Archive for November, 2007

The Inmates are Running the Institution

It’s been a very strange week.

This weekend we test drove cars and looked at furniture. Yes, Virginia, Ikea on a Saturday afternoon is a truly bad idea. Why the heck do folks seem to stage family reunions there? We didn’t actually buy anything yet… just thinking.

Then Monday we had the storm. My phone service flickered on and off mid-morning, otherwise, it was fairly uneventful here in the Kitsap. Of course, we never will seriously lose power again, we prevented that by investing in a generator and inside wiring! Bryan-the-tough-guy went in to Seattle to work, and even went to watch the Seahawks play Monday night. They won! Maybe it’s the start of a trend. ;)

This morning my car was covered in a thin shell of ice, the first frost for these parts. Ugh! I didn’t even know where the ice scraper was, and credit card scraping was not cutting it. I barely made it to the ferry.

Bryan woke up w/ chills, fever, other symptoms. He was sick, and waiting in line at the doctor’s office by 8:30am. They handed him a big bottle of antibiotics and sent him back to bed, with a follow-up at a specialist tomorrow. He’s feverish and groggy, hopefully he’ll improve soon.

So tomorrow I take Bryan to one end of the county for that doctor’s visit, and then Zach to the other end of the county for a previously schedule doctor’s appointment, and worry about timing throughout. I took the day off work, there is no way I can be checking emails and answering my cell phone while driving like a madwoman through Kitsap construction traffic.

Meanwhile, I’ve been writing. I didn’t get much down this weekend, I was a little stuck – a bit of perfect draft syndrome, I think. I didn’t like a turn my story had taken and didn’t know how to get it back on track. Basically, I had forgotten… I’m not in this to write a masterpiece! Or even a good story. Just a 50,000 word semi coherent story that “would not make someone vomit”. So, after an expectation reset, I’m back to the grindstone.

With that freedom, my characters have gotten… wiggly. Shane has been taking canoeing lessons and shyly romancing a local belle. His mom Holly revealed to me that she was an animal rescue worker after Hurricane Katrina, plus, her latest travails have made her start biting her nails.

This is all good. My characters need more life! Hopefully they’re still planning on ending up at the same end point I’ve been aiming for. :D

NaNoWriMo word count: 23,572 – only slightly above target for this point in the 30-day cycle.

Posted on Wednesday, November 14th, 2007 by Jeri
Under: cars, health, writing | 2 Comments »

NaNoWriMo Day 9

NaNoWriMo Day 9

Tonight I went to a write-in at Barnes and Noble. A few of us sat around, with notebook computers or actual notebooks, and industriously wrote away. Occasionally one of us had a question, or another wanted to share a line or a plot point. It was interesting, kind of a semi-social event. I’m not sure it helped my writing, I found myself distracted by perfect draft issues more frequently in that busy environment.

With that, plus some writing later on after I got home, I had a prolific day. I wrote 3,395 words for a new total of 18,586. Some of them, few, far between, and probably by mistake, were actually even decent words.

Posted on Saturday, November 10th, 2007 by Jeri
Under: writing | 2 Comments »

It’s Still Rock and Roll To Me

Billy JoelWe went to a Billy Joel concert at KeyArena last night. It was perhaps the best show I’ve ever been to.

After Billy Joel’s wild opening song, he swiveled and spoke to the audience. “Billy Joel couldn’t make it tonight, I’m his father.” The house laughed.

He started with a cut from 1971, included most of his fabulous hits of the 70s and 80s, and had everyone on their feet singing at the top of their lungs throughout the night.

I guess I’d never realized what a phenomenal piano player he is… on an instrumental number he called Rootbeer Rag his hands absolutely flew over the keyboard. His backing band was worthy – every musician played a number of instruments and the solos were tremendous.

He and his lead guitar player bowed to each other about two-thirds of the way through the show, and let loose with some serious metal. They tore through Jimi Hendrix’s Purple Haze as a Seattle tribute.

Then Billy called his head guitar roadie up on stage for a ‘Washington Idol’ moment. Billy asked us to bear with him and give his roadie a chance to sing a “spiritual song” for us. He then introduced Chainsaw, a stocky, tattooed man in a t-shirt and shorts, who absolutely nailed Highway to Hell. It was hilarious, and it was a ton of fun.

He closed the night with two encores. The first was Scenes from an Italian Restaurant done beautifully, and Big Shot for a jolt of energy. The second encore was my favorite, Piano Man.

It still blows me away to see happy dancing folks waving their cell phones in the air, instead of lighters.

Ok Bryan here… I also thought the concert was a lot of fun, and I’m half hoarse from singing along. Billy Joel is fascinating to me, as he’s someone that performs across the entire pop/rock genre, even to the fringes of jazz and straight pop ballads that would have been hits in the 30s and 40s. I sure expected Piano Man…but not Purple Haze and Highway to Hell. Tonight he hit all of those areas, and somehow made it seamless.

It was also interesting to me to contrast his concert to our recent experience with The Police a few months back. Sting and the boys played just about every song they’d ever done that charted. Billy can’t do that, because we would still be there listening if he had. Just a lot deeper catalog of hits to cover for Billy, but I wasn’t disappointed with the choices. Ok, Uptown Girl would have been fun, but only if he was still married to Christie Brinkley. By the way Billy, how the hell did you screw that up? Couldn’t resist.

Anyway we both had a great time and we’re really glad we went.

Posted on Friday, November 9th, 2007 by Jeri
Under: music | 3 Comments »

Christmas Rant

Ok, I know this has been written about 10 trillion times in 10 trillion blogs and elsewhere, but I gotta say it.

Please, please pass a federal law that it is illegal to display Christmas merchandise and decorations prior to the day after Thanksgiving. Please. Seriously. It should be a felony, with the mandatory punishment of being locked in a closet with a constant loop of Burl Ives singing “Have a Holly Jolly Christmas” for a term of not less than one year, while wearing a Santa beard made of that fiberglass “Angel Hair” stuff and only personally receiveing a stocking full of coal, too.

Did I say “please”?

Today I went down to Starbucks in our building. By the way, I’ve quit going more than 1 or 2 times a week, even though I love the drinks there. Anyway, they were all decked out in Santa hats, or hats with little reindeer antlers. Alright, I know they didn’t mean any harm, but for the love of all that’s holy, can we please wait on post-Thanksgiving for this at coffee shops? Huh? Are they seriously thinking that I’m sitting in my office going, “Well, hmm, maybe when I’m down at Starbucks today, November 8, I’ll do a little Christmas shopping. Hope it’s really festive there, because if its not, well, I ain’t even gonna buy my iced, venti, white mocha, non-fat, no whip, light ice.” (This sad necessity to order such a complex drink is part of the reason why I don’t go so often anymore. Today I got one with peppermint too. To be festive, I guess).

Look, it bums me out for the Christmas stuff to start to show on Labor Day. No exaggeration, I swear Costco would do it on July 5th if they thought rioting would not occur.

Am I nuts here?

Posted on Thursday, November 8th, 2007 by Bryan
Under: holidays | 3 Comments »

Random Thoughts

I have had a headache for 30 hours. It’s not a migraine, it’s just.. there. Kinda malignant and spiky and medium-grade, right behind my eyes. This really trashes my creativity. (And my ability to stare at the computer screen. Maybe I’ll try writing with my eyes closed, I am a decent touch-typist.)

My dogs keep escaping. Sort of. We keep them gated down in the family room & den with us during the day. The smart one (Lyza) has learned to slip the gate aside, and in spite of her age and asthma, she delights in doing it. She runs upstairs, jumps on every bed, and comes down prancing happily. She’s counted coup, she’s won.

I flew Continental Airlines on this last Anchorage trip, and I give it mixed reviews. It was on time. Both directions! There’s a concept Alaska Air could learn from. I also managed to snag first class upgrades, and first class was not all that. The flight attendants were very special, refusing to hang up coats (only room for theirs, I understand) and leaving us with dirty dishes in our lap for 45 minutes while they gossiped. And they didn’t pack enough of their meals – they usually have one good option and one bad, and the bad is usually all that’s left by the time they get to me. (Soggy American cheese burger, blech.) Plus their Anchorage terminal location is super inconvenient, kind of an airport Siberia.

Did I mention I have a headache?

We’re still looking intermittently for a fuel-economy conscious car. I’ve decided I want to take a look at the VW Jetta TDI (turbo diesel). It gets great mileage and diesel is a little less expensive. They are super hard to find, though, and expensive when you do run across them. Apparently VW discontinued them in ‘07 because of EPA requirements, but will come back in mid ‘08 with a revised model. We aren’t looking for new anyway, I’d just as soon someone else had fun with depreciation.

We’re going to see Billy Joel in concert tonight. I’m psyched! I heard he does a great show, and plus, we’re both longtime fans.

I’m on track w/ NaNoWriMo with 15,191 words to date, and in fact am going to try a new thing tomorrow night: a write-in. Some of us Kitsap peninsula writers are meeting up at a coffee shop to sit around and geek out with our notebook computers.

Posted on Thursday, November 8th, 2007 by Jeri
Under: cars, dogs, health, travel, writing | 1 Comment »