I'd tell you what the weather is like out here, but then I would have to charge you.
No, seriously. There's a bill moving through Congress right now that will get the National Weather Service out of the forecasting business. Actually, out of the business of giving it away to anyone who wants the information. Why should the feds compete with good old American business, in particular since business can make a buck off of it?
The bill is sponsored by Pennsylvania's absentee Senator, former neighbor Rick Santorum, and will benefit companies like AccuWeather that take the government's data and sells it to you. Oh, did I mention that AccuWeather is based out of State College, PA, and contributes to the Santorum campaign? Odd, I thought that part would be obvious.
Liquor: A Novel by Poppy Z. Brite, Three Rivers Press, 2004
Blame the Monkey King for this one. Or rather, blame his tendency to maintain the best Friends List on the LiveJournal. He's always tinkering with his list, adding and subtracting people, and his close circle overlaps my close circle, so instead of having to maintain a friends list, I just use his. And where he reaches out and picks up new voices, I find them interesting enough to follow myself.
Case in point - Poppy Z. Brite. The Monkey King put her on his friends list, and I started catching up with her life, in particular with her recent novel Liquor. Now, I've never been a fan of her earlier, more genre material. Cheerfully dark cannibals and mass murderers were her early themes, and she was very popular with the Vampire: The Masquerade crowd. So I would have missed this book entirely if not for the Monkey King.
Which would have been a pity, since it is a wonderful change of direction, and aimed squarely at one of the niches I happen to be inhabiting at the moment - the Foodies. People who watch Food Network and America's Test Kitchen and actually use the recipes in Alton Brown's cookbooks. Ms. Brite has written a Foodies book, and she brings the same level of detail and interest to it that she brought to her earlier works.
Here's the brief. Rickey and G-Man are characters from Brite's earlier stories, but they are line cooks who have worked in a number of New Orleans restaurants. Rickey is the driven idea man, G-Man the more easy-going, moral center of the pair. The two cook and drink, and Ricky comes up with a killer idea - a restaurant where all the meals are made with alcohol. Liquor is the name of the restaurant and the book is the story of making the dream real. The boys are helped by an Emeril/Nixon melding of an older restaurateur, and hindered by a number of crisis large and small, the largest being Rickey's old boss, who makes a descent into madness fixating on Rickey's success.
It's all interesting and engaging, and it feels like a set-up book for more to come (indeed, the next book, Prime is already out. The food porn is here, taking you into the kitchen. And New Orleans is here too, though not the New Orleans of Bourbon Street and Mardi Gras and Anne Rice. This New Orleans felt like, well, Pittsburgh to me - working class, industrious, and bit run down and always seeking a better deal. It was an interesting change-up for me.
So Poppy Brite is currently in two worlds - a new one as a mainstream novelist, watched by the ghosts of her old world. Speaking as someone who may make the same journey someday, I will be following her career with great interest.
My guilty pleasure of the daily paper is the business section, because it is such a trip into the Twilight Zone. You might think that the sports page is the press's haven of blind optimism and rampant home-town boosterism, but it has nothing on the business pages.
Seriously. Here's a section where news of layoffs is greeted with elation and lower unemployment is cause for concern. Where the announcement that an airline is packing more seats on its jets is held in high regard, while failure to offshore your phone support is seen as a betrayal to sound business practices. And it's where the latest business crime is regarded with shock, simply shock that such bad apples could be found in the halls of commerce.
And then there's the DOW average. Some people check their horoscope - I look at the DOW. I don't have stocks directly (like most of the country, I do funds, who is turn invest in stocks), and I don't follow even the local heroes on a daily basis. But I look at the aggregate as a mark of how we're doing.
And the current verdict is - not as well as we would like. We've been running in place for a couple years, always stalled at the mid-10,000s. Sometimes higher, often (such at as the moment) lower, but always ending up around 10.5 k.
I had the entry written for when the DOW would hit 11,000. Really. I felt it only right since I was bagging on it as it was hanging around at 10k levels, then put up a shoot towards 10,500 (to much hoopla from the business press), then slouch back downwards. Yet for much of the winter and spring, the stocks ratcheted themselves ever-upwards, buoyed, I think, in part that a great anticipated windfall in the form of Social Security Privatization. With that dollop of snake oil stalling out, and gas prices comfortably over 2 bucks a gal, inflation up and wages inert, the DOW has returned to the 10,500 mark, and now is below.
The amusing thing is that the most recent series of drops has been greeted on the business page with the stone-cold sobriety of just-the-facts news, while every good day gets headlines as the birth of a new boom. It's the Tinkerbell school of finance - if you applaud, it, the market will come back to life. It creates the odd illusion where there is great news that we reach the 10.5 level, followed by a long quiet period, followed by great news that we reach 10.5. The feeling of déjà vu doesn't seems to exist in the timeless boosterism of the DOW.
So it's been a while since checking on the madness of local politics. For those who haven't been paying attention (meaning most of us), here's the way it has been going out here since November: 1. Republican officials declare there is a serious, stunning, obviously-criminal problem in the count. 2. Local Hate-Radio latches on and pummels away at the Democrats 3. Someone actually examines the offered evidence and finds it to be less serious and less stunning and likely more uncriminal than it first appears. 4. Republican officials declare there is a NEW serious, stunning, obviously-criminal problem in the count.
And the cycle turns - dead voters, military ballots, felons, provisional votes - each in turn have risen like haunted house ghosts popping up behind cardboard tombstones. There may even be an ember of truth at the bottom of all this, but it is covered by a pyroclastic flow of rhetorical ash. The latest attempt, an attempt to pull everything together, was a GOP report that stated that if EVERYTHING that they claim is true, and then a bit of statistical voodoo is worked, Rossi would have won, though by a even-smaller margin of victory than Gregoire finally got.
The problem is, while these GOP accusations make good sound bites, these never seem to make their way into court with the official suit that they have brought (which starts officially in early May).
The suit, by the way, seems to be shaping up this way: 1. The State GOP must show there was error. 2. The State GOP must show that the error favored the Dems. 3. The State GOP must show that it was a conspiracy.
The first, I think is a lead-pipe cinch - despite the fact that the Washington State Election got high marks from other states for the accuracy of its election, the fact remains that this was a very close election, and a few hundred votes could (and did) swing it.
The second is more difficult, and is why the GOP is leaning on King County for its evidence, while simultaneously seeking to suppress Democrat efforts looking for similar mistakes in other, redder counties. The GOP, when they talk about "Felons voting" want you to think about poorer, more urban felons, who should therefore be Democrats. Unfortunately, the nature of a felony in the state of Washington includes more upscale crimes like fraud, conspiracy, embezzlement, cooking the books, voter fraud (cue the irony) and building a device to get free cable. In other words, a lot of Washington State's felons might just be getting the Wall Street Journal as home delivery. For my part I'm waiting for the political poll of former felons to surface.
The last charge is the hardest one to prove, given the nature of Democrats themselves. As Abby Hoffman once put it; "Conspiracy? Hell, we couldn't agree on lunch!" Will Rogers chimes in;"I don't belong to an organized political party - I'm a Democrat". The GOP is legendary for its marching orders (more on that later in this column), while the Dems seem, at the best of time, to be like herding cats. And the fact that it works at all is one of the good things about the party.
Whatever the result of the court case will be, this is going to end up in the State Supreme Court, because the loser (Blue or Red) will not let it rest. They should have gone there directly, but I suppose this is how the dance is done.
In other news, having failed to unseat the Governor or bring down the (Republican) Secretary of State, the GOP guns are now turned on the King County Election Director, and by coincidence King County Executive Ron Sims, who is (surprise) coming up for re-election. The latest big gun rolled forward to attack is former Senator Slade Gorton, who is shocked, simply shocked by the corrupt, slipshod way Sims allows things to be run. Which would have more ethical tonnage, of course, if Gorton didn't happen to be the campaign chair for the guy running AGAINST Sims.
Meanwhile, real reform is moving through the state senate, the biggest piece (supported by Secretary of State Sam Reed) being moving the primary date forward, to give the state more time to get the general election ready. Oddly, the state GOP opposes this bit of rationality, which at the time surprised me. Then I saw this bit in the Seattle Times, where the state GOP pretty much announced that they don't want to deal with a primary for upcoming Senate seat anyway, but would rather have their candidate selected by the White House.
I'm serious about this. The party directive (with an apology for any Republican readers who thought they would actually be given a choice) is that would-be Governor Rossi gets first crack (he has said he has no interest in the position, but is it truly a lie when no one really believes you?). But if he doesn't bite (and despite everything, he remains the best-liked potential GOP candidate), then a hand-picked candidate will be offered. Making the pilgrimage east to visit the big boys in DC has been former congressman Rick White, and state GOP chairman Chris Vance (who has been the chief verbal bomb-thrower in this post-election campaign). Mike McGavick, a former Slade Gorton aide (yeah, its is a small world) and CEO of Safeco is also having his name bandied about. But the directive is clear - no primary. The last time they took this route was with Nethercutt, silencing more conservative voices in the process and cheesing off support.
Of course, I'd feel a little better about the state GOP's defense of democratic principles if they, you know, practiced them occasionally.
A while back I talked about the chintzy yellow ribbons on SUVs, and voiced the opinion that only those signed by actual vets should be given any slack, comparing the signed ribbons to the old WWII-vintage blue stars that people posted in the windows to show a family member serving (yes, that’s a Norman Rockwell moment). Then I saw exactly that two days ago on the highway – a blue star on a white field with a red border. Very, very classy.
I haven’t had anyone come up with earlier instances of the “impromptu car lots” I’ve been seeing around here on the weekends. The closest I’ve gotten was a friend in New York City, who always remembered students selling books and albums (that dates his sighting of this phenomena) in Washington Square at the close of each semester. It could be the same spirit (and needs) that motivates both.
The destruction in the front yard still continues, and the ditch is filled in, the front hillock mildly scraped, the mailboxes moved three times, and the road widened but not asphalted yet. No casualties among our trees in the front, but our neighbor on the left lost one of his. The road crew wanted to know if we wanted the wood – otherwise they would charge to haul it away. The neighbor on the left, a very pleasant elderly gentleman, felt he had “enough wood for the rest of his life”, and so the neighbor on the right (who is trying to keep his oil heating bills down) took it. In general, the road crew has been pretty pleasant – they have respected the various properties they are working with, and only mildly intrusive (meaning – they blocked my front driveway with a steamroller only once).
Oh, and I did choose “Benedict” in the "name-the-pope" office pool. Got five bucks and two “Hail Marys”.
So just for the purposes of argument, let's say that you made combatting terrorism a major part of your job. Such that you invoked it for causes both directly tied to combatting terrorism (better airport security, Invading country A which harbored terrorists), and for more than a bit more iffy (reducing civil liberties, invading country B which did not harbor the same terrorists as Country A). So its a big part of your self-declared job description.
And, just for grins, let's say that a report, that has been coming out annually for nearly twenty years, points out that the number of terrorist attacks is up. Way, way up. Even if you don't count any problems in Countries A or B.
The Constant Wife by W, Somerset Maugham, Directed by Kyle Donnelly. Seattle Rep, April 2 - May 1, 2005
Here's the short version:
ACT I He: I am having an affair ACT II She: I know ACT III She: I am also having an affair, but for better reasons than you.
And that's about it. This is one of those plays where the actors are talking to the audience, not to other actors. You can tell they're talking to the audience because the blocking puts them turned towards the audience, and their explanations evolve into short societal essays - long-form non-sequiturs. In fact, if you want to write like Maugham, add 2d12 words to each sentence. Then watch the actors race to finish their lines before they run out of breath and pass out. This is Shaw all over again, without the potential blessing of a plane hitting the house and killing all the characters.
So, Constance (Ellen Karas) is the wife of John (Jonathan Fried), who is stepping out with Marie-Louise (Bhama Roget*). The secret of the affair is out and mother, sister, and friend all descend on the house to comfort, discomfort, and provide help for the apparently clueless Constance. But Constance is not clueless, and rather than being in denial she accepts the state of affairs, translates her situation into a set of economic balances, and then proceeds to take bloodless revenge in the third act, both putting John through the wringer, while denying him even the satisfaction of thinking that her actions are some form of emotional vengeance.
OK, this is an alien world for me, a place where where gender roles are fixed, indiscretions must be winked at, places must be kept, and reputations must be preserved. The John/Constance relationship is stressed as being caring, affectionate, sweet, and while not passionate is hardly a sham. The relationship is half-full as well as half-empty. They love each other but are not in love with each other. And it seems that Constance is taking the long way around to justify her own planned infidelity, but this is a domain where the proper forms must be observed. Indeed, it is her reasonableness which was the shocking bit 75 years ago, though it rattles emptily today.
Despite this, it was an enjoyable afternoon. The direction is broad and comic, and watching Fried self-destruct in the final act was a delightful comical disaster (and may have wandered far from author's original intent). Most of the characters were horrible people, but the actors were excellent. In fact, they were too good in some cases. Mark Elliot Wilson, as Constance's earnest potential lover, sells the idea that he is NOT going off to Europe with Contance in the third act so well that for a moment, you wonder if all of the Constant Wife's announced plans are merely a head-game she's playing with her philandering spouse. There are funny bits, nice pieces of action, and long Wildean observations.
Yet the center does not hold for me. So I'm wrestling with it for the moment.
* Ms. Roget's mother actually wrote me after the review of Noises Off- hi Betsey! Bhama carries off the role of the other woman with an open-eyed, Hugh Laurie-esque flair that captures the supposed shallowness of that generation (Think Bertie Wooster from the old Wodehouse stories). She and the other actors were very, very good. My fretting is with the material, not those that presented it.
Every now and again I mention in this space that I'm up to something at the office, but I can't talk about it yet. But now things are starting to break loose and show up in the real world.
The big project from the previous year has been Attacktix, a battle figure game with figures based on the upcoming Star Wars movie. I did the special powers and the initial rules, as well as the bulk of the text for the CD-ROM that is in the Starter set, parts of which show up on the web site (The web site, by the way, was created by True North, the company I work for - and in this case, mostly by Bob and Richard (Hi guys!)).
Back to Attacktix. You can find a bunch of initial reviews here. Much to my surprise, the Attacktix game already has its own blog, but who doesn't, these days?
Also on the "recently-released" front is a new online minigame for the Xevoz toy line. It's called Xevoz Challenge, and it was produced in conjunction with Martini Design. A nice little run-and-shoot game. Check it out.
And yes, I'm working on more stuff, but . . . I can't talk about it at the moment.
So yesterday I went down to my boss's place, a horse ranch south and east of here, past Ravensdale. The drive is through the leading edge of the development wave, so you have malls and subdivision giving way to scattered farms and new development giving way to lumbered areas, watershed, and gravel pits (sign in front of one of the nearby houses declared "400 trips a day is too much", which I think is a reference to the heavy trucks on the road.
But the thing I noticed on the way down on a Saturday morning was the impromptu car lots that have sprung up wherever there are clear spots along the side of the road. I first noticed one of these out on the peninsula, across the street from one of the casinos, about a dozen vehicles, parted diagonally, backed-in, to show off their profiles. At the time I made obvious conclusion that the cars were for sale by unsuccessful dice players. Now I'm seeing them a lot more of these Saturday morning car lots, and a lot closer. The cars are all for sale by owner, apparently driven to a central location and parked there so your random drive-by shopper can find a whole mess of them at once.
I've been thinking that the area has been recovering from the latest recession, but the sudden blooming of these lots gives me second thoughts.
So the robotic spirit of Tommy Lasorda called last night to brag that his social security is fine, but unless the rest of my generation straightens up and flies right, he's going to trade the lot of us to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.
This is a quick Alliterates story. Author and fellow Alliterate Doug Niles got a call from his sister Monday, and then an email from his sister-in-law: Both women had been watching "Jeopardy" that day.
The Category: Alternate History
The Answer is: This German field marshal is a character in the novel "Fox on the Rhine".
Doug is positively delighted, since Fox on the Rhine is by Mr. Niles and Mr. Dobson. Ah, you're no one until you're recognized by Alex Trebec.
Oh, yeah. The Correct Response is: "Who is Rommel?"
The highest praise I can give a TV show is to recommend it to my Lovely Bride. And when she got home from Tai Chi last night, I said "You really should watch this".
I was pretty darned impressed with the new Doctor Who (see previous entry). Yes, it has been updated in its sensibilities (cell phones, the Internet, conspiracy theory) and has more of a quick-cut, MTV pacing. And the four-or-six-episode story has been shrunk down to a single hour show. But it works.
Christopher Eccleston makes a good Doctor, evoking Tom Baker's good-natured 4th Doctor more than any of the others. And Billie Piper is the latest companion, Rose Tyler, an action-girl hottie. In fact, the whole first episode is about her move from normal life to companion-ness. The big bads are the Autons, animated plastic creations of the Nestene Consciousness. They were kinda goofy when they appeared before in the series in the sixties (big plastic-headed dummies), and have a bit of that silliness still (mannikins wearing wedding dresses running amok, a carnivorous recycling bucket). The special effects are nice, but not state-of-the-art. Yet it pulls together nicely and gives the series a great start.
One small gripe - the more modern approach to directing results in us losing some dialogue. Part of this is the script (several cases of cross-talk, made more difficult for us North Americans by British accents), and part having characters talk over explosions. But I guess that' a good enough reason for taping.
And yeah, with it available to Yanks only near the northern border, there will be tapes floating around, if not pirate downloads. If you get chance, and you're a fan of the old shows, you really should watch this.
Why yes, I had a checkup this morning, but that’s not what I want to talk about (I’m healthy as the proverbial horse).
The new Doctor Who shows up in North America tonight, and I have to admit I’m a bit pumped about it, being a fan from my college days. In those days of yore, the good Doctor only showed up late Sunday on WTTW, the public station out of Chicago. This was the height of the Tom Baker era, and a lot of American fans date from that time.
OK, let me back up for the saner members of the readership. Doctor Who is a children’s show from Britain, starting in the 60s, about a time-traveling doctor and his young companions who move through time and space in a machine that looks like a big blue police callbox (beating Bill & Ted’s excellent phone booth by a couple decades). The episodes were serial, about four or six in a row, and featured a mix of history, SF, adventure, and really cheesy-looking monsters. I mean hokey rubber-suited stuff that would never pass the muster of today’s world. But that was part of the charm, because to compensate, you only got a glimpse of the bad guy over the course of the adventure, creating a feeling or dread that left many young brits cowering behind the couch (Lost In Space did the same for me, which is laughable now, but true).
Part of the charm of Doctor Who over the years was its rotating cast. The Doctor is always getting new companions, and, since the Doctor was an alien, was capable of regenerating into a new form. This allowed a new actor to step into the shoes and take the Doctor in different directions. So far we have had the grandfather, the clown, the secret agent, the happy hitchiker, the upper-class batsman, the sad one, the second clown, the FOX version, and now the new guy.
Also part of the charm was that the original show’s release was limited, spread by tapes and word of mouth, and so too it’s the case today – the Doctor is not being broadcast in the States, but rather on the Canadian Broadcasting Company, which we get on the nethermost registers of our cable. So once again there’s a time lapse for the time lord, and while we know that the new episodes have gotten good play in Britain (and the ninth Doctor will not be back for another season, leading to a tenth doctor), we don’t know quite what he’s like.
So like I said, I’m a bit pumped. I have treated Enterprise and the Star Wars movies with a long pole because I so enjoyed the originals, but this one, I feel good about. Even if I get rubber-suited monsters.
So about a month ago, one of my co-workers came in late, with the following reason: The FBI had blocked off a street near his house. A quick google search pulled up that the FBI/BTF had raided the home of a local property manager, who in addition to belonging to a radical branch of the Aryan Nation had a large collection of illegally purchased firearms. I mean huge. We’re talking enough rifles to kit out a couple squads of marines in Mosul. Oh yeah, he lived across from a school.
But he’s not what I want to talk about.
Both local newspapers covered the raid the next day, and both used near-identical photos of an agent carrying all these guns out past a car in his driveway, presumably his. The photos were snapped either by the same photographer seconds apart, or by two photographers standing next to each other. One photo showed the agent carrying big a armload of guns past the guy’s car. The other showed the same thing a half-step further on, and showed what his body was blocking in the first image.
One of those cheap “Support the Troops” yellow ribbons. The magnet types, which show your support for our armed forces through purchase of stuff made in mainland China.
The Yellow Ribbon Magnet has become ubiquious these early years of the new milennium, occupying an odd space between “Have a Nice Day” and “American, Love it or Leave it” in the political spectrum. There is an entire taxonomy of these magnetic ribbons – variants on the theme (instead of “Support Our Troops” they read “Pray for our Troops” or “Bring Them Home Safe”), other colors (Flag-styles, or for the more militant, desert chamo), and even completely new messages (Pink ribbons for women’s issues, and a Blue and White version with paw-prints instead of stars. stating the importance of spaying you pet). However, there are three that deserve mention:
The Personalized Ribbon – These carry names on them. I assume they are loved ones serving in the military, and therefore show a tad bit more involvement in the issue than someone who just slaps one on. I like these a lot.
The Pale Ribbon – OK, the manufacturers didn’t figure we’d be two years on and still in-country, so they didn’t use the high-quality lacquer finish (Yeah, imagine the managerial meeting in Canton where they made THAT decision). So a lot of the Ribbons have weathered to a ghostly shade of wheat beer. All I can say is that they are marginally better than the shredded American Flags people were flying for a while.
The Ghost Ribbon – You see these on unwashed SUVs, the shadow of a ribbon that has been removed. Were the ribbons stolen, like a Garfield suction-cup doll? Did the owners tire of supporting the troops, perhaps having some middle-of-the-night epiphany and running out in their PJs to remove them? Did they just fall off, the magnetism about as strong as the lacquer? One thing I can state – they did not come off at the car wash.
Had I the power, I would ban all such ribbons except the personalized ones – they’re the equivalent of the blue star hanging in the window in WWII. You would put one of these on your vehicle if you had a spouse or child in the service. That way, when the rest of us get cut off in traffic by an SUV with one of these posted, we’re more likely to forgive the driver.
In the meantime, It’s been two years. Support the Troops, regardless of who’s driving.
No more Comics Stash – I ran it for a month and now have stopped. The intent was to track what I was buying and see if any patterns showed up. Sort of like when you’re on a diet and writing down everything you eat. So if you were tolerating it - well, we're done. And if you were enjoying it, well, we'll go off and do somethine else for a while.
But what have we learned from the experience? What conclusions can I draw from this?
1. Not as Independent as I once was. As a younger struggler, I was reading independently-published books: Love and Rockets, Cerebus, and Elfquest. Now they have fallen by the wayside. I’m definitely doing the four-color heroes in capes, and among those, mostly from the big two (Yes, Authority and Ex Machina are Wildstorm, and Promethea was America’s Best Comics, but they are satellites of the DC/Warner Empire). Have the “ground levels” gone away, or is their subject matter (a lot of them fell into the Bad Girl art pit in the 90s and never climbed back out) just not my pipe of tea?
2. I prefer teams to individuals. Missing from my reading list are the Big Heroes – the Superman and Batman family of books, and the Spider-mans (except for Ultimates and Straczynski). I am reading JLA, most of the core X-men, JSA, Teen Titans, and other gatherings of heroes. I must like group dynamics.
3. I’m reading writers, but I'm not buying because of the writers. While I my point out “star-casting” in the writing, I am reading Joss Whedon and J Micheal Straczynski’s books, and enjoying them. And yes, recognizing the name on the masthead (Claremont, Waid, Bendis, Eliis), gives me an idea of what kind of story I am getting into, but I'm not actively seeking out their works.
4. I’m carrying some dead wood. I can’t give you a good reason why I’m reading Hawkman or Aquaman. The stuff I enjoyed in these series has been ignored (The whole Hawkman/Hawkgirl reincarnation romance has gone by the wayside, and I prefer to large-issue politics of Aquaman to the gritty Batman-underwater stuff). I am going to have to edit down my list.
5. I’m willing to experiment. I have a three-issue rule, so I’m more likely to pick up an issue 1, or to hang through a six-issue miniseries. Often a book gets added to the permanent list. Similarly, I will drop a book (Doom Patrol, Ultimate Iron Man, Age of Apocalypso) if it doesn’t take.
6. I follow continuity, but I like to see worlds evolve. DC is driving its universe darker, which gives me qualms, but I’m still along for the ride. Marvel is shattered among a handful of sub-universes – core, ultimate, lost stories, year ones, alternate futures, alternate presents. I’m not horrified by any of this.
7. I like the Ultimate line. I'm suprised by this. When it got started with Ultimate Spider-man, I was very much of the opinion that here was another poor attempt to reboot the universe, bagging down origin stories with even more continuity. Instead, its provided fresh, interesting looks at the heroes. Still, it is strange that I can accept the Ultimate Vision as an alien robot but not Ultimate Iron Man as a mutated-in-the-womb supergenius.
8. Green Arrow is the Wolverine of the DC Universe. Intentional or not, he’s everywhere, every week. Weird for a guy who was dead a few years back.
The short version - a work project that had been back-burnered became front-burnered, and while I already had most of the resources in place to turn it around quickly, it still required a shuffling of schedules and a few twelve-hour days. My creative contribution is wrapped, and now comes the most frustrating part - leaning over my programmer's shoulder and saying "Is it done yet?"
This has all left me tired and little cranky. Of course, having a steamroller parked in your front yard could make anyone a bit out of sorts. Yes, we're being thwacked with the development stick again, as the county is widening the road on our side, laying in culverts, filling the ditches, and laying asphalt overtop for a kinda-sidewalk. At the moment, its a lot of disruption, irritation, and a reminder that I've gained about 60 new neighbors down the street, with three more big farms now sprouting development signs and soon to be converted to high-density suburbia. Most of the neighbors remember when our hunk of road was a backwater - now its becoming a main drag in the morning and evening hours. Even the UPS guy is frustrated that there is too much traffic to park so he can make deliveries.
The Lovely Bride is in Second Tax Rush. The First Tax Rush occurs in January, where everyone who keeps records and is expecting a refund comes flooding in. Then things subside (a touch), and now comes Second Rush, when everyone who doesn't keep records and worried they have to pay shows up. We'll pause now for several of our readers to smack their foreheads and say "Oh, yeah, I have to do that".
Freelance writing has been interesting - I've signed on for some worldbuilding for WotC and may do another short story online for them. At the moment I'm parked in my office, seeing that the weeklong rain has subsided, and realized that now would be the best time to go after the dandelions in the back yard (most of the ones in the front have been taken care of by construction equipment).