Book 3 - still being written

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Postby tollbaby » Sat Jul 22, 2006 8:09 pm

I was wondering what had happened to you lately Heather! Good to see you back, even if you're having poopy weather. Hopefully it will cool off some soon.
And what manner of jackassery must we put up with today? ~ Danae, Non Sequitur
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Postby hgladney » Sat Jul 22, 2006 9:30 pm

Well, let me know if something changes and you can make it!
BTW, the big meeting turned out fine--and the place *was* cooler than my house is now, plus I was pouring chilled juice for folks, sitting behind lovely ice buckets. Hog heaven to a polar bear like me!
Oh yeah--it was about 108 degrees F an hour ago.
Haven't head brownouts yet today, but we'll see.
Perseverance is more prevailing than violence; and many things which cannot be overcome when they are together, yield themselves up when taken little by little.
---Plutarch
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Postby hgladney » Sun Aug 06, 2006 1:29 am

Life has been way too interesting--or distracting--the last few days, and threatens to remain so for some weeks to come. For one thing, WorldCon is coming up this month in LA, and I plan to go.
I mean, that is, if the crick don't rise and the bridge holds and the chicken actually gets across the road.
To be more specific, a kitchen fire next door last night resulted in meeting a retired reporter, who helped us contain the fire until the big guys in big boots with hoses arrived. (Yes, they were quite amused by my little red fire extinguishers.)
Lots more happened after that, too.
http://nagasvoice.livejournal.com/146081.html
BTW, the retired reporter came over and banged on our door and came in for a visit, tonight, after I'd posted that entry.
Turns out he reminds me of an old alkie writer friend who's died--a continuous string of conversation with transitions mostly dependent on word associations rather than actual logical topics.
He needs help setting up his computer and then with scanning and archiving his collection of negatives of years of political events and campaigns; turns out he's a Goldwater Republican (he says he worked on those as a campaign worker, not reporter, when he was young) and he strongly approves of Bush. I was quite bemused by the fact he may get the help he really needs from our bunch of raving lefties, even while he discusses how good Reagan was and how his guys ended the Soviet bloc government.
Okaaaay.
I'm not saying there won't be some dispute if he does get the kind of help he wants from us.
But it will include doing something about the roaches in his place, that's for sure.
Seems like the least we could do for a guy who helped save the place next door, which meant saving the entire block, not just our house, from burning down while everybody else was standing around completely doofus about stopping combustion from happening.
What is it about people standing around just blankly staring at a fire that's out of control?
You get out the hoses, guys, it's not that hard.
I also commend to you those little red fire extinguishers labeled "ABC," by the way. They're cheap at major box stores, they're easy for anybody to use, and those ABC ones put out all the types of fires.
Really easy.
You just pull the ring out and start squeezing the trigger and aim the gooshing stuff at the base of the fire.
Not rocket science.
Just hurry up about getting your shoes and your clothes on, okay?
And it helps to have enough pet carriers handy for all your beasts without stuff falling down on your head when trying to retrieve them.
So I've had a little trouble settling down to get much done on the computer. I keep wanting to go do tangible things. Put things in order, clear passageways, do things to help my plants grow. And lots and lots of watering my plants. No dry plants at this place, I'm telling you.
I'm a little talked-out, I think. But visuals help. Right now I'm pleased to come across anything that's calming, soothing, and extremely well-done.
Someone found a rather remarkable tattoo site tonight. I'm a litle familiar with the field, but not into it for myself, mostly because if judged against other realist art in other media, most of the work I'd seen seemed a little too crude, amateurish, clumsy, or cartooonish for my personal taste.
Ya know what?
It was.
I commend artist Marie Wadman's work to your attention.
http://www.divingswallow.com/home.html
When you see her work, you'll see why she suggests you consult some botanical or art image references before you consult with her. And I like her suggestions. She commends the following collection of links to your attention.
http://www.divingswallow.com/resources.html
I have been wallowing in the botanical resources, specifically the Asian Botanical Artwork links, but the regular botany photo links are very nice too. I'm going to go back and wallow in the galleries for the Old Roses link now...
Perseverance is more prevailing than violence; and many things which cannot be overcome when they are together, yield themselves up when taken little by little.
---Plutarch
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Postby hgladney » Sun Aug 06, 2006 11:29 am

Just to add to previous links, some more goodies. Friend of mine now and then comes up with a collection of interesting links, which I pass along along with his commentary about them.
Alan always does some fun stuff.

* The Longest Running Science Experiments
http://www.kirchersociety.org/blog/?p=541
The three longest-running scientific experiments in the world today (though see comments to find some which may eventually be longer):
the pitch funnel; the Beverly Clock; the Oxford Electric Bell (the last has been ringing continuously since 1840).

* The Popularity Dialer
http://popularitydialer.com/index.php
Lousy meeting you'd love to be called out of? Like to try to fool others into thinking you have friends? This service lets you schedule an "urgent" phone call. There are four choices: male voice, female voice, affirmation call, and "return to the office." Each gives a short, not particularly fascinating recorded conversation you can "converse" with.

* NASA joins search for elusive woodpecker
http://www.cnn.com/2006/TECH/space/08/0 ... index.html
Using satellite imagery to analyze the environment, and possibly find the critter.

* Center for Plant Conservation
http://www.centerforplantconservation.org/
Nice site, with an interactive map showing collections of rare plants (sadly, none all that near you or me).

* The fantastic world of Brazilian plants
http://mpeixoto.sites.uol.com.br/
In English and Portuguese. Notes on hundreds--maybe more--plants from Brazil. You'll like the orchids.

* The Tongue Twister Database
http://www.geocities.com/Athens/8136/to ... sters.html
A nice collection of several dozen evil phrases. Some can definitely get you into trouble ("I slit the sheet...")

* Strange Statues From Around the World
http://haha.nu/funny/strange-statues-around-the-world
Yes, that's a pretty good name for it. Some are off-putting.

* 50 Popular Science Blogs
http://www.nature.com/news/2006/060703/ ... blogs.html
I like some, am indifferent to many -- but it's nice to know they're there.

* Free Science and Video Lectures Online
http://freescienceonline.blogspot.com/
Work in progress, but great resource. Largely focused on physics, engineering, and computer science (at least at present). Very
bandwidth heavy, and often in limited formats (Flash, Real Player, etc.)

* Online Glacier Photograph Database
http://nsidc.org/data/glacier_photo/spe ... ction.html
Absolutely fantastic collection of side-by-side glacier photos. Comparing them really makes you want to cry (I think we need to go see glaciers now, while there's still time).

* The Canary Project
http://www.canary-project.org/
This is similar to the glacier photograph database, but looks at a number of places around the world. Small collection, but very effective.
Perseverance is more prevailing than violence; and many things which cannot be overcome when they are together, yield themselves up when taken little by little.
---Plutarch
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Postby clong » Sun Sep 10, 2006 4:13 pm

OK, Heather, it's been almost a year since some of us gave you feedback on your Book 3 Draft. Can you give us a progress report?
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Postby hgladney » Mon Sep 11, 2006 9:22 am

Update is, a little bit further on from where I was, a little bit more plotline strung together, not nearly as much as I wanted.
Since I talked to the beta-readers here on IBDoF, I put together another batch of chapters and sent 'em off to a beta-reader with military background, and while he's chewing over that (it's been about two months I think, he's got a way too busy life too) I've been masticating at bits that bother me over the whole forward part of the book and also trying to assemble something satisfying for the end of the middle and the entire ending. (and no more blowing things up, I've got enogh of that going already. More is just distracting.) Trying to pull out the ends of threads and tie them off and make thematic sense of it.
This has been harder, of course, with so many recent RL interruptions and uproars and distractions, but I am still trying to work on it, got a little bit done this weekend. Getting back to it means remembering where I was on a particular plot thread, and how it's going to tie into the next book.
No, not done!!

On the subject on getting the necessities dealt with, I'm very aware of the issues that the ferret brought up here, on lj. (Yeah, crossposts are always fun...)

http://theferrett.livejournal.com/793702.html
Perseverance is more prevailing than violence; and many things which cannot be overcome when they are together, yield themselves up when taken little by little.
---Plutarch
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Postby hgladney » Tue Sep 19, 2006 8:44 pm

Well, moving the fish tank occupied part of the weekend, and getting supplies for friends who want help landscaping part of the rest of it...I don't even think there was enough sleeping late involved, or I could've blamed some of it on pure sloth. Nope, up early, and no slothness involved.
I was hoping things would settle down to a dull roar, but not so far. Looks like October is trying to be ridiculously busy at work, too.
I talked a little bit over on live journal about how I was wonking out orchids and books on growing orchids, for no obvious reason.
However, a used book sale at work rescued me from that preoccupation.
Specifically, what did it was Harry Turtledove's descriptions of tank warfare (or the failure of it) in Russian mud.
I just finished the first book in his alternate history/SF series on WWII, and also began reading a writing book by Samuel Delaney, which I picked up when I was at Worldcon.
Both excellent choices.
RE: Turtledove, let's say it this way: This is how the big kids play. I think the only other popular history books I've read which have as much raw research-power behind it as this alt-hist series is probably Barbara Tuchman's histories.
I quail to think the amount of plain, simple factual research that goes into these. Just the tons of small things: who was in command of that unit of German panzer corps? What sort of gun does a Russian woman scout-plane pilot use, and what is likely to go wrong with her airplane? On and on. It gives the jagged quirkiness of real information, too. Harry gives good infodump. These bits just slot in as nice, solid, convincing chunks of reality. It's not scary huge masses of Required Reading before you understand it, and it has depth for folks who know their history and recognize names and descriptions. Sort of like catching cameos on one of those Love Boat type tv shows, really. Oh look, you know who *that* is!!
Yeah, Harry's out there mailiciously raising the bar for everybody...

Samuel Delaney is not just a hallucinogenically weird SF writer. His writing book shows him to be the kind of widely, widely read academic you might not recognize just from hearing him speak, he's so low-key about it in person. It's not flashed round noisily in any of his fiction I've read, either.
But this one shows all that class teaching he's done. You would acquire a liberal arts education just from picking up the suggested books in his intro, alone.
Perseverance is more prevailing than violence; and many things which cannot be overcome when they are together, yield themselves up when taken little by little.
---Plutarch
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Postby mccormack44 » Tue Sep 19, 2006 10:24 pm

I hadn't known Delaney was a teacher, although I am not surprised. I keep a second copy of one of his very early books, "The Ballad of Beta 2", to give to academic friends who want to know "Why Science Fiction?" The research factor in that story is one they can relate to when the science is out of their reach. It gives them a taste of SF as being a fiction of ideas.

Sue
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Postby hgladney » Thu Sep 21, 2006 12:43 am

mccormack44, that's a great idea. It's a way of "translating" a genre into terms those folks will understand. I like that a lot.
Perseverance is more prevailing than violence; and many things which cannot be overcome when they are together, yield themselves up when taken little by little.
---Plutarch
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Postby hgladney » Mon Nov 06, 2006 12:11 am

Just brief update, as it's been embarrassingly long time since my last post.
I'm borrowing computer & keyboard to get online, due to network issues with my own computer, and it's a lot more work to look things up.
I've been way too busy in RL, which means I'm not getting as much done on the Teot book as I'd like. Occasionally I've been dragged off yelping to work on other stories instead, which will probably be other novels. (Yes, writerly yelping is just as appropriate to these other characters as it is in the Teot books, I'm afraid.)

On the good side, the last few days, I've been having fun reading the Japanese history pages on this Geocities reference site. This is one page about Japanese names.
http://www.geocities.com/nobukaze23/namae.htm
If you get off on the history or battle pages, be prepared for the full-on onslaught of names. If you thought Hamlet was a bit too much of the compicated revenge-y thing, oh boy...
It's funny, too.
http://www.geocities.com/nobukaze23/katana2.htm
This page goes on to give parts of swords and describe how katanas are forged and so on.
Sample, from the start of that page:
As I have wordily put it on the previous page, samuraihood was originally not inseparable from swordsmanship.
Samuraihood was, no matter how unlikely this seems to you today, initially identical with archery on horseback...

And yes, I got off onto that site via another dangerous reference site.
This all started off as a minor Wikipedia search for some of the famous battles which I kinda halfway remember. Wikipedia is such a dangerous place.
Today I blew some time followuing up various of Bodhisattvas (yes, there's lots of them) and various schools of Buddhist teaching and how they differ from one another. Assuming that Tibetan Buddhism is the same as Japanese of the same general sort would be a mistake, you know...
Another night, I wasted a couple hours one night on linguisuitcs and why Ebonics really is a separate dialect, and then listening to weird sound files of phonemes that belong to those strange punctuation marks you see in exotic languages. Not everybody can make their uvula vibrate loudly like that while breathing out. I had to give up somewhere in the aspirant noises, I didn't even get off into Bushman clicks.
Perseverance is more prevailing than violence; and many things which cannot be overcome when they are together, yield themselves up when taken little by little.
---Plutarch
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Postby clong » Mon Nov 06, 2006 4:09 am

Thanks for the update Heather!
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oh the charmed life--blechhh, down on the mucus farm

Postby hgladney » Thu Nov 30, 2006 12:32 pm

Still not back online on my own computer, still borrowing to get online and post, and still not getting nearly enough writing done. However, piles of writerly guilt don't impress the high-level cold I picked up over the Thanksgiving holiday, possibly from many sources at once. As far as coping with RL, the cats are lucky to get their catbox fixed, and let's not push our luck beyond that.
Yes, I'm also far too well aware that it really annoys employers if you are a drooling hacking idiot, and they're no happier if you show up at work anyway, shambling like the Swamp Thing, dribbling used tissues in your wake.
So I haven't.
Now let's see if I can manage more than placating the cats today...
Perseverance is more prevailing than violence; and many things which cannot be overcome when they are together, yield themselves up when taken little by little.
---Plutarch
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Postby hgladney » Sun Jan 07, 2007 12:42 pm

Good grief, has it been that long?
Please don't feel too neglected!
Between that rotten cold (it was a bad one, Mr. Grinch) and the holidays and the on-going network/wireless connection issues, I haven't been much of an online presence for two months, lately.
In good news, I did have a whole new chunk of the book leap on me unexpectedly, out of nowhere.
That was followed by bits of it needing some homework, which in turn led to some lovely new ideas. The whole thing dropped into place out of the blue, completely unexpected, and with unexpected ramifications once I was able to check my questions on Wikipedia.
Somebody with tons of chemistry or materials science knowledge has posted information on wrought iron, cast iron, Portland cement, and pozzolanic materials. (This all started out from "burnt lime", by the way.) Really interesting stuff, with lots of vocabulary from the industrial nineteenth century that I haven't heard or read from anybody before. Anybody ever hear of a puddling furnace before? Quite important, in its time. This kind of stuff is enough to send you shooting off through the research-sphere for *years.*
And why bother hunting down real facts in the real world?
There is *nothing* like the charge you get from unexpected factual information which makes a couple of different unrelated bits of a story fall together with that nice, solid clunking noise. Ka-chink.
Lovely.
I won't say it's vital to the plotline, at this point, but it's something nice to lean on.

In other news, while I was still recovering from the lousy cold in November, I also got walloped upside the head by a new hobby (oh right, like I really need *another* one!! One walloping at a time, thank you!)
This was the result of a vendor in the lobby at work with nice pendants and strings of semi-precious gem beads. I resisted personal temptations towards lots of tigereye and turquoise, and instead hunted down colors intended for other people, such as moss agate, rainbow flourite, and malachite.
One of the pains of *any* new hobby is learning an entirely new working vocabulary. For just drooling over t' shiny, there's lots of dangerous websites out there. For information purposes, the Fire Mountain Gem website has lots of tutorials which explain obscure bits that I'd never heard of before. Sigh, the proper eddication of writers is a hard thing...

Buying these stones seemed quite a gamble at the time, but I had the help of a sibling who had some equipment already, so I learned a lot in a hurry (don't use thread that's too thick for your beadholes!) and bought up other new stuff to fill out. In the end, it had quite satisfactory results for holiday gifts. This made it an unusual season for me, as the first year in quite some time where I made things for people instead of finding things like cds or books for them.
It kept me quite busy too, making about 15 necklaces (one of them slapped together in 3 hours on the spot to match somebody else's jade pendant) and six pairs of earrings. Some of these actually amount to two or three necklaces lumped together, as I was experimenting with spacer bars, so they turned into triple-stranded madness with lots of dangles. (I have another one like this to finish up for an early birthday, as well.)
All that was probably a very good thing, as it kept me too busy to fret much about erratic wireless. It's maddening wanting to look something up for a bit of fact, and not being able to (I mean, aside from being cut off from my fave communities!) I kept getting annoyed, thinking whether I should try again *this* minute to get back online, and doing something productive was much better for me. Got unexpected bits of my brain active again.
However, finding out I'm the last one in the universe to start doing beading of things like earrings and necklaces is a little disconcerting ("Oh, where've you been? I've been doing that for years now!" is a little surprising from one's *other* sibling...)
It turns out that apparently I'm a demon for speed on organizing the design from whatever I've got, and pretty good at whipping it together for a test-run on fishing line or using wire and crimp beads, but one of my siblings is far faster at knotting pearls and gemstones on silk thread.
I may end up designing and tossing my test-strings at her to finish for e-Bay-like purposes. We'll see.

Overall, it seems to have been a season of learning new language and trying to grasp new technical demands.
I'm not entirely sure where either chain of interest is leading, but these things usually run off into something of use in fiction (more colorful grist to the mill is always more interesting...), so I've learned to follow them up like a chain of clues. Also, bits of new information don't always inform stories in a direct, simple manner, so I've learned not to be impatient about it. A new interest becomes a matter of trying to learn things and yet not neglect prior commitments, when your brain is busily obsessing on the new shiny.
To some degree, some of this new stuff is building on a prior wild goose chase following up on swordmaking and smithing. "The strength of Damascus steel being due to the accidental production of carbon nanites in the alloy" is probably too big and easy a target. Everybody will want to jump on that, it'll be very clear in the literature later on who knew about it when. That'll look dated, later on, if I try to commit prematurely on a topic as faddish as that. That is a concern, when you're writing something that won't even be seen for two or three years from the time you wrote it.
But it's such a cool idea.
I'm sure the materials science folks are going nuts over it too. *That's* where some interesting stuff may be coming from next in the area of "sharp pointy things to cut with."
What's quasi-medieval fiction without the search for better sharp pointy things, and the relative abundance of terrible rusty things?
Perseverance is more prevailing than violence; and many things which cannot be overcome when they are together, yield themselves up when taken little by little.
---Plutarch
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Postby Evaine » Mon Jan 08, 2007 12:02 pm

(Puts hand up at the back) Me, I know about puddling furnaces!
One of the first industrial archaeology sites I worked at was Bersham in North Wales, once owned by 'Iron Mad' Wilkinson, who tested his cannons by firing them at the next village (there was a low hill in the way, but the balls sometimes went over), and minted his own token money for his workforce (in iron, of course).
I did it because it was part of the package with a Welsh castle, Caergwrle, that I really wanted to excavate (I think of it as my castle now) but I got fascinated by the industrial stuff while I was there.
when the floppy-eared Spaniel of Luck sniffs at your turn-ups it helps if you have a collar and piece of string in your pocket.
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Postby hgladney » Mon Jan 08, 2007 10:26 pm

You do? Ah *hah! So now I know who to bug if I have a question about the actual shape and use of the things. I will tell you, the pix posted on Wikipedia of it were very cryptic, and looked like if you saw the original engraving (with little letters and strange explanations at the bottom) then it wouldn't be any less mysterious to you.
SO better pix wouldn't hurt at all.
PS--I'm not a bit surprised about the cannons. Anybody with a nickname like "Iron-mad" can get away with waaaay too much craziness. I mean, I've gathered the impression over the years that it takes a lot to impress the Welsh enough to call you "mad," am I right?
Perseverance is more prevailing than violence; and many things which cannot be overcome when they are together, yield themselves up when taken little by little.
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Postby laurie » Mon Jan 08, 2007 10:58 pm

hgladney wrote:Anybody with a nickname like "Iron-mad" can get away with waaaay too much craziness. I mean, I've gathered the impression over the years that it takes a lot to impress the Welsh enough to call you "mad," am I right?


Unlike the Irish, who think everyone is mad! The speaker excepted, of course. :wink:
"It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife." -- Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

"So where the hell is he?" -- Laurie
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Postby hgladney » Tue Jan 09, 2007 12:30 am

Oddly enough, I happened to be listening to an online radio feed called Live Ireland, with lots of trad music, just last night.
It was interesting in that, after awhile, all that Gaelic could have been dialects of Mongolian (such as Tuvan throat-singing). After awhile, I couldn't have told the difference. There are character types, of course--the wispy sort who can never manage to waver *onto* the right note for once, the non-vibrato clear voice with nineteen million verses using belting lungs of brass (yes, there was one famous Ukrainian woman folksinger who has that nickname for this trait) and there's the jolly rogues using dialect even if they're singing clear English, and so on.
The ads were actually for Irish shopping centers, and always surprised me. I didn't expect actual Irish folks would actually want to listen to that much fiddle-playing.
This particular station's feed did occasionally give a startling modern update on the traditional lazy rascal, or the equally lazy betraying wench, but judging by all the howling, people are still just as ticked off by it as they were in the 16th century. (I never did sort out if it went, "betrayed to the black velvet band," or betrayed by it, or betrayed into it, or quite what. Haven't gone and wiki'ed it yet, either.)
By way of all this roundabout the subject, I meant to say, I just began to suspect that perhaps the Irish think everybody's crzay because, by all the available evidence, they are. Judging by the folk music, perfectly sane visitors start acting crazy pretty quickly.
But then, I think there's folk music like that everywhere, isn't there?
Perseverance is more prevailing than violence; and many things which cannot be overcome when they are together, yield themselves up when taken little by little.
---Plutarch
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Postby Kvetch » Tue Jan 09, 2007 4:11 am

Betrayed by the Black Velvet Band is the line in all the vesions I know. I really like Irish folk music, btw - but you are entirely right about their slightly odd musical effect on furriners. As an Englishman born, I probably shouldn't know the words to quite so many rebel songs*...


*I classify Irish folk music in to the following cateogries: 'silly', 'beer', 'girls(/boys)', 'war' and 'kill the English'.
"I'm the family radical. The rest are terribly stuffy. Aside from Aunt - she's just odd."
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Postby laurie » Tue Jan 09, 2007 6:26 am

Kvetch wrote: As an Englishman born, I probably shouldn't know the words to quite so many rebel songs*...



And being of Irish descent, I shouldn't know the names of every English king and queen (and their consorts) - in chronological order, no less - since the Sainted Edward.


You forgot the "sea-faring" songs.
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Postby Evaine » Tue Jan 09, 2007 1:16 pm

Yes, it takes a lot to impress the Welsh! :D

My dad is from Manchester, but was in the Irish Guards, and the family once went on holiday to Ireland. It quite amused him that the men singing rebel songs would shut up when they noticed him in the bar when he knew all the words as well as they did.
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Postby hgladney » Sun Feb 18, 2007 3:23 pm

Yes, it's been ages since I posted, and as it's a nice sunny day with the prospect of rain coming in tonight, I shouldn't be letting my whizzy little brain interfere with Real Life Chores. I should really be outside whacking the brush to bits while there's a bit less mud to fall down in.

Yesterday was nice too. The birds were chirping, the sun was out, the little puddles were drying, the ornamental pear trees were in full pollen-attack formation. There's every warning sign to the rose gardener that they better get their tush in gear and get finished with dormant pruning before the canes sprout out right under their hands and eat them like those bad horror movies that involve zombie children or something.

Oh wait, my bushes are already trying to eat me, without even sprouting first...

But I didn't get anything plant-related done around here. I helped a friend move about half of her collection of potted plants, mostly roses. We worked on loading big two-person jobs, leaving lots of smaller ones for other help, or for her to haul by herself. By smaller, I mean five-gallon size, where one person can indeed lift it. (Whether you can lift dozens of them in a day is an exercise I leave for the reader.) She may help me whack back eight-foot bushes tomorrow, if the weather permits.

Some people would regard such dangerous exertion as a waste of a thinking person's time. Hire someone, they say. (I'd be delighted to, but past experience has not been congenial.)

Besides, I occasionally find it useful to do other things away from the computer, very hard and completely focused. It's good for joggling my brain out of stuck bits and working round problems in the writing. Believe me, if you aren't paying complete attention when wading into thickets of rose canes, you will soon learn to do so.

I am happy to say I did get some fairly decent fiction-related things done this week. I did something about it when I got Nero Wolfe on the brain. I get these sorts of spazzes, from time to time. A bit of fanfiction drabble that blew up last week finally got posted and then I edited it in response to some excellent comments.

Most of them hated it, as being totally out of canon. Sigh. Yes, I totally warped canon and stomped that sucker flat. (This is not a virtue, in fannish circles.) But I made them like the way that I squicked them out.

Hmm.

There's a reason I write original characters. As it turns out, I am not all that good at writing *other* people's characters. In my stories, they keep running off and doing quite different things and behaving badly.

I imagine the effect on a reader must be rather like biting into something with an orange peel and finding out it's a big gloppy persimmon instead. This is also why I have such respect for fan fiction writers who do write other scenarios well, and indeed, can often write well in various totally different fandoms.

Yes, I'm well aware this kind of thing won't earn you the slightest respect in some pro circles. Some regard it as training wheels, the sort of thing you only do when you're learning how to put together sentances. Of course later on, it's wasting your time on other things besides prose that earns money. But I don't pretend to the level of ego that criticism requires. I have plenty of egoboo of my own, I don't need to borrow other people's issues like that. Also, I have some idea of how broad the spectrum of quality level in fan fiction can be. (Reccies from friends is the only time I read it, for instance.) As you've certainly noticed with published work, there's no obvious relation between their writing skills and their self-confidence.

I also find that sometimes shooting off on something else, playing in a different sandbox with different monkeybars, is actually a tangential way of coming back around and figuring out a problem in the main work from a different angle. I know when I've been stuck for awhile, I'm just not always sure what the main problem actually *is.* Sorting that out is half of the solution.

Since the Christmas holidays or so, I've been grappling with third Teot book plotline issues. Over the last few weeks I fixed a couple of things that'd been bugging me, so that a couple of chapters twisted round and settled into place like one of those big chunks of puzzle pieces.

Oh yes, and I came up with the delightful idea of having an earthquake. Forget blowing things up, earthquakes are a lot of fun.

It does suggest over a major rarrangement of chapter order in the third book. This is not a comfortable rumination. If that word makes you flash on visions of big Holstein cows generating way too much methane gas, you're probably spot-on.

In other news, my friend got together such a massive collection of sites of possible interest to fellow SF & F writers that he had to put it together in a webpage for me to go rummage through whenever I needed to poke my brain with a bit of shiny. Oh yes, I could be goofing off in very strange ways indeed, as you'll see. Because I like dumping presents on friends, you're welcome to browse through it as well.
That's here:
http://docs.google.com/View?docid=ddmpv ... _published
Perseverance is more prevailing than violence; and many things which cannot be overcome when they are together, yield themselves up when taken little by little.
---Plutarch
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very belated update!

Postby hgladney » Tue Jun 19, 2007 11:55 pm

It's been ages since I dropped by to post, mostly because I didn't have a lot of good news to report. I was really trying hard to reserve limited time to get serious book editing done, so I started neglecting other online stuff. After a certain point, I started feeling bad that I hadn't been keeping up with my various blogging obligations. So now I'm back to plague folks with irrelevancies.
Who says guilt doesn't accomplish anything??

In the time since my last posting, I've written about three more chapters of the third Teot book (not the 4th one, which still awaits me, lurking horribly). I also did some major rearrangements of orders among chapters, with associated continuity issues resolved. I think. Now I've got two more floating chapters that may have a rough placement, but they need continuity checking.

Now, as usual, Real Life is trying to get in the way again, and I may be allowing to do so more than I should. Work-related frustrations really cut down on my ability to focus, even after I get home, so I'm trying to learn not to carry those any long than I need to, say when some behavior puzzles me and when I'm figuring something out. And yes, I do learn things from being in a structured organization that I probably wouldn't see in other venues, darn it. The interaction of someone who thinks in analogies and metaphors with the kind of person who displays classic Aspberger's Syndrome is not pretty. It tends to generate a lot more heat than light. You learn that words do NOT do the same things for such different kinds of minds.

On the physical front, I've now got a CPAP machine for moderate sleep apnea, which is changing some of my physiology. I've also been trying to cut short the late-night stuff in favor of less working time but better productivity while up and moving.

Warning, medical proselytizing to possible fellow sufferers here:
Snoring is very diagnostic of sleep apnea. The range of side effects from apnea is mind-boggling and bizarre, because your brain is trying desperately to get you to provide better O2 supplies. If you have high BP or elevated heart rate, get checked right now. Also, it tends to get worse as you get older and your soft pale tissues soften up and block the airway more deeply.
If you snore, *please* go get checked, it's a lot easier to do these days, and if you get it fixed up, you may be amazing how much better you will feel.
/end proseletyzing!
Perseverance is more prevailing than violence; and many things which cannot be overcome when they are together, yield themselves up when taken little by little.
---Plutarch
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drive-by posting here

Postby hgladney » Sun Jun 24, 2007 9:03 pm

I'm debating about spending time in the yard making loud 8 horsepower engine noises while wearing enough gear to run a moonshot, at least until it gets dark. It's always nice to attempt these efforts while the weather is reasonably cool (it's not 100 degrees F right now, which around here in July = yes, it's a cool wave) and I will feel guilty if I wimp and fail to take advantage of the chance. Besides, the exercise of tearing apart brush before chipping it is vigorous enough that I get tired out horrendously. Just so...incredibly...calming...
I can also feel guilty about failing to take the time to edit the third book/write more of it, too. (Yeah, I know which way this crowd will vote, I heardja.)

Or I could put in some study time for a promotional exam at work, an effort which I have been resisting something fierce, for no very obvious reason. Trying to persuade my subconscious that memorizing statistics does, in fact, matter and will mean money if mastered, only makes it resist worse. I think I do better on tests when I don't care what the results are, but I find the information interesting and possibly useful. That's not a real common combination, is it?? (Any advice welcomed, not only for me, but for the benefit of those journal readers who face similar questions at university & etc.)

Or I could wrestle with applying transcript information to a new job application at another agency entirely, one where I'm uncertain of anything about the organization's internal structure or the quality of the people or promotional opportunities, aside from basic knowledge about definite need for more staff, quickly. This essentially acts as a safety valve if things continue in their present rigidity where I am, and the next deadline on it is in the middle of next month, which will be altogether too busy already. And no, this prospect does not lend itself to focusing productively on writing, either.

It's an equal-opportunity guilt-fest!
Gee, what writer could resist?

PS--I think I will wrestle into gear and shred dead rose canes and thorny plum branches while thinking about book issues. I mean, while trying to stay focused enough in the moment to do so safely.
PPS--actually, writing the book *is* rather like grappling with thorny branches and trying to stay focused.
Last edited by hgladney on Mon Jun 25, 2007 12:49 am, edited 1 time in total.
Perseverance is more prevailing than violence; and many things which cannot be overcome when they are together, yield themselves up when taken little by little.
---Plutarch
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Postby laurie » Sun Jun 24, 2007 10:11 pm

Think of it this way, Heather -- if you get rid of all that unsightly yard waste, you can at least feel guilty about all the other stuff while sitting in a now-lovely garden!
"It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife." -- Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

"So where the hell is he?" -- Laurie
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Postby hgladney » Mon Jun 25, 2007 12:49 am

laurie, I knew I liked you for a good reason!!
Well, I did go out and get started chipping things. In the process, I also experimented with wearing some newish rubber boots--something like wellies--which I had to cut open along the sides to accommodate my calf muscles. Because of the cuts, I wasn't sure how they'd work with jeans. Embarrassing, I must say, when your legs can't fit into standard boot shafts. But the cuts work fine, I'm walking around okay. The machine's going fine too.

So I begin to develop a personal relationship with nearly every chunk of branch, working out how to feed it in. There's a lot of awkward tangles of y-shaped bits which, if the piles came off tree trunks instead of bushes, the forestry folks would call slash. It chips well because it's been drying out for about 6 weeks now-- so I've also been sprinklering the piles on weekends to keep them from being a fire hazard.

Now, I thought when I pruned the stuff in the first place that I was acquiring plenty of personal knowledge of every last bit. But no, there's the learning process of using loppers to cut it down into shapes that will feed a little better, and the shape that's safe, and the stubborn shapes that get beaten into submission with the tamper in the machine's throat.
Generally I pick up a smallish, loose wad of 3-4' branches in one hand for each load, I'm not in a hurry. The machine gags if you shove too much too fast, for one thing.

I got about five grip-loads of branches fed through when it ran gently out of gas. This thing has done a lot of work without even going through a full gallon of gas yet, so it's actually pretty economical, but it did finally need a drink. Which meant it had to cool off first, and then any spilled gas/fumes around the tank needed to disperse.

I had just started it up again when the main drive belt shredded.
(Doesn't it sound so much better when Scotty says it on Star Trek? Or nearly any engineer? "It canna take any more, Cap'n!")

Right. Nothing traumatic, it just kinda gradually turned into a wisp of fibers without much rubber on it. This is the rubber belt that transfers power from the engine to the rotating flaps inside the chipper chamber proper, which hit things and knock them apart inside a big metal box.

Sigh. Well, think positive--I now know that a broken belt doesn't have to be a big dramatic event, which is nice. You shouldn't count on that, of course (hence the helmet & goggles) but it's nice to know this.

So now the tank was half full of gas, it needed the belt changed (apparently this happens fairly often on these machines), my safety goggles were completely fogged, and it was getting dark.

It'll take consulting higher authority, with better light, to change the belt, and luckily I do have more belts. I also luckily have the manual for this machine, which I have carefully preserved in a big ziplock baggie, I treat it like a document I will need often in time to come.
But not tonight.

I know when it's just time to turn things off, walk away, shed some of the gear, and start peacefully watering something instead.

I think getting rid of all those piles may take awhile longer than I thought it would...
Perseverance is more prevailing than violence; and many things which cannot be overcome when they are together, yield themselves up when taken little by little.
---Plutarch
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