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Inspirational Reads

June 20, 2006

I did two things today that I really enjoy. One, I grew some really nice crystals. Spontaneously, even. They were white and pretty and needlelike. They grew too fast, so they're all pretty small, but still, they're crystals and their drying on a pump overnight so I can bust in in the morning and use them.
Second, I did a hydrogenation and I didn't blow myself up. Hydrogenations require a metal of somekind, typically, and they also have a solid backing. In this case, it's activated charcoal, or carbon. The problem is, it has to be wetted down with solvent, and this step is usually tricky in that the metal can spark (as metals do when smacked together), which isn't good when dealing with flammable solvent. It's even worse when you add hydrogen to the mix, as hydrogen is plenty flammable, itself. However, I made it through the three steps without blowing myself up or catching myself on fire. And that always makes me happy.
To celebrate, I came home and promptly fell asleep. Two hours later, I awoke, watched some American Chopper, then got back to work. I extended two chapters a few pages and got over the magical 30,000 word mark. We're almost halfway to novel status. That's the goal for the end of the week, to make 40,000. My other goal is to finish at least one chapter, hopefully two. I did start another two chapters over the weekend. Being able to compartmentalize the story as such is a good thing when writing, because it gives you a step toward the end product. Soon enough, all of the main characters will be in the mix, and then we can start with the final development, wrapping the plot up, and hurrying toward the end.
With that in mind, here's the updates:
Word count: 31339
Page count: 104

Wainscoting for One, please

June 18, 2006

I hung some wainscoting in my downstairs bathroom today. I did the three walls that don't have porcelein fixtures on them. In all, it was very tiring work, mostly because the bathoom is little, I had to get on my knees a lot of hammer paneling nails into the base of the wall, and of course that whole measure once cut twice thing. I will say that my measurements and cuts were pretty much dead on. The only time I had any issues was when I let my jigsaw wander a bit while cutting, so I would get tiny bows in my otherwise straight line. These were easily remedied, and I have to say, I'm pretty proud of myself. It'll look even better when I get the baseboards on and all that good stuff. I'm not looking forward to trying to cut around a sink, with all the pipes that come from the wall with it and all. The toilet is less of a worry, only because there is but one pipe that comes in for that, and I should be able to do that part pretty painlessly. Should being the operative term here.

I'm going on vacation next weekend for about a week and a half. I don't think I'll be able to check in, so be aware of that (especially if you're a certain history buff from Wisconsin who is planning on meeting up with me over the course of my trip back to the home country). I am, however, going to be taking my little notebook with me, so I can write out the epilogue. I have a twelve or thirteen hour drive ahead of me. I should be able to come up with what I want (I know the story I want to'll be short and full of denouement) and thenI can put it on the paper for typing later on. So, expect a big leap forward sometime after July 4th.

With that in mind, you'll understand that I've been really busy trying to get a bunch of stuff done at work. Consequently, with no children, I have plenty of time to stay late. I've been busting my ass in the evenings to try and get the precursors for the final products put together. It's almost like grad school, just without cyclopropanes. This has meant more nights of me coming home, crashing, and either watching television or playing a video game. Not a lot of writing.

I do, however, have some updates. Most of the work has been done in the infamous chapter five. That's the much-touted battle scene. It's coming together rather nicely right now, and, as anticipated, I'm typing much more quickly than in either of the other chapters I'm currently working on (four and seven) in which most of the action is spoken and not done. However, I'm apparently very good at writing dialogue, or so said my ex-girlfriend, Julie (who, by the way, I've been looking for on the internet lately, which is another reason why I haven't been writing much...distractions, distractions!) who got to read most of King of Thistles (about 2/3) when she was acting as my copy editor. Free editorial advice is great...except when she is not very used to the genre and has some issues trying to see where the story is going. *sigh*

Oh well.

Word count: 29012
Page count: 96

Also, Sierra Nevada's IPA (#354) is mighty tasty. You should drink some for yourself.
New South's Pale Ale (#353)...not so much.

Celerity and Alacrity...neither of which you will find at Durham Regional

June 13, 2006

Apparently, I went to a really lousy ER the other night. My wife heard it from a fellow in a wheelchair which comes to her store quite often that Durham Regional = bad, Duke = better. However, Durham Regional hasn't washed surgical instruments in hydraulic fluid nor have they mistakenly given a little girl the wrong heart and lungs for a transplant. At least they haven't done both in the past three years.

Anyway, many thanks to Mr. (soon to be Dr.) Will Shannon for his wishes for my speedy recovery. I'm hoping to have this thing taken out this week or next. I need to call my doctor and get his thoughts on this.

On to the updates! I've finished chapter six. I jumped ahead. Over the weekend, I wrote in chapters four, five, six and seven. I bounced back and forth (like Skulk on an acid trip) and expanded all four of them by several pages, but I couldn't get into any one chapter and form a "groove". So, I worked on all of them, switching whenever the mood or an idea grabbed me and I felt the need to do it. So, chapters one, two, three and six are done. I pushed the "original" six back to seven, which is my second human-based chapter (after one) and introduces the Sunderman House, which is about the only truly noble and honorable house left in the northern kingdom. We also get a peek at the regent...and he's a piece of work, let me tell you.

Anyway, here's the updated numbers:
Word count: 27770
Page count: 91

If you're going on those numbers, by what I'm shooting for, by the words, I'm about a third to a quarter done. By the pages, I'm about 1/6 to 1/7 done. but, in all honesty, the work is done when I say so. I need to pick out an epilogue (since I have a prologue...which is also done). I think it should probably be a "legend" like I started with. It should be short. It might focus on the fate of the Boar Clan, since they're the boggarts that start this whole mess.

Oh well. Random thoughts at the end there.

In case anyone else is keeping track...I also had beers number 350 and 351. Sam Adams White Ale and Butte Creek Winter Ale. The White was very tasty. I can see how these wheat ales are linked to summer. Fresh and crisp and spicy. Very good. Well done, Jim Koch!

A Series of Unfortunate Stones

June 9, 2006

Wonder where I've been in a while? Probably not, since there's only one other person who reads this other than me.

Anyway, I went to the ER last night with gall stone-related pain. At least I thought it was gall stones. The doctor on call seemed to think it was something else, since my blood didn't show any lipase or amylase level increases. My urine never turned that bright orange color, either. And she told me "gall stone attacks only last for 30 minutes or so, not eight hours." I thought "Maybe you think I should get the old gall bladder taken out, since I've had a sonogram telling me that it's full of stones?" But, in my morphine-induced state, I couldn't argue with her. I just went with her recommendation. But I will call the surgeon she recommended and perhaps get it taken out then.

So, that's why I've been gone. Been ill. Not just me, but the whole family has been sick. Lots of vomiting, lots of just bleh. So, I've gotten a little writing done, but not much.

However, the kids are gone. They left today, shortly after I came home from the hospital. They're going to Oklahoma for a couple of weeks and then we'll see them again in Indiana when we go up there at the end of the month. That will free my time in the evenings for more writing, so I'm hoping to take better advantage of the next couple of weeks while I am basically home alone for a while.

I have been working on chapter four, which kind of works the two main characters together. Redear and Jane are now travelling, and Skulk is keeping with them. The clansmoot, which is being held at Greatback's Grave, is in this chapter. And then next chapter is battle scene. Once I get past all the talking, it'll be action and the words will just fly onto the page/screen/whatever.

Word count: 24138
Page count: 79