Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Columbian Food

Some of my coworkers are Columbian, and they provided the office with lunch today. One dish was essentially fried rice with chicken; one was fried plantains and bananas. Both of those were okay, and as expected. The one which surprised me was the meat dish, which was bits of pork and banana which had been deep fried until they were dry and crunchy. It wasn't bad, just...unexpected. When you bite down on a chunk of meat, you're expecting squish, not crunch. Once I got past that, it was fine.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Writers write

Writers write. Posers whine about how hard it is.
--John August

Incidentally, this is my 1000th post.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Hurricane Sandy

The storm is southeast from us, expected to curve northwest and come ashore right around Atlantic City, New Jersey. We've got some rain and wind and a bit higher tide than normal, but nothing impressive; if it hadn't lasted continuously since last night, you wouldn't think anything unusual was happening.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

New Books

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Josh arrives

Josh arrived at Dulles on Sunday evening. The main thing of note--aside from "Yay, Josh is back!"--is that there's no good place at Dulles airport to wait for arrivals. People can be coming through any one of several different doors and you can't watch all of them. Apparently the designer had never wanted to meet anyone at an airport, and no one had ever wanted to meet him.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Expat Explorer

HSBC had an "Expat Explorer's Guide", just in case you're planning to move to another country if Obama wins, the US collapses for other reasons, Iran gets the Bomb, New Madrid has another earthquake, or other factors make you want to get out of town in a really big way.


Gwen sent two messages this evening:

(6.14pm US Eastern time) "Arrived nice and early, had a delicious breakfast (maccas* for Joshua, coffee & croissants pour moi), waiting for check-in to open :-)" 


(7.38pm US Eastern time) "He's all set and passed through security - next stop, USA!"

Eager anticipation.

*Macca's is McDonalds, in Australian


Today we picked up the new car, a 2011 Honda CRV, officially "green" although I'd have called it bluish green, or perhaps grue. The purchase process at the dealership seems unnecessarily inefficient and lengthy, and--given how big a business auto sales is, and how many studies must have been made on the car-buying experience--I have to assume that is deliberate. Presumably the intent is to get you so fatigued and exasperated that the average guy is saying "Yes, I'll buy that overpriced warranty, yes, I'll sign that contract, yes, yes, anything, just please let me get the keys and go!" I tend to respond by saying "No, I don't care how sensible it seems, I'm done buying anything, at all, period", but it was still fatiguing and exasperating.
Fortunately, though, we seem to be keeping cars for 17 years after the model year, so we won't have to go through this again until 2028.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Death Warmed Over

No, that's not what I feel like, it's a book by Kevin Anderson. The protagonist, Dan "Shamble" Chambeaux, is a private investigator, and a zombie. You see, someone recently snuck up behind him and shot him in the head, and Dan didn't take that lying down. He's determined to find out who murdered him and who poisoned his girlfriend, who is now a ghost. Meanwhile, he's trying to protect a wimpy vampire, handle a divorce case for a female werewolf, and take care of his other clients, while uncovering a conspiracy that threatens all unnatural people..

The problem with this book is, the monsters aren't terribly convincing. The zombies aren't all that interested in brains, vampires can overcome their urge to suck blood, werewolves aren't uncontrollable raging killers. They are essentially not monsters, just an unusual ethnic group--and therefore a lot less interesting than they could be. The human characters don't get a lot of depth either. We have the perky crusading lawyer, the wisecracking secretary, the sleazy sales rep, the dumb but honest cop.

There's nothing particularly jarring about the writing; if you're looking for cotton candy in book form, this will do nicely. If you want something with some substance to it, look elsewhere.

October 12

On this day in 1799, the first female parachutist made her first jump--so to speak. Jeanne-Genevieve Labrosse ascended in a balloon to 900m altitude. The parachute was attached to the balloon basket, so she cut loose the balloon's hot air bag and rode down in the basket.

Also, on this day in 1979, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy was published.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

NaNoWriMo 2012

I signed into the National Novel Writing Month site today to get my 2012 novel set up. Right now the title is Noun of the Adjective Noun, although I may change that to Protagonist's Noun.

Yeah, the Muse has not been working overtime on this. Yet.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Ben Carlin

In 1947, Major Ben Carlin, originally of Northam, Western Australia  set out to travel around the world.

In an amphibious jeep.

He and his wife started in Montreal and took four years and several attempts to cross the Atlantic; after that, his wife called it quits, but he pressed on. Including several delays and side trips for fundraising tours, he finally finished the 40,000 mile journey in 1958.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Hit my sales goal for the month today. :-)

Hit my sales goal for the month today. :-)

Monday, October 1, 2012


We're starting to stockpile food.

However, by looking at what's coming back from the grocery, you can tell that this is not "in case of food shortages", but rather "for Josh's return to the US". Mexican chili peppers, spicy Thai curry, pork tenderloin, mini marshmallows, corn, ice cream...