Johari thing

Happy Valentines Day to those of you who celebrate/languish over/otherwise acknowledge it.

HP sent my laptop back after we called and harangued them yesterday. They “replaced a gasket.” Any bets on whether they’ve actually fixed it? But it’s here now, and so I am dutifully re-loading it.

Ergo: the Johari thing that’s making the blog rounds: “A model for mapping personality awareness. By describing yourself from a fixed list of adjectives, then asking your friends and colleagues to describe you from the same list, a grid of overlap and difference can be built up.”

There aren’t enough adjectives, and they’re skewed positively, but the psychologist (and narcissist) in me is clamoring to participate. So, do you see me as I see me?

Things that aren’t working: Hobkin’s tummy, my back, HP

Hobkin isn’t feeling well. Last night he sicked up his dinner as well as his midnight snack of (we’d hoped) tummy-settling bread and bok choy. I continue to be inordinately grateful that the little guy seems disinclined to be sick either on me, the carpet, or the furniture.

He was curled up with me on the couch, and when he realized dinner was going to make an urgent reappearance, he sprang up, scrambled off the couch, and made a mad dash into the kitchen. He didn’t quite make his area with its linoleum floor–and thereby didn’t execute another head-in-litter-box miracle–but the hard wood kitchen floor is leaps and bounds better than the living room carpet. And after his first bout, he wobbled his way into his area for his second. The poor lil guy! It always makes me feel so helpless and anxious when he’s sick. And we still have no idea what sets off these tender tummy episodes.

At least we’ve got a treatment worked out. The vet prescribes us this amazing anti-nausea stuff (which thankfully the fuzzwit loves the taste of), and Hobkin also gets mint sandwiches (bits of bread soaked in Pepto Bismol) which, in combination, fix him right up, usually within 24 hours. And as far as psychological effects go, having a queasy GI tract doesn’t seem to particularly faze him. Just a half minute after his sick-up, he was energetic and begging us for a snack to replace his lost dinner. Silly, worrisome beastie.

He crawled up to snuggle with me after all the excitement and seemed happy to bask in the extra attention as I fussed over and cuddled him.

My back continues to malfunction. I took two Tramadol yesterday, which is pretty astonishing because usually one lays me out flat. This time, one only took the edge off–didn’t even make me sleepy. Makes me wonder if it’s the pain overwhelming the med, or the Adderall keeping me awake.

According to the status info on the HP website, my laptop hasn’t shipped yet, even though the expected date was yesterday. So not a surprise. Our case manager mentioned it would take longer than their promised 3-day turnaround because they need to do fairly in-depth tests on it this time. (*snort*) I suppose we should have asked how much longer.

   


Writing Stuff

New Words: 500 on the Japanese Demon Hunter story, now tentatively titled: “Honor is a Game Mortals Play.” Into the climax and I’m dithering over where I want to go with it. No, scratch that. I know where I want to go with it, but I’m dithering over how to get there. Going to lasso and sit on my muse today and see if that doesn’t get her cooperative-like.

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
5,111 / 6,000
(85.2%)

Club 100 For Writers
      1
I’m pretty sure I missed at least one day in there . . .

500/day
      4

Laptop status, Lesbian Zombie, shameless pimpage

Sent my poor, malfunctioning laptop back to HP yesterday. At least they realized when we called their customer service number that they needed to immediately send us up the line rather than trying to get us to jump through their futile checklist hoops again. We talked to a case manager–someone in the states and not India–who seemed to understand that the problem wasn’t a question of swapping out parts, a la the battery or fan, but rather something that needed in-depth diagnosis and testing. Well, duh. They would’ve known that already if they’d listened to me the first time, but it’s a start.

Right now, I really wish they’d just replace the stupid thing and have done with it, but apparently we’re not at that stage yet. Third time’s a charm? *snort*

Fortunately, we’ve now got WiFi connectivity on our old Vaio desktop, thanks to dean13. We lugged the tower, monitor, and peripherals upstairs, and I am once again holed up in the library, flogging ye olde writing muse. Giddyap!

   


Writing Stuff

Shameless plug time!

My signing with Aberrant Dreams is in two days!
Date: Saturday, February 4th, 2006
Time: 4:00 PM to 7:30 PM
Place: Oxford Comics & Games; 2855 Piedmont Rd NE; Atlanta, GA 30305-2767; (404) 233-8682

If you’re in the area, I’d love for you to come out and say “hi”!

Published:
- The podcast of “My Friend is a Lesbian Zombie” read by Word Whore (of Air Out My Shorts) is now up at Escape Pod! Stephen did an absolutely fabulous job with it. Download. Listen. Giggle. Warning: There’s both naughty language and lesbian zombies in it.
- Also, the Sci Phi Show podcast on “The Problem of Evil” (examining the philosophical issue via the Escape Pod podcast of my story, “The Life and Times of Penguin”) went up while I was in Utah. I’m tickled to have the issue examined via Penguin and Ducky’s viewpoints. A very nice introduction to the basic arguments of the classic debate (although I don’t agree with Jason Rennie’s final conclusion–but don’t ask me to engage in relevant back-and-forth online; my experience with Internet debates typically makes me want to act out with random acts of sporking). And check out the lively discussion that stemmed from the podcast! There’s actually thoughtful discourse happening around something I wrote. I think I died and went to writer heaven (yes, that’s a spine-tingling irony, considering the subject matter at hand).

New Words: 1K on the Japanese Demon Hunter story. Making good progress, although I’m having trouble coming up with a proper title. Eh, one will come to me in good time. I hope.

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
3,911 / 6,000
(65.2%)

Club 100 For Writers
      3

500/day
      2

Re-watching the Firefly series in preparation for getting Serenity on DVD. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I wish I could write dialogue like Joss Whedon. Sigh.

And on the surprising good news front, I got an email from HP informing me that my laptop was shipped yesterday and I should get it tomorrow AM. I don’t know if this pre-26th shipping is due to the emails of ire I sent, or if the part they were waiting on got in sooner. I like to think it was my squeaky-wheel-ness, but since they haven’t listened to anything I’ve said up to this point, that seems unduly optimistic.

It means that I should have my laptop back in time to take to Sundance–as long as FedEx doesn’t let me down. I’m assuming the malfunction won’t be fixed, but at least I’ll have it. I’d rather have a spontaneously shutting down laptop than no laptop in Utah. I’ll just have to do what I was doing before and engage in tons o’ compulsive saves and frequent back-ups to my USB stick. And hey, they could astonish me and have actually fixed the thing–or, shocker of all shocks, decided to replace it.

   


Writing Stuff

Ooo! I got an email from Vonda McIntyre! I got an email from Vonda McIntyre!

Okay, it’s an SFWA-related email, but I’m still all fangirl squeeing about getting correspondence from her. I read Dreamsnake when I was in sixth grade and was absolutely blown away by it.

So, uh, yeah, the email was to let me know that the SFWA press release I submitted for the Writers for Relief charity anthology (edited by jackzodiac) is up and will be linked to the SFWA Pressbook tomorrow.

My heart’s still all pitter-patter about getting an email from Vonda McIntyre . . .

Underworld: Evolution (spoiler-free)

fosteronfilm and I went to the advance screening of Underworld: Evolution last night. The publicist people got the Netherworld folks to show up in vampire and werewolf costumes and roam through the audience beforehand. The werewolves especially really got into it–eliciting shrieks of surprise and terror from oblivious female-types–prowling and sneaking up on people, then waving fuzzy heads and paws about while snarling. I think I’m a bit jaded, though. When one wolfie tried his scare routine on me, I couldn’t help myself; I reached out, scritched his head, and cooed “Nice, puppy!” He was, however, unfazed and responded with a doggie leg twitch and happy noises; I was greatly amused.

The movie itself was exactly what I needed. Shiny, escapist fantasy full of explosions and stabby bits, with some really, really gorgeous people (Kate Beckinsale in a vinyl corset and Scott Speedman in, uh, pants . . . *droool*).

Surprising me (both of us, actually), it was good. It didn’t suffer from the sequel malaise that most 2nds do. The storyline was a continuation of the plot established in Underworld, rather than a bigger, brighter rehash of it, so it didn’t have that “we need to have a follow-up but don’t have any idea where to go with it” feel that most sequels do. There were one or two “huh?” moments that are probably best not dwelled too intently upon, but I was willing to give them the benefit of the doubt, considering they got so much right. It was an absolutely beautiful movie with glorious action scenes that had the perfect balance of grace and gore.

So yeah, the whole evening gets shiny snaps from me.

If you want an actual review of the movie, instead of my disjointed rambling, check out fosteronfilm‘s write-up.

On the notebook front: Cut in case y’all are tired of reading about my ongoing dramafest with HP

Oh Where, Oh Where, Has My Laptop Gone?

I checked the HP website and the status of my laptop is listed as: “Hewlett-Packard is currently repairing or replacing your product. . . . not yet shipped.”

They were supposed to ship my laptop back yesterday. And I even bought the stupid extended care package that promises expedited priority service! Struggling not to work myself into a foaming frenzy of go-medieval-on-their-asses-argh, but what little forbearance I had left is strained to the big kablooey point. If anyone sees a small mushroom cloud Atlanta-ward, that’s probably me losing it.

Calmblueocean. *twitch*

The thing is, I’d calculated on taking my laptop with me to Utah next week.* More than calculated, counted on. The condo we’re staying at won’t have WiFi, unless things have changed since last year, but there are Internet cafes aplenty in Park City, and I’d assumed I’d be able to at least maintain perfunctory email contact, not to mention not fall too behind on my various editorial duties. Most importantly, I’d counted on having it so I could type up any observation and inspiration notes for future stories.

While it is still possible that my laptop will get to me in time–like if they shipped it today–it’s cutting it very close.

@!&*$#! Calmblueocean.


*fosteronfilm is reprising his Sundance/SlamDance/Troma Dance film festival working holiday again this year, and I decided to go with him this time. Traveling is the best muse food for me, and I figure there’s going to be a lot of inspiration and creative energies crashing about at Sundance et al. So while I doubt I can deduct the cost as a working expense (although fosteronfilm might be able to), I think it’ll be worth doing.

   


Writing Stuff

I think the only reason I haven’t detonated into a big wrathful smear of exploded-Eugie is that I’ve received so much excellent writing news.

Augie Wiedemann, the artist who illustrated “Oranges, Lemons, and Thou Beside Me” for Apex, sent me a print of the extra illustration he did because he liked the story so much. I’m bowled over and touched by both the gift and the compliment. I shall need to find a frame for it and then I’m going to hang it in the library.

Received:
- 41-day sale of “A Patch of Jewels in the Sky” to Dragonfly Spirit, slated for publication in their June issue.
- 20-day rejection from Fantasy Magazine offset by a reprint sale of “Returning My Sister’s Face” to Sean Wallace’s Best New Fantasy anthology. Huzzah! I’m going to be in an anthology with the word “Best” in the title!

And check out the gorgeous cover art by Eikasia:

Fie on Hewlett Packard

Thanks to everyone who sent their reassuring thoughts and bolstering sentiments about my dad-in-law. No further news updates from the in-folks front, which I’m taking as “no news is good news.”

I am deeply, deeply displeased with Hewlett Packard. My laptop arrived bright and early via FedEx yesterday morning. I bounded to the door to sign for it, gleefully pulled my shiny laptop from its packaging, and booted it up. The “Customer Care” receipt they enclosed informed me they had only done two things: re-image the hard drive (sigh) and replaced the battery. This did not thrill me, as I was reasonably certain the problem I’d been having was not a battery issue, and if it was, then why didn’t they just sent me a @#$! new battery? I could’ve re-imaged the thing myself if I’d thought it was necessary. But hey, maybe I was wrong, maybe it had been the battery all along. I started loading it up, restoring software and data, and while I was in the middle of that, it turned itself off. Yep. They hadn’t fixed the problem.

So I packaged it back up in the box it came in, and FedEx retrieved it this afternoon to make the trip back to California. The HP support folks were not at all helpful when we called them. They tried to get us to go through all the useless rigmarole processes (power drain, restore the bios, etc.) that hadn’t worked the first time before agreeing that it needed to be sent back.

So I remain without my laptop. I am mightily pissed off.

   


Writing Stuff

Received:
- 77-day personal “sweet but not for us” with invite to try again from Sheila Williams of Asimov’s. That first sale of 2006 is turning out to be rather elusive . . .

HP laptop progress

The HP support folks called back and arranged to send us packaging materials and labels et al. to FedEx my laptop to them for repair, all gratis as part of the warranty. That’s all good and satisfactory. I did think MicroCenter’s $50 charge for sending it to HP for us was rather a rip-off. My repair order also appears to have been forwarded to a management type who is not in India, a level above tech support, so I have high hopes that this will result in a proper resolution.

Did another major backing-up clean off of my laptop. fosteronfilm is getting close to being able to wipe and re-load the older VAIO desktop for me to use while my laptop’s in the shop.

   


Writing Stuff

I’m a bit concerned about some of my Tangent reviewers. A couple new ones that contacted me appear to have vanished off the face of the Earth after I sent them their first assignments to review, and even a veteran or two isn’t responding to my gentle prods for a status update. Was it something I said? Did I eat too many virtual onions?

Received:
61-day SALE of “My Friend is a Lesbian Zombie” to Escape Pod. My second sale to these folks, I can’t wait to see what Stephen has in mind for this one. He said the podcast is slated for sometime in February 2006.

New Words: 1600 on “Arachne” and I’m at zero draft. That was a very satisfying couple days work. Going to do some editing passes, try and cull a couple hundred words, then hand it off to fosteronfilm to first reader. This week “Rue and Ruin” should be going up on Critters, so I’ll try to get “Arachne” up next week.

Zokutou word meter
2,162 / 2,000
(108.1%)

Club 100 For Writers
      61

500/day
      110

Domain renewal, Laptop dismay

Oof. Y’know what’s more effective than any alarm clock at waking a person? A hungry skunk. You can’t hit snooze, can’t ignore him, and God save the person who thinks they can sleep through being walked over, pawed at, and snorted upon by an indignant fuzz loaf. Trying to explain, “I just need fifteen more minutes, Hobkin. Breakfast in 15, okay?” so totally doesn’t work. He’s asleep now with a full belly. I’m bleary and waiting for the Adderall to kick in. My life is odd.

I went to renew my eugiefoster.com domain from hostingdude.com and discovered they’d doubled the price. I guess that’s standard operating procedure. Lure you in with an initial low, low price and then jack it up. Ptooie on that, I sez. I transferred my registration to godaddy.com which was conveniently having a sale on transfers. Snagged the sale price for four years. I figure when that time runs out, I can always transfer it somewhere else if they ramp up the cost too. But there was an hour or so of anxiety between the initial transfer setup and the confirm proceedings where my website was down and my domain email forwarding wasn’t functioning. At least I was clever enough to do all that in the wee hours of the night. Everything’s back up now. Whew.

And, on the extremely annoying front, my laptop powered itself down three times in a row yesterday. Totally freaked me out the last time because I started wondering whether I’d be able to keep it stable long enough to backup my last couple day’s work. Fortunately, on the last reboot it stayed on. And then there was a massive backing up of everything.

So yeah, upgrading the BIOS and switching to a new power adapter didn’t solve the problem. Called the MicroCenter HP techs and they want $50 just to send it to HP for us. The thing’s under warranty! Doesn’t paying $50 to send it in for maintenance defeat the purpose of having a warranty?? Going to get back online with the HP tech support folks in India (sigh) and see if there’s another way to get it looked at that doesn’t involve paying a wad of cash. As an interim solution, fosteronfilm is wiping out our old Sony Vaio desktop and reloading it for me. We’ll set it up as a writing workstation in the library. The only real downer is that it doesn’t have a WiFi card, and it’s old enough to only have USB 1.0 ports, so if I want Internet connectivity, we need to buy and install an internal card. And, of course, I need my Internet, so that’s an expense and a hassle we’ll have to look into stat.

Hardware is being mean to me! And I’m also all twitchy wondering whether my system will power down spontaneously at any moment. I just want to write! Waaah! Stupid unstable technology that I’m completely dependent upon and addicted to.

   


Writing Stuff

Did a pair of editing passes on “Rue and Ruin” incorporating the suggestions from fosteronfilm‘s first reader experience. Declared “first draft” and sent it off to the Critters queue. It should go up next week.

Today, after I hash it out with the HP folks, I start on my re-telling of Arachne.

Club 100 For Writers
      58

Pie, cookies, and a chocolate chip for our chocolate chip

Baked veggie pot pie and chocolate chip cookies the other day in an effort to make our Halloween-decorations-go-down-Christmas-decorations-go-up efforts merry and festive rather than tedious and chore-like. Managed to drop a semi-sweet chocolate chip on the floor, and before I could retrieve it, our chocolate chip Mephitis mephitis lunged and nabbed it. I grabbed him and tried to get it out of his mouth, but the very best way to encourage Hobkin to gulp something is to pry at his jaws and stick your fingers in his mouth while shouting “Drop it!”

Sigh. Silly beastie. Can’t really blame him. I mean, it’s chocolate.

I stressed. He’s fine. Not even an upset tummy. Apparently chocolate frosting on a birthday candle or a single semi-sweet chocolate chip isn’t enough to even faze a skunk’s digestive tract. But I really need to be more careful. Hobkin appears to have acquired both a taste and a nose for the stuff, and can pounce and swallow faster than I can bend and snatch.

Also, on the laptop front, I updated the BIOS (thanks for the suggestion, cyber_pagan) and am now waiting to see if that did any good. And, I’ve been working off battery more often–although the amount of time a fully charged battery provides is downright pathetic–to see if the shut down happens while solely on battery. So far, one day and no mysterious power outage . . . and counting.

   


Writing Stuff

Did some research on an Egyptian myth that I think I’d like to turn into a retelling to try on Cricket, but it’s really hard finding source material. It’s the Unut/Wenet and Wepuat/Un-nefer/Osiris moon-hare tale. I’m good with Osiris, but I’d really like more info on Unut/Wenet.

If I continue to come up dry on the source material front, I’m leaning toward retelling the Greek Arachne Myth instead. But I worry that that myth is simply too well known, and therefore done. I’d ask fosteronfilm if he’s heard of Arachne, but he’s not much of a myth/folklore/fairy tale sort and nine times out of ten he’ll give me “huh” face for even the most well known myths. So I can’t count on him being unfamiliar with a myth necessarily indicating that it’s obscure. But just because I know a myth backward and forward, it doesn’t mean it’s common knowledge either. Grumph. I need a control group. Or . . . a poll!

New Words: -500 on “Rue and Ruin.” Culled about 500 words and foisted it on the hubby. He thinks I should turn it into a novel. Yup. Also, I went back and looked over the anthology guidelines. Doh! When I thought they’d said a max word count of 12K, it was actually 20K, so I’m going to put back in some of the bits I pulled out.

Zokutou word meter
12,776 / 12,000
(106.5%)

Club 100 For Writers
      55

500/day
      106