Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Hot, humid, stormy

My father died on this date in 1972. One never gets over it; one learns to live with it.

On a happier note, yesterday was just about the freelancer’s perfect day. Shot out of the house early to get on the road and drive about 45 minutes up-county to do my interview. The drive wasn’t bad — on a road I don’t usually like because it’s a pain. The cops were out in force — probably because of the woman who got on the Taconic Parkway a few days ago and drove TWO MILES the wrong way on the parkway before slamming into an SUV. Eight people were killed, four of them children, and included her. They still don’t know why — she wasn’t drunk and she had no underlying medical conditions, according to reports.

Anyway, the cops were out in force. They caught six speeders on the way up and one on the way back. I was grateful to them for grabbing one guy, in particular, in a white van. I saw the cops out, so I held to the top of the speed limit. This guy in a white van tries to crawl up my tail pipe. He’s flashing his lights and waving his fist at me. Whatever. I keep to the speed limit. He’s got plenty of lanes in which to pass me. So he goes onto the shoulder, passes me on the right, screaming and swearing at me as he passes, then cuts in front of me and slams on the brakes.

Fortunately, I was expecting it and managed to get out of the way. Even more fortunately, the whole thing went down in front of the State Police and they were all over his ass in seconds. Buh-bye. Enjoy your fine.

Like I said, the interview went very well. I like my interview subject a lot, and the interview gave me a slew of ideas for which I could use him as a source, so I’ll make notes on them and start pitching them to other markets, too.

I drove back down, had to stop at home because I forgot to mail the bills, drove to the Purchase post office to mail everything, and continued on to the gig in CT. Had a quick lunch and went to work. Their internet was down, which sort of slowed down the afternoon, but I managed to get everything done for them and get over to my friend’s place for dinner early.

I got a nice chunk of a big client project done at my friend’s place, wrote up notes for a story, and got an idea for a new series. Ideas tend to come in clusters for me, so I jot them all down, and then they take a spot in the queue.

I had dinner with my friend, came home, did five loads of laundry, and headed off to meditation. There was one guy thee who immediately starting questioning my training, my methods, etc. I was like, “Dude, this is meditation and you’re totally stressing me out!”

Once the meditation session started, it was fine. There were four of us and the leader. We did a sitting meditation, a walking meditation, and a sitting meditation. I was “the new person”, but I also had the least problem staying still. My mind may wander a bit here and there, but keeping my body still has never been an issue. Each of the three sessions felt like it went by like lightening. I loved it — and I loved the cushion I used. I don’t have a cushion when I sit at home, because I haven’t found one I like, but this was perfect. I’ll have to find out where they get them. I did walk into the wall at one point during the walking meditation. As the leader said, “It was bound to happen sooner or later; thank you for being the first.” Especially since I thought it was funny, and didn’t get upset. Hey, if we’re going to be one, we might as well include the wall, you know?

And when we discussed the day’s reading, I realized the aggressive guy really wasn’t that bad; he was just trying too hard. So, I think as long as I set boundaries, it won’t be a problem.

One thing the past set of workshops — whether they’re computer workshops or holistic workshops — has taught me over the past few months is that my life in the arts means I either don’t have or quickly dealt with a lot of these issues and obstacles that many of my fellow students have. I just plunge ahead, guided by passion and common sense, and don’t let other people dictate rules. I try to be considerate (I don’t always succeed there, I’m afraid), but I don’t let others define me. I wouldn’t have been able to spend my entire working life in the arts if I hadn’t been that stubborn and independent. I think it’s much harder for actors — they’re constantly defined by their roles, and have to constantly fight that.

It’ll be three weeks before I can go back — the leader’s out of town next week, and I’m working out of town the following week — but I’ll definitely be back.

The two people who talked me into going last night never showed up! Oh, well. I’ve even looked up and printed out some information we’d talked about. Either I see them again, or I don’t. Can’t get too worked up about it.

Came home, did my evening yoga session. Was too tired to type up my notes from the interview, so I’ll have to do it today, while it’s all still fresh.

I’ve got to take a load of stuff to storage before the bad storms break, take some paperwork over to CT for signatures, work on the big client project, and get in another writing session. I might take my writing with me when I go to storage and go to the library from there. I also want to type up my notes from the interview, and send some email questions to some sources. I also want to work on the magazine pitch and do some more work on a long-term proposal.

I had a decent writing session this morning — not great, but decent. I figured out the odd word backwards and forwards — it’s not the same thing in either direction, it just has to have a very specific meaning when it’s spelled forward and seem kind of odd, but still possible backwards.

I decided that, when I work out of town in an upcoming week, I’m going to take ANGEL HUNT with me, and that will be my main focus from the week. I think some uninterrupted work time on it without distractions, and I can get it out the door.

We’re supposed to get severe storms later in the day and, yet again, are on floodwatch, which means once the storms start, I’ll be dashing down to check the brook every hour or so, and trying to figure out when to move the car.

Gotta be productive until then.

Devon is having its daily problem — I can’t get into my email AT ALL. How am I supposed to run my business? I’ve had problems almost every day since MARCH. This is NOT acceptable. They used to be a reliable host with a good reputation, but the past year and change — forget it.

I think, when I have the new sites designed, I’ll use that opportunity to move hosts. It will probably be post-Prague, but there’s no reason for me to keep paying these guys when they don’t deliver.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Friday, June 12, 2009
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Rainy and cool

Yeah, it’s STILL raining. I hope that means we’ll have lots of gorgeous flowers when it finally lets up.

Speaking of gorgeous flowers, my morning glories are blooming! Imagine! In a north-facing window! Beautiful! Hopefully, the moonflowers will bloom, too.

Hop on over to FEMMEFAN to read my Belmont Stakes wrap-up.

And if you haven’t read my interview with Kim Smith, please drop by here and leave a comment!

Yesterday was caught up in business, and I didn’t get much other stuff done. I helped my mom with a bunch of stuff. We stopped at our favorite Chinese restaurant on the way home and got some take out. The food is always excellent, and the prices are great. AND they’re really nice.

The issues with 1and1 seem to be cleared up, at least for the moment. Let’s hope they remain so. And Canon sent me the fixes for both printers, so that seems to be resolved. Many thanks to both of them. We think that, with the big printer, someone else’s wireless crossed communication with my printer, and my printer was printing from someone else’s computer. We hope that’s now fixed. I don’t have wi-fi, I don’t have my printer set up for wi-fi, but . . .

I’m a little behind where I’d like to be on client projects, although no deadlines are in jeopardy. I have to reshuffle a couple of projects over the next few days, but everything will get done. And I need to get back to my own fiction. I’m behind where I’d like to be on that, although, again, no deadlines are in jeopardy.

I’ve got some more business to take care of today, and if all goes well with that, the next few weeks will be crazy. Most of it will be great, some of it will be frustrating, it will be exhausting, but the outcome should be quite good.

I don’t plan to be online very much today. I’m a little cranky because someone broke the city code and woke me with a leaf blower (yes, in the middle of the rain) at 6:15 this morning. And ran it for 45 minutes. Leaf blowers are banned entirely by the city code from May 1 – either September 1 or October 1. So I have to put in a call to City Hall. I don’t care what day of the year it is — I should NEVER be woken up by a leaf blower at 6:15 in the morning.

I think leaf blowers should be banned anyway, all the time, especially around here. All they do is kick up dust,dirt, and noise pollution. The guys who run them just walk around pointing them randomly at the asphalt. I have yet to see them ever use them on LEAVES. And as far as leaves go? Use a damn rake! Much more eco-friendly. I understand if it’s the Town Park and there are acres and acres of leaves in the fall — but handkerchief-sized yards don’t need them, especially when they’re not used properly.

Come by Sole Struck Fashions tomorrow. It’ll be my monthly post.

I didn’t do anything particularly interesting that can be discussed on the blog. Sorry.

I’ll put in a good day’s work today. Tomorrow, I’m up early, because I have a meeting with a Congressional Representative at 9 AM. And I have another Mac class in CT at 2 PM. I’m going to go a little early and play with the iPod touch and ask some questions. I’m not actually going to BUY it tomorrow, but at least I’ll do my research, so when I’m ready, it’s just a case of the cash changing hands. I can Tweet from it, so soon — none of you will be safe!

I have another Mac workshop on Sunday morning, and one on Monday night. Then I think I’m done for about a week. Yeah. I’ll have taken nine workshops in a month. And I’ll know how to use my computer! These are the free workshops Apple offers. They’re incredibly helpful. I feel like I should bake them all brownies or something.

Speaking of brownies, I baked some for myself yesterday afternoon. Just because there must always be something chocolate in this house. It’s a requirement.

It’s supposed to clear up this afternoon. I’m going to run over and check the brook in a bit, and determine whether or not I need to move the car. Hopefully, I don’t.

I got my confirmation yesterday — I am officially a member of Broad Universe! Woo-hoo! I can’t wait to get involved supporting my fellow fantasy and science-fiction writers. And my renewal from PEN arrived, along with the new membership card. I’m delighted. I need to talk to them about the plans for the Laura Ling/Euna Lee situation, and also about Prague.

Slow day on the Matty book. The Lucy Gothic is starting to pull at me again, but I’ve got other projects to complete before I can get back to it.

Have a great day!


Monday, June 8, 2009

Monday, June 8, 2009
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Rainy and warm

I don’t know how I’m ever going to get my act together today. I’m overtired and unfocused. But I have to — lots to do.

Thank you, thank you, thank you for all the praise you’ve showered on me for “The Retriever” in Books for Monsters. And for the suggestions to expand it into a book. I just may do that. If you want to see more of my work there, let the editor know!

Friday was reasonably productive. I cleared a bunch of stuff off my desk, got some writing done, worked on redesigning the ebooks — there are two possible ways to do it, and I’m going to see which one is more efficient and use that method. I finally got to start my friend Kim Smith’s book AVENGING ANGEL, which is a really fun mystery.

There were actually a half a dozen jobs on the boards Friday that I thought were worth pitching. And I’m working on a residency proposal. I don’t think I’m quite “literary” enough a writer for them, so I’m trying to play my other strengths. There’s also a contest I might enter — it seems fun.

Not much sleep Friday night into Saturday morning. A domestic disturbance in another apartment woke me around 1 AM — it settled down quickly; I don’t know if someone called the cops or what. Then, around 4:30, the cats and I were woken up by snarling and growling, but it sure didn’t sound like anything we’d ever heard before. The creature was in the tree outside the window — I couldn’t see what it was, but the cats believed it was a threat. Their eyes were enormous, the fur bristled, backs arched, tails low and waving, and they were growling and hissing right back. I shut the window, because a screen felt way too flimsy between us. It wasn’t a cat, it wasn’t a dog (obviously — it was in a tree), it wasn’t a skunk or a raccoon. I don’t know if possums make noise — we occasionally have them around here. I HOPE it’s not a fisher. If fishers have invaded the neighborhood, we’re all screwed. If I can get a good look at it and it IS a fisher, I’ll have to call some nature authority to come and deal with it, or no cat, small dog, squirrel, chipmunk, skunk, or small child is safe. The ones in Maine are VICIOUS. I didn’t smell the odor I normally associate with fishers, so I hope it’s not one of those.

But then, the cats decided that, since we were up anyway, it must be time for breakfast. Uh, no. But they are extraordinarily persistent, and it was well before six when they won. I’m seriously outnumbered.

I was in NO mood for a big day of racing. I managed to get a polish done on a submission and got it off before I had to turn my attention to the horses. The weather was gorgeous — low seventies with a breeze, unlike last year, when it was in the 90’s and disgustingly humid. It was a hit and miss day for me in my picks. I’m not quite sure how I wound up ahead by a little, but I did. I did not pick Summer Bird, the winner. He ran a great race, but I’m still not getting on his band wagon. What interests me in the whole thing is how this year’s Triple Crown affects the trainers of Mine That Bird and Summer Bird (half-brothers, sired by Birdstone). Both trainers weren’t well-known outside of their home tracks, and I’m interested in following their careers.

I also got a ton of inspiration for DEAD MAN’S STALL.

Sunday, I gave myself most of the day off. Did some catch-up. I have to make a decision about 1 and 1 before the end of the summer. They gave me a credit for the problems, as I asked, but the problem isn’t being solved. I missed a job opportunity yesterday because it was time sensitive, created in the email (because I didn’t have time to do it elsewhere and cut and paste), and the server error not only didn’t send it, but dumped the email without saving it as a draft or anything else. I now have a reliable computer. I need to expand that to a reliable web host. I understand that there are sometimes problems, but every day for the past two months and change? And at least three times a week for the four to five months prior. I love the components in the package and the price point, but if it doesn’t work when I need it to, it’s useless.

I finished some half-read books that needed attention — two that were quite disappointing — but learned from both of them. I finished my friend Kim’s book and sent off the interview questions for her appearance on A BIBLIO PARADISE. I bought my friend Colin’s book STELLA, and spent some time congratulating him on the Eternal Press loop.

Some new client projects came in, which I will start today.

I went to the Tony Award viewing party in the evening and it was great. I thought Neil Patrick Harris did a good job as a host, although they had the announcer on the God mike too often at times where he should have handled duties. I’m thrilled that HAIR won Best Revival, although I expected WEST SIDE STORY to win. The three “Billys” in Billy Elliot shared the award, which was great, and, in general, it was a delightful evening. I thought they showcased some great numbers, although the sound problems and the sound mix drove me nuts. In the course of a live show, everyone deals with each other much more constantly and intimately than in film or television, so everyone who works on a production is much more fully and emotionally invested. I think last night’s production communicated that investment better than many prior years. Tony Award night always makes me remember why I got into the business in the first place, and grateful for the long career I’ve had there. I don’t miss being backstage every night anymore, but I’m very grateful for the years I had back there.

The cats got me up early (big surprise). Nice morning’s work on the Matty book. Need to get back to the serial and to DEAD MAN’S STALL, and to finish, polish, and send the Belmont wrap-up article. Must do some stuff for my mom, design another postcard for a giveaway, do some work for the Prague trip, and the client work.

Busy day — better get to it!