Day jobbing today


During yesterday’s lunch break I had to hustle all over downtown picking up things I needed (toner cartridge! new bed sheets! large envelopes! tickets to see my friend’s movie at SIFF!) and returned to the office a bit… misty.

All right, I was totally sweaty. Hey, I’m fat. It happens. (It used to happen before I was fat, too, but never mind).

So, self-conscious! Meeting with my boss in which I had to explain an error I made, while completely sweaty! A full afternoon spent fretting over body odor. Great day.

Last night, plans to shower were thwarted by a severe shortage of hot water. We didn’t even have luke warm water, dammit. I took an Irishman’s shower (I’m Irish–I’m allowed to make that joke) and went to bed early.

Which meant I woke up early. Hey, I had time for that shower now!

But hold on a minute. I was up early enough the catch the very first bus of the day. Taking the 5:20 instead of the 6:10 means I get an extra (mumble mumble carry the two) fifty minutes extra minutes of writing time. Do I take advantage of that extra writing time, or should do I make a concession to my co-workers’ delicate sensibility? Book or B.O.?

You know I chose book. No one has complained yet, but what the hell, some of these folks are heavy smokers, with all the stinkiness that implies. Plus, the person who sits closest to me claims they can’t smell me. I’m not worried about it.

I met and exceeded my daily word count goal, though.

The dreaded “nice guy.”


Today’s writing session was cut short by a “nice guy.”

As I’ve mentioned several times, I usually do my writing out of the apartment–fewer distractions and it helps to get my work finished if I have a set time I have to stop. There’s a Starbucks close to my house that I used to visit all the time, but it became a pain in the ass. A lot of folks with serious issues began hanging out there. Sometimes they would carry on loud conversations in that small room. Sometimes they would do wound care right there next to me. It was distracting and gross.

Today I thought I’d give it a try again. Unfortunately, someone sitting nearby decided that he and I should have a pleasant chat. He kept trying to start a conversation with me, even after I told him several times that I was sorry, but I’d come to work and didn’t want to talk. It would go like this:

“Nice computer you have there. Apple right? Is it an eye-something? A MacBook?”
“Yes. I’m sorry, but I can’t talk. I really need to work.”
“Work? You’re working, huh? I got my Master’s degree at the University of Minnesota. Where did you get your Masters in Computer Science?”
“I never said I had a Masters in Computer Science.”
“Oh, so insurance or bank, huh? Which bank do you work for? Wells Fargo? B of A?”
I don’t answer. Three minutes of silence.
“You get movies on that thing? What’s your favorite movie?”

For an entire hour. He managed to keep a wide-eyed and polite tone through the whole thing, almost to the end, as though he was being perfectly friendly and polite. But there was something off about the guy. I still managed to meet my small word count goal, but not my usual Sunday goal. I’m not going back there again.

Also, yesterday I received a really crazy PM on LiveJournal from a complete stranger. He was trying to enlist me in this project to do something nice for a Third Party (who shall remain nameless). If this had been a quick “So and so needs X. Would you like to help?” I would have been tempted. Instead it was 800 words of how Third Party irrationality and inability to make sensible decisions, and how Third Party wasn’t letting the stranger offer the necessary help, so stranger wanted to do it through me as a proxy.

Ugh. It was creepy as hell, and a perfect example of the “nice guy” who thinks they’re entitled to steal someone else’s agency because they know better and they’re being caring and polite about it. It didn’t have the undertones of a criminal looking for a mark, but it made my skin crawl anyway.

This morning, in the Starbucks, the creep eventually became irritated with me. “I’m trying to be nice, here!”

“No you’re not!” I answered. He looked surprised. “I’ve been asking you not to interrupt me while I work, and you’ve been interrupting me anyway. That’s the opposite of nice.”

(added: Sadly, I’m pretty sure this isn’t parody.)

I haven’t been online much for the past few days


Busy with crap I can’t/won’t talk about. I’m about 3,000 words into The Buried King and I feel like I’m spinning my wheels–and I’ll be damned if just typing that didn’t give me the idea I needed to revamp the opening of the book.

That means I’ll be restarting this thing for the fourth time, but what the hell. Whatever it takes, right?

It doesn’t help that my brain has been consumed by all sorts of personal shit. How do we change our lives for the better? What’s the next step? Do we move? To another city? Dump a bunch of our crap? Buy a car so we have more mobility?

I don’t know. There’s a lot of uncertainty in front of us. Hell, we’re taking a trip in September, but we can’t even decide where to go. What makes things worse is that I can’t even work out the plot of my WIP on long walks; my thought are consumed with problems big and small, especially the petty annoyances.

More later.



It’s gorgeous outside. Sunny, warm and inviting in the way that only Seattle can be. So of course I’m stuck inside trying to finish today’s pages.

With luck, I’ll finish a little early and have time for a walk and some reading. Then it’s a trip to the library and lunch in Fremont with an old friend I don’t see often enough. Later this afternoon I’m sure I’ll be playing a little Freedom Force vs. The Third Reich.

But only if I finish these pages. Logging off.

ETA: Done!

The Buried King


Finally started chapter one of the new WIP today. Here’s the rough draft first paragraph:

As the sun rose over the ocean, the chirps keened in their aerie. Joad lay on his cotton mat, staring at the timbers overhead. He could never sleep through that sound, faint as it was. To him, it always seemed that the lords of the city were mourning the start of every new day.

I made my goal, too. I’ll probably end up deleting it all, but it’s an auspicious start.

Nicholas Christakis: The Hidden Influence of Social Networks


This is fascinating:

It’s 18 minutes long, but like a lot of TED Talks, it’s interesting as all hell. The speaker turned his experience working in hospice care to study how common human conditions spread through social networks. Not only does he talk about emotions like happiness and anger (and how those feelings seem to have a life beyond the individual expression of them) but obesity as well.

One thing I wish he’d addressed (and I’m almost tempted to write him a letter to ask him about it) was whether there was a biological component to the spread of traits through social networks. Some recent studies showed that obesity has bacterial/viral components to it, and his work suggests that there’s a way to study the way it spreads from person to person.

And what if there are certain bacterial “cocktails” that promote happiness or dissatisfaction? Those might spread by human contact, too, couldn’t they?

In any event, I’m going to use his description of human social networks in The Buried King. It’s perfect for a scene where non-humans discuss the irritating incomprehensibility of human beings.

Internet! How did I ever get by without you!

Five Things for a Friday


1. After weeks of trying to figure out how to fit exercise into my schedule (“What do I give up?” and “When would I have the energy?” being the most important considerations) I suddenly realized that I could squeeze a long walk into my schedule after I finish my shift at my day job, but before I come home. This week I’ve been walking the bus route toward home for 30-40 minutes, and it’s working well. Soon I’ll bump that up to an hour. It means giving up some reading time at the bus stop, but it’s worth it.

2. My feet and leg pain is back. See number one above. I haven’t told my wife about it because it freaks her out, but it’ll soon be obvious because…

3. Our Mothers Day jaunt will be a trip to the park. Lots of walking. Lots of greenery. She loves long walks outside and considers them an essential part of her spiritual self-care. Unfortunately, our son only ventures outdoors after an hour of whining and misery. But we’re doing it, for her. I expect to be in a lot of pain, and to be stuck in the middle.

4. Also this weekend, a very good, very old friend will be in a nearby town. Will he be able to visit? Will I be able to go visit him? No clue.

5. I’m pretty much committed to making a book trailer for book three. Nothing much is going to happen to it at least until the fall, after Game of Cages (aka book 2) comes out. No rush. I will, however, be watching a ton of trailers in the meantime to see what I like and don’t like.

Surprising 6th item: The pre-writing for The Buried King is at the absolute worst part–I have all the characters set and what they want. I know how they’re going to try to get what they want. What I don’t have is a clear idea of how all the conflicts are going to play out.

Truthfully, I don’t need to know this exactly, but I have to have enough information to be sure that the protagonist is going to have conflict with each of the antagonists, and I need to know that each conflict is going to be different. I’m not there yet, which means I’m ready to start writing chapter one but I’m also not ready. Frustrating.

There was supposed to be a surprising seventh thing, too, but I can’t remember what.