So Much Stuff I Can't Recall

Friday, March 31, 2006

Oh, and by the way—


I got an e-mail from Mt. Hermon at 3:35 that my manuscripts were received.

Nothing about there being a problem because they weren't sent in a 10x13 manila envelope as per the specific instructions, which was a distressing thought that kept me up for an hour or so last night.

Which gets a Whewww!!! all of it's own.

There were a couple other things in the instructions that upon rereading them last night I thought "I wonder if they meant..." instead of what I did. But none of that was mentioned in the e-mail, either.


Mikesell : 5:55 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Waiting to Exhale

This morning I sat down at my computer to finalize my advance materials submission to the Mt. Hermon Christian Writer's Conference. I pulled out the paperwork to make sure I had everything in order--nothing like sending out the wrong thing when trying to impress. Hmmm ... what's this? The line on the form that I swear used to say "materials must be postmarked by April 1st" now read "materials must be received by April 1st." How'd they do that?

Oh, and by the way--crap!

So I hurried through a final pass on everything, got it all bundled up, and headed to town. Got to Springfield, filled out the overnight packaging, got up to the counter. Time: 3:40p. The lady behind the counter says I missed the overnight deadline by 10 minutes. Well, what about 2nd -day delivery? Hmmm ... the Scotts Valley post office won't be open in the afternoon when the shipment would arrive.

Oh, and by the way--CRAP!!!

Phil and I rush back to the car and down the road to the FedEx/Kinkos. There's a delivery truck double-parked in front of the store. I run in and the guy's emptying out the dropbox. Will he take one more package? Sure. Will it get to Scotts Valley overnight? Yep. Does he have a pen I can borrow to fill out the paperwork? Does he? DOES HE??? He does.

The package left Springfield at 5:44 this evening. ETD is in fact tomorrow at 3p. I'm hoping that I can release my breath by 3:05.

(BTW: the pickup time posted on the outside of the FedEx dropbox was 3p. The timestamp online is 3:50. I'm gonna chalk this up to God's providence because my ability to watch out for myself really sucks.)

Mikesell : 9:36 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Elegant Solution, Inelegant Solution

I'm not sure exactly how long ago it was, but for a while now Dentyne gum has been very hard to find in the tradition soft-stick format. The chicklety stuff is everywhere, but the old inch-long mini-sticks have been hard to come by. (Our local United Grocers/Cash-and-Carry sells it in bulk, which is nice; but it's the 8-stick packs instead of the big 30-stick ones, which is our preferred form factor.)

A few months ago I saw a new style pack at Safeway. It's box the same size as the one the chicklety gum slides in and out of, but it unfolds in a way that's not entirely dissimilar to an old-school cigarette case. The individual sticks of gum are even tucked in like I'd imagine cigarettes might be. (If I smoked and used an old-school cigarette case I might think otherwise, but not doing either I've allowed my imagination to roam a bit.)

I can't quite picture Cary Grant looking suave with this new Dentyne packaging, but I bet Spencer "Licorice Pistol" Tracy would get a kick out of it.

(UPDATE: You can get a free pack of gum, and kind of see what the packaging looks like, here.)

In the inelegant solution department, I've found a way to partially solve a problem I've had with my iPod and the car FM transmitter. Because of the way the iPod connects to the transmitter (through the dock connection), you can't control the volume using the iPod clickwheel. This is a problem when I have my iPod set to shuffle and a track from Magical Mystery Tour (very soft) is followed by a track from the Pirates of the Caribbean soundtrack (very loud). The intuitive thing to do is to spin the clickwheel down, which means your speakers blare until you remember to adjust the radio volume.

One of the nice features of my FM receiver (the DLO Transpod) is the line-in port on the side of the unit. This allows you to transmit from more than just the iPod (a portable CD player, for instance, or another brand of MP3 player). What would happen, I asked myself (quite casually so as not to raise suspicion), if I ran a cable from the iPod's headphone jack to the line-in port? Answer: I now have some control over volume via the clickwheel. The really loud songs still need an adjustment via the radio, but the clickwheel turns the volume down enough that your ears don't bleed. And the iPod still charges (and broadcasts most of the signal) from the dock connection.

Unfortunately (and hence the inelegant adjective) the cable I bought is six-feet long, about five and half feet more than I really need. Coiled up, it's manageable--and it gets the job done--it's just not what Cary Grant or Spencer Tracy would do. Rick Moranis, probably would, or maybe Christopher Lloyd as Rev. Jim Ignatowski, Doc Emmett Brown, or John Bigboote, but I can't remember the last time I asked myself "what would Louis 'The Keymaster' Tully do?"

Something tells me there might be an "Adventures With Electricity" blog entry in the not too distant future.

Mikesell : 10:50 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Bother, Don't Bother

Over at iTunes this week they're giving away a free song by inspy recording artist, Phil Wickham: "Grace." It's worth a listen or two.

Also free at iTunes this week is "Hit Man" by duo Create & Devastate. The music's nice but the lyrics lack the well-earned "explicit content" warning. If you're into that sort of thing, go for it; I'm not, so I 86'ed it after listening to the first verse (if it gets satirical like Tonio K's H-A-T-R-E-D (warning: contains explicit spelling and easily-guessed *'d out vulgarities as well as a Jackson Browne reference), lemme know and I'll consider reconsidering).

Even more disappointing than raunchy rap is the 43-minute free episode of "Ghost Hunters" (in the TV section). This "best of" compilation has about five possibly interesting minutes where maybe something paranormal happened (or maybe it was just stuff on invisible wires...). I've never heard of the show, and maybe the joke's on me and this is supposed to be on par with The Weekly World News (which at least has Bat Boy). But don't waste the bandwidth downloading it or the time to watch it ... it's not even amusingly bad like WWN. It's just bad.

(and if you're wondering what the song at the end of tonight's episode of Scrubs (My Bright Idea) was, it's "All of the Words" by Kutless. (via TV.com Forums))

Mikesell : 11:20 PM : 1 snarky remarks

Monday, March 27, 2006

But Is It Art?

According to my visitors log, this afternoon I had a guest from the Academy of Art University in Daly City, Calif.

We're they checking out my art.com masterpiece Blew Plate Special (originally posted last August)? No.

My DanceDanceDance or Theme from Rocky music videos? No.

My fauvian rendition of coiffuristic stylings for the preschool set? Yeah. They liked Phil's spiky hair and I don't blame them.

Mikesell : 10:10 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Sunday, March 26, 2006


A while back I got a radio transmitter for my iPod. It's a thing that plugs into a cigarette lighter socket and then the iPod plugs into it. Tune the transmitter and the car radio to the same FM frequency and if all goes to plan the iPod plays over the car's speakers.

Unfortunately we can't have the radio transmitter and the cell phone charger plugged in at the same time. Consequently our cell phone is frequently dead when we need to use it. 'Cause I need to hear Lulu sing the theme from The Man with the Golden Gun* over and over and over again while I'm driving.

I picked up a dual-outlet cigarette lighter plug-in at Target today. The transmitter plugs into one outlet, the cell phone charger into the other. Theoretically. Hypothetically. In an alternate reality.

Mine started to smolder after I plugged the radio transmitter in. And burned my index finger when I yanked it (the dual-outlet gadget) out of the socket.

It was a cheapo thing ($6). Anyone know if more expensive equals less incendiary in this kind of device? Found a specific brand/model you're pleased with? Lemme know, thanks.

*I watched this with Phil on AMC yesterday; He had to be distracted from several of the "action" sequences, if you know what I mean and I think you do. <growl>

Mikesell : 11:49 PM : 3 snarky remarks

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Books a Five-Year-Old Can Read

I spent 90 minutes at Borders this afternoon getting back into my manuscript. When Dina and Phil came to pick me up I took the opportunity to have Phil try reading some book titles.

First there was a book on tape titled "The Ruby in the Smoke." I had Phil read the author's name: Philip Pullman. He got the first name no problem (it was even spelled correctly with only one "l"). We broke the last name into two parts and he put it together just fine.

Phil read a couple pages of one of Eric Hill's "Spot" books. I can't remember which, but he did okay despite the fact he had to handle a couple plurals and a contraction.

I'm not really encouraging the boy to get into chick lit, but he handled the cover of Louise Bagshawe's The Go-To Girl just fine (once he understood that "go" and "to" shouldn't be combined into the same word).

The all-caps presentation of Elizabeth Berg's The Art of Mending seemed to throw him a bit, but he had also tired of the game by that point.

We watched another episode of Electric Company before bed and he did well with the easy words at the beginning of the episode and a segment at the end of the episode where Fargo North, Decoder helps a woman reconstruct some desert island messages in bottles. What a smarty!

Mikesell : 10:24 PM : 1 snarky remarks

Friday, March 24, 2006

Zen Web Surfing: When You Find Nothing You Still Find Something

Usually when you go looking for a webpage that is no longer in existence (or you've mistyped something and it was never there to begin with) you get a bland 404-Error page.

This evening I came across one that was rather amusing: UVIS 404-Error page.

And then there's this one, which I came across on digg a while ago, but didn't think it merited a blog entry of its own. It's cool, sure, just not that cool.

Mikesell : 11:42 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Too Much Empathy

Since Dina's hospitalization my writing's been in the tank. Part of that's because I got exhausted traveling to and from town and got out of the habit of writing. Part of that's because I don't feel like massacrating my characters at the moment. "I don't want to die" I hear them say, so I make them comfy and put out bowls of cheese doodles for their snacking pleasure.

Moonlighting is helping a bit with the cracking wise about death and mayhem. I should be back on track soon--maybe I won't be finished before Mt. Hermon, but I suspect before my characters start getting orange fingerprints all over the seatcushions of my mind they'll become reacquainted with their mortality.

I've already substituted a couple doodles with nightcrawlers I rolled in orange sawdust.

Heh heh heh.

Mikesell : 12:36 AM : 0 snarky remarks

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Sam's Going Out of Business -- Oh, Goody Goody

Phil and I stopped at Gateway Mall in Eugene this evening, and after eating panda chow (Panda Express) we walked to the site of a future movie theater to see what progress was being made. It's still a vacant lot.

But inside the mall, across from the future theater entrace, Sam Goody was having a going out of business sale. All movies $15 or less; boxed sets half price. So I picked up The Matrix for $10, Moonlighting Seasons 1-2 for $25 (yeah, $50's ridiculous, but half off that beats Wal-Mart), and Season #1 and #3 of Space Ghost Coast to Coast for $15 each. Not a bad haul. (Sister store Suncoast Video was not going out of business. I don't know why they didn't just transfer the DVD inventory over there, but I'm not complaining.)

Before we went to the mall, we stopped at Best Buy where I picked up The Best of The Electric Company for $15 after gift cards were exhausted.

If you need me, I'll be in front of the TV.

Mikesell : 11:31 PM : 2 snarky remarks

Mr. Smartypants

We went to a parent/teacher conference this afternoon (making up for the one we missed on the Snow Day). Phil is doing awesome. On one of the evaluation exams he scored 96 out of 100. On another he was solidly in the middle to high end of his class in the various elements. He's the youngest in his class, so we're very pleased with his performance.

And while he's doing well academically, he's making great strides socially, too. Phil's teacher shared with us that this morning one of the boys was off to the side of the room sulking away a minor bruise. She asked Phil if he'd check on the kid and encourage him to join the group. Phil went over, assessed the situation, and then announced: "I think I need to make funny faces." He got the other boy laughing, the bruise was forgotten and both of them rejoined their classmates.

I shared that story tonight with Phil's Sunday School teacher (we're both on the Administrative Board at church). She said she's seen great strides in Phil's confidence and behavior in the past year or so, too.

Are there things we need to work on with him? Sure. But they're pretty minor: discourage tattling and encourage faster lunch-eating. Given how much he's doing well (he recognized the Beatles' "Yellow Submarine" when his teacher played it on the piano during "Y Week"), we're not stressing about them. He could use some help counting by twos, but unless he starts building an ark, we're gonna let him pick it up from Schoolhouse Rock rather than sign him up with Sylvan for immediate results.

Mikesell : 12:02 AM : 0 snarky remarks

Monday, March 20, 2006

WebSudoku Update

Since I downloaded the Sudoku widget for the Yahoo Widget Engine, I haven't been playing the web-based games. Last week I checked out WebSudoku.com and noticed it was now keeping track of your average and best times. A handy little feature.

My best time on the easy level: 3:31.

Mikesell : 11:31 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Nothing Happened Today

"Absolutely nothing whatsoever happened today in sector 83x9x12. I repeat, nothing happened. Please remain calm."

(according to Cmdr. Susan Ivanova; Babylon-5, "Rumors, Bargains & Lies")

Mikesell : 9:29 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Belated Happy St. Pat's

I saw this last night but was too tired to blog about it.

How To Speak Irish is a little sketch from Michael Nesmith's Television Parts. It forever changed the way I pronounce PoTAYtoes.

I would have sworn, though, that this sketch was from The New Show, which influenced the way I think of Orwell's 1984 (Buck Henry saying "Citizens, do the boogaloo"), and the phrase "broadway show tunes" has ever since carried Jeff Goldblum's vocal inflections. Guess it's a good thing I try to swear as infrequently as possible.

Unrelated irrelevant Monkee factoid: Micky Dolenz's first name is spelled without an "e" (it's news to me, as I had thought it was spelled the usual way until this week; possibly would have sworn to it, though I can't swear to that, either).

(via Google Video of the Day)

Mikesell : 11:23 AM : 0 snarky remarks

Friday, March 17, 2006

Holy Gumline, Batman

Yesterday I mentioned that Phil had a loose tooth. Well, the tooth came out this afternoon. Here's the After picture.

And the tooth by itself.

Phil will be getting either a dollar or a beer-soaked lottery scratch-off under his pillow tonight, depending on whether the Tooth Fairy stops by or Melvin, Corrupter of Youth, beats her to the punch.

Mikesell : 4:29 PM : 2 snarky remarks

Another Novel Use For Books

If you've gone through the 101 Things to Do list and still need more, well, here's one to grow on: Millinery Couture. (gesundheit)

(via drudge)

Mikesell : 2:19 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Thursday, March 16, 2006

A  Screw  Tooth Loose

While eating an apple this afternoon, Phil discovered his loose tooth is really, really loose. Predicting an "after" shot will be needed in short order, I took this "before" picture just now. (It's the weird looking tooth in the middle of the bottom row.)

We'll keep you posted.

Mikesell : 7:41 PM : 1 snarky remarks

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Lucretia No More

Dina's nephrostomy tube was removed today. Along with the tube removal service she learned that the tube had to be removed and reinserted after her surgery began last week because it had been inserted improperly the first time. Whether that led to the two small stones being missed because of how/where it was reinserted, we're not sure.

Thankfully I've had a day or two respite from medical grumbling so I'm not as steamed as I would have been had this been announced late last week. Still, I'm pretty unimpressed with the level of care we saw at Sacred Heart (and not once did we see Dr. Cox or J.D. or anyone...).

Mikesell : 11:12 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Adventures in Car Rental

I'll be driving down to Santa Cruz next month for the Mt. Hermon Christian Writers' Conference, so last night I did some comparison shopping for rental cars. Result: I saved about $80 renting directly from Budget, rather than going through Travelocity and Expedia.

The base price at Budget for eight days of mid-size sedan rental was $220 as opposed to $280 at the travel sites. The price dropped down to just over $200 after hunting down a coupon code that would work at the Eugene locations. (This took quite awhile because their website doesn't tell you a coupon isn't valid at a location until you try to complete the rental transaction.) Thanks for the 10% discount Tom Joyner. Should I ever start listening to morning radio online (not that I listen offline, either), I'll be sure to give you a listen.

Mikesell : 2:30 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Double Dose of Humor

Blogger friend Kathleen Popa is doing a weeklong build-up to St. Pat's. Yesterday's post included a link to some free MP3s by a the Brobdingnagian Bards. There's some good Celtic instro stuff there, but be sure to check out Exclamations (5th track down). Good stuff, Maynard.

And if you've got the time to download it, here's an amusing Mitch Hedberg video. (an oldie via Google Video of the Day)

Dina sees her surgeon/urologist tomorrow. We're prayerfully hopeful the Borg tube will get removed from her back and there'll be no complications. And that they'll have orange lollipops.

Mikesell : 10:05 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Monday, March 13, 2006

Laughter ... Not Covered By Your Health Plan

After a frustrating first experience changing the gauze pads on Dina's incision site (the tape really liked sticking to the fingertips of the latex-free gloves), I checked out this two-minute video, Incredible Fishing Video, and felt much better.

If you've seen Finding Nemo lately, you may feel sorry for the fishies. I don't like fish to begin with (I rooted for the dentist's kid), so seeing them flop about in the bottom of the boat wasn't a problem for me.

(via Google Video of the Day)

Mikesell : 6:05 PM : 4 snarky remarks

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Dina's Home

I'm burnt out.

Talk to you tomorrow.


Mikesell : 6:44 PM : 2 snarky remarks

Singalong: The Wife'll Come Home ... Tomorrow!

Dina stayed in the hospital one more day because her kidney hadn't started healing up around the nephrostomy tube (the tube in her back the surgeons went through to remove the stones) the way her doctors had hoped. So they gave her another 24 hours to get her act together (actually only one nurse has had that attitude, when said nurse blew out a vein trying to put an I.V. in--yeah, it's Dina's fault you can't insert an I.V. catheter in a timely manner).

So Dina will be home tomorrow, most likely with the tube still in her back. I wonder what the female version of Locutus is. Locutia? Loquatia? Laqueesha? Better not make with the Borg jokes, I suppose. Still, resistance has always been futile when it comes to her.

Mikesell : 1:10 AM : 0 snarky remarks

Friday, March 10, 2006

Snow Day and Surgery

We had a couple inches of snow overnight, which closed down the school. Unfortunately for Phil it doesn't count as a "Snow Day" because the elementary school was already closed today for parent/teacher conferences. It counts as my first-ever Snow Day since I would have had to go to school for said conference. (When I was growing up, it snowed once in San Jose but school wasn't cancelled. I believe that was 1976 and, as far as I know, it hasn't snowed there since.)

Here are a few pix of how Phil spent the morning:
Dina had her second surgery this morning and the surgery and recovery went much smoother than the first time around. Part of that's because it was a shorter procedure, part because we knew the difficulties she faced in recovery the first time around (if you know you're going to be cold and nauseated you can ask for an electric blanket and anti-nausea meds ahead of time.) Barring unforeseable setbacks she should be released from the hospital tomorrow.

Thanks everyone for your prayers; though things haven't gone as smoothly as we'd hoped, I'd hate to think how things would have gone without prayer support. In the words of Mike Roe's Lutheran Hymn: "I will thank You for the blessings / I will bless You for the curse / I’ll rejoice when I hear the bad news / ‘Cuz the bad news could always be much worse."

Mikesell : 10:51 PM : 1 snarky remarks

Surgery Update Update

Well, a couple stones (about 5mm total) hid behind the tube leading into Dina's kidney so the surgeon's going back in tomorrow at 7:30am. Right now Dina's in the ohsojoyous situation where the pain meds make her nauseated, the nausea meds make her tired, and neither do their jobs completely so she's still in pain, still nauseated, and can't quite fall asleep.

I'm looking forward to the time when we're in our 80s and we can look back on this week and not quite remember what went on.

(Meanwhile, I've got an 11am parent/teacher conference tomorrow--Dina's folks are going to wave her off to pre-op--which may get called on account of snow. I'm hopeful that i'll still be able to make an afternoon-evening visit to the hospital; the 45-minute drive home took twice that tonight due to the snow.)

Mikesell : 12:20 AM : 3 snarky remarks

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Surgery Update

Dina went into surgery around 2:45 this afternoon (she had been scheduled for 1-1:30) and around 6pm her surgeon let us know she was on her way to recovery. They think they got all the stones from her left kidney, but won't know for certain until a CT scan tomorrow morning. (She has some small stones on the right side that they'll evaluate once her left kidney stabilizes.)

Just before 8pm, Dina was wheeled into her new room (her third this hospital stay). By that time I had to leave and grab Phil from church and get him home to bed. When the nurses asked if I would please wait a couple (more) minutes, I said, "No," and held Dina's hand while they finished getting her situated. Hopefully they won't spit in her I.V. because of my defiance.

Thank you to all of you who held Dina up in prayer for this surgery. Please keep her recovery in your prayers (and ask that God would give me patience with the medical community--and, at some point, insurance people).

Mikesell : 12:10 AM : 2 snarky remarks

Monday, March 06, 2006

Dawn of a New Era

Dina's folks came up from southern California this evening in order to spend the next few days with her at the hospital. Before we could go out to dinner, Phil had to put his shoes on. We had him show Grammy and Poppa how he could tie the knot with his laces all by himself. Then, risking a meltdown, we asked him to try "doing the bunny ears" (grown-up translation: tie the bow).

Whaddyaknow, he did it. Only half a bow remained after pulling the laces tight on his first attempt. But the second try went perfectly.

Dina and I have only been trying for over two months to get him to practice tying his shoes. Grammy's here forty-five minutes and he has it mastered. He was actually more excited about tying his shoes than he was about getting the Hot Wheels reward (I think that's promising).

Now we have to come up with some kind of "first" he can do during my folks' visit next month. I'll be gone, so if it's a piercing his skin has a week to heal over before I get back.

Mikesell : 9:34 PM : 3 snarky remarks

Sunday, March 05, 2006

The Coming Week

I don't know how regularly I'll be blogging this week. Dina goes into the hospital on Tuesday for some prep work before her kidney stone surgery on Wednesday. When I'm not shuttling myself and the boy between home to the hospital and visiting with Dina, I'll be working on my manuscript pitch materials for the Mt. Hermon conference next month (I'm fortunate to have Randy Ingermanson as my first-time-attendee mentor; I'm really looking forward to working with him to get things ready for the conference).

If you're the praying sort, please keep Dina in your prayers. If you're not the praying sort, please consider becoming such. Thank you kindly.

Mikesell : 11:09 PM : 3 snarky remarks

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Another Free iTunes Opportunity

A digg article pointed me to a PaperMate survey that gives out an iTunes download upon completion. One survey/download per e-mail address.

I submitted surveys using the three addresses I use: 2 good codes, 1 that iTunes said had already been used. I cleared papermate and rubbermaid (and a few "mystery") cookies between surveys, don't know if that made a difference or not.

BTW: I picked up Plumb's latest from the CUNA offer. Good stuff, though I don't like the Michael W. Smith cover at all. I think I'm gonna start whittlin' away at tracks from O How the Mighty Have Fallen by The Choir with these new downloads. Last month I picked up three tracks from purevolume (no longer available for OHtMHF) and myspace ... seven (now five) more to go.

(If you feel strongly about making your mechanical pencil opinions known to PaperMate but don't want to use the iTunes code, feel free to shoot it my way. Thanks!)

Mikesell : 5:06 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Friday, March 03, 2006

About Tuesday's Entry

A couple of my dozen or so regular readers have asked me why I repeated my cruise rant on Tuesday. Well, the story goes like this...

Over on the Faith*in*Fiction message boards, a couple people shared they had won $200 in a share-your-rant-with-us contest at Everyday Hogwash. Initially word had been that the contest would be accepting entries through the end of March. Then it turned out that the final day for entries was the 28th ... the same day I found out that it was the final day. So I posted my hastily revamped cruise rant. According to my stats only three visitors came directly via the Permalink (one from Oklahoma, I believe, the others from New York and Florida).

I didn't win (which is not altogether surprising).

Now the site has gone dead for a couple days, despite the 7th weekly $1,000 winner not yet having been named -- or even voted on.

Ironically, the contest was sponsored by a new "we're not like the other guys" phone company. Seems to me they may be right, but not in a good way.

Mikesell : 2:10 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Financial Advice For Nothin' (and iTunes for free)

The Credit Union National Association is giving away free iTunes if you run through spiffy interactive Flash-based financial tutorials. Explore the wonderful world of check (debit) cards. Get a free iTune download. Learn the ins and outs of buying a used car. Get a free iTune download. Or more ... I got two downloads a couple times for completing tutorials. (According to the article I saw on digg.com, you can get up to five downloads for a single lesson.)

My sister Julia and friend Angie (both CPAs) would ace these ... too bad this is the busy time of year for them.

So far I'm up 11 tunes. But I still have no desire to balance my checkbook.

Mikesell : 9:49 PM : 1 snarky remarks

Book Chat With Brenda Coulter

I've had the privilege of starting Brenda Coulter's novel, A Family Forever (now on sale!). I haven't finished yet (I will though, promise), but what I've dipped into so far has been well written and enjoyably read. Check out some of the other sites on the Blog Tour for more feedback on the book (check the comments if links aren't in the body of the post). Brenda's also got a blog; be sure to stop by there, too.

Brenda took a chance and agreed to answer some of my questions. Take a look:
  1. Which darling (character/scene/plot element) was most painful to

    I tend to write long, so I did have to do a good bit of cutting, and then my editor pared things down further. But I honestly can't remember any particular darlings that I had to kill. That doesn't mean I didn't kill any; simply that I have an uncanny ability to forget my dead darlings after a shockingly brief period of mourning. I couldn't even tell you where they're buried--unlike many authors, I don't keep files of deleted scenes. So when I say I can't think of any examples of the darlings I've killed, I'm not ducking the question. I'm admitting that I'm a callous creator.

  2. The Estrogen Channel wants to make a movie of the week based on A Family Forever (AFF). They've got an unlimited budget ... who's your dream cast?

    Oh, why don't we just sign a bunch of unknowns and make 'em famous?

  3. What's the perfect music to listen to while reading AFF?

    Beats me. I can tell you that I listened to a lot of alternative and classic rock while writing it. (That scene where Tucker's wearing an open Hawaiian shirt and riffing on an air guitar while the radio in his garage is blaring? I didn't put this in the book, but he was groovin' to Clapton, just like I was. Or maybe it was the Duane Allman. I forget.) I also listened to a lot of Celtic music and a bunch of violin concertos. (I almost wrote "concerti," which is the proper plural, but I was afraid you'd think I was showing off.)

  4. The Bon Bon-Bon Compaigne of Belgium wants to start a line of
    Romance Chocolates: describe the flavor, texture, etc., of AFF?

    It's a rich, dark chocolate truffle, rolled in granulated sugar. I don't want to get any more descriptive than that because there's no sense getting myself all worked up when there's no chocolate of any kind in my house at present.

  5. In response to my "101 Household Uses" for your novel, you suggested making paper airplanes [this would be super-secret use #103], What's your favorite style?

    The classic dart [Chris says: it's in the middle of the page], no contest. Simple and quick to make, it's a proven performer. No wonder it's still the number one choice of bored geometry students everywhere.

Thanks for playing along, Brenda. I'm sorry I haven't finished your book; I left it until the final week and then ran short of pleasure-reading time. And reading your book has been a pleasure. I'll buckle down and take the reading of your third inspirational romance -- Fervent Love, Virtuous Loins -- more seriously. Honest.

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Mikesell : 10:34 AM : 2 snarky remarks

Wednesday, March 01, 2006


That's all I have to say: Grrrrrrrrrrrrr.

Mikesell : 10:53 PM : 0 snarky remarks