Saturday, August 26, 2023

Strange New Smells and Strange Old Males

So, I have started swimming again, and learned to wear a skirt to the pool. (It's far easier to get dressed with damp skin compared to pulling on pants.)

Unfortunately, Ashbutt McDieselthroat loves my recycled-sari skirts. He's fascinated by them in a way that no other clothing attracts cat. least he's stopped trying to pull them off me? 

However, when I come home from the pool, something about the scent on my feet, flip-flops, and the skirt hem where it's touched the locker room floor is utterly entrancing to this cat.

This makes life interesting when I'm trying to make coffee and breakfast.

After the third time I had to gently shove him out of the way with my foot because he got so wrapped up in smelling the cloth he forgot to watch out for me trying to move around the kitchen...

I grumbled to my husband, "Love, there's a strange male sniffing around my skirts!"

My love just grinned, and sipped his cuppa. "I'm not worried. He's too hairy for you." 

Thursday, May 11, 2023

Artists like challenges, right?

So, my cover artist and I went to the range recently. On the way back, we found the time to tackle things even more difficult than shot placement and proper grip: cover art. She'd sent a mockup of what would be a great cover for someone else's book, and I had to think for a few days about why I didn't like it before I had an answer. 

Me: "The problem with the cover is that it clearly conveys military scifi, but this book isn't modern MilSF; it's an homage to Andre Norton, Leigh Brackett, Lovecraft and Jack Vance and Scientifiction. Back before the genres were near as split as they are today, and you could have psychic powers and fantastic alien ruins of unknown races and remnants of the eldritch... If modern readers pick it up expecting a MilSF full of modern tropes, they're going to be unhappy. But how do we signal a pulpy retro Astounding and Weird Tales vibe?"

My cover artist: "Challenge. Accepted."

Friday, April 21, 2023

My friends are helpful

Me: "Hey, Alma. I flop over and be dead at you now. After 7 years since this story first bit me, on the fifth? sixth? try... You remember how I started this sucker from when it wouldn't leave me alone while I was trying to finish another book? That was back in November 2021, and I've been trying to finish it since? Is finally done!"

Alma: "Congratulations!"

Me: "The next time I pull out an old unfinished story and tell you I'm going to salvage it and finish it, shoot me." 

Alma: "Nerf or water?"

Me: "Taser."

Alma: "OK!"

Friday, April 7, 2023

Want something amusing to read?

The requirement was: "take a well-known trope and twist it."
Jim Curtis also said something to me about my never having written a trope straight in my life before, so he didn't see why this one should be a challenge.

Which means, of course, that I couldn't come up with anything... until cold meds, insomnia, and a horrible yet hilarious meme collided, and this came out. I sent it to Jim figuring he'd look at in the sober light of day and recommend Peter take my butt back to the doctor. Instead, he thought it was hilarious. So...

Come to to the dark side, where demons do dishes, and we have cookies...

Available on Amazon here:

Friday, March 17, 2023

Because Dinosaurs!

Calmer Half and I have some interests in which we both can geek out happily, and some areas of interest where the other half of the couple has no joy and even less interest in the subject. 

Sometimes he humours me, and despite his "get from Point A to Point B as directly as possible with no stops unless critical to health or logistics" attitude, he'll exude restraint at me while detouring to see a giant meteor crater. (Wheee!)

Sometimes, he doesn't. 

That's where friends come in. This morning, after rack pulling 208 pounds (2 reps, 3 sets), I eyed the lat pulldown machine and decided I'd had enough of being adult for the day. So I texted CV Walter. "Wanna run away with me and see dinosaurs?"

She texted very sleepily back that she needed to find the shower, and then her clothes, in that order. So give her 45 minutes. I texted her the equivalent of happy noises, and then gritted my teeth and did my lat pulldown exercises.

I then went over to her place, kidnapped her from all her intentions, and took her to...
coffee first.

What, do I look like a monster? I'm not going to inflict random road trip on people without coffee!

We may have had coffee and gelato for breakfast at The Duck (it'll always be Odd Duck Coffee to me), but we did at least have breakfast bagels with egg and salmon and capers and cream cheese so it wasn't all caffeine and sugar. 

Then we drove off to Seymour, TX, to see all the dinosaurs! And the dimetrodons, which are, just read the sign NOT DINOSAURS. (Yes, it's in all caps. Posted right next to "Rules To Be A Dinosaur".) Just ask any six year old boy, That's Important.

Some museums are full of themselves and think they're there to "raise the public consciousness" and you're gonna get lectures on cause of the moment and fashionable crises while you're just trying to have fun. Not the Whiteside Museum of Natural History: this place is rich in artifacts and feels like it was made by a bunch of scientists letting out their inner six-year-olds. 

Right down to the little plastic dino toys hidden in some of the exhibits. And the way the T. Rex is positioned so she looks like she's looking at you no matter where you move.

And they even have the actual lab where the paleontologists are working on the actual fossils brought in from the dig with the cool toys at the end of the building, with large windows so you can see them. one of them may have caught me squealing over the miniaturized sandblaster the size of a ballpoint pen, and came out to geek out over the awesomeness. Next thing you know, we're crouched over a juvenile dimetrodon's clavicle, exclaiming over the amazing job of freeing from the stone, and the person who's put in all the work to make it look so good is showing off the nerve attach point, and a hole where something bit all the way through before it went from fresh meat to fossilized...

Utterly cool. 

I stopped on the way home and bought fresh raspberries and roses for my Calmer Half, and he seems just as happy that he missed all the excited female squeaking and squealing and gigglage. 

See the exhibit warning label:

Sunday, March 5, 2023

Futures Contract, Vegetable Edition

Yesterday I did something that I've wanted to do for years, but never felt stable or capable enough to manage: I got a futures contract in unspecified vegetables and berries filling a specified sized container, delivered in 21 installments over as many weeks. 

The marketing people call that a "Community Supported Agriculture Share." 

The difference being, instead of the jargon-heavy contract for a standardized commodity, I handed cash to the farmwife over a handshake, and the details were written on the margins of a flyer advertising last fall's corn maze. 

We both come out the better for the deal - the farmers get stabilized cash flow, up front, with no credit card vendor fee biting their profit margin, and they get a solid estimation of minimum demand for the crops they are planning. Even better from a risk-forecasting point of view, by not specifying the contents of the box beyond "grown on our farm (or the berry farm & vineyard across the road)", if they have a crop failure or an unexpectedly abundant harvest, (or on the demand end, an unexpected run on a particular vegetable / failure to sell a particular vegetable at all,) they can substitute the box composition, and normalize availability between CSA Share buyers and the farmer's market stall.

This isn't necessarily weighted in favor of the market stall, either; I know the early harvest of high-tunnel strawberries are going in the CSA boxes instead of available at the farmer's market... which makes solid sense, in rewarding high-volume customers willing to assume delivery risk first. 

The only reason it took me this long to do this?

I had to find a friend who likes to cook, in order to be willing to split the product with me. I don't actually eat that many vegetables, and wasting good food is a sin. Now that the North Texas Troublemakers have grown so much, I have not one but two friends who are willing to divvy up the box, and if I throw in eggs I get from a neighbor, they're willing to pay for what they want upon delivery. Their cash flow might not be able to handle the up-front cost of a CSA share right now, but they can manage weekly payments of same.  

Besides, they'll not only pay in cash, but in kitchen scraps. Those will go to the neighbor to feed the chickens, which will result in more tasty eggs...

Unfettered capitalism: everyone wins!

Thursday, March 2, 2023

Now for something completely different!

So there I was, standing on a corner, minding my own business, when suddenly these two bad dudes...

Actually, I think I was running around trying to clean the house, and make headway on far too many projects, and being
mildly sad that most of my friends went off to MarsCon while I'd made the adult choice to stay home. And it wasn't Sumdood of EMS fame, it was the Three Moms of the Apocalypse, who are good friends, that decided I needed to be in on the Postcards From Mars fun. 

Something about yanking my chain on my inability to write an 8,000 word short story, and how they mostly keep ending up as novels... so let's see if I could write a story in 50 words.

I didn't expect to make the cut, much less end up on the cover!