jazzfish: Two guys with signs: THE END IS NIGH. . . time for tea. (time for tea)
Friday evening I'd intended to meet Emily for dinner at the only source of gator in Vancouver and then catch a music performance. On the way to the restaurant we passed a theatre advertising that this was the last weekend they were showing Angels in America Part 1, and figured we'd go to that instead.

Only, I'd started feeling a little chilled after I left work, and noticed myself drinking a lot of water at dinner and generally feeling kind of ... not really lightheaded, not really spacey, not really achey, but ... feverish. So instead we went home, and Emily finished her sign for the Vancouver Science March ("Be part of the SOLUTION not part of the PRECIPITATE") and I took an hour and a half hot bath.

I woke up the next morning feeling pretty much okay, and saw Emily off into the damp while I waited for Erin. We'd been kicking around the idea of going down to the States this weekend with some other folks, but I think we'd settled on just having a calm couple of days at home.

On the way there I got to experience my first moving vehicle accident. Not very fast moving, but still. Erin had just pulled out to turn left when someone who'd looked like they were turning right didn't.

I've been in several other accidents, from the time when I managed to come to a stop but the person three cars behind me didn't to the time when a concrete pillar at a gas station scooted into the passenger-side of my rental car at five in the morning. There's something different-- more visceral-- about being fully in motion at the time, and also about not being the one driving. Couple days later I'm still occasionally flashing back to the moment of impact, because I happened to be looking in that direction. It's not horrific or frightening, it's more "i can't believe this is actually about to happen."

Erin's car was rendered undriveable: body crunched up, tyre shredded, likely a snapped axle, possibly some engine damage. Probably totaled, since those things will cost more than two grand to fix.

We retreated to the safety of my place, and eventually made our way to Erin's, and the day turned from "quiet relaxing" to "recovery" and then "buying a car." Erin's out of pocket all this week for a school thing, and had been planning on driving her car, with a bunch of her stuff, up north the middle of next week. Which meant that she needed a car, pronto.

So Saturday was spent looking for cars, and on Sunday I rented a car (I'd been planning to anyhow) and we drove up to Squamish to test-drive one, and she ended up buying it. But that still took up much of the day, and much of the rest involved her frantically packing for a week away on a school trip, and then heading out past Maple Ridge for that. Not precisely the restful weekend I'd been hoping for.

Enterprise put me in a Hyundai compact that reminded me a lot of Straylight, my last car. Straylight was a low-riding Saturn coupe that I bought after my previous car caught fire on I-81. It was no hi-performance sports car but it was still fun to drive, and I enjoyed the existence of the trick third door as well. For city-driving or traffic-driving I would have preferred a somewhat more maneuverable Smart; for highways or just point-to-point, Straylight was wonderful.

(When I moved north to the land of carlessness, I sold Straylight to my friend Stephen. I believe it had an unfortunate encounter with a tractor trailer in the Affle House parking lot a few years ago. Sic transit gloria transita.)

By the time I left DC I hated driving, partly because I had to drive to get anywhere but mostly because driving in DC means traffic. Looks like five years was about enough time for that to fade. I genuinely enjoyed driving up and down the Sea-to-Sky. Even the backroads of the camp I left Erin at were kinda fun, though also stressful, due to rain and hunger and uncertainty as to exactly where I was going.

I miss road trips. I miss the freedom of getting anywhere without concern for transit schedules and flaky buses. I miss Straylight. I never thought I'd say that.

At least there was yoga this morning. I feel much better for that.

There's something bubbling under the surface about yoga and about things that make me feel more like me, and how that's changed, but it's not ready yet.
jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)
It's a bits-and-bobs kind of week.

Spent the last weekend sick with some sort of short-term head cold. This is perhaps the least offensive illness I've ever had: my throat and lymph nodes ached and my head felt vaguely muzzy for a couple of days, but I remained more or less entirely functional. Which is nice. Maybe my immune system's coming back up to snuff.

On Sunday [personal profile] uilos and I had a slowish morning, which was nice. Afterwards we went out for a somewhat errand-y afternoon, full of shipping packages and attempting to sell books and just generally wandering around town a bit on a gorgeous day.

Then come Monday (a BC holiday) Erin took me out for a wander through the Strathcona community garden ("someone put in a garden plot with a sign that had a permit number listed on it, and then more plots appeared, and eventually the city showed up and said 'uh this permit isn't valid,' and then after some discussion they said 'whatever, y'all keep on keeping on'"), which is a pretty great space even in the grip of winter. It's partly hidden by blackberry brambles (used to be much more so, I gather), and has an eclectic mix of herb gardens, garden gardens, orchards, a small lake with water-plants on the edges... Would ramble again.

She also took me to an ice cream place with 238 flavours, which is exactly as overwhelming as you think it is. Chestnut and apple-wasabi and fruits I'd never heard of, chocolate sorbetto and mint cookie dough and a decent cinnamon. And just under a mile from the apartment, which seems potentially dangerous. (I still think of the apartment as "the new place." I suppose that'll change eventually.)

The apartment is slowly starting to look inhabited. Art's going up, the bed in the second bedroom is together, we're down to a very few boxen. We're having folks over this coming Sunday so that's a deadline of sorts for figuring out large-art, I guess.

Work is threatening to be intensely stupid in the near-term, but so far it's only threatening. A terrible customer keeps requesting detailed documentation of a kind that we don't provide, for free. Last month someone finally said "okay, we're gonna write up how much work that will take and how much it'll cost them, and they can either pay up or shut up." We put that together (verdict: roughly nine person-months) and handed it to the appropriate people. Today we've been asked to revisit this estimate, and provide how long it'll take if we all pitch in rather than having just one person. This ... seems ominous. Big customer meeting tomorrow, after which I guess we'll hear whether they pay up or shut up. Hoping desperately for the latter. Harbouring secret thoughts of a career shift, though god only knows to what.

Viola continues. I'm beginning to learn how to shift, which means revisiting how I hold my left hand, which has me feeling again like I have little idea what I'm doing. I am also beginning to develop, mm, not just a sense of musicality (though that too) but the ability to translate that into the sound of the piece I'm playing. I suspect that given time I might actually get to a point where I'm happy with how I sound. Though not for a good long while at this rate... Next October makes three years; I'll re-evaluate then.
jazzfish: an open bottle of ether, and George conked out (Ether George)
Ugh, time is getting away from me again.

Last Sunday I went to my viola teacher's end-of-year recital for her young students. There were maybe eight or ten kids performing, from ages three to eleven. I've not been to a Suzuki-type recital since before I graduated from high school. It was rather pleasant to hear a bunch of pieces I'm fairly well familiar with (and one or two new ones), in a relaxed setting. Felt like home. At the end Tegen and one student played the Bach Double. That's one of the two pieces (along with the Vivaldi A Minor) that I was always genuinely envious that the violinists of my acquaintance got to play, and which I've not heard in years.

(I did not play, mostly due to being a bit outside the target age range. I suppose I could have polished the Bouree from Bach's third cello suite, but, eh.)

The day before that, [personal profile] uilos came back from taking Kai to the vet (annual old-cat checkup, no problems) and announced "I have a tickle in the back of my throat!" Dammit.

I managed to dodge any symptoms until Friday, when I woke up with a sore throat that I attributed to the weather having decided to get cool again. I then did a bunch of socialising over the weekend and got very spacey whenever I wasn't directly doing anything, and stayed home from work yesterday. I was kind of on the fence about going in today, woke up at my usual time, decided not to, and proceeded to fall back asleep for three hours. Which pretty much never happens.

At this point I'm a little spacey and short of breath, and coughing a bit, but I ought to be okay to go back in to work. The interesting thing is that while I tend to get sick on the tail end of [personal profile] uilos being sick, it's not always the same thing, or at least doesn't manifest the same way. Hers is bacterial, multicoloured snot and all that, where mine seems to be viral and settling in the vicinity of my chest.

jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)
On (roughly) the centennial of the Easter Rising, it's clearly time to link again to A History of Ireland in 100 Excuses.

The Cinematheque is running an Irish film festival for the occasion. On Sunday [personal profile] uilos and I went to see a documentary on the Rising, followed by Liam Neeson Versus The Bastard English And Also His Fellow Shortsighted Irishmen.

The documentary ... didn't impress me. The occasional newsreel footage didn't make up for the annoying Ken-Burns-esque closeup image-panning, and the shots of contemporary Dublin added very little after the first couple of images of the Post Office. I spent most of the time wishing it had been a book.

Michael Collins, well, it's still Michael Collins, it's a fictionalised and dramatised look at a freedom fighter / terrorist in the early twentieth century. Most of what I wrote last time I saw it holds true. Needed more Stephen Rea. (This is true of most movies. Stephen Rea has made a career out of appearing slightly rumpled and compelling.) It's a good movie and one of the few biopics, possibly the only one, that I'd recommend.

I brought back a round of con-crud from Niagara, of course. At least it seems to have *not* turned into full-blown pneumonia, which it did in one or two other people who were there. Stupid sinuses.
jazzfish: an open bottle of ether, and George conked out (Ether George)
Woke up last Saturday morning with the telltale soreness of sinus drain at the back of my throat. I didn't have any other symptoms, though: no headache or stuffy head, no spaciness, some tiredness but not much. Mostly just the sore throat.

The bone-weariness kicked in further on Sunday, and I ended up staying home on Monday. I could have gone in, I guess. Mostly I didn't want to deal with the hour of transit to get there and back again.

I was more or less fine by Tuesday. [personal profile] uilos has picked up something of her own; if it's the same thing I had then it's hitting her a lot worse.

Stupid spring sick.

Every NYT Millennial Trend Story: "Millennials--the demographic group also known as Generation Y, Generation Me, and Daesh--have found it difficult to balance dueling priorities as they exit their parents' basements and enter the real world." (I am told this is even more hilarious with the browser extension that replaces "Millennials" with "Serpent People.")

Masculinity Is an Anxiety Disorder: Breaking Down the Nerd Box: "Man, from my perspective, is not an identity so much as a Long Con, and masculinity is a concatenation of anxiety–founded posturings."

Slaughter at the bridge: Uncovering a colossal Bronze Age battle: "In 1996, an amateur archaeologist found a single upper arm bone sticking out of the steep riverbank—- the first clue that the Tollense Valley, about 120 kilometers north of Berlin, concealed a gruesome secret."

'I'm not the Obamacare kid anymore': "He was the chubby 11-year-old African-American boy who stood next to President Barack Obama as he signed Obamacare into law at a White House ceremony on March 23, 2010.... As supporters prepare to mark the sixth anniversary of Obamacare's signing, Marcelas is marking another rite of passage -- as a transgender teen."

An interview with Gail Ann Dorsey about Bowie: "He completely, single-handedly altered the course of my life."

Smart Car turned into a snowcar: "Yeah, it's just a thought that came to me and it seemed like the right thing to do."


Dec. 14th, 2015 06:49 pm
jazzfish: an open bottle of ether, and George conked out (Ether George)
Done today: submitted a story, returned a rental car, put away the dishes, got my eye licked (twice) by the useless cat, stared at the wall in a mental fog.

Note the absence of things like "went to work" in that list. Stupid sick.

For much of last week I was stressed out about various things: cat illness (Kai spent Sunday not keeping food down, was fine Monday morning and then having trouble again Monday night / Tuesday morning, so off to the vet she went), work stuff (multiple releases scheduled for Friday), xmas shopping (supposed to be done one afternoon last week but unexpected cat illness put a damper on that plan). So it's not a huge surprise that I woke up Friday morning with a sore throat, or Saturday morning with the same sore throat plus some sinus ache.

We ran around on Saturday in the wet and the cold accomplishing fairly little: failed to pick up fish because the fish guys weren't at the farmer's market, checked out a potential apartment that idn't meet standards. Xmas shopping for shipping to the US got done, at least, and everything got wrapped up and boxed up. And we got four litres of syrup for something like $80 CAD. Which is, what, like two buck American these days?

I felt a lot better on Sunday so we and writer-Steph bundled into the car and headed down to B'ham, to give money to the USPS and poke in bookstores and eat delicious wood-fired pizza. I also wandered around in the cold and rain without a jacket, since I hate driving with a jacket and putting it on and taking it off was a nuisance. In retrospect this may have been an error. I crashed hard when we got in, and decided this morning that recuperation was the better part of valor.

Here's hoping this week will go better.
jazzfish: an evil-looking man in a purple hood (Lord Fomax)
1) I seem to have caught a summer cold. My sinuses feel like they've been packed with sand.

2) There seems to have been a flood (burst pipe, I assume) in the basement last night. The elevators have been out most of the day. Climbing twenty-five flights of stairs is Not Fun.

3) On Tuesday I saw a software testing job come up that wants "two years experience." Hey, says I, I've got that, thanks to three crappy software companies in Blacksburg a decade ago. May as well apply: I hate testing but they aren't gonna call me anyway. On Wednesday I got an email from a guy wanting me to come in for an interview today. Said guy wasn't there when I showed up, having apparently forgotten about the interview, and the person who did interview me basically said "we're looking for someone with automated testing experience," which I don't have, because crappy software companies. Complete waste of my time.

4) Icing on the cake: one of the cats (probably Chaos but we haven't seen him do it) is no longer into this whole "litterbox" thing. Near as we can tell he's getting into the litterbox and then mostly missing the litter. Contra LBJ, I'd much rather have him outside the litterbox peeing in than inside peeing out. Not sure what we're going to do about this.

In unrelated news, a barge carrying two houses just went by.
jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)
Two weekends ago, more or less, [personal profile] uilos and I went out to Harrison Hot Springs for a couple days of vacation. We soaked in a naturally heated pool and wandered around a small village and saw the source of the springs. We did not partake of the Spa Experience, as that costs ridiculous amounts of money, but we saw a bunch of people wandering around in white terrycloth robes. Also, it was spring break for the BC school system, and apparently people like to take their kids on spa vacations, so there were a ton of kids everywhere.

The rental company gave us a Big-Ass Truck instead of the compact we'd requested. Driving (and parking) that was an adventure in itself.

Overall it was alright. I don't know that I'd go back just-us but dragging a few other people along could be fun.

Last weekend saw the second annual Terminal City Tabletop Convention, a day-only Vancouver gaming con that an acquaintance of mine started up last year. That too was generally good. I played a number of games I'd been wanting to try for awhile, had some duds and some surprising hits (Red7 is sort of the lovechild of Fluxx and Uno, and fantastically chaotic fun).

Got in a game of 1889 with mostly-newish players on Sunday. I think I'm about done with 1889: it's 1830 with a different map and one less company, and the 'one less company' part makes a surprising difference in how aggressively the game runs. And the map isn't terribly exciting, either. Oh well, now I know.

Afterwards on Sunday we went out to a Thai place near Metrotown which makes a quite tasty pad thai. I keep thinking I ought to try other thai dishes, and I keep coming back to "but I really like the rice noodles in pad thai and can't get them anywhere else."

I also seem to have picked up an odd head-cold at TCTC. The last couple of days my nose has been stuffy & my throat sore (sinus drip), and I get out of breath and spacey in the mid-afternoon. This is making it difficult to get back up to speed after having E home for a week.
jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)
Last week I finally put in my order for a custom carbon-fiber viola from Germany. Paid extra for a "hybrid" model, which comes with an electric pickup built in, and to have it dyed a dark dark green color. I went with 'carbon-fiber' and 'hybrid' on the grounds that I don't know exactly what I intend to do with it, but I'm more likely to do goofy things than to play in an orchestra. The hybrid model makes it easier for me to turn out to be the next Zoë Keating or John Cale, and carbon-fiber travels better and holds up better in varying weather & humidity than wood.

So, excitement! Also nerves. This is literally more money than I've spent on any single thing other than my second car, and that includes my first car.

[The "costs more than my car" metric is one I started using when [personal profile] uilos and I were browsing in a furniture store in Rockville that was supposedly having a huge Going Out Of Business Sale. Their prices were ... not commensurate with what I think of as Going Out Of Business, much less Sale. At one point we passed under a giant crystal chandelier with a low-five-figure price tag, and I realised that the people who buy this sort of thing are, to quote Fitzgerald, very different from you and me. ("Yes. They have more money." --E. Hemingway)]

I've also ordered a decent case. It is bright blue, and looks like a tiny cello hard case, complete with wheels. It's being shipped to my parents because the seller wouldn't ship it internationally, and from there to here. Hopefully it will get here not too much later than the instrument itself. Also, hopefully the viola will fit into the case. The thing about violas is that there is no standard size viola, unlike for the violin or cello. It's just sort of "for best sound, make it as big as you can handle."

My actual playing continues to improve, I suppose. Fixing my posture fixes a bit of the bow bounce, and relaxing my hand fixes some more of it. I am now at the point where I have to take the various techniques I've been learning and apply them to music, which is of course harder than just doing them individually. I have some faith that I'll get there. Eventually. In the meantime I run through a lot of left-hand exercises, because I'm relatively good at those.

Other news, noted mostly so I'll have a record of it: E has been mildly ill for the past week, and I have a sneaking suspicion it's getting to me as well. I've had a stuffy nose since about Thursday. As of today I have the sore throat of sinus drain. Bleh.

Also, a week ago last Friday I started having pain in my right foot when I stand on it. I'm blaming this on having done something weird to my hip and having that affect the nerve running down to the foot. Stretching seems to help, as does staying off it. The trouble with staying off it is that it means I can't use my office, since my desk requires standing.

If the foot isn't better by later this week I'll look into seeing a doctor, I guess. I ought to find one of those anyway.


Dec. 20th, 2014 02:54 pm
jazzfish: Malcolm Tucker with a cell phone, in a HOPE-style poster, caption NO YOU F****** CAN'T (Malcolm says No You F'ing Can't)
Xmas is officially done. The hard part anyway, presents wrapped and shipped as necessary. I have had less enthusiasm for this xmas than for any in living memory. Even as a teenager shoved into a confined space with family for dozens of hours on end, I got kinda excited about finding/making the Right gift for friends. This year... meh. Meh all around.

But it's done. And the tree is up, and I've been listening to a bit of xmas music, and the light will come back soon.

Thursday night I tried halfheartedly to run my LG&S game but had no brain and low energy, and ended by calling it about halfway through. Today it occurs to me that I've probably had a low-grade cold since sometime Thursday. I've got what feels like a ball of snot hanging out in my back nasal passages, and I'm vaguely spacey.

If this stays at 'low-grade cold' level and doesn't blossom into a full-bore sinus infection, that will be the first time that's happened in a long time. I never get really seriously hide-under-blankets-with-soup-and-television-for-three-days sick, but I also never have just plain colds either.

The old apartment had a super-fancy hotel across the street. In spring & summer we made a habit of being appalled by the proms and weddings that got hosted there, and of watching the seagull chicks grow up on the roof.

This apartment has a hotel across the street, but it's much less fancy. It's also got an IHOP-style pointy roof, so I doubt it will have seagull chicks.

What it does have, or has for the past few days anyhow, is a bald eagle who's decided it's a great place to hang out. So that's kinda cool.

NYT commenter "Vin" from Manhattan, a couple of days ago:
Look, I can appreciate that it’s a tough decision to normalize relations with a police state whose police forces routinely murder civilians (and whose top political leaders have engaged in torture of prisoners with impunity), but Cuba did the right thing.
jazzfish: Owly, reading (Owly)
The internet has been down since last night and I seem to have picked up a head cold at VCon last weekend. Blergh. On the bright side, I can leach internet from my phone as long as I don't overdo it, and the head-cold symptoms respond well to tylenol-sinus.

What are you currently reading?

Tiassa by Steven Brust, for the third time. Tiassa is my favorite of the Dragaera books, and in my top five of Steve's books overall. (Agyar, then Tiassa and Freedom & Necessity and Sun Moon & Stars fighting for second place, then either Taltos or The Phoenix Guards depending on how I'm feeling that day.)

What did you recently finish reading?

Iorich, also for the third time, I think. I mean, I read it when it came out, and I almost certainly reread it when Tiassa came out. I remembered basically nothing about it, though, which is an uncomfortable situation for me to be in with regards to a Dragaera book. (I've read all the books up through Issola enough times that they're imprinted in my memory, and I know Dzur and Jhegaala reasonably well.) Iorich is a perfectly decent Vlad book. It's not a triumph of intricate structure the way Tiassa and Taltos are, but it's got a solid mystery/conspiracy plot, plenty of snark, and some thinky thoughts about justice and law.

I also read Karl Schroeder's Ventus, because what was supposed to be a brief trip to the vet ended up as a three-hour tour of West Van and it was what I opened to on my phone. Nanotech terraforming space-opera that kept packing on more stuff until by the end I just wanted it to come to a resolution already. Unlike with Neal Stephenson I never felt like Schroeder had lost control of the Cool Stuff he was flooding the book with, and indeed it does all resolve quite well. I just... had hit my saturation point by about two-thirds in. Still quite good and worth reading, and I'll dig into the prequel Lady Of Mazes one of these days.

What do you think you'll read next?

Hawk, because it shipped yesterday. *happydance* (Which is why I'm rereading Iorich and Tiassa.)

After that I will finally get into Ann Leckie's Ancillary Justice, Winner Of All The Awards, because I've been meaning to for well over a month and because Ancillary Sword shipped on Monday.


Jan. 26th, 2014 05:54 pm
jazzfish: an open bottle of ether, and George conked out (Ether George)
Things I want to be doing: emailing Karawynn about the February trip, organizing the April trip, writing/polishing the last two %&$ scenes in this story, calling Dad to make sure I read him right regarding my grandmother's health (generally not good, but not specifically bad), doing legwork for a hypothetical Vancouver writing group, answering other email, answering DW/LJ comments, organizing my music, reorganizing the board games.

Things I ought to be doing: work.

Things I am actually doing: staring into space, dozing off, sniffling.

I seem to have overtaxed myself last week and this weekend, and I've been rewarded with an unpleasant cold.

I am so over January.
jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)
Went out to the aquarium with Steph and [personal profile] uilos in the rain on Sunday, which was great fun: light-up jellyfish! adorable otters! the octopus!. Also probably an error in judgement, since I've spent the rest of the week in a sinus-infected fog. I've been self-medicating with lots of tea and honey, which tastes faintly terrible but does stop my throat from hurting. It all tipped over from "muzzy" to "miserable" sometime last night. Hoping it's on the upswing now.

Lots of stuff going on this week. Got our official Landing paperwork, which will make us permanent residents. It will likely not be acted on until late May, since they recommend you not travel out of the country between the time you land and the time you actually get your permanent resident card, and Feb thru May is when we do most of our travel. Still, that's ... somewhere between "a relief" and "exciting."

Also received an invite to an invite-only gaming convention in Niagara in mid-April, and started looking seriously at the amount of time I'm taking off work in the next few months. It's ... excessive. Twenty days in three and a half months. I think it'll be good for me, though. First up: the week-long Sun Trip at the end of February to ... somewhere as yet undetermined. I suppose I should get on with determining that.
jazzfish: an open bottle of ether, and George conked out (Ether George)
My in-laws descended upon my house from Tuesday evening through Sunday morning. If you have ever wondered whether it is a good idea to have your high-maintenance in-laws stay with you at your workplace for several days while you're recovering from a nasty cough, I am here to tell you it is not. [personal profile] uilos occupied them during the day as best she could; this mostly involved the three of them leaving around ten to go do something touristy and coming back around two. To their credit they didn't actively try to disturb me during my workday. It's the passive disturbances that got to me: not being able to pace without running into someone unexpected, noises in the kitchen (right behind my workspace), all that.

I am starting to feel more human again. Key being 'starting.' Spent most of yesterday in a fog. Arguably I shouldn't have tried to go running yesterday morning as my lungs may not be up to it yet. Bleh. Stupid body, work better.

Things I would like to do this weekend include 'beta comments for [personal profile] thanate' and 'cut Bookwyrms by 2/3 so it's under the thousand-word flash fiction wordcount limit, where I think it and editors will be happier.' Also 'have pancakes for breakfast' and possibly 'get out to gaming for the first time in a couple of weeks.' I think (think) I'm good for more than 'stare at laptop screen / tv screen / Device screen / book,' at least for a few hours.


Apr. 12th, 2013 03:40 pm
jazzfish: an open bottle of ether, and George conked out (Ether George)
Very little throws one off one's stride like an unexpected illness. Stupid sick.

E's been coughing and staring blankly for the past week. Thought I'd dodged it but Tuesday night I started having less and less brain. Today (well, last night) it's been sinuses dripping and coughing and all that fun stuff. So of course it's started raining again. Dragged self to urgent care; doc says it's viral; dragged self home.

This is not at all coherent; I'm noting it mostly as a reminder that I got sick again.

Stupid sick.
jazzfish: an open bottle of ether, and George conked out (Ether George)
Option 1: take acetaminophen + pseudoephedrine, stare blankly at wall while breathing through nose.

Option 2: skip Tylenol/Sudafed, sniffle every three minutes.

I was hoping I'd dodged whatever this sinus thing is that [personal profile] uilos picked up after New Year but no such luck. Oh well. If it follows the same progression yesterday & today are the worst of it.

I imagine the Sudafed will dull the WTFery of the Battlestar Galactica series finale if and when we watch it this evening. So far I am genuinely astonished at how the writers have made most everything follow logically from their utterly stupid plot shifts. ("Let's make some of the Cylons super-sekrit-Cylons!" "And they're crew members but they didn't know it!" "And they're two thousand years old!" "And God is speaking to Baltar!" "And Galactica is falling apart!" "And Cavil knew what was going on the whole time!") The characters keep talking about how "there must be a destiny / plan / meaning" and all I can think of is Nick Lowe's The Well-Tempered Plot Device:
One thinks irresistibly of Gandalf's famous words to Frodo when explaining the logic of The Lord of the Plot Devices: "I can put it no plainer than by saying that Bilbo was meant to find the Ring, and not by its maker." Frodo, unfortunately, fails to respond with the obvious question, to which the answer is "by the author".
jazzfish: A small grey Totoro, turning around. (Totoro)
Fascinating interview with William Gibson in the Paris Review: "For years, I’d found myself telling interviewers and readers that I believed it was possible to write a novel set in the present that would have an effect very similar to the effect of novels I had set in imaginary futures. I think I said it so many times, and probably with such a pissy tone of exasperation, that I finally decided I had to call myself on it."


Irregular Webcomic, David Morgan-Mar's daily Lego-based comic with about a dozen storylines, has come to an end after well over three thousand strips. Not to worry! He's rerunning them all from #1, with new annotations. So now's the perfect time to jump into one of the geekiest and consistently funniest webcomics around. (DMM's other big venture, Darths & Droids, is nearly at the end of Episode 3. I really hope he covers episodes 4-6 as well. Luckily, according to the FAQ they'll be covering episodes 4-6 as well.)

Making the Grade, a history of maple syrup, and a good follow-up to my earlier discourse. [via [personal profile] rbandrews]

Last night's sleep was not precisely restful. I dreamed I finished up the %&$ Space Story and attached it to an email and sent it off to the editor in question. About ten seconds later I got back an email response consisting of "No." I was kind of shocked, until I realised that I hadn't actually added in any of the stuff I'd meant to and been asked to. Then I was just miserable and mad at myself for blowing my chance at getting it published.

I used to dream a lot more, and even lucid-dream about half the time. I stopped in late 2002/early 2003 when a lot of other things in life were going pretty wrong, because my dreams were all ending up like that one.

Came down with a 48-hour head cold on Thursday night, but I caught it early enough to not stress myself. Spent Friday doing not a whole lot other than sleeping and staring blankly, and was functional enough to do some gaming on Satyrday.

Sunday night [personal profile] uilos and I went to see Mr and Mrs Amanda Palmer, for whom the line was literally around the block. It was a good show: they were kind of adorable, and Neil read a few poems and "Orange," the story he read at Balticon in 2006. I'm not quite sure what I think of Amanda's music; I enjoyed it but I don't feel inspired to run out and buy albums.

We're visiting DC (ABG, Dar concert, possibly other things) this weekend, and I'll be working from work for a couple of days as well. Possibly I can use some of the travel time to do some writing. Here's hoping.
jazzfish: an open bottle of ether, and George conked out (Ether George)
Bleh, insomnia during a head cold. I'm just barely too muzzy-headed to do anything useful, and it's not like I'm getting any sleep. May as well finish and post this.

So, in addition to an awful lot of fine writing advice, some excellent company, and insightful if sometimes contradictory critiques of my submission story, I got one more thing out of Viable Paradise: I wrote a story under a strict deadline.

The story I wrote was, word for word, the hardest thing I've ever written. "Catastrophic global warming," they say, "rigorous extrapolation of hard science," they say, "hopeful and non-post-apocalyptic," they say; "bah," sez I. Thankfully I had a bunch of other people around who were in similar boats, and we could all sit around and type madly and grumble at each other.

(It turns out writing's easier in good company. I don't know if it's the shared task, or just the sense that other people are writing and therefore my brain says it's Okay for me to be writing, and in fact I'd better be writing so I can Fit In. O, brain.)

Most of what I learned from the experience can be summed up in a conversation I had around lunchtime on Thursday:

[personal profile] aamcnamara: How's your story coming?
Me: ... do me a favor? Tell me it doesn't suck?
[personal profile] aamcnamara (who has read none of this story): It doesn't suck.

And, you know, that helped, more than I'd expected it to. I knew it had problems. The plot wasn't a plot so much as "some stuff happens to the characters in the middle of a conversation," the theme was thin, etc etc. But it also had things I do well. Dialogue. The rhythm and flow of the prose. Bits of characterization, hints of worldbuilding. It doesn't suck, not entirely, not even when I'm struggling and flailing. I can do this.

That, I'm pretty sure, is the most important thing I brought out of that week.
jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)
Mostly I've been recovering from this %&$ con-crud / post-con-crud cold. I think it's about 90% beat at this point, so I can start doing something more useful with my afternoons and evenings than "taking a nap," "working extra hours to make up for having taken an hour-long nap," or "being kinda brain-dead on account of having worked extra hours."

I'm pretty well settled in at this point. I've gotten used to being a stand-up guy, and with the addition of an extra half-inch mat I'm not even aching in my arms any more. The emergency barstool, like all flat surfaces, has turned into an emergency paper-holder. Which is a good indicator of how often it's being used for its primary function, which in turn is a good indicator of how well the standing desk is working out. Bottom line: highly recommended where feasible.

The next step of course is to see a physical therapist about my shoulder problem. My right shoulder hasn't been fully happy in a long time: the corner desk I used for a good many years kept the mouse / trackball far enough away that I had a consistent "mouse knot" around the middle of my back on the right-hand side, and then there was whatever stupid thing happened to it several years ago that had me actually seeking PT (which helped a lot but didn't fix everything, partly because it wasn't until the last session that the guy realised that hey, even though it's the shoulder that hurts, the problem's in the back muscles). And then to top it off I had six months with an uncomfortable new desk at work. Bleh. I've a recommendation for a PT who's reasonably close by, and will be looking into that next week most likely.

Now that I'm mostly done being sick I suppose I should look into getting out and running again, too. Walking everywhere and eating a little better has been good for me; I'd like to keep it that way.


Jul. 15th, 2011 11:24 am
jazzfish: an open bottle of ether, and George conked out (Ether George)
Still recovering from a lingering malingering cough, still catching up on email (I'm up to June!), still enjoying Vancouver, still waiting for my favorite character to come back in Avatar. (I think the next episode is all about him, so yay.) Blergh.

Date a girl who reads, by Rosemarie Urquico:
Fail her. Because a girl who reads knows that failure always leads up to the climax. Because girls who understand that all things will come to end. That you can always write a sequel. That you can begin again and again and still be the hero. That life is meant to have a villain or two.

Why be frightened of everything that you are not? Girls who read understand that people, like characters, develop. Except in the Twilight series.
(A brief conversation with the author.)

How To Steal Like an Artist (And 9 Other Things Nobody Told Me): "(6) The Secret: Do good work, then put it where people can see it."

Along those lines, Kelley Eskridge (author of one novel, Solitaire, and a handful of short stories) is writing vignettes / flash-fiction / snippets, one a day for forty-one days. They're not bad. (By which I mean "I want to be able to write like that.") (DW feed at [syndicated profile] kelly_eskridge_feed.)


jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)
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Adventures in Mamboland

"Jazz Fish, a saxophone playing wanderer, finds himself in Mamboland at a critical phase in his life." --Howie Green, on his book Jazz Fish Zen

Yeah. That sounds about right.

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