Sam's first Thanksgiving

Sunday, November 30, 2008

The holiday is over, and tomorrow morning brings with it the grind. Nearly 9 a.m. on Sunday morning now, and Beth and the Samster are still sleeping; Beth is entitled, since her cold had her up more than half the night, with the coughing and sneezing and blowing of nose. We fear Sam might soon have his first real cold.

Sam, by the way, was essentially a treat for the holiday. On the first flight, despite some fusses and musses and complications, things certainly could have been worse. And the return flight! My goodness. We could not have asked for better. He announced his presence as we boarded, and I'm sure most of the passengers we passed* were thinking, Oh, lord. Here we go. This should be good. But they had nothing to worry about. Because after he ate a little, he drifted off and barely opened his eyes or made the slightest peep until we were in the MSP terminal.

Beyond the flights, Sam's east coast debut was a smash, and he out-cuted every other baby in the Tri-State area, I'm certain. Of course, it was also very nice to introduce Sam to many of our friends back east, and we're looking forward to our January/SCBWI** trip so he can meet those he missed.

On other matters, Looking for Alaska is not the great achievement its follow-up is, but it's still good, and I will probably finish it with pleasure. I haven't written anything in a week or so, which sucks, and the writing I do over the next few days will be exclusively contract work, which means the YA MS is on hold for a few more days.

*A short note about the passengers on our return flight. There were four distinct groups: Our little family, another young family in the back of the plane, a huge group of nuns, and a HUGE group of the Long Island NRA. It was a little weird. But take note: if you see a little baby during boarding, and he's a little fussy, remember that a big group of gun fanatics is way more annoying. They march up and down the aisle, shouting at each other and passing magazines like "Outdoor Living" and "Rack" over your head, frequently threatening to wake the aforementioned little baby. And nuns, well, some of them are very old and probably shouldn't be flying, and they might pass out and need an oxygen mask and cause a small panic, including an over-PA request like, "Is there a doctor onboard?" and a stout priest leaving his luxurious first-class seat to come check on his ailing "sister."

**Why is the Winter Conference in New York City? Shouldn't that one be Cali or Miami?

Bookie Woogie

Monday, November 24, 2008

We're packing, getting ready for our first flight with the Samster, which happens tomorrow evening. But I wanted to real quick drop this link on you, because it is my new favorite blog.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Web Presence

Friday, November 21, 2008

A Friday update!

In the last month, I have really kicked my Internet profile into high gear. There's this blog right here. Plus I'm a twitterer now. Or a tweeter. Or I tweet. Whatever the hell it is.

I've also got my bloglines account up and running, finally. I had the account for ages but never added any subscriptions. But watch out, 'cause my list is growin' like, um, something that grows fairly slowly!

I also dropped this blog onto Google Analytics, which is a pretty fun little tool, but it leaves me with one question: Who the hell is checking my blog on a daily+ basis from Sterling, Virginia?? I get Maine. I get NY. I certainly get Minnesota. But Sterling, Virginia?

I wouldn't ask, but (A) it's been driving me crazy, and (B) it's very close to DC, so it makes me a little paranoid, and (C) I use lettered lists instead of numbered lists in running text nowadays because I feel like John Green should enjoy a monopoly on numbered lists for the time being.

Enjoy your weekend.

An Abundance of Footnotes

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

I finally finished reading An Abundance of Katherines, by John Green, besides the math appendix, which I will read. I just fell asleep before I did. But I will.

This YA novel is an achievement the likes of which I have never before read, in or out of YA lit. The work that went into this book . . . it boggles the mind. I can only imagine the behemoth effort it must have been, even for a lifelong nerd like Mr. Green, to work not only with math, an obvious enemy to English majors the world over, but with obsessive palindroming, several languages, plot intricacies so deep and unexpected . . . Mr. Green either had to go back and fit these pieces together as they occurred to him, thereby requiring draft after draft and revision after revision and research upon research, or else he is a man who should play a lot of chess, seeing dozens of moves ahead when most of us struggle to see two.

The story itself, though a bit contrived (it would have to be to let the pieces Mr. Green built fit so seamlessly together), is delightful, and the voice is unexpected in YA, kind of an intelligent and American Arthur Dent. But most impressive is the utmost respect the book has for its readers.

I hope I develop some of the traits he's already mastered. Now I'm on to Looking for Alaska, I think.

So this is what Mondays are like.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Well, today has been one crazy ride. Samster the Hamster was a whirlwind of fussing, grumping, and shrieking his little tonsils out, and, get this, all without any discernible cause! I know! How rude.

(I hear him stirring from his afternoon nap, but I really want him to hold out until Beth gets home in about 30 minutes. It might happen.)

So yeah. Rough Monday. So it's an especially good thing that I had a fairly rejuvenating weekend. I spent much of Sunday at Bruegger's, getting some freelance writing done, and working a bit on the ol' YA Ms. I think I might have finished a chapter of one of the new novellas. It's kind of . . . I don't know, lewd? But I think it's fairly appropriate to the character. Digressing.

Anyway, post Bruegger's, I was off to Menard's, which is one of the classiest places to buy plastic sheets to cover your windows for the winter. They have a live pianist between the moving sidewalks. Super, super swanky.

I also investigated that paint that turns any wall into a chalkboard. Did you know they can tint it any color you want?! We're going with black. We're that crazy. (For those wondering, this is for the tiny section of wall in the kitchen just as you enter. It will be a chalkboard, corkboard, to-do list, grocery list, coupon board, menu type of thing. I think in a few years, Sam will get a kick out of drawing on the wall, too -- in nice, eraseable chalk.)

Mmhm. He's waking up for reals. Wish me luck.

Sylar as Spock=Awesome

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Pretty much.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

This is the winter of MY discontent

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Now it's really winter in Saint Paul, and it's just how I remember it: terrifying.

Not like "Oh it's so cold I might die." Not at all. That comes in February, when Harry's paws nearly freeze to the sidewalk on his nighttime walk, and I have to carry him home lest he suffer permanent foot damage. This is the terrifying one might feel before walking into a conference room for a production meeting, let's say; or maybe right before a Kevin Costner movie starts.

Today, the earth is a grayish white: the combined colors of the muddy grass and light dusting of snow. The sky, too, is grayish white, nearly the exact same tone. These are the days I dread most. Complete and total sensory flatness. Flatitude. It makes my eyes go numb. (See above, Kevin Costner movie reference.)

Meanwhile, I can't get any work done. I'm not blaming Sam at all this time, either. This is strictly the numb-eyes thing. Everything has a sheen over it, and not in a pleasant way. More like a window covered in Vaseline.

The good news is PE Obama has set some very nice (albeit not strict enough) rules against lobbyist involvement in the transition.

Is it winter? The conference and snow say, "Yes."

Friday, November 7, 2008

It's a new day in America! But we know this.

What is exciting today is registration for the SCBWI Winter Conference in New York. Just think: I get to take a long weekend trip to NYC, and write the whole thing off! I'm flipped with joy over the prospect.

This weekend, I hope to get done a big chunk of work on the YA MS, take two. Beth will let me escape from fatherhood for a few hours on Saturday afternoon to get some work done at a coffee shop, I expect. I do my best deadline writing at such places.

It's snowing here today. First substantial snow of the winter, which, I'll grant you, hasn't actually started yet. Which brings to mind the little-known fact that our accepted meteorological start dates for the four seasons are fairly new ideas, and not remotely internationally accepted truths. There's a great Straight Dope column on it.

Beth is working from home today, so we can split time with Sam. She'll be doing this every Friday thanks to an excellent deal she worked out with her employer. I am relieved.

That's Entertainment!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Sam likes his mobile to a degree I never could have predicted. Seriously. He's as close as he knows how to get to hysterical with laughter, which at this point is mostly smiling and going "Unnnh!"

Pss . . . my secret identity:

Now this is pretty cool.

Of course, being me, I am also worried about it, since I'm fairly sure none of my Impact titles are even on shelves yet. Won't the students pick up the newest Impact titles, start reading, and be all, "Um, this is a totally different vibe. I'm not interested in reading this at all"?