For Want of a Horse's Neck

The past couple of weeks, I’ve had a craving to put together a puzzle.  It was rather, oh, what’s the word, perplexing?  Normally puzzles and I don’t get along well.  Steph and I very much enjoy doing the Mystery Puzzles though so we headed out to find one.  The local stores didn’t carry any but Steph found the ‘World’s Smallest 1,000 Piece Puzzle’.  We decided to put it together, a good bonding time as husband and wife.

And it was .  Much like driving across the country crammed into a car with your extended family.  Joy.  Crying.  Swearing.  More swearing.  Threats of immolation.  And we were pissed at the puzzle too.

As we neared out goal, as the pieces fell into place (literally), we discovered something.  Our 1,000 piece puzzle was actually 999 pieces.  We were missing the back of a horse’s neck.

I do believe I’ll carry out that threat of immolation now.

The White Stuff

First Snow

Snow makes for:

1) Beautiful morning runs.

2) Constant scratching at the door since Tucker enjoys eating every snowflake.

3) A purpose for all this cold weather we’ve been having.

On the writing front, the first chapter of Oath Bound is complete.  I’m fairly satisfied with it, not 100%, but enough to get through the day.  I’ve already got about half a dozen ideas of how to change it but I’m resisting that urge for now.  In the meantime, I’ve sat down to outline the entire story.  I know where I want it to go, but the actual steps are a little more difficult.  Hopefully I can iron out the basics throughout this next week.

How Many Ways…

Earlier today I popped onto my favorite writing forums at Absolute Write. In the Share Your Work (Fantasy/SciFi) section, Quentin Nokov asked for a critique on a short piece. The scene involved gunmen executing a group of prisoners and being stopped by a supernatural event. You can find the thread here.

It made me realize things that I did unconsciously when writing. Battle scenes, something I do often, tend to have short, snappy sentences. Violent actions are paired with violent verbs. Make it fast and hectic as if the reader were right there, which is where you want them.

It also got me to thinking about different ways to write the same scene. Quentin wrote from the prisoners. How about the soldiers? I figured it was an interesting experiment and composed two examples on my walk back to work from lunch.

The Reluctant Soldier would see the horror of the scene. Bullets impacting on flesh, mothers huddling over their children, covering the weak before collapsing under the hail of death.  The sun glistening off the brass shells ejecting from the rifle, spiraling down to the ground in a final judgement.  Blood spraying across the dirt before the entire horrific scene dissolves into a cloud of gun smoke.

The Sociopath Soldier, one who might holds a grudge against the victims, would see the beauty of the scene. The cold, harsh clacking of automatic rifles chambering rounds. A crimson spray of blood that hangs like a halo before following the corpse to the ground. The contrails of the bullets as they pass through the gun smoke, smoke that steals the pleasure of the final deaths

The Waiting Is the Hardest Part

About six weeks ago, my main computer – nicknamed Barney – failed. The problem seemed isolated to Operating System, but when I went to double-check nothing came loose inside the case, I discovered the CPU Fan was hanging on by a thread. So I have no idea if the CPU was damaged or not. Thus, I convinced (i.e. – whined, begged, etc) Steph to let me accelerate the time line for the purchase of my new computer.

Behold – Godzilla.

Okay, Godzilla is cheesy but it fits the dinosaur theme. This computer was purchased from AVA Direct. I decided to try and have someone else build the computer. Aside from a long wait time (about 3 weeks) and some periods of no communication, the computer has turned out wonderful. It was shipped double-boxed with enough peanuts to feed an entire zoo. First step was to open it up and make sure nothing came loose. This was also my first introduction to the nVidia GeForce 9000 series video card. Wow.

Godzilla takes all of 20 seconds to boot up Vista. It was mercilessly free of any software that vendors usually bundle with their computers and I only had to disable a couple of things that I didn’t want. Another nice touch was the binder they included that showed all the test results (CPU Temp, Benchmarks, etc). The hard drive was split to allow for a total re-image plus I got a pair of DVDs that contained the same information (extra security). The case is nice.  It has front mesh bezel to allow for better airflow and a pair of 120mm fans (upgraded to silent fans).  The front has a pair of USB ports right near the top which has made it handy for my external drives in copying data.  So far I’ve only spent about 5 hours working with it, but I am quite happy.

Intel Core 2 Duo 8500
ASUS P5Q PRO Motherboard
eVGA GeForce 9800 GTX+ 512MB Video Card
Seagate 640GB Barracuda
Samsung Super-WriteMaster DVD+/-R/W Lightscribe

These Paws Were Made For Walking

Caption: Tucker at his favorite place on earth – the Community Prairie.

Tucker, for all the bored genius of a dog that he is, knows how to tell time.  How do I know this?  When I come home around noon-ish for lunch, he can barely get himself up to be let out.  Doesn’t matter if I come home at 11am or 2pm.  Tucker’s not in a hurry.  He knows I’ll let him out and then he gets a treat when I go back to work.

But when 4:30 comes about, Tucker knows it’s time for a walk.  He’s sitting in the front window, waiting for me, keeping an eye on the road for me.  And as soon as he spots me, Tucker becomes the most excited canine in the universe.  Steph thinks this is funny.  I remind her that he likes to bark.  A lot.

She doesn’t care.  I don’t think he does either.