Friday, November 29, 2013

Easy Decision

I'm not out shopping today. Mainly because I have to work, but still, I wouldn't be out in that lunacy anyway. It's dead quiet here but I'm getting some gaming prep done for Anonycon and there is still time for you to come join us! I'm running three different games because yeah I don't know why I'd do that to myself. I was just contacted by a father who played Kobolds Ate My Baby! last year with his son and friends, and now wanted to know if it was okay if he brought 'a gaggle' of 12 year olds to play this year.

Oy. I said yes, of course, but Saturday morning is going to be rough. By the end last time the kids were just trying to kill one another when they were still paying attention, but with an all-kids slot I can make it age-appropriate and really not worry too much about ending a little early if they aren't into it anymore. I am running 4 slots and playing in only 1, but the slot I signed up for has only me so far and it's the one time where most of the games I'd play otherwise aren't running. I'll find something, I'm sure.

Writing: 615 words today and I was actually eager to write. Just decided to rewrite a little bit of how the next chapter is going to go. I bet it would be awesome if I'd actually bothered to look at Scrivner since I bought it. Gah.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013


Happy T-giving to all those who celebrate it. As I see my family all the time the allure of getting together for another meal is somewhat dimmed, but there's football and grilling my nephew on how to be able to do a good slapshot and so on. Plus, it's The Boy's birthday, so he's fairly vibrating with excitement.

To all of you, arrive safely both where you're going and back home again. I will have a very grumbly post for you as I work on Friday. Gah.

writing: 541 words. More of teh sexing. End of chapter within sight with two to go after that. Then the auction for the rights, no? ha. I kill me.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Quit Pucking Around

Spent so much time blathering about hockey yesterday I forgot to update the words. FLOW FROM ME WORDS!!


Writing: Saturday 611, Monday 545, today 518. After some sexytimes for our hero tomorrow I should roll into the penultimate chapter Friday. Yes, I'm taking Thanksgiving off. I don't wanna be, uhm, thankless for the bird's sacrifice. YOU DIDN'T DIE IN VAIN, TURKEY

Monday, November 25, 2013

What Could Possibly Go Wrong? - Old Man and the Ice: Game 6

It's said you should do something every day that scares you. Okay, by 'they' I mean the Baz Lurhman thing 'Everybody's Free' from 1999, but I've been trying to do it as often as possible, if not every day. I mean, learning how to play hockey counts, right? Or maybe in my demented viewpoint, that's not quite enough.

I'll spare you the anticipation and just let you know right up from we lost again. I know, shocking. The final was 7-1 but at the end of the first it was only 2-0 (not that your would know that from the boxscore, which is comically inaccurate). The other team was fairly average, with one outstanding set each of forwards and defensemen.  Our first line had a tough game, most of which was due to being against that group but also possibly because they took incomprehensibly long shifts. Look, I know I'm new to the game and all but if you can get above a lazy glide to get back on D then you need to get off the ice. At best guess they were -5.

We had a numbers issue with 15 skaters. Normally that's a great number to have - 9 forwards and 6 defensemen. Unfortunately we only had 5 defensemen. I finally cajoled Stephanie into shifting to D with the promise that if she wasn't enjoying herself, I'd take her place. I figured there was no way she'd want me to me playing D and so it would all work out.


Anyway, Goalie Alex gave up a goal during our first shift of the second period to drop us behind 3-0. I was with my same linemates - Chris and Jeff - and while we weren't generating a ton of offensive chances we were doing okay at keeping them off the board. Jeff was complaining that he was having a terrible game, but managed a fairly nice wrist shot that almost beat the goalie glove high.Chris was his usual solid self. I had a tough first two periods, as I just seemed a little bit off or a little bit late in everything - except faceoffs. For some reason my idiot savant ability continued to function as I won four out of five . Maybe the ref wasn't making me put my stick in the right place. Maybe I was just getting lucky. Maybe the hockey gods have decided this is to be my calling. Whatever. I'll take it. Actually, out of the Hanson Brothers Shequi probably had the best game of all of us. His line pestered the other team constantly in their own zone and had  a couple of decent scoring chances.

Then the second period ended, and Steph strongly hinted she wouldn't mind moving back to forward. And so I shifted to right defense. Me, who skates backwards about as quickly as a turtle chugging uphill and with as much confidence as Obama dealing with the House of Reps. See, if you screw up as a forward it's not the end of the world. The defensemen are behind you to cover. But if you screw up as a defenseman, there's nothing behind you but a goalie. Goalie Alex, learning of the move, said to me, "Look, one thing. When you clear the puck, don't just give it to one of their guys at the blue line. Get it out."  Spoiler - I had the majority of my clearing attempts picked off. it was beyond frustrating. I nodded and took my spot. This had the earmarks of a disaster.

I started the third period as a nervous wreck. Their top line was out and swarming, but I did what I could and somehow escaped the shift without giving anything up. I place the blame for that on my teammates. On my next shift, something really weird happened. We SCORED. With me ON THE ICE. Later my wife, who was watching with the kids, asked if I had an assist. I had no idea (I didn't). Still, I had been trailing the shooter and was the first there for high-fives, which I almost missed because I caught an edge. It felt really good to be on for a goal.

Not for the other team, though, as they started muttering and their 'What the hell are you doing in 8W?' player basically skated end to end and bore in on me. I'd seen it coming and was desperately trying to get back, but speed kills and he beat me to the outside. I don't remember if he shot it then or curled and centered it, but when I got to our goal for the rebound one of their THREE players in the crease stuffed it in. Yeah, I guess they didn't like getting scored on my the league doormat. Jerkweeds.

I managed to not be on the ice for any more goals, so that's a victory of sorts. Afterward both the goalie and two of the other defensemen told me that my positioning was dead on - I was where I was supposed to be most of the time. Now I just needed to be able to make the plays. I'll miss the faceoffs and having Jeff and Chris on my wings, but I'm willing to stick with D if the team will put up with my learning curve. Maybe I'll get a slapshot for Xmas.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

because the stress

Stress everywhere. Home, work, etc. Will write more when I can, but I am staying true to the stupid book. Two, maybe three chapters left.

Writing: 544 Tues, 493 Weds, 511 today.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Inevitable - The Old Man and the Ice - Game 5

The angels wept, fanfare was sounded, and the very pillars of the Earth trembled at such a momentous achievement.

The Ice House raiders scored a goal. Jesus may have wept as well, I'm not really sure. But there was definitely much rejoicing.

The mood in our locker room pre-game was upbeat and jovial. I think the practice helped bring us together a little and now instead of dressing in relative silence there was joking around, sharing some scouting (which isn't too in-depth. I went to the other teams stat page and reported back that #5 had 9 goals and we'd better watch out for him), and putting together a pool for the first goal scored by us. I kept one of the other Chris' as my left wing and had my friend Jeff, liberated from defense, as my right wing. Sheq and I also had our families there to root us on, so we had some added incentive to not suck.Things looked good as our first line managed to keep it a scoreless game against a well-disciplined team, but the second line couldn't do the same on their next two shifts. Then we got caught running around a little and they punched in one against my line. The second line got beat again and our older goalie soon after took one off his knee and came out. Our super goalie came in cold and not stretched  out, and got beat by a shot he felt he should have stopped while my line was out there. We stumbled into the break down 5-0. Blerg.

I'm not really sure what happened next. Either we started to play better or the other team took it a little easy on us, switching to dump-ins as opposed to skating into our zone lugging the puck. Maybe a little column A, a little column B. In any case, the ice no longer seemed tilted toward our goal. I would go so far to say that we carried the play in the 2nd period, even after Tom beat their goalie with a wrist shot and the other team stopped being so laid back. We went nuts when that happened, of course. It was so cathartic that the rink echoed with our yells. I apologized at the next faceoff by saying, "We'd act like we'd scored a goal before if we'd actually scored a goal before."  We had shots on goal, scrambles around the net, and Alex (the goalie) bailed us out numerous times. The 2nd period ended with the score 5-1. Not only did we score, we shut them out. A miracle.

We stayed just as chippy and feisty in the 3rd. While cruising the other team's crease I annoyed on of their defensemen enough that he tried to stuff me into his net. They managed to punch in two more, one on our first line when they stayed out way too long and another against line #2. We had one of the coaches playing casual defense for us and along with some advice he had a good deal of praise.

As for me, I just tried to play my usual low-on-talent-but-high-on-effort type of game. Loved having Jeff as a winger, and he got off a nice wrister on a 3 on 2 break. I made the dubious decision to hit the ice to block a shot from a player in the slot, and he lost the puck trying to get around me. I heard my teammates banging their sticks and yelling from the other end of the ice, but I don't know if it was for my stupidity effort or if Alex made a save. My skating is still weak, I didn't get the puck out one time that I should have, I had a swing and miss again, but . . .but I went, IIRC, six and three on faceoffs. If I can win 2/3s of those that would be a good thing indeed. There are so many aspects of my game that need improving but that's why we play, right? Our scoring drought is over - our win drought is next.

Writing: used Saturday and Sunday for editing, but got 518 done this morning. I'm one chapter away from the climatic scene. The end is in sight. Maybe.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Yeah, Yeah. I Know.

I know, I know, no posts since Monday. Crazy busy everywhere, problems at work makingm e spend the day delivering parts. Foo. It seems time is especially hard to find these days, as I'm trying to juggle:
1) prepping 1   2  3 games for Anonycon. I tend to overdo things, so it takes me longer to get them ready.
2) editing a book for other people. I love doing it absolutely love it - but carving out time can be tough.
3) finishing what is amount to a first draft on my novel. I can't see it taking me longer than the end of the month, at which point I'll give it a first edit before inflicting it on my readers.
4) building a studio for my wife. Hanging sheetrock by myself in a currently unheated garage. FUN.

These are just the current projects above and beyond kids, work, housework, etc.  My candle is not just burning at both ends, there's a flamethrower pointed at the middle as well. Eh, that which doesn't kill you AND SO ON.

Writing: Basically wrote a 1900 word chapter. I'm like an X-wing in the trench at the Death Star, baby - staying on target.

Wait what's that behind m-------

Monday, November 11, 2013

Game Over, Man.

The Boy's football season is over. Probably his career as well, as I think his lack of footspeed bothered him after watching the two or three fast kids run all over the place. We finished up against the jerkweed team, and once again I had to get creative to counter their BS tactics. One of their kids was repeatedly ignoring the rules - 7 yards back on D, no rush until the handoff. I mentioned it a few times to the other coaches and they pretty much gave me lip service. When I told the kid, he sneered at me. SNEERED. Six year old thugs don't get to sneer at coaches.

So I set up a faily complex play that involved The Boy faking a handoff into the line and then giving the ball to one of our zippy runners on an end around. The thug came barreling in and after knocking our other player over charged into the backfield EVEN THOUGH THE BALL HADN'T BEEN HANDED OFF YET. Dick. Anyway, The Boy made the exchange and Thuglsey was about to grab his flag when Brandon, the kid I had put in a specific spot, absolutely drilled the kid into the ground with a crushing block. Blocking has become sort of legal by that part of the season, and it was GLORIOUS. The kid got up and immediately tried to punch my player, but I was ready for that and scooped him up before he could throw a fist. meanwhile, our ball carrier went for a 50 yard TD. I know, petty, but it was fun. We worked the play-action on them again as well. I'll be sad if my football coaching career is over, but maybe the Boy will opt for rugby next.

Writing: Saturday 641, today 801. Making it happen, for better or for worse.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Twitch Twitch - The Old Man Plays Hockey: Practice

So there probably a term for the moment when you're lying on the ice, having just smashed head-first into the boards, and deciding if it's time to try to see if you can move. I don't know it, but I'm sure it's out there. In any case, I'm a little ahead of myself here.

Through methods I won't mention here we managed to secure ice time for our first team practice, which comes after four games and may not have been the best way to do things. My awesome plan to get my family's skates sharpened turned out to be not awesome at all as Saturday night appears to be date night for blades and the sharpener. Even more alarming was watching a bunch of kids skate around like an offshoot of the NHL. Turns out they were Tier 1 16 year olds and were elite, which made me feel a little better.

There was no heat in our locker room, which made changing fun. We managed to scrounge up 11 skaters and 1 goalie, which isn't too bad, and we started off like a actual practice by SKATING THE CIRCLES, which is my bane drill. To make it even more difficult we did so while stickhandling, and more than once I had to divert from my non-crossover stepping to chase my wayward puck.

Then we just scrimmaged. Maybe the wiser thing would have been to set up passing drills, or practice 3 on 2s, or plot out a power play, but I think we just all wanted to skate and play hockey. The first fifteen minutes were rough for me, as it seems to take me a while to get back into the rhythm of what passes for my skating. I missed passes, flubbed shot, fell down a lot. I tried to keep in mind that I'd probably been on skates ten times in my life as opposed to the zillions of times the others had, but it gets frustrating. Still, I pressed on, and things got better. I started to get to some of those loose pucks, started making passes go in the general direction of where I wanted them to. And even better, I had an epiphany.

It happened while scrambling after a loose puck in my zone. Normally I'd just poke at it ineffectually with my stick, but instead I swung my hips around and knocked the other guy away. Indeed, I got physical.

(no, not that kind of physical)

Was it checking? Meh. I seemed okay, and suddenly I had control. The more I did that, the better the results. Not out and out checking, not smashing a guy into the boards, but just using my body as a mobile barrier. My pedigree would kind of indicate that thuggery would be my skill set - years and years of martial arts, football, rugby. When I set up in front of the net and a defenseman tried to move me I shoved back.  I actually managed a couple of shots on goal - actual ones the goalie had to save. DO NOT DENY MY PRESENCE ON THE ICE.

As I become more comfortable with this the rest of my game improved as well (understand when I say 'improved' that has to be taken in the context of the absolute lack of talent I possess. Moving from 'absolute detriment on the ice' to 'moderate detriment on the ice' is improvement, dammit). I made some passes, was more confident with the puck, and actually heard my center yell at me that someone was on my back and I needed to move the puck. One of the better skaters on the team asked me if I'd been practicing. That could have been him noting my improvement or perhaps a not that I should do more of it. I'm going to go with that former. It also possible my game seemed to improve as my teammates got more tired - an hour of skating can do that to you. I know my strength - little talent, big heart, and a motor that won't stop.  Right up until they flashed the lights to tell us to get the hell out I was still racing as quickly as my inefficient skating style would allow.

Our goal for the practice was to work on getting the damn thing out of zone, the bane of our performances so far. I think we did a pretty good job of that. Our goalie, who appears to be either my age or older, more or less coached us. Afterwards he mentioned to me he was considering hanging up the skates and taking a position behind our bench, if he thought we'd listen. If he could get the the one guy to get off the ice when he's supposed to, I'd make him GM too.

So, right. The head injury. I was chasing a puck in the corner when I bumped hips with a guy on the 'other' team and found myself horizontal and airborne - and then having an upfront meeting with the boards. I saw stars and don't really remember hitting the ice before having the moment I mention way back at the beginning of this thing.  I scrambled to my feet - or blades, whatever and almost fell again. Really, that could have nothing to do with the crash. I tried not to worry about it as I headed home to a completely empty house for the night. To give you an idea of how hard a hit it was, here is what's on my forehead as of a few minutes ago:
Had to see now, but it should bruise up nicely. My neck's a little stiff but otherwise I seem fine. Well, except that I'm playing hockey at age 45. Whatever. Also, the Greengrass boys missed practice because they're in CLUB MED. Just wait until it's contract time, fellas.

Friday, November 8, 2013

DId You Not Sense the Great Disturbance in the Force?

I missed an update yesterday. Somehow the world kept spinning. Shocking!

The Wife is away on business for five days, and last night after the kids went to bed I CUT LOOSE! Taping for painting! Slaying the laundry monster! Editing! I'M LUCKY THE POLICE DIDN'T SHOW!

Tonight offers the same debauchery. Maybe, just maybe, I'll actually fire up a video game of some sort MADNESS!! I actually need to do more editing and start prepping my Anonycon games. And insulate the garage. And submit some stories. PARTY TIME WOO.

I actually have a hockey practice tomorrow night. I'm encouraged these youngins want to improve. Maybe we'll actually score a goal before the season ends. We're starting a pool! A buck a player a game. I'm going to live in the goal crease.

writing: 471 Thursday, 741 today. Trying to keep from moving too quickly while moving things along. Also, difficult to write when Terror Kitty sits on my keyboard.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Maybe It's Me. It Must Be Me. Is It Me?

I have had a difficult time lately finding a book that I've really enjoyed reading. I'm not sure if the authors are coming up short or if I'm getting too picky. The new Gaiman? Okay, but a little predictable and it really felt like a short story padded out to make novella length. The new Scott Lynch? Man, I love his writing and there was some great stuff in the beginning but it bogged down as the went along. I know I'm supposed to like Sam Sykes, but I barely made it through his first book, which felt like someone recounting their 4E D&D sessions. Then there was an omnibus about a character named Eli Monpress that was pretty much just awful - when the lead character is nowhere near as witty and charming as the author believes him to be, it's a tough read.

Have my tastes changed? Am I looking for something else, bored with the genre? Too focused on my own writing the the overwhelming urge to get the damn book done. Stressed by having to ready three games for Anonycon? Maybe one of those. Maybe all of those.

Or maybe I'm dead on. Who knows? Anyone else feeling like this lately with the stuff they're reading?

Writing: 841 words. Hit one of those grooves. If I didn't have to come to stupid-head work I'd probably still be there and hitting 5K words like I used to. Things are going to move quickly now (hopefully not too quickly). I may have this draft done by the end of the month. Not bad for a guy getting up at 5am each morning. Now I have to hope it doesn't suck.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Vote! Yes, you.

hey! If you live in the US, go VOTE! You DO make a difference.

Writing: 741 words. The plot thickens, no doubt due to all the corn starch I added.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Still Stings

I haven't been writing or submitting much short fiction over the past few months as I've been focused on the novel, but I had a novella out there for an anthology I felt pretty good about. The rejection was waiting for me when I got home this weekend, saying it was 'interesting' but they were going to pass.

It stings. Every time, every rejection, it stings. It's frustrating and maddening and even after time passes and I go back and say yeah, maybe they were right - it still stings.

But then I got notice of yet another payment for my Machine of Death story and I felt better again. Heh.

writing: 721 words. If I ever had an afternoont o myself I could probably finish the damn thing in one swell foop. Fell soup. Bell Swoop.

Friday, November 1, 2013


It's a personal thing, but I'm not a fan of NanoWritMo or whatever it's called. I understand the motivation behind it and what it's trying to produce but if you force people who can't stick to a regular schedule on their own and force them to produce every day the likelihood of the result being poor product almost has to increase exponentially. I'm sure there are examples of very fine things being written under those constraints but I have to believe the majority is just ugly.

Am I being snooty because I stick to a 'write every day' schedule every day anyway? Maybe. Could it be from under my editorial hat? Also possible. Am I going to begrunge and dismiss something someone write this month? Absolutely not. Am I going to be surprised if said book-length manuscript is of underwhelming quality. No.


writing: somewhat ironically, I worked on my editing job this morning as I'm falling behind. Zero words. That will be amended either tonight or tomorrow. Maybe both.