Friday, December 30, 2005

When will it end?

Believe it or not, the computer I bought over Thanksgiving died yesterday. It's been a horrific run of problem after problem. So, today I decided that I'm tired of fighting it. I bought a computer for the kids to replace the broken one. I bought a laptop for me to replace the laptop that broke, and I took the desktop I bought over Thanksgiving in to the place I bought the components and basically said, "Here, you fix it."

The kids PC was actually a pretty good deal. They had two low-price-range computers available, one was an floor display and the other a new machine. The floor display with a two-year extended warranty was the same price as the new machine. Those of you who know me well know that I almost never buy an extended warranty. However, because it was a floor sample and because it's going to be kids using the machine, I decided to spend the extra money this time. Time will tell if that was the right choice.

At least with the new laptop (dubbed K-9 by my newly-minted Dr. Who fan daughter) I have a backup and I can write away from this desk.

Interestingly enough, I discovered a wireless lan connection nearby. I don't think Scottsdale has one, so maybe it's from the timeshares across the street, or from one of the nearby hotels.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Got it done!

With the Q1, 2006 deadline for the Writers of the Future contest looming, and too many problems with The Adjoa Gambit to fix that quickly, I managed to write and polish The Strange Case of Lionel Turnway, almost 6000 words, in one week. I love when the words come flying out of me. I wrote at a pace of about 1200 words an hour, and half of it was written on my little iPAQ. A very fast pace for me. The result is, I think, one of my best stories to date. It sits in the mailbox waiting for that December postmark.

I know at least one other Codexian and fellow 2005 boot camper who is also submitting a story for this quarter. I still haven't heard the results from the Q4 2005 contest, for which my entry was What a Difference a Day Makes. The two stories couldn't be more different, despite them both being written in first person. The POV character in Difference is a cajun, and in Lionel Turnway, he is a prim and proper butler.

I picked up a copy of the February 2006 issue of F&SF. David Gerrold has a very different kind of novelet in this issue. I'll leave the content for you to discover for yourself, but I will say that he did a great job with some unusual style choices that were disorienting at first. It is written in present tense, a choice which I rarely like, but it worked here. Few sentences start with capitol letters, and there is very little punctuation at the end of sentences. The effect was a great enhancement to the overall neurotic feel to the piece.

Friday, December 23, 2005

It continues

to be warmer than normal here in the valley of the sun. Christmas day is forecasted to be 78 degrees. Not bad.

I learned yesterday that the insurance adjustor hadn't visited the body shop to evaluate the aditional damage they found, so they haven't even started working on my truck. That means, I'm stuck driving the little Kia deathtrap until at the earliest, Wednesday. The thing is so small it feels like my rear is going to scrape on the pavement. I'll be glad to get my truck back.

I finished the first draft of the story I had tentitively called Casino, renaming it to The Adjoa Gambit, but I wasn't happy with the result and decided to back burner it for a while. I started a story yesterday that has been coming to me for a while. I'm hoping to finish it in time to submit to the Q1 period for the 2006 Writers of the Future contest, but that window closes on the 31st. I got 1500 words done yesterday, and it's coming out easily, so there may be hope if I don't need too much revision. No word from my Q4 2005 entry yet.

Monday, December 19, 2005

A chance to rest

After about 10 consecutive days of scrambling, I finally got to spend an evening at home without going anywhere.

This morning, I took the pickup to the body shop, and I'm driving a tiny Kia Rio until it's fixed.

In other news, I'm trying on some new looks for my main home page. Click on the link at right to take a look. I'm still tweaking, but it's getting closer to the look I want. The web site name will probably be introduced into the graphic once I have my permanent domain name registered.

Friday, December 09, 2005

There is Something

to be said for having steel in an automobile. At lunch today, I drove to Fry's Electronics to do some window shopping (Fry's is a great catalog). On the way home, there was this strange-looking construction truck that had one of those signs telling everyone to move to the right. It was my misfortune to arrive at this strange truck with a relatively large group of cars. I moved to the right well ahead of the truckI thought the bozo in the middle lane was going to encroach my lane to get past, but instead he cut me off, forcing me to slam on the breaks. Unfortunately, the guy behind Bozo was also cut off, but instead of breaking, he decided to swerve into the right land at the same time I braked, causing him to plow into the rear bumper of my pickup. Fortunately for me, he hit my steel rear bumper and not much else, though the motion of the tailgate is a bit rough. The other car did not fare so well. The entire front end of that car is crunched. Even more interesting was that he was driving a borrowed car. It kind of makes me wish I had stood in that long line to buy the DVD I was considering. And of that weird construction truck, all I can make of it is that the purpose is to cause accidents. I didn't detect any other function.