Category Archives: Current events

Personal stuff going on at the moment.

If you have found your way here…

Thank you for your interest, but (I mean this in the kindest possible sense) PLEASE GO AWAY.

This blog was infected with a virus I was unable to cure or afford to pay others to cure. As a consequence, my online quirky writing can now be found at my Cat Russell writing blog.

I hope you enjoy the newer blog. Thanks again!

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Please excuse the dust!

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I just need a little bit of time…

In other words, my apologies. I am trying to revamp this blog because it was hacked by miscreants. Despite what you might see under my blog’s title, I do not currently sell anything through this site. Hopefully, I will have everything straightened out by this coming Friday, August the 14th. The current posts will be absent from the new and (hopefully) improved site. Thank you for your patience!

*photo courtesy of BigFoto.com

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What I’m Doing on My Summer Vacation

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In the grand tradition of grammar school essays, I’m going to write a “What I’m doing on my Summer Vacation” post. Clever and original, right? Don’t answer that. It’s part of my strategy to motivate myself by publicly declaring my goals. Aren’t you glad to be included in my plans? Again, don’t answer that.

Anyway, this is what I plan to do during my Summer Vacation.

  1. I’m not taking a vacation.
  1. Pack as much freebie fun as I can into the days between my son’s virtual school year ending and his new school year beginning.This includes free concerts, book clubs, Summer Reading programs, and of course movies!
  1. OK, this is the biggie. I’m going to redo my blog. That means that all the stories and posts I’ve posted in the past years are all going to disappear, as I’m starting again from scratch. I have backed up my stories locally and remotely, but they will no longer be available through this website. So if you want to reread something, now’s the time to do it. I hope this doesn’t offend any of my readers, but I can’t think of another way to revamp the site. Thank you for your support!
  1. Finish the final tiny bit of formatting I have to do for my novel and send out to beta readers.
  1. Begin shopping for an agent.
  1. Finish my Spring Cleaning. I know it’s Summer, but it’s a lot of work! Especially reorganize my office. Now that the weather is warmer, going downstairs to my garage-adjacent office is rather appealing.
  1. I don’t know. Whatever other fun things come up. If my recording equipment is sufficient, I would like to volunteer for Librivox.

So there you have my plans for the next couple months laid out nice and tidy. What do you plan to do this Summer?

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Happy Towel Day 2015! and Don’t Forget to Wear the Lilac!

Towels may be employed as cunning camoflauge...

Towels may be employed as cunning camouflage…

For those of you wondering what in Almighty Zarquon’s name I’m talking about, I’m referring to the wonderfully zany, fan-created holiday honoring the late author Douglas Adams. Douglas Adams is a humorous science-fiction author most famous for writing the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series, but he also wrote Dirk Gently novels, the non-fiction book Last Chance to See, and even worked on Doctor Who. On Towel Day, fans across the globe don their towels with pride, because, in the words of Douglas Adams:

““…it has great practical value – you can wrap it around you for warmth as you bound across the cold moons of Jaglan Beta; you can lie on it on the brilliant marble-sanded beaches of Santraginus V, inhaling the heady sea vapours; you can sleep under it beneath the stars which shine so redly on the desert world of Kakrafoon; use it to sail a mini raft down the slow heavy river Moth; wet it for use in hand-to-hand-combat; wrap it round your head to ward off noxious fumes or to avoid the gaze of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal (a mind-boggingly stupid animal, it assumes that if you can’t see it, it can’t see you – daft as a bush, but very, very ravenous); you can wave your towel in emergencies as a distress signal, and of course dry yourself off with it if it still seems to be clean enough.”

For the uninitiated, I have several suggestions for celebrating Towel Day listed on my earlier post, Towel Day 2015 Approacheth! Also, if you missed it, I wrote a brief flash fiction story in honor of Towel Day titled “The Most Massively Useful Thing.” Photos of myself and my son using our towels in suitably unorthodox manners are included in today’s post.

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Monsterbat is ready for hand to hand combat!

This year, however, in addition to honoring Douglas Adams, Terry Pratchett fans are also celebrating Wear the Lilac day in honor of the author who died recently from Alzheimer’s. As a fan of Pratchett’s work, I was also deeply saddened to hear of his passing. Pratchett is known primarily for his DiscWorld novels, stand-alone books that nevertheless all take place in the same universe with many of the characters overlapping from book to book. Terry Pratchett’s books are mostly erudite, humorous fantasies.

Why this day and why lilacs? From the Wear the Lilac site:

“On May 25th, certain members of the Ankh-Morpork City Watch, and a few others around the city, wore a sprig of lilac. The 25th of May was the day that they remembered those who fought and fell for hardboiled eggs, truth, justice and reasonably priced love, who died – and in Reg Shoe’s case rose and kept fighting – in the Glorious Revolution of Treacle Mine Road”

If you are a Pratchett fan, here are a few additional suggestions.

 

Obviously, wear a lilac.

Read out one of his books! or perhaps watch a movie based on his work, or listen to an audiobook. I personally recommend Going Postal.

Donate or volunteer at a charity that cares for victims of Alzheimer’s.

 

As if that wasn’t enough, today is also, appropriately enough, Geek Pride Day!** Today was chosen to celebrate geek/nerd culture because Star Wars was released on this day in 1977. Go forth and wear those horn-rimmed glasses with pride, guys.

So, if you are a fan of either of these authors, now is a time to honor their memory by celebrating their lives and works. And if you aren’t a fan yet, today is the perfect day to become one by treating yourself to some intelligent and silly fiction. If you do celebrate, I would love for you to share what you’re doing today in the comments, In the meantime, Happy Glorious Geeky Towel Day to you all.

 

*photos taken by me.

 

**I realize that ideally I’d link to something other than Wikipedia, but since I’m discussing obscure holidays on my personal blog I’m willing to let it slide. There actually was one network source, but it was posted in 2013.          

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Filed under All about books, Current events

Towel Day 2015 Approacheth!

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In the interest of spreading the word about this wonderful fan-created holiday, I’m posting once again an explanation and a list of resources and ideas for celebrating Towel Day. “What is Towel Day?” Why, I’m so glad you asked! May the 25th is Towel Day, created to honor the life and works of the late and great author, Douglas Adams, who gave us such jewels as The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series, several Dirk Gently humorous detective novels, and the non-fiction book Last Chance to See. He also worked on Though Adams died too young, his work lives on after him in everything from books and television series to pop culture references that constantly pop up to the amazement and delight of geeks and fans everywhere.

 

OK, so why use a towel to remember such a hoopy frood? SO GLAD YOU ASKED.

From the Guide:

 

A towel, it says, is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have. Partly it has great practical value. You can wrap it around you for warmth as you bound across the cold moons of Jaglan Beta; you can lie on it on the brilliant marble-sanded beaches of Santraginus V, inhaling the heady sea vapours; you can sleep under it beneath the stars which shine so redly on the desert world of Kakrafoon; use it to sail a miniraft down the slow heavy River Moth; wet it for use in hand-to-hand-combat; wrap it round your head to ward off noxious fumes or avoid the gaze of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal (such a mind-bogglingly stupid animal, it assumes that if you can’t see it, it can’t see you); you can wave your towel in emergencies as a distress signal, and of course dry yourself off with it if it still seems to be clean enough.

 

—Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

 

Anyway…

First things first, if you haven’t read any of his books yet, FOR THE LOVE OF ZARQUON, read one of his books! If you don’t have time to sit down and read, listen to an audiobook. You can check them out of the library. If you can’t do either of those, borrow one of the movies! But seriously, you could finish one of the books in a day, because they are pretty thin as well as awesome.

 

If anyone has read these suggestions before in my previous Towel Day posts, I apologize for the repetition, but consider this an update, ok? Anyway, you three know you are the hippest cats this side of Betelgeuse, so I know you’ll understand.

 

Since the holiday is called Towel Day, the most obvious suggestion is to carry a towel with you all day long. Do it as conspicuously as possible, so that if people ask you why you are carrying a towel to the grocery store, you can tell them all about Hitchhikers. Like so:

Uninitiated stranger: “Hey, why are you carrying a towel in the grocery store?”

You, fan extraordinaire: “Why, I’m so glad you asked! Let me tell you…”

And so on…

 

For those of you already familiar with the book, here are a few more suggestions:

 

*Lie down in front of a toy bulldozer in a tatty bathrobe. (caveat: the TOY part is important here, as lying down in front of a real bulldozer might be hazardous to your health)

 

Wear a bathrobe and pajamas all day long.

 

Drink lots of tea. Possibly eat fairy cake.

 

Try to make the perfect sandwich for lunch!

 

Create a Terran (Earth) version of the Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster. There are tons out there, but my son and I challenge ourselves to create a non-alcoholic Terran version of the galaxy’s most alcoholic beverage! Hey, he’s a teenager, ok?

 

Speak in Hitchhiker slang all day. You dig that, you hoopy froods?

 

Write some Vogon poetry using the Vogon poetry generator.

 

Take a photo of yourself with your towel and share it on Twitter (#towelday), FaceBook (at the Towel Day FB page), or Flickr (labeled “Towel Day).

 

Donate towels to a charity. Lots of animal shelters like to have towels on hand for their charges.

 

Be very nice to a bowl of Petunias. Water them,  talk to them, plant them in some really nice soil. Goodness knows,  Agrajag had been through enough!

 

Come up with alternate uses for your towel, other than hand-to-hand combat and drying off. I’m thinking mine might make a nice scarf or wrap.

 

Visit other Towel Day themed pages. I discovered this little treasure recently!

 

Create a blog post in honor of Towel Day!

 

Tune in to Nick Page’s YouTube channel for some wonderful animations of the Hitchhiker series!

 

Visit the Towel Day page to discover events in your area and get more great ideas!

 

I posted this early this year so that you should have sufficient time to implement any suggestions that take your fancy. As always, remember you can always borrow materials from your friendly, neighborhood library. And in this digital age, that usually includes that library’s electronic selections as well, instantly downloaded through the magic of the Internet! And if you can’t find what you need on their website, just ask the reference librarian to order whatever you need.

 

So what are you waiting for? Please feel free to make any suggestions of your own here, and I’d love it if you’d share your Towel Day adventures! So, see you in a week, and stay hoopy!

 

 

 

*This suggestion was kindly donated by John Wiswell of The Bathroom Monologues via Twitter. Thanks, John!

 

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Filed under All about books, Current events

No Friday Flash, but Free Comic Book Day is Nigh!

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Due to time constraints and physical limitations, I am not posting a #FridayFlash this week. I had one prepared, but since I didn’t have time to properly edit the story by letting it sit between passes I’m going to save it for next Friday.

In the meantime, tomorrow – Saturday, May the 2nd, is Free Comic Book Day! It is my sincerest wish that you find a local comic store tomorrow and get loads of free comics and other goodies. May the Force be with you!

 

 

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On a personal note…

2010-05-30 18.08.53

For the past few months, for reasons I’d rather not get into, I’ve been very distracted and alternated between depression and optimism. Normally, I try to read, write, and post on my blog on a weekly basis, as well as comment on stories by my fellow online authors. I haven’t kept up with my support of fellow writers as much as I would have liked, and I wanted to give you an explanation and apologize. I was overwhelmed.

Since November, I’ve been overwhelmed both emotionally and physically. I try to always look on the bright side; I know I am very privileged to live in a country where I have food and shelter and access to healthcare. It may be cliché, but I have my health (I don’t have a life-threatening disease), a home (warm in the middle of winter), and a lovely family. And while I kept up my weekly and monthly writing obligations, I’ve only done the minimum. Just enough.

Qui-Gon once told a young Jedi, “Your focus determines your reality,” which I firmly believe is true (yes, I’m a nerd). In November, I updated most of my serial posts and scheduled them through mid-February, so I was able to relax my writing schedule. I had a few obligations for other sites, which I fulfilled, but I haven’t written anything I didn’t need to for months. Now that things are beginning to smooth out and become less hectic, I’m going to try to be more supportive of others.

If I’m really honest, I’m worried that this post might come across as whiny. That’s not my intention. All I want to say is that if I haven’t been there for other writers as much as I would like, I want to make up for it now. I count myself very lucky to know so many lovely people, both online and off, and you are all appreciated.

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My Writing Niche- episode #73: Nanowrimo 2013 ends!

NanoShield

Play or Download episode here.

Hello, and Congratulations to all who participated in National Novel Writing Month 2013! For each week of November, I posted a special episode of My Writing Niche! This year, I participated as a Nanowrimo Rebel. Today’s podcast is about life after National Novel Writing Month – or Nanowrimo for short. Enjoy!

Relevant Links:

National Novel Writing Month (Nanowrimo)

Young Writers Program (youth version of Nanowrimo)

**Slow Burn from the album Blues Sampler courtesy of Kevin MacLeod via Creative Commons Attribution license. More of his music can be found at FreeMusicArchive.org or at http://incompetech.com.

**disclaimer: This is not an “official” Nanowrimo podcast, rather just my own personal thoughts about November’s favorite writing frenzy.

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Filed under Announcements, Audio, Current events, nanowrimo, Podcast (audio files down but show note links active), Writing Corner

My Writing Niche- episode #72: Nanowrimo 2013- Welcome to Week 4!

NanoShield

Play or Download episode here.

Hello, welcome to week four of National Novel Writing Month! For each week of November, I will post a special episode of My Writing Niche! This year, I am participating as a Nanowrimo Rebel, and I’d love for you to join me. Enjoy!

Relevant Links:

National Novel Writing Month (Nanowrimo)

Young Writers Program (youth version of Nanowrimo)

**Slow Burn from the album Blues Sampler courtesy of Kevin MacLeod via Creative Commons Attribution license. More of his music can be found at FreeMusicArchive.org or at http://incompetech.com.

**disclaimer: This is not an “official” Nanowrimo podcast, rather just my own personal thoughts about November’s favorite writing frenzy.

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Filed under Audio, Current events, nanowrimo, Podcast (audio files down but show note links active), Writing Corner

My Writing Niche- episode #70: Nanowrimo 2013- Welcome to Week 2!

NanoShield

Play or Download episode here.

Hello, welcome to week two of National Novel Writing Month! For each week of November, I will post a special episode of My Writing Niche! This year, I am participating as a Nanowrimo Rebel, and I’d love for you to join me. Enjoy!

Relevant Links:

National Novel Writing Month (Nanowrimo)

Young Writers Program (youth version of Nanowrimo)

**Slow Burn from the album Blues Sampler courtesy of Kevin MacLeod via Creative Commons Attribution license. More of his music can be found at FreeMusicArchive.org or at http://incompetech.com.

**disclaimer: This is not an “official” Nanowrimo podcast, rather just my own personal thoughts about November’s favorite writing frenzy.

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Filed under Audio, Current events, nanowrimo, Podcast (audio files down but show note links active), Writing Corner