- Find a regular time to write. Form a habit. Let other people in your house know that it's writing time and stick to it.
- Let loose. The more you ignore your inner editor the easier it'll be to get the word count in place. Find yourself off on a tangent? Explore it! It might lead to gold that you otherwise never would have come across.
- Start with the idea in mind that no one else will read what you're writing. You can always change your mind later but this is the best way to start. It'll give you more freedom from external judgment.
- I write at night. Throughout the day I think about the scene(s) that I plan on writing. The drive home from work is especially good for this.
- Your daily goal is not 50,000 words. It starts out at 1667 and a regular writing plan should keep it right around there. Just get that in and you'll be fine.
- Enjoy what you're doing. You're actually creating a brand new story that no one else has ever written. Revel in your creativity!
Friday, October 31, 2008
(BTW, a big thanks to her for the Advertising Slogan generator on the side. It's endless fun for us, hopefully someone else is enjoying it too.)
Thursday, October 30, 2008
When this World Series finally ends, there will be a great deal of discussion about how to avoid this sort of misery. The first will be to figure a way to shorten the schedule. Say the schedule was reduced from 162 to 148 games (records or no records; the Steroids Era made too many baseball records meaningless), then the division series and League Championship Series could be played between Sept. 20 and Oct. 6, with the World Series theoretically completed by mid-October. Granted, the loss of the seven home dates would hit teams' revenue streams, but they'll just have to adjust player salaries; CC Sabathia and Manny Ramirez might have to make ends meet on measly $20M salaries.Ross suggests that they aim to shorten to 154 games to give themselves at least an extra week. I think this misses an easier fix. Well, two of them really. First of all they could change opening day. Right now they start on the first Monday of April (usually) with a single game on the Sunday before. It would be easy enough to add three days right there. Put ESPN's opening game on Thursday night. Then start the regular games on Friday and add some weekend games.
The second fix is to add some doubleheaders into the schedule. Maximize those weekend days in the summer! And don't forget the holidays. A 4th of July doubleheader? That's money, baby! There are legitimate questions of how many of these would cause too much pressure to on the players (especially the pitchers) but certainly there is some room here.
The last two weeks of the year have roughly twelve games played in them. We get three from the opener and another three from holidays (Memorial Day, July 4th and Labor Day). That leaves six doubleheaders or two apiece during June, July and August. Voila, the playoffs start earlier and we finish the Series in mid October.
I thought these five were great:
- Huckleberry Finn - Twain
- The Long Goodbye - Chandler
- Moby Dick - Melville
- To Kill a Mockingbird - Lee
- Pale Fire - Nabokov
- Great Gatsby - Fitzgerald
- Catch 22 - Heller
- My Antonia - Cather
- Invisible Man - Ellison
- Fahrenheit 451 - Bradbury
- The Sot Weed Factor - Barth
- The Great American Novel - Roth
- Uncle Tom's Cabin - Stowe
- Age of Innocence - Wharton
- Farewell to Arms - Hemingway
- All the King's Men - Warren
- Rabbit, Run - Updike
And then the ones I didn't finish:
- The Scarlet Letter - Hawthorne
- Portrait of a Lady - James
- The Sound and the Fury - Faukner
- Adventures of Augie March - Bellow
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
The Rays hit the first big milestone when they made the playoffs. The next milestone had to do with playing well, which they did by beating my White Sox. Then they had to prove that they could play with one of the decades top teams, the Red Sox.
And what a series that was! They should have won it in five but they gave up an 8 run lead. Then they lost two close ones before winning a good game seven. Every year I look forward to October magic. That was it.
Well...almost. Tonight marked the first Philadelphia championship in 25 years. The joy of the players as they created their post game mosh pit was something to see. I'm sure their parade will be outstanding too. Good for them!
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
I'll blame the blogging apathy on just sheer tiredness. Between nursemaiding the sickos and fending off sub-freezing weather, I'm wiped out. Sorry about that. I'll try to be entertaining again tomorrow.
Monday, October 27, 2008
Sunday, October 26, 2008
I'm the least sick person in the house right now. (Unless you count the kitties who seem to be in fine shape. In fact they might have caught a mouse this week. No corpses have been found but their actions were all Mouse Hunter on Thursday and today not so much.)
Depending on your view of kitty-personhood, I'm the least sick person in the house right now. (Not counting my sense of humor, which can be pretty sick. It doesn't show on the blog because...well, my Mom reads this. Not to mention my in-laws. And aunts and such. Yes sir, a family blog is what this is. Except for the occasional vavoom! picture of Selma Hayek. Hey, everyone can dream right.) (Actually, let's pretend that last paragraph didn't happen.)
The FP Gal and Relia are both feeling a bit under the weather and I feel mostly fine.
Saturday, October 25, 2008
The book is interesting in that it doesn't sympathize with Humbert. He explains what he feels but he doesn't ask the reader to follow along with him. He is interesting, almost poetic in a way. He's also creepy and one of the most manipulative characters that I've ever read. You can't trust his narration, must always be reading between the lines.
It's a great book and well worth the read. The theme is obviously adult though not graphically so. Nabakov is a very interesting author. I enjoyed this a bit more than 'Pale Fire' but both of them were great.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
So I sent the FP Gal to bed and brought Relia down with me. I decided that I'd lay on the couch with her and watch a movie. If she didn't want to stay then she could run around and play downstairs. Eventually she'd have to get tired, right?
So we watched 'No Country for Old Men' together. (She thought it was ok but wished that the characters were more cartoony. I wanted to discuss the ending with her but she fell asleep.) Yes, she finally fell asleep around 1230a or so.
Here's hoping that last night was the bad night and she'll be better tonight.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Of course she can only get close enough if the cats are down on the ground or at least somewhere low. This has resulted in some body flops and running cats but no real hugging has gone on yet. Or scratching and biting, thank Heaven.
This weekend she finally cornered one of them. Ozzie found a paper bag laying on it's side. He sniffed inside and decided it would be a perfect little cave for him. Unfortunately, Relia saw him go in. She ran right over and tipped it upright, trapping him inside! She then carefully reached down inside to touch him.
The FP Gal and I were watching from the couch. We both were debating breaking it up before anything bad happened. We also were curious how the two of them would work it out. Ozzie is great about not biting but we never put him in spots where he really feels trapped. I think we were also amazed at our clever little girl trapping the kitty!
So she reached down. And then a little further. And we're expecting some noise from inside the bag or some drastic motion. Maybe he'd scratch her and she'd recoil and cry. And then her little arm came back up...with an envelope that must have been in the bag. She quickly threw that away and reached down.
And then Ozzie decided that was enough. He bounded out past her and moved away, unfazed by the experience. But the hunter knows she has time on her side. Some time again he'll let his guard down. And then it will be over. He will be hugged.
Sunday, October 19, 2008
- The FP Gal sent me out to do the grocery shopping this morning. I ran across something new to me, Hershey's Dark Chocolate syrup. Right now I'm enjoying a frosty glass of dark chocolate milk. Very yum.
- NaNoWriMo starts in just under two weeks. Give me a holler if anyone reading is planning on trying it this year. It really is very satisfying. And free. Of money at least, rumor is that it can cost you your mind...
- I'm very behind in both movie and book reviews. Hopefully I'll catch up some before November. I know many of you are waiting with baited breath.
- It's been awhile since I've linked her. Don't want her to think I've forgotten.
- I'd like to encourage my family to set up wish lists with Amazon. Christmas is coming up and this is a pretty handy way to shop for people. Here's mine.
Saturday, October 18, 2008
Afterwards we ate at the Tendermaid. Yum. Mom was there with her Red Hat Ladies (or whatever the name is). One of them complimented my beard...which was odd. Lunch was good and it was nice that Relia got to see both her Grandma and Grandpa on my side today.
We stopped by Todd Park and let Relia play for a while before we left. Did you know that the Circus is gone? The replaced it with a smaller, more child friendly set. The robot is still there but he's been painted! Instead of a solid tomato red, he's...stripped. Stop messing with my childhood!
Then back up and long naps for all involved.
Friday, October 17, 2008
Good luck daycare workers! Soon she'll be all yours for the day.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
This weekend the solution hit me. My car needs a periscope. It wouldn't need to be that high, another foot would give me much more visibility. The upper end could almost sit right on top of the roof of my car.
The FP Gal isn't impressed by this idea. She worries that it would suffer the same troubles as some sun/moon roofs. She thinks it would leak. I countered that if they can leak proof them on submarines, a car shouldn't be that difficult.
To the good people of Saturn, I'm available as a test subject if you want to try this out.
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
She may also have outgrown the small table in the foyer where the keys and the mail live. She's either getting taller or her arms are getting longer. Anyway, we've just about run out of room to push things back out of reach. This morning she tried to run away with mommy's keys. Later she wandered around with her very own pair of pliers, looking for all the world like she was trying to remove a loose tooth.
Never a dull moment...
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Unfortunately, the movie really isn't that great. The cinematography is interesting and well shot but the story isn't that interesting. I don't mind movies that take their time unfolding but this was too slow. And worst of all, the music is mostly atonal string sections. There's a line between excruciating and ominous and this music kept swinging back and forth.
Wasn't really impressed.
Sunday, October 12, 2008
Three and a half years, a license from the state, several years of tax returns and a birth certificate have all had their say but now it's official. We're hitched and Facebook will confirm it.
Yesterday afternoon Relia was running out towards the porch. She tripped over something and fell headlong into the doorframe. She hit one of the hinges so hard that it left a little dent over her left eye for a moment. There was much yelling and crying.
The FP Gal was the first on the scene hugging her and kissing her poor head. That didn't seem to help much so I knelt down a few feet away and opened my arms for her. Relia ran right over and buried her head in my chest with a hug. That seemed to help. She did it a few more times, each time being careful to hit my chest with the non-hurt side.
Then she stopped crying and was all better. This is the good side of the dad thing.
Saturday, October 11, 2008
I hurried into the kitchen to find Relia and protect her. Or alternately to use her as a shield in case the foul beastie got in the house. Everyone else went to look, even going outside at one point. Fortunately, there were no injuries.
Friday, October 10, 2008
Thursday, October 09, 2008
There is all kinds of good things that would happen with this. Advertisers would get free airtime. Ad companies would get focus groups that number in the millions. And maybe we could somehow get some of these stinkers off the air.
FOX? Drop me a note in the comments. I'll help you develop it.
To combat this I've taken to giving her a no-pry lid with a rubber stopper in it. The stopper will only let water out if she sucks on it. For the past few minutes she's been trying to shake that water out on her favorite chair. No luck but she's still trying it.
Should we sign her up for swimming lessons or something?
UPDATE: She just got the lid off of a cup of milk. Yay! Great fun. And then Mommy and Daddy cleaned it all up. Then she took the cup and realized she had nothing to drink. That led her to, you guessed it, cry over the spilt milk.
The truth is that Fox would like the Red Sox in the playoffs because they think it would create better ratings. ESPN wants them in because they've been their darlings for years now. I'm sure Boston fans want them there but that's hardly 'everyone'.
Seriously, get out and meet some other fans sometimes guys. Get some other perspective.
Wednesday, October 08, 2008
All other days remain as they were.
Thank you, go about your normal business.
Monday, October 06, 2008
Nope, it's the Lingerie Football League. They held tryouts in Seattle, no word if she was among the hopeful or not. Tryouts are necessary and frankly until the college lingerie leagues mature, they'll remain so. I'm not sure who the Mel Kiper of this sport will be but I'm sure the competition will be strong.
The article points to the league's website here. They don't have rosters yet, but they do have teams. Here are the inaugural squads:
New England Euphoria
Los Angels Temptation
San Diego Seduction
Traditionally, teams pick names to inspire fear in their opponents. Or they represent some facet of the town they represent. Most of these names fail miserably by these standards. Let's break it down.
'Steam' is fine and 'Breeze' is neutral if too benign. Over in the west, 'Scorch' and 'Mist' fall into those exact same categories. I guess 'Caliente' is fine too, and it has the added bonus of being exotic.
Then comes the problem names. 'Bliss'? 'Euphoria'? "Well, when you play the Euphoria, you really have to bring your A game. Those girls host a house of pain!" Yeah, I don't see it either. They also have the 'Desire' who play with lots of heart. And the two most baffling, the 'Temptation' and 'Seduction'. I'm guessing they'll be more finesse type teams.
Seriously, with names like these they run the risk of being mistaken for strippers or something like that. The dignity of the Lingerie Football League is in danger. I hope they realize that.
2007 was tough because the White Sox were so bad that the season was realistically done in May. Obviously this year lasted much longer and was better because of it. In fact, I don't remember such a tight race as this in recent years. From late July the Twins and White Sox were locked together. The White Sox briefly had a 2.5 game lead, I think the largest the Twins had was 1. Most days it was just half a game one way or the other.
They gave us drama and suspense. They introduced some young players who should provide a good core for years to come. I got no complaints.
See you in February, guys.
Sunday, October 05, 2008
Although there are no hard (or soft) statistics (it is rare to find an owner, man or woman, walking a cat in public), it seems that single, heterosexual male cat owners are on the rise. Over the last few years Sandra DeFeo, an executive director at the Humane Society of New York, said she had seen an increase in the number of single, straight men who are adopting cats.So we've got that going for us. Later on in the article...
Check out that list of writers. Hemingway, Twain and Hugo. Not too shabby.
When the Web site PetPlace.com asked its readers, “Do Real Men Own Cats?” almost 84 percent of respondents said “yes.” “Only intelligent, aware, caring men love cats,” one reader said. And in a 2005 survey by Cats Protection, an animal welfare agency in the United Kingdom, the majority of the 790 people who responded said it was cool for a guy to own cats.
This line of thinking does not surprise cat lovers, many of whom believe that only pillars of virility and masculinity would dare to own one. They are quick to point out other well-known macho cat owners: Ernest Hemingway, Mark Twain, Victor Hugo and Marlon Brando, who reportedly found a stray cat on the set of “The Godfather” and incorporated it into a scene.
I could have used that for dating profile! I have to say that the NYT stamp of approval makes me feel better here. Now if only they'd run an article on straight men who enjoy musicals...
Many women agree that guys with cats are extra special.
“They make the best boyfriends because they’re totally cool with staying home and watching a movie,” said Elizabeth Daza, 28, a video producer in Manhattan, who dated a cat-owning man for eight years. “Straight men with cats seem to be really secure and stable. They don’t need to be running around the park and proving their masculinity like the dog guys.”
Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day features a repeat of one of my all time favorites of theirs. It's a composite of satellite pictures of the earth at night. Of interest to me:
- Cities really stand out from countryside. This is a dramatic representation of where people are on the planet.
- In some ways it's also a map of wealth. Compare Europe and the eastern US with South America and Africa. Also compare North and South Korea.
- The upper Nile stands out like a string of Christmas lights. So does the Siberian railroad.
- Islands also pop out here. Hawaii is very easy to spot. So is Bermuda and the Seychelles.
- What a beautiful sight that must be from orbit!
Saturday, October 04, 2008
Sana is back to cuddling with us at night. She loves to lay on the pillow above the FP Gal's head. She purrs very loudly and I think that improves the sleeping atomsphere.
Ozzie is back to burrowing. Every evening he creeps up to the blanket crumpled at the foot of the couch. He works his way underneath until he's built his own little cave. You must be very careful when sitting down.
It's tricky for us, especially with Relia. The morning temps this last week were right around 40 degrees. In the afternoon it rose up to the 70's and then sank again at night. For adults you recommend layering. That's not as easy with a child who would really rather run around as a naked savage.
Today, for the first time I wondered how she'll deal with snow for the first time. I'm not hoping we get at least one good heavy snow so we can build a snowman. How great will that be?
Friday, October 03, 2008
Relia is becoming more and more adventurous every single day. She can climb on top of the coffee table and several different chairs. The couch is just a bit too high but it won't be long. She's also mastered the art of using other objects to boost her height. Is there anything better than toddlers balancing as high up as they can go? It has become something of a race to see what comes first, her cracked head or my heart attack.
She really really wants to talk but just doesn't have it figured out yet. She's communicating more and more (she goes to her high chair when hungry) but still can't tell us everything she needs. That leads to tantrums. Believe me, bedtime can't come too early somedays.
I was complaining to someone at work today about this and they said something like "Well, that's what you signed up for." True enough. I even knew that then. Of course there would be bad days. You know what? Never once did I sign anything that said I couldn't complain about those bad days. Not once. Never said that, never even thought it.
If I complained about this all the time that would be one thing but I don't. Usually she's very easy to watch. Even when she's not it's rare to go through this long of a stretch when the FP Gal isn't around to give me a hand.
Word to the wise, step carefully around fathers who look short on sleep and long on frayed nerves. Just nod sympathetically and mention that it'll get better. Keep in mind that we have access to dirty diapers.
Thursday, October 02, 2008
Caught some Kate Bush tonight on the music channel and it sent me over to YouTube to see what her videos looked like. I came to like Kate in my late teens, well after most of her music had been released and I don't remember her getting any air time on MTV.
This song has the same basic theme as 'the Pina Colada song' but I like this version better. I saw it in a karaoke menu once in a small bar I used to frequent in Colorado. It was tempting to regail the poor mountain people with this bizzare tune but I passed. Babooshka, ya ya!
Wednesday, October 01, 2008
I've got a problem with the NATO Phonetic Alphabet and I don't know who to complain to. With any luck someone from their governing body will trip over this via Google and my voice will be heard. I can't be the only one with this issue. Maybe their is a large group of people out there just looking for a leader. For years they've thought they were alone and were just waiting for someone else to stand up.
A bit of background, when I became a travel agent over eight years ago I ran into a little problem with all of the confirmation codes that we speak over the phone. Most agents used names, MBL would come out as 'Melanie, Brenda, Lucy' or something like that. This works well if you're disciplined enough to use the same names but if not you run into problems like saying 'Mary, Barry, Larry'. This is worse than useless.
I emailed my brother for the phonetic alphabet and he quickly shot back a list that matches this one. Problem solved! Now I'd simply say 'Mike, Bravo, Lima' and the person on the other end of the phone would never misunderstand me.
In practice that isn't true. Older, more experienced airline and hotel agents know what I'm saying but younger ones need a restart. When I was training new agents for the company, I'd hand them a copy of the list and urge them to use it. I wish other companies would too. (This would be nice for car companies too but I figure their agents are doing well to pick up the ringing thing and answer it. No need to increase the difficulty too high.)
Still, most of the time it would work just fine. With one exception. The letter 'S' is represented by the word 'sierra'. This is probably missed 90% of the time! Part of the problem is obvious, the word starts with the phonetic sound 'see' or 'C'. This causes plenty of confusion.
According to wikipedia, other words that have been used for 'S' are 'Santiago' and 'Sugar'. The alternate I've been sliding towards is 'Sam'. Changes have been made to this alphabet in the past. I think it's time for one more.