Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Vacation in 60-ish hours

It's getting really hard to concentrate on things not vacation related. I'm already semi-packed. It doesn't take much thought to throw whatever clean close you have on hand into a suitcase. I did make sure I didn't pack anything that I wore to Michigan last year. Otherwise it would look like I only have five tshirts. I think I have seven...

My boss asked me to keep track of where we stay and what sites we see on the upcoming odyssey. She said she and her husband have a hard time coming up with vacation ideas and just use other people's. I said we would. It'll be fun to keep a journal. I'm thinking about blogging at the end of each day if we're somewhere with wireless.

Picking out my books for vacation is proving to be taxing. Even though I'll probably only have time to read one of them, it's still a big decision. I'll probably end up taking the last four crime books I bought.

I'm getting close to my crime novel threshold, slipping the lingo into conversations and thinking about double-crosses. I think once Carrie's classes start back up I'll be able focus on the Gravedigger's Promise and get it written. Digger isn't going to solve the mystery on his own. Poor bastard has been washing the church windows for quite some time now. I should at least let him do some breaking and entering soon.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Rainy Sunday

Yeah, the last couple of days have sucked as far as the rain has been concerned. On the plus side, at least my bathtub got cleaned.

The hound and I headed over to the parents' earlier for her weekly exercise and my weekly breakfast. She ran around quite a bit but it never stopped raining for long... until we went into the woods and looked for mushrooms. Long story short, we got caught in a deluge and only found four. Wait, let me backtrack. We had to stay out of the woods until one because of turkey season. I found a dead bat on my parents' back porch. No signs of foul play. It must have died of natural causes. My dad blasted a big water snake while I was walking Belle down to the creek.

Fast forward to after the mushroom hunt. My mom presented me with a fraction of the bread-loaf sized cinnamon roll they brought back from the Machine Shed, a diner my dad saw on Breakfast Paradise and my brother got him a giftcard to. Was it worth driving to Iowa for? DEFINITELY!

I suppose I should do some laundry now. Not too many days until departure...

Friday, April 23, 2010

Where did I leave my coffee cup?

I hate when I put my coffee cup down and it gets whisked to a parallel universe, only to be found by that universe's Dan, who thinks he's found his version of it. It reminds me of an old Tales from the Crypt comic where a guy invents a machine to enter a parallel universe where that version of himself is successful and sabotages him, only to have his own house be blown up by dynamite, leading us to believe that he hadn't, in fact, gone anywhere and is delusional.

After about twenty listens, I'm convinced The Great Rocksteady Swindle is the best Slackers record since Wasted Days. It's just that damned good.

The Gravedigger's Promise has made a bit of progress, most of it inside my head. I changed the first chapter around to get a little sympathy for Digger from the audience so it will hurt more later when the depths of his bastardry are revealed. Also, I had to put some props in his living room so I can frame him for something later.

So I'm off today. The plan was to work in the yard but that has been changed since last night's rain. Looks like I'll be gathering vacation supplies and running errands I planned to wait on instead. Rain usually makes turtles and frogs move around. Maybe I'll take some pictures later.

Found it. It was on the bookcase. I hope my body can handle caffeine molecules from another universe.

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Post Weekend Show

The weekend flew by too fast, as usual. Carrie finished up her classes on Saturday so yesterday was Girlfriend Appreciation Day. I arrived at her house and made grilled cheese sandwiches with turkey on them for lunch, then threw a pork shoulder in the crock pot for a dinner of pulled pork. We went to Washington Park and did the One Thousand Steps trail. It was a mile and a half but a great portion of it was steps on a steep hill. The woods were really green and the path was tramped down enough that we didn't get overrun with ticks. We finished the trail fairly quickly and decided to take the Possum Trail until it hit the road. We wound up doing the whole thing. Photos were posted last night.

Dinner went okay. The pork seemed to take forever to get done. It wasn't the best pork I ever pulled but it did the job. The cake I made afterwords made up for it.

I got the new Slackers cd, the Great Rocksteady Swindle, in the mail today, along with an extra sleeve signed by Dave, Vic, and Ara. I'm about halfway through the CD and I'm already liking it as much as Peculiar.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

One Thousand Steps (70 photos), by Dan Schwent


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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Wash Day Wailings

So I've got all of my laundry either in the washer or dryer at the moment and I'm giving the turkey tenderloin a few more minutes to marinate. Let's chat.

Writing a mystery is a lot harder than the other things I've attempted. I finished the first chapter of The Gravedigger's Promise a couple days ago and have been pecking at the second chapter in my spare time, along with about a fourth of the last chapter. It's requiring more planning, almost like I picked someone to frame as the murderer and am planting evidence accordingly. I think I have the plot in my head now but it could change again. Digger has changed a bit since I conceived him as an older version of Richard Stark's Parker, retired in a small town. The supporting cast is a little clearer in my mind.

Some woman at work smelled like she rolled in a kiddie pool full of old lady perfume yesterday. She might even have ladled more on when she was sitting in it. Do people lose their sense of smell when they get past a certain age?

The dog is really staring me down. I think that means she's finally recovered from three days of running around over the weekend.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Picnic Plus (16 photos), by Dan Schwent


I'd like to share my Snapfish photos with you. Once you have checked out my photos you can order prints and upload your own photos to share.
Click here to view photos

The Picnic

Yesterday's picnic was a complete success. I made buffalo chicken wraps ahead of time, which was torture considering they looked and smelled delicious, and packed them in a basket with a mixed fruit container I bought at Schnuck's. We went to the tiny roadside park in Bloomsdale overlooking the valley. Afterwords we took a scenic drive down Sugar Bottom all the way to Ste. Genevieve. It was a good time. I'll be posting pictures shortly.

Today was a typical Monday. Carrie's busy wrapping up her homework for the semester so I'm filling the void with Philly Cheese Steak. That's about all I have to report.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Trivia Night

Carrie and I went to a trivia night in Farmington last night with her mom and dad and two couples they know. Free food was plentiful, donated by local restaurants. The trivia night was 80's oriented and ranged in difficulty from pathetically easy to so hard we wanted to key the shit out of the car of the woman who picked them. She was sitting next to the host and looked proud of herself. I'd say over half of the questions were of the "What date did this happen?" variety, which I don't think is reallly trivia. Trivia is the name of the Ghostbusters car or the name of the cat from the Smurfs, both of which I knew. We wound up only getting 59 points out of 1oo... and winding up in SECOND PLACE. They asked us if we wanted to keep our prize money or donate it back. You bet your ass we kept it!

The first communion dinner I went to yesterday afternoon was pretty good. The potato casserole was awesome, the various pasta dishes were good, and the appetizers really hit the spot. Afterwords, Chris and Abby and I sat on the bleachers behind the KC hall and watched the kids burning off their boundless energy by chasing butterflies.

Other than that, not much else happened yesterday. Carrie and I are probably going on a picnic later today. It's too nice out not to enjoy it while we have the chance.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Weekend

The weekend is finally here. I finished Changes this morning but it was all I've accomplished so far today. I woke up late and decided I didn't feel like working in the yard until I finished the last 100 pages. It wasn't bad but it wasn't great either.

I finished the second pass of editing Sailors on the Sea of Dead Gods yesterday. One more pass and I'll get the galley proof and decide how to proceed. I'm thinking about printing out a copy and having that be part of my vacation reading.

Went mushroom hunting with the parents last night. We found fourteen. My mom found ten of them. Afterwords we had beer and BBQ. Could be why I'm a little sluggish today.

I've got a first communion dinner at 12:30 and trivia in Farmington tonigt at 7. Sometime in between I'll be working out, I guess. It's hard cramming everything you want to do into a weekend.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Thor's Day

Looks like I'm working tomorrow. I was planning on taking the day off but decided against it once I found out my boss and about ten other people were off.

I've got a refund coming from Thrift Books for Ask the Parrot. Damn straight! I may have to send nastygrams to a couple other places Monday. Deadly Honeymoon allegedly shipped on the 12th and I still haven't gotten it and the new Hard Case hasn't shown up either.

Not much else going on. I'm about a fourth of the way through the newest Jim Butcher book and I want to smack the shit out of Harry because of his stupid smart ass quips every other paragraph. It's getting harder to ignore how formulaic the Dresden Files are.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Experiment and Miscellaneous Bitching

Let's get the bitching out of the way first. I spent 90 minutes in traffic on the commute home today. That's in addition to my normal 50-ish minutes. At least I managed to read 25 pages while stuck on 270. When I got home, I had the worst feeling that I forgot to turn the crock pot on this morning. Turns out, I did turn it on and the house smelled like oniony pork goodness. I took Belle for the first of her walks and got the mail. I finally got the new Jim Butcher book and a package that I thought contained two of the Richard Stark's I'm missing. Bad surprises were two-fold. One, instead of Ask the Parrot by Richard Stark, I got something called Blues for Charlie Darwin. Secondly, the Atlanta Book Company is another name for Thrift Books, a company I resolved not to order anything else from a couple years ago after seeing how different our ideas of "Good Condition" were. I sent them an email. We'll see what comes of it. Fuckers.

I returned home and checked out my crock pot concoction. Well, at least it smelled delicious. It didn't taste bad but it was bland and the pork was overdone. I think if I added some beef stock and used a small roast, it would have been better. Good thing I only have to eat a serving of it. It sucks though since the smell really got my hopes up.

Better take my hound out before the alleged rain gets here.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Tuesday

What god or goddess is Tuesday named after? It's probably Norse in origin but damned if I can remember. I only know it isn't Thor, Freya, Saturn, or Woden.

I have lost more weight since I last remarked on it last Monday. Not sure how much, only that my Sun Records shirt fits a lot better than it used to. My elbow has endured the workouts of the past two days with only minor complaints.

Carrie's working late tonight. When some guys' girlfriends work late, they go out drinking. I prefer to do mundane household tasks and cook things she wouldn't necessarily find agreeable, like white asparagus, for example. I'm such a wild man.

My original plan for tonight was to slyly invite myself over to dinner at the parents' and go mushroom hunting. Apparently pickings have been slim since Sunday. I'm going to wait until after the rain they say is coming to go over. Plus I had a feeling I'd be drafted into doing yardwork.

2/3rds of the way through the second pass at Sailors on the Sea of Dead Gods. I'm already planning on a third pass after seeing how many things I missed the first time through. In other writing related news, I'm debating on whether or not to have the girl in The Gravedigger's Promise being a nun or not. Not that I don't think a nun would be mean enough for what I had planned but it's a little far-fetched that way.

I'm in waiting mode again on the Scudder books and I've decided to wait until the next book comes out in may to resume reading the Parker series. Until I get the next Scudder, I'm working on my ever-shrinking backlog of stuff.

I'm making something in the crock pot tomorrow involving pork chops, onions, and root beer. I will be sure to report the results of the experiment ASAP.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter

"We're going to stop somewhere and neck on the way home."
"No we aren't!"

That's what Carrie's grandparents said as they were leaving her house last night. We had a pretty fun time at Carrie's parents' house yesterday evening. Carrie's mom had us hide Easter eggs containing money in the back yard for her dad's birthday. After his initial protests, he clearly enjoyed himself. Her grandma sure likes to talk. Her grandparents are like a funhouse mirror of our relationship.

Prior to our trek down to Farmington, I took Belle over to my parents' for her weekly exercise and my weekly mom-cooked meal. We didn't find any mushrooms but I took some pictures I liked and Belle rode the gator.

Easter lunch in less than two hours! I'm hoping we'll be out of there in time to enjoy some of the day before Carrie has to resume working on her homework.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Saturday Morning

I hope it doesn't rain all day. I have things to do.

Belle and I are both moving slow this morning. I think all the fresh air we got yesterday did us both some good. I saw her napping in the grass a few times, just like when she was a puppy out on the chain. Hard to believe she's ten sometimes.

I managed to hurt my elbow somehow yesterday. Maybe I strained a muscle? I'm debating on whether to attempt working out. I hate missing days but it's probably a good idea.

Finished Eight Million Ways to Die a little bit ago. Awesome, awesome book. Speaking of books, I'm in the top 40 reviewers on Goodreads for the fourth week in a row. I want to crack the top 50 all time reviewers one of these days but I have a ways to go.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Working in the yard

For the past three hours, I've been picking up sticks and raking leaves while listening to my iPod. The Black Keys and the Cramps have been the bands of choice. Somehow I managed not to play air guitar with my rake nor strutting round like Mick Jagger.

So far, no snakes were uncovered, although Belle was happy to investigate the turtle that was crawling through the yard. Speaking of my dog, during one of our many walks yesterday I noticed a lot of yellow flowers growing around the cemetery. I think birds ate the seeds last year and shat them all over the neighborhood. I'm going to get pictures of them later.

T-Minus Five Hours to fish fry. I'm hungry already.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

April 1st: At Least I Made it Through March

I had neck sweat earlier when I was reading and it was taking forever for the house to cool down, even with all the windows open and the fans on. On top of that, the dog was acting really weird, much more hyper and restless than normal. After lounging in the basement for awhile, I just said piss on it and fired up the AC. The temperature in the house is already comfortable and the dog is sleeping. I'll shut it down before I go to bed but at least it's cool in here now. Still, it's a little ridiculous to be running your AC on April 1.

The second editing pass through Sailors on the Sea of Dead Gods is about halfway through. Aside from changing some wording and correcting a few mistakes, it's going pretty good. I'll probably comb through it again before I get the free bound copy from CreateSpace. After that, I'll look into submitting it.

Not much else going on. The weekend should be really busy some I'm planning on getting yard work done tomorrow. It's just sticks and the last of the leaves so it shouldn't be too bad. And in the afternoon, the last fish fry of Lent. Carrie and I are very excited.