Sunday, August 30, 2009

IMG_0472
New York Botanical Garden

Sunday, August 30, 2009
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Rainy and cool

It’s starting to smell like autumn.

Danny passed us by without much impact, which is a good thing. And I can use all that boiled water!

The CNN website hit a new low yesterday. They’ve lost my trust anyway over the past few years, as far as not finding them a reliable resource. Yesterday, however, they took tasteless and tacky to a new level.

They’ve got the coverage of the Senator Edward Kennedy funeral streaming, and, under it, an ad from a life insurance company picturing a casket and saying, “Don’t wait until it’s too late!”

Yes, I emailed them and told them what I thought.

I didn’t spend the day glued to the funeral. I honored the Senator (who, even though I didn’t always agree with him, had a huge, direct, and personal impact on my life, mostly positive) in my own way. I saw a bit of the end, at Arlington. As usual, the Kennedys handled things with grace and panache.

Let’s hope the right wing-nut lie-mongers shut up for at least a few days. Not that they’re capable of respecting anything other than the dollars for which they shill paid by large corporations masquerading as citizens.

Now, as everyone walks away from Arlington, is where the real sense of missing begins. I remember when my father died — there was a sense of unreality from the news through the funeral arrangements through the wake and even the service. It wasn’t until walking away from the grave site that it really began to sink in. All the preparations and the people kept him immediate. The emptiness came later.

I’m re-reading a book called CALLINGS by Gregg Levoy. A friend recommended it a few years ago — it’s about creating an authentic life, doing what you’re meant to do, and recognizing the false call from the true call, and most importantly, taking action rather than making excuses. I read it quickly that first time. I’m reading it more slowly this time, and enjoying even the parts I don’t necessarily agree with.

I love his reference to TS Eliot’s quote about measuring our lives in coffee spoons (very relevant, in my case). I also agree with the way he says that one has to plunge fully into one’s calling: “A part-time effort, a sorta-kinda commitment, an untested promise, won’t suffice.” (p. 11). That’s how I feel about my writing.

It’s a very interesting book. If you feel like you’re spinning your wheels at the moment, I recommend it. Even the parts that don’t necessarily work for you will get you thinking in new ways, and help you find what does work.

Ordered holiday cards from the National Wildlife Federation yesterday — special sale. I hope National Geographic offers some cards soon, and then I’ll be all set. I’m percolating another holiday story — a couple of them actually. If I’m going to do them WELL, they need to be written now, so I have time to revise them, design them, and print them in time to go out with the cards.

Got some good work done on AMENDS. It’s got an interesting shape. I couldn’t figure out where to set it for the longest time. The incident that inspired the book’s murder and the location of that incident took place here, but suburban NY didn’t feel right. I didn’t want to stick it on the Cape, and I just set stories in VT and around Concord, MA.

So I thought about putting it in Western MA, farther west even than Wyatt East’s domain in the Jain Lazarus Adventures, all the way in the Berkshires. I’ve got another piece percolating that I want to set in that region, but I don’t think they’ll conflict.

So that’s where AMENDS is set.

I figure it will run somewhere between 65K and 90K.

Had a lot of trouble with 1and1 again. I looked at some other hosts; everyone seems to get mixed reviews. I don’t know if I’m better off staying with the devil I know. At least until I get the computer stuff sorted out and don’t lose all my iWeb files again.

My contacts and client lists vanished from my Address Book — AGAIN — which means I have to re-enter them. Over it! I want Apple to stop wasting everyone’s time and actually DO something.

Finished reading the material for Confidential Job #1 and will write it up today, send it off tomorrow,and find a computer from which I can invoice them.

Did some notes on one of the holiday stories. Figured out what I want to try to make for the holidays. I will do a few prototypes in early October. If it works, I can get everything made and wrapped early; if not, it gives me time to come up with something else, so I’m not scrambling, like I did last year.

I figured out that I’ve saved $1200 so far this year by shopping as Costco on items I would have had to buy in that time period anyway.

A site on which I’d like to be a contributor is not going to work out. I’d be willing to compromise on the money (or lack thereof) to a point, but the insistence on running a photograph, not the icon, makes it a no-go. What I do or don’t look like has NOTHING to do with the quality of my writing, and, as someone who publishes under multiple names, a photograph hurts me rather than helps me. If clients who pay a ton of money have no problem with the no-photographs clause, clients who don’t should be even more flexible. Obviously, it’s not the right fit, and there are better fits for both of us somewhere else.

Need to get deeper into Prague Prep — the trip is coming up awfully quickly. It would be nice if those who were invited to guest blog and didn’t want to/couldn’t at least had the courtesy to decline and respond to my follow-up emails instead of ignoring them. Oh, well, the sooner you learn about someone discourteous, the sooner you can remove them from your life, right? I’m seriously starting to think everyone should be required to pass an etiquette class before they’re allowed out in the world! 😉

Devon

AMENDS, first draft: 13,750 words out of est. 75,000
18.33%

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Sunday, July 12, 2009
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and humid

Well, yesterday was an adventure. I went out in the morning to do errands. Went to the Post office, which was actually open at a time I could go. Stopped at the wine store, went to Staples to get my external hard drive. The guy at the store tried to push me into having my PC cleaned. I explained I switched to Mac, and didn’t need the PC cleaned anymore, and I was there to get a Mac-compatible external hard drive. The Apple store used Seagate quite a bit, and it was on sale at Staples, so that’s the one I chose. Continued on with other errands, to Bed Bath and Beyond, who didn’t have what I needed and Michael’s, who didn’t have what I needed, and, well, you get the picture. I didn’t even make the planned stop at DSW. Just not in the mood.

Got home, took a look at the hard drive — and it’s only compatible with PC. Yeah. Part of that is my responsibility — I should have checked before I left the store, instead of trusting the employee to get from the stock room the item for which I asked. Especially at that particular Staples. But I should also be able to trust that the guy brings me the right piece of equipment.

Went back to the store, and, of course, heaven forbid any of the accounting should be easy. There were all kinds of accounting histrionics, and I won’t really know how it’s sorted until I get my statement next month. They didn’t have the Seagate hard drive that’s compatible with Mac, so I got a MyBook, which one of the other employees actually uses with her Mac.

Came home, hooked it all up, set up Time Machine — and it was done in an hour. An hour! That’s it! The last time I tried to back up the PC, a window popped up saying, I kid you not, that it would take FIFTY-FOUR HOURS to back up the computer. And I already have way more on the Mac than I ever had on any of my PCs.

One of my books arrived from National Geographic yesterday, the book on the Hubble Telescope. It’s amazing. It will take me weeks to thoroughly read it and absorb it, and it’s a book to which I will often go back.

Laid-back afternoon. Disappointing dinner — picked up some Thai food and it wasn’t very good Watched a movie — THE HOLIDAY. I’d heard awful things about it, and it wasn’t bad. There were a few logistical lapses I wanted fixed, and I think they could have pushed the comedy and still not gone over into slapstick, which they were careful to avoid. I like the casting. It was a perfectly pleasant evening’s diversion.

Elsa had a bad night, which meant I had a bad night. I was up with her quite a bit. I think the respiratory infection is back. This morning, I gave her medicine, which made her throw up, but now the respiratory infection seems to be better. Maybe we can both nap in the afternoon. I’ll give her some Rescue Remedy tonight, and then some more medicine tomorrow, and see how she does. If she’s got a relapse, I’ll have to take her back to the vet.

Violet raced around this morning like a lunatic, and then ran head first into a large, hard-backed book I held. I was worried she had a concussion, but she seems fine.

I finally had a really good writing morning today. What a relief! I’ve got an article to finish today, some information to get back to an editor, and then I’ll have to make sure everything is taken care of early in the week, because I’m working out of town the second half of the week — and will probably bug the cat sitter by calling every half hour to check on Elsa.

I need to get a bunch of stuff packed and hauled over to storage before I go.

It’s a lovely day — I was out for a walk this morning to the bakery, and maybe I’ll get a chance to go out again this afternoon — if I don’t opt to nap.

Hope everyone is having a wonderful weekend.

Devon

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Partly sunny and pleasant

Supposedly we had horrible storms and hail all night. I slept through it; never heard a thing. The cats woke me up at 5 AM (so not cool), but it wasn’t because of storms. And I have an hilarious “bad kitties’ photo to post later this week. Little stinkers!

Spent about three hours working in the unit yesterday; got a lot done, started getting the medium-sized unit folded in. I found quite a few books I needed, and carted those home, and tossed quite a bit of stuff. Since I can’t leave the garbage there, I had to haul it back in my car and dispose of it here. I don’t know when the big move is yet, but I’m getting the energy and momentum going for it.

Ran a few errands. Did some client work in the afternoon. The assignment for Confidential Job #1 is a bit more complex than I expected, so I’m a bit behind. But I’ll catch up today. Client work, discussions with editors, pulled a couple of listings for possible pitches, but didn’t have the time to actually pitch them (guess I didn’t want them enough).

Did not watch the Michael Jackson memorial. I enjoyed his music growing up, I’m sorry he’s dead, but I didn’t know him, never worked with him, and it doesn’t have a lot of personal impact. I wish they’d stop carting his casket around and let the poor man rest in peace. I feel for his family and the friends who actually knew him and loved him, especially his kids. I have nothing but contempt for the so-called “friends” who were “too upset” to attend. This isn’t about you, bitches; you should have put aside your egos, pulled it together, and shown the man some public respect. With “friends” like that . . .

Cooked salmon in a sesame-ginger teriyaki sauce and put today’s pork chops in the maple chipotle marinade so they could soak all night. I have to go grocery shopping today after I spend a few hours working in the storage unit, and I need to make my list. I’m also going to do a rough inventory of everything, so that when I relocate I have an idea of what’s where.

Talked to a friend to make plans for dinner next week — we haven’t seen each other in awhile and want to catch up.

Lousy writing session this morning. I’m just going to have to navigate rough waters for a bit.

Watched the premiere of WAREHOUSE 13 last night. I thought most of it was clever. I had a few structural problems with it, although, for the most part, I liked the writing and the casting. Cross-cutting Artie in the warehouse hunting down the portrait with the building investigative MTV-byte-length scenes, in my opinion was a mis-use of comic relief — it dissipated tension/suspense instead of building it. And it was unclear why the professor brought back the book with the comb — it sounded as though he was ordered to do so, but if the comb is where the power lies, it doesn’t make sense he would just “happen” to find it and bring it back. It’s kind of a chicken-egg question that was ignored and never logically explained. I could conjecture, but I wanted to KNOW. It may well have been a scene that was shot and then cut. I also wanted more character development in the guest roles. I know one has to establish the leads and the core quickly, but give them interesting CHARACTERS to play off of each week, not just odd SITUATIONS. Although the nod to the RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK warehouse situation did make me giggle. And the Sci-Fi channel now calls itself “SyFy”? Really? Barf. It’s not a “hip, cool re-name”. It’s stupid. It makes me not want to spend time on the channel because I feel as though those making the decisions are insulting my intelligence. Yeah, i know they do that anyway, especially with their Saturday movies which are so poorly written and executed that they’re laughable, excruciating, and unwatchable (I think I’ve lasted maybe four minutes on a couple of them, and less on most), but some of the series are actually pretty good. However, this re-name pushes me away from the channel rather than drawing me towards it because the name alone means I can’t trust the content.

Okay, I’m going to get some more work done on the assignment for Confidential Job #1 before heading back to storage.

The problem with having a subscription to NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC is that they also publish fantastic books. And they have sales. Yes, I succumbed.

Devon