Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Snake Season!

I'm waiting for my Hamburger Helper to thicken/congeal. I didn't really want it but I need leftovers to take to work tomorrow and Thursday.

Reservations have been made for Carrie's and my vacation. We're both ready to go. Too bad we have a month to wait.

Got my hair cut today so of course I'm itchy as hell. Still, my hair should be in that brief two week window of perfection when we head south. I'll need another haircut shortly after we return.

Finally got Eight Million Ways to Die. Once I finish The Hook, I'll be able to resume following Matthew Scudder on his cases.

I saw a dead snake run over on the road today while I was walking the hound. It was a green snake about a foot long. I guess that means it's time to start watching where I walk more carefully when I'm hiking and walking the hound.

I don't hear the Helper sizzling any more. Time to eat!

Monday, March 29, 2010

What's for dinner?

Another Monday has come and gone. I'm sitting here recovering from my workout by doing some 12 oz. curls. It's been a week since I changed my workout and I weigh seven pounds less than I did the last time I weighed myself. Unfortunately, the last time I weighed myself was August so who knows how much I actually dropped last week. I have discovered one thing in the past week: 20 year old Dan bounced back a hell of a lot faster than 32 year old Dan.

I read an interview with Donald Westlake today where he said he never used an outline and largely winged it, telling himself a little more of the story every day. I'm going to try that with The Gravedigger's Promise once I get some quiet time in which to write and run out of ways to procrastinate.

My boss finally has the only existing copy of A Summer At Thornhill Manor in her possession so that she may read it. She saw the NaNoWriMo 2008 and 2009 certificates on my cube wall the other day and asked why she never got to read them. Now's her chance. I did warn her not to read it near water, since that's how my first copy of Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell met its demise at her hand.

I don't think anything else is going on. I have yet to talk to any of my neighbors about yesterday's mystery explosion but it seems much less important with over 24 hours elapsed. Carrie's feeling better so I'll be heading over there tomorrow evening with the third of a cake I saved on Saturday. I did some planning for our vacation today and will start booking rooms any day now. I'm thinking about bringing my laptop so I can transfer pictures as I go and not worry about filling my memory card.

Looks like I'll be sandwiching it up this evening. I want to save my leftovers for tomorrow's lunch. I'm trying to cut the cafeteria at work out of my life completely except for a place to read for an hour every day.

Better walk the hound, I guess.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

What the hell was that noise?

This morning I was taking Belle on her second walk when there was a loud boom, so loud that I did a sort of half crouch. It was louder than thunder and sounded like some kind of explosion. I didn't see any smoke but it sounded really close. I could hear at least four different dogs barking. Belle didn't react. I assumed it was some kind of meth lab explosion but the lack of smoke or visible damage to any of the houses in the neighborhood led me to think it was at Brickeys or Holcim. My subsequent investigation on our third walk yielded no findings since no one was outside to talk to me.

I read the third and fourth Matthew Scudder books today. That's what rainy Sundays are for. Now I'm spinning my reading wheels until Eight Million Ways to Die shows up at the bookstore. Fortunately I have plenty to read until it shows. Still, I hope it's soon.

Carrie's finally getting over the flu that hit her Friday afternoon. It feels like a long time since I've seen her even though it was last Tuesday.

I'm hoping to get an outline ready for my Gravedigger story in the next day or so. I've got big ideas but I don't know if I have enough to make it go 70,000 plus words.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Loathsome Thing my Dog Did This Morning

So I was walking the dog this morning and deep in thought when I heard her make a gulping noise. I looked down to find a scrap of hide about six inches long and at least four inches wide. It was still raw and bloody on the other side. I think it was rabbit hide. Anyway, I could not get her to let it go. Every five feet or so I'd stop and tell her to put it down. She wasn't having any of it. I finally got her to release it once we got into the kitchen. Since she was still on the leash, I kicked the piece of hide toward the trash can and distracted her with a dog biscuit while I picked it up with a paper towel. It was gag inducing. After she ate the biscuit, she looked around for the piece of hide and seemed mad that I threw it away.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

March is almost over

The weekend is fast approaching. What have I accomplished this week?

The only noteworthy thing I can think of is finishing the first round of edits on Sailors on the Sea of Dead Gods. I hadn't looked at it since I finished the epilogue on December 16th. It's a hell of a lot better than I thought it was. Once I forget the torture that goes into a story, it's a lot easier for me to enjoy reading it.

BBQ at Chris and Abby's Saturday. Carrie and I are quite excited.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Case of the Mondays

Man, did today ever drag! Three people in my group called in, no doubt suffering from Monday Fever.

Still, not all was lost. I tweaked the Digger fragment a bit and resolved to start editing Sailors on the Sea of Dead Gods as soon as I remember to put it on my flash drive.

In other news, I changed my workout routine back to what it was when I was 20, my thinking being that since that was when I was the most ripped, I was doing something right. In layman's terms, I lowered the amount of weight and do more reps. Judging by how heavy my arms seem at the moment, I think it will be productive.

I'm planning on uploading some pictures later if I feel like it after I get done picking up sticks in the yard.

Story fragment starring the Gravedigger

I wrote this first thing yesterday morning. I already know the ending. I just have to get there and hope I can get an entire book out of the story.

Digger leaned against a tree and smoked a cigar as he waited for the ceremony to end and the mourners to scatter. He didn't know who he was going to bury and didn't care. He never understood why so much ceremony went into burials. The dead never noticed. Digger ran a hand across his freshly buzzed scalp and blew a cloud of blue smoke toward the grave site. He took the cigar from his savage slash of a mouth and furrowed his beetled brow as he shook ash from the cigar’s end. How long was this blowhard going to take?

His cigar was nearly down to the nub when the priest finished his piece and the crowd scurried away like frightened mice. Digger stubbed out his cigar against the tree trunk and climbed into the seat of the front loader. It started with a roar and he went to work filling the grave.

Grave digging wasn't the best job he'd ever had but the best he could find. No one was eager to hire someone fresh out of the joint after a seventeen year stretch for armed robbery. The priest at the church across the cemetery gave him the job as a way to help him start a new life. Funny how Digger’s new life saw him getting paid two bucks an hour less than newspaper ad said. It didn’t matter, though. Digger had money in safety deposit boxes in ten nearby towns that he could dip into when the need arose. The cemetery job was just a cover.

Calvin Wallace was the name on Digger’s driver’s license and his social security card but it wasn’t the name he’d been born with. It was one of several cover identities he’d created over the years, the only one the FBI hadn’t uncovered. Digger sounded more like his real name so he let the locals call him that.

Once the hole had been filled in, Digger took his shovel and half-heartedly packed down the fresh earth with a shovel. He thought it was pointless but he didn’t want the priest on his ass later. Digger was finishing up when he heard footsteps behind him.

Digger spun around, his teeth bared and his knuckles white from his grip on the shovel, ready to kill if necessary. His enemies were legion and one of them might have tracked him down. He breathed a short sigh of relief when he saw who was approaching.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Sunday already

I'm glad the weather held yesterday because today is really dreary.

Belle and I got a good hike in yesterday morning. We walked past the rocks along the creek where I used to play with my brother and our cousins when we were little. I'm amazed no one broke an ankle or anything. The rocks were so irregular and we'd run across them with no thought of safety. I found a sun-bleached squirrel skull at the edge of Grandpa's property. The front teeth were still intact.

Belle got into it with Molly, Grandma and Grandpa's border collie. I'm not surprised since Belle treats her like crap. Still, Molly gets in Belle's face all the time and I know it gets on Belle's nerves. Doesn't Molly remember what a bitch Belle is?

I'm going over to Carrie's later, once I do some cleaning. I have to do some vacuuming and other distasteful household tasks. The weather outside is making me sluggish, though.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

More Coffee

Here I am again, making my way through another Parker book and another pot of coffee.

Carrie and I ate take out from the fish fry last night. It was awesome. I'm going to be sad when Lent is over and the KC hall doesn't have fish fries every other week anymore.

After yesterday, I'm down to 80 unread books in the house, probably the lowest it's been in seven years. They all fit on one small bookcase... for now. I'm contemplating driving out to high ridge today to get some of the Matthew Scudder books I don't have yet. Block won me over with the first book and I've heard that Scudder is his best work. I remember seeing the third book out there when I was out there last week. I was thinking last night that the unread section might stand one more pass through in a few weeks. We'll see.

Belle's tired but I'm going to take her over in a couple hours for her exercise anyway. I like having her out of my hair when I do my weekend cleaning. I hope the rain holds off until the evening.

Friday, March 19, 2010


My morning half pot of coffee is almost done so I figure I should get cleaned up and do my running around for the day.

I finished Sins of the Father by Lawrence Block this morning. Best Block yet! It's amazing to look back and see how the Hard Case Crime series has changed my reading habits in the past few years. Until I started reading them, I had yet to discover Lawrence Block, Donald Westlake, Max Allan Colllins, and a few other of my recent favorites.

I'm looking over my unread books and trying to decide which ones to keep. I don't want to do anything rash but I think if I haven't picked up a book in the four years I've owned it, I can probably kick it to the curb. Plus, it will free up shelf space for more books.

Yesterday, I forgot to mention that I skipped coffee entirely and drank four cups of tea instead. It worked out well and I think I'll keep it up. I hate the third floor galley. The people act like they're too good to make coffee half the time and grumble when you don't put twice as much grounds in the left machine. As if any cup beyond the first two will have any more caffeine than normal.

Carrie and I hit the Cracker Barrel at 4 yesterday. Man, do I love eating at old people time! We had already dined and walked around the Festus Park a couple times before 6. We saw a group of people and one of them was walking a white Basenji mix. I saw numerous resemblances to Belle, complete with having to be at the front of the group.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Thursday Night

So I decided on the spur of the moment to take off tomorrow. It's supposed to be a nice sunny day. I figure I can get some things done in the morning and then slob around the remainder of the weekend.

It's high time I begin editing the story I wrote for NaNoWriMo 2009. I want that printed proof, damn it! Plus I'm hoping it will get me back in the writing mood. I plan on trying my hand at a detective novel next. After reading the two Lawrence Block books about writing I own, I'm itching to put some of his advice to good use.

I'm going to prune my unread books again tomorrow morning for the final time for the foreseeable future. I shouldn't have binge-bought so much Roger Zelazny and Philip Jose Farmer.

Monday, March 8, 2010

The Big Hike

So yesterday morning, right around 7:20, Belle freaked out, alerting me to Joe's arrival. After locking up, we sped down 55, jumped off at O, and took O to 32. From there, it was a short jaunt to CC, and Hickory Creek Canyon.

Even though it was 60 degrees, there was still an amazing amount of ice in the woods. Joe's dog Chloe was all over the place. We left the beaten path to look at a frozen waterfall, unaware of what we'd see later along the path. Ice was hanging everywhere. Once we completed the 1.5 mile loop, we crossed the road to another 1/4 mile spur, where we saw a frozen waterfall about thirty feet high.

Once the Hickory Creek Canyon expedition was complete, we got back in the truck and headed farther down 32 to AA and onward to Pickle Springs. Pickle Springs was also in the grips of an ice age. Once the two mile loop was completed, we headed into Ste. Gen and dined at The Anvil, where burgers and onion rings were consumed in short order and we headed for home.

One twenty minute power nap later and I was heading out to Carrie's.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Sunshine at last!

I'm tired. I got up fairly early and took Belle over to the parents' for her exercise and exercise we did. We walked further afield than usual and took an old, over-grown farm road deep into the woods, eventually ending up along the same creek I've traversed the past two weeks. I had my mom and aunt in tow. Actually, after a about a mile I was the one in tow. They're in better shape than I am from walking about three times as much as I do every day. I nabbed a few good rocks and found a shed antler that my mom and aunt both passed. It was a five pointer but didn't look like it would have been a narrow rack had I had the missing antler.

I experienced a bit of catharsis at the used bookstore by unloading another 20 unread books. I think I could probably dump another 20. I'll start unloading the books I've already read next.

Joe and I are getting up really early tomorrow to hike so I think I'll be rising at my normal time. Seeing as how I plan on going to bed early anyway, this shouldn't be a problem.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

March 4th already?

Time flies when most days involve driving to work, working, and driving home from work.

Not a hell of a lot going on this week other than Donald Westlake drawing ever closer to the top of my favorite writers list. I think I'll add the Dortmunder and Parker books to my list of lifetime goals, along with the libraries of P.G. Wodehouse and Roger Zelazny.

Is it wrong to already be contemplating what books I want to bring on vacation?