Sunday, December 31, 2006

Ten Minutes Left of 2006

It's been an interesting year. Not entirely like the Chinese curse "May you live in interesting times" but every now and then, kinda-sorta.

Have a Happy New Year, everyone!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

The Gay Zombi Penguin 'Toon I Should Have Put Up In JULY!!

I have no idea how it happened, but I missed the posting of my very own stop on the Gay Zombi Penguin Tour back in July (the day before my birthday even!). So here, very belatedly, are the Gay Zombi Penguins from July:

Now, the artist/author of Gay Zombi Penguins wasn't 100% satisfied with that one, so she drew me a new one! Yay! TWO for one!

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Blog Chain #8, The Android's Dream, Star Trek, Fizzle

The AW Blogchain is plugging right along, now in it's 8th iteration. I've asked to join in this time around and I look forward to participating. Please read along and comment - even if it's just to let us know you popped in for a peek.

The participants (by AW username) in posting order are:

BK_30 -Just A Small Town Girl
asorum - A View From the Waterfront
Gillian - Even in a Little Thing
Simran - Writing-From-Within
aruna - Down From the Garrett
Forbidden Snowflake - Incoherent Blabbing From an Incoherent Person
Cath - Curiouser and Curiouser
Peggy - The Road Less Traveled
Atomic Bear - BTGC Production Log
XThe NavigatorX - Fireflies in the Cloud

I loaded 6 CDs worth of Christmas music (Mannheim Steamroller, Trans-siberian Orchestra and a Celtic Christmas CD) plus an iTunes purchase of Renaissance Christmas music (also Mannheim Steamroller). That's several hours worth, at least.

I'm also going to figure out, at some point, how to subscribe to some podcasts. I can do some via iTunes, but there are others not listed there I'm interested in. I have a cool little digital recorder that I can download stuff to so that might be the solution for portability.

I'm about a quarter of the way into John Scalzi's The Android's Dream and it's been a very fun read. I highly recommend everything he's written, including his blog Whatever. (very cute kitten alert - be prepared to say AWWWW)

I'm also reading through some Star Trek fiction. There's a trilogy that was put out for the 40th Anniversary, Crucible with each of the books featuring one of the three main characters, McCoy, Spock and Kirk - in that order. I finished the McCoy book the other day and started the Spock one today (yes, I'm reading two books at once - the Trek book is a pocketbook sized paperback and the Scalzi is hardback. It's easier on my shoulder to carry the Trek book in my purse). I also picked up Voyages of Imagination which "takes a look back on the first forty years of professionally published Star Trek fiction, revealing the personalities and sensibilities of many of the novels' imaginative contributors and offering an unprecedented glimpse into the creative processes, the growing pains, the risks, the innovations, the missteps, and the great strides taken in the books." (from Amazon's blurb)

Since I've been collecting these books since, oh, 1969 or so, I'm pretty excited that I'll have a way to check for completeness of my collection as well as organizing it. I think some of my books have gone missing over the years, so I'll want to fill in the gaps.

Well, the brain is fizzling out. Good Night!



Saturday, December 02, 2006

Put on Your Sunglasses - It's Time Again for Dawno's Intense Christmas Sweaters!

(the first part of this post has appeared in Absolute Write's "Thread Killer" thread, so it may look familiar - I believe in recycling)

Yes, it's that time of year again. The time of year when Dawno wears her Intense Christmas Sweaters to work. I now have enough of them to wear for the rest of December's working days starting Monday the 6th. I can't tell you how excited I am. I just love the puzzled looks on some folk's faces. They're not sure if they should flee or just put a present under me.

(Tiara International Sweater, above)

However, I have one great sadness, much the same as last year - I haven't found any really, really highly embellished Tiara International sweaters so far this year - not even online. They used to make the best ones. I can only hope that I can get down to SoCal after Christmas and find some down there - last year I found a couple very nice ones, but the store that had them has been bought out by Macy's and they haven't had any good (for the Dawno value of "good") Christmas sweaters in a Macy's in years.

What are the elements of a certified Dawno good Christmas sweater?

Color - there needs to be lots of it but there should be a reason for the colors and they should harmonize. One of my favorite sweaters has many shades of browns and golds worked into toys and ornaments and Christmas trees. Another features shades of green that lean towards sage and olive - looks lovely with a pale sage turtleneck. I "lost" that sweater for a bit and was extremely joyful when it resurfaced last year.

Theme - the sweater should have a unified theme. Snowmen and snowflakes, trees and ornaments or trees with presents, Santa and reindeer. Let's not just clutter up a sweater with every conceivable Christmas icon. And placement is important. I like detail down the very center of cardigan style sweaters and at the bottom hem. On pullovers the entire front should be covered. Stuff on the back, it's ok, but it should be a continuation of the front, not something entirely different. I have one new sweater that has simple conical, decorated trees up the front, and there's a line of stitches that go over one shoulder to the back with Christmas light bulbs at the end of it at about mid shoulder. I approve.

Beads and metallic threads - definitely, but again, for embellishment not for their own sake. Random sequins or beading doesn't work for me. I have a sweater where the pointsettias are embellished with bugle beads and it's perfect. Sequin garlands on a Christmas tree, lovely.

Last year it was suggested in comments that I embellish my own sweater. I'd love to do that someday - I just can't make myself put aside the time for it right now. One year I searched and searched and couldn't find a new sweater. I did find a cardigan in ivory that had snowmen and snowflakes embroidered on it in off white yarn. Barely visible - certainly wouldn't show up in pictures.

I decided to get some shades of brown, tan and gold embroidery floss and stitch over parts of the sweater to give it color. I worked a few of the snowflakes and the caps on the snowmen. I put the sweater on. The snowflakes were unfortunately positioned on the sweater, which I didn't realize until I tried it on and looked in the mirror. They looked like light brown and beige yarn pasties. I picked out the work I'd done on the snowflakes but left it on the caps - they looked fine. Lucky for me I did find a sweater at the after Christmas sale at Robinson's May in Bakersfield and wore that to the family celebration later that day.

I have broadened my Christmas wardrobe this year in a new direction. My daughter and I were shopping while I visited her last month and I got a pair of flannel jammies. They were decorated with pink flamingoes wearing ski caps and scarves standing in little snow drifts outside of Airstream style trailers decorated with Christmas lights. I may now need to buy a new pair of jammies every year as well.

I will face the mall hoardes once again tomorrow. The holiday bracelets I ordered have come in at Brighton and I'll need to pick them up. I'll wander around for a few hours, hoping to be inspired by something I can get for a gift but I truly dread going out into the crowds. I think this will be more of an online Christmas than ever.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving!

Last Thanksgiving I wrote this:

'Apple thing' is a favorite around here. I never would have guessed when I first tried it out last year but it was well received and back by popular demand this year. As to how it got stuck with the name 'apple thing', I made the mistake of writing down 'apple thing' on my list of steps to take (so everything would finish at approximately the same time) and times to take them. I place the list on the counter. Everyone who goes in the kitchen reads the list. Now everyone calls it apple thing. I bet there's a real name for it. Don't tell me. I'm happy with it as is.

As a public service, I give you the Apple thing recipe:

Pour two cans of apple pie filling in a round pyrex lidded bowl and top with crumb cake topping and cook it with the turkey for the last half hour. (you can do it in any pyrex dish so long as there's a lid - I just happen to have a round one I like.)

Topping: pour out a mound of Bisquick into the bottom of a medium sized mixing bowl, don't ask me how many quarts or what, just medium, and the mound - well lets say a couple cups. It doesn't quite fill half the medium bowl.

Add 3/4 of a stick of butter, about a half cup of brown sugar, a generous dash of cinnamon - mush it up 'til it's all clumpy. Pour it over the apple pie filling.

Should I write a cookbook or what? I think it would go well with icecream. Serve warm or cold. We like it warm.

I was talking to my daughter about the Thanksgiving dinner shopping I did the other day. She asked me at the end of my recitation "What about applething?" Oh goodness, I'd forgotten to get the canned apple filling for applething!

This morning my daughter arrived from SoCal around 9 am. I picked her up at the airport and our first stop before home was the grocery to get the apple thing stuff and something for her to drink (our fridge has my Arizona Diet Green Tea, the hubby's apple juice, a couple bottles of Romulan Ale and a couple Bud Lights. Oh, milk. And a bottle of Mead.)

Thanksgiving wouldn't be the same for my daughter without applething.

I also wrote last year:

Things I really need to buy at Williams Sonoma:

* A ricer, I heard a chef on NPR say that was the best way to make mashed potatoes
* A good oven thermometer, I have NO IDEA when my oven has pre-heated. My old stove had a little light that went out. This one has no such indicator. I just turn on the gas and wait about 20 minutes
* A gravy boat, I'd like one in my china pattern, but Lenox has discontinued the McKinley pattern from its Dead Presidents line of china so the only way to get a gravy boat is to buy it from a discontinued patterns place which, right now, doesn't have any gravy boats. We used a large melamine bowl and a spoon for the gravy. Classy.
* A knife block

Since I wrote that I've obtained all of those items - not all at William's Sonoma,I did get the ricer and knife block there, but I found the oven thermometer at the grocery and got a plain white stoneware gravy boat at Cost Plus World Market.

The table is draped in a new cloth, the centerpieces are out (one of the grandkitties keeps gnawing at the dried stalks wheat they stuck in it. I've removed the wheat and put it away). Yankee Candle scented Housewarmer candles in Pumpkin Pie scent are burning (I don't cook pies - I buy them and we eat them cold from the fridge with way too much whipped cream). The turkey is in the oven and at about 2:30 I start whipping up the side dishes.

This year it's just the hubby the daughter and me, I'm thankful that we can be together. I'm thankful that my son hasn't been deployed yet. I wish my daughter's SailorBeau was here - he's in the Middle East. I hope the Navy puts on a wonderful feast for them.

I'm thankful for NaNoWriMo - I've proven to myself that I can face the blank page and write (nearly) every day. I did 50k in about 18 days. I'm no where near finished with the story - December and January will be my personal NoWriMos. Then I let it sit so I can come back to it with fresh eyes and start the re-write. Maybe by spring I'll have something to ask a beta reader to look at.

My best wishes to you all for a lovely day, whether you're celebrating Thanksgiving or not, I'm also thankful that you come by and read here.

  • ,
  • Sunday, November 19, 2006

    I Just Liked the Picture

    You are The Moon

    Hope, expectation, Bright promises.

    The Moon is a card of magic and mystery - when prominent you know that nothing is as it seems, particularly when it concerns relationships. All logic is thrown out the window.

    The Moon is all about visions and illusions, madness, genius and poetry. This is a card that has to do with sleep, and so with both dreams and nightmares. It is a scary card in that it warns that there might be hidden enemies, tricks and falsehoods. But it should also be remembered that this is a card of great creativity, of powerful magic, primal feelings and intuition. You may be going through a time of emotional and mental trial; if you have any past mental problems, you must be vigilant in taking your medication but avoid drugs or alcohol, as abuse of either will cause them irreparable damage. This time however, can also result in great creativity, psychic powers, visions and insight. You can and should trust your intuition.

    What Tarot Card are You?
    Take the Test to Find Out.

    Friday, November 17, 2006

    Tagged for "Five Things" Meme by Victoria Strauss of Writer Beware!

    ::Giggly fan girl moment::

    ok, better now.

    You can probably infer, from the number of posts I've put up on my blog that feature Writer Beware warnings and information, that I think Victoria Strauss and A. C. Crispin are way up near the top of my list of the most wonderful people on the planet. I also have a number of A. C. Crispin books on my bookshelf, as I am a rabid Star Trek novels fan and I'm starting to collect Victoria's books as well.

    So, when I wandered over to read the recent posts, I noted Victoria had done a meme. Memes are fun, you learn stuff about folks, too. I read down through her answers. Good ones, all - you should go read the post.

    Then I saw "Dawno" as one of her 5 tagged people. Dawno? That's me! Wow!

    ::down, fan girl, down!::

    ok, better now, again.

    Here are the details of the meme from "At Last! Writer Beware Blogs! A. C. Crispin and Victoria Strauss Reveal All!"

    [Victoria says she's been tagged] "by Cathy Clamp to write five things about myself that few people know, and tag five others to do the same."

    5 things that few people know about me. Hmm, where do I start? I'm such a shy person. I've been so reluctant to reveal much that is personal on my three blogs and in those thousands of posts on Absolute Write. Since people who would visit here know so little about me, I could say anything. This should be a snap.


    Hours later...

    My first major public solo musical performance was in a church Christmas program where I had the Mary solo. I believe to this day I got that role only because of my 3 month old son.

    The better singer's (seriously - operatic quality soprano and I used to have an ok voice, but not in her league at all) baby was a girl. You might think "who would know?" but this is a church - we all knew her, she was a featured singer, the organist and the wife of one of the associate ministers. Everyone knew her baby was a girl.

    Even so - who would care? It's just a church program. Well, this was a huge church and it was just outside of L.A. in a little suburban community called Santa Clarita. Many of the folk at the church were from "the industry" (movies, tv or recording - I've got a Bacon number of 3 as a result of knowing Steve Lively). So this was quite a production - not your typical tempura painted sets and bathrobed shepherds.

    Was the music minister was a stickler for authenticity? Maybe he didn't want to stretch our willing suspension of disbelief too far? Or he felt sorry for me, a new member and a new mom with a 3 month old baby boy - why not let her do it, she can carry a tune while holding a baby. I was very grateful for the chance, regardless, as I love to sing and always wanted to be a soloist. I was able to do many more solos at that church for the few years I was there. I often miss those times.

    I love to eat raw green onions - with lots of salt and I only eat the white part. The green stuff stays on the plate. This I inherited from my dad.

    I had thick tufts of hair on my ears at birth. Don't know how long it stayed there but nobody called me "wolfgirl" in elementary school, so it was gone by the time I turned 5. Currently ears are still fur-free and I can wear silver without feeling deathly ill.

    I would like to own a pet hedgehog. I would not call it Spiny Norman - tempting as that would be - perhaps something very English sounding and floral.

    I'm often the last person to "get" things. I'm very literal sometimes. I have a story to illustrate. When I was in college M*A*S*H was a huge hit show and we all gathered in the dorm lobby/lounge to watch. It was an event - people brought snacks and sodas and popcorn. If you wanted a chair or the couch you camped out hours in advance. So there's an episode where the main characters are sitting around drinking and they start toasting (I Googled the lines and found them):

    Col. Potter: "To Blackjack Pershing."
    Hawkeye: "Inventor of 21."
    Col. Potter: "To Harry Truman."
    B.J.: "To Bess Truman. To Margaret Truman."
    Hawkeye: "To err is Truman."
    It goes to commercial after that. I finally got the last line - and started laughing. People looked at me - the commercial wasn't funny. I explained. People made zoom gestures over their heads. Took me a minute to get that, too. Puns go over my head all the time. I'm not good at coming up with them either, to my chagrin.

    Well, that's it. Thank you Victoria - it was fun.

    Time to tag 5 lucky bloggers!



    Thursday, November 16, 2006

    Gah! I Haven't Posted Here in Days!

    I've been doing a short post daily in my NaNoWriMo blog but by the time I finish my NaNo writing for the night, post in that blog and wander the AW forum a bit, it's pretty late (as you can see from the timestamp on this post) and it's past my bedtime. There's not much excitement going on so I hate to just post to be posting blather.

    But! I would like to draw your attention to a post on a blog named Surgite. It's a complete riot, do go read it.

    I was one of the statistics, btw. A proud moment for me.

    OK, time to stumble through the dark and pray I don't trip on a cat and die getting to bed.

    Monday, November 13, 2006

    Only 41 Days Until Christmas

    This post has nothing to do with Christmas. Certainly not with the shopping I want to get done early nor where I plan to spend it. But I really do need to start thinking about it soon. When, I wonder, will I feel that edge of panic setting in? Last year I was still shopping pretty much up to Christmas Eve. At least I got my cards out early!

    The NaNoWriMo word count widgit was still wonky so I took it off. I'm at 25037 so I've passed the half way point two days ahead of the official schedule. I talk more about it on Drive By Booking so I won't go into details here.

    This weekend I spent with my daughter. We had a wonderful time. She's got a sweetheart of a house and her performance in Grease was fantastic. I hope she gets me some pictures soon.

    Not much going on of much interest in my life. IILAA is still a brown stain. AW's new server is at its new home. I'm not sure when they'll switch over but we're all pretty excited about it - we're hoping it will solve the page not found and other glitches we keep having to have our own server.

    I'm pretty brain drained from writing so forgive the short update. Thanks for stopping by!

    Wednesday, November 08, 2006

    The Widget is Wonky

    There's a glitch in the widget right now - at 1666.67 words per day by day 8 the goal should be 13,333.33, not the 8981 it's currently showing. Of course by the time you read this it might be fixed - but I had to do MATH! to figure out where I was in relation to the Wrimo goals tonight. Suffice it to say, I'm still comfortably ahead enough to do this in 25.4 days.

    And yes, I am fixated on the word goal, but it's that challenge that's getting my butt in chair every night. And while I feel comfortable about the dispensation to write crap so long as I write, I also feel that there are bits and pieces of what I'm doing that show promise. I'm not writing aimlessly or just throwing 2k unrelated words on the screen to meet the goal - I feel like it's the first draft of a real novel.

    It's pretty exciting.


    Monday, November 06, 2006

    Wherein I Decide to Improve My Ergonomics

    Hi to 69.119.194.,, Yonkers, New York! Lots of visits from you today! Some of them rather lengthy. I'm always glad to have visitors. Leave a comment sometime and let me know what it is that keeps bringing you back here.

    I love Site Meter. I often find I've been visited from unusual locations. I recently signed up with the Google Analytics as well, but, aside from cool pie charts, I don't see the advantage of it over Site Meter. I'll have to investigate more, perhaps I just don't know how to read the data yet.

    I've discovered the one thing about the daily two to three hour BIC sessions I'm having. I need a new chair. My hamstrings are killing me. But I'm still churning out the words, day by day. I'm thinking I've made a good start but I'm worried about momentum. Can I do this for a whole month? Two? A year? The rest of my life? I'm putting off seriously thinking about it. But I know that if I really want to do this writing thing I must. Speaking of which, I recently purchased an e-book, by someone I highly respect and who hasn't given me a smidge of bad advice to date, to see about opportunities in an interesting market. (Hint, Absolute Write) I'm not going to talk about it right now, but after NaNoWriMo I'm going to explore the possibility and if it looks likely I'll say more about it then.

    Spoke to my daughter today, it was interrupted by a call from her SailorBoy in the Middle East. He recently injured his left index finger - nothing he'll get a Purple Heart for, I'm relieved to say. He's left handed so that will make his job more difficult and painful until it heals.

    Daughter is lonely but doing fine otherwise. Her play has its final weekend and I'm flying south to visit her and see it. She's looking forward to showing me the little house they're living in. I'm looking forward to visiting, too, haven't seen her since late August when we all went to Georgia.

    Nothing much else to yammer about and it's getting late. But I didn't want my friend in Yonkers to come back and have to stare at the same post from yesterday.


    Sunday, November 05, 2006

    37,164 Words

    I'm keeping a daily journal of my NaNo experience over on another blog. So far the posts are kinda short and not real informative. I get to the end of my daily BIC session and there just isn't anything more to say. However, I really need to find a plot. I'm wandering all around a storyline, but it's not taking off somewhere yet. This could be a bit of a problem down the road...yes, I actually realize it's a major problem. Tongue is firmly in cheek here. I'm trying to get my characters to tell me where they're heading but I think they need a kick in the ass.

    I do remind myself, however, that this is really, truly the very beginning of my attempt to seriously write long form fiction. It's been 30 years since college, I've never even attempted such a prolonged steady pace towards a specific writing goal before and I have to remind myself that I'm not trying to write something that's publishable on Dec. 1. I'm just trying to get myself started in a daily habit of writing a connected sequence of words. No short humorous personal essays or non-fiction bits - but a novel. And if not that, then a lump of words I can carve away at until it becomes a decent sized short story - but that's only a last resort.

    And if this is the "trunk novel #1" I have to be ok with that. And ready to write trunk novel #2 and #3, etc.

    I read some good advice recently. Let the editor tell you it's crap. (maybe I'll try beta readers first) and (this is really paraphrased) don't hang on to the idea of becoming a writer too long - give it my best shot but if it's not something I really can do, I need to move on and not miss out on the other stuff I could be successful at. Sounds like a plan.

    But first, I have 37,164 more words to write.


    Saturday, November 04, 2006

    Trying to Write a Novel?

    There's been no news on the IILAA nor has the Brown Stain been replaced with a real website. Amazing what a little bit of noise among writers with blogs can do.

    I've been tapping away every night since Nov 1 for about 2 - 3 hours a night, doing an average of 2,644.25 words per night. I've also spent some time reading some great sites about writing by writers for writers (well, one is an anonymous agent). I want to share them with you.

    #1 Learn Writing With Uncle Jim - this is a novel writing course done over the course of thousands of posts and approaching its 3 year anniversary - the first post was Nov. 13, 2003. This thread contains wonderful ideas, lessons, exercises and prompts. There are line by lines of first pages of novels and discussions about everthing from formatting to grammar to publishing. It's incredible. Many of us at Absolute Write hope that Jim will get this in book form someday soon.

    #2 Holly Lisle. I love her Notecard Plotting. There are other good tips and hints and ideas on her site as well - all free. Yeah, she sells stuff too (but at a really reasonable price), but there's real goodness in the freebies, not just a bait and switch or "for the rest of this lesson please send $19.95 before midnight tonight to PayPay! Hurry, this offer expires at midnight tonight" stuff. Oh, she has a cool podcast, too.

    #3 A variety of posts on Making Light. Patrick and Teresa Nielsen Hayden (and no, I didn't forget the hyphen)have collected a wonderful following of writers, editors, readers. In addition to great posts, there are huge veins of gold running through the comments sections of that site. I think most of them are mentioned in Uncle Jim's thread but one I'm particularly fond of is Slushkiller. Oh, and this one The Evil Overlord Devises a Plot

    #4 Miss Snark Indescribable. May not always have the best advice in town (I can't say if it is or isn't due to my novice stature) but it sure is fun to read.

    #5 The Unstrung Harp or Mr. Earbrass Writes a Novel


    Thursday, November 02, 2006

    More About the Brown Stain and Co.

    There's an update for you about the Desert Rose Literary Agency/Leann Murphy at Writer Beware. Does anyone think the whole IILAA thing maybe backfired on someone?

    I gotta go to bed. See ya again soon, I hope!

    Go "Digg" Victoria's Post on IILAA!


    Wednesday, November 01, 2006

    A Little Bit of This, A Little Bit of That

    If you're following the IILAA/Barbara Bauer does a Podcast news you've probably seen this one already, but just in case:


    In other news, the brown stain is still up where the IILAA site once was.

    The 99 words contest was won by emeraldcite - do read his wonderful entry and leave a congrats in the comments. While you're there tell him Dawno says congrats too but still can't figure out how to leave a comment. Hey, Blogger Beta programmers - fix that will ya???

    I'm keeping a NaNoWriMo journal on another blog, Drive By Booking, so I won't go into details here, except to say that I finished a chapter tonight and I'm still buzzing and can't get to sleep yet. I betcha that doesn't last all month.

    We had a pretty good turn out last night for Halloween but not enough to finsh off all the candy we bought. I figure I'll use the leftovers as snacks for my writing sessions. Lots of Disney Princess costumes, some with lighted tiaras. Only a couple kids came in 'street clothes' and grocery bags but I had plenty of candy so *shrug* no problem. The annoying thing was the ones who knocked on the door even though I had turned out the light and brought in the pumpkin - our property manager gives each of us a free one every year and allegedly if you leave it out that is supposed to signal that you're giving out candy. I assumed it also meant that if you took it in and turned off the danged porch light folk would get it that you weren't. Apparently a few folk didn't get the memo.

    This morning when I went out to the car there were just a few desultory streamers of toilet paper in the trees up and down our street. As I looked at them I couldn't help but think "slackers! back when I was a kid we TP'd things up good - none of this two or three streamers per tree" and I walked up hill in sandstorms both ways to school.

    Tomorrow the movers come to get my son's household goods from the garage and ship them to Ft. Bragg. I hope the stuff gets there before Thanksgiving. I nearly forgot about my DIL's car and had to call back - that may get there more quickly.

    Go "Digg" Victoria's Post on IILAA!


    Tuesday, October 31, 2006

    Happy Halloween!

    The kiddies are starting to show up - there was a great vampire kid - real retro, Bela Lugosi makeup that someone obviously took time to do for him. One toddler thought he should just come right inside and make himself at home and the grandkitties are completely freaked out.

    For all of you and yours, Happy Halloween!

    Monday, October 30, 2006

    Surprise!!I An ILAA Update - This Desert Rose Doesn't Smell So Good

    The IILAA site had a interim page up (very briefly, I hear) before the current brown stain appeared there. The Truth About Writing site managed to capture the eloquently stated position of the IILAA before it disappeared - it's not quite exactly what you'd expect to see on a professional literary agent's association's webpage.

    Also, the IILAA sockpuppet has arrived! You knew it would show up sooner or later. An anonymous new member of Absolute Write has sent a PM to Victoria Strauss (and others). Victoria has reproduced her PM on her blog. It appears that Desert Rose Literary Agency has a defender - a "client" (certainly not the primary agent for Desert Rose Literary Agency, Leann Murphy, really, someone else completely different, really) has selflessly stepped into the fray on Leann Murphy of the Desert Rose Literary Agency's behalf, completely unsolicited by Leann Murphy of the Desert Rose Literary Agency to chastise and decry the terrible things the CABAL is doing to Leann Murphy of the Desert Rose Literary Agency.

    But, what does the Desert Rose Literary Agency have to do with IILAA? Because IILAA is the target, not Leann Murphy of the Desert Rose Literary Agency.

    Because, other than being on the top ten list of Independent Agencies on the (now a blank brown stain) IILAA site, why would one of Leann Murphy of the Desert Rose Literary Agency's "clients" feel they have to defend her with vague threats about connections and knowing how to code because the IILAA site is being made the laughingstock of the blogosphere?

    Surely not because Leann Murphy of the Desert Rose Literary Agency made up the IILAA or created the website for it, just so she could say she was part of a real live literary agent's association (does it make you wonder why she's not with the AAR? It wouldn't be that sticky Canon of Ethics or maybe having to actually sell to real publishers, would it?) to lend some legitimacy and credibility to her own agency...I'll leave it to better sleuths than me to figure it out.

    However, I do believe stock in Alcoa recently went up considering the amount of tinfoil being converted to chapeaux.

    One other thing, did you wonder what the "International" in International Independent Literary Agents Association means? Perhaps the 10th of the top ten was Hill & Hill of the UK? People are making a connection but with the IILAA site down and Mr. Hill incommunicado, it's difficult to really link these two. However, this post from via Miss Snark does merit review as it discloses Mr. Hill's underhanded tactics and will arm folk against falling for the tricks of others like him.

    Go "Digg" Victoria's Post on IILAA!


    Sunday, October 29, 2006

    Oh NO! The IILAA Site is Down! Also, Babs Has A Podcast

    A visit to the IILAA website reveals a brown page with the words "Hello there! I am currently working on the site....... Thanks for visiting!" Nothing more. I wonder why it's down?

    Perhaps for a well deserved proof-reading to edit out the numerous typos and grammar/punctuation errors (IILAA stands for "International Independent Literary Agents Association" - missing an apostrophe, maybe)?

    Perhaps to update the "IILAA top 10 agents" list to a more accurate "top 9" (unless it's to add a 10th member)

    Maybe they couldn't handle all the web traffic coming their way from people who read blogs like Writer Beware's AC Crispin and Victoria Strauss' blog, Miss Snark's, Agent Kristin, or folk who frequent Absolute Write or Preditors & Editors...

    On the off chance that you, dear reader, aren't one of my usual 3 or 4 buddies from Absolute Write who already know this stuff and you are also novice writer who has been Googling along doing some research into the getting of an agent - PLEASE READ the info on these next links:

    • SFWA's Writer Beware info on Agents and Agencies (and you don't have to write SF for this stuff to apply to you)
    • Absolute Write Bewares and Background Checks forum - there are some general interest threads and then many, many specific inquiry threads. Oh, just because you see an agency or agent's name as a thread topic doesn't mean they're bad or scams - just that someone had a question - you need to read the thread and even then, go do more research!
    • Preditors and Editors
    • AAR
    • Google (or your other fav. search engine) - and don't stop with the first page! Drill down and see what the real history of (or lack thereof) this agent/agency is.
    Ok. 'Nuff of that. What about Bab's Podcast?? Apparently Barbara Bauer hasn't had enough grief in her life. She has put out a podcast "What's Wrong With Publishing" or maybe it's "The Crisis in Publishing" anyway, it's Babs and a couple of like minded folk (Thomas Wahl, David Hiatt and Josh Dinnerman [sorry Matt Dinniman for the earlier typo] ).

    According to Babs these things are wrong with publishing:
    • Google (which they think is getting an "exemption" from just about every law "because they are an internet service provider")
    • Anonymous people posting mis-information that "harm" a "number" of independent literary agents (whom Babs feels must be getting paid to do this by the benefactors of all the anonymous posting)
    • Googlebombing - "done by experts paid to program and, er, write that blog" ("that" blog?)
    • Disparagement on the internet - "some have called for Congressional hearings" but dear Thomas doesn't think anything will come of it
    • "Bloody", "bloodsport sites" that have Google ads that people click on taking advantage of people's names being disparaged and the government should look into it!! I agree that the government should look into what's being said on these sites. The FBI should be looking into every agent and agency these sites are talking about. And maybe the IRS.
    Then she starts on the Miss Snark "column" - claiming it's a 'dragoon' of writers disparaging their competition, i.e., the Babs and her colleagues. Do read what Miss Snark (and folks in the comments) says about that.

    Well, I've had enough entertainment this evening. I'm sure there will be more to come.

    Go "Digg" Victoria's Post on IILAA!


    Saturday, October 28, 2006

    Is "Any Publicity" Good Publicity? More Blogging on the IILAA

    More good blogging about the IILAA! (or this IILAA search)

    has a nice line up posted.

    Thomma Lyn has links to the AAR site and AAR's Canon of Ethics - go hit her site for the links and say hi in her comments when you visit.

    Agent Kristin gives us her opinion at Pub Rants.

    C. E. Petit weighs in at Scrivener's Error with some great links of his own - for example he provides a link to an Agent Research and Evaluation site that can't verify that 8 of the 9 "Top Ten" [sic] IILAA agents HAS EVER MADE A SALE to a commercial publisher.

    Yes, we should give them some huge chunk of our hard earned money to represent our books (well, we in the sense of "if I had one" I'd be part of the we...oh, whatever - I'm doing NaNo this year, maybe by Dec. 1 I'll have a book, ok?) based on that track record of success. You betcha, I wanna "be a retainer" with one of those winners.

    It's only fitting that Fahim on Solipsistic Meanderings has posted about this news from halfway around the world, after all, the IILAA claim to be international even though they're all in the US. I guess it really doesn't matter - they're doing just as well overseas as they are around these parts, huh?

    Snarkling Kim has contributed to the conversation, too. She's another blogger to whom you should go and drop a nice "hiya" in comments.

    Well, the Google Blogs search goes on for quite a few pages and even in the back pages there are a few that are actually about the IILAA - for example Jean at Storycrafters' post.

    Keep spreading the news!

    Go "Digg" Victoria's Post on IILAA!


    Friday, October 27, 2006

    IILAA and the Great Writer Advocates' Cabal Conspiracy Secret Master Plan and Stuff

    I'm excited. I think I finally have my chance at being part of a cabal! A minor, flunky-type part, but hey, it's better than nothing! How do I plan to gain admittance to the Evil HQ? By helping get the cabal's insidious message out into the blogosphere.

    And here's the best part: You can be a flunky, too!! Here's the linkage you should peruse and re-use at your blog (and don't forget the technorati tag, DIGG-ing it, del.ici.ous, whatever else you can think of!):

    Miss Snark discusses IILAA

    "It pisses me off that people use OUR profession to prey on people. You can bet your bottom dollar that if some flim flam scam sham artist went around to writing conferences advertising him/herself as an editor at Fontosaurus Publishing Company that there be fecal matter hitting the cooling device faster than you can say 'clean up your euphemisms for the RSS feed'." Miss Snark on 10/27's post

    "The problem with these guys is they charge up front fees, tell people it's the norm (it's not) and don't have ANY SALES LISTED."
    from Miss Snark (in comments on her 10/26 blog post)

    P. N. Elrod discusses IILAA

    "Apparently this bunch of qualified nouns have wearied of people like A.C. Crispin & Victoria Strauss working their butts off with others in an effort to shine a light in the slime pit world of publishing preditors.

    Instead of earning an honest buck by actually SELLING a book, it's easier for the miserable leeches to attack defenders of integrity." from p_n_elrod's post

    Writer Beware discusses IILAA

    "Cue scary music. And just to enable you, the writer, to identify this Axis of Evil, this HYDRA, this SMERSH of the Internet, there's a helpful page entitled: How to spot hate sites who [sic] prey on the insecurities of writers. There, the terrible truth is once again revealed: "There are numerous websites trashing agents. Because of the number of these websites, the average writer who is simply browsing the internet is not aware that most of these websites, forums, chatrooms, etc., are operated by the same group of people who claim to serve the interest of you, the writer. But honestly, do you believe that the operators of these websites spend so much of their time, effort, and money because they truly care about you? Or do they have an agenda."

    Okaaaay. Now I get it. It's a CONSPIRACY. Me and Ann and Dave and Jenna and Jim and Snark and Teresa aren't the autonomous individuals we pretend to be: we're a covert cabal with a Master Plan. What, you thought I was going to tell you more? Uh uh, my friend. Like any good Master Plan, ours depends on absolute secrecy." from Victoria Strauss' post

    The Road Less Traveled discusses IILAA

    "Their web site explains why authors should pay their agent upfront fees, and claims that Writer Beware, Preditors and Editors and other watchdog groups are really part of a conspiracy. It would be funny if novice writers weren't so vulnerable to such claims. That's how the scammers make their money, by convincing authors they should pay and pay and pay, even if they never sell a book to a publisher." from the blogger's post

    Absolute Write Members discuss IILAA

    I won't quote posts here - read the thread - but if you want my opinion Uncle Jim and Xhouseboy and veinglory have the best posts...

    Oh, one more little thing...Anyone remember how we helped Barbara Bauer become (in)famous - briefly - earlier this year? Guess who's a member of IILAA?


    Digg Victoria's blog post on this

    Friday, October 20, 2006

    I'm Giving This Flash Fiction Thing A Try

    99 words of horror (I hope) for the 99 Words of Horror Contest courtesy of Fireflies in the Cloud and the Flash Fiction Friday sponsored by Peregrinas. This is my first attempt at 1)flash fiction 2)joining something like the FFF 3)horror.
    Feel free to comment about whether or not it's actually horror. *I'm* deathly afraid of moths, btw.

    Under a rock might be a scorpion, in the rafters, a black widow spider. Miss Jenson talked about poison bugs in our science circle today. She didn’t talk about moths, ones with wings big as a bird's. I hit one with my hand; it scared me flying close to my face. One flew past Jeremy, leaving powder on his shirt. Kimmie had to duck when she went inside; she got moth dust in her hair.

    I see them from my window, out in the desert, under the moon. Fighting over the limp bunny between them. I feel hungry, too.

    Saturday, October 14, 2006

    I Posted Everywhere But Here Last Night

    I'm not quite sure how that happened. I posted all over the place last night and wrote a 700 word personal essay (very non-uplifting and grim). Some how NVNC got the short shrift. Warning: this post is going to wander all over the place.

    What does shrift mean? I know what the phrase 'short shrift' means. But the word shrift, itself, I'm not so sure. I've used it (even had someone say to me, you mean 'shift' right? like I was an idiot. These are the same folks who talk about a mute point. No, I wasn't talking about some kind of mini-dress or perhaps a gear engagement device in a poorly designed car, one that sits too low to the floor? No, I *meant* SHRIFT. sigh)

    I think I knew this once...
    ::looking it up::

    short shrift
    1. Summary, careless treatment; scant attention: These annoying memos will get short shrift from the boss.
    2. Quick work.
      1. A short respite, as from death.
      2. The brief time before execution granted a condemned prisoner for confession and absolution.
    Word History: To be given short shrift is not the blessing it once was. The source of our verb shrive (shrove, shriven) and noun shrift, which have technical meanings from ecclesiastical Latin, is Classical Latin scrībere, “to write.” Shrive comes from the Old English verb scrīfan, “to decree, decree after judgment, impose a penance upon (a penitent), hear the confession of.” The past participle of scrīfan is scrifen, our shriven. The noun shrift, “penance; absolution,” comes from Old English scrift with the same meaning, which comes from scrīptus, the perfect passive participle of scrībere, and means “what is written,” or, to use the Latin word, “what is prescribed.” Theologians and confessors viewed the sacrament of penance as a prescription that cured a moral illness. In early medieval times penances were long and arduous—lengthy pilgrimages and even lifelong exile were not uncommon—and had to be performed before absolution, not after as today. However, less demanding penances could be given in extreme situations; short shrift was a brief penance given to a person condemned to death so that absolution could be granted before execution.

    I love words. It saddens me that there's an attitude out there that using certain words (long ones, mostly) means you're elitist or being condescending.

    How about using them because you just love the sound of the word, the way it rolls off the tongue? Or for the specificity of meaning - the exactitude. Why say "sorta blue" when you mean perriwinkle?

    You'd think more programmers and other techie folk, whose lives revolve around their codes and applications doing and meaning exactly the things they are meant to do or mean, would have sympathy for a large and exact vocabulary - outside of technospeak, that is. I don't necessarily find that to be true. And I know LOTS of these people where I work and live. I've probably lost more words that I knew once (as a result of raging CRS* syndrome) than most of them will ever know. I find that sad.

    Today I'm washing clothes and packing my bags for a week long business trip - my flight leaves tomorrow morning. I'm going to try and pack light. I've never accomplished that but I'll try.

    Now that you can't take any liquid items onboard in your carry-on luggage, my old way of packing one bag with all the toiletries I need, doesn't fly anymore. (Yeah, dreadful pun) So I put things in plastic containers with lids, like Tupperware but the disposables, (Ziploc makes an assortment of these) and stack them in my larger suitcase. I also discovered if you use the large freezer storage zipper bags (and I mean the ones with the plastic zipper slide) for small stuff like undies, you can squeeze all the air out of the bag when you close it and the stuff takes up less room. The only loose stuff in my suitcase anymore are power cords and a book or two.

    My suitcase, since I started doing this, has been searched in 3 out of 4 recent trips by TSA. I know because they leave a note - most of the time. Once they didn't but it was obvious they'd rummaged. Everything was in a different place than I'd originally packed it. So far nobody at TSA has sticky fingers.

    I put my outfits in a garment bag (a luggage one, not the light plastic things) and check them through with the suitcase. All I carry on the plane any more is my tote with my computer, purse, reading materials, iPod and dry snacks. I'm always concerned that they'll lose my luggage some day and I'll have to wear the same clothes for a week. I dress nicely when I fly, just in case.

    My son and DIL will be flying out tomorrow as well. Off to the adventure that is military life. We don't know yet how long he'll be Stateside before they ship him off. I suppose we'll find out pretty soon.

    My daughter's SailorBoy deploys with his squadron (he's in Naval aviation) this month as well. Keep praying (if you do that) for peace and for our boys in harm's way.

    Ooh - I've just discovered a blog by a sailor deployed to Kuwait - "Sand Sailor" as I was checking for Technorati Tags and I'm going to add it to my blogroll. I hope you'll take a look and give him encouragement.



    *Can't Remember Sh**

    Thursday, October 12, 2006

    I May Have to Post This at "Cats In Sinks"

    That's Jello, the grandkittie - she's been here before. My son and DIL (gulp) think her name is Kiki. Update: I've uploaded this pic to The Cats in Sinks site. Could be months before they post it according to their sidebar: "September 2006 We've just uploaded a couple more hundred images, but we've still got thousands to process... so if you've uploaded a picture, don't worry, we'll get there eventually."

    She's about a year old now and still quite petite. She hisses at Yogurt and my husband. She's not much (yet) for petting or letting you carry her. Her most annoying habit is jumping on my lap - when I'm using the bathroom. And I don't mean to brush my hair... She digs in her little claws and stares at me like "ha! you can't get up can you! I'm going to leave little puncture wounds all over your thighs!"

    We've also been having fun with the cats and our laser pointers. Yeah, we have them. I got a laser pointer pen from a vendor - pen/stylus option at one end, pointer at the other. Hubby has one from years ago when they first got popular. So we can send them after two red dots at once. Ah, the joys of geeky fun.

    We have that faux wood flooring in our dining room and it's slippery, so when the cats chase the "bug" they slide a lot - we shouldn't laugh at them when they crash into the walls, should we? Oh, well.

    Today is my blogiversary - I've been blogging for 3 years if you go back to my original blog at I'm celebrating by posting something in all my blogs today - and something different at each one.

    I've signed up for NaNoWriMo and I'll be using my other blogger blog "Drive by Booking" as my NaNo blog. I'll get that kicked off tonight and post to my OhDawno blog as well, meaning I will have posts in 4 blogs - tonite is quantity not quality night for sure.
    , ,


    Wednesday, October 11, 2006

    Dawno Ponders Food - Art - Discworld Fandom - Other Stuff

    I'm a huge Discworld fan. Huge. Love it, love Pterry. Read each book as soon as it's available. Want to go to England so I can see the BBC TV movie production of Hogfather. (BTW, great cast - David Warner is Lord Downey of the Assassins Guild, Terry himself plays The Toymaker) Took a vacation day to sit in a local bookstore all day so I could be in the front row for Terry Pratchett's reading and signing of Thud! (You can go back to my original posts from last September, starting here, if you want to read the play by play).

    But this mom baked a Discworld cake for her daughter's wedding. I realized when I clicked the link (thanks to TNH's Particles sidebar on Making Light) that I'm way, way, WAY down slope in terms of the Discworld fan hierarchy, looking up at the pinnacle of fandom.

    By the way - isn't that simply a fabulous piece of art, no matter whether you know about or like Discworld or not - wow! The baker-mom is very, very talented.

    Certainly a better looking comestible by a couple orders of magnitude than Fluffy Mackerel Pudding. Sorry. I often go back to that site when I need to laugh until I'm gasping for breath.

    Oh, will I get back to posting more frequently, now? I hope so. Next week I'm on a business trip but I'll try to find time in the evenings. That reminds me, I missed my Blogger 'blogiversary' it was back in August. My first blog post ever, however, was on October 12, 2003 so wish me a happy blogiversary tomorrow, ok?

    Tuesday, October 10, 2006

    This Wouldn't Be Dawno's Blog Without a Rooma Post Now and Then, Would It?

    Plucked From the Headlines: iRobot's Dirt Dog: Roomba gets a 'tude - Engadget

    "This new $130 dog will be taking a bite out of some of your toughest cleaning chores starting on Friday, but you gotta make sure that it doesn't wander out of your workspace and into the rest of the house -- it probably won't pee on your couch, but those 1,000 RPM brushes will shred your shag carpets, scratch the hell out of your polished hardwood, and -- if you have a significant other -- get you confined to the garage for the rest of your natural life."

    People name their Roombas (yeah, I'm guilty) and dress them up - something I've mentioned in other posts. Others have hooked up Roomba Cams (just do a Google search to see a number of sites. Several clips have been put up at YouTube). Engaget personifies it in their article as a "dog." Wonder what they think Scooba is...ah, here's the article from last December. A bit of a letdown, no personification at all.

    I hope you know we're all being softened up for the eventual overthrow of humanity by the robot overlords...there's LEGO's Mindstorms("Build and Program Robots that Do What You Want!" ...until they become one with the Overmind and turn on us), BattleBots on TV. Even YouTube has clips of people who have turned their innocuous Roombas into fighting machines. These unwitting collaborators in the war against humanity need to be turned from their dangerous path!

    I recommend we all go out and buy How to Survive a Robot Uprising: Tips on Defending Yourself Against the Coming Rebellion by Daniel H. Wilson

    Monday, October 09, 2006

    Flashback to September 1, 2006

    Time to post some of those pictures of my trip to Georgia that I mentioned a bit back. Since I had forgotten my digital camera I bought a disposable at the airport on my trip there to pick up my daughter and her boyfriend. I wish I could remember what type/brand that camera was - it took excellent pictures for a disposable - had a zoom lens and pretty fast speed.

    I'll start with the "Turning Blue" picture - that's the ceremony where the trainees get a blue cord that signifies they are part of the infantry.

    After a benediction and some speeches and a couple of awards we were shown how to put the infantry cord on to our soldier's uniform. Here I am doing just that.

    The next morning was the graduation ceremony. It started off with a lot of noise and smoke -

    Off to the side of the field the company waited for their turn to join the show.

    As the smoke cleared, trainees in their ghillies came running up from the far side of the field

    They lined up and the composition and equipment of the squad was explained to us.

    After that they "covered" each other as they pulled back into their Bradley and drove off

    Finally the company marched on to the field.

    This group was Matt's platoon.

    Afterwards there was a lot of hugging and mugging for the camera.

    That's it - We hung out with the kids until Saturday night, drove up to Atlanta for an early flight home on Sunday. He completed his jump school recently and is all Airborne ready and reports to duty next week.


    Sunday, October 08, 2006

    Dawno's Recommended Reading Offspring: Books: Liam Jackson

    The people and places of Liam Jackson’s Offspring are recognizably from the here and now – and they aren’t sappy, two dimensional do-gooders who exist only to prevail against overdrawn, over-the-top, bad guys that one encounters in some books where the bad guys are supernatural beings. In this book, the bad guys are the Fallen Angels and their Leader has decided to turn up the intensity of his rebellion against God. On Earth, violent crime and an epidemic of child abductions are just two of the symptoms of this battle which is being fought in the human realm. Is it Armageddon? Perhaps book two or three of the trilogy will provide the answer.

    There's nothing about the setting, or most of the characters, that isn't completely familiar - and this could be what makes Offspring so chilling, the story doesn't sound all that fictional after scanning the headlines in today's paper or watching CNN.

    The good guys being drawn into the fight against these foes seem at first ill equipped and weak, a young boy, an ex-con, a police officer losing his grip on reality, an accountant. The story follows these characters as they are inexorably drawn to Abbotsville, Tennessee for a supernatural face-off. Watching them realize who they are in the eternal scheme of things and what they now face is a compelling adventure for the reader. I highly recommend this book – I couldn’t put it down.

    Sunday, September 03, 2006

    Back From Georgia

    Yep, I've returned from the land of Waffle Houses on every corner. I'm hoping that a collection of pictures from various sources will converge on my email soon. I managed to leave my camera at home - although I did remember to bring the spare battery and re-charger. So, I'm at the mercy of my husband, my daughter and Matt's dad to send me their photos. I did buy a disposable and will have it developed - I don't think it got really good pictures of the graduation ceremony, but we'll see.

    In order to really understand what my son accomplished I took a look at the Infantry Training Brigade website, "a basic trainee's 'journal'," and calendar. Frankly, I'm amazed anyone gets through it - and before me were over a hundred young (and some not so young) men who had - including my son. He's definitely acquired a new maturity and strength. Not to say he lost his sense of humor - he managed to have some fun, too. Oh, so I don't forget, my son's group was E Company, 3rd platoon, 2nd Battalion, 54th Infantry.

    The weather in Georgia was tolerable - not too hot, definitely muggy. Thursday morning we gathered at Ft. Benning to witness the ceremony called "Turning Blue" where my son was presented with his blue infantry cord. As part of the ceremony I got to attach it to his uniform - there will be some pictures taken at the ceremony, eventually - but here's his formal photo in his dress uniform.

    Friday morning we watched the graduation ceremony complete with a demonstration of soldiers in a squad with weapons all camouflaged up in "ghillie" suits culminating in them all diving into the back of two armored personnel vehicles (not tanks - as I was reminded a couple times) and roaring off to the side of the field before the rest of the company marched forward to hear the speech from the commander, say the Soldier's creed, sing the Infantry and Army songs and march around the field.

    Needless to say, I am proud of his accomplishments so far - he's got a few more training challenges ahead, with Airborne training over the next few weeks, then he gets to come home for some leave time before he goes to his official posting.

    Meanwhile, one more day to recuperate then it's back to work.


    Tuesday, August 29, 2006

    Dawno Has Been Busy

    On Thursday, August 17th the SO and I left for Vegas - we go each year around the time of our anniversary (15 years!) and pop into the Star Trek convention. This year's con was the 40th Anniversary celebration of Trek. We didn't attend many of the events or spend much time in the main hall with all the dealers but we did attend the James Darren concert Saturday night. It was too crowded and too short for the price ($50 a ticket to sit half-way to the back of a very large room).

    We did eat a couple meals at Quarks - here I am at dinner, wearing the SO's favorite hat.

    This might be the last Star Trek con for us for a while. There are other things in Vegas to do. For example, while we were there I discovered that my SO had been reading up on all the rules for getting married in Vegas.

    After that surprising revelation I decided not to let a good opportunity slip through my fingers and enthusiastically agreed that we should get in a cab and go get our marriage license from the court house.

    We left and almost avoided a group of folk who were pigeonholing the newly licensed with brochures about their wedding chapels by walking up the street to the Golden Nugget. Only one guy had scoped out that side of the building and we basically ignored him and walked briskly (in the 100 degree heat, so we didn't walk briskly for long) to the Golden Nugget to catch a cab. We popped inside to see what it was like and were impressed at how nice and clean and classy it looked. If it weren't downtown I think we'd enjoy staying there, but we like the Strip.

    The next day I got up and went down to the casino for a smoke and played the slots for a bit. When I got back upstairs the SO was awake and showered. I said I'd jump in to take mine then so he said he'd head down to the blackjack tables and I should ponder where we'd actually get hitched. After I got out of the shower, I tried calling the Hilton to see if there was a snowball's chance in hell that the Bridge of the Enterprise was available.

    One of the things I've said over the past few years going to Vegas for the Star Trek cons was that if he wanted to marry me in Vegas that's where I wanted it to be. However with the 40th anniversary con going on they must have been really busy - all I got was voicemail. I decided to call the MGM Grand and reached a lovely lady named Lisa who said there was a time available that day at 2:00. It was still early enough for us to go find something nice to wear so I agreed to the 2:00 time.

    Turns out the SO wasn't playing blackjack, he'd gone over to the MGM and spoken to another lovely lady about the chapel (probably at the same time I was on the phone with her colleague) and he came back to the room with a bag full of brochures for the same place and the news that there was a spot open at 2:00. Since I'd already booked it, I'd say things worked out just great. When two people are on the exact same wavelength like that it just makes sense to get married, huh? We still had time to go shop at the Caesar's Palace shops and found our outfits at the Tommy Bahama store there, before we were due at the chapel. Here's my fiance (he got to be a fiance for about 35 minutes - we were within eyesight of the chapel when he said "I haven't formally proposed! Will you marry me? Do I have to get down on one knee?" I said yes to the proposal and no need to the knee thing. I think we were in front of a clothing store...)

    And that's how we ended up getting married at the Forever Grand Wedding Chapel at the MGM Hotel on Saturday, August the 19th at 2:00 p.m.

    Here are the Newlyweds!

    They offered to show our wedding on a live webcast but we declined, no time to get the word out that people might want to watch. We did buy the dvd and I'll be ordering our pictures soon, too.

    On Sunday we drove from Vegas to L.A. and rested all day Monday. Monday night my daughter and her Sailor Beau drove up from San Diego so they could go to Disneyland with us the next day. I hadn't told her about the wedding yet - so on Monday we did a little grocery shopping and got two little white frosted cakes that we put out with the bouquet and the wedding certificate that the MGM gave us in a little album like cover out on the coffee table at the hotel. When I brought the kids up to the room she gave the stuff a puzzled look, then gave me that look that says "did you do what I think you did?" and started laughing. After she calmed down we took a couple pictures of Glenn and I feeding each other bites of the cake - at least we did one traditional thing!

    Well, the next morning we all went to Disneyland after breakfast at the hotel. Did you know you can book a table at the Blue Bayou (at Pirates of the Carribean) for priority seating by calling ahead - several months in advance. Apparently everyone who didn't call in lined up to get a reservation at 8 am because by the time we got there around 10:30 the place was booked solid. I pulled the "but we just got married" card and the guy said we could be seated at 11:30. Since we weren't hungry then we passed.

    My husband (I need to get used to saying that instead of SO now!) and I bought a set of champagne flutes with the groom Mickey and bride Minnie on them, had them engraved with our names and our anniversary date. They now grace the mantle in the living room - at least for a while.

    Then from Wednesday to Sunday morning it was the World SF Convention.

    We had a wonderful time at the convention and I probably can think of lots to say - but not tonight. I'm off to Georgia early tomorrow morning for my son's graduation ceremonies from Army Basic. After I've recovered sufficiently to think straight I'll try to recap highlights of the con, if I can remember anything worth mentioning and blog them.

    Here are a few pictures instead:

    I'm holding up my badge lanyard to show the two Sputnik pins I bought at the Russian table in the dealers room at the con. Sputnik was launched in 1957 - so yes, you can blame me for the Space Race!

    Sunday, August 13, 2006

    Work Life Balance

    I'm searching for it, when I can find the time or have the energy left over after work. Irony, huh? If you missed my rambling, my apologies - I'll do what I can to get back to more rambling here.

    11 more days to LA con, 5 more days until my trip to Las Vegas and 20 days until I see my son again. I'll take a laptop along and try to blog about the trip along the way.

    Speaking of my son, the trip to Georgia for his Family Day was great. We shopped and saw a movie and talked a lot. Turns out he had completed the basic training portion that day and entering the next phase, the advanced individual training. He'll finish that next week and then they have recovery where they get the barracks and equipment ready for the next group. The two events we are going to see at the end of the month are the Turning Blue which is where he gets the blue infantry cord and the final graduation ceremony. His next step is to go into Airborne training and he'll be in 'Airborne hold' until his class is ready to start.

    My boy:

    Sunday, July 09, 2006

    The World's Most Dangerous Improv Game - Video Clip

    Are you a fan of Who's Line is it Anyway? - either the Beeb's or the US version, both of which I adore.

    The World's Most Dangerous Improv Game from VideoSift

    You have to watch it all the way through - there's a bit at the end that's priceless and worth the wait.

    And of course, since I went to the BBCAmerica site to get the link, I found myself wandering around and came across a BBC America Dictionary. Now when I'm watching a show I can look up all those words I had no idea what they meant! Whoo Hoo! Plus you can look up insulting words or body parts words just for the heck of it.

    Does Absolute Write Still Need Donations?

    Yes, to answer the question posed in the title, it does. A great little silent auction offer is up for members of Absolute Write. Other folks are thinking they'd like to join the fun. I hope we can keep the momentum going. I have made $70 so far for the Absolute Write fund with the CafePress store (sent it off earlier this week, folk).

    I had to move out of my office at work this week and into a cubicle. I've been in the office since the fall of 2002. When I was an HR manager I had to have an office because I was co-located with the client. HR stuff is sensitive and confidential so you get an office. In the spring of 2004 I took a new position outside of HR so I didn't really qualify for an office, but nobody needed it and I stayed 'under the radar' until recently. Unfortunately about a month ago I got the news that I'd have to give up the office.

    Anyway, today I took down all the stuff I've stuck up on the walls and packed up all the stuff that's too precious to me to risk having in a cubicle where it's out in the open, tempting folk with sticky fingers, and over the long weekend I brought home several boxes of stuff. *sigh* I will really miss my office - no matter how hard the day got, I had a place where I could shut the door and get things done. I'm easily distracted, so being out in a cube slashes my productivity. Trying to look on the bright side, I'm really close to the bathroom.

    Received another letter from my son. He qualified "sharpshooter" and has moved on to the second phase of training. Only 20 more days til I go see him. He asked me to get a letter he enclosed out to some friends of his, unfortunately he didn't tell me how to get the letter to them. I'll try to figure that out.

    I've been spending time in the sun so I can go out to the hotel pool without worrying about blinding the other bathers with the extraordinary paleness of my skin. I've a pretty nice tan now - except for my back and the backs of my legs - still a bit pale. I'll keep working on that and try to lose a bit more weight and I'll be set for the cons in August and the IT Manager meeting in Arizona mid-September. Last time we were there a lot of us gathered for 'meetings' poolside. I hope we do it again.

    I made a pair of earrings for my daughter - they were challenging because they had two hoops, one inside the other, with beads and those hoops hung from an earwire. I'd seen a pair at Forever 21 when we were shopping last time she was here and thought it would be a piece of cake to duplicate the idea. Nope. But I eventually figured it out and I think I had a better solution to the design than the pair we saw. Sent those off to her the other day - along with a surprise for my friend Unique in North Carolina, whom I visited a while back along with another friend I met online at AW, SC Harrison. There are a couple other folk out that way that I hope to get the chance to meet "In Real Life" next time I'm out that way. Perksie, you hear me??? And since my son will be stationed at Ft. Bragg with the 82nd Airborne, which is in North Carolina, about an hour south of where my company has its offices, I think it's a good bet I'll take a few days of PTO next time I go there.

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