Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Digital Publishing and Rejection Letters

First, we have the digital publishing topic rearing it's ugly head again. I still have mixed feelings on this. If I had some sort of e-reader, I might be more interested. As it stands now though, I have a slew of free books in PDF but have barely finished one book in nearly a year. Oi.

Then we have a very funny rejection letter. While I find rejection rather crushing to my ego, I found myself laughing as I read this. But then again, I wasn't the one being rejected. But then again, I wouldn't have submitted a theme song either.

And with that, I'll bid you a good holiday. Don't be a foodwhore!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Triggers: Mine and William's

We'll start with William, since I'm sure more of you out there care about him more than me. Lately I've been noticing he's learning words and phrases and responding to them appropriately (or humorously). So here's his list with responses:

- Are you hungry? - And he goes to his high chair and tries to climb in. Sometimes he'll even get an applesauce on the way.
- Do you want a milk? - And he runs to the fridge and tries to open the door.
- (no word or phrase) - When Henry scratches to go out, he runs to the door and tries to help him outside.
- Are you ready for your bath? - And he runs to the bathroom and tries to climb into the tub.
- Do you have a dirty diaper? - And he runs to his room.
- time out - Even when he's not in trouble, he'll go and sit in time out sometimes.
- Henry - He does a little "woof woof woof" sound.

I'm sure there's more, but that's all I remember right now. Moving on to my triggers, this is directly related to the sour state of the economy and my compulsive counting. How so? I recently scored a free subscription to Forbes (thanks to Yvonne's online survey addiction) and just got my first issue today. And was unpleasantly surprised by the overwhelming number of personal jets and expensive watches I saw advertised. Me thinks the economy is sour because some executives are making too much money.

Where does my compulsive counting come in? Simple. Here's a break-down of the adds in the December 2008 issue of Forbes Life:

- Watches - 12
- Resorts - 8
- Alcohol - 6
- Electronics - 6
- Clothing - 6
- Jets - 5
- Cars - 4
- Cigars - 2
- Food - 2

- Misc - 2 (a film festival and a sailing race)

Screw the economy, I'm thinking I need to become a corporate executive.

Monday, November 24, 2008

The power of 3

*Caution - There will be swearing in this post.

I've long been a fan of the number 3 (sorry Paulie, I have to use the number, not the word here). Probably because I was born on the 3rd. Or just because I'm weird. Anyway, the number 3 has appeared in many things cool. The Star Wars Trilogy. The Back to the Future Trilogy. The Icewind Dale Trilogy. A "silence of three parts" in The Name of the Wind.

I've been re-reading (listening actually) S. M. Stirling's saga about The Change. Repeatedly there's the idea or concept of "the three-fold law" essentially saying that if you do something good, it will be repaid to you three-fold. Same goes for evil. Kind of like what you dish out, you get back. I've never been a big fan of this "pay it forward" kind of mentality. After all, look what happened to the kid in the movie.

Which brings us my weekend. It sucked. Shopping when you're tired is NOT a good idea. Tired and cranky makes it worse. Tired and cranky in a sea of people, well, you get the idea. Saturday was spent at the local library getting a library card (more on that in a later post), watching Elizabeth learn about money, shopping at the local craft fair (more on that in a second), and shopping in town for groceries, Christmas presents, and the like.

While at the craft fair, there was a dearth of parking spots. So I parked in what one would assume to be a normal spot, behind someone else. When we left, someone decided to park behind me, effectively making my day. And if you happen to be that TN VOL fan, I'm not sorry I pushed your fucking car the few inches I did to remove myself from the parking lot. You're damn lucky I didn't push you to the other side of the fucking lot because I easily could have. So enjoy your early fucking Christmas present and I seriously hope I don't run into you in the next week. I might do something stupid just like you.

Yesterday was even more pleasant. Instead of six hours of sleep, I got four. But the sea of people had ebbed a bit, so I was able to ford my way through. We did get some more groceries for the holidays and I gave a few chuckles at Victoria's Secret. Elizabeth and I went to pick up some free underwear and I decided to shop for a Christmas present. Elizabeth was anxious to leave so she could ride the "rides" in the mall (those little car-thingies that move around). Well, when she heard I wanted to "shop" there, she said "Why daddy? Everything in here is for girls." "Yes sweetie, everything in here is for girls, , but I wanted to shop for something for mommy, not for me to wear." The woman passing by did her best not to laugh out loud. At least not while I was close enough to hear her. Then we had Yvonne losing more of a crown last night. It's a wonderful, wonderful thing that I don't like beer. I might be an alcoholic if I did.

And this morning, things looked brighter. Our dentist was nice enough to update us on the changes made based on our letter (which was based on our poor experience with Elizabeth's teeth). So that made me feel better. And my hygienist was chatty, which was okay, but it still makes me wonder if deaf people talk while at the dentist. Anybody know?

So now that I've let off some steam, I'm starting to gear up for next year and what projects it will bring. I'm brewing one right now, but we'll see how it works out. Meanwhile I'll be counting to ten.

One Abbamondi

Two Abbamondi

Three Abbamondi

Four Abbamondi

Five Abbamondi

Six Abbamondi

Seven Abbamondi

Eight Abbamondi

Nine Abbamondi

Ten Abbamondi

I am now at peace with the galaxy.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

A goat by any other name

Is still a goat. So, recently, author-extraordinaire Pat Rothfuss has been working up some fundraising for Heifer International. And at over $15,000, the fans are answering loudly.

Which brings us to a goat-inclusive music video.

So, for all you college kids out there, are these guys really that cool?

And for the rest of us fogies, are they hippies, emos, church choir, or something else?

PS - While I would greatly appreciate some Rothfuss swag, you can save some money by shopping from my Christmas list:
- iTunes money (I want to buy a Whiskey Bards album)
- The Cosby Show (entire series - this would be for both Yvonne and myself)
- The Sword-Edged Blonde by Alex Bledsoe
- Survive! by Les Stroud
- The Audacity of Hope by Barak Obama
- Costco gift card (any amount, we shop there all the time)
- Lost (any season on DVD)
- iPod video docking station (still not sure if I want this, but it's an option)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Make me an offer I can't refuse

So I'm actually watching The Godfather. After Roger Rabbit getting dipped, I decided for some action. And, like Lord of the Rings, I never really got into the Godfather series. One would think if I could stay awake and enjoy Lawrence of Arabia, I could do the same with The Godfather but when I was younger, I'd fall asleep. I knew it was out there, I knew it was good, but I'd only seen bits and pieces of it.

So far, it's decent. No Untouchables yet, but decent.

Moving on, we have two interesting articles from Publisher's Weekly. The first covers covers. As in book covers. Something I'm utterly fascinated with and, honestly, biased about. If a cover is good, I'll buy your book. If a cover is bad, I won't even pick it up. Simple as that.

The second answers some queries about query letters. Quite an interesting insight into how a slush pile is dealt with and how query letters may become passe.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

My day in pictures

So last night was the second night in a row that I've had a scary dream. And no, not scary like monsters. Scary like, like, I don't know. I didn't so anything illegal, but I was scared by what I was doing. So scared, so freaked out, I don't even want to talk about it, let alone think about it.

Moving on, I went to the gym and did a regular work out. Then, as I was getting into the shower, I dropped my underwear. My clean underwear. In the water. Damn.

As my day progressed, things looked better. I even got the chance to finish watching Who Framed Roger Rabbit. But the DVR decided to record all but the last 5 minutes. You know, when the bad guy gets it. Double Damn.

And I finished my daylight hours replacing the headlight bulb in Yvonne's van. In the freezing cold. Triple Damn.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Measuring Body Parts

Done laughing yet?

Are you sure? Is that a giggle I hear?

Well, if you can calm down and breathe for a second, I'll explain my Title. I've measured myself on occasion over the past few months and my trips to the Y have paid off a little. How much? Take a gander at what I've lost:

Forearm - 1/4 inch
Chest and Hips - 1/2 inch
Waist - 3 inches

I also gained some mass.

Thighs and Calves - 1/2 inch

I'm not too surprised by this as I've mainly been running and working out my lower body (calves and thighs). My weight has dropped a little, but not a dramatic amount. I'm not looking anorexic by any means and I haven't really changed my eating habits. Yet.

But the fact that I can run a few miles and feel fine when I'm done makes me feel great. I'm hoping to switch to an upper body workout here soon (after Thanksgiving) and get a good weight routine down. The Y has plenty of machines to use, it's just a matter of finding what works best.

Monday, November 10, 2008

The Gun Soap Box

Warning - this is a bit of a long-winded rant/soap box speech. Feel free to skip it.

So this article was in the local paper over the weekend and it kind of tweaked me as a gun owner/carrier. I've been told by many people that I was born for politics as I often sit on the fence or in the middle when it comes to arguments and hot topics.

But I think it's more my attempt at trying to compromise to make everyone as happy as possible. And one of those areas I'm willing to compromise in is gun control. Yes, I have a gun. Yes, I open-carry my gun (as allowed by state law). Yes, I conceal-carry my gun (as allowed by state law). Over the past few years that I've been open/conceal-carrying, I have been stopped by law enforcement officers.

One, a city officer, asked me if I was in law enforcement. Obviously I said no but stated I had a permit. From there the conversation went to what was the best model, caliber, etc. The second time was by a state trooper. Again, he asked the same "what department are you with" question. When I said none, he politely asked me for my ID and permit. Well within his rights and mine. Both times I was treated professionally and politely.

But it's the reaction from the general public that always amazes me. Most of the time, I'm completely ignored. I think most people assume the big blob of black on my waist is a PDA or something. For those that notice, there's generally some shock, maybe some pointing and whispered words, but usually that's the extent of it. Most do take a step back and leave me alone.

But more interesting is the more vocal reactions I've gotten. Like the young wanna-be thuggie that yelled "5-0!" when I walked out the hardware store. Or the grocery store clerk that said "see, they don't buy just donuts" after I bought some cookies. Or the clerk in Best Buy that said "I'm glad you carry that in here. I carry too and I know it irritates the security in our store." Or the people in Wal Mart that outright denied me access to the store, saying guns were banned (which they later apologized for and said they weren't). Or the Costco manager who said I needed to leave. Rudely. Even though I was in the process of paying for my shopping cart of stuff.

Where does sitting the fence come into this? I think we should be allowed to own guns. Even to carry them. But I think there needs to be limits on that. Criminals shouldn't be allowed to have them. You shouldn't be allowed to carry them in certain places. And I think Virginia has done a good job in balancing the right to carry and the right to prevent weapons from being on certain property. In fact, there's one place I think should be added to the list of no-carry sites, and that's a doctor's office. And I generally don't carry there. Something about making your doc nervous while he sticks a needle in your arm doesn't appeal to me.

Anyway, I think our new President may bring change to gun-ownership laws. I've read some states are seeing an increase in gun sales because of this "fear." But I don't see it as a fear. Sure, Obama likely supports stricter gun laws. He's from Chicago and Illinois, two very tough areas to carry guns. But I don't see him restricting me protecting myself in my own home. Maybe on the streets, but if that means I need to get a "federal" license to carry, so be it. I'm sure I can pass the course. And it would make me feel safer that when I saw that fanny pack on the dude in the store, I knew he too had passed the course.

And while I'm sure we won't go to something as extreme as you can see in some European countries where guns are only carried by cops or where every citizen is in the "militia" and is expected to have a gun, I think I could live with that too. Gun related crimes are usually lower in those countries, so maybe it works. But I don't see that coming. It would be too much against the nature and backbone of our country. We'd have better luck getting rid of all the cars on the road.

Okay, I'm off my soap box. Congratulations if you made it this far.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Is there a Doctor in the house?

So, my previous post was about how good today was, right? Well, I got a polite email from my lovely wife that I should include some other big news in the post.

And I hardily disagree because I think it deserves it's own post. To shove it in with my usual drivel is, well, a great way to tarnish the accomplishment.

To cut straight to the heart of what I'm beating around the bush about, my sister-in-law has finished defending her doctoral thesis and was successful (I'll apologize now if I use the wrong words, terms, or phrases - I only have a lowly B.A. in Criminal Justice and know nothing of the process or the field). After years of hard work (about 10 I think) in class and in the lab, she's finally jumped the last hurdle. And to top it all off, it's got something to do with micro-biology, space-alien-like lab equipment, and testing something to see if it does something.

Yeah. Can you tell I understand what exactly she does? I've asked before and after hearing the simple explanation, I just felt too dumb to continue pretending I knew what was being said. Instead, I think I'll stick to my treadmill in the morning, my interwebz during the day, and my reading at night.

So congratulations on the huge achievement. I wish I had words of wisdom, but, I think you're a few years ahead of me in the department.

Good news or Bad news?

  1. The peanut butter is gone from the three mouse traps. Good
  2. No mouse in the mouse traps. Bad
  3. Eight new glue traps placed. Good
  4. Found potential hiding place of mouse. Good
  5. Hiding place is over kitchen cabinets. Bad
  6. 38 inch waist pants keep riding low, gangsta style. Bad
  7. Waist appears to have shrunk from working out. Good
  8. All shorts and pants are 38 inch waist. Bad
  9. The shed getting primed some more today. Good
  10. The weather is in the 70s today. Good
  11. Survivorman Season 3 starts tonight. Good
  12. This stupid list. Bad

Total Bad = 5

Total Good = 7

Therefore, it's a good day.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

I can haz big gunz?

Until I started doing you-know-what at home, I never knew the local gun range was used so much during the day. Granted, I never expected them to use it all that much at night, but they have in the past. Even on weekends. But weekends are always a little different as schedules vary all the time.

But during the week, I'm on a pretty normal routine. And having big guns go off during that routine never occurred to me. Now that I hear the air raid siren, it's at the front of my mind. Oh, didn't I tell you? These are BIG guns.

It's a place called Pumpkin Neck (even though that's not the "official" name the Navy gives it. Here's a blurb:
The Explosives Experimental Area (EEA), located to the south of the creek on Tetotum Flats, consists of 1,641 acres. The EEA is more commonly referred to as Pumpkin Neck (Figure 4). Approximately 8 percent of the EEA consists of developed areas, over 60 percent is hardwood and pine forest, and marshland is also common. Two large open field test areas are located in the center (Navy 2003a). These areas are used exclusively for testing naval ordnance and include static detonation arenas, drop test towers, static thrust stands, thermal test retaining cages, fast and slow cook-off facilities, shock test facilities, and high explosive vibration facilities. Access to the EEA is through a gated entrance and is open only on request with proper authorization. Access is denied to most personnel during explosive testing events when the one access road is blocked (Navy 2003a, B. T. Weedon, U.S. Navy, personal communication, January 18-20, 2005). Access within EEA is controlled by test specific Standard Operating Procedures (V. Lovejoy, U.S. Navy, personal communication, January 27, 2006)
Source: Public Health Assessment.

And while I'm sure they still test conventional weapons like this:

There's also a bit of technology in their newer tests:

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

I'm tired

But happy. Very happy. There's so much going through my tired and feeble mind, it can't keep up. This may be one of those days where I break open the emergency caffeine cache and drink three cups extra just to stay awake.

And while I'm clearly too old to stay up to 1 am, I still feel like I'm part of the youth of this country. That's right, I'm 32 years young.

I voted. After arriving semi-early (7 am), I got to wait in line. And wait. Nearly 45 minutes later, I finally got inside before it started to rain. I then waited some more, checked in, and stood in line yet again for the electronic voting machine. Since I started voting 4 years ago, there has never been a line for this machine. In fact, 4 years ago, I was the first person to use it. Yesterday I stood behind 3 people.

While waiting in line, I heard the woman in front of me say "for the first time I'm voting for the other party." If she was talking about local elections or Presidential, it didn't really matter. My precinct and county was heavy on the Republican side of the ticket.

An hour after arriving (compared to 5 minutes 4 years ago), I finally headed back home. After continually checking Google electoral maps, I discovered I was more excited than I thought about the election. Imagine, me enjoying an election while I hate politics.

Last night, I was up late watching the coverage. Mostly on NBC, but later I switched to CNN. If I had been thinking about it, I would have switched to Fox (or Faux as I call it) News to revel in the glory just a little more. I'm sure they're still coming to terms with a black man being President.

I watched McCain's speech and was flabbergasted at the people booing. Seriously? Booing? Do you really think Obama will make all you white, rich, Arizona republicans sit in the back of the bus and drink from different water fountains? How very non-Christian of you.

I then watched Obama's speech and, while I didn't hear much substance (not that I expected much), I did have that feeling of hope. And after talking to my Mom this week, that's the best way I can describe how Obama makes me feel. I think if I had lived through the 1960s with JFK, I would have felt the same.

I'm recovering. It'll be a long day, but I'll make it.

And while I feel proud that America has turned the racial corner and may be able to leave our spotty past behind us, I'm most proud of the fact that I'm not gloating and rubbing in the victory. It's taking a lot of effort to not stop at every McCain sign on my road and do a little victory dance on it.

And with that, I bid you a good day. May we all have an O Face for the next four years (how's that for a double entendre).

Monday, November 03, 2008

Who are you voting for tomorrow?

(or today if you're in bed as I'm writing this)

Personally, I'm leaning toward Boone. He's always done the right thing and isn't afraid of being friends with Indians.

But, Walter certainly has a chance. He's always been a straight shooter.

In the end, I think I'll just stick to the Democrats.

Gingerbread Houses

While out shopping this weekend, Elizabeth and I saw these awesome constructions:

We also scored a signed copy of Tomie De Paola's Brava, Strega Nona. He was in town for a signing and I have to say, this is by far the best pop-up book I've ever seen. Not only are the scenes artfully done and colorful, they are so finely engineered, it's amazing. I mean, they do things I never would have thought possible in a pop-up book.