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Jan. 24th, 2010

Meat trumps snow

Foul weather be damned. I got a superb book full of barbecue and smoker recipes while I was in CA, and I'm itching to try some of them out. If it reaches the hoped-for 45 degrees on Tuesday, I'm firing up a smoker. That means a trip tomorrow to Taurus Meat Packing in Boston, my go-to restaurant warehouse that sells to the public if you don't mind bringing cash. I see brisket in my future.

I bought the aforementioned book in an actual smoker store. This is a very dangerous place, full of $1600 Traeger smokers and $2500 Big Green Eggs. Of course everything is ludicrously overpriced, and I can buy a fine smoker for 1/20th of what those Traegers cost, but it was really fun talking shop with the salesman. I am now inspired to buy a smoker, some tin, some tin snips, and a lot of heat-resistant pink paint, just to make a smoker that looks like a pig. If I do, I'll need to drill holes so that smoke emits from the nostrils. De rigueur, really.

Aug. 25th, 2009


Putting our oldest, incredibly loved dog down tomorrow.

Doing what's right still sucks.

Jun. 29th, 2009

100 words: shield (with a special challenge)

I've seen jydog1  for three of the last four weekends, and he's only talking in 100 word paragraphs. "How are you?" I asked, and he proceeded to tell me... in exactly 100 words. Awkward. He was forced to grind to a halt as he tried to find exactly the right seven words to finish his story. Always the caring and devoted friend, I hope to alleviate his problem by posting another challenge, if for no other reason than to get his customers to stop staring at him oddly.

The word of the week is "shield."

A slightly different challenge this week: write a 100 word short story using "shield," as normal, then later in the week write another one in a completely different style. If one is a horror tale, for instance, the other one could be a love story. Or a political thriller. Or comedy. Just make it in as dramatic different a genre as you can.



Jun. 20th, 2009

Rain - or the lack thereof

Peggy is at an agility trial out in the Catskills this weekend. I was planning on going with her - it's at a fun faux-Irish resort - but the weather report was miserable. Assuming I'm not running a dog (which I haven't done in a few years) I enjoy agility the most when it's also an excuse to be outside, and a weekend of rain sounded less than riveting. So I stayed home, writing and editing and (according to the weather reports) expecting the rain to keep falling.

And it's beautiful out.

Argo woke me up at 6am, and it's more important to listen when your dog can no longer manage stairs on her own. Coffee, newspaper while sprawled on the couch, a walk through morning mist around the block. Now it's not quite 8am and I'm settling in to work. In a few hours, I'll schlep out to Pandemonium for Free RPG day loot. And maybe, if I'm lucky, I'll go declare war on the neighbor's bamboo that is trying to colonize my own yard.

But really, weather? Time to stop messing with me.

Jun. 17th, 2009

100 words: crunch

This one's for Stephen! Write and post a 100 word short story using the word or concept of "crunch." Time to stretch your brain and creativity, and my apologies for the several week hiatus.

Go write!

May. 18th, 2009

100 words: greatest hits

Our phrase for the week, lovingly hand-knitted for you by jydog1 , is greatest hits. Write me a short-short story of 100 words using this phrase/concept and post it in the comments.

I'm utterly tempted to post my own best stories from past weeks, but then I think I'd have to ban myself.

Go write, and have fun!


May. 11th, 2009

Does this mean I can't make fun of them any more?

I believe I just bought my first Mac.

Stupid Apple. First, it lures me in with the glorious piece of technology that is the iPhone. Then it encourages me to start developing iPhone applications. And now, I come to terms with the fact that remote development requires a local Macintosh in order to easily compile and tune the code that a programmer gives you. What I really want is a mini-notebook, but I wasn't able to pass up a $550 Craigsbook offer of someone selling their loaded iMac.

I'm neutral about this. I certainly recognize that Macintosh computers are great pieces of technology. Problem is, I have absolutely no experience with the things, and so all those handy little shortcuts you learn over the years are going to have to be re-learned. Yikes. It's like buying a horse when I've spent my whole life racing camels.

Wish me luck!
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100 words: ukulele

You know the drill (and if you don't, please scan down to previous 100 words.)  100 word short story using the word or object "ukulele". I love the music. I even love how it sounds when spoken. Now I want to read about it!

Post it in the comments, and new participants welcomed.


May. 5th, 2009

My own "Dr. Horrible's sing-along blog": a musical about my D&D campaign

I turn 42 in a week or so, and last night my friend Dorian's secret project celebrating my 40th birthday came to fruition as I showed up at his house at the appointed time, and found 12 people waiting for me. I'd known he had some sort of mysterious plan in the works for more than two years, but I haven't been able to figure out what. So they sat me down in a comfy chair, played an overture (accompanied by interpretative dance from a 4 year old), and then performed...

SPINE OF THE TIMES: A Musical Journey into the White Kingdom.

...an hour-long, nine song original musical based on my last storyhour, the 3 year long campaign segment where the heroes descended into the underdark to slay the Ivory King, lord of the ghoulish kingdoms. Complete with narration, six different singers, original piano music, video archiving, tasty cupcakes, a full copy of the libretto, and a forthcoming cast album recorded on CD...!

I mean, holy crap. And it was amazing.

Joining my players in the performance were our friends Jeff and Katherine, both astonishing singers, and three other friends who handled videography and extra cheering.

Songs include:

- "Tell the Emerald Chapel" (Malachite)
- "Tentacles" (Agar)
- "Why Me?" (Velendo and Cruciel)
- "Voice of the Night" (Nolin, Teliez and Halcyon)
- "An Illithid Affair" (Galthia)
- "With Each Dawn" (Mara)
- "Voices in my Head" (Stone Bear)
- "Blaze of Glory" (Nolin and the Ivory King)
- "Sing to a Rising Sun" (All - finale)
... and no song for Priggle the deep gnome.

What's amazing is that as the musical proceeded I was there, in the dark caverns and reliving exactly what it felt when we first created that. I'm having trouble putting into words how good that felt.

Best. Present. Ever. It's humbling knowing such creative, talented people. Thank you all so very much.

Lyrics (c) Dorian Hart 2009


May. 3rd, 2009

Boy Detective

Yesterday I found a lost pocket calendar. I picked it up to see if there was a name and phone number for the owner. There wasn't, but it was clear that the person who left it had their whole life in there -- including an AMEX number, and a social security number, and a passport number. Yikes - hello, identity theft.

Suddenly, I didn't feel quite as good about leaving it beside the ATM where I found it.

So I left a big note ("Lose your calendar? I found it! Call me") and took the calendar with me. I looked at it more closely last night. There were a lot of notes about her schedule, all of which were cryptic. One clue stood out. The owner had written down the insurance information for a woman in NY; why? It had to be a relative, maybe an aging parent. That gave me a name to google. The name lead to an online obituary of this woman's husband. The article listed the names of the deceased's children and step-children, but whitepages.com couldn't find them living near my town. Back to the calendar. I found entries for high school track meets. I tried googling those last names and the word "track", and found the name of the son. That lead me to a newspaper article on him when he was photographed at an anti-hate rally, which gave me his correct town, which let whitepages.com actually find them.

I've just called and left a message, letting her know I found it.

I'm torn between being squicked out at invading her privacy, and feeling pleased about the detective work. Time expired: 15-20 minutes. But I wish she'd just written her name or her phone number on the first page.


Meanwhile, Happy Walk for Hunger Day!  40,000 people are currently walking in front of my house and screaming. Makes me wish I'd mowed my lawn.

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