Monthly Archives: July 2012

Death by Patio

I discovered a new type of yard torture today, which is clearing out the grass and weeds which had been growing through the uni-stone patio I have in the back yard. It’s something that’s been needing to be done for a while, but got left off the chores list for too long and now it’s at the point of no return. It was either do it now or soon have to start mowing my patio, and I’m not ready for that just yet.

I should be able to finish the clearing portion tomorrow, after which I’m going to take a pressure washer to the thing and get as much dirt as I can out from between the stones before filling the whole thing up with the special sand polymer that goes in. I was hoping with an extra week off that I’d be able to do the driveway as well, but now that I see what’s involved that’s a pretty laughable goal. Not gonna happen.

But seriously, torture. I can barely flex my fingers right now, and I’m typing my keeping my fingers crooked and moving my whole forearm to each individual key, not the most practical writing method. Perhaps it’s time for bed, or I won’t be able to get anything done tomorrow.

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Back!

We’re back home after a week in Orlando, Florida, and I’m so glad I decided to take an extra week off work. I knew it would be a packed week away with the theme parks and whatnot, but I wasn’t prepared for how tired I’d be when I finally got home. I feel like I could sleep for a week, which may not sound like the hallmark of a relaxing vacation, but the whole family had a great time.

As expected, Internet access was hard to find. Well, reasonably-priced Internet access was hard to find. Expensive-as-hell access was available if I’d been willing to turn my phone’s data back on, but at something silly like $10 per megabyte, I wasn’t interested. I freaking hate the roaming rates. There’s no excuse for data to be that expensive and so I do without. I’d rather go without access for a week than encourage any company to price-gouge for no good reason other than price-gouging. I managed to snag free wifi twice, but it was only enough to check a couple of emails and poke my head into assorted social media before disappearing again.

We flew to Orlando on the Saturday, but we were so wrecked from the early wake-up to get to the airport that after we landed we had lunch and crashed for a couple of hours. Then we spent a bit of time at the resort’s pool, before crashing again for the night, somewhere around 8:00pm.

After that first day, we spent four out of five days at Universal Studios, and one day at an affiliated water park. The one and only time I went to Disney World was when I was about five years old, and aside from a trip to Canada’s Wonderland a few years ago my only experience with big amusement parks is La Ronde, which is our local Six Flags. La Ronde was in pretty bad shape for a few years, and even now it doesn’t compare to the scale of a massive park like Universal. Even at the ripe old age of 35, I found myself impressed by much of what I saw down there.

Ride after ride, park after park, the production value just blew me away. True, Universal Studios has the benefit of charging admission all year round, where La Ronde can only stay open for the summer (alas, snow!), so they have a LOT more money to play around with, and they’re a much bigger park so they can fit more paying customers on any given day, but the scale of things at US is amazing. From Harry Potter to Jurassic Park to everything else, the details are very impressive, and the scope is astounding. In a lot of ways, if you’re familiar with the franchise, it’s just like being there. This may seem obvious to anyone who’s been there before, and often, but I didn’t really know what to expect from a “Theme Park” as opposed to our local “Amusement Park” and I was every bit as amazed as my sons. It’s nice to be made to feel like a kid again.

And so, summer continues. Vacation also continues for another week, and I’m going to try to get caught up on the writing and reading I was too exhausted to to while in Orlando (seriously, I felt like I walked a marathon’s worth of steps most days). And, because my birthday is coming up, I get to start planning for yet another big BBQ-party at my place. No complaints, though, this is a good kind of tired to be.


Vacation!

I got my packing done, but only after the day-jobbery was done. Then I mowed the lawn so that it wouldn’t be knee-high to a T-Rex when I got back, and double-checked that I wasn’t missing anything. nothing sucks more than being far from home and realizing that you forgot something major. True, we’re going to Florida; I hear they have something resembling civilization there so if I forget my deodorant I’m sure I can find a replacement, but still.

Now if only I didn’t have to get up at about 3am tomorrow to catch my flight, I’d be golden. I’m heading to bed now so that I can hopefully get four hours of sleep or thereabouts.


Two More Sleeps

Tomorrow’s my last day of work before vacation, and Saturday morning we fly down to Orlando and Universal Studios. My kids are really excited to get going, and they’ve packed up all their stuff already. They’ve even been walking around all day with their carry-on backpacks, as though the plane ride wasn’t still forty-something hours away. I’ll be packing tomorrow, hopefully during the day because I don’t like packing last minute. That’s the best way to forget things.

I will have my netbook with me while I’m down there, but I don’t know if there’s wi-fi where we’ll be staying, and I’m certainly not going to tether this thing to my phone, given the ridiculously stupid international roaming rates. That means that I may miss out on blogging for the week I’m away, but some things can’t be helped.

At the very least, even if there is wi-fi where we’re staying and it’s even slightly reliable, the odds are good that I’m just not going to have much time or energy to spend online. I’m hoping for a couple of quiet evenings where I can sit and get a little bit of writing done, but I don’t expect many of those nights.

For tonight, I’m going to jump offline now and try to nail down that last scene so I can get some editing in tomorrow.


New Writing Group

I hung out with a trio of other local writers tonight, as we took some tentative steps toward creating a new writing/critiquing group. It’s something I’ve been lacking for a while.  I have one person I’ve been working with consistently who’s amazing, but she’s only one person. Having a group of people look over your stuff is better, even if they all say the same things (though they almost never will), because it gives you a better sense of how your story is working, and if you’ve well and truly written something that just doesn’t work no matter who the reader is.

Since we’re people with assorted combinations of jobs and children and families and responsibilities, we’ve settled on once a month for now, and we’ll see where that takes us. The first get-together next month will give us a better sense of how we work as a team, and whether or not we want to grow in number.

Since I’ve been slowing down considerably with my writing of late, it will also be a good kick in the pants to get more stuff written. Sometimes the best muse is a deadline.


The Home Stretch

The current (long) short story keeps chugging along. I only have one scene to replace and then it’s on to checking for continuity errors and seeing if the writing I’ve added isn’t completely terrible, since almost half the story is basically a first draft now. This is definitely the most effort I’ve ever put into a short story, and it’s not even done. It will need another draft or two but mostly that will be to fix little things, once this scene is done there won’t be any big fixes hopefully.

Tonight’s also been a bad wrist night so I’ve put aside the chainmail for now. There’s nothing like twisting stiff bits of metal around repeatedly to make you wish for less painful hobbies. Like sleeping.

Speaking of which. I’ve done all the writing I’m going to do on this story tonight, so I’m turning in.


Needing a Break from the Weekend

It’s official, I’ve spent too much time swimming over the last four days of this extra-long weekend. Tonight, I drove over to a local coffee shop to get some mostly distraction-free and completely Internet-free writing done, and as I was sitting there, rubbing the bridge of my nose in concentration, I felt pain. Pain all around my eye socket, which worried me until I realized that it was from my swim goggles. It wouldn’t normally be a problem but I think I’ve been wearing them for an average of three to four hours a day since last Thursday, and possibly that’s too much. I hope it doesn’t bruise or I’m going to look like a raccoon. Or a moron. Probably just a moron.

Probably I should also loosen the goggles a tad.

But I did get almost an hour and a half of rewriting done tonight. Baby steps. Hints of progress. It’s the only writing I’ve done n almost five days so I’ll take it. It’ll almost be nice to go back to work tomorrow because these last few days off have completely worn me down, and I didn’t even do any yardwork.

Besides the writing, I’ve also picked up the chainmail shirt from last October again. I want to make the shirt longer, add half-sleeves, and make a coif (a long hood), but I don’t want to leave it all until October because that will be murder on the wrists and will also leave me with absolutely zero writing time. I figure I can easily spend 10 minutes a day between now and October and make enough progress that I can spend the month before Halloween finishing the armor without sacrificing all of my writing.