Categories
Writing Life

Weekend Update

Firstly.
Biscotti baking experiment was a success. (I’ve made biscotti dozens of times. Wearing gloves was the experimental part.) They were even better for working the super-sticky dough than I’d hoped. All my recipes that read “wet hands and keep hands wet while handling dough” should be updated to read “wear nitrile gloves.” Should. But won’t be, because I’m lazy.

Pic of biscotti in progress:

Secondus:
I got issued someone else’s dream Saturday night. I was at a banquet, seated at a table with only one other person — all the tables were small and widely spaced out, so I guess social distancing exists even in my subconscious–and there was a ribbon at my place setting, the kind that goes with an awards medal. My dinner companion was some guy whose children’s charity had Changed The World and when I was wondering about the medal ribbon, it turns out I was there because I’d won some award for making a video that made his charity super well known althrough I’d just made it for fun and hadn’t known what I was hyping. (Which is how I know it had to be someone else’s dream because WTAF?) Anyway, he told me about his organization, which I thought was awesome although I recall zip about it now, and we watched awards be given out by famous presenters like the Obamas and Captain Picard (Not Patrick Stewart, Jean-Luc) while people at neighboring tables were making fun of the liberals and aliens and I was wondering why they were even there if they didn’t like the awards, and then I woke up.

Thirdly:

Studio GhibliFest continued with Castle In the Sky & Nausicaa Of the Valley Of the Wind. I’d seen Nausicaa, but Paul had never seen either one. They were both wonderful and thought-provoking, and the musical scores were nostalgic trips down Electronica Lane. I was by the fox-squirrels and finally connected that long-ago viewing of Nausicaa to my unexplained love for Pokemon Eevees.\

Fourthish:

Saturday’s plans were disrupted by an impulsive drive up to the north shoe for bagels & corned beef and a good long garden walk before the ice came raining down. Lots o’ house-fussing followed. Winterdark decorations came down, and the living room couch sections were reconfigured (they are basically big, squishy, grownup Lego blocks.) Closets were cleaned, books went onto shelves, and rugs were moved around. All the changes delighted our Feline House Supervisor, who personally inspected and approved all new furniture arrangements.

FIFTH (my rant for the hour)
I am watching and enjoying one of my bad fictional crime shows (NCIS, in this case) tonight, but I am reminded how much I hate the “innocent people don’t run” trope. IT IS A DANGEROUS LIE AND I LOATHE IT. Grr. Innocent people run for a million innocent reasons.

I’m getting a kick out of NCIS’s increasingly progressive scriptwriting in general, and the plot spins up right by the end, but annoyingly, they double down on the “shouldn’t have run” thread before it’s over. UGH. That trope. Just Won’t DIE. Double Ugh.

SIXY:
I didn’t write yesterday or today, which means I am now 2 days behind and pushing up against a deadline, but I did do a lot of THINKING about writing, so I made progress just not on the page. IT’s been a long time since I was able to concentrate like that, so it feels good. Tomorrow is a wretchedly extra-busy day with long-delayed routine medical stuff (OH. JOY. Doctor visit during Plague Times) and extra library work, but

And I do not regret the non-writing adventures. They were wonderful recharging, restful, & energizing.

Okeedokee, that’s all for now. Until later!

Categories
Media Consumption Writing Life

And then this happened

That could be a title for every blog post, eh?

Sipping tea and sitting in sunshine with the cat on my office couch was a fabulous way to spend a Sunday morning. I spent a lot more time there than I originally intended.

My one brief peek at the internet was a mistake because along with the wildly irresponsible fear-mongering, scientifically-dubious, hand-wringing over the Omicron surge, I learned there are folks claiming that vaccinated people who minimize human contact and wear masks are doing it because we’re scared of getting sick. That we’re pathologically anxious. That we’re frightened out of our wits and suffering from a mass delusion, even.

OH FFS. That’ll teach me to open up my browser on the weekend. I MEAN. Beyond the WTAF aspect, there’s the projection part (accusing someone of having a trait you actually have.) It really torques me off that the assholes who spread disinformation to undermine public confidence in all information sources do so much better a job than the have reached a new record in Awfulness.

Keeping other people’s germs out of my face when infection rates of anything are skyrocketing is a sensible way to avoid getting sick. Always has been. I hope wearing masks during seasonal virus peaks becomes normalized tbh. And with a novel disease the reality is that eventually I will get sick, but the longer I stay uninfected and the more I can train my immune system beforehand, the better.

That isn’t delusional. That’s common sense — unless you also believe the disease itself is essentially harmless. And to believe that, you have to dismiss hundreds of sources in dozens of countries who have nothing invested in lying about its badness.

Liars who spread disinformation to erode public trust in all existing sources of information? REALLY TORQUE ME OFF. HARUMPH.

ANYway. End mini rant. That’s a big grump, but it’s my only one from today, so…yay? And it ties into the books I’m starting the new year with. One’s on reserve at the library and I’ve recommended purchase of the other. Cultish by Amanda Montell, about the language of extremism, and Stolen Focus: Why You Can’t Pay Attention by Johann Hari, an examination of the many ways the modern environment demolishes our ability to concentrate and learn.

In other cheerful moments today, there was snow-shoveling in the sunshine. Spouseman and I even made a tiny little maze in the snow on the patio because, hey, we have a patio! We also took Pippin out for his first walk in snow. I wasn’t sure how he would react to the cold and wet.

He loved it. I shoud’ve known.

That adventure was followed by returning some movies to the library, then coming home for a victorious supper of soup, crusty garlic bread and baked apples.

Tonight’s viewing of Howl’s Moving Castle went very well. I’d seen it before and love it. Spouseman loved it. He also looked at me afterwards and said, “I am proud of myself for being very good about not asking questions.” It isn’t typical Chekov’s gun plotting with every surprise foreshadowed and every character perfectly pigeonholed in a type. It skips merrily along and

Which is a thing I love about Mizaki storytelling.

Then I made more cookies and watched Hawkeye. Good fun. The banter, the complications, THE BROADWAY SONGS AND POSTERS ZOMG. And the scenes with Yelena Belova/Black Widow were extra super fun.

Now I am caught up on the MCU except for the new Spiderman, which I will eventually see. And The Eternals. Is that MCU? I’m not sure. But I have its release noted so I can watch when it hits streaming.

We have one more day of “winter break.” On tap: more Studio Ghibli and a movie called Encanto, which is a Disney thing. And Boba Fett. That should be interesting.

And that is that. Have a sleepy cat photo. Until later.

PS: Pssssst. I almost forgot. Books! I write ’em. You can read em. There are links. I’m not putting one in here because no one ever clicks them anyway.

Categories
Media Consumption Writing Life

First Caturday Saturday

First day of the Gregorian calendar year. For me, a snow day, baking day, sleeping-in day, rest day.

New Year’s Day is not about productivity for me. Things usually get done, many things actually, usually enjoyable ones, but it’s rarely focused goal-targeted labor or anything society recognizes as Useful — not because I have a superstition about the day setting the tone for the rest of the year, no.

No, I avoid being productive on NYD because it’s a day off. Luckily, having a cat means I have help remembering days off are for relaxing now. Pippin has been sleeping like a champ all day today.

I don’t do New Year’s resolutions (pointless to give extra weight to an arbitrary annual calendar changeover date, resolutions should be meaningful and embraced whenever a need for one is identified, blahblahblah) but if I DID do them, I would resolve to pitch the word (indeed, the entire concept of productivity) into the trash bin of reality where I would burn it with the fiery destructive force of a thousand flaming suns.

Since I’ve been resolved on that point for years already, it doesn’t count against my “no New Year’s resolutions” resolution, right? (Is that a paradox, to have a resolution about not having resolutions? ANYway. It’s definitely a digression.)

After being awake until 3 AM, we rsolved to wake up whenever and successfully enticed Mister Pips into snoozing with us until nearly 11 AM. Fancy brunch was had here at home, courtesy of frozen foods purchased back when the world wasn’t so viciously contagious. There was lounging, and reading, and a long walk in the falling snow. Napping happened. Also a teeny little bit of writing, (in addition to this, I mean. Serena and Parker are walking puppies and not talking. It’s fun. And funny.)

In fits and starts between other activities I made split pea soup, no-rise bread, and baked apples. We’re now enjoying the feast with a split of Sauterne (yummy sweet French white wine) while watching Jungle Cruise. Which is much better than I expected. Perplexing and occasionally bizarre, but fun.

Dwayne Johnson, Emily Blunt, Paul Giamatti, and a bunch of other people who look vaguely familiar navigate a convoluted screenplay that has some major African Queen meets The Mummy vibes. Good actors chewing up scenery through a quip-heavy actionfest with some pleasnat surprises? Yes, thanks!

Along with everything else fun today, there is popcorn. Because this is a popcorn flick for SURE.

This one has some extra fun running gags and better than average dialogue, too. So I’m happy.

Back when my dad took my to Disneyland for my birthday, ( we lived in SoCal at the time) I would ask to go on the Jungle Cruise multiple times because I loved it. I also loved the Undersea adventure, the Pirate Island, and the Haunted Mansion. And yes, It’s A Small World.

BTW, a father who’s willing to go through It’s A Small World multiple times a visit multiple times a year is a parent who truly loves his daughters. (My younger sister used to alternate between IaSW and the Mad Hatter’s Teacups all day long on her birthday trip, or so the family story goes)

A second digression! And it’s only the first day of the year. Go, me.

My other not resolution for the year is to be Very Direct and Talkative about my projects and how proud I am of my existing books. So. Please buy my books, read my books, review my books, recommend my books if you love them–and I’ll keep writing books regardless.

That’s all for now, until later!

Categories
Writing Life

Cat Tree Fun & Other Adventures

First adventure: I got up at a reasonable hour!

This is not a huge shock. Even when I don’t go to bed at what most people consider a reasonable hour, I end up awake around the same time. Most days, my brain knows when it’s time, and *ping* I am conscious. (unless I am ill or brutally exhausted)

As it happens, I did go to bed at a decent hour, meaning before 1 AM. Double win! Awake early-ish and full of energy. But did that beginning develop into a day of big productivity?

Yes! Also NO!

There was shopping. Because toilet paper is good to have. We also needed cat food, since I failed to account how damned much kibble a 15 lb cat could suck down when I set up the autoship for Pippin’s food & litter. We probably would’ve been okay through the weekend, but probably is also called “tempting fate” and the year is due to start with a big storm is. Peace of mind is also good to have, so the expedition began!

Evidently everyone else in Chicagoland went shopping today too. So. Many. People. SO MANY HALF-MASKED PEOPLE. Look, I know it’s hard to keep a mask up over a small, snub nose. But most of the people who don’t fucking do it right aren’t kids nor did they have little button-noses like mine. They just weren’t even trying.

It’s funny how half-masked and half-assed almost rhyme, isn’t it? I think so.

I’m also glad my KF94 and KN95 masks arrived Monday & Tuesday, because yay, better filtration to block out whatever miasma the maskholes are emitting. (Also, the shaped KF94 masks are MUCH easier to breathe through under a cloth covering mask than a surgical mask) Is the filtration really better? Welp, I can’t do a proper qualitative fit test at home, but I can say they fit nice and tight to my face,unlike a surgical mask, and they blocked the smell the overripe bananas on my counter a LOT better than either the cloth or surgical masks did.

Do I need a cloth mask on top? Well, no, but it doesn’t hurt either, since they both fit well and tight (fring benefit, less lens fogging!) And I like the look of patterned cloth more than unrelieved black or white, and that means something too.

But I digress. As always.

Driving and shopping got done, and we returned home victorious with bread, milk, TP, kibble, AND the cat tree we promised Mr Pippin back around Thanksgiving (when he only weighed 13.75 lbs instead of 15.)

Then we put together the cat tree despite much interference from its intended recipient, who seemed to think chasing the unassembled pieces was the point of the whole exercise. As you can see from the pictures below, he was not being shy about claiming it for himself once we got it completed and moved the other furniture to make space for it.

After that, I settled down by the fire for the afternoon and ended up on a wonderful long video chat with bestest of awesome friends Shannon Eichorn. Tales of holidays and wordcrafting and family and pandemic were shared, cats were admired, and muchcatching up conversating was had.

Discord did not play nicely with my phone (It insisted on calling separately for audio and video, so I could not have sound or images, but not both, WTAF) and then it wouldn’t play nicely with Shannon’s laptop, so we ended up on Zoom. (I got to send a meeting invite link to someone, and it worked! Tiny tech victories are victories, right?)

ANYway. The original supper plan was to make split pea soup with the last of the Christmas leftovers, but somewhere in the afternoon I developed a craving for steak, and also I never got around to starting the soup.

Spouseman was agreeable to a change in plans, (easier to make soup on on New Year’s Eve or Day than to get restaurant takeout, or so we rationalized it) so we ordered steak dinners & cherry pie dessert from our fave local steakhouse and enjoyed our impulse celebration supper in front of another movie.

Not another Studio Ghibli. It came to our attention (thanks Netflix) that everyone in America except us had already watched Red Notice. So we watched that. Thumbnail review: plenty of pretty people and a plotline of ridiculous, complicated heisty goodness. A fun way to spend New Year’s Eve-Eve.

Pippin enjoyed surveying the room from his Top Perch for most of the movie, then moved onto my lap just in time to get in the way of me writing this. But ha-HA, I am resting the laptop on him, and am now done.

The year is almost done. I just now realized tomorrow’s post will be the last of the year. WOWZA.

ANYway. Until later!

Categories
Authoring

A lot like yesterday

Tuesdays and Wednesdays often bleed together. They’re my library shift days, so they’re more structured and have exactly the same rhythm, week to week. That makes them the same day in my head:

Get up, putter through chores, get in some writing or computer puttering, have a walk with Spouseman, have a snack, write a bit more, go to work, come home, crash on the couch with supper & something to view.

That’s what I did yesterday, and today was very much a “rinse and repeat.”

I only got more writing done on the dog story, rather than digging into Ghost Town as planned, but I enjoyed myself and don’t regret a minute of it.

Tonight’s couch viewing was another foray into the world of Studio Ghibli has been The Secret World of Arrietty, which if I’d known was a Borrowers adaptation I would’ve seen AGES ago.

I adored the Borrowers books and reread them multiple times. On my all-time early faves list, right up there with Boxcar Children, the Mary Poppins and Oz series, all of Joan Aiken’s books, and The Wind In the Willows. IThen in fourth grade I discovered Narnia and the worlds of Andre Norton and never went back.

Huh. Now I want to read all the Borrowers books all over again, just to revisit the happy memories and compare the adaptation to the original.

The movie was sweet.

We’ll be working our way through Studio Ghibli pretty steadily over the next month or so. Next, it’ll be Howl’s Moving Castle. Tomorrow, if Spouseman’s tolerance for watching television holds up. Three movies in three nights!

Shopping for cat trees is on the schedule tomorrow too. That should please Pippin. I’ll report on the results.

It occurs to me that if I’m going to keep rambling here like this, I should probably be plugging my books here, too.

I write unapologetically progressive science fiction and super-powered fantasy novels. Disability representation, female protagonists, found family vibes. Also crafting, cats, thrills, laughs, and more.

Get them here online https://bit.ly/kmhkindle or as audiobooks on Audible or order them as paperbacks anywhere books are sold.

That’s it. Until later!