Wednesday April 24, 2013
This Saturday, April 27th, I'll be at the Writing For Charity event on UVU campus at the Sorenson Student Center. My appearance, thanks to the ongoing health issues, will be "wan and shaky," and kind of short. And maybe brief. I'm going to pill up and power up for a one-hour class on worldbuilding, and then, press of adoring fans permitting, sneak back home and crash.
(That's actually the worst-case plan. If I'm feeling good, I'll stick around for the signing. I expect to be well enough to sign and sketch stuff right after my session.)
Obviously, then, A Day With Howard Tayler is not the reason you should spend $55 to attend this event. You should spend that money because dozens of other authors will be there providing fantastic information (the "what to ask an agent" panel is worth the price of admission all by itself, except that one runs opposite me so forget I said that) and especially because the proceeds from this event go to the Children's Literature Association of Utah. None of the authors at Writing For Charity are paid to be there -- our time is being donated in support of your contributions to support literacy in our little ones.
The prescription says I'll still be taking this horrible battery of antibiotics, but for charity I'll carve out the time, harden up, and deliver.
Sunday April 21, 2013
In an upcoming Mary Robinette Kowal book whose manuscript I had the opportunity to read, the characters visit a clothier. They do not buy clothing off the rack. They get measured, and then make their way around the shop examining fabric and the pieces on display. Then, essentially, they ask for "one of these, but made out of this, and I'll need at least two of these in matching colors, but not identical."
Upon reading that passage I turned to Sandra (who had already read and loved this manuscript) and exclaimed "I want to buy clothing THAT way."
Well... I just did, only it was even better than in the book. A friend of mine, Dawnray Ammon, just got a job at a place called Dress Code, and posted on Facebook about it. They looked interesting, and I needed a new suit, so I contacted them, and one of their fitters came to my house.
That's right, he came to my house.
I got measured, and I was frankly astonished at the various stretchings of the tape he applied in order to ensure the right fit. We then talked about what sort of a suit I was looking for, and what kind of use it would see. I examined fabric swatches and photos, made my selections, and then he was off.
Six weeks later the suit was ready, and it was wonderful. As it turns out, however, I had lost or redistributed about 15 pounds, so the measurements were no longer spot-on. Well, they took new measurements on the spot, and then altered the garments at no charge.
I wear this suit every Sunday, and it is a delight. One of the things I used to dread about church was getting dressed for it, but now that's something I look forward to, because the clothing I'm wearing is comfortable, and I actually look pretty good in it. I'll be going back to Dress Code for a tuxedo at some point. I expect to use them for suits for my sons when I send them off on their own. And yes, I whole-heartedly endorse them for you. They're a small outfit (ahaha pun), local to me here in Utah, so the at-home measuring service probably isn't available in your area, but they do send their fitters abroad for scheduled measuring in all the major metros, so they'll meet you more than halfway.
By way of confession, I hope I can lose another fifteen or twenty pounds so I have to go back to them for a second suit. I feel so dashing in this one, I can hardly imagine how crushingly debonair I'll feel if I'm not actually carrying extra body fat around in the suit with me.
Friday April 19, 2013
Since I suspected I wouldn't be able to fall asleep Thursday night, I went ahead and caught a 10pm showing of Oblivion, a near(ish) future sci-fi film.
If you've seen the trailers, you already know that this is a mystery story with a healthy dash of action and suspense, and if you've mused upon enough of the trailers, you may think you've already figured out the mystery. Truth be told, there are enough of you out there watching trailers and speculating that I'm sure somebody got it right.
I got parts of it right straight from the beginning.
So... if you haven't seen any trailers yet, don't bother with them. The film is interesting, and pretty, and I'll let it slide under the wire on the science problems. I had a good time, but not a fantastic time. Still, the movie didn't disappoint -- probably because after seeing the trailers I figured I knew exactly what I was in for, and that happened to be exactly what I was in the mood for.
(Okay, by that standard maybe you should see the trailers.)
At any rate there's not much more I can say about the film without spoiling things. Oh, I can complain about the physical impossibility of a cataclysm that buries New York City in rock and sand to a depth of 300 meters while leaving the tallest skyscrapers still standing, but if I whine about too many of the technological, motivational, or strategic gaffes I'll give away the central conceit, and that wouldn't be fair to you.
I'll probably do that in the comments.
Thursday April 18, 2013
I pushed hard on Monday, and Monday night I was about as sick as I've ever been. I won't go into detail, but Tuesday was pretty rough, and by Tuesday night I knew I needed additional help so I went to the ER. They drew blood, hydrated me, discussed the blood test results, prescribed an additional antibiotic, and sent me on my way.
And as much as I'd like to complain about how miserable that was, others have things worse. Travis, the Schlock Mercenary Colorist, was in a car accident that same day, and also spent time in the ER.
We'll both be fine eventually, but the antagonistic serendipity of joint ER visits was not lost on me. I figure so many wonderful things have transpired in the last little bit karmic balance had to be reset somehow.
Regardless, I'm not getting any work done. Wednesday was spent flat on my back. I don't feel much better today, and the better that I do feel is probably attributable to preemptive doses of Tylenol and loperamide, both of which have become constant companions over the last 24 hours.
I'm not asking for medical advice, or begging sympathy. I'm just letting you know that all the stuff I wanted to get done this week flat-out ain't gettin' done.
Monday April 15, 2013
(Not you -- you go ahead and keep reading. I'm talking about ME.)
I know I said essentially this same thing a week ago -- vacation is over, get back to work -- but I managed to blow three perfectly good work days getting sick and stuff. I also found myself needing to learn how to draw better because some ambitious yahoo scripted a sequence that the artist did not actually know how to render.
At any rate, here it is, Monday a week later, and I've done less than half of what I needed to do last week. This week some big, new things appeared the list, and none of the old things went away.
Here's a 10,000 foot view of the list:
Script, pencil, and ink a week of comics
Three trips to the gym, minimum
Read, review, and re-write my way through 35,000 words of tie-in fiction for Privateer Press
Read, review, and add footnotes to The Body Politic.
Add margin art to The Body Politic
The first item is about 20 hours of work. The second is six. The third is probably twenty-four. Numbers four and five? I expect those are at least twenty hours of work each.
Theoretically, then, if I put in a 90-hour work week, I can be done with all of these things, and NEXT week's task list will be much shorter. In practice, however, creative endeavors don't allow for ninety productive hours across six days. I suspect at least thirty hours of this stuff is going to be pushed off another week.
Good news, though: last week Sandra and I successfully spent $91,527 to have challenge coins manufactured. Getting that order placed was a huge stress-reliever. A stack of money is a wonderful thing, but as most any small businessperson can tell you, a stack of money is typically a stack of contractual obligations. This massive cashier's check (more than four times larger than any previous single business expenditure we've made) represents, for us anyway, the first step in fulfilling those obligations.
The coins themselves won't arrive until late May, however, so if you backed the Kickstarter and your address is going to change during the month of May or June, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with the details. Of course, if you haven't given us your address yet, go to schlockcoins.afterthecrowd.com and do that.
Ugh. "Spend forty minutes writing a blog post" wasn't even on this week's list, but here we are. And I can hear Sandra up in the kitchen, laying out her notes for numbers 5 and 6... it's time for one of our over-the-kitchen-counter business meetings in which the blur of a distant task list resolves into frightening, soul-crushing detail.
(I wrote that last bit with a smile. I love my job.)