Month: October 2008 Page 1 of 2


I started writing up Ray’s birthday party after the party, then went WTFAYDDA?* and took a bath instead. Now I can’t get the post date to put it to the top of the list, so click here if you want to read about it, because it’s all further down and I don’t want to tire your scroll finger if I don’t have to.

*What the F— Are You Doing, Dumb Ass?

Politically incorrect joke.

I’m cleaning out my inbox — got this at work.

The Bacon Tree

Two Mexicans are stuck in the desert, wandering aimlessly and close to death. They are close to just lying down and waiting for the inevitable, when all of a sudden…….

‘Hey Jose, do you smell what I smell. Ees bacon I is sure of eet.’

‘Si, Luis eet smells like bacon to meee.’

So, with re newed strength, they struggle up the next sand dune, and there, in the distance, is a tree loaded with bacon.

There’s raw bacon, dripping with moisture, there’s fried bacon, back bacon, double smoked bacon… every imaginable kind of cured pig meat.

‘Jose, Jose, we is saved. ‘Eees a bacon tree.’

‘ Luis, are you sure ees not a meerage? We ees in the Desert don’t forget.’

‘Jose when deed you ever hear of a meerage that smell like bacon… ees no meerage, ees a bacon tree’.

And with that… Luis Races towards the tree. He gets to within 5 metres, Jose following closely behind, when all of a sudden, a machine gun opens up,and Luis is cut down in his tracks. It is clear he is mortally wounded but, a true friend that he is, he manages to warn Jose with his dying

‘Jose… go back man,you was right ees not a bacon tree.’

‘ Luis Luis mi amigo… what ees it?

‘Jose.. ees not a bacon tree… Ees Ees Ees Ees Ees Ees Eees a Ham Bush.

Stuff White People LIke.

Ann loaned me a book, Stuff White People Like, by Christian Lander.

There’s a website, too.

Now, most of this book does not apply to most white people, but most of it applied to me–either directly or because I know someone who’s like that.

As the temperature starts to drop, many white people are forced to start wearing winter coats. Though many will simply don outdoor performance gear, a great number will turn to the #1 white winter jacket of all time: The Pea Coat.

The Pea Coat was originally worn by sailors and members of the European Navy. If you think about it for a second, this means that the coat is European, Coastal, and Vintage. Three of white people’s favorite things.

Another common characteristic of the coat is that white people will write their names on the label inside the coat. This is not done for fear of theft, but rather as a necessary precaution against party mixups. You see, when a white person attends a party in the winter time they will often be required to put their jacket in a room with literally dozens of other pea coats! Since these coats often contain ticket stubs to the same concerts and identical Trader Joe’s receipts, it can be impossible to find the original owner without a name written inside.

Like with sweaters, the process of acquiring a Pea Coat is almost as important as the coat itself. Fashionable white people can purchase designer pea coats for well over $1000, but the top ranked white people purchase their at Army Surplus stores. This makes them feel better than the white people have spent thousands of dollars on an identical piece of clothing.

But perhaps the greatest value of the pea coat is its ability to help you determine which non-white people have been accepted into the ranks of white people. It is not known if the coat is given to them in an elaborate ceremony or if they buy it themselves, but in either case by wearing the coat they are telling the world that they have white friends.

Long story short, if you want to increase your popularity with white people this winter, get a Pea Coat.

I’m tempted to get this book for my mother–not because she’s the Right Kind of White Person, but because it’s about exactly the kind of person she likes to make fun of, namely, her children.

There’s even an entry about grammar.

Ray’s birthday.

Ray’s birthday was on Friday the 17th. We ordered pizza (she picked Italian ham, pepperoni, and pineapple), opened presents, played World of Warcraft together, and played a good bit of a round of Pet Shop Monopoly. The joys of turning seven in a geek-positive house.

Sunday the 19th was her birthday party, with kids from school.* We had six kids show up, one more and two fewer than RSVP’d. After massive bouts of yard-cleaning and house-cleaning over the last few weeks, we were pretty much prepared, or so I thought.

Seven-year-old kids are fun, but they will break you if you’re not ready. We were ready for Two Hours of Fun.

We painted pumpkins (my idea). This did not take as much time as I hoped.

We didn’t do the science experiment I wanted, because the very cool idea turned out to be a hoax. I won’t go into it now, but it saddens me that someone put so much work into breaking people’s hearts.

So instead we had a treasure hunt (Lee’s idea). Lee likes riddles and is very good at writing them (including the rhymes). The kids really enjoyed it, and Ray was so impressed she had to go through the treasure hunt all over again after everyone left. The treasure was a flower-shaped pinata. After the first round, we’d knocked it onto the ground but not burst it to bits, so the kids took turns beating the heck out of it without a blindfold, and eventually everyone scored some major candy and Halloween toylets**.

The presents were apparently the bee’s knees, i.e., a bunch of plastic stuff which is, by now, 1) broken, 2) lost, 3) inconveniently scattered, 4) pink. C’est la vie.

Then it was time for ice cream cake, by which I mean, it was time for two bites of ice cream cake before the realization of how much sugar has been eaten hits even the staunchest of first-grader stomachs. Oh, well. I ate my piece all gone, so there.

And…twenty minutes left before parents came to pick everyone up. After a few shrieking laps through the house, I managed to get most of the girls outside for a game of tag. Ray proudly demonstrated her l33t WoW skillz to the remaining boy. I discovered I can still run faster than a group of six- and seven-year olds! Woot! –Of course, my knees hurt like hell the next day, but whatever.

I had to laugh when the parents came to pick their kids up. Inevitably, they were stern. “Were you good?” The kid would mumble, and the parent would look at me. “Was ___ good?” “Yes,” I said. “They were all pretty good, for a gaggle of first graders.” And then the parent would frown at me, because I was obviously lying. Then they would apologize for their kids.

I’d never do that.***

To sum up:
7 kids, including Ray (1 annoying, but admittedly cute, very short girl who couldn’t do anything by herself or at less than one million decibels)
2 hours
1 pinata
Several pounds of sugar, chocolate, etc.
1 green stain on the floor
5 leftover pumpkins
Several “best birthday ever!” hugs

Totally worth it.

*I was inordinately stressed out about this. Really panicked. I can handle a dinner party for adults. I can handle a house full of kids that I know. The whole sugar-fest thing for a bunch of strangers with the attention span of ants worried me. I feel better now.

**As in stuff you pass out at Halloween if you don’t believe in sugar. Damn those sugar atheists!


Dale’s in town!

Lee’s brother Dale is in town for two weeks!

October Writing Workshop

I went to the PPW Fall writer’s workshop, “Goal, Motivation, and Conflict and the Writer’s Journey,” presented by Debra Dixon.

I took a lot of notes, I mean, a lot of notes. (It’s not that I don’t love you, it’s just that I’m too lazy at the moment.) Little lightbulbs went off all the time.

But the most telling thing I learned was the difference between commercial fiction and literary fiction. –I knew there was a difference, but I couldn’t define what it was.

To paraphrase: Commercial fiction is about character development. Literary fiction is about examining a situation.


On rejection.

In which Harv finally succeeds (Wondermark).

Writerly Ramble.

Here’s me, finishing up Alien Blue:

  • You know you’ve been blogging too much when you start typing HTML tags instead if CTRL-i for italics. (Is there a mod or setting for Word that lets you get away with this?)
  • Pandora radio is good, but it won’t be as good as having a human being picking out songs for you until programming allows for other associative factors than just music. Hook it up to IMDB, fergoshsakes, and have it start making music choices on your favorite movies, for instance. What year you were born (and therefore went to high school). The song playing during your first kiss…my personal Turing test: when a computer can make a competent mix tape.
  • Okay, I’ve backed myself into a corner what I thought would be a few sentences from the end. Now what?
  • An hour later, I write two sentences, and I’m done, unless someone yells at me for having a stupid ending. Because one of the things I changed during this last revision was leaving a door open for a sequel, I think this one works.
  • Final wordcount: 82,301 (by word) or 86750 (page estimate, 347 250-word pages).
  • Yes, I backed it up.
  • The song I listened to, about twelve times in a row, to finish the last two paragraphs: “We’re in this together now” by NIN. “The further I fall, I’m beside you.” Which is apt.

Next steps: Go through the story and write down all the plot holes, areas with not enough description, etc., and fix them. Including some bad jokes and melodrama. Give a copy to Lee and see what he says. Draft a query letter. Continue to fix the things my writer group finds, damn them. Send it out. Whee!

Writerly Ramble.

I’m working on Alien Blue.

I finished the rewrite on the Shootout at the OK Corral chapter, which leaves me with just a few loose ends to tie up. Then a scrub for consistency, etc., and I’m…ready to send it off.

The end is in sight?


Have 2 Nagila,
Have 3 Nagila,
They’re pretty small…

(Rowan & Martin‘s Laugh-in)

“That’s funny. That’s the way we elect the president.”

“I’ve never played that one.”

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