Friday, October 31, 2003

Happy Halloween

Trick-or-treater count is at 10. A couple witches, a pumpkin, an ogre, a princess, and Spiderman. One set of three kids had underwear on their heads. They explained that they lost a dare. The first kid was pretty young and tried to get into the apartment. No, literally. When I didn't open the door fast enough (read = a milisecond after he knocked), he started turning the door handle. I open the door to see Mom at the porch with a video camera and Son saying "Happy Halloween" and then walking away before I could give him candy. He came back and was very cute and so on and so forth. But he tried to open my door! Something else I noticed: all the kids say "Happy Halloween" instead of "Trick or treat" now. When did this happen and why? Is this a PC thing? Is this to prevent lawsuits? Or is it just a Colorado thing?

Thursday, October 30, 2003

The Joys of Colorado Weather

Well, the fires aren't a problem anymore. A cold front swooped down from Wyoming last night, dropping the temp from 80 to 30 and dumping snow and freezing rain on the problem areas. It's odd to think that yesterday I stood outside in a short-sleeved shirt in the sunshine and watched the flames and smoke of the Jamestown fire and today I bundled up in a leather coat and gloves to scrape ice off my car both in the morning AND the evening. It's too bad San Diego isn't "blessed" with the same finicky weather. Usually, this ping pong effect is amusing and/or annoying. Today, it was miraculous.

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Colorado Tries to Outdo California

Nature decides to even the score. After all, if there's a big fire somewhere in the US, it seems that Colorado just has to give it a go as well. They keep saying that the fire is 10 miles northwest of Boulder, but it helps to remember that those are foothill mountain miles. Makes it a little difficult to come tearing down this way. It's still pretty frightening to see all the smoke. We've got a great view of it from where I work. Can even see the flames from here. The smoke is the only thing that will really effect us down here. There's a ton of it, and it's blowing right over our apartment complex. And the evacuation center for the fires is right by our apartment complex (which is about twenty miles from the fire, fifteen at the very least). There's also a small grass fire burning to the south of Denver, and the winds are set to blow until Friday. It's strange to be hearing about bad fires at the end of October. I thought this was a summer thing.

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Almost Forgot:


Another Fun Message from the Stars provides some strange horoscopes. I've already documented the whole "extraterrestrial intelligence" mentions. And now they're getting all analytical.

While it's great that you have your own solid set of beliefs and code of ethics, it isn't so marvelous that you want to preach to everyone else. Having strong faith in yourself or a righteous cause is one thing, Gemini, but trying to get other people to believe what you believe may be stepping over the line. Close friends and family members might be used to your pontifications, but take it easy around strangers and people you meet in a professional setting. There's a proper time and place for 'spreading the word,' and this isn't it.

I've actually done a pretty good job at fighting my Pontificating Habit (hehe). And I've especially cooled it down around strangers and colleagues who aren't "friends". I think. I hope. I usually reserve my "snits" for the people that (a) want to hear them (waves to Peg), (b) have no choice in the matter (waves to Mark), or (c) read my work (waves to a lot of people who may or may not have seen the rant about ethics and research in HD - theme can be hard to find and agree on).

The one area I'm really need to work on this still is critique groups. Most of the regulars are used to my theatrics and speeches. In fact, they often find them entertaining, even if only in a "Youth can be amusing" sort of way. But I'm sure I step on toes and feelings in my crit group tirades. I've been able to limit them, but they still happen. And I really don't think I'll ever stop them. They're fun, they're lively, and they're me. I try hard to let the gang know that it's nothing personal, I just happen to be worked up about something. Or that they inadvertantly pushed a button (waves to Linda C, who hit a huge button one week and then a smaller but still volatile one the next). And I'm really trying to cool the dramatic tendencies when it comes to responding to a pushed button in my crit groups. We'll see how successful I am.

Monday, October 27, 2003

Where's My Routine?

Big changes always flip me upside down, shake the loose change and lint out of my pockets, and then steal my shoes for good measure. Just look at my blogging count for the month of October. Not good. But I think I may be getting back on track. I stumbled onto a routine that worked yesterday. I don't know if I'll be able to make it work again. But it made for a good day yesterday: Play video games; write 1300 words in neat short story idea while taking occasional breaks to play video games; revise fifty pages of Human Dignity. The really good news about Sunday's fun schedule is that it reminded me just how much I love to write. I think the key was to write a decent amount on a fun idea that I'm just playing with. That really got me warmed up and eager to revise HD.

And it also paved the way to re-energize me for Red Rocks. I haven't even opened that file since August. But this morning in the car I heard Rich and Kath's theme song on the radio not once but twice. "Here Without You" by 3 Doors Down. Amazing song. And perfect for them. Hearing that song made me realize that I have to write their story. It's going to take me three books, but I'm going to get it.

The other thing that may have helped this renewed sense of enthusiasm for my writing may be my decision to leave my chorus. Hopefully this total refocusing of creative energy will become part of my routine and one that I can sustain.

Thursday, October 23, 2003

Afternoon Laugh

I'm very tired, I really want to be at home in my comfy pants, with my fuzzy socks, and a plate full of comfort food as I play Jak II or read Jessica Hall's latest, The Kissing Blades (took me long enough to pick it up). But, instead, I'm stuck at work in a new job that I like but I'm still figuring things out. And fumes from the permanent marker I had to use to write an address on a box are still hanging around my cube. Ick. So I took a break and checked out the latest Onion. Found this. Laughed myself silly. Especially the second to last one. And the watermelon one. Enjoy.

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Showing Off Research

I'm not talking about scientific research. IMO, that should be displayed proudly to anyone who can stand to listen. And if you're going to gab about it, make sure the normal folk can understand. But that's another story entirely. I want to rant about writers who insist on showing off their research - or defending it in crits. Most of the time you can tell when a writer has written some snippet based on research. There's a prominent mention of detail or facts. Usually it's small, so you don't mind reading it. And, most of the time, it's also presented in a fashion where you can say, "Cool, I didn't know that" and add to your reading experience. But there are times when all you can gather from reading a research snippet is that the author wanted to gloat/brag/etc about how well he can understand something or how well he researched something. My biggest example of this is Michael Crichton's Prey. I disliked this book for many, many reasons. But the one thing that always bugged me was how Mike couldn't stop showing off his research. I remember distinctly a couple pages where he goes on in three different ways about evolving from a common ancestor. One way he described it worked great: it got the important details for the book across in a quick, easy to understand way that stayed true to the science. I would've been quite happy and not minded the obvious display of "Look, Ma, I can understand science" had he left it at that one long paragraph. But the man had to go on about it in two more ways, both of which were stuffy, boring, detail-buried, and written in some archaic form of English. I read this book months ago. So why do I have my undies in a twist about it now?

Last night, I encountered a Research Exhibitionist in the making in my crit group. She has a neat story idea, she writes well, and she also has great feedback for others. She has a problem keeping her mouth shut when it's someone else's turn to talk, but we're dealing with that. But this woman has also Researched the Hell out of her book. That's not a bad thing. The bad thing is when she insists on defending this research every time someone comments on having a problem with something. For example, the doctor in the scene she brought last night grabbed a brown bottle and poured something out of it. Someone had a problem with there being no label on the bottle (we can get pretty picky sometimes). I agreed it was problematic because, as a scientist, I labeled everything. She went on about her research and how the doctors of the times used different colored and shaped bottles to distinguish things and not labels. This sounds vaguely familiar. So, fine, our nitpick isn't one she need concern herself with. Move on, don't waste our time going ape shit over something tiny like that. I wouldn't have had a problem with this defense, really, had it not been the last of twenty we had to suffer through. I'm guilty of getting defensive about my work, sure. But there comes a time when enough is enough. Just bite your tongue and ignore the comment when you go to do revisions. It's not that hard.

Or maybe my skin is just that thick.

Tuesday, October 21, 2003


I'm thinking about dropping out of my Sweet Adelines Chorus. It's becoming more of a chore than anything (and one I pay $300 a year for in dues alone, not to mention gas to rehearsals, lodging for retreats and other trips, and buying sundries for costumes). The few people I really connect with in the chorus are so busy that they often aren't there the times that I am there. And I feel like the only reason I keep going is to support the chorus with my strong lead voice. A sense of obligation is not something to make for a fun time if that's the only reason you're there. We have a show coming up in about a month, so now the big decision is whether or not to stay in until after the show or drop out now. I'm tempted to do the latter, but I don't want to leave these women in the lurch.

It's sad for me to participate in a singing group that drains exponentially more than it adds to my life. I just can't keep doing it anymore. But I'm really going to try and make it work until the show. I owe them that much, and then I can go out with a bang as well. I'll have to get back into Sweet Adelines in Tucson. I should have the money for it then, and I'll hopefully have the time as well (or be more willing to make the time).

Sunday, October 19, 2003

Catching Up

Whew. So the week of musical computers and training like there's no tomorrow is over. My time will still be stretched pretty thin as I find my rhythm at a new desk and figure out the new area, but at least I'll be doing so from my own desk with my own computer. My sanity was tapped by the end of the week because I hate change only slightly less than I hate moving. Most of that stress should be gone now. I spent yesterday finishing my revisions for Part One. I had meant to dive into revisions for Part Two today, but then I realized just how badly the apartment needed cleaning. Fighting entropy took priority, and now I'm just going to chill for the rest of the night.

Giving Up: I've updated my "Currently Reading" thing on the side bar. I've given up on Cherryh's Faded Sun trilogy. It's been a long time since a book has frustrated me that much. I'll probably give it a try again later, but I just don't have the patience for a really cool story line that moves at the pace of molasses because of detours into weather reports and intricate details and feelings and actions that don't seem to have any bearing on anything and serve only to throw a wrench into what quick pace the book accomplishes every now and then. Sheila, you've spoiled me. I expect all my fiction to move at lightning speed and never let me put it down and still provide me with a rich experience. The only thing that makes me mad about that is that I find so little fiction other than yours that doesn't do that. And yet those editors and agents keep telling me I should be writing stories like yours (in terms of pace and depth and such). If we're all supposed to be writing like that, how come I keep finding fiction that misses the mark? This is a frustration as a reader, not a writer. Although the writer finds it frustrating too. :)

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

Mud, and Other Fun News

Addy and Nosey have officially been renamed. Their new names are "Mud". For the past two weeks, I've tried to make a loaf of bread in our fancy schmancy bread machine. I'd put in all the ingredients in the right order, program it, and come home to find a nice ball of dough instead of a loaf of bread. We've tried a few different things to rule out user error. This morning's experiment was to not use a delay cycle at all, just get the darn thing mixing right away. I was fairly confident that this would work. I come home after a rather long day (See "Other News") to find the bread machine pulled out of the socket, tossed on the kitchen floor, the door ripped off (nice bits of plastic where hinges used to be), and the bread pan itself upended with a nice ball of dough sitting on the kitchen floor.

The kitties were name "Mud" shortly thereafter.

And the mystery of The Bread Machine goes into the "Cold Case" file.

Other News: So on top of training someone to replace me and getting trained for a new job, I had to drive down to Denver this morning and take care of my follow-up appointment for that icky sleep study I did a month ago. I had a few blips that put one of my numbers into a category just outside of normal, but I don't have sleep apnea. Which I pretty much figured would be the case. Nothing is ever simple when it comes to my medical life. But the doctor did offer suggestions to prevent the fun sleep episodes I do have. She suggested that my acid reflux, which hasn't bothered me too much since junior high, may be acting up just enough to mess around with my throat and make the muscles close up at night. So it's time to start taking some Tagamet stuff just before bed. And she also suggested that my constantly stuffed nose may be affecting things by draining into my throat at night. So it's time to start flushing my sinuses out on a regular basis. She also thinks the stuffed nose may be the biggest culprit behind my dizziness. We'll see.

As for the new job, things finally started to feel good there today. They had to set up a whole new desk for me (including computer, chair, phone, etc) and it didn't look like it was going to happen any time soon until today. Finally things started happening to get me up and running. Which did wonders for my attitude. I felt like I could finally get into a new routine. Very nice. I just can't wait until I'm settled. Friggin' change is never enjoyable.

Friday, October 10, 2003

Waiting for Chinese

I love multi-tasking. I'm typing this entry, participating in an on-line think tank at Forward Motion, and watching the Cubs beat the Marlins. Oh, and eagerly anticipating the arrival of the Chinese food I ordered. And I'm taking a transcript of the Think Tank. My mind is happy. It's very busy, it's very stimulated, it's got constant thought. But it's sick and tired of waiting for my food. Which thankfully just arrived.

This has been a blogging of Kellie's Friday night. We now return you to your regularly scheduled surfing.

Thursday, October 09, 2003


One of my co-workers went to a meeting last night where Connie Willis spoke. This co-worker hadn't read any of Willis's books, so I recommended To Say Nothing of the Dog if she liked humorous but still science fiction and Doomsday Book if she didn't mind getting depressed. The test I've usually given people when I recommend Doomsday is to ask if they liked the movie "It's a Wonderful Life". If they did, then I say Doomsday is all for them. If they didn't, I point them toward Dog. Well, when I mentioned this to the co-worker, she said that Connie herself hates the movie and had written Doomsday "in a snit" about how she hated that movie. I really wish I had known this before I read the book.

I hate "It's a Wonderful Life". It's one of the most depressing things I've ever watched, and I really don't think the few minutes at the end where Jimmy Stewart decides not to take his life aren't all that uplifting after ninety minutes of watching a man's life get ruined in so many fun and delightful ways. When everyone's all smiling and happy saying, "Everytime a bell rings, an angel gets his wings," I'm still sobbing and aching for all the problems that are still going to be there for this man and everything he's suffered. Doesn't put me in the holiday spirit at all. I haven't watched the movie since I was in elementary school, I think. It left that bad a taste in my mouth. I catch snippets of it on TV during the holidays and gag. I get the same way about "Casablanca".

This is why I didn't care for Doomsday all that much. Now, had I known the book was a parody of Capra's Classic, I probably would've enjoyed the experience a bit more. I just think it's funny that there's someone out there who feels the same about this flick! Haters of IAWL, unite!

Wednesday, October 08, 2003

Hyperactive Thoughts

Just can't seem to settle the noggin. Maybe it's the Mountain Dew I drank this morning. Maybe it's the fact that I got a promotion at work and need to start crossing over to a new job and work with someone to take my place. Maybe it's the fact that an agent has asked for the first thirty pages of my work and I still haven't hit the ground running with my revisions as I had hoped. It just seems that as soon as I focus in on one idea that I need to think about and plan and do something with, my brain's already zoomed on to something else. Dizzy in more ways than one. Big changes always do this to me. I'm looking forward to getting home and just forcing the brain to be still for a bit. Hard to do here.

Oh, and yes, you read that right. I've been promoted from Senior Administrative Assistant to Executive Assistant. I didn't even know I was a "senior" anything until I found out about the promotion. They're still "waiting for approval" on the pay increase. Go figure. I *heart* Corporate America.

Tuesday, October 07, 2003

Baby Bro

The brother has come and gone, a very whirlwind visit. And I still haven't caught up on the sleep I've been needing since last week. Is it Saturday yet?

Brad is now on his way to Oklahoma to do the same "hiandgoodbye" stop at Dad's. Brad had to call Dad last night to make sure the parental unit was aware of the actual dates of this visit. Funny the things we miss in a crazy cross-country trek. We all had fun chatting over dinner, hanging out in the hot tub (Mark and I were very pleased to learn that the pool would be kept open year-round), and then nibbling on snacks while watching "Monsters Inc." Well, Mark and Brad watched it. I passed out about ten minutes or so in. And I also slept so soundly last night that I didn't notice Mark having another one of his fun sleepwalking episodes and ripping off the covers and then replacing them. But then I had to get up at 5 again to make Brad some breakfast (aren't I a good sister and hostess?) and see him off.

I wish he had more time to hang around. He's been so busy these past four years, and that's right about when he started to get to be cool. :) No, Brad and I were getting over our growing pains at least six years ago, but it was like having a new friend and then not being able to chat for years. And now he's gone off and found himself a wonderful fiancee, so there's even less time I'll get to hang out with him. Silly brother, he's not supposed to grow up until I say so. And then he's got to do it on my terms.

Well, at least we'll get to see each other again for Thanksgiving. And then next summer for his wedding. Here's to hoping Mark and I can figure out a way to swing by the East Coast and visit all those relative types out there more often.

Monday, October 06, 2003


One last thing about our weekend. I promise. Just after we had checked out of the Omni, I remembered that we had left something in the fridge. So a manager had to bring up to the room so I could get in and get our stuff. A housekeeper happened to be there when we went it. Knowing full well that the guest who had previously stayed in the room was right behind her, the housekeeper opens the door and reacts to the state of our room with an "Oh my gosh!" Now, I'm extremely neat and organized in my own home, but I do get a bit free-spirited in a hotel room. I don't make the bed. I don't hang up towels we've used. That's about it. I'm quite sure that this woman has seen rooms in far worse condition. But it isn't really her reaction that disturbed me. It was the fact that she gave such an obvious reaction while I was still there. Well, she may have refrained from saying, "What pigs," becuase she knew I was right behind her. Now I'm going to be so ultra conscious of how I leave a hotel room.

No, that's a lie. We left the hotel room in Blackhawk in worse condition than the Omni. But there were some cleaning ladies hanging around. I was very tempted to lurk in the hall and listen for their response to the state of our room. Well, no matter how they reacted, I hope they felt guilty. I left them my brand-new, unopened Victoria's Secret mascara. Well, I didn't really leave it. It didn't make the transfer from the shopping bag to my suitcase. Not sure how I missed it. But if the cleaning ladies don't just throw away the shopping bag, then they've got some primo cosmetics (which I got for free because of some coupon, so I'm mainly just pissed I ended up losing out on the deal).


Mark and I had a great time this weekend. Dinner at Benihana's was absolutely scrumptious. I rediscovered my love for Midori with this great sake martini they made. The outdoor pool at the Omni was heated. Mark had a fun time tossing me around in it. We would've played longer, but a family with loud and rambunctious preteens came down and invaded. As we were leaving, the parents were joking, "Oh, looks like we've ruined their pool time. Just wait till they have kids. They'll get to ruin someone else's evening." It was said without malice and meant to be funny, but I still didn't appreciate it. Maybe because I get the feeling they would've said the same thing in the same tone had their kids thrown toys at us and splashed us - which they didn't do because we left before they could. I suppose I really need to get used to "wizened" parents and their "just you wait" speeches. When Mark and I have a newborn, it'll be the "look out for the terrible twos" lecture. And then will come the "just you wait until 13". And then "you thought that was bad, wait until college". Etc. etc. But I digress.

While at the Omni, we exchanged gifts. I won't list what I got for Mark because only Mark would really understand, and I already look too much like a weirdo as it is. Mark got me: yummy salsa; chocolate fondue; a beautiful, currently out of print Ansel Adams coffeetable book on the Southwest; and a gorgeous handmade journal. I'm afraid to sully its pages with my scientist's scrawl and mediocre musings.

The drive up to Blackhawk was nice, as was the town itself. We wandered around the casino, figuring out what kind of slots and table games they had (Colorado is a limited-stakes gaming state - that means very few table games and no roulette, much to Mark's dismay). We joined a player's club, and earned enough points for a free breakfast. The hotel also had quite a selection of movies (get your minds out of the gutter, we only watched "Holes", the Disney flick, not the....I said to get your minds out of the gutter).

Sunday we drove to Rocky Mountain National Park by way of some unpaved back roads. And we passed a trail of 20-30 Hummers. I guess Blackhawk is the Sturgis of Hummer Enthusiasts. But RMNP was just gorgeous. Aspens glowing red and gold. Elk being lazy. Mountains imposing. Very nice. Then we stopped into a nice Bavarian restaurant for dinner. I had to keep biting my tongue when our waitress tried to say German words. Spaetlese (SHPAYT-lays-eh) became "spotlezzi" and spaetzle (SHPAYT-zell) became "spatslee". You should've seen the look on her face when I asked for the Berkasteler Kurfurtslay Spaetlese with my proper German pronunciation. I had to point to my selection, and then she said, "Oh, the spotlezzi." (By the way, anyone know how to convince Blogger that there's nothing wrong with an umlaut?)

We finally got home at about 7 last night. And found a message from my darling brother that he would be arriving at 5 AM not 5 PM as originally intended. I felt tired just hearing that message. But I dutifully got up at 5 this morning to welcome my brother and chat with him over a nice breakfast of eggs. Turns out he didn't show up until nearly 8. But, hey, at least I had time to paint my nails. My sleep-deprived lids stopped objecting about an hour or two ago.

So that was my weekend. And, yes, I did get a nice collection of writing ideas this weekend, just as I knew I would. My muse can be predictable that way. I guess I need to plan more romantic getaways with Mark. Aside from the obvious reasons.

Friday, October 03, 2003

Is It 3:30 Yet?

I've been asking that question all day. At 3:30, I leave work to go pick up Mark. Then we check into our free room at the Omni (part of the deal for having our wedding reception there) and then we go to dinner at Benihana's. Tomorrow we'll drive up to Blackhawk and stay in a plush place up there (not free, unfortunately), gamble and indulge in room service. Sunday we'll drive through Rocky Mountain National Park and check out the foliage. And then we have to come home. But before we can get too bummed about the fun of the weekend being done, my brother will be in for a quick visit Monday night. And then I'll have all week to think about how Mark and I have been married for a year. Wow.

Thursday, October 02, 2003

Who's Fighting Who Here?

OK, so I've been laboring under the impression that my muse is the one who runs the show. When things are rough and I can't put a subject and a verb together to save my soul, I've always grumbled about my damn muse, yelling at her for revoking her capricious gifts of creativity and inspiration. Something made me reconsider last night as I struggled to fall asleep for the second night in a row (ask me how tired I am today!). Maybe I'm the one fighting the muse. Maybe she's trying to force ideas and words into my consciousness, and I'm not letting her.

I can't remember exactly why I thought I might have a role in the "Where's My Muse?" game. It made sense to me at the time as I tried to get comfortable and prayed for sleep last night. Now my reasoning seems fuzzy through a two-nights-of-bad-sleep haze. Regardless of why, though, I realized that I need to work with my muse more. Instead of just complaining about her and trying to bend to her whim, I need to start chatting with her. It's time to make inspiration a two-way street.

That's why I'm going to force myself to outline HD. And sketch out Denise, Aidan, and Mike. That's the goal today. To just get that stuff done and stop fretting about perfection. Then I'll have the weekend to let it stew. Which reminds me....

I found out that my muse is as warped as I am when she gave me the inspiration for Velorin during my honeymoon. While Mark and I drove around the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, Moab, Zion, Monument Valley, and Bryce Canyon, Ms. Muse gave me a map for Velorin, complete with what most of the world would look like, geographically speaking. And she also gave me a character that was a ghost, of a sort, which eventually helped me figure out the magic of Velorin. Because these ideas that she dropped into my mind were extremely cool and fun, I thought nothing of scribbling down notes on hotel stationery in between other honeymoon, uhm, activities. To add to my odd view of things, I also thought nothing of sharing my exciting ideas with fellow writers - including that they came to me while on my honeymoon. Enter the teasing and snide comments about my husband's sexual prowess - or implied lack thereof.

These jokes took me by surprise. I hadn't even thought about the implications of me getting ideas for a book during my honeymoon. Poor Mark. If I had realized that people would immediately assume that I came up with Velorin because I had less entertaining things to do, I never would've mentioned it. After a couple rounds of these wisecracks, I found my comeback. Anytime someone gave me hell about Mark's ability to please me on our honeymoon, I said that Mark's attentions were just that inspiring. With an appropriate nudge and wink and "if-you-know-what-I-mean" eyebrow wiggle, of course.

This weekend Mark and I are going out of town to celebrate our first anniversary. Knowing my muse, and my own recent illuminations, I will be scribbling all sorts of writing notes during our trip. But I'm not so sure that I'll be telling everyone about the circumstances in which these ideas came to me this time.

Wednesday, October 01, 2003

Is It December 17 Yet?

Omigodomigodomigodomigodomigod! It's here! The trailer is here!!!!! Suddenly it doesn't matter that I couldn't fall asleep until 3 AM and that I'm dead on my feet today. I'll just keep this site bookmarked and drool over it every so often today. I wonder how long this excited energy will last?