This and That and Those

I am aware there is a last batch of books to send, and my only excuse is that January and more than half of February were a blurr of total tiredness and decongestants.

I have no idea what that bug was. Seemed to be an upper respiratory thing, but it just wouldn’t let go, and mostly it would make you feel terminally tired.  I got so scared I went to the doctor, but got told “yes, that’s what’s going around.”

And then Wedding things (I never thought the mother of the groom needed to be so involved, but there are reasons I’m not going to go into) and others took over.

The others has mostly been well… whoever has a doll of my household, stop the pins already.

My render computer hadn’t exactly been failing, but the more competent I got at rendering: i.e. the more complex, the more it would crash, hang up and just generally not finish rendering.  The resulting renders were “good enough for covers” but had a certain plasticky-feel that gave away their rendered nature.  The post work to stop that was a lot of work.

When it stopped being able to save renders, having run out of space, we decided we needed something else.  So right now we have what we call a two-computer solution.  Dan’s music computer which he hasn’t had time to use was pressed into action and upgraded with a bloody expensive video card, and I do the setup in the part of my office I use as an art studio, then go downstairs and work in Dan’s office for a few minutes to get the render going.  The results are much better and I can do effects like fog or rain, now.

Not that I’ve got much done, because we have a house guest coming on Monday and if you can’t picture what my house looks like after two months of very sick, don’t. It’s not pretty. So this week I’ve been doing stair stepping and weight lifting, only without machines.  It’s good for me, and it will get me in enough shape to hit the gym again and this time regularly.

Today I’m FINALLY going to unbox and shelve books in the library (it tells you what the last two months have been that I started assembling the library system in December and finished yesterday.  This is somewhat important, as we need to keep a place where the cats can’t get into to keep stuff for the wedding.  Mostly because the cats have been on a pissy reign of terror. For the next few months my mission, if I should choose…. Oh, what the heck, my mission, every Saturday is to tip out carpet and paint the floor with Killzee.  Four times.  This stops the peeing, which means they’re just going where they smell the pee of long-past (and not ours) cats. I suspect it starts with Euclid, who is nineteen and very senile, then goes on to Havelock who is frankly daft and thinks “oh, this is the new place to pee” and then… and then I have to deal with it.  Not this coming week, but after that. We have the material for the flooring, but we’ve realized that we’re not twenty, which frankly is a shock.  Anyway, Euclid, when we got him, had been trained on paper and fabric by an elderly owner, either on purpose or accidentally.  He once tried to destroy my office flooring by repeatedly peeing on a business card that had fallen from the corkboard (and I didn’t find and couldn’t figure out where the smell was coming from, because it was behind a desk.)  So we don’t trust him with wedding stuff TM.

Anyway, over the next year, one room at a time, we’ll get the house done. I just don’t want to have to push and do it all in a month, because that kills me, and I also don’t write at all.

Yes, the time is coming we’ll have to say goodbye to Eucles.  Right now he has some upper respiratory thing, so I need to take him in today or tomorrow.

Yesterday I thought we were opening a new episode in the drama as my car just plain stopped in the morning, but it turns out the garage that we already didn’t trust because their first go at it, the car was worse than before, also lied about replacing spark plugs.  Yeah, that. No wonder it’s been almost impossible to start the car in the cold.

At least it’s not a ton of money which is good as right now we didn’t know where it would come from.

I need to write. I need to write a lot. I’ve been, in case the tone of the posts didn’t make it clear, in somewhat of a slough of despond, mostly due to two kicks in the gut one after the other last December.

But I’m shaking out of it, most willfully.

Things I’ve learned: if I’m doing hard physical work and don’t write before I start, it just won’t happen.

If I write more than 1k words in the blog, or a complex subject, writing won’t happen.

I’m not sure what to do with this, save, now that the schedule for PJ is practically non-existent, resume my old schedule of writing four posts on Sunday afternoon.

Four posts is doable in an afternoon.  More than that and I blank.

So, here’s the thing. That leaves two days, leaving Sunday as a writing challenge.  I’m willing to take guest posts, of course, particularly from the usual suspects who have done them before.

Or I can give you excerpts of what I’m working on at the time.  It might be something of one, something of the other, as happens.

In the middle of all this I must find time to redesign this blog and do a proper website.

I have a packed schedule for this year.  Stand by.  Stuff is about to get written. And published. And again.


107 thoughts on “This and That and Those

  1. I have no idea what that bug was.

    I do hope that was is and will remain entirely the operating term.

    1. I think the bug may have been Progressivitis, which I gather has recently been in the air in Colorado. Symptoms include listlessness, mild depression, inability to think clearly and a tendency to blow up at random intervals over trivial matters.

      Recommended course of treatment is red meat, small doses of strong liquor, and regular infusions of Heinlein.

  2. Stuff is about to get written. And published. And again.

    Doing a happy dance:

    O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!

  3. How many times do we have to get sick or die from a virus before we run into one that makes us noticeably healthier?

    1. Get sick in a way that causes a failing non-vital organ to become noticeable, then onward to better health after said organ is removed?

      1. My cancer was discovered because of an incarcerated hernia, while this was a good thing, but I really wouldn’t recommend it.

        1. Mom discovered her skin cancer because puppy, doing the puppy dance, scratched mom on the shin. Mom is 84, so paper thin skin, plus she is on medications that cause her to bleed easily. Middle section of the 6″ scratch didn’t heal despite antibiotics. Type of cancer that would have been visible, eventually. Discovered before fully visible was better. Small in clinic surgery & follow up’s & done.

          Mom is more tolerant of the small dog puppy dance. Not that I allow it, puppy is now trained to sit to get attention …

    2. We have to wait for the era of Red Dwarf where they discover the luck and the sexual magnetism positive viruses.

    3. While it might not quiet qualify for your purpose — how about Cowpox? Those who had had Cowpox were immune to the deadlier Smallpox.

  4. My render computer hadn’t exactly been failing, but the more competent I got at rendering: i.e. the more complex, the more it would crash, hang up and just generally not finish rendering.

    This problem was the “last straw” which motivated me to replace my primary computer. Oh, I’d been considering it for some time. It had been getting pretty long in the tooth to begin with but failure to be able to do the more complex renders I was starting to do was the tipping point.

    Ended up getting a nice laptop with sufficient power to serve as both my everyday workhorse computer but also able to go with me when traveling.

    And the renders are pretty nice too. 😉

  5. Eldest brother’s wedding had a lot of Mom’s involvement because reasons. She ran pretty ragged for several months. Elder brother’s, not so much of a hassle, and when we got married, we did the deed, then invited her out to the Left Coast for the party.

    (Eldest brother’s future Father in Law: “Elope, it’s cheaper!”)

    1. We invited my parents down to the courthouse to witness the Justice of the peace marrying us, along with two good friends. What we didn’t spend on a fancy wedding went instead into paying off medical bills, which made for a lot more peace of mind. I don’t regret it at all, but I won’t swear my mother felt the same way.

      1. Basically like my sisters wedding. To the courthouse for the wedding, the reception was 6 months later when everyone could make it, and without all the hubbub of the wedding part. Much easier.

      2. We kept our courthouse wedding tiny; two friends, the JP and another official as witness. I was in the starting phase of job search, since my tech job was going away in a couple of weeks. A church wedding wasn’t even a consideration, and logistics said “keep it small”.

        Mom was actually happy to fly out (2000 miles) for the party, though travel was a challenge for my stepfather. ‘Sides, I stood up for her wedding on my 21st birthday. 🙂

      3. I recall a big, elaborate, fancy wedding.. even a mock-wedding at the reception, parodying it all… a year or two later came the divorce. And I recall simple ceremonies and the marriages endure. It’s certainly not 1:1 that elaborate is doomed, but… bet on simple.

        1. My observations have been similar. Usually tracked back to a very demanding mother of the bride insisting that her husband spend tens of thousands of dollars because after all it’s only what her daughter deserves. And not so far down the road the groom discovers that his bride is a spoiled entitled brat and she realizes to her horror that her husband’s pockets aren’t nearly so deep as daddy’s were.

          1. We had a massive wedding in Portugal. It was for my mother, who never had one and had been planning mine since I was 8. We had a very simple one at york county townhouse six months earlier.
            We’re doing okay. We never much minded the wedding. Just the marriage.
            Kids are the same way. They’ll be fine. Meanwhile there’s stress.

            1. Grownups, no matter what their calendar age, will find a way to work things out.
              Wife and I were married in the chapel on campus, reception in a local meeting hall, and catered the food ourselves. But we were in our early 30s at the time. I think the total bill was around $500.
              Marriage lasted for over 18 years before we agreed to disagree.
              From everything I can tell from a distance I believe that Robert and Blake will do just fine, in spite of the two mothers-in-law.

              1. I wanted to be married at the church we attended, but a “small” wedding, with just family. Well, okay, since my family alone would have been over 100 people, maybe “simple” is more accurate.

                However, my soon-to-be in-laws had her 93 year old father living with them. They wouldn’t travel for the wedding (Bend to Eugene) because he couldn’t travel. Especially in December. So, change of plans.

                Wedding with immediate family only, parents, siblings (& spouses & kids), & grandparents, with 8 close friends from school, at his parents house next to the Big Tree State Park, with a Baptist preacher. Small dinner reception afterwards. Then the next day a big reception that included my Aunts & Uncles, neighbors, & anyone from the wedding party that wanted to come, at my parents house. Total cost $1000, 1978 … I wore mom’s wedding dress. My sisters made their bridesmaid dresses.

                FWIW. Each of my sisters had huge elaborate weddings. One was a huge formal Catholic wedding. The other one was a huge church wedding too, just don’t know the theology. We joke, because the “big” anniversary years are all the same for all of us. This last fall. In order of sibling birth, our anniversaries were: 40, 35, 30, years respectively …

        2. I remember a QI episode where they discussed that stastically the more expensive a wedding, the more likely it will fail. Conversely, the more people who attend/witness it, the more likely it will succeed. So a small inexpensive wedding with lots of friends and family is apparently the most likely to succeed. Not 100%, but statistically significant.

          1. That sounds to me like it’s correlation, rather than causation. The people who are likely to be frugal while still having large families are the ones most likely to work at the marriage and persevere.

            But don’t listen to me, we had a Renaissance Wedding at a castle with about 150 guests. That was 17 years ago. My family STILL talks about our wedding; we asked everyone to either come casual or come in garb, and half my family showed up in garb. It was quite the party.

            On the other hand, that was our legal and public ceremony. Our religious (and to us, “real”) ceremony was two years prior at a secluded spot near the backside of the NY Ren Fest, with a grand total of 6 people, counting us. That wasn’t so much because we were frugal though, as it was we were dirt poor and didn’t think anyone would believe us if we got married in less than a year. 🙂

          2. In today’s dollars, we spent maybe $5K on the wedding. Another $5K on the reception, except we didn’t pay for that – my immediate boss offered her house in the foothills, and the president of the company did the catering and open bar for same. (I know the latter cost significant money; my coworkers at the time were serious drinkers. Broker/dealer…)

          3. I do wonder whether that might be an example of a seriously skew distribution. Consider the millions that a lot of Hollywood types drop on their weddings – which seem to come every two or three years (one year married, one year divorcing, one year deciding on the next career boost).

        3. We did the ceremony at the reception restaurant. In Renaissance clothing. Got a Unitarian Minister to officiate, since modern Unitarians are about as flexible as one can get. Which is a giggle, since the church started off as Primitive Christian, very hellfire and brimstone (Father’s special subject in History of Science was Joseph Priestly, who helped found the Unitarians). Doing a ‘high table’ allowed us to invite up separate groups for each course, which solved some ‘who isn’t talking to whom’ issues nicely. My Mother helped sew the garb, and my Father already had appropreate robes (from his PhD graduation, and subsequent ceremonies for his graduate students). My Lady’s Father satred not wanting to be in garb. We told him, “Ok, but you won’t be in the ceremony.”. Predictably enough, he had a ball, amd hammed it up a lot. So, fancy wedding, but not usual. Worked for us. Didn’t have an official photographer, just asked everybody who had a camera to come and give us the film. We developed it all and made up albums for those who were interested. The Restaurant used theirs to recruit staff! Ha!

      4. We went to the HItching Post, a small christian “marriage chapel” that basically provides a christian alternative to a JP wedding. No witnesses (not needed in Idaho), neither of us wanted a ceremony. My mom wasn’t entirely happy with that, but was mollified that we “at least got married by a preacher”. My wife’s mother was not in favor of large weddings and since her mother and father have not spoken or been in the same building since their divorce it made the choice of which one to invite to their daughter’s wedding, unnecessary.

      5. We got married by the JP and used the money saved for the wedding on a house down payment. Then threw a modest party at the house for friends and family.

    2. You know, you can have a valid Catholic wedding at Sunday Mass or in the priest’s presence in an empty church, with one more witness. (Or similar. Do not remember exactly.) There are simple options most of the time.

      1. Yeah, except they now require a year to six months preparation. Last year of med school. Not happening. And coordinating with Portuguese church which hasn’t gone completely barking mad but makes assumptions that are not true (like your priest will have known you all your life and can certify you’ve never been married) not to mention my crazy family is going to cause me to become a mass murderer.
        And might be impossible. Head>desk.
        it’s not that we’re going fancy. We’re just trying to get it done.

  6. Yay for finishing the library system! …Is this where I go all mothering and plead with you to wear a dust mask as you unpack, for all the dust on the books not to go into your still-recovering lungs?

    …Not that I’ve done that to myself.

    …More than 3 times…

        1. Sweeping compound. Looks like the curls that come off an eraser when you use it. With some aromatic oils on it. Scatter it on the area to be swept and it keeps the dust down very nicely.

            1. Which makes for easy sweeping/airhosing clean. . . not so easy walking, particularly when coming in from outside with wet boots.

  7. This, That, and Those, eh? I notice you aren’t discussing Them, are you? Why might that be, I wonder? Did They get t you, is that it? What sort of unpleasant profession are you engaged in, huh?

      1. I was wondering that earlier today or perhaps last night. Had I slipped through a mirror or a(n im)probability gateway? Was I going mad? Diane Feinstein seemed to be making sense for a moment.

          1. The more I look around, and recall (the edited re-runs from Nick at Night back when) Laugh In the more I believe that the current times would be wonderful pickings for a such program – if it could be made today. I doubt it could, as it would require pointing and laughing at ALL the silliness and nonsense, not just a heavily slanted (I am being kind, I know) version – and if that happened, so many would howl so loudly about such (NON!)abuse.

            When was the funeral for the general sense of humor? I seem to have missed it, but it appears that such must have happened.

            1. I think humour went the way of the dodo shortly after 9-11 when Bush Derangement Syndrome amped up to 11. The Left went horribly PC and only the only humour tolerated was snark. Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert and their late night companions became so focused on putting Deplorables in their place that we all stopped laughing with and it became a question of who was being laughed at.

            1. Years ago I heard a three-way debate between MN Gubernatorial candidates. I’d tuned in late, so I didn’t know which was which for sure (though the DFL-er. the MN version of Democrat, was obvious) until the very end. There was one nutter (DFL), one semi- but NOT fully sane fellow, one guy making sense. To my astonishment, the guy making sense was Jessie Ventura.

              Yeah, he was a one-term wonder and comes across as quite a kook now, but… considering what else MN has elected (Al Franken, Amy Klobuchar, Ilhan Omar)… well, “there’s another bottom below.” I just wish we’d stop electing it!

              1. I second that, brother Ox. ‘We’ used to contribute some pols with actual gravitas, say Hubert Humphrey or even ‘Fritz’ Mondale. I didn’t necessarily agree with them, but knowing they came from my native state didn’t make me want to hang my head in shame like this current crop.

                1. So very much of what we hear from the Left these days is “Free Stuff and Republicans are poopy-heads!” Much of what we get from the Right is “Democrats want to bring back slavery!” A decidedly partisan Gaslight Media does little to reduce such reductio ad absurdum.

                  Like a kidney stone, this too will pass … painfully, too slowly and with great discomfort.

                  1. Given the state that Democratic Party’s desired socialism puts people into, claiming that Democrats want to bring back slavery is pretty much correct; because everyone is a slave of The State in the neo-Communist system the Democrats intend to impose, as seen in the “green New Deal”, etc.,

                2. Oddly enough 😉 , the DFL-er referred to in the three-way goobernatorial debate mentioned above was none other that Hubert H. ‘Skip’ Humphrey III, the Happy Warrior’s grandson . . .

  8. I don’t know why WP keeps logging me out. Anyway– I’m preparing for another kick in the pants after the December illness. Hugs and sending you good vibes.

    1. It isn’t on ATH but on another webpage I frequent (Cat Rotator’s Quarterly) for the last week I have had to enter by email and screen name EVERY time I want to make a comment.

      Dang it, I just made a comment above without having to, and now when I tried to post this one I have to reenter my info!

      Word Press delenda est!

      1. That’s happened to me with every WP blog I’ve commented on (3 so far). If I do a serious history clean (restoring an old Pale Moon setup from backups), I’ll get one preloaded email and name, but all subsequent attempts need them. And it doesn’t seem to be cookies.

        I used to use a computer system where I could manually load a string into selected soft keys. Alas, progress killed that option years ago.

        1. I could do that with a TSR in DOS. And QModem could not only assign strings to function keys, it could run scripts that did branching by watching the screen. And it would set the colors to whatever I wanted, instead of Internet Standard pale gray on blazing white.

          Running a dumb HTML terminal emulator on the Web doesn’t really seem like progress…

        2. In Linux the autokey (autokey-qt or autokey-gtk depending on your distro) program allows you to do this.

          In Windows10 you can assign a macro recorded in Microsoft Mouse and Keyboard Center to a key or a mouse button.

          1. Thanks! Looks like Slackware never used it; not in the distribution nor the Slackbuilds repository. Oh well, it’s not my first rodeo.

      2. And WP is kicking out known commentors, so I’m finding approved people at MGC in the “must be approved” queue. WP Delenda Est!

  9. As much as I enjoy these peeks into your life, maybe you should just skip anything that doesn’t directly pay for awhile. I assure you – people will not forget who you are in a couple weeks.

    1. Yeah! Sarah should hoist the black FO,IW flag with a countdown timer for her return. 😛

      I also got a stupid sinus and bronchiole illness. At home with the dog, alternating chills and fever. Yipee!

      1. Many sites seem to manage with a M-W-F schedule. It is worth trying for a while, say until wedding is done. (BTW – never forget: The cake is a lie.)

          1. Who is this strange Mormon guy telling us to unstrap the dragon from the carp-a-pult bucket ?!

          2. Nah, we would just keep the discussions ongoing in the recent posts, with the comment threads getting ever longer 🙂

            Do what you need to do to be well, take care of things you need to take care of, and to be able to write. We will still be around whenever you decide to blog.

            1. We havn’t had a thousand-comment thread in a while, have we?

              Not to mention the C4C games, and the meta-comment threads…

                1. ::Channeling The Might Morgo The Orc.::

                  You want us to be the Enemy force?

                  Fine! But none of this “sword-fodder” nonsense.

                  We’re Not Stupid! We’re Not Fancy-Pants Knights but we have good brains and know how to use them as well as we use our axes, maces, swords, etc.

                  Still, it is always nice when Our Enemy under-estimates us. Makes for easy victories and gaining of loot for Us! [Very Very Big Nasty Grin]

          3. Forget you wuz heah? Im-possible! That’d be like forgetting how ter spell perfectly comman wurdz.

          4. Even were you never to blog or write essays or commentary anywhere online ever again … I could never forget you. I would check your author page every so often; I would for you every so often. You are not one to be forgot!

        1. Consider some alternate themes for posts; that might break things up and stir some different juices. Perhaps a Hoytapedia series, in which you pull up a Wikipedia page and give your own view. Start with classic SF authors , pick any of the authors’ titles you think worth discussing, then either give an overview of the writer’s work — recurring themes, character types (e.g., RAH’s “competent man), basic presumptions about human nature/how societies develop, how scientific advances occur/develop — or pick novels/shorts you think interesting enough to write about. Or give your overview of Rome or perhaps hiistorical trends, or even Henry VIII’s reasons for wanting a male heir.

          You’ve read plenty of stuff, both SF and history, so why not revisit some of that? Have you never listened to an audio book and wanted to tell us about it?

    2. Well, really her posts on “gotta work – busy” days could be that and one more word that could be the subject of a 50-word snippet challenge or of general discussion.

      “Busy! Gotta work lots today. Word of the Day is: ‘ostrich’. Have fun!”

      1. NO! Never “ostrich”! That way lies madness, MADness, I tells you!

        Better she should do a book “review” than use an ostrich prompt. Pick anything and tell us what thoughts the reading prompted. Blast us from the past, but never, ever, prompt an ostrich.

          1. I strongly recommend we eschew any discussion of where wallabies do and do not stick their heads. There are things even dragons do not want taking root in their minds.

    3. As soon as I install paintshop again (I require Dan and I to be in same room so I can figure out what the version is. Correction, in same room and awake) I can start working on covers again.
      Today’s post was low effort. Tomorrow I’ll do a BFP

  10. So folks know, what is best way to send possible guest post?
    Some might be new here.
    Some might be as clumsy and slow as an ox.
    Some might have missed it.

    Alright, alright, I’ll go lie down for a while.

  11. Lady Hoyt,

    Please tske care of your priorities, and attend to this blog only as necessary your peace of mind. If there’s no time, just put up an ‘Open Thread’ and we’ll chatter to each-other. Pleanty of good company here; no need to hold our hands.


    1. Attend to it less than is needed for your peace of mind.

      If you comment every few days, and have a biweekly post, we can keep things busy enough with arguing.

      You can relax about us some, we will fine, and we will not that you are all right, and chasing after the stuff you /need/ to be chasing after.

      We can work on guest posts that will offend the sun, the moon, and the stars.

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