Archive for October, 2010

It never rains…

October 30, 2010 1 comment

Well, for a while there, I’d been meaning to get back to my second spec novel which is in progress.  I’ve been doing a major rethink of the plot, coming up with some new ideas for tightening the focus and trimming some extraneous or awkward elements, and I’d been hoping to get some progress done on completing a new outline, reworking what I have, and hopefully finally putting a climax on the thing.  I worked out a fair amount of the revisions I wanted while driving to and from Comic-Con.

But while I was at Comic-Con, a couple of business opportunities came along, and those have taken priority for the past few weeks (has it been three weeks already?).  There’s one prospect I don’t feel ready to talk about yet that’s been preoccupying me, since it’s in an area I don’t know much about and I’ve kind of been immersing myself in finding out about it.  Because of my tendency to fixate on one thing at a time, that’s kept me from making progress on the other thing that arose from my trip.  Namely, an editor colleague has expressed a willingness to take a look at my spec novel proposals, and since the second one is so up in the air, that leaves the first one.  But I just recently had a new insight about that spec novel which I think will strenghten it considerably — not something that requires heavy rewriting, since it’s more a tweak to the backstory and worldbuilding that will give it greater conceptual unity.  And I’d just about succeeded in wrenching my attention away from the other thing and was ready to start work on getting the spec novel ready…

…when I got the copyedits for Star Trek DTI: Watching the Clock.  So right now, that has to be my priority.

Oh, well.  I have over two and a half weeks to get that done, and hopefully it shouldn’t take too long.  So maybe I’ll manage to work on both that and the spec novel simultaneously.  Or at least get the copyedits done within a few days and then shift gears to the spec novel.

I really should try to get back into the groove I was in last year, when I churned out several new short stories in quick succession and managed to sell several of them.  I’ve let myself lose focus since then.  Granted, going through my father’s illness and passing in recent months, and my subsequent travels to visit family and friends and keep myself occupied, have been a pretty understandable reason for losing focus.  And thanks to what my father left me, at least I’m financially comfortable enough for the moment that I can afford to take my time getting these things done.  Still, I’d just really like to finish up these spec novels, and I keep failing to get around to it.  Plus I’ve been wanting to write some more short stories.   I don’t have specific ideas for any at the moment, besides a half-formed idea for a third Hub story, but that’s why I need to apply myself to the effort.

But anyway, DTI comes first.  Maybe working on the copyedits will give me a chance to continue with another project I’ve had on hold forever, namely the annotations page for the novel.  That won’t go up on my site until the book comes out next May, of course, but I’d like to get it done before I forget too much about the writing process.

Chunky chicken salad

October 28, 2010 1 comment

Once, there was a sandwich franchise in town that made a great chunky chicken salad with carrots and celery.  But they went out of business, so I decided to try to recreate (or approximate) the recipe myself.  I researched various chicken salad recipes online, distilled some common factors about ingredients and proportions, and used those as the basis for creating my own recipe.  It went basically like this:


1 1/3 cups cooked chicken, diced
1/3 cup celery
1/6 cup julienned carrots
2/3 oz pecans or walnuts (roughly)
1/3 cup light mayonnaise
2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp dijon mustard
Salt and pepper to taste

Mix dry ingredients (chicken, celery, carrots, nuts, salt, pepper) in one bowl and set aside.  Mix mayo, lemon juice and mustard in another bowl.  Spoon mayo mixture into chicken mixture and mix gently.  Adjust seasonings to taste.  Cover bowl and chill for at least an hour.  Makes c. 3 servings.

Now, when I’ve made this recipe in the past, it’s tended to come out a little short for me, more like 2.5 servings.  So this time I decided to double the recipe.  To make it a little leaner, I substituted plain Greek yogurt for about half the mayonnaise.  (No reason it has to be Greek; it’s just that the store was out of regular plain yogurt in a single-serve container.  I used about half the cup, then mixed some strawberry jam in with the rest and ate it.)

But then it occurred to me that maybe there was a reason chicken salad recipes aren’t usually that big — namely spoilage.  I wondered if I’d made too much.  But I checked and found that you can freeze chicken salad (though once you thaw it you should drain off the excess liquid and stir in a bit more mayo).  So I froze about 2 servings’ worth, giving me 3 whole servings to have over the past couple of days.  Works out nicely.

Anyway, I had my first serving on a whole garlic-oregano pita with Romaine lettuce and four grape tomatoes, just wrapping the pita like a soft taco shell.   I kept the tomatoes whole, which wasn’t a great idea.  The next two times, I halved the grape tomatoes.  The second time, I had the chicken salad, tomatoes, and lettuce in a wrap (soft tortilla) and added cucumber; the third time, today, I didn’t have too much chicken salad left so I had it, the tomatoes, and lettuce in a half-pita.  I didn’t try a sandwich per se since those are messy.  If one wanted to put this chunky chicken salad on regular bread, I’d recommend thicker slices than you get from storebought bread.  It works better if it’s more contained as in a pita or soft tortilla.

Categories: Uncategorized Tags: , ,

Awesome NY Times crossword answer, Sat 10/23

October 23, 2010 1 comment

23 Across: “Like overdramatic spoken-word versions of pop songs.”  Since I was introduced to the album The Transformed Man by my 11th-grade English teacher, and since, as a Trek fan, I’ve been aware of the constant in-jokes ever since, I immediately knew it had to be: SHATNERESQUE.  What an awesome word to find in a crossword puzzle!

Although I think The Transformed Man gets a bum rap.  The spoken-word song lyrics that get all the attention constitute only 4 of the album’s 11 selections, just over 1/3 of its content.  The rest consists of soliloquies from Shakespeare and Cyrano de Bergerac and of original poems.  At the time the album was made, in 1968, William Shatner’s reputation was that of a respected, up-and-coming, Shakespeare-trained actor of the stage and screen.  His starring role in Star Trek was seen as a boost in visibility for an already impressive career, although a step down in respectability in many people’s eyes.  So the idea of a spoken-word album of dramatic readings to showcase his talent was not such a strange one — and indeed his renderings of Shakespeare soliloquies like “Once more unto the breach” and “To be or not to be” are excellent.  However, according to Wikipedia, “The concept of the album was to juxtapose famous pieces of poetry with their modern counterparts, pop lyrics.”  (Perhaps explaining the “Transformed” in the title — the transformation of poetry over time.)  Which means that Shatner recited the lyrics of several pop songs as if they were poems.   Which was an interesting idea, but it misfired because people misunderstood the intent, thinking that Shatner’s dramatic readings represented a laughably bad attempt at singing.  And unfortunately that overshadowed the rest of the album and led to decades of unfair caricatures.

At least the NYT crossword clue is somewhat more accurate in its description.  And unfair or not, it shows what a cultural icon Shatner has become.  Getting your name in a Times crossword — even better, getting an adjectival form of your name in a Times crossword — talk about immortality!

“Home is Where the Hub Is” reviewed

The cxPulp website has reviewed the December Analog at:

It had the following to say about “Home is Where the Hub Is”:

For those unfamiliar with The Hub, Christopher Bennett basically intended the idea to be something of a “Sci-Fi Sitcom,” a well developped story set in a science fiction universe that is funny, but one that isn’t a spoof.  …Taken in that light, this story is fun. The characters are very-much in the sit-com mold, light and relatable on the surface, and the concept employs many television tropes (as listed on like the Official Couple, Incompatible Orientation, and Oblivious to Love. And I insist that the Qhpong has the makings of a Breakout Character…

The story is light and entertaining, and like most sitcoms, the Status Quo is God.

The story gets a 4/5 rating, and only one item in the issue gets a higher rating than that, though it ties my story with pieces by Shane Tourtelotte and William Michael McCarthy.  I’d quibble that there is a slight change to the status quo at the end, though I guess one could say it’s done to maintain the status quo in a larger sense.  And I’m not sure how Official Couple and Incompatible Orientation apply here, unless the latter is meant to apply to Nashira/Rynyan.  Still, 4/5 is pretty darn good, so I’m happy about that.

Scooby-Doo meets Cthulhu! (And Harlan Ellison!)

October 18, 2010 5 comments

I was never a big fan of Scooby-Doo back in the old days, but the current incarnation, Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated, is a fun revisionist/deconstructionist take, with at once a more satirical and a more fully drawn portrayal of the characters, and often a very quirky sense of humor.  But this week’s episode, “The Shrieking Madness” by Adam Beechen, is the most outrageous and awesome Scooby-Doo story ever told.

It’s set at Darrow University, whose professor H. P. Hatecraft is known for writing horror novels that he claims are based on true visions from other dimensions, mainly revolving around “Char Gar Gothakon, The Terror that Hath No Name” (and the fact that it’s named in the title is alluded to).  Naturally, the fake monster of the week is Char Gar Gothakon, and it’s basically Cthulhu.  Scooby-Doo and the gang are taking on Cthulhu!  It boggles the mind.

Appropriately, Hatecraft is played by the redoubtable Jeffrey Combs, who played the Lovecraft character Herbert West in the Re-Animator films.  What’s more, the story features a guest appearance by Harlan Ellison as himself!  He doesn’t really serve any purpose in the story other than to be his usual acerbic self and to be attacked by the monster; he’s actually more upset by Shaggy’s abuse of the word “like” than he is by the attack.

On top of everything else, the story involves the high-schooler characters getting their first taste of college life, and Daphne gets caught up with a bunch of college protestors (the kind who’ll protest whatever’s available) led by a very familiar-looking guy in a red beret and goatee… named Ernesto.  That’s right… this one episode features Harlan Ellison, Cthulhu, and Che.  And to think, Scooby-Doo teamups used to involve the Three Stooges and Batman.

Another thing that’s impressive about the story is that the team actually does something heroic for once rather than just running from the “monster” and then catching it in a trap.  When the fake Cthulhu hurls Hatecraft off the roof, Scooby actually dives forward to save him, and the rest of the team pulls them to safety.   One reason I’m not a big fan is that I get tired of Scooby & Shaggy’s cowardice schtick.  There’s generally not much about the team that’s heroic.  So that was a nice moment.

One thing threw me off, though it’s a minor nitpick amid all this awesomeness.  A subplot involves Scooby & Shaggy visiting a legendary campus burger joint and being dismayed to discover it’s gone vegan.  Which is weird in light of past continuity, since for quite a while, when Casey Kasem was still playing Shaggy, he insisted that the character (and Scooby as well) be, like him, a vegetarian.  Now, I know this show is revisionist and presumably not in continuity with those other incarnations, but it’s a bit weird to see Shaggy portrayed as someone who hates vegetarian food — especially when such a fundamental part of his and Scooby’s schtick has always been that they’d eat anything.  What also makes it weird is that Kasem was actually in this episode, as Shaggy’s father.  (Matthew Lillard is now playing Shaggy, reprising his role from the live-action movies.)

This was episode 12 of the season, so presumably next week will be the season finale.  I can’t imagine they’ll be able to top the sheer wildness of this one, though.

Categories: Reviews

Notes for “Home/Hub”

The story notes for “Home is Where the Hub Is” are now up at my site:

Although most of the discussion is in the spoiler section, so ideally you should buy the issue and read the story first.

“Home is Where the Hub Is” now available! (Updated)

October 13, 2010 3 comments

In the mail when I returned from vacation were two copies of the December Analog, featuring my novelette “Home is Where the Hub Is” beginning on page 70.  Well, actually on p. 72, because this time I get a full 2-page illustration!  Alas, I didn’t make the cover this time:

Analog December 2010

I haven’t gotten around to doing discussion and annotations for my website, but I’ll get to those soon.   In the meantime, check your local newsstand or bookstore for the new issue!

A reminder: this story is a sequel to “The Hub of the Matter,” which came out nine months earlier in the March issue.  If you missed that one, the issue”s still available as an e-book from Fictionwise and the Sony Reader Store. Err, no, apparently it’s no longer on sale, even though the links still exist.  Sorry.  But HIWTHI should be comprehensible on its own.

I’m home

October 12, 2010 1 comment

Like I said before, I set out early on Monday morning.  The first thing I did was to get lost, because I wasn’t familiar with the street layout in Queens.  I almost ended up back on the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, which was not the way I decided to go.  But I turned off just in time, and after one more false start and loop around the blocks, I ended up in the right direction.  At Dave’s recommendation, I crossed the Triborough Bridge, went along 125th Street in Harlem (I glimpsed the Apollo Theater!), then took the Henry Hudson Parkway to the George Washington Bridge.  The reason I hadn’t come in by the GWB is that I was kind of afraid of suspension bridges, finding them rather precarious-looking.  But you know what?  Once I was actually on the bridge, it didn’t seem precarious at all.  Yes, it’s dangling from cables, but those cables (by which I mean the big ones that form the catenary arches, from which the smaller vertical cables are hung) are huge.  Up close, they don’t seem flimsy at all, but look like very thick, solid, reliable supports.  So the anxiety I felt approaching the bridge evaporated once I was crossing it.

After that, I spent the rest of the day on I-80.  I meant to stop for gas in New Jersey, since an online gas-price map I found showed prices were lower there, but NJ turns out to be a much narrower state than I’m used to being in, so I almost ran out of Jersey before I stopped for gas (and I got lost before I finally found the station — lousy directions at that exit), and the price where I did stop was about the same as it was in Pennsylvania, which was significantly higher than it was on my trip out just a few days earlier.  On the other hand,  it was the first full-service gas station I’ve ever been to.  It was surprising to have someone pump my gas for me.

I-80 through Pennsylvania was pretty uneventful, though the scenery was gorgeous — lots of low, rolling mountains covered in trees in a mix of green and autumnal oranges, yellows, and browns.  I stopped for lunch at a Denny’s, a place I’ve heard used as the butt of jokes, but my meal was actually quite delicious — a cranberry-apple chicken salad (meaning a green salad with chicken in it, not the sandwich kind of chicken salad) with walnuts (or pecans?) and served with balsamic vinaigrette and garlic toast, followed by an excellent slice of pumpkin pie.  I drove through a small rainstorm, which got heavy and made me nervous, but it was rather brief and didn’t cause me any trouble.

My early start let me drive for a good ten hours or more and get clear across Pennsylvania before I stopped for the night.  I had been determined to get across the Ohio border and spend the night in my home state, but then at the last rest stop in PA, I discovered something I wish I’d noticed on my trip out: rest stops have booklets containing motel coupons.  I found a coupon for a place just four miles from the Ohio border, and it was a very good price.  So I decided to stay there for the night, since I wasn’t sure I’d be able to find anything as good across the border.  A little while later, it started to rain, making me even more convinced I needed to stop for the night.  In fact, it began really pouring, so I was tempted to stop about 9 miles early when I saw a motel sign at that exit.  I decided to barrel on, though, and the rain had diminished by the time I reached the motel with the coupon (from the same chain as the one I stayed at on the way out, but a very different facility and about half the cost, at least with the coupon).  Ironically, it stopped altogether while I was checking in. There was a restaurant in the motel, but it was new and wasn’t open for business yet.  I had to drive up the road a ways to get some dinner (just fast-food takeout), and got a little lost again — well, not lost, since I knew where I wanted to go, but I couldn’t find a way to get into its parking lot until I’d gone some distance, found a way to turn around, and come back.  They gave me fries (and charged me for them) even though I didn’t order them, but once I saw the fries in the bag, I decided not to object.  But I forgot to get ketchup packets.  Oh, well.

So I got to watch my Monday night shows (both named for people named for architecture, House and Castle), but I got another show as well; outside the window of my room, I saw at least five cats, apparently strays that came out of the adjacent woods or maybe just haunted the motel grounds.

I got a decent night’s sleep, considering, maybe six hours, which is almost a full night for me.  I was still pretty sleepy, though.  I hoped some breakfast and exercise would suffice to wake me up, but I ended up deciding to have a cup of tea after all.

Again, I got lost at the start of my trip, another case of bad signage.  I came upon a sign saying I-80 was back the way I’d come, so I turned around, and in this direction the signs were very clear.  Weird.  Anyway, four miles later, at exactly 8:00 AM, I crossed the Ohio border.  As usual, it took me longer than expected to get home, over seven hours.  I stopped for lunch at a Bob Evans not far from Columbus, having a chicken and pasta dish from their light menu (bland, needed lots of pepper) along with steamed broccoli.  The waitress was so nice and motherly, though, that I let her talk me into having a piece of French silk pie, cancelling out the “light” side of the meal.  Well, I certainly needed the energy.  I was quite fatigued by the last leg of the trip.

Oh, I have Dave Mack to thank for my entertainment during the trip.  I noticed he had a CD soundtrack set of Stu Phillips’ score to the original Battlestar Galactica.  It was a silly show, but it had excellent music, and Dave was kind enough to burn copies of all four discs for me.  I listened to two per day.  I also snacked on one of the apple-carrot muffins Kara set aside for me, but I saved the other three for when I got home.

Before going home, I stopped at the post office to pick up the mail from my vacation hold.  Turned out they didn’t have any held mail for me.  But when I got home, I had plenty of mail in my box and a package by my door.  From the way some of the mail was squished in the box, it appeared that there had been at least two deliveries; apparently the vacation hold never took.  Just as well yesterday was a postal holiday, otherwise my package would’ve been sitting out in the hallway overnight.  I got lucky, but it’s disturbing that the hold didn’t go through.  I should probably complain to the post office.

One of the first things I did at home was to check my VCR, and this time it worked.  It taped all the shows I programmed, and in fact I was able to skip some of them since I already caught them at Dave’s house.  As for the shows I was planning to watch online once I got home, I caught them all at motels, so I don’t have to.

So I’m back now.  Time to rest.

My short visit to Comic-Con

October 11, 2010 1 comment

Saturday was my big day for visiting NYCC, but I didn’t really have much to do there, with no official presence.  I hung out with David Mack and Keith R. A. DeCandido at the BOOM! Comics booth, where they were selling their Farscape comics.  I talked to other friends and colleagues who showed up, like Marco Palmieri, Michael Jan Friedman, and Greg Cox, along with Alan Kistler, who writes the “Agents of STYLE” columns I enjoy over at Newsarama, and whom I’d forgotten that I’d met before.  And I handed out a couple of my new business cards, though not as many as I’d hoped.

I also managed to get into the panel about the new Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes cartoon from Marvel just in time to see the premiere episode, though I had to stand the whole time and peek around the edge of a column.  It was pretty good.  Some of the action was way over-the-top with too little payoff; they kind of wasted a really monumental event on a minor action beat rather than really doing anything with it.  But the animation was quite well-done (though I’m not crazy about the design style) and the characterizations weren’t bad.  Most interesting is their approach to the Hulk, who’s more intelligent than he’s been portrayed in film or TV before, much like in the earliest Hulk comics.

Eventually I had to get out of there — the con was really jampacked on Saturday, as much as I’ve ever seen it — so I walked over to Midtown Comics to get some stuff with the coupon they hand out at the con, then walked back.   I wish I’d found a shuttle bus or something instead, since my shoes are old and worn out, and by the end of the day I had blisters on my feet.  Kara was working late, so Dave and I just had some leftover pasta Kara had made, without even reheating it, but it was very good.

On Sunday, Dave pointed out that I didn’t really need to go in with him, so I stayed in for a while, thinking maybe I’d go later.  After a good breakfast of Kashi cereal with banana and pumpkin bread with cream cheese, I tagged along with Dave’s wife Kara as she did her shopping for the week, and by the time we got back, there was so little time left before the con floor closed that there was really no point in my going in at all.  So I stayed there and spent an entertaining afternoon watching Kara cook, something she loves and is very good at.  They have good food there.  I skipped lunch, so after shopping, I got to snack on havarti cheese and kalamata olives on garlic crackers.  I’ve never had havarti and kalamata olives before, and they were excellent.  Dinner was chicken breasts stuffed with arugula and goat cheese, rosemary potatoes (a specialty of Kara’s), and pan-roasted broccoli, and dessert was apple-carrot muffins (I helped by licking the spatula!).  It was a wonderful meal, especially the potatoes.  And it was fascinating to watch the whole process of baking/cooking all these things.  It was a nice change of pace from the con.  Though after talking all day with Kara about food and the science and art of cooking, it was nice when Dave got home and we could talk shop for a while.  He gave me some things to think about which hopefully will help me refine the spec novel I’m working on revising (and hopefully finishing before too much longer).

Now it’s Monday morning and I’ll be leaving for home soon.  Luckily, I’ll be taking four of the apple-carrot muffins home with me.  It’s been a good visit, and a fruitful one, even though the con itself was not that major a part of my weekend.  If nothing else, I’ve been very well-fed, and I’ve hopefully made a couple of promising business connections.

At Keith’s recommendation, I’m going home by I-80 to avoid tolls on the Pennsylvania Turnpike.  It’s a less direct route, but since I’ve spent more than I intended, the savings are appreciated.

I made it… barely

Yes, I finally made it to New York after another drive of nearly 8 hours’ duration.  It would probably have taken less time if I’d gone with my alternate route via the George Washington Bridge rather than the Google Maps-recommended route through Manhattan.  I decided to avoid the GWB because I’m kind of acrophobic and not comfortable with bridges.  I thought the other route would let me avoid them.  But it wasn’t until too late that I wondered why a particular segment of the route I chose was called the Pulaski Skyway.  Eegh, not fun.  And then there was a similarly forbidding elevated section of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway — which I missed at first because Google’s directions were ambiguous for getting onto the Manhattan Bridge from Canal Street (it said “slight right,” but both options, to the upper and lower decks of the bridge, are slight rights), so I went several blocks down Flatbush Avenue before I was fortunate enough to pull up next to a police car at a red light and asked for directions.  I guess there’s no way to avoid bridges in New York City.

Nobody was home at David Mack’s place when I arrived, since I came a day later than planned and Dave was at Comic-Con all day.  So I just parked (eventually), walked to the subway (or the elevated train, here in Queens — more high-up structures, eegh), rode it to Times Square, and walked to the Javits Center to meet Dave.  I was there for like ten minutes before Keith R. A. DeCandido took Dave and me to a meeting with someone who might have work for us.  It was in a nightclub with dim lighting and blaring music, very much not my kind of scene, but the business part of it was promising and I hope something comes of it.  It would be very well-paying for the amount of work involved, and theoretically has the potential to be a recurring thing.  Plus I got to hand out the first of the business cards I had printed up a few days ago for just such an occasion.

After the drive and the nightclub, I was too worn out to keep going, but Dave’s wife Kara was home by then, so I took the subway back and she let me in.  I spent some time getting to know her and the Macks’ two cats, especially their new kitten Freddie (Winifred), who’s adorable and very, very friendly, and spent most of the time on my lap — a nice sensation that I’ve missed getting to experience.  Even their older cat, Mr. Puck, came out to investigate and even let me pet him slightly, which apparently is remarkable because he usually hides from strangers.  Maybe it’s just that I was there at the time of night when he gets frisky.  I had fun watching him chase his tail, something he did entirely within the confines of a cat tree’s “nest.”

After that, I turned in, so I don’t have much to tell yet.  Today will be the first significant amount of time I spend at the con.  I’m not sure what I’ll do all day; Pocket has no booth this year, so I have no “home base.”  Hopefully I’ll talk to various industry people and hand out some more business cards.

And maybe I’ll buy some stuff.  The trip here was more expensive than I’d reckoned on, but by not staying in a hotel I’m still saving hundreds of dollars, so I guess I can justify buying some swag.  While driving to NYC was maybe not the greatest idea, at least it gives me more leeway for accumulating stuff to take home with me.

Categories: Cats, My Fiction Tags: , ,

Going to Comic-Con after all

I’m posting this from a motel in central Pennsylvania, the first chance I’ve had to go online since I left home this morning.  Yes, I decided I was well enough to make the trip after all, but I forgot to update the blog before I left.  I should arrive in New York tomorrow afternoon, and hopefully will be able to get to the convention for a few hours at least.  If not, I’ll be there Saturday and Sunday.

It took me longer to get going than I’d hoped, so I only got about 8 hours of travel in before I had to stop for the night (I’m not comfortable driving in the dark).  However, I seem to have made it nearly 2/3 of the way, which means, allowing for NYC traffic, it might take me another 6 hours or so tomorrow.

And the trip is costing me more than I’d hoped.  Gas prices seem to have gone up in the past few days since I last checked, and this motel, the only convenient one I could find, is a lot more pricey than I’d hoped for.  I decided to undertake this trip because I figured it’d be only slightly more expensive than a Greyhound ticket, but it’s looking as if the overage is substantially more than I’d thought.  Well, at least I don’t have to pay for a hotel, since I’m staying with a friend (although he’ll be at the con all day tomorrow, so that’s a bit trickier to work out than if I’d arrived today as I’d planned).  That would’ve been really expensive.

Well, at least I’m getting a new experience, even if it’s mostly an experience of the freeway.  But the interstate isn’t quite as homogeneous as people say.  At least there’s a lot of variety in the landscape.  Lotsa pretty mountains in Pennsylvania, though I’m not crazy about the windy roads around them, especially when trucks are barrelling downhill toward me.

And I’m developing a serious resentment for tailgaters.  It’s rather alarming when I’m driving along at a reasonable speed and some speed freak just comes up closer and closer behind me as if they intend to drive right through me without slowing down.   It’s damned rude, as well as dangerous.  Generally I pull into another lane to let the jerks go by, but once I was so spooked by this big car crowding me from behind that I neglected to check my side mirror and almost veered into another car before I noticed them there.

In general, I’m amazed how many freeway drivers seem to be dangerously irresponsible.  Every time I come across a construction zone or a bridge festooned with signs warning of a reduced speed limit, I slow down appropriately but everyone else just keeps tearing along at 65 MPH or faster, even when the signs say 45.  Doesn’t anyone read the signs?  They’re there for a reason.

Even when I was stuck behind and between a couple of “Oversize Load” trucks towing prefab house segments, their drivers were tearing along at 65 or better even when the signs emphatically said they needed to slow down.  You’d think they of all people would be aware of the need to limit their forward momentum.  I tell you, I was very relieved when they finally veered off onto another route.

Comic-Con plans hit a snag

October 6, 2010 1 comment

Sorry I haven’t posted in a few days, but I’ve been feeling under the weather, while at the same time hoping it wouldn’t get in the way of my plans and preparations for the New York Comic-Con.  Unfortunately, it has gotten in the way.  I was planning to set off this morning on a 2-day drive, but I decided yesterday that I just wasn’t feeling well enough and would have to postpone it a day at least.  I’m still hoping I’ll be up to setting out tomorrow morning.

This means that, at best, I’ll only be at the con for part of Friday afternoon, and may miss the whole day.  Hopefully I’ll be there Saturday and Sunday, though.  Right now, as I’m having lunch (chicken soup and citrus fruit, to help my immune system along, hopefully), I’m feeling pretty good.  But I can’t promise anything yet.  I won’t know for certain until tomorrow.

Even so, though, I’m going to have to put a vacation hold on my mail today, just in case.  I’m expecting a package sometime soon and I don’t want it sitting in the hallway over the weekend (though hopefully it’ll come today).  So I might end up putting a hold on my mail today and then staying home tomorrow and not needing it.  But it has to be done.

Well, there is a plus side.  Tonight (October 6), PBS is showing Sir Patrick Stewart’s Macbeth, and I wasn’t sure I’d be able to record that or catch it at a motel if I’d left today (I don’t yet have a DVR and my VCR isn’t entirely reliable).  At least this way, I’ll be able to watch it for sure.


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