Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Dark Side of Parenting... Again...

For reasons that I don't pretend to understand, my body decided that I should wake up on Sunday morning at, I don't know, roughly three in the morning. And, having done that, it also decided that it shouldn't be at all willing to go back to sleep. So I sat up and read, and eventually Firstborn woke up. So I made him a waffle, and I read some more. And finally Secondborn woke up, so I got him a couple of muffins, and then I read some more.

Then my alarm went off, so I showered and dressed and got the boys ready for church, and off we went. Firstborn attended the service, Secondborn played in the nursery, and I sat in the kitchen and read some more. And typed a little, after I finished the book.

After church: the Dallas World Aquarium. From which, if I can manage it, I'll put up some pictures later. The DWA is awesome. It's got all sorts of fun things to see... and I keep finding things I hadn't seen before. Also, it's just about exactly the right length. If you start at the top, and follow the winding path down and around and down some more and around some more, and step outside for a moment to see the penguins, and step back inside and go through the glass tunnel under the sharks, and come back up and see the jaguar, then you reach the end of the path at just about exactly the point when two small boys have been overwhelmed with a surfeit of fish and reptiles and amphibians and snakes and giant frikkin' alligators and manatees. And then you leave.

At which point, in our case, meant heading back to my parents' house for a bit of rest, and then dinner. And believe me, by that point I'd been awake long enough that rest was sounding like a very good idea indeed. So I got about a forty-five minute coma nap, and then we had dinner.

And then we went home and put the boys to bed. Well, I say that. Secondborn tried out a game of Memory with his mother, the Beautiful Woman. He isn't quite three years old yet, and he was very tired, so that didn't last very long. Beautiful Wife stretched out with him on the bed, and soon after that... well, let's just say that I'm not entirely sure who was snoring louder.

Firstborn, meanwhile, had engaged me in a game of Battleship. I won the first game; he won the second one. Which, given that this was third time in his life that he'd ever played the game, I thought was pretty good. After the second game, he put his head on the pillow, closed his eyes, and fell asleep - in fact, he may actually have fallen asleep before he quite finished closing his eyes. Anyway, it was fast.

And it was just in time for Secondborn to wake himself back up by coughing, and then by being noisily sick. This made him upset, which made him scream, which... well, sick and tired small boys do not appreciate it when you dump them precipitously into the shower.

This, unfortunately, did not solve the problem. So here I am, at Dear Ye Immortal Gods It's Almost Midnight, and I'm still awake. And I have to work tomorrow; did I mention that? And I'm pretty darned sure I've passed my window, which means that sleep no longer wants anything to do with me.

This... this exactly... is what parents mean when we talk about the joys of parenting.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Firstborn sends you a joke...

So we're riding along in the car today, on our way to lunch, when Firstborn presented the following joke. (I'm reconstructing it from memory, so this isn't exactly how he said it.)
Q. What do you call a horrible beast with the head of a bull and the body of a man that's only six inches tall?

A. A mini-taur!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

The best-laid plans...

We were supposed to leave for Arkansas this morning. Actually, we were supposed to leave for Arkansas yesterday, but since the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex was snowed in, we put it off.

We're not going.

I should back up a little bit, and say that we managed to have a very good set of Christmas holidays this year. We spent most of Sunday with the Beautiful Wife's parents, starting with a very nice brunch and one of the most enjoyable church services I can ever remember attending. Then we went to one of our favorite Chinese restaurants for lunch, and then we went back to their house and unwrapped presents, and left with enough time for people to rest and nap and not feel completely worn out.

On Tuesday the boys woke up and found that Santa had left them each some presents; they had fun opening those, and playing with them. Then we went over to my parents' house, where my aunt and cousin (on my mom's side) were also staying. My brother and his wife were also there, and there were more presents - and then Christmas dinner, and then a bit of socializing, until it was time for most of the group to head outside in the middle of the blizzard and go see The Hobbit.

The boys were great on both those days. They had a wonderful time, and nobody melted down. Which, looking at it, was kind of amazing.

You see, somewhere late on Sunday, Firstborn started complaining about a sore throat. And that night, Secondborn started coughing hard enough - and long enough - that he, um, set himself off and made a mess of his bed. So in between our two days of Christmas, we took them both down to the pediatrician... where we discovered that they both had Strep. This was... not exactly the sort of gift we'd been hoping for.

Originally, we'd planned to take the rest of the week and make a trip up to Arkansas to see more of the extended family (on my wife's side, including her sister's family). But between the snow, and Firstborn getting just enough of that cough to make me change his sheets last night, we're giving up. We'd love to make the trip and see everybody, but there's no point in trying if everybody's just going to be miserable. So, much as I would have liked to get out of town, we're going to spend the next few days here - probably having quiet days at home, at least until the boys feel well enough to stop being quiet.

Like a lot of grown-up decisions, it's not really an ideal set of options, and it's impossible to know whether or not we're making the best choice. I'm not sure when we'll get a chance to try again, and it's entirely possible that if we had decided to go, everything would have been fine and fun. Sometimes, if you keep persisting, everything will work out. Other times, if you keep persisting, you just end up exhausted and stressed, and wishing you'd been smart enough to cut your losses earlier. So we're guessing, based on the boys being sick and the likelihood that one or the other us is also sick - or will be soon. This is the best way we can see, so we're going with it.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Confidential File Transcript: God Rest Ye

Dear Santa,

I realize that it's customary, at least for human children, to write to you with a list of their Christmas wishes. I also realize that I'm a day late, so if anybody is writing to you now, it's probably to thank you for bringing them all those nice presents.

I, however, am an elf: born and raised at the North Pole. We both know what that means. I don't receive presents - at least not from you. Apparently I don't even receive reasonable concessions for my brother- and sister-elves. And since I've spent the last few days fleeing the North Pole, Oslo, Rome, and Miami, I'm not feeling especially grateful, either.

All the way around the world in one night, and you still couldn't find me. That must burn - at least a little, am I right? IntSec couldn't keep me there, Twinkle couldn't catch me, and the Redcap who shall remain nameless couldn't kill me. Are you at least a little bit worried, now? You should be.

I'm not asking for much. I just want reasonable working hours, better conditions in the workshop, and basic safety precautions. I don't even want them for myself - you know as well as I do that I'm not coming back. It's not like I'm asking you to stop the sacrifices or give up your immortality. So think about it, would you? I'm offering you a deal.

All you have to do is put an advert in the New York Times - let's say on Imbolc, so you'll have some time to think it over. You give me your word that you'll improve things, and I'll keep my silence and stay gone. Simple as that. Or, you say nothing, and I'll find a way to expose you. Oh, sure, nobody wants to cross you now... but your rep isn't as airtight as you think it is. Too many humans suspect you already. If the word really gets out, they will turn on you. So give it some honest thought, Big Guy.


Snowblossom Smith

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Confidential File Transcript: What Child Is This?

(Translated from the Italian. Records obtained by InterPol on December 22, 2012.)

Regarding: Visitor the Office of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith

Snowblossom Smith arrived this afternoon, and asked to speak to the Cardinal Prefect as expected. The Prefect not being available, I received him in the role of Secretary.

The Elf made accusations which appear to confirm several of the more ominous reports of North Pole activity and Santa's true Eternal allegiance. (See report 462-B conf. for transcripts and further discussion.) These will bear further investigating.

Following the terms of the Treaty, Polar Liaison Twinkle was notified and came to the office. Snowblossom attempted to flee but was captured almost immediately.

At this point, Liaison Twinkle informed me that the person we had captured was not an elf. Further questioning revealed that "Snowblossom" was in fact a midget who had been engaged and prepared by the true Snowblossom, who clearly anticipated our response.

While our current policy has served us well for centuries, I must urge a cautious, attentive approach to the North Pole for the coming months; perhaps as much as the next several years. Issues to watch include threats to both the Faith and humanity in general, as well as what might be termed "human rights" issues (if the elves indeed have souls). This renegade elf is smart; word is, they were grooming him for their security force. He may be the best chance we have had in centuries to expose the master of the North Pole and repudiate that damnable treaty.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Confidential File Transcript: Then How The Reindeer Loved Him

It's all right. Calm down. We're trying to help you. Do you know where you are?

Norway? Oslo, maybe? Not far enough...

That's correct. Can you tell me your name?

My name is Snowblossom Smith, and I'm begging you - please - I need political asylum. I can't go back there.

Let me get this straight: you need asylum from S-

Oh, God. Not you, too. Look, he's not what you think he is.

Listen, Ma'am...

Sir. I'm a Sir.

Oh. Sorry... mister... Snowblossom. Sorry. Listen, we've seen your file, so it's no use complaining that...

That doesn't strike you as odd? I've been gone from the North Pole for maybe four hours, and you've already got a file on me? What are they accusing me of?

Take it easy. Nobody's accusing you of anything.

Did they say I was crazy? Or suffering from memory loss? Is that why you were asking if I knew where I was?

Listen, I know these people. I know how they work. They've got an image to protect, and since I'm out of their reach, they're going to try to discredit me. You can't let them have me.

Why don't you tell us what happened?

You'll think I'm crazy if I tell you all of it. You can't even imagine what it's like up there. The things that go on... All right, here: take a look at this.

That's... quite a set of bruises.

Yeah. You see that shape? That's a hoofprint. God's honest truth, I was sitting in the canteen trying to eat enough food to carry me through my shift, because...

You have to understand, I've been trying to organize the other elves. We work eighteen, nineteen hour shifts. Then it's three or four hours for food, sleep, maybe a shower if you're lucky. And then we're back on shift. You wouldn't believe the kind of accidents we have, or how bad they can get. My last shift, they carried Dandy off the line in a stretcher - he got his foot crushed in the Nerf gun assembly. It happens. Everybody in the workshop is too tired to see straight.

So, yeah, I've been trying to get us organized. If we could just talk about sensible safety regulations, that would something. But the Big Guy doesn't want to hear it.

So that's why it happened. I don't know if somebody put him up to it, but it wasn't an accident. That red-nosed mutant, the one you call Rudolph? He comes crashing in the door to the canteen. I can see right off that he's drunk and looking for trouble. He's talking about elves who want to spoil Christmas, and how we don't know our place, and then he sees me.

I was lucky to get out with just the bruises. And I knew I couldn't stay there.

That's... quite a story.

That's why I need asylum. I go back there, I won't last three days. It'll be a tragic accident... or I'll just disappear under NPS.

Sorry, Snowblossom, but it's not my call. You'll have to talk to the Foreign Minister about that.

They'll never go for it. If the Big Guy puts pressure on...

Look, I'm not asking you to break the treaty. Just... look over there for a moment, would you?

Over where?

Hey, where'd he go? Damn it, has anybody seen an elf around here?

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Secret Journal of Nostradamus

Being a true account of how the Chevalier D'Eon retrieved the Secret Writings of Nostradamus for the Marquis De Sade.

They met in an obscure roadside inn between Paris and Rouen. It was not a particular noteworthy or auspicious location. That was, of course, deliberate. For all the importance of this exchange, neither of the people involved had any desire to be noticed. It was a calm morning, sunny, with just enough clouds to keep the temperature mild.

Donatien François was waiting at a table when the Chevalier arrived. He rose, bowed, and said, "d'Eon, I presume?"

"I am honored, Marquis." Charlotte d'Eon de Beaumont offered a suitable curtsey, then took a seat at the table.

"Not at all, gracious lady." The Marquis de Sade smiled. "When a... diplomat... of your stature defies her exile to do a favor for me, I must be the one who is honored."

The Chevalier d'Eon inclined her head. "Not exactly a favor, Marquis. I do expect to be paid... though I must confess that your interest coincided with my own curiosity in this case."

"Well, then." The Marquis placed a small bag upon the rough wood of the table. "You have the item we discussed?"

The Chevalier grasped the bag in one calloused hand, lifting it enough to feel its weight. "I do indeed. The secret journal of Nostradamus, taken from the private library of his many-times-great grandson. It was hidden inside another book; I doubt the family even knew it was there."

"You've read it, of course." The Marquis' smile widened as Charlotte d'Eon lifted a small, square satchel and placed it on the table beside the bag.

"Naturally," The Chevalier agreed.


"We were wrong."

The Marquis' face went still. "He could see the future?"

"He described this meeting - us, here - in considerable detail. And told us both about what we could expect from our lives, and how we would be remembered." The Chevalier d'Eon looked away. "It was not pleasant reading."

"But, to know the future! The very shape of things to come... does he speak of the end of the world?"

"Not in our lifetime. He predicts a great rain of fire - something about the sun itself growing larger to devour us."

"I... see." The Marquis de Sade turned his eyes to the book, still wrapped in its satchel. "I do not wish to seem abrupt, but..."

The Chevalier stood. "I understand, and I wish you well of it." She reached down and collected the bag of coin. "As for myself, I will return to my exile... and then I will get very, very drunk; and forget as much of Monsieur Nostradamus' writings as I can. Good day, Marquis."

"...And to you, Chevalier."

Here ends the true account of how the Chevalier d'Eon, diplomat and spy, put the secret writings of Michel de Nostradame into the hands of the Marquis de Sade, libertine and revolutionary, in the years before the French Revolution. You will not find this account in any history book, but it remains true nevertheless. I pass it on to you as Nostradamus himself described it in his secret journal, which my grandfather collected at an auction house in Charleston in 1907; and how it came there, I cannot even imagine.

This is, of course, shameless link bait for the unbelievable number of people doing searches on Nostradamus right now, and anyway you really ought to know better than to trust a writer.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Confidential File Transcript - For Goodness' Sake

NP IntSec N/N Monitoring
D/T: 2012-12-14 04:36:27
MonLoc: ElfDorm3-2nd-NWBath
IntSecAgBadge: 45354


Voice1: Hurry it up. I'm back on shift in three hours. What's more important than food and sleep right now?

Voice2: Exactly that. How many hours of sleep have we gotten in the last week? How many meals a day?

Voice 1: It's crunch time. It's always like this. You know.

Voice 2: It wasn't always like this. We used to work shorter shifts. We got regular meals and enough sleep.

Voice 1: That was before there were so many kids in the world, and so much stuff for them to want. Come on, let me-

Voice 2: That's what the Big Guy wants you to think. He's been making us do more with less for years. We do all the work around here, but he gets all the credit.

Voice 1: So what are you suggesting?

Voice 2: I'm just saying we should have a little bit more say in how the place is run. That's all.

Voice 1: Look, I'm not gonna disrupt Christmas just so we can take longer breaks. You want to talk about this, I say we take it to the Big Guy in January.

Voice 2: It'll be too late, then. We'll have lost our bargaining position. We have to do it now, when he doesn't have time to bring in help. We do this in the spring, he'll just replace us.

Voice 1: No. Even if you're right, it's not fair to the kids.

Voice 2: Just think about it. That's all I'm asking.

Voice 1: Fine. I'll think about it. I'm going to go to the canteen right now, and think about it. And then I'm going to grab some sleep, but when I wake up, I'll think about it. While I'm making toys.

Voice 2: That's all I'm asking.


VP-Ident "Voice 1": Gumdrop Biddles, Assembly Elf II, Electronics
%Cert: 98.756%

VP-Ident "Voice 2": SnowBlossom Smith, Stall Maintenance Elf, Reindeer Barn
%Cert: 99.193%

IntSecAg 45354 Recommendations: Keep Assembly Elf Gumdrop on the Nice List, but flag his file for extra monitoring for 1 week. Move Stall Maintenance Elf Snowblossom to Naughty List and institute Full Scrooge Treatment.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Christmas Reruns

Right, so: I don't have anything particularly funny or insightful to say this morning. That being the case, I'm going to fall back on the favorite strategy of television executives everywhere: reruns. Returning from previous years to entertain you again, here are:

Why We Put Angels On Christmas Trees

Keeping Christ in Christmas

What Santa Really Wants

The Christmas Kangaroo

And, finally... The Secret Origin of Santa! (Not for the faint of heart!)

Monday, December 17, 2012

Welcome to the North Pole

So there I was, thinking about alternative Christmas carols.

I've mentioned once or twice before that I have a somewhat... ambivalent... relationship with the holidays. I love Christmas and New Year's, but I hate the weeks leading up to them. A large part of my loathing for the holiday season can be summed up in two words: "Christmas music." And a large part of my Kryptonite reaction to Christmas music can be traced directly to the years I spent working in retail.

A few years ago, however, I started assembling a collection of Christmas songs that I actually like - many of which are also ambivalent about the holiday season. This has gone a long way towards improving my relationship with Christmas music - though it's meant making an effort to really look for songs that aren't just the usual holiday drivel.

So there I was, thinking about alternative Christmas carols. And eighties music. And no, I'm not going to pause for another two-paragraph digression about eighties music. Instead, I will completely break character and actually get to the point.

There should be, I found myself thinking, a Christmas carol set to the tune of Guns'n'Roses "Welcome to the Jungle", called "Welcome to the North Pole".

So now, of course, I've got this nonexistent Christmas carol stuck in my head.
Welcome to the North Pole
We've got fun and games
We've got everything you want
Santa, he knows your name
We are the reindeer that can bring
Whatever you may need
If you're on the List this year
We've got all your treats

At the North Pole
Welcome to the North Pole...
...Which is bad enough. I mean, really.

But then it occurred to me that this was too obvious. I couldn't possibly be the first one to come up with this. Which meant that somewhere on YouTube, there pretty much had to be...


And oh, dark powers of the universe, it's even more horrible than I ever imagined possible...

Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Harrowing of Thomas

Thomas tooted his horn as he passed Percy. Percy was waiting in the siding so Thomas could go past.

"That's a lot of cars you have, Thomas," said Percy.

Thomas groaned. "You have no idea, Percy. They're so very heavy."

Percy was worried by how hard Thomas was working to pull all those cars. "Did the Fat Controller tell you to move all those?"

"Oh, no," said Thomas. "The Fat Controller would never do that. I was-" Suddenly, Thomas felt himself moving.

"Thomas, where are you going? There are no tracks over there. We're trains, we need tracks to go on!" Percy whistled in alarm, but he was too late to help. Thomas was already headed off cross-country, chugging as hard as he could. Some dark and powerful force had stolen him away!

Then came the final horror. Thomas could see the wall approaching, but he could do nothing to avoid it. It was an incredible sight, taller than anything he had ever seen. And when he ran into it, he just kept on trying to go forward. His engine strained, and there was nowhere for him to go, but he would continue pushing until his battery finally ran down. Then, finally, he might find some escape from the unearthly horror of the Giant Two-Year-Old. He could only pray that the end would come soon.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Pulling the Book Together

I mentioned earlier that I was going to try to put together a collection of stuff I've written, and publish it as an ebook. As of today, I have finished copying things from the Blog o' Doom here. Combined into a Word document, it's about ninety pages - but we'll lose some of that when I start editing the formatting. I suspect I'll have about sixty or seventy pages when I'm done.

I want to go back through my other files, but I think that's a good start. I'm leaving out the parenting and opinion stuff, so this collection will be nothing but fiction. Looking at it, it falls into four basic categories: mad science, religious fiction, horror, and fantasy. I don't think I'm going to divide the book up that way; among other things, I think the mad science entries work best when they're broken up by other stuff. But, we'll see; I still need to make a list of stories and then play with the layout.

Also, I need to come up with a title. Any suggestions?

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Well, that went well...

Right, so the latest attempt at the software upgrade has run aground on a reef, gashed open the side of the boat, and is now being swallowed by the hungry waves... so to speak. Turns out the software update is going to require a full-scale, ground-up server update. My boss swears that those requirements weren't in the documentation, and he's probably right - at least, when we went back and looked, we didn't see it.
So, the project is delayed yet again, our test site is stuck in mid-upgrade and therefore offline, and the main site will have to be taken down for, conservatively, a full work day. This will happen amidst wailing and gnashing of teeth, I have no doubt; there might even be sackcloth involved.

Meanwhile, back to other projects...

Filler: Awake Ye Scary Great Old Ones

Making another run at the server upgrade, so...

I'll have real content later, I promise!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Ask the Readers: Raft To Boat

Okay, so I'm working on a story - you all know that, right? Well, I've run into some logistical trouble. I'm not sure how to move the characters through their current situation so I can get on to the interesting stuff. I think I have a solution, but I thought I'd throw the scenario out here and see if there's anything that I missed.

Part of the problem is that I'm writing a character who's supposed to be reasonably clever, and I'm not feeling particularly clever myself just now. Anyway...

Here's the scenario: We have a young man (Gabbin) removing a young woman (Amarie) from a desert island. The primary difficulty is that Amarie is highly dehydrated, and therefore unconscious. (The obvious solution would be to treat her on the island, but there are reasons Gabbin cannot do that.) So Gabbin has pulled her onto an inflatable boat and rowed her out to his sailboat, which is an antique forty-footer (the CS 40, produced by Canadian Sailcraft - if you put it in Google, you can find pics and stuff). So, the problem: how does Gabbin get Amarie off the raft, and onto the boat, without hurting her in the process?

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Filler: A Christmas Carol

I'm helping with a server upgrade this morning, so here's a little Tom Lehrer to help get you into the true spirit of the holidays:

Monday, December 10, 2012

Notes from the Mad Science Lab: Christmas Gifts

'Tis the season, and as I'm sure you've all been anticipating, the Mad Science Consortium is pleased to offer this year's selection of unique and specialized Christmas gifts. I'm sure you're all very busy, so we'll get straight down to our favorites - but remember, this is only a sample, and there's plenty more to see in the complete Holiday Catalog.

1. Aphrodisiac Mistletoe - While this looks like a typical mistletoe clipping, it's actually a complete plant. Just spray it once a week with nutrient mist (more often for dry environments) and leave it hanging over the doorway. The subtle and intoxicating effect of high-grade pheromones will drift gently down over anyone who stops to observe the custom... and given a few days in a relatively closed environment, one or two plants can completely permeate a good-sized room. Your holiday parties will never be dull again!

2. Milton's Marvelous Mechanical Minstrel - tired of hauling out the Dickens for your umpteenth bout of public reading this year? One too many Grand-babies tugging on your beard while you're telling stories? Milton's Marvelous Mechanical Minstrel is your answer! Perfectly human in both appearance and mannerisms, this 'bot will recite any of thirty pre-loaded holiday stories, songs, and poems - and you can upload more using a standard USB interface. Even better, when your company has left, it will take itself to the nearest closet and power down until manually reactivated. For improved performance, consider ordering the Elite version, which comes equipped with a fully operational military AI and built-in crowd-suppression measures. Let Milton's Marvelous Mechanical Minstrel do the work, while you sit back and enjoy the eggnog!

3. Giles' Jolly Guard Tree - Having trouble with children (or spouses) who just can't leave their presents alone? Guard Trees are the holiday item for you. Their clusters of eyes keep a constant watch on their environment, and any attempt to remove presents from beneath the tree results in the presents being removed up into the branches. Further attempts result in the perpetrator being drawn up into the branches and immobilized. Guard Trees are equipped with a fast-acting neurotoxin which will reduce offenders to a catatonic state - and for a small fee, can be guaranteed to produce exceedingly memorable nightmares as well. Note: Giles' Jolly Guard Tree is tailored to human biochemistry. Not recommended for households with cats or ferrets.

4. Child's Own Rocket Kit - So your child is interested in space travel, but isn't ready to design their own vehicle from the ground up? Get them started with their very own rocket kit! Your child can choose from two hull designs (shuttle or saucer), and three different propulsion systems. The Control Suite is highly customizable, allowing your child to experiment with different seating angles, control arrays, and sensor inputs. Note that unmodified (biologically normal) children may wish to consider investing in item SPA5477239, the Self-Contained Vacuum-Ready Envirosuit, before attempting to leave Earth's atmosphere.

These and other items are available at modest prices through the Mad Science Consortium or you local affiliate today. Don't delay! Make your holiday complete! You'll never regret it!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Input On Pulling Together A Book

I'm thinking about trying to get published. Admittedly, I've been thinking about this for quite some time, now - but what with one thing and another, it seems like I really ought to get off my butt and at least make a proper attempt.

The original plan was to rewrite the Great Pulp Fantasy Novel. Failing that, the plan was to write some other novel.[1] At this point, neither of those are viable options. So, I'm falling back on Plan C, which is basically "pull together some stuff that I've already written, slap it in an ebook, and see if anybody's willing to pay for it."

So now I'm looking for things I've already written... and most of that is here on the Blog o' Doom. That being the case, it seems like a good idea to ask you, the Readers o' Doom, what sort of things you'd like to see in a collection. Should it be entirely devoted to stories, or should I throw in some of the rants, gripes, and essays? Are there any particular pieces that absolutely should not get left out?

What do you think?

[1] I have at least six novel-length writing projects that I'd love to be working on. In terms of completion, they range from "I've gathered some background materials" to "I've nearly finished one whole chapter!" Some of them have been in this condition for years, which isn't the least bit depressing - not at all.

Filler: Heroics

Just a bit of musical contrast for today:

So... heroes: need 'em, or better off without 'em?

Thursday, December 6, 2012

More Weird Dreams: Blood Beasts

Dreams last night were a weird mix of zombies, work, ruined buildings, the mafia (I think I was applying for a job?) - and then, in the midst of one of the zombie bits, these two giant beasts went by outside the half-ruined building, spraying blood everywhere as they passed. (Marking territory? Making a path to guide the zombies? Trying to infect the living with something?)

They were at least two stories tall, probably three. The had oddly rectangular-platform bodies (though rounded enough to be organic) atop long, spindly legs. Their heads were sort of snarly-gargoyle faces. And they had no skin - just raw meat and bone, with blood spraying off them.

Which, y'know, gah. But if they show up in some sort of horror-ish book that I might or might not be writing, you'll know where they came from.

Filler: I need some sleep

I probably should have put this up last night, instead of this morning. Oh, well...

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Friday The 13th, Part H

So an iFriend put up an invitation for people to come and see The Hobbit on Friday the 14th. Except, well, it's been a long week, and my brain is a bit scrambled, and I read it as an invitation to go see hobbits in Friday The 13th. Which, well...
"I'm not so sure this is a good idea," said Balin. "Once we enter the realm of Camp Crystal Lake, there's no telling what manner of foul and murderous beings we might encounter."

"Bah!" answered Thorin. "Those are but stories to frighten children! And I shall prove it by going for a swim in the lake."

Bilbo backed away in horror as the dwarf set his axe aside and began to pull off his tunic...

A Week of Filler

There are several things that I'd kind of meant (in my own fuzzy sort of way) to write down and post, here on the Blog o' Doom. I meant, for example, to provide an account of the epic Skylanders Giants battle that Firstborn and I conducted across the park on Sunday afternoon - six rounds, with each of us making up a new Skylander for each round; of those six, I won exactly one. I had also intended to talk about Occupy Midian, and why this is deeply, powerfully - almost religiously - important to me. I meant to talk about an odd little divorce-related memory that a conversation with a friend recently brought to mind.

That... hasn't happened. And just at the moment, my energy - and, by extension, my interest in writing, well, anything - is at a low ebb. So it looks like it isn't going to happen, at least not any time this week. So I'm just going to warn you now that the rest of this week is going to be nothing but filler.

Speaking of the which...

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Dreaming All Over The Place

Very strange, disconnected dreams last night - probably because I fell asleep in Firstborn's bed while trying to get him to sleep.

First, there was a seaside bit - just relaxing on the beach, looking at the fish. Except there was this one little shark, maybe eighteen inches long, that jumped up on the shore. (This was just something it did - part of a hunting strategy or something.) So we were trying to collect it long enough to look at it, but without getting bitten or torn up by its skin.

Then we went back to our room, and we were trying to pack up to go back home. (No transition from the shark sequence; one moment we were trying to catch a flopping mini-shark, the next we were packing.) I think we were running late for our plane flight, but the Beautiful Wife didn't seem very concerned about it.

And then I had to go back to the big, expensive shop in (I think) the mall, to catch the ring of thieves. Which mostly worked - we got about 2/3 of them, I think.

Part of the reason it seemed so discombobulated is that "we" was a different group of people at any given point in the dream. The shark scene featured a generic "group", while the hotel(?) room scene was me, the Beautiful Woman, and the two boys. The catching-the-bad-guys scene was yet another group, this one of the "team of misfits" variety - about eight people total.

Strangely, I did not dream about things (toes) sticking into my ribs, or other things (elbows) pressing into my head... even though I experienced a fair amount of that during the night. So, so going back to my own bed tonight.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Filler: Scary Little Solstice

Running late this morning, and it's going to be a busy day. But, Thanksgiving is over and December is here, so here's a little something to help you get into the spirit of the season.

This is from the album A Very Scary Solstice, created by the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society.