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.

No Longer the World’s Slowest Blog is a periodic blog with comments on a variety of topics. http://www.dpsinfo.com/blog

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 http://www.dpsinfo.com/sf/torcon03/index.html#top).

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).

No Longer the World’s Slowest Blog is a periodic blog with comments on a variety of topics. http://www.dpsinfo.com/blog

Leslie Has Graduated!

Yay!

She wound up with her Associate’s degree from
ITT Tech in Computer Technology – Hardware.

No Longer the World’s Slowest Blog is a periodic blog with comments on a variety of topics. http://www.dpsinfo.com/blog

Insomnia

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?

No Longer the World’s Slowest Blog is a periodic blog with comments on a variety of topics. http://www.dpsinfo.com/blog

Progress!

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.

No Longer the World’s Slowest Blog is a periodic blog with comments on a variety of topics. http://www.dpsinfo.com/blog

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)]]

No Longer the World’s Slowest Blog is a periodic blog with comments on a variety of topics. http://www.dpsinfo.com/blog

A Really Neat Test

I love those online quizzes, and read about a doozy over on theonering.net. 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

No Longer the World’s Slowest Blog is a periodic blog with comments on a variety of topics. http://www.dpsinfo.com/blog

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

No Longer the World’s Slowest Blog is a periodic blog with comments on a variety of topics. http://www.dpsinfo.com/blog

Thoughts on the Lord of the Rings Adaptation

I’ve been thinking about writing this for a couple of months, and finally finished it today.

I posted a link to this essay on TheOneRing’s movie board, and it launched quite a vigorous discussion.

Speaking of flicks, we saw X2 today. It was pretty good, though the editing was a little loose and the screenplay could probably have benefitted from having fewer characters and a little more focus. The opening sequence in the White House is quite phenomenal.

No Longer the World’s Slowest Blog is a periodic blog with comments on a variety of topics. http://www.dpsinfo.com/blog

A Letter to the Editor that Wasn’t Published

Back in early March, Jim wrote a very good letter to the Pittsburgh Post Gazette on the history of US-France relations. Unfortunately, at about the same time, the PG wound up printing a very similar letter with even more historical tidbits. However, since Jim’s was still a good letter, here it is:

 

Our Congress has done a number of silly things over the years, but some of their actions in the last week have been so childish that they make many of us feel ashamed of them. Changing the name of French Fries and French Toast in the cafeteria to Freedom Fries/Toast was a childish waste of time (especially given all the important things they should be addressing).

And the latest move by one representative to pay to bring home the remains of WWII soldiers is both silly and insulting. The claim that, by not agreeing with us on this issue, the French somehow don’t appreciate the sacrifices of our soldiers in WWII makes no sense. It also seems to imply that those of us in this country who don’t agree with President’s Iraq policy somehow don’t appreciate the actions of our soldiers in WWII. This is absolute nonsense. This is a different war, with different circumstances, and supporting one doesn’t mean that you have to somehow support the other. Nor do other countries — including allies — have to agree with us on every issue. Despite Mr. Bush’s statements, those who aren’t for us in every issue aren’t somehow enemies (and can in fact still be friends)

Also, all those folks who are jumping on France over this issue need be reminded that, while France owes us a debt of gratitude for what we did for them in WWI and WWII, we owe them a debt of gratitude for our very independence. Without France’s backing, we’d have never broken free from Britain in the Revolutionary War. (Yet of course 10 years later, when a new French government was involved in a very different war, we (wisely and rightly) did not back them and did not go to war at their side.)

(Jim Mann, early March 2003)

No Longer the World’s Slowest Blog is a periodic blog with comments on a variety of topics. http://www.dpsinfo.com/blog