Saturday, November 30, 2013

Followup seasonal ranting

Yes I'm very pleased about pounding out my 60 K words for NaNoWriMo. (I was 4 short of that, so sue me.) I'd never done anything like this and found it very liberating. It was a bit daunting at first, even though my first "novel" that I've been working on, off and on, for years now, has more than 120 K words. Fitting it in with everything else was the hard part. But I had a good start with Cori coming over one weekend for a run and writing session, and lots of encouragement. Linda is in the process of reading it now, essentially as it was uploaded to NaNo. I've made some tweaks here and there, but mostly I'm planning some layers and background detail.

Those that have been reading my blog for a while know that I like to rant every now and then. That I tee off on holidays is no surprise. You can search back through my blogs to find some of them, it's not that hard.

This weekend I was reading about how retailers are building in the discounts into the price right from the start, and are essentially colluding to over-charge consumers when the product first comes to market. Duh! Is anyone surprised by this?

Once again I laugh at people heading out to "get a deal" on what is mostly cheap shit made by slave labour in China, to add to all the other cheap shit in their overstuffed homes. I didn't buy anything yesterday. Or the day before, and stand a pretty good chance of getting through today. Hmmm, when did I last fill up the car?

I shake my head in astonishment as people head out to a mad, maddening shopping "experience" along with 10s of thousands of other people looking for something cheap. They probably don't need it, or they would have bought it already. If it's a gift for someone, they probably don't need it either.

Lately I've been reading about some workers trying to pressure Walmart into increasing worker wages. Good luck with that. I mean that sincerely. Walmart is a monolithic corporation that exists only to cut the costs out of the supply chain and maximize profits to the shareholders. Nothing else. This is what corporations do, people.

The only check on them, the only one, is for shoppers to shop elsewhere, and tell them you're doing it for ethical reasons. Except that most shoppers in those stores have no ethics. Or morals. Or shame, for that matter, as the people of Walmart photos make clear. Therefore Walmart will continue to vacuum money out of your community and send as little of it to China and the supply chain as possible, and keep as much for themselves as possible.

One used to read about people protesting a Walmart coming to town. They rightly saw the danger to the locally run establishments. But what happened? Most people went and shopped at the store. The lure of cheap shit was too strong. If few enough people shopped in a store, to the point it was unprofitable to run, Walmart would close it pretty quick.

Here's a photo of what we have to put up with this season. This wasn't in a shopping mall, it's where I park these days for work. I was seriously thinking I might have to crawl in the passenger side, but just made it. Bastard.

And in fairness to Costco, I have to admit I love the size of their parking lot stalls. Lots of room there.

While I'm on about it, I have to talk about traffic lately. Holy clogged, Batman! It's been brutal getting around town this week. 14th Street essentially between Glenmore and Southland is a parking lot that overflows onto Elbow. They installed a new double left off 14th to Heritage, and a triple left (a TRIPLE left, just think on that) from 90th to 14th, but it's not opened up yet. Meanwhile traffic is a gong show. No wonder people are shopping from home.

We got a book the other day, nothing we had ordered. A few emails back and forth, and they refunded Linda's money, and said we could keep the book. The next day, the ordered book showed up. I don't know how that will get sorted out.

It turns out we missed a thing when we were doing house renovations, or getting the front door installed. We should have installed a secure box of some kind where delivery people could put things. Right now stuff just gets left on our step. For a few pounds of coffee, or a book, that's no big deal. For the laptop, obviously I made other arrangements. I was listening to something on the radio the other day, and the commenter was essentially calling anyone shopping in the stores an idiot. Why, he said, would anyone go to a store if they didn't have to?

Well, some of us like to touch the fabric first. Some of us like to keep people in our community working. Personally, I'd rather deal with a smiling human (admittedly in short supply this season) than a computer. I always find it just a bit stressful filling out the computer forms, especially when they are trying some new customer interface. I'm still pissed I lost bulkhead seats on the flight to UK because I couldn't figure out the seat selector tool in time.

Yes, I've heard Christmas music already. Sigh. I think it should be a rule, no Christmas before December 1. Nothing! A whole frigging month is more than enough for a one day event. People make too much of it. Travel. Food. Gifts for everybody. The tree, and everything just perfect or it's spoiled.

BAH! I say BAH!

Buying gifts for Christmas completely stresses me out. It isn't spending the money, as such. It's figuring out what to get, that they don't already have, and that they would like, and find useful or maybe pretty, but that they somehow hadn't yet got themselves for some reason. For me that's an impossibly small window.

I accept the reverse of it, that I'm a difficult buy, because there isn't much I want. When I need it, or decide I want it, then I'll go out and buy it. I don't sit around wondering if it will be on sale next week. I don't worry about it being 1% cheaper somewhere else. I hate fussing with coupons, or promo codes, or liking things. My time is worth something to me, and I'd far rather be at home with a cat in my lap than out fighting traffic to save a tiny fraction of my hourly wage. I know that in a week or two it will be cheaper, maybe quicker if it's electronics. I don't care. Once I decide it's time to buy something, I'll take my pick of the products on offer, and make the choice that seems best to me. Paid. Done. Out of there and onto wherever is next.

Which today is going to be a run, while it's nice. We get major winter coming sometimes late Sunday or early Monday. Friday morning there was a nice swim, 45 minutes and getting sloppy towards the end.

Now, to get some coffee brewed, and enjoy the bakery treats Linda brought home yesterday afternoon.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Winner x2! Crafty photos and NaNoWriMo

Now the secret can be told. There was a team building min-golf game at work today. I'm part of an IT/IS group, and we took over the whole third floor. Our team decided to do a tropical theme. My task was to make a shark fin in a water hazard.

From a previous life, Linda has fabric out the wazoo. There are cubic meters of it. She found this great blue velour stuff that was perfect. Here's how our hole looked from the tee box. It's a par 5 dogleg left.

There was a little humidifier under the volcano so there was a mist rolling out from it. You can just barely see it in this photo.

The judges voted us the BEST HOLE! They especially liked the water feature. Considering that one of the holes had a water feature using real water, we were quite impressed.

The actual tournament was fun, even if one of the teams working with some accounting programs used some dodgy accounting practices to artificially lower their score. Much pizza and a good time were had by all.

After we got back from a really good yoga class I decided the time has come to validate my novel with NaNoWriMo, and this showed up. Side rant here. Adobe Reader used to be a nice well behaved program. Now it's a monstrous bitch that I can't stand using. In any case, I struggled more getting this damn certificate so you could see it, than I did with the novel. Even though I'd filled in the form, it kept insisting I do so, and when I tried, it quit. Grrrr.

Now comes the hard part, taking a sloppy first draft, and turning it into a finely crafted novel that everybody in the world will want to read. Well, all of you, anyways.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

5 C and I cooked

Missed Katie at the pool on Monday. The water feel was there for most of the 1000 K in 19 minutes. The kick was a bit tough, trying to fend off a hamstring cramp. 30 minutes.

Tonight the weather warmed up to well above zero C. I was out this evening after a bit of a search for my reflective vest. I didn't think I'd overdressed, but holy cow! One K easy, and I was cooking. I'd worn a pullover top so I couldn't even unzip. 4 K 28 minutes, mostly nice and easy. It took most of a K to get into the groove, then the rest was good. My legs weren't bothering me. Good stretch after.

I dithered about the book a bit. There's about 1300 words that I thought was going to be the ending, but it's really not. It's stuff mostly just before the ending, but if I move it, I lose a lead in to it. I still like the scene, mostly, it just belongs other places. I'm thinking I'll just drop it off and send NaNo what I've got.

There are no illusions on my part that this is a finished product ready to be pitched to a publisher or agent. Oh no. This is just barely a first draft. Once I've got the NanNo thing done I can sit back and polish.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Not the least crafty, but

Such a nice day! Sunny and warm, well above zero. My legs and back were feeling pretty good so I decided to go out for a short run and see how they felt about that. Good limbering up and a bit of a walk. I ran 25 minutes nice and easy, completely ignoring Runmeter telling me I was running 4 minute kilometers. The map is really interesting. It was more like 7 minute K's at best. Towards the end my hip flexors were a bit tired. I stretched longer than I ran.

I'm not the least bit crafty, but I made something today. Can't talk about it until the event is over. Don't want to give the competition any ideas. The materials list includes cedar, steel, chip board, cardboard, construction paper, fabric, duct tape, and double sided tape. It was fun and I didn't hurt myself.

The Sweet Elixer (the tentative title of my NaNo book), is up over 58K words. I discovered a conversation that needs to be moved around a bit and broken up into two parts. That's ok. I'm playing with an ending now. And now that I've blogged, I'll go back to the ending stuff.

Really, I promise there will be pictures of the finished project in situ, as it were.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

I got lucky! Well, except for the police

Today was errand day. Oddly enough on 3 cups of coffee I felt strangely calm. Maybe I delegated it to the cats; they were doing time trials back and forth while I watched the sunrise.

Maybe it was all the writing before hand. I'm making good progress; by the end of the day I am up to 57627 words. I've put everything in what I think is the correct order. The character ages are sorted out. I've added a few bits in, mainly things I noticed along the way. Corrected a few inconsistencies. So I'm pleased about that. By the 25th I should have something I can upload to NaNoWriMo as a novel. Whether an editor or publisher will think it's commercial is another thing entirely. It probably isn't, since there aren't major plot points happening at certain places.

But then, I think lots of the big commercial novels now are kind of boring. Too many of them read like a paint by numbers novel. Writers have been told that a novel structure is thus and so, which is what they do. Or rather, it's what most editors buy. I'm much more interested in the off beat and quirky books.

The drive for the various errands was interesting. If you don't know Calgary, this might not mean much to you. They are doing construction along 14th Street from 90th Ave to Heritage. I knew one lane would be blocked so I did 90th. I'm in the right lane, turning left. The left most lane of 14th is blocked, so we're all going over the extra lane. Except for this geezer in the left lane is frozen with fear, even though he had lots of room. The guy in the pickup truck behind him was going berserk. You could see the truck bouncing around as he shook his fists. 14th was a northbound parking lot from 90th back to Southland, and another one southbound from Heritage back to the exit off Glenmore.

There was a 6 car fender-bender on southbound Crowchild near 50th. There was a train so I couldn't go south on 11th St to get to MEC. Damn the CPR! I had to go all the way to 5th to get under them. I'd forgotten about the little dodge to get on 8 and couldn't get across in time. Got parking right out in front. MEC was busy, but my actual line up was short. I bought snowshoes!

Can't wait to try them out.

From there to Tri It for another set of goggles. The ones I got the other week are size small, and I need the regular size. Fortunately I have a buddy that needs some and I'm happy to pass them along.

Then through the neighbourhood behind the store. I'm not sure if it's Hillhurst, West Hillhurst, or Parkdale. There's some nice homes in there. Across 5th Ave, watching a collision with a bunch of firetrucks on Crowchild just south of there. At least 3 fire trucks on scene. 5th is closed for construction, detour onto 4th. Never been there before, nice homes, smelling of money. Then over to the Beehive, dodging more construction and detours. Any store you can buy natural honey is a good thing, and they've got a ton of good stuff.

Up to Scarpones, dodging someone on that little chunk of McKnight between the Deerfoot exit, and the left turn into the old airport. He was determined to take up several lanes and didn't seem to know where he wanted to go. Eventually I got around him, and in and out of Scarpones. I liked that store better when nobody knew about it.

From there it was down Deerfoot, down Blackfoot and my goodness I'm glad I was paying attention as that guy signaled right, and started turning right into that odd little intersection at 17th, and 17th, and Blackfoot. Then he changed his mind and turned left across 5 lanes of traffic. I'm not even sure he looked. My eyes got very wide there for a few seconds.

Then into xxxxx store to look for a tacky Hawaiian shirt for a work thing. I paid cash, so there is no record I was ever there. What a sad place that is. All I could smell was cigarette smoke. I got really lucky with parking, someone was coming out at the spot one over from the handicapped spot near the door.

There's a shortcut going south from there along Centre, then Fairmount, then right onto Flint Rd and out on Heritage. I knew there was no way I wanted to go across Heritage to 14th again, even though I wanted to go to Coop. So I snuck down Bonaventure, across 94th, and through the Indigo parking lot to Horton Rd to avoid the Macleod Trail gong show. Then I got stuck. Southland, predictably enough was a parking lot going up the hill. Lots of people wanted to get onto 14th, and as I mentioned earlier, nobody was going anywhere in a hurry there. Even so, there were two cars on the median, owners exchanging information. Just another day in Calgary traffic.

Coop to buy a pineapple and some nice flowers. Home. Linda was astonished at how little time it took. I got very lucky with the traffic. The police part of it was the radio. I heard more of Sting wailing his heart out on this trip than in the month or two previous. At one point all three of the radio stations I rotate between had a Police song going. It was beginning to grate on my nerves.

Linda had been cooking up a storm while I was gone. I managed to get a bit of writing done, then sat down to this. Yummy!

Grrr! I hate it when Blogger gets pissy about rotating photos. Sorry guys. Put your head on your right shoulder, that way the drool won't run down your chin.

Ordered 5 wine kits for delivery mainly in Jan and Feb. More writing in the evening. A surprisingly nice day.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Attack of the slugs, and a snippet

No, not the giant banana sized slugs of Vancouver. Not even the tiny ones that live here.

The me slugs, wherein I veg out. Tuesday night I was a wreck getting home. Two hours in the car after a massage pretty well undid all the work Alexis did. I pretty well ate, did some stuff that needed to be done, and went to bed.

Wednesday wasn't much better. Our yoga class has a week off, and I missed it, though maybe it's just as well. I stared at the novel a bit, then ended up wandering into watch an episode of Sherlock. Slept very badly for reasons I won't go into here.

Tonight I tried a spin session even though my legs feel like noodles. Predictably enough that didn't go so well. Long stretch session after. Then I set up this heated vibrating seat cushion Linda got me and settle in to write. This scene is work, but it's sort of necessary. Up to 55600 or so words.

Here's a snippet from the opening scene. The setting is the Chinook half ironman as the main characters finish.

The pro men finished, with a bit of a gap to the pro women who were being hotly pursued by the elite age group men. A few other men came in. Ronnie burst around the corner, grimly focussed, and pushing hard. A few seconds later the reason why appeared, or rather, the reasons. Two other girls appeared, putting every effort into catching her.

The three instantly started yelling encouragement to Ronnie, and ran to the finish line to watch. Ronnie beat them down the chute, just holding off the other two girls to win the women’s age group race. She took a few steps slowing down and bent over. Rather than try to give out the finisher medal, one of the volunteers held out a bucket. Ronnie took it and moved out of the way towards the aid table. After a few sips of water, and pouring the rest over her head, neck, and then down her top and pants, she handed the bucket back.

She exchanged congratulations with the other two girls, and accepted her medal. She found Thomas, Janice, and Betsy. “I need a minute here. Go keep an eye out for Penny. I passed her not that far back and she should be along any minute. She was struggling a bit and could use the encouragement.”

They walked back up the course to meet up with Penny and ran along with her.

“You’re limping a little, are you ok?” Betsy asked.

“My right knee is sick of this game, and there’s gonna be a huge blister on my left foot. I should be able to make it. Thomas, am I on track for 6 hours? I can’t do the math in my head anymore.”

He’d already taken his phone out. “Maybe. I know you can run that if you’re fresh. Stay strong!” They all spanked her butt.

A little while later Ed and Hardisty appeared, still running together all the way to the finish, with their usual competitiveness not making an appearance. They reasons why came clear when they all met up outside the finishers corral.

Ed nearly collapsed on some shady grass, Hardisty slowly kneeling down. “Oh boy did that ever get hot out there!” Ed moaned. “I hope you told Penny to drink till her tummy sloshes.” He rubbed water on his face.

Janice was looking over the scrapes. “These need to be washed out, honey, and I think you’ve got some sunburn making it worse. They have a skin clinic set up near the med tent. Let’s check it out when you’re ready to get up.”

“Sure. I’ll need a few minutes.”

Betsy had opened the fabric cooler bag and pulled out some treats. “Cold chocolate milk for each of you. Ginger chocolate chip cookies. Some of those peanut butter date power balls that you all like.”

The guys sat up as things were handed out. Ronnie had joined them and started snarfing her share down. Her tummy had had some time to settle, but the guys were still cautious. “Those are so good after a race Betsy. Thanks for bringing them. Oh, no thanks, no more now. I’ll wait till Penny comes in and has some. Then help finish them off. Wouldn’t want them to go bad on the trip home or anything.”

Everybody smiled. For a skinny girl Ronnie had a big appetite. They hung out in the shade a little while, the guys gradually perking up, talking about the race a bit.

Thomas looked at his phone. “I’m going to go watch for Penny. I’ve been keeping an eye out ad haven’t seen her so far, but it’s coming up on 6 hours. She could make it.”

“I think I’ll keep my tender skin out of the sun,” Hardisty said. Bring her back over here, and I’ll guard the goodies. Everybody else trooped off to the finish line.

In the end, Penny didn’t quite make the 6 hour mark, trying to limp on both feet at once. Still, she crossed the line with a big grin, as it was a huge improvement over last year. Everybody congratulated her, joining in for a big group hug. The non racers had long since come to terms with bodies and clothing icky with sunscreen, sweat, and sometimes other bodily fluids.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

She thought it was a relative

It's a little cool here lately. I actually had to dig out my mittens so I wouldn't freeze my hands on the shovel. Celina got all excited.

She was all over that mitten. I was afraid to leave it on the little stub wall for fear of it being dragged off.

Swam Monday, nice 1000 m just over 19 minutes. Kick, pull, some water running, 40 minutes. I think I got goggles a bit too small. Who wants a pair of small Aquasphere goggles worn only a couple times? I need to get medium or large. Water feel is coming along, even though my stroke didn't feel too strong.

No writing at all Monday. Looking it all over for edit potential, and seeing where I can add some bits. I'm working on one of them tonight, 900 words or so in, after a BRUTAL commute home. Normally going from our massage therapist to home is about a 40 minute drive, the time we do it. Tonight was almost 2 hours! Volume, they say.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

The first post NaNo day

Today is a special day. I've been keeping an eye on the live internet feed from Ironman Arizona, watching for news of my buddy David. The camera angles for the swim exit, T1 and T2 were unfortunate to say the least.

I know several people in the race.
Jordan, sub 10 hours, finishing just ahead of the female winner.
Feeling for Sara, who didn't finish after a good start.
Kendall, finishing just under 12 and a half hours, looking good!
And David Turner 13:44! You are a champ!

It was a quiet day around the house. Cold out. The main activity was looking over what I've written, and thinking about the edits. Still thinking about the actual ending. The one I wrote today is a bridge to a sequel if I go there, and it completes part of the story. The next piece of it, that I probably won't get to tonight, is the rest of the story.

Oh, at the moment it's 53500 words.

Saturday, November 16, 2013


No not kilometers. Or even steps. Words. This morning at 10:35 I passed the NaNoWriMo goal of 50000 words. For those interested, word 50001 was pants.

I kept going though. There are bits of the story to fill in. I ended up at just over 51K words today. My plan is to continue chugging away pounding out the words. Then I'll take a snapshot of that and submit it to NaNoWriMo to verify the word count.

From my experience, the hard part starts. I'll take a copy of it and start editing. For some people producing the initial words is the hard part; but twice now that's not the case with me. There's a hard decision to make fairly early, in that the Plant Novel I've been working on is both a prequel and a sequel. It's hard to explain. Ronnie is a secondary character in that novel, and two of the primary characters show up as minor characters in this one. Can't keep a good character down. My initial thought is to leave this as it is, and see what pro editorial comment is.

I need to go through and build in some description. The two attempts at bridging scenes turned into full scenes in their own right. Almost of this is written in time order, where the Plant Novel was all over the place. The Sweet Elixer (my draft title) is in chronological order over about a decade. I'd initially thought it would be over about 30 years. I'll have to think about that.

One of the difficulties has been the cats. Normally if I'm sitting, one or both of them is in my lap. That's a lot more difficult when I'm trying to type on a laptop. Here's Curtis's opinion of my laptop.

Friday morning I was in the pool for a very nice swim. 1K, 19 minutes or so, plus some kick and pull 45 minutes altogether.  The water feel is coming back in a big way. I didn't feel the least tired at the end of it.

After I hit the 50 K mark I stopped writing and headed downstairs for a spin session. It's snowing pretty hard out there so I didn't feel like a run. The spin went surprisingly well. There's still a bit of stiffness in my low back but it's very gradually getting more mobile.

We've had a wonderful peaceful day inside. Linda has been cooking up a storm. We had roast chicken legs with dressing and veggies. A quiche of the house is made along with cinnamon pinwheels. Some duck legs are slowly baking in a sauce for serving on wild rice later. The wine was an Amarone, the little sweet one. I didn't much like it at first, but it's much better now.

Tomorrow is Ironman Arizona. My buddy David Turner is entered. It's his first Ironman. I'll be cheering him on and following throughout the day. What's important about David is that when I met him while working at Skystone, we were both big people. Very big. I started trimming down. A bit later he started following suit, and it's fair to say he had further to go. He's better prepared for his Ironman than I was, in that he has done all the distances. I'd never done an marathon. I'm confident he's going to have an amazing day. If you get some time, cheer him on, bib 2624. Just to confuse things, there's a Dave Turner, same age group. I think there some other people from Calgary entered as well, but the athlete tracker is being pissy.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Another snippet for my fans

People told me nice things about the first snippet a few days back. Thank you. Nothing else worthy of note has happened, so I thought I'd give you another one. For those interested I'm up to 43717 total words. This snippet is set a bit later than the first one. Ed is fine. I did it on day 10, and this is about a quarter of that day's output. You meet a few of the other characters.

Thomas walked into Ed’s living room. “Sorry I’m a few minutes late guys. Hope you weren’t waiting. Um, why are you all peering into Penny’s mouth?”

“We’re trying to see if there’s a difference yet,” Betsy said.

“A difference in?”

“Her teeth.”

“I’m sorry, have I missed something? Or is there something different in the coffee this morning?”

Penny pried Ross’s fingers out of her mouth. “I got the tooth paint yesterday. They said it should activate in a day or so. People wanted to take a look to see if they can see a difference today or tomorrow. We’re all going out for lunch tomorrow to take another look.”

“That’s the one where you can’t eat for a couple days? The little buggers eat the plaque and stain off the inside of your mouth, and then die off?”

“Yeah, there’s a couple variations,” Ronnie said. “My hygienist has been giving me hell lately. All that coffee I drink is finally catching up to me, so I’m interested.”

“I’ve never had good teeth, so I’ve been watching this.” Penny said.

“You don’t mind giving up food a couple days? And having something eating the inside of your mouth?” Thomas asked.

“It won’t hurt me to not eat a couple days. There’s still a bit of pudge I’d like to get rid of.” She patted her hip. “I can drink smoothies and such. Just no solid food.”

“Even with the magnifying glass you can’t see anything. We tried,” Ross said. 

“Kids. What part of cellular didn’t you understand? So what happens Penny? Is this the one you never brush your teeth again?”

“No, though this could be a first step to that. Think of it as a deep cleaning. What should happen is that I have a day or so of lots of saliva and maybe some odd tastes in my mouth. The hygienist is funny, she told me to channel my inner boy, and feel free to spit my brains out.”

“Then what?”

“I have really clean teeth, gums, and other tissue. My dentist wants to take a really close look at my teeth. With them being clean, he can examine if there is a suitable enamel structure to put on a protective coating on my teeth, and a similar one on my gums. Sort of like a clear coat over paint. If the teeth aren’t good, it’s like putting a layer of asphalt on a roadbed that is crumbling away.”

“Your dentist is an optimist,” Hardisty says. “As long as I’ve known you it seems like every time I talked to you, you had a new filling, or something happening to your teeth. Can’t they grow new teeth yet?”

“Well, that’s the thing. They’ve figured out how to trigger that. You start growing new teeth, and your existing ones  start loosening and falling out. There doesn’t seem to be any way to speed it up, so it takes just as long as it did when you were a kid. If your wisdom teeth were giving you problems, they will again. If you needed braces, you probably will again. We forget, but you’re likely to be in constant low grade pain. Kids don’t notice because they’ve got so much else going on. They’re pretty sure you’d need to take specific nutritional supplements and you might be restricted on what you can eat in that time. Pretty tough to nibble on a Granny Smith apple when your teeth are loose.”

Hardisty winced. He’d had some loose teeth after a bike crash. He thought it had all healed up, and forgot himself one day. One of the teeth came back out again all covered in blood and apple juice.

“And no Hardisty, you can’t save money and get it second hand by giving me a big wet sloppy kiss. So if we’re all done with my mouth, weren’t we going to go for a run?”

Really fast update

Zoom. The words really flowed today. Over 42000 words in total by the time I shut the laptop a few minutes ago. I think this scene is the heart of the climax of the book. Lots of editing to do, some bits to fill in. Lots to fix, even now I can see there are better ways to tell some of the story.

With any luck I'll finish up the 50K this weekend, then start considering where to go from there. I think there's other pieces of the story to get told, fill out some of the characters a bit. I know what they look like, and so do they, but nobody else does. Need to figure out timing nail down for sure how old everybody is as the start, and keep it consistent. Pretty sure I goofed in one place.

Swam this morning. I didn't even look at the clock for pace. I know it was a bit over a K, but not sure how much. Easy and relaxed 45 minutes in all. Dodging a floatie who hadn't quite figured out up the rope and down the middle. Some kick and pull. Some water running.

Yoga was good, though I hadn't realized my hams were so tight. The crampy calf isn't bugging me so much anymore, which is good.

Way, way past my bedtime.

Monday, November 11, 2013

The first time for THAT in a long while

What a beautiful day! I was all relaxed from the yoga foot workshop Sunday. I really must incorporate some of that into my regular stretching routine. It was worth every penny. There's a January one for hips. I need it.

Got a good start on the writing today, then went for a run about lunch time. The run went really well for a while, almost exactly 4 K, just under 7 minute K's, then I started to get a really bad calf cramp, just where the muscle thickens up. Only the right leg. All along my calfs have been the first thing to start complaining, and it's been a long time. I tried stretching it out, but that didn't help much. I struggled another K, and called it.

Then I spent a long time downstairs on the mat, rolling it, stretching, massaging it. Still tight, still aching. I hope I haven't pulled anything. It doesn't feel like that, it came on kind of gradual, where my experience with pulls is that it happens almost between one step and the next.

Then I was back into the novel again, 35061 words total, 4026 today. I'd thought it was going to be a series of quick scenes to indicate the passage of time, but the background is Ironman Kona, and Ronnie and Kelly took over. That led into a scene I wanted, but hadn't known how to get into. So that's all good. Some nice ethical and moral dilemmas are now set up for the last part of the book.

As always, the cats have been supervising. I couldn't get a good shot of Celina. She was in scamper mode today.

This one was a little unnerving.

Last chance at the snippet I posted. After this you'll have to find it on your own. So far one very nice comment, thank you very much!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

3 hr foot yoga, or more props than ever before

The high point of the day was 3 hours of yoga, focus on feet. I've never used so many props for one yoga class in my life. It was a super class! She's going to do one on hips in January; I'll sign up for that as soon as the list goes up.

It was kind of odd, working on my feet, while thinking about characters and plot points. Thought of a good one, and couldn't wait to write it down. I was afraid I was going to forget. Total word count, 31035 words. 2556 today. Did you see my snippet the other day?

Saturday, November 9, 2013

A real writ'n, run'n, and writ'n day

Up early writing in the quiet predawn. Cats supervising, but not actually on top of me. A runner went by just as the sun was coming up. It's a beautiful clear day. My thought was to get out for a run while it was still nice.

I ended up doing 6 K nice and easy, just under 41 minutes. My feet and legs felt light and happy for almost all of it, getting just a bit tired towards the end.

After some stretching and lunch and a shower, I was back into it again. Two long scenes today, 5012 words between them, for 28479 words total. Very emotional, and tough sledding at times. Did you catch the snippet I posted yesterday, along with cat pictures?

So far, what the cats have worked out as being marginally satisfactory is for Celina to be on my shins, just out of the picture. Curtis knows the keyboard and track pad is where the action is, and wants to be on this side of the screen. So far the track pad seems to be more sensitive to his paws than my hands.

Friday, November 8, 2013

The rampage and the quiet, with snippet

Today is the start of a 4 day weekend. These are very nice. I don't have much scheduled; a yoga foot on Sunday is it. Linda, however, Has Plans. Today she was up early. I was cowering in bed as she rampaged around the house. DOING THINGS. A couple of her buddies showed up to support her, and off they went to the Millarville craft sale. I pity the people that got in her way.

In the meantime, it was quiet and I was fully under the NaNo lash. Today was a pretty productive day. My characters made me cry at one point. Today had 4659 words, for a total of 23461. For tomorrow, I've got a moral struggle for one character.

Short easy spin today, 30 minutes only. Stretch and core after. For a while the cats were watching me, then settled in and started snoring. I tried to be quiet and photograph them, but they woke up.

Linda brought home some goodies for breakfast tomorrow. This and coffee should see me well past the half way point of NaNoWriMo.

I'm writing about how my characters react to changing medical technology. Some of it involves obedient stem cells, some of it technology advances. I'm just making it up as I go along, since that's what NaNoWriMo is all about. Edit later. Mostly I'm trying to concentrate on how my characters react to the choices offered them.

Here's a bit of today's writing. Raw and off the press. Ed has had a minor heart attack. These are his choices. You can see a bit of how he reacts. Ross and Kelly are their mid to late teens children.

“Come in, have a seat. Mr and Ms Hawk, Ross, and Kelly, hello. I’m Dr. Abernathy. Good to meet you.”

They all shook hands and sat down.

“Now, I’ve gone over your case thoroughly Mr Hawk. I was just getting caught up on the latest read outs from your monitor. You’ve been good, and that is excellent.” A big graph popped up on the monitor. “Here’s a summary line of the monitor data. You can see it gradually rising until this little peak day before yesterday, then it falls again abruptly and stays low. Can you tell me what happened?”

Ed looked sheepish. “I was going nuts from no activity, and kind of forgot my daughter is essentially a grownup now. I still remember her as my little girl, and I blew up over something stupid. She went out for a run with one of my buddies, and I had a good chat with Betsy. Then we cleared the air when she got back. After that I got dug into the material your office sent, and I got really interested. I hardly moved after that.”

“That’s all good. I’ve got 4 options, sort of a good, better, best set of options for you. We’ll talk about them, I’ll give you a pile of paperwork on each. You’ll have some time to think them over, consult with your family, do any further research you feel is necessary. I’ll give you my email, and if you have any specific questions you can send them in. We have an ethics office here if you feel the need to discuss some of this further. Are you all set?”

“Sure am!”

“First. Essentially do nothing and watch carefully, taking action only when required. This is the lowest risk option for right now, though they slowly rise. But I can’t honestly recommend this to you. This would require a much less active life than what you now have.”

“Not a fan of that option.”

“I didn’t think so. Second option. Surgery soonish to clean you out where you’re clogged, and replace what we can’t clean out. After a suitable recovery period, you would be able to essentially resume your life as it was recently. We would put you through followup assessments to help change, control, or mitigate the factors that led up to your heart attack. This would probably involve changes in diet, perhaps factors in your life that create stress, and while you could still do triathlons and workouts to maintain fitness, you need to be aware your risk goes up as your exertion levels go up. Maintain fitness yes, race all out no, so I don’t think this is the right course for you.”

“All right. I can see where that would work for some people. What else do you have?”

“Third option. We can install an artificial heart along with some sophisticated filtering technology. This corrects some minor structural defects in your heart. In combination with some drugs, the changes to your life I mentioned earlier, the guck coating your blood system will gradually go away. Then once the technology improves a tiny bit more, we grow you a new heart, and replace the prosthetic. After recovery, you are good to go in all senses of the word. The thing with the prosthetic heart is that if you were a pro athlete, you would be disqualified. It’s a machine, it can be tinkered with to perform much better than any human heart. The problem is that something else becomes the weak spot, and maybe that’s what blows. But for all practical purposes, after recovery, you carry on normally.”

“Drugs. When I hear drugs, the first thing I think is side effects.”

“And rightly so. If you choose this option we will need to do some tests to specifically tune the drugs to your genetic code, and determine exactly what side effects to expect. At the moment all I can say is they run the gamut from almost nothing, up to requiring hospitalization to survive. That last is an extreme of course, but the ethics board requires I mention it.”

“All right. Something to think about. What’s the last option?”

Dr Abernathy leaned forward. “This is the one I’m recommending you give very serious attention to, although it’s the most complex, and yet the simplest. The high level view is that you get a shot, just the same as any other needle you’ve had. There might be periodic other shots. That’s the most invasive part, at least in one way of looking at it. After the shots, you would go home and resume your current life. You’d return every week or so for non invasive scanning and tests, similar to an x-ray or an MRI scan, and getting blood work done. Maybe a urine and feces sample monthly. Your activity levels would be carefully monitored, and you’d be gradually cleared for more activity. If you’re smart you’ll go through those same assessment for the risk factors and make the appropriate changes in your life. In probably no less than 4 months, and probably no more than a year, you would be totally cleared to resume whatever activities you like, at whatever exertion levels you like, with essentially the risk factors you had as a young man.”

“Duh. Why don’t you have that needle on your desk? Pick an arm, any arm.”

“Actually Ed, it’s a big needle, and goes into the big veins in your legs. Here’s the kicker. We do a full genetic scan of you. What we inject is essentially a living creature, tuned to eat anything that isn’t you. Think of it as a superman of white cells, or a molecular death star zapping anything that doesn’t belong. Now think for a few minutes about how that could go wrong. If you are interested in this, we will go into the risks in considerable detail.”

“So what happens if it all works as it should?”

“It eats all the guck, and continues to eat any that comes. It essentially eats almost anything that isn’t you. Whatever you were eating that contributed to the problem, you could keep eating. Like any other living thing it will reproduce to match the food supply, and die off as the food supply decreases. You are unlikely to be able to not produce any of it at all. You are left with a heart with slight structural defects that need not impact even a very active life. Maybe if you wanted compete as a pro, or an Olympian.”

“Ooh, I’m liking the sound of that. Big picture, what about the downsides?”

“I will be blunt here, Ed. You could die. Perhaps quite painfully. I don’t think that will happen. I wouldn’t even offer you the option if I thought it was even remotely possible, but this is still new technology. It was only recently released for clinical trials, and it is being watched very, very carefully. If you want to move forward with this, it will take several months to go through the various preparatory procedures. Basically two completely separate teams have to do completely independent assessments of you, in addition to what we’ve already done. Thorough, with a capital T doesn’t even begin to describe it. In between periodic assessment appointments, well, you wait. More of the last few days. No work. No workouts. Even a last minute change in your condition could derail the whole thing.”

“Holy crap.” He looked at Betsy. “My first thought is to go with door number 4, but this is something we have to talk about. All of us.”

“No shit, honey.” Betsy turned to Abernathy. Lots of paperwork, you said.”

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Surfing yoga

Yoga tonight was wonderful! There was this really cool surfing move that was really nice. My back did nothing more than squeak a few times. I still have to move cautiously for some things, but now I can move.

Swim this morning was good, a solid half hour. The flip turns got a bit sloppy at the end, but are still better than they were. It's nice getting back into the water again.

I had thought that pounding out the words would be the hard part of NaNoWriMo. So far I'm doing well. 16785 words so far, only 1719 today. The friends just finished eating dinner and are heading into the hot tub.

My blog buddy Janet had a commenter on her blog mentioning the #1k1hr technique where you go head down for an hour and pound out 1000 words. some people do it as a group. I didn't time myself exactly I came pretty close in the time between dinner and leaving for yoga. I"ll have to try this for sure. They seem to like to start at the top of the clock. I don't like to be quite so regimented.

The hard part is this. My view last night.

Yes, Curtis is lying on my forearm. It is very difficult to type. He is being quite firm about wanting to express himself with the keyboard and trackpad.

Celina seems pretty happy staking out my shins, but there isn't enough room for both of them. I think it's going to take a bit of doing to figure out how to get both cats and the laptop all happy at once.

Monday, November 4, 2013

The waiting polar bear

You'd think it was resolutionista time. The locker room at the pool was full of people I'd never seen before. Many of them were new to this. You can tell the people that are regulars. They know what they're getting out of their bag. They've got a routine. What these people were mostly, was in the way. Both heading in and out of the pool. Still, good for them for getting more active. But why NOW?

Saw Katie very briefly as she got out of the pool. Chatted briefly with Jordan and Madi, and admired her tan. Poor Jordan said he had been that colour too, only it washed off in the first swim back at home. Swam a half hour, staying out of their way. Pretty pleased at the pace for the 50 m pool. The water feel kind of came and went.

All day at work a couple scenes evolved in my head. Ronnie is taking her lead character responsibilities seriously and a scene with her wrote itself. I learned all sorts of new stuff about her I hadn't known. There is a polar bear in the wings, patiently waiting for his cue. I'll have to write faster so the seal meat budget doesn't get blown.

Pounded out just over 1900 words in the 2 hours between dinner and leaving for dance class. Dived back in and barfed out another 800 or so to finish that scene. Now back to the doctor's office. 12780 words in total.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Fun snowy RunWriMoRun

The annual struggle happened on Saturday. The one that has filled me with dread and rage in years past. Even with the trick, it was still a struggle, and I was almost certain I was going to pinch flat. But no! That was a major yay. It took a bit of doing to get the trainer calibration dialed in. I was getting tired of the on, spin, relax, off, tweak the nut (down Glaven if you're still reading), repeat.

It was kind of nice to get back on Estela and do easy spin for half an hour. Then some stretching and serious rolling.

Throughout the day I pounded out 2003 words, in between watching for the awesome SUAR to appear on the internet camera during her very first Ironman. I'm pretty sure I saw her leaving T2. I was really enjoying writing and watching the snow fall. We had been invited out to dinner with some dear friends of ours to a nice Italian restaurant not far from their place. Saturdays they have a fixed menu, and all I have to say is Osso Buco is very good. At one point I slipped off to the washroom for the obvious reason, to check the athlete tracker. Congrats to Beth for finishing just under 13 hours. I had sent a secret message to her son to take lots of photos of her sweaty and salty crusted finish line sprint. Can't wait to see her blog about it.

It snowed a lot. Still, Cori braved the roads and showed up here, with Cobb Bakery treats. We kind of slithered down to the park. Part of the path is plowed in the winter. That didn't have much snow on it, just frozen slush and some ice. Much of what we were on isn't ploughed so there were several inches of snow holding a variety of footprints.

We ran easy over to the hill of death to decide if we wanted to go up or not. We did, then ran along the south side of the park. It's so beautiful with the trees all covered in snow. We only saw a few people. It wasn't particularly cold, though it was windy in a few spots. Here's Cori with the hill of death decision.

We were not in a rush at all. It was her first run in several weeks, and I've been taking easy to let my back feel better. Everything was fine, with only some slight twinges when I stepped on a big ball of slush. 7 K, an hour and 6 minutes. The first big spike is the hill, and the second is the trail run to avoid the washout.

Afterward we settled in to drink coffee, and write, and drink coffee, and write, and nibble munchies, and drink coffee, and write. To say nothing of chatting and trying to keep the cats from writing themselves into our books. Curtis seems to have literary yearnings. She has some nice photos of the cats on this page of her blog. It was so much fun to have running and writing company today!

Here's a couple others from today. We fed him the last of his antibiotic pills, so he was feeling a little subdued today.

Lastly, there are animal photographers that would be happy to get a shot this good of a cat. When Curtis needs a passport or a LinkedIn profile, this is the one we'll use. Thanks Cori!

I'm up to 2731 words today, having got an early start. I'll be back on in a few minutes. Now I know where that next scene is going. I'd love to hit 5K words for today, but we'll see.

#runwrimorun slogan of the day: "Barf it out, edit in December."

Friday, November 1, 2013


Laptop domestication is well underway. After a couple false starts the upgrade to the latest OS was uneventful. I think now I accidentally paused the download. It's tuned to the bluetooth receiver for my ear glasses, so I can play music into my ears without bugging anyone else. It doesn't work if I close the lid though. I'm still getting used to the size of text on screen. It's razor sharp, but just a hair smaller than I'd like. Some applications I can do a pinch to embiggen it, others not.

Curtis was in for his followup visit. It turns out he is growing whiskers from that growth just above his dew claws. They might have been ingrown a bit. The vet has never seen anything like it. Our cat is a mutant. This is probably some specialized cat breeding program that is doomed to failure. Curtis has been fixed, though we don't know if he passed along his genes before MEOW got him.

It was nice today, and slowly got cooler and cloudier. In a similar way, I was thinking this morning that it would be good to get out for a run, then I got a bit creakier as the day went on. I need to get downstairs for some stretching and core. It's gone by in an awful hurry. A bit of time writing before work, picking Linda at lunch time, zooming around town through dreadful traffic and some complete clusterfucks in two separate parking lots, a vet visit, and then some peace and quiet for more writing.

It is very difficult to write when Celina is snoozing on my shins, and Curtis is trying to sit on me as well. We have discovered that cat paws can work the touch pad very well, which makes for interesting results when writing blind, with your hands or arms anchored, and some random things happening via touch pad commands. We're going to have to work on this.

The first day for NaNoWriMo is 3411 words. Hardly deathless prose. I'm wincing a bit. What I thought was a good action start seems a bit wooden, and there are some POV problems. I figure after writing 50K words with 5 main characters, I'll either figure out POV or it will kill me. Still NaNo is all about pounding out the words, and editing later. I keep saying that to myself. And no, nothing here is worth a snippet. You'll know when I get there.