Quote of the Moment

"It's never wrong to hope, Byx," said my mother. "Unless the truth says otherwise."
- from Endling #1: The Last, by Katherine Applegate

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Obligatory Xmas 2013 Post

Yep, another year, another round of gawdawful tacky ornaments. Glitter animals, this year. Because I found the papier mache animal shapes at a craft store, and decided it would be easier than sculpting from scratch.
That's epoxy on the trappings. And glitter glaze. And metallic paint. (I thought about adding sequins, but didn't want to collapse the universe by setting off a tackiness supernova.) But if you think they're bad now, wait until the lights go off...
(Apologies for the picture quality... I was having some camera issues. And tripod issues. And dear-gods-this-year-sucks-burnt-toast issues.)

Yes, that's glow-in-the-dark glitter. They make such a thing. What can I say? I was inspired by Luminasia...

Aren't you glad I'm not your relative?

Monday, December 23, 2013

At Least The Year's Almost Over...

The other day, my car somehow threw its serpentine belt while turning a corner... which, for the curious, kills power steering and the engine coolant system, among other terrifying dashboard warnings.

I got it back from the shop today. They still don't know why it happened.

Internet research indicates that some (usually much older) cars can do this if the belt gets wet, especially if the shields aren't properly installed - and I did drive though a puddle just before it happened, though I've driven through countless puddles in the past without problems. (This is the Pacific Northwest, after all... puddles are an unavoidable road hazard.) The Taurus forums, on the other hand, seem to think tensioners or worn bearings are more likely culprits. These causes and others were investigated; aside from a slight possibility of rodent involvement, the shop remains clueless.

I used to trust this car. I thought I could count on the thing. Now I don't know if I'll ever be able to drive it in the rain without a white-knuckle grip on the steering wheel. And, no, I can't afford anything that would be remotely as reliable.

Part of me is glad that it didn't happen on a freeway or during a freezing snap or in the middle of nowhere. Part of me is glad I have AAA and was carrying a cell phone. Part of me is glad I got my car back fast and with little financial damage.

Another part of me is just sick of this year, where "it could be worse" is as good as it seems to get.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Ten Days 'Til Xmas

... and Grandpa's in the hospital again.

Pneumonia, with possible kidney issues. It's been coming on for a little while, hindsight being 20/20. We stopped by to visit him today, and considering how he usually appears in hospital beds (death warmed over), he looked reasonably well, if distinctly disoriented. We're hoping he'll be out in a few days, but full recovery seems to take longer and longer. He might not be up to a big family gathering in just ten days.

2013's already taken my last two cats and our last dog. I'd just as soon not lose my grandfather, too, if it's all the same to the Universe.

SATURDAY UPDATE - For all none who care, Grandpa finally went home. There was some concern about his pacemaker and/or his liver (or kidneys - information's third-hand at best by the time I hear it), but apparently he was doing well enough to be discharged. We still don't think he'll be up to a family gathering, but hopefully we can at least visit him on Xmas Day.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving Interlude with Frosted Mushroom

Just a quick American Turkey Day post hoping everyone had a good holiday.

For the curious:

- Yes, as the sidebar mentions, I "won" NaNoWriMo again. That's my fifth official win out of five tries. I had a secondary project I wanted to work on for the rest of the month, but other things keep interfering, so another two-story year isn't happening.
- Yes, I finally signed up for official health care. Bottom of the barrel glorified Medicaid, but it's better than nothing. (Especially considering that the last time I tried for Medicaid I was denied.) At least I'm legal, now.
- And, yes, I did finally finish that project for relatives, but still haven't started my ornaments because they want another project along the same lines. (Pay projects always trump personal.) I want the thing done by December 1. Or next Tuesday.
-The above photo was taken a couple of weeks ago. I'd never seen a frost-encrusted mushroom before.

Let the holiday season officially commence!

Thursday, November 07, 2013

The November Procrastination Post

Just thought I'd check in while waiting for the disruption of returning relatives to break my concentration. (This is why I'm not working on my NaNoWriMo novel at the moment - it's hard immersing in my inner world of words when I'm expecting an interruption. That's not the same thing as procrastination, no matter what the post title says.)

My sister's adventures in health care continue. Apparently, nobody talks to anyone else in this outfit, and they barely communicate with her. She's been given three contradictory plans by two different "professionals." (Yes, math whizzes, that means that one person handed her two incompatible outlines for where to go from here.) And I still think she's having that pain in her side that made her seek out help to begin with; nobody seems to care anymore, so she's given up mentioning it. Today, she's seeing someone else - I'm losing track of who - for no apparent reason other than that they said to do so. I'd say they're racking up referral fees, but she's still on the hospital's charity program. My current suspicion is that it's some sort of peculiar game being played by bored health care professionals, using patients as pieces. "Ah, I see you've referred Patient X to me again, Doctor Smith. Interesting strategy. But you didn't count on me sending you Patient Y via radiology. Check."

This makes me reluctant to sign up for health care myself. The state website's supposed to be easy to use and fairly reliable (unlike the national site), but it's hard to shake the feeling that I'll find myself in a similar game of health care ping-pong should I venture into a doctor's office. I know I have to do it, though, so I've told myself I'll get to it this weekend.

We still remain nearly petless. (There's Malarkey, but he's not the same as a cat. Or even a dog.) Various household and yard projects need completing before we can contemplate rebuilding the animal population, and November's soggy weather has effectively delayed most of those until spring.

Work continues to be persistently and willfully worklike, save an unusual level of turnover as a number of people head to greener pastures... one with barely a day's notice, according to what I've heard. We're also having various issues with machinery and software. It's job security.

I have various projects in various stages of completion languishing in my workshed. My holiday ornaments need attention, and I have a side project that I need to figure out how to finish. (They're for a relative, of course, so I don't have the option of sticking them in a drawer and forgetting about them.) I need some time to fool with them, and thus far I haven't managed to find it. I want them done by Turkey Day at the latest, though, so I have to hustle.

And, of course, November means National Novel Writing Month, or 50,000 words of raw rough draftage. (I'm aware that doesn't even come close to making sense. I'm also aware that noboby aside from myself and, maybe, my family reads this thing. So I'll just apologize to any poor fool who happens by and keep rambling.) I'm off to a decent start, if I do say so myself, even if I only have the vaguest idea of where I'm going with this thing. One of these days, I need to learn how to sit down and do a proper outline before diving into a draft. All this flailing around in the dark, groping blindly for a story thread that doesn't disintegrate after a chapter or two, wastes a lot of time and word count. But danged if it isn't fun!

I suppose I've procrastinated about as much as I can procrastinate. (Yes, I recall my earlier premise that this wasn't a procrastination post. I've decided to change the storyline. It's NaNoWriMo month, which makes anything I write a first draft, so I can get away with inconsistencies. Or maybe I'm such a lousy liar I can't even convince myself I'm not procrastinating by writing this.) It's time to wander off and do Something Else with my evening.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Interlude with (another) Sunset

My sister's 15-year-old dog, Trapper, headed to Rainbow Bridge this morning. This is the first time in my entire life that I've been in a house without a dog.

2013's running out of pets to kill, and it still has two and a half months to go...

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Bright and Shiny Objects

Fall continues to trudge its muddy boots on the waning pages of the calendar, bringing with it some wild weather (including a recent tornado), morning fog, evening chills, and all the rest.

It also brings autumn leaves, fairs, festivals, and other shinies.

 This year, a large local fair featured an exhibit entitled Luminasia, a "modern take on Chinese lanterns." I wasn't interested in the fair, but I was intrigued by the exhibit... though not enough to pay what they were asking to enter, on top of the fair admission. It proved so popular that they extended the run past the fair, and offered a two-for-one ticket deal on Amazon Local. That got our cheapskate tails out of the house and down to the fairgrounds.

There were two sections: a traveling Asian-themed display, on a local retention pond, and one custom-built for the area, with local sights rendered in 3D silk-and-light displays. They ranged from the 60-foot Space Needle replica to smaller butterflies perched on tulips, from totem poles to an apple orchard and a fanciful rendition of the underwater remains of "Galloping Gertie," the doomed Tacoma Narrows bridge.

I took three cameras, on my usual photographic theory of throwing enough crud at the proverbial wall that something had to stick. Surprisingly, even without a tripod, most of the pictures came out okay. Of course, the 70-foot dragon boat got a fair bit of my attention... I even got several close-ups of his head. The whole family enjoyed the outing, so it was well worth the price.

Luminasia isn't the only shiny new thing in my life this fall. It was on this trip that my old clamshell cell phone went AWOL, due to a cruddy holder I've been meaning to replace. I searched all over, two or three times, everywhere I'd been before finally giving up and calling the company to report it missing. Being a cheapie prepaid plan, I lost my minutes and my phone number, but there was nothing to be done about that. Besides, I'd been meaning to order myself a better cell phone for my birthday - I figured this was the Universe tweaking me in the tail to do it.

Guess what turned up, impossibly, after I'd placed my order.

Oh, well... I just got my new phone set up, and I think I'm going to be happier with it in the long run. It's not new, and it's not top of the line, but it looks like it'll do about everything I wanted. It even has an MP3 function, though I'm happy enough with my GoGear I don't expect I'll use it. (But never say never, I suppose... I never thought I'd want to upgrade my cell phone.)

If nothing else, the new phone is much shinier than the old phone. And I've always been a sucker for bright and shiny objects.

Thursday, October 03, 2013

Interlude with Sunflowers

My sister went in for another scan and test today. She's still in pain, she's still far too tired, and they still don't have any real answers for her. So, while I'm waiting to hear what's going on with that, here are some sunflowers, from a recent trip.

UPDATE: Well, they ruled out some stuff she was afraid she had, and have a few more answers. So that's good. Now, to see what can be done about it...

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Summer's End

As summer draws to a close, the salmon remind us that life is a constant struggle, in a world that batters us, knocks us back, and does its best to wash us away and leave our carcasses for the bears.

Yes, life's still rather lemony right now. Why do you ask?

My sister has been having some health problems for a while, but, without an income, she's been reluctant to seek help. When she does, she winds up at the walk-in clinic, which tends to dismiss patients of little means and no insurance.

Everyone offers advice - you qualify for this, you can get an appointment here - but nobody offers actual help. No, she's tried, and she doesn't qualify for this program. Yes, she's called repeatedly, and been told she can't get in to that place. If she were a criminal, she'd be getting health care for free. If she were a drug addict or an unwed mother, she'd qualify for something. But since she's simply broke, nothing. Ironically, it's her health issues that have kept her from getting a job to be able to afford health care. You'd think she'd be worth more to the state as an employable citizen capable of earning an income and generating tax revenue, but apparently not. It's an impossible cycle, a game that's nigh impossible to win. I guess people like her just shouldn't exist, according to the system.

Meanwhile, her problems keep growing, until she finally wound up with a pain that's kept her from sleeping for nearly a week. The walk-in clinic sent her for a scan (at three grand out of pocket), then - determining that she didn't have a kidney stone - they shrugged and sent her on her way.

To cut a long story short, she's spent the day at an area ER, in the hopes of finally getting access to health care that she desperately needs. This place is the only one in the area that still does a sliding pay scale and offers charity programs. Last I heard, from relatives in the waiting room, is that she finally got in to triage after a long, long wait. No word on whether anything's being done to help her.

I've been there, myself. Almost eight years ago, I was there, in an ER, broke and sick, waiting and wondering what was going to happen to me, and if I was going to bankrupt the family for having the audacity to inhabit an imperfect body without the financial means to repair it.

I got help, eventually. Here's hoping my sister does, too.

UPDATE - She managed to get on the hospital's charity program. So, while she still has to deal with bureaucracies and paper tag and other frustrations, at least she's in a position to receive help, which is something.The pain is still an issue, but at least someone seems to be listening.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Another Furry Farewell

RIP Domino

1996 - 2013

And thus ends 17 years of cat ownership... Farewell, Dom. Enjoy your stay with your brothers at Rainbow Bridge.

Friday, August 23, 2013

To All Things A Season

The nights are cooling. The shadows are lengthening. The back-to-school sales are in full force.

Yes, summer's nearly over. And I have no idea where it went, save that I'm not nearly ready to give it up. Unfortunately, what I want carries no weight with the orbit of the Earth, let alone the greater universe. Time only moves in one direction, at least in the human experience.

In the feline experience, too.

Domino's tooth issues have gone beyond antibiotics... and, to be honest, I'm not sure it's just his tooth that's been bothering him. Nevertheless, the old boy's been hanging on, each downturn countered by a sudden upswing. He'd skip food for a day or two, then wolf it down and demand more. He'd doze so deeply one could barely see his sides move, then jump up and demand attention. He'd lose weight, then gain it back. I'd figure he was finally throwing in the towel, but before I could call the vet for final arrangements he'd rally once more.

Until this week.

There's been a shift in his behavior, subtle but distinctive - the sort of things that mean little to an outside observer, but which glare after 17 years together. A difference in the way he sits. A harder edge to his curl as he lays down. A shakiness to his steps that wasn't there before. A lethargy. An overall air of letting go. At this point, he's not eating cat food at all, and can barely be tempted by anything else - not even tuna oil. (And, yes, I know tuna isn't great for cats, but I was getting desperate.) Though his stomach rumbles so loud I can hear it halfway across the room, he only stares at his food, looking at me as if asking what he's supposed to do with this peculiar substance I've placed before him. Then he curls up again - too sharp of a curl - and falls asleep.

I called the vet this afternoon. He goes in tomorrow at 11 AM, to find out if there's anything more to be done, but I'm afraid his summer is going to be ending early this year.

(The moth was sitting on my windshield one morning. The sunset was just a few nights ago. It's been a good summer for sunsets... reassurance, I suppose, that even endings can be beautiful things.)

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Interlude with Moon and Dragonfly

For all none of you who may be wondering, Domino's doing much better than he was, so hopefully it was all (or mostly) down to an infection after all.

The pictures were taken yesterday, when we decided to drive to a scenic location in order to (attempt to) photograph the "super moon" by Mount Rainier. (And, yes, I am aware that a dragonfly is neither a moon nor a mountain, but that doesn't make it any less photogenic.)

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Open Letter to a Lousy Summer

To Whom or What it May Concern:

First, you took Orion. Next, you tried to kill our well. Now, my last cat may be on his way out, if the pills he got today don't turn his condition around.

You have also injured people at work and sabotaged at least one potential job for a desperately unemployed relative.

Seriously, Summer, back the $%#! off.


(PS - Grudgingly, I must admire this year's butterfly collection: a superior display after a few scant years. However, if the price of butterflies is two dead cats and a screwed-up well, I'll happily haul my own water.)

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Schrödinger and the Sinking Ship

An oversimplified version of quantum theory implies that reality is variable until it is observed, as in the famed example of Schrödinger's Cat. I've noticed a similar phenomenon in medicine, at least via anecdote. You read all the time about people who have lived for years, decades even, with conditions that should have killed them ages ago… conditions that have a way of killing those people not long after being officially observed and diagnosed.

Pets are no different.

Last year, round about this time (or so says my blog), my elderly cat Orion developed a peculiar problem: urinating outside the litter box at random times, often on or near the bed (or my person.) The vet found no organic cause for the behavior. Kitty Prozac seemed to cure the problem, so I figured it must simply be stress related. Or maybe he was developing dementia in his old age. He's 17, after all - that's about 84 in human years. (The same age as my father, eerily enough.)

For the past few months, he hasn't quite been himself. Orion was never a hefty cat, but he felt too thin by half, and he just had that unwell look to him: the hunch, the squint, the general air of lethargy. The bouts never lasted long enough for me to break down and call a vet, but they just kept happening. Finally, since he was due for his shots and a physical anyway, I took him in. At that point, the only definite problem was weight loss; the rest was just a feeling I couldn't quantify.

The vet determined that he was not only underweight, but dehydrated. His kidneys were also too small and producing too much urine for his condition. The vet wound up drawing blood for tests and pumping in some fluids before sending him home.

That evening, for the first time in months, Orion had an out-of-litter-box incident. He had another one the next day. I had my fingers crossed that it was just because of the fluid treatment; maybe it was too much liquid on top of an already-stressed system. Maybe he was just "draining" the only way Nature allowed him.

Maybe that's not an iceberg off the port bow.

The blood tests revealed that not only were his kidneys not doing their job properly, but his liver was malfunctioning, as well. Given his age and overall condition, a liver biopsy seemed about as useful as a coat of duct tape on the hull of the Titanic, so the vet decided to try medicine in the hopes that it would, at least, buy Orion some comfort. Maybe, once the new regimen kicked in, the urination issues would sort themselves out. For a few days, they seemed to… until I woke up with a sopping wet shoulder. I wrestled Orion into incontinence pants (left over from his late brother Randy) the next night, but removed them too soon in the morning; the next thing I knew, something warm was dribbling all over my sweatpants leg.

As per vet advice, I'm altering Orion's medical cocktail, but it's just a delaying tactic at this point, to see if I can't squeeze another few months (or weeks, even) out of the old boy. His condition has been observed, making it real. In other words, the good ship Orion's struck the iceberg; all I can do is slap on duct tape and rearrange deck chairs until the water gets too deep.

And now that I'm nice and depressed, I'll leave with a picture of a rainbow. (Look close, and you can see two shadow-rainbows underneath... they didn't photograph well, but they were there.)

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Hey, June!

Ah, June. The sixth month of the year, on the very threshold of summer. A time for lemonade and ice cream and picnics in the park, for lazing away the afternoon in a hammock watching butterflies and listening to the gentle purr of the neighbors' lawn mowers and the spontaneous symphony of birdsong and bee-buzz...

Or for panicking when you realize the year's almost halfway over and you're hopelessly behind on your projects, not to mention your life in general.

But, hey, sometimes you just have to kick back and do something just for yourself. Even if you're way behind on your projects. Even if you're on a budget so tight that walking around the yard counts as a vacation. Even if you need more toys like a hole in the head. (Though, you know, we humans actually have several holes in our head, all of which are useful - nay, essential - in everyday life. Unless you're viewing this through your fingertips or listening to those birds via your armpits while sipping coffee directly through your epidermis or something... in which case, you're probably an alien, and no doubt have better things to do with your existence than browse my blog. But I digress...)

So, what is this about?

I got myself a Nook tablet.

I already have a desktop computer, and my old faithful laptop, still chugging away on Windows Vista. But sometimes I just want to pop online quickly, or jot down some story notes without waiting for a computer to boot up (and, as often as not, decide that now's the perfect time for a major software update.) Mom's been in love with her Kindle Fire ever since she got one (well, ever since she got one that worked - she had issues with the first one they sent her, but the replacement's been great), but the price was out of my range. Then Barnes & Noble sent me a coupon for a very significant discount off their entire line of Nook tablets. And there I was, having come off a month of significant overtime...

Well, dang it, sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do.

I've only just gotten the thing - quite literally, as in I just opened the box about two hours ago - but I'm already intrigued. Setup was very easy, not much more complicated than setting up my Kindle. The screen's very sharp, though with backlighting I can see eye fatigue becoming an issue if I read on it for long stretches. I'm not sure how to go about writing anything on it - I know about touchscreen keyboards; I'm just unsure about apps or software - but I've seen posts on writing boards from people who write stories, even parts of their novels, on their smartphones, so there has to be a way. This is, after all, the HD+ model - I splurged on the top-end item, for once in my miserable existence.

I really shouldn't be playing with the thing too much right now. I have two logos to finish still, plus a writing backlog half a mile long, not to mention other projects clamoring for my attention.

But, if I can't have that idyllic little hammock in an idyllic summer getaway, at least I can have my shiny new toy this summer.

(Oh - for the curious, Dad's appointment with the specialist went very well; they got all of that evil skin spot removed in a single go. So that's good, at least...)

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

A May Update

Well, about a month has elapsed, according to the calendar... might as well post.

Dad finally heard back from that specialist today. The skin spot is indeed cancerous. He goes back in early June for removal. I'm still hopeful it's the kind of thing that can simply be cauterized off; I know other people who have had similar things, and it's never been as big of a deal as one might think. Still, it's going to be a long few weeks...

The cats remain catlike, though Orion had a brief relapse a week ago. (Not on my face again, but on the pillow next to my head.) Altering how I give him his Prozac, plus spraying some Feliway around (a product that's supposed to have a calming effect on stressed kitties), seems to have done the trick.

I continue to sling books as best I can at the library. Some time this month is supposed to be the rematch against that Queens library system, but nobody's given a date yet. Hopefully, I'll be there for it this year, if only to shake up the monotony.

I also have two camp logos to design, both of which are fighting me. My artistic muse has been AWOL for some time, unfortunately, so it's rough going. At least I have decent themes to work with. With luck, I'll have something by the end of the month. (I have a new game I won't let myself play until I finish both logos... that's incentive, when the creative process itself isn't enough.)

Oh, the photo at the top of the page was from last week. We had some foggy mornings that left droplets of dew hanging off every little point of the grape leaves on our porch. I was almost late for work as I tried to capture it on camera. (The spider was a bonus.)

I suppose that's it until June. Just didn't want the place to go completely dormant, in the off chance anyone swings by.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Interlude with Crozier

 Because spring isn't spring without the annual re-fronding of the family ferns.

Not much of note has happened. The cats seem to be holding their own.  Mother finally had her cataract operation, and is getting used to life without glasses (having worn them since grade school, it's a bit of an adjustment.) Dad goes to a specialist in early May to deal with an early-stage skin cancer spot; the doctor wasn't overly stressed, so I'm hopeful it's the easily-treatable kind. And I've been fighting pushy cats, projects, and my own procrastination to try to finish a story. Any story, at this point. With luck, I'll have something to show for it by the end of the month.

I've also been on a spring cleaning/culling kick. It's eaten into writing time, but it desperately needs doing. Decluttering's supposed to help increase energy flow and idea generation, too, and I could use all the help I can get on that front. So far, I've tossed a good-sized can's worth of recycling and junk, and amassed an exceptionally heavy box for Half Price Books. I know I have more to go, but I needed to do all that just to reach the rest of it.

Guess that's it for now.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Interlude with Hummingbird

Because there's an ugly rumor that that danged Evening! Magazine segment is airing tonight, and I need to distract myself. (It could be a false alarm - the website's calling a behind-the-scenes of the Seattle library, and we're the county library system. Or maybe they're just idiots...)

For the curious, Grandpa finally went home from the hospital. They're still adjusting meds, but he's doing much better than he was.

(EDIT - Yes, it was tonight. And they botched my name - twice. Ergh... but at least it's over with.)

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

The March Procrastination Post

Dang, it's March already? Who approved that? I still haven't finished half the stuff I meant to get done in February. Or January. Or the whole of 2012, for that matter...

Well, as stated, the primary purpose of this post is to procrastinate. I have a story in revisions that I'm stalled out on, a short story I'm struggling to finish, and half a hundred other projects large and small waiting, with varying degrees of patience, in the mental queue.

For the curious (all none of you, I'm sure), Domino's doing a little better than he was. He didn't respond to the medication that should've worked for inflammatory bowel disease, implying that it is, unfortunately, something more complicated... something that it doesn't make sense to pursue too aggressively in a 17-year-old cat who is otherwise happy. The next medicine the vet tried interacted poorly with his heart murmur. So now he's on pills for congestive heart failure, and a special diet that might or might not be helping with his intestinal issues. (He has his good days and his bad days, but at least he's almost always made it to the litter box.) Domino's taking the new routine fairly well, though I had to start giving Orion treats when I pill his brother; he was jealous of all the extra attention Dom was getting. I just hope he doesn't get any ideas from this - he's 17, too...

I'm closing in on my 1000th book review over at Brightdreamer Books, but plans to give the main site a facelift and overhaul are on hold. I downloaded a discounted website editing program (WebPlus Pro X5, on clearance) earlier this year, only to realize that I'm far too rusty at WYSIWYG editors to even contemplate a large-scale project like that. (I'm also balking at the raw, nitpicky work of transferring over 900 pages into a new program; WebPlus Pro doesn't have an import feature for HTML, apparently.) However, I'm not giving up entirely. I just need to play with the thing enough to get comfortable with it. I also want to come up with new graphics to go with the site overhaul, and I haven't even begun designing that.

Work continues to be worklike. I'm keeping an eye peeled for secondary income opportunities, but so far haven't found anything that wouldn't require giving up my current job, or at least my current shift. I won't do that unless I'm guaranteed to make up the monetary difference. Oh, and that Evening! Magazine segment on the library shipping center has a tentative, maybe-possibly airdate sometime during National Library Week in April. (I didn't know there was such a thing. Neither did my boss.) Here's hoping they find something more thrilling to air... like, say, a five-part segment on lint recycling.

As I type, Grandpa's back in the hospital, hopefully only for a day or two. He started having trouble breathing a few weeks ago, linked to his congestive heart failure. Hopefully, it's just a matter of adjusting medication; that's helped in the past. While he's there, he's getting an echocardiogram to make sure everything's going okay. We're waiting to hear updates now.

And, as mentioned earlier, I've been working on improving my writing, both in quality and quantity. My goal is to start submitting something - even short stories or flash fictions - by midyear, and to get at least one of my existing monstrosities edited to beta-stage before 2014. (That used to seem like such a long time in the future, didn't it?) That's actually a large part of why I haven't started designing new web graphics; my creative energy has almost entirely been diverted to writing. My sketchbook sits forlornly in the corner, waiting for attention, while I pound away on my keyboard committing untold literary atrocities. Whether or not the trade-off's worth it remains to be seen...

I suppose that's all for now. Time to head over to Word 2010, open up a story file, and see if I can squeeze a few more words out of my scattered brain before it's time to fool with dinner.

 (Top photo taken at the heron rookery off of a local Park & Ride; bottom taken at a nearby eagle nest.)

Monday, February 04, 2013

Interlude with Hawk

Just a quick post to remind myself that I'm still alive... and that raptors are cool. This, sadly, counts as a good photograph of one by my standards.

As for what I've been up to... eh, not much. Domino has been having Issues which may or may not be manageable with medication (inflammatory bowel disease... if he's lucky, and it's not lymphoma.) I've been having trouble getting story revisions done, due in no small part to the aforementioned ongoing feline health issues sapping my energy and attention. And, thus far, there's been no word on if or when that Evening! Magazine segment will ever air. (Fine by me if it vanishes forever...)

So, all in all, I've had better Januarys. Hopefully February will be less depressing.

But, hey, at least I saw a cool hawk.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Time to Pull the Plug

It's official: there is nothing left in the Pacific Northwest remotely worth filming. Not a single human interest sapfest, five-second-wonder YouTube pseudostar, vaguely historical tourist trap, or tired small-town seasonal tradition which has not already been documented by local fluff shows.

How do I know this?

Because today, Evening! Magazine sent a crew out to film us sort library books at the shipping center.

To further pound the last nail into the coffin, they even shot footage of me.

Yes, me. The lifeless loser with the speech impediment and all the style, social grace, and verbal wit of a brain-damaged banana slug. (Why me? Because nobody else would do it, that's why.)

With luck, the segment will be hacked down to thirty seconds of stock footage and buried in the vaults.

In any event, regardless of if or when it ever airs, I think it's pretty clear that the time has come to pull the plug.