Thursday, August 31, 2006

Amusing Sidebar:

Now, I'm gonna go down there, I'm gonna find this Phoenix guy, and I'm gonna put him in a hurt locker.

What the heck is a hurt locker? And why does it crack me up so bad??

Those words of wisdom come from Officer John Spartan, AKA Sylvester Stallone. They were trash-talked in Demolition Man, circa 1993. Gotta love some Sly.

Today was quite possibly the longest day in the history of the world. Either time was in slo-mo, or I was in fastforward, because tasks that usually kept me busy for half a day took barely an hour. By 5:00, I was begging time to get its ass off the floor and MOVE.

So, I came home to some mindless and endlessly amusing entertainment. Woot! Later, I plan to play mahjong and listen to the radio. Ah, this is the life!

All I'm missing is a hurt locker and someone to put in there.

[Edit: I lied! I'm watching the Chiefs game! Shameful of me to admit, but I didn't know they were playing tonight until I went to update my scoreboard in the sidebar and saw that "3-0, 2nd quarter" notation! Dude! *is ashamed*]

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Dear Charlie:

I'm having one of those weeks where I just don't want to go to work. I don't want to be particularly productive at home, either, but I really really don't want to go to work.

Best case scenario would be laying in bed reading and listening to music all day. *sigh*

So, I braved the poison ivy and mowed the front half of my lawn when I got home from work today. I dunno if I mowed the smaller half or what, but it didn't take as long as I expected. It was nice and cool out, so I didn't die of heat stroke, either. Heh.

Came back in and took a nice, cool bath. I love a nice, cool bath after a good workout.

And then I started experimenting in the kitchen. Beef broth, cubed sirloin steak, homemade egg noodles, pepper and onion powder, and a package of brown gravy mix made for an interesting and enormously tasty dinner. I made enough to eat tomorrow, too. Woot!

Now, I'm just chillin' and watchin' some Firefly. God, I love this show. It's all sorts of shiny.

I should be writing -- got a helluva story on my mind, followed by another, followed by another, if you believe it -- but I just now turned on the ol' laptop. Weird night when I don't get my trusty sidekick up and running until 8:00, ain't it?

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Dear Charlie:

Big week. Busy.

First, my car battery went on the fritz. Now, this battery was probably 7 years old, and that's good time for a car battery. But it still went out, so I got to replace it. Oi.

Then, I went to the dentist. Yup, the new dentist. I got many kudos for taking care of my teeth as well as I have. Considering that my cleaning wasn't any more in-depth than if I'd had it done every six months when it's been probably four years since the last one, I got lots of kudos.

I swear, I just brush my teeth twice a day and use Listerine once. I'm so not kidding. I take no credit.

But the dentist wants to do a little preemptive work. He said it's not often that he sees a twenty-nine year old mouth without a single cavity, but that I do have some areas that need "protecting". A few of my molars have tiny holes started that will be cavities if I don't get them fixed. I saw them. Magnified. They look...disturbing. Heh.

So, he wants to do some preemptive work to avoid drilling and fillings later. Understood. I'd love to prevent stuff later. However, I am poor.

Now I'll have the rather disturbing magnified mental image of holes in my teeth that require preemptive dental care until I am not so poor.

And I found out a possible reason why I have headaches so often. My jaw is slightly dislocated. Yeah. No injury, per se. Just that the front of my upper palate is pretty narrow (which, the dentist tells me, is fairly frequent) so my lower jaw doesn't close in its most efficient place.

Weird. And it's really outta whack. May have to have an appliance to correct it. I point back to that "I'm poor" thing. Heh.

Oh, and worst of all? This morning, I discovered that my friend in Kentucky, the one I just visited the beginning of this month, is in the hospital. An unidentified lung infection made her deathly ill and collapsed a lung, requiring surgery and an extended hospital stay.

Yeah.

I'd wondered why she hadn't answered either YIM messages or e-mails these last two weeks, so I called. Talked to her husband, who has been through hell. Calmed him down -- see, she has lots of friends, but no one seems to have bothered just talking to him about his fear and frustration for his wife of, what, 10 or 15 years?

But I got him calmed down and laughing and got the hospital's number and her room number. Her line's busy at the moment, but I'll be calling back shortly to make sure she's, ya know, still alive. My God.

So, yeah. Big week.

However, it has the perk of ending on a higher note. Jody let me borrow her Dead Like Me seasons one and two DVDs. Highly entertaining.

I kinda get irritated when the main character refuses to learn from her mistakes, but the vast majority of the show is both hilarious and thought-provoking. All sorts of good times.

One less thing, ne?

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Dear Charlie:

Completely random blog alert!

Okay, so is it weird to have a scar on your face with no memory of where it came from? I mean, I don't detail every single scar, of course, but you'd think I'd remember something happening to scar my FACE.

It's on my cheek, right by my nose. It's not terribly obvious in the right light, and it's not like a white streak -- just a noticeable dent in a horizontal line. I don't remember a cut or a hit or anything. It wasn't from the bus accident. All of those scars are hidden by my hair, and there weren't many of those.

I simply don't remember.

Hm.

Oh, and I had a Coke with lunch today -- ate at Moe's, which is a story all itself. It was tasty. I half expected a drinking frenzy. I expected to want to gorge myself on Coke.

Meh. It was just tasty. Not life-saving. I have no urge for another.

Sweet! I kicked the habit!

Oh! And apparently both me and Sis have been thinking of books other than the ones we're currently working on. Woot! I love a new story idea, even when I'm neck-deep in a writing jag on another!

...

Oo! Something shiny! *chases*

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Dear Charlie:

For all the fuss I make about Coke being life, it actually hasn't been that hard to drop it. I expected headaches and pissy behavior. I got generic lemon-lime soda and Gatorade.

Go figure.

Part of the ease is probably that I'm on a writing binge, which means I don't notice much of anything outside of the world I'm detailing, but that can't be all of it. I mean, who knew I could just...stop?

O.o

It's a little disturbing.

But the story's going great guns, though I had to not write today. I did a crapload of dishes this morning and cleaned my counters and stove. Yup, I needed to bake, and baking always starts with a massive cleaning of the kitchen.

Apple cobbler. Even peeled and chopped the apples. Made my own crust.

I gotta say that I do make a pretty damned good cobbler. It's all in the recipe, folks. I just follow it.

Anyway, another work week looms. I'll be chafing from 8:00 in the morning until 5:00 at night to write, feeling like work is yet again interfering with my REAL life, heh. It cracks me up when I do that. It's like writing is my job, and that irritating hobby I do every day for 9 hours just gets in the way.

Too bad that hobby pays and my job doesn't, ne?

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Frivolous Sidebar:

Oh yeah. And, for some bizarro and completely unforseen reason, I have...given up Coke for the time being.

*waits for the weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth to subside*

Yes. I know. Coke is life, and I love that acidic engine-block cleaner more than food itself. But I just...felt the need to lay off it for a while. I drink two or three a day, sometimes more, and that just can't be right.

Plus, I'm sure the caffeine doesn't help.

I haven't had so much as a sip for two days, and the expected caffeine headache hasn't set in yet. I'm a little disturbed at that. Is it possible for caffeine effects to build up?

*winces*

Anyway, I'm not giving it up forever, of course. Just long enough that a single can every now and then satisfies. And I may drop the whole experiment with saving my bones and stomach lining after a week or so, laughing it off as a bizarre turn of the moment. I reserve that right, heh.

But for now, no Coke. *sigh* No caffeine, except perhaps iced tea. The last time I experimented thus, I gave up all caffeine for a month, and it didn't do anything but make me wish for a Coke like a drowning man wishes for dry air. This time, who knows?

I don't really know why I'm doing this, other than that I probably shouldn't be drinking so much Coke in the first place, and that it gets expensive to feed that kind of habit after a while in the second place. I dunno.

Fear my whimsy!! FEAR it!

Dear Charlie:

Wow. Okay, so I'm on a writing roll right now.

Mum's the word as to everything from plot to genre. Heh. Sorry. Old habits die hard.

But it is going great guns. I had about 30 pages done before I decided to go a different way and trashed them, cranking out another 16 in their place. Heh. In all, in about four days of actual writing -- I got sidetracked by a book yesterday -- I put out almost 50 pages of text in this story.

Yeah. It's on.

Of course, I gotta catch back up to where I was, but it won't take long. It's all good.

And I like this story. The characters are fun. Remember The Secret Garden? The two little brats that somehow managed to catch your heart anyway? The hateful, spoiled, forgotten children who saved not only themselves but their lonely, crippled uncle as well?

Well, grow them up a bit to make them more set in their ways and you might come close to the characters in my story. Right now, though, they're just hateful. No endearing behavior in sight. Heh.

But that's more than I intended to tell, so I'm outta here before I spill everything! Gah!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Marvelous Sidebar:

I just finished reading a very nifty book: Nightlife by Rob Thurman.

Now, before I continue, I will state the obvious. I am easily entertained. I am a very simple creature. I enjoy movies ranging in intelligence from Airplane to House of Flying Daggers. But I do draw a line between "entertaining" and "good", and I do have some standards.

For instance, a million dollars couldn't induce me to sit through Battlefield Earth again. *shudder* The stupidity...the horror....

Anyway, so while I am easily entertained, I am not so easily impressed. A minor degree of difference, to be sure, but there all the same. Therefore, when I finished this book in just under four hours--that's cumulative, as I only got to read for an hour at lunch, at which point I began chafing for the rest of the work-day because I'd swallowed the hook, the line, and most of the sinker--I was inordinately impressed to find in the miniscule "about the author" section that this was Ms. Thurman's first novel.

Yeah.

I will tell you nothing of the plot. I'm not so cruel as to ruin a perfectly good book for someone who might wish to read it. I will, however, tell you that just about every bogey known to the fevered nightmares of the talented shows up. And between Caliban and Niko, I don't know who I like more. My beloved sister's vote is firmly in Nik's camp, as Cal's campy lexicon somewhat grated on her nerves, but I kinda like Cal. I like that he grieves for what he thinks his brother has lost because of him.

What he doesn't realize is that Niko wouldn't be himself if Caliban weren't himself. And underneath all of the other stuff to enjoy in this book, I like that tiny, buried gem the most. It's kind of the same reason I actually enjoyed the episodes of Numb3rs I reluctantly watched. It's brothers--one a genius and one a damn good detective--who don't realize that they are who they are because of their brothers.

Plus, there's the fun quirk that the genius in Numb3rs, no matter how elevated above the general public--and his brother--he may be, still has that little brother urge to make his big brother proud. Heh. Human nature is such fun.

Anyway, in my admittedly skewed view, the funnest parts of this book are probably what Sis didn't particularly savvy--the verbal fencing. She enjoyed the book, don't get me wrong, but she admitted that she didn't really like Cal's Voice. I very much did. And while this may not be on Sis's "must read again at any cost" list, she knows me well enough to know it would most certainly be on mine.

Part of it was the bickering with Niko. Those two, Cal and Nik, are veteran snarkers, and they know each other so eerily well that it didn't really take a fully-coherent thought for one to shamelessly enrage the other. Luckily and to their great good fortune, that gift serves them well with others, too, and while I'm not sure those others would agree, that gift 'o snark is damn endearing.

It certainly served to bring a few "friends" to their lonely, dark, perilous and dwindling camp.

But enough of the particulars! Suffice it to say that the characters were ornery enough to want to thwap but likeable enough to mourn over. The situation was just tense enough to require ceaseless page-turning but not enough to overwhelm the sincere and unyielding love between two brothers who have never had anyone but each other. And the writing....

Well, couched seamlessly within the wry insults and brutally descriptive prose lie a few extremely well-turned phrases. Snark, yes, but also passages that made me laugh out loud, that made me go back and read again to savor the free feeling of the wind on Cal's face or the knife of hard-dying love in Nik's heart. Yes, Ms. Thurman may bank on her gift for camp-speak, but I'd bank more on her ability to say in a few lines what some authors can't get across in a page.

I am reminded of Sis's favorite snark on Dickens--you know, that paragraph of wordy, needless prose to get across the succinct fact that "a year passed".

Kudos to you, Ms. Thurman. I much enjoyed the book and am looking forward to any more you feel obliged to excavate from that wasteland we authors--see how I bunch myself in, though I've yet to sell (or even satisfactorily finish) a novel?--like to call a mind.

[Edited because I'm an idiot. Sorry, Ms. Thurman!]

Monday, August 07, 2006

Dear Charlie:

Well, despite spotty and lengthy construction work and a sudden, blinding torrent of rain that slowed traffic from 80 to 25 for a good 20 miles, I managed to get to my beloved sister's house without major incident. Bless her heart, she served me pizza and her coffee -- the only coffee I'll drink, as I usually find that bitter beverage absolutely revolting -- and we talked until well after I should have gone home!

Good times, those....

Anyway, there was one plus to the seemingly endless road construction: on I-55 by downtown St. Louis, traffic came to a complete stop...but the stop came with a nearly postcard-perfect view of the Arch and the new stadium and all the buildings downtown and the waterfront. Very nice, and I stared at it happily while everyone else was grumbling at the gridlock. Heh.

But I'm starting to like that 9 1/2 hour drive. I know, I know. No cruise control should make GutterBall a very unhappy girl -- or at least make her bad knee ache abominably -- but it's such a pretty drive, and there are long periods of just empty, beautiful country in Illinois and Indiana, and the hilly country in Kentucky is lovely.

And I love to just get in a car and drive. I love doing that. I could skip the cities without losing any sleep, but I'll suffer them just to get to drive. I love it.

Plus, I got some sneak peekage into some of Sis's plot stuff for her next couple of projects, and there ain't much better than that. Woot!

But, back to work today. *sigh* I suppose I'll live, now that the multitude of audits-in-a-row are over. I'd do the happy dance, but I gotta go to work!

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Dear Charlie:

Made it to Kentucky with no complications. There was some serious construction on I-44 just before St. Louis -- traffic came to a complete halt for ten full minutes -- but other than spotty construction the whole way, it was actually a very pleasant 9-and-a-half hour drive. Beautiful country.

And Louisville is beautiful at night. BEAUTIFUL.

Of course, the St. Louis Arch in the full afternoon sun ain't too shabby a sight, either. And my road lead me right past it. Through downtown St. Louis. Oh, joy.

Heh.

Anyway, the hearing was this morning, and it went swimmingly, so we can all just sit back and relax for the rest of the weekend. Woot! I haven't had a vacation in an eternity!

*basks*

Anyway, just checking in -- thanks to Tommy and his wonderful amazing wireless router -- and making sure everyone knows that I didn't become a smear on the highway. Have fun, all! I'm gonna chill right the hell out.

Woot!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Dear Charlie:

Well, the bazillion charts are audited, the daily charts are put away, and as soon as I'm done alphabetizing my filing tomorrow, I can take off for Kentucky for 4 days off to pretty much eat and sit on my ass at a friend's house.

Woot! Vacation, here I come!

*dies*

These last few weeks have been...busy. If I never have to audit a chart again, it'll still be too soon. Gah.

Anyway, bag's packed. Just gotta slip in my toothbrush and laptop tomorrow morning. Heh.

It's a nine hour drive, though, and I don't have cruise control. My knee's gonna be killing me by the time I get there, but I got a few days to get the ache worked out before screwing it up again. Nice! And I'll probably get to see PotC: Dead Man's Chest again with new people.

Woot, again!

Okay, I'm obviously fried, so I'm going directly to bed. After a bath, of course. And maybe a readthrough of something my beloved sister's sending me. Heh.

*really dies this time*