A Day at the Library

Well, Saturday did get much better after my losses. My wife had a gift certificate to a pottery place where you pick out a piece of pottery, decorate it, and then the fire it for you. She’s an artist, so she loves this type of thing. While she was doing that, I was to be in charge of our daughter again. This time we went to the library.

The library in our area (a college town) is not like your stereotypical library. It’s more than just rows and rows of books (not that it would be a bad thing). At least the kid’s section is not like that. Oh yes, there is a separate area just for children. This is a good thing as the kids are allowed to be in a place filled with books, without having to be told “be quiet!” every five seconds. The kid’s section also has toys such as a huge “Thomas the Tank Engine” playset, a castle playset, and several puzzles and games. This place on a Saturday afternoon can best be described as between chaotic and apocalyptic, with toys and kids strewn across the floor, running around with their arms in the air. Good times.

My daughter and I did have a blast, though I think she viewed me less as “Dadda”, and more as some guy she reluctantly allowed to follow her around, like some sort of Chaperone that she would rather ditch, just so she could then have some real fun. I would point out a book to her and she would say “No sank you Dadda” or just ignore me. She was more interested in visiting the foot tall Cat in the Hat stuffed animal (‘Cat Hat’) whom she would cuddle up to and read stories to while sitting on a window seat that overlooked town and the traffic below.

We spent about two hours in the library. I had to change her diaper once due to what we call a “poopie”. It was quite an experience changing her while she was standing up in one of the stalls in the men’s room, all the while trying to make sure she didn’t touch anything. I made it through unscathed, but just barely.

One incident that did annoy me a bit was when I brought my daughter into the common area of the library, just inside the entrance where patrons return and check out books, to let her have a drink of her grape juice. I did this because there is a “no drinks” policy posted in the areas that house the books. While we were standing there, one of the ladies asked if we needed any help. I said no thanks, and that I’m letting my daughter have a drink. Then I tried to make small talk. The lady basically ignored me and said pointing to the entrance, “Next time, you might want to do that there.”. I was not about to go out in the unheated area just for my daughter to get a drink from her near spill proof sippy cup. Let me re-iterate that there WERE NO BOOKS where we were standing. The lady just wanted to enforce her arbitrary interpretation of the rules. Oh well.

Anyhow, I had a great time with my daughter, even if I didn’t get to look at any books. I was exhausted when my wife returned from the pottery place, but it was definitely a fun time.

A Loss and a Loss

So, I woke up at the crack of 5:15 AM this morning to play in my Adult Ice Hockey game. It was 16 degrees Fahrenheit outside as well (we don’t play outside, but it makes for a cold walk from the parking lot to the rink). We lost 9-1. What a start to the day. We really aren’t that bad of a team, but we had a rough day. I didn’t play very well either.

Then, I get home and Sidney Crosby, the best player on my favorite hockey team (the Penguins) as well as one of the best players in hockey got injured last night and will be out for possibly a month or so. Just grand.

So, it was a rough start to the day, but it can only get better, right?

Would You Really Want Me in Charge?

My wife had a get together last night, leaving me in charge of the care and well being of our daughter. Before you ask, we both survived the night without and serious physical or emotional damages, thank you very much. We watched a little Garfield Christmas special (her favorite) when my wife first left the house, in order to stave off any “Mamma Holdie” meltdowns. That worked quite well. In fact, here is a clip from the show. Quality stuff:

After that we played with some Legos, danced to some of Elton John’s Crocodile Rock (thank God there is no audio or video of this), and she staged every single one of her stuffed animals on the television stand. It was extremely cute. She did this with nearly no light in the room, as I was trying to get her to fall asleep.

I didn’t mention this before, but Monday, for the first time ever, I was able to get my daughter to sleep by reading her a book. This is usually my wife’s job, as she prefers my wife for this and I just don’t have “the touch”. After Monday, I thought I had things all figured out. Not quite. She finally did fall asleep on my lap (at around 10:15 PM) while I was reading her a book, but this was only after an hour of “No Dadda”.

Once she was finally asleep, I watched an episode of Doctor Who (the one where they are stuck on a ship, hurtling towards the sun and only 42 minutes until their doom). It was a great episode.

On the writing front, the steampunk story is going well. I have maybe 500 or 600 quality words of the story so far. I also have two versions of the story, because I’m not yet sure where it should begin. I think I like one approach better, but I need to write a little more just to be sure.

And that is all from me. Good day!

Presidential Quiz

I’m not really sure what to write about today, so I figured I’d post one of those “who are you most similar to” things. This one supposedly tests which presidential candidate most matches up with your personal view of things. Here is what I got:

91% Mike Gravel
86% Dennis Kucinich
85% John Edwards
84% Chris Dodd
84% Barack Obama
81% Bill Richardson
80% Hillary Clinton
77% Joe Biden
35% Rudy Giuliani
28% Ron Paul
26% John McCain
26% Mike Huckabee
25% Tom Tancredo
19% Mitt Romney
15% Fred Thompson


2008 Presidential Candidate Matching Quiz

Gravel and Kucinich have already dropped out, I believe. Still, it’s good to see John Edwards and Obama at the top of my list. I can’t help it. I’m liberal.

Anyhow, feel free to take the quiz and post your top three in the comments.

Doctor Who Series 4 Preview

I was mucking around on the internet the other day, looking for more Doctor Who news. I even went to the Sci-Fi channel’s web site hoping to find out when/if Series 4 will be showing in the United States. Turns out Series 4 will be showing here on the Sci-Fi channel, but that haven’t announced when it will be on. In the meantime, someone on the message boards posted a link to a Doctor Who Series 4 Preview on YouTube. I post it here for those of you who have not yet seen it.

First Writing Group Meeting

Well, I attended my first writing group meeting and I’m happy to say I survived. Overall, it was a good experience which I’m sure will help my writing.

The meetings for my writing group take place at different writing group member’s houses each month. The one this month was about a half hour drive from my house. I had never been there, so I gave myself a little extra time. I wound up being the first one to arrive, which doesn’t happen ofter for me. I just wanted to get there on time and not be the new guy and the one who delays the meeting.

First off, I met all the members of the group. They were all really nice. I am the only guy in the group, but that’s cool. I just hope I can bring something to the group that helps us all to get to our goal of being published.

Our hostess was nice and had snacks for us. There were cookies, cheeses, and even some hot tea. We all grabbed a plateful, sat around a table, and told a little about ourselves. I talked a bit about NaNoWriMo and they were all impressed someone could pull off 50,000 words in a month. I guess I earned a little street cred there.

One lady read us her poetry and it knocked my face off. Literally. We had to spend five or ten minutes trying to put my face back on. I’m all better now. Thanks for asking. And no, the no face look was not an improvement. The difficult part with the poetry, though, was that I really don’t know how to critique poetry. I told her what I liked, but I’m no poet. I could not really offer any changes.

Next, we read a chapter of fiction from another member of the group. I had read the chapter before the meeting, but not everyone did, so we took some time to read silently. I breathed a sigh of relief as I could not fathom reading my fiction aloud. The thought of that made me want to find a potted plant to go hide under. The chapter was pretty good, got my attention, and wanted me to read more. I tried to say this while also giving some suggestions.

At this point we were probably two hours into the meeting, though time seemed to be flying. There was time for one more critique, either the hostess’s story or mine. Since I had only sent out my chapter that day and was new, I thought it was only fair that we read her story and that’s what we did. I still hope to get feedback on my Chapter 1 via email, but if not I’ll just get it at the next meeting.

So, overall the meeting was great. The feedback given to the other writers was valuable and not harsh at all. More than that, though, these meetings will give me deadlines, something I really need to stay motivated. I know I have a month to get Chapter 2 in good enough shape to share with the group. This will keep me on track, and also keep me writing.

The biggest thing I need to improve with myself is my critique of others. I think that will come with experience, though.

Anyhow, I hope you all enjoyed this post. If you have any questions, please let me know!

Dr. Who

I hope you all had a fine weekend. Mine went pretty well. I had a hockey game Saturday morning, which went well, and for the most part tried to give my wife some time to catch up on scrapbooking and relaxation (she caught up a bit on the scrapbooking, but didn’t really relax). Once our daughter went to bed, my wife and I watched a few episodes of the third series of Dr. Who (we’re watching it of DVD, on loan from a co-worker).

tennantdoc.jpg

For those of you who don’t know, here is a description of Dr. Who from wikipedia:

Doctor Who is a long-running, award-winning British science fiction television programme produced by the BBC. The programme depicts the adventures of a mysterious time-traveller known as “the Doctor” who travels in his space- and time-ship, the TARDIS, which appears from the exterior to be a blue police phone box. With his companions, he explores time and space, solving problems and righting wrongs.

The picture above is of the current Doctor (the 10th incarnation of the Doctor, played by actor David Tennant). This is the only season I’ve seen of Doctor Who, but I’m really enjoying it. I think the two actors playing the leads, David Tennant as the Doctor and Freema Agyeman playing Martha Jones, really make it for me. It’s just a good, smart, funny, sometimes dark, show.

Anyone else out there watch Doctor Who, either this current version or previous ones? I’d like to hear about it.

Finally, my first writing group meeting is tonight. I have shared my Chapter 1 with a few of the members. I hope they like it. I’ll give you all an update about how things go tomorrow.

Buy Local – It’s Worth It

In the town I live in, we have a great toy store, Pure Imagination Toys, in our downtown area. It’s a great store filled with toys any kid would love, as well as some novelty toys such as the William Shakespeare Action Figure and Librarian Action FigureLibrarian Action Figure. They also have classic toys such as Chatter Telephone, Snoopy Sno-Cone Machine, and Slinky Dog. They have toys there that you just won’t find in the big box shops. I love going to the toy store nearly as much as my daughter. The best part, though, is the service you get from the owners of the shop, who also work the cash registers. Let me explain.

My parents bought my daughter a toy baby grand piano for Christmas from the toy store. Here is a picture:

grandpianosmall.jpg

She loved playing it so much. She pushed the keys and sang songs. Unfortunately, there was something wrong with it and it would tip over if she leaned on it. My wife called the toy store and told them we were going to return the piano. Even though we no longer had the box it came in, they agreed to give us credit.

The problem was that the legs were not at the right points to support the piano’s weight. They needed to be at the corners. When we returned the piano, the owner said he would try to modify it to put the legs in the right place, and would still give us some of our money back. He was going to give us a call when he was finished.

Anyhow, we got a call last night that they had called the company for us and they had a brand new piano for us that was not defective. I picked it up last night. My daughter was so happy!  When I walked in the house with the piano my daughter said “Dadda fixed it!” and “Dadda did it!” with her hands raised high in the air.

Anyhow, my point here was that these guys went out of their way to make sure that not only were my wife and I happy, but our daughter was as well (they really wanted her to have a piano). You just don’t get this type of treatment at the big stores.

Anyhow, I try to shop at the locally owned places. Sometimes it is more convenient to shop at the big stores, and it is certainly cheaper. However, when possible I buy my goods at the small places, because if they go out of business they always get replaced by some stupid cell phone store or bank. Happens every time.

I Feel Pretty Good Today

For the first time in almost a week, I woke up this morning and didn’t feel nauseated. It’s amazing how much you appreciate feeling well after being sick for even a short period of time. It must take a tremendous amount of strength for people who are suffering from an illness they know will never get better from (my Grandmother, for example, went through this with ALS), to just somehow keep on waking up everyday. Anyhow, I feel good.

I was able to wear the new coat today. That means it was cold outside, 29 degrees Fahrenheit according to the little gadget in my living room that tells me the temperature outdoors. I got a few compliments at work about it, which is nice.

I bought a dozen roses for my wife yesterday, to thank her for giving me the time to go to that writer’s meeting, as well for letting me play hockey, and for taking care of our daughter, etc. A few women at work told me how nice I was for doing this. I’m really not that nice. It had been A WHILE since I bought my wife flowers. I was due.

I will let you all know how the writing group goes. The first meeting is Monday. I’m not sure if I’ll bring anything to be critiqued or not. I think the hardest part of the group, for me, will be giving criticism. That said, I know that is the point of the whole thing and will do my best to help my fellow writers.

I did some writing on my steampunk story yesterday.  That makes me happy.