Monday, October 31, 2011

Last Day of Freedom

Ever have one of those weekends that feels like a blink of an eye?

A friend of mine recently had her life turned upside down and was looking to get the hell out of Indianapolis for a couple days so I put her up at my house.  Long story short, the weekend passed by very fast.  I did manage to take a ton of pictures at the zoo and Pickle Springs.  Notice the picture of the two Galapagos tortoises having awkward lurching sex on my previous post.  It was like watching two Volkswagens getting into a car wreck.

The Pickle Springs trip was partly a location scouting mission since that's where I'm planning for the body to be found in my NaNoWriMo novel.  Still not sure how high the cliff near the end of the trail is but I'm calling it 70 feet in the book.

I'm still a bit behind in my NaNoPrep but I have all day to do it since my workload is a bit light.  I mean, I would never do anything writing-related at work!

Looks like I'm doing the NaNoBeard.  I shaved off my sideburns last night so I'm looking pretty baby-faced at the moment.  Maybe I'll try to finish in record time just so I don't have to experience beard itch.

Tonight's going to be my last evening of freedom prior to NaNoWriMo.  I'm thinking I'll load up on supplies on the way home and try to read an entire Michael Shayne novel.  After I finish up my preparations, of course.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

NaNo Prep Tips

I was going to go a little more in depth in my NaNoWriMo Preparation tips but Lola over at Sharp Pen/Dull Sword did a really good blog post yesterday that covers all of my points and has fancy pictures.  I leave you in her capable hands.

Bullets Don't Blink is coming together in my head, even if I'm behind in preparation.  I've talked over the particulars of the plot with some of my trusted Goodreads chums and I'm feeling pretty comfortable with it.  I'm hoping my workload is lighter than it was in July and August.  I'd like to hit 50k by the 21st if possible.  It would be nice to have a Thanksgiving where I'm not thinking about all the writing I have to do.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Thinking about growing a NaNoBeard.

After a short slumber of 5-ish hours, I'm back amongst the living.  I've been awake for two hours and all I've managed so far is drinking a lot of coffee, listening to some tunes, and shaving off the goatee I'd been working on.  All the gray hairs in it were getting long and unmanageable.  Also, I had another idea in mind...

I'm thinking about growing one of those motivational beards. I figure I can start not shaving on November first and beard it up until I either hit 50k or just can't take it any more.

We'll see if I actually do it.  I kind of like being able to see my chin again.

Now that The Slackers have left town, I can focus on NaNoWriMo again.  I'd like to say that I'm going to take advantage of my time off today to iron out some details but I'm not committing to anything besides eating, relaxing, watching the Slackers documentary I bought last night, visiting the local used bookseller to gush about the Slackers show, and possibly finish reading The Prettiest Girl I Ever Killed.

In my befogged condition, I almost forgot to mention this:  I got a message on Goodreads from Scribner about reviewing an advance copy of The Last Good Man.  I'm hoping a pipeline of ARCs will open up if they like my review.  This could be another step closer to getting paid to read.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Slackers Report

Well, another Slackers show has come and gone.  Here's how it all went down.

After a quick dinner at IHOP, we arrived at the Firebird right on time.  Deals Gone Bad went on first.  While I like Deals Gone Bad, the two parts of their set I remember most vividly are the parts involving the Slackers.  First, Dave Hillyard joined them on stage with his sax and the damn microphone was dead.  Secondly, Vic Ruggeiro played harmonica with them on a different song and they finally got the mic fixed.

The Slackers got set up in near record time and belted out songs one right after another.  Here's the songs that I remember them playing.  I'm a little fuzzy on the order:
  1. Every Day is Sunday
  2. Feed My Girl
  3. Attitude
  4. Reach Out
  5. Living in a Tool Shed
  6. Same Every Day
  7. I Want to Thank You
  8. We Can Work it Out
  9. Ska Boheme
  10. The Nurse
  11. Please Decide
  12. Bin Waiting
  13. Knowing
  14. Rider
  15. Who Knows
  16. Pedophilia
  17. Have the Time
  18. Game Of Love" (Wayne Fontana & The Mindbenders Cover)
  19. Old Dog
  20. Watch This
  21. What Went Wrong
  22. Saw a Fool
Thanks to Greg for the assist on the track list.  I know the order is off and I'm sure I forgot a couple.  I was particularly happy that they played The Nurse and What Went Wrong.   At the end of the regular set, sometime before Old Dog, Dave Hillyard and Glen Pine came down into the audience and played.  It was great and reminded me of the good old days at the Creepy Crawl when they'd play out the front door, come around the building, and come back in the back door.  I've seen the Slackers somewhere in the 16-18 time range and I'd say this show was in the top two.

If I had to bitch about something, it would be the guys who didn't seem to realize how packed the Firebird was and kept swinging their elbows around.  A couple times I had to move because I kept picturing myself knocking the newsboy hat off of one of the assholes and then sucker-punching him as he turned around to see who did it.

In conclusion, the next time the Slackers come to your town, clear your fucking calendar.  Baseball shmaseball.

Strange Saturday Night Dream

So I was playing basketball in my driveway when my dog Belle suddenly grew to human size, was wearing blue jeans, and running around on her back legs.  She growled and I turned to see the rest of the neighborhood dogs running up the road on their hind legs, also wearing blue jeans.

I was trying to figure out what to do next when I heard massive footsteps and trees breaking.  A gigantic robot stomped into my hard and a voice came over a loudspeaker telling me to climb aboard.  Fortunately, there were rungs built into the thing's leg and I scampered up to a hatch on the thing's shoulder.

Inside the giant robot were a lot of army guys running around and pressing buttons.  One of them grabbed me by the arm and told me I was the new co-pilot.  I was taking to a control room inside the head.  Justin Timberlake was there.  I asked why Justin Timberlake was playing the pilot and the dream was over.

Zero

Today is the big day.  Today's tune is So This is the Night.

Friday, October 21, 2011

The Dream I had Last Night

I was strolling through the airport when security flagged me down.

"What's the problem?" I asked.
"We saw you stroking your goatee and laughing maniacally earlier and have reason to believe you're a Middle Eastern terrorist."
"Fine.  Where do you want to do this?" I asked.
"You don't seem overly concerned, sir," the security guy said.
"Well, while I am dark-complected, I don't think too many Middle Eastern terrorists have greenish-gray eyes and a rural Missouri accent."

The guy led me into a tiny white room and left the room to run my driver's license.  He soon returned.
"Sorry, sir.  You're free to go."

I pretended like I was going to shake his hand and punched him in the balls.  Then the dream was over.

My favorite part was that they saw me stroking my goatee and thought I was a terrorist.

two

Two more days! Today's tune is Don't Have To.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Orange Soda Chicken Experiment

I was talking to a friend about cooking a couple days ago when I remembered this recipe.  Unfortunately, no written record exists anywhere.  Earlier this evening, I attempted to reassemble the recipe from memories partially shrouded in an alcoholic haze.

First, the ingredients:
A pound of chicken.

12 ounces of orange soda.  I used one and a half of these cute little bastards.  I'm not sure if the Deadwood complete series boxed set visible behind them on my kitchen table is necessary but it couldn't hurt.





A hot sauce of your choice.


A package of stir fry vegetables.  You may need more than one.


An alcoholic beverage of your choice to drink while you're cooking.  Smithwick's is preferred but I suppose other beers or mixed drinks would work.  I suppose you could attempt it without having a tipple at the same time but it's not recommended.






First, you're going to want to dump your orange soda into a pan, then add a small dollop of your hot sauce.  Don't add a shitload or it will be to hot to eat once the mixture cooks down.  Note that dollop and shitload are highly scientific units of measurement.


Turn up the heat and start cutting your chicken into bite-sized chunks.  The basic premise of this recipe is to get the mixture of orange soda and hot sauce boiling and throw the chicken in.  By the time you're finished, hopefullly, the chicken will be permeated with a sweet and spicy taste and also have a nice sweet and spicy glaze on the outside.


I was about two beers deep into my six pack at this point so time became rather flexible.  Cook the chicken in the mixture until the mixture has been greatly reduced.  You'll want to leave a little of the sauce at the bottom of the pan.  Once your chicken is cooked, throw in your veggies and put the lid on and let the veggies steam in the citric mist you've been creating.


The success or failure of this process hinges on a few factors:

  1. You're going to want enough vegetables to make it worthwhile.  One bag wasn't quite enough.
  2. You want a hot sauce that has some bite to it.  The East Asian Tabasco I picked didn't really have the heat that I was looking for.  Still, it's a nice tasting sauce.
  3. Don't use too much soda!  This is the most important factor when attempting this.  Too much and the shit will never cook down enough.  In retrospect, 8 ounces probably would have been plenty.

Excitement Level Increasing...

First off, I have a confession to make.  It was 55 degrees in my house last night when I got home so I caved in and turned on the heat despite my resolve to not turn it on until November first.  Now that I've gotten that off my chest, it feels as if a huge weight has been lifted and I can get down to business.

My excitement level regarding NaNoWriMo is finally reaching appropriate levels after weeks of meh.  I've decided that I'm lifting the inept country police department from my August Camp NaNoWriMo fragment and possibly some of the dialogue as well.  I'm adding another deputy, a guy that never speaks or does much of anything (until I need him to) to be one of my wildcards.  I still need to come up with some names and locations but I think things are coming together.

Actual dialog from work about Muammar Qaddafi

Adrienne: Has it been confirmed that Qaddafi is dead?

Joe: It doesn't matter.  I'm pretty sure I'm not in his will.

Me: I know I'm not.  He's still mad at me for that time I tracked mud on his nice new carpets.

Joe: He never forgave me for that time I was picking up his neighbor's daughter for a date and kept honking my horn.  He didn't like the honking at all.

Three

The Slackers countdown continues.  Today's tune is Body Double.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Possible Road Trip next Spring?

Is it wrong to drive for several hours just to take pictures of white squirrels?  Well, I'm doing it anyway...

In other news, I'm still behind on NaNoWriMo preparations, both culinary and otherwise.

Things to do:
  1. Come up with a good name for the Deacon
  2. Come up with names for the victim and the woman who hires Garvin
  3. invent some locations to visit
  4. figure out which clues are at which location
  5. Decide how I'm going to mislead the reader into thinking Garvin is trying to reform rather than trying to stay out of jail.
  6. Figure out what the lynchpin will be that sets of Garvin and has him start gifting his enemies with hot lead.  Besides me being 60% finished with the story, I mean.

4 more Peculiar days

Today's song on the countdown to the Slackers is Peculiar.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

NaNoWriMoPrep

It's getting to be that time of year where I need to stock up on crucial NaNoWriMo supplies.  What?  You thought this was going to be about outlining and such? 

My NaNo supplies consist of the following:
  1. frozen pizzas
  2. fish sticks
  3. ramen
  4. granola bars
  5. a few pads of post-its
  6. coffee
  7. tea
See the pattern?  I tend to focus on things I can heat and eat.  Or just eat, in the case of granola bars.  The tea and coffee are the caffeine delivery systems I prefer.

Other things I'll have to do include taking care of the leaves in my yard so I don't have a heaping pile once NaNoWriMo is over.  Actually, I think that's about it.  I'll probably do a deep house cleaning so I can rule that out as a way to procrastinate.

5

Five more days.  Today's Slackers tune is Lazy Woman.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Sometimes Mondays last until Thursday evening

It's hard for me to go to bed on Sunday nights.  Monday's right around the corner and I've no doubt upset my sleep schedule by then.  Last night was more of the same.  I finished Fourth Down to Death, a cheesy Brett Halliday paperback from the 70's.  As far as detective stories go, it showed me what I don't want to do in Bullets Don't Blink.

Anyway, it was tough silencing my brain after that.  I managed to fall asleep but Belle woke me up around midnight.  I thought she had to go to the bathroom but it turned out she really wanted to give her realm a surprise inspection.  Good thing there was enough moonlight to walk by.  So, I'm really tired today.

The midnight walk wasn't all bad, though.  I ironed out a few more details in Bullets Don't Blink.  The more I think about it, the more I like the idea of basing the ficitious Missouri town it takes place in on the semi-ficticious Missouri town I live in.  Change some names and distances and Bob's your uncle.  Actually, I do have an Uncle Bob.

It seems to me that I should come up with some clues for Garvin to uncover at each of the locations he initally visits.  I already have some things in mind but I'll likely throw some random things in so I have some additional ammo if I get stuck.  I've never tried writing a mystery before so this should be a learning experience.

In other news, from here until November 1st, I'll be reading nothing but detective novels for inspirational purpose.  I think I have enough to last me two weeks.

6 more days

Today's Slackers tune is The Nurse.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Sunday Snaps (Though some are actually from Saturday Evening)

I've made the right choice

It took some restraint not to say "write choice" in the title.  Bad puns are awesome.

Anyway, I keep finding myself thinking of details to work into Bullets Don't Blink.  I figured out where my ex-con hero protagonist will get his guns this morning while I was walking the dog.  His personality is still a little elusive but I'm sure I can figure that out before the 1st.  I think he used to be a pretty driven criminal in his youth but 12 years in the clink has made him reluctant to do anything that might send him back there.

In non-writing news, I'm on pace to finish the new Terry Pratchett book today.  I'd say it's his best book in years but I've always been partial to Sam Vimes and the Ankh-Morpork City Watch books.

7 more days

Only one more week!  Today's tune: Runaway

Friday, October 14, 2011

Yeah, looks like I'm switching to the detective story after all

Here's the teaser for Bullets Don't Blink:

A young woman pays down on his luck ex-con David Garvin to investigate her friend's suspicious suicide.  Garvin's investigation gets him entangled in a web of deceit, drugs, and death!  Can Garvin find the woman's killer before he ends up dead or back in jail?

When you're staring down the barrel of a gun...


Bullets Don't Blink!

Now I just have to write the damn thing.

Pictures from the park

9 Days and Counting

Nine more days until the Slackers come to town.  Today's song - The Fried Chicken Song.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Shouldn't my excitement level be higher than this?

I find myself lacking enthusiasm about NaNoWriMo.  Don't get me wrong, I'm still looking forward to it.  I'm just not as gung-ho about it as I've been in previous years.

The idea of setting aside The Big Red Ragnarok and doing a regular detective novel has crossed my mind quite a bit recently.  For one thing, I'm not in a fantasy type of mood and for another, I've been wanting to write one for a long time. 

I've still got a couple weeks to decide, I guess.

Two Countdowns? It just isn't done!

There are 19 days until NaNoWriMo kicks off.  However, there is another impending date that's getting priority for the moment.

My favorite band, The Slackers, are coming to St. Louis in a mere ten days.  To celebrate the occasion, I will be posting a youtube video each day until then highlighting one of my favorite Slackers tunes.  Here's today's, You Don't Know I.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

That Damnable Seductress!

For the past couple years, I've been watching less and less TV in order to do more reading.  It's gone very well.  My unread pile continues to dwindle and I shouldn't have very many books when 2012 hits.  However...

... Around the beginning of July, I began watching the DVD backlog I'd been accumulating and discovered that not all television sucks.  First, I watched both seasons of Flight of the Conchords in near record time.  After that, it was the first season of Soap.  From there, Futurama season 5 and the second season of the Sarah Silverman Program.

In the last month, I've watched a shameful amount of television.  It all started when Deadwood was the deal of the day on Amazon.  I burned through five episodes one Sunday afternoon and watched all 36 episodes in two weeks.  That'll put a damper on anyone's reading.

As I neared the end of Deadwood, Justified became my new target.  I finished the final episode of season 1 last night.  Luckily I've become enamored with the Matt Smith version of Doctor Who lately and series 5 was in my gold box on Amazon the other day.  I'll be watching the good Doctor in the coming weeks and plan to have it wrapped up before NaNoWriMo kicks off.

It's odd.  I've always been apprehensive about dipping my toe in the Doctor's universe.  There are hundreds of episodes and multiple Doctors.  Until recently, the only ones I've ever seen have been John Pertwee or Tom Baker episodes.  For some reason, every time I visit my parents, BBC America has a Dr. Who marathon and I've since become hooked on the Matt Smith version.  I don't intend on backtracking at this time but you never know.

Research Shmesearch

If past years are any indication, I should have a lot more in the way of written notes for my NaNoWriMo story by now.  As it stands, all I have are a few emails to myself and some post-its.  Oh, and the beginning and ending are both pretty well formed.

I'm a little conflicted on how much prep I should do before November 1 hits.  In 2009 and 2010, I had pages of stuff and a rough outline by now.  On the other hand, in 2009 and 2010, the story didn't feel as lively as my Camp NaNoWriMo novel, Sweating Bullets did. 

Sweating Bullets had the back cover teaser, some character names, and a few scenes ideas when July 1st hit.  Sweating Bullets was the first story in a while where the characters felt like they were doing what they wanted, not what I wanted.  Sweating Bullets didn't need the worldbuilding that I'm going to need for The Big Red Ragnarok, though. 

At the very least, I think I should come up with a few characters for Loki to interact with on each of the Nine Homeworlds and some visuals.  I know my dwarves are going to be steampunky and the elves of Alfheim will probably be feral cannibals.  Not sure about the giants of Jotunheim yet apart from them being quite tall.

Another aspect of the story I'm still waffling on is who will be tagging along with Loki as he tries to piece together who was behind the attempt on Odin's life.  Odin had two ravens that served as his spies and I'm thinking about one or both of them tailing the Trickster, mostly so he'll have someone to banter with.  Another idea I had was having a Valkyrie tag along, possibly with her own agenda.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Mr. T-Bone and The Young Lions - The President Of The Republic Of Bananas

I couldn't find anything from the new album on Youtube so here's some classic Mr. T-Bone.  He played this one last night.

He looks taller on my records - The Mr. T-Bone report

The evening was off to a rocky start.  Greg moved since the last time we went to a show so I had to find his new place.  I would have been fine if I hadn't looked at the map and just went with my instincts.  I had to turn around once but I still got there in time for two episodes of The Monkees.

Once Greg got ready, two of the fastest eaters on the planet hit the South City Diner.  I saw something called the meatloaf omelet on the menu and my mind was made up.  It was delicious.  A very short time later, we finished eating and headed for Off Broadway.  We may have been the first people there who weren't with the bands.

As show time grew nearer, I started to feel bad for the bands.  Not a lot of people had showed up.  And by not a lot, I mean around 20.  It was around this time I noticed an older gentleman about my size or possible a little shorter.  I could tell by the way he was watching Murder City Players set up that he was a musician.  I couldn't remember what any of Eastern Standard Time's members looked like other than the singer, who shaved off his waist-length dreadlocks since the last time they came to town, so I assumed he was with them.

Greg and I hit the Jump Up Records table and I filled some holes in my ska collection.  The selection they brought was a little crappy, mostly 90's stuff, but I still found a couple King Django records I didn't have.

Murder City Players went on first.  They've never been one of my favorite bands but they're local and are good for getting the crowd into it.  They played some good classic ska and reggae tunes but I was really waiting for Eastern Standard Time.

Eastern Standard Time hit the stage and I saw the older man playing trombone for them.  It was then I first suspected I'd been standing next to Mr. T-Bone for twenty minutes without realizing it earlier.  Did I miss my chance to talk to him?

EST blew the tiny crowd away.  They played like there were 500 people in the bar instead of less than 50.  My only gripe was that they didn't play Get Ready.  That Girl was easily their best song of the night.

After a short break, EST took the stage a second time and it was then I was sure the trombone player was Mr. T-Bone.  Mr. T-Bone sang and belted out the tunes with his trombone for another set.  It was great.  He played songs off of all his albums, a lot of them from the album that came out the day before.  If I hadn't bought it earlier in the evening, I would have rushed to the merch table to buy it.

The set ended and Mr. T-Bone was immediately surrounded as he walked to the back.  Again, I kicked myself for not talking to him when I had him to myself before the Murder City Players.

As the band broke down their equipment, Greg said he wanted to go out back and have a smoke before we left.  We went outside.  Guess who showed up to have a cigarette a minute or two later?

Mr. T-Bone got a light from Greg and proceeded to talk with us for at least half an hour.  I always like finding out my favorite artists aren't assholes and T-Bone was great.  His English was very good and he told us about playing with the Slackers and the Skatalites and other bands I have great love for.  You could tell by the way he talked about them that even though he'd been playing for years and years, he was still a big fan of ska.   He told us about touring in Europe and trying to book bands over there.

We mentioned Dr. Ring-Ding and Mr. T-Bone asked us if we knew the story?  We said no and he told us how he was playing with a two-tone band and the DJ played a tune between sets and T-Bone was awestruck and knew he wanted his band to sound like that.  The record was Dandimite and the artist was Dr. Ring-Ding.

I told Mr. T-Bone I loved his record of instrumentals and he said he loved it too and it was the only one of his own records he could listen to.  He said that he normally can't listen to any of his own recordings until years later, once he forgets how much work went into it.  That resonated with me since I'm the same way about my writing.

As things wound down, Mr. T-Bone told us he was going to Brazil in a few weeks to do some shows and record a dub record.  He finished up his cigarettes and we shook hands and headed out.

Greg and I walked out even bigger Mr. T-Bone fans than we were going in.  It was a great show.