30 May 2009

Not working, week the second

Once again, I seem to be lax about writing in this blog; I'll try to be better about that!

So far, I don't really miss working. I'm sure I'll miss getting paid soon enough, but for now, I'm enjoying having all day to do stuff. I've written an 1800-word short story (waiting for a beta reader to get back to me; maybe I should poke him), read more of King, Kaiser, Tsar - I'm about halfway through; it's 1901, and Edward VII has just assumed the throne - and written some fanfic. I have 2 more fanfics to write, then I can get cracking on the space opera-romance novella (due 8/10.) And intersperse editing of the short story, which is due by the end of June.

Memorial Day Weekend was Animazement, an anime con which is now in Raleigh. The previous 7 years or so, it was at the Sheraton in RTP, but it was getting seriously crowded in there, with 5K people and some very large costumes. This year we moved to the brand new Raleigh Convention Center, and were the first non-government function to use the building. There were a few growing pains, but the space was definitely ample. I spent most of the con sitting in Artists' Alley working the table our club rented. There were three of us; the other two sold drawings, and I was selling crocheted things. I made a Kirby (from the Nintendo games), and it sold in about 2 minutes. One of the other girls and I were thinking about ways to improve it for next year, including displays and products, and since she's visually creative, it's up to her.

So, yeah. I'm thinking I could sell old CDs and books and whatnot on Amazon. I have a lot of things I'm not fond of at this point, so they're just clutter - and I could get a few bucks for them in the process! Of course, convincing Pack-Rat-Ben that getting rid of things is a good plan is another matter entirely.

19 May 2009

On not working, writing, and tai chi

This not having a job thing is kinda cool. It didn't really hit me until Monday morning, because I'd planned on taking last Thursday & Friday off for a 4-day tai chi seminar. I'm liking it so far, but ask me again when I've run my bank account down.

I've technically got employment at a staffing firm, but they aren't making promises about when they can find work for me, even a shift a week. So. If it gets to be mid-June and there aren't any nibbles, I'll shop my resume around to some chains, and specify that I'm looking for 10-20 hours a week, rather than saying part time, because *last time* I did that, I was offered 72 hrs/2 weeks. Which doesn't quite meet my definition of part time, you know?

So I've had more time to write, which is useful. Well, the last 2 days, anyway. I was sort of braindead Thursday-Sunday. So I've got a rough draft of an alternate history short story, which might have an ending, though it sort of just stops. I'm not quite sure what to do with it beyond that. ... Oh, wait. I think I know. I've got some notes in my outline that I thought weren't relevant when the story changed, but I can work with that. It's 1600 words at the moment; and the upper limit for the submissions is 8000. So I'm good.

I also got a notice that a super-short I submitted made it past the first reading stage. (Of three.) Fingers crossed for further success! I rather like that story, so I hope they take it.

I had a fun 4-day brain-killing tai chi seminar over the weekend. I got to work with people I don't normally have class with, and I got to find several ways I'm lazy in my practice. It's a two-person matched set, derived from an older Yang style form. So it's different than my usual Chen form, aside from being contact. Tai chi is usually solo, non-contact, but there are a few 2-person sets, and there's push-hands, which is a similar concept only not scripted.

One of the fun parts is the applications. Shoulder strikes, kicks, pushes, backwards shoves with a chest strike. But it's all slow-mo, unlike karate or Shaolin, so you don't get hurt. That's where I'm finding that I've got a lot of laziness. I don't hold my frame quite as well as I ought.

And, hey, now that I have an extra 8 hours every day? I can spend more time practicing! Can't really afford to take more classes, without a steady paycheck, but I can still work on my own.

08 May 2009

On history, alternate

I dig alternate histories. In theory, anyway; most of the published ones are about the Civil War or WW2. BORING!

So I'm having fun playing with Prussian history and making them less militaristic and averting WW1-as-we-know-it. I just finished The Guns of August by Barbara Tuchman, and I've started King, Kaiser, Tsar: Three royal cousins who led the world to war by Catrine Clay. Because my local library's German history selection is largely limited to the periods 1914-19 and 1939-45. I'm definitely buying the former; it's a neat reference and very not boring (despite being a play by play of the first month of WW1.) The latter I may have to buy just for the pictures, including uniform pr0n.

It's rather ironic, considering my penchant for social democracies, that I adore military SF and space opera. But it's all about the politics.

ObRandom: I can still pick German handwriting out of a line-up.

03 May 2009

H1N1, space opera, and alternate history

These things are not all related, except inasmuch as I'm interested in all of them.

I'm a pharmacist, if soon to be unemployed, and I've done a certificate in Field Epidemiology through UNC School of Public Health. I'm fascinated by infectious diseases. So of course I'm following this new influenza strain.

Key thing to remember right now is that it's not any more lethal than a seasonal flu, at least not in the US, but that viruses mutate readily, so there's potential for it to be more lethal. Something like H1N1/1918 (Spanish flu) is most likely not going to be the case; there were a lot of extenuating circumstances in 1918 (World War I and troop movements, taking the virus along with them, for example.) We've got better drugs and better technology now, and we've got people working on preparedness stuff.

If public health works, nothing happens. Which is to say, if public health authorities are on the ball, encouraging social distancing, hand hygiene, and cough etiquette, then the outbreak will be contained. Unfortunately, the public perception will too often be, "Oh, they were exaggerating! Next time, I'll just ignore them." BAD PLAN.

I saw a call for submissions from Samhain Press (on The Galaxy Express SF/romance blog) for space opera romance novellas. I'm all over that! In my soon-to-be copious free time. Those are due 8/1.

I'm working on (sort of) an alternate history short story (5-10K) for June submission to Crossed Genres. I have an idea, and I'm researching stuff, hoping that the seed will grow into something usable.

Those two things are related, since the alternate history is the basis for the space opera. (Imperialism in space. Can't exactly grow from current history. Or could, but I like alt.hist stuff.)

If the weather stops going back and forth between sunny and cloudy and looking like it's gonna rain, I can go take a walk. (Added bonus of not working: more time to exercise.)