Maybe not so Unprepared After All

It appears many of the materials I wanted to have prepared for this weekend aren’t necessary after all. These publisher and agent types don’t want to be encumbered with paper, so I just need to leave a strong impression and a name. Then it’s up to me to follow up later.

Man I can’t tell you what a huge relief that is. Now all I have to do is hook some movers and shakers, then come home and get the stuff ready for them – simultaneously with NaNoWriMo and my job. What could be simpler?

On the subject of NaNoWroMo, my story this year will have one of the best opening chapters of any book ever written by anyone. If I can get it right. I am fired up and ready to go!

Woefully Unprepared

At the start of September I had a plan: 1) Spend September finishing a draft of Dark War that my brother could critique and maybe even hand to people. 2) Spend October working on The Monster Within and get it ready for some serious flogging at the World Fantasy Convention. Simple enough.

Dark War started running long (other projects pushed in, I got stuck a couple of times) but I wasn’t too worried. October is a long month. Then, as regular readers are aware, I got a job. For the most part a job is a good thing, what with paychecks coming in, keeping up with technology, and getting to apply my programming skills to make the world a little bit better. It comes at a price, however, and when you jump in on a project that is running behind and people aren’t even sure how behind it is, you can run into a pretty major life suck.

And so it was that I finally took most of today off to prepare for the WFC (after a work meeting that had the benefit of getting me up early this morning). Monster is untouched, which really sucks because the first chapter could have a lot more impact, and my goal in the next few days is to get people to read that chapter. I have no current synopsis, no other sales materials prepared.

This morning I went to the WFC Web site to check out the program, and see what time things were starting tomorrow. The answer: the festivities start tonight. I’m not going to make it. I don’t think I’ll be missing anything critical, except a chance to rub elbows with people who might give me money for my work. Tomorrow I’ll hit the ground running.


Happy Halloween!

While I haven’t managed to separate my brain from my work long enough to get fiction flowing, I did manage to take time out to catch a Halloween shoot with Harlean Carpenter, self-created fiction. Here are a few of the shots. Enjoy!

The rest of the gallery can be found at Poetic Pinup. Take a look!


Filling a Need

I dragged my sorry butt out of bed just before 7 a.m. Big meeting. I put on my fuzzy bathrobe and plunked down in front of the computer while my sweetie made me tea. Then she went back to bed. We stayed up way too late last night.

Skype lit up and away we went. The meeting was more about my employer and the evolution of their corporate character than about technology, deadlines, or the transient issues of the day. How do you make a company run smoothly when you span from San Jose to Moscow? How do you make sure everyone is having a good time while you’re at it?

At one point in the conversation I was asked for bio data for my employer to put up on their Web site. I thought I would throw them a link to the bio page here here first, as a joke and also to let them learn a little more about who I am (or who I want to be, at least). I popped over here and saw… that this site had been suspended by my Web host. I checked my email. No notice. I checked my account on MMHosting’s site. Suspended, no reason given.

Some Mondays are Mondayer than others.

I sent off an urgent help request and spent the rest of the day bouncing between databases, php server code, and Flex client code, generally trying to be smart enough to deserve what they are paying me. Eventually I got a message back from MMHosting.

First, they said they had in fact sent an email. I searched everywhere I know how to search, and I couldn’t find it. No matter; they also turned the site back on. The guy said that some of my php files (code that runs on the server and builds these pages) was loading bazillions of times and slowing down the server. Uh, oh! Looks like some plugin I’m using ran amok. The people sharing the server with me probably weren’t happy.

That’s what I thought until I started looking at the numbers, anyway. Runaway software? Not at all! It turns out this table I wasted way too much time on got mentioned in a prominent place, and twitter and digg took care of the rest. When you look at the graph, remember that the site was down for much of the time during that traffic spike. Holy Schnikies!

Traffic for the last month. The bulge at the beginning is from Cyberspace Open traffic. Things have been slow since I started working - until today!

Traffic for the last month. The bulge at the beginning is from Cyberspace Open traffic. Things have been slow since I started working - until today!

I really did put a lot of work into that dang table, so I’m glad people are picking up on it. Maybe there are other CSS3 features I could tote up – transform and shadow come to mind.

Boy, I sure wish I had a killer episode at the top of the blog to hook some of these visitors. Oh, well.


Why Mazda Should Pay Me To Go On Road Trips

Actually, this episode is here to allow me to play with different gallery plugins for WordPress. There are quite a few and so what happens when you click one of the thumbnails below may change dramatically at any moment.

For test photos I went back through my archives and grabbed a few with a common theme, which turned out to be pictures of the Miata during my epic road trip. Hey, Mazda? If you’re watching, I can sell the Miata lifestyle for you, this time with a redhead in the passenger seat. The open road. The byways of North America. People. Adventure. Wind. Freedom. Marketing gold, baby.

Progress Update: A couple of the lightbox options look pretty sweet, but there are none that I found with an option to fit the images to the user’s browser window. Strange. I looked at the source code for one of them and it even uses the size of the page in some calculations. Still, I like letting people see the full-size versions of the images without leaving and having to click the back button, so some type of lightbox plugin will likely remain.


Self-Portrait Friday

Since I don’t have much to say, really, what with my brain being off in technology-land, I thought I’d share the result of this week’s Self-Portrait Friday. I have not been consistent with this tradition at all, but today I grabbed the camera and shot myself.

Self-Portrait, October 23, 2009

Self-Portrait, October 23, 2009

In case you haven’t picked up on this, most of the pictures in this blog can be expanded by clicking on them. Not that there’s much reason to in this case, but there you go.


None of Your Cheese Wax

I’ve been pretty busy for the last week, coming up to speed on the project, fixing bugs, and generally stressing over the fact that I failed to provide instant lift. I always provide instant lift. Not this time. While I was familiar with all the tools used in this project, putting them all together at once was a lot to assimilate. So I’ve been sitting in this chair, typing on this keyboard, but not doing much to advance the Media Empire.

I have busy fingers, however, and I will always find something on my desk to fiddle with while I’m thinking. On day one of this project my sweetie brought me lunch at my desk, gave me some words of encouragement, and left me to mutter at the screen. One of the items in my lunch was a little round of soft cheese, wrapped in red wax. I love those things.

My meal finished, I started to play with the leftover wax, and I made a little sphere. The next day, another cheese, another shape, this time a cube. A tradition was born. Each day I would start to fiddle with the wax, never sure what I’d end up with. Here is the result of my first week on the job:

Cheese Wax Figures

Cheese Wax Figures

The dumbbell-shaped one was the most recent; I’m breaking out of the simple geometric mold. What will be next?