Thursday, July 30, 2009


Started on The Novel again, yesterday. Just broke 52K words. I'm delaying the first pain pill for a couple hours in the morning, so as not to be addled while writing. Or more addled than I already am natually. There's something perversely romantic about gutting out the pain to get the work in. Suffering for your art and all that.

Double-header today! The Mets have serendipitously been playing the Rockies since my return from the hospital, so they've been on TV, and during my recovery I've been able to, with the help of Tivo, watch every game. And they haven't lost! So, with my writing done today, I'm settling down with a cup of coffee for seven straight glorious hours of baseball. I smell a sweep.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Fall Risk

This is a wristband I got at the hospital during the morphine haze. I'm still wearing it. It makes me laugh. I plan to wear it to parties.

365 Days of Astronomy posted my podcast yesterday. It's archived here. If you wanna hear my real voice, or learn my real name, or, I dunno, stalk me or something, check it out.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

His head at one point was actually much larger.

I'm living in the family room right now, while I recover. TV. Wii. Radio. Bathroom close by. The cats wander around the fold out bed, their tails sticking up in the air like exclamation marks. When they find something curious to sniff at, their tails curl slightly, become question marks. It's fitting (pun incoming) that they look like punctuation, because after my operation (pun imminent) I now have a semi-colon (pun released).

Long way to go for a joke, I realize.

The time in the hospital was surprisingly painless. The morphine was the worst part. Just awful. Made me dizzy, nauseous, agitated, unable to stay awake. My current drugs are seriously lightweight by comparison, but much more pleasant. They'll do the trick.

During the first stages of the post-op, I felt very much like a ship at port, as they slowly untied the anchors, one by one. First the morphine epidural, then the Catheter That Shall Not Be Named, then the oxygen, finally the IV. The last day, being able to walk around without trailing three or four tangled lines trailing behind me was such an incredibly liberating feeling.

I've lost about five pounds. My kids are convinced my head has gotten smaller, and bring it up daily. Large actually told the nurse, and this is verbatim, "His head at one point was actually much larger."

Nice to be home.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Six Sentences

I've got a fiction piece up over at Six Sentences. Longtime readers of this blog may remember it as a poem I wrote last year during the halcyon days of Mona and her Word of the Week. Anyway, wander over there and read it if you find the time. Leave a comment. Look around. Submit. A compilation of six sentence stories is a great idea for a site. The quality is a little uneven, but there are plenty of gems in there. Including Eric's six sentence story, here.

I'm back, by the way, and doing fine. Tales from the Gimli Hospital will follow, soon, I promise.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Proof of a Benevolent God

They let me have coffee today. With milk. For the first time since last Sunday.


Monday, July 20, 2009

Luckily, Beer Is A Liquid

Liquid only diet today. Coffee, Otter Pops, and a vile liquid I have to drink twice to get me, uh, moving.

18 pills over the next 10 hours.

Tonight, and tomorrow morning, I have to shower with some weird anti-biotic goo that, I'm told, if it gets in my eyes, will quite literally blind me.

Three weeks of nothing but reading and (hopefully) writing after that, though. I'd given up pretty much all my reading time this past year in order to have time to write The Novel. So, that's good, right? Richard Hughes. George Pelecanos. William Gay.

Everything's a trade-off.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Drug Addled Blogging

Dancehall's husband, who we'll call Tolstoy (my kids once saw a drawing of Tolstoy on the back of a book and thought it was him), sent this to me. Delightfully weird, strangely addictive. I've seen it at least 10 times now. It haunts my dreams.

Broke 50,000 words on the New Novel last night. Feels like I'm turning the corner on the middle third. The move slowed me down a tad--I took two weeks off entirely from writing, as I was just too unfocused--but logistics have more to do with it. I'm having to pull the various strands of the novel together now, and with 10 narrators, it's careful work.

Hope to be done by Christmas, but that's probably wishful thinking.

I've got a Major Operation coming up on Tuesday. Nothing life-threatening, or even health-threatening, but I am told to expect several weeks of pain and discomfort. They're removing a lengthy bit of something I shall not name but which rhymes with "spolon." On the plus side, I'm sure to get excellent drugs to help me through.

I'll have lots of free time on my hands. Expect much drug-addled blogging.

Side note to Tolstoy: Shhhhh!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Hike Faster. I Hear Banjos.

Saw that on the back of a t-shirt at the High Mountain Hay Fever Bluegrass Festival in Westcliffe this weekend. We went with Dancehall and family. And my Dad was there too, for part of it. It's a great spot for a festival. High in the mountains (8000-ish feet), with the Never Summer Range looming in the background. The bands were good too. Very purist approach, as opposed to say, the Telluride Bluegrass Festival, which allows folks like Elvis Costello and Barenaked Ladies to perform. I love Elvis. But he's not exactly bluegrass.

The only downside was that the crowd was pretty old (meaning, older than me, of course). Much older than the Rockygrass demographic, for instance. And some were not too tolerant of little kids. Or talking. Or any signs of human life. The woman next to us told us she loved children, but we soon found out this love was mostly theoretical, and didn't extend to actual children, displaying actual behavior. She actually stood up and loudly shushed Dancehall's husband for speaking in conversational tones. At an outdoor festival. At the back of the seating area.

I'm glad she was there, though. Without her, we might have experienced a moment of authentic joy, unfettered by guilt or angst or fear. And nobody wants that.

Pedro's back! The Phillies signed Pedro Martinez last week, so, pending the physical exam, he's pitching again. Now, the Phillies are divisional rivals of the Mets, but I guess I'm gonna have to start rooting for them every fifth day. Because Pedro transcends mere team loyalty.

Thursday, July 9, 2009


I stole this graphic from Bad Astronomy, who in turn stole it from Abstruse Goose. It's pretty clever. Click it to make it big enough to read.

The premise is pretty simple: the signal from a show that aired 10 years ago is now 10 light years away, part of an ever-expanding sphere of electromagnetic signals emanating from our planet. Thus, the singing nine-headed cat people on Beta Aquilea are now doomed to watch old reruns of Gilligan's Island and The Munsters. Whereas the telepathic floating dirigible worms of Formalhaut are fortunate enough to kick back over the latest episodes of Night Court and Punky Brewster.

Lucky bastards.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Heart of the Neighborhood

There is a big green park in the center of our new neighborhood, about a block and a half away from us. S got a new big-girl bicycle for her 8th birthday a couple weeks ago, so we've been doing a lot of riding there. We're making the transition from sidewalks to streets, so the resultant freedom and danger is a little scary.

For us. Not for her.

There are usually kids to play with there. Our old neighborhood was mostly old people who never went outside, and the few houses that had kids living there rarely let them out the door (I guess on the debatable premise that television is safer than the outside world). Here, we have all sorts. The band of little boys from the house at the bottom of the hill who pants are always threatening to fall off, and who are incapable of not hitting each other every fifteen seconds. They play rough, but they're fun to watch. There is an 11 year old girl across the street the girls treat with the kind of awe previously accorded only to unicorns and Santa. This weekend we met a teenage couple who wander out far away from the playground to lie in the grass and neck.

It's a lower income neighborhood, mostly Hispanic (our kids are Hispanic, we are not). Lotsa old houses, some large and grand, some small and rickety, in varying degrees of upkeep. I'm guessing there's alotta sweat equity built up in these homes. Most have porches, and people actually hang out on their porches here, to catch that early evening summer breeze. The house right before the park has two very loud and very mean dogs, who the girls try to tiptoe past as if they were guardian trolls.

According to the previous owner, the railroad baron who built our house laid out the streets of the entire neighborhood, to mirror the one he grew up in back in England.

Nothing British about it anymore. It's about as American as you can get.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Death of the Bamboo Princess

The Japanese spacecraft Kaguya crashed into the moon last month. Before it did it shot some amazing HD footage of the moon, much of it viewable on YouTube, like this one. I don't know the name of this crater (as the captioning is in Japanese), but is sure is pretty.

Kaguya is named after the bamboo princess in the 10th century Japanese folktale, The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter. A childless woodcutter finds a tiny baby growing inside a glowing bamboo stalk. He takes her home to raise as his own. She grows into an extraordinarily beautiful woman. At the end of the story it's revealed she is not of this Earth, but rather a child of the moon, sent to the Earth for her own safety. The citizens of the moon take her back to her home against her will. Her parents are grief-stricken.