Another Wedding!

Another wedding, another driving trip to Massachusetts (some ten hours away):

Trask Family at Terry and Jessica Trask's Wedding, October 18, 2003

From the left, Rachel with her fiance Jeff Trask (brother of the groom), Jeff Cranston (best man), Ruth and Bill Trask (parents of the groom), Jessica and Terry Trask, Leah Bradford (daughter of the bride), Carrie Trask, Laurie Mann (sisters of the groom), Leslie Mann (niece of the groom) and Jim Mann (brother-in-law of the groom).

This wedding also went very well (see entry from early September 2003 on Jim’s brother’s wedding). Jessica is a hospice nurse and Terry is an ECO specialist for Network Engines. They met in a college class back in 1995, when Leah was a baby, so Terry has been her virtual Dad ever since. They got married in the same church Jim and I got married in back in 1977:

Trask and Mann Families at Jim and Laurie Mann's Wedding, May 22, 1977

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Around getting caught up with some Noreascon 4 stuff this weekend, we went to the movies twice. We saw Under the Tuscan Sun (a mostly charming movie for adults!) and Secondhand Lions (a mostly fun flick). With Tuscan Sun, we saw a bunch of previews for adult comedies, including Mike Newell’s ensemble piece Love, Actually and the new Diane Keaton, Jack Nicholson movie. And, of course, with Secondhand Lions, we saw the trailer for Return of the King


I knew what to expect. We’d already bought the first DVD of The Two Towers even though we’ll buy the extended edition the day it comes out. So I’d seen the little “pre-trailer” for ROTK on that last month. I’d downloaded online video people had captured of the trailer on Japanese TV the other day, and even that looked impressive.

But seeing it all on the big screen was just terrific.

I’ve been hanging out some at over the last year, the place where LOTR fans hang out. Today, they linked to a brilliant TTT review-parody – the DVD as reviewed by Gollum and Smeagol. Go read it – amazingly enough, it seems to have been written by just your average journalist for a newspaper down in Chattanooga.

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A Wedding!

Jim and I were up in Massachusetts attending Jim’s brother Bill’s wedding:

(from left) Laurie, Leslie, Jim, Bill, Heather, Bill and John Mann
(from left) Laurie, Leslie, Jim, Bill, Heather, Bill and John Mann

Bill is a chef down in Florida and Heather is in food/restaurant equipment sales. Jim’s family keeps marrying women who were raised in Massachusetts!

The wedding was held at St. Stanislaus’ in Chicopee, MA and the reception was held at the Sheraton Springfield (home of several Boskones in the late ’80s and early ’90s). The food was excellent!

I was hoping to drop by the Big E for a while on Saturday morning, but wound up way too busy (and, besides, it threatened to rain all day). The drive home, once we were out of the rain in Connecticut and New York, was uneventful.

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Back from Torcon!

I had a much better time than I expected to at Torcon. Due to work and way too much traveling the rest of the fall, we arrived Thursday afternoon and left the following Thursday morning. So we missed any early excitement and set-up, but were around for teardown and recovery.

I’m working on getting my pictures online (there’s a start at

I had a very weird summer. Due to chronic insomnia, I’ve been moving slowly, getting upset and being generally unable to multitask. Thus, one of the first things I pretty much stopped doing for a while was blogging (as in writing – I’ve still been reading a few blogs every day). I hope to start doing a little bit of blog-writing in and around all the stuff I have to do over the next year for N4. I’ve also been trying assorted things for my insomnia (getting a new bed, trying assorted meds) and finally found a combination that seems to be working. So if I looked out-of-sorts at Torcon, except for being tired I was in a good mood for the vast majority of the week. Insomnia makes my eyes look like I’m much older than I really am (as you could probably tell from the main page of my blog for the last 2 1/2 months).

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It’s worse, and I have Confluence and bunches of other things to worry about…

Anyway, to briefly amuse myself, I took the “What SF/Fantasy Character Are You?” test. I somehow managed to score as:

I’m probably too emotional, but what the hell…

Which Fantasy/SciFi Character Are You?

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Well, I got my cholesterol retest results today.
In three months, my total cholesterol went from 253 to 215,
and triglycerides went from 270 to 181. I celebrated by having my first onion rings in three months (OK, I know that’s wrong, but at least I walked there…)

We had a nice time up in Boston, attending an N4 planning meeting. There’s now an Irish pub about three blocks from the convention center.

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Walk to Rivendell – Eowyn’s Challenge

I may not have noted it here, but I had a check-up in March that included the report that I have really high cholesterol. How high? Don’t ask – really bad all the way around, especially the triglycerides. So my doctor said I could go right on a cholesterol-lowering drug, or I could try the diet and exercise route for a while. I thought I’d go the diet and exercise route.

During the first six weeks, I ate extremely well (lots more fruit than usual), went to the gym pretty regularly and walked about 1.5 miles per day (I’m walking to the trolley now rather than take the bus that stops down the block). I lost about 12 pounds.

In mid-late April, I developed a nasty sinus infection and started to slack off. I walked every day, and avoided things like candy and cheese (these are some of my favorite foods and they can really add to your triglycerides).

In May, assorted stressful things happened and I started showing signs of yet another episode of gastritis/irritable bowel. I started eating ginger snaps and mint chocolate ice cream, both of which are very soothing during periods of stress, but not good for dieting. Also, we had company, ate out a lot and went to many family parties. Despite all these things, I managed to loose about 2 pounds, and the stomach problems pretty much went away.

This week, I found kind of a cute online support system for people trying to loose weight. It’s called “Walk to Rivendell.” Some folks have broken down the LOTR books and estimated that it’s something like 485 miles from Hobbiton to Rivendell. We want to see if we can walk that many miles between March and mid-December (the opening of Return of the King). I estimate I’ve walked about 125 miles since mid-March, meaning I’ve walked the distance between Hobbiton and the Great East Road (near Bree).

So Friday I have another blood test, and I’ll get the results next week. I’ll find out if my triglycerides are headed in the right direction, or if I’ll need to take a cholesterol-lowering drug. In any case, I’m working to keep my activity level up and my food intake down. [[(2015: Well, I did need to go on Lipitor. After a few years of walking here and there, I started walking pretty seriously in 2012 and have walked over 2,500 miles since then. Still fat though, but at least my back feels a whole lot better)]]

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A Really Neat Test

I love those online quizzes, and read about a doozy over on It’s something of The Ultimate Geek Test. I scored a 37.47, which made me a Major Geek. I sent them some suggested questions, particularly since those of us who still use DOS daily aren’t give enough Geek points for that. I also submitted one in honor of a long-time aquaintance:

Played poker with Bill Gates

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Fiction Writing Fictio

I’ve been fighting writers block (or not) for most of my adult life. I’ve been writing fiction since I was a child. I collected a bunch of rejection slips from various editors over the ’70s, so I stopped writing. I “relapsed” into writing a little in the late ’80s and early ’90s, got a few more rejection slips, but sold one story, “Muse of Fire,” to Midnight Zoo, a semi-prozine, back in 1993.

And then, I pretty much stopped writing fiction. When I returned to college a few years ago, I finished my English Writing degree, and was lucky enough to have one really good English teacher (Chuck Kinder) at the end of my senior year. He was very supportive. But, when I was unemployed after college and had lots of time to write, I really didn’t write all that much. I submitted my best story to Asimov’s, but it seems to have gotten lost in the slush pile because I never heard back.

A few weeks ago, in the midst of lots of stress, I found myself thinking of a mainstream story I’d started during my return to college. I’ve been working on it pretty steadily, and while it’s going off in some directions I hadn’t planned, I’m still writing. I seem to do my best work on the bus – I actually outlined the rest of the novel over the last two days, and have written about 10,000 words over the last month. I seem to be doing my best writing when I have no time left to be writing!

Then, today, I found a story I’d written about 10 years ago, a companion piece to “Muse of Fire,” has just been accepted by Triangulation, a little fiction journal edited for our local SF club. Diane Turnshek says she has rejected a number of stories, and is really pleased with the ones she’s accepted.

So I guess it’s time to dust off that other story and resubmit it to Asimov’s

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