No Pants In Two Weeks

Got your attention? 🙂

Today was my first day back in the office, following two intense weeks of Java training. That means back to the land of long pants, dress shoes, and ties. No more shorts, t-shirt, and sandals for me. Maybe that’s why I’m so grumpy today.

I remember the days of being a kid, when it would feel weird to put on jeans for the first day of school after a summer of baseball, soccer, and swimming. Seriously, my legs would kinda rebel those first couple days of school. For some reason, they didn’t remember the dress pants at church every Sunday. Maybe they just had a problem with too-tight stone washed jeans with the bottoms rolled (sorry, it was the late 80’s, early 90’s people!).

So I have a bit of that today. It will take me a few days to get re-assimilated into the workforce I’m sure. But it will happen. *sigh*

Not much else is new. I’m glad everybody agrees with me about dust jackets. They are only good for using as a bookmark, and then, only slightly better than my normal bookmark – a random piece of tissue.

Naked Books

Well, that title should spike the old stats a bit. Anyhow,I read recently that the new trend is books without dust jackets. I for one am thrilled and hope the trend spreads.

I like a nice pretty picture on a dust jacket of a book as much as the next guy. However, they really do get in the way when you are trying to read. Plus the show smudges and just look bad over time. Yuck.

I mean, I love the look of old books. I’m not alone. There are places that sell old books in bulk to people to use as decoration in their homes, like pieces of furniture or something. That will not happen with today’s dust jacket books.

I don’t really think the trend will catch on because publishers are much too conservative to make this type of change, especially in this economy. Still, I can dream, right?

Writing Stuff

I came across some interesting writing info, and thought I’d share a bit today. Gotta give back to the community, right?

Remember how I was talking about my hate for outlines (always)? Well, I’ve decided I’m really going to give it a try. It can only help my writing, I believe. So, I did a little search on the ol’ Internet today using the search term “outlines of popular books”, trying to find some examples. Wouldn’t you know I came across the Harry Potter lexicon. They have an outline up for each of books up there. It’s pretty excellent. Here’s one to The Chamber of Secrets.

Those are some pretty detailed outlines. What I did was I cut out all the detail and kept each chapter summary. This will give me an example of an outline I’d like to create for my novel. The goal here is not to copy Harry Potter. I just find it useful when creating something to have something successful as a model. Why re-invent sliced cheese?

Next, author Justine Larbalestier had a pretty excellent post today on getting ahead of oneself and asking the wrong questions as an unpublished author.

Finally, they have posted some badges for 2009 NaNoWriMo. I may have to take part again this year, for the badges alone. Very shiny.

On Ted

My brother need not be idealized or enlarged in death beyond what he was in life, to be remembered as a good and decent man, who saw wrong and tried to right it, saw suffering and tried to heal it, saw war and tried to stop it.

Those of us who loved him and who take him to his rest today, pray that what he was to us and what he wished for others will some day come to pass for all the world.

Eulogy for Robert F. Kennedy, June 1968.

As you all know by now, Ted Kennedy died yesterday. I found the above quote particularly moving. I find it particularly moving that Ted continued in the public eye, especially after his second brother was assassinated. I’d imagine he was always looking over his shoulder, wondering when it would be his turn.

Like he said of his brother, Ted Kennedy would not want to be idealized, I don’t think. His personal issues have been well documented, but when it comes to politics there were few as dedicated to helping the poor as Senator Kennedy. Check out the obit from the New York Times.

I’ll tell you what, though. Cancer is really starting to tick me off. If cancer was standing beside me right now, I’d punch it in the nose. And not just because of Ted Kennedy. And I’m not normally a violent person. Watch your back, cancer.

Miracle

My brain’s fried. It’s 11:26 and I’ve just gotten back from giving the baby a car ride to get him to sleep. Also, long day of Java class.

So, I offer you a video. This one is a kid doing the scene from the movie Miracle where Kurt Russell as Herb Brooks gives the US hockey team a pep talk before their game with the Russians. I love that scene and this kid does a great job of it. Just trust me and watch.

Worldbuilding – A Question

I’m currently reading Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix. I’m late to the party, I know. Actually, I read the first book before the first movie came out, but hadn’t read the others until the last one (loved it). No real reason why I haven’t read them all. I guess I just was reading other things. Anyhow, I love me some Order of the Phoenix right now.

The sign of a good book for me, is if you see me carrying it around throughout the day, trying to sneak a few words in here or there between playing with the daughter or making sure the baby isn’t crawling toward something is isn’t supposed to be crawling to (this is his default direction, of course). It is a rare book that does this to me, but I cherish it when it happens.

I guess I can see where some of the critics are coming from, as far as the writing in the Harry Potter books goes. Ms. Rowling has a few “was-es” in there and her share of adverbs. These are the things us wanna-be writers are told to avoid. Her stories are so good, though, and her world so detailed, I really don’t thing these writing faux pas matter.

This is my biggest writing weakness. I’m a bit “seat of the pantser”. I can’t write from an outline and have trouble doing any planning before I write. I kinda just make things up as I go. I can pull this off pretty well in flash fiction and short stories. I don’t need to know a lot of details. It’s just not working for novel writing.

Does anybody have a good technique or know of software or ANYTHING that makes world building easier or more fun? I’m willing to try any method once, other than the stale old outline. Tried it. Can’t make it work. Outlines take all the fun of writing out of it for me. Help me!

Wild and Crazy Guy

What a wild and crazy Saturday, I’ve had and it’s only 7:30 PM. Well, not really.

What have I done today, let’s see. In the morning I replaced the headlight in my wife’s Beetle. I bought the bulb last week but just today had a chance to install it. I brought my daughter out with me, to show her how to change a bulb. I doubt she’ll remember, being three and all, but it doesn’t hurt for her to watch me.

The last time I changed a bulb in the car was when it was cold outside. It was much easier working today and still being able to feel my hands.

After that, we went to Target to pick up some items. Actually, this was a bit wild and crazy as it is moving in weekend for the University. That makes places like Target and Wal Mart insanely busy. College students and even worse, college students parents roaming around the place aimlessly, trying to find all the stuff they forgot to pack at home. Just a little frustrating.

Then it was off to Lowes. I picked up a six foot cutter thingy (technical term) to use to trim an out of control shrubbery in the yard. The fact that it is six foot long should tell you a bit about the state of this shrubbery. Moving along…

In Lowes they have some mocked up kitchens, with dish washers and stoves, and nice cabinetry. My daughter was playing in there while we waited for our paint to be mixed. Anyhow, she was pretending to make us dinner. Macaroni and hamburgers. You can tell a bit about our household menu from that. I’m surprised there wasn’t any chicken fingers or hot dogs.

When we got home, I fed little Mr. T. his first vegetable meal, sweet potatoes. He did pretty well with that, although he would be more content trying to eat the spoon.

So, yep, that’s my wild Saturday night. When the kids finally go to bed, then things get really wild. I hope to drink a beer and either do some writing or read Harry Potter. Sorry ladies, I’m taken. 🙂

Why Do You Want To Be Published?

A little question here as I write this, melting from the heat and just waiting for the baby to wake up. This one is for all you writers out there. Why do you want to be published?

My answer has a few parts. One reason I want to be published, for sure, is the money. I know most writers don’t get rich from writing, but I can dream. Also, even if I don’t get rich, a little supplemental income couldn’t hurt. So, yeah, honestly, the financial part is a bit draw for me.

Another reason I’d like to be a published author is the “bookstore moment”. You know, to be able to walk into a bookstore and see my name on the spine of one of the books. That would be sweet. Then I could harass everybody in the store into buying a copy. Double sweet.

Finally, I just really like to entertain people and make them laugh. My types of stories, I hope entertain first and are good second. If I’m published, more people will read my work, and I’ll have entertained more of them. Pretty simple.

So, those are my answers. The real question is which one is the main reason. That changes, pretty much, from day to day.

What makes you want to be published?

Baby Steps

MaybeIngrid Michaelson

I heard this song on the way to work this morning and I just had to share. Pretty awesome little song, I think.

Sleeping was slightly better last night, and the weather was slightly cooler. Baby steps, I say.

Speaking of which, the baby has started to crawl at 5 months. Look out now. My wife, my daughter, and I were attempting to play Scrabble tonight, and the little guy kept trying to get to the board. He’s like a cat, that one.

Well, it’s 8:47 and they are both asleep. Maybe I’ll attempt some writing before the little one wakes up again. Fingers crossed.

Nice Hot Cuppa Java

Things are good and bad with me. First the good. Java class has been good so far. I’m picking the language up pretty easily and the days have gone fast. Of course it’s been a whole lot of “Hello World” (the first program you usually write in any language is the “Hello World” program), and we only got into some of the difficult aspects today. Tomorrow we’re delving into more of the “object oriented” concepts, which I’m sure will add to the difficulty.

Now for the bad. We’ve been getting 90+ degree temperatures for the past week or so. I can’t say we’re enjoying that. We do not have central air conditioning. When I publish that first novel and become world famous we getting central air. The sleeping at our house has not been good. On top of the hot temperatures, the baby son has decided he’s going to go from sleeping angel to waking up every hour at night. My wife and I are at wits end.

So, I haven’t done much writing. I’ve done a little though on my lunch breaks. I’ve been bringing my notebook to Java class and writing a little bit here and there. It’s not much, but better than nothing.

Anyhow, that is life here.  Could be worse, but hoping for better.