Sunday, May 31, 2009

May 30, 2009 - A Little Madness...

A little madness now and then is cherished by the wisest of men.
-Willy Wonka

Life -

Work was less of a soul crushing disaster last night, but it was still a long night punctuated by a useless and hungover recent high school grad/ front cashier, an ad that I learned was impossible to hang while in a wheelchair and around 3 dozen rolls of film left for me to develop. I survived, but the days of "off" cannot come soon enough.

Take this paragraph:
I need to find a new apartment. My trailer house flooded, and the sewer backed up, so now I have hepatitis, and I was stressed, so I got on some pills, but they made me gain thirty pounds, so I got more stressed, so I stopped taking them, but now I've gained another 10 and can't sleep. See this thing under my chin? I dunno what it is. You don;t have the plain t-shirts in my size that I want, but you do have some men's pajama pants with a Coke logo, does that mean that you have more plain t-shirts in the back? Hummm well, I need cigarettes. They give you cancer, you know? I need some of the Gold Coast 100's, they're my brand, they're the only thing I will smoke. Oh, the Ligget's are cheaper? I'll get one of those. I'll buy mine, but not Marie's, y'know? I stopped smoking a week ago, it was too expensive, but then I started again because I was stressed. I didn't have enough money so I was stressed out. Y'know? Oh, I don't have enough money for that... You take lottery? No? Okay, I guess I'll just get the cigs and not the hairbrush.

I've never met this lady before, yet in one transaction, she makes me pityloathe her. Ahh retail.

Writing -

I revised a bit on my Mid-Grade novel (The Whispering Ferns) wrote a little teensy bit on my Zombie novel (Graves) and started a prologue on a humorous Romance/Horror Werewolf/Zombie/Pirate/Vampire novel that is as yet untitled....

The Last Sentence -


-Untitled Novel

Saturday, May 30, 2009

May 29, 2009 - Kristopher and the incredibly bad, annoying, crappy, no-good day.

Last night was a miserable night at work.

No help, graduation night, so there was a lot of out-of-towners, over imbibers, sickies, sickos, psychos, Suckos and jerkwads out. Both high schools had their all-night parties, which meant that there were a lot of pictures being run and a lot of HILARIOUS underage kids in the store until the crack of dawn, breaking things, arranging nail polish into designs on the floor, throwing balls, and generally doing the kinds of things that make me glad that I have no intention of breeding. My dogs barely know how to shake hands and are only marginally better trained than hyenas, yet they feel some amount of shame when they spill things all over the floor.

And of course, I was in the store's ridiculous excuse for a courtesy wheelchair, which is a monstrosity in poorly assembled plastic and bent metal, or or limping very slowly and painfully on crutches between the photo lab, where the customers were incapable of reading simple instructions like "Please Wait. Do Not Remove Your Memory Device." (Uhh, this was taking forever to load my 433 photos, so I pulled out my memory card, now it's saying I have to start over - Do I have to start over now??) Pharmacy, which I couldn't really do at the risk of leaving the store unattended, leaving my poor Pharmacist back there by himself with around a dozen sick folks, (Which I don't feel too horribly about, he gets paid $30 more an hour than me) and the front register, where every other customer either had some hilarious joke about my ankle or they were pissed about the paper wrapped flammable cancer sticks they were buying.

Bah. I need to sell a book series and buy a Motel soon, before I decide to see how many whiny, self important customers I can fit in a box crusher.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

May 27, 2009 - I hate being useless


The longer it is that I am unable to pu at weight on my foot, the more irritable I get at work. The next couple of nights I don't really have any help, so can feel slightly better about getting nothing done, but the recovery time for the next day is getting progressively worse every night of work. My foot is swollen all over now and looks like it belongs to a giant-sized baby hobbit. There's also some slightly concern-ish tingly sensations.


Nothing here, took a day off 100%

If you would like to read the first chapter or so, email me (avalon_ink (at) and as soon as I'm done with the first round of revisions I'll send it your way!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

May 26, 2009 - Those Two Little Words

Life -

On the life front, my Tuesday was supercraptastical. I went to bed at 11 on Monday, slept till 2am and got up to recalibrate my sleeping for my graves shifts. Tuesday, I sat on my butt with my foot elevated until it was time to shower and go to bed at 3pm, in the hopes that all would go smoother at work as a result. Not so much. Work last night was horrid. Between not being able to accomplish anything, tooling around in our beat down courtesy wheelchair and being surly about not being able to do anything and stuck in a wheelchair, I was pretty grumpy by the time I got home.

Writing -

On the bright side, Tuesday afternoon was the the day I finished my first draft of my first novel. I'm at 43,957 words and wrote 7,095 on the last day and I'm pretty happy with what I have. I've got a pretty good chunk of notations to add or subtract from the earlier chapters, but it was tremendous feeling to accomplish something like this. Of course, now I have to edit it and revise it, then sell it...

The Last Sentence -
The End.

From - "The Whispering Ferns - A Moonstone Bay Mystery."

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

May 25, 2009 - Delerium not entirely drug related.

Life -

Today was an odd one, and pretty frustrating. This was supposed to be Lindsay and my day off together. We were going to cook gumbo, buy some plants for the garden, clean the house before I went back to work and generally have a relaxing day.

Instead I spent an hour crutching my way around Walgreens trying to find the right kind of ankle brace, avoiding the doctor and getting cabin fever sitting on my butt in this chair.

Couple of observances -
-Crutches are quite difficult if you've never used them before.
-Courtesy wheelchairs in stores are really cheap and hard to maneuver.
-The correct term for being stuck in a chair essentially immobile, according to my loving wife is "wallow"
-She finds this term endlessly amusing.
-A can of soda is essentially impossible to transport from the kitchen to a chair when on crutches.
-getting into the shower? Even harder.
-My dogs are big pains in the butt that ram into me more than I'd ever noticed before.
-How long before bedsores kick in?
-Work tomorrow night is going to be distinctly unpleasant.

I spent most of the day drifting in and out of consciousness. Wrote a little, read a little watched Rambo II, which may have prompted some of the sleeping, and generally wished I was anywhere but in the chair.

On the plus side, the swelling has gone down a lot, though it's still significantly larger than my other foot. There's some bruising starting to show up too.

Note the culprit sitting on the couch like a regular person, trying to be cute.... Devious monster.

Writing -

On the writing front, I made some progress, though less than I'd hoped. I wrote around 3,100 words. I was aiming for more, but I was so annoyed with being stuck in the chair that my attention wasn't there.

On the plus side, I think I might make my goal of finishing my first draft by Thursday.

I will not call the police if you'll come back to the library with me.
From "The Whispering Ferns"

Monday, May 25, 2009

May 24, 2009 - Snap Crackle Pop!

And today was supposed to be such a productive day...

Life -

Around 11 this morning, while I was playing with Pooka in the yard and waiting for our leftovers to heat in the microwave, I slipped into a hole in the yard and did something to my ankle, basically shattering any plans for the day. I did nothing on the "Life" side of my world today. Apart from taking FAR more effort than I would prefer trying to use crutches to get to and from the toilet.

I did discover that it is incredibly hard to carry things while on crutches and that your armpits hurt.

Writing -

I figured there would be an upside to being unable to move, and that would be my writing. Unfortunately, a combination of pain and pain meds that made me loopy (And possibly a Highball...) cut my writing production down too. I still wrote almost 2100 words and finished chapter 11, but it wasn't on the level that I'd hoped. (I'm also a bit afraid to go back and see exactly what I wrote in those circumstances....)

Monday's gotta be a better day, right? Thanks to everyone that has expressed concern. Most of you should be used to how clumsy I am by now however....

The Last Sentence
He hoped that the next day would be better than this one.
From "The Whispering Ferns - A Moonstone Bay Mystery"

Obviously, I had the same kind of day that my Character, Smith had....

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Huh... so much for the lawn mowing.

It's a pretty good thing I'd wanted to get a lot of writing done today, and here's hoping the pain meds will make for some awesome writing

While I was playing with Pooka in the yard, my foot slipped into a depressed area in our yard, something twisted and crunched, and now... pretty much Ow.
Please disregard my oddly shaped Hobbit Toes.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

May 23, 2009 - Aw, Man!

Life -

Today started out pretty strong, actually, and while I can't really say it's gone downhill, I still somehow feel BLAH. I'm not really sure why.

Woke up early, around 7am and goofed around on the internet. Did you know you can drive past my house virtually on google maps? You can even see the makeshift fence we built for the dogs and Lindsay's Avocado Dreamboat parked out front! (Strontium is gone... I must have been at work.) Also missing sadly, is a forever present and digital shot of my delicate flower Ludo pooping. I didn't expect it... I just kind of secretly hoped it would be there. It's just as well though, something like that would traumatize him.

Went yard sale-ing, and was pretty happy with my results, I bought a couple of books (Though I was annoyed at people charging a buck at one yard sale... a buck? What happened to a freaking quarter??) I snagged an old bottle cutting kit for my mom... She wants to cut bottles, is that so wrong? I found a classic and completely spectacular board game, Masterpiece for a buck, and at my last stop, I snagged an old, but in pretty good shape, microwave stand that will be sweet for accessorizing my BBQ when we move it to the back patio we're going to build.

Did some dishes, did not walk the dogs... oops. Alphabetized some DVDs we bought at Budget Tapes and Records and that was about it. Apart from that, I spent most of the rest of the day ...

Writing -

By god, I'm a slow typist. I wish I'd learned to type with more than two fingers at some point. All the same, I got a good chunk done today, wrote chapter 9, started chapter 10 for a total of 4,200 words so far tonight. That'll probably be it though, I have to edit some of Lindsay's book, finish making the spectacular Turkey Chowder that I'm brewing for dinner and get a couple of last layers on a Bugaboo before taking the first official completed photos for the client. I also did some research online... I'm actually a bit nervous that if I do win the contest I'm entering the Whispering Ferns into, that I may be shooting myself in the foot a bit, as it is a very basic contract, and as it's being written as a series, I don't want to fuck up my chances of making a decent buck. (I apologize for the F-bomb, but after writing what I've discovered today is termed Middle Grade or MD fiction all day, my fingers are itching to cuss.) Of course, right now, I'm making zero dollars, so I'll take anything. I also learned that after hours of typing hunched over like a demon typing, my back will literally kill me.

That's about it. The rest of the night will likely be Turkey Chowder, Novel editing, some downloaded episodes of Penn and Teller, and cuddling with my lady.

Tomorrow we are taking Pooka in to get him groomed. This should be interesting.

The Last Sentence

Smith sat up to the table for a few minutes, his head in his hands.
From - "The Whispering Ferns - A Moonstone Bay Mystery"

May 22, 2009 - Blast you, plumbing!

Life -

My mother's hot water situation continues to be a threat to my already tenuous sanity. I think I may have figured out where I went wrong. With the bottom element useless, we had merely taped off the wires that previously led to the element, assuming it would be needed to prevent any kind of fire situation, but now, I think there's a possibility that the upper element is failing because the lower is still connected, but where it hooks to the element, there isn't a completed circuit. Either that or I blew the element. If that's the case, I can switch it. This morning I tried out the element wrench I bought for my previously mangled lower one and it worked like a charm. The element started unscrewing with a minimum of effort. Of course, in my early morning haze, I neglected to remember that the water heater was still pressurized and filled with water.... While I soaked myself, Lindsay rifled through the slightly creepy collection of preserves that my grandparents stored in the crawlspace/cellar. She eventually found one with a date: 1964.

I had to work tonight too, an odd day in the middle of my days off because we're still short managers. We had an excellent dude in today that I can only describe as a 55 year old hillbilly Matthew Mcconaughey. He was wandering aimlessly around the store until my cashier asked the gentleman if she could help him. He explained that he'd been locked in the car while his mother shopped, but he wasn't a dog, and he could leave if he wanted, dammit! Then he saw his mom and said that he'd better get back in the car before she saw him. My favorite parts were his leather vest and his laid back vibes, man.

Writing -

I have a sudden and looming deadline for my novel. After checking out a pretty good pile of YA and 3-6 grade novels from the library, I decided that I should start looking into publishers. As I browsed, I stumbled across a yearly contest from a fairly large publishing company for a Young Adult/Children's novel publishing contract.

The prize is $1500 and a $7500 advance against royalties as well as a standard publishing contract for both a hardcover and softback novel. The main criteria is that it is written for a 3-6 grade reading level and that it falls between 96 and 160 pages double spaced.

Now, I don't really have any illusions that I'll win the contest; most of the previous winners have been more traditional and they've largely contained an ethnic element, such as an African American boy growing a garden in an inner city community garden, not a bookworm boy being haunted by ghosts in a spooky northwest fishing village, but entering in the contest will do one major thing for me. It will force me to write with a certain goal in mind, not just randomly when I feel like it. The other definite upside is that while they wont provide feedback, at least there's a pretty high likelihood of my manuscript being read, and they have chosen honorable mentions in the past to print as well.

Of course, my main hurdles at this point are time and consistency. I currently have around 27,400 words written, and I estimate the total book at 45,000 so I'm progressing well, but I have 39 days to complete a first draft, make at least two full edits and draw a few of the accompanying illustrations, as well as work at my graves job full time.... could be tight! I'm also worried that as I read it back after I finish that the tone and writing of the book will vary between a children's fiction, one meant for an older crowd, like high school age, and an adult novel. I've found that I pick up influences from what I read quite strongly.

I completed 733 words on Wednesday, 3637 on Thursday, and 1379 today. I'm off the next three, so I hope to really bust out the chapters. Besides, I'm at the fun part to write, the dramatic part!

At any rate, wish me luck, I'm really going to need it!

The Last Sentence -

He missed his parents terribly.

From "The Whispering Ferns - A Moonstone Bay Mystery"

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Book Review - More Recent Reads

It seems like I'm missing a few titles that I've read recently here, but I can't think of what....

The Freakshow
by Bryan Smith
2007, 324 pages

The Freakshow seemed like a book that the idea for it was developed over a long drunken night while the author tried to think of the best way to cram as much unneeded violence and nasty events into a book as possible. When I read the back of the book, the idea had promise, an old school freakshow rolls into town, full of creepy people and mysterious secrets, and soon, the townsfolk start disappearing. Unfortunately, the book never really even follows that description, quickly eliminating most of the denzins, creating a bizaare and sort of silly backstory for the freaks and eventually dissolves into violence and gore as a substitute for story. That said, Bryan Smith is a good writer with an eye for detail, and it was a pretty good, mindless horror book.

Higher Authority
by Stephen White
1994, 420 pages

Higher Authority was an interesting read. It tells the story of a lawyer and her sister who are attempting to sue a Mormon political figure for sexual harassment. A female political figure. Needless to say, it does not go over well with certain people in the church, and soon, a larger conspiracy is uncovered. Stephen White writes an interesting novel that, while obviously biased against Mormons, manages to give a lot of interesting facts about the religeon and the state of Utah that makes for a very unique backdrop. I found the characters little personal flaws grating rather than humanizing, however. They spent more time bickering and exchanging nasty looks than working the case.


The Bancroft Strategy
by Robert Ludlum
2007, 736 pages

Somehow, I'd never read a Robert Ludlum novel, despite loving the Bourne series of movies. To give much of the plot of this story would be to give away some of the lightning fast twists and turns that the author throws at you with every page turn, but essentially, its an international thriller with spies, secret societies and plans to overthrow the earth. Nothing that will change your life, but a good, brainless thriller.


Series of Unfortunate Events Book 3 - The Wide Window
by Lemony Snickett
2000, 224 pages

I liked the Wide Window about as well as the previous novels in the series thus far, which is both good and bad. Again, it seems like very little happens in the story, the people around the twins seem just a little too dense and Snicketts method of explaining large words, while clever, gets old after too many, and you start wishing he would just write the words, and leave the reader to explore what the meaning is behind them. Still a fun kids book though, and written with a great light sense of humor. I don;t own book four, so I'll have to track it down at the library...

Bullet Blues
by Bob Burton
2004, 302 pages

Bounty hunters are cool! At least, they are according to Bob Burton, who should know, since he is one. Bullet Blues tells the story of Dev Shannon, who is simultaneously searching for a missing boat, lady, dog and his own would-be assassin. He deals with hot ladies, albino crime lords, jamaican cops, shady clients and a curmudgeonly old dad. What more could you ask for?


Manhattan Is My Beat
by Jeffery Deaver
1988, 294 pages

I like most of Jeffery Deaver's books, and when I noticed this one, one of his older novels, I was curious to see how he has changed. Turns out, he still had a talent for creating unique characters and situations, but his older books like Manhattan is my Beat, in which a bohemian punk type girl tries to find the missing loot from a decades old crime, lack some of the dialogue and tight plotting that his later books have, the "Boyfriend" especially seemed kind of grating and stupid to me. Still enjoyable though, and I dig the plot

Monday, May 18, 2009

May 18, 2009 - Michelle Obama owes me an apology.

I have been pretty bad at updating anything lately, been too busy to really be online much, and our connection has been spotty the last few days, which usually just ends up annoying me enough that I give up. (I think the recent winds may have blown our internet receiver on the roof askew or something...) At any rate, here's an update on our lives and eventually I'll have to find time to comment on the 6 or so books I've read since my last reviews.

I've spent the last few days fighting with plumbing, yet again, but this time on my mom's end. We decided to try and milk the last few bits of luck we had and exchange her currently dead and over a decade old hot water heater with my half dead one that we just replaced, rather than buying a new one for a house that she will likely be in for less than 3 months (Hopefully) Of course, that meant we still had to get the old one off, and moved, with it 5/6 full of water, in a crawlspace with dirt (or more accurately mud) floors and 5' ceilings. This was not a fun task, but with my brother and I slowly sinking into the ground beneath the house, we got it shifted 3 feet over, and with a minimal amount of effort installed my old one instead.... Only to have nothing happen. I don't know what's wrong, its hooked up, filled with water, and there's power to the thermostat and element, but its not heating. I didn't have time to fiddle with it at the time, but now I'm wondering if it could have something to do with us just taping off the bottom element's wires rather than hooking up the old, busted element... could that make the upper one non-functional? Of course, there's the possibility that the other element is dead now too, it was in the rain for 2 days before my mom's died and I thought about switching them, maybe it crapped out... Grr. I'll say it again, I hate plumbing.

We've been pretty slack on the dog walking front as well, sadly, they've gone walk-less for 3 days, though we've been exercising them. . . Mowed the lawn for the first time this season, shocked that my mower started on the third pull rather than the 30th. It's been hot the last couple of days, around 90, which makes it hard to sleep during the day... summer could be a long season.

Work has been odd, we're currently in the process of buying out a few Rite Aid drug stores in the area, and with it, hiring some of the employees, which is great; we need them, we're currently pretty darn short handed, unfortunately, the thing was supposed to be done 2 months ago, and we just finished the first of 4 yesterday, which means we've been running with half the usual managers, making everything a little more difficult. I've worked the last few nights with only myself and a pharmacist on duty, which leaves me with this conflicting choice between trying to get things done between customers and not, but at least I tried, and not doing anything all night and using it as an excuse. Naturally, the customers are crazy as usual. I had a customer call and complain that we had the incorrect spelling of the word Stationery on the sign above our aisle. Sure, we do have it spelled Stationary, and I was aware of that, but its also been there for over 5 years like that. She told me that she was horribly offended, and she was calling corporate because we needed to fix it immediately. I fought the urge to explain to her that it meant the aisle didn't move. She also told me that she had written a letter to Michelle Obama, chastising her for using I instead of ME in a speech, and that she was expecting a letter of apology. I too! Me want apology!

Then, last night, I had a customer that made it ALL worth while, I had a 5 foot tall leprechaun come in. Either that, or a really odd 60 year old cross dresser. He was wearing a blackish-green fedora with a little rose pin in it, had long wavy gray hair to his shoulders, wore a cream colored button up blouse with a flowery lace design down the front, some generic slacks, and shiny black shoes with a sensible inch high square heel, topped off by delicate gold buckles. And while he didn't pay with gold, he did pay all in dimes and nickels... I was very tempted to try and capture him, but he looked like he'd had a rough night.

The good news is that Lindsay is currently in discussions to work a comparable overnight rotation at her job, which would mean we'd see a lot more of each other and have the same days off.

Well, unfortunately, not a lot of progress here. I wrote a rough plot summary for a humorous book I had an idea for, around 800 words there, and last night I managed to get in around two thousand words, bringing my total on my YA novel to 19,754 words, which is just under halfway... I think I may go longer than 50,000 words though... we'll see.

Can they cure his curse, so that they can be together forever, or will her wicked stepfather and his evil hordes find them first?
(Untitled romantic pirate/zombie/werewolf/vampire novel)

Monday, May 11, 2009

May 10, 2009

Life -
I had to work at 8am this morning, and boy, did my body not want to work. Luckily, Sundays at the drug store are pretty mellow, and I only worked until around 1:15, the short shift compensation for me working when I was supposed to be off, I suppose.

After work, Lindsay and I hit both of our parent's houses to deliver our mother's day gifts. Neither of us are really that into the various [insert name]'s Day holidays, they seem like transparent holidays invented to sell cards, flowers and crap, but we love our mothers, so it's worth it. Unfortunately, we couldn;t spend much time at either home, we had a crock pot going for dinner, and agreat deal of cleaning and unpacking to do.

I also checked out the water heater in my mom's basement. It's do-able, but the formerly dirt floor was still about 8 inches of gooshy mud, and the ceiling is about 8 inches lower than the top of my head, so I forsee a great amount of head bumping and swearing when the time comes to switch them out. Blah.

Writing -
I did virtually no writing done today, only about a paragraph. The part in the story is vital, but kind of boring to write, and I started feeling a bit antsy about how long it will take after writing this to actually see any money at all, presuming someone buys it. Best case scenario, I might find someone and get my first check by 2011, which is after we plan to be working towards the motel anyway. I still plan to write it, and am excited about doing so, but decided to balance it with my art a bit, and start doing a few pen and ink commissions again. That should give me a bit of extra income, but allow me to work on the book too.

To that end, I shook some rust out of my drawing hand by doing a quick piece for The Third Rail Design Lab's Weekly Jam, and drew a detail piece of Boba Fett, from Star Wars. You can see it over on my woefully rarely updated art page.

The Last Sentence -
The Janus House was very large, and Smith spent the next few hours wandering the halls.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

May 9, 2009

My 100th post!

When I started this blog, I wasn't sure I'd make it to 100, which isn't that large of a number, but after things started going pear shaped on the Motel front, I was pretty sure that the last thing I would want to do is write a blog about our lives in Pocatello, but so far, it's been kind of fun. Cathartic.

Life -
I spent a good chunk of the day helping my mom with a few things. She is currently living in my grandparents old house, a shack that is slowly falling apart. They only have electricity in half of the plugs, and a few nights ago, their hot water heater split open along the side, flooding the dirt floored basement. So for the last few days my brother has been taking cold showers, and my mom has been heating water on the stove and using an old camp shower in the tub. The problem is that the house is tied to my grandmother, so it isn't something that either plans to stay in long term. (If our Motel had gone through, they would have been living in our current house when we moved.) It seems silly to pay $300 for a new hot water heater when the house will likely be sold to the state and demolished when my grandmother passes on, especially since they don't really have the money. However, they need hot water to live, so we've decided to put my old hot water heater in down in the basement. The one element is utterly shot, I mangled it pretty completely trying to get it out the first time, but the top still works, so they would at least have some heat. (About 7 minutes worth in the shower) It seems like my family has had pretty shabby luck lately. Hope that will turn around soon...

We walked the dogs tonight trying the Close method, and it worked really well. It was a gorgeous evening, cool and sunny, and we went the extra leg on the walk we take. The four of us are a bit fat for a couple of the sidewalks, especially the ones with ill trimmed hedges, but it looks like a really effective way to walk them. For the most part we could walk with our hands in our pockets with the leash dangling from them, which is a huge change!

I spent 3 hours weed whacking an especially stubborn patch of ground by our RV parking (Which sits essentially unused.) There is a patch of land there that the previous owners filled with small rocks, that has since been overrun with weeds and other growing beasties. We've decided to plant a few low lying evergreen shrubberies there instead, it should look decent, and they aren't supposed to grow larger than 1 foot high, but I couldn't just mow the weeds. The ground is uneven and all of the rocks make it very dangerous, and one of the weeds is a thick, resilient burr plant of some sort that resists the mower blade anyway, so I had to stand out there for hours, gradually wearing them down with the trimmer. Had to change out the cord 3 times, as it wore it down, but finally trimmed it all back to rocks and dirt, and planted the shrubs.... now they just need to grow! Also talked to my neighbor, who we have a bit of a rivalry with. The old owners used to plant and share tomatoes with him, and when we planted some the first year, we gave ours to my family instead. He was pissed in an old guy kind of way, and refused to talk to us, and filed complaints with the city for various little things. Today, he introduced himself like we'd never met, and once again, casually mentioned that they had grown "Some awful nice tomaters over there... yes sir." Sigh. Maybe I just need to give the dude a few this year.

Ever since the trimming, my arms wont stop vibrating and flexing. Its pretty annoying, especially since every time my bicep flexes my shirt sleeves rip off. Grr!

We also took a little trip to Tastee Treet Drive In and got some soft serve cones. Shouldn't have, since we're trying to lose weight, but it sounded fun.

Writing -
I ended up writing 3,031 words yesterday, and today I added another 2,824, which was a lot less than I'd hoped. I had planned on around 5,000 words, but I was interrupted by real life, and tonight, when I sat down to write, my arms were acting up from the weed whacking I did, and I am having a lot of trouble typing. (My biceps keep flexing and vibrating, which is very odd.) I have to work an asinine 5 hour shift at 8am at work tomorrow too, so I can't stay up late and type like I prefer. Oh well, tomorrow evening should be a good night for it, and I'm off Monday too. Maybe that will work. I was really hoping for 25,000 words by the time I went back to work.

The Last Sentence -

There were little bearded men carved out of the drawer pulls in the old dresser in the closet.

Friday, May 8, 2009

May 8, 2009


Wrote a bit today, managed to put down around 2,500 words so far. I started writing this novel on 04/26, and based off of other similar novels, I figure it should be around 40,000 to 70,000 words. Right now, I'm at 13,258, which isn't too bad. Next stop is writing a slightly more detailed outline and deciding how long I need to make the rest of the story. I also need to start designing the characters on paper, deciding what art style to use, and create a rough map of the village that the story takes place in.


Unpacked a few more boxes today, it's a strange kind of bittersweet to see all of the boxes that we'd packed with the confidence that we were moving to start a new life get slowly unloaded back into the house. At the same time though, we are starting to be stricter about what we keep, and we threw away 2 bags full of crap we don't need or never use, and filled a box with yard sale stuff. We also started unpacking my masks for the front room, which is thrilling. I've missed their wooden gazes.

We also walked the dogs, and decided to start training them to walk a different way. Until now, we'd just let them walk ahead of us, and tugged on them when they got to pulling to hard. This has been a problem, as both dogs are over a hundred pounds and can really strain your arms when they tug. Today, after a hilarious sequence where Lindsay, attempting to punish Ludo for tugging too much caught him by surprise and pulled him off of his feet, then tried to force him to go back home with her while I walked Pooka, we decided to try and make them heel at our sides while we walk. We've always heeled them across streets and when we needed them close, like when there's infants about. (Ludo likes to steal their crackers.) So we decided to try having them heel to us full time. We've decided to use a looser heel, which we have been calling Heel Close as we walk, soon to be shortened to Close as they get better at it. It keeps them next to us, leashes loose, but they can have a bit of leeway, as long as their bodies are even with us. It worked pretty good for the last leg of our walk today... we'll see if it still works tomorrow.

We also went to Mama Inez for our weekly Fajita Friday date, and had a splendid Cheese Crisp, then bought 3 books at the Thrift store.

All in all a pretty good day, and its only 6pm!

The Last Sentence I Wrote Today -
Eventually, Uncle Cannon came up and knocked on their door.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Second Star to the Write

I've decided to write a book.

This isn't the first time I've decided this, since grade school, I'd planned to write a novel, but I never really got that far into it. I do remember filling a good amount of front and back pages with a science fiction story in high school, but I don't remember much about the actual story... Something with a space ship and a primitive but somehow familiar world.

Lindsay has always had ambitions to write and has been working a great deal on a novel lately, and that has prompted me to try my hand.

I've decided my main 3 obstacles are:

1- The actual writing. I'm a slow typist, I hunt and peck, primarily with my two index fingers with the occasional assist from my right middle finger and my thumb, so typing a full novel could be a slow process, and that might frustrate me.

2- Time. I have a lot of things going on as a general rule. I work full time, we have 2 dogs that require a great deal of attention, I read voraciously, the house needs cleaned, yardwork needs done, I do the rare art commissions, sculptures, unpacking the entire house from our failed attempt at getting a motel... Finding the time to actually write a book will take some real effort and forced management on my part, which could be a good thing.

3- Actually making any money off of it. I know that in the back of my head, I'm doing this because I hope that it will sell and make us enough extra money that we might be able to achieve our dreams of buying a motel to run. I tell myself out loud that I'm doing it for the love of creation and because I like writing, but I know that it's in the hope of making some money from it down the line. I know a little about publishing, but have no connections or anything.. of course, I have to write the thing first.

To that end, I've recently started batting around a few ideas to start with, and have actually started 2 novels before dropping them and moving on. I started a detective novel series, with a slightly nerdy main character that finds himself caught up in a tawdry murder investigation that no one thinks happened. I started a zombie novel with the employees and customers of an overnight drug store trying to survive a zombie plague. (I know... write what you know, eh?)

Then I decided to write something a little more fun, and a little more personally thrilling. As a kid, I loved books and one author that I always got a huge amount of enjoyment from was John Bellairs, who wrote around two dozen young adult novels. They were, for the most part, mysteries, around 50,000 words and illustrated by Edward Gorey, (who also created the Addams Family) I started thinking about how much fun it would be to write a book like that, or a series of books. I could draw the illustrations for it myself as well, and being a young adult book, it would be shorter, so I would have a better chance of actually finishing it.

The idea for the story stemmed from a conversation I had at work the other night, where I told my employee all of my personal ghost stories and experiences from growing up. One in particular stuck in my head, and it started to form itself into something firmer.

As of this moment, I've officially been working on the novel since April 26th. Typically, I'm really quite superstitious about posting updates on things till after the fact, but I'm trying to get past that irrational thought, and to that end, I'm hoping to do quite regular updates on my progress.

It's kind of scary, and odd. I've never written anything for a Young Adult audience, and haven't been one for a long time, so I hope I know what I'm doing. I've started to love the characters, and though the story has diverged from the original concept, I like where it's headed. It should be fun.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

May 5th, 2009 "Is it a full moon?!?"

Apparently, the insanity of working graves is not exclusively a weekend thing.

Last night, we had a few memorable events as well.

D, my bumbling, but good natured, soon to be LDS missionary had recently broken up with his girlfriend of a few months via text message. It was clearly mostly her fault, but when you involve a somewhat naive young man and the impersonal nature of texting, I'm sure things got out of hand. At any rate,things were getting a bit out of hand last night, and after a but, he received a message from her. "you should go look at your truck." Obviously, that is a phrase that would strike fear into any young man, recently torn asunder by a woman, and he started to panic. I volunteered to go check it, and found the promise ring he bought for her dangling from the antenna, rather than any kind of horrible vehicular chaos. He was still pretty on edge though, so I gave him a pretty light list of duties for the evening, mostly staying in the photo lab and developing film.

Later that night, as I was working in the stockroom, up on a ladder, he paged me to call photo for customer assistance. Turns out, there was a customer up there that had tried to buy a couple bags of groceries on his quest card. (The Quest card is a state issued card that is used like a debit card for purchases, usually for either food only monies, or it is also issued for child support and the like.) He explained to me that one of the items the customer wanted wasn't on file, so it wasn't registered in the system as food, therefore, the guys card wouldn't pay for it. I could hear the tension in D's voice, and the customer sounded a bit irate, so I told him I'd be right up.

As I headed up, I saw the customer, it was one of our troublemaking regulars, Tweaked-Out Meth-Head guy! I hated this dude. Every time he's in, he causes problems, either trying to get deals, outright lying about pricing, or trying to steal items. I pretty much knew by the time I got up there, that if he gave me any crap, I was ousting him. Frankly, it was a long time coming, and I would enjoy it. He immediately started shouting at me, arguing with me before I had even assessed the situation fully, pretty much sure that I was out to hose him. I explained to him that I couldn't sell him the Jimmy Dean Breakfast biscuits until I had gone in and placed them on file, so I would have to delete the entire transaction and start over, either ringing him up without the biscuits, or he would have to wait until I could properly code them. Naturally, throughout the entire explanation, he was ignoring me and shouting, while his girlfriend looked on in embarrassment, at point even apologising about him, saying that he "Is an @$$hole in every store like this." Throughout, Tweaky kept shouting and becoming more agitated, scratching at the sores on his face and waving his hands about in a horribly disgusting manner.

Finally, hitching up his outlandish midget smuggling pants, he ran over to the freezer and tried to force me to sell him something else that was the same price, and give him the biscuits instead. His girlfriend and I both tried to explain that it didn't work that way, but he ignored us and got more angry. Finally, I'd had enough. I walked up to him and told him to leave. Immediately. He tried to grab the bags of product that he had not paid for, and I politely told him that they were not purchased and that his girlfriend would have to pay for them, because he was leaving now. He started shouting at me, getting up in my face (My grill as he put it) and threatened to call my district manager, who... I dunno, maybe he was gold buddies with.... and I looked over at D and told him to call the police immediately. Tweaky still stood there trying to take the bags of food. I tried explaining to him that they were not paid for, and that I would be more than happy to get him a copy of the receipt, after he had left the building. I started gently herding him towards the door by inching closer to his as he shouted, listening to D as he awkwardly tried to tell the police what was going on. Apparently he'd never called 911 before.

Once Tweaky realized he was at the door to the store, he angerly stormed out, telling me that I was making a big F-ing mistake, because he was gonna get a F'ing job here and then I'd be F'd! The F word was an amazing versatile word in Tweaky's vocabulary. I calmly explained to him that we weren't hiring now, and in fact we weren't even drug testing now, just accepting apps. He went off again, accusing me of calling him a druggie. I would never make such snap judgements about someone that weighed 98 pounds, had giant oozing sores all over his face, rotted teeth, bloodshot eyes and kept shaking so bad that his pants kept falling off. Never!

Once he was finally out of the store, I told him that he was to wait until I returned with his copy of the receipt and for his girlfriend to buy his stuff, and then he was to leave. If I saw him again, he would be cited for trespassing. I returned inside to the dulcet tones of the F word in many forms. It was like my theme song that plays when I enter a room!

As I went past the girlfriend, I explained to her that she was still welcome in, but he was not. She apologized for his actions and said that he was like that all of the time. A customer asked her the question that I couldn't; Then why are you still with him??? Sadly, I knew why, she wasn't clean either, and some people can't leave situations like that. Whether its that they still think its not as bad as they think, or that they know its as bad or worse than it appears and they still can't leave I don't know, but sadly, it happens a lot.

I took my time in the pharmacy getting his copy of the receipt, knowing he wasn't leaving without it, because while he knew he was full of crap, just like every other time, he would keep a death's grip on that crap, even when it was proven clearly that all he held was indeed a big pile of poo, and I wanted the Pocatello Police to have ample time to arrive.

Turns out I took a bit too long, there were three cruisers out front, lights flashing. Two were talking to Tweaky while the third was off to the side on his walkie. I walked over and at the officer's request explained the situation. I was constantly interrupted by the dude, who kept accusing me of yelling at him, after which, each time, the officer would gently remind him that I was not yelling, that he was yelling, and for him to keep his hands out of his pockets.

As I finished with my side of the story, cop #3 came over and verified Tweaky's name and birthdate. After Tweaky said yes, he turned to me and asked me to step back to the store while they discussed it with Tweaky in private. As we watched bemused, from the door of the store, Tweaky became more animated and started waving his hands, shouting something. The police calmly turned him around, cuffed him and pushed him against the hood of his car.

Cop number one came over and peeked his head in at us. "Turns out "Tweaky" has a few open warrants for his arrest, so he's heading to jail. Thanks for the call guys!"

I was shocked! Shocked, I tell you!!!

Mr. Wizard, my night pharmacist came around the corner at that point and said "Is it a full moon?!?" because contrary to logic, people do get nuttier on a Full Moon, whether it's the moon that makes them crazy or they act crazier because they think they're supposed to, I don't know. Sadly, the full moon isn't for a few more days.... Which means tonight should be interesting....

Also, the biscuits were totally not worth the excitement! Pretty dry tasting, in fact.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Book Review - Quick Reviews of Recent Reads

Unfortunately, I've been kind of lax at the updating lately, between replacing the hot water heater, helping my brother move, trying to get some art and writing done and heading back to work, things seem to have gotten away from me. To help get things back up to speed, here's some super short reviews of my recent reads.

The Treasure of Alpheus Winterborn
by John Bellairs
1978, 181 pages
John Bellairs was always one of my absolute favorite writers growing up, and this book is one of my faves amongst them. The book I read was my original copy from when I was a kid, and I enjoyed it every bit as much now. He has a knack for telling a great mystery with realistic characters. I always wanted to be a person in his stories. Highly Recommended!


Series of Unfortunate Events Book 1 - The Bad Beginning
by Lemony Snickett
1999, 162 pages

I've decided that I would try to write a young adult mystery novel recently, and to that end figured I should read some recent books as well as revisit some of my old favorites, so Lemony Snickett seemed a natural choice. The first book was a lot of fun, told with just the right amount of sarcasm and fun, the black humor plays really well in it.


Series of Unfortunate Events Book 2 - The Reptile Room
by Lemony Snickett
1999, 190 pages

The second Lemony Snickett didn't play as well, it seemed incredibly short, the bulk of the book seems to take place in less than a day of time, and events seem to happen far to quickly. Still a fun read, but it seems more like the chapter of a book, rather than a full installment.


The Woods
by Harlan Coben
2007, 416 pages

Most certainly NOT a kids book, the story of a lawyers search for his missing sister and the mystery of what really happened in a horrible event at summer camp years ago. Gripping and great. While I saw the ending coming, it was still very well told.


Fresh Disasters
by Stuart Woods
2007, 352 pages

A hardboiled novel about a libidinous litigator and his outlandish acquaintances. A little short seeming, but fun as hell to read!


Bad Boy Brawly Brown
by Walter Mosley
2008, 320 pages

One of my absolute favorite books to read in a LONG time. The story of Easy Rawlins, a black man in 1964 L.A. doing a few "Favors" for people, that gets caught up in a world of murder, cults and conspiracies. I love the character, loved the writing even more. Mosley is now one of my top 10 crime authors, and the photo on the back fits my image of the author exactly. Very cool book.