Category Archives: Personal

One of those God Says Ha weeks (#SFWApro)

Not in a drastic way like where the car blows up or the a.c. runs down. Just in little ways.

The project for Leaf wrapped up this week, but that did consume some time. Plus as usual, Screen Rant, this one concerning people who got their powers from Captain America’s super-soldier process, like the Captain America of the 1950s (seen above grappling with Steve Rogers, art by Sal Buscema, all rights remain with current holder). It was pretty much done by Wednesday, but then I got a call from GoBankingRates, another website I do stuff for. Short article, $125. I said yes. That took up a few hours Thursday (the information was easy to gather, but fitting it to their format is tougher).

And then late Thursday my Screen Rant editor emailed to ask if I knew anything about the Golden Age Captain Marvel (seen below with the Marvel Family and the wizard Shazam; art by C.C. Beck, all rights remain with current holder). They just announced this week that the Shazam film is the next DC movie to start filming, so SR wanted a story ready by end of day today. That consumed some of yesterday evening and all of today. Though it may not go up tomorrow, if it looks like there’s bigger news coming up that would make for more page views.

Plus I have another GoBanking article due Monday. But after that I’ll be free to focus on fiction the rest of the week. That will be fun.

So outside of the various articles I did this week, I submitted a book proposal (superstitiously I’ll keep mum about it until I know if it’s a go or not) and I finished reading Backlash for my Undead Sexist Cliches book, as I mentioned yesterday.

I had several house and paperwork tasks to do this week, but most of them didn’t get done. Among other things the transition to a new insurer is gumming up getting some prescription refills; I need some records for TYG to file some of the paperwork; but I did get a couple of stuck drawers in the living room unstuck, so yay (didn’t do it myself. Contractor took care of it).

Oh, and I sold a couple more copies of Sex for Dinner, Death for Breakfast. Kind of cool.

But now it’s all done. I plan a relaxing weekend. Have fun, y’all.



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Filed under Nonfiction, Personal, Screen Rant, Sex for Dinner, Death for Breakfast, Time management and goals, Undead sexist cliches, Writing

Feed the birds, tuppence a bag (#SFWApro)

(Title borrowed from Mary Poppins of course)

We’ve had a bird feeder in our back yard for several years. Squirrels appreciate it. Despite various anti-squirrel efforts, they typically clean the feeder out in a day. Using seed they don’t like helped … but then I discovered a squirrel had apparently broken the plastic shell of the bird feeder to get more food. So we replaced it.

They broke it faster.

That was what we found after less than a week. So last weekend we went out to find a replacement. We hit a local wild bird store and found one that looked promising: metal mesh around the plastic, and a sliding weight system so that if a squirrel climbs on board, the frame shifts and shuts off the food.

As soon as we brought it home and took it out back, it was obvious our regular pole wouldn’t work. It would be too easy for the squirrels to hang from the pole stuffing their faces without putting any weight on the frame. I hung it just outside our breakfast nook window (we don’t actually eat breakfast there, but it’s a conceptual breakfast nook). I wasn’t sure if the house wall would be too close for our purposes, but so far it’s working great. I haven’t actually seen Mr. Squirrel try to get in and fail, but the bird seed sure isn’t going down like it usually does.

Probably because it’s close to the house I don’t see quite as many birds. If they see us move inside the house, they flit away. I suspect the dogs’ growling may scare them off too. But they are visiting.

I find this very cool.

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Wheeee, cleaning! (#SFWApro)

So now that the pups’ canine-flu vaccinations have kicked in, we took them back to Suite Paws yesterday for the first time since May. I had eight hours to be a solo act, huzzah!

And yes, I did spend some solo time at the Mensa gathering, but not that much — I was just having too much fun being sociable. If anything, I came home slightly overloaded on connecting with people. And it feels very different being alone at home.

So what did I do with my time? As you can guess from the post title, I cleaned.

I simply couldn’t do much during June because I’d have wound up with dogs sniffing around me as I used cleaning chemicals, or barking because I wasn’t on the couch with them where I’m supposed to be. And like so many dogs, they hate vacuuming when they’re in the room.

So I scrubbed the kitchen counters. Rearranged one cabinet. Cleaned the fridge (which is demanding enough I remember why I don’t do it often). Set up a bookshelf to hold all my receipts for the HSA, home repairs, writing, etc. (a good decision, it’s much better organized than the plastic crate I was using). Plus various other odds and ends. And vacuuming. And some paperwork, including more letters to our state senators.

The end result? I feel pleased with my work, but not as refreshed by my solo day as I usually do. Partly because I couldn’t bicycle (as they used to say in Silver Age comics, it’s hot as blazes out there), partly because I need more decompression — that month of no days off took a lot out of me. But I’ll get there.

For illustration, here’s Trixie, dozing on my leg. Yes, I’m that hairy.


Filed under Personal, The Dog Ate My Homework

Mensa gathering: some weird pix (#SFWApro)

I enjoy taking photographs of infrastructure. So while staying at the Diplomat for the Mensa national gathering, I took a few. For starters, the girders supporting the glass roof of the hotel atrium:

Then there’s the work they were doing on the roof

And here’s a look at some piping in the stairwell.

And the drawbridge that delayed the taxi taking me to the hotel.

And for laughs, here’s some breakfast signage. Not written by Mensans.

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Mensa, the gathering (#SFWApro)

The gathering was, as usual, awesome. But man, someone obviously hated that wall of the hotel. Look at what they stabbed it with!

The high point of any gathering for me is seeing all the friends I don’t otherwise run into. From my old Mensa group. From other groups. From other AGs. I’d sit in the hospitality suite, grab some snacks, someone would sit down, we’d talk, someone else would show up …

Hospitality meals came with plenty of vegetarian alternatives except one where the option was tossed salad (or spaghetti without any sauce). Food quality was not great (cardboard pizza, a very bland veggie lasagna) but it was plentiful and some dishes were exceptions: the tomato bisque was very tasty.

Tea was a frustration. I brought my own, correctly suspecting the hotel would have Lipton’s (bleah!) but by the end of the week they weren’t even heating the tea urns hot enough — lukewarm as best. That guarantees shit tea.

I went to more presentations than I usually do. One of the best featured Ben Ferencz (above), the last surviving Nuremberg prosecutor. It was awesome. There was a good one on tarot reading; a presentation on alternate history by SF author Ian Randal Strock; one on the changes in Miami’s Cuban population over the years; and a couple that I walked out of fast because the speakers seemed rambling or unsatisfactory. One by a participant in the Bay of Pigs, for instance, was more a detached history than the eyewitness account I’d anticipated.

Hanging out was the biggest and funnest thing. Though I got a little overstimulated at times and had to take a break in my room. But not too often. After all, the AG only comes around once a year. And yes, that is a trace of glitter in my hair — some friends used me as a guinea pig.

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Mensa annual gathering 2017: maybe not hotter than hell but certainly more humid (#SFWApro)

As soon as I stepped out of the Ft. Lauderdale airport on July 2, I remembered what Florida humidity was like. What Durham thinks is humidity ain’t even close. The moistness of the air, coupled with the heat, is not pleasant, though it’s certainly familiar.

This year’s Mensa national gathering was in Hollywood, on the Atlantic coast. Due to TYG having a work conflict, she had to drop out so I went alone. Which was sub-optimal, but I was very glad to get a break from June’s 24/7 dog parenting.

Surprisingly it was only a two-hour, no-stop flight. I haven’t had a flight without a stop in years. The hotel (atrium above) was the Diplomat. Pretty to look at, and with a beach right behind it.

I couldn’t take prolonged time in the heat, but I made frequent stops outside the first couple of days. After the AG started — we’d booked for a couple of days early so we’d have time to goof off by ourselves — I wound up going out to the beach and digging my toes in the sand for a half-hour before breakfast, staring out at the waves.

On the downside, this hotel offered the priciest food I’ve seen in a while. Breakfast buffet was $30 a person, and a cheese sandwich and banana for lunch cost me $10 (and it wasn’t a memorable cheese sandwich). I was happy when the Mensa hospitality room opened so I could eat free. However after the AG started we did get 20 percent off hotel meals, plus I got a $5 voucher a day for not having housecleaning do my room.

I did take a walk down to Panera Bread Tuesday and Wednesday (crossing over the bridge you see here) to get a good (and affordable) breakfast. Regrettably it was too hot to do that during the day — though of course I could have used Lyft. A couple of friends were there Monday and we used Uber to get to a very nice little pizza place.

I found this on the beach. My writers friend Samantha Collins says it’s a drift seed (one carried by the current across the oceans) so it could be just about any plant from anywhere.

I had a neat view of the skyline from my room, both by day (above), and by night (below)

I had a great time but my midweek I was missing TYG something fierce. I was very happy to come home and see her Sunday.

More on my trip tomorrow.


Filed under Personal

So I was in Florida last week (#SFWApro)

For the annual Mensa national gathering. And I got back yesterday. So here’s all you get for a Monday post

Hollywood Florida: the water

And the water at night

More on my trip later this week.

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