Goodbye Cast, Hello Boot

Yesterday we drove to Williston with fingers crossed. Would I get my cast off? Would the X-rays show enough progress? I prepared myself for disappointment. The good news was that I did well enough in healing to get the cast off. We brought with a boot that I had ordered off Amazon for under $40, not to mention eligible for Amazon Prime (both the doctor and the PA admitted Amazon Prime was a necessity of living out here). The doctor said that the boot I would have gotten from the clinic would have been billed at somewhere between $250-350. Yeah, there’s nothing wrong with the American medical system. The bad news was that I have to wear the boot everywhere, including in bed and I could still not put any weight on it for another six weeks. So much for mowing the lawn this spring.

I’ve gotten over the disappointment of being somewhat immobile for another long stretch of time. If it means I’ll be healed up enough to do whatever I want for the rest of my life, it’s a small price to play. I’ll try not to cheat and walk on it though it is a sore temptation. The boot is a dramatic improvement over the cast in terms of comfort and weight. It is something I can live with.

The video is Charles Mingus’ Goodbye Pork Pie Hat, an elegant elegy for Lester Young. It’s become a standard and covered by anyone but the original is still the best. It was Mingus’ birthday yesterday and had I not been tied up at the clinic I would have posted this then. But it’s still worthy of noting. Mingus was a thorny genius, a brilliant composer and arranger, and of course, one of the wickedest bass players on the face of the earth. Play it in a dark room with a drink of your choice and let it wash your day away. That’s what I did yesterday.

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On Getting Weird, and Deeper Things

On Getting Weird, and Deeper Things

I was reading a science fiction story and there was an alien life form that was as strange, wonderful, and weird as anything I’ve read in a long time. It made me start to wonder about whether the non-humans in my own book are “not human” enough. A couple of them are pretty close, both in their looks and their psychological makeup. But then a couple others are pretty damn weird the more I think of it and I decided I was in a safe place.

But there are a couple things I’m reconsidering. I read a piece on creating characters by Chuck Wending ( and it occurred to me that I needed to dig a little deeper in terms of motivations and conflict for a few key characters. So that’s my task for this week: dig a little deeper for these characters and see if I can’t shore up what I think is wrong.

Another thing that I’m thinking about is the issue of being too black and white. Most of my protagonists are complex, a little good and a little bad. But in some cases that isn’t apparent enough, at least the way I see it. In a post I wrote last week, I noted that I was impressed at the complexity of some of the characters in House of Cards (though watching season two has lessened my admiration). So I am dwelling on that as well, making small adjustments to the back story on some and the actions of others.

My hope is that if I get all this straightened out by the time I’m out of my cast and can really put the nose to the grindstone on writing query letters and submitting some samples. Then I will start on book two in earnest. Provided I don’t break any more bones. You never know, it’s going to be a long summer.

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Yes, Folks, I’ve Seen Today’s xkcd; Yes, It’s Rather On Point


I was considering posting this but Scalzi beat me to it. Still, it is worthy of reblogging. Hell, it is worthy of memorization and I might damn well do that.

Originally posted on Whatever:

If you click through to the cartoon on the xkcd site (click on it above to do that) the mouseover text on the cartoon is worth reading, too.

View original

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And That’s How We Roll On Easter

This Holy Weekend, Carjo and I commemorate the bad times. There was an Easter in our past when we had zero money, no invitations to dinner, crushing debts, and hardly any groceries in the house. So after church we came home, fried up cheeseburgers and watched Popeye on an old VHS tape (our cable had been disconnected).

Not many people are fond of the Popeye movie and I admit it’s not a perfect film. We saw it as young marrieds and though we are not fond of musicals, several of the songs made it into our couples vocabulary: He’s Large, Everything is Food, etc.). It became a thing for us. Lots of couples have “things”, little touchstones that they share together again and again. Popeye is one of those for us.

I’m dispatched to find Franco Zeffirelli’s Jesus of Nazareth for my wife to view, either on Netflix, Amazon, or cable. Carjo will play her dad’s Tennessee Ernie Ford albums. And despite the fact that Carjo will be making a traditional ham dinner this weekend, our main meal for Easter will be cheeseburgers, followed by a viewing of the Popeye movie. You can’t celebrate the good times without remembering where you have been.

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The Best thing About Human Beings is That They Stack so Neatly.

The Best thing About Human Beings is That They Stack so Neatly.

We’ve finally succumbed to peer and societal pressure. We’ve begun to watch House of Cards on Netflix.

“Money is the Mc-mansion in Sarasota that starts falling apart after 10 years. Power is the old stone building that stands for centuries. I cannot respect someone who doesn’t see the difference.” How the hell can you not be fascinated by a character that spins out something like that. Frank Underwood is easily the most quotable character since Gregory House MD rode away on a motorcycle with Wilson.

I assume we’ve now done about 8 episodes in 36 hours and probably will stagger back for more very soon. It’s not perfect by any means but sweet mercy, it never fails to engage or entertain. I worked for a short time in a congressional district office and I’d hear stories from the DC HQ now and then. It was never up to this level of machination but the stress level and hours spent at work would make an Apple design team assume the fetal position. DC is indeed a crazy place. But what really makes this work is the complexity of the characters and how well the actors work that complexity. When you create a character, many writers stick to one or two notes to define them. To get your creations to be as truly complex as Frank and Claire Underwood takes a lot of work and I applaud the writers on this show for digging this deep. I don’t know if Frank goes under any profound change but I doubt if any epiphanies are in his future. But Claire appears to be on a journey of sorts and I wonder how that is going to affect their partnership. Anyway, we are locked in for the ride and anxious to see where it takes us. Don’t send me any spoilers. I can be as ruthless as Frank.

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Good Things Come to Those Who Wait…and Wait….and Wait

Good Things Come to Those Who Wait...and Wait....and Wait

I have made a few posts about the deplorable state of science fiction on television and its equally dismal future. So you can imagine my glee and jubilation when this news broke:

For those unfamiliar with The Expanse, it’s a trilogy set in the somewhat near future in our solar system. I just finished Abaddon’s Gate a few weeks ago and the series is one of my favorite space operas in at least a decade. James SA Corey is the nom de plume of Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck. These two fiendish bastards put us on quite the ride in these books. Once the plot is set in motion the pace is relentless, the characters often quite remarkable, and the prose is as smooth as the hull on a starcruiser. Daniel Abraham has built up a reputation as a thinking man’s fantasy author and Ty Franck is the assistant of George RR Martin (by now you should know who that is or I don’t know what you’re doing here). I feel obligated to post this photo which I think was taken after the shock of the TV deal settled in.

James S_ A_ Corey

Of course, this is SyFy so my guess is some of the grit will be scaled back, profanity removed, etc. But with capable writers and an adequate budget this should be the series we genre fans have been waiting for a very long time (depending on when you thought BSG jumped the shark).

I haven’t been this excited since HBO announced that they were picking up a series based on a fantasy book called Game of Thrones. We all know how that turned out.

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It’s Just as Well, Can’t Mow the Lawn Anyway

It's Just as Well, Can't Mow the Lawn Anyway

We got some snow overnight. I think it started around ten last night. Sansa had gone outside earlier because she has absolutely no sense at all and when I hobbled into my wife’s office I heard this unholy screeching at the sliding glass door. She came in with moisture clinging to her and I assumed that it was raining. Carjo turned on the TV station that shows the current radar and sure enough, we had a cloud of blue passing over us. Snow.

This snow won’t last. Even at forty degrees above, the sun is too strong to let this stuff remain for more than a day. Like I said, it’s not that I’ve been able to go out and frolic in the backyard, let alone pick up dog droppings. So unlike the snow, they’ll keep for another week or two. Then the frolicking will begin in earnest.

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