The past week or so, it’s been unseasonably chilly hereabouts, and since my building apparently turns the heat off once spring arrives (or something), it’s been chilly indoors as well, which hasn’t been fun, especially since I’ve been a bit sick for a few days. Yesterday I managed to muster enough energy to go shopping (since I was completely out of some essentials), and when I got into the car, I just sat there for a few moments relishing the greenhouse-effect warmth in there. (I’m starting to wonder if I made a mistake getting an apartment with a northern exposure. I didn’t want sun glare through the windows, but there are times when solar heating is nice to have.)
But I just checked the weather forecast and last week’s highs in the 50s and 60s are giving way to 80s all week. Typical Cincinnati weather — spring is a brief transition between winter and summer temperatures, or a few brief transitions as the temperature yoyos between the extremes. I’ll probably start complaining about the heat soon enough, but right now I’m grateful for it.
StarTrek.com asked me to contribute a piece about Forgotten History for their site, so I used a little imaginary time travel to interview my past self about the book:
After finishing off that jar of Cincinnati chili last week, I still had about one serving’s worth of kidney beans left over, so today I decided to attempt concocting a rough approximation of chili for dinner. My concoction consisted of some lightly browned veggie crumble; the beans; diced onions, green pepper, and tomato; chopped garlic; a spoonful or so of tomato paste; and some oregano, salt, and black pepper. (I included some of the ingredients based on the chili recipe in the cookbook my sister and brother-in-law sent me a while back, so thanks to them for that.)
My first thought had been to have it over egg noodles, but I used those up last week, so I decided to have it atop spaghetti instead, and I grated some cheddar on top. It wasn’t bad, but it could maybe have used a little more liquid (should’ve added more of the liquid the beans were in, maybe). And it could’ve used a little more “heat” as well. I don’t think it really qualified as actual chili since it didn’t have any chiles in it, except for the mild green pepper. As it was, it turned out a little bland. Still, for an experimental concoction based on what I happened to have on hand (plus the tomato paste, which I bought specifically with this in mind), it turned out reasonably well. And it’s always nice when I get up the initiative to try something new in the kitchen.
Well, except for the cleanup part. I really wish I had a dishwasher.
The results of the Unreality-SF.net Story of the Year voting are in, and DTI: Watching the Clock got second prize, with a whopping 343 votes. The winner by a landslide was Star Trek: Mirror Universe: Rise Like Lions by my friend and colleague David Mack, to whom I extend congratulations (though I was actually rooting for Kirsten Beyer’s Voyager: Children of the Storm). Still, apparently second place comes with a trophy of some sort, which I’ll be getting in the mail at some point. And it’s the first time any of my published fiction has gotten any kind of prize, so that’s a notable step. Thanks to everyone who voted for my book.
I guess I can put my second-place Story of the Year trophy next to the Second-Place Semifinalist trophy I won for the Scripps-Howard Spelling Bee back in 6th grade. (The word that cost me first place was “meretricious,” a word one wouldn’t have expected a 6th-grader to know, since it means “of or pertaining to prostitutes.” And I was eliminated early from the finals because the lady pronounced “ultimo” in a way that sounded to me like “altimo,” overpronouncing the “U” instead of just saying it normally. I wuz robbed, I tells ya!)
It’s been a full day for me. First, I finished proofreading the first-pass galleys for Only Superhuman (i.e. the pages that show what the final text will look like including formatting) and mailed them back to Tor. I caught a number of typos that I’m amazed I never noticed in all the dozens of prior times I’ve been through this manuscript, like “to use use” or “that was in itself was the result” or my personal favorite, “Sarkar crossed your arms.” That’s right, she reached out of the book and crossed the reader’s arms. (In my defense, that was right after a sentence ending with a very emphatic “you,” so I guess there was some pronominal inertia there.)
I also just got my complimentary copies of Star Trek DTI: Forgotten History from Simon & Schuster! Yup, the book is in my hands now, and it should be on bookstore shelves within the next few weeks. It’s not as hefty a tome as its predecessor Watching the Clock, but they make a nice pair.
I also just got some reading materials as research for a possible new project, so I’ve got past, present, and future projects (or present, near-future, and more distant future in publication terms) all converging on the same day. It’s all a bit overwhelming.
Especially since I also had to deal with getting my car towed. I discovered yesterday afternoon that it wouldn’t start, and had no electrical power whatsoever. A couple of kind people helped me try to jumpstart it, with no luck. It was a bit late in the day, and I didn’t urgently need it then, and I still had a lot of proofreading to do, so I put it aside until this morning. So I had to call the insurance company to find out how to deal with the situation (turns out they’ll reimburse me for the tow), then call the tow truck guy, then walk three blocks to the ATM and three blocks back so I could pay him in cash. Then when he arrived it took me a few minutes reading the manual to discover how to get the car into neutral with no power so it could be moved into a position where the tow truck could get to it. (Yes, I actually read the manual.) Then I had to walk a mile home from the garage, and wait for them to call while I finished up the galleys.
So anyway, while I was composing the first draft of this post around 4 PM, I realized the narrative had no resolution, so I decided to call the garage and find out how the car was doing (yes, I am a writer, why do you ask?). Turns out they were just about done with it, and it was a bad battery, which means the warranty applied and I saved some money. So I have a new battery now, and since the car was in the shop anyway, I asked them to replace the windshield wipers too, since the ones I had were lousy and didn’t do much good. And as it happened, it was raining lightly when I picked the car up, so I got to try them out right away, and they’re nice and quiet and work better than the old ones.
Plus, as it happens, the garage is directly across the street from the post office, so I got to mail back the galley pages and pick up my car on the same trip — and right after that I drove to the grocery store and did the shopping I was going to do yesterday. Which is nice, because if I was going to walk a mile for the second time today (plus 3/5 of a mile to the ATM and back), it’s good that I was able to get multiple things accomplished. (Hopefully including getting in slightly better physical shape so that walking that distance will be easier in the future.)
So now I’m very tired and kind of sore, and that’s even after a long, hot soak in the tub. But I accomplished a lot today, and that’s a good feeling.