about them . . .

I’ve switched to Thursday night, but not because it is B league, but because it’s earlier in the night and I’m writing every morning and don’t want to get tired out and sick.

Sounds convincing . . .

Okay maybe I was getting tired of the higher level of tennis I had to drag my aging bones up to every week, but the earlier time is a huge bonus. I can even get home early enough to read for an hour before bed which will help me achieve my reading goals for 2009.

Oh, my life is just one glistening pile of excitement after another, isn’t it?

I played last Saturday for tennis aerobics and did pretty well despite a long break during Christmas time. I have put on a few pounds though, so time to burn them off again.

And, as I mentioned before, I have one racket strung at 58 lbs instead of 60 lbs and like it a whole lot. I need to break the strings on the other racket at 60 lbs, but that will likely take a year or so. I’m not too hard on strings and they aren’t cheap - hence the using them til they break even though I’m not fond of the tension.

Well, as I have to head out in a few minutes, I better get ready. I will be sure to let you know how things went on Saturday’s blog.

Until tomorrow . . .

Thursday, January 15, 2009

couldn’t wipe my arse

Day 140 of 365 in the “Marathon of the Dope” . . .

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Both cars, both sets and one big suck.

Would somebody please develop a damn windshield wiper that actually works in cold weather without you having to beat the crap out of it twenty times first.

I mean, how hard can it be?

We have the technology to put rovers on Mars for Cripe’s sake and make fat free fat - so why no wipers that clean a cold window properly?

If there is one thing I would pay extra for on the next car I buy it would be all season functional windshield wipers. I would even pay 100 bucks extra. Over the term of the vehicle this would amount to about 5 cents a month.

You hear that Auto Manufacturers!

Get your wipers to work.

Okay, enough ranting.

Time to get writing.

Until tomorrow . . .

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

doubly cold

Day 139 of 365 in the “Marathon of the Dope” . . .

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Twin colds have descended upon me - One I hate, the other I love.

You can guess which.

The blowing nose, sinus congestion, achy body one is, you guessed it, the one I hate.

The real Canadian winter temperatures we are getting for the next few days (finally - how may years have I waited in this southern near-tropical part of Ontario?) is the one I love.

Call me weird, my daughter does, but I love it when the air is so cold it almost crackles and the snow crunches and squeaks under my boot and car tire treads.

Love it!

I grew up in this type of cold in the F scale, not the wimpy C scale of the soft converted society of today here in the South.

I remember going outside in my snowmobile suit as a child and playing in -20 to -30 degrees F.

Yes F and in Frosty.

Love it.

Northern Ontario = very cold winters, but clean crisp, freeze the hair on your lip cold. Oh and wearing ski masks was not a sign of a robber, but a sign that the air was cold enough to threaten actual frost bite and you did need to wear one or risk it.

I remember my mask freezing up with ice from my breath vapour.

Love it.

I know a lot will be moaning and bitching about the cold. Go ahead, you can if you want, or you can be like me and . . . yeah, love it.

I remember the furnace almost never turning off in the dead of winter up north as I sat on the vent reading my Dr. Seuess books. Wonderful memories which this cold snap is dredging up in me.

Downhill skiing was fun too, and the best temperature for the slopes was - 10 degrees F. Yup, best temperature. Any colder and you had to limit the number of runs. Get too close to + 10 F and the snow would feel different and you would start to heat up too much inside your clothes.

The good old days are hear again for me, at least until Sunday.

Then, back to banana belt, damp, moderate temperatures. Blah.

Until Tomorrow . . .

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Neil Patrick Horrible

Day 138 of 365 in the “Marathon of the Dope” . . .

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Well, I finally got to view Dr. Horrible’s Sing along Blog last night.

And I must say, I have the utmost admiration for Neil Patrick Harris’s acting talents - this guy can really cook. Impressed.

And the Hamster (Nathan Filion) was what you would expect. I just kept seeing William F. Shatner when I was watching his performance though, especially during maximum cheese. Maybe it was just me.

Felicia Day was the weakest of the three, but still pretty darn acceptable. I did notice though the distinct lack of a suntan. So, she really does stay indoors playing games most of the time - I thought that was just a geek cover. Guess I was wrong.

And Joss, you evil mastermind, spiking her at the end. Just nasty.

Oops, that was a spoiler.

I must apologize to you, the one person who just woke from a comma, and found this blog before Dr. Horrible’s website. I’ll try not to let it happen again.

Haven’t listened to the commentaries though. They are supposed to be equally as good as the production itself. I look forward to the time (it seems in short supply these days) when I can sit down and fully appreciate them.

Well, much to get done, as usual and looking after the offspring this evening, er, morning. Oh, hell, you know when I write these things now, so I should stop trying to pretend. Nobody is fooled.

Until tomorrow . . .

Monday, January 12, 2009

never drink and blog

Day 137 of 365 in the “Marathon of the Dope” . . .

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Pretty good advice I think. Because blogging and drinking don’t really mix - well.

So, here I am drinking left over red wine from our reading night. No, not a whole bottle, but a pretty decent sized glass (16 oz?) and on an empty stomach.

At the time of writing this I still haven’t had the chance to view Dr. Horrible, but maybe tonight after the little one hits the sack I will get the chance.

I did manage to clean out most of the mess in my lair and get the old Windows 98se computer set up though and it’s working like an old charm. Now I don’t have to fight Windows XP to play some of my favourite older games.

Of course, it is nothing as grand as the new toy (which rawks Fallout 3), but it still works and can entertain my daughter as well when she is at loose ends - like every day.

And despite plans of playing Arkham Horror Sunday, that didn’t happen either. Grocery shopping trumped Cthulhu. Wouldn’t he snuffle in his slumber to know that lettuce took precedence over paying attention to his eminence.

And I’m back at the writing again Monday, which is this morning though this was written last night. So, right now when you thought I was drinking before work at 5:30 in the morning (wouldn’t that be a sorry sight) I’m actually working on my second short story for 2009.

I’ve been introduced (no, not by the alcohol) to Morley Fenn, Private Eye. He just showed up in short story number one and is now pushing his way into short story number two.

Funny how characters can actually take over your writing before you know it.

Well, the wine is getting a bit much for my fingers and the spelling errors are getting out of control.

So, I’ll bow out for now. I hope to have some things to say about Dr. Horrible tomorrow, if I get a chance to watch it that is.

Until tomorrow . . .

Sunday, January 11, 2009

the days are just packed

Day 136 of 365 in the “Marathon of the Dope” . . .

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but not only for Calvin and Hobbes, but me as well.

I got two great surprises yesterday.

The first was getting a 17 inch monitor for my old Windows 98SE Machine - now all those great old games I love I can play again, and again.

The second, and even more exciting, is my very own copy of Dr. Horrible on DVD.

Both of these surprises came from my friends and I can’t thank either of them enough for the kindness. Just wow, you guys (and gals) are the absolute best.

Thanks again, and again.

So, today I have an old machine to set up and Dr. Horrible to enjoy. Tomorrow’s post will likely ramble on about how great Dr. Horrible is and how you should rush out at get your copy as well.

On the other front - I played two solo games of Arkham Horror with all the small expansions (no herald though, I mean holy geepers already) and got my butt handed to me on a tentacle both times.

The first saw Nyralathotep ripping me to shreds in the end game - the second game I was doing really well with Amanda Sharpe, until I visited Yuggoth and ran into Shub him/her/itself. I mean, give me a break. So, after a feeble attempt to take down Shub on his own turf - Amanda was consumed and I conceded the game even though Azathoth was a long way from waking up.

Well, I have much exciting work to do so I best get at it.

More reports and excitement will follow tomorrow for sure, so stay tuned.

Until tomorrow . . .

Saturday, January 10, 2009

rumours

Day 135 of 365 in the “Marathon of the Dope” . . .

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We all liked that album.

We all like to hear about them - admit it to yourself.

But in Arkham Horror - they are just plain nasty!

I’ve been toasted two games now because of a Rumour. Once playing with my offspring, and once playing with myself . . .

. . . playing the “game” with myself.

Anyhow - if you think Rumours are bad in Arkham Horror, try playing the game with Heralds. That is the quickest way to madness and losing the game almost no matter what you try to do.

It seems the only way I can beat the game is killing the Old One at the end. Most reviews I read talk about elder signing off 6 gates for the win. How in H can you manage to that? Cheat? It’s the only way I can see to get it done. Besides have next to no elder signs in the pile of unique items and a lack of clue tokens (5 to seal a gate ro more depending on what Old One is in play) plus gate bursters - this game is next to impossible to win, but incredibly fun trying to do so.

And I’ll stop talking Geek and get into something that the common man (at least in our hemisphere) can relate to. Should I have said person? Do you feel offended? Really?

Anyway.

I thought the furnace was not turned down last night as it kept coming on after is shut off for only what seemed like one minute. Seems that it is -20 C here this morning - so now I know why.

As well another indicator of arid internal conditions; I went to bed a grape, and woke up a raisin. Dry, dry, dry as a desert in here this morning.

We do have a humidifier cranking water vapour into our central room, but do not have one hooked up to the furnace. Usually we don’t need one at all with it being a bloody swamp (IMO) around this next of the world.

And I don’t’ usually suffer the effects of dry air, unless it is extreme and prolonged.

Did I mention I’m making cookies today?

Oatmeal - no chocolate chips.

I may be odd by not liking the combination (I just find it wrong, very wrong) and so I perfected an oatmeal chocolate chip recipe, minus the chips.

They come out of the oven and remain chewy goodness through and through. Those attending reading night tonight at our house will get to eat them - all others not attending, well you can imagine a mouth watering, chewy, delicious cookie and feel burning hatred and envy - remember, it’s your choice.

Before I spiral off and get all Dali Lama on you, I should mention that I’ve been over achieving on my goals so far this year. Call this a mini-year in review. If I continue on my current track I will double or triple what I laid out to acheive.

That being said, I’m not going to adjust my goals because I know, come later in the year, all this cranking now will help with the slack and/or sick periods to come. Still it feels better to be ahead than already behind.

I will likely do a monthly review (say first of the month) so you can watch my degrada . . ., er, progress, as 2009 goes by.

Until tomorrow . . .

Friday, January 09, 2009

shorty

Day 134 of 365 in the “Marathon of the Dope” . . .

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Yup, I’m going to make this blog a pretty short one.

You see, I just got in two small expansion packs for Arkham Horror - 'The King in Yellow', and 'The Black Goat of the Woods' which adds to the one small expansion 'Curse of the Dark Pharaoh' I already own.

So now, as well as the basic game, I actually have all three small expansions.

For my B-Day I’m thinking of getting the two big ones (Dunwich and Kingsport) and then I will need to find a huge table to play it on. As it is now, the small expansions only add variation and many more cards but no increase in basic board size which is good if game table space is limited.

So, besides mixing in all the cards tonight and possibly playing a solo game to check it out, I am wiped out physically and mentally.

I became accustomed to having time off and sleeping in that, now that I’m back to work, I seem to need more downtime when I’m not cube squatting. Maybe the commute too is draining the cells too.

Well, whatever it is I’m going to go now and see what cool cards came with the newest expansion packs.

If you haven’t heard of Arkham Horror: the board game, and you are a Cthulhu fan then, well . . . wait - you can’t be a Cthulhu fan if you’ve never heard of this game . . .

I think I just lost 3 sanity trying to write and understand that last paragraph.

If you will excuse me, I think I’ll go pay a visit to the Sanitarium now.

Until tomorrow . . .

Thursday, January 08, 2009

all the flakes down in snowville

Day 133 of 365 in the “Marathon of the Dope” . . .

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No, I’m not going to digress into a Dr. Seuess poem alteration again - so you can breathe a collective sign of relief.

I’m just making mention of the fact that my drive to the office and back today was the major suckage. Way to many speeding idiots on the highways for my liking. And as much as it would be good for me, and I would like to, I am not going back out there and attempt the drive to bubble tennis tonight. Alas.

Anyhow, I really shouldn’t complain about my commute or the slave pits, since it ultimately pays the bills.

And things are going to change soon anyhow - more restructuring and such coming down the corporate pipes. Who knows, maybe this writing gig will turn into my full time work.

That, my friends, is a damn scary idea - but it also fills me with hope and excitement - far more than the alternative - another 15 years of cube squatting.

Ugh.

But hey, you didn’t come here to listen to me bitch, so instead I’ll tell you that I watched a couple more episodes of “Dead Like Me” last night.

Wow, they are certainly not adverse to or shy of using the F word, are they? Was this show broadcast in Prime Time? My little one will not be watching this until late teens - like I have any say in the matter.

Oops, bitching again. Must swallow the happy pill that is hiding under my tongue.

Gulp!

There, it’s down.

You believe me - don’t you?

I wouldn’t either.

Oh, and I should finish that Robert Bloch novel tonight as well. He is just such a damn fine writer and, as my wife mentioned, “he should be more popular than he is” end quote. I couldn’t agree more. Why are almost none of his books currently in print?

Oh, and the novel is “Terror” and I actually have the first edition paperback from 1962 - worth, oh, probably three, maybe even four bucks . . . Canadian.

And as I type away at this, my lovely wife is busy making pizza for child and I. Isn’t that just the perfect end to an otherwise fairly sucky work day?

I am so lucky. (A rare occurrence of me NOT using sarcasm - must be the happy pill working.)

Well, I can see by the clock on the wall that my time has expired - so, take care if you are out driving in any crappy weather, and work on your US consumer confidence won’t you - L’Obamba is counting on you!

Until tomorrow . . .

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

one down, others standing up

Day 132 of 365 in the “Marathon of the Dope” . . .

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Finished a short story today - one of many this year I’m sure.

My writing goals for 2009 will ensure that I crank out a fair bit of fiction in the next 12 months - maybe not as fast as a NaNoWriMo, but slow and steady fills the pages in the long haul.

Maybe if I get the short story I just finished today fixed up enough to delight without invoking a gag reflex in you, the humble reader, I’ll stick it up here for viewing. It’s actually been a while.

I will give you a fair day’s notice though so you can shy away - my stories can be horrible, traumatic things to behold. You have been warned.

Check out “Kaylie’s Smile” in the sidebar if you don’t believe me. I dare you!

Okay, enough flute tooting about my fabulous works and prodigious output for this year.

I don’t know what to think about this nighttime blogging.

I really do need to learn new habits though, and get out of the ruts I’ve dug for myself. And writing at night, never my strong point, is when I’m doing this blog - I hope the suckage meter doesn’t point over in the red.

Still, doing things a little differently is a good thing - I hope.

So, I watched the premier of “Dead Like Me” last night after reading. First impressions - lots of profanity and some sex and heavy sarcasm.

Verdict - I liked it!

It has an odd sort of flavour, kind of like a chocolate-strawberry twist ice cream. You are never sure whether to be grossed out or feel sorry for certain characters. Entertaining and worth watching more of for sure.

And, last night while reading Robert Bloch’s “Terror” from 1962, I realized what a damn fine author this man was. If I can be half as entertaining as he was in my own stories and novels, I will feel my life has finally become more than the sum of its parts - and just skip that because it sounds neat but signifies, well not much - maybe fury?

Anyhow, I am so impressed with Bloch’s body of work, even more so than the early Niven and maybe even Zelazny - and that is saying a hell of a lot, believe me. Maybe he just appeals to my twisted sense of humour, but had such a way with words and phrases and scenes that just scream out to be read and these sudden delights tickle my fancy with just about every page.

If you get the chance to find his works (hard now, which is a damn crying shame IMO) snap them up. You will not be sorry.

Well, I have many other things to do this eve, and time is marching on.

Until tomorrow . . .

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

flux and toil

Day 131 of 365 in the “Marathon of the Dope” . . .

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Well, this blog post may appear to have been written in the wee hours of this morn since it only just materialized - but in fact, it was written the night before - which is not a cheat for this Marathon.

Recall, I was to write 365 blogs in 365 days - not one blog every day.

There is a difference, though you won’t actually see it here unless I screw it up.

It’s a big change for me, this change of timing, where I will now get to reflect on the day’s events - like being back to work . . .

. . . Okay, forget the reflections - that mirror is considered off limits unless I suddenly turn into the fairest of them all. Probability = .0000001352% and falling.

Oh, and why the change, you ask?

Well, you see, I’m writing every morning now for the whole of 2009, barring severe illness. Yup, believe it or not gentle reader - you can start breathing again.

Imagine -

Me.

Writing.

Every.

Day.

This.

Year.

One word at a time.

I’m actually shooting for 1000 words a day (which I will likely not achieve) however, today I came close. Even if I only get out 500 words a day all year that will be a whopping huge ~160,000 words written - more than most novels and about a quarter of my total output from the past 25 years.

It’s a huge jump and commitment for me, but the bullet is in my mouth now and I’m masticating it heartily, risking dental work.

With this herculean endeavour scheduled, the short stories and flash fiction should be accumulating at an alarming rate - some of it may even be good and a wise editor may pay money for my efforts.

Sounds like a real plan, doesn’t it?

I can now, with head held high, pronounce myself a writer as well as published author.

And I’m positive that some of my works will show up here from time to time, though my focus will be on getting my writing to pay some bills. My kid is quickly approaching University age - and well, #1 Bestseller sounds like a ticket to pay those hefty post-infantile school bills.

I’m going to try and remain sane (well, except while playing Arkham sometimes) during this period of flux - wish me good stamina and sanity rolls throughout.

Until tomorrow, or last night’s post which looks like tomorrows . . .

Monday, January 05, 2009

last year in review

Day 130 of 365 in the “Marathon of the Dope” . . .

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Since I’ve laid out my writing plans for 2009, I thought I would take a look at my progress vs those plans from 2008. I didn’t actually track too many specifics, but have a pretty good memory - so I’ll give it a go.

1) I am to write every day in 2009.

In 2008 I probably wrote 40% of the days. Not great, not horrible - and certainly not good if you want to call yourself a writer.

2) I am to write 12 short stories in 2009.

In 2008 I wrote probably 14 or more just based on Saturday Scribes alone. So, 110% score on this account.

3) I am to send out 12 stories for publication in 2009.

In 2008 I, um, er, well let’s just say what I did write was only viewed on the intertubes and not on a paying editors desk. So, 0% score in this department = abysmal.

4) I am to read 10,000 pages worth of novels in 2009.

In 2008 I read a total of 26 novels, which equated to 8,415 pages. So, 84% score here. Okay, but the bar is raised for 2009.

And just so you know how retentive I am - I have reading book lists that date back to 1988. Yes, really I do.

I have averaged, in the last 21 years, 43 novels read a year, and somewhere around 14,000 pages a year. So, as you can see, 2008 was not stellar in the area of reading.

Well, there you have it.

As a final score, based on this year’s goals then, I would say 2008 came in around 60% or maybe lower.

Pretty poor.

I can, and will, do better in 2009.

Count on it.

I may even give a monthly update to see if I’m on track or wandering the woods with Shub looking for a dark young to milk . . .

Until tomorrow . . .

Sunday, January 04, 2009

last day blues

Day 129 of 365 in the “Marathon of the Dope” . . .

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Oh man, I’ve had a nice long vacation period this year. I really needed it after all the turmoil at the slave pits.

But I only have one day left to enjoy.

Reminds me of the “if you only had one day to live, what would you do?” scenario.

Me, I’d play Arkham Horror with friends, eat a feed of perogies and spend the rest of the day with my family in a giant hug-fest.

Anyhow, today will be spend blogging, grocery shopping, taking down the tree and reading my book plus family time. There may even be some laundry in there to add variety.

Can my last day of vacation get any more exciting?

Well, if I throw in some “Terror from the Deep” as well as a game of Arkham Horror, then yes, it can.

I’ve been trying hard to figure out how I’m going to squeeze in a blog every day and get an hour of writing done every morning all the year long starting tomorrow.

My solution is to get up at 5:00 AM and do my writing then. Sounds too darn early, but commute time is best for me if I leave at 7:00 AM. No school buses to deal with and traffic is lighter.

So, it looks like I will be a walking zombie for most of 2009, but my writing output should be prodigious.

And, as a writer, that is the way it should be. Writing = priority 2.

You know what priority 1 is, and no it is not computer games, that is number 3.

Well, I’ve got to go post some witty 1 or 2 liners over at Twitter.

*looks in the mirror from another’s body* - “It’s what I do.”

And if you get that cryptic TV show reference you are truly a worthy geek.

Until tomorrow . . .

Saturday, January 03, 2009

things, horrible things

Day 128 of 365 in the “Marathon of the Dope” . . .

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Well we are proceeding nicely into the new year and I have my writing, reading and arithmetic goals all set out for this year.

Of course, the writing one doesn’t take effect until Jan 5th when I go back to work and routine - until then it’s game time.

So, got back yesterday from Ottawa (the capital of Canada if you must know) from visiting relatives (the sane ones - yes there are a couple, like 2 - this goes for both sides of the family) and I happened to go out to a great board game store nearby.

Which had me buying “Arkham Horror” and one of the 5 expansion packs “Curse of the Dark Pharaoh”.

I just love these huge Fantasy Flight board games and it was only incredible restraint that I managed not to blow our entire 2009 budge to hell by purchasing everything they had for the Arkham game.

So, yesterday my daughter and I (my wife was sick) thought we would play a game. And, though she is only 9, we had a blast and she had little difficulty understanding the game's complexities. Yig was the elder god we had to fight and I sucked in the pre-game by being delayed not once, not twice but three damn times.

Once my character, Harvey, got his eldritch butt in gear, it was far too late. Ashcan and Harvey had to do battle with Yig - and it started out as a pretty sight, until round three when it turned ugly as a run over pug's behind.

Though Harvey was never in danger of losing his mind, his frail constitution was his downfall as Yig caught, then consumed the old codger, even as Harvey was casting “wither” for a final time.

Ashcan had collected a .45 and a .38 and was attempting to Lara Croft Yig’s scaly ass, but to little effect, and in the end lost all his marbles.

Yig, triumphant, had overrun Arkham and quickly go down to the business of setting up his little empire on the ashes and bodies of all those stupid enough to oppose him.

We whittled him down some, but got squashed in the end game.

Still, very, very fun game.

And he is the wimpiest of the elder gods - heaven help us if our next game pits us against Cthulhu himself. Yikes!

Well, gotta go set the board up for another round - oh, then maybe eat breakfast and stuff. But hey, when Arkham is in trouble those pesky real life day to day activities can just wait.

Until tomorrow . . .

Friday, January 02, 2009

little red bicycle bash

Day 127 of 365 in the “Marathon of the Dope” . . .

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I was a mischievous youth - okay, juvenile delinquent.

I know you don’t find that too surprising. What you don’t know is I was a bike thief and destruction maniac - well this one time, anyhow, but not at band camp.

My friend (he was the bad influence, honestly) and I were walking on “the rocks” when we came across a red bicycle, just sitting there. And by “the rocks” I mean a large part of the Canadian Shield in the town where I grew up - very rocky and elevated and a great place for kids to go adventuring within the safety of town.

So, we come across this bike and what do we do? We decide that it would be fun to watch it fly down “the rocks” over some of the most treacherous and steep portions.

That is precisely what we did, many, many times over.

After a while we tired of this fun activity (the bike was a mangled mess by this point) and we settled down for a nice snack of Tang. If you recall, Tang was like Cool Aid, but included sugar in the packet as well as the artificial colour and flavour. Breakfast of young champions.

Happily shoveling Tang into our mouths we didn’t notice the police officer come up behind us.

Startled, we wondered what he could possibly want - it was a nice try on our part, but he had seen us performing out little riderless bicycle stunts.

Um, we stammered, the bike was abandoned. We didn’t steal it, honest.

He didn’t believe us - two of the towns finest youths.

I don’t recall going to jail or doing any community service, so we must have gotten off pretty lightly - it still gave us a good scare though.

Ah youth, wasted on the immature.

Oh, and you were wondering about my age at the time - lets say single digits and leave it at that.

Until tomorrow . . .

Thursday, January 01, 2009

so it begins anew

Day 126 of 365 in the “Marathon of the Dope” . . .

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Wow, another year over and another day closer to death.

It’s a reference to Pink Floyd, not my inner thoughts which are quite cheery despite the state of the global economy - which I shall not mention again today in this blog.

In these, the final days of my vacation before I get back to the slave pits for rock cracking, I’m going to transfer all my digital music to this, my new machine.

I tried burning a few DVDs for easy transfer but they got corrupted (frakkin frell) so I’m left with the option of thumb driving the transfer. Not as efficient, but doable.

I will need all my music to keep me going through the long hard year of massive writing production I have set out for myself.

Starting the 5th I am going to actually make a go of it as you are my witness. Things on the job front are going to get so ugly I will need to have another source of income - and soon.

Let’s just hope some publishers survive so writers can actually sell what they write. Think of the cats!

I’m actually getting pumped up to start writing like a fiend starting Monday.

Wish me luck, or maybe better than luck - stamina.

Is there a Viagra for writing?

Until tomorrow . . .