One ordinary day, with spectacles

As previously advertised, we were up early and on the road to Skowhegan, about an hour’s drive from the present location of the Cat Farm and Confusion Factory, in order to do the Annual Eye Examination Thing.

Why, you ask, do we travel to Skowhegan, home of the Big Wooden Indian, in order to have our eyes examined?

When we first moved to Maine, we lived in Skowhegan, where we found among other Wonders, Marvels, and Oddities, the best. eye doctor. ever.  We hired him immediately and never looked back, so to speak.  It’s going to be very difficult, if we ever do pull off a move to the southern, more populated part of the state, to let Gerry go.  Though, really, a three hour drive one way to see the. best. eye doctor. ever. probably wouldn’t be excessive.

After the exam, it was a stop at the Skowtown branch of Tim Horton’s to take on more caffeine then, to SRM Galactic Headquarters to pick up a package left for us at the office next door.

This turned out not to be something that we thought might be arriving, maybe, but a Laser Mouse, sent anonymously by a Fan of Hexapuma.

For the record, the Laser Mouse meets Hex’s approval, and if he wasn’t a cat, he would thank you most graciously, Nameless Fan of ‘Puma.

Package retrieved, it was the post office, then Pearle Vision to order in the new eyewear.  By this time it was rising one o’clock, so we stopped at Sam’s which is conveniently located directly behind the Pearle Vision Centre, for a so-called Italian dinner.

Eh, not so much.  Even the garlic bread was a disappointment.  How can you screw up garlic bread?

Lunch. . .dispensed with, we took off for the grocery, passing the Scene of an Accident, with lots of policepersons, and ambulances and firetrucks and police cars, more uniforms, municipal FD slickers and! a car.  On the lawn of a house, it’s hood on the lawn of the house, and the house, or perhaps the car, gently smoldering.  Here’s an account, with picture.

Passing the spectacle gently by, we arrived at the grocery, took on supplies and thence to home, where we snacked on Steve-made chocolate-chocolate pudding, and I came back to the office to write.

I have now written, and made notes for a scene that goes. . .somewhere, probably just a little upline, and day is now officially done.

Tomorrow, Hexapuma goes in early to see his good friend Dr. Slack, then I will come home and write for a while, before trying to remember what it is that I need to accomplish in order to arrive at the day-job on Wednesday in reasonably good order.

. . .

Man, that was a fast 19 days.

Progress on Ghost Ship:

72,078 words/100,000 OR 72.08% completed

Short Day

Had some stuff to do today, so a short word day.  Tomorrow, first thing! to Skowhegan and the yearly eye exam.  I expect I’m going to come out of that with a prescription for new glasses, but!  We shall see.

Has anyone here used a Virtual Assistant, and if so, how has that worked out for you?  Me, I’m still trying to figure out how to outsource doing the dishes.  Or the bookkeeping.  Or, hey!  The filing.

Progress on Ghost Ship:

71,300 words/100,000 OR 71.3% complete

OR, if we take Steve’s estimate as More Realistic

71,300 words/125,000 OR 57.04% complete

. . .I’m not sure I can bear only being 57% done, after having written damn’ near 26,000 words in two weeks, so I think I’m just gonna run with the 100,000 word Mental Health Plan for the time being.

Saturday at the word mines

I did some much-needed filing during the morning hours, getting most of the “easy” filing decently into drawers. What remains are judgment calls and five inches of marked-up proofs for:  The Dragon Variation, Mouse and Dragon, and Carousel Tides.  I really don’t want any more file cabinets in this office.  Heck, I don’t want the file cabinets I have.

I hear that there are households in these United States where there are no file cabinets at all.  How can this be?

In addition to filing, Steve and I did a fair amount of brainstorming, with more to come, and I wrote a couple words.

I am now tired.

Actually, make that. . .very tired.

See you tomorrow.

Progress on Ghost Ship:

70,307 words/100,000 OR 70.31% complete

. . .Steve cruelly suggests that we’re looking at coming in closer to 125,000 words than 100,000.  He’s probably right, too.


The Glamor!

We have met the laundry and it is vast.  Less vast than it was, granted, but vast nonetheless.  We’ll have at it again tomorrow.

I’ve taken to writing on The Leewit standing by the bookshelf in my office that overlooks the side wilderness.  The bookshelf is just the right height for typing, as it happens, and I don’t tend to fall into InstaNap(tm) when I’m standing up.

Mozart was in for awhile, helping me write by stretching out on the windowsill between The Leewit and the Actual Window.  Then he decided to Be Adorable and play with the mouse, then he wanted to pwn the keyboard.  These attempted takeovers were thwarted, whereupon, he took over the desk chair, which was fine; I wasn’t using it anyway.

Oh, and before I forget — Ram Island Light is for sale.  There’s only one bid so far — for a mere $10,000.

Steve’s home, did I say that?

Progress on Ghost Ship:

66,571 words/100,000 OR 66.57% completed

Oh, hey!  How many people would come to a book launch party in Old Orchard Beach, Maine in October?  No promises; just trying to get a sense of the crowd.

Contest! Google Needs a New Corporate Motto

Google’s corporate motto for many years has been “Don’t Be Evil.”  And for a while, it/they seemed to be trying to live up to that high standard.

They fought for net neutrality, they fought for Access for All, they went head-to-head with the Big Blue Smurf.  Yay, Google.  My hero.

Then, Google decided that they had a Destiny.  And their Destiny included Preserving and Making Available Everything Ever Written that could still be scanned, regardless of who owned it.  Boo, Google.  No biscuit from this author.

Then, Google decided that, yanno?  Net neutrality?  Allowing everyone equal access to the internet?  So Last Century.  The wave of the future was — of course! — a Tier System, where Big Business, which after all is the future — see BP and the Big Hole in the Ocean Floor — would have access to the Very Best Butter Bandwidth, and the rest of us schmucks — who are after all schmucks and only use the internet to post cat pictures and flame each other — can get by with a lower grade of access.

Read all about it:  here, here, here

Working assets is having a conniption over here.  You can sign their petition to the FCC, if you’re so minded.

So — what should Google’s new motto be?

Errands, the doing thereof

So, in early-ish to town, with a stop at the credit union, which is inside the city limits but no longer in town.  When Steve and I lived in Waterville, more years ago than  I probably want to stop and figure out at the moment, I could walk to:   the Morning Sentinel (where I was gloriously employed as a copy editor); the grocery store; the “department store” (Zayres, then Ames); the drugstore (CVS); the bank; the bookstore; the frame shop; the art supply store; the music store; the copy shop; another department store (locally owned; the name of which escapes me); a lingerie store; a head shop; a newstand; three beauty salons and a barber shop; another drugstore (LaVerdiere’s);  the video store; three jewelry stores; an insurance company; a bakery; a liquor store; the post office; the credit union; two banks; and several restaurants and bars.

I mean, people lamented that “main street was dyin'” but honestly, I had almost everything I needed on a daily basis within a six-block area.

Now, the credit union’s moved out to the edge of town, where you need to mount up your car to get; CVS likewise.  LaVerdiere’s closed, along with the grocery store and both department stores; the video store of course is long gone; Al Corey’s music store closed for remodeling a couple months ago, and now it’s and empty storefront.  Downtown still has stores in it — Children’s Book Cellar is still there; the bars and restaurants — renamed and revisioned, some of them — remain.  Liquor store’s still good.  So’s the post office.  But the lack of a grocery store (and though I Love Them, the fresh market is not a grocery store) has kind of made downtown untenable as far as living goes.

This is something I’ve been thinking about a good deal lately, as Steve and I try to figure out how to move “in town” by which we mean to a place where we can walk to most of life’s little necessities.  And where we won’t be ‘way, ‘way out in the country when we really shouldn’t be driving in snow anymore (I’m watching what some older couples — by which I mean, older than us — of our acquaintance are going through, trying to stay in country houses when one, or both, are becoming frail and it’s scaring me to death, here).

And!  All of that?  Was a digression.

Where was I?

Ah, yes, the bank, thence to the copy shop (which is still there, though much diminished from its days as Office Supply Empire and Quick Print) to make photocopies of the marked up pages before putting same in envelope and mailing them to North Carolina.

Having done this, I walked down to one of the two surviving beauty parlors to see if anything could be done about my hair, but they weren’t open at 9:15, though the hours on the door said “Monday 9-4.” I therefore went to the Post Office, mailed my packages, picked up the mail and returned, to find an undated-or-timed sticky-note on the door stating, “Be back in a few minutes.”

All righty, then.  I stuck around a few minutes, but no one ever showed up, so I walked down to the second salon and there Hilary cut my hair in a very satisfactory fashion and I can see again!

Having achieved this entirely satisfactory outcome, I got in the car and drove to Elm Plaza, there to dispatch an errand at Penney’s, walked down to the grocery store and did that errand, and so to home.

All of which took much longer than I had anticipated.

Came home, unpacked the groceries, made lunch and ate it, did a modest amount of laundry.

Writing happened, though not as much as I would have liked.  I realized rather late that part of what was throwing me off was that there was one (1) scene missing and one (1) scene  in the wrong place.  I remedied those situations and now am officially done for the evening, and yea, verily, the day.


Progress on Ghost Ship

64,035/100,00o OR 64.04% complete

Answers with coffee

Last evening’s post generated some questions, which I’ll try to deal with here, all in one lump, with the morning’s second cup of coffee.

Of particular concern was that I reported “scrubbling” the cats.  Some folks misread “scrubbled” as “scrubbed” and I want to assure you right now that the Cat Farm cats are, in the immortal words of my mother-in-law, “clean cats.”

“Scrubbling” in the vernacular of the Cat Farm is a two-handed, full body rough rub.  Mozart likes his back scrubbled.  He will lie belly flat on the floor, I’ll kneel next to him and rub both hands up and down, like I’m shampooing him.  He grabs on the rug with his front claws and squeaks.  Yes, he squeaks.  What can I say?  He’s a goof, but I love him.

Hexapuma likes to have his belly scrubbled.  The technique is roughly the same as above, except for watching out for the Sudden Grab(tm) when he’s had enough, and that Hex likes to enjoy himself in silence.

Scrabble prefers to let the whole scrubble thing pass her by, thanks.

* * *

Mozart and Hexapuma are Maine Coon Cats.

Mozart’s home cattery is the Kennebec Cattery in Pittsburgh, so his Full Formal Name is Kennebec Mozart; he is Officially a Blue Silver Tabby, and has just celebrated his twelfth birthday.

Hexapuma’s Official Moniker is Blue Blaze Sphinxian Hexapuma, from the Blue Blaze Cattery, now of Delaware.  He is a Black and Silver Classic Tabby and will this month celebrate his fourth birthday.  He is not, as many people assume, a polydactyl, though many Maine Coon cats are (it’s a feature, not a bug).  He was named, so I’m told, for a critter that appears in a series of novels by David Weber, the Sphinxian Hexapuma, which is, as I also understand it, far fiercer and more ambitious than Hex will ever be.

The Cat Farm’s cat-0f-all-work is Scrabble, a calico adopted from the local shelter.  Steve met her while she was interning at the local pet food store, realized her potential as an office manager and brought her home.  Scrabble will soon, so we believe, be eight years old.  We celebrate her birthday on September 1.

* * *

Reading order for the Liaden Universe® novels. . .

There’s a sort-of reading order over here, but honestly, there are apparently as many True Reading Orders as there are readers, so I’ve given up weighing in on the topic.  Read them how you like them; it’ll all make sense in the end.

* * *

There was a request for a description of the process of writing, but. . .I think I’d rather not talk about process while I’m actually writing, so maybe we’ll get to that one later.  I once heard an artist say that she could either draw or talk about drawing, but she couldn’t draw and talk about what she was doing at the same time.  If you start thinking too much about what you’re doing, the centipede gets all tangled up in her feet, poor thing, and goes crashing onto her nose.

* * *

Book length, and can’t Ghost Ship please be longer than 100,000 words.

I use 100,000 words as a target count for word meters and progress reports because (1) it’s handy, (2) we have a contract for a science novel in the Liaden Universe® of not less than 100,000 words, and (3) I don’t actually know how long the book is going to be until it’s done.  We write story, not words, but it’s hard to assure interested folk of the progress of the story in a nice little graphic.  Some days, there are no words; it’s all about staring at nothing.

But! To give those who are interested a range, here’s the word count on a couple of random submission manuscripts:

Agent of Change:  98,000

Duainfey:  101,000

Longeye: 101,000

Fledgling:  117,000

Saltation:  104,000

Mouse and Dragon: 115,000

Carousel Tides:  101,945

. . .so you’ll see we pretty often do go over, and hardly anything comes in right at 100,000 words.

And now my coffee’s done and it’s time to get on the road and run me some errands.

Everybody have a good Monday.

Boring old day

Did chores.  Tidied up some.  Did last tweaks to Carousel Tides proofs with an eye toward getting them in the mail tomorrow.  Scrubbled cats.  Talked to Steve on IM. Washed the winter jackets!  Wrote.  Stared at nothing.  Wrote some more.  Done writing for the day, and wondering if it’s too late to make a grilled cheese sammich.

Hope your day was more exciting.

Progress on Ghost Ship:

63,059 words/100,000 OR 63.06% complete