Fire!

We were eating breakfast this morning when the smoke detector outside our apartment went off.  It was a less-obnoxious beeping than most smoke detectors, so it took a while to figure out what it was.  But, once we opened the door to check, we could smell the smoke.  That eliminated all doubt.

There wasn’t much smoke and no flames, so we decided to take the time to get dressed and bundled up against the weather, and then went outside.  A neighbor had already called the fire department, so we didn’t have to do anything except hang out and wait until they came.  Most of our neighbors waited in the doorway, rather than stand out in the cold and wind, but I figured I didn’t want to breath even that much smoke.

It was only about 15 minutes before they said we could go back in.  But that, together with a dentist appointment this morning, managed to put a big dent in the day.

The smoke alarm is still beeping every minute or so.  I called the apartment office which said that they had thought it had already been reset, but would check and make sure.  (Which I hope means that they’ll send someone over to take care of it, rather than just check and make sure someone said it had already been done.)

(By the way, my teeth are fine.)

Clarion open for applications

Clarion Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers WorkshopClarion, the science fiction and fantasy writers workshop, is open for applications for 2010! As usual, it looks like they’ve got a great line-up of instructors.

I attended Clarion in 2001 and found it a positive experience in every way–I had a great time, I improved my writing, and I got to know a bunch of cool people that I’m still in touch with.

I’ve written some about my Clarion experience: I kept a Clarion journal and I wrote a few short essays about what I learned and how I learned it.

If you’ve got any questions about what Clarion was like for me, I’d be glad to answer them in comments here or by email. (I’m also willing to take a stab at answering questions about other stuff, but things like how applications are processed vary from year to year, and I really only know about how they did things back in 2001.)

Immunized

The local paper ran a story last week that said that Public Health District was opening up its H1N1 immunizations to all adults under 65.  The story said that they’d have finished with kids and teens last week and there there was plenty of vaccine, so no reason to wait further.

So, Jackie and I went to their clinic at Lincoln Square Village.

It was quite a production.  We showed up right at the time it was supposed to begin, and got number 85 of the second cohort, which meant that 184 households had already gotten numbers to go ahead of us.  It was as big a crowd as I’ve been a member of in a long time.  By the time we were done filling out our paperwork they were well into passing out numbers in the third cohort of households.

Still, despite the crowd, they moved people along quite quickly.  (I think they had 25 stations where immunizations were being administered.)  We waited for perhaps 20 minutes, got called, went in, and got our shots. Very efficient. And free, which is cool for someone trying to make a living as a writer.

I turned 50 back in June, so I was given a shot rather than the flu mist.  I had considered trying to convince them to give me the flu mist instead–as far as I’ve been able to figure out, there’s no data that suggests it wouldn’t be just as effective in someone who was five months over the cut-off age–but eventually decide to just go with the program.

My mom tells me that she got me flu shots regularly when I was a small child.  Because of the health problems that led to my being misdiagnosed with celiac, I was considered someone with an underlying health issue.  I have no memory of that, but I do know that I didn’t get flu shots from when I got old enough to quit seeing the pediatrician (age 17 or so) until about 15 years ago, when I started getting them most years.

The first time I got a flu shot as an adult, my arm was sore for days.  Most shots since then have made my arm a little less sore than the previous time.  I’ve noticed a similar trend with other immunizations–an initial shot may have made me feel quite feverish and achy, but booster shots tend to have less of an effect.  My theory is that a strong reaction means that I had a poor initial immune response–my body geared up to fight an unknown infection.  Contrariwise, a small reaction means that I was already adequately protected–my body immediately recognized the virus as a known quantity and didn’t need to mount any special response.

If that’s true, then I already had an immunity to H1N1–my arm didn’t get sore at all.

As I say, it was kind of interesting.  I don’t usually find myself with so many people in an enclosed space.  I remember thinking, while milling about with the crowd waiting for flu shots, that it was probably the best chance to catch the flu all year.

Novelish and Wisebreadly

Got a chunk done on the novel–about 700 words, which is just about what I’ve been averaging. Speaking of which, I also changed the moving average in my spreadsheet so that it tracks my average production for the trailing 7 days, because there are clearly some impacts on my productivity that vary by day of the week. This will smooth that out, at the cost of the average responding more slowly if my productivity changes in some more fundamental way. What I’d really like, I guess, is a logarithmic moving average that weights recent days more highly, but I’m not geeky enough to go to the trouble to do that.

Also wrote a Wise Bread post which hasn’t been scheduled yet, but which will probably go live some time tomorrow.

Jackie spent the morning setting up the yarn room at the Spinners and Weavers Guild Annual Show and Sale, then spent the evening attending to the room, answering people’s questions, and demonstrating spinning.

Once again working on a novel

I’m not doing NaNoWriMo (because I’m not going to try to write this in a month, and also because I started a couple of weeks ago), but I am going to be cranking away producing novelish prose over the next month, so I feel a certain kinship with others doing the same.

I’m doing several things differently this time.  In particular, I don’t have an outline.  In fact, I have only the barest notion of where things are going.  This will no doubt mean that a whole bunch of rewriting of the beginning will be required (so that it ends up being a beginning that heads to the end that I end up writing), but that’s a small price to pay if the result is a novel that I’m pleased with.

The other main thing that I’m doing differently is giving chapters to Jackie to read as I write them.  Doing so has prompted me to try to make each bit exciting, which I think is having a positive effect.

Crossposting

After I quit keeping the writing journal that grew out of my Clarion journal, I found that my occasional urge to post journal-like stuff was easily enough satisfied by an occasional post on my LiveJournal Bradipo Rigardas LiveJournal-on.  (The name, which means “A sloth looks at LiveJournal” was a pun on the name of my Esperanto blog Bradipo Rigardas Esperanton.)

Of late, though, I’ve once again felt like keeping a writing journal, and found that, for various reasons, LiveJournal wasn’t exactly what I wanted to do.  However, as I do have a number of friends on LiveJournal, I thought I’d see if I could get a crossposting plugin to work.

Hence, this post, which is largely an test of crossposting.

If you are also spending less time on LiveJournal or for some other reason would rather read my blog directly or in your feed reader, check out https://www.philipbrewer.net/ for posts, feeds, etc.

[Updated to allow commenting on LiveJournal as well.]

Contributors copies of US Airways Magazine

US Airways Magazine is running my Wise Bread article Understand Capital Costs in their section “The Gist.”  It appears on page 22 of the October 2009 issue.  I got my contributors copies in the mail today.

I’m not sure what day they actually change out the magazine onboard the planes, but I assume for the next month or so airline passengers will be reading my article!

Angel of Memory

My dad got a copy of The Ninth Letter, the University of Illinois literary magazine, and after looking at it sent it along to me.

The goal of this issue seemed to be to produce a physical object was as important as the content, and what they’ve produced is full of stuff–posters, cards, etc.

One thing in it was set of pieces of cardboard to be folded and then assembled (with the addition of a penny as a weight) into a little cardboard toy called the Angel of Memory.  Jackie put it together.  I grabbed this video with my camera.  I forgot that there’s no easy way to rotate video, so you’ll have to turn your head 90 degrees to the right to see it properly.

angel of memory

(I may be missing some trick, but it seems that you have to follow that link, and then click on another link in the page that comes up to see the video.)