Philip Brewer's Writing Progress


Sunday, 11 May 2003

I wrote most of a journal entry yesterday, but didn't get around to posting it. So, I'm just rolling it into this one. I'll try to fix up all the "yesterdays" and "day before yesterdays" as I go along.

[Photo of a tree bent in the wind]

Blustery today. Storms went through last night and, I guess, did some serious damage some places not too far away. We avoided the worst of that. But it is still worry-about-getting-blown-over windy today.

It's surprisingly hard to get a picture of "blustery." The trees thrash this way and that, the leaves twist and turn, blades of grass chase after one another in waves, but a still picture captures almost none of it.

Lifted this morning, went for a run yesterday, lifted the day before. I'm pleased with myself. My muscles are getting hard again. They feel good when I stretch in the morning. There's a certain atavistic pleasure that comes from using muscles enough to tire them out and then giving them a good stretch the next day.

Yesterday's run was my regular 1.5 mile run, except that now I'm thinking of that as my "short" run. And just a few weeks ago I couldn't run a half-mile. I'm not only pleased with myself, I'm in danger of becoming smug about it.

Did some geeky stuff today. I turned on the web server on my desktop machine. I hadn't done it before because I don't think of it as a server, but for the past three years I've been writing my journal entries, uploading them, and then proofing them after they were already live. It's worked (I have few enough readers that usually nobody read the file before I had a chance to spot at least the glaring mistakes like images that don't load), but this should be better.

I did a quick web search, looking for a Mac version of PHP (which I use to do the links to journal entries) and discovered that MacOS comes with PHP already installed. I turned up line-by-line instructions (four lines) for turning it on. It all worked.

The most recent New Yorker magazine has a story by E.L. Doctorow called "Walter John Harmon," which caught my eye twice. Naturally I was disappointed when a more careful look revealed that neither Walter Jon Williams nor Cory Doctorow has a story in this issue.

Blunt Jackson has a beautifully illustrated trip report of a hike to a waterfall. Lots of pictures of the falls, the trail, and other things worth seeing along the way. I'll see if I can't do something like that in the near future.

Steven has a less-comprehensively illustrated, but still interesting-to-me, description of a trip to a biking trail along Farmington Canal. I'm a big fan of rail trails and other "linear parks." Land owners seem to object to having one established next to their property, I guess just because they worry about the sort of weirdos who hike or go for bike rides, but the evidence is that they raise property values. I know I'd pay more to live adjacent to such a trail.

[Photo of graffiti and railroad near Kaufman Lake

Yep, I'm going to have to document a hike or bike ride. Today, though, we just went for a walk around Kaufman Lake. It was in the mid-50s, so not really cold, but the wind sure made it feel cold. The grey sky didn't help any either. Jackie and I had planned to walk around both lakes, but ended up leaving it at just the one, and then hurrying back and having hot cocoa. There won't be many more chances to do that this year.

A new version of Boswell just came out. It's neat tool for keeping track of short pieces of text. I use it for my "idea" files (story ideas, title ideas). I may use it for more in the future, but I'd just started using it seriously when I upgraded to MacOS X, only to find that there wasn't a MacOS X version of Boswell. Now that there is, I'll see if it aren't more things I want to use it for.

Watched "Fast Food Fast Women". Now, there's an odd movie. Kind of charming in places, but there's no story arc, and nothing to make up for its absence.

Friday we watched "Rip it off" (which seems to be listed in the Internet Movie Database as "Beyond the City Limits"). It's a heist story, and very much like the crime/adventure stories of the 1950s and 1960s. Before the 1970s, most stories of this sort were about broken men. (Always men in those days.) They were usually either criminals from way back or ordinary guys who'd been to war and seen too much. Things always went horribly awry and almost nobody came to a good end. They were kind of little morality plays where no good could come from from the criminal action and most of the characters are doomed even before the story begins. We picked the DVD up partly because I always like a good heist story, and partly because it has Alyson Hannigan and Alexis Denisof.


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