Tuesday

19 September 2017

Ok, help me figure this out.

It's 1990.

You're a male in your late 30's on the Registered Sex Offenders list. Your victim was an 8 year old girl.

You only got 10 years probation.

You still own and operate a martial arts school, with seemingly no difficulty.You have a large student base, many of them young boys and girls. A few of your adult stupids are police officers.

Now...what the hell kind of offense that's bad enough to get you on that list will still allow you to be present in that school, where you are around and actively teaching children?

I really want need to know.

Friday

15 September 2017

Odds & Endz #845,019,333.0001(321x782)

♦ Summer finally feels like it's on its way out, which is a relief because we've had some farkton hot days and I'm ready for fall and winter.

♦ The hot streak has made me appreciate having air conditioning, however. For what it cost to replace the damn thing, I better be appreciating the hell out of it.

♦ The arrival of fall also means longer bike rides. I bought the new bike in the middle of a heat wave and didn't get to take it out much at first, but in the last week I've put about 60 miles on it. That still doesn't sound like a lot, but I'm fat and out of shape, so it's a victory.

♦ We're using the bikes as cross training for the 3 Day. The problem is that bike riding is a hell of a lot more fun than walking, so the temptation is there to just go ride.

♦ There's about 9 weeks left until the 3 Day. We will be ready. We will be slow, but we will be ready to walk. We've discovered we really enjoy walking around downtown Sacramento, so we go there a lot. I still want to get a few long walks done in San Francisco, though. Nothing beats walking from the Wharf to the Golden Gate Bridge.

♦ Spouse Thingy and I have both met our minimum goals and we're so close in the amounts that it feels like there must be a winner. I'm only $5 ahead right now. I will fix this.

♦ Max's first book in a new Wick series is out, The Space Between Whens, but we're taking a bit of a writing break so that I can focus on training and reading other peoples' books for fun. I might take notes for the next one, but actual writing thereof might not start for a few more weeks.

♦ It's almost 3pm and I forgot to eat today. This is a first.

♦ Asked Max what he wants to do this afternoon, this was the answer:

 ♦ I'm tempted to do the same, but damned if there isn't a kitchen to be cleaned...

Wednesday

30 August 2017

It's bloody hot here this week, so not a lot of training walks have been taken--but we got out last week for a couple of decent ones, walking around downtown Sacramento. I think it's my new 2nd favorite place to walk; the first is still San Francisco and probably always will be, mostly because we can't hop in the car and be there in 10 minutes. It's a 90 minute drive at best, 2+ hours if there's a lot of traffic.

The Spouse Thingy took this last weekend off for my birthday and we planned on going to SF, but then there was an alt-right "prayer rally" that was drawing a massive counter-protest, so we bailed on that as a birthday option (though I admit, I wanted to go be part of the counter protest). The alternate plan was to head for Old Sac and Practical Cycles, where I wanted to test ride a couple of different bicycles, but screwed up sleep and then wicked hot temps convinced me that just puttering around was the better option.

We finally got there this morning--it was only suppose to hit 100 today, which made it seem like we'd have until noon or so to get the test rides done before it got too hot.

Long story short, after testing a couple of bikes, I came home with a spiffy neon pink Pedego Interceptor III. This will replace the eZip Trailz bike that I've had for the last 7-8 years--I'll probably sell it soon--and it's a hell of a lot lighter and faster than that one.

It's a 7 speed electric with 5 levels of pedal assist (not sure when I'd ever need more than the first two, but it's nice to have) and if I just use the throttle, I can speed this puppy up to 25 mph.

Ideally, I won't; the throttle is just to get me home if I get into trouble. Same with the pedal assist (and this is where I grouse that if you give me shit for needing an electric, I am going to wish 10,000 hungry fleas upon your crotch); I doubt I'll run it at more than the first level, but if I start feeling like my blood sugar is crashing or I'm over heated, I have a quick way home. And yeah, this is what it's come to. I just can't handle heat anymore; if it's over 72-75 and I'm exerting myself, there's a good chance I'll start feeling like chit sooner rather than later.

But I also don't want to not be able to go outside and work up a sweat--and I'm a year into a shoulder injury that just won't heal and has seriously limited my swimming--so this is what the Spouse Thingy got me for my birthday.

A few days ago, we picked up a new bike for him--he likes recumbents, and his is a semi-bent--but his is not electric. It's all on him to get this sucker moving. Yes, I can hit the throttle and heave him behind, but I wouldn't do that...heh.

Yeah, it was a spendy week, but all the walking has made us really want to do more, and this is more of an investment in ourselves than anything else. Ideally, no using the car if we're just going to the store or pretty much anywhere else around town. We're also looking into getting a tow bar and bike carrier so we can haul the bikes and hit some trails in Sacramento and beyond (face it, where we live is 5 miles around, and no safe way to get to a bigger town on the bikes.) We've come to realize we prefer getting outside and being active over going to the gym and dreading the workouts.

Now, if the heat wave would just break so that I don't have to get up at stupid o'clock to ride.

Morning burns.

Saturday

19 August 2017

This cat tree has been in this room since we moved into the house. No matter what the room has been used for--it's been my office, a weight room, and now a closet/treadmill room--this tree has been there.

It's always been Max's domain. If he's sleepy, he often goes there. Upset, he goes there. When I go to bed, he goes into this room and sits at the top of the tree, and talks to me. He meows a bunch, I call out, "You're fine, Max," and he goes to sleep.

It's his tree; his territory.

But lately...Buddah has been exercising his youth and has been working very hard at becoming the alpha kitty. Max never knows when he'll be attacked. He never knows if Buddah is around a corner, waiting. Max has always been the more patient of the two, but Buddah knew: Max was the boss.

Now this. In the last week I've found Buddah up on the top of the tree several times, and his only goal seems to be to keep Max off it. He's not sleeping or using it to springboard to the top of the wardrobe. He waits for Max to come into the room, and then watches as Max turns around and slinks off, dejected.

I'd be lying if I didn't admit to being pissed off on Max's behalf. He's never liked Buddah, but he's always been willing to leave him alone. He lets Buddah have his own territory--the high places, especially the top of the TARDIS in my office--and all he really wants is the top of this tree, the back of the Man's closet, and my lap. There's really not a damned thing we can do, either.

I get it, Max is old and Buddah is taking that as his cue to establish dominance. But damned...it's really pissing me off.

Thursday

17 August 2017

Another middle of the night conversation (I have sleep issues) with a writer very new to the game. She owns digital rights to her first novel and recently released it on Amazon, enrolling it in Kindle Select and--no choice in the matter--Kindle Unlimited. Visions of dollar signs invaded dreams, because we've all heard the stories about the fortunate few who, when Kindle Publishing became a thing, hit big.

That was pre-Kindle Unlimited, though. And she had no idea the impact it can have. I have zero problems with people who subscribe to KU for the volume of books they can read for a single price, I have problems with the way the writers are paid.

Let's use Emperor as an example. The list price of the paperback is $15.95, and of that, I earn about $4. If I sell 500 copies, I earn $2000.

The Kindle price is $4.99, and the rate is 70%, minus a tiny delivery fee (yes, I pay the delivery fee when you buy my book.) For each book, I earn $3.50 minus that fee...so it's around $3.40. If I sell 500 copies, I earn $1700. If I take the book out of Kindle Select, which puts it into KU, my rate drops to 35%. So those 500 books earn $1.74 each, for $840.

When someone reads this book via Kindle Unlimited, I get paid per page read. Now, that's not actual page counts, but an arbitrary count that Kindle decides my book should be based on an algorithm that who the hell knows what it is. The actual page count is 302, but Kindle thinks it's 278

The payment for page reads this month is $0.0040. At 278 pages, I earn $1.11 when someone "buys" my book using Kindle Unlimited. If I sell 500, I get paid $555.

One of the problems is that with an all-you-can-read buffet, people download more books than they can read, so they have a whole bunch of books in their TBR pile. I wont earn a cent until they open the book and read...or at least flip through to the end.

Since the evolution of Kindle sales to include Kindle Unlimited, I've watched my earnings drop in a major way.

Are any indie writers breaking through? Sure. Writers who use click farms to assure a certain number of pages read are leaping to the head of the pack. Ever see a #1 book jump #368,987 to the top? Yeah...that writer paid a few hundred bucks to make that happen.

Anyway...yeah...that was the reality to which the newby writer entered digital publishing.

It's not a huge deal for me; seriously, our lives don't depend on my income. But the IDEA that as time goes on my work is worth so much less that it was just a couple of years ago kind of stings.

It's also why I will never get books under KU. I don't get them when they're free; if I want a book, I wait until it goes off sale from free and has a price attached. If you're a friend and a writer, I probably bought your book, and not when it was $0.00. KU is terrific for readers, it's horrible for writers.

I've kept most of my books in KS for the 70% rate, but I'm seriously eyeing taking them out of it and going wide--being more available on sites other than Amazon.

I seriously appreciate everything Amazon has done for indie publishing, but damn...our work is worth more than $0.004 per page.

Sunday

13 August 2017

Last week, during one of those nights when I couldn't sleep--not unusual--I fell into a conversation online with a couple of fellow insomniacs. We've all had blogs for over a decade, and we've all noted a sharp decline in the number of posts we create each month. Granted, blogs are not the thing they used to be and most of the ones I looked forward to each day are long gone, but none of us foresaw a time when we would let the dust gather in the spots where we shared the stupid chit that tumbled through our brains.

Across the board, it's been in the last year that our posting has seriously declined. And across the board, it all boils down to politics.

We're all writers. None of us are A-listers; all of us are part of overwhelming majority of writers for whom a sales month that breaks $500 is pretty freaking good, considering our biggest chunk of income come from page reads laid out at $0.0042 per page read. No, seriously, that's what Kindle Unlimited pays, roughly.

But that's beside the point. We're writers, so we need readers. We need readers who are not ticked off at us, angry at us for having opinions, offended because we don't think the way they do. We don't have the kind of power that comes with an A-list name, and can't get away with the political commentary that people like J.K. Rowling or Stephen King manage. Those who are paying close enough attention know where we stand, but we can't afford to be pushy about it.

We all lamented that; we all live in a country where free speech is a constitutional right, yet we all understand the fundamental point that having that right doesn't protect us from the repercussions of exercising that right. And it shouldn't; you can't yell "FIRE!" in a crowded theater and not expect to get your asterisk arrested when there is no fire. You can't hold a sign up outside someone's home proclaiming them to be a coke-sniffing whore without verifiable proof that they both indulge in a lot of cocaine and take money for sex. You can't stand in the center of a shopping mall with a megaphone and announce that Jerry from the customer service stand has crotch worms.

We have free speech; we have libel and slander laws. It's a necessary balance.

We also have freedom of choice, and a reader who despises the political leanings of a writer has every right to never again read, much less purchase, any product that writer offers for consumption. So we tread carefully, lest we offend a part of our base.

I have avoided the Cheeto-coated elephant in the room for over a year, lest I offend. I have mostly steered away from the political, lest I offend. I have have deliberately avoided allowing anything political on Max's official author page on Facebook, because it doesn't feel like the place for it, but I have also restrained myself on mine to the point where some days, I feel like choking on the things left unsaid.

I thought about that conversation a lot yesterday while watching news from Charlottesville unfold and reading the reactions online. Little bits of it pinged around in my brain as I tried to comprehend how, in 2017, there are still people embracing the Nazi party line, so brazen in their stance that they showed up with torches, chanting Nazi slogans, that they didn't bother covering their faces. I stewed in it as I watched video of a car plowing into a group of counter-protestors. It gutted me to learn that a woman was killed.

Her name is Heather Heyer. Her last Facebook post: If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention.

Here's the thing about that late-night conversation that feels like a grain of kitty litter stuck to the bottom of my foot three miles into a ten mile walk: if my sales suddenly stop, if I never sell another book, we'll be just fine. Max's annual claim that his royalties go toward buying things for Toys For Tots isn't an exaggeration. His musings about spending his money on events to save the boobies isn't a joke. By design, the money I make writing generally goes toward our annual charitable contributions. It would suck, because there is some ego involved in seeing the royalty statement every month, but if I stopped selling what I write, we're not in danger of losing the house. We'll still eat. We'll still be able to afford toys and a gym membership we rarely use. The Spouse Thingy does a fine job supporting us. The only thing that would suffer would be what we contribute.

So I allowed Max his outrage on his personal FB page. I'll survive any repercussions. His furry little asterisk gives voice to my embarrassment: I don't get it. There is nothing special about being white; there is nothing cultural that needs to be rescued from the tides of change. It doesn't matter if white people continue on; give it a hundred years--presuming we don't backslide so hard we wind up with a collective national concussion--and there won't be anyone truly white. That's not losing anything; that's gaining a common culture, and it's taking steps forward.

1992 in Gainesville. Clearly, not much has changed.
The fact that there are people who believe in White Nationalism, and shout Nazi slogans while they march with tiki torches in hand?

We should all be outraged; that the KKK still exists in America is an embarrassment. That anyone feels safe enough to march with torches in hand, screaming to take back something that should never have been theirs in the first place, is morally repugnant. This shouldn't be White America, people. It's just America. The United States of America. The melting pot of the world, bastion of freedom. We should be the foremost example of equality, diversity, and freedom, yet we're stumbling backward and turning this country into a land of which most of the world will be--if they aren't already--afraid. If they're not afraid, they're mocking us.

And we deserve it.

We only need to take a look at the current administration; the people elected to govern this country are a symptom of the problem. We have at the helm a crude, ignorant, misogynistic racist, and those with greater control of Congress aren't any better. They're stuck in a rut of party-over-country and they don't have the balls to do what's necessary to correct the course that we're on.

No, this didn't start with the election of Trump; this has been going on far too long, led by right-wing fundamentalists who were incredibly open about doing everything they could to stonewall the operations of the country, all in the name of putting the Republican Party on top. We all saw it happening. It's still happening.

And yet, we elected to this nation's highest office a man who does not have the temperament, personality, or intelligence to get the job done. He was open about his misogyny, he freely mocked the disabled, he couldn't string together a coherent sentence, and yet people voted for him for no reason other than he wasn't her.

That he sits in the Oval office--when he isn't indulging in one of his far-too-often golf outings--blustering utter nonsense is tacit permission for the lowest of our low to take to the streets and demand for themselves something no one needs.

Come to grips with it.

Your need for cultural identity ends when it infringes on someone else's right to live without fear; your symbols of Confederacy are not necessary for you to live in freedom, especially when they say to an entire segment of the population: you are hated, and we will win. No, you won't. Your monuments to men who fought to hold onto slavery are little more than participation trophies. You should have grown up by now; most people get rid of those once they reach an age where logic wins over ego.

Your fear of infiltration by others is unfounded. Your worry that white people are being displaced is nonsense. Do a blood test, check your ancestry. I guarantee it's not all white. You are a smattering of everything, encased in a skin that makes life incredibly privileged right from the start.

And seriously, don't tell me on one breath that you condemn the actions of yesterday in Charlottesville, and in the next tell me you still support Trump. Trump is a symptom of the disease, and people, you don't cure the disease without treating the symptoms.



23 July 2017

All right, so at the beginning of the month the Spouse Thingy helped me set my bike up for inside riding, because it's been too freaking hot to walk outside. I was all YAY because I could ride in my office and watch stuff on my iPad, and it was set up right where the air vent would blow on me. No heat issues! Huzzah!

So, of course, the air conditioner up and croaked. And it wasn't a gentle, replace-a-part croaking; it was a full on, have-a-memorial service-then-bury-the-damn-thing croaking. And because of the way our entire HVAC system is, it meant replacing the furnace at the same time.

Even then, it wasn't awful. It's not how we wanted to spend our money, but it was a lot less spendy than I feared it would be (thank you HGTV for making me think it might be $40,000 for both. It was not.) The only real problem was time...two weeks until everything could be installed.

Somekitty figured out where the cool air came from...
So...fine. It was too damned hot in the house to get on the bike. It was too damned hot for most things, but I was able to get a portable a/c from Home Depot, so we were able to keep the living room at about 85. Not great, but not horrible. Because of the cats, we ran it even when we weren't home, because they're senior kitties and Max, especially, is vulnerable.

Then the portable peed all over the floor and soaked the carpet, and just made me 20 kinds of cranky. Still, it worked, and once we figured out the whole a/c-peeing thing, it was good enough. Sleeping sucked big fat hairy donkey balls, because the bedroom was 92 and even a fan did no good.

I whined a lot.

I also spent a lot at Starbucks, because they have a/c and don't mind me sitting there with my laptop for hours on end. I got a lot of work done (editor has the first Wick After Dark book...there are some for-sure rewrites that need to be done, though) and read a few books, and drank way too much tea,

But...but...but...heat outside and heat inside meant I didn't do a lot of moving around. Yes, we have a gym membership, but really, the idea of driving all that way when it's this hot was more of a pain in the ass idea than anything.

Then the a/c was replaced this week, and we have cold air again (and more efficient...places in this house that were always hot now are not, so, yay) which means the bike will be used.

In fact, I used it last night. And discovered the seat is really hard (really, my asterisk is just too delicate). And then discovered the iPad I want to use to watch stuff while I pedal away doesn't have a volume setting loud enough for me to hear over the sound of the tire spinning. And THEN discovered the Bluetooth on it doesn't work anymore, so my earbuds wouldn't connect.

I said a lot of HBO words.

Still, we have air, I have bike, all is good.

Next up:

We are not waiting for it to croak. It's as old as the a/c was (went in when the house was built) and since Dixon has horrible water, we're getting it done soon. Probably a week or so from now. And if a new water heater proves to have the same increased efficiency as the a/c, we'll probably kick ourselves for not doing it sooner, since we can't get really hot water in the kitchen.

If anything else goes wrong...surely there's a celebrity out there who will draw attention to the Wick Chronicles and pimp if out, right???

Or maybe Wick After Dark will hit it big. Bouncy things sell well...I hope.


Saturday

15 July 2017

All righty...back when I was fundraising for St. Baldrick's, I promised that if I hit a certain amount, I would post a video of me singing. And then I got sick, sounded like crap, and then...I forgot.

Last night, I remembered. So...you get the raw, unwarmed-up, unrehearsed vocals of moi. Presuming the video doesn't get yanked (tried to stick in on FB, they immediately pulled it, because of the music.)

Oh yeah, the music. Since I did this on the fly, I played a song on my iPod and sang along.

And why this song?

Well...once upon a time I bought my first iPod and created a playlist with, like, 15 tracks on it. All 15 were of this song. Because WHY THE HELL NOT??? I used to drive around in the convertible and sing along, over and over and over. Also, now you know where the Queen of Pacifica got her name.


Friday

14 July 2017

Ok. The wondering of why someone would blame me for using Max's name is solved. But now I'm at fault for something else.

I can buy this. Stupid shit is super funny when you're drunk.

But, alas, peoples, I could not warn anyone about the horrors of the Fireball Hangover.

I've never had a hangover.

So


Enjoy your Ibuprofen today!

Thursday

13 July 2017

"What you're doing is wrong. Max has spent years building his rep and followers, and you're using his name AND his series' characters to launch your own perverted thing."
I have upset someone terribly, because I am writing a book based on characters created BY MY CAT, and thusly I am ruining his reputation. HE SPENT YEARS MAKING FRIENDS ONLINE, Y'ALL!

He thinks I'm horrible, too.
Yes, I am a horrible, awful, no good person for "borrowing" my cat's good name and creative endeavor to use as my own. And you know what? SOMETIMES I SPEND HIS MONEY! This December, I'm going to spend ALL OF IT on toys and shelter donations, and I'M NOT EVEN GOING TO ASK HIM.

But honestly, there's nothing really PERVERTED in the first Wick After Dark book. Unless sex itself is perverted. And a few f-bombs. Well, a lot of f-bombs. Teenagers spew f-bombs, who knew???

My horrible, selfish, awful self is still waiting on editor's notes, but she has made the first pass through it, just to read it, and it didn't offend her. She's super old, so, you know...she has sensibilities. Granted, they're that of a sailor, but still, she has them.

6 July 2017

This.

Ugh.

It's pretty well established, I don't handle heat very well. It's also pretty well established that I am not a morning person, and getting up early enough to beat the heat often doesn't happen in spite of my best intentions.

And it's not just walk training the heat interferes with. I kinda like a few other things, biking--and the pedal kind, not the motorcycle kind--is one of them. We bought a recumbent stationary bike a few years ago, without considering the fact that I'd replaced my recumbent road bike with an upright because of my lower back and hip issues. Yeah. I are teh dumb sometimes. The stationary bike just exacerbate those problems, so it went in a back room near the Spouse Thingy's computer and TV.

But because of the heat, we have this set up again. It'd be more fun to be outside riding, but that's not gonna happen again until them temps are under 75-80, so I hauled it inside, and with the Spouse Thingy's help got it on the green thingy, and I can ride it in here. This is gonna help the walking, too, I need the cardio work since I haven't been swimming as much (frakking shoulder...I would like a new one, thank you, but in a way that doesn't involve pain.)

(I would, BTW, give a bunch cash, some cookies, and even one of my Who toys to be normal and able to tolerate more than NorCal winter temps. I'm lazy but not THAT lazy that I'd actually prefer this to being outside.)

Once the bike was setup, I dug around in a closet and found a mount that I bought a few years ago; it clamps to the handlebar and holds an iPad, whch brings me to the real point of all of this.

What the hell do I want to watch on Netflix while I pedal the afternoon away? Amazon Prime is an option, too, if I can figure out how to get it working. I need a few binge-worthy suggestions (other than Jessica Jones, which I watched already. Or Sons of Anarchy, 'cause that's on my list but I haven't been in the mood for it.)

Pick your favorite, and leave it in the comments, here or at Facebook, which I'll link to the blog.

And yeah, I've lost track of how many times the dammit machines have been set up and moved around the house. It keeps the cats on their paws.

Monday

3 July 2017

The Spouse Thingy and I have been walking, looking toward the 3 Day in November. Since the little town in which we live is flat and small and makes me want to poke my eyes out because I've walked so much of it so often, we're finding other places to walk. Last week, we walked around Six Flags--we don't get on the rides, we just walk and then eat tiny cinnamon donuts--and the next day we walked around downtown Sacramento.

It's a decent place for walking, as long as you start before the temperatures go up. We hit 6 miles and had to stop because it had reached 80 and I was feeling nauseated, because heat hates me and wants me to die.

We weren't the only ones there training.


I walked right past a friend, another 3 Day walker whom I've known for 5-6 years.

Here's the thing... it doesn't matter how well I know you; there's a good chance that if we're in the same physical space and I don't expect to see you there, I won't recognize you. It's not personal. There are very few people I would know at a glance. The Spouse Thingy and the Boy, I think, but I won't guarantee anyone else.

So if you see me, and I don't react, it's totally not you, it's me.

Apologies in advance.

And if you do tell me to wake up, don't be surprised if it takes a minute for my brain to engage. I really think my neighbor thinks I'm stuck up because we've run into each other in front of the cat food at Safeway a few times, and I had no idea who she was. If she'd been in her driveway, I would have.

Seriously. It's me, not you.

Shuddup, I am not a weirdo...

26 June 2017

15


Fifteen years ago, at WTF o’clock, the Spouse Thingy woke me up and herded me into the truck; I took my pillow so that I could doze during the drive, but truthfully it was more to bury my face into, because I wanted to pretend that this wasn’t happening. On a good day, morning burns; on this day, it was terrifying, because I was headed into the Realm of Really Scary Shit, wherein a geeky neurosurgeon with confidence as big as his pants were too short was about to go fishing in my brain for the tumor that was clinging to my pituitary and causing me all kinds of problems.


Proof that I have a brain
I have spotty memories from that day: after checking in and changing into the spiffy super thin gown, I realized I couldn’t run because they now had my clothes; asking the surgeon to not sneeze while his fingers were in brain; the sliding away from full awareness to the lull of the drugs, and being wheeled on an uncomfortable gurney, wishing I still had my glasses on because rolling down a hospital hallway is even more terrifying when you can’t see.


I vaguely remember waking up and whining about how much my head hurt, and hearing someone near the bed tell the Spouse Thingy that I wasn’t breathing, and then being yelled at to take deep breaths. Crying later because I didn’t want more morphine, because it was going to stop me from breathing, and I didn’t want to die. The Spouse Thingy promising me I would still be able to breathe, so let them give me the drugs.


He stayed late into the night; one of the critical problems with my case was having diabetes insipidus, and without drinking enough my electrolytes would be shot all to hell, one of the things the surgeon was most concerned about during recovery. I was off my medication post-surgery, to see if removing the tumor would return pituitary function and if the missing hormone would kick back in. He stayed and kept my water pitcher full, and made sure that I kept drinking (I popped the catheter bag; I was drinking a lot); the missing hormone stayed missing and none of the things the tumor had knocked out returned, but damned if my electrolytes weren’t perfect.


The entire day was pain. I was in and out of it, but I remember waking up and seeing the Boy near the foot of the bed in a bright blue shirt. My in laws beside the bed, making sure I was all right. Pudding, the only thing I wanted to eat. Grape juice, the only thing I wanted to drink—so the Spouse Thingy went in search of it for me. I avoided the ICU, which was something I’d been warned about before the surgery: this is major shit, sometimes people wind up there. My major shit only landed me on the neuro floor, and I stayed there.


Clearly, I survived. The first couple of days are mostly lost to the pain (and I learned: morphine suppresses your breathing rate but I didn’t actually STOP breathing, even though I was 100% sure that’s what the recovery room nurse said), but on the 4th day, I was sent home. I felt great, the pain was a dull roar, and I was out of bed and walking. I had visions of sitting in the living room, watching TV, lounging in bed and reading. I had no expectation that just the drive home would wipe me out, nor that I would stay that wiped out for a few more days.


Also…I did not expect to look like a Teletubby that had the crap punched out of it by Mike Tyson. But I did.


It became a waiting game: what the hell was growing inside Thumper’s head? It had been pretty freaking huge, creeping up the pituitary stalk toward the hypothalamus, which necessitated a pituitary specialist, but none of the images taken gave any of the docs I saw a clear idea what it was.


Now, the thing I WISH they had told me: it’s never cancer. Pituitary cancer is so freaking rare that since they began compiling stats on it 100 years or so ago, there have only been around 100 cases. I might not have worried so much if I had known. I was given a range of possibilities: prolactoma, adenoma, craniopharyngioma. The surgeon was leaning toward that last one based on what the tumor looked like when he removed it, and if that was the case I was looking at a few rounds of radiation to make sure it was gone.


When the results came in, he called my himself. He wanted me to hear it from him.


Lymphocyctic hypophysitis. It’s extremely rare, something usually only seen in women who have just had their first baby. I was 40 and my baby was a teenager. But the major thing…it was benign. It was also basically a giant zit, a mass of infection clustered on the pituitary. Not likely to ever come back.


It left its mark, to be sure. I was left with diabetes insipidus (“water” diabetes, not to be confused with diabetes mellitus, or “sugar” diabetes, the one you think of when you hear the word…I am always thirsty, and if my meds wear off I will drink like a fiend and pee like a maniac) and hypothyroidism. My hormones were out of whack for years. My brain makes zero growth hormone, which means muscle repair is a long process and weight training pretty much useless. It also means extra body fat, which sucks big fat hairy donkey balls.


Whether related or not, but occurring right along with it, I have difficulties with heat; if the temp is over 72 or so, I’m miserable. If I’m trying to exercise in it, there’s a good chance I’ll get overheated. That lesson was brought home hard a few years ago when I took a bike ride at 75 degrees. Forty-five minutes of slow pedaling, I was dizzy and nauseated, and barely made it through the door before I passed out. I don’t wear a bike helmet because of it—ten minutes and I’ll hit that point—and it makes walk training all kinds of fun.


It makes the idea of warm temps on the 3 Day a little worrisome. But since I don’t walk alone, I don’t worry as much. No one’s going to let me die there.


It’s part of why flying is iffy. Normal people who are nervous flyers get a surge of blood sugar when their cortisol goes up—fuel for the “flight or fight” response—but mine drives down dangerously, and I don’t recognize that it’s happening.


It’s why, when we go places like Disneyland or Vegas, we don’t tend to invite people along, even when we’d like to. I never know when I’m going to crash and burn; I may be fine, I may need to stop what I’m doing and go back to the hotel room. I never know. I may be fine all of one day, and barely able to think the next. It’s not a sociable way to vacation, for sure.


The main thing is…it didn’t kill me. I can live like this just fine.


But 15 years ago at WTF o’clock, I was in the passenger seat of a Chevy S-10, trying to not freak the fark out. Probably a good thing I didn’t, because at 70 mph, if I had startled the Spouse Thingy, we both might not be here.


First time I wrote about this is [HERE]. It might be funnier…

Saturday

10 June 2017

OddzNEndz #98,473,124

Okay, so…a month. I did not realize I had not posted here in a month. I’m not even sure how many people still read the blog, but my ego likes having one, so I’m not killing it. A lot of my favorite bloggers are far less frequent than they used to be…I think because Facebook is a thing and we talk to each other there.
* * * * *
I do enjoy Facebook; I miss the 200 blogs I used to read 3-4 times a week, but FB is the one place I feel like I really connect with other people, and where else am I going to see pictures of what my friends are having for lunch? And that’s not a slam…I am one of those people who likes the food pictures. I also like all the selfies and weird memes and stupid funny video clips. FB was made for someone like me.
* * * * *
I have had the same song stuck in my head for over two days now, and it’s giving me a headache. Cake By The Ocean. Aside from the repetitive refrain pounding inside me skull, I keep thinking that metaphor or not, eating cake by the ocean is a bad idea. Sand gets where sand doesn’t belong, it starts to chafe, and then no one has a good time.
* * * * *
I am actually grinding my teeth to the beat of the song. My dentist will love that.
* * * * *
Max has a poll on his blog (in the sidebar, if you haven’t answered the single questions) and I posted the same poll elsewhere (writer’s group, creepy people who want Emperor porn :::waves hello at my creepy colleagues::: ), and we’re getting polar opposite results.

The question: Which would you prefer for the start of the Wick After Dark series—one long novel, or three shorter novellas? Max’s poll leans heavily to one long novel. Writery people want three novellas. I think (guessing) readers just want to buy one thing, thinking it will be cheaper overall. Can’t blame them. Writers see the benefit of releasing novellas; indie writers especially look at the production costs versus the increased sales numbers.

I don’t care either way, to be honest. But it unless a bunch of stuff is edited out, it’s going to be a very long book, one of the longest I’ve written. It’s pretty much three separate stories, tied together, and will work either way. The final decision will be the editor’s, but unless it balloons to Stupid Long, I don’t see why she’d advise against doing what readers want.
* * * * *
Max officially turns 16 in ten days. In truth, his actual birthday is probably somewhere between the 8th and the 15th, but when it came time to pick a date, we went with the 20th. I don’t know why. I don’t even remember why we needed a date. Blog, maybe? :::shrugs:::

In any case, he’s officially older than any other cat I’ve had. More spoiled, too.
* * * * *
Yes, yes we did grill steaks to cut up as cat treats while we had Hamburger Helper for dinner. And again when we had hot dogs. And when the Spouse Thingy had cereal. Granted, we buy the cheap little chuck steaks, three or four for about $5, but it’s still steak and damned if Max doesn’t go nuts for it.
* * * * *
Freaking June already. Damn.

Tuesday

9 May 2017

It lies.
It does not feel like 88 to me. It feels like 98.
Or worse.

I used to be okay with heat; now when it's over 75 I'm miserable, over 85 I feel like all kinds of krap. I would much prefer it be 35...at least then I can wear a sweatshirt and be comfy. And unless it's windy or raining, a sweatshirt is all I need unless it goes lower. Totally the opposite of how I used to be.

It's gonna make training for the 3 Day suck.

There are 198 days until the San Diego, so we really need to get our asterisks in gear and start training. If we follow the provided training schedule, we should be doing 3 miles or so a couple times a week; that's not a problem. Both of us can pound out 6+ without any problem, 10 if we push it. So I'm not too worried, but yeah, we need to get to it.

The suckiest part...I'm probably going to have to drag myself out of bed at normal people hours to get the miles in before it gets too hot, and I am not a normal people.

Forked, the third book in The Wick Chronicles, is out now in paperback and for the Kindle...the hardback has been sent to the printer and should hit distribution next week. Yep, we did it backward, because why not?

Yes, that's the royal "we" unless you count Max, which you totally should.

And yes, Char, we're already working on the next book. It will start a new series, Wick After Dark, which won't quite be the Emperor porn you want but will definitely be 18+.


Picture of an irritated Max, just because.

Thursday

Sunday

23 April 2017

This was me on Facebook yesterday, having a meltdown:


I had just finished combing the manuscript for those last, buggery, infuriating typos, and was DONE. Finally. The sucker was ready to be formatted, and I was preparing to send the final draft to the editor. the Spouse Thingy has a week off work starting Monday, and I was primed to take a few days off as well. Perfect timing.

But then I started the email to which I would attach the file, and realized there were 3 versions of the book sitting in my Dropbox folder.

And then, to my horror, I realized I had been working from all three at different points, all because I often have a case of Teh DumB. Every day I'd sit down and open Word, click on the file name in the main page, and work. Like a normal person, right?

Eh. The mistake was all on me. I wanted to blame Word for saving different files, and I wanted to blame Dropbox, because why the hell not, but looking at it, it was me.

It looks like this. Wait for this.
When you save a file to Dropbox, it saves to your hard drive first. Then it synchs to Dropbox. I know that.

But I was not paying attention the 2,974,984 times I clicked on SAVE while working. So a lot of the time when I worked at Starbucks, I clicked on SAVE, watched as Word saved the file, and then closed the lid to the laptop.

Here's the thing, boys and girls, learn from me: there's a little Dropbox icon in the Windows taskbar. DON'T SHUT THINGS DOWN UNTIL YOU SEE THAT LITTLE GREEN CIRCLE WITH THE CHECKMARK. If you don't see that, if it's a little blue circle with roundy arrows, it's still synching.

I wasn't paying attention. So Dropbox patiently waited for me to be near a WiFi connection again with the freaking lid open, and then saved the document with a new file name.

So I screwed up. And whined. And in whining got great advice and learned how to compare documents with Word. Well, two documents, and I needed to compare three. But the upside is that I learned how to do it, and in poking around realized I could do two at a time and then worry about the third later.

And HALLELUJAH, when I sat down to get it done, I realized the only differences occur in the first 40 pages. After that, other than a few stray commas, all three documents are the same.

So what I thought was going to take 3-4 days only took 2-3 hours.

I'm still taking one more pass through, just in case, so I won't be sending it to the editor until Monday, but...for all intents and purposes, FORKED is done.

Wednesday

19 April 2017

Dear Lady at the table next to me:

Sorry, I wasn’t intentionally eavesdropping, but you were a little on the loud side, so it was unavoidable. And I get why you were loud: you were an excited kind of upset, and people tend to ratchet up the volume when they’re upset.

The thing is, what really caught my attention, is why you were upset. Your 28 year old baby boy asked a girl to marry him and she said yes, and you cannot fathom how this is can be happening. Not now. You haven’t met her, and you’re pretty sure you won’t like her. Why not? Because. Just because. And you’re pretty sure that she’ll have to win you over, earn your trust and your love. The whole thing just upsets you, and you want it to stop.

Lady…you’re doing it backwards.

Love her before you meet her. Trust her right from the start. This is the woman your son wants to spend forever with, and a few days beyond that if he can. You are not and will never be and never should be that woman; you did your job, you raised him, and I’m going to go out on a limb and presume you did a pretty decent job of it. Your son is a good man, right? Of course someone is going to love him and want to commit to being the other half of his soul.

That’s a good thing.

It’s not a competition. He doesn’t love her more, and doesn’t love you less—he loves you each differently. And this is the thing that stands out most to me, because I’ve been in that position: the boy I gave birth to became a damned fine man, and he met The Girl and fell in love. From the moment I knew about her, I liked her. He was smitten and she liked him back, and that's all I needed to know.

From the moment I saw the light in his eyes when he mentioned her, I loved her. How could I not love someone who clearly made him so happy?

And when he asked her to marry him, I was thrilled. She brings out the best in him, and he wants to be the man she deserves.

Your son is probably a lot like mine. He has good taste and great judgment, he surrounds himself with wonderful, loyal friends; the woman he marries will be worthy of him.

If he loves her, how can I not? And better still, she obviously has great taste and superior judgment, because she chose him. If she loves him, how can I not love her?

I was right, too.

If you make her earn your trust and then your affection, you’ll have wasted so much time and the hard feelings you create might not ever be soothed. You'll miss out on so many wonderful moments, waiting for those feelings to come. And it really will be you on the losing end; you'll be on the outside looking in, by yourself while they move forward with their lives.

Respect your son; if this is the woman he loves, and she loves him back, then this is the woman your heart needs to be open to.

Respect yourself; you did a damned fine job raising a good man, you taught him to make good choices.

And if nothing else: she loves your son. She loves your son. That should be enough.

Lead with love. Everything else will follow.

Saturday

8 April 2017

This is going to sound bitchy, and maybe it is, but...

Look, I know there are tons of places online where people can download books and music and movies for free. But seriously, don't ever brag to me about how you have all of my books, and you got them for free a X's website. I know you think it's a compliment--hey, you have everything I've published--but the truth is that it just pisses me off.

Think about it. You have a job, right? How would you feel if you went into work and your boss informed you that your work output is pretty freaking good, but since he can basically get the same thing elsewhere for free, you're not going to get paid.

When you use those sites to get my books, I don't get paid. Anything.

As it is, what I earn from most legal downloads amounts to 1 cent per page. That's it. One cent. If you get books via Kindle Unlimited, I get less than one-half cent per page read. Seriously. It usually hovers around $0.0047 per page read. That, at least, is a legal avenue, even though it sucks on my end.

I appreciate that you're reading my books, but people, it is my work. I spend anywhere from six months to a year on a single title; I work more than 40 hours a week. It's my job, as much as the place you go to every day and work is yours.

No, it's not like borrowing a book from the library. Libraries purchase books at set prices and writers get paid based on those distribution agreements.

No, it's not like borrowing a book from a friend. That friend might lend the book to 2 or 3 people; file sharing disburses it to potentially millions. Every time you take a file that is not specifically offered by its creator, without paying for it from a legitimate sales source, you're denying its creator fair wages.

There may come a time when I offer specific titles for free, but that would be by my own choice. I have not, nor will I ever, authorize someone else to distribute my books for free. In fact, if you're getting them in digital form from any place other than Amazon, you're getting a pirated copy.

Don't be that douche who feels entitled to other peoples' work just because some other douche ripped it off and put it online.

And if you are that douche? Don't brag about it to me. My book or someone else's, it doesn't matter. I won't be amused. I won't think you're clever for getting it for free. I won't be impressed.

And truthfully, it's not just about the money. It's about respect. If you're downloading pirated material, you don't really have any respect for its creator...so why would you then tell me about it, and expect me to be all right with it?

This isn't anything new. When my first book was published, it wound up being download 25,000 times before the file was taken down by the publisher. Theoretically, those downloads represent $100,000 in lost income, based on my contract I had at the time. This was before e-readers were really a thing; people accessed the print file and shared it as a PDF. It's considerably easier to do now, as the digital file is easily converted to a variety of formats, and I don't allow DRM on my books.

Why not?

Because those who do buy the books should have the right to move them between their own devices. They should be able to share it with a few friends.

But holy hell. Don't ever brag to me that you downloaded it from a pirating website. I will never look at you the same way after that.


Wednesday

5 April 2017

He spent a lot of time last night laying there, staring up at the top of the china cabinet.

He wants to jump up there--Buddah does all the time--but he knows he can't quite make it anymore.

Worse, he remembers when he could do it, because it wasn't all that long ago.

Now the house is cluttered with things he can use to get to places he used to be able to jump without any effort. There's a cube by the bed, so that he can get up to nap or to bug me as I sleep. There's another cube by my desk for him to use to get onto the cat tree that where he lounges while we work. Buddah's favorite tree is on the other side of the kitchen counter, and Max uses that to sneak up there and steal Buddah's snacks; he hasn't been able to jump from the floor to the counter in over a year.

I imagine there will be a day soon when we have to get shorter things, so that he can get onto the cubes that allow him onto the places he likes to be.

But there's nothing I can do to help him get to the top of the china cabinet, where he seems to want to be right now.

There's also nothing I can do to help him get from the top of his cat tree in the spare room to the top of the wardrobe, where he loved to hide. Now he lounges in the middle of the floor in that room, reasoning, I think, that it's his room. Buddah rarely goes in there; I rarely go in there. So it's his room, and if he can't get up high, he's going to take up as much floor as he can.

He's still healthy, but his age is really starting to show; in roughly 8 weeks he turns 16, the oldest cat I've ever had. I have no doubt he'll be around for that, but beyond? I'm honestly not expecting him to see 17.

This isn't a weepy kind of post; don't worry about him yet...I just want to prepare those who have followed him online since he was three years old. He's not just getting old now; he is old, and his days are more likely numbered in weeks and months and not years.

Right now he wants me to open a can of gravy-laden gooshy food. If he doesn't like the flavor, I'll open another one. And of course I will, because old men should have what they want when they want it.

Friday

31 March 2017

This is the post-book-sent-to-editor phase that I kind of don't like: what the hell to do with myself? I have a ton of things I could and should do--there are other books to be read, and the house looks like complete crap so I should get off my asterisk and clean--but I wind up sitting here doing nothing while I contemplate what to do.

My brain is a little bit fried, I think. It keeps telling me that there's another week left in the month, even when I'm staring at the date in the lower corner of my monitor, or the one on the clock by the TV. I can plainly see that this is the last day of March, but dammit, April is a week away as far as my brain is concerned.

Since it's Friday, my brain is also telling me I should slip the laptop into my backpack and head over to Starbucks, where I can work for a couple of hours without all the at-home distractions. It's the start of my work week, I'm supposed to be at a table with a spendy cup of tea, trying to figure out what a six pound cat might say to a person who can clearly understand him.

I should clean the kitchen.
I should go to the gym.
I should take a long bike ride.
I should do laundry.

I have a stack of books in my TBR pile.
I have 100 pages of notes for the next book.
I have some pictures that need to be hung.
I have absolutely no idea WHAT I want to do.

So...I sit here with the TV on while I play online, because waiting for the editor's notes (and for the Spouse Thingy to proof for typos) renders me useless. Too many things to do, and a brain that can't keep track of the days much less decide on what I can do to be productive.

Thursday

30 March 2017

What I've learned this month: a kidney infection is the gift that just keeps on giving. The infection itself is gone, but it left reminders and  would very much like those reminders to go away.

If you've been reading this blog since the beginning, you might remember that I have diabetes insipidus (which is not diabetes. It would be more aptly called "water diabetes" where the type you normal think of is "sugar diabetes.) Basically, my brain no longer makes the hormone that tells the kidneys when to hold onto water and when to release it, and without medication they release it. All of it.

Unmedicated, my life is a constant drink-fest. The thirst is violent and unrelenting, and I can suck down a liter an hour...and wind up peeing every 15 minutes. The upside is that the meds control it quite well. I'm thirstier than the average person and I damn well need to know where all public facilities are, but I can function normally and generally don't have to get up at night.

When the infection hit, it was like I was going unmedicated. The worst part (after getting over the infection. That sucked) was having to get up 4-5 times a night. I have a tendency toward middle insomnia as it is, so after the 2nd time up, I was awake, and stayed awake for 2-3 hours. My sleep cycles was all wonky, and I was getting freaking tired.

The doc assured me it was normal; my entire urinary tract was inflamed, and it was going to take a couple of weeks to calm down.

I would like it to calm the frak down now. I would like to be able to go do normal-people things.

The upside, I suppose, is that I got a lot of work done. Since I wasn't really going anywhere other than Starbucks, I planted myself in my chair and got the second draft to the third Wick book done and sent to the editor, and if I feel like jumping right to the next while I wait for her input, I have nearly a hundred pages of notes for the 4th book (which will not be a Chronicles book...it will be a new series start, Wick After Dark.)

But if my kidneys start cooperating, I'm taking some time off to go do things, like hit the gym and take long walks, because in 8 months is the 3 Day, and I want to make those 60 miles my bitch.

What I won't be ready for is Tinkerbell. I have no endurance right now (we did 4 miles the other day and it was surprisingly hard) and there's no way I can meet the pace requirement. I have a nasty feeling that Tink will be another Avon walk for me: something I register for every year but somehow never make it to.

Oh yeah, I registered this year. It's in July, so we'll see. It's only 40 miles, so maybe.

In any case...the book is done, and I pee a lot.

So...life is normal, I guess.

Wednesday

22 March 2017

After the cold from hell and then the kidney infection, I got slapped down with another UTI. Or a continuing one, point is there were a lot of crappy things going on with my innards and I was starting to get really pissed off. I hate being stuck at home, and it was really starting to feel like not just being stuck, but stapled in place.

And then the Spouse Thing caught the cold, his reward for taking care of me when I felt really gross.

But, this weekend I felt normal--still a bit of a goopy cough, but that's may be allergies--so I went to Starbucks to get some re-writes stared. Max was patient while I felt bad, but he wants this book finished so that we can move onto the next, more adult one. For realz. He's totally into this.

Now, one of my worries about shaving my head every year is that I'm going to get mistaken for a guy--it's happened before--and violently thrust out of restrooms or the locker room. And before anyone says there's no way I would be misgendered, remember, I was hit by a little Asian woman repeatedly a few years ago because she thought exactly that: there was a man in the ladies room and she wasn't having any of that.

So far--possibly because I've only strayed out in the last 5 days--it hasn't been a problem. No one has mistaken me for a dude. well, with the exception of one guy in a Chinese restaurant, but he wasn't really looking. he glanced at best, and asked how we "gentlemen" we doing.

No big deal.

However.

Twice now in Starbucks, after spending a few minutes chatting with women in line ahead of me, there has been an offer to buy my drink. Different women, even. Both times I was using free rewards, so I politely declined, and it was fine although a little awkward the first time, because I was taken aback by the offer.

The second time?

After I placed my order and went to the hand-off area to wait, we continued to chat. She asked all kinds of questions. How did I like Dixon? What did I do? How much fun is having a Starbucks this big nearby? The whole time, I'm thinking "What a nice lady," because most people just aren't that friendly.

Then I hitched up my backpack because it was uncomfortable, and she noted the wedding ring. Then she asked me how long I'd been married.

When I said thirty-five years, there was a beat of quiet confusion, and then "Oh. OH! Well, I'm barking up the wrong tree, aren't I?"

Guys...not gonna lie, I was flattered as hell.

And now I wonder if the first woman offering to buy my tea thought the same thing. My ego kind of hopes so. I mean, I'm 55. How often do you get hit on when you're 55?

I can't even say I've still got it, because I never really had it.

Still...my day was made.

Monday

13 March 2017

Okay, this is about as long as I've had my hair since high school.
In the back, it curled over my collar.
Ignore the background clutter; we have a total white-trash backyard thing going.


So of course, the Spouse Thingy had to do this...


Which lead to this, which I should probably keep
to make a really bad wig for myself


And we ended with this

It's about as short as I could go with the clippers we have without going all the way to skin...which I would have done at the event, but we have super cheap clippers which would have taken some scalp along with the hair. I justified it (aside from that) because on the event, women do have the option of keeping a little hair. But mostly...I didn't want to bleed.

Next year...cripes, let me not be sick.

If not for how much it would hurt, I would totally get a scalp tattoo, like a giant smiley face, right on the top of my head, just to surprised whoever winds up shaving me next year.



Sunday

12 March 2017


Random picture for no real reason
Okay, so here we are three weeks after the cold from hell started; I worried that it would keep me from showing up for the St. Baldrick’s shave, and that worry was not without merit…but it also wasn’t what kept me home.

No, I stayed home thanks to a kidney infection that picked 10 days into everything to rear its ugly head. I woke up the day after my last post with wicked flank pain, and at the risk of TMI my urine was damn near white. So off to the doc I went, where I was prescribed an antibiotic for the infection and given the advice to stop taking the DayQuil and NyQuil I was using to combat the cold.

It was in my chest but not in my lungs, and he wanted to keep it that way. Ideally, cough that chit up, even if it meant a couple of sleepless nights. So I stopped taking it, took Sudafed instead, and wound up spending most of my day in bed.

The kidney infection was all kinds of fun. I went from feeling like I was freezing to sweating so hard I literally soaked my clothing, all within a 90 minute span, and it went on day and night through the weekend.

So I did not get my head shaved. Yet.

They are sending me a t-shirt, so there’s that.

Everything has greatly improved and I have only a lingering, goopy cough. My appetite, which eluded me for a week, has returned (why the hell did I not lose even a single pound? I DIDN’T EAT FOR A WEEK!) and I’m going out into public again. My endurance is still down a bit, but I don’t want to sleep all day anymore.

So. Likely tomorrow, the Spouse Thingy will fire up the clippers and buzz my hair. And as soon as I can—without coughing—I’ll make the singing video. Or hell, maybe I’ll do it now while I still can’t get 5 words out without hacking snot up from my chest. At least then there will be a clear reason for how horrible it’s going to be.

Heh. You poor, poor people.

Monday

27 February 2017

Eight days ago I was sitting in Starbucks and realized I was having a hard time concentrating. That was followed by feeling a little bit off, and a tickle in the back of my throat. I packed up my stuff and went home, because I was pretty sure I was coming down with something and I don't want to pass it around, and because I get a little and didn't want to go off on anyone.

It all went downhill. the coughing started, the gurgling started, the headaches started, and I just felt like crap.

Still do.

My back and sides are horribly sore from all the coughing and I can't keep up with the headaches. I'm exhausted. Still, all in all it could be a whole lot worse. It's just a really bad cold that doesn't seem to want to go away.

But...I need it to go away in the next couple of days. This coming Saturday is the St. Baldrick's Shave; if I still feel as awful as I do now, I can't go--I won't risk passing this alone to the masses--and if I don't go, I don't get my t-shirt.

I'm all about the t-shirts, you know.

However...even if I can't go to the actual event, the head will still get shaved and y'all will still get the promised video of me singing, as soon as I can. I can't sing even a few words right now without coughing like a maniac, but the goal was met and I will fulfill it.

Fingers crossed I can go, though. I want the t-shirt.

Saturday

18 February 2017

I'm sitting in Starbucks--pretty typical for a Saturday for me--trying to edit the vomit draft of the current manuscript. The place is pretty well packed so it's not in any way quiet, which is fine. The sound of voices tends to become background static, and I don't mind.

But fifteen minutes ago a family sat at a table very near me. Several kids. Fine, this is a public place, I really don't have a leg to stand on if I complain.

Everyone knows a kid who has a naturally loud, whiny voice. The kid can't help it; that's just their voice. Even their quiet voice is oddly loud.

This family has one of those kids. I could normally tune him out, but he has said--at least 50 times and I am not exaggerating--"quit calling me that." And Dad keeps on calling him whatever the hell it is that the kid doesn't want to be called.

I am starting to twitch, and it's taking every ounce of restraint I have to not stand up and yell, REALLY, STOP CALLING HIM THAT SO HE WILL SHUT THE FARK UP.

Only I wouldn't say FARK.

If I ever win the lottery, I'm opening a place for people to come where they can write, study, read, drink coffee and tea and eat pastries, but I swear anything over a whisper will get a patron bounced.

In fact, that's what I'll call it. Whispers.

Damn. Now I really want to make this happen.

4 February 2017

Yanno, If you pick up a guitar for the first time in about 10 years, two things happen:

1) Your fingers feel like they have gained 5 pounds and an extra inch in girth
2) Your fingers will farking hurt.

If you sing...it displeases the cat.

Wednesday

1 February 2017

Freedom of religion also implies freedom from religion; if you honestly think that this nation needs to be insulated by Christianity, that we need Jesus in the White House, then you really don't support the Constitution. #showerthoughts

Tuesday

31 January 2017

Okay, NOW it's the last day of the month. I have no idea why I thought yesterday was, but for most of the day I was convinced there were only 30 days in January.

Training for the 2010 3 Day
We end the month with making sure we're registered for the San Diego 3 Day in November. Our fundraising from last year was deferred and will show up on our 3 Day pages in April, so the current $0.00 showing isn't correct. But I probably won't even mention it again until after St. Baldrick's, at least. I've reached my minimum as it is, and the Spouse Thingy isn't too far off. We'll still do some donor prizes, because donor prizes are fun.

But.

I hit $600+ for St. Baldrick's, so I'm gonna have to sing. Give it a couple of weeks; I need to figure out where I stored my guitar, see if it can even be tuned, and then try to remember how to play.

It's been a while.

You poor people.

In other news...I was super surprised to learn this week that a 10 day old baby can fly internationally. I'm not sure why I thought there was a minimum age, but nope, the kid could have flown as young as 2 days. I haven't heard how the flight went, but a part of me feels kinda bad for the other passengers if it didn't go well.

In other other news, I get the proof copy of the paperback version of Ozoo tomorrow. Kind of excited to see it, even though it will look like the hardback.

Also...for some reason a few of my books are no longer being sold in print by Amazon, only available from 3rd party sellers. I have no idea why. It includes The Emperor of San Francisco and Ozoo. They're both still in print and in distribution, so I assume it's a mistake, but they're not exactly easy to contact. If you want one, holler at me. I have copies.

Monday

30 January 2017

With just a month and a few days to go until the St. Baldrick's Shave, I'm more than halfway to goal and halfway to having to video myself singing.

You poor people, if I do have to sing.

I'm apologizing up front.

I'm also not cutting my hair until the day of the shave. This is already driving me a few levels of nuts, because I don't like my hair anything other than really short. It's still short by most peoples' standards, but I'm at the point when I would be either risking a trip to Supercuts or having the Spouse Thingy take the clippers to it.

More likely the latter. The last haircut I got was at Supercuts and the kid cutting it was literally hitting me in the head with the clippers, and at one point jammed them into my ear. No blood, but it hurt like a mother, and I walked out with a horrible haircut that I still had to pay for. It still doesn't look very good and I'm itching to get it fixed, but...

I will wait.

In other news...how the hell is this the last day of January? Ok, I'm an idiot. There's still one more day left.

Sunday

29 January 2017

I find it very telling that a person I know who worked for 20 years in U.S. Intelligence, who has always been incredibly gung-ho-rah-rah-America-First, has been quietly moving his family and business interests out of the country.

Very telling.

Saturday

28 January 2017

“We knew what we were voting for when we cast our ballots for Trump. Obama wasn’t a bad president, but the entire system is broken and needed a wrecking ball taken to it. Trump is our wrecking ball. Tear it down so that we can build it back up.” ~Random Trump supporter from a discussion online.
It was actually a calm discussion that wasn't peppered with vitriol; someone asked others to explain why they voted for Trump, knowing the things he said and did prior to the election, and people answered.

The thread that wound through most of the answers: they knew he was the worst choice, but that's what they wanted. They wanted to blow the process apart, and use his nearly guaranteed horrific job performance as a way to take a wrecking ball to everything.

I get that, I really do. People are tired of the status quo, of rich white men having control of the minutia of our lives. Tired of not having a voice. Tired of the bickering and political in-fighting, and the absolute stalemate of working representatives. People wanted change, and they didn’t see it happening by electing someone who is part of that elitist cadre.

Here’s the thing, though. When you take a wrecking ball to something, that thing doesn’t always get rebuilt. Often what you’re left with is a vacant lot that sits empty for years, because there’s nothing to replace it with. Sometimes you wind up with a pile of rubble that never moves and becomes infested with vermin, because there’s no one to haul away the detritus.

Without having concrete building plans in place, taking a wrecking ball to anything is simply an exercise in destruction.

Taking a wrecking ball to the Presidency of the United States is like tearing down a mansion because the bathroom is in ill repair. You might rebuild, but what goes up isn’t necessarily another beautiful mansion. It might just be two single-wide mobile homes built from corrugated sheet metal set down without a foundation.

But electing Trump as president in order to take a wrecking ball to the entire process of a functioning government goes beyond that. It’s destroying the beautiful family home set in the center of urban blight, and leaving all the decay around it.

The house was not the problem; the problem was with the neighborhood.

So a large number of people voted for Trump thinking they were effecting change, understanding it was going to rip apart the government that leads the free world. The problem is that they also voted back in the people who were largely responsible for how broken things have become. That wrecking ball should have been aimed at the House and the Senate, and ripped away from long-term and career politicians the power they crave for themselves.

Yes, you’re getting what you wanted: the President is going to chew up and then spit out every single thing that doesn’t benefit him directly. Your want of tearing down the office is happening, but the result probably won’t be what you were hoping for. When he’s done, when he has that catastrophic meltdown that most of us can see coming—even many of his supporters—there might not be anything left to build upon.

Friday

27 January 2017

In the interest of promoting the betterment of literature, last night I poured  glass of Fireball, say down with the laptop, drank a bit, and then got to work.

There's a strong tradition of drinking and writing--Hemingway was a pro at it--and I figured why not? What if deep within me is literary genius untapped because of some inhibition I'm unaware of, and all it takes is a drink or two to let it out?

I had to find out.

I sipped and wrote, sipped some more, and by the time the glass was empty and I'd written five pages, there was only one conclusion.

Fireball makes your tongue hurt if you keep it in your mouth too long.

Thursday

26 January 2017

I want this as a tattoo.

Just behind my right ear.

However, now that I'm back in the pool, I don't want to take 4 weeks off from swimming.

I can't do both.

Dammit.

Wednesday

25 January 2017

There are a lot of old people at the new gym. I seriously think more than 50% of the members I've encountered are over age 70 and many are pushing 80+.

Mostly, my thoughts are Kudos for getting out here.

But sometimes, my thoughts are Stop making me look so bad!

The other day I was lapped on the track more than once by a guy who has to be 75. He was just walking, but blew past me like I was inching along. Today in the pool, there was an old guy who probably did 10 laps for every 7 I did, and I only felt better about it when he only swam for 20 minutes.

But the big thing about old people in the gym. They no longer give a shit. About anything. Walk into a locker room with old ladies, and one of 'em will be drying her crotch with a hair dryer. Yet another will be bare assed naked on a bench, spread out so far that if you cared to look you could probably see her tonsils.

I will one day be one of the old people at the gym and by then I will have no more fucks to give, too. But for all that's holy, please don't let me practically grab someone coming out of the shower to check out her tattoos. Seriously, make sure I let her get dressed first.

Yes, the tattoos are spiffy. Yes, my artist is talented. NO I DON'T WANT TO STAND HERE TALKING WHILE I'M WET AND NAKED.

Well, maybe other people do, people who are fit and trim. I am neither of those things. Let me get dressed, then you can look at the ink all you want.