December 6th, 2014


November Slides Into December

I've been a little scarce this week. Grading and exam writing is in full swing. Today was the last day of class. It's all over except for the Final Exams... and the screaming.

Ten days til final grading day -- Tuesday 16 December 2014 at Noon -- ZERO HOUR.

Our early Fall snowstorms are but memories. Except for a few big piles near the grocery store parking lot, any trace of snow you might see is from a light dusting the other morning. This is not going to be a snow-free winter, to be sure, but that November shock... Not only did we get a snow day at both GVSU and WMU, but Grand Rapids recorded 31" of snow in November 2014, which is 42% of the 2013-14 winter total. And the Winter Solstice is still weeks away. Kalamazoo had less snow in this storm and more snow last winter, so their percentages are lower, but still.

For several months I have been reporting that gas prices have kept going down, with a kneejerk jump up for no apparent reason, followed by continuing decline. This happened just before Thanksgiving, too, but the drops got us under three bucks for regular in time for one of the better Thanksgiving travel seasons in a few years, or so they said. Thing is, gas has continued free falling, especially now that it is an open secret on the news that oil prices are still falling and OPEC has failed to bump them up again.

This morning regular gasoline was $2.63.9/gallon for regular. And for some odd reason, the Citgo at D Ave on the way into Kalamazoo was running down to $2.47.9/gal -- K-zoo prices were all over the place. Allendale this evening was pretty much the same as Allendale in the morning.

But... the pundits are openly talking about gas around or under two bucks, if not for Christmas, then in January. Great -- and this right after I've decided to do Sabbatical for Spring (Winter) Semester. (grin)

The Actors Studio in Grand Rapids is doing the rock opera/musical Chess at the Spectrum Theatre, I think. Thursday-Friday-Saturday this weekend and the next two weekends. Closing is on the 20th -- this is after my big rounds of large and small doctor's appointments and grades. Would like to go see it. I guess the Broadway version had a cast of some 31 -- with a much smaller stage I think they have 17 in this production. As I've mentioned before, we saw a wonderful touring company production of Chess with a portable chessboard floor that lit up at the Frauenthal Theatre in Muskegon -- balcony was perfect.

"One Night in Bangkok" is on my Amazon "Happy Songs" playlist, following The Pet Shop Boys' "West End Girls" -- it really works, you should try it. (grin)

Dr. Phil
  • Current Music
    Chess -- One Night in Bangkok

Production Delays -- Regularly Scheduled

Here's hoping the Plot Bunnies stay quiet for the next ten days. I really don't want to such brilliant inspirations that I feel compelled to write or make tons of notes -- not when I'm supposed to be writing exams, grading papers, etc. as a part of Final Exams and Grade-a-thon. Bad enough that schedules compel me to schedule three doctor's appointments during Finals Week.

Maybe the Plot Bunnies will cut loose in two weeks in time for some Christmas short stories here on the blog. Maybe I'll stick something from my super secret writing project in that queue. NO! Not now. I don't have time to start thinking Christmas SF! Nah-nah-nah... I can't hear you Plot Bunnies.

A couple of nights this week I got no writing done -- not even a blog post -- and I felt guilty about even trying to catch up on Facebook or even reading the funnies in the Tuesday-Thursday newspapers. Still, I managed more writing than I thought. I've broken the 120,000 word barrier on the trilogy -- and somehow managed to almost double the word count on the fourth book of the trilogy, just shy of 10,000 words there.

So, this is good. I guess. I've never sat down and planned out a trilogy before. (Technically, though. There is the British side of my 29th century universe, where I wrote about 1½ million words of story and long notes across an eleven-book cycle back in 1998.) (It's a very raw state past the first two or three books, except for Book Six. Some Day, I shall sit down and start seeing what I can do with all that stuff. I can either distill it down to a couple of books, or go for the massive oeuvre. I mean, I should prove if I can attract real audiences, before I get the idea of making people invest in a decology.) (evil-grin)

Let's see, more straight writing than a lot of research -- and some of the research I did is either on subjects already covered or done without recording them. But researches this week were on: Diaper smuggling in Norway. The Nostrand Avenue stop along the A-train line in Brooklyn. Dunkin' Donuts franchises in Manhattan -- a bust because one was closed because of rats being filmed in the place AND they're not o the streets I want. The .303 caliber British Vickers machine gun. The Eurocopter AS350 helicopter -- a sort of a European version of the Bell Jet Ranger. "Good night, Westley. Good work. Sleep well. I'll most likely kill you in the morning." Modern neighborhoods in the East End of London after the Olympics. Also Greenwich. Pending research on Canon EOS supertelephoto lenses.

I was talking to a student today about his paper on The Hunger Games and the attraction of dystopian fiction -- his favorite book in this sub-genre is 1984, though he confessed he'd never read Brave New World. I mentioned that the pitch I'm working on for The Lost Kingdom Project is an ancient secret kingdom on hard times in the modern world, where it is our world that is the dystopia. Then I mentioned having fun messing with my three readers about what the story is about by listing my various research topics here on LJ/DW. His feeling was that just by those odd combinations, he'd read it.

So maybe I'll have a reader. (single-data-point-grin)

The shiny counters have bumped up to:

The Lost Kingdom Project YA Trilogy Version 1.05

The Lost Kingdom Fourth Novel Version 1.03

It is hilarious that the big event in the fourth book isn't even a chapter heading yet.

Dr. Phil
  • Current Music
    Journey - Don't Stop Believing