May 30 2011

So that Melissa can have a good night’s sleep


Over in the comments, Melissa said:

Resident botanist here. What are the little green flowers? Are they falling off a tree, or growing on a stem arising from the soil? Do they have leaves on the plant? Give me more pictures–I’m compelled to know . . . I may not sleep . . . I mean, really . . . Don’t just put up a picture like that and then go talk about writing . . . c’mon.

They’re not coming from the ground, they are definitely from UP. And they’ve dropped those little green flowers in the hundreds, where I found them on the ground and on my bench.

Here they are, still on the plant:

they pop off the branch easily

they pop off the branch easily

Upon investigation, I find that they are a vine.

in vertical mode

in vertical mode

I believe we have more than one sort clambering up the trees at the back border of the condo property.

yep. Vines.

yep. Vines.

Lots of vines in the back margin, including one example that had been in place so long that its main stalk was two inches in diameter. It was strangling our beloved cedar tree, so I executed it on advice of a pal who used to be a landscape architect.

beheaded in a good cause

beheaded in a good cause

I can’t swear that the monster vine is the same as the pretty-green-flowers vine, since the monster no longer blooms, but only exists as a macabre skeleton plant embracing our cedar. But, could be…

May 29 2011

Three days off!


How lovely to be in the middle of Sunday and realize that Monday will be free, free!

Spending the entire weekend writing!

Well, plus some laundry.

And cooking a few meals here and there.

Also: Hey, Laurie J. Marks is visiting for the whole weekend! Also writing.

It has not rained yet, although it keeps threatening to do so.

So mostly, I’m tucking myself into my little woody nook and pretending I’m deep in the wilderness (despite Lawnmower Man’s inescapable industriousness), and being All Creative and Stuff.

It's a flower.   But it's green.   It's a green flower.

It's a flower. But it's green. It's a green flower.

These little things are all over the place. Can’t quite figure where they’re coming from….

they're everywhere

they're everywhere

Okay, back to work.

I mean, back to fun.

I mean, back to work…

Oh, that’s right: Writing is work that is actually fun.

Back to it.

May 22 2011

But will my heart be broken yet again?


I LOVE Tin Tin.

I admit that it took me a while to warm up to him. I did not love him immediately.

When I was a kid, I just couldn’t see the appeal. I thought Tin Tin was a) weird-looking, and b) not funny. Where were the jokes? So I categorized Tin Tin as Do Not Like, and passed him by whenever he showed up on the comics shelves.

This went on for, oh, thirty years or so…

And then, one time, I was in Europe, moaning yet again about my lack of skill in German. Whenever I’m in Germany, I regret not speaking German better, but when I’m not in Germany, how can I motivate myself to study German? I’ve got stuff to do! Urgent stuff! Interesting stuff! Plus: limited amount of time not devoted to whatever DayJob was currently in place.

Then it occurred to me: you know what would be a smart thing to do? Read comics in German! Because I read comics fairly often anyway; and there are pictures, which will give you a clue as to what they’re talking about; and the dialog is conversational, thus helping one get a solid grounding in the basics before excursions into difficult tenses.

So, there we were in Kiel, strolling down one of those dedicated store-front streets, and we wandered into a bookstore, where Sabine and I perplexed our aunts by parking ourselves in the comics section and not moving for a long time. Apparently adult German women of their generation did not read comic books.

But we were young! American! Geeks! We do not submit under the glare of society’s disapproval!

It was cool.

In amongst the weirder and wilder offerings, I came across this:

Auf Deutsch

Auf Deutsch

Tim Und Struppi/Tim in Tibet (German Edition)

“Hm,” says I, picking it up, “that guy looks familiar.”

And I opened it up to a huge, glorious image of a plane crashed in the Himalayan snows, with such amazing detail, clarity, color — I was stunned. Had to have it, for its own lovely sake.

Plus: Adventure! Absolutely this was adventure. All the best stories are adventures.

And on the plane back to the States, when I pulled it out of my carry-on to have something to read while crossing the Atlantic, I discovered: plenty of humor, too. In fact, much funnier in German. Why? Beats me.

Thus began my love for reading Tin Tin in languages I barely know.

en francais

en francais

Les Aventures de Tintin: On A Marche sur la Lune (French Edition of Explorers on the Moon)

I wonder why I enjoy it so much more in unfamiliar languages? Is it something to do with the need to absolutely focus to extract the meaning from the text, that makes the experience — how can I put it? More adventurous? I think that’s it. More adventurous.

Of course, I soon came to appreciate Tin Tin in English as well. Now I’m a fan.

Why am I mentioning this now?

Steven Spielberg, Peter Jackson, and Stephen Moffat? How can this go wrong?

But if it does, I shall be oh, so sad…

On one hand, who remembers Ralph Bakshi’s Lord of the Rings?

On the other hand, who can forget M.Knight Shyamalan’s The Last Airbender?

I wait and wonder.

May 17 2011

Second most suckiest Starbucks in existence.


The first most suckiest being the only other Starbucks within 40 minutes drive.

I love Starbucks! Why does Starbucks hate my town? Is this perhaps where bad barristas are sent to be punished? If they mend their ways, they’ll go to Starbucks in Fairfield?

And if it’s so crappy, why am I here?

It’s right next door to my new gym.

Trying to grab some writing time before working out. Thus neatly missing the peak rush hours.

Hard at work

Hard at work

The Funky Monkey is just too far away to combine with a gym night.

May 16 2011

I wonder how well this will work?


For spaceflight enthusiasts like myself, this might be pretty cool, but I can’t tell until the shuttle Endeavor actually lifts off. Alas, I’ll be at the DayJob at that point, but maybe I can sneak a peek….

realtime, so they say
Go here for the application… You need Google Earth to run it.

May 15 2011

yep, another week of overtime coming up…


…Because being away from the freakin’ DayJob means that 40 hours of tasks were not done. And you can’t catch up 40 hours in just one week which already contains 40 hours of work.

Upside: overtime = bucks.
Downside: even more hours in the day during which I have to pretend to be obsessively detail-oriented, a mental state alien to me.

But, hey: I have the house to myself all weekend and part of the week, due to my sister going to a conference in Boston, and staying at the place I cat-sat two weeks ago.

The place of pear blossoms and pond and goldfinches and geese and these guys:

(I can’t believe that shot worked. I just stuck my little digital camera up to the eyepiece of the telescope, wiggled it until the view screen looked good, and clicked.)

Oh, and this guy:

Resemblance to John Scalzi's cat Ghlaghghee entirely coincidental

Resemblance to John Scalzi's cat Ghlaghghee entirely coincidental

And now: back to my regularly scheduled WRITING!

May 12 2011

yes, I’m back!


And yes, I’m instantly swamped with DayJob overtime from all the tasks that did not get done while I was gone. Thus: not much blogging going on…

Upside: I got a lot done on the Seekrit Project while I was away!
Downside: But I did not finish it yet.
Upside: But I did not lose my momentum, and it’s still in motion!
Downside: But I am not in motion, myself..

Nothing like tons of overtime to keep you sitting for hours at a time. I’ve always known this is a bad thing, but now there’s infographics to prove it:


At the DayJob I long ago set my computer to give me hourly reminders to get up and walk around. But sometimes they show up when I just can’t. When I do get up and walk around, I leave the prompt up on my screen so my boss knows why I’m not at my desk.

Ack! I’m late! Must run (and then not run for hours on end).

More later….

May 5 2011

off the grid


Or, more correctly, ignoring the grid.

I am successfully ensconced in an exclusive luxurious literary hideaway (tranlation: cat-sitting for friends with a nice big house), and have been flailing my brain into a creative productive mode. The work at hand is, yes, still the Seekrit Project, sorry. But the damn thing is mocking me now, and must be shown who is the boss.

It’s nice to sleep as much as I need, and to read for more than 15 minutes at a time. My DayJob is a job of terrible little details, all of them antithetical to my nature. The only way I can be good at it is to expend massive amounts of brainpower on STUPID LITTLE THINGS.

There’s a reason that artists and writers and creative people tend to be absent-minded: our minds actually are someplace else when we’re creating. Being forced to be Right Here Right Now all the time can be pretty horrible.

So this week, I’m free to enter the airy realms of inspiration, to weave scintillating dreams, to explore the truths behind reality and sound the blazing heights of —

OMG! Baby geese, baby geese, BABY GEESE!

I shall call them William and Kate

I shall call them William and Kate

Plus: Lots of sky.

Also: a good hour-long walking path around the pond where, although it is May, the results of April are much in evidence.

Like this:

... the droghte of March hath perced to the roote/	And bathed every veyne in swich licour/ 	Of which vertu engendred is the flour...

... the droghte of March hath perced to the roote/ And bathed every veyne in swich licour/ Of which vertu engendred is the flour...

And it looked like every tree had one of these guys:

... and smale foweles maken melodye ...

... and smale foweles maken melodye ...

Three more days of this…