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Yard adventure season

Did I just spend an hour wandering around a yard that can be circumnavigated in under 3 minutes?

Maybe. It is a small yard.

Okay, yes. Yes, I spent an hour meandering about, discovering & admiring sprouts, talking to bees, & plotting out my next round of planting & transplanting.

Good times. No regrets. A yard is meant to be enjoyed, right?

This yard has come a long way in 3 years

When we moved in, there was a screen house, which was nice in principle but old & sketchy in practice (SPIDERS, ripped screens, a lot of moldy wood) The lawn was thin & soggy, and a lot of weeds languished in solid clay garden beds.

Now there’s a patio with shade, chairs, a table, a firepit, a chair in the OTHER part of the yard where there’s shade when the rest is sunny, and most importantly, there is SOIL & DRAINAGE.

Which means I’ve finally reached the fun part of gardening at last, and I’m planting things like wild. Also transplanting things that I knew I wanted when the drainage work & rain garden plantings were put in, but didn’t know where I wanted them to be permanently.

(also replacing a few “dammit, I need to put something here to get the soil established but nothing I want is available because pandemic” plants)

We’re going to have our 3rd fire of the season tonight & invited over friends. That will be fun. People-y fun, but still fun.

It is wonderful to have an outdoor plant-inhabited haven again.

view from a gray paver patio, past the corner of a wooden pergola across a lawn t a garden bed full of green plants.

And now, the part of that post that makes the SEO analyzer happy. Additional words, some outbound links, and a picture.

Mister Pips appproves of the following advertisements.

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The unexpected

Yesterday was a day of dealing w/ unexpected disruptions. In related news, looks like I don’t get to go on vacation to the Grand Canyon in June.

Fun fact 1: the North Rim of the Grand Canyon will apparently have no water until (at least) the end of July. 300 feet of water main got damaged in winter storms.

Hotels sent out cancellation notices for affected reservations this afternoon.

Side note: I knew of the water issues. It’s been on the park hotel website for over a month–but those posts strongly implied the repairs would be done before summer, which made sense since that’s the tourist season & a LOT of people’s livelihoods depend on Grand Canyon visitors.

Fun fact 2: TripAdvisor updates in real time. The % of hotel rooms available near Bryce Canyon NP went from 45% to 11% in the hour that I was online. That was an unexpected bit of entertainment.

I feel for the staff at those hotels. And for the whole area, to be honest. It isn’t just the Grand Canyon Lodge & cabins on National Park land that are affected. It’s all the concessions & all the hotels NEAR the park too. Grand Canyon will lose out on its peak visiting season, and the other parks within a day’s drive of Las Vegas (and there are at least 6 of them) will get utterly swamped.

Anyway. Just wanted to share.

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Chasing a trophy & other things

I gave myself a new achievement trophy to chase today:
“one of my titles gets onto a recommended reading list posted by someone with a subscriber following > 1000.”

Anyone with a big audience finding & liking my books is a long shot. Like, moonshot level unlikely.

But hey. We got to the moon, didn’t we?

My writing is good enough, it’s powerful enough, and doggone it, people do sometimes like my books. So I think it’s a worthy challenge, even if it is a pie-in-the-sky trophy to set for myself.

In other news, I stumbled on the answer to a question I hadn’t asked yet about an annoying website trend. Why do so many websites lately read like someone trying to pad out their term paper to hit a word limit?

For example. Because. However. Therefore. In summary. In fact. Despite. Finally. Definitely. Certainly. Indeed. To summarize. To clarify. Nonetheless. (FFS SRSLY? Nonetheless?) That’s a sample list. It’s one of those “I know it when I read it” things, but there are lots of lists out there if you’re curious.

Has anyone else noticed the online proliferation of phrases that feel tacked onto sentences that don’t need them?

The reason for the sudden popularity of all this randomly thrown-in verbiage? In a word: SEO algorithms. I call them textual bloat, SEO analyzers call them transition words & gives a higher score if they’re present.

So I guess those SEO algorithms can fight it out with the Grammarly algorithms that urge people to punch up their writing, strip out padding & make their prose lean & mean.

Or, you know, maybe the trophy eventually will go to an AI/large learning model that writes nothing but lies. With loads of transition rod.

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It’s a numbers game, right?

I know writers are expected to hate bad reviews, but all this 2-star rating I just got for Sharp Edge of Yesterday really tells me is that the book has reached a large enough audience to produce a full distribution of data points.

And that makes me happy.

Hm. On a related note, I need new Authorial Achievement Trophies now that I’ve written a 2nd person POV story. Im thinking perhaps I should add “inspired someone to write a conservative rant” to the list.

That seems like a worthwhile goal to pursue. Maybe tomorrow. Today was rather a lot.