Redbeard's Journal

Seriously. I have red hair and a beard. What did you expect?

November Ho!
ghost of redbeard
Yes, I've decided I'm going to try NaNoWriMo.


However, this time I've got a secret weapon: I'm not doing it alone.

My youngest wants to give it a try as well.

So. If nothing else, I guess I'm going to have motivation, because I'm sure she can outwrite me in a sprint.

Autumn Musings
ghost of redbeard
Fall has arrived, and with it marching band season, late nights for homework, and (for me, anyway) late nights staying up while other people do their homework.

But at least I can sleep in on Saturday and Sunday, drink some coffee, and (try to) chill for a little while.

I'd also be grilling a lot in the brisk weather, but the grill died.*  I've been limping along using the old bullet smoker that I have, but it's not the greatest for grilling.  And since I've no patio in the backyard, only a deck, I'm sure some of the neighbors now think I've got full redneck on them by grilling in my driveway, but it's for safety's sake.  (Really!)

What I really need, however, is an afternoon doze. I've not had one of those in a while, and it sounds like an awesome idea.

*The exterior of the grill was stainless steel, but the firebox was porcelain coated steel, and over seven years the thing rusted out completely. The price of replacing the firebox was about the cost of replacing the grill, and I've been thinking about switching back to charcoal anyway, so I've been sitting on the fence.

A Short Blurb
ghost of redbeard
I think there's something here, and I wanted to write it down before I went (back) to sleep.


"What the hell is wrong with me? Do I have some sort of cosmic kick-me taped to my back?"

"It's the magic in you, wanting to come out."

I scooted away, just a smidge. "You've been hitting the bottle. I don't have any--"

"--Yes you do. I can see it on you, like a silvery sheen in the darkness. The magic is there, lying dormant, but it wants to come out. So it tries to force its way out of you."

"Now I know you're crazy.  Everyone knows only the Gifted can see...." My voice trailed off as I watched him stretch out, snag a cup, and pour some port into it. No, he can't be.

He set the cup in front of me, held up the flask in a tired salute, and took a swig. "You're finally paying attention," he said, collapsing back into his chair.

Oh Gods. My day just went from bad to worse.

On Creative Writing Degrees
ghost of redbeard
Maybe it's just me, but every time I read about a Creative Writing degree, I think of creative ways of trying to BS clients/employees/customers/etc. Probably not what the people who are promoting those degrees have in mind, but given that I've seen enough "creative writing" in the jobs I've had in the 20+ years I've been in the work force, I can't NOT think about it.

Not Quite Sure What to Think of That....
ghost of redbeard
That was my reaction when I stopped by our local Walgreens for something and saw Game of Thrones action figures in a prominent endcap display.

Now you know Game of Thrones has jumped the shark.

A Short Quip
ghost of redbeard
The kids are watching X-Men: The Last Stand for completion's sake, as they want to eventually watch Days of Future Past.

Well, about 20 minutes in, my oldest turned to me and said "I can tell this is a bad movie. It's like the Prequels."

Can't argue with that.

Character Quips
ghost of redbeard

I was driving my oldest to a band function --I can't remember which, there have been so many-- when she asked me if I've ever finished that book I was writing.

"No," I replied. "I haven't had the time to finish. And besides, I think I'd write something different now, since it's been so long."

Which set us off to discussing a main cast.

"I'd prefer to write someone who is a combination of people I know, so I have a feel how they will react."


"Yeah," I said. "For example, a combination of you and one of your friends for a female lead."

"Oh, I know!" She sat up straight in the car. "'All men have a weakness, and only I can exploit it,'" she said, with a wicked gleam in her eye.

"Wow."  My mouth opened and closed.

"I know, right?"

"Yeah, that is just so perfect.  Mind if I steal it sometime?"

And a Nap in the Adirondack Chair. Yeah, that'll do it.
ghost of redbeard
Summer is here.

So why am I wishing it were Fall?

Hell if I know. Even though Fall is my second favorite season*, I don't often wish that it would be here sooner. At least, not while the kids aren't arguing over something.

Maybe it has something to do with weather and work combining to limit any time I had outside this Spring, and that we don't have any planting done for the year. Or maybe it has something to do with that we finally finished painting the kitchen and painting the bathroom in the summer heat isn't that much fun.

Or maybe I just need to write more, to get the stories bouncing around in my head onto the screen, so I feel more accomplished.

Did I mention that the adirondack chair needs painting? Yeah, what fun.

*After Winter. Yeah, I'm weird.

Collateral Damage
ghost of redbeard
Well, they managed to do it.

I'd hoped that the Russian mafia and political machines wouldn't ruin the non-Russian portion of LJ with their DDoS attacks, but it seems they have.

The activity on my friends list is miniscule compared to what it was 4-5 years ago. Admittedly, my own activity is down quite a bit as well, but I chalk that up to an overall lack of time to devote to writing. My lack of posting has nothing to do with DDoS attacks or anything of the sort, but others I know have either moved on to FB or G+ or have dropped blogging entirely.

This isn't the first time I've seen an active SF&F community decline into nothingness. I remember back in the early-mid 90s when GEnie (an AOL, Prodigy, and Compuserve competitor) was $5/month for regular non-gaming access. In those days, it seemed like most SF&F authors had GEnie accounts, and a lot of big fandoms (Middle-earth, Pernese, and Valdemar among others) had a presence there. It was a mini golden age that ended when GEnie decided to chase the online gamer dollars and change their pricing structure, eliminating the $5/month tier in favor of a much higher cost per month level of access.

When I stumbled on LJ many years later, it was a blast from the past, seeing the same sort of synergy among SF&F authors and fans that I saw in 90s era GEnie. But what has killed this wasn't corporate greed, but a combination of the march toward a social networking behemoth (Facebook) and being caught in the crossfire among Russian politics.

It's a shame, really, and it feels like LJ is just going through the motions now.

Something For Warmer Weather
ghost of redbeard
Now that warmer weather is finally here, I thought I'd share an incident from a couple of years ago.

The kids had spent some Christmas gift cards on water guns with the intention of having a knock down water gun fight in the 100F degree heat. Naturally, I didn't want to feel outgunned, so I bought one of those "water shotguns", which is in the shape of a double barrel and uses the pump action to shoot water out of one of the barrels at a time.

Imagine my surprise when my youngest grabbed my own gun during the game, swung it around at the others, and shouted "Say hello to my little friend!!" before dousing them in water.
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