Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Belle woke me up four times to take her out last night.  That's the last time I let her eat a bite of Schnuck's brand frozen pizza.  My brain is a little fogged today due to the interruptions.

I've got a roast going in the crock pot today with carrots, celery, and potatoes.  For the liquid content, I dumped in a bottle of beer and a can of beef broth.  I'm expecting magic.  I need to remember to grab a loaf of french bread on the way home.

With only 33 days left, I'm chomping at the bit to get started on Wandering the Web of Worlds.  Things are coming together in my head.  I'm still working on the characters who aren't Fenlock and coming up with more background material.  Hopefully I'll be able to get it all done in November.  I've already got big ideas for the sequels.

I've got my grubby mitts on I Shall Wear Midnight yesterday, possibly Terry Pratchett's last book due to his early onset Altzheimers.  It's good so far.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Dangerous Dan's Book Blog

I created Dangerous Dan's Book Blog this morning in an effort to score more free books.  I'm still working on it.  It will likely be duplicates of my Goodreads reviews.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Day After

Another family fish fry has come and gone in a blur of greasy food.  I had a good time hanging with the family and gorging myself.  It was nice to see Ricki and Ben again.  I think that was the first time I'd seen them since Thanksgiving two years ago.  I need to remember to post that picture of Chris drinking a Little Hug on Facebook later for Abby.  Abby and Carrie both wore purple.  I don't think that's the first time they've accidentally matched.  My brother makes superior onion rings, btw.  Don't tell my mom.

Any minuses for the weekend?  Carrie has the hives and has determined that it's because of the antibiotic she was prescribed for a sinus infection two weeks ago.  She was determined not to miss the fish fry though.

I went to bed frighteningly early last night.  I only made it to 8 because I was talking to Carrie.  That was before she determined the antibiotic was what was giving her the hives.  Ten hours of sleep later and I felt like a new man.  Too bad it's been a gloomy overcast day.

In closing, here's a visit from Perspective Man:

Friday, September 24, 2010

Fish Fry Eve

The most romantic holiday of the year, the Schwent Family and Friends Fish Fry, is nearly upon us.  Visions of fried fish, hushpuppies, onion rigs, and fried potatoes are dancing through my head.

Yeah, that armadillo is getting pretty ripe.  I don't think the local scavengers know quite what to do with it.  Buzzards are circling and flies are buzzing.  I saw a fox in the vicinity.  If fables are any indication, he'll swindle the others out of the boodle and be well-fed for a few days.

I think I moved one step closer to being a book blogger a few minutes ago.  I accepted a friend request from something called The Cadence Group, some kind of collective that sends books out to reviewers.  I looked at Cadence's friends and saw everyone that's normally ahead of me in the top 50 reviewers every week.  We'll see how this plays out.

Carrie should be here soon, just in time for the corn muffins to come out of the oven.

Conchord School Road Invaded!

So yesterday morning I was leaving the neighborhood.  I thought I saw something dead with all four feet in the air.  I speculated that it was an armadillo but couldn't tell for sure.  There are a lot of things I can't tell for sure at 5 in the morning.

Last night, Belle and I were on our walk and I didn't see the mystery critter.  Did I imagine it?  We turned around at the end of the road and walked back.  There it was in the tall grass beside the ditch.  A dead armadillo.  Was this armadillo the forerunner of an invasion?  Only time will tell...

Ham and bean soup crocking right now.  I've also got the makings of corn bread muffins so dinner tonight will be a delight.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Hobbit Day (and the things bothering me on Hobbit Day)

At some point since the Lord of the Rings frenzy kicked off in the 60's, today was made Hobbit day.  I guess now I have an excuse to lounge around bare-footed this evening.  Like I mentioned way back here, Lord of the Rings isn't one of my favorites, mostly due to the inferior imitations that have glutted the field ever since.

I don't think I mentioned this before but, like many boys, I was a tremendous dinosaur enthusiast as a lad.  This morning on Yahoo News, I noticed an article about new dinos being discovered in Utah.  Imagine my "shock" when I notice when I notice most of the comments are about God creating the universe in seven days and the scientists being wrong.  Sigh. 

After months of drinking tea at work, I had two cups of coffee this morning to complement the donuts Joe brought in.  I'm surprised at how intense the caffeine infusion from the coffee was.  How did I not notice this before?  How have I subsisted on tea for so many weeks?  And how can I go back to tea tomorrow?

On a closing note, I think pork is the most romantic of the meats.  Bacon, etc.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

41 Days Left

I've got a serious case of the writing itch right now and I've got almost six weeks before I can scratch it properly.  Maybe I should pick The Isle of No Return back up and finish it as a temporary balm for my writing itch.

Wandering the Web of Worlds is becoming clearer and clearer in my mind.  I've figured out the beginning and the ending.  The middle is still pretty fuzzy but my list of things to include keeps getting bigger.  I still need to work on the characters other than Fenlock a bit more but I'm feeling a lot more confident than I did last week.  Since fantasy space opera hasn't been done very often before, I feel like a bit of a trailblazer.  Should I use aliens that look like humanoid rhinos or horses?  How many insectile alien species is too many?  How would a city on the back of a giant spider survive?  So many choices...

There's a technicolor rainbow of mushrooms on my lawn.  I meant to take a picture of some of them yesterday but I ran out of time.  There was a bright red one, a strange bright yellow one, one that was the color of a bruise, and many in different shades of off white.  I'm almost as interested in fungus as I am in insects and rocks.

My reading mojo is back but still not in full swing.  I'm still less than halfway through Nifft the Lean and I started Saturday. 

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

History repeats itself

 Last year, I caught Carrie and Belle napping on the couch while I was making dinner.

Last night, Carrie finished washing dishes to find Belle and I lounging on the couch.

Notice the near mirror image of the pose, as well as the similar colors between my shirt and her blanket.

An Interesting Experiment

This morning on Goodreads, I received an friend request from a Goodreads Author.  My first impulse was to reject him since he had 25 books and over 800 friends.  Then I took a closer look and noticed a few interesting things.
  • He's written three books
  • All of his books are self-published through Author House
  • All of the ratings for his books are five stars except for a to-read.
Bits of an experiment came together in my head.
  1. Befriend this author
  2. Finesse a free copy of one of his books out of him
  3. Proceed to give it an honest review rather than one of the obviously planted ones.
We'll see what happens.  I hate when Goodreads Authors seed their reviews with obvious ringers.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Sunday Afternoon

I've just finished cleaning and I'm listening to Chris Murray.  Feels like a good time to blog.

Belle and I went to my parents' for exercise again today.  She should be content until the weekend now.  Even though she's closing in on eleven, she still likes running through the fields like a maniac.  I took a few pictures and walked through the biggest spiderweb of my career.  It was about the size of the one from the beginning of Raiders of the Lost Ark.

I needed a mid afternoon caffeine bump so I brewed a pot of coffee.  The last thing I want later this evening is a caffeine headache.

Pushing through The Host this week has had an expected side effect: I don't feel like reading.  Every time I pick up Nifft the Lean, I veg and my concentration fades.  Hopefully I'll get my reading mojo back by tomorrow.

My parents' big fish fry in next weekend.  I'm very excited.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


48 days until National Novel Writing Month kicks off.  I should start writing some ideas down pretty soon.  The story is taking shape in my head.  I just hope it goes the distance.

Monday night, my mom called to ask if I had any plans for Tuesday.  Since Carrie was in class, I didn't.  She was cooking a roast and wanted to know if I wanted to come over and help eat it.  Like she needed to ask.  It was a delight.  Roast, gravy, mashed potatoes, corn on the cob, rolls, and liver dumplings, with pineapple upside down cake for dessert.  Belle also had fun.  She galloped all over the yard and was pretty tired when we got home.  I took some pictures that I'll post later.

On the reading front, Theresa's been bugging me to read The Host since giving it to me for Christmas last year.  I guess I'll take it on once I finish The Killer Inside Me.  After that, I'll probably stick to the few fantasy books I have in the house until November 1 hits.

Monday, September 13, 2010

No Way

My air conditioner is now working once again, though I don't need it at the moment.  A circuit board was fried and the guy had one in his truck.  Now I'm stuck working from home the rest of the day.  I should have put in a half day since the outdoors keep beckoning me.  No Way I could work from home every day.  I'm going a little stir crazy as it is and I had to put Belle out on the chain to keep from accidentally murdering her.  At least there are good tunes at my house...

Friday, September 10, 2010

It's Always Something

So I got home today and noticed the air conditioner sounded funny and not funny ha-ha.  More funny strange.  It was running but no air was coming through the vents.  After a few experiments and some googling, I determined that the compressor was locked up.  As much as I'd like to go off on a "poor me" rant, that's what I get for buying my parents' house from them.  Lots of the stuff is 20-30 years old and overdue for breaking.  Looks like I'll be calling the AC guys on Monday.  Good thing 82 is the hottest it's supposed to get this week.  Hopefully they'll be able to get to it early in the week.

In my endless endeavor to score free books, I've been entering Goodreads giveaways.  I must confess I have no idea how one gets selected.  I know people who've had less than 100 books on their shelves that have won multiple times.  I've entered quite a few of the drawings.  With my luck, I'll probably win something I'm only marginally interested in and the author will hound me for a review. 

I think I've got the bones of my story ready for National Novel Writing Month.  I know the beginning, some of the characters, the ending, and the fact that I love the idea of a city built on the back of a giant spider.  I plan on having a fairly fleshed-out outline by the time November 1st hits.

One thing I dislike about NaNoWriMo is that I don't have much time for reading and sure don't have time to read anything that requires a lot of thought.  I think I'll be plowing through short story collections for the duration.  I have a monster book of pulp noir that's been on my shelf for a couple years now, as well as some Harold Lamb and P.G. Wodehouse that need reading.

I have to get up bright and early tomorrow to get my wheels aligned and new shocks and struts.  Did I mention I had to get new tires last Saturday?  I'd better bring something along to read.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Fursday. Almost the weekend...

Just about dinner time.  I'm planning on cooking up a package of breakfast steaks and making steak and horseradish sammiches with a baked potato on the side.  Should be tasty.

The company picnic is tomorrow at noon.  I am unexcited for the following reasons:
  • Forced socialization outside of work
  • Although we normally get to wear jeans on Friday, there's a site visit this Friday so we'll have to bring a change of clothes unless we want to frolic in our khakis.
  • There's like an 80% chance of rain, which means we'll have to huddle beneath pavillions
  • While we'll probably get to leave a bit early, the picnic is ten minutes in the wrong direction
Maybe I can bring a book along...

In other news, I ordered the new Southern Culture on the Skids CD but I'm not sure if it actually went through.  I was never emailed a confirmation and I didn't save the receipt thinking that I'd be emailed a copy.  We'll see what happens.

I'm going to try to not buy any more books until after National Novel Writing Month.  I'm slowly getting the unread pile down to a manageable level, reading things that I've had for a long time but haven't felt like ditching in the various purges.  Sadly, I'll have to read The Host before the month is over...

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

It Happened Again

Yesterday while I was getting groceries at Schnuck's, some guy asked me if I was taking the yogurts that were expired.  I looked at him for a few seconds before reallizing what he was talking about.  I was wearing my white polo shirt and khaki's and he assumed I worked there.  If this was an isolated incident, I would have paid it no mind but I'd say it's happened ten times in the last three years.  Apparently I look pretty official when I'm dressed up.

The other repeat occurrence the blog title refers to is that another Goodreads author is sending me a free book to read and review.  If I'd known adding the disclaimer to my profile would result in free books, I would have done it years ago.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Slackers (and miscellaneous other stuff)

The first time I saw the Slackers in concert was 1997, that golden summer when ska concerts were as numerous as grains of sand on the beach.  Funny thing was I wasn't going for the Slackers.  I was going for Chris Murray, aka Venice Shoreline Chris.  Little did I know I'd be seeing quite a bit more of the Slackers as the years passed.

At this writing, I've seen the Slackers live somewhere between fifteen and twenty times.  I've seen them once in Edwardsville, three times in Chicago, and many times in St. Louis.  They've outlasted all of the clubs I've seen them in in St. Louis.  Collins Street Station is gone, the Creepy Crawl is gone, The Fire House is gone, Missippi Nights is gone, but the Slackers are still going strong.  They've been my favorite band for over one third of my life.  Sure, I've strayed a few times but I always come back.  And October 3rd at the Firebird, I'll see them again.

In other news, is it wrong to start a second blog, a book reviewing blog, just so eventually people will send me free books?

Monday, September 6, 2010

Not so bad

Since my yard is so shady, only about half of it needed cutting.  Weedeating, however, was like that part in The Predator where the guy is shredding the jungle with that mini gun right after Jesse Venture bought the farm.

I keep hearing that it's supposed to get up to 88 today.  I have my doubts seeing as how it's high noon and barely 70 degrees.

October 3rd is fast approaching us, the first time The Slackers have played in St. Louis in years.  I'll be back later with a chronicle of my love for the band.


Rather than get started on the yard work I have penciled in for today, I decided to write a blog entry.

The last few days have blown by in a blur of beautiful weather.  Saturday I took Belle over for her weekly exercise.  I was able to take some pictures even though it was pretty windy.  My parents have an armadillo tearing up their yard again.  I think my dad is planning on sitting out one night and relocating the armadillo... with a .22.  Later that day, I met up with Carrie and we spent the evening with her family, strolling around Farmington and eating a lot of BBQ.

Yesterday, we went to the Greek Festival.  It was super-crowded but the food was good.  Luckily, I weaseled my way out of driving, since I wasn't too keen on going anyway.  I don't need 3000 other people around to remind me I like Greek food.  Afterwords, we hit Spanky's for frozen custard.  I got the To Die For.  It was.

I got the 12 x 18 frame I ordered the other day.  Apparently Snapfish's 12 x 18 prints are actually 12 x 18 1/4.  After some minor surgery, I put it in the frame and hanged it in the living room.  And then moved it into the kitchen.  I have too much wall in the living room for a 12 x 18.  I nabbed a couple 16 x 20's yesterday at K-Mart.  Now I have to scour my collection and pick out two that I want to hang.

Damn, that didn't kill as much time as I thought it would.  I guess I'll bust out the iPod and start picking up sticks.