Category Archives: life

general posts about my life

A Strange Sight

So today my sweetie-wife and I were taking out usual Balboa Park walk when we came across oan interesting scene. Picture this;

A man with a brilliant green mustache dressed in a white suit and matching Panama hat clutching an over sized ruby running through the tress as he is chased a man in sun glasses and cat-suited women wearing domino masks and wielding katanas.

It was a film production. Looked like a student project. We stopped, watched for a few moments and exchanged a few words.

Man, I miss my own amateur film production days.

 

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Slow Sunday

Today turned out to be a very pleasant day. I spent it, as I do most Sundays, in the company of my sweetie-wife. We took a trip to the San Diego Zoo, we both hold memberships so visiting to Zoo is free. The weather was fine; the animals were active. When we came up on the enclosure for the Fishing Cat we got a small surprise. This animal is most often asleep, and usually on a back high ledge where if you can spot the point of an ear you’re having a lucky viewing day, but this morning he was down and pacing near the front of the habitat. We all witnesses some small deer like animals, they were Dik Diks but looked related, charging around and racing each other around their paddock.

For lunch we stopped at the Waypoint Public House where I experimented and got rewarded with a warm happy lunch. I have no memory of every trying a grilled cheese sandwich and so today I ordered one. I had them add avocado to at least help with with a few healthy fats. The sandwich was hot, gooey, and delicious.

At home we relaxed with computers games, Dominion online, and a round of Star Trek: The Original Series; The Deck Building Game. (She won the Star Trek game but it was a tight thing.)

All in all a very relaxing time leaving me quite contented.

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Universal Studios Hollywood: February 2017

So Sunday was my first trip of the year to Universal Studios. I take these trips 3 or 4 times a year. I have strong introvert tendencies and I find that being alone in a crowd to be a very relaxing environment. It helps that I am a movie nut and never tire of things that are film related.

I departed San Diego about 7 am and arrived just after the park opened. Sadly the Stunt show was closed for refurbishment, along with the Jaws attraction on the tram tour, but these are the sort of things that happen when you go in the dead of winter.

I always do the tram tour. Depending on what’s filing and where the course can vary quite a bit and the tour is different with each guide. I do have to admit that on this trip I had the worst tour guide yet. It may be that he was a last minute replacement or something like that. I sat in the front tram car and I watched as he read the script right of the page. Now that script is a tough one, the corny jokes are a tough sell on a good day but doing them in a cold read renders them worse than dead.

The weather was cold, grey, and fogged in for most the morning, which made the Wizarding World of Harry Potter feel just like a Scot winter. This was my first visit to the Harry Potter part of the park. It was fun and the ride “Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey’ was fun and became my second favorite ride. (The Simpsons remain number one just for the sheer number of jokes at the park’s expense, but if I am being honest the flight sim of the Potter ride was better.)

Sadly they took out the little museum that used to live on the lower level. I guess people want more food and rides but I always enjoyed the exhibits.

I left early, about 3 pm, spending a total of about 6 hours in the park The weather threatened to turn rainy and I thought it best to get home to my sweetie-wife as quickly as possible.

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Doing Research

So I am about to dive back into my Nationalized Space fictional setting and write another Seth Jackson novel. These usually involve research into governments types and functions, space movement and combat and things of that nature but I find I needed to take an additional step this time: I had to re-read by my earlier novel.

This has been a different experience. It has been nearly two years since I last read these pages and I have grown as a writer in the intervening span. That said, and while there are sentences here and there I now want to revise, I am overall happy with the book. It’s the sort of novel I want to read and if I may be allowed a moment of egotism, one I am having a lot of fun re-reading.

Other aspects of my are also going fairly well. Three weeks ago my doctor’s office called me to warn me that my cholesterol number were rising and the time had come for action. I could either start taking medications or I could try diet and exercise. To me the medications are a last resort and it is better to address the causes rather than the effects.

Since the doctor’s warning I have not had red meat. I plan to on rare occasions, say every two months or so, allow my self some red meat but fish and fowl have become my mainstay. I have also jettisoned snacks that are not fruits or nuts. On February 4th I have another blood draw and we’ll see if there has been any effect. Then on February 5th I’ll take a sol trip to Universal Studios Hollywood and let my brain recharge for a spell.

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Brain can’t brain

I can’t seem to conceive a new essay today so am off to edit some fiction and I will leave for your enjoyment a music video from one of my favorite singers, Caro Emerald. (If you cant sing acoustic you’re not a real singer.)

 

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Goodbye 2016

Today is New Year’s Day and we can officially place 2016 into the pages of history. For some 2016 was a terrible year and I can share their horror of what unfolded on the public stages, but personally 2016 was for myself a year of gradual change.

I made no new fiction sales during the year. My agent continues to shop my military SF novel so on first inspection it would appear that the year has not been very kind for my writing, but I do not feel that is very representative of my experiences.

Yes, the lack of sales is disheartening, but I have also gotten some very nice comments from top editors. While the particular stories were not to their tastes they praised the prose and asked my agent to send more.

In 2016 I also completed two novels, both were experiments outside of my writing comfort zone. One, an SF noir I think worked very well and now rests in the hands of my capable agent, the other my first attempt at an SF YA adventure failed, but the idea is not dead and who truly succeeds at a first attempt?

I believe that I have in gaming terms ‘leveled up’ this year and start 2017 as a stronger and more skilled writer.

My personal life continues to improve. I love my wife and our marriage is strong, my day-job is interesting, worthwhile, and compensates well. I work with good people who I enjoy interacting with everyday. 2016 also saw my first opportunity to attend San Diego’s local horror film festival Horrible Imagings. I loved it more than I had expected and look forward to the next festival later this year.

2016 was not without its troubles. I watched friends struggle with adversity and right there at its close I became aware of the need for a dramatic lifestyle change of my own. My G.P. has informed me that my cholesterol numbers are beginning to climb and I had a choice, radical alteration to my diet or medication. I detest the idea of taking ever more maintenance prescriptions and so the diet is a changing. Fruits and veggies are the order of the day, whole grains, and never again the beloved fried foods.

So the year had it’s bumps and its benefits, overall I am not unpleased with how the year has turned out.

2017 holds promise. I have entered the Writers of the Future Contest after an absence of several quarters, though the tale submitted it another experimental one and we shall see if it strikes a chord with the judges. My novel continues to be considered for traditional publication, and after a little short story work that won’t take more than 2 or 3 weeks I return to the comfort of military SF for another novel.

May your future hold much promise and joyful challenges.

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Research Can be Surprising

One of the ways to avoid doing the actual work of writing it is do research. Of course your story needs research but it is also an easy out, after all there is always another article to read, another book to check out, another paper to scan. I am no more immune to this than any other writer.

For y next SF military novel I am doing research into PTSD. The question I have is if the bio-chemical and neurotransmitter links of PTSD can be undone and restored by physical treatment what does that do to issues such as survivor’s guilt?

While doing the research I followed some breadcrumbs down a rabbit hole of information and ended up reading about children and PTSD. Not at all germane to my novel as none of the characters are children and certainly not the character for whom I needed these answers, but the research turned surprising in a personal matter.

My father died when I was ten years old and it was quite a blow emotionally. Reading the symptoms and expressions of PTSD in children I was struck just how much of it lined up with my memories if myself during the years following his passing.

Now this was the early 70’s, hardly a time when people would have considered such a diagnosis for a boy, but the tremors of familiarity resonate strongly for me. Today, there are now symptoms of expressions and I am quite satisfied with life.

Writing can be a profession that transforms the writer and not just their readers. I have already had an adjustment t some political thought as a results of fiction heads I have crawled into for their POV and now I have a new take on my own childhood.

 

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A Day Off

Lately I have been working 50-54 hours weeks at my day job as the Medicare application flood in during the Annual Enrollment Period. This week my body informed me that it no longer approved of the extra money I was making and allowed the Psoriatic Arthritis to flare up.

Now, this is not disabling and many people, some close friends, suffer far worse health issues, but the outbreaks, the joint pain, and the lack of sleep do take their toll. This was a result of physical stress and in order to de-stress I took today off.

Surprisingly I slept for 9 hours, which means I really and truly needed it. I operate, happily, on 6 1/2 hours each night and even n the weekends rarely go beyond 7.

This morning has been a lazy morning of burritos, British WWII documentaries, and thinking about my current SF short story.

It had been stuck for an ending but now I have it. I knew the story, and that pointed to the character change, what I did not have was the plot that got me there. Now I think I have that plot. When I awoke this morning I even was struck by an experiment style to pull off the ending. It’s wacky and may not work but I will attempt it. You should write outside your comfort zone.

 

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Loscon 43 Day 3

Sunday was the final day of the convention. in spite of being up past midnight engrossed in good conversations I arose shortly after 8 am and took in a buffet breakfast in the hotel restaurant, A friend, Mark Fogg, joined me for breakfast and the good conversation from the previous night continued.

My bad luck with first of the day panels also continued as the retrospective on Military Sf was canceled. Instead I spend my first block period watching space-related cartoon from Warner Brothers and MGM.

Just a few topics and panels consumed the rest of the convention for me. A nice overview of the science gained from our most recent Martian rover, a lively discussion of tropes and cliché’s in fiction, and I ended it on science with a look at the result of the New Horizons mission to Pluto.

At about 4 pm my wife and I left the convention for home. The drive home passed uneventfully. We stopped for a meal with friends also heading to San Diego, and did a little grocery shopping near home before finally reaching our condo.

I stayed up a littler later than my sweetie-wife watched most of The Martian, but then exhausted I turned in for sleep.

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Loscon 43 Day 1

Things went fairly well for me on Friday. Now my day-job requires that I work ‘Black Friday’ as this is also the time of the year when Medicare complete applications arrive in a flood. However I was able to shift my work schedule so I started early and completed by shift at 3:00, then my sweetie-wife and I drove quickly from San Diego to Los Angeles and I arrived just twenty minute before my first scheduled panel.

The panel discussed Science, Fiction, and Politics. Despite the explosive potential the room remained civil and instead on rancor we had plenty of reasoned statements. I sat next to Harry Turtledove and managed to not make a fool of myself.

The evening was hanging out with friends, Ice Scream social, dinner with my sweetie-wife, and open room parties. I even managed to squeeze in about 40 minutes of editing on a new short story. All in all the day was good and ended well.

Now I head into day two and this time I have thee panels or workshops that I will be participating in.

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