Aug 31 2011

Time Marches On


Trying to cram in some writing time before the gym.

Or cram in some gym time after writing.

Starbucks.   Because it's there.

Starbucks. Because it's there.

Either way, by waiting I miss the most crowded times. I’m surrounded by people all day long at the DayJob, and just do NOT want to work out in a big crowd!

Current audiobook getting me through my workout: Terry Pratchett’s The Fifth Elephant. I seem to be on a Pratchett binge lately.

The music at Starbuck’s is particularly annoying today.

We survived the hurricane just fine — only lost power for a couple of hours. Nothing broke, nothing blew away. Some tree branches that were formerly up are now down, but they weren’t big, and nothing important was beneath them.

Other parts of the state did not fare so well. We’re inland, and the Shore got hit the worst in Connecticut. A lot of my co-workers are still without electricity.

Ack! Time’s up!

Aug 27 2011

The dangers of reading.


I love Vance Gilbert.

It breaks my heart that the guy who wrote THIS:

had to go through THIS:

Flying While Black and Reading Antique Aviation Books

I remember Vance singing that song, with an even longer spoken introduction, at the Boston Music Festival. I got all misty-eyed.

So — what the hell? Since when is reading about airplanes so potentially dangerous that you have to send the plane back to the gate?

Apparently, when the person reading is not white.

And — this is probably the real key — when the people supposedly trying to protect us do not actually know how to use logic and reason.

Far too many stupid things have been done by TSA and the airlines in the name of safety. I don’t have to list them here. Add racism to the mix, and it’s even worse.

My personal suggestion: HIRE SMART PEOPLE. Oh, yeah — You’ll have to pay them well. Smart folks don’t come cheap.

So, spend some money. Think of what you’ll save on public relations, and lawsuits.

Apparently United Airlines is going to discuss the incident with Mr. Gilbert. I’m going to keep an eye on this, to see what happens next…

(You can read about it on Vance Gilbert’s own blog here.)

Update: here’s the Atlantic’s coverage and comments, including some photos of Mr. Gilbert.

Aug 26 2011



Contrary to appearances, I do not spend all my time in coffee shops.

If only that were true!

The key to surviving the crappy local Starbucks is to score an outside seat. Inside is just too grim.

Plus: you can eavesdrop on everyone's conversations.

Plus: you can eavesdrop on everyone's conversations.

Just trying to get some writing in before hitting the gym.

We’re all battening down for Irene… It’s quite a weird sensation, in that the sky is perfectly clear and perfectly blue, and all around me the talk is all of power outages, canned food, and filling your bathtub with water Just In Case. Plus: The stores are putting signs out front saying “NO C BATTERIES”.

Can be used as actual money.

Can be used as actual money.

Desperately trying to get back the momentum I had on The Seekrit Project, which was soaring and is now but limping.

Frankly, folks, I’m hoping that the town where my DayJob is located will have a power outage, while my actual own town does not! So I can have some days off! With electricity, because my laptop batteries just won’t last the whole weekend… yeah, I know they won’t pay us for days not worked, but you know what? My bank account is bulging with overtime pay! I can afford unpaid days off!

So, you know, Irene? What say?

Aug 19 2011

Guess where I am.


TOO MUCH OVERTIME! Decompression required.

If you guess, you get, um…. um…. Okay, I got nothing.

I ain’t leaving until writing has occurred.

Aug 14 2011

Okay, I was wrong.


I thought it was over. I was mistaken. More Overtime.

Plus: Catsitting for friends in Fairfield results in two hours commute to the DayJob. Daily. As in, every day. Two hours. In a car.

Actually, I get some of my best ideas while riding long distances in a car… so, not a complete waste. I’ve stored up some stuff to use.

And of course, the world’s cuddliest cats (Winken  & Blinken) were waiting for me every evening.

I just address them both as "inken" and let them figure out the consonant themselves

Winken or possibly Blinken, your guess is as good as mine

Midway through the week, I sent the kitties’ owner this email:

Just thought I’d let you know that all is well here in kitty-land. Lots of hugs and cuddles, and your guest bed is sooo comfy!

Of course, the guys do miss you terribly. In fact, they went and got you a present!

I suggested flowers, but they had another idea….


Aug 5 2011

Okay, at least it’s over


That’s two straight weeks of too much overtime. This in punishment payment for my week off after Readercon. The paperwork doesn’t stop rolling in just because I’m not there!

I decided I needed an evening at the Funky Monkey.

Lounging in the loungeteria area

Lounging in the loungeteria area

I’m ordering a second latte and hunkering down to some serious catching up on WRITING. Can’t let that Seekrit Project languish.

deep thoughts

deep thoughts

Aug 5 2011

Geek out!


Sometimes I just have to. Because I am a geek, a nerd, in my heart of hearts.

Here’s the latest thing that’s making me go into paroxysms of geeky delight:

I wander into my boss’ office, and find he’s out — but his internet radio is on.

Hm, says I, wonder what that catchy tune is?  Enter Shazam.

Pull out the ol’ iPodTouch (with its microphone, which just happens to be attached)….

Listen, little app...

Wait a bit.. and hey,  it’s —


It went and looked it up, clever little app — by listening.

But sure, Cher’s totally famous…  How about someone less ubiquitous?

I listen to WUMB during my workday.   They show the playlist as they go:


Point to the speakers….




Yep. Plus: it will show you the lyrics.

Sure, only works for recorded music — you can’t hum or whistle the tune, can’t hold it up during a live performance. But I find this just crazy cool.

But here’s the caveat, and it’s the usual one: Like everyone else these days, Shazam really wants you link up with your pals, share “tags”, buy the music through iTunes, set up an account so they can track every damn thing you do, go through Facebook, and in general use you as an unpaid shill and marketing research guinea pig.

But you don’t have to do those things. You can just use it to look up music. (Be sure to delete your “tags” afterward; the free version only allows you 5 tags at a time.)

So, it’s fun. Amaze your friends! I just did, wowwing my co-worker by sticking the iPod through an office door where music was playing, and coming back with the song name. And doing it again for the next song.

This probably impresses programmers and other techies more than it does general consumers. Consumers probably just generally expect computers to work this way, and be able to do this sort of thing. It’s a tricorder, right? We’ve seen that before, now we’ve got ’em for real. Whatevs.

But, hello, it’s a new thing, and hard to do! Masses of weirdly intelligent people got together and made this difficult thing happen, and then put it in my pocket, for my fun and convenience.

Love that 21st century.