Monday, January 26, 2009

Monday Bunday: Oops

And I suppose you've never put your foot in your mouth?

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Contest Announcement

Hey, peeps! I'm running a contest at the Maelstrom site, and the winner will get some Valentine's chocolate and a chance to guest blog or be the subject of a Maelstrom story.

Bunny fans will want to know that one reason I'm doing this is to get a little practice prior to our Bunny Benefit Bash in March, so please go over, check out the contest details, and enter the drawing!

Maesltrom Valentine's Contest

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Running, Kitchens, and Bunnies

One expects the weather people to make wrong predictions a week, or even a few days out, but this morning they were mystifyingly off-base, and even the 6:30 am forecast for the morning was wrong. The 7 mph winds and high-fifties temps I dressed for were instead low-fifties with winds of at least 15 mph and strong gusts. I had a good run anyway, and even took in a garage sale, but came home chilled in that way that one feels for hours afterwards.

In household news, the kitchen faucet broke last night. It was original to the house and over fifty years old. Due to the design of the sink area, there is no way to install anything of a newer design without doing a complete remodel. Problem is that a faucet similar to the one that broke must be ordered special because stores don’t stock them.

So in the meantime we have no water to our kitchen sink. We also, due to the arrangement of our 1950s kitchen, have no dishwasher. And did I mention yet that we usually save our dirty dishes during the week and wash them on the weekend? Luckily we have a full-size kitchen sink in the studio, but it’s going to be a hassle to carry everything out there and back. It could be worse, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it.

I ordered some more art for the Maelstrom site, and the artist did a preliminary sketch that I like. She won’t be able to start on the colorization until after next week, but I should have the finished product by the second week of February. The art will illustrate the first chapter of the novel, which I’ll post on the website.

And speaking of Maelstrom, I hope everyone is thinking of what bunny charity we should sponsor. I’m thinking of offering prizes to donors, and have already sounded out Rabbits' Guy, who is considering self-publishing a bunny book that I think would make a great prize. If anyone else has ideas for prizes, let me know. The Bunny Benefit Bash will begin sometime in March.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Monday Bunday: Bunny Butt

So as not to break with the Monday BunBumDay theme in the bunny blogosphere these days...

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Saturday Check-In

I got my custom artwork on the Maelstrom site, but I’m still having difficulties with the template and the way it won’t let me completely remove the previous art (I had to lay my new art on top of the old) or adjust certain things about the header. I also want to work on the resolution of the art at the reduced size, so I think I know what I’ll be doing this weekend. But the basics are up and running, I’ve tested it on IE and Firefox, and it seems to be workable for now. I’m happy about that.

I ran fifteen miles today, doing the med center run again. I ran past a site where they’re doing construction on a new medical building and saw about two dozen cement mixers lined up in the street, with another dozen a block away, waiting for the light to turn. I had never seen so many cement mixers in one place before and for some reason I thought it was funny. I would’ve been much less amused if I had been in my car, trying to get somewhere.

This weekend, I’m passing up my third marathon opportunity of the month. I wasn’t able to get into the Houston Marathon, which is tomorrow, because it filled up so much earlier than usual. Ditto for the New Year’s Day Texas Marathon in Kingwood. And I opted out of the USAFit marathon last weekend, although I seriously considered it. Oddly, I’m not disappointed, and it’s not just because I broke a toe a few days before New Year’s, since I'm getting around just fine. January is a tricky month for marathoning, at least for me. Training through Christmas and trying to avoid everyone with a winter cold really puts a damper on things, not to mention my aversion to training when it’s cold outside.

Speaking of cold, this past week we had early morning temps in the 30s every day and I finally broke down and drove myself the half mile to the gym so I could work out. I felt like a wimp, but I just couldn’t get motivated any other way. So there.

Well, it’s time to go play with my Maelstrom template some more. I’ve also got a new story to post over there tonight!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Maelstrom Bunny Benefit - Thoughts Needed!

I'm thinking of doing a bunny benefit, both to help rabbits and to promote my Maelstrom fiction site. I'm envisioning this taking about four weeks, start to finish.

Week One: Story in which the band decides to look for a rabbit charity to support. (I've already written this story, btw.) I will be soliciting reader recommendations as to favorite bunny charities.

Week Two: Voting! I'll post a poll so readers can vote on which charity we'll be donating to.

Week Three: Donate! I'll post a story about the band's benefit concert and I'll pledge a certain amount (yet to be determined) for each comment. There will also be a link for readers to make donations of their own.

Week Four: Final story of the series, in which the band donates the proceeds and one band member decides to adopt a bunny of his own.

What I need from you, my bunny blogger peeps (and friends of bunnies), is some feedback. I don't want to do this until I have the artwork for the Maelstrom website, so we're looking at one or two weeks at the earliest before we could begin. That puts us near February. Since February is a short month, how about we make this an Easter deal? I could post the first story sometime in March and we'll wrap it up shortly before Easter.


Monday, January 12, 2009

Monday Bunday: Naptime

I love it when the humans go to work and I can get a little rest around here!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Med Center Run

I was a little unsure how to prepare for this morning's run. A cool front was supposed to move through mid-morning, dropping temps and possibly bringing rain. At 7:00 am, not only was the temp 71 (higher than predicted), but there was no rain on the doppler. This made me skeptical that temps would change as predicted, but I took a long-sleeved shirt with me, tied at my waist, just in case.

As it turned out, the extra shirt was a wise move. Not only did the front move through earlier than promised, but instead of dropping temps into the low sixties, it dropped into the fifties. I would've been so screwed if I had gotten caught six miles from home in just shorts and a shimmel. (Okay, I had shoes and a cap, too.) And lucky for me, it didn't even rain, although the sky gave me moments of doubt.

One of the places I checked out today on my run was this fountain plaza that I read about earlier in the week. I had seen the entry to it on previous runs but wasn't so curious I wanted to cross a busy street to check it out. I did today though, and it was...odd. Nice lines and symmetry, but it's so out of the way, its colonnade leading to nowhere, that you find yourself wondering why it's there at all. The view of the Burger King across the street doesn't help much, either. Oh, well. At least I've seen it, and it might be a nice place to stop for a rest on hot summer runs. Since it seems pretty deserted, I bet I could even cool off in the fountains without anyone noticing.

That's all the weekend excitement so far. And since I like quiet, I'm hoping it stays that way.

Cadbury, of course, is all about excitement. He says this place is too quiet and is annoyed that the party hasn't started yet!

What do you mean, no party tonight?

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Art and Writing Questions Answered

To answer a few of the questions generated by the previous post, I approved the sketch today for Maelstrom and now the artist will start layering in the colors. When the artwork is done, I'll put it on the website. If all goes well, it will look perfect and no additional template-tweaking will be necessary.

Once the art looks right, I'll finish adding content to dead links, add some other content if anyone has further recommendations, and then I'll start trying to build a larger audience. I have some ideas for that, including web advertising, word of mouth, social networking, and maybe some fliers or posters on bulletin boards at the universities near where I live.

For the immediate future, the site content will consist of short stories, posts by the band members, and reviews of their shows. Obviously since the band isn't real, I'm the one writing all those things. The woman doing my artwork has agreed to let the "band" interview her at some point, so that's going to be a lot of fun and I hope it will result in some business for her.

As for the novel, it's currently available only to friends who request it and only in electronic format. I anticipate doing a final round of edits before making a decision what to do next. What I usually do is a perfunctory query of maybe ten or so agents to see if there is interest out there. If my concept doesn't get any nibbles, I post the novel online and make a print version available via Lulu. I don't know if I'll do Maelstrom this way, but it's the most likely scenario.

I may, however, decide to skip the querying and go straight to web and POD. Traditional publication is a tough business to break into and it can be a real time-suck, with no guarantee of success, no matter how good your book is. Publishing is a business like any other and if your story isn't perceived to be a solid money-maker, it won't get picked up.

I think Maelstrom might be just right for the current market, but traditional publication comes with a set of obligations that would probably be incompatible with how I live my life right now. It's an additional consideration as I ponder where I want to go with this book. It was great fun to write and I want others to read it and have as much fun as I did, but I don't want to lock myself into a whole new world of commitments and deadlines that will take the joy out of writing.

I hope this explanation helps. Share your thoughts and ideas! Maybe we could have Maelstrom do a bunny benefit at some point, with or without a real fund-raiser. They're anxious to make the big time and will put their name out there any way they can.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009


The artist for my Maelstrom site got in touch yesterday to say she's ready to start my project. She might have a sketch for me as soon as today! If we don't have a lot of iterations, my new artwork will be ready in about a week--a digitally painted color picture of my fictional band with their instruments.

I just love Rebecca's work and I'm very excited!

This is a definite bright spot to a day full of dull meetings at the office.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Monday Bunday: A Little Privacy, Please

Boy, I sure am glad the bipeds go back to work today. This invasion of privacy has got to stop!

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Holiday Break Wrap-Up

Well, my holiday break is almost over—nearly two weeks of no work commitments and an abundance of days for celebrating. Or in my case, just hanging around the house. I’m an introvert at heart (though not particularly shy) and I treasure my peace and quiet.

So what did I get done with all this free time? As usual, both more and less than I would’ve liked:

  • Did Christmas Day with my family but didn’t get stuck there to no purpose.
  • Made bread in my new bread maker.
  • Bought some stuff we needed for the house.
  • Sewed darts into some pants and a skirt that needed them.
  • Re-started my weight training program.
  • Did a lot of running and spinning, and tried out a new spin video.
  • Got my comforter cleaned (an enterprise that requires a trip to the laundromat).
  • Cleaned the house—not as well as I could have, but I did it.
  • Got the last part of the fallen tree from our yard removed ahead of the final FEMA pickup date.
  • Contacted the Civic Association about a matter that pissed me off and impacted many of my neighbors as well. (If it was just me, I’d figure it was my problem.)
  • Had a nice visit with my father, who returns to New Mexico on Sunday.

And finally, I finished my novel! A friend says I should call it urban fantasy, but I think of it as comedy or even satire since I mock the deities and paranormals my hapless human protagonist encounters. The website is here and although there isn’t a lot of content yet, most links are functional and more content will be forthcoming. I’ve commissioned artwork for this, and hopefully it will be ready sometime this month. I’m very excited to get original art, so I’ll post about it when it happens.

Sunday will be my usual cooking day, getting ready for the return to work. Unlike last year, I don’t hate my job and dread going back. That counts for a lot, even as I wrap up my paid holiday and prepare to put my nose back to the grindstone.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Hoppy New Year!

Cadbury: Boy, that was some party!

Bunnygirl Unlike the rabbit pictured above, I had a very low-key New Year's Eve. When I was in the restaurant/club business, we always referred to NYE as "Amateur Night" and I still don't much see the point of it. Maybe I'm getting old.

We had luminarias last night, which was nice. It was too wet on Christmas Eve, so the Civic Association placed them for New Year's instead, and Dan and I went for a walk to enjoy them. We ended up at a friend's house where we hung out for awhile, chatting and playing with their bunny, Ava. And that was about the extent of our New Year's excitement, other than watching a silly movie.

2008 wasn't one of my favorite years. I lost my dear Tidbit and we had a hurricane. But I got a new job that I love, I made friends with a wacky new bunny, and I had the satisfaction of seeing that my hurricane preparations were spot-on. I moved my 403(b) funds into annuities long before the market crashed, so my finances didn't take a beating. And I went to some fun places on my summer vacation, including the hot springs at Pagosa Springs, Colorado.

I don't expect 2009 to be a very good year in the macro. The economy is a mess and nothing I read suggests things will get better in the immediate future. But on a micro, personal level we can all seek that happy place with friends, family, pets, and hobbies that bring us contentment. The world has always been a troubled place. It's up to us to find that inner sanctum where we can find refuge from the storm and nurture the positive things that fortify us to carry on.

Make this year a joyous one, friends!