2.26.2004

You Know You're an Old Man When...

...you spend all your free time skating and then they ask you to join the Board of Directors.

Hah. What does that do to your "street cred"? Hehehe. Fortunately I never had any to begin with. But, yes, the youth center asked me to serve on their board. Of course I'm already toadying for the skate park, but what good is power if you don't abuse it?

As per my usual shy self, I was terrified going into the meeting, but it turned out to be very productive and left me all fired up to write grants and that sort of thing. The most exciting part is that we're really not cutting corners here. The kids are the very most important thing. End of story, the rest is all details.

I can live with that sort of idealism.

So the first thing I did was get in touch with a gentleman on the West Coast, Kevin Marks who used to own a skateshop in Colorado and now owns one in sunny San Diego. Cross your fingers, maybe Kevin will be able to help me find some people that can hook up the poorer kids in Brattleboro with some skateboards.

See, here is the deal. For kids, skating is cool because it is still anti-establishment, but it doesn't mess you up like chemicals. The way I see it, the more kids I can get skating, the fewer kids are doing drugs.

Falling down on concrete saves lives. It's just that simple.

More news on the budding foundation as it becomes available.

Has It Really Come To This?

Found in a fortune cookie:

"Success in on its way to you."

That's what it read, typo and all. Today's Lesson: Never doubt that the Infinite has a great sense of humor.


2.25.2004

MH - Continued

Well, if the top of your page is looking like the top of the page I'm looking at, it would appear that Bl0gger and G00gle are getting ad payments from d20 publishers (which are much more pleasing than the old ads).

I tried using the number "0" instead of "o" so the ad crawler doesn't go back to bl0g ads. We'll see how it works.

2.24.2004

What's In A Name?

The staff of Choose Death would like to proudly announce the site's first lurker! Now, for a response to her question posed via email:

"What's the deal with the name? Choosing death is a horrible thing, I've had several friends try to commit suicide, and I can tell you from experience that choosing death always sucks, for the victims, their family and their friends."

Thank you for you the question and I understand your concern. Suicide (especially in youths) is always a tragedy. I understand that there are some exceptions, carefully weighed decisions made by adults, but that is a discussion that deserves a better forum than this page. So, in only the broadest of brushes, let me write in no uncertain terms that I do not condone suicide, or "choosing death." If anyone has come across this page while looking into death as a means of solving their problems, please get in touch with someone before you make an irrevocable decision. Try the Boys and Girls Club, a Unitarian Church, the old man sitting on the bench in the park, whatever. People are out there, they are looking for you, and you might be surprised by the kindness of strangers.

So where does "Choose Death" come from? Several years ago, when I first began playing R.Talsorian's Cyberpunk roleplaying game, I played with a GM who kept a series of cards emblazoned with the words "Choose Death" in successively larger fonts. When your character was really in the deep end, when the alternative was worse than death, he would hold up one of the cards. The larger the card, the better you understood the true depth of your predicament.

Funny how a hopeless situation could be understood in gradations of hopelessness, but that's just the cyberpunk esthetic. Dorothy Day said it best:

"If they come for the innocent without stepping over our bodies, cursed be our religion and our lives."

That about sums it up. A little old catholic lady stepping up to the front and telling the bastards to come get some.

Now that I spend the bulk of my free time skating (boards) and writing, Choosing Death continues to be a pivotal part of life. Every time you submit a story you open yourself to utter, complete and contemptible failure. Every time you try a new skating trick you do the same.

Even worse, the odds show that you probably will fail. Really, it's not even up for debate. Nearly all the manuscripts get rejected, and I cannot tell you how many times a night I take a serious fall onto concrete.

You (the writer) could choose to never submit your work, and be virtually guaranteed of a safe, quiet life. Or, you could Choose Death.

You (the skater) could choose to not learn or try new tricks, perfectly content with the ones you know, and probably never fall down again.

Or, you could Choose Death.

I'm not trying to diminish the pain of failure. Failure as an artist (in this case a writer) is deeply personal. But that's okay. Courage means having the ability to stand up to that terror and do your work regardless.

It is easy to live an average life. And if we try to live exceptional ones and fail? Guess what, the worst we can do is end up "average." So why not try for your dreams? Why not live your life "ferociously vulnerable"?

So, dear lurker, I'm not advocating suicide; really I'm choosing to Live by the fullest means available to me. But the only way to get there from here is by Choosing Death.

Today's Soundtrack: Choosing Death in music, the lyrics of an old Offspring song, that goes a little something like this:

"Well if they tried
Maybe they'd see
It'd do a little good to let the world be free
Handshake and a smile
Gets you on through
Then turn it all around with a suicide move."

2.23.2004

If They Can Do It, Surely We Can

There is a amazing amount of bad writing being published out there. Incredible.

On a related note, reading over the posts from the last couple days, I've realized that I'm not particularly articulate when I'm worked up. Some of the posts make no sense at all.

Need to work on that. ;)

Waiting

Alright, we're down to the final hours here. Well maybe not hours, but in the next 4 days, at least. To whoever is the worthy bastard who get's the green light - and I hope it is Marcey or NOOC - know that I admire your pluck and skills. (And yes, that is "pluck," not luck. At this point it isn't luck...you are all earning your rights to pub.)

Growl. I feel like crouching on an i-beam somewhere and smoking a cigarette.

Steve Katz once told me, "Until you're published in New York, you're not published," but he just likes to antagonize people. Ask him, he'll tell you the same.

So what next? Editing Enging Alley to a point where I would be comfortable asking money for it, working on the short story collection, and working on the wedding faerie tale.

But what do I really want to do? Write the next F/W novel. I think I've hungered for it ever since the baby-sitter came over and ran us through "Caves of Chaos." Never believe the people that try to tell you dreams fade. Dream-stuff doesn't linger so much as it transforms. As a self-afflicted victim of this I am not living toward my dreams; I have become an extension of them, my heart melting out into gooey cobwebs that coat my hands and everything they touch.

If not this time, then next time. If not next time, then sometime. I'm going to have this, so clear a place on your bookshelf. :)

Today's Soundtrack:In my current mood, it has to be the Sisters. From
"Never Land (a fragment)":

I had a face on the mirror
I had a hand on the gun
I had a place in the sun
and a ticket to Syria
I had everything within my reach
had money and stuff
each and every call
too much but never enough
tear it up and watch it fall

Stupid, But Fun

Today's Stupid, But Fun feature comes from the Future Fear Department. Recall all those sci-fi distopias that bar code their citizens? Well, beat them to the punch:
here.

Scan yourself. I think I came out to be worth, $9.95, but I'm fairly certain that was a sale price. ;)

Melting Point of Silver

961.78 °C (1763.2 °F) and cursory investigation leads me to believe than typical home kilns can get up to at least 2232°F.

Note to self: need to get to cone 1. Boiling temp:2162 °C (3924 °F).<--double check to see if this is right. Seems like a big spread.

And In the Darkness Bind Them...

Valentine's Day News: The ring went over great. A tiny band of wood, hand made, hidden in the back of a home made book of poetry by your truly. Best of all, the ring actually fit! I have a friend working on getting an on-line image database running, and if that works out I'll post some pictures. Let's hear it for the drimel tool.

Darkness Bound, ver II: So I'll just post this once - just in case the Lover ever does go on-line and begin doing searches - but I have access to a kiln, which may be able to melt silver. So, if I fashioned a ring from modeling wax, made a plaster cast, baked the cast to evaporate out the wax, and then melted down a silver spoon, I MIGHT just be able to make a fairly finished "promise"/engagement ring.

I'm sure this has been said on many forums before, but being bound in the darkness isn't necessarily a bad thing, depending on the company. ;)

2.20.2004

For the Record...

...Marcey is a Saint.

Just so you know. Find your rosaries kids, it's time to count beads.

Arooooo....

I'm losing it, folks. Any shred of professionalism has been flayed from my bones. I've worked through my fingernails, all the way down to the nubbins. If the MoP waiting arc was freefall, this is like riding the proverbial greased rocket sled to Dante's last level of hell.

Gah.

Passion. It has its up sides. And it has its downsides.

One more week. Just one more week. I'm not cut out for this business.

MH: Day 4

So the thing about the MH is this: talking about banners influences the banners. Reporting on success and failure gets a little touchy. Last I checked the google ad banners all had to with blogs, reflecting the notes about the Gibson blog (I think).

So the latest Mh theory: the silicon brains over in the Google Basement must scan the blogs against keywords provided by advertisers. So if I post a bunch on nonsense about cows, we may only get cow links if the dairy union has contracts with Google.

In order to influence the ads then, we need to target folks that are likely to advertise on-line. Hmm. Dating services, anyone?

2.19.2004

If Irony Were A Sharp Knife...

...I'd be bleeding.

Perusing the Gibson blog today. What is it that makes us like people just because they like the same music we do? (I don't know, but marketers do, and it works.)

Lifted from Mr. G's blog:

"MEANWHILE, BACK AT THE SHERATON, DR. JEEP PLAYS ON AND ON AND ON...

Bruce Sterling introduced me to Sisters of Mercy on our DIFFERENCE ENGINE tour, and "Vision Thing" became our official tour anthem; so, no, I wasn't listening to them when I wrote NEUROMANCER. I was listening to what Andrew Eldritch listened to in order to write those songs, I intuit.

He's one fine lyricist, is Andrew Eldritch.

As is Nick Cave. I'd like to write a novel as good as THE BOATMAN'S CALL."


Anyhow, so Gibson listens to the Sisters. I love it.

Bah. Marcy's friend just lost her daughter, Alex waved to his garbage man then saw him fly 60' to his death.

So for the record, this blog covers nothing but asinine bullshit. If the concerns below are the ones that define my days, then I lead a very sheltered life.

But I Was Doing SO Good

Up until 24 hours ago I had been absolutely confident in my story submission to the Editor. This is new for me. During the the MoP process I was a wreck, checking my e-mail continually, formulating baseless theories of my chances, and generally making an ass out of myself. (Fortunately, Wizards removed their Novels Forum, erasing the record of my on-line obsession.)

This time was different. I cast my line, terribly excited about the prospects. The synopsis was well received, my ego withstood the suggested re-structuring, and I even caught myself daydreaming about certain passages. All ahead, full steam.

But now it's down to the wire, and I'm not so convinced. Concerns about the story? None, but there is just that hole in my heart that you get when you ask someone out for a date...even when you really know that it's a certified Bad Idea.

Doubt. That's all it is. Just doubt.

Unfortunately, it spirals and grows as it falls, picking up speed and emotional mass like an avalanche. Pretty soon what was baseless is running my emotional makeup for the day, riding in the driver's seat and calling out decisions to the runners down below. Like some giant iron robot destroying medieval Edo, I stomp through my life driven by the mad scientist that looks a lot like an old monkey.

Heh. That was fun to write.

Writing keeps me sane. That's it. As long as I'm writing, I still have a chance. Sure, this story won't get published, and maybe not this book either, but as long as I'm still beating keys I'm increasing my 999 Monkey Odds. At some point, something worth reading will come out, and Ta-Da, this will all make sense.

But not just yet.

I want it. If you do too, I hope you get it because -if nothing else- I understand what you're feeling. It's not like we're doing it for the money, because as far as I can tell it doesn't pay a hell of a lot. But you're never really going to get an answer, the coveted stamp of "Yes, this is good enough to be read," until your work is published. Your family can't give it to you, nor your friends, nor your lovers. It has to be that faceless editor that needs the next great work of writing. He/She is the only one with the power to turn this into something real, something worthy, something more than a hobby.

Argh. I'm waiting. I'm kicking at the doors, demanding to be let in. I'm desperately hungry for this. For an answer, and for The Answer.

Are you? I suspect so.

2.17.2004

When NOT To Be Polite

It is a given that editors are busy people, much busier than you or I could ever be. Well, maybe not busier than you, but certainly busier than me. The stereotype of wizards hunched over ancient tomes alone in their towers, turning offenders into frogs or cinders? That first wizard was an editor.

These are good, kind people, but they are very busy making books, so please do not disturb, we will get in touch with you, thank you very much.

After the MoP Open Call, I was invited to submit an idea for another project. The heavens opened up and I heard the clarion call of trumpets.

I fired off an idea that night to the Editor and diligently got down to writing. My fingertips were on fire. The story came together great, the plot made sense, and there was even a touch of social criticism! Hotdamn, I was feeling good.

Patiently I waited.

And waited.

I thought about writing the Editor and asking if/when to expect a response. Bad idea.

I thought about writing the Author and asking her if I should write the Editor asking if/when to expect a response. Bad idea.

I composed two letters to the Author asking if I should write the Editor asking
if/when to expect a response. I deleted them both. Good idea.

Finally I broke down and decided that if I was going to bother a professional, there was no sense in bugging two of them. I bit the bullet and wrote the Editor.

He wrote back the very same day. He never got my pitch (it was now 2-3 weeks after the deadline). Email trouble. He was exceedingly polite and courteous. He offered to read the pitch again, and consider it, if it looked like there was room.

The heavens opened up. The clarion call of trumpets. Mountains moved, the seas parted. This much power should never rest in any one person's hand.

I resubmited the synopsis, got the green light, which brings us to the present. I should hear back if they want to buy the actual story this week or the next.

The lesson I have gleaned from this:

Don't bother editors. Their offices are overworked and understaffed.

Do ask for replies on email submissions, so that you won't have to bother editors, as their offices are overworked and understaffed.

When I finally relayed the above story to the Author, she gave it her customary neat synopsis, which I will render here for the benefit of all:

"As you've no doubt surmised, it's probably a good idea to ask for a return
receipt when you email a proposal or submission to any editor. Yes, they
are overworked and overscheduled, and things do tend to fall through the
cracks. There's no guarantee that they won't lose it AFTER they receive it,
but at least you'll have given it the best shot you can."


Amen.

Writing: Yes. Time for a new project, and maybe it will distract me from worrying about the Wizards proposals ... nah.
Skating:You got it. Tuesday volunteer madness!
Today's Soundtrack: A movie quote, which keeps looping through my head. It is dedicated to the deserving soul that earns that F/W book. You have no idea how much I'll envy you, but it will be a good sort of envy, the kind that makes me work harder. Anyhow, to the quote. I'm such a dork I'll probably be mumbling this to myself when I sell that first book.

Through dangers untold and hardships unnumbered,
I have fought my way here to the castle beyond the Goblin City,
for my will is as strong as yours, and my kingdom is great.
You have no power over me.

2.13.2004

MH: Day 2

This is not real. This is only a test of the MH system.*

Bush for president. Re-elect Bush in 2004.

*(Hell, how can you re-elect someone who wasn't elected the first time?)

2.12.2004

Log Book. Day 1: Failure

Hmmm. The MH is not working even remotely how I expected. Thoughts:

1. It is good to be taken down a notch.

2. I know I have seen it change. But how? Why? These are the driving questions of our time.

I must sleep. My monster has not the heart to live. I will try again on the morrow. Muhahahahahahaha!

Stupid, But Neat

Today's Stupid, But Neat link has to do with theoretical physics and Shrodinger's Cat (and yes, this is part of the MH experiment). Without futher delay, I invite you to see if the cat lives:

Click me and see.

I was hoping that the physics angle might make this link Smart, But Neat, but no, it remains Stupid, But Neat.

The MetaHack Experiment: Take One

*Begin MH*

sex viagra man woman couples pharmacy free pills sex viagra man woman couples pharmacy free pills sex viagra man woman couples pharmacy free pills sex viagra man woman couples pharmacy free pills sex viagra man woman couples pharmacy free pills sex viagra man woman couples pharmacy free pills sex viagra man woman couples pharmacy free pills sex viagra man woman couples pharmacy free pills

*End MH*

So take a moment and look at the little google powered ads at the top of this page. They change depending on the content of the blog. The banner ads on the Caves blog kept posting d20 related ads, and these used to be skate related, but ever since the 2.11 post where I talked about being "older" the ads have moved to a different demographic. Today's ad posted something like this:

Feel Tired, Can't Sleep? Lack of energy? Safe HGH to the rescue. Only $33.95 try risk-free

Heh. Something in the universe is responding to the what we write. Fun. So let's play with it a little and see if we can learn how to influence its behavior. It doesn't scan the entire blog, otherwise writing and skating would still be the primary banners.

Do you think it scans the entire new post or just until it hits a keyword? I placed a number of "heavy" keywords at the beginning of this post to see if it will influence the banner ads. We'll know if the ads change.

Note that by placing the above text in the blog, we may have already influenced the experiement, ala Schrodinger and his cat. Still, I'm betting that certain keywords have more weight than others, but that will have to wait for later experiments.


Whither the Caves of Chaos?

So a friend and I were trying out play by post gaming. Some folks were following it, and in case any of you there followed the digital trail back here, let me take a moment to say that while the Caves have been temporarily discontinued, another play by post game has started up in the roleplaying forum of MNTS. The kind folks that provided the free commenting were great, but the comments are limited to 1000 characters, which is a bit tight. The new forum permits a little more story telling. Also, the game has been changed from fantasy to cyberpunk; D&D style play was too combat heavy. Hopefully dark future will have a bit more dialogue. We shall see. :)

Anyhow, check it out. System Error:End Run. (Shortened to SE:ER to up the neato rating.)

Writing:No! Last minute Valentines push.
Skating:See above.
Today's Soundtrack:Still more rap. The song that goes:
"They say that he's the man,
but I'm really I Thundercat."

2.11.2004

Stupid But Neat

In the first of what is sure to become a regular feature on this page, the Staff of Choose Death presents the Stupid But Neat link of the day:

Make Your Own Comics, here.

Of course it can be limited in its, shall we say, functionality. Most strips end up looking like this:
My Friend's Sense of Humor

Thanks to the folks over at More Noise Than Signal for today's stupid, but neat, link.

Blog Virus Day

Kindness of Marcy, our internet fun of the day. For all those listeners that haven't stopped by Biodegradable today, do so. She's got some heavy stuff going on.

But, without further ado:

1) If you could only excel at one, and had to give the other up forever, which would it be, skating or writing, and why?

Writing. I dearly love to skate, but in the final alaysis it is only a hobby that I have passion for. Writing, on the other hand, is vital to my definition of selfworth.

Most of the old men you see skating today were skaters as children, but then gave it up when they "grew up." Later they realized that they were getting big and lazy and desperately wanted to regain their youth. For better or worse, I grew up on a farm and didn't pick up skating until college. Even though I'm an old skater by any standard, I'm blessed in that my skills are the best that theyhave ever been. I'm not trying to recapture my youth, I'm actually living this way.

But it certainly isn't sustainable. Like every skater, I fall down a _lot_, especially at the park. There is going to come a time when the reward of landing the next trick isn't going to be worth the 30 times I'll need to fall down to make it happen. So while I'm not ready to give up skating now, in the back of my mind I know that I will have to at some point.

But like I wrote above, my selfworth is invested in being a writer, an activity that I hope to sustain through the entire course of my life. Currently this works out especially well, because I can set short term skating goals ("I want to learn XXX trick this week!") and long tern writing goals ("I want to sell a book before I die!"). I manage to stay happy because I can keep meeting the short term goals, and not become dejected when the long term goals seem to be _really_ long term.

If any of this doesn't make sense, just ask. :)

2) Why should WotC give you the next F/W book (no need to give out proposal specifics, just why should they pick you vs. all the other poor slobs submitting)?

(Hehehehehe. Damn, Marcy, you're cutting me to the quick here. There are really good questions.)

WoTC should pick me, damnit, because while I might not be the best writer, or quickest writer, or even the most knowledgeable Realms writer, I can promise to be the most passionate. I've got passion in spades. Sometimes it feels that that is all that I have, but there you go. :)

3) Suffering...a result of attachment which should be purged from our being (a la Zen Buddhism), or a redemptive process we should embrace (a la Catholicism)?

(Hah! Remind me never to get in an argument with Marcey. Sheesh.) But, honestly, I believe that "the purging of attachment is a redemptive process that we should embrace."

Really. I'm not trying to be cute here.

In college (right about the same time I started skating) I started taking classes in Eastern Religions. They were fascinating. Western Religions seemed so boring in comparison. Sadly, I think I was attracted more to the exotic element than anything else, but eventually I ran out of classes to take and was forced to take a class on Western Religions taught by an ex-Jesuit.

Never get into an argument with Marcey, but _really_ never get into an argument with an ex-Jesuit. Anyhow, Doctor Veins introduced his class to Christian Mysticism, and suddenly Christianity was wild and exotic, too (Hah! Find that phrase anywhere else on the net...:)).

Fortunately I matured out of my "oooh neato" phase of comparative religions, but the quality of the classes was enough to scar me for life. To me (and only to me, everyone else can believe what they like) it seems clear that every culture comes up with its own way of dealing with and adressing the infinite. But it's the infinte. Whatever word you want to use for it, it is HUGE, far larger than, say, any one culture's attempts to define it. So Christian's define their "Face" of God, Muslims and Jews do the same for their "Face" of God, Zoroastrians do the same, and on and on.

For my money, the Infinite is like a perfect, faceted jewel with an infinite number of sides, each facet being beautiful and unique unto itself, but still only representing a limited vision.

Note that with this paradigm having the "entire" view of the Infinite is neither particularly valuable or even possible. It seems more important, to me, just to have a passionate relationship with it.

4) What's your favorite fantasy book of all time, and why is it your favorite (and you can only pick one!)?

Ooh. This is really hard. I'll have to pick a couple favorites:

Gene Wolfe, Shadow and Claw
Incredibly poetic prose that I can't even hope to mimic.

Robert E. Howard, Conan the Barbarian
Pulp fiction done right, before the Govenor of California got ahold of it.

Steven Brust, any of the Vlad Taltos books
Even pulpier fiction, but on the meta side.

And of course, who could forget the author of the Engine Alley Project?
Okay, this was me trying to be cute, but seriously, while I do hate my writing, I remain one of my own favorite authors.

5) Are you a Buffy fan? If so, why and if not, why not?

I am not a Buffy Fan, but only because I haven't actually seen any of the shows. At present I don't own a TV, which I have found is its own reward.

RULES

So now it's your turn. Take a ride on the Interview Virus. Send me an e-mail or post a comment and I'll send you 5 questions. It's fun! All the kids are doing it!

1 - Leave a comment, saying you want to be interviewed.
2 - I will respond; I'll ask you five questions.
3 - You'll update your journal with my five questions, and your five answers.
4 - You'll include this explanation.
5 - You'll ask other people five questions when they want to be interviewed.


Writing: Nope. Making Valentines for 1st Graders!
Skating:Yep! Volunteer night! Old man, dropping in! (I landed a nose slide on a _tall_ ledge last night over a gap...fun. Yep, old man, going on 14 years. :)
Today's Soundtrack:Overheard last night in the park and cycling in my head ever since: Snoop Doggy Dog's song with the line, "Stop. Drop, kaboom." Yeah, deep, I know. The song gets worse from there. Good to skate to, though.

2.05.2004

I stand Corrected.

Posted by Marcy:
Grimmy, Grimmy, Grimmy (said in a gently chiding voice)...there is ALWAYS significance in the giving of a ring to a woman, whether you mean for it to be there or not. A ring that you created with your own hands, sweat and blood, has even more significance, especially to the recipient.

That being said, I used to work with a guy who made a "promise" ring for his girlfriend...sort of a beaten metal ring, something that would not have been out of place on the set of the Flintstones. It was *awful*...those of us who saw it told him that sometimes, a hand-made gift is NOT the way to go, especially if you are creatively challenged. Sounds like you don't suffer from that problem...you should post a picture here after Valentine's Day. Good luck!


Ooh. It's been a long time since I was last chided, but that probably speaks to the quality of company I keep these days more than it does to my need to be chided.

Hell, I always need to be chided. :)

You're right, of course, Marcy. *blush*

I'll leave it at that so as not to bury myself too deeply. But thankfully this project worked. I hear what you are saying about the medieval style promise ring, and I fear that if I try to work metal that that might be the result. I promise that if it is, I won't give it to H.

I'm usually pretty good about keeping asthetics over pride. I don't think this blog can support pictures (I'm not cool enough to have it hosted via FTP on my own site) but I'll email some to Marcy and anyone who asks and you all can give me a heads up if it is a bad idea that I've blinded myself too....

Heh! Now there is an idea for a story!

2.04.2004

Thoughts on Rings

Okay, so my girlfriend doesn't have a net connection, so I doubt she'll come across this blog before Valentines Day.

Heh. Famous last words.

Anyhow, I'm making her a ring for Valentines day. No, there is no significance to the ring, outside of it being a gift. Hear that, Mom?

Whew. Anyway, about rings.

I'm making the ring out of a hardwood scrap of wood I found in the landlord's barn. He got the wood from a coffin maker that went out of business a dozen years ago. He in turn, got the wood from Africa - I think it may be mohagany, or some such wood. It is very dry, has fine, tight grains, and holds up remarkable well to abuse. Anyhow, it has traveled a long way from home to arrive at the farm's workbench. There is a story in that, but later.

Anyhow, about rings.

I began by drilling a hole a little smaller than H's finger in a slice of the wood. Then I tried to center a hole-cutting drill around that hole (a tough proposition, I found). What is left is a rough approximation of what sort of looks like a very chunky ring.

Then it was time to sand. Sanding gives you a lot of time to think. And as the chunk of wood slowly grows slimmer and takes on a more ring like shape, you start to understand why they are so amazing.

If you have a ring on, right now, take it off and look at it for a second.

You ring is slim, very slim. So slim that, when you think about it, it is pretty amazing that the materials hold up so well. Now imagine being a smithy in the dark ages trying to make a slim ring that would stand up to time; suddenly it is easier to understand why there are so many stories about magic rings. The act of making something that small and that strong seems magical.

Upon closer investigation it becomes more and more clear why a ring is a great metaphor for love. It is a small, fragile thing, easily lost in the world. And yet, it is also very strong when supported by flesh and bone, has no beginning and no end, and has a shape well suited for warding off the bumps and bruises of the world.

Pretty neat.

So I'm finishing the sanding of the ring and soon will move on to the presentation "book." I was going to use a drimel tool to draw some scrollwork onto the face of the ring, but it turned out too small, and the drimel bit, while very small, was finally just too large.

However, in simplicity, there is beauty, and in the final analysis I am glad that things worked out the way they did: a small wooden ring, dark amber in color, sanded to a smooth finish.

Before I ask H to marry me (still a ways away), I promised myself that I would make the engagement ring. This is probably going to be a tough little project, but the success of ring ver.1 has motivated me to look into other mediums. If anyone knows anything about carving soapstone and/or the melting point of silver, give me a holler...

Writing: No. See below.
Skating: It's one of the nights each week that I get to volunteer at the skatepark! Yahoo! Old men on wheels! Death from above!
Today's Soundtrack: Old Ice-T:
"Ban the AK?
I've got ten of them stashed,
with a case of hand grenades."

2.02.2004

This just in!

Straight from the e-mail pile:
"Harley,

Your sample and synopsis came through fine. We'll be collecting all the proposals over the next couple weeks and will try to have a decision made by the end of February.

Thanks!"

Hear that, Nooc and Marcy? The end of freakin' Feb. This is worse than counting down to Christmas. Hell, we don't even know if we get presents! Ha!

E-mail submissions are great. It seems that most of the larger companies don't do them yet, but Wizards and Space&Time certainly do. The instant notification that, yes, your submission arrived is nice if you obsess over those sorts of things. I certainly do. No wasting money on certified priority mail!

Thank you, Technology, for making it easy to be an imbalanced individual!

Writing:Not tonight! Working on Valentine's Present. More details later, but as a hint, I am using powertools...
Skating:See above.
Today's Soundtrack:Rancid, with the line:
"Nihilistic feelings,
guess I'm moving.
If you try really hard,
You see right through them."

2.01.2004

C'mon, baby! Daddy needs a new pair of shoes!

So it is official. Despite prior postings which may have caused some confusion, my latest (last?) novel submission to Wizards of the Coast has been sent out into the ether, and is waiting in the in-box of the Editor as we wait. This one was a lot of fun to write, much easier than the Maiden of Pain proposal even, which reminds me that I still haven't shared that one with the rest of the community yet. Really folks, it isn't any good. If it was, it would have sold, right? ;)

Now the waiting begins. Now I go nuts. I know, if E.C. has told us once, she has told us a thousand times that you don't wait, you just keep on writing and hope that they get back to you. Still for the 30 or so poor souls that made the second tier, this does feel like it is our big shot. We have a toe-hold in the door, and if we let this one go then we are back out in the cold again, all for naught.

Well, maybe not all for naught. I suppose we've learned the valuable lesson that we don't just want this gig, we actually need it. Lots of people do, that's what makes it so hard.

Word on the net is that there are 30 or so of us vying for 2 books. Damn. The odds are so good that it makes your head spin. You can't get that close to a book deal anywhere else these days, and certainly not with a publisher that has a dedicated audience and world wide distribution.

Damn.

The Editors will probably be making their decisions some time after Feb 17. The MoP deadline was in June (is that right, guys?) and they got back to us 4 months later after having waded through 500 proposals. I really don't have a good guess how long it will take to get through these, but it would be great to hear back in spring or early summer.

Well, for what it is worth, here is a toast to whoever does get the gig. I wish you only the best, because damnit, I really, really, really want to be in your shoes.

Writing:Ugh. Editing. How can I be so good and so bad all at once?
Skating:Nope. The North East remains wet and cold.
Today's Soundtrack:Eminem, the song with the line:
"Here I go, it's my shot,
feet fail me not,
this might be the only opportunity that I've got."