STATUS: Tuesday, June 14th

The State of the Me

Opening with this one because it might be more than usually relevant.

Every once in a while, I manage to sleep on my hand (usually my left one) weird and wake up with a thumb that feels like it was bent back weird or something. When this happens, it generally hurts for most of the day. The pain interferes with phone/tablet typing but doesn’t do much to impair regular typing, as the only thing I use my left thumb for in typing is hitting the space bar, and I have plenty of other digits that can do that, including my right thumb.

More than anything else, the pain is just a constant low level distraction at the back of my head that makes it hard to focus on anything. I have taken a 12 hour naproxen dose this morning. Hopefully that will keep it down to a dull roar, and giving it plenty of rest will help. I’d really like for it to be back to normal by this afternoon.

The Daily Report

There is minor upper respiratory illness in our house. I do not have it, though it, like my distressed thumb, is contributing a bit to the background processing load of my brain.

How much do I love my Pebble watch? So much, apparently. I have programmed M-F timers into it for start of work day, end of work day, and lunch time. I think getting a gentle buzzing reminder at set times will have a positive impact on my ability to keep a routine.

Didn’t get any kind of response to my Lord Chad, Seal Master post yesterday. That’s okay. Part of this gig is not being afraid to try things, take risks. I just went on Twitter tangent about this, starting here:

Financial Situation

Stable, if not comfortable? No real change from yesterday. Absent any unexpected windfalls, we’re going to be limping along for most of the month, and then I should have my best Patreon payout yet after the end of the month. My author Patreon is showing some growth now. It’s not like the explosive growth that some authors who made the leap from traditional funding to crowdfunding got, but it’s getting back up into the neighborhood of where it was before I split Tales of MU into its own thing. Growth over time is good. It’s more likely to be sustainable.

Plans For Today

The errands I was talking about yesterday wound up delayed until today, due to aforementioned illness in the house. Between that and my thumb, I’m making no solid plans except for Tales of MU. Basically keeping the decks cleared for making sure that happens as scheduled.



Some random stuff.

Okay, so.

My phone is dying. Definitely dying. It’s doing this thing where it will randomly start rebooting itself and then get stuck in a loop, burning up 10 or 15 percentage points of its power each time. It has only done it a whopping total of 3 times, one of them on the way home from WisCon. Jack’s phone (an LG G3) did this a few months back, much more consistently. That was apparently a firmware problem, and they gave him a G4 to replace it. I don’t know if this is a similar issue that can afflict G2s, or something else. This is on top of general flakiness regarding the software keyboard, and other issues.

This is more inconvenient than anything, as I have a protection plan. I was hoping I could just move my phone service onto the household account when my individual contract is up in July; when I’ve had to use file for a replacement in the past, they’ve made me re-up. I’m not sure if that’s still true, particularly as I think AT&T has moved away from the contract model? The point is I’m probably going to have to deal with this, in some fashion, and to put it bluntly: I don’t wanna.

My bluetooth keyboard is already dead. Don’t know what’s up with it, but it won’t pair/communicate with any device. Tried recharging it and everything. Well, I tried recharging it. Replacement is already on its way, should be here today.

The confluence of these things—phone not working, tablet not having a physical keyboard—have slowed my writing down a bit. They’re why my tweeting fell off during the con. Things will get a bit better when the replacement keyboard arrives. I would rather have a phone that functions over a tablet, but I can write better and faster with a physical keyboard than a touch device, regardless of what the device actually is.

My birthday is in just under a week, on June 10th. I’m turning 36, which is an especially pleasing age because it’s a perfect square with a lot of factors. If you would like to do something to help me mark it, suggestions would include:

  1. Throw money into my con travel fund (it’ll go to the WorldCon hotel at this point, as I have airline tickets and will be buying memberships when the money next settles in my account):
  2. Get something off my Amazon wishlist.
  3. Become a monthly sponsor on Patreon (get one free short story and a zine version of my writing output each month).
  4. Sponsor Tales of MU chapters on Patreon.


STATUS: Friday, May 20th

The State of the Me

As if to remind me that I’m not invincible, I had the worst insomnia episode of 2016 last night. As in, total insomnia. Did not sleep a wink until after the sun came up and I was able to pass out from sheer exhaustion. Hence there’s been something of a slow start to today.

Plans For Today

No long introspection today. Just a plan of action. I am going to be changing up a few things on my personal Patreon ( and on my newly established Tales of MU Patreon ( Right now, you might notice that my personal one has a banner referencing Tales of MU. That should give you some idea what kind of changes I’m talking about.

I’ll be making another blog post directly after this one about another crowdfunding development, and I had a tweet stream that I will either collect into a storify or assemble into a blog post, as part of a new effort to make sure that my utterances do not simply vanish into the void. You know Dr. Doom has recording devices in his armor that records everything he says for posterity? The Marvel 1602 version kidnapped William Shakespeare for the same reason. I really need to do one or the other of those things, one of these days.


OW, MY BACK!… from outer space. You just walked in to find me here with this pained look upon my face.

I went to bed last night with a slight backache, which I hoped would improve with a good night’s sleep. I woke up today to find that it had. Indeed, the backache is doing much better today and I, for my pains, am doing so much worse.

The only two spots in the house where I can find any comfort are my computer chair (which is actually a reclining rocker/glider with excellent head, neck, and back support), and the bathtub, which has a back that slopes just the right way. This is fairly convenient for me as these are two of my favorite places and two of the places from which I do my best writing, but the pain still gets in the way of things. It’s especially bad when I laugh… I feel these little twinges in the muscles up and down my spine.

In other news, I just made hotel reservations for MidAmerica Con, also known as WorldCon. We left it a bit late. I’ve been on the fence about whether it would be worth it to go or not. The pros are that it’s likely to be our best chance to make it to a WorldCon anytime soon, it’s conveniently located to possibly seeing family on the same trip, I vaguely know the area, and is an outside chance I might be on a shortlist this year, and even if I’m not it would be nice to meet and interact with some of the people I came across as part of last year’s events. The cons are: it’s expensive, and we don’t have a lot of money.

That’s only one con compared to a laundry list of pros, but in the end, the money question is likely to provide the final answer to whether or not we make it. If you’d like to weigh in… well, I’m a crowdfunded artist, so my tip jar is always open. For now, I’m proceeding to do things under the assumption that we will go, because if I wait too long then the opportunity will pass. I feel like I just squeeked by under the wire on getting a hotel room, even one two blocks from the convention proper.

In other other news, my recent spate of D&D campaign prep has got me thinking about the way I write fiction and whether the things I have told myself in my self-analysis of my writing stle and processes have all been true and useful.

I have in the past been dismissive of doing a lot of prepwork before writing, feeling that past a certain point it becomes a substitute for actually writing. I know people who have written literally hundreds of thousands or even millions of words in preparation for novels they intend one day to write, when they’re ready… but they never will be, because there are always more details to nail down. I certainly had phases of my creative life where I was like that.

But while I think there is something to be said for the danger of succumbing to a kind of perfectionism/completionism when it comes to your prep, I think I may have thrown a valuable and precious baby out with the bathwater when I discounted the value of such prepwork.

I’ve done more written prep for the Deepjammer campaign than I have for anything else, game or story, in over a decade. I did it mainly because I have a whole cast of players who will effectively be my collaborators in the setting, so I needed to bring it to life for them. What surprised me most is how much material I generated quite easily and quickly (enough words to fill 120 pages in standard typeset in about a week), and while those hundred thousand-plus words are not themselves a single cogent narrative, I now know enough about the setting and many of the people there that I could sit down and fairly effortlessly hammer such a narrative out off the top of my head…

And that’s the kind of easy-breezy free-flowing writing that I aspire to. Which just goes to show, it takes a lot of effort to write effortlessly.

Busy, busy day…

Well, today’s the day we send Angels out into the world. It’s going to be a busy, busy day of making sure this is absolutely the best it can be. Next week is my last week of jury duty, and I have been informed now that it’s going to be a short one as the court wraps up its business for the March session. I am officially off the hook after Tuesday.

Quick Note

This stuff is subject to last minute cancellations/reductions, but as of right now this is scheduled to be my busiest week re: jury duty so far. It’s also the second to last one. Just want to let everyone know that I’m still around and doing things.

The Amazing Rubberband of Personal Progress

So, a perfect example of how progress is not strictly linear: Wednesday was a textbook good day. I was writing, I was blogging, I was posting. If you compare my behavior to what I said about my fear of communication, it would seem like I was “better” as in the problem was fixed, not just doing better.

I woke up Thursday ready to do it all over again, and… didn’t. Couldn’t. Sat staring at the screen. Had ideas, but no means to express them.

Today I woke up full of trepidation about how yesterday went, but it’s not so bad that I can’t work through it. So I am.

At the same time, this is progress. I tell other people all the time that “better” is a process, not an end result. I’m getting better. Wednesday was a proof that cannot be invalidated by Thursday. It still happened, no matter what happened (or didn’t happen ) the next day.

I used to find this elastic snapping back extremely discouraging. It’s not become a welcome spring breeze, but I now recognize it’s not a failure.

Let It Blow, Let It Blow, Let It Blow

Thank every star in the heavens and some in other places, but five days since the snow started and three days after it ended, we are finally going to be able to get out of our driveway. The farthest I’ve been out of the house since at least Thursday was yesterday when I trudged across three yards’ worth of snow to help bring in an emergency grocery drop from Sarah’s parents, parked at the mouth of the alley behind our house.

Given that I sometimes go a week without going anywhere, you wouldn’t think that cabin fever would be a thing, but it’s different when it’s voluntary and you don’t have to worry about when the next time you’ll be able to get to the store is.

The cats are fascinated by the snowblower at work. They’ve been absolutely rapt by this whole drama. It’s not their first winter, but probably the first one they remember. During the blizzard they sat at the window, wide-eyed and trying to track individual flakes as they fell, occasionally looking over their shoulders at us as if to gauge our reactions and figure out if they should be doing something more to let us know about all this fluffy whiteness going on.

Life During Snowtime

Given that the snowstorm that did it apparently made the international news in at least some markets, you might well have guessed that we are buried under several feet of snow.

Our blizzard experience got off to a rocky start before the snow even started, with our hot water heater failing just before and then Jack’s car getting towed by an over-zealous home owners’ association in the neighborhood in which he worked. His employers did not warn him, but in their defense, they were not warned, either.

The frustrating thing about it is he was supposed to have been relieved (and thus gone) long before then, and also that four days on, I’m told they *still* haven’t plowed the street it was towed from. We’re not going to have to pay for the tow or impound, at least.

Here at Chez The Place Where We Live, the one car that we do have has forty feet of snow-drifted driveway in front of it, and about sixty feet of driveway behind it leading to an alley whose condition I am not able to assess. Our yard slopes up from the driveway, which created the perfect surface for snow to drift against all the way down to the street. The only reason our back door opens is that I went out and shoveled snow away from it a couple of times during the blizzard; even with a covered back porch, I had to push away two and a half feet of snow the first time I went out. The only reason our front door opens is that I trudged around and cleared off half the front porch that wraps around the front of the house.

Sarah usually does that sort of stuff, but she’s a bit under the weather and I was curious to know how much snow I could move in an emergency. I rewarded myself by sculpting a dinosaur with the mound of shoveled snow, since the snow was too dry and powdery to make a good snowman. Well, no one said it *has* to be a snowman.

The snow removal people we contract with have been working 18 hour days to dig out their more elderly and infirm clients, and lost two guys and a $3,000 snowblower to the effort while the snow was still falling. I choose to believe the snowblower gained sentience in an accident involving a snowman and a silk top hat, and the two men were injured fighting to stop its malevolent rise to power.

Whether that is true or not, we are not going anywhere for a while. Dozens of people died and there are people still without heat or electricity, so as much as the fact that we have no hot water is driving me up a wall, it’s not a big deal in comparison. We’re not going to starve, though our meals are a little sparser and less interesting than we would like and snack options are pretty much nonexistent. Trying to find out where the car was towed to (all the lots in town were apparently full or closed, so it was towed to the next town over, where roads were already closing by the time we found out) ate up a lot of time Friday that would have been otherwise used doing last minute stock-ups and preparations.

We were well situated in some regards, at least. The battery-operated LED lanterns and rechargeable floodlight I got for illuminating the grounds for Halloween make for handy emergency lighting, too. That’s part of why I got them.

Anyway, things aren’t necessarily comfortable or fun here, but we’re all at least safe and we’ve carved out some fun for ourselves. I’ll keep you posted as things change.

In (and Out) of Hot Water

So, I spent a lot of time yesterday trying to take a shower. The first time, the hot water was a little iffy. No big deal, I thought. We just got back from out of town and are settling into routines, Jack just went back to work, I’ll have to wait a little later in the day to do it. I waited. Hot water not any better. Someone must have done dishes or a load of laundry, I guess. I decided to just take a hot bath in the afternoon instead.

I wound up repeating the “maybe if I wait” process throughout the afternoon. By the time I went to bed last night, I was pretty sure that our hot water heater wasn’t heating at all. After talking to the other people in the house, two of us noticed on Tuesday that it was running noticeably hotter than normal, so I’d bet it just overheated and tripped the cut-off switch. If I’m right, it’s an easy fix, literally just a button…. but that button is in the middle of a bunch of live electrical wires and our house has complicated wiring due to its history. So, not much I can do. I’ve let our landlords know.

It threw my day off yesterday and again today because I’ve gotten used to using a shower to signal “time to go to work”, plus the bath as a time and place to unwind and let the creative juices simmer. I’m trying not to let today slip by me, though it’s going to be a kind of weird and uncomfortable day.