(no subject)

I think I've mentioned that I'd like to write fiction some day. Lately, I've been interested in alternative histories. I read Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell a few months ago and loved it and I've been a big fan of James Blaylock, Philip K Dick, and Tim Powers for a long time.

The protagonists in my novel would be Peter and Iona Opie.  Who the hell are Peter and Iona Opie?  They were (and Iona still is while Peter has gone to that great archive in the sky) renowned folklorists, anthologists and the greatest collectors and analysts of nursery rhymes and other children's literature.  The reason they are good protagonists is they were the quintessential ivory tower scholars. They spent most of their lives hunched over their respective desks, in their little house in Hampshire, working on their scholarly material.  While their work was interesting, their lives certainly were not.

In my novel, nursery rhymes are sort of real and, for reasons I don't know yet, Dangerous.  Maybe the nursery rhymes are really coded stories of horrible, Lovecraftian beings and their ongoing evil scheme to kill off humanity and take over the universe.  I don't know.   BUT the ostensibly mild mannered Opies are, in reality, time traveling hero adventurers who go from place to place and time to time learning nursery rhymes in order to foil Evil's horrible scheme. 

Sound good?

Sounds okay to me.

The only problem with writing alternative histories is, well, history.  To be fair, the problem is not history, per se but,
more accurately, my work ethic with regard to history. I know a little about history and I like to read about it BUT as I understand it, the only way to write credible alternative history is to immerse oneself in the real history.  This is called Research.  I'm not a terrible researcher.  It's a big part of how I earn a living.   But forensic research is one thing.  Historical research is another thing altogether.  I'm interested in history if it's about something interesting but reading a book is one thing.  Exhaustive research is, you guessed it, another thing altogether.

So, does anyone want to write a novel with me?  I'll handle the plot and characterization.  All you have to do is learn everything there is to know about Peter and Iona.  I'll even spring for our trip(s?) to Oxford. 


Update (slightly maudlin)

Bunny and Sean reminded me that I haven't posted in a while. I don't have all that much going on. I moved at the end of August but I moved right around the corner so that wasn't very exciting,

Those of you who have been following along know I had gastric bypass surgery last May. I'm now down about 110 pounds which means I weight 190something. The old battered and banged up spots are still there but they hurt a lot less. I'm now more or less eating solid food albeit not much of it.

I still miss Mary. A lot. Every day. I don't expect that to change. The world will probably, to one degree or another remain, always, at least in part, The Place Where She Isn't. But I *can* say that missing her isn't all there is to me anymore and, as I sort of feel myself emerging from that, I have some hope for the future.

Thing 1 and Thing 2 will be sixteen in a couple of months Thing 1 is beautiful and brilliant and, unlike the Old Man, driven. She plans her life according to what will look good on her college applications. Thing 2 is now several inches taller than me (not that that's saying much) and has a pretty good bass/baritone voice. We harmonize pretty well but you can imagine how interested he is in singing with dad.

Litigation Support Services is busy but not nearly busy enough. Not to mention the hit my income takes, I don't do well with unstructured time. I still pretty easily end up sad.

For most of you who ever look at this, we keep in touch through other venues, but for those who do and those who don't, even if we don't talk much, your friendship means the world to me. Sartre (God, I'm quoting Sartre. I am getting old.) said that hell is other people I certainly agree with that. But, if that's the case, it almost stands to reason that the closest we get to heaven, at least this side of The Great Whatever, is other people too. All of you, in very different ways, have been heaven for me.

The plunge has been taken

So I did it.

Two weeks ago, I finally had the gastric by-pass surgery that I've been thinking about and postponing for the past two years.

It sucked. It sucked rhino dick. I was, of course, unconscious for the surgery itself but the recovery was a bitch. I've been shot once, stabbed a couple of times, hit by a car and have malaria. This was worse. Way worse. Part of it is because my body over-metabolizes opiate pain relievers so I got, virtually, no pain relief but my fellows fatties, who had the fully benefit of their morphine pumps, were suffering too. Getting your guts scrambled just hurts. Seriously, I was hallucinating and I've never done that before. The first few days were hell but they were worth it.

On the upside, except for an occasional twinge, I'm fine now. I've lost about thirty pounds and what they say is really, truly, true. My whole relationship to food changed, literally, overnight. I've had no problems following the post-op diet and now, at the stage of slowly incorporating 'normal' foods into my repertoire, the small portions are fine. Sure, I THINK about pizza and Chinese, etc. but I know that I'll be able to eat stuff like that again soon and I think I'll be as satisfied with small amounts of them as I am with the stuff I'm eating now.

One of the things I can have now is (non-raw) sushi. I has sushi for lunch yesterday and my bill was $19. And I took half of that home for supper. Those of you who have consumed sushi with me know how astonishing that is.

So, at least or now, I'm happy with it. I'm amazed at how much time I used to spend thinking about and planning for and planning around food. I'm trying to figure out ways to use that for good things, like updating LJ once in awhile.

And by the way.....

......no, I'm not old enough to retire. I'm way to young to retire. I'm not actually going to retire. I've just worked at the place where I worked long enough to qualify for a package. Which is cool because, while it's not enough to land me on Easy Street; it is enough to give me a little bit of a cushion to grow my consulting business or find someplace else to work or both. It'll also mean i can take a couple of weeks off to recover from my upcoming gastric by-pass surgery without worrying (much.)

So, one more time,



Two words:




Ok, three words.

Hmmmm.... What is this light, effervescent feeling in my chest. No, asshole, it isn't a-fib. I think it _might_ be that "happiness" thing I've heard so much about.

Stain Ninja

I'm mostly a forensic psych guy rather than a forensic physical scientist, per se, but I've spent a big chunk of my adult life involved with forensic science and, as a result, I'm a reasonably good seat-of-the-pants chemist. A couple of weeks ago, Thing 2 was in despair because his favorite t-shirt had a set-in stain. I fooled around with it and got it out for him. He was thrilled. He's not big on giving complements but he was so excited he said, 'Dad, you're a stain ninja!'

Perfect. I think I'm going to dump 'reebar' as a screen name and become 'Stain Ninja.'

What do you think?

Because my friend Kristy says she lives for this kind of stuff.....

.... Yesterday, for one of the first times in nearly 30 years, I didn't shave. The only other times I haven't have been when I was in the hospital. Guess what? No one noticed. My beard, which used to be very red, is now sandy brown, gray and white. You can't tell unless you kiss me and, at least yesterday, no one did.

Why, you might ask, have I been so compulsive about shaving? When I was in boot camp I was, as I still am, very slow in the morning. "Slow in the morning" isn't a good thing in boot camp. So, I began shaving (Heh!) a few minutes off my morning routine by shaving at night. One of my MTI's* was Sgt. Kilborn, who was, as felisdemens would say, ambulatory meat. He was a stereotypical huge, nasty, ignorant redneck. (Most of the MTI's in my branch of service were not.) He also seemed to think he was in the Marine Corps. (This was not the Marine Corps.) One, morning he was screaming at us about something and walked down the line to me and got about a millimeter from my face and screamed and spit, "Airman Recruit H_______ (mangling my last name as always) do you have a magic razor!?!" Now, remember, this guy wasn't exactly Noel Coward. He wasn't even Larry the Cable Guy. I wouldn't have guessed he'd recognize irony or even witty sarcasm if hit him on hit him on the head with a baseball bat(which was a constant consoling fantasy of mine.) So, when he bellowed this question at me, I had no clue what he meant. He yelled again. Finally, when, as was always the case with him, I was delicately balanced between bursting into tears and ripping his redneck throat out, he saw fit to explain (remember, this is in stereotypical MTI tirade-mode:) "You must have a magic razor, Airman Recruit, because it leaves a day's growth of beard on your (he probably said "ugly" or "pussy") face." So, anyhow, I had to go back in the barracks and shave again and them come back and do a hundred push-ups or something. So I started doing a military inspection shave (all four directions) every morning. I gave that up a couple of years ago because it hurts and because it creates a constant battle with ingrown hairs. Now, I've gone a day without shaving. Who knows what's next? Maybe next time you see me I'll look like a (chubby) Willie Nelson.

•/ Bluuuuuue eyes cryin' in the rain........ •/

*Air Force equivalent of a Drill Sergeant

Fan Mail From Some Flounder

Dear Live Journal,

I'm writing to thank you SO much for changing your format. Again. It's always fun to relearn to navigate a site every fifteen minutes or so. I especially appreciate the fact that the current iteration's log-in page frequently causes my otherwise perfectly serviceable BlackBerry to "shit the bed." Rebooting is always fun.

Anyhow, I'm really looking forward to your next redesign (which I'm assuming I'll see as soon as I finish this post.) Maybe it can cause something really exciting liking wiping my settings or something like that. It's as if you can read my mind so you know that I NEVER have sufficient things to do to fill up my time and I can always use a little frustration to break up the day.

So, thanks again.