Monday, March 29, 2010

Congrats Kjetil!

"Completely unrelated, but I have to share: After a series of bizzare events yesterday I escaped as the winner of PTQ Marseille and thus qualified for Pro Tour San Juan. I wasn't really on a quest for The Pro Tour, but I guess the dream still lingered somewhere in the back of my mind and when the oppurtunity presented itself I grasped it."


Congratulations! That is awesome!

What format was the PTQ and what is the format of the PT itself? I could look it up but I'd also like to know what you think about the format and how you think you'll do in the style.

My one piece of advice is this -

Have fun.

You made it to the big show! THE BIG SHOW! Even if you go 0-7, smile the entire day because you knwo what?

You made it!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Book of the month

I would love to tell you the book of the month is Roger Zelazny’s - “Changling” that I picked up at the used-book store.

(God! I hate Grammar! Is it “Zelazny’s: Changling,” Zelazny’s Changling” or Zelazny’s – Changling”?)

For one thing, It has one of the most fascinating premises ever. A child born of technology is swapped for a child from a world of magic. Both grow up with an ability that is feared in their new world. Sadly, from there, the book goes to shit. Which is odd because Zelazny is one of my favorite authors. I cannot recommend highly enough the audio tape “The Last Defender of Camelot.” I’ve written about it before.

A long time ago I wrote a column about “Beautiful Things.” If I remember correctly, the premier item was “The Last Defender of Camelot” audio book by Roger Zelazny and read by “Odo” from “Deep Space Nine.” Or maybe you remember him better as the snide Butler on “Benson.”

Regardless of how you remember him, Rene Auberjonois had the best reading voice I have ever heard and holds that title to this day. Nothing else compares. It could be compared to sitting on your grandfather’s lap, in the middle of an ancient medieval Inn, a fire roaring, the crowd breathlessly listening to an old man with a beard, weave a tale of magic that would stay with those people for the rest of their lives.

I listened to that tape a dozen or more times over the years and never tired of it. It was a work of beauty.”

Honestly, I wish I could listen to it now. In fact, as soon as I finish writing this I’m going to search for it on my iPhone. (Which I have to add, as a tribute to Lena and Strother, is better than your phone. :-)

I love Roger Zelazny as a writer and I loved the premise of this book. Sadly, the characters are shallow, hollow, and without reason. I had to give it up with only 75 pages to the end and look for something else.

What I found (through Facebook no less) was “Lamb” by Christopher Moore. The 14th apostle “Biff” tells the story of Jesus from age 6 to 30, which you may know, is not told in the bible. (I am a little bit jealous because this is actually an idea I had for a book I would write myself. Admittedly, nothing like this.)

I have never laughed so hard due to a book.

I have occasionally smiled, maybe giggled a couple times, but I have never, ever laughed so hard I had to put the book down for five minutes while I laughed. Yesterday, while lying in bed as Wendy and I woke up on a lazy Saturday, I laughed out loud twice for five minutes at a stretch until tears came out of my eyes.

A slight disclaimer : I am not religious, but I do believe in God. The universe just makes too much sense for me to believe otherwise. I never ask God for anything, and I don’t know if he listens, but I thank him for, well, everything. I love being alive and I love our world and I know there is more after this. That said –)

I don’t find the book offensive in the slightest. There has never been an outcry by any religious front about the book, and Jesus is treated with respect. Not that it is important to me, but it might be for some people.

I have to admit, I haven’t finished it yet, but I have already enjoyed it enough to recommend it. If the last two hundred pages is nothing but recipes for carp, I will have still received my money’s worth in the laughter this book has invoked.

Highly recommended.

God, I hate Jay-Z

Before I get to a real post, I thought I would mention how much I hate Jay-Z. And Jon Fitch. (See below.)

Beyonce is pregnant and it's all over the news which is the reason for this post.

When I was in college, almost a hundred years ago, rap was in its infancy. There was iambic pentameter. There was rhyme. There was rhythm, and there was a story. It was a new form of music that was magical. Wendy and I actually danced to it the other night with lyrics of: “Superman has come to town, to see who he could rock. His speakers were three stories high, his woofers made of steel, he blew away every crew he faced until he reached our block!”

Notice that there is no mention of bitches and ho’s.

Jay-Z is a “rapper” and somehow, has made a fortune being one and now has impregnated the beautiful Beyonce.

Beyonce is amazing. She has the voice of a goddess. Her dancing evokes passion. And yet, when I see her, I have a rough time not remembering that she is with that idiot Jay-Z.

She has made a couple of songs with him, and they have been ruined by his idiocy. She will start to sing, you hear the voice of an angel and then you hear him “singing” which sounds like a pig having sex.

“Ugh! Ugh! Yeah baby, Ugh!”

Insert voice of an angel again.

Ugh! Ugh! Yeah. Ugh!

Could you shut up? Seriously, there is a beautiful voice here and you are ruining the entire song with your grunting which you seem to think is music.

Despite the fact that my last two posts have been negative, I am in a state of bliss right now. I am extremely happy with my life and everything about it. Today is just a lazy Sunday and I am venting.

Dear Jon Fitch


"Fitch (22-3 MMA, 12-1 UFC), a former Purdue University wrestling team captain, posted a familiar performance: He used takedowns, a stifling top game, and good ol' ground and pound to post a unanimous-decision win. Fitch's past six wins have all come via decision in a similar manner. The string of wins was interrupted by – and Fitch's only defeat in the Octagon was the result of – a lopsided unanimous-decision loss to champ St-Pierre at UFC 87 in 2008.

Since then Fitch has won four straight and is anxious for another shot at the belt.

And after watching St-Pierre's similarly lopsided (and thus far, largely criticized) title defense over Dan Hardy, Fitch is even more eager to exploit what he sees as holes in the champ's game.

"It was a good fight for him, but I still see flaws in his game, and that's why I want to fight him," Fitch said of St-Pierre. "There's nothing that means more to me right now than fighting for the title.

"I'm 12-1 in the UFC with my lone loss to GSP. I've won my last four fights. I wish they would have all been finishes, but it doesn't always work out that way. But I'm a better fighter than the first time we fought.""

Dear Jon Fitch,

Not only do I never want to see you fight again, I never want to see you fight for the title even if you remain undefeated for the next twenty years. You have no courage. You take no risks. You never try to pass guard. You never try to improve your position, you never try for a submission. You are the epitome of a blanket and you make all other wrestlers look bad with your style of fighting.

There is a reason fighters with a 5-5 record are still in the UFC and there is a reason someone like you, with an amazing, but incredibly boring, record is sometimes relegated to the undercard. The fact that you are so incredibly dense, and can't realize this, amazes me. It's really staggering how thick you are to think that anyone would pay to watch you "fight" and care about the outcome.

Friday, March 26, 2010

What moves you to dance?

Bustin' a move to Rick Astley, 2008 in Ecuador. No, I'm not kidding, I am one of the few people that love his music. Why this picture is here is explained below.
Spain – Random observation #269

They don’t have a drop box at the post office.

Now, I could just put the letter in the mailbox outside our apartment, but what if the mailperson has already come through and collected that mail? Then it would be tomorrow before the letter got picked up, and, I am assuming, late afternoon or even evening before my letter gets to the post office. So, it will be put in a big pile late Friday, most likely sorted on Monday. So, I hauled myself to the post office, a half-mile away, Thursday morning to drop it in the mail slot to make sure it was sorted that day and on its way to America before the weekend, instead of Monday.

And there is no drop box.

I take a ticket and I am number 110. The sign says they are now serving number 94. So I stand for 25 minutes, hand my letter to the woman who finally calls 110, and she looks at me like “Why are you here? This is all ready to go.” And I wanted to scream “BECAUSE YOU DON’T HAVE A DROP BOX!!!”

(Word is now highlighting “YOU DON’T” in green, signaling a grammar error. When I click on it for suggestions it suggests YOUDON”T. Somehow, I don’t think that’s correct.)

Then I head to the grocery store and, as is their wont, they have moved things again. It’s like a constant shell game with these people. They have even moved certain, but not all, cosmetics from the second floor, to the first. Today they have moved shallots from near the lettuce and onions to over by the eggs, ten yards away. Why are shallots near eggs and not onions and garlic? I do not believe that there has been one single time in my three years here that we have gone to this store and not found some item moved to another aisle.

Since we plan on having a few people over on Saturday I stock up on beer, non-alcoholic beer, wine, and some snacks. Plus some basics we needed at the house. Then I load it all into my little cloth cart and drag it home. Then, I pick the cart up and cradle it like a big wood log and carry all of it up five flights of stairs. Despite the fact that I have been working out since November, this is still a challenge. I get to the top, sweating , heart beating like a trip-hammer, gasping for breath and think to myself “What am I going to do when I’m 50? I’m 44 years old and I sure would hate to die from a heart-attack." Maybe I ought to rest between floors instead of being so stubborn. I rest for five minutes sitting on the steps and gasping before finally opening the door and dragging groceries into the kitchen to be put away.

The afternoon goes okay, struggling to reorganize and edit Secret Force before finally quitting at six when Wendy suggests we go to the Mercado de San Miguel for some wine, tapas and people watching. Considering we haven’t had a drink since Sunday, or done much people watching, I am very excited about getting out of the house and doing exactly that.

We sit for a couple hours, sip wine, talk, and eat some mushrooms on tostas as well as tuna with grilled red peppers which are just amazing.

We return home to one of the most amazing evenings of my life. I cannot stop grinning this morning.

Part of it includes a dance party that lasts for three hours as Wendy plays various songs for me that she is considering for the reception, the walk in, the first dance, the cocktail party and the dance mix for the evening. The most important part of the wedding for Wendy is the music. A former radio DJ and total audiophile, she has thousands of songs on her computer and hundreds of CD’s in two drawers in the house. She wants my opinion on certain songs and I respond with “God, yes!” or “I don’t love it, but if you want it, sure.” A plain “No. Sorry, just no.” or grabbing her off her seat and forcing her to dance with me. We dance for three hours. This is a habit of ours.

One that I will fight and die for.

There are songs that move me to dance. I have a good rhythm, but I wish I had more moves. I look good for about ten minutes and then I feel like I’m just repeating myself over and over. But, too bad. I have to dance. (Wendy on the other hand, is a fantastic, sexy dancer, has endless moves and makes priests wish they hadn't take a vow of celibacy.)

“What will move your friends to dance? Or your folks? I want people to feel like they have to get up and dance like you do.”

And then it occurs to me – “I don’t think other couples have dance parties like us sweetheart. I know Rod used to like “Red, Red Wine” but I don’t know if he would dance to it or has in twenty years. I know Hilary liked Michael Jackson but I don’t know if it would force him onto the dance floor like it does me.”

I remember my folks being moved to dance on Sunday mornings as my dad fried up eggs and bacon to Neil Diamond or Credence Clear Water Revival before we went to work in the yard or in the forest cutting firewood for the winter. I don’t think I’ve heard of many other couples being moved so much by music they grab their partner and have to dance no matter what they are doing at the time. Bacon burning or not.

What moves you to dance? What songs can you think of that make you get out of your chair and have to move to the beat?

We have plenty for ourselves, but we want other people to be dancing as well.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

WoW! Superheroes!

Actual WoW news. Anyone else but me not aware there is a new expansion coming out that will change the way Azeroth looks? There will be some huge cataclysm that remakes all the old stuff you’ve come to know and love.

Shit, I already went through that in Dereth. It still pisses me off that I can never go back to Yanshi again. All that’s left is a big smoking crater. Now they’re looking to do the same thing in WoW? I’ll never get to go back to Darkshore and trap a bear? I’ll never get the fishing skill on its shores?

As you can tell, I consider it a bad move.

You’ll get to play as a werewolf or a goblin now though. And races can be different classes now. That’s where I stopped watching because as much as I loved WoW, I’m bored with it now and have been for years. I do wish they would release an expansion that rekindled my love of the game, but sadly, this isn’t it. In fact, it goes in the opposite direction…

I think I posted quite some time ago I wondered why no one has become the first superhero yet and I think I found the answer.

When was the last time you saw a crime?

Being a superhero would be a lot like playing online poker -hours and hours of waiting for that one good hand (or opportunity) as the case may be. I can see weeks of sitting on a rooftop and seeing nothing. That sounds pretty boring.

Titles are good. Sometimes I forget them.

I believe that once again, I am almost done with “I’m not an Alcoholic, I’m just European! Living in Spain, Adventuring through Europe.”

Yesterday I spent the day designing the cover, uploading photo’s, formatting flavor text on the back cover. At the end of the day I submitted everything to CreateSpace so they could make sure the work followed their guidelines. Last night I was told that it was acceptable, and this morning I have ordered a proof to look over. My fourth to be exact. Let’s hope this once comes out right. I spent the rest of the morning working on the Kindle edition of the book and uploaded that for approval a few hours ago. So, by the end of this week or early next week, yes, there will finally be a link on this blog and to a book you can purchase. I thought it would take me a year. It’s been three.

Oh well, at least that’s finally over and now I can retire. Oh wait…

I have been enjoying working on “Secret Force – Quest for the Pro Tour II” but now I am stuck. I have reached a place in the story that requires a lot of revision and reorganizing. And I’m not quite sure how it should fit together.

I have also received editing notes back from Wendy on “Night’Mare” (or should that be “Night,Mare”) and I see a big job ahead of me there. After getting the Kindle version done on the travelogue, I feel like breaking into the champagne and celebrating. Looking at what I want to get accomplished before we head home though, the only thing I can do is put my nose to the grindstone and get back to work.

Man, I’m just pissy today. You may remember I had a horrible injury from trying to cut leather with a jamon knife, and my finger has never recovered. I call it my “zombie finger” and it affects my typing. I could say it affects it a great deal but that’s not really true. It affects it a little and a little is enough. It’s just a pain in the ass having to go back and correct words all the time. Everyone makes mistakes while typing, now double that since I sliced my finger nearly in half.

And then I weighed myself and I’m still stuck at 180, regardless of how little I eat.

Of course, that’s bullocks and I know it. Wendy bought this very sophisticated scale that tells you your body fat percentage and mine has dropped from 25.5 to 23.9, so, something is happening. Not that 23.9 is actually good, but at least it’s going down.

Yeah, I just ate breakfast and it improved my mood tremendously.

Time for some more coffee and then I'm going to hit the afternoon hard.

In fun and interesting links, David Gerlach posted these to the comments section of my Facebook fan page. The first one I wondered “Why the hell did he show me this?” and then halfway through you understand completely. It is very cool.

The second link is a technological wonder and no, I did not make it.

Monday, March 22, 2010

This is it

I’ve never been a huge Michael Jackson fan. Which doesn’t mean I don’t like his stuff, I’ve just never worshipped it like some people.

This weekend Wendy and I saw “This is it” the documentary on his planned return concert. I recommend it to everyone. The view we have been presented by the media is quickly refuted by watching Michael in a normal setting. He doesn’t seem weird, or sick or wasted away, or the victim of bad plastic surgery. He seems like a nice guy. He says God bless you a lot. He looks like he’s trying to be nice to everyone. I admire that.

What has always amazed me is the hypocrisy surrounding Mister Jackson. I know he had a fascination for childhood and for children, but I think it’s important to remember that he was never convicted of anything, and the people who did accuse him came from families looking to make a lot of money by suing him. And everyone was willing to believe the worst of Michael until he died, then all of sudden everyone remembers what a huge star he was. It’s the unpopular-girl-in-school-dies and thousands show up at her funeral who ignored her while she was alive phenomenon all over again.

Don’t get me wrong, I think all child molesters should suffer a long, slow, painful end. Destroying someone’s childhood, and probably the rest of their life is the most horrible crime I can imagine. But, like with all things, I try to ignore the hysteria and look at the facts.

The pop star was never accused of sodomizing little boys. He was accused of fondling them. Two of them actually. The most famous case, that started all this, the little boy described Michael Jackson’s penis as being circumcised. Police and a doctor confirmed that it was not. Also, the boy’s father was quoted in an interview as saying –

"If I go through with this, I win big-time. There's no way I lose. I will get everything I want and they will be destroyed forever ... Michael's career will be over". In the same conversation, when asked how this would affect his son, Chandler replied, "That's irrelevant to me...It will be a massacre if I don't get what I want.”


The only reason I mention that is that I wouldn’t be able to watch a documentary if I believed he was guilty. Anyway, the documentary is very good, I think it shows a side of Michael Jackson that the media never portrayed, and highlights all the hits he had when he was alive. If he did actually molest little boys, I hope he’s in a very hot place right now. But seeing the guy in a natural environment, seeing him the way he is while preparing to go on tour, I just don’t see it. He looks like a nice guy who got a bad rap in the media.

Highly recommended.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

I hate books.

I have always cherished books. I loved their smell, their texture, the turning of the pages, the collecting. I loved everything about them.

No more.

Wendy and I are of one mind on this. Sadly, the iPhone has destroyed my love of books. I still read hard copy books, but if I had my choice, I would prefer to read a bad book on the iPhone than a good book on paper.

I never, in my wildest imaginings, thought I would ever type something like that.

A book has a weight I don't enjoy. It requires a light source. Turning pages requires me to lift the book off the pillow supporting it.

An ibook requires none of these things. A simple flick of the thumb, no light source, just text in its simplest, best form ever.

I can carry three thousand books in my pocket.

Do you know how many boxes of books I have in the eves of my house in Vermont?

Saturday, March 20, 2010

This is how you start a weekend

"Thank you for your submission. We're very sorry it’s taken us so long to respond, but we’ve had a backlog of submissions. Even though your project sounds interesting, I’m sorry to say that it is not right for us at this time."

My first rejection in months! Of course, it's been months since I've heard from anyone, so, whatever.

Quick Robin! To the self-publishing machine!


Friday, March 19, 2010

Cantar Prohibido

All the bars and restaurants in Madrid have a sign that says that. "Singing Prohibited." It's actually a real problem that Spaniards will just get up and sing. And they'll likely sing a song that everyone knows and everyone joins in.

I can think of worse problems to have.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Why God Why?

Why does Jennifer Aniston keep making bad movies? If she's choosing the scripts herself, she needs to stop and get someone else to do it for her. If her agent is doing it for her, he needs to be fired. I don't think there's ever been a more popular actress that has made so many horrible movies.

Currently rated 11% on Rotten Tomatoes, The Bounty Hunter is her latest flop.

"There are no rewards to be claimed for enduring The Bounty Hunter."

"Disappointing, frequently dull and painfully unfunny romcom that's let down by a badly written script, obnoxious characters and a total lack of chemistry between Butler and Aniston."

"A stark example of misbegotten chemistry and its resultant pitfalls."

Inside Out Weight Loss

(Forgive the extra periods, blogger, shit program that it is, isn't formating things correctly today.)
My body is asking for carbs this morning.

Wendy has been explaining this new way of looking at food she heard about from Lena. Lena is five foot nothing and has lost fifteen pounds in the last year listening to a podcast called “Inside Out Weight Loss.” There's also a website where you can listen and read as well.

Essentially, you learn to listen more to what your body needs as opposed to what it wants, and breaking old eating habits and acquiring newer, healthier ones. It makes you think about each bite, eat slower and question if you really need more.

For example, you are eating a pizza. It is good pizza and you are eating it while watching a movie. You finish your plate and go back for more, eat some more and continue watching the movie. This new philosophy is all about making sure you are appreciating every bite. Don’t just shovel more in because the first bite was good. Enjoy the fifth bite every much as the first. Savor it. Eat slower. When your plate is empty, think to yourself: do I need more? I’d like more but do I need more? How full is my stomach? I could fit another two pieces in there but am I actually hungry?

You learn to listen better to what your body needs as opposed to what your mind wants. This morning, my body is asking for carbs. I don’t know why.
I live on an almost all protein diet. I generally eat four eggs a day for breakfast. Yes, I have had my cholesterol tested many times and it is within normal parameters, thank you. I do this partially by choice and partially with an eye towards weight loss. Last night we went out with Lena and Stefan for St. Patrick’s day and stopped into a pintxo bar that is usually too busy to accommodate us. We were smart this time and started early, showing up at their doors five minutes after they opened (8:00) and there were only ten people there. We all got pintxo’s and they all come on a nice thick slab of bread. I ate my beef, pork and quail’s egg off the pintxos and left the bread. Partly because I don't like bread all that much but also because it is empty calories and I don't need it.
Today Wendy and I are going out for lunch and having a mariscada para dos which is boiled then chilled goose barnacles, tiger shrimp, two kinds of crab, and Norwegian lobster. It will come with two loaves of bread which I will ignore. It will also come with a little cup of mayonnaise which we will both ignore.
My body is craving carbs and I know it won’t get them later so this morning I am having ravioli for breakfast.
And now, to the editing…

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Next Chapter

I’m looking forward to the next chapter in my life; because, usually, each chapter is better than the last. Okay, sure, the cancer chapter sucked in a way I didn’t believe possible, and there have been some rough parts in all chapters. But, in general, the book that is my life continues to rise towards a climax and eventual denouement.

Life is great right now but I am making the philosophical mistake of looking forward to events that will be even greater. I am very much looking forward to the wedding this summer, ( seeing old friends, having a big three-day party, and most of all, finally being able to call Wendy my wife. Eighteen months ago I was in a therapy session and the therapist asked me “Where do you want to see yourself in a year? What would you accomplish that would make you most happy?” I told him without hesitation the thing that would make me most happy would be to be married to Wendy. Second would be to get an agent and get published, but the thing I most wanted was being able to introduce Wendy as my wife.

That will finally happen this August.

I think a lot of things will happen in the months following this July. I’ll be getting married in August. I’ll have books for sale. The economy will continue to recover, which Wendy’s business needs. Wendy received a phone call yesterday from a very powerful man who has been promoted to an even more powerful position and wants to meet with her at the end of the summer to talk business. The last project she did for him, he told her later, “Your work made me look very good.” Imagine the vice president of General Electric telling you that. I think that’s about equivalent to the power this guy wields. So, Wendy may have some big project coming up when we return to Spain after getting married and I may be drafted into service helping her do research. Some of the research I do for her is mind-numbingly boring but a vast majority of it is fascinating and I learn a lot about a subject I am very interested in. I’d tell you more but then I’d have to kill you. Classified you know.

Now is all preparation. Preparing for the wedding, editing and revising books, trying to lose the weight I put on the last time we were in the states, working out, waiting for the recession to end so more projects are available, etc.

I look forward to August. I feel like a lot will happen then. In the twelve months following that I see more progress on the books front, transcribing of notes from South America, a renewal in Spanish classes, benching 225 lbs again, working on amazing projects with Wendy, and possibly a return to Magic: The Gathering.

The future’s so bright I gotta wear shades.

Word Verification

Due to an increasing number of spammers in the comments section I have enabled word verification in order to post a comment. Sorry for the additional step.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Happy Monday!

Well the Ferret set me straight - “Actually, I'm the webmaster, but close enough. As for the blogging, it takes about half an hour a day, averaged out. I do work at home, but I also generally work twelve-hour days, and often sixteen - I've got blogging, writing, and programming to do, as well as keeping up all my relationships.”

Which is stunning. Inspired by such work ethic, I’m going to try and do more frequent updates. No, I really mean it this time. Why are you rolling your eyes like that?

We had an interesting weekend. Saturday morning we started the day by heading to the gym where Wendy had an awesome run but for some reason I went down in reps, which was not even mildly disturbing. I’m actually lifting some respectable weight now and hope to get back to my peak max bench of 220 lbs which I haven’t done since I was 25. It’s starting to show as well, which I am very psyched about. I actually laid one arm down last night, put my hand on it to go to sleep and thought for a minute “Is that my arm? My arm is huge!" After having no muscle tone for fifteen years it’s a good feeling. God I missed working out.

Did I tell you we had to switch gyms? We got back from Vermont, went to get a workout and our brand new ultra-modern gym with pool, sauna, steam rooms and slender Spaniards was boarded up! Luckily Wendy had gone to another gym before that was less expensive and closer. It’s not as nice but it has everything we need. The people there are quite different from the other gym. While I was the big dog at the last gym, lifting more than 90% of the people around me (by far), at this gym I am an old Chihuahua. There are some seriously built guys here.

In the afternoon we did a tapas crawl, stopping in to Casa Lucas for a pintxo of chicken, carmelized onions and some sort of foam on top that we have always loved. From there it was up to La Latina (a neighborhood)to another pintxo bar for a perfectly cooked solomillo (steak) on thick toast and red peppers with a green pepper sauce, then to another place we like for the largest grilled cigala we have ever had. The steets were relatively packed but the restaurants were full and spilling out into the street. Spaniards love their Saturday sun.
We returned home to play a two hour game of Carcassone on our terrace and then I started to feel ill. I had a headache that threatened to turn into a migraine and my entire mid-section felt like it was going to explode. I also couldn’t get warm and Wendy brought me three blankets and I was still cold. We lay on the couch and watched Chris Rock’s documentary Good Hair which was quite an education. Highly recommended. In the middle of it I asked Wendy to get me a bucket just in case and as she brought it to me, I struggled free of the blankets, rushed to bathroom and threw up everything we had eaten that day for about three minutes. Oh look, red peppers. I felt a lot better after that but that good feeling only lasted fifteen minutes then started to slowly build again, finally settling on mild nausea for the rest of the night.

We then watched Michael Moore’s Capitalism: A Love Story which, as usual, was shocking and Moore was a bit over the top. It’s worth the rental but not amazing.

I slept like crap but woke up Sunday feeling better finally. Still a bit weak, still a small headache, but better. I watched some UFC, read some comics, browsed the web, and then we played another two hour game of Carcasonne on the terrace and it was actually hot. Wendy went back to reading “Time” magazine and I played “Dragon Age” for a couple hours. Fantastic game.
Around seven we watched a bullfight we had recorded that was fantastic! El Juli received three ears, Manzanarres two, and Perrera one. The passes were so close and so dangerous Wendy kept grabbing me and making worried noises like we were watching a horror movie.

And now it’s Monday. I’m actually glad it’s Monday. I’m anxious to get back to work. And so I am.
Happy Monday to all and to all a good day.
And now, to the editing.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Editing, Revising, Reviews and Rambles.

I wish that I could be Ferret.

Not just any ferret, but The Ferret.

What? An animal? Is that a superhero? What are you talking about Wakefield?

The Ferret is a fellow Magic writer who happens to update his blog every day. I can’t even imagine that. See, as much as I would like to do that, I don’t know how he finds the time. What many people find out quickly is that, well, blogging doesn’t actually pay anything! I don’t know what he actually does but I imagine it might involve a private office and a light workload where he can work all day and find time in that workday to update his blog. I would be able to do that if I went back to being a night auditor for hotels. The night audit usually took up a couple hours then I had five hours to read, and an hour where a guest or two might check out. Then I went home. Sadly, they didn’t have MMORPG’s in those days. Maybe he has a job like that.

I keep thinking I’m finished with a project and then I find it needs more editing. Chris McMahon was my first editor. Jeopardy Champion and my friend Dave Meddish is a fellow widower to cancer who offered to also edit my book and that’s what he does for a living. Wendy’s law school friend Laura has a degree in English and also offered, as did my mom.

Why so many?

Well, honestly, they all add something. All input is good. Oddly, none of them catch everything. I think that’s a statement on how complex the English language is to set down on paper. It’s amazing the things they know and the stuff I have had to learn. Is it “T-shirt” or “t-shirt?” Is it “Avatar” or Avatar? Is it A Cook’s Tour, “A Cook’s Tour,” or A Cook’s Tour? Do I use “that” or “who” here? Who or Whom there. Is the time “Around seven we get up.” Or “Around 7 we get up.” If I say “He plows my Verdant” is plow capitalized? Is verdant? I know if I use the whole card name it is “He Swords to Plowshare’s my Verdant Force.” But wait, I’m using Swords to Plowshares as a verb, is it still capitalized? Is “mulliganing” a word? Not according to my dictionary.

I’m not an Alcoholic, I’m just European, (book titles are in italics, not quotation marks you know), editing will be done next week, then I need to order a third proof of the book, make sure it looks good in physical print, then approve for sale on Amazon. I hope you’ll buy it next month and enjoy it. Kindle version will be a couple days after that.

While I await final editing to get back from two editors, I have been working on Secret Force, Quest for the Pro Tour II. I have been collecting old articles, putting them in the proper order, trying to find articles that are missing, editing, revising, and rewriting entire paragraphs. It’s fun but also a pain in the ass. Knowing what I know now about proper grammar and punctuation, the rough drafts of the old reports need a lot of work.

Marilyn’s Story (tentatively titled Night, Mare) will be out this year as well. Honest. After having nothing to show for three years, this is finally the year I am going to release three things. Hopefully, a combination of fans, advertising, word of mouth and smart marketing will make the books a success. Having approached over two hundred agents, I have to go the self-publishing route and I’ll make it work. Wait, you’ve heard all this before haven’t you? Oh well, it’s what’s on my mind these days.

In quick summary of a few of the things I wanted to mention today but have run out of time –

The Lovely Bones – The book was pretty good, the movie was a visual feast. The author’s idea of heaven is something I can get behind and we found interesting. All of which is essentially ignored in the movie. We didn’t really like the movie, but kept wondering if we would have liked it not having read the book. All we could see were changes made for no reason and the things ignored for no reason. I recommend watching the movie then reading the book. The movie scenery and effects are beautiful. Worth seeing. If you read the book first you won’t enjoy the movie much. Watch the movie first and read the book second and I think you’ll have a great experience.

After I get done releasing these three books I have approximately five hundred notes to transcribe. The only reason to transcribe such notes would be if the three books I mentioned earlier actually sell. So, I am both dreading and excited about that. Transcribing notes is probably the hardest part of my writing, but I love getting our adventures down on paper. It's a journal of our lives that solidify's the memories in my brain.

My Grandmother died last year at 105 and it amazes me to think of the changes she saw in her life. I wonder if we will ever see a century more magical than 1900-2000? I think about the things I’ve seen and not that much has changed. Cars still run on gas. TV has gotten better over the years but it isn’t new. The pill was already in use by the time I was sexually active. Cancer still kills people. Airplanes still fly. The stuff I have grown up with has largely gotten better but hasn’t actually changed that much.

Except for computers and the World Wide Web. That has been amazing. My iPhone is the second brain I have always wanted. I can’t imagine not writing on a screen and being able to hit “backspace” to erase things instead of “Whiteout.”

Other than that, I don’t think the world has changed as drastically as it did for Grandma in her first 45 years. Nor do I think it will change as much in my next 60.

Am I wrong?